Sunday, December 30, 2007

We all need a break from this.

Today is a gloomy day.

I am suddenly obsessed with my tumor type and keep reading my pathology report over and over again. How silly is this in the wake of all that is going on in our lives? What I am trying to figure out is if my tumor is an aggressive type of ACC...and based on what I know, it might be... The main type of cell in my tumor is called "cribiform", which is the LEAST aggressive of ACC, so that is good news. But the bad news is that there are areas of "solid" cells, which is the MOST aggressive. Sigh. There are never answers.

Cancer never freaking leaves me alone. No matter how hard I try to shake it, today it is tapping on my shoulder.

Today is a gloomy day.


Ava update, Sunday 12:30 p.m.

Heather called this morning and because Ava has a blood infection, they are going to try to wait out the antibiotics(she has been on them just 24 hours) and are going to clean the filters in some tubing she has had since being on ECMO. But there is still room for the miracle that we need.

The family is not going up today as planned. No decisions will be made today.

Please bring peace to all involved.


Saturday, December 29, 2007


Ava is losing her valiant fight. The family is gathering tomorrow at U of M. Please pray for a miracle and if He can't grant one, please pray that Ava finally can rest and sleep like babies are supposed to. Ava, you are so loved.

I will keep you posted as I can. Please pray for peace for Jamie and Jamie and the entire Zimmerman/Weaver family. They need us now more than ever.

The list grows.

Oh my gosh, with the addition of Debbie Floor's breast cancer, I think there are seven of us who have been diagnosed with cancer in the last six months. There is me, Troy, Marilyn, my mom, Tim, Linda, and now Debbie. Not to mention Pat P., Susan, and Dennis who are also all dealing with it. These are all people I consider friends, and I am sure you all know even more. This is just crazy. But, at least we are all among the living, fighting the fight every day.

I must confess that before I was diagnosed with cancer I used to hear of others' diagnoses and as shameful as this is, I was always somewhat relieved that the ODDS of me getting it were less--after all, there are only so many people in a circle of people who get cancer. Well, crap, that theory is shot to hell with all of the people above. This 2007 year has been so up and down...I really am going to be glad to kiss it goodbye in a few days, but know that 2008 might bring more crap, but may bring joy as well. And that doesn't make me much different than you non-cancer people either. I guess we all have the same fears for the most part.

Why is it that after Christmas you still feel the need to spend loads of money? I had lots of gift cards to spend--which I did--but then went to Bed, Bath and Beyond where I had no gift cards and spent $90. On What? Nothing that I really needed.

As you know I got a new car, and I must say I am receiving quite the attention from it. I have had more people point at it, one guy said "there's the new malibu", and another person was checking out the interior. Chevy did a great job of marketing the car I must say. Also, I LOVE MY XM satellite radio. That is probably the best part of the car--plus the remote start.

I forgot to tell you all that my mom got an infection in her incision...she is doing fine but spent Wednesday in the doctor's office. I guess any type of stomach/colon surgery is very ripe for infection. The doctor had to cut her open again (in the office) and pack her full of guaze...Sue says she is fine now. I had that happen with my neck surgery and it happened on Christmas Eve so there is something about Christmas and infections in my family. But mom is doing well. She sees the oncologist, a Dr. Payne (my sister's friend's partner) January 11.

My boob is bothering the heck out of me. Oh, by the way, my next surgery is February 7--exactly 5 months after my mastectomy. It is a Thursday and we are planning on it being out patient surgery at Bronson. I just hope the new implant is a bit softer than the boulder in there now. This thing is about ready to burst and is constantly pulling on my back muscles. It is so much higher that droopy boob.

One week left of vacation. I still haven't done anything about Jim's new front door. I am a terrible wife. : ( I do need to finish a thesis for my graduate class, which I have decided is my number one priority. I have to write a paper about how I deal with parents on my job--from the start of a problem to the resolution. Luckily, I can write NON-stop about just about anything so I have that going for me. : )

I have not talked to Heather about Ava so I too will be checking her website.

More later. I should probably do something constructive today, like clean my closets. TTFN.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas to you!

I wasn't going to post today because I went to bed at 8:20 p.m. Didn't know it was 8:20--I thought it was like 11:00 or some later hour. Anyway, Jimmy is asleep, Josh is playing x-box live with 1/2 the world and Andrew is at Kait's house. And since it is now like 10:30 and I am not asleep I thought I would write. Shade is mad that we left her all day.

First of all, I hope everyone had a peaceful Christmas. I am still amazed at my mom's strength. Less than two weeks ago she had a huge tumor removed, a big a whole cut into her belly and she still is going strong. Now granted, she didn't so much but sit and watch us all do the Christmas stuff, but mentally you would never know she is facing chemo and who knows what else. I know she is WAY less obsessed with knowing every thing there is to know...she is much more patient than I was--and doesn't seem bothered at all by what looms ahead. She and my dad are in such a good place in their dad is like a rare diamond in the rough at the retirement complex--Sue (my sis) said that all the women are buzzing all around him when he comes down for coffee, etc. Most of them are single with husbands who died recently so Dad is a hot commodity. My mom just thinks it is so funny because he waits on all the ladies when they need something. My parents have been married over 50 years and not all of them the best, but damn, they sure are going strong. When I watched my dad helping change my mom's colostomy bag, I welled up...there is just so much love there in a pretty "crappy" situation. (oh gosh, that was bad...tee hee)

I have thought about Jamie and Jamie all day today. Last I talked to Heather, which was Monday morning, Ava had had a "wonderful" night according to Carol and boy Jamie. She is "peeing like crazy" and the seizures have stopped. Dr. Hirsch was "ecstatic" and felt that she too could go and have a nice Christmas with her family because Ava was doing better. I do not know anything since this story but pray almost hourly that she is making strides. I know Mom Jamie got the needed love and energy from Bray while she was home...and I am sure she is back at U of M now, loving on little Ava.

Poor poor Jimmy. He gets me a new car for Christmas and I got him a bathrobe. What he really wants is a new front door. So I think in my two weeks off I am going to try to arrange that. He also really wants an old nasty refrigerator out of our garage. Do dumps take refrigerators? I am so domestically challenged it isn't funny.

Netter, if you are reading this I want to thank you again for the sweet card and great picture. While I remember seeing the picture, I do not remember giving it to you. And you are so right, I can't stop smiling. Your words made me realize that simple things do matter and we never know how anything we say or do can affect others. I will take that picture and put it on my desk and school so when I am about to go "administrative" on some poor high schooler, I will remember that just maybe a kind word would work better! Between your eulogy for Grampa and that card, I think you made me cry twice this year. You always were a writer.

And Mimi...always the "great aunt", thanks for remembering Kait with your gift the other night. Your little touches are always so special.

Oh my god! Go back to the paragraph about my mom. Re-read where I talk about getting her tumor out...a big a hilarious is that???? I meant to write a big hole. That was such a non-intended pun I am leaving it. Goodness.

Well, when I went to bed at 8:20 I did start reading a decent book so I guess I will go back to it. Besides getting Jim and new door, a goal of mine this vacation is to read at least four books.

I hope all of you had a joyful day. I know I did.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Ava is status quo.

Heather called and the doctor who read the preliminary CT said there is "no significant bleeding."

Jamie is on her way home with Heather as we speak. She even bought a candy bar, chips and a pop at the gas station so she is eating. I am so proud of her for making that very hard step to come home today...They are hoping for the best but are prepared for the worst.

Little Ava continues to fight like we know she can. I keep forgetting what a warrior she is.


P.S. I hear boy Jamie has posted on Ava's website so you can check there too.

An Ava update

Ava started experiencing seizures last night and the concern now is brain hemorrhaging. She is scheduled for a CT scan at 1:00. Dr. Hirsch said that if there is a little bleeding then Ava can probably handle that...but if there is significant hemorrhaging then the problem is grave. So this is Baby Ava's most important hurdle at this point. Please pray at 1:00 for Ava and her family.

On the better news side, Dr. Hirsch said that if the seizures had not started she would have been "ecstatic" today as Ava met all her goals for yesterday. One of the most significant things that I remember Heather saying is that the doctors purposely "kinked" Ava's ECMO machine to see what her body would do and she picked up the function on her own. That is good news. She even had pulsivity, which means her heart beat on its own and they could feel a pulse.

I am guessing until things settle down we won't hear from Jamie on her blog. I will try to keep you updated with Heather's permission. For now, please pray as I know you will.


Friday, December 21, 2007

"It's curable."

A quick post--

Mixed news from mom's path report. Most important to note first is the surgeon said "it's curable." So that was a relief. However, there was a tiny bit of cancer in 2 lymph nodes, and they are a bit concerned the tumor was too close to the bladder wall so she does have to have chemo. But again, it is curable. She is ready to take it on and doesn't seem one bit scared. The other interesting thing is that the surgeon said when she returns for her week follow up that they will think about the next surgery--to get rid of the colostomy. We were surprised at that because he sort implied that she may not want to do it, since it is a pretty tough operation. What he didn't know is she is a tough bird--is only taking regular Tylenol since her surgery--so that impressed hiim I am sure! Sister Sue and I, plus mom and dad, are feeling ok about all this. Just glad they didn't say it was grave or anyting. I am relieved.

Please pray for Ava. She and her family need all our faith in a higher power as I write this.

I need to run now. Count your blessings, please.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

No new is, well, just no news.

Still no word on the path report. I had my rough day yesterday and earlier tonight...I so can't stand to think about the worry my mom is going through. I keep making her talk about it--probably driving her nuts--but we talked all about my grandma's stomach cancer back in 1967, my cousin's testicular cancer about eight years ago that I forgot about, my two aunts' breast cancer...crap, no wonder we have cancer! I did tell my mom that she probably just saved my or my sister's life as we will now get colonoscopies.

Mom was grumpy when I called her after school today--her nurses were a bit slow on getting things taken care of--but she and my dad passed the "changing of the bag" test with flying colors with the stomal therapy people. We laughed at my mom's story about my dad: when he used to change our diapers, he would stuff toilet paper up his nose--I asked if he had to do that today and she said no, but she said SHE MIGHT next time. She says it is just the first whiff,....oh, golly, never mind. I keep forgetting I am not alone here!

I also just got off the phone with her and she sounds better than earlier. She gets REAL food tomorrow and is looking forward to buttermilk pancakes and orange juice. The doctor is a bit concerned that her incision looks inflamed so he wants to make sure she doesn't have an infection. If she does, it just means antibiotics. Either way, she is going home late tomorrow or Friday. That will make her happy.

I am still not done with Christmas shopping. When will I go? I don't WANT TO GO but internet shopping is out...

Celebrating Christmas with John and Ginger, their boys and wives and kids this weekend. We usually have these to die for special ordered crab legs that are so big you can only eat one, but the place screwed up and forgot to order them. Mimi is out searching the world for them as I write...we love them so much and it has become a tradition. This is a fairly quiet Brawley event as Brawley events go, as it is for the most part immediate family but it is still very much fun. Then Christmas Eve all the Brawleys come and it gets even crazier. Good times. We go to my parents on Christmas day.

Lori Baxter, thank you for your comments. I saw pictures from your website today--wow, you are a great photographer! I did not know you are doing that.

And finally, Ava has her surgery tomorrow at 8:30. Please say a quiet prayer and hope it is nothing but smooth sailing. They deserve it!

HO HO HO. love you all!


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

That awful feeling of worry.

Reality is setting in for my mom I think. We still don't have the path report yet, but today when I visited she made three comments that show me she is scared. Poor thing. The most hurt-filled one is when she says "I sure have gotten myself into this mess I guess." No one who has cancer should ever feel they are to blame--I suppose smokers feel it the most, but I know my mom blames herself since this could have been stopped earlier had she had a colonoscopy. One good thing she did say, which sort of tells me where her head is, was when we were talking about chemo--I told her the doctor said she wouldn't HAVE to do it even if it was needed (which I think we all know it will be needed) She looked at me and said "well, why WOULDn't I do it?"--meaning she will want to fight this. She is scared of the path report...golly, I know how that is. But I guess we will just have to wait and see how bad it is...ugh. This feeling is just awfulllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll.... And when my aunt and uncle came in she wouldn't say cancer--just mumbled about the obstruction and tumor...she does not want to say it and is so private about unlike ME.

And here I am blabbing about it! Ooops. Oh well, I don't think anyone in her retirement hi-rise reads my blog. Anyway. My nerves are shot for her...I know what she is going through and there is nothing to take away that worry. Honestly, I hurt most because I don't want anyone to have the feeling of being scared about anything. It is so debilitating.

Today I saw Tara and Dr. Messinger and I believe I have three more appointments before surgery. For the first time today, I felt the needle go in--it hurt. Tara said my port is right under my incision so that could be new nerves endings I would guess. Dr. M came in and said they would be calling to schedule the surgery sometime this week--again, early February. I asked him if he had to open the entire incision and he said no, and he would be opening very close to Mr. Pizza Pocket. He then has to get the implant in (he called it a "VERY LARGE IMPLANT" by the way--in other words FATTY FATTY TWO BY FOR CAN'T GET THROUGH THE BATHROOM DOOR) and manipulate it around in the chest area that has been stretched. He mentioned "scoring the capsule", which I didn't understand, but the capsule is the scar tissue that has formed around the expander--he scores it with a tool, which will allow the implant to move in better. I have read about capsular constricture, which occurs once the implant is in and causes your implant to harden--and then I would be back to rock boob. You avoid capsular constricture by massaging your implants a lot. Can't you just see me in my office giving myself that great massage? : )

Hey, we have a new reader as of yesterday. When I was 11, I got a pen-pal from some organization I read in a magazine and became penpals with Debra, another 11 year old from England. Debra and I wrote each other ALL THE TIME, didn't we Debra? When I was a senior at Western, Debra and two of her friends came to the US and stayed with me and my roommates in our apartment. Talk about a crazy, fun-filled times! I think it was for about 3 weeks, right? Anyway, Debra and I do not write as much by hand anymore, but about once or twice a year we are in contact by email so yesterday I emailed her, and wallah! She is now reading my blog! Can you believe we have been writing now for 34 years? And have only met once....THAT, my friends, is the power of the pen--and now the Internet. If you can Deb, say hello. Debra is married to Mark and has a son and a daughter a year or two apart from my kids...small world, isn't it.

Jim just called and he finally shot a buck. WAHOO. Just a reject 6 point (technically, it's a four point since 2 of the six points have broken off) He is happy and my kids will be thrilled as they love venison. I know I should eat more of it since it is much better for you than beef, but I am so picky about smells since my neck surgery that I never really want it...anyway, glad for Jimmy. Maybe I will no longer be such a hunting widow!

Gotta run. Time to go to the game and support Andrew, the best bench warmer in the SMAC!

Love to all--keep praying.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Surgery done. Mom is primping and ready to go.

My mom had her surgery yesterday. A HUGE had totally wrapped itself around the colon and squeezed it shut. Dr. Wysong said it had probably been there at least 5 years, most likely 10. Had she had a colonoscopy back in the day, it would have been caught. His worry now is that the tumor went through the colon wall so that may mean chemo, as he would be worried about it coming back. He took out lymph nodes but we won't know their status for a week. Dr. Wysong was very serious throughout his explanation, he started by saying the surgery went well, but it was very difficult....once he left my dad and I looked at eachother and said "I thought he was going to tell us she died!" He was so GRAVE...but his words weren't bad so we are praying it is just his personality, which my sister says it is...we laughed about it with my mom, who is the most remarkable patient I have ever seen. She has had three surgerys (hip, knee, colon) in just over a years time and never complains. She says she is in no pain at all today, isn't too worried about the colostomy bag ("oh, it will just lay flat against my skin...all my clothes will cover it up"). She is annoyed that she doesn't have her Christmas shopping done, and is already wondering if she will be able to attend the New year's Eve party at their retirement village.

I am not going up there today because of the weather but hope to stop by after boob pump up on Tuesday--at least just to say hi. I want to send her something unique--like a mini-Christmas tree for her room--but will wait until tomorrow. She should be there a week. Once we get the path report back she heads to the oncologist, a woman my sister is friends with.

We are really at the easy part right now. Chemo scares me and even the doctor said she may opt not to do it. That sort of scares me. He used the word "I didn't realize the tumor had infiltrated the colon wall so that is a bit more worrisome." I hate the word "worrisome" as it is the word Dr. H used when he told me of my cancer. Worry in itself is such a debiliating thing.

Today, my mom is my inspiration. When I spoke with her this morning, she said she had just combed her hair and put on lipstick. Gotta love that!

Thanks for your prayers. Please pray for a manageable path report. My parents are in such a good place in their 75 year old lives that I want them to have more than a few more years of fun and happiness.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Pass the Xanax

My mom has colon cancer.

Just like that. I talked to her Tuesday and she had been sick to her stomach--doctor poked all around and said it was a stomach virus--sends her home. Today, her belly is distended so they give her the CT at Bronson at 6:30 p.m. At 9:00 my sister called and said "Mom has colon cancer."

FRICK. I don't know much about colon cancer; the two people I know who have had it have passed away. I don't like that percentage that is for sure. Tomorrow she will be having surgery--her bowel is obstruction by the mass and the doctor said her colon is in pretty bad shape...he did say that he treats it by surgery and I guess no chemo or radiation. But Ginger's mom, Iva, had to have chemo, etc because when hers was found it had spread. Who know with my mom. She hadn't gone to the doctor for 30 years --until about 5 years ago. Never had a colonoscopy. FRICK.

This is so strange to me. I am more emotionally affected by this than my own cancer.

I guess I need to do some reading. Please pray that surgery goes well and that it hasn't spread. I know you will and I thank you.


Malibus, bowels, and exploding boobs.

A couple different things to talk about...

First, I GOT A NEW CAR! God love my is my Christmas present sort of those pretty black spankin' new Malibus. Sharp if I don't say so myself. If you see me, honk and wave. : )

The day was great when I saw the car in my driveway, but then my sister called and my mom is headed for the hospital. They are thinking it is an obstructed small bowel...more tests tonight and then we will see. My parents are scared to death and I just had to ask my sister if she thought it could be cancer or something worse, and she said she (my mom) is so symptomatic, it most likely is the obstruction. I am somewhat of a wreck ...can deal with surgery and all that, just don't let it be cancer. My mom's mom died of stomach cancer so the fact her stomach is in so much pain scares me. But again, Nurse Sue (my sis) says she does believe the doc when he says he suspects it is a bowel obstruction. I will keep you posted of course, but I tell you what if it turns out to be cancer I will need every last Xanax pill I can find.

Exploding. That is the latest worry in my breast cancer journey. I went for my latest expansion yesterday, did the 60 cc's which puts me at 800 total. That is the limit for the expander in me. However, Dr. M says he wants to go "the max" because of Mr. Pizza Pocket not quite filling in, so we are going to continue on weekly until most likely the beginning of February. Then surgery. Then he says his only worry is that the expander could explode.
SERIOUSLY! I laughed, thinking he was kidding, but he said, no really, it could, but all it would do is deflate and then I would need to call him as soon as the office opened. I can't begin to describe what this thing looks and feels like. Today I was in my office and literally my boob ran into the filing cabinet because it sticks out further than anything else. I hardly felt it. If it was bumpy it would feel like a hard knee cap. And it really does feel like it could explode at any minute. At first I was concerned it would like squirt all over on the outside, but he says my skin is intact so no worries there. CAn you just imagine? WOW.

Gotta run Josh to the game in my new car. How fun is that. No Food or drink will ever go in this car.... well at least until Monday.

More later. Say a little prayer for my mommy, please.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Yesterday. And then Today.

Snow day, snow day, snow day. It was wonderful--perhaps not needed--but definitely enjoyed! Took the kids to the mall, which is an unusual event for us, and got a few Christmas gifts. Also had a yummy lunch at Olive Garden, and carried on a nice conversation with both boys without either of them fighting. Almost like heaven.

I did not go to Dr. M today because of fear of slippery roads...going Thursday. Just let Shade out right now and I will say that if this all freezes, I could be Dorothy Hamill on our back patio. Did you all know that I used to figure skate? Go figure. (no pun intended...well, yes, I guess it was intended.)

Last week, as I have mentioned, was a rough week at school. My co-workers and I had all mentioned that it had been such a slow school year in terms of any major events--and then, KAPOOEY! All heck breaks loose with all kinds of things happening. But after all is said and done, I still love my job, and those of you who know me know that I no matter what I do, whether it is writing a letter of recommendation, sitting on a committee, expelling a student, etc., I take my job very seriously and hope that I make a difference. It is hard not being in the classroom because I miss those learning relationships with kids. It seems like any guidance I ever give is after drama has unfolded (and wow, I have decided 10th grade girls have more drama than daytime television!) and when you are in the classroom, you can sort of "steer" kids in the right direction. I will be honest with you, at times I wonder if I should go back to the classroom--I miss teaching kids about literature, and how to write, even if it is just about your beat up Chevy that you have been working on in the garage with your dad for six months. ( I used to teach a "hands on" type writing class for seniors and mainly boys took it--I can't tell you how many boys wrote papers about their cars!) I miss brainstorming with kids about ways to make Niles High School a better place, and ways to make a change by taking action, rather than just complaining or saying "why don't THEY do this... or THEY do that..." I love it when I hear from former students who remember reading Catcher in the Rye and really understanding the HUGE amount of allusions and symbolism... I ran into one girl (woman) at Dr. T's office and she said she can still talk about that book because of my class--it was the only book she ever read at that point in her life. This is when I question where I am best supposed to be. (that is a dumb sentence but you know what I mean)

This coming weekend is the Freund (Ginger's maiden name) side of the family Christmas. This is nice and relaxed and features The Christmas cake, which is a cake that had red and green jello in in. I don't think I have ever tasted it but it is pretty. We also play Dirty Bingo, where we all draw a card and then choose gifts from a pile. You can steal others gifts and there hasn't been a Christmas yet that a child hasn't cried from some dumb adult stealing his gift. One year Cousin Amy chose a big box of candy and to make sure no one stole it, she opened it and licked every single piece of candy. Lottery tickets were a favorite--so much so we banned them. The gifts are supposed to be worth $10--sometimes we think some didn't get that memo--but all in all it is really fun--really! And of course we eat non-stop. This Saturday tho' Andrew has a basketball game so we have to start early.

I continue to wonder about my ear. I know, you thought I forgot about it, but it is still there, bugging me. The biggest issue now is dizziness...I think my labrynthitis may be back...luckily, it mainly happens when I am already in bed and not walking around. Yes, it scares me but I am a bit numb about worrying anymore, so until I drop down half dead, I am ignoring it.


Saturday, December 8, 2007

Cancer strikes again.

Cancer strikes again. A good friend of Jim's brother Danny found out this week he has leukemia. He is in his late 30's. Dr. Ansari will also be his doctor. Please add him to the numerous prayers we are all sending up... When will this stop?

I ventured to the mall area today and needless to say, I won't be going back. Traffic is just awful! Internet shopping is so much easier, and most places are giving free shipping if you spend enough (which of course I do). Still looking for the right thing for the kids. Thinking about getting Jim a bathrobe. He has one too many times had to let the dog out in the middle of the night in his birthday suit. Ooops....once again, TMI you say! Josh talked me into going to Famous Daves which was fine, but I longingly looked over at Olive Garden for my all you can eat soup, salad and breadsticks. Josh sat across from me, bathed in Rich and Sassy BBQ sauce. He is a fun shopper and loves his ribs.

Tomorrow we are having a group birthday party for Andrew, 17, Zack , 14, and
Quinn, 12 (I think) As always we have it at Ginger's forecast is bad--ice I hear--so the ILS (in-laws) are nervous. I tease them that they are getting old--they are Weather Channel freaks (I am too if we are getting snow) and won't leave the house if there is a chance of bad anything.

OMG! I forgot! Another momentous occasion in my cancer journey. I no longer have to wear Ms. Filler Boob anymore! She makes it way tooooo big and bulky. The boob is about to burst I swear tho' and hope next week Woody gives me an idea. I don't know how much bigger my skin will go. She looks almost perfectly round and FAKE, like a supermodel or something. HA.

Josh and I went to the girl's basketball game tonight so he is walking throughout the house cheering like he is still at the game. He just chanted "Time to take a bath" and is now singing our fight song in the bathroom.

Andrew is going to a friend's house tonight to make Christmas cookies. I told him I thought that sounded like a lot of fun. There is a whole group of them going. Someone has to teach him to cook. Something very safe and wholesome and I bet they WILL have a lot of fun.

Thanks for your comments --I love hearing from all of you and knowing you are out there.

Again, in case any one has forgotten, cancer SUCKS.


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Crap and Fiji water

Still here. Have had crappy week. Got the stomach flu on Andrew's birthday, watched Andrew's basketball team get demolished by Mattawan on Andrew's birthday, had to watch Andrew deal with crap at school on his birthday that NEVER should have happened, and well, things are just sort of crappy. But I guess it is all relative--it's not like I have cancer or anything! Oh wait, I do--well, at least I did.

Of course when I did get the stomach flu I immediately thought that cancer was ravaging through my intestines. But a good puke cured it. (ok, sorry, that is a bit too detailed even for me) I am feeling better and made it to work today to face the crap that was getting crappier. Just all part of the job I guess.

Also had a boob fill up today--didn't even see Dr. M. Nothing interesting to report. 60 cc's, still got Mr. Pizza Pocket who now features a lovely shiny stretch "worm" as I call it. Think pregnancy stretch marks. UCK.

Let's talk about my little Kristina. Don't you just love her? If you don't read Jamie's blog about Ava you may not know that Kristina, who lives 1000's of miles away, blogged a very touching note to Jamie. Kristina is my BC sister, like TWIN sister, since we have the same kind, and of course none of us have ever met her, have no clue what she looks like, but through the power of WORDS she touched me, Jamie's family, many others, and most importantly, Jamie. Love the internet and once again, know that blogging is important.

April, if you are out there, I have had people ask about Troy. If you don't mind, will you post an update? We are all still praying for him.

John and Ginger are back. WAHOO! Pam and I LOVE our IN-LAWS. (I am sure Aida does too but I talk to Mimi more often) I know I have talked a lot about Crazy Mil, but Crazy Fil deserves some press too. John, Jim's dad, knows everybody, or at least thinks he does. (what actually happens is this: Strange person: Hey John,how are you? John: Hey, great! How's the fishing? Strange person: Great...yada yada yada." Conversation continues for 45 minutes while Ginger waits patiently. John and Ginger get in truck to drive away. John: Ginger, who was that?") We love him, despite his wackiness about half-empty pop cans, "you'd better eat everything on your plate", "I'm going to get your gizzard" which he says to all babies, scaring the bejeezus out of them and their parents, he says "Yello" when he answers the phone, back in his day "the athletic director, the principal and the coach rode the bus to all the games", he tells loads of dirty jokes...oh golly, there are so many John Brawleyisms I can't even list them. But he is the best father, the best grandfather and loves his family so much. Who could ask for more? He also lets my dog out everyday and swears he has taught her how to sit, shake, bow, and eat a cookie on her nose...we will let him think that too. I do love that man.

I want you all to know Josh ordered the famous $5 pizza from Saylors tonight. It cost $11. Don't ask me how. Mr. Economist (Josh) declared it "worth it."

On Fridays Jim is home a half day and the last two Fridays Andrew brought his girlfriend Kait home for lunch, which Jim makes. It reminds him of when his grandma used to make everyone lunch at the "shop". So today he comes home with groceries and about 12 bottles of Fiji water, the best bottled water around, but also expensive. Josh, Mr. Economist, says "geesh dad, why Fiji water? I thought we were poor" to which Jim says "It's for Kait, I know she likes water and I have never had a girl around much so she deserves it."

Can you imagine what he will be like as a grandfather if we have granddaughters? WOW. But again, that shows what a wonderful guy he is too.
I just have such wonderful men in my life. (said with just a TOUCH of sarcasm)

I don't know. IDK. MBFFRose. Obviously, time to go.

HO HO HO to all of you.


Saturday, December 1, 2007

December 1. I want snow.

I am loving the Christmas spirits right now. I bought my Chai tea from Brew Ha Ha's, turned up the Christmas music in the car, drove to Dowagiac to pick up Andrew's letterman's jacket, looked at all the beautiful windows dressings in downtown Dowagiac, sang all the way home. Speaking of downtown, I really think Niles is looking better and better. I haven't checked out the new Kitchen Connection store but will soon.

I am having issues with my expanded boob. It is much higher than the other one, and with the foam thingy in, it's too big. Now, please don't check me out to see if I am telling the truth, but trust me, 'tis looking a bit lopsided. Feeling good--but I swear I have arthritis everywhere. (yes, I occasionally think it is bone mets, I won't lie)

I spoke to two other cancer survivors I work with this week and it so made me realize I am not the only one on this journey. Susan, a bc survivor, did nothing but share some of her day to day events with her journey but that simple conversation made me realize she and I are in exactly the same place for the most part--both have the fear of recurrence but don't have to worry about it until something shows up or test time. It just made me feel like I am in this with someone. She's such a kind lady--thank goodness she is there for me. And then Pat, another teacher, is going through some treatments and is suffering in some ways, but her attitude is fantastic. She shares her worries too...and again, I know I am not alone. Cancer is such a mental thing for me at this point. Did I tell you all that I called to renew a script for Andrew (his inhaler) and then thought I should maybe get some more XANAX just in case I had some bad days...and for March when test time comes around. Remember how Ginger had to tell my original surgeon to give me more than 12 pills (he scribed me 25 in the end) Well, those 25 got me through July, August, September, and October...never needed any after my surgery. So anyway, I am not sure Dr. Tacket will get them to me but sure enough, he gave me 90! That just made me laugh. He probably thinks I am a nervous nellie after my freaking out about my rash...he probably figures hell, let's get her looped up so she doesn't go nutty on me. Anyway, so I have my XANAX ready and waiting for my sleepless nights or obsessive days.

Went and watched our girls play last night. It was fun. I wasn't sure how it would be to watch girls on a Friday night, but the crowd was good. Andrew's season opens Tuesday--his birthday--at Mattawan. He will be playing a bench role this year, which is new to him in basketball, but he is fine with it. I am not sure how good our team will be but Andrew is enjoying his coach and his teammates.

If you want to do something really funny with some family photos go to and check out this funny little thing you can do with your pictures. Please click on the link at the top of the left hand side of this page and you will see what I mean. Stars of this are Dan Holland, my beloved lab Shade, Josh, and Andrew. It makes me giggle all the time.

Jim went to Rural King, his favorite little store. I am married to a hick I am afraid. But I love my hick more than anything.

I need to continue on with my typical Saturday work. Laundry, some decorating, laundry, and some more laundry.

Blessings to all--


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My hip hurts.

Am I one of those annoying people who make you look at photos all the time? Sorry, but I love to look at these to remind me of what a great time we had. It just shows you you can have a good time ANYWHERE, ANY TIME.

Hmmm....Dr. M measured me yesterday, which means he took his little tape measure and measured from top of Mr. Ski Slope over to Mr. Pizza Pocket. I don't know why he did it exactly, but I did have to laugh a bit when he held Mr. Pizza Pocket with his finger tips--I think it sort of freaks him out too. After my appointment (I got 60 ccs with NO pain so that is good) he was looking at a catalog of breast implants. So maybe we are getting there. I think I am at 670 cc's total--I thought I was further but he said no. Oh well.

Made Pam feel Rock Boob while we were in the UP. Pam has seen every part of my body, not to mention some internal "crap" (sssh...MIMI!!!!!) I don't share with just anyone (She was with me for the birth of my kids) so feeling Rock Boob was a walk in the park for her. I like people to feel it because they feel sorry for me--and it is hard to believe that this thing is really inside me. It is now way bigger than a softball and harder too.

My latest worry is whether I should have had a bone scan or not. Most BC survivors seem to have them routinely and I did not have one and in emailing with others, they all say it is basically standard now. Other than my hip that has been hurting for probably 10 years, my bones seem fine. But that hip is pretty sore. I have mentioned it over the years to my doctors but I think all of them attribute it to how slim I am. (that's a JOKE, geesh) Anyway...that is the worry of the week right now. Plus, still a nagging cough but my whole family has that so I guess that is all it is.

Andrew turns 17 Tuesday. Holy crap, that is like old. It's nice in a way, as the older my kids get the more relieved I feel that I am getting them speaking with another cancer survivor she too admitted the little nagging doubts about how long we have, will this be our last Christmas, that type of thing. It never really leaves your mind.

Little Ava Christine weighs 8 pounds now! And her voice is there, and she is cooing, smiling, etc. Friday is the echo which will determine if she needs immediate surgery. Lots of good milestones but still so many worries.

John and Ginger should be home this weekend. Then we start the what seems like million Christmases we have. Such a fun time but certainly not a time to go on a diet.

And yes, I still have not done much shopping. EEEKKKK.

Love to you all--hope you like the pictures. It's not the Taj Mahal but it sure is paradise.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Poptarts and the Pope.

Hello, and Happy Post Turkey/Black Friday to all of you. I am back from the UP with mixed emotions as always--glad to be home in my own house but the four days went way too fast. The ride there was MISERABLE--we left Niles at 1:18 p.m. and were still in northwest Chicago at 7:00 p.m. Yes, I was driving and I thought I was going to go INSANE from all the stop, start, stop start, etc. Once Jim started driving at 8:15 p.m., the rest of the trip flew by, with us finally arriving at 12:45 a.m.. Conversely, the ride home took 7.5 hours, so a whole 4 hours shorter than the way up. We left at 3 AM and have decided that is the only time to go. Thanks to my buddy Ken at work for lending us the IPASS--woohoo--that was HUGE in saving time, at least on the way home.

But what a fun time we had. I did nothing that I planned to do. We ate lots of course--I drew the green bean casserole (I think Ginger rigged it) but when I got home from the store it was already done, as my Nimmy took care of it. Ginger was trying to save herself some work by getting us all to help out but what she did to help us was to write the recipe of every dish on an index card and put all the ingredients, including any pot, dish or pan needed, in a grocery bag so our mini-meal was all right there. She is such a crazy MIL.

I wish I could say I never thought of cancer once, but I did. It was rather morbid, but everytime I would mention something about next year or next time--like "Next year we need to remember to bring more socks" or "next year, we need to do the cookie walk in Boulder Junction" I would say those things outloud but then in my head end with "If I am still alive."

NOW HOW STUPID IS THAT? What is really stupid is I don't really think I will be dead next year but it kept creeping in my head. You know what, it's that damned little cancer devil that used to hang out when I was first diagnosed! I need to flick that sucker off. It was almost comical really, and I think I started to say it to myself just to be stupid. Not a really funny thing to laugh at but it kept happening. What a moron I can be.

One thing that STILL is making me giggle is Pooh, Jim's youngest brother's story about a recent earache. As we were all sitting around one morning in our comfy clothes, drinking coffee and tea, we were talking about earaches (most of our entertainment was watching Talon, my almost two year old nephew, run around the room in circles). So, all the parents are telling their children's ear ache stories when Pooh, out of no where says, "yeh, my worst earache was when I had that Poptart in my ear."


He gets this sheepish look on his face and tells of a morning when he was still in bed and Zoe, his daughter, crawled into bed with him with a Poptart. He says he remembers it vividly--rolling over, and seeing, in slow motion, this small piece of Poptart break away from the larger piece, and tumble directly into his ear. He wasn't positive that it went in but a bit later the pain started so off he goes to Dr. Pam (because Pam works in the medical field we go to her for all medical needs). Pam, having all the correct tools, finds one of those bulb syringes that all new moms get to suck snot out of their baby's nose, and goes to town, armed with the syringe and some hydrogen pyroxide. Sure enough, out comes some nasty stuff and wallah, Pooh's earache is no more.

Pooh has to be one of the funniest guys I know. We always laugh at his Pooh'isms--he really is an intelligent guy but seems to get things mixed up when it comes to speaking. He calls deodorant "deodormint" (the smell) and windshield wipers "winsheildshipers." There are a million Pooh'ism's out there--another funny one is when he mixes his cliches-like when he is affirming something that he feels strongly about and he says "does the Pope shit in the woods?" when what he really meant to say was either "Is the Pope Catholic" or "Does a bear shit in the woods?" And when he disagrees with something it is always "that dog don't hunt." For a long time his life goal was to live in a corn field. I am happy to say he is a very successful lineman for AEP and makes good good money keeping our electricity on. I love that kid. Pooh does have a real name by the way--his name is David but no one has ever called him that. Even now that he's like 35 years old!

I must admit I did NOT make cookies with Josh, but Ginger and all the kids made peanut butter cookies from scratch so Josh said that was close enough. He said I could make it up to him tonight by making my first of many batches of Christmas cookies. I will do that because they are simple, simple, simple. (do not ask for any recipe as you know there isn't one)

I have more to report--and did take some photos that I will share.

I hope everyone loved their holiday weekend as much as I.



Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pam just called and she and her clan are already on their way to the UP. She said she almost felt guilty going up before's ok, but I am jealous that they will be waking up tomorrow to Ginger's humongous breakfast and I will be fighting with my kids to GET UP, GET GOING, etc. Then work. Nah, it really is ok. I am still packing anyway. The plan, for those of you who care, is to leave as soon as Andrew is done with practice. Jeff/Sam are riding with Matt and his girlfriend Brooke, and Danny; Pooh is riding with Zack and Zoe; and the four of us plus Dan Holland and Shade. So three cars. Everyone else is already there. We hope to caravan it but usually lose someone going around Chicago. My goal is to be there by midnight.

Boob fill was easy today but Dr. M was um..Woodyish today. He just isn't all the supportive. When I asked for something just in case my spasms were bad tomorrow he said "well just take some Ibuprofen." Spoken like someone who doesn't have a softball sized rock under a tight piece of muscle. Luckily, I am in no pain yet, so that is a good sign anyway. He did mention that he is going to start looking for the right implant for me. Before, he only mentioned saline but today he said it might be gel---supposedly the gel are more natural feeling. He did say that soon the right side will stick out way further than the I may have to move Ms. Filler over to the good side! Pizza Pocket is still hanging around. I will check him out tonight to see if any saline is getting in there as required.

Ginger has informed us all that we will all have a role in preparing Thanksgiving dinner this year. (ssshh...what that means is that the GUYS will actually have to help) She has listed all the chores/foods/etc on slips of paper and we will draw our task. I told her SHE has to do the turkey as Josh being in charge of the bird ain't gonna cut it. She agreed. I always do the green bean casserole and she has already figured we need 8-10 cans of green beans to feed everybody. However, since I may not draw that, I do have to be prepared for something else. We laughed at the thought of Jeff Brawley getting scalloped corn. (I hope he does get it as I don't eat it so if he ruins it, ah well) I am not sure anyon eats the scalloped corn anyway.

Jimmy turns 40 tomorrow! Happy Birthday Nimmy! God love him. He stayed home tonight and has been packing, getting all the hunting clothes sealed tightly in containers so no smells get to them, getting boots for all of us, hunting socks, etc. I just have to pack my own stuff so it is quite easy. I actually take more books than clothes.

I won't be back until after Sunday, so I want to wish all of you a special and thankful Thanksgiving. You know how thankful I am this year...and i hope that you too are appreciating all that you have, not worrying about what you don't have, and just ENJOY ENJOY ENJOY.

Life is good.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Three words changed my life.

For the UP being my favorite place on earth, I sure don't have very many photos. But I did find some to liven up the blog. This trip, I will take more photos.

I realize my UP Salute makes my blog not so much about cancer anymore, but cancer certainly is the catalyst for everything--from thinking about what is important, for wanting to reach out to others, for speaking my mind when needed, for loving my kids despite the fact that they would both rather play dodgeball than learn, for loving my husband even though he snores like crazy lately and is never home, for appreciating my crazy Niles family and appreciating the sanity, the consistency and the peacefulness of my own parents and sister in Kalamazoo, for loving my job, for adoring the kids who attend NHS, and for having fun with all my co-workers.

I don't think I would have ever acknowledged all that is great in my life if it wasn't for those three little words: you have cancer.

More later.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ava, Blammo, and my own little Soldier Boy

It is so good to hear from some of you that you are still reading. It is much appreciated.

Just so you know, Hunting Widow of the Year got sloppy joes for dinner last night but is hoping to go out tonight.

Ava Christine is on my mind these days. Heath says that she is smiling all the time now. Can you imagine how sweet that is??? She is so damn cute with her crazy hair, and then to add smiles to that face. Remarkable. I am also glad that the Jamies are having a chance to experience the rewarding part of parenting that has been postponed...I just keep thinking about seeing my own children smile when they were little and how it just makes everyone around smile. It also tells me that despite Ava's condition she is well aware of the love around her and knows perfectly well who rules the roost already. Poor Heather/Billy couldn't go to U of M this weekend because of rotten colds, but I believe the whole clan will descend on U of M for Turkey Day. Which reminds me, don't forget to support the Ronald McDonald houses...I know it has been a great help to Jamie and Jamie.

I swear my dryer runs non stop on weekends. Does laundry even end?

I am now reading a book called The Eyre Affair and it is one unusual book for me to read. I can't really describe it except to say it is about a woman named Thursday Next and she is a member of Special Ops--27, which is a group of FBI type agents that try to solve crimes. It involves time travel and is so unlike anything I have ever really enjoyed and I am VERY intrigued with it, although I've barely started it. Jim's buddy, Andy Hodgman, sent it to me and he says it is a great series. I love to find new books! I will keep you posted.

Tour guide Ginger is making some changes for our sleeping arrangements in the UP. Uh-oh, I hope there are no issues, but as it stands now, Jim and I are being moved to the old house, and all the "single" boys are sleeping Walton style in the basement. My only request is that I slept in one of the downstairs bedrooms of the old house--which is no problem. Not sure why Ginger wants to do this, but it is ok by me. Jim figures she doesn't want us women to have to have to walk around in our pajamas in front of the boys...oh, who knows with Crazy Mil! : ) John B. says Ginger has now gone and bought a second 20 pound turkey and goes to the store two times a day. (so do I when I am up there) Another thing I do up there that everyone likes to laugh at is I buy all the trashy/gossipy type magazines like National Enquirer, The Globe, OK!, etc. They all laugh at me but EVERYONE reads it so there! It is just another way to escape reality.

If any of you or your children have a Nintendo DS I highly recommend getting one of the Brain Age games that you may have seen on TV. They are addicting. Not sure what made me think of that but we will be taking ours up North. We have very competitive rivalries in our household alone......

Tuesday is Fill up Day. It was nice not having muscle spasms for a week. I am somewhat concerned about the pain on the way to the UP. I think I may ask Dr. M for something for it--I keep taking my leftover pain meds from the surgery and I would guess a muscle relaxer might be better. Poor Jim, just another excuse for me NOT to drive. (trust me, I have done my fair share of driving to and from the UP)

Oh my gosh! I have been meaning to get some more info on my blog but I want you all to save the date of January 4 on your calendars! The Niles High it Boosters of Project Graduation?....crap, I don't know...but anyway, they are having a big old dance for us oldies (ie. NOT our kids) The dance will feature Blammo, which I hear is a great band....this will be at the St. Mary's Gym...that is all I know off the top of my head but I WILL get more info. So, let's all plan to go, don't you think? No matter what the cause is, I am sure it will be fun. And maybe I will even have a drink!

Next time I write I am going to tell some funny stories about our travels to and from the UP. And I may even tell Pam's cranberry story.

Josh keeps running by me singing "OOH, Soulja boy, Superman," whatever whatever that crazy song is.... I call him my little Billy Elliot.

TTFN. And did you check your mammary glands last night?


Friday, November 16, 2007

Molly Brawley: Hunting Widow of the Year

Finally, the weekend is here. Nothing special planned but I may THINK about going shopping.

If any of you read my blog yesterday I mentioned the Oprah show about hoarders. Pam, my sister in law, was actually at that show. No, she is not a hoarder but IS an expert at getting tickets to the Oprah show. I think this is her second time and she always has an interesting story to tell about Oprah. One thing that she said was funny was that Oprah came out and was commenting on how short her pants were...Oprah said the audience probably couldn't believe that somebody with her kind of money had to wear these short ol' pants. (Kim Knoll, if Oprah can do it so can you!) Pam also mentioned that Oprah seemed somewhat subdued compared to the other time she went to the show--Pam thinks it is because of the trouble for which her school in Africa is under scrutiny. Ok, that is my celebrity report of the night.

Andrew got the all clear from the coach to go to the UP--thank goodness. I will tell you I am somewhat annoyed with my soon to be 17 year old these he told the sub for his calculus teacher that he needed to go see me in the office. And guess where he went? To the gym to play dodgeball. For 40 minutes!!!! Granted, he was done with his three problems, but why can't I have a kid who wants to get ahead and practice more math problems, or do homework for English, whatever? No, I get the dodgeball freak. I sure hope Mr. Cybulskis does not read this blog as I am sure he will be none too happy to learn that Mr. B minus/C plus (Andrew) thinks dodgeball is more important than pre-calc.

Everyone at work is suffering from chills, sniffles, coughs, etc. I of course am focused on this cough I have (aka lung cancer in pyschochondria language). Speaking of cancer, (what??? me?? never!!!!) Marcia called and reported that Troy's surgery went without complication. There were two enlarged lymph nodes which I am sure are worrisome--they won't have results for a week or so--but Troy might be able to come home as soon as Sunday, which is early from what I hear. April, if you have a chance to post, let us know how you all are doing. I am not sure if you have access to a computer, but I thought about you guys all day and am glad this part is done for you.

No one has shot a deer in our family as far as I know. Today I am starting to get annoyed with my husband being gone so much. Well, not really, but I sure could be if I wanted to be. Since October 1, other than maybe a handful of times, he has hunted EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. And, every single weekend morning. Wow. I am a good wife and deserve dinner, diamonds, and a vacation to somewhere warm for spring break. Too bad Jim never reads my blog to get the hints. You know, skip the diamonds--food and a warm spring break are good enough : )

Would I really bore you with telling you AGAIN that I can't wait for the UP? You would think it was the damned Taj Mahal or something, but it isn't even close. Granted, we have all the comforts of home, like Direct TV, HEAT, a good shower, phone, microwave, etc. but our sleeping arrangements are rather Waltonesque in that most of us who stay at the smaller but newer house sleep in the basement, which is really one large room with 6 double beds, four twin beds and two couches. We lay in bed with everyone and their neighbor nearby, plus the washer and dryer. The mattresses are gawd awful and sag in the middle but we all sleep together, happy as the old family in Willy Wonka. In the other house, which really is our favorite because it is large and really old, there are 5 bedrooms, a large dining room, the best shower in all of Michigan (just a good spray--it sure ain't fancy or nuttin'), a big living area, a screened porch, and a scary basement that Matt Brawley will never ever venture into. There is no phone, but somehow those Yoopers were smart enough to hook together the one in the smaller house to the bigger house so with the push of a button you can get phone calls. Also, the older house has a normal oven--Ginger has to cook the turkey, all 24 pounds of it, in that oven because the one at her house is sort of small--well, really small. This year, I think everyone except Dan/Aida and kids, and my immediate family, plus John, Ginger, Al, and Shade, will stay in the old house. (Al is John and Ginger's black lab) The old house is separated from the new house by about 50 yards or so--you should see us trek back and forth in snow drifts three feet tall. I still remember Shade's first Thanksgiving up there--the snow was higher than she was and she had a blast.

Josh and I were making chocolate chip cookies the other night--correction--we "opened a package and placed shaped cookie dough on a pan and baked them" the other night--when I mentioned the old fashioned kind of way of making chocolate chip coookies, and how even though it was much more time consuming, it was fun. Josh sort of squinted, like he was digging deep into his memory, and he got this big ol' smile on his face and said "I REMEMBER DOING THAT! Can we do it again sometime?" How pathetic am I as a mother? So, I promised him we would make the old fashioned kind of chocolate chip cookies while we are in the UP.

Tell me to shut up about the UP any time.

Alright, I supposed I either have to think about dinner or maybe think about where I should make Jim take me tonight, since I proclaimed myself Hunting Widow of the Year. Andrew is off with Kait tonight, and since Josh came home sick from school he is walking around with a blanket wrapped around him, bored. If I mention dinner out, he will have a miraculous recovery.

By the way, is anyone out there reading this anymore? Say hello if you have a chance. Oh, I get it. You are tired of hearing about the UP, aren't you? I promise never to mention it again.

Never. Sorry, I just can't do it!

Blessings to all of you--have a wonderful evening and don't forget to give your boobies a good feel tonight.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

I have a bad attitude.

November 15 in the extended Brawley family is almost a national holiday--opening day of deer season. Much to my disagreement, Jim allowed Andrew to hunt this morning before school since now that he made varsity basketball, he can't hunt after school. He missed his tutor/independent study class, which really isn't a big deal, but then missed his AP Biology class because he had to go to the orthodontist. Tomorrow, he has to miss classes because of his PSI program that inv0lves him going to the middle school to talk about abstinance instead of SEX! (rather an interesting's Andrew's second year in it) Anyway, he'd better keep his grades up.

Josh is asleep on the couch, in the middle of our addictive Law & Order show. We watch reruns every night together...Josh wants to be a lawyer because of the show. Jim just called and is on his way home from his hunt--he's stopping by brother Pooh's house to see how others did today.

Looking forward to the UP, of course. Now get this. You all know Aida, my sis-in-law--married to Danny. They have three kids--twin 5 year olds and a 2 year old. Brave Aida is heading to the UP with just her and the kids the day before we all leave on Wednesday. It is a 9 hour drive--through Chicago! I think she is one brave woman. Danny and Pooh will follow us up on Wednesday. I think Johnny and Pam are leaving Tuesday. So we will be the last to arrive but that is ok. I hope we have smooth sailing but lots of snow once we get there.

Andrew has to find out if basketball will interfere with our travel plans. I sure hope not because I think he would quit bball before giving up the trip. Josh is very excited ALL of us will be up there--plus more. I think we are at 29 now. Thank goodness for two houses!

I still haven't got my tree up like I planned. Maybe this weekend? I even thought about going Christmas shopping...that's early for me. The girls in the UP will most likely go to Boulder Junction, WS on Friday...they have some very quaint stores, good for a few gifts for sure.

Any of you watch Oprah today. I actually sit down and watch her now--never made time before. Today the show was on hoarders. Made me want to carry a trash bag around all night. Now I am paranoid I might be one. : )

If you haven't yet, go back to my last post and read Kristina's comment. It just shows me how ugly cancer is and frankly, pisses me off that yet again, someone is dying from something that can be solved for some people and not for others. It shows that doctors are just people but we rely on them to heal us and expect so much from them--when really, the only thing that might help the cause to wipe out cancer is more research. I agree with Kristina--we have a good prognosis but in the back of every cancer survivor's mind is "what if it comes back?" Hang in there Kristina--Karen is lucky to have a good friend like you who understands just a little more than others about this ugly thing called cancer. It just plain sucks. I hope today all of you can find some small amount of peace and comfort.

One last thing--check in on Ava's blog if you haven't. Jamie and Jamie are hanging in there, and Ava is even smiling now, (which makes me cry thinking about it) but her little valve is still leaking and she is facing MAJOR surgery soon--that is very life threatening. I admire the family so such a little baby can have such an impact on all of us. You have to see the pictures too--what a doll.

One more last thing --sorry--good luck Troy at IU tomorrow! I know you are already on your way down there and surgery is on Friday. You will be so glad when it is over and you can feel like you are on the down hill slide of this journey...April, be strong and give those nurses heck if they aren't taking care of him well enough! : ) (I know they will)

Love to you all--thinking of you a lot Kristina--thanks for sharing and reminding us ALL that we need to appreciate our families, good health, and good friends.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

We stand corrected.

What is up with my insomnia? I slept until 1:30 p.m. yesterday and 11:30 today. I did go to bed later than normal, but always wake up with the darn dog--who then falls right back to sleep. I am not WIDE awake mind you...just half way between awake and solid sleep...wierd wierd dreams but always sort of knowing that I am still awake? I am not up thinking about cancer...but my mind races and I can't stop thinking about really dumb stuff. Strangely, when this is going on, I am not upset at all...I spend time thinking/dreaming about how lucky I am and how content.

It is just really strange and come morning I can't get up.

A couple things from my last blog that the publishers of this blog must correct: 1) Contrary to what I thought, Andrew "can't stand" my tuna fish casserole. And 2) Rick at 5/6 and 11 actually said we are going to have 84 inches of snow...which is MORE than normal. I think Mike Hoffman of WNDU says that we are having less. I prefer Rick's forecast (sorry, Lonnie, I KNOW you hate snow). As you all know, I LOVE snow.

And hello Kristina! Your new house sounds lovely! And you, as always, sound so upbeat and happy. You are almost at your 1 year "cancerversary" aren't you? If I remember, you were diagnosed in January of '07. Good for you. And still NED (no evidence of disease) right? We LOVE NED!!!

Tuna fish casserole hater wants to get on the computer and I need to do laundry...bbl.

Ok, back to Kristina, our New Jersey friend. The UP stands for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where my family has a cabin...well, two, actually. (We used to have three but one burned down and the local PO-LICE thought it was burned down for the funny is that? There was no insurance since it was empty and falling apart. It sits on the 500 acres that everyone hunts on) We all live in the Lower Peninsula, the one that is shaped like a mitten...and the UP is the upper part that Ii like to say is the scarf that goes with the mitten. When most people think if the UP they think of the Mackinac Bridge, which connects the peninsulas together. But for our cabin, it is quicker to go around Chicago, and up through Wisconsin to get to it. It takes about 9 hours...about twelve the other way. That is our geography lesson of the day.

Watched Dr. 90210 today...breast implants. They stuffed those things in like stuffing a turkey. One poor girl was about 23 and already had a bilateral mastectomy...I think her mom died of bc...but her first reconstruction wasn't she had it re-done. Once will be enough for me that is for sure. Rock boob is still standing strong by the way. You could bounce a basketball off of it and rebound right into the hoop the thing is so hard.

I also have a huge blemish under my nose right now. And yes, it did cross my mind that is was ACC of the skin. A girl can't have a normal zit under her nose these days. Zit is an ugly word, just like armpit. My ear is bothering me less and less now, but I have a nagging cough, which I think is related to my constant runny nose. And of course my hip still hurts, but very little pain in the boob area. No expansion this week. Woohoo.

I need some ideas of what to get my lovely offspring for Christmas. Josh wants Direct TV in his bedroom. (my kids have tv's in their rooms for videos but no stations--AGHAST are they!!!) Any ideas for two teenaged boys would be appreciated.

Suzy Homemaker needs to get the potatoes on. Blessings to all of you.


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Finger burns and getting real with Sheryl

I am waiting for a pot of water to boil. I am making my mom's tuna fish casserole, which only Jim and I really eat--Andrew will dabble--Josh is getting my mom's famous baked chicken (chicken breasts sprinkled with Lawrey's salt, garlic, italian seasonings--baked) ok, enough Amish cook talk. *by the way, Betty asked for my butter cake recipe so I thought I would post it at the end of this blog.

Wow, what a busy busy weekend/week. First things first. My appointment for fill up was Monday, and after 50 cc's hurt me the week before, we decided to go slow...10...20...20...40...50...uh, we better stop. So I ended with 50 and did fine the rest of the week. No moaning and groaning. Dr. M did examine me sitting up...checked out both boobs for symmetry and lift. We aren't even close yet. He wants to " go the maxium" which I am estimating at 1000cc's based on what I have learned from an internet bc friend. Perky boob isn't as perky as it was, much to my disappointment, and Pizza Pocket, from what my internet friends say (they are called dog ears by veterans) won't necessarily go away either. Gulug. Too bad--cuz he is ugly. Anyway, my doc says we have a way to go. No appointment next week as doc is bicyling in Italy (on my dime I am sure!)

Pot is almost done boiling in case you were wondering. Josh is sound asleep on the couch, as is Shade. Jim and Andrew are hunting. I am Suzy Homemaker.

Even though I haven't been writing my blog, I have been THINKING about writing my blog. (when I was in college I wrote all my English papers while in bed...I would lay there, my hands folded on my chest, eyes shut, writing the intro, thesis, etc. My roomates hated it because I looked like I was in a coffin) mind is always running and rarely rests but one thing that I want to do today is write about someone who is just a really neat person. I know lots of really neat people and will probably do this more often, but today let's talk about Sheryl McKeel. If you know Sheryl, you probably know why I think she is a really neat person. To me, Sheryl is so REAL...she doesn't pretend to be anything she isn't...she says what is on her mind but knows when to shut up (except maybe at staff meetings)...she really really works her butt off to teach kids get them to come to school, she even calls them to make sure they are out of bed. She opens her home each Sunday for tutoring, but isn't afraid to be coloring her hair when there are kids over. When I first was diagnosed, she always told me I was amazing...and I actually believed it! She is just REAL. She is a great mom but makes fun of herself that she spends a lot of time in drive thrus...she admits when she is grouchy or on a rampage...she chews with her mouth full but leaves cool baskets of wonderful toiletries for her Young Americans...she thinks to go get markers for the kids to use to get their t-shirts get the drift! (No Sheryl, you are not my freebie! I just think you are cool.)

I have now made the tuna fish casserole and have burned my right hand ring finger right on the tip......ow.

The report from the UP is a foot of snow last night. Makes me want to be there even more. I am a snow freak...well, actually, a snow day freak. So snow is a must. Rick's forecast at 5/6 and 11 says only 71.2 inches this year, well below normal. Unhappy face here.

Now I am just getting stupid so perhaps I should go see if the baked chicken is burning. Love to you all...and look, very little cancer talk.

Oh, my recipe for my yummy butter cake: OPEN THE BOX and read DIRECTIONS on BACK.


Saturday, November 3, 2007

Can you smell my cake?

I am making a cake today. How about that. I also think, now that I have been up for say...5 hours...I need a nap. After all, I do have to chaperon the dance tonight.

The Young Americans are arriving this week for a four day workshop for the kids in the area. For those of you who don't know who they are, they are a vocal/dance music group based in California--made up of young adults ages 15-22 or so...they travel all over the world and teach music and dance to kids. Jim's uncle, Bill, is the director so there is a Niles connection, which makes it a big deal when they come to town. (Bill left Niles when he graduated, became a Young American, and then became the director) This is the first year my own two kids are not doing the workshop--for some reason interest wears off a bit at the high school age--but we still have over 200 kids doing the workshop. The shows are Tuesday and Wednesday night and are worth every penny.

Bill is an enigma in the Brawley lineage. He has to be one of the most creative people I have ever met, and unlike most (ok, all) of the other Brawleys, he doesn't care to hunt or fish or play sports, but really does love this whacky family too. Bill is John's (Jim's dad) youngest brother. It is so funny that they are related, but to look at them, you definitely know they are. Bill is so amazing NEVER know what he is thinking as he watches his kids perform. That is my favorite part of the workshop -- watching him as he watches the kids. He is just brilliant. Then there is Robyn, his wife, who is a ballerina from Australia. Bill and Robyn are two peas in a pod, and they have a little girl, Lizzie, who is just beautiful. She has been in more countries than anyone I know, and has her own frequent flier miles! They are very giving people and live such a different life than we all do. Robyn says she loves to come visit because we are such a family. Come see the show if you can...

Um, yeh, the brat got a speeding ticket last night. That would be Andrew. Going 50 in a 45 on Niles Buchanan road. Unfortunately, he remembers the time I got a ticket on this road too, so I haven't yelled too much--yet. Since he is unemployed, I foresee lots of chores being done around here--lots of leaf raking. He was very scared tho', which makes me smile.

Andrew did just call to say that the cross country State race is over...he doesn't know what place Sam Brawley or Madie Rodts got, but it is over. Madie did come in ahead of Sam so what an amazing future she has! Congrats to both of them for representing Niles. We are very proud of them.

My butter cake smells amazing.

They were playing Christmas music at Wal-Mart today. Kinda got me in the mood. I plan to put up my Christmas tree before we head north for Thanksgiving. I am not being morbid, but I really want to enjoy the holidays more than ever before. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Thanksgiving in the U.P., it is my favorite time of year. Can't wait to have Ginger's potato soup when we arrive, tired from our 9 hour drive; Ginger's awesome turkey (she makes the most moist turkey--she bought a 24 pounder for this year); Ginger's really good turkey soup that we eat all day Saturday; Pam's special lasagna that is a new tradition; huge breakfasts, like biscuits and gravy; french toast; pancakes; eggs, ham, you name it--the guys eat when they get in from their hunt... So, in case you haven't guessed it, none of us are on diets when we are up there. Most of the time the girls just sit around and read, nap, watch the kids, do a little shopping in Wisconsin at some really quaint shops...ahhh....heaven.

Ok, I sound like one of those Amish ladies who write for the newspaper.

Oh my, my golden butter cake is done. Must go sniff and stick a toothpick in it.

Oh my gosh, did I even mention cancer once in this blog????



Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Rip it out!

I have not had too many physically rough nights or days since this whole cancer journey started, but last night I was ready to give up on everything. My expansion is at the point where I feel it is going to hurt all the time, and last night I wanted to cry and yank the thing out. I cannot describe the feeling; I guess the closest thing to it is a major muscle spasm in your back, with a excrutiating tightness in the chest. It hurts like hell.

Then I start to wonder if I shouldn't have even bothered with reconstruction. It actually looks ok under clothes right now, but at yesterday's appointment Dr. M said that it isn't filling in all the way to Mr. Pizza Pocket like it Mr. Pizza Pocket is still just hanging there, rather than expanding. I can't figure out why the fluid just doesn't fill in, but perhaps the expander isn't big enough? He did mention that the future implant may need to be bigger but he was pretty vague about it all and I was more worried about the pain than asking questions. We ended with just 50 cc's and it still put me over the edge last night. I will say that I am better today, but I took a major dose of Ibuprofen this morning and can at least move about without groaning! Laying flat is a different story--we have resorted to the old "Jimmy hoisting beached whale Molly up off the bed" routine. I tried flipping on my side, flipping my legs off the bed, using my elbows, doing a super dooper fast sit up--all these things-- and I still end up looking like a turtle on her back.

Heavy sigh.

Last night was Ginger's 65th birthday. That lady is one special lady. Pam and I marvel everyday about what a wonderful mother in law she is. We want Oprah to do a show about her.

Yesterday I received two books from some really nice people. First, Mary Working dropped off a book from Cathy Bair, a Niles breast cancer survivor who is in charge of a local support group. The book was called HOPE and featured mini-stories of local ladies who are surviving breast cancer. Thank you Cathy! We have never met but I hear about you all the time. The stories were inspirational and remind me I am not alone in this.

Secondly, Kelly Gaideski sent me CRAZY SEXY CANCER: Tips for Cancer in the mail. I am sure many of you have heard of the television show of the same name. It is written by a young cancer survivor who has a really rare cancer in her liver--only 200 people a year are diagnosed with it--but she is still fighting and wow, how funny is the book. I love it because she says "frick" and every once in a while uses the REAL "F" word! : ) I love the sense of humor in it and there are so many things that she has said that I have said...she calls her liver the swiss cheese because her cancer looks like holes on the scans. I have not seen the tv show but hear it is great. Thanks Kelly--I am hardly in the book yet but have loved every minute I have read so far. (I tried to read it last night but beached whales and turtles stuck on their backs have issues)

What else. I don't know. I guess it is time for tacos at John and Ginger's. Josh is now going trick or treating as a ghost. Yes, a sheet with two holes in it. But creative Jimmy decided to use a Notre Dame sheet that used to be on Josh's bed so now Josh is going as The Ghost of Notre Dame Football. Andrew has National Honor Society Inductions.

Tomorrow a buddy named Valerie, who has ACC breast, is having her surgery. I wish you lots of luck Valerie and my prayers are with they have been. Valerie and Kristina, I am so glad we have the internet!

Happy Halloween all...may your night be filled with Reeses' Peanut Butter cups.


Saturday, October 27, 2007

A plethora of information about nothing.

Hello hello hello. It has been the longest time between posts since my diagnosis. I take that as a good sign, although I will say that cancer is still on my mind of course.

I am still in pain from my latest expansion. Getting up from a flat position is as difficult as it was post mastectomy so I am doing a lot of moaning and groaning. I also notice it at work. Despite the breath catching pain, I am doing fine. It is just a daily reminder that I am going through crap because of a disease I despise.

But, as always, there is a positive. The new boob is starting to look like a boob under clothes. I still have to wear Ms. Filler Boob but last night Jim was commenting on the new boob and said it was beautiful. He is so sweet. I just have these aches all around my rib cage.

Still suffering from allergies I think. I truly haven't noticed my ear pain since the U of M visit (what does that tell you!) but throat is still sore and the whole side of my neck. I am blaming that on allergies and a runny nose.

Also, thank you Evan for your kinds words! I hope I am not embarrasing myself with all my crazy posts but I am glad you enjoy reading. I also see all of your posts to the Zimmermans and I know that is helping them. You are a special young man, Evan.

We are gearing up for Halloween and the Harvest Dance this week in our house, plus National Honor Society inductions. Crazy Mil has a tradition that she feeds the whole family tacos on Halloween and us old fogies hang at the house while the youngters and their parents trick or treat. I do NOT miss walking the streets of Misty Acres--it is much more fun to see all the kids come in to John and Ginger's Dungeon of Dead Animals! This year tho' we will have to leave early to make the honor society inductions.

Manly man James is out hunting--since 6:30 this a.m.. In the rain, in the cold, etc. I don't get it, but he is in heaven when he does this. Silly Jimmy. He did call and told Josh we would take him to Famous Dave's for lunch. Josh is a rib hound I must say.

Also, oh my gosh! Betty brought me my recipe book of all the weeks of meals I had during my recovery! What a great gift! I also have copies of all the wonderful recipes so if any one wants them, let me know. Betty, you have been such a blessing to me in all of this. When I start to feel like everyone has moved on and I feel "cancer lonely" I know you are out there. Thanks Liz Moses! By the way, I am still working on my thank you notes. My mom would KILL me if she knew how behind I am. For now, I will still thank ALL of you for all that you have done. I made it through this far with an upbeat attitude because of all of you.

Ginger and John leave for the UP on November 1. It has been so reassuring to have them home. Now I am looking forward to heading to the UP for Thanksgiving. It will mean more to me this year than any other year I am sure. It is a time to do nothing but read, eat, sleep, laugh, eat some more, and laugh some more. I am so glad Johnny and Mimi are going--very sad Danny and Aida aren't but understand they have to make up time for football season. Ginger just loves it when we are all there. We also have others' coming from the other side of the fence (aka George's family) so it will still be lots of fun. Andrew is taking Dan Holland and this will be his first hunt. Dan is one of the funniest kids I know and such an easy kid to take places.

TTFN. Thanks for reading and being there for me. You all still mean so much to me!


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cement boob.

I have a boulder for a boob.

No kidding.

Boob is rock solid right now. Dr. M could only put 60 cc's today. It aches terribly right now--but I know it should be ok tomorrow. I took 800 mg of Ibuprofen when I got home and it took the edge off but it feels like I am having a major muscle spasm from the front of my chest to the back. I told Jim it feels like I have a spear through my chest. Tonight might have to be a Darvocet night...

SOOOOO glad to hear from you Kristina! good luck on your move. I don't think I could move right now. We have so much crap. We would have to get a big dumpster first. Jim is pretty good about throwing things away, but its those crazy things like shot gun shells that I don't know what to do with...: ) Yes, I know Mother, IF YOU WOULD JUST PUT IT WHERE IT BELONGS...

We are between sports seasons in the Brawley household which means both kids are home after school. Studying, cleaning their rooms, helping make dinner. You know how it is.

Ginger made Dr. M mad today. She insists on asking when I will be done with the fill up process just to get under his skin. Easy for her to do! I am the one he sticks the big a@@ needle in...
He refuses to answer that question, for obvious reasons, as it is too hard to predict how much I get each week, etc. I have 460 cc's total. I will have to do some research to find out the average fill up. The chest muscle isn't quite even with my other boob yet, but with Sponge Bob in, my filled boob actually looks somewhat bigger than the reduced boob. I may have to flatten Sponge Bob a bit.

My sweater stinks right now. Have you ever left the wash in the washer too long and then dried it? EGUCK. Did I smell like this all day???

Jim made a fabulous salad to go with dinner tonight. I am loving veggies right now for some reason.

Ok. Time to go get the p.j.'s on. Rock boob needs to come out of its holster.

Love to you all. Kristina, thanks for posting. I just needed to know you are ok!


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Kristina, where art thou?

I was just thinking about you Kristina--the last you wrote you were suffering from some indigestion and I just want to make sure you are ok! So post when you can...I also want you to read what I learned from Dr. Wolf, and Valerie and ACC/breast person in CA who met with the supposed "expert" from UCDavis. What we know is all there is to know! : )

To the rest of you, enjoy this gorgeous fall day...happy birthday Gage...congrats to Andrew and all of his friends for getting into National Honor Society...congrats to Josh on his 100 percent on both his history and geometry tests...congrats to the Vikings for their 49-0 win over Benton Harbor...TL, I hope to you are doing GREAT...Ava may be moving to a regular laundry is all done...Andrew's $8,000 teeth are straight and pretty and he likes them...

Lots of things to be thankful for--


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Nimmy's poem for me

I got home from U of M on Wednesday and found this scrawled poem that Jim had written me while I was there. Just another reason I feel so blessed.

Cancer can't take away your smile or laughter

It can't take away our happily ever after

It can't take away your warmth and love

the touch of your hands

and the fact that

you've made me a better man

It can't take away from our late night spoons

or coming to a theater near you soon

It can't take away Muhammad's lighting of the torch

or Gibby's home run to the right field porch

It can't take away all the young men and women you

have helped mold

It can't touch your mind, your spirit, or your soul.

It can't take away your courage to help others in need

It can't take away Josh's love or give Andrew any speed

It can't take away our wonderful dreams that lay deep down inside

And it can't take away your Viking pride

It can't touch your love for family and friends

And it can't touch that I will never, ever

have to look for my soulmate again.



Wednesday, October 17, 2007

No answers, but lots of reassurance.

I just have to say first off that Ava is the most gorgeous baby! My goodness. I can't even describe her to you all. Despite the machines, the wires, the people, the needles, everything--you could feel her strength every second you watched her. We missed Jamie and Jamie unfortunately but were blessed with seeing Ava. Wow. She is just a miracle and looked so perfect.

Now, for me. I got no answers but lots of reassurance. I feel like the cloud has lifted a bit--no, a lot. Dr. Wolf is so flippin' amazing--he remembered everything about me (yeh, I guess he could have read my chart) and listened listened listened to every single fear/question I had. First, a resident came in and examined me and said everything looked good. Then Dr. Wolf came in with the Chief Resident (both residents were females) and explained to both of them that I am a very interesting patient, (and then he looks at me and says "you really don't want to be interesting to doctors" with a wink) and explained my whole neck tumor case and then let me explain my symptoms. He was very interested to know that my first bite syndrome is still presenting itself, plus my Horner's Syndrome in my eye, and my palate something or other...he said that the follow up was really good for him as he is learning from me about my past surgery...he was also quite proud of how my incision in my neck looks (I bet a lot of you have never noticed it) etc. etc. He said there is nothing to indicate to him that I have anything but residual affects from the neck surgery--he said the PET/CT scan I had WAS reliable (if ACC was there it would light up) but that I should continue to have them. He said I turned the tables on him--he has seen plenty of ACC/neck and that he always advises his female patients to be very diligent about breast exams since this is a glandular cancer and the breast is a gland--he thought for a moment about my future screenings and just said to keep being aware of my salivary glands in case it reverses itself. He also said that the good news was that for all breast cancers, this is a good one to get, but the bad news is it could come back even 20 years later, but they have learned that MOST cancers can come back 20 years later----ANYWAY. I asked him about the whole coincidence with the type of cells in my breast cancer and salivary cells from first bite syndrome and he explained that very well so I now believe they are not related...I won't bore you with details but I believe him. What else? One thing I did not ask is specifically what is causing my pain, etc but both Ginger and I inferred it is just the whole surgery thing...even in my ear. I also had him check, along with the resident, this lump I have had on the back of my neck since BEFORE the neck tumor--and he leans over and whispers in my ear "it's just fat." I laughed and said, Oh I am used to that, (the resident was much kinder, calling it by its real name a "fatty lipoma". She said it is way too superficial to be anything else. And, another thing I really liked is he dictated his letter to Dr. Ansari right in front of me so I know exactly what he said. I forgot he did that in the past too...I have never had a doctor do that. Ginger loved him too and thinks I should always go back to see was worth every second in the car. I can't say enough about the U of M care system...we got in 15 minutes early, he spent almost an hour with me, and would have spent more if I needed it. Plus I had three doctors check me out. It was just good. (he did have one concern: WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON WITH MY IRISH??? he said) He's a Notre Dame grad, of course. : )

My manly man just came in from hunting so I must see if he brought home the bacon. Nope, no luck.

I need to check my email from work. By the way, Madame T Lynch--good luck tomorrow with your stuff! Call if you need anything and make sure you rest.

Love to all and sleep tight my little Ava--you are loved loved loved!


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Gone with the Wind and hot dog juice.

Let's start with my most recent pump up. OUCH! The chest muscle is really getting stretched. I said , sure do 120cc's--piece of cake! When we got to 100 cc's I started to really feel it, and by the time it was at 110 Dr. M could tell by the look on my face that I was in pain and said "I am backing you up to 100ccs." So that is where we left it. I still felt really good about the visit because I can REALLY tell it is working by looking at it, and feeling the chest muscle stretch tells me we are doing what we are supposed to be doing! I still, almost 12 hours later, feel like I am having to catch my breath, and I can't lift my arm that well, but it is ok.

My ear hurts like crazy today--but when I drove home from school I didn't even notice it. I can't wait to go to U of M, even though I am terrified--AT LEAST I WILL HAVE SOME MORE INSIGHT from a doctor who has at least treated ACC (albeit not the ACC breast) but at least knows what it is. I just keep telling myself pursuing his opinion is the right thing to do, but part of me wants to cancel and just ignore everything. But I won't of course.

OH! I forgot. I had my first facial today. Now, that was interesting. I am not about having people look at me really close up--probably why I hate the dentist and the eye doctor.--so this was a little uncomfortable at first. She starts by cleansing my face, then some mask that reminded me of junior high when my girlfriends and I would buy all that stuff and peel green masks from our face....then she steamed me for awhile. (I about choked on that one--I felt like I couldn't breathe) After that some other cream stuff that smelled ok, until she asked me if I thought it smelled like hot dog juice...and it did! I never even knew hot dogs had juice...

Anyway, at the end of the facial she starts massaging my head and that sort of freaked me out. I didn't expect it and what kept going through my mind was a scene from Gone with the Wind when Rhett is so mad and Scarlett that he squeezes her head in between his hands and says "I could crush your skull right now, Scarlett." It felt good but my mind wandered and thought maybe she was some wierdo who liked to play in thick crazyfrizzy hair...THEN, suddenly she was using a tiny brush to put something on my lips and that made me think she was "Dressing me up"--it was soooo silly on my part--she was very nice but obviously didn't tell me much as to why she was doing what she was doing. After all, I was a freebie so why waste time? : )

Actually, I really could tell the difference in my skin--I glowed the whole way home and will probably do it again. It was just wierd!

Have you all read others' top ten lists? I think they are amazing! If you can't think of ten, just put a fact, Crazy Mil said she can't think of ten things she wants to do before she leaves this earth...I said, now that is a great life! I told her some of yours and then she got the way Donna, if you are reading this, Crazy Mil misses you very much!

TTFN! mucho amore --(much love in Molly language)


Monday, October 15, 2007

Don't forget to do your Top Ten

Just a reminder to post your top ten--and don't forget to read what everyone else has written. They are all so fun to read! I want to make mine a Top 100! And as you can see, we all have sooooo much in common.

Another person Pam knows was diagnosed with cancer recently, and Uncle Rick, married to Barb, also has some sort of skin cancer. I did read on YAHOO today that colon cancer death rates took a big dip...and breast cancer diagnoses have also dipped. The BC thing may be misleading as fewer women are having mammograms, but perhaps fewer women having hormone therapy have lessened the diagnosis as well. It is October--have you all had a mammo in the last year? (for those of us over 40) Also, have a day with your boobs tonight and feel all over them for anything unusual. Get your significant other to help, if needed.

My email buddy Valery in CA. is meeting with California's ACC/breast expert tomorrow. She is going to ask lots of questions and email the answers to me so I will keep you posted. She is having her surgery Nov. 1. I have decided weekends are my worst worry time--throughout the week, I rarely worry because I am too busy. Tomorrow is BOOB FILL UP DAY. I am so excited to see more progress--I also get a free facial at the Skin Spa. Then U of M on Wednesday. I go from being proud of myself for being a self-advocate and trusting my body, to being scared out of my flippin' mind. Either way, as I have said a million times, I have to face this head on, regardless of what it is.

Going to run now. Not literally--in fact, I am going to RUN to the kitchen to eat the yummy homemade macaroni and cheese my angel Betty brought over.

POST YOUR TOP TEN! Make Pam happy! She wants more postings! ME TOO!

Blessings 2,390 times over to all--


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Dreary Sunday...brighten it up with YOUR Top Ten!

Happy Rainy Sunday to you. I actually am glad that it is raining so I can stay in the house, without my boob on, in comfortable sweats, and I can make cookies.

For Christmas this past year, Jim and I decided not to get our nephews the typical Christmas presents--we decided to take them to Cedar Point in the upcoming summer. Because of cancer, and Little League World Series, we never made it in the summer but did so yesterday.

Luckily, the kids had a great time but I will tell you it was insanely crowded! The workers said it was a record-breaking weekend. EVERYTHING had a long line--even the vending machines. I normally go on all the rides but this year thought I should sit them out--between my boobs issues and my pain in the neck it was the right decision. But it left for some long waits...and even though the kids never got that cold, I was frozen by the end of the night. We got home at 1:00 this morning and decided next year we have to do it in two days--I was going out of my mind trying to stay awake to keep Jim awake--it didn't seem to bother him--mainly because he claims to have slept quite often (yes, he was driving) Like I said, the kids had a good time and were GREAT. so it really as fun. We are already planning next year, and think we might camp right there at Cedar Point.

A woman emailed me this weekend from one of my list servs and she is an ACC survivor--but her ACC was in her salivary gland. She had Dr. Wolf at U of M and loves him--but just sees an oncologist now. : ( What was disturbing about her email was that she says she now has ACC/breast. And despite my numerous questions, she hasn't said if they are mets or not. (obviously I am still concerned that I have ACC in my neck--and that my breast was not primary) She said something like her lung biopsies (she now has mets to her lungs) went through where the tumors then showed up...anyway, just another reason I am glad I am going to see Dr. Wolf. But my issues unfortunately are NOT better--in fact, I woke up this morning and my ear, neck, throat etc. were already throbbing. Keep praying that it is just some viral infection or something. I also have another fear that my schwannoma six years ago was really ACC. I doubt they could make that drastic of a mistake but stranger things have happened.

Ok--now that I have been nothing but dismal, let's do my TOP TEN THINGS I WANT TO DO BEFORE I LEAVE THIS EARTH. (don't worry about order..that is too hard.)

Drum roll....and mine are very simple, by the way.

Own an RV and travel all over this country.

Go to Hawaii and actually stay on the ocean.

Visit the White House and other DC attractions.

Tour plantations of the south.

Build a Brawley Compound in the UP. (Pam and I already have plans as to what it MUST have. )

Be a grandma. (not for awhile, however!)

Be a runner. (ok, so this might be a fantasy but it would mean so many things!)

See this community pass a bond issue. (this too would mean so many things!)

Have my boys meet women who make them very, very happy and have wonderful marriages. (Andrew seems to be well on his way!: )

Be alive when a cure for cancer is discovered.

See how easy that is? Don't stress about it...just post! You may inspire others or may find you have a lot in common with someone else.

Much love to you all--