Category: blog contest

Do these jeans make my boobs look small?

Consider me $1000 richer, but, like, in memories because that check burned a hole in my pocket and then bought me a new pair of jeans.

I know I said that I would let you guys decide how I spent it, but I had to get cancer to win this money so I figured you wouldn’t hold it against me.  (Yeah, I pulled the cancer card again.  I also parked in the “cancer patient parking ” yesterday when I took Penny to the doctor because there were hardly any spots, Penny is so sick I had to carry her, and my hair is still short enough to look the part.  It’s really one of the only perks I get.)  I will, however, give you a short rundown.  It’s actually really easy to spent a grand.

There were the aforementioned jeans because I lost a pair.  Literally.  I don’t know where they went.  Josh is sure they’re at my boyfriend’s.  I’m sure I haven’t seen Taylor Hanson in over a year.  IDK.

Also, I bought a round of drinks for some girlfriends.  That’s mostly because I was showing them my budoir session photos, and I wanted to make sure (1) the photos appeared extra blurry. (2) they wouldn’t remember what they saw. (3) they would tell me the truth…that I’m super beautiful and, really, should be a mastectomy swimsuit model.  Also, because I love them, they make me laugh, they’re supportive and just really, really pretty.

With the rest, I paid some bills (or bill because, let’s be honest, I just couldn’t bring myself to be 100% responsible / boring with my cancer-earned money), and then I swept my husband off his feet or whatever.

The Monday after Valentine’s weekend (because it’s cheaper — you know, like how all the boxes of chocolate are 90% off now.  See, I was a little responsible.) Josh and I boarded a train to Chicago.  I really wanted to do something nice for Josh.  The weight of everything landed on him a month or two ago, and it has been hard to give him much of a break between me going back to work, our two girls, and my ongoing (but much improved) chemo fatigue.  So to show my true appreciation for him so steadfastly taking care of me and our littles, I whisked him away.  And then, promptly got sick on him again.

That’s just how I do.

Ugh.

Monday was a pretty glorious day.  You know, the “Yay!  We’re kidless!” kind.  You barely know what to do with yourselves, and you’ve kind of forgotten what the other person’s face looks like.  Over the poopy diapers, stacks of cancer bills, and sinks full of dishes, sometimes it’s hard to see.

“Oh hey, it’s you.  I forgot I kind of like you.  And look how handsome you are!”

After the train ride — which was waaaay more fun than driving, btw — we found ourselves at our hotel/spa with no real plans.  We filled our evening with food, bowling, drinks, dancing, singing, and a contest to see who could slide farther in their socks.  We made all kinds of plans for the next day and fell asleep.  So imagine my surprise when I woke up to relive the previous night’s dinner.

I know you’re thinking the same thing the hotel staff probably thought when we had to shamefully call them to pick up the bathroom trash can full of puke.  But no, I was not hungover.  I wondered this myself, but the truth is I only had two drinks (albeit, I’m not much of a drinker in the first place) and it lasted all day and into the next, when we went home.  It was definitely a bug.  And that bug kind of ruined Josh’s romantic getaway by, again, forcing him to be my caretaker.

He’s a pretty cute little nurse, though, and he said he still had fun.  He said that Monday night paid it forward for the whole trip, and if I had to get sick, at least it was when we had no children to care for, a king sized bed, and cable TV.

By the train ride home on Wednesday, I was feeling much better but hadn’t left the room since Monday (you know, for reasons other than the good kind of not leaving your hotel room for a day and a half).  It was there, on the train ride home, that Josh and I developed a new addiction: RUMMY.

Ha.  I know.  We are basically eighty years old (which is really kind of a goal of mine anyway) and super boring and surely there are cooler card games (Magic?  Uno?), but we have been having all sorts of “tournaments” and trash talking and scheming and sneaking in games while the kids are asleep or parked in front of a show or destroying the house or whatever.  The other night, Josh had a spray bottle full of water that he sprayed Alice with every time she tried to interrupt our game.  Before you call DCFS, let me tell you that she LOVED it.  She thought it was a hilarious game just for her, and really, how else are you supposed teach your children good game play habits?

So that’s that.  $1000 spent and a new card addiction gained.  What would you do with an extra “I had to go through hell for this” $1000?

Also, an updated hair pic for those of you on the edges of your seats.  jk.  But there have been requests…

Hair 5mos

Interrupting your regularly scheduled program to let you know that I have become Carrie Bradshaw.

You guys, this last year has been crazy.  Crazy good, crazy bad, crazy in between.  But I have something to tell you of the what-my-dreams-are-made-of variety.  I’m pretty sure that I am now Carrie Bradshaw — without all the shoes, hair, and boobs…and with a better face.  Duh.  I have even sorted my friends into Samanthas, Mirandas, and Charlottes.  (Are you now wondering which of my friends are slutty enough to be a Samantha?  I told her that it meant she was my “fun” friend, and she was definitely the first friend I sexted my butt to 😉 )  And Josh is Mr. Big, with much less commitment phobia, obvs.

You don’t know what any of that means?  Fair enough, Sex and the City haters.  (You really should give the show a watch, but skip the movies, k?)  What I’m saying is that I’ve got my VERY OWN NEWSPAPER COLUMN…in The Telegraph!!  Surprised?  Umm, me too!

Let me be the first to say that it is on a trial basis…and I’m not getting paid, but when the editor said that it could be good for my writing career, I thought, “My writing career?  I didn’t know I HAD a writing career!”  So yeah, I’m pretty pumped.

My first column should be in tomorrow’s paper, and as a little teaser I’ll just tell you that I mention which boob was always my favorite and why.  As I was writing it, I wasn’t even sure that I could say “boob” in the paper, but apparently, it’s cool.  Otherwise, I’d be screwed.  Since it’s my first, it’s just an overview of what I’ve been through and who I am, but you should still tune in. [Update: Here’s the link to the column!]

Also, Heathline is featuring me on their site tomorrow for winning the blog contest (Thank you, guys!!).  [Update: Here’s that link too!] The writer who interviewed me was delightful and just so much fun so I think it’ll be good.  He did ask, as everyone has lately, what I plan to do with my $1000, and the answer is that I don’t know yet.  First of all, I don’t have the money yet, but secondly, I’ve really just been having so much fun thinking of all the things I could do with it and discussing ridiculous ideas with my friends.  I mean, in truth, I’ll probably just pay some medical bills with it and sneak in a night away with Josh, if I’m lucky (and I never have any trouble getting lucky *wink wink*).  But what about if I:

  • let it all ride on black?  (That wouldn’t make anybody super mad, right?)
  • took all of my favorite girlfriends on a girls’ night out to see Taylor Swift (haters gonna hate!) in September?
  • got a new, fancy, blingy watch?
  • bought 2000 Jack-in-the-Box tacos and had the biggest (and greasiest) thank you party ever?
  • bought bigger boobs (prosthetics) so I finally had my “going out” pair?
  • [insert your ridiculous ideas here]?

I feel like I earned this money differently than I earn my work (ie. nursing career) money, and I feel like, since I had to get cancer to earn it, that it is okay if I spend it on a little more fun.  Really, it’s just so fun to have possibilities.  Like, the girls at work are taking a trip to Vegas in a week, and since I won this money, I was like, “Yeah, I could go too!  That would be so fun!” knowing that I wasn’t going to go.  But it’s so fun to think that I could if I really wanted to.

So yeah, things are good for me right now, and I really have you guys to thank.  Isn’t it crazy how your life can be torn completely apart and then rebuilt in a better way than you could have imagined?

 

Cancer is kind of like getting to sit in at your own funeral.

This week has been nuts.  Totally bananas.  But, like, banana split bananas; not the mushy kind that your mom put in your sack lunch.  Between my budoir session (oh yes, that happened — without boobs — and I WILL tell you all about it next time!) and this blog contest (Umm…hi, you guys ROCKED IT!!!!  Thankyousomuch!), I have almost had more love thrown at me than my little heart can handle.  It’s not just this week though; it’s this whole experience.  I’ve been trying to sort through it and to think of a way to explain my feelings to you all, and I think I’ve come to it.

Cancer has given me a little preview of my funeral, and it has been the best.  Just THE best.

No, I am not telling you that I am dying or anything crazy.  The cancer is not back.  What I am saying is that you all opened up to me in a way that you maybe wouldn’t have if death hadn’t tried to knock at my door.

When my mom died, so many people sent cards and letters telling us how much they loved her.  These notes told wonderful stories of her and often mentioned specific ways that she touched their lives.  Her wake was packed, and so many kind words were spoken in choked voices.  Still, today, people stop to tell me what a good friend she was or what am impact she had on them.

Sometimes I think, “Wouldn’t it be amazing if she could hear all of this for herself?”

Well, I feel like I have.  That is one of cancer’s gifts.  (They are few and far between.)  So many of you have sent cards, letters, or facebook messages FULL of love.  I have been reminded of some really great memories and reconnected with some really great friends.  We all love each other (for the most part, I really do believe), but it’s not often that we express it.  My cancer gave you guys a free pass to tell me how you felt, and it has been amazing.  Not only did it REALLY lift me up during the hardest year of my life, but it has given me a new view of the world and how we love.

But even more amazing than your words of encouragement and love have been your ACTS of love.  Countless meals.  Anonymous care packages in the mail.  A mowed lawn.  A pink bracelet on your wrist.  A hand-made prayer blanket.  A friend brushing my hair (oh, my hair!) when my arms couldn’t reach after surgery.  My cousins cleaning my house, folding my laundry, making cancer jokes with me.  My brother texting me almost every night from work to check on me.  Our librarian helping me find books to explain this all to Penny.  Doug Bristow shaving his beard into a cattail AND competing in an Ironman Race IN A DRESS in the name of raising money to pay my bills.

PicMonkey Collage DOug

ALL the donations.  The ice bucket challenges in my honor.  A friend spending the evening with me when I couldn’t do much more than lay on the couch.

Just so much more.

And on the other side of this funeral business, cancer also gave me a taste of the end of my life, and I found myself screaming back, “Oh, hell no!  I’m not done yet!”  I’ve really barely gotten started.  Previewing your own funeral will make you live. your. life, my friends.  And love the people in it with a wonderful ferocity.

There was a night, about three weeks after my diagnosis, that I really thought I was dying.  I have had my fears and doubts throughout, but on this night, one week after my double mastectomy, I really, really thought that I wouldn’t make it through this.

I had spent the day with my dad, who was taking care of my girls.  As I sat on the couch, my hand found its way to a new lump just under my collarbone.

Wide-eyed, I asked, “Dad, what IS THIS?”

The look in my dad’s eyes after assessing the “new lump” for himself is not a look you ever want to see in your parent’s eyes.  That look scared me more than the lump itself.

I was dead.  I knew it.  So that night I laid in bed with Penny, staring at her sweet little sleeping face, and had one of the worst nights of my life.  Sorrow.  So much sorrow.  And loneliness.

The thing is — now that I’m on the other side (hopefully forever) — I’m glad that I had that night.  It was a night that stripped me bare.  That night taught me a deeper love.  That night taught me serious compassion.  That night forever changed me for the better.  I don’t want to have another night like it, for sure, but I wouldn’t take it back.  (And the lump actually turned out to be the end of a drain that I hadn’t noticed before.  Doh!)

Tonight, I am having a very different kind of night.  Almost, the exact opposite kind of night.  I can’t sleep tonight because I feel so alive.  I found myself this year, AND I feel so loved and supported.  The way you guys rallied around me and this blog has blown me away, and I can’t thank you enough.  I just can’t.

Wouldn’t it be really awesome if we could say all the things we want to say and support each other in the best of ways, like you guys have done for me, without the all sickness and dying?  Because I feel like this little sneak peak of my funeral (you know, from YEARS and YEARS down the road) has been just great.

 

Rock the Vote, Cancer Style.

One of my new mottos is “Why the eff not me?”  I think my life shall forevermore be divided by cancer: pre-cancer and post-cancer.  Pre-cancer, I let myself believe that extraordinary things happen to other people; I am but a simple girl.  Post-cancer, the playing field somehow seems more even, and I feel like a Christmas tree that has just been lit up.  (My branches may be a little sparse and my star is slightly crooked, but I am shining.)

I’m not just telling you this to toot my own horn (because that would suck — and I really feel pretty awkward about that part).  I am telling you this because I am thinking bigger than I ever have, and even though I have asked for your help before, and it didn’t pan out, I need your help again.  I saw how you guys blew Hanson up for me.  Could you blow this up for me too?

You can either search for "Invasive Duct Tales" or find me in the top ten.
You can either search for “Invasive Duct Tales” or find me in the top ten.

It may seem silly to you and not that big for that matter — competing with IBS and menopause blogs — but two things.  It would make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside because who doesn’t love to win things?  And there’s a $1000 cash prize, and who doesn’t love a little extra money?

As it stands, the leader is only 405 votes ahead of me.  I know that I can close that gap and keep a steady hold.  Voting is EVERY DAY until January 15th.  I know that’s a lot to ask, and I feel like that needy friend that keeps coming to the party empty handed, but if you could so kindly add it to your daily routine, I would be so grateful.

You know — wake up, make some coffee, feed the goldfish, vote for Heather’s blog, brush your teeth, twerk to the shower, blow dry your hair…  It’s that easy.  But, like, *everyday*.  You can set an alarm.  Or I can text you a #selfie everyday to remind you.  But I have no selfie game.  You probably don’t want that.  My 12 year old cousin recently informed me that there are definite selfie rules.  Things like how pretty you are determines how much of your face can be in the picture.  And she said something about your eyebrows being “on point.”  I don’t think mine are “on point” right now.  I might need help with that too.

As an incentive to you, my dear readers (uhh, friends and family), I will even let you decide how I spend that grand if I win it.

  1. A romantic getaway, just Josh and me.
  2. Putting a slight dent in my mountain of medical bills.  (Cancer is expensive, yo.)
  3. Babysitters and possibly a cleaning lady so I can have time to write a book.
  4. Ecstasy and glow sticks.

So there you have it.  You can choose between being responsible, wanting to read some more things that I probably shouldn’t say, and voting for Josh and me to get it on.  Also, please don’t vote for the drugs.  You have no idea how many times I’ve had to say no to drugs since I’ve gotten cancer.

I’m going to be pretty annoying about this, you guys, because seriously, why the eff not me?