Category: Hanson

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

Taylor Hanson read my blog — The Update.

You guys, Taylor Hanson read my blog.

Maybe to you that sounds like, “OMG, Dustin Diamond read my blog!” or “Ahh, Tanya Harding read my blog!”  But no… you guys, TAYLOR HANSON read my blog!  If this were 1997, I might have died with the news.

A lot of you keep asking me if I’ve heard anything from Hanson after professing my undying love and making public my Make-A-Wish plea to them.  The answer was no until a couple of weeks ago.  Now, the answer is kind of.

At my “I Beat Cancer” party, my friend, Jeff, pulled me aside to tell me that there had been word from THan.  (When you’ve been “friends” as long as we have, you can use cute little nicknames like that. I like to imagine that he refers to me as “HLags” or “The real love of my life” or “Crazy Stalker Fan.”)  Jeff has been a solid bystander in this whole Hanson/Heather love affair, knows it’s actually serious business, and made this happen for me.

The short story is that Jeff happened to see a picture of his cousin and Taylor Hanson just hanging out and immediately went to work for me.  His cousin forwarded my blog post to the man himself, and HE ACTUALLY READ IT.

The first time I heard this news was at my party so I was super impressionable and emotional.  Jeff showed me a text from Taylor Hanson to his cousin ABOUT ME, and maybe I was a little cartoonish — jaw on the floor, hand on the heart –and maybe I said “Oh, my God!” roughly seventeen times.

The next day, I couldn’t remember anything about the exchange except for my own reaction and that Taylor Hanson had read my words.  So I saw Jeff again, who re-debriefed me, and I got mad.  Like, super mad.  Let me first show you the text from Taylor.  (I hope you don’t mind THan.)

“Ok.  That’s a really big deal.  She seems really sweet and that kind of relationship with fans is what’s made it possible for us to be here.  I wish I could grant that wish.  Let me think on it though.  Thanks for sharing.”

The text was from weeks earlier, and I suddenly felt like I had been stood up.  I spent a lot of time getting ready for this date — like seventeen years — and you pull a no-call, no-show.  I was pissed.  Now, I FULLY realize that Hanson owes me nothing, but at the time, I didn’t feel that way.  I felt like my friends weren’t really my friends, after all.

Oh, I was a little bit livid…and a lottabit dramatic.  I was mad at them in the special way you reserve for family and very close friends.  A special cocktail of love and anger.  (It’s been a hard year, yo.)  If anyone else tried to take a jab, umm, no.  It’s a fury that you know will dissipate back into nothing but love in a couple of days.  And it did.

I am currently cool with it.  I mean, I wish that THan could have granted that wish too (and, yes, I am super sweet, thankyouverymuch), but I get it.  You can’t just go throwing free all-inclusive island trips at everyone who asks, but it did get me wondering, especially in my case, why not.

 

Top 10 Reasons Why THan Can’t Grant My Wish

 

10.  Because it’s not 1997 anymore.

9.  He thinks cancer is contagious.

8.  There’s a hair length requirement to attend Hanson shows and mine just isn’t long enough right now.

7.  He’s afraid he’ll fall in love with me.  Duh.

6.  He was home schooled so he obviously can’t read.

5.  He’s busy washing his hair.

4.  He’s not sure where I fall on the well-adjusted female/serial killer scale.

3.  Isaac and Zac (the other two-thirds of Hanson) vetoed it.  They are so sick of always being overshadowed by Taylor and his fans!

2.  Even Taylor thought I was joking.  “She has cancer.  Wouldn’t she rather go to Disneyland?”

1.  He’s a boob man.

Also, if you have any ideas of why Hanson hasn’t granted my wish (I mean, we still have time.), feel free to add them to the list.  Smiling is my favorite.

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?

A Rad New Plan.

Good news, you guys, I am officially done with chemo, and about half of my eyebrows and most of my eyelashes made it! My brain, however, was not so lucky. Chemobrain is real, and it just feels foggy up in here. Like the set of an 80s video — without all the hair and boobs because duh. I have been affectionately referring to myself as a chemotard (Oh, please don’t try to go all PC on me. I am just poking fun at myself, y’all.), and I am having a hard time focusing, remembering things, and sometimes, retrieving words. I was already terrible at trivia, but if you invite me to your trivia night now, I will blame it ALL on the chemo. I will make up for my lack of brainpower with extra delicious snacks though because I’m not afraid to be that girl. And my love for baked goods and cheese-based dips remains unaffected.

In other good news, I finally saw a radiation oncologist last week, and he nixed the radiation plans! I was a little like, “Dude…I mean, good doctor, are you sure? Like for sure, for sure?” He then drew pictures for me, threw a lot of statistics at me, and repeated certain things over and over so I could let them sink in. The short story is that, in my case, radiation would only lower the odds of a local recurrence by maybe a couple percent, and, in his opinion, the benefits don’t outweigh the risks.

Since my oncologist was all, “We’re going to throw everything we have at you,” I really didn’t think it was an option for this new doctor to come back and say, “Nah, you’re good,” but his nurse practitioner put it like this. “If you want a good cake recipe, you can go to your hairdresser and ask for one. You might get a good recipe or you might not. But if you go to a baker, you know you’re going to get a good one.” Obviously, the hairdresser is my oncologist, and the baker is the radiation oncologist.

So anyway, they told me I was free to go and to get dressed and left the room. Josh and I sat there in complete shock, and, yeah, I started crying. What they had just told me was that I was done. I was DONE. DONE. DONE. DONE.

I’m not gonna lie. This last six months has been a little slice of hell. It has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through. (And, trust me, I do realize how much worse it could be or could have been.) I have learned and lost a lot, but I really think that’s all for a different post. My point is that cancer and its treatments are pretty all consuming, and to be abruptly told that you are done is dizzying. That’s part of the reason I’ve kept this news closer to home for over a week. I feel like I’ve spent an entire night at the carnival riding the Tilt-A-Whirl, and I’ve just stepped off. I can’t see straight. I can’t walk straight. I’m nauseated. I’m tired. And I don’t know which way is home.

I don’t even know how to get back to living my life. Things like going back to work feel so absurd. I’m just so dizzy. And the truth is that I’m not really entirely done with treatment. Every three weeks until June, I still have to get Herceptin (a non-chemo drug) infusions and blood draws. I will be getting an echocardiogram every three months with that, and at my next appointment, my doctor and I will discuss which drug I will take for the next five or ten years to block to effects of estrogen on my body and possible ovary removal.

But that night, after I found out that I wouldn’t have to go through radiation, I woke up at 3 AM and couldn’t back to sleep. I laid there next to Penny (How do you keep your kids out of your bed? Ugh.) and did something that I’ve been doing a lot of lately — thought about my life and how I want to use it. After about an hour of that, I decided to check facebook, and just when I thought I was done with cancer, the harshness of it slapped me in the face. Do you remember Sam? The little boy I bonded with (maybe it was one-sided. Ha.) over ports and cancer. Well, Sam, the six-year-old son of former coworkers who just completed his treatments for liver cancer, was back in the hospital already. His cancer had returned. And my heart broke.

Look how super, dang cute this guy is.
Look how super, dang cute this guy is.

Although cancer hasn’t given me all the answers, it has given me the right questions, and when I ask myself how I want to spend my time, helping people is in the top five (along with loving on my family, laughing with friends, stalking Taylor Hanson, and eating cheese while playing board games). Just kidding. Kind of. But helping people, yes.

I never knew how much help I could need. It took a village, or, like, a clown car full of awesome people to get me through this. It really did. And I also never knew just how financially devastating one diagnosis and six months could be. But it was. We, truly, wouldn’t have been able to pay our bills if it wasn’t for the kindness of you guys. Sam and his family have just gone through what I went through — chemo and surgery — and have already turned back around to do it again.  In the spirit of helping people, because when you realize what’s important in life, it’s really only people, I’m just going to throw this out there.  It’s a link to Sam’s donation page if you feel so inclined.  And I hope you do.  Sam was diagnosed just weeks before me, and I remember donating the first time thinking, “We don’t really have the money, but if this were ever my family, I would need the support too.”  True story.  And then it was.  Yikes.

http://www.gofundme.com/7vildk

Also, I’m pretty mad at Hanson right now.  I told them I’d either take the trip or a wig made out of their hair.  I don’t know why they never got back with me…

For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Just before my first chemo treatment, I spotted “the bell” on a wall in the waiting area.  No one rang it that day, but it gave me hope.  That stupid little bell gave me a goal.  It gave me focus.  It even gave me an outlet.

20140929_123742

After that first meeting and making it through my first chemo, I started to form a strange relationship with the bell.  I would sometimes stare at it across the crowded waiting room like we were in the school cafeteria and I had been practicing writing “Mrs. Heather Bell” in my Lisa Frank notepad.  I would picture myself ringing it.  (How many times would I ring it?  How hard?  Would I cry?  Who would be there?  Should I look directly at it?  Away?  Should I buy it dinner first?)  I would watch other people ring it and, almost every time, be moved to tears.  Eventually, I started to trash talk the bell.  And, like, straight up threaten it.  I’m pretty sure I told it that I was responsible for cracking the Liberty Bell and it better watch out.  I told it that I was lifting weights (pshh, yeah right).  I may have even thrown a few yo mama jokes its way.  I definitely did that “intimidating” move where you jerk your head forward with crazy eyes.  IDK.  I’m not very good at intimidation…or trash talk.

Well, last Monday, I FINALLY got to ring that damn bell after my sixth and final chemo!  I have to say that I started the day pretty down.  Josh and I made our way to the hospital, and I knew that I should be excited…but I was in a funk.  I mean, part of it could be that, whether it was my first or last, I was still on my way to chemo and a couple more weeks of feeling not so hot, but I also think it’s pretty scary to come to the end of this.  I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I just wasn’t in a good mood.  And I *almost* made it through the day without crying.

I actually felt a little sorry for the resident.  We had been discussing things just fine, and he mentioned that my daughters would need to start “vigilant screenings at 25, including breast MRIs,” and I just started crying without warning.  He immediately looked like a confused fifteen year old boy, handed me an empty box of tissues, and did a lot of stammering.  He obviously doesn’t have children, and I obviously overreacted.  I apologized profusely, and he did not mention my daughters again.

But, 25?  At 25, I was standing in the same church that both of our parents had been married in and saying “I do” to my husband.  At 25, I was figuring out that I wanted to go to nursing school.  I was living off of diet coke, cereal, and love.  I was poor and so very carefree.  At 25, Josh and I read books to each other every night and went on walks whenever the mood struck.  We drove around, endlessly, looking at houses for fun and listening to music with the windows down.  At 25, I was not worrying about breast cancer.  (Should I have been??)  At 25, I was not facing my mortality, and I was not inside of an MRI machine fretting.  I’m not saying that maybe I shouldn’t have been.  I’m just saying that it’s not the 25 I wanted for my daughters, and it just makes me sad.

Afterwards, chemo went as well as chemo goes.  I watched some HGTV, sent random texts, wondered why everyone at chemo had hair, and did not inform my nurse that she was supposed to ice my nails when she forgot.

20140929_190239

My brother, Paul, and his wife showed up at around 8 o’clock to watch me finish and ring the bell.   By that time, I was in a better mood and wondering why there were no late night chemo party rooms.  I am always there late, and overall, I am very disappointed at the chemo round table.  The movies taught me that I would make my new best friend at chemo.  We would laugh and cry with each other when our hair fell out.  We would trade foobs (fake boobs) and fingernail polish.  We would go to puke into the same trash can, bump heads, look up, and laugh while finger pointing instead.  Obviously, one of us would die, and it wouldn’t be me.  But that’s just how it goes.  jk. jk.  For real.  And also, does it make you uncomfortable when I say “die?”  I’ve noticed that.  I can’t just say, “These shoes are KILLING me!” or “I’m DYING to go to the pumpkin patch next week” anymore.  But I still do.  Because you guys get a little uncomfortable.  And it makes me laugh a little on the inside.

Seriously, though, there are six to a chemo room, and they should group them by some demographic.  Like the old guys who just want to sleep but bring along their super talkative old lady wives.  Group ’em up.  Single and ready to mingle.  Put ’em together.  A knitting club, movie buffs, people who are always coId, retired truck drivers, cat people, people who love Hanson, Harry Potter, cheese, and laughing at cancer.  Oh, or BINGO room!  I would totally hang out in the bingo chemo room and set out my troll dolls and pictures of my kids and cats.  I really think these are solid ideas, you guys.

But anyway, I did manage to make it out to the bell and finally get a piece of that action.  I’m not sure what I expected, but more than anything, I was just excited.  Since it was so late, there wasn’t a crowd in the waiting room to clap for me.  It was just Josh, Paul, Rachael, and me, but I think it was better that way.  I got to ring it as much as I wanted.  There may have even been some attempts to judo kick it.

PicMonkey Collage

A week later, I have to say, there should be another bell for when you’re REALLY done with chemo.  Cuz it sho don’t feel like I’m done yet.  Soon enough, I know.

I’ve also got some other things on my mind that I need to fill you guys in on, and I’m sorting through a lot of emotions and, really, this whole year.  I will update very soon, but for now, I’ll just leave you with this video.  It dually represents how awkward I feel while being filmed and how happy I was to ring that thing.

My Great Escape.

Okay, you guys, chemo #3 was last Monday and its nasties are well underway.  Plus, I fasted for three days.  You did not want to be my husband for any of those days.  I may or may not have tried to get everyone around me to describe every meal they were eating.  But I will get to all of that super fun stuff next time.

Right now, I am on a mission. I’ve been going back and forth about this, but I really only plan on having cancer this once.  (Let’s just pretend it was in the plans.  In which case, do not come to me for any life coaching.  Uh, duh.)  You see, I try to keep positive, but truthfully, I could really use something to look forward to.  So I’m MAKING A WISH!  For real, you guys.  And I need your help.  First, I’ll lay it on you.

Hansonbanner

Boom!  Many of you are not surprised, I know.  Those of you near and dear to me know of my undying love for Hanson and the immeasurable joy they have brought to my life over the last 17! years.  (Wow, our relationship can almost vote, or get a tattoo, or, like, pawn stuff at a pawn shop while buying a lottery ticket and opening a call for jury duty.)  For you others, I will try to explain – something I’m not actually sure that I can do.

When it comes right down to it, Hanson is home to me.  I know you may only know of “Mmmbop,” but they didn’t stop there and neither did I.  I feel like we have grown up together.  There have been the highest of highs — like the time I saw them play in the middle of the Atlantic ocean under the moon and stars until 3 AM — and some pretty funny lows — like the time I left in the middle of a show because the set list was making me mad and I was so hungry I was “seeing” cheeseburgers.

Also, I'm not a creepy fan at all.  It's totally normal to take your picture with someone who doesn't know it's happening, right?
Also, I’m not a creepy fan at all. It’s totally normal to take your picture with someone who doesn’t know it’s happening, right?

There are songs that immediately make me feel 16 and just so happy (Hello, “Minute Without You!”), and there are those that have helped me through some pretty tough stuff.  Like when I didn’t know how to deal in high school, or when my mom died.  There is a song that my daughter is named after (along with “Penny Lane”), and there are even songs that I don’t like.  There are songs that I’ll never forget hearing for the first time and some that I will always jumble their lyrics.

And the shows.  Around 40 shows in the last seventeen years.  With my mom, with my best friend, friends I don’t see anymore, my husband, my brother…  It’s like stepping into an old friend’s home and picking up where you left off.  And you just know it’s going to give you what you need.  And make you smile (and dance).  And reconnect you to a part of yourself that is only for you.   Maybe it’s the Cardinals for you.  Or hunting.  Or crafting.  Or a certain movie or video game.  Or maybe you understand because you feel the same way about The Cure.  I don’t know.

Hanson Collage

What I do know is that these guys make me straight up happy, and on this journey, having something to look forward to after each chemo session has made such a difference.  Whether it has been a family birthday party, dinner with friends, fireworks at my in-laws’, or a trivia night with my best friends, it’s what I look forward to when I’m not feeling so hot and, honestly, feeling a little left out of the world.  And let’s face it, in the last year, my husband and I have brought another new life into this house (cue the Lion King music) AND are fighting this crazy cancer battle together.  We could use a little refresh (with Taylor Hanson on my other arm, of course).

So here’s what I have been dreaming about.  It’s five days and four nights worth of sun and ocean and Hanson performing at night.  I want it bad, you guys.  Picture me smiling through the rest of my chemo.  Picture me throwing wigs in the air and flashing prosthetic boobs and chest bumping my husband.  I need this.

So I’m not really sure how to make this thing happen so let’s just try to get this thing into the hands of my boys.  Or any of your ideas are welcome!

https://twitter.com/hansonmusic

www.facebook.com/hansonmusic  <—I can’t figure out how to post something to their page though.

Share the crap out of it.  On your page.  On their page.  Everywhere!  It would seriously make my day.  Get your dogsitter’s aunt’s best friend’s mailman to share it.  Get your first grade teacher and your favorite barista to share it.  I think I’ll going to go ask my grandpa to open a twitter account so he can share it.  Let’s just somehow make this happen because, in my book, cancer sucks and Hanson is awesome.