Monday, October 31, 2011


MRI results are brain is ok! I'm so relieved and thankful. I can't even imagine getting any other news but this. Today's a good day. Thank you for your prayers! :)

I will continue taking the anti-nausea meds and migraine pills for as long as needed to keep the headaches under control. Hopefully they will leave as soon as I finish the last big chemo in December.

They seem to be triggered by the Neulasta shot.
That stupid shot causes me more problems than the chemo itself...but it's necessary.

I try to stay positive, but I hate, hate, hate that shot. It's amazingly sucky that a tiny shot in the stomach can cause such intense headaches, exhaustion and bone pain. It's horrible.

Just two more left.
I hope I can handle it.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

She's a smartie.

My daughter is 5. She likes to leave us little notes all over the house.
Most times, they are demanding that we "GO TO BED" or "READ A BOOK."

I found this one today.

This note makes me happier than any other.
I love that she knows, even though we're living in turmoil right now, that her mom loves her dad.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cleaning for a Reason

I have been lucky enough to be matched up with a great organization that is going to help me keep my house maintained while I finish chemo.

The organization is called, Cleaning for a Reason.
They clean houses once per month for four months while cancer patients endure treatments.
What a blessing these fabulous people are!

My angels are Mardi Calhoun and Mike Rathbun from Freedom Cleaning in Ham Lake.

The local news, KSTP, got wind of how great Mardi and Mike are and wanted to run a story on them. Lucky me, I was included as well.

Here's the clip:

I'm still a little shocked that I went on tv bloated from steroids, bald and with a face full of acne.
No one said cancer was pretty. ;)

Thanks, Mike and Mardi. You really are angels. Thank you for donating your time and energy to this great cause. Thank you for helping my family, when we so desperately need it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chemo # 4.... 2/3 done!

I had another good chemo appointment today. My blood counts were great so we were able to stay on treatment schedule.
The doctor examined my chest and lymph nodes again and still found no signs of tumors. Yay!

I have been having a lot of migraines and headaches lately, usually following the Neulasta shot. I will be getting the shot again tomorrow afternoon and am not looking forward to it.

Unfortunately, headaches and nausea can also be signs of brain tumors, so I will be getting a head MRI scan tomorrow morning. It will probably be a few days before the results are in.
I'm sure they're just medicine induced, but if you have any prayers left in you for the day...I would sure appreciate them.
I cannot even imagine another diagnosis right now.

The clinic also will be scheduling my second full body PET scan and Echo heart test for sometime in November before my sixth treatment.
These will check to make sure my heart wasn't affected too much by the chemotherapy and will also show any occurrences of old/new cancer.
Cancer cells show up as 'hot spots'. Fingers crossed that there are no hot spots and I'm one of the lucky ones that responded to the chemo.

Dr. Hartung said if the cancer is gone at the time of the PET scan, that it's an absolute possibility that I could change my action plan and just have a lumpectomy of the prior tumor area instead of a bilateral mastectomy.

I thought about it for about a tenth of a second before telling her that there wasn't a chance in hell of anyone leaving these ticking time bombs attached to my body for any longer than what is absolutely necessary.

There's really not substantial statistics yet that show that I would have a lower risk of a recurrence by having them completely removed, but I'm more comfortable sticking to the original plan.
At some point, if the studies DO show that, I don't want to wish that I had just done it before.

I just want these suckers gone.
Surgery is still scheduled for January 3.

2/3 done....Wow.
I still have a long road ahead, but we can do it!

Thanks again for all of your support. Love you!

Yes, I went to my appointment bald today. The nurses were soooo surprised that I didn't wear a fun wig like usual.
Honestly, the menopause induced hot flashes are keeping me up all night and making wigs almost unbearable most of the time. I'm hoping this is all short lived.

Check out this great bracelet I got from my friend, Lindsi.
I looked at it a lot today. Here's my favorite part.

Along with the tons of facebook messages, emails and texts today while I was at my appointment, I also received this awesome pic.
My friend, Amy, carved this at the Zoo Boo today.

It means so much to me that all of you care so much to take time out of your busy days to fit in some time for me.
You are all amazing people.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bondi Band Giveaway!

I am always on the hunt for new wraps for my head. I won a Bondi Band through a giveaway at and am in LOVE with how well it fits and how adorable it is.

The fabulous people at Bondi Band sent one for me to review and one to giveaway.

Here's a pic of me wearing one. You will win one exactly like this.

We'll make this easy. Just leave a comment stating that you would like to win.

Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 and older.
One winner will be selected in a random drawing via on 10/30 at 4 pm CT.
One winner will receive one headband (value: $8).
If you are an 'anonymous' user, make sure you add your contact info so I can reach you if you're the winner.
Winners will be notified by email, so make sure to check next week to find out if you’ve won!

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Karsyn thinks anyone walking outdoors in a group must be doing a cancer walk. I heard the kids comment on one particular group of ladies out for a stroll today.

Karsyn: "Look! They're all out walking. They must all have cancer.
Chase: They don't have cancer. They're just walking. They have hair.
Karsyn: That's not their REAL hair. They're all wearing wigs.

Houston thinks anything with a pink "cancer ribbon" belongs to me. It's fun shopping with him this month where EVERYTHING has a pick ribbon on it. :)

Laughter is the best medicine and thankfully, my family is hilarious!

We're all doing really well. My mom has been gone now for almost a week and we have survived. I wasn't sure how that was going to go, but we have all fallen back into our pre-cancer routines.

We have told her that we are going to try this chemo round without her help, even though she feels like she needs to be here.
She was here close to two months. We were really lucky to have her for that long.

My next chemo is this Wednesday. My Neulasta shot will be on Thursday.
Again, I'm pretty excited.
I love my doctor and her staff is fabulous. I have always requested (and gotten) the only private room they have in the treatment area. There, I can veg out in a bed, visit and watch movies without being in the big treatment room that everyone else is in.
I hope the trend continues and my secret little room is open again for me.
If not, maybe I'll meet some new friends.
I try to think of it as "one more done" rather than "I'm going to feel like crap for the next week." :)

On the hair front, so far, the dark blonde/brownish hair on my head has fallen out. I still have a lot of blonde/white fuzz. The hair has actually grown while I have been getting treatments.
I look like a little old man, especially with my wrinkly forehead. Thank god for hats and wigs.

I still haven't lost the hair on my legs or arms.
I also still have a good amount of eyebrows and my eyelashes have been hanging on. I'm pleasantly surprised that it's not all gone yet.

I wanted to post a pic of a good friend of mine, Holly, who walked the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure for me today.
I love seeing all my girlies out walking their city's breast cancer walks. I'm pretty sure I have the most supportive friends ever.
Love you guys so much!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Rack Pack Foundation

The Christi Anderson Rack Pack Foundation provides “LoveHandles” care bags for anyone currently undergoing therapies for breast cancer. These darling tote bags are full of comfort items, toiletries, jewelry, wristbands, things to do during chemo, uplifting thoughts, snacks and much more.

I was lucky enough to receive one in the mail today. What a fantastic organization!
I received all of the chemo necessities like books, journals, puzzle books, cozy socks, candy, a blanket and so much more.

Coloring pages and a maze puzzle drawn by the organizer's neighbor kids especially put a smile on my face.
My kids are currently taking a nap.
Yes, I bribed them with these awesome new activity pages for when they wake up.

Each one of these special bags for cancer patients are donated. My bag is from a breast cancer survivor named Debra N. and family. Thank you, Debra!

In case you needed a reminder....

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


It's another great brisk fall day!

Karsyn is at her last day of school for the week. The boys and I are going to play "let's pretend it's winter" and wear our pajamas and play with trucks and trains all day.
I'm excited.

I feel really good today. I have had tons of mouth sores this round, but none of the vomiting like last time.

I think my body is starting to get the hang of this chemo business.
I can't believe next week will be chemo #4 already!

Monday, October 17, 2011


Crossing the line Saturday and hearing the cheers change from "Woo Hoo" to "SURVIVOR" was really emotional for me.
It was the first time it really clicked that day.
Oh shit, they're talking to me.
I'm the survivor.
I will ALWAYS be a survivor…until I'm not.
I cried.

Sometimes I just feel like I'm on this strange little ride. Like this is me, but it's not happening to me. I feel like I'm just a spectator watching everything happen.
I can't describe this feeling. It's just so hard to wrap my head around.

And then what? When I survive this round with the devil, what do I do next?
Treatment will be done.
Life will go back to normal…but will it really?
Will I think about it every day like I do now?
Will people always give me 'the look'?

I struggle with the survivor vs. fighter label.
Technically, I'm both.
I'm considered a survivor because cancer hasn't killed me yet.
It's personally hard for me to say that since I haven't been clinically diagnosed as "in remission" though.
I'm in limbo.

My mom has gone back to South Dakota for a couple weeks. I'm feeling well enough now, thankfully. She has been a godsend.

Hope you all have a great week. I am planning to have a fantastic one also! :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Just Walk!

I decided at about 6:30 this morning that I wanted to walk the Making Strides for Breast Cancer 5k at Lake Nokomis. Registration started today at 8. :)
I woke my mom up and she, of course, was totally on board to walk also.
Chemotherapy has added to my insomnia....... and also my impulsiveness.

I have been driving myself nuts with the "what ifs" again. I hate that part of this. The hormonal part of the chemo/menopause is making me a little crazy.

I knew the best thing I could do today to up my spirits would be to surround myself with people who had fought and lived or were currently fighting.
Man, was I right.

Everyone there was so happy. They were encouraging. They were thankful.
There were thousands of people walking for a great cause. It was an awesome feeling.
My spirit felt renewed. My hope rekindled.

It was a great experience and I am so grateful that I was feeling well enough to participate.

Some of the survivors lining up.

These were happy tears, I swear. The finish line and all the people cheering made me a little emotional.

Friday, October 14, 2011

I love me some Pam!

One of my good friends is doing the American Cancer Society 'Making Strides Against Breast Cancer' walk in New Orleans tomorrow.
This is what she will be wearing on the back of her shirt.
How awesome is Pam? Pretty damn awesome.

I wanted to come back and add a pic of Pam at the walk. She's such a doll.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Great jewelry, Great cause!

My incredibly awesome (and pregnant) friend, Mandi, of Rustic Charm
has added a new necklace to sell in her store.

She has graciously offered to donate the proceeds from the sale of each of these necklaces to our fundraising efforts for the Susan G. Komen Race.
Best part? They are only $14 after shipping.

How awesome is that?!? A fabulous necklace at a wonderful price AND you can be a part of finding a cure for this awful disease. No brainer! :)
Start your holiday shopping early!


While you're there, don't forget to show her some love. Please 'like' her facebook page.

Thank you!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chemo Roller Coaster

Today is *hopefully* the last day that I will be feeling craptastic due to my last Chemo and Neulasta treatment.

People have commented many times that they don't know what days will be my "bad days" or when is a "safe time" to call or stop by.
Honestly, your guess is as good as mine. I'm pretty new to this whole cancer thing and just kind of going day by day. You're always welcome here. Please don't be offended if I'm sleeping and not able to visit. I'm not much of a napper, but I'm really trying to take it easy during chemo weeks.

If I'm sleeping, my ringer will be off. You don't have to worry about waking me. When I sleep, I'm exhausted. Nothing bothers me.

Occasionally, my mom will throw a sign on the door directing all visitors to call her first. That usually happens if I'm not up for visitors or if we have an illness in the house. She's pretty awesome and is really in tune with when I'm pushing myself too hard. Her main priority is getting me healthy. I don't blame her. I would want to leave this crazy, chaotic house, too! ;)

We do ask that anyone that has been ill or has sick kids please refrains from visiting. I really can't afford to get sick and have heard that this flu season will be a doozy.

Here is what I have found is par for the course so far.
I usually feel (and look) the best the last few days before I get chemo. By then, the prior poisons are about out of my system. I feel like my old self.

Once I get treatment again, I start to feel 'off' about 4 hours later. The next day, I am exhausted and nauseous. I require naps. That lasts from Friday night through Monday afternoon.

The Monday following treatment, I go in for the Neulasta shot. That's the kicker. It makes me feel like I was hit by a truck and lasts about 4 days. I'm usually not as nauseous during these days, but it causes me to get migraines and I have to up my meds. These days, I'm usually holed up in my living room with the curtains drawn drinking lemon water while my saint mother takes my kids to and from school and walks them around the block a hundred times so they don't make my head explode.

I wrote on my calendar last week that I predicted that I will feel better by this Friday. I'm going to challenge myself to feel pretty darn great by tomorrow instead. Grandma needs to take a much needed day off.

I hope that you are all doing well. XOXO

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Two months

It has now been two months since I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
It's amazing how so much has changed in so little time.

To us, two months has felt like an eternity.
We're closer to the finish line, but we're all tired.
I'm not fighting alone. My co-survivors are fighting this ugly battle daily. Most days, I know it's harder on them than it is on me.

In two short months, we have endured the following:

-Needle Guided Biopsy
-Echo Heart Scan
-full body PET Scan
-Muga Heart Scan
-BRCA Genetic Testing
-Numerous Blood Tests
-Portacath inserted in my chest
-3 rounds of Chemo
-2 bone marrow generating Neulasta injections
-hair loss
-bloating/weight gain
-Appointments with cardiologists, oncologists, oncology surgeons for my future mastectomy, plastic surgeons for future reconstruction
-too many prescriptions to name times

So far, my insurance company has been billed over $122,000 for my treatment.
Thank god I have good coverage.

This little blog of mine, which was intended only for a way to keep family up to date on my appointments, has received over 23,000 page views. Wow!

We are getting the word out, friends. Seeing this number rise makes me happier than you will ever know. It's not about me. It's not about pink ribbons. It's the simple fact that if breast cancer is caught early, it's highly treatable.

Maybe someone that reads this will feel a lump and have it checked. Maybe someone will get that mammogram that they have been putting off. Maybe we can help someone.

In two short months, I have found God in a way I didn't know was possible.
I have had friends come out of the woodwork. I have received support from the most unlikely places.
I have started to slightly understand what my purpose is. I know that I'm meant to do big things with this.

I'm babbling...again. I just want to thank you all again for everything.
Your love, prayers, support, jokes....I will never forget how wonderful you have all been.
I love you.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Half done with chemo!

Today I completed chemo 3 of 6.
I will still have the Herceptin IVS every 3 weeks from December to August, but the side effects should be I'm not counting those.

I had a fabulous time chatting with Jamie, eating Starburst (Thanks, Amanda!) and watching Breakfast at Tiffany's, courtesy of Sam.

The staff seemed to appreciate my fun new pink wig. I love it also.
I seem to care a little less every day of what people think of me, but I still like to make people smile.

I also sing really loudly in the car now. I never did that before.
The old Angela would have held my phone up to my ear while I sang so the people in the car next to me wouldn't realize I was jamming out. I thought I was so sneaky. What's the point?
Sing, if you want to sing.
Are you ever going to see the people driving next to you again?
Who cares?

For some reason, I feel more at peace with myself now, even though I'm battling breast cancer.
I feel pretty secure with my baldness. I am fine going out without wigs and with barely any makeup.

I'm ecstatic that I'm tolerating the chemo so well and that my side effects can be controlled mostly with meds and a positive attitude.

Although I wouldn't say I'm lucky to have gotten cancer at such a young age, I still think cancer picked the wrong bitch. I'm not going down without a fight.
I'm ready to brawl and I WILL win.

I will then have the rest of my LONG life to live the way I SHOULD have been living, but wasn't.
I will slow down, appreciate more and love freely. I will spend less time complaining and more time praying.
I will continue to sing in the car. I may even roll down the windows so everyone can hear. :)

My friend Jamie took some shots from today. I love her...and her camera. She's very talented.

My 'new to me' wig! Jamie's mom is a breast cancer survivor. She bought a wig that lucky for both of us, she didn't have to use. I LOVE IT!


When I was first diagnosed, I kept thinking about all of the things I wanted to do before I died.
I was clearly not in the best place at that time.

A lot of them were vacations I wanted to take, people I needed to forgive and people I wanted to forgive me. Mostly, I was bummed that I had taken so few pictures WITH my family.

I couldn't get past the fact that if I were to die tomorrow, my kids would have so few pictures of me with them.

I take at least 50 pictures of my kids per week, but obviously I'm not in them.

I'm adamant now about Eric including me in pictures.
Memories, unfortunately fade after awhile. I don't want to be forgotten.

I want my fabulous family to know how much they're loved and to see in photos how happy they make me.

I love that this is one thing on my bucket list that I can easily accomplish.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Great Appointment Today!

I met with the surgeon who will be performing my bilateral mastectomy today.
As she examined my breasts and lymph nodes, her remarks were, "This is remarkable. Truly remarkable. Your tissue feels like a normal exam. I am not feeling any inflamed areas or lumps. I think that you may be one of the 10-15% of people who enter surgery with no signs of cancer. This is the best case scenario."

She also thought it was pretty great that I responded this well to chemo after only two chemo treatments to date. I told her, while I appreciate the medicine, I'm pretty sure God had something to do with it. :)

My mastectomy has been scheduled for January 3rd. It will take about one hour to remove them. It's a little sad considering it took so long to grow them.

The plastic surgeon will put tissue expanders in right after. That should take another hour. He will have to cut through muscle to place them in my chest wall. They say it's pretty painful and that the 'mounds' will be hard, too high and too big. I will have to wear drains for about a week following and will have limited movement. I will also spend two nights in the hospital.
I'm mentally prepared for the pain. I have my eye on the prize.....NEW CANCER-FREE BOOBS!
Reconstruction surgery will *probably* be scheduled in May.

The kids and I painted our 'practice pumpkins'. In honor of breast cancer awareness month, a ribbon seemed like the best choice for mine. I am soooo not an artist.

I have my third chemo tomorrow afternoon. One of my besties, Jamie, will be driving from Wisconsin to sit with me at the clinic. I'm so excited to chat with her for 4 whole hours! What a great friend to leave her triplets for the day, drive to Minnesota and spend her day surrounded by cancer patients. It sounds like a depressing day, but really, the people at the clinic are all in pretty good spirits and the staff is fabulous.

The last time we got together for that long, we were on an airplane headed to Georgia.
While we sat on the tarmac at 8 am and waited for the wings to be de-iced, a gentleman (I use that term loosely) turned around, looked at us and said, "Do your husbands drink heavily?"
He obviously didn't like our excited banter. Unfortunately for him, it just made us giggle louder and talk more.
I hope he learned his lesson. If you don't have something nice to say, shut the hell up! :)

Thanks again for everything. You guys have not stopped praying for my family. I love you to death. Seriously.

Sunday, October 2, 2011