Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ambriella, Abi and Matt Mazalouskas

A co-worker of mine Abi, and her husband Matt have a precious 2 year old daughter named Ambriella. Ambriella was born with liver failure, and last week had her 3rd liver transplant in a period of one month at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. The first two transplants her body rejected after a few days.
Abi and Matt have been amazingly strong. I cannot imagine watching your precious little child go through all of this. I went by and saw Abi tonight and she said Ambriella had been having a rough day, but had been able to sip a little apple juice and ate a bit of baby food. This family needs everyone's prayers.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Chocolate granola has to be half good for you right?

I was telling Catherine about this great bakery (www.easternbakery.com) that I love to visit when we are in Chinatown/San Francisco. They specialize in mooncakes, but my favorite is their chocolate dipped granola. It's delicious! Well...she recently went to a conference in S.F. and guess what she brought me? chocolate dipped granola!

Isn't it wonderful to have fabulous friends? Thanks again- Love you Cat!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour - Lights out!

I celebrated Earth Hour by having a candlelight dinner with Bryan, and then I did some chores in the dark - folded laundry, put sheets on the bed and put away clothes. It was a peaceful evening. I did listen to my ipod - I hope that wasn't cheating. Most of our street was dark, it looks like it was a success. Hmm...maybe we should do this every week.

Odd weather Saturday

The day started off sunny and nice. Jen and I went to the Farmer's market downtown and got some delicious fruits and vegetables. Then we went by to check out our new Urban Outfitters in the Gulch. It is going to be nice to have one in Nashville. We are both on a budget right now, so we only window shopped today, but it was still fun to go out and look. Then we met Lisa for coffee and lunch at Bongo Java. By late afternoon, we were having bad storms and tornado warnings. The sirens were going off all over Nashville and Franklin. Thankfully there were no touch downs that I heard of. The storm is pretty much over, but brought a cold front in with it. Brr...

Kind stranger

I got a note in the mail from Wal-Mart today. It said someone had turned in my wallet and I could come pick it up. I must have dropped it when I went to put it back in my purse on Tuesday night. I am thankful for whoever found it and turned it in. Everything inside was intact. 

Thank you kind stranger! 

Thursday, March 26, 2009

9 month check up with my surgeon - Cancer Free!

I had my 9 month check up at Dr. Whitworth's office today. Everything is clear - I remain cancer free!

Some of you have heard me whining the last day or so because I lost my wallet. I used it Tuesday night around 8, came home and noticed it missing at lunchtime on Wednesday. I've searched and re-traced my steps. None of my cards have been used, which leads me to believe that it is somewhere here at home. I can't even get too upset over this...cancer free upstages lost wallet ANY day! I'm going to reorder my license and get on with my life.

Make it a fabulous weekend,

Monday, March 23, 2009

Quote of the day

When Jenni was in her early teens she used to collect quotes. She had two walls in her room that were a collage of her favorite things and they had quotes all over them. Here is one sentiment I remember admiring, even though it did scare me a little at the time. It doesn't scare me anymore. I hope she continues to feel this way, and I hope I can remember to follow this advice as well.

"The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me. "
- Ayn Rand

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Beautiful weekend

It was a beautiful spring weekend in Nashville. Light jacket weather morning and evening, and short sleeves mid day. Friday night we celebrated Nikki, Megan and Tara's birthdays at the Red Pony Restaurant in downtown Franklin. The food was great, a bit pricey, but I highly recommend it for special occasions.

Saturday I bought some climbing vines that I hope will thrive and climb up my pergola this summer. I got those planted and disposed off all the dead plants in my outdoor pots. Last spring when I had my surgery my friends decorated my deck with palms and beautiful plants that thrived until winter set in. I can't wait to replant and make it as spectacular as they had it again. It was a very calming oasis for me last spring and summer while I was healing and taking chemo. I thank GOD every day for my fabulous family and friends!

Sunday we had family lunch with the whole clan. Anna, Morgan and Emri had a great time playing on the deck with their Disney fairies. Then Sunday evening Jenni and I had dinner at Carrabbas with our friends Macie and Katherine. 

We love Carrabbas in Green Hills- Eric Martino (Katherine's husband) is the proprietor. Also, Josh is working there several evenings a week, so you may run into him as well. He is a pretty fanta-bulous waiter, as you would imagine. If you go by there make sure you say hello to Eric and Josh!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Doctor visit today

I met with Dr. Melvin Law today. He is a Orthopedic surgeon and his specialty is spinal injury/disease. He looked over my MRI results and the cyst that is on my T-spine (T-5) and agrees it looks like a cyst that has been there all my life. He does not feel it is cancerous. I probably would have never known it was there, if I hadn’t had all these other crazy test this past year.

He went on to give me a lesson in embryology and said probably when cells were dividing and I was forming that some of my tracheal or esophageal cells attached themselves to my spine and caused this cyst to form. He had a name for the types of cells they are- I guess they can tell that from the MRI. He said I don’t have the typical scoliosis and that this cyst could have caused my curve in my spinal column as I grew.

So…basically it’s just a birth defect, and I shouldn’t worry. When I told Jenni what Dr. Law said her response was “Oh mom, that probably means you ate your twin”. Kids, they can be sooo supportive.

I will have a follow up MRI in one year, and they can see if it has grown any. If it has and it causes back pain or any other symptoms then they can remove it. He said often they don’t grow and that this clump of cells would be no more likely to form any type of cancer than any other cells.

My bones did look a little thin to him on the x-rays. This could be caused from the chemo. They drew a vitamin D level and I am to take Vitamin D and Calcium daily and exercise of course.

Monday, March 9, 2009

New Favorite Read...

While wandering the book section I ran across the books "Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips" and "Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor". I wish I had found these 6 months ago - I already love them!

Kris Carr (the author) has just the attitude I respect and love and I am really enjoying her books. Here's an excerpt from Kris' blog explaining the title:

"The title was meant to kick cancer in it’s place, NOT to glorify it. Tragically, cancer is sometimes a part of life and too many people give it more power than the nasty thing deserves. Cancer is a BIG part of my life, it is a chronic disease that I may have to live with forever. Cancer ISN’T sexy, the soulful women who have it ARE. We are warriors, angels, vibrant hot tomatoes and cancer can not take that away from us. Cancer cowgirls are empowered, whole, thrivers with or without the disease. I refuse to let cancer break my spirit, victimize me, or make me feel like a sick person - so I CHOOSE to believe that I am more alive, beautiful and yes, sexier (AKA empowered, passionate and intriguing) than ever before! Why not?
A little back story for you, Crazy Sexy Cancer was originally the subject heading for the mass email updates I would write to my friends and family. I wanted them to know that just because something really scary and dark had changed my life, I hadn’t changed. I still had my sense of humor, I was still willing to poke fun at things (especially stigmas), to challenge perceptions and flip the script. I wasn’t going to amputate parts of myself to fit into the new (and tiny) cancer box.
I don’t look at my journey as if it is a battle (partly because I hope I don’t lose) so instead I call it my cancer adventure story. It is a documentary film about how I coped with cancer. Since there is no cure and no treatment for my disease I live with it everyday. By calling it crazy sexy cancer I demystify it and redefine it for myself. It makes me feel a little lighter and a lot stronger- NOT shackled and shelved like damaged goods.
Cancer is still something people whisper about and feel shamed by. I understand feeling angry and powerless in the wake of this disease all too well. But aren’t we all so tired of swallowing the pain, suffering and words we dare not say? Who doesn’t feel like roaring? Crazy SEXY cancer makes me feel liberated. I hope it does for you too. Sexy doesn’t come from a black dress, perfect size 6, great boobs etc. Sexy women are confident and powerful gals who speak their truth. Sexy isn’t sinful and nasty, it’s electric and loving."


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Family visit

We had a great weekend, tiring but great. One of these days all my energy will return and I'll be able to keep up with everyone.

Dad and Sherry came up for the weekend. Jenni and I went to Puckett's for dinner/music on Saturday night with Dad, Sherry, Lisa and Chadd. (Bryan was at a CD release party) It started snowing before we left the restaurant. We only got a dusting of snow at our house, but Linda got 4 inches in Murfreesboro and Henderson got 6 inches. It was bitter cold.

Sunday we had a big family dinner and celebrated Franklin's 13th birthday. It's hard to believe Linda has a teenager now. Joyce, Liz, Rosie, Isabel and Bob Landon all joined us for lunch. It was great to have everyone together.

One more consult

On March 10th I have yet another consult scheduled. Dr. Whitworth called and said he feels like I need to get another opinion of the cyst/enlarged vein or whatever it is on my T-spine. This is nothing new, it's the same area they saw before my original surgery. I had it re-scanned in January and they didn't feel like it was any different.
I talked to Dr. Peacock about this as well and she had a Neurosurgeon look over the MRI results. All the doctors seem to be in agreement that this area does NOT look cancerous, but they all do agree that I should follow up and see what it might be. So I will be a good patient and go in and get another opinion. I will be seeing Dr. Melvin Law. I am sure he is a great doctor and all, but I am SO ready to be through with doctors!

Facebook and 25 things about me

I joined the world of Facebook several months back. I still don't understand all it's features, but it is great to be able to connect with friends from all over the country. Many I haven't talked to in years.
Recently there were request going around to write 25 random facts about yourself. 
Here's what I came up with:
  1. I was recently invited to a Botox party at someones house - I did not go.
  2. I think the Beatles were right "All you need is LOVE"
  3. Levis, Nikes, Concert t-shirts, Van Halen and Hot Fudge Cakes bring back great high school memories.
  4. I do not trust white chocolate.
  5. My kids are the best things I ever created. I am honored to be their mom.
  6. I once threw a flaming toaster out the front door and almost hit the mailman.
  7. I love to travel, explore new cities and bargain shop. I am not afraid of back rooms in Chinatown. I think I am too old to be sold into white slavery.
  8. I love parties - cook-outs, dinner parties, birthday parties, Christmas parties, New Years parties - just name the occasion and I'll host a get together.
  9. I have 3 grandgirls: Anna Belle, Morgan and Emri - they call me La La.
  10. I enjoy doing laundry - I love the smell of clean clothes.
  11. I love soundtracks, someday I hope to compile my own soundtrack.
  12. It was illegal to dance in the city limits of the town I grew up in. My junior year a prom request was made to the city council, and it was denied. Can you say Footloose?
  13. I love Rocky movies. This article was written by a guy I went to high school with - http://espn.go.com/page2/s/webb/011207.html
  14. I love to cook Italian food, but I'm intimidated to cook it for my Italian friends. My friend Ludo says, as long as it is made with love it will always taste great.
  15. I saw "Raiders of the Lost Ark" six times at the Cabana Theater in Jackson - three times we rented the Grand Cabana. 
  16. I enjoy making eclectic gifts for my friends and family.
  17. I don't want to know if they are lip-synching, playing to a track, etc...just let me believe it sounds THAT good.
  18. I tried my best to make childhood magical for my children - Easter Bunny, Santa, Tooth Fairy. Jenni loved it, Josh saw it as deception.
  19. In 1961 my Mom designed and made her own wedding dress, it had a 21 inch waist. She had the perfect hourglass figure. I wore it in 1983, and we had to let the waist out a couple of inches to get me in it. I weighed 100 lbs at the time.
  20. I've always been attracted to dark haired guitar players - I've been married to my favorite one for over 25 years now.
  21. My first concert was ZZ Top "Cheap Sunglasses" Tour in Memphis.
  22. I have a better understanding/relationship with God than I had when I was younger. I realize now, none of us can be good enough to earn our way to heaven, if we could do that there would have been no reason for the cross. We just have to do our best every day - God knows our hearts and loves us.
  23. I had Josh when I was 18 years old and Jenni when I was 23. Basically they grew up with us. Sometimes I worry if they got cheated out of a normal childhood.
  24. When I meditate...my mind goes to the beach in Carmel. I can picture the exact spot to sit and watch the sunset and feel the sand and breeze.
  25. In 2008, with the help of my family and friends I battled breast cancer and WON!

I had the best time reading the 25 things all my friends came up with, so if you are on Facebook - add me as a friend so I can read yours too.