April 21, 2021

Clear heels!

Only 4 more treatments to go! Yay! I wore my storage unit wig today and even put on fake eyelashes. It’s weird not having eyelashes and eyebrows anymore. My face feels so bare. But the fake lashes looked awkward without actual lashes too. Oh well. I’ll keep trying.

I’ve started getting neuropathy after last week’s treatment. I had been feeling it off and on previously, but it’s definitely more often now. My nurse asked about side effects, so I told her about it. Since my oncologist was out today, she had the doctor on call talk to me about it before starting treatment. We decided it’s still mild enough not to change anything. However, if it gets worse, they may need to lower my dose again. Fingers crossed it holds off. Since my dose was already lowered, I’d really like to get through the next four without changing it.

I’m thankful things are still going well overall. I’m grateful for the sunshine today even though it was cold again. I’m happy to be so close to the finish line.

April 4, 2021

Happy Easter! I watched church online today, and the message was about our life being “new” because of Easter. I’m not sure I feel new, but I like the idea. Just like I like the idea of Easter being triumph over death. After the past year, both are necessary right now.

Today I’m thankful for an inspiring message, renewed faith, beautiful weather, and good food.

March 31, 2021

Seven more to go…

My chemo session was later than normal today—3 pm instead of the morning. It is always interesting to me to see the different faces of folks when I go. Most are older, and they tend to watch tv loud enough for others to hear. Or they sleep. Most have a support person with them who appears to be a spouse. Sometimes a child. I’m always dismayed by those there alone, considering we are allowed one support person. It makes me wonder if they’re home alone too.

The treatment center I go to is attached to a hospital, so not everyone there is getting chemo. They also do other infusions as well, although they’re not usually in the same wing. It’s lucky that the hospital is right down the hall because tonight was filled with a little drama. The lady next to me was admitted to the hospital because her blood sugar level was ridiculously high and they couldn’t get it reduced. I have no idea what her infusion was for. Another woman had a severe reaction to her medication and began crying loudly, wailing about her pain. Good thing for her, they got things resolved quickly.

It’s impressive how calm the nurses and doctors are in this center. None of them got ruffled this afternoon. They calmly helped everyone, explained what was going on and what they needed to do to resolve things.

I’m thankful for the staff today. I’m also thankful that my doctor adjusted my chemo dose, hoping that it will help lessen my pain side effects. Fingers crossed that it works!

March 17, 2021

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’d sure love to be sitting at my favorite pub having a beer. Sigh. Hopefully next year.

Even though I woke up at 4 am with a headache that made it nearly impossible to get back to sleep, I wanted to look lively for chemo today. I didn’t have a green wig, but I think my pink one worked with the fun scarf a friend gave me.

I love my pink shoes!

The upside to getting a major dose of Benadryl along with a steroid prior to the chemo drip is that it cured my headache. However, I was so tired afterwards that I fell asleep for a couple hours once we got home. But at least I’m still having no adverse reactions, so I’m grateful.

Patrick’s parents offered to get us dinner today. I’m thankful for their generosity and that I felt well enough to get a delicious chicken crepe from a favorite restaurant. Mmm. And Patrick picked up a fancy chocolate cake for a special treat. It’s not typical fare for this holiday, but it sure was good.

It looks like a mess. A delicious mess.

January 25, 2021

I’m not going to lie, today was a crappy day. It started with an unexpected email and went downhill from there. Bad news upon bad news—not all mine, but news from friends that was really awful. And the actual news? I don’t even want to go there. Why do some days just pile it on??

It’s days like this that make me want to give in to my pessimistic side. But then I remember that finding gratitude doesn’t mean faking happiness. It means finding something in the darkness to keep holding onto so hope doesn’t completely disappear.

Today, I had a conversation with my genetic counselor and thankfully, all the important genetic markers came back negative for cancer. While I don’t seem to have a genetic risk for breast or other cancers, I do have an increase risk that cancer could reoccur in my other breast simply because of my family history. Our conversation confirmed my choice to have a bi-lateral mastectomy instead of removing only one side. It was good to have that affirmed.

I was also thankful today for a small gesture from Patrick. Before I started chemo, he cleared out a shelf in one of our kitchen cabinets and stocked it with items we thought I might like if I was feeling lousy—some Mac’ n cheese cups, hot chocolate, jello, canned green beans (weird, but I like them) and a few other things. And since my taste has changed, he’s been very conscious about trying to find foods that will work for me. When he did a quick shopping trip today, he sent me pictures of things I may like so I could let him know what to buy. He even brought home a container of animal crackers, which I love!

While it’s been difficult today, I know it’s just a bad day out of many days. I’m grateful for a bit of good news and a thoughtful husband. And I hope I was a good friend to those who needed one today.

January 24, 2021

Over the last few days, my mouth has felt slightly numb, and it’s become obvious that my taste has changed. They talk about developing a metallic taste from chemo, but I can’t say that’s what I’m noticing. It’s just that things taste off or don’t taste as good as I expect. It’s a bummer. Even my beloved popsicles are bland.

Today, one of my most established friends (I hate saying oldest but we did meet in grade school!) had dinner delivered to us from a local Italian restaurant. It was a much appreciated gift, and amazingly, the lasagna tasted like lasagna! Maybe Italian will be my new go-to.

What was even better was that Patrick also appreciated the break from cooking, as much as he likes to cook. He joked that he now knew how it felt just to sit down to a meal already made, so I threatened to start cooking now that my taste wasn’t right. We both know that won’t happen. He really does love cooking too much.

Hopefully, this change in taste won’t last forever. But I’m thankful today for my friend’s gift of dinner and the enjoyment we got from it.

January 22, 2021

My oldest daughter, Brianna, has Covid. Luckily she’s only experiencing mild flu-like symptoms and fatigue. However, she has roommates so she’s quarantined to her bedroom for a while. We talked earlier today about how difficult it is to stay confined to one spot. For her, it means no access to the kitchen and she’s relying on the others to bring her meals. Thankfully, she has her own bathroom and tv. However, we agreed that it often gets boring without a change of scenery.

I read this today in one of my daily quote books. It was a good reminder that we do choose our happiness in every moment, even the difficult ones. I’ve said it before and it’s true again today, I’m thankful to have a home that’s comfortable. I’m also grateful to have a space that’s all mine.

Small view into my craft room

When my kids moved out, we repurposed their rooms. One became a guest room and the other became my craft room. I’ve redecorated it several times, and I suspect I may rearrange or redecorate it more before I’m done. But right now I’m satisfied with it. It makes me happy to hang out in and work on my latest project. This room is different than the rustic, neutral look of the rest of the house. I have a thing for skeletons, so you’ll notice them around the space. I think it comes from my appreciation of things gothic and quirky, and it’s enough to have it confined to my craft room. I’ve also filled it with items that are memories for me—cards from my kids, photos, drawings, gifts from friends, and tidbits that are inspirational.

So when, like my daughter, I find myself a bit bored from quarantining, I head to my room and work on something, thankful again for my own space.

January 21, 2021

Today, I’m thankful for the small, every day things. When chemo fatigue gets heavy, it’s nice to settle into the normal. A typical work day. A FaceTime chat with my mom and sisters. A simple dinner and cuddling on the sofa with my pups.

January 20, 2021

Today was the day. I shaved my head. Or more accurately, Patrick shaved my head. I’ve actually been losing my hair over the last several days, but I refused to shave it prior to my second chemo treatment. I was told it was after the second one that I would most likely lose it, so I was disappointed when I noticed it earlier. I was keeping it through the second treatment out of principle.

First off let me say that losing your hair is difficult to describe. It’s weird. I thought I was prepared but I’m not sure anyone really is. Running my fingers through my hair resulted in a fistful of strands. Eventually, I’d notice hair hanging lower than others and if I tugged on it, it would pull out in clumps.

And brushing?! Holy cow. I could make small animals with what came out. This was from one gentle brushing yesterday.


Today I couldn’t wait any longer. I felt like PigPen and his dust cloud only mine was a cloud of fallen hair everywhere. On my clothes, on my desk, in every plate of food. It was time to get rid of it.

Am I ready?

I turned on All American Girl by Melissa Etheridge which felt fitting for the moment as well as the day and Patrick got started. This is another thing I can honestly say I never expected to be doing, but here we are.

I actually thought it would be funny to let it fall out naturally just to send funny progression photos to my family. If you met my family, you’ll understand. We all enjoy a good laugh, especially at each other’s expense. Which may sound mean, but my family is also fiercely protective of each other when necessary, so it’s a good balance. If my scalp didn’t hurt from the hair pulling, the slow fallout may have happened. The photo album would have been epic too because I’m pretty sure one side was losing it faster than the other. I already had one bald spot on the top.

Who wore it better?!

To stand in solidarity, Patrick asked me to shave his head too. It was such a sweet gesture, and I can’t even adequately express how much it means to me. I’m blessed to have him on my side. Losing my hair isn’t easy, but I’m thankful today to have this milestone over. It’s just hair and it will grow back one day. In the meantime, I get to play with wigs and hats and scarves. Fun!

January 18, 2021

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. —Martin Luther King, Jr.

This quote seems every bit as relevant today as it did when it was spoken in 1964. I’m grateful today for the brave men and women who speak up for others and do what’s necessary and right for all people at the risk of their own lives. They seem to be more and more rare.

However, regardless of what the news constantly shows, I believe there are plenty of people who want to live in harmony. During what seems like an insurmountable divide in our country right now, I interact with people daily who know how to be decent and respectful to others, even when they don’t agree. The examples may not be as memorable or grand, but I believe it’s not insignificant. We can personally make a difference in our own interactions. I’m also thankful for that.