Positivity is a Choice!
I was told attitude is everything. I could either sit and feel sorry for myself or I could live my life just as I did before that dreadful C word, with a few limitations of course.
So I wake up everyday, give myself a little time to adjust my attitude and focus on what is important in my life. Just because I have this disease doesn't mean I can't have a positive attitude. I'm positive that I will beat this. I don't think about death at all. That's not even an option. I will be here for my family for the long haul. I choose to be optimistic and positive through this process!
I dislike these bags
I really dislike these ostomy bags. If you have ever had to live with them then you understand. Otherwise I'll do my best to explain it briefly. Have you ever had to fart and you were in a public place? Well, with an ostomy bag you can't control the sounds it makes. 🤣 It drives my 15 year old crazy. He gets so embarrassed.
Have you ever had a bowel movement more than 3 times a day? Well, I have to kneel over my toilet at least 5 times a day to clean out my bag. It's gross! My hands hurt from washing them constantly. It also smells BAD! So I have tons of air fresheners around. I should invest in Glade.
I think dealing with cancer would be a bit easier if it weren't for these bags. Such is life!
This morning I reflected on gratitude. I woke up feeling incredibly grateful, for my family, for my friends, for my life. The overwhelming support I've received is so humbling to me. So I just want to say, "Thank you" to all of you.
I am so grateful! Josh, I love you for stepping up during this difficult time. You've been by my side since we first found out about my diagnosis. You're a wonderful soul. To my kids, thank you for making me smile every day. I love you guys! To my mom, I love you and don't worry. I know you want to be here, just know you are in my heart. To my siblings, I feel your love and your support from 2,000 miles away.
To all my friends, co-workers, Ann-Marie, my soul sister your overwhelming support means the world to me. I am so grateful I work for an amazing organization that allows me to still do my job from home and understands that I won't be 100% everyday, even though I try.
THANK YOU ALL! I AM FOREVER GRATEFUL!!!
I attempted to attend a webinar about a week ago on Uniquely You: Embracing Sex and Intimacy After Cancer by Polly Rossi. Unfortunately the link never made it to my email until the next day.
It got me thinking though, I'm not as concerned about "after cancer" as I am about the present. This is an issue, and not a very easy one to talk about. It wasn't even easy to talk about before I had cancer.
It is easy to forget that there is another person affected by your cancer; your spouse. You don't want to be selfish, but you find yourself being selfish.
I let my insecurities get in the way. For one, my body does not look like it used to. I lock the bathroom door just so Josh can't walk in and see me in the shower naked. It's so stupid of me. It's the stomas, the ostomy bags, my bald head, and my butt is now nonexistent.
All these things run through my head. It's selfish of me.
He doesn't care about those things at all. Why? Because he actually loves me. Through sickness and in health. We gave that vow.
Communication is key!
The one day to really show our love and gratitude for our partner in crime. It's easy, "I love him". He has stood by my side since I was diagnosed. He's looked for alternatives in treatment. He does more research on my cancer than I do. We vow, "through sickness and in health". He has demonstrated that since day one. I've got myself a pretty good guy 😍❤️
He knows I love watching the Bachelor & Bachelorette, so we did the Rose 🌹 ceremony. Not purchase worthy
Happiness, like many other things, is a choice. There were many days I woke up since my diagnosis I was unhappy. I was mad at the world, feeling sorry for myself, but feeling that way wasn't doing anything to help me. So I choose to be happy when I wake up now. Even though I may have to change out ostomy bags. At least I don't have to figure out what to do with my hair. AND who couldn't wake up on a day like today, look outside and not be HAPPY! It's just beautiful outside. Embrass it!
Losing my Eyelashes
Losing my hair I was okay with but losing my eyelashes is taking a bit of a toll on me. I don't know why. I guess I figured, well, I can cover my bald head with eith a headcover or a wig. No big deal! We have to wear masks everywhere we go, so no need for lip products. All that's left to see are my eyes. I attempted to put on fake lashes, but I am not good at this stuff. I've never been a makeup kind of person. Mascara was all I really wore. Well, not anymore. I'm kind of bummed about it but I've got to make the best of it all. Here's my attempt at fake lashes. Don't laugh too hard!
Check out my Blog! Coming soon. Different eyelash products Pros & Cons
My tumor markers are down to 119. Back in January they were over 700. This means my tumor has shrunk significantly from chemo. Great news Wednesday! Today is my 3rd chemo treatment and I can only hope my markers continue to drop. Surgery is March 17th! Bring the luck of the Irish 🍀 my way!
The struggle is real! I never said what time of day my Daily Thought would be. I guess not being able to sleep & it being 2:37am, it's as good as any time as ever, right?
So what could possibly be my daily thought right now? Well, my mind is racing about a million things. Diego's eye appointment, Josh's upcoming appointment, my daughter and the effects her job is having on her, my cancer surgery coming up, my dog Stella aging ailments, my lost USPS package, I need to get more bread; the thoughts go on and on when you can't sleep.
I'm guessing my insomnia is being brought on by the IV steroids I received at chemo today. Then I had a bright idea to drink coffee at 6pm. That didn't help. My most happy thought though is, for the first time I didn't have a bad reaction to the meds (Taxol) today chemo. Things went super smooth. I couldn't have asked for more. Other than that, right now I could use more sleep!
Hopefully the benadryl will kick in soon 😳
Sometimes stick with what you know
I'm back on the colonoscopy topic here. Yesterday I decided to watch a few tutorials on how to care for my stomas. I'm so lucky, I came out of surgery in December with 2.
Anyway, my main one, the one that my bowels are released to, the skin around it was getting irritated. What the wound care nurse taught me in the hospital is to cut wafer, which is what you attached to your skin to hold the bag in place, as close to the stoma as possible. This is so your bowels do not come in contact with your skin and irritate it.
Well, yesterday I was watching these tutorials and they mentioned using this gel on the inside of the wafer for better protection. The gel is suppose to be flexible because sometimes your stomas will change sizes throughout the day.
Long story short, I decided not to use the gel and just cut my wafer hole to fit snug up against my stoma. All was fine and dandy throughout the day but I did notice it was lifting a bit. My stoma changes sizes depending on the output so I thought nothing of it.
Needless to say I woke up to an explosion of crap all over me. It was disgusting! Luckily I sleep on my back so my bed was safe.
Lesson learned, stick to what you know. I will continue to cut my wafer at a 32 and not a 29 ever again. I will just need to ensure I use skin barrier protection. No more poop explosions! 🤣
Neuropathy "My Hands!"
I knew one of the side effects of chemo was neuropathy and joint pain, but I didn't expect my fingers to tingle so bad. After my 1st & 2nd treatment the neuropathy wasn't so bad. After the 3rd it has managed to travel through all my fingers along with joint pain.
I'm constantly rubbing my fingers together, which I hope will help in the long run.
Joint pain hasn't been as bad as it was 1st treatment. I've learned to manage it since then. It hits me pretty hard about 2-3 days after chemo treatment. Thankfully I now have pain medication (Toradol) to manage it. Also, was given two reflux medications to ensure that is managed as well.
Overall, I feel like I've been handling chemo pretty well. The neuropathy is really the only bad side effect. I've luckily not have had to deal with nausea very much. The joint pain and reflux is managed. Today my face is a bit swollen. Most likely from the steroids. I can't complain. I'm definitely blessed! 🙏🏻
I cry happy tears today. I got my sons genetic test today and it came back negative for BRCA1. The last thing I want is to pass this genetic mutation to my children. The only good thing that could come of it is early detection and screenings.
I'm just happy to know he hopefully will never have cancer. I know there's always a risk. There is with everyone, no matter what. We all carry cancer cells in our bodies. I just hope he lives a happy, healthy, cancer free life.
Now I just wait for my daughters results! Praying for the same outcome. ❤️ UPDATE!!!! My daughters came back negative. I couldn't be more happier. Such a piece of mind knowing they have a much lesser chance of developing cancer in the future 😊
I am so thankful I work for a caring and thoughtful Commander. Col Rosario, I am so thankful for you and your loving family. Your continued support for me during this hard journey is so humbling. We are lucky and grateful to have you as our Commander. I hope you know how much you are appreciated. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. P.S. Those teal braclets look great on you all 😊
Col Larry Warmoth retired medical group commander & my wing commander, Col Rosario with their teal support braclets on
Col Rosario's amazing wife, Sheila & kids Daniel and Naomi with their teal support brackets on ❤️
I could not sleep an ounce. I kept running my story through my head over and over on what I want to say to these Texas Senators and Representatives.
Today we are Advocating for continued support and more funds for the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance. They are the largest Ovarian Cancer Research organization in the country, if not the world. It's a lot of pressure to get my story right because I feel in the last 3 months I have a good one.
As a Piblic Affairs Officer you would think this would be a piece of cake. In a way it is, I just always get anxious when it's something so important.
Advocacy for what you are passionate about is important. I never thought I would be advocating for this 3 months ago. Crazy what life throws at you. I do believe I was meant to be here and doing this today.
Advocate your little heart out! 💙
Peace, Love, Cure
Good news or Bad news?
I'll go with good news first. I had my breast ultrasound today to see if what they saw in my MRI was malignant. Final diagnosis: It was just my lymph nodes. Nothing to worry about. I'll continue to be monitored every 6 months. There's still a very strong chance of a mastectomy in the near future.
So the bad news, if you want to call it that. I may be stuck with this colostomy bag for a while longer. For anyone that has been around me, knows well I really dislike this thing. It's not only annoying but it limits me on what I'm able to do. Maybe over time I'll learn to live better with it. For the past 3 months I just looked forward to this day (surgery day) to have it removed. I feel a bit defeated but like the doctor said, "removing my cancer is 1st priority, finishing chemo is 2nd and my colon comes 3rd". This just means I will have a 3rd surgery coming. That's what I didn't want. It is my reality.
Suck It Up!
Anyone that "knows" me knows that this is my saying "Suck It Up"! This was an awesome gift from Tge Haven team at my Wing. Allen Blair asked my daughter what is one of my sayings, so here you go!
I needed someone to tell me this yesterday when I was feeling sorry for myself about my colostomy bag. This couldn't have arrived at a more perfect time.
Thank you Haven team!
Not Everyday is Rainbows & Sunshine
It's been really hard for me to write lately. I spent the last several months confident in my treatment until recently. It's very hard to go from having such positive feelings daily, feeling full of life, 100% sure I was going to beat this cance. Then waking up one day unsure I want to live.
I should've never expected this journey to be all rainbows and sunshine everyday. I've finally hit a storm along the way. It is mentally and physically demanding. I cry every hour hoping things will get get better soon. I have people who depend on me. I have expectations of myself and what I should provide. Not being able to do that is soul crushing.
I just have to keep pushing with the love of my family and the amazing support group I have ❤️😊
I can't stop crying
Since I've been home from my last hospital stay I just cannot stop crying. Partially because things didn't go as planned during my 2nd surgery, partially because my 3rd unexpected surgery added new challenges to my recovery and lastly I just want this all to be over with. I want to enjoy the summer with my kids, I want to get back to work and have some normalcy. I want to enjoy my life again!
It felt so good to wake up feeling good for once in weeks. I decided to take full advantage and visit my coworkers since I'm not sure how I will feel tomorrow or the days after. My body decides that for me each and every day since this started in November. It's hard to believe it's been that long since I worked from my office. My darn Christmas decorations are still up in my office 🤣 It was great to see everyone and I can't wait to get back to it. Each day is one day closer!
Happy Mother's Day ❤️
Happy Mother's Day! I couldn't have asked for a better day. The boys surprised me in the morning with flowers and Starbucks. Oh! And some pretty funny cards that were not meant for Mother's Day.
Alyssa and Michael came by for a few hours, which I'm always happy to see my daughter. They brought me a lemon plant I cannot wait to plant.
It warms my heart when we are all together. Nothing beats a cookout, pool time and family. Such a great day!
14 May - A bit of normalcy
I didn't expect it to feel so good being back in uniform and spending two days with my work family. Believe it not, I can't wait to get back. I'll be starting off slow, bosses orders. So I'll do half days around medical appointments, training and my last chemo treatment.
Getting back to some normalcy in my life felt great. As much as I have loved wearing sweatpants, not having to drive in traffic and seeing my family more, I still feel that need to do the other things I enjoy doing. Yes, I enjoy work and I enjoying interacting with my team face-to-face. Soon! Gunfighter Strong!
A Bit Anxious
2 June - Today I finally see my Gastro surgeon since my 17 March surgery when he closed one of my ostomies. Today I'll find out whether he will be able to reverse the other one. Losing 70% of my colon and part of my rectum due to cancer makes it challenging I'm sure. If he is able to reverse it, it will be an adjustment. Either way it goes it will be life changing. I just want an honest assessment so I can move on. I'm anxious to know.
UPDATE: Looks like this bag will be a permanent fixture. I'll learn to LIVE with it
I AM A SURVIVOR!!! 🦋
6 June - Today is National Cancer Survivors Day. Celebrate your loved ones that have battled or are still battling cancer.
You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and twice as beautiful as you'd ever imagined. Don't let cancer cause you to sell yourself short or forget your worth.
This is the new Me
I've always been a bit self conscious even when I was fit. So how do I mentally get passed the new me? What you see here is what you get. You know what though, I can't worry about what others may think. I'm alive! If that means living with a colostomy bag the rest of my life and a giant scar down my abdomen, so be it. Yes, it sucks but I need to move forward. Learn to LIVE with the new me. I choose Life! I choose Happiness! Who says I can't still be fit. I'll get there! Just wait and see 😉
19 June - Change Sucks
I'm trying my best to accept that Dr. P will be PCSing soon, which means I'll be changing doctors. Change really sucks when it comes to finding a doctor you really like and trust. I know he's leaving me in good hands. I just need to build the same connection with Dr. Hope. 23 years in the military you would think I'd be used to change. Normally I would embrace the change but not so much in this case. I'll get there but it doesn't mean it won't suck.
16 July - Dermablading
When your eyebrows take too long to grow back you tattoo them on. This is my first go at detmablading. The lidocaine didn't last long so it hurt like heck. They're a little bigger than I'm used to but I like them. I better cause I'm stuck with them now for like a year or more. Getting back to feeling human again. It's a great feeling!
29 July - There's nothing like a Mother's hug 🤗
Happiness is Family
I haven't seen my mom since January 2020 other then on video messaging. That's the longest I've went without seeing her in almost 16 years. Between Covid and my cancer diagnosis, travel was just impossible for me. I hope I never again have to go this long without seeing her. I love my mom so much ❤️
10 Aug - Terrified but Hopeful!
I'm terrified of the way this can possibly make me feel and also of its ability to work for me. This medication comes with many side effects similar to chemo, but without the hair loss. One positive thing! It also can cause more issues like high blood pressure and at worst, leukemia. As of today my CA-125 is at 14.5. That is amazing 2 months after completing chemo. This med is suppose to maintain that and keep me living longer. Studies don't go past a few years but it does lessen my chances of reoccurrence, which is all I can hope for. So I'm hopeful!
2 Oct - World Ostomy Day 🌎
Who knew this was a day 🤷🏼♀️ Every day is a another day I'm alive because of my ostomy. As much as I hate it, I love it too!
21 Oct - "Happy" Birthday
Wasn't quite sure I would see this day. I've had quite a year leading up to this 46th year of my life. So the "Happy" in Happy Birthday has more of a special meaning. I'm happy to spend another year with my family, friends, coworkers, you name it! I'm happy to smell the fresh flowers at HEB when I walk in, to see the blue skies and even the rain. I plan to make my 46th year here on earth a good one.
Much different Thanksgiving this year. Not only did my friends come over since Covid is giving us a little break, All guests had to be fully vaccinated 😊 but I could actually eat this year.
Feeling grateful to be alive and cancer free!!!
11Dec- It's the holiday season around the 149th Fighter Wing. Blessed to work with an amazing team of people.
It's a New Year...time for a New Me! **EDIT** "Same Me"
1 January 2022
I'm trying to gather my thoughts on the title I gave this "daily thought". What does "New Me" mean? Does that mean mentally, physically, spiritually, socially...all the above?
No doubt 2021 was a hard year. Between cancer, dealing with Covid, trying to integrate myself back into the workplace. Mask, no mask, mask. Chemo treatments by myself because of the pandemic. Losing all my hair. Going through three intensive surgeries. Blah, blah, blah.
What I missed about myself was really my love of fitness. My workouts made all the other things in life fall into place. It was mental, physical, spiritual...all those things for me. Losing that part of me was hard.
So when I say "New Me" I mean "Same Me"
I'm just starting back with a blank piece of canvas here, So let's create something even more beautiful then before! Give myself some self love ❤️
Another visit with Mom
13 Jan 22 - I'm so grateful I get to visit my mom. Between us we took 5 Covid tests just to be sure we were safe to be close. Flying is always a risk but thankfully both trips to and from were only half full. Love this lady!
World Cancer Day 2.4.22
A year ago today I was in a much different place. I was just over a month into my treatment and internalizing what my future may hold. Was I going to live to see my kids grow, my grandkids be born? Who would be there for my mom if this cancer did not go away? I had so many questions running threw my head.
Today, though, I am a survivor of cancer. It has left me with scars and other health issues, but I'm here to see what the future brings. I can't be any more grateful.
19 Feb - I Can't!
I can't let cancer win. I can't let cancer define me. I can't let cancer determine who I should be. I can't let cancer let other people define me. I can't let cancer let me see how I see myself. I can't let cancer determine how others see me. I can't let cancer let people feel sorry for me. I just can't let cancer in! I'm done using that word in my vocabulary. I can't!!!
10 March - I still love wine 🍷 and good friends
Feels so good to get out and enjoy myself a bit. Was so happy to spend the day with a good friend. Definitely something I need to do more. Did I mention I love wine?!
30 March - Life is short
Rae Ann was one of the first survivors I met after I was diagnosed. We had only communicated through text and social media until we finally went for a hike back in October. She was diagnosed with the same cancer as mine Stafe 3C High Grade Serous and she was also BRCA positive. So we had similar stories. Her cancer recurrence came March 2021 with full force. She was Stage 4 and it had metastasized to her brain. Radiation did what it could. She went to Mexico for some alternative treatment, but it wasn't enough. Rae Ann passed on her 41st birthday a couple weeks ago. My heart was broken. My heart still cries for her. OC is a horrible disease. Last week I lost another teal warrior, Sandra as well. It's scary...I'm scared. Life is short and I really want to start living it.
8 July - I'm done with wasting my days
I'm done spending my days staring at a computer. I had a little breakdown at work today when I got back from my oncology checkup. I've always known my reality with this disease. I know it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when my cancer will return. What I do know is I'm responding well to my PARP inhibitor, but I can only take it for 3 years due to the side effects. Then it's just a waiting game. So why am I going to waste the next 2 good years I have working??? I'm over it. I ready to call it quits.
21 Aug 2022 - Self-care Day! Grape Stomping
"Those who fly solo have the strongest wings.”
I've been busy in 2023 living my best life ❤️
Praying for you !! Keep up the fight!!
Thinking of you Cindy. Keep fighting. Every single day is a new start. Xoxo
Praying that all is well with you. Keep up the fight!!
Love your attitude you may have cancer but cancer don’t have you!! Sending prayers and blessings your way for u and your family!!