Crush’ing News

4 06 2014

I love it when a plan comes together and the fact that the radiation was doing it’s job on this buggery new tumor gave us just the boost we needed to believe all would be well.  However, after my radiation treatment this morning, we met with my radiologist, Dr. Littles who informed us that there is an overlap on my spine that requires radiation but also received radiation last year. In this type of case, more harm than good could come of it.  In my case, irreversible damage to my spine, possibly causing paralysis.

We chose radiation over surgery because there are so many possible risks involved with surgery, not to mention 4-6 months of recuperation time.  In that time, I would be unable to receive chemotherapy or any other treatment, let alone travel to receive the treatment.


Here we are burning away the tumor, having positive results and happy that a plan is in place that is working and BAM!  We should no longer use radiation treatment.  Ironically, the Sirius 70s station played at the Radiology Center started the song, “Burn, Baby Burn (Disco Inferno)” while I was receiving treatment this morning…lol.  Thought that was funny.  I needed that giggle.

The news from Dr. Littles really upset me because we already knew treatment options were pretty much exhausted.  We didn’t know what to expect.

Hubs had set up an appointment with my oncologist so we could get the low down on what to do next, especially since we had not seen him since I was admitted to the hospital Saturday.  Being that my tumor grew so fast and resisted the last chemotheraphy treatment I received, Dr. Hurtubise wants us to go to Texas to MD Anderson ASAP.  Time is of the essence since the little bugger popped up so quickly.  Specializing in ONLY cancer, MD Anderson is the best in the nation.  This gives me hope.  The news today absolutely crushed and devastated my positive spirit that I have worked so hard to maintain over the last 13 months.

The idea of this journey continuing or worse, me getting sicker or possibly dying, leaving my girls and Fred brings me to my knees. It terrifies me.  Those poor girls have already lost so much and I don’t want to leave them.   There are graduations, weddings, grandkids and other major milestones I want to witness and I’m sure they want me to take part in.

The doc says, my odds “are not zero”.  Yeah.  I like my stats, I’m a total stats nerd but being told that my odds are not zero does not exactly build a lot of confidence.  I make light of this but I am struggling to maintain my composure at this point and not break down for the 1,000th time today.

I need to research MD Anderson and learn what they have to offer.  A dear friend who is housing us during our stay in Texas has already poked around their website and has given her thumbs up.  I’ve been too scared to check it out for once because we all know that researching on the internet usually ends up causing more strife!  But I will now, for I hope it gives me the juice I need to boost my positive spirit once again.

Due to the haste at which we need to get to Texas, we are asking for help to pay for the flights. We expect to leave early next week and we will need to fly commercial. I expect that I will stay for treatment instead of coming back with Hubby but he may need to fly back and forth, who knows, I may, too. There is not always time to arrange for the free flights due to the fast-growing nature of this latest tumor.  Time is of the essence.  If you feel compelled to give, please use the following link to make a secure donation Go Fund Me Kindergarten Crush.

And please, share this website, the Kindergarten Crush Facebook page or KCrush Twitter page to spread the word.  I have not worked since my diagnosis 13 months ago so any donation is helpful and so very much appreciated.

Always, your prayers and well wishes go so far.   As I said, I am completely devastated by today’s news and for the first time since this journey began, I am immobilized with fear instead of hope and positivity.  Please keep praying, Peeps.  Thank you for your help. Much love to you all.

“The Climb”, Part 1

26 03 2014

Last October, during one of her class “Write to Music” assignments, my younger daughter, Brynn, wrote how she was sad that our family could not do things together because of my cancer. Her words make me cry.  How dare this bully enter our lives AGAIN, to a SECOND parent, to worry my sweet babies who already went through this before.  But to read Brynn’s words written in response to hearing the Miley Cyruses song, “The Climb”, I am moved and I am inspired.  I believe all will be well:

“I love that song it is a good song to listen to and life has struggles and we get through. And nothing can stop us from what we want to do.  She says in the message of the song, “there’s always gonna be another mountain and I’m gonna have to make it move”. It makes me sad because its sad to think about my mom and whats going on even though she is going to be fine.  So it is true that there is always going to be another day that we can do things we haven’t with each other and that will be and always will be another mountain.”

The 5th grade teachers had considered changing the 5th grader’s annual outreach project from one in which cans of food were donated during a community service project.  After Brynn wrote the above essay, the idea was discussed once more.  It was this paper that inspired her teacher, Kristen Yockey, with a defined purpose: the community service project would benefit a family from the school, and since Brynn is a 5th grade student, the project would be more meaningful for the students.  A perfect fit.

So began approximately 6 weeks of gathering materials and donations and creating crafts which the students then sold to the younger students.  All three fifth grade classes and teachers were involved with the project.

In the next “Write to Music” assignment, the students wrote to “I’m on top of the World” by The Imagine Dragons.  Brynn wrote:

My mom said that it is okay to tell people what is going on in my life.  This whole thing you are doing for us Mrs. Yockey, my whole family is touched. (It’s true. I would cry everytime she would come home with an update, how many materials were donated, how all the kids were enjoying the project. Happy tears. LOTS of happy tears!) I love to have someone feel special and I love that this time its my turn and I love to come to school and have people ask how is your mom and I say she is doing great because she is.  I know everything is going to be okay.

The students raised enough for our family to plan some serious family fun time.  In addition, a parent, and local restaurant owner, Vince Stewart, contributed by gathering donations for a Kalahari Waterpark Resort package, complete with transportation. “Overwhelmed” is an extremely underwhelming description of how touched and flabbergasted we were by the effort of the student, the teachers, Mr. Stewart and the community.

A snow day interfered with the 5th graders presentation of the project results to us so the teachers stopped by our house with a wonderfully written description of the project history and a video of the students in action.  More happy tears- they would not stop! I could not believe that, being so new to the community, our family would be wrapped up in this great big hug!  The efforts by everyone involved inspire me to stay positive and helps me to believe that all WILL be well.

In a “Community Outreach Reflection”, Brynn wrote the following:

  • I’m happy we got to do something for my mom.  She needed a little cheer (very true!)
  • Usually we help other families but people are helping us this year (it’s a wonderful feeling to help others)
  • I had a great time meeting new people from the other classes and working with them. (very cool way for her to meet new people!)
  • I liked that we did not just help my mom we also helped other kids who could not go to the store to buy gifts for their family so that was cool. (Christmas shopping right at school, can’t get better than that!)

The Kalahari trip was this past weekend.  I’ll write a Part Deux later this week.  Until then, I miss volunteering on the Speaker’s Bureau and raising funds for Ele’s Place, a healing center for grieving children that helped both me and Asher after the death of her father. I miss helping local widows with young children.  However, we started paying it forward last Fall when Fred and the girls took part in a couple of fundraisers for a few families struggling with their own cancer issues.

We are not wealthy people, but we are making it through.  A small donation of $25 or so once a month is easily squeezed from our budget. And for such good causes.  People in need.  Locally.  I post about them on my Facebook page, KindergartenCrush from time to time so feel free to check it out if you’re feeling a little Robin Hood-y ;)

There is ALWAYS going to be a mountain to climb but if we face it head on and keep taking one step, then another, it isn’t that bad.  Giving is a great way to make you feel better about your own mountain.  Keep those chins up, Peeps. :) xoxo

Walking Like an Egyptian…Almost!

2 12 2013

No oxygen machine, no walker or cane…I may not be walking completely normally, or like an Egyptian (yet!), but I am walking unassisted BABY!  Woo hoo!

I feel like a toddler, walking unsure, unsteady and stiff-legged.  Thank God for this and thank God, I am able to climb a step or two.  Each time I do, I remember how I couldn’t even manage one 4″ step into the house not very long ago.  The frustration of not being able to support myself muscularly just to step into the house was maddening- my heart rate would escalate to abnormal heights and it would take every ounce of energy I had for the entire day.  Maddening.   My brain would scream, “WHAT THE HECK?!  Didn’t I run 740 miles last year??? And now, I can’t manage this one, tiny, transitional step???”


Thank God.

Next week, I have one “last” chemo treatment.  Mentally and physically exhausted, I am trying to rest up this week.  My brain hurts as I work it to schedule appointments and manage my everyday tasks.  I hope and pray this is the end of my war with cancer.  A PET scan will be scheduled sometime after this last treatment and we will learn the next step, if there is a next step needed.

Until then, I am going to keep listening to The Bangles and practice walking like an Egyptian.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support.  It means SO very much. Pray on my Warrior Peeps and Crushers! xoxo

Warrior Peeps APB

30 10 2013

I need an intervention.  An All Points Bulletin going out to my Peeps.  I have over-educated myself once again …

Monday’s chemo treatment has left me feeling quite nauseous.  Being nauseous, I can barely eat anything (obviously, lol). Barely eating anything leaves me with little energy and as a result, I am a little bit bummed.  Less optimistic than normal.

My lack of optimism also results from reading too many Facebook posts on what I perceived would be about another person’s cancer journey when, in reality, that person has passed on.  Last night, it broke me.  I am so saddened by the number of people diagnosed each year with cancer.  In my family alone, even though heart issues are a problem, cancer has claimed my grandmother, my father, my first hubs and a second cousin.

Each year, the American Cancer Society estimates the number of new cancer cases and deaths, current cancer incidence, mortality, and survival statistics and information on cancer symptoms, risk factors, early detection, and treatment. “About 1,660,290 new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2013, and in 2013 about 580,350 Americans are projected to die of cancer, almost 1,600 people a day. Cancer remains the second most common cause of death in the US, accounting for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths.”  Yikes.

However, the statistics regarding Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in Michigan look pretty good. Having just typed this, I am remembering an article in the New England Journal of Medicine published in April of this year.  My oncologist based my treatment plan on this study. (New England Journal of Medicine Dose-Adjusted EPOCH-Rituximab Therapy in Primary Mediastinal B-Cell Lymphoma)  In a nutshell, all but 2 of 51 participants achieved complete remission after five years.  Okay, I just soothed my own nerves…..whew.

Breathe in….breathe out……..out…..

My nerves are a bit jangled.  The Mommy is the heart of the family, the one who holds everything together, juggles 10 plates in the air….  Things seemed to be falling apart lately. Older daughter, A, is having friend issues in middle school and younger daughter, B, is struggling in school a bit.  Husband is overwhelmed.  And I can’t do a blasted thing to help.

Today is better.  I just need to kick cancer’s a$$ and regain my superhero powers. LOL

Anywho, finding humor in everyday situations and laughing always helps me to relax.  So I ask you to share with me a funny story.  Feel free to write it in the comments section or look me up on Kindergarten Crush on Facebook.  

Anything will help immensely.  Much love to you, Peeps.

Yellow Peep

Mother Cancer Brainless Twit

4 10 2013

It’s true that motherhood is a never-ending role.  No matter the task, no matter the weather, moms are on duty.  Rain, sleet, snow and everything else, Moms are “ON”.  Actually, now that I think about it, there’s never an “OFF”. That’s ok though, we were warned. LOL

There’s just oooone little problem: chemo brain.

What a brainless twit I have become.  Wow!  (Please refrain from commenting LOL)

Let me just say that I love math, science and literature.  History, social studies…not so much.  But I can handle 5th grade homework!  Or I used to…

Which brings up another little problem: lack of concentration due to exhaustion.  It is very challenging to check homework with an exhausted brain.  I’m running on fumes, people! I mean really, I lay in bed last night trying, for the life of me, trying to remember why we went to the hospital the day before yesterday.  I just now remembered – post-hospital visit with an Infectious Disease doctor. I couldn’t even remember office surroundings, the nationality of the doctor, his name…nothing, nada, zip, zilch.  Jeez Louise!

Not one to settle for less than the best, I have spent the last 2 chemo-free months working to rebuild my memory skills, or lack thereof, through tricks, games and whatnot.   Remembering the brand on a commercial played moments before, words to favorite songs or what the heck I did yesterday are all blanks.  Great.  Now I’m shooting blanks!

So thank you, Cancer.  As if the pain, numbness, inability to walk and various fun, death-defying complications weren’t enough, You have made me a brainless twit. Mindblowing. (LOL) It’s a little embarrassing when the next word won’t come to mind.  Or, when a doctor asks about a specific symptom experienced but the memory of that event is completely erased.   As a logophile (yes, I had to Google that!), I enjoy learning about words and using those that cut out excessive babble.  If only they would come to mind so I could use them!

Oh I know I’ll get better.  In time.  A whooooole lotta time…sigh.  Just do me a favor –  don’t bother asking about the details of “whatnot”.  I won’t remember. ;)

Solace in Sephora

1 10 2013

Talia Castellano loved make-up.  She posted many, many YouTube videos on make-up application.  Aspiring to become a make-up artist one day, she did a fantastic job for a 13-year old girl.  I connected with Talia because, like me, she had cancer, very little hair on her head and used make-up to draw attention to her eyes.  She also lived by one of my favorite mantras, borrowed from the movie, “Finding Nemo”:  Just keep swimming, swimming swimming…

Silly as it may sound, scouring the website of online cosmetics retailer, Sephora, brought me peace.  Shifting focus from cancer, pain and chemotherapy to eye shadow, lip color and nail polish is one of many ways I “check out” of cancer for awhile.

Never one to wear much make-up, I usually choose neutral, natural colors, sometimes adding a thin line of navy and a thin line of forest green eyeliner to my upper lids.  Not having hair can make a person’s face more blank and the eyes get lost.  Playing with more eyeshadow colors like teal or Urban Decay’s Moondust glitter shadows like my favorite, “Midnight Cowboy Rides Again” or “Space Cowboy” let me escape for awhile.  It’s fun to experiment and it allows me to be artsy since I can’t currently partake in my other crafty hobbies.

One more bonus of playing with make-up when you’re sick with cancer – you can make yourself look un-sick.  And anything that puts a positive spin on cancer is good.  These little tricks can help adjust a person’s mood in a heartbeat.  When you look crappy, you feel crappy.  When you look good, you feel just a bit better.

Talia had neuroblastoma and pre-leukemia.  She passed away in July. With 15 million hits on her YouTube make-up tutorials, I know she helped many, many people feel just a bit better.

Just keep swimming, my Warrior Peeps.  Love y’all!

Benched :( So Let’s Have a Give-Away!

5 12 2012

Hi all! Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  I sure did :)

Even though I have completed my running goal for the year I want to beat it and exceed it, baby! Unfortunately, I have been benched by viral bronchitis.  Boo! :(  This lovely virus make wreak havoc on my body for up to 30 days.  30 days?! That means little to no running/working out.

Not only can I not run, I can FEEL the muscles in my body waging war against the fat cells.  I think the fat cells are losing because it sure seems like my body is already softer (for lack of a better word).  Actually, I just did a mirror check and I can see there is less muscle. I am TOTES bummed. It took an entire year for that muscle to ‘grow’.  I know it will return but I’m panicky.

Voice in my head:  “All right, Lisa…talk yourself down from the ledge.  You were giving yourself another whole year to achieve a fitter body.  There is no deadline, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…what do we do, we swim, swim, swim….”.  Sorry, I went all Nemo on y’all.  :)

Dory from

Dory from “Finding Nemo” Perez Hilton

My appetite has been nonexistent this past week.  Mostly my diet has consisted of chicken noodle soup, green tea, water and coffee.  I’m definitely not consuming fatty foods…sigh…

I cannot wait for the war to resume when my muscle cells will beat down the fat cells…. KABOOM!

Anyways, let’s turn positive here and have a GIVEAWAY! WOOT WOOT!

Ever tried Lock Laces?  I love ‘em!  The people at Lock Laces were generous enough to provide samples of their hot pink Lock Laces for me to review and giveaway.  So here we go:

Thrilled to receive their package, I quickly grabbed a set to use with my running shoes.  But when it came to removing my laces, I stopped.  How could I remove my Sweat Pink laces???  I was honored to be named a Sweat Pink Ambassador, wear the pink laces and encourage other women on their fitness journeys.

Ever the upcycler, I removed the laces, thinking, I’ll wash them and use them as a lanyard or something cute :)

Okay, onto the review!  I LOVE the Lock Laces.  What can I say, they are easy to install (see directions below), can be used in a variety of shoes and you can easily kick on or kick off your shoes.   As a mom, I could not recommend anything better for kids.  So quick and easy.  So who wants some hot pink Lock Laces???

Tweet me @kndrgrtncrush and tell me you want to “#RockTheLock” and follow @LockLaces on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. :) Get ‘em while they’re HOT!

Hot pink Lock Laces, ready to give away!

Hot pink Lock Laces, ready to give away!

Just remove from package...

Just remove from package…

Remove old laces, then thread Lock Laces...

Remove old laces, then thread Lock Laces…

Insert Lock Laces through locking device...

Insert Lock Laces through locking device…

Trim Lock Laces so they're not too long...

Trim Lock Laces so they’re not too long…

...and tuck under!

…and tuck under!

Sorry about the long list of pics, I couldn’t get WordPress to cooperate!!!


Might as Well Face It – You’re Addicted to Social Media

27 07 2012

“Hello, my name is Lisa and I am addicted to social media.”   Hiiiiiiiii Lisa!

I didn’t start out addicted to social media.  It all began when a friend suggested I create a MySpace account. I had just moved closer to my job with my baby girls and only knew people from work.  MySpace did not turn out to be a great experience for me, in fact, it was rather creepy.  Too many weirdos leaving odd poems, dirty jokes and nasty suggestions on my page.  MySpace to me was the underbelly of Social Media. LOL But I digress…

Next came Facebook, where I was very happy and comfortable for several years.  As my readers know, Facebook helped me reconnect with an elementary school friend who is now my main squeeze, my hubs, my bff for life life life.  I heart Facebook.  It is a fabulous tool for many reasons.  Not only can you connect with EVERYONE you’ve EVER met in your life but you can build an audience for a small business, you can research reviews on various activities, park, trails, restaurants, etc.  I said it before, I’ll say it again, I HEART FACEBOOK! LOL  Again, I digress…

In my current job,one of my titles is, the company “Social Media Nerd”, a role I reached out for and embraced with every ember of my being.  My background is in conservation, groundwater/surface water stewardship, you know, environmental shit.  For some reason, I cannot stop exploring social media.  Maybe its the competitive aspect, the ranking, the statistics – all things I adore.

To help grow the small business where I am employed, I started a personal Twitter account.  Didn’t think I’d like it as much as I do. Now I’m @’ing and #’ing with the best of ‘em!  Then Pinterest came along and WHOOSH!  I was sucked in like an Oreck.  Wow, that’s my favorite thing to do on a car ride now, catch up on all the latest pins and likes using the app on my iPhone.

Instagram, Klout, Hootsuite, LinkedIn….oh my gosh, you name it, I’ve explored it.  Weekly I check lists of Top Ten Social Media outlets to weigh their merit, both for personal and for business reasons.

My latest addiction is my blog.  I have wanted to write since my first husband died.  I craved an outlet to write my responses to great questions such as “How are you?”  While my babies napped, I would jump on my computer and quickly write down HOW I FELT (which was as if “a dull-edged spoon had scraped the inside of my heart clean”) before the words escaped my PTSD-infected memory.

So many books to write but so little time!  I started writing a book to help young widows with children grieve and find happiness.  There are so many children’s books running through my head right now, if only I could write all day long, I would.  Alas, I need income, therefore I have a job, that fortunately pays me but keeps me from writing…..ah well.  So every Friday, you can find me here on WordPress. I thank you for reading and I wish you “Good Day!”  I said “Good Day!” ;)

P.S. If anyone out there has tips on finding a larger audience for my blog, please comment.  I have explored all of these SM platforms and self-taught but I could use some advice! :)

P.P.S. Don’t forget to read my last blog to enter my giveaway.  I need smoothie recipes! LOL

A Change Will Do You Good

30 06 2012

Ever since my first husband died, I have embraced change. Change to me meant moving away from grief and moving toward the future, whatever that might hold. And change I did.

Escaping the memories of the house was the first step. My girls were 10 months old and three years old so not only was I exhausted as their only parent, I was exhausted from the grief and shock of losing their dad. So twice a day, I loaded them into our little red wagon and hauled them around our small town for two miles. This activity allowed us precious time with each other and helped us to escape the grief that lived in the house, if only for a few minutes. My journey toward fitness began at this time as I had lost a lot of weight, too much weight. You know it’s too much when you can see your own ribs. Not good.

Fortunately, I had my wits about me (lol, well as much as you can while you psychotically navigate through grief as a young widow) and recognized that I needed to eat a little more.

The next change was to take a five month leave of absence from my job. I used that time off to focus on the girls, get our affairs in order and figure out how I was going to support the three of us. Upon returning to my job, I was immediately given a performance evaluation. Although I had fulfilled all of my job requirements for the entire year prior to my leave of absence, my performance review showed a negative score. My supervisor had said that since I was not present during that time to manage my volunteers, I was given the equivalent score to a “C” grade and a 1/2% wage increase. Ironically, the organization I worked for is one that works to empower young girls, naturally I was shocked that they didn’t support me under the circumstances. It didn’t take long before I decided I would be better off unemployed than to work for an organization that did not appreciate my efforts and soon, another job came along that was just perfect for our needs.

After 8 years of being a single mother and dating what I humorously call members from “The Clown Parade” (read more in my next post ;) ), I officially gave up trying to find my next soul mate and a father for my children. As always, the old adage “when you stop looking love will find you” prevailed.

Thanks to Facebook, I had started tracking down people I knew from elementary school. I have a dear friend who has been in my life since I was 4 years old and we would often talk about the people we remembered from school, including one particular young man. He was short, had a bowl cut, wore glasses, and had a patch over one eye. LOL Certainly, I did not think of him as a potential suitor! ;)

When I tracked down Fred, I wasn’t sure it was the same person. He was handsome, muscular and had a great smile with a child-like twinkle in his eyes. Turns out, it was the same Fred. And he was engaged…! That’s okay, truly I had not thought of him as anything but a friend for two years.

However, in the Spring of 2011, everything changed. By then, he was no longer engaged and slowly, our relationship changed from one of friendship to one of a deep love for each other. We learned that we shared a similar goofy sense of humor and often, we giggled over the silliest things. We were both active people with a genuine love of nature and the outdoors and most importantly, he loved my girls as if they were his own. The girls adore him :)

Change is scary, however our fears of it are irrational. Yes, it is a fear of the unknown but how will we know what we want in life if we don’t change? Life is FULL of rollercoaster twists, turns, steep, plummeting drops and achingly long hikes uphill. The ride will ALWAYS be bumpy so settle in and enjoy. It could be the best thing you’ve ever experienced…until the next change.


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