“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

What Up Recipe Wednesday!

15 01 2014

When I was first diagnosed with cancer, and recovered from the initial shock (lol…), the first thing I wanted to do was, what I call, “Feed to Fight”.  Feed to Fight is eating to kill cancer.  For a long time, I couldn’t stomach many, many of my favorite foods, namely vegetables.  Now that I am more mobile and off of assistive oxygen (i.e. no blowing up the house while using the gas range LOL), I’ve started juicing and cooking.  Following is the recipe of one of my all-time FAVORITE teas from the book The Cancer Fighting Kitchen by Rebecca Katz with Matt Edelson. Cinnamon Ginger Tea – isn’t it pretty???


Cinnamon Ginger Tea

4 cups water

4 1/2″ peeled knobs of ginger

1 cinnamon stick

2 tsp honey

Bring the water, ginger and cinnamon stick to a boil in a saucepan, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove and discard the ginger and cinnamon stick, and stir in the honey.

Personally, I prefer to turn off the heat and let the ginger and cinnamon steep awhile longer.  I taste it every five minutes or so to make sure it’s not too gingery or it can become quite spicy.  I love a heavier cinnamon taste so I take the ginger out when I’ve reached a preferred taste and leave the cinnamon stick in to steep until the tea becomes this beautiful amber color.  So yummy and so good for you.  Enjoy!

Much love to all of my Warrior Peeps, Yetis and other friends😉

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

Funny Tee Tuesday

29 10 2013

Always wanted to participate in a triathalon…this is not what I had in mind😉



The Long and Winding Road

10 08 2013

It’s such a slow road, this healing business. I’m used to change happening much more quickly. Solving problems is my thang.  Finding solutions is easy and quickly turns around a problem. This cancer $hit is a leeeetle bit different.  Healing is slower than molasses.  Grrr. The last couple of days, I feel differently.  I feel antsy.  I am bored with sitting, TV and the lack of activity. I am craving time with my family and time with my husband like crazy.  They’re off in 3 different directions all the time while I stay home.  Sitting.  Watching TV.  Sigh. This antsy feeling has to be good.  For the last few months, my formerly OCD/hyperactive self knew I had to chill. Sitting.  Watching TV.  Sigh.  I had no interest whatsoever to do anything.   Now, I’m different.  I want activity.  I miss cooking, walking barefoot in the grass, cycling and even cleaning.  Crazy!  Who misses CLEANING?!  LOL Instead of worrying about my upcoming PET scan I am now eager to learn of my progress. Things must be getting better.  I just feel it. My lungs must be healing.  I can now take a deeper breath without too much pain, just a little discomfort.  I still have coughing jags each morning and if I’ve spent too much time outside in the pollen-y air. Most of the day, I don’t cough nearly as much.  Yay! My legs are about the same although I can stand longer without much swaying.  So they must be getting stronger.  Yay! My appetite is pretty lousy.  A typical day of eating goes something like this: 1/2 blueberries for breakfast, sometimes I’ll have a protein shake.  Lunch is 10 cherry tomatoes.  Dinner is whatever the family is eating and that’s the biggest meal of my day.  Last night, we had yummy nachos made by my darling hubs.🙂 He even added my favorites, diced tomatoes and pepperocini – YUM! I love food so I know my appetite will return in time.  I love to cook, too.  If I didn’t need to be on oxygen, I would attempt cooking and grilling some of my summer favorites like grilled fish tacos with my garlic aioli sauce, grilled zucchini, limoncello, lemon curd, stuffed shells and any of the zillions of recipes that appeal to me.  :) For now, I will try to be patient because just knowing that change is happening helps so much.  Let’s hope I’m right!  Pray on Warrior Peeps!


Fashionista Visualista

8 05 2013

Immediately when I was diagnosed with lymphoma, I turned to fashion and a color palette for focus….LOL that cracks me up.  It prob drives my hubby crazy but I love scouring the internet for my latest fashion trend must-have. don’t worry honey, I’ll look for a deal😉

Laying on that radiation table is when it all began.  For only a moment I let myself, “how did THIS happen?!”  By my next thoughts were captured by the backlit sky scene above me.  I loved the calming colors of the blue sky, the green leaves of the tree and the sunshine.  Each time I lay there, I thought of myself recovering at home, under the gazebo on the deck, beautiful blue sky and sunshine.

Aquas and blues. I envisioned beach, blue sky, waters transitioning from colors of light blue to deep blue. immediately my thoughts conjured up images of skinny jeans, my cute silver sandals (which I bought while in the hospital the first time), white tank, aqua scarf, metal-framed aquamarine dangling earrings, smokey eyes.

I can’t help it.  If I have to be bald soon, which I’m totally prepared for, then I want to look awesome.  I bought a couple of long skirts and I have some knee-length already in-wardrobe.

It helps when I have a nosebleed from hell, thrush, so much goo in my lungs it sounds an angry bird whistling through my chest, nasty radiation burns on my chin, chest, back and on my side, bloated face so bad I look like the I’m related to the Nutty Professor and legs that don’t work.  Please don’t let these things bother you, it’s all part of the game.  Sucky sucky to experience but tolerable.

Just a few of my meds.  Missing two…


Bed- the place I used to fly out form every morning is now my most favorite place to be. I could wake at 6am and stay til 10am.  But then I think about my pretty color palette. The many beautiful scarves given by friends hang on the back of my bedroom door.  Seeing them, I start to plan an outfit.  Next thing I know, I want to shower and get dressed.🙂

Keep on praying, Peeps!

The Positive Patient

26 04 2013

Many people who read my blog or follow me on social media (https://www.facebook.com/KindergartenCrush?ref=tn_tnmn @kndrgrtncrush http://pinterest.com/kgartnsweethrts/boards/) have commented about my positive attitude during this oh-so-bizarre time.

Well let me reassure you, I am no Holly Golightly or free-spirited hippie Peacenik!  The attitude is one that I’ve worked hard to adapt to over the last 9+ years.  I say “adapt” because building positive energy is challenging and includes a constant reminding of oneself to trade a negative thought with a positive one.

Eh, I blame my kids for this whole positive spirit business.  :)

When their dad passed away in 2004 after his brief bout with cancer, I vowed that my daughters would know happiness and joy throughout their lives even though the very worst thing happened to them.  I wanted to teach them his spirit which thankfully, eventually, I took on as my own.

In the case of my health, compassion is well-meaning but it holds negativity. For example, when someone says “I am so sorry.” LOL Uh yeah, me too.  I already know I have to go through it.  I have no choice but to do so.  ;) Or, “I’m sorry you have to go through this”.  Again, me too! I would hope no one would want me to go through this!  LOL

Others have mentioned all of the activities I will miss participating in this year.   Again, nothing can  be done about that.  I have accepted that the ONLY task I have this year is to become CURED.   That is my focus, not what will I miss.

A lecture is not my intention.  Rather, a more healthy, happy way to speak.  Use words of encouragement that offer a positive vibe and happy connotation.  Positivity builds alkalinity in the body and that will onlyHELP me on my way to the CURE.

Cancer Peeps

Warrior Peep

So this is what I ask of YOU, my Warrior Peeps: HELP me continue to BELIEVE I will be CURED.  Shoot words of encouragement at me, post a note, text, email, or tweet.  If we are friends, offer help.  We can use it!🙂  Especially Fred, a.k.a. the “Cruise Director”.  He has his hands full these days, running kids to school, soccer practice, track practice, sleepovers, grocery stores, let alone all the other work involved in being parent, housekeeper, income generator and caregiver.

Most of all:  PRAY! And when I can’t,  BELIEVE FOR ME.

All of the little things you do help so very much.  Thank you for continuing to follow, for your love, your prayers and your encouragement.

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