About Me

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2 time ovarian cancer Survivor, Advocate for ovarian cancer awareness & research, Teacher of Zen Method Tai Chi, Blogger, sharing the wonderment and power of essential oils, proud fan of Cathe Friedrich's workouts, Reiki practitoner, A Course in Miracles student, paper crafter

Journals about RT

March 22, 2010
Radiation Treatment Day 1 went very well.
My boss was very kind and picked up lunch for me since she knew I wasn't working enough hours to get a lunch break. A simple kindness that meant a lot to me. She even sat at the front desk and ate with me. 
My prayer for a yoga class was answered today, too!! I'm super excited about taking a real yoga class on Wednesday mornings. I bought a new yoga bag and yoga pants, so I'm all set. 
I was nervous on the way to the treatment center. My tummy was full of butterflies and my hands were tingling. I ended up getting there 20 minutes early, which is good because that means my drive isn't as long as I thought it would be each day. I put my gown on (I only have to take off my pants) and the tech took me to the room. She's a very kind sweet lady. I laid down on the machine and she adjusted my body so it was straight (which is always funny to me because I feel crooked when I'm "straight"). The whole thing took less than 15 minutes and I didn't feel a thing. I was thankful that the machine is open and the arms move around me instead of my body being slid into a tunnel. I kept thinking that it was totally awesome that someone designed this machine and it kills cancer cells! 
It's been over 5 hours since the treatment and my skin feels slightly irritated...like a mild sunburn...but I can't tell if it's in my head or not. So far that's the only side effect. None of the projectile vomiting or runs...yet, lol!! I'm thinking that may not be funny in a couple weeks...for now, though, I'm relieved to the unknowns turn into knowns. 

March 23, 2010
Treatment Day 2 went well. I asked the Tech about the sunburned feeling I had and she said that won't start happening for about 2 weeks. So, I'm just playing mind games with myself- which is nothing new. ha! The Tech, also, said it's a good idea to start using the Aquaphor Healing Ointment now. And thanks to my fabulous mom I have a nice big tub of it! You're the best, Mom!!I went to Costco today and stocked up on healthy, organic and quick foods. I feel armed in the food department!! I'm also feeling relieved to have so many healthy quick options. I was feeling a bit stressed about how I was going to manage to have the energy and time to cook. It's a big weight off my shoulders!! 
Tomorrow is my first yoga session! I'm very excited! 

March 26, 2010
First week of radiation is over! Yay! As my mom told me today, I'm 16.6% finished. I love my mom's positive and uplifting outlook in life in general, and right now during my treatment. Who else but a loving Mom could get excited over something being 16.6% over?? :)  Thanks, Mom! I couldn't love or appreciate you more!!
So far I don't have side effects from the radiation itself. I'm feeling a bit tired from all the driving back and forth, though. My dear friend and roommate and I are sharing a car and that means a couple of extra trips to insure that both of us are where we need to be at the right time.  We are making the best of it, but sometimes the days feel very long.
I had a down day or so mid-week thanks to an old and very unhappy lady who share the treatment waiting room with me on Wednesday.
I was seated first, and she sat across from me. She had no smile or sense of compassion when she looked me over and demanded to know why I was there. That's pretty much what every patient wonders about the others, what's wrong with you? People with manners and compassion keep that question to themselves. I am one of those people. This lady was not. So I briefly told her, and that was my mistake. I never should have answered her first question, which would have avoided all the rest. After hearing my story in a nutshell she proceeded to tell me how horrible it was that I would never know the joy of bearing children and that I pretty much wasted my womanhood in a very not nice way. I was dumb founded, literally, beyond words. It was like a bad Candid Camera skit. 
There have been times in my life when I didn't want children, and times when I have wanted children. Then came a time 3 years ago when I had to choose my long term health over the possibility of ever bearing my own children. I was single and 33 at the time. That choice was easy for me, truly it was. I am at peace with my decision, my choice. This doesn't mean, however, that I don't tear up sometimes in an emotional moment when I hold one of my nieces or nephews...or when I see other mothers and children together...or when I see an adorable baby outfit.  And it doesn't mean that I can stand to get verbally beaten up by a stranger about it. So I fell apart for a day or so. 
My wise psychologist of a roommate helped me out of the funk (as he has for many years), and reminded me that I have the power to control what I think about it, and who I give power to in my life. This lady deserves nothing from me, and so I let it go (well, mostly- can't you tell?). It's hard to forget something like that. 
The positive highlight of the week was Yoga. I love Yoga. I love the idea of it, the idea behind it, how it challenges my body and mind and how my body and mind feel when my practice is done for the day. I was able to do poses that I wouldn't have thought I could do, which always feels good. I sought out a Yoga class to help me achieve balance in my life during my treatment, and ironically the most challenging poses were balancing ones. My instructor is a very sweet woman who was very kind and gentle with me, and I appreciate that beyond what words can express. It's hard for a person my size to go to a Yoga class, but she led me through the class beautifully. Thank you, Susanna of Anahata Holistic Healing Center!
I'm still striving for balance during my treatment. I keep feeling like I'm in transition....perhaps there's a lesson there? I need more sleep in these next weeks, and more Yoga, and more self-Reiki, more time to let my mind and emotions relax. These are things that only I can give to myself. I like to think of it as taking all the love and support that comes from all of you and wrapping it up as gifts of Yoga or sleep or relaxation...a circle of love and healing that never stops. 

March 31, 2010
It's time for an update as week 2 of radiation treatment gets underway. My treatment got cancelled Monday and Tuesday due to the computer being down. I get to make up 1 treatment early Saturday morning, though. 
Honestly, I was glad to have Tuesday as a day completely off work and treatment. It was wonderful to be able to stay home all day!
A very kind and compassionate guest at the resort where I work gave me the most adorable white Easter bunny and beautiful plant over the weekend. It was very touching and I appreciate the thoughtful gift very much. Every time I see either of those in my place, I am reminded that there are many people out there that care about me and I am filled with gratitude. 
I started reading the book  Anti Cancer: A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber. It's absolutely fantastic!! There's so much great info about cancer....how it develops and grows...and what how we (patients and non-patients) can help our bodies fight against it.
I am adding in as much of the book's suggestions as I can handle right now. I'm a bit limited to the amount of fruits and vegetables I can eat during radiation because of their high fiber content. I have started drinking green tea, red wine, adding turmeric to foods when I can...to name a few. It feels good to be able to DO something to help my body fight off cancer. 
Most oncologists and other doctors in the cancer field will tell patients that there is nothing the patient can do to help or hinder their treatment. The author and doctor discusses this:
"I have cancer. I was diagnosed for the first time 15 years ago. I received conventional treatment and the cancer went into remission, but I relapsed after that. Then I decided to learn everything I could to help my body defend itself against the illness. As a physician, established researcher, and former director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at Univ of Pittsburgh, I had access to invaluable information about natural approaches to prevent or help treat cancer. I've kept cancer at by for seven years now. ... After surgery and chemo for cancer, I asked my oncologist for advice. What should I do to lead a healthy life and what precautions could I take to avoid a relapse? 'There is nothing special to do. Lead your life normally. We'll do MRI scans at regular intervals and if your tumor comes back we'll detect it early', replied this leading light of modern medicine.
"But aren't there exercises I could do, a diet to follow, or to avoid? Shouldn't I be working on my mental outlook? My colleague's answer bewildered me: 'In this domain, do what you like. It can't do you any harm. But we don't have any scientific evidence that any of these approaches can prevent a relapse.'
"In reality, what my doctor meant was that oncology is an extraordinarily complex field that is changing at breakneck speed. He was already hard presses to keep up with the most recent diagnosis and therapeutic procedures. ... In our present state of knowledge, we had reached limits. As for more theoretical mind-body or nutritional approaches, he clearly lack the time or interest to explore these avenues." (taken from the second edition's Introduction)
This is pretty much what my gyn oncologist and radiation oncologists have told me. I like to think that the other reason that oncologists don't advise healthier diets, exercise or stress management to their patients is their way of sparing their patients self-blame. That's what a befriended guest of the resort told me on Monday. Her advice, as a nurse practitioner, was to do what I felt was best, but to be careful not to turn it into self blame or guilt. That's a valid point, and I will carry that with me through this journey. 
I started educating myself about nutrition for weight loss purposes about 8 years ago. During that time I've lost 80 pounds by following a well-balanced diet of lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables and thoughtful treats along with consistent exercise (via Cathe Friedrich's workouts, she totally rocks!!). I feel like I've learned a lot of good quality information. And I feel like my body has benefited from these changes immensely. I know that my body has the ability to fight off diseases, including cancers. I believe that the foods I eat and the quality of my life strongly and profoundly effects that ability. I can either be a warrior with my body by eating healthful and clean foods, exercising and managing my stress, or I can help cancer cells to grow and develop by worrying, eating lots of sugar (aka 'comfort foods'), and laying around feeling sorry for myself. I am choosing to be a warrior in my war against cancer!! The oncologists may not agree or understand, but it's my body and my choice. 
This is what I've been thinking about and working on the past week...making the right changes and making room in my day for them. I know it's kind of controversial...and I don't care. As I travel through this cancer journey I am realizing how much power I have over my circumstances and health in both mind and body. It's an amazing feeling...and responsibility.

April 1, 2010
Today I woke up to a full fledged allergy flare up. It was miserable, and it made me feel worried about how it may effect my cancer treatment. My body can only fight off so many things at one time, right? I really don't like having to divert my immune system to stupid allergies!!! I'm not sure that it's just allergies either since I'm feeling really hot one minute and freezing with goosebumps the next. I can't tell if I have a fever because I can't find my thermometer. So, I've been eating extra healthy today with lots of liquids and vitamin C. I think that if you have cancer that everything else in life should be easier in some way.
I met a couple of new friends thanks to Cathe Friedrich's Facebook postings today. I feel very blessed to add to my circle of friendship, prayers, healing and love!! And Cathe herself wrote me a message today, she's so wonderful and caring!! Made me feel so good!!
Week 2 of radiation treatment is going well. I am starting to experience some side effects. I'm spending more time in the bathroom...already! I'll spare you gory details.

I get to make up one of the radiation treatments that got cancelled earlier this week on Saturday morning before work. I'm glad for that opportunity even though I'll have to leave my house by 6:30 AM. What a way to spend Easter weekend, huh? I'm missing my family a lot these days, and holidays don't help! I'll keep myself busy at work and thinking grateful thoughts and tough it out! I'm a tough cookie and I will keep the positive energy flowing in and through me!!

April 3, 2010
Happy Easter, family and friends! 
My allergy flare has calmed down enough so that I feel human and mildly functional again. I am taking 2 kinds of OTC allergy meds along with Tylenol Sinus relief. I think it's working...maybe another combo would be better, but I don't want to risk it. I took Mucinex yesterday and cleared up my chest congestion, for which I am very thankful. I am hoping that I feel well enough for a workout tomorrow!!
My sister, Heidi, did a very sweet thing on my behalf today. She donated her long beautiful blonde hair to Locks of Love in my honor!! I am filled with thankfulness for such a loving, supportive, understanding and giving sister- and family! Her new cut looks very cute, too so it's a big win-win! Thank you, Heidi! I love you!
Happy birthday shout out to my other sister, Sally!! I love you!!
My reading of Anti Cancer: NWofL continues...and I am finding it very empowering and educational. I think the author does an excellent job of explaining the science of nutrition as it effects cancer cells. I love being able to understand the 'whys' and the 'hows' of stuff, especially nutrition stuff. I am realizing how much INflammatory foods I eat, and it's sobering. I am going to start a food journal to help me keep track and increase my intake of ANTI-inflammatory foods. I have lots of those kinds of foods in the house already, thankfully, and have been eating more and more of them.
I got a bit of good news from the finance department at my radiation treatment center on Friday- my treatments have been approved by my insurance!! I was relieved! I have some anxiety about how much this cancer is going to end up costing, so I was nervous about this meeting. So far my insurance has been wonderful! 

April 6, 2010
I'm almost halfway done with my radiation treatments. Yay! I continue to deal with, and attempt to control, some side effects. One of my newest side effect is a decrease in my taste buds. It's a mostly subtle difference, except when it comes to chocolate. I can not taste chocolate anymore. It's bizarre. Another new one I'm noticing  is that I'm tired more than usual. Not just a normal tired, it's the kind of tired where I have nothing left to give anyone at the end of the day kind of tired. It's like being hollow, in a way. 
I'm doing well with increasing my amount of anti-inflammatory foods. I am very grateful to my dear tennis friend, Leanne, for keeping my stock of local and organic greens up! It's truly amazing how much better I feel when I eat healthfully. No matter how big or small a role what I eat ends up playing in my cancer war I believe that eating healthy is worth it's time and efforts. 
I've received some very thoughtful and kind gifts over the past week or so, and they fill me with gratefulness and love. Getting cards in the mail as well as hand delivered cards and beautiful flowers is so special to me. I got card in the mail from a friend who just wanted to me to have something other than a bill to open that day, how cool and thoughtful is that? 
I was deeply touched on Monday while I was waiting my turn for treatment and reading a little cancer survival book that my mom sent me. Not only had she taken the time to find the book and mail to to me, she also took the time to read it and hand write a little note of encouragement on a few special pages. 
All of these gifts of love mean the world to me right now!! Thank you so much for your continued love, support, encouragement and prayers. They are working, so keep it comin'! 
Overall, I feel like I'm doing well. I'm taking care of myself and my responsibilities, but still resting and making time for exercise, healthy food preparation, Reiki, and having fun on Facebook. It's a pretty selfish time, and yet it feels really good to give this kind of love and attention to myself. I am learning a lot from this cancer journey and, in a strange way, it's making me stronger. Even in my down moments, I am stronger. I am strong, it's a amazing realization.

April 9, 2010
Halfway done...whoohooo!! The side effects are catching up to me. I'm so tired now, in a way I've never been tired before. The best way I can describe it is hollow, as if all the energy is dripping out of my body constantly. I really need to make time for a nap each day from now on. A friend encouraged me to listen to my body and rest on Thursday afternoon and did me a world of good! 
I've also spent quite a bit of time in the bathroom this past week, especially in the morning. It's so not a fun way to start the day!! The radiation doctor told me to start taking Immodium AD everyday, so I bought 2 kinds. I wonder what the cashier thought at Publix? ha!  
I'm starting to have some skin burning, too. Lots of fun in my life lately, boy oh boy!! 
I continue to increase my intake of anti-inflammatory aka cancer cell killing foods. Unfortunately, that doesn't help reduce my bathroom time...but hopefully the Immodium will catch up and things will balance out. It's crazy to me how the foods that help fight and killer cancer are NOT the ones that work well with the invasion of radiation treatment. One of life's many ironies.... Even though my eats have improved, I wish I was doing better with my food choices, though. Dinner times are tough because I'm so tired, but I will make efforts and plans to improve.  I've got breakfasts and lunches down pat, so I'm proud of that. 

April 12, 2010
Cancer has many ups and downs. I've focused on mostly the'ups' in this blog, but tonight I'm going to share about my down day. Let me say first that when I'm rational and feeling good I know that all the following isn't true- that's my disclaimer for today's entry.
Today I felt sad, frustrated, and questioned how much effort I wanted to put into my cancer war. I'm so tired. Physically, mentally and emotionally tired. I'm already out of patience of my morning bathroom problems. I feel like my body is betraying me and confusing me in the process. To be honest, my body has always confused me. I work out more than most people I know and yet I'm still overweight. I eat healthier than most people in America, too, and yet still have a weight problem. And that weight problem played role- to some degree- in my cancer diagnosis. That makes me want to do all I can to keep the cancer from growing or coming back. 
However, eating healthy whole foods makes my bathroom issues worse, seriously worse. And it feels like the biggest weapon I have (eating anti-inflammatory foods) is out of ammunition.  I've been advised by my oncology nutritionist, radiation nurse and my radiation doctor to eat inflammatory foods to help control my bathroom issues. It seriously messes with my head since it's totally opposite of what the Anti Cancer book advises and what my intuition tells me. I can't bring myself to fully follow their advice. And I can't bring myself to fully ignore it. So a food war, a new one, wages in my head all the time. What should I eat? How much? When? How miserable will I feel tomorrow if I eat this now? The whole thing is just plain exhausting and confusing and relentless. 
I saw the radiation doctor today for my weekly visit. The nurse decides that today is a good day to weigh me. I've gained 4 pounds. She looked at me kind of funny and tells me that most people lose weight during radiation. I fought the urge to punch her in the face...or apologize to her and instead fought back tears by literally biting my tongue.
By the time the doctor came in I was a mess. I felt sorry for him, really. It was after 5pm and here's this cancer patient crying. I'm sure it's the last thing he wanted to deal with after a long day. Still, he showed me much compassion and kindness, and I am thankful for his caring bedside manner. Through tears I told him about my frustrating times in the bathroom in the mornings and he tried to be reassuring. 
Then I told him about my newest side effect. It burns when I pee. What does he suggest? Acidic (aka inflammatory) foods!!!! I swear that a part of me went insane. I tried to explain to him why that's not going to work for me...that it's a risk I can't bring myself to take...and he doesn't get it. Stalemate. So, I agree to take a prescription that will help take the edge of the burning off while turning my pee purple. Cool, huh?  
So, I leave the treatment center and take my my script to Walgreen's. My prescription insurance carrier is Walgreen's. The pharm tech tells me that they don't have the generic version, so I asked if she could call other locations to see if they carried it. She calls 4 without any luck. I ask her to find out what the price of the real thing. It's ridiculously expensive. I can't bring myself to spend that much money on something that's only going to partly resolve the burning anyway. To do my due diligence, though, I called Target's pharm and found out that even though there's a generic version in existence that it's very rarely available. They don't know why, and it doesn't matter because I've decided not to get it filled.
By this time I'm out of tears and entering zombie (aka shut down) mode and so I go home. I went directly to bed after muttering a request to be left alone to Curt, my roommate, and turning off my cell phone. I've been a real pain in the ass to live with lately. I could barely stand myself today. I stayed in bed for about 2 hours and was driven out by hunger. And the dreaded cycle starts again... I chose to eat half a can of healthy soup that's somehow rich in potassium and low in sodium along with 2 pieces of asiago bread (which is a white bread, stripped of it's fiber and nutrients but is devilishly delicious). 
Monday sucked. Tomorrow, I hope, will be better.

April 13, 2010
I'm feeling much better...back to my normal balanced self. A very big thank you to my dear friend and mentor, Curt. You have rescued me from myself, once again!!
I stayed in bed until almost 2 this afternoon, and after my talk with Curt I got back to the business of loving myself. I did a kick butt Cathe Friedrich interval step workout, grabbed a quick shower and then it was off to treatment.  
I took Curt and Mom's advice and bought myself 2 funny movies- Billy Madison and Kicking and Screaming. I also picked up the magical cable that allows me to play my new iPod Nano through my car stereo. It sounds absolutely amazing!! I spent the evening creating playlists on iTunes. It was a very relaxing and centering evening

April 14, 2010
Wednesday has been a day of much needed sleep and recovering from my meltdown Monday. I'm feeling at peace with myself again after much sleep, mediation, prayers and Reiki. I had tummy problems most of the afternoon, but I decided to ride it out since it has to come out sometime. and I had the time. I'm thankful for 3 days off during the week to give my body some 'let loose' time. 
I've thought a lot about the advice my mom and my dear friend, Chris, wrote in my [Caring Bridge] guestbook regarding my food choices during treatment. I'm wise enough to know that when I hear sound advice I should pay attention. I've re-read some stuff and have come up with a compromise for myself to get me through this part of my treatment. As usual, the answer is somewhere in the middle and doesn't need to be all or nothing. Well, DUH! 
My revised plan can continue to include green tea, red wine, organic grass fed dairy and meats (including organic Greek Yogurt, yummy!),  cooked organic veggies, some fruits, and the spices: turmeric, black pepper, mint and thyme just as the Anti Cancer food plan suggests. For treatment purposes I'll have to carefully limit my intake of whole grains, peanut butter, nuts, beans, spicy foods, dried fruits, unpeeled fruits, raw veggies and greasy foods. So, I'll enjoy 'getting to' eat refined white flour stuff like breads, pancakes, waffles, cookies, cakes, crackers, and canned (gasp!) soups along with skinless white potatoes, organic applesauce, and bananas. Thankfully, oatmeal is on the 'recommended for diarrhea management' list!! So I will welcome the permission to eat these foods and be thankful that I have these options. I have an incredibly high number of blessings in my life, including being able to buy whatever I want and need at a grocery store. This is a luxury to many people in the world, as well as treatment for cancer and health insurance. I am very relieved to realize that there are still plenty of anti cancer foods I can continue to eat while in treatment...that's good for my mental state as well as my body! Thanks again Mom and Chris!! You are both truly Angels!!!  
April 20, 2010
Good news, I only have 5 more radiation treatment left! Yay!! It seems like I just started yesterday...though my body surely doesn't agree! It's been tough to deal with the side effects the past couple weeks. The modified food plan has helped my 'bathroom issues', but hasn't eliminated the issue. Over the weekend and Monday I was popping Immodium like candy, lol! Today (Tuesday) has been a pretty calm tummy day though, and I am grateful for a break. 
As annoying as that bathroom is for me, it's my other bathroom issue that I have the most trouble getting used to. I could really do without this burning when I urinate. It makes me feel dirty ...and so weird. 
My third major side effect is being tired. I am definitely tired a lot! I've been napping when I can, and sleeping about 12 hours a night on my days off. I am so grateful to get 3 days off a week. That helps so much right now! 
I bought some crystals to use for healing and made myself a necklace and 2 bracelets. I can't yet tell how well they are working on the actual cancer, but the one for my bathroom issue is proving to be quite helpful. They are also helping to soothe me emotionally. This cancer stuff on top of life stuff gets really hard some days. I had to make a difficult matter of the heart decision last week. I am absolutely sure that I did the right thing, but it still hurts...and it hurts to know that I caused someone else pain. So, I've needed extra comforting lately. It's amazing how God and His Energy can work with so many different mediums, and in every area of our lives. 

April 23, 2010
Only 2 more external radiation treatments left! Did you notice the word 'external' there? I found out on Wednesday that once I'm finished with the external treatments I will have 3 internal treatments. Internal. Yep. Internal. Think ceramic tampon. Not only does a tech have to see me, but so does the doctor...the really cute and very personable doctor. Internal treatments- 3 of them. *sigh* 
When I asked one of my usual techs about it she said it was like having a baby. OH yeah, I never did that... what's with so many people assuming all women have had a baby?!? I feel like some kind of freak sometimes...no husband...no kids...and I'm 35. Lucky for me I don't look 35, that probably saves me from some comments! *ahem* Ok, sorry about that...sometimes the ranting just bubbles over. I'm ok now. Really. Is it really so strange and wrong to be a single women without a child, though? 
Back to the internal treatments...they can only be done on the days that my doctor is at 'my' treatment center which is Monday and Wednesday. Also, the treatments can't be done on consecutive days. So I'll do 2 treatments one week then the next week I'll do that last one. And then I will REALLY be done with radiation treatment. Yay!!
I have an appointment with my gyn oncologist this coming Thursday morning to discuss my next treatment step options. It will be really good for me to get a chance to talk to him, and I'm looking forward to it. 
When I saw the radiation doctor on Wednesday he asked me how the script he gave me for the burning when I pee is working. I told him that I didn't get it filled due to the cost, so he gave me a script for something similar that he knew there would be available in generic. <I resisted the urge to ask him why he didn't give me that one to begin with!> I got it filled that evening, and started taking it right away. It turns my urine- and supposedly contact lenses-  bright orange. It looks like orange Kool-aid, and I'm totally serious. It would be really nice if it made the burning go away, but unfortunately it's not really working for me. Not only is it not working, but it makes my tummy upset and gives me headaches. So, I've stopped taking it. It was worth $7 to give it a try. I'll just remind myself that this won't last too much longer every time I go to the bathroom...and try to be thankful that I'm blessed enough to be able to get treatment. 
My other bathroom issue has quieted down quite a bit the past few days, and I am very thankful!! Modifying what I eat has really helped. 

April 26, 2010
I have decided to move back home to Memphis- in 3 weeks!! I have missed my family and the comfort of home so much since my cancer recurrence diagnosis, and I want to take the next step of my treatment surrounded by family. 
My radiation treatments should be over within the next 2 weeks, and then my body gets a 4-6 week recovery break before the next step begins. I don't know what that next treatment step will be yet. I have an appointment with my gyn oncologist this Thursday morning to discuss what he thinks my next step should be. Once I get to Memphis and meet with my new doctors I'll have a second opinion, and then I will decide what the best course of action is for me. 
It will be very sad to leave my life and home in Florida...and all of the wonderful friends I have made here in the past 3 years. I love the life that I've created here~ truly, but my soul needs the kind of love that only home can give. And I miss my nieces and nephews so very very much! There's nothing like being showered with love from 4 toddlers and 1 soon-to-be newborn! 
A friend of my sister's shared this quote the other day, and it fits how I feel about moving home perfectly. "All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another." (Anatole France) In my perfect world, Memphis would be only 4 short hours away from Marco Island...
I could go on for page after page about how I feel about moving and what I've learned from creating this new life in beautiful Naples and Marco Island...and I'm sure I'll write it some more over the coming weeks. For now, though, there is SO MUCH to do... 
Here's a general list:
1. Update resume and apply for jobs in Memphis
2. Continue sorting, packing and giving stuff away 
3. Pick out paint colors for my new bathroom and bedroom (My wonderful Mom is re-doing my room for me...got new carpet and fixtures and everything! So excited, thank you Mom!)
4. SLEEP, exercise, yoga~ all those things that are important for my mental, emotional health all the time but that are EXTRA important during cancer treatment
5. all the stuff that I normally need done- despite moving or cancer treatment- like laundry, cleaning, and cooking
(these are just the major highlights...there are so many little things that if I typed it all out everyone, including myself, would think I'm crazy)
To my Florida friends~ I love you. Each of you has brought something to my life and soul that I will forever treasure. I am thankful that you are a part of my life. I am thankful for Facebook, email and telephones that will bridge the 1000 miles between us. Of course, you can always visit me!   

May 1, 2010
I'm happy to report that I completed all the things on my To Do list from my last journal. Well, ok, so I'm not totally sorted and packed yet- that's still a work in progress. There is progress, though and I'm happy with the pace of the progress. 
The colors are all picked out for my Memphis bedroom and bath. My mom has been beyond wonderful, sensitive, and patient as I sorted through choices. She's shopped and worked longer and harder than I have to give me a beautiful and comfortable living space. Truth be told, I'm not always the best patient or shopper, but Mom keeps loving me anyway. Thanks a million Mom, you're the best!! 
My internal treatments began this past Wednesday. My final external radiation treatment was Tuesday. I am very thankful that I could get started right away on the internal cycle. While the internal treatments are no fun at all, they aren't as bad as I had envisioned. I'm taken to one of the CT scan rooms and I lie down on a long U shaped pillowy thing. The doctor and the male tech get my body lined up and then insert the large tampon-like radiation wand. Then they do a CT scan to make sure the wand is in the right place and then the tech ties the wand to my body so it doesn't move. It's tied in 4 different ways- one is like a thong. I can NOT understand why someone would choose to wear one of those things! Yuck! Then the tech slides me off the CT scan bed and onto a gurney, and then I'm rolled into a treatment room. In the room, while getting 7 minutes worth of radiation, I get to listen to a CD. Once the radiation is over the female tech cuts all the ties andI'm "free"!
The side effects of this kind of treatment seems to be bad headache, fatigue, and 'female discomfort'. I'm still having tummy problems, mostly in the morning. My radiation doctor said that my tummy problems will start to fade over the next few weeks. Few weeks?!@#$%&#@ I mean, oh that's great news. I'll forward to not having tummy issues in a few weeks, then. 
My final 2 internal treatments are Monday and Wednesday. Whohoo
Thank you for all of your support of my move home to Memphis. I appreciate it very much!! I am very much looking forward to my good-bye party on the 17th with my friends and co-workers, and getting back home to Memphis. (Thank you, Julie, for wanting to give me a loving send off! I will miss you, my work-sister!!)
My mom and sister are on the Relay for Life board for Fayette County (TN) and have been working hard to make that Relay a big success. The event is on Saturday May 22nd, so my goal is to be home by Friday so I'm ready to Relay on Saturday. My sister asked me to speak at the event, and I'm honored to do so! 

May 6, 2010
I have completed radiation treatments as of Wednesday! Whoohoooooo!!!! I am so glad to have this second phase of my treatment behind me! 
Those internal treatments were not fun at all! The aftermath of the treatments haven't been fun, either. They cause massive headaches that last about 3 days. And the treatment 'area' gets so sore that it's uncomfortable to sit and urinating has become so painful that sometimes I cry. On the upside, the radiation doctor says that the painful urination will fade away within the next 2 weeks. Also, my diarrhea trouble will fade away within the next 8 weeks. 
I met with my gyn oncologist last week, and he's recommending 6 rounds of chemo for my next treatment step. That will take 18 weeks (that's 4 and half months). I'm not sure what my new gynoncologist in Memphis will recommend, though. Thankfully, the gyn onc in Memphis that my Florida gyn onc wants to refer me to is on my insurance plan, and also happens to work at The West Clinic (which is a very excellent cancer treatment center). They went to school together, and lucky for me the 'new' gyn onc is a woman! Yay, big relief!! 
My moving process is moving along nicely. I've got just about everything done, except for the stuff I'm using up until next weekend. The condo looks so strange without all my personal touches and stuff. I feel sad sometimes about leaving, but I realized the other night that I made one of my dreams come true by moving here. I'm choosing to move home to Memphis, and that's different than needing to move home because I fell on my face here. I want to go home, I want to be a part of my niece's and nephew's lives, I want to be closer to my sisters, my brothers-in-law, and my Mom. My need to go home is due to my cancer treatment, not because of any failures on my part. Realizing this made me feel good and even more at peace with my choice to move home. Don't get me wrong, I am very excited to be going home and being with my family again! It's just sad to see the life I created in Florida melt away. I am proud of the life I built here, and I know I will be proud of my life in Memphis. I truly love being an Aunt, and can't wait to be with my 'peep's all the time!

May 17, 2010
Long time, no journal~ time has sure flown by this month! Today is my last day of work and living in Naples, Florida and so I thought a final Florida update would be appropriate. 
I continue to deal with side effects from the internal radiation treatments. It's still burning when I urinate, although I've gotten tougher and rarely cry because of it anymore. Cranberry juice helps take the edge off the burning, but there's only so much sugary juice I can handle in a day. My tummy problems have calmed down quite a bit, though I still have to be careful about what I eat or else my body screams and fusses. I'm slowly adding in fresh veggies (mostly salads, because I totally love salads and miss them so much!) and whole grains into my daily life. The fatigue that radiation causes is waning, although now I'm tired from all the packing, sorting, and trips down the stairs to the garbage cans. All the work that has gone (and will continue) to go into moving has paid off. I am ready to go, and all my preciouses are boxed up and piled up in the dining room. I hope it all fits in the mini-van.........eeeekkk!
I am comforted by knowing that my dear friend, mentor, and roommate of over 10 years is confident in my choice to move home to Memphis, and is just as confident in his choice to move back to his home and family in Arizona. I will miss you, Curt, but I promise to use all the tools and wisdom that you've taught me. I will take care of myself and love myself. 
I had a PET scan last Tuesday to see if there's any metabolic activity (which means cancer activity in PETscanese). I will get the results of that scan tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at my final meeting with my gyn oncologist here in Florida. I already have an appointment with my new gyn oncologist in Tennessee, it's May 26th. It's amazing to me how well speciality doctors and their offices can work together- sometimes. My FL gyn onc's nurse got my referral for me, made sure that the new gyn onc is on my insurance (she is, yay!), and made sure my records got transferred. So, it IS possible and I am thankful for it. 
My friends and co-workers are throwing me a Farewell Party after work today. Thank you, Julie, my dear work-sister, for wanting to give me a loving send-off and all that work that you've put into the party! After the party, we're loading up the mini-van (hopefully with some help from the big strong guys at the party) so that once I leave the condo in the morning to go to my doctor's appointment in Fort Myers we can just keep going North. 

May 25, 2010
I am unpacked and happily settled in my new home (aka Mom's house) and beautiful bedroom. It is beyond wonderful and comforting to be home again, and I am very thankful to have a family to come home to as I know that not everyone has this blessing. 
My Farewell party on the 17th was touching and lots of fun! Thank you, Florida friends, for the loving send off! 
I met with my Florida Gyn Oncologist on the morning of the 18th. He did a quick exam (ouchie!), and told me the very good news that my last PET scan shows no evidence of diseaseWhoohooo! This doctor is still recommending chemo, however. It seems that no one is really sure whether what I had (have) is truly a recurrence of endometrial (uterine) cancer, or if it was ovarian cancer. The doctor told me that if I was his sister he would insist on chemo- just to be sure. He didn't spend much time explaining or discussing anything else. The nurse gave me a packet of new patient papers for my new Gyn Oncologist. They made sure that my insurance would cover this new doctor, got me the correct referral, and set up my first appointment which is tomorrow afternoon at 1pm. 
We arrived home by dinner time on Wednesday, and it seemed that the drive went by so fast! My sister Sally and her husband Dave unloaded the mini-van while I played with my nieces and nephew. Their hugs and kisses felt soooo good!! I missed them so so so much! 
The next couple days were a whirlwind of unpacking, playing with 'my' kids, and catching up with my sisters. Pure joy and gratitude!! I am completely unpacked and settled in, and feel completely at home and at peace here with my family. I'm adjusting back to Central time, new TV channels, not going to work (which I don't really miss, but it feels strange), and overall new routine. I love being home to spend time with my family and to be part a daily part of my family again! 
The Relay for Life event in Fayette County on Saturday was a big success, lots of fun and also wore out myself, Mom and my very pregnant sister Heidi. I told my cancer story- in a nutshell- without any problem. It's so weird to me that I wasn't nervous, but I hadn't let myself think about it much which probably helped. I got 2 handmade knitted skull caps that are super soft, in case I need chemo and lose my hair. I also got the great pleasure of my very first massage. It was heavenly!! I won a silent auction for a 60 minute massage, and I am so excited!! My mom and sister spent the whole night at the Relay, in it's true spirit. Thank you, Mom and Heidi, for all work, time and love you put into being on the committee for this year's Relay! 
I'm feeling a little anxious about meeting my new doctor and checking out The West Clinic tomorrow. I am so thankful that Mom is able to go with me. I love you, Mom!!