Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Julie Got Published!

Hey, Everyone, this is Dave. Don't tell Julie, but I had to jump in here and share the news. My lovely wife was asked to write an article about her cancer story for Christianity Today magazine, and it was published today!

CLICK HERE to check it out, and while you're there leave a comment. I know she would appreciate it!

As always, blessings to you, dear reader, and in the immortal words of Bartles and Jaymes, thanks for your support!

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Army of Women Wants Yours Truly to Have a Pink Vespa

Seriously. I got an email from them the other day saying so. Now, normally you know I'm more of a lover and not a fighter. But when it comes to cancer... well, kids, in that case I've had to put on the boxing gloves, throw down the gauntlet (which, honestly, seems silly to me, since I had just put them on, but whatever), and then take down names, get ready to rumble, get down low and play dirty, hit below the belt, take no prisoners, never give up, never surrender, and basically, to sum it up: fight like a girl!

Yes I have joined The Army of Women. No it doesn't have anything to do with the war in Iraq nor is it some feminist bandwagon I've jumped on. It is about fighting breast cancer.

The Army of Women is "an initiative of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, thanks to a generous grant from the Avon Foundation for Women". It's an opportunity to "partner with research scientists to move breast cancer beyond a cure."

So technically, it is a mission of LOVE (Dr. Susan Love, not to mention the whole loving act of fighting breast cancer) which brings us back to the fact that I'm a lover. Even when I have to resort to fighting.

The Army of Women slogan is: "One Million Women. One Research Goal. One Revolutionary Opportunity. Together We Can Prevent Breast Cancer."

When I just checked the web site, there were 316,077 signed up so far.

That's where my pink Vespa comes into the picture. See, The Army of Women wants me to have that pink Vespa; and they want me to help them reach that One Million Women mark in this Love initiative to fight breast cancer to win that pink Vespa.

Now I know what some of you are thinking when you think of me and a Vespa in the same sentence. But let me just say, God gave me a second chance after cancer, and even a third after the "Vespa incident" in Rome, and so I think you should give me another chance too. ;) Seriously. Pretty please?

I'll be very careful and get a really good helmet.

So if you believe in me and a pink Vespa, please go to, click on Get Involved and fill out the registration form. Please choose Vespa Contest under the "How did you learn about the Army of Women" option, and then fill in my email address:

Whether or not you think it would be cool if I won the pink Vespa, please join The Army of Women with me and let's put on our gloves and fight like girls and move beyond a cure for breast cancer.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happy 17th My Mateo!

Last night I had my night-before-Matt's-17th-birthday-date. These dates are probably one of my favorite traditions I have with my kids, and definitely one of my three favorite days of the year. Of course, the other two are January 19th, Amanda, and May 21st, Mikey... so, no uprisings among my offspring and no mutiny in the shire is necessary at this time.

Anyway, so I have these dates where I get the birthday kid all to myself. We go out to dinner wherever they choose. I turn over a placemat or take out a notepad and my put my journalism degree to use by interviewing them. If there are placemats (and yay when there are crayons on the table!) we trace our hands in the middle of all my chicken-scratched Qs&As. Then we go to a bookstore and they pick out a book, any book, just from me.

This time last year, I think my hair fell out on Matt's birthday. For his birthday this year, I got strep and bronchitis. Better than last year, but talk about a lame date. Not to mention, Matt likes to rib me, that I just keep taking the spotlight off him by getting sick. A few weeks ago he had a sore throat and I ended up on antibiotics. Poor guy. Yes, we joke like that. But he also brings me his own stash of Vicks Vapor Rub when he is worried that I am going to be stuffy all night. So it works for us. "That's what I like about you" Matt...and, of course, Mikey and Amanda.

My kids amaze me how they have handled this cancer thing. I can not even begin to imagine what they have gone through as they have gone through it with me. But I know it has affected them. I remember when it was just damn spots and not yet cancer, begging God that he would not let it be cancer because I was hoping He would spare them the grief of losing their mum. In His sovereignty, it was, but He has spared me, healed me. Spared them. My mum's heart is more thankful for that mercy than I can find words to express.

And yet they still have had to deal with having a very sick mum. This was not in my mum's manual nor my intended homeschool curriculum. It has not been the center of our lives. More like it has been like the elephant in the middle of room that you really can't ignore. So you just
feed it peanuts and get on with life as much as you can with an elephant following you around wherever you go. The cool thing about my kids is that they have somehow figured out how to ride the elephant, at least that's how I like to think about it. They amaze me.

Last night Matt and I were talking about the highs and lows, pros and cons, of this past year of our "elephant" in the shire. "It's definitely THE con, but in a way, it's also been a pro, because even though it sucked, we needed it," my sixteen-going-on-seventeen year old sage said. "I don't really remember what it was like before the cancer but I think it brought us closer together. And it helped me realize it's so much easier and better to just trust God rather than take things into your own hands. Because cancer isn't something you can take in your hands, and you just have to trust God."

Wow. Just wow.

Makes me think of the Simple Plan song, Save You, which Matt gave to me for my chemo cocktail mix that I made on my iPod. Simple Plan is his favorite band, and one of the band members had written the song about his brother's battle against cancer.
Take a breath
I pull myself together
Just another step till I reach the door
You'll never know the way it tears me up inside to see you
I wish that I could tell you something
To take it all away

Sometimes I wish I could save you
And there're so many things that I want you to know
I won't give up till it's over
If it takes you forever I want you to know

When I hear your voice
Its drowning in a whisper
It's just skin and bones
There's nothing left to take
And no matter what I do I can't make you feel better
If only I could find the answer
To help me understand

Sometimes I wish I could save you
And there're so many things that I want you to know
I wont give up till it's over
If it takes you forever I want you to know

That if you fall, stumble down
I'll pick you up off the ground
If you lose faith in you
I'll give you strength to pull through
Tell me you won't give up cause I'll be waiting if you fall
Oh you know I'll be there for you

If only I could find the answer
To take it all away

Sometimes i wish i could save you
And there're so many things that I want you to know
I wont give up till it's over
If it takes you forever I want you to know
I wish I could save you
I want you to know
I wish I could save you
In a way, Matt, you have and you do. It's beautiful irony to me that your whole life I have been wishing I could save you from all the scrapes in your life, and now here you are leveling the playing field. You have grown "in wisdom and stature and favor" into a godly man who reminds me of Jesus. I am the luckiest mum. Even though we don't believe in luck; we just think the word is cool. That, and riding on elephants.

Happy Birthday sweetheart of my heart.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Making of a Superhero

It's not all that glamorous, but here's how it happened. For me at least. See, I took a wrong turn at the Exit in the hospital one day. If you'll notice, the exit sign has an arrow pointing to the left. Well, obviously I saw the shiny green exit sign, but then quickly got distracted by the BIG blue arrow pointing in the opposite direction, and the next thing I knew I was in the nuclear medicine department, wondering "How in the world did I get here? I had no idea I was that smart."
I took a seat, filled out a few papers. Thought they were just really easy tests. Name, date of birth, what kind of drugs am I on...that sort of thing. Turned them in and got called back to what must have been a super secret nuclear medicine room, because there were stickers on the door that sort of reminded me of the Mr. Yuk stickers you're supposed to put on stuff you want to scare the little ones away from. Yeah, it was scary. But I'm not going to lie; it was also cool. I felt a little bit like Julie Bond 006.9, especially after they brought out the super secret nuclear medicine radioactive shot in such a spiffy tube.
Notice the technician is wearing gloves. And she thought I had nice veins. Well, I've heard that before. (My arms look like a freaking iguana, if you ask me.) I'd like to point out that it is really hard to multifunction when one function is to not look at the needle stabbing into your arm and the other one is to take a picture to document said stabbing. And while chewing gum, to keep from tasting tin.
Then it's lights, camera, action. Time for the photo shoot of my heart, to make sure it still has a groovy beat, as the Chemo Cocktail I am on, Herceptin, can sometimes mess with the way it works. I get one of these MugaScans every three months while I am on it; and I am on it for a year, which ends just before Christmas, God willing. Practically all the pieces of equipment you can see in the picture swivel and then hover over me to make sure I have no personal space, and then they do three ten minute scans of different views of my heart.

My heart really is usually quite introverted and camera shy, but after three of these I think it stepped up to the plate like a champ today. Ready to face the paparazzi. Ready to say "Cheese" for three photo shoots, one right after the other. And then the swiveling and hovering of the equipment began. And right before my very eyes, the flashing screen said; Status: (and in red, flashing allcaps): EXECUTING
That is just not something you want to see on the screen hovering above you. Ever. And with a great big white button that says STOP that you can't reach because your hands are strapped so they don't swivel away with the equipment that has swiveled to surround you, completely boxing you in.
But as you can see I made peace with the situation. And I got three 10-minute catnaps in the process. Superpowers are exhausting I tell you.
And here's the card they handed me on the way out the door. My Superhero membership card, explaining my radioactivity, which I take, is basically my license to set off airport security gates and such. All in the name of fighting evil of course. I've seen Spiderman, and I know the mantra, "With great power, comes great responsibility." Not to mention, it's written on the back of our Superhero membership cards now. So no worries. Hehe.
Well I drove like a madwoman to get home before the transformation took. In my experience, you never know how the superpowers will manifest. Luckily I did make it home just in time. My poor kids had to witness the event, but thankfully they kept their heads about them and grabbed my new iPhone to snap a picture.
After a morning like that, my first superpower surfaced: a superduperpowernap.

The rest, I'm sorry to say, is classified, but as you can see it is 1:35 as I type this, and I am just turning in for the night, fully exhausted from a very superpower-full day.

superCheers and superLove,

Thursday, October 1, 2009

T-5...Check Please

As of Monday, I have only FOUR chemo cocktails left! Yay for the number FOUR!

It's not a FOURgone conclusion, of course, because in the FOURfront of my heart and mind, it is all God willing, that I continue to move FOURward in this health and healing that He has mercifully and graciously FOURordained FOUR me; so without further ado, and beFOUR I FOURget, I would like to thank Him FOUR one more chemo cocktail in my rear-view mirror and this pleasant FOURshadowing of only FOUR more left.
What a good gift that was for my FOURty-FOURth birthday! Makes my FOURhead unfurrow it's brows as my smile tries to meet them.
I won't go on about this FOURever, but I just thought I would FOURwarn y'all, that in a wee bit more than a FOURtnight I will be teeing up for the T- FOURth and swinging like a mad woman. And I think you are supposed to yell "FOUR" when you do that.

P.S. This post was brought to you by the number FOUR, obviously, but also by my new MacBook that I got FOUR my birthday (along with its baby brother, my new iPhone) from my FOURmost supporter, Dave, who is usually not in the FOURfront, but behind the lines working overtimes to save up the dimes to support my writing and rhymes. How's that FOUR gangsta?Anyway, I just want to say thanks to the number FOUR, the peeps at Apple, Dave, and of course, FOUR viewers like y'all!