Wednesday, October 17, 2012


It's almost here!  In one week and one day I'll be on a plane, with Tonya, Tampa bound.

My excitement is about ready to bust at the seams.

As excited as I was last year, I was also extremely nervous because I didn't know what to expect.  Did I pack everything I should have?  Was I going to actually be able to do it?  What was my mindset going to be knowing it was me saying good-bye to one of the hardest years of my life, and doing it to honor Steph.

It was truly, TRULY amazing.  More than I did or even could have anticipated.

And this year....I'm just EXCITED!!!

I'm excited to see Tonya and George.  I'm excited we will be walking with Gloria (a fellow bc survivor who is currently in treatment again - please send some prayers up for her) and her daughter. I'm excited to see, what I've heard are, beautiful views.  And I'm excited that part of my real life support system will actually be there.

My heart is overflowing as I re-read that last sentence, because I know how bittersweet it really is.

These past few months have been a whirlwind.... And my life has changed/is changing in so many ways.

I've been reminded time and time again how lucky I am to have made such strong friendships with some of the people I met last year in Atlanta.  The only 'team' there is amongst the 3 Day tweeps is TEAM PINK!!! And that is EXACTLY how it should be.  Personal lives should never be used to try and distract from that.

I've learned that taking the high road is the best thing you could ever do, no matter how someone else perceives it.  And sometimes, it's hard and extremely difficult, but it does not mean you're hiding just means you realize it is THE RIGHT thing to do.

I've come to realize that I would do nothing short of walking through fire to stand up for and protect the people I love.  And unfortunately, sometimes, that includes heartache and taking personal criticism and judgement from others, but at the end of the day, I know where my heart is and it's filled with nothing but good intentions.

I realize more and more how incredibly blessed I am to have such amazing friends who would, who have, and who are going to do the same for me as I come home and put on my fighting gloves once again.  Their strength surrounds me in my times of weakness, and they are always there to pick me up, carry me, and on occasion, give me the shove that I need to keep pushing forward.

I've learned that a simple 'I support you' has the ability to change EVERYTHING!

And lastly, I've come to realize that even though life has a way of trying to knock you down and scary situations once again arise,  joy and happiness will ALWAYS prevail, if you let them.

This journey started because of cancer, but it will never end because of it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

2 years - Thank you, Cancer

Thursday marks 2 years since my breast cancer diagnosis!

As I sat last night thinking about everything that has happened in my life in the last 24 months, I was overwhelmed with gratitude.

I know 'Survivors' who still have a hard time on their diagnosis anniversary (and I get that!), but I can't help thinking about the good that has happened in my life as a direct result of it.

- I know that all the women I love remember to do their monthly checks and get their mammograms.

- I wake up every day with an appreciation for the life I have. It's the everyday things that I used to take for granted that I now have the ability to step back and really thank God for.

- My relationships with my family and friends are so much stronger. I realized how important it is to tell them how much they mean to me.

- My faith is stronger than it's ever been. I've really dug into scripture over the past year.

- I'm involved with the American Cancer Society and the Susan G Komen 3 Day now. I've spoken at meetings and been a flag carrier in Survivor's circle.

- I've met, friended, and became part of an amazing online community on Twitter known as the 3 Day Tweep. I've never met a more incredible group of people.

- One of those girls (Tonya) has become one of my closest friends. Even though we live several hours apart, we talk all the time.

- I've also met an amazing group of my girls in my town who have decided to participate in the Chicago 3 Day this year. Elizabeth and Jen are fellow survivors. I know I am blessed to call these incredible women (Brooke, Emily, Elizabeth, and Jen) my friends.

So, as I reflect back, I'm proud to say I kicked cancer's ass, and I am also incredibly thankful for all it brought to my life in the process.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Glowing Green Smoothie

In my quest to read everything I can get my hands on that talks about gluten-free/clean eating, I stumbled upon a blog that praised the book 'The Beauty Detox Solution'.

The blogger claimed this must is a MUST READ when it comes to clean eating.  So, of course, I purchased it.

I could not put this book down. 

Kimberly explains the process of what it takes for certain types of foods to break down and travel through the digestive sysetm, and how that plays in integral part in the nutrients and vitamins our bodies actually receive from what we are eating.

She also explains it in terms of pH levels...acidity and alkalinity, and I, as a science-nerd, was better able to understand certain aspects of nutrition that hasn't always made sense to me in the past.

She does recommend eating a vegetarian life-style, but also adapts her eating strategy to allow those of us who do eat meat, to continue eating it. 

The last 30 or so pages is filled with salad, soup, and meal recipes.

And the recipe I was most excited to try was the Glowing Green Smoothie.

My family as been on a smoothie kick lately, but it's fruit smoothies.  I was curious if the fruit in the glowing green could actually mask the taste of all the greens, like she claims it does.  If so, what a great way to add a few more greens into my family's diet.

Here's what I used to make my green smoothie.

-1.5 cups water
-Half a head of lettuce
-Handful of baby spinach
-3 slices of pear
-8 pieces of pineapple
-Juice from 1/2 lemon

Blend REALLY well!!!!

My recipe ended up making 1.25 L (without ice added).

Kimberly recommends drinking the green smoothie very cold, so I added ice cubes directly to my cup.  The rest I will refrigerate for tomorrow.  It's supposed to keep well in the refrigerator for several days.

The taste was amazing, however, it was a little thick so I think I'll add a bit more water next time.

Overall, I have to say, I'm pleasantly surprised by how good it actually is.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Spinach Hummus

Late last year, I decided to cut out processed foods, as much as possible, from my family's diet.

Not that we ate a lot before, but I wanted to be even more disciplined about it.  I'm a firm believer that your children acquire a 'like' for the foods they grow up eating, and I want to get my kids off to a good start when it comes to making good decisions about food choices.

Now that's not to say that we don't eat Subway every now and then, because we do.  I've just become more conscience of the foods I buy at the store.

We've never been a family who has bags of chips, cookies, ice cream, etc in our house for snacks, and a lot of our family members say we are 'weird' because of this.  I'd just rather my kids eat nuts, fruits, veggies, etc. if they want a snack.

Ava, our middle daughter, has been having some GI issues, which has lead to us going gluten-free.

And I'll be sharing more of our new favorite gluten-free recipes with you all soon.

Today's recipe is by far one of the kids new favorite 'dips'.

If your kids are anything like mine, then they always have to have 'dip' for everything they eat. lol

And if you're anything like me, you LOVE simple, easy-to-make recipes.  You know the kind that contain five ingredients or less. :)

So, here we go:
-Chick Peas
-1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp Cumin
-Handful of spinach

Throw it all in a food processor. 

Blend well while drizzling in EVOO.

Literally, two minutes later you will have a yummy bowl of hummus to enjoy on anything your heart desires.

Aside from being absolutely delicious, you can store this for up to four days in the refrigerator, and the cost break-down is just over $2.  And you just can't beat that.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Dear Kate

When I first learned of Bre's congential heart defect, and the seriousness of the situation, my head told me to guard my heart.  There was no way this little 4.5 lb, 31 week preemie could survive this.  But my heart knew there might only be a few, short days to physically be with her and I needed to love her with everything I had.

In those 15 days prior to surgery, and for the month following, my life consisted of barely being able to touch her, comfort her, to really do anything but just be with her and love her.  I felt more helpless than I ever had in my life, and I know right now, there are times that you feel the exact same way.  It may be for a different reason, but the pain is still the same.  It's partly in feeling helpless and partly in wanting something so much more for your child because you love them so much.

I've prayed, and prayed, and prayed some more since I received your email with the diagnosis.  I know the road ahead is long, and will often times be bumpy, but I also know that in those moments when a sweet, little O calls his Mommy 'a princess' makes it all worth every ounce of worry and every tear shed.

This morning as I drove the kids to school, I was listening to the writer of the song I'm about to share with you, talk about his feelings when his own child was diagnosed with a congential heart defect in utero.  As I pulled in the school parking lot, tears flowed down my face as I flashed back to that place in my own life, and then you and little O were all I could think about.

This line got me..... 'I chose to recklessly love my child, even if I bleed'.

Afraid to love, something that could break,
Could I move on, if you were torn away?
I'm so close to what I can't control
I can't give you half my heart, and pray it makes you whole

You're gonna have all of me, you're gonna have all of me,
Cause you're worth every fallen tear, you're worth facing every fear
You're gonna know all my love, even if it's not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts, giving you all of me is where I'll start.

I won't let sadness steal you from my arms
I won't let pain keep you from my heart
Trade the fear of all that I could lose, for every moment I share with you
You're gonna have all of me, you're gonna have all of me,
Cause you're worth every fallen tear, you're worth facing any fear
You're gonna know all my love, even if it's not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts, giving you all of me is where I'll start.

Heaven broke into this moment, it's too wonderful to speak
You're worth all of me, you're worth all of me
So let me recklessly love you, even if I bleed
You're worth all of me, you're worth all of me

You're gonna have all of me, you're gonna have all of me,
Cause you're worth every fallen tear, you're worth facing any fear
You're gonna know all my love, even if it's not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts, giving you all of me is where I'll start

You're gonna have all of me,
Causeyou're worth every fallen tear, you're worth facing any fear
You're gonna know all my love, even if it's not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts, giving you all of me is where I'll start
It's where I'll start

I see this in your dedication to do everything you possibly can to make O's life better, and I just wanted to tell you that I think he's one blessed little boy to be surrounded by that kind of love from his princess Mommy.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Riley's....Here We Come Again!!!

WOW...has it really been THREE months since my last post?  Apparently so.

Time really does fly by faster the older you get.

A few months ago, while doing a Bible study with some close girlfriends, I really started to feel like I needed to shift my priorities, so one of the things that fell to the wayside was this blog.  I've had several friends email me and ask if something was wrong, because I hadn't 'blogged' in so long.

And truth be told, I just haven't had the desire to share what has been going on in our personal life until we had some more definitive answers.

Ava has been pretty sick for a few months.  After a couple ER visits and a string of inconclusive bloodwork, Mark admitted her to Jasper Hospital for further testing.  After an abdominal ultrasound and CT scans, it was determined that she has some GI issues and a gallstone.

Mark called Marcus (the dr who performed my gallbladder removal and mastectomy) to come evaluate her and decide if he felt surgery was needed.  After much discussion about her age and the rarity of gallbladder issues at this age, the unknown of the cause of it, it was decided that her care needed to be transferred to Riley's.

Her medications were adjusted to keep her comfortable until we were able to get in to see the Pediatric Surgeon on March 20.

Dr. Billmire said Ava's cause is unusual and she wanted her to see the GI specialist to try and determine what else is going on. 

So, on Monday we were back at Riley's bright and early of another ultrasound and an Upper GI with small bowl follow through.  (Meaning she had to drink Barium and have her organs scanned as it passed through).  This test took awhile, and she wasn't able to eat until the Barium made it to a certain point in the digestive track.  The poor kid was starving by time that happened.

That afternoon we met with the GI specialist, Dr Croffie, at IU North.  After a long evaluation, he decided that she also needs an Endoscopy with Bravo implant.  We are waiting for scheduling to call us with the date of that appointment, but with this procedure they will be testing the pH of the acid her stomach is producing, repair any ulcers they find, and take biopsies from within the duodenum and intestines, which will tell us if she has Celiac disease (aka: a gluten allergy).  She has about 9 out of the 10 symptoms for this disease, and we've recently found out that it runs on her paternal grandfather's side of Curtis's family. 

The procedure will take about 3-4 hours and she'll have to be put under anesthesia for it.  A small device will be attached to her esophageal wall, and she'll have to wear a pager sized recorder on her belt that will record the pH readings from the acid that is causing the esophageal damage during the reflux.  With the information they gather, Dr Croffie will be able to adjust her medication to better treat her.

So, that's where we are with all of that.

Now for the good news....

Four other women from my town will be participating in the 3-Day in Chicago, and I'm so excited.  We've been getting together a couple days a week for training walks, and it's been a lot of fun to get to know them better.  If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you'll see the MapMyRun app postings about these training walks. :)

We're also encouraging our big kids to exercise more, so as a family, we've started a 5K training program.  They are pretty excited about it, and regularly ask me to wait until they get home from school to run so that they can run with me.  This past week-end, Chris and I went to Adventure's Recreation to get some new running socks, which lead to me getting a new fanny camelbak for my 3-Day.  (I absolutely LOVE it, and the best part is.....IT'S PINK!).  And Chris also bought me my first pair of Pearl Izumi's.  He bought himself a pair, too, as motivation to start running with me. lol.  They are honestly, the most comfortable tennis shoes I've ever ran in.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Honey Mustard Penne with Grilled Chicken

I'm going to share with you all my easiest go-to recipe for left over grilled chicken.

I don't have my normal step-by-step pictures, but it's so easy, y'all won't even need them. Lol

Dice up grilled chicken, an avocado, and a cucumber.

While boiling the penne, whip up some homemade honey mustard.

1 cup low-fat mayo
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp Karo
4 Tbsp honey or agave nectar

Mix well.

Drain pasta and mix all ingredients.