Sunday, November 27, 2011


Yes, I was completely surprised.

This was initially going to be a post about our trip to Indy last weekend or Thanksgiving or something else random in my life.

Instead, I am going to post my gratitude and amazed incredulity to all the loves in my life who got together to throw me the best 30th birthday surprise party EVER!!!!

Thanks to...

The delightfully merry chefs who worked hard into the wee hours of the night preparing the delicious feast!

Almost my ENTIRE family who came in from out of town to be there and in costume!!!  

My moms--who encouraged Adam in this venture and should have dressed up as saints for all of the hard work they put into the party!

My sister-in-law, Sarah and her partner in crime, James.  Slide-show/Party-planning queen and the Supervisor/Sampling king. 

Harriet Potter aka, Laura, who somehow managed to talk to me about twice a week without once spilling the beans about her super-stealthy plans!  Amazing!  P.S. Her birthday is on Tuesday!

And of course, my amazing family.  Adam, the man to whom the words "planning in advance" mean very little to, who managed to pull off the biggest, most incredible pre-planned surprise costume birthday party for his eternally grateful wife.  And my children, who, like me, were blissfully unaware of the party and patient with Dada as he planned the whole shindig while Mama was at work.

Finally, thanks to ALL of you who came, wanted to come, contributed stories or pictures or quotes or thoughts.  All of you who help remind me to be grateful for being able to wake up every day and get out and live my life!  Life is good!

Monday, November 21, 2011


Ahhhh...The Glass Rooster Cannery...such a beautiful, idyllic location for a family get-together.  The weather was just right for playing outside and enjoying the setting.  And the kids really love going there.  But let us be clear about one thing.  They love going to there to "help".

Helper #2 riding the stationary bike
 As mentioned in a previous post, Adam has a wee bit of an obsession when it comes to the children working at a cannery.  We're still not sure why, however recent speculations include the desire for canned lamb to be introduced into the household on a more regular basis.  Of course, now that there is a convenient cannery, he has already filled out the applications for the children and submitted them to the appropriate personnel.  Did I mention it was an obsession?

Two little helpers having so much fun
 Despite Adam's odd fixation, the children have grown to love going to the cannery, but they do insist, that they are only going to "help".  Certainly not "work".  Heaven help you if you say the "w" word to them.

The rooster
 So the cannery has officially gained two very eager and very tiny helpers.  And one very relieved mother.  Hopefully, now that we have adopted the appropriate terminology, the therapy bills won't be so big due to cannery work-induced anxiety.

Grandma and Nora "helping"

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Exercise And Cancer: Reducing The Risk, Enhancing The Treatment

Today, guest blogger, David Haas a fellow cancer survivor, blogger, and advocate requested to write a special post about exercise and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.  I agreed to this because I know the importance of staying active to keep healthy.  Enjoy!
According to the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), exercise may reduce the risk of endometrial, colon, and invasive breast cancer. It may also increase the prostate cancer survival rate. Regular physical activity can even reduce a smoker’s risk of lung cancer, although quitting smoking is still the best action.

Numerous studies funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and other organizations suggest that exercise, combined with adequate rest, can lower the overall cancer risk. This applies whether a cancer is rare mesothelioma or common carcinomas. Although researchers are unclear as to how exercise does this, it may have something to do with the effect of exercise on weight, hormones, and immune function.

Not only can exercise lower cancer risk, but it plays an important role in cancer treatment, too. While it cannot cure cancer or treat the disease alone, it makes a good complement to conventional medicine. Exercise enables patients to cope with the side effects of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. And it maximizes a patient’s long-term well-being.

Exercise has the same benefits for cancer patients as it does for healthy adults. Increased fitness, greater strength, improved mood, and more energy are just some of the benefits of regular activity. But for cancer patients, exercise has additional benefits; it can actually enhance treatment.

Weight loss or gain is an area of special concern for nearly all cancer patients. Dramatic weight change is tied to both cancer and treatment symptoms. Regular activity helps to control weight, reduce cancer recurrence, and increase survival rates.

Exercise can also help patients better deal with the treatment symptoms associated with chemotherapy. Aggressive therapies take a toll on the body and mind. Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, headaches, fatigue, and depression are just some of the side effects of cancer treatment. Exercise strengthens the whole body, so patients can handle their treatments better.

Research has produced compelling evidence that exercise is safe for most cancer patients, both during and after treatment -- as long as they do not push themselves. Patients should consult with their doctor before starting a cancer fitness program. Doctors and patients should work together to tailor a healthy exercise plan.

Different situations require different regimens, of course, but patients should avoid inactivity unless recommended by their doctor. Whether they choose jogging, swimming, bike riding, or yoga -- or just a stretch in bed and a walk down the hall -- cancer patients need some form of movement.

Ideally, they should strive to get the same amount of exercise that the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends for healthy adults -- 150 minutes per week, or about 20 minutes a day. The best plans combine aerobic activity with flexibility exercises and strength training for the best health benefits.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Chemo and MRI

I was supposed to go through chemo this weekend, but my doctor postponed it for next weekend after my MRI.  This makes me extremely happy because with the timing of things, I was going to have a chemo weekend ON MY BIRTHDAY next month!!!  Aaah!  Thankfully, I won't have to go through that!

Speaking of my birthday, as many of you know, I made a goal back in June to lose 30 before 30.  I liked the concept because it was catchy and because losing 30 would do me some good.  Well, here I am, 20 pounds down and well on my way to 30.  I have only 1 more month, and being the realistic gal that I am, I don't think I'm going to reach 30 before 30.

However, this does not bother me at all because I have discovered so many wonderful things along the way.  Thanks to my awesome health coach, Erica, I have set reasonable weekly goals for myself that have completely changed our family lifestyle!  I have taken on a very difficult task for a working mother of 2: I have decided to eat a minimum of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.  Now, this may not seem difficult, but after having actually tried to do it, it has proven itself a challenge.  It is my new lifestyle.  This means incorporating some fruits/vegetables into my snacks and/or breakfast so that my dinner doesn't become a feast of veggies.  We have been doing some awesome family-style workouts over the last 5 months.  Bike rides, walks, and yoga.  Nothing crazy, boring, out-of-my realm, or unreasonable.  The main component of these workouts was fun with Adam and the kiddos.  And now, I'm down 20 and I know that I will reach my goal of 30 soon.  Maybe not by the big day, but definitely soon after.  I'm thrilled.