Wrapping up and Moving On

I realize I have not posted anything beyond the port insertion surgery story. I find I’m not really all that inclined to document the minutiae of chemo/radiation/chemo. I tolerated the chemo infusions relatively well considering what it was. I often overheard other patients talking to the nurses about side effects and would find myself relieved that I didn’t have it so bad (and feeling somewhat guilty at times too if we’re honest). I never had any nausea or stomach issues. Of course I grew weaker and more fatigued but I was able to continue going for walks through the Taxol (the first, and “easier”, drug). My biggest issue was joint pain. After 12 weeks of weekly Taxol treatments, I switched to Adriamycin and cyclophosphamide (also known as the Red Devil) for four treatments over eight weeks. (Usually they start with Adriamycin & cyclophosphamide) The first couple of treatments definitely hit me harder than Taxol had. There were days I could barely get out of my chair. I would go from bed to recliner to bed. I got up only to go to the bathroom. Hubby would bring me food. And honestly, my memory from that period is very fuzzy. But since there were two weeks between treatments, I would start feeling slightly better right before I went in again. We moved the weekend before my third treatment. I was able to rally enough to help with the move…some. And unpack a little bit before I was down again. But that treatment I ended up with Hand Foot Syndrome. Basically the chemo leaks out of capillaries in the extremities and causes heat sensitivity and blisters. Somehow the worst of it cleared up before the last treatment. It wasn’t completely gone but at least I could walk.

I had my final treatment Monday, June 1, 2020. My parents, both sisters and their families flew in on Thursday for our oldest son’s wedding. My sisters, brothers-in-law, three nieces and one nephew stayed with us. (My parents stayed in a hotel within half a mile of us). The wedding was on Saturday the 4th. We hosted the reception at our new house. Yes, the one we moved into 3 weeks earlier. It was all wonderful and beautiful and I loved every moment…except for the mouth sores I developed. Somehow I did not feel awful though. I think the adrenaline and excitement carried me through.

(Pics below: My last day of chemo and the shirt my mom sent for the occasion; My sisters and I at the wedding. Yes, I’m wearing a wig)

On June 15 I had an MRI. They did not see any cancer on the scan. But when I had my lumpectomy on July 1st, there was still a tiny bit of active tumor. Just 15% of the original size. But it was there…until they removed it. I count July 1st as my “cancer free” date.

Radiation started on August 10 and lasted seven weeks. We discovered I had “radiation resistant skin”…so I didn’t burn as badly as expected. Oh I still burned. But it could have been worse.

In October we tried oral chemo to reduce my chance of re-occurrence. I was supposed to do take it three weeks on/one week off for six months. But as soon as I started my second round, I developed Hand Foot Syndrome again. My oncologist office told me to stop taking it immediately and after it cleared up, we would try again at a lower dose. I started crying one night at dinner and told my husband I didn’t want to start taking it again. We talked about statistics and the impact it was having on our life and decided to forego any further treatment. It all impacted my husband at least as much as it did me. I would say more so. I went into my next appointment (Nov 18) prepared to for push back but my care team was incredibly supportive. They agreed that we had made the best decision for our family and affirmed that I had been through aggressive treatment. And they encouraged me not to second guess myself.

And here we are. Almost three months from that last appointment. I still have to have check-ups every six months. And I really should go get my port flushed. I’m still weak but am getting stronger. I still have joint pain/stiffness, some days worse than others. I still try to claim chemo brain but I’m not sure that really flies anymore. And now I have enough hair that it looks like a cute little pixie cut.

I told my oncologist at my last appointment that I “want to be JUST a diabetic” since I never had the opportunity to figure that out without chemo/steroids/general trauma to my system. And I finally have the bandwidth to really start learning about it, and how my body responds. There are a lot of factors, only a handful of which are easily controlled.

It’s time to move on from the cancer saga. There’s so much else I want to write about and focus on. I’m always willing to answer questions. If someone would like to me to expound on something specific, I’m happy to do that (Assuming it’s not a creepy request. This is the internet after all)

Until next time…

(Current picture. NOT wearing a wig)

January 22, 2020 – Surgery Day

Until January 22, 2020 I had never been “put under”. And I was okay with that. I would have been perfectly happy never having to be under anesthesia. I’ve since heard that some port placements can be done with local (and my removal will be) but mine was not.

We didn’t have to be at the hospital ridiculously early. Maybe 8? I honestly don’t remember. I did all the fun check in paperwork and my request to go to the bathroom was denied (I had been drinking Gatorade per their instructions). After waiting for what seemed like FOREVER but was in reality less than ten minutes, they took me back to pre-op…and finally let me go to the bathroom. Because, pregnancy test. I told them if it came back positive we had a much bigger issue than cancer.

The pre-op bays are a joke for privacy. I knew the names of everyone around me, what kind of surgery they were having, why, who was with them, and even their birth dates and details about their lives. I remember very little…and not one name or birth date…so I guess my brain is not violating HIPPA.

The staff was amazing. But don’t tell them you have good veins. It almost guarantees they won’t be able to get the IV in easily. Most of the pre-op is a blur of people in and out, questions, vitals being taken. But I do vividly remember that my anesthesiologist’s voice was incredibly soothing. (Her name was Tatiana but I have no memory of what she looked like)

In the OR the nurse asked if I was claustrophobic because she was going to “swaddle” me on the table. I told her that actually sounded wonderful. Then she put an oxygen mask on me and for the first time ever, I suddenly became VERY claustrophobic. I was trying to tell her I didn’t like it when Tatiana told me I was going to feel something “spicy” in my IV and it was just my “sleepy juice”.

And the I woke up in recovery.

I looked over at the nurse and said “I haven’t met you yet.” He told me he only worked in recovery so I wouldn’t have. He asked how I felt and I told him “sleepy”, then tried to curl up and go back to sleep. He wouldn’t let me…and I told him he was NOT my favorite nurse. He asked me if I could get dressed on my own and I said “Yeah. I feel tipsy…like I’ve had a Mike’s hard lemonade. But I can get dressed. I’m a bit of a lightweight.” He dryly replied “I gathered that from the Mike’s comment.”

After meeting with the doctor (which I remember almost none of), Jon put me in the truck and we started home. It was right at lunchtime and I hadn’t eaten since dinner the night before. I asked him to drive through somewhere because I wanted chicken nuggets and french fries. He reminded me that the doctor told me to eat like I was recovering from a stomach bug (clear liquids, toast, etc). And I promptly started crying. Not just a few tears. Oh no. Full blown CRYING. Because I didn’t WANT broth. I wanted chicken nuggets and french fries. And I was quite vocal about it. Finally he sighed and told me to eat whatever I wanted but he wasn’t responsible when I got sick.

I did not get sick. I ate chicken nuggets and french fries. (Spoiler – I craved it all through chemo) And then all the left overs I could find in the refrigerator. All while crying. Turns out coming out of anesthesia makes me hungry. And makes me cry. Jon would walk through and say “You’re eating AGAIN?!!? And why are you crying?!!?” My only response “Uh-huh and I don’t know. I feel fine. But my body keeps crying.”

The Surgeon told me I would be fine with ibuprofen and could go back to “life as normal” the next day. So I went to work the next day. For eight hours. That was a mistake. Turns out my surgeon is quite the optimist. I was okay with just ibuprofen except for my shoulder. They did something to it and it HURT for several days.

Overall not a bad experience. I kinda like the anesthesia nap. That’s some of the best sleep I’ve ever had.

At home post surgery

January 14, 2020 – meeting my surgeon

(Funny aside…when I wrote this title, I originally wrote January 14, 2019. Because the year has felt that long.)

If you’ve been following along with this journey, you might remember that my PCP told me in December that the cancer was small and we were looking at a quick surgery, 12 weeks recovery and back to normal. He referred me to a surgeon that his wife (also a physician) used for her surgeries. The referral was accompanied with high praise, including that he doesn’t send his patients to anyone else. Good enough for me.

This whole time, while I have been saying “easy surgery and done”, my hubby had the attitude of “wait and see”.

The day of the appointment, we went to lunch (Italian food…one of my favorites) then drove to the surgeon’s office. Ahhh…back in the day when your spouse could accompany you to appointments in PERSON. I had already had this appointment several times in my head. We were going to talk about how quickly surgery could be done. Restrictions after, healing time, what I would be able to do versus what I wanted to do. We sat in the examining room and I was confidently prepared to drive this discussion.

The Surgeon burst into the room with his energetic manner, plopped down on the stool, rolled right up to me (personal space? what?), patted my leg and said “We’re looking at a nasty little cancer here. If we don’t do chemo, we’re going to lose you in five years. We can just do surgery but it will come back in your bones and brain.” Turns out my PCP did not have all of the pathology results and it was pretty agressive. (Triple negative)

Not the conversation we were supposed to be having.

I was blindsided. Jon was not. I don’t remember much about the rest of the visit…it’s all quite a blur. I remember The Surgeon telling me I was going to lose my hair and I teared up. He patted my shoulder and said “It will grow back” and I said “But it took me SO LONG to get it this long.” I know he was patting my hand for what felt like the whole time. I know I couldn’t think enough to form questions…I think Jon asked a couple but I couldn’t tell you what they were. I remember being relieved I didn’t have to drive home and then starting to cry on that drive. The Surgeon was very positive on the prognosis side of things. There was no doubt that this was curable. But it wasn’t the journey that was supposed to happen. I remember it snowed. That I remember vividly. Because it wasn’t suppose to and I was wearing canvas shoes.

Surgery to put in my port was scheduled for the next Wednesday (22nd). I received my pre-surgery instructions and started figuring out who all we needed to let know. Scratch that. I texted my mom and sisters and a couple of my closest friends. Jon took care of letting other people know.

I was meeting two good friends that night for dinner and a movie. They offered to reschedule but I wanted to do something normal. We went to see “Little Women” and it made me miss my sisters. I don’t know when in the movie I started crying but I didn’t really stop until we got to the parking lot and I had to focus on navigating the icy patches. I’m pretty sure there’s a life analogy in that somewhere.

My Facebook post from two days later is below. There’s a few more details in it…

I guess it’s time for a “public” update on the whole health saga. Actually the surgeon told me I was “very healthy” so let’s just let that sit for a moment. He also told us that we need more than surgery to treat the cancer. I’ll go in to get a port next Wednesday (22nd), we meet with the oncologist next Friday (24th) and I’ll start chemo sometime after that. The outcome is still the same. The surgeon said he’s confident it’s curable. It’s just a different treatment plan. And since I’m “very healthy” he expects me to tolerate chemo well. I don’t know exactly what that means but I like the sound of it even though I’m sure it doesn’t equate to “life as normal”. I won’t have any restrictions on me during treatment. I can swim/bike/run/yoga/work/youth group/etc as much as I feel able. I’ll probably lose my hair but I’ve been telling people I look cute in hats. (Cause I DO) And maybe I’ll get to sport some fun wigs too. It will definitely make getting ready easier…and I don’t have to mess with swim caps for awhile! Oh! And I also get to have an MRI. I’m kinda excited for that. I know it might sound odd but I’ve always wanted one. I haven’t wanted a REASON to have one but the whole process is fascinating to me. So check that off the bucket list I guess! Jon and I still don’t need anything right now. That might change as we go through this process. I’m reserving the right to change my mind and call on some of you down the road. 😛 But for now, prayers are great!

Also one of my nieces in Arkansas mailed me a bracelet that she made and I wore it constantly for weeks.

Next – my first experience with anesthesia. (Spoiler alert – I am not AT ALL dramatic….)

Flashback Friday – January 8, 2020

Back to the saga of 2020…

I met with my Primary Care Provider and we discussed the whole cancer thing. But we also discussed diabetes. Because, you know, cancer isn’t enough.

You may (or may not) know that I was diagnosed with type two diabetes in May of 2016. I was never able to control it. I had periods of time that were better but not consistently, even when I was eating really well and exercising. A lot.

In 2019 I trained for a half-iron distance race. That’s a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run (70.3 miles total). One does not just “do” a race of that distance. At least THIS one doesn’t. It’s quite a bit of training. I did the training. And the race (in September 2019) did not go as planned. That’s a whole ‘nother story. But when we did blood work in December, my blood sugar numbers were awful. (A1C for those who know) All that moving, they should have been great. After all, type 2 can be controlled with “diet and exercise”. But they were quite the opposite of great. My PCP said “I don’t know how to help you. I’m out of ideas. I’m referring you to an endocrinologist.”

So on January 8th, I walked into an endocrinologist office expecting a lecture about better dietary compliance. But he listened to my history and very calmly said “You’re not type 2. We’ll do blood work to confirm that but I’m 99.9% confident that you have adult onset type 1. Your pancreas shut down over a couple of years instead of immediately but you were never going to be able to control it with diet and exercise.” I immediately burst into tears causing the him a fair amount of concern: Endocrinologist “…I can see that I’ve upset you…” Me – now laughing and crying simultaneously – “No! No! I’m so RELIEVED!”

The bloodwork confirmed the diagnosis. He took me off a med for type 2 that was actually working against me, prescribed me rapid acting insulin and put me on a Libre Freestyle.

The Libre is a device I wear on my arm and scan to get blood sugar readings instead of having to stab my finger every few hours. It’s fantastic…now. But trying to put it on the first time was fifteen minutes of dramatic tears, declarations that I would just continue to do finger sticks because “my fingertips are numb now anyway”, and begging to call a friend that wears the same device to “find out how it feels”…at 10:30 at night. My hubby finally threatened to put it on me himself (to which I responded “DO NOT TOUCH ME!! I’LL DO IT!”) and eventually I was able to push down on the “installer” enough to insert the little needle in my arm. Jon stared at me expectantly. I sheepishly said “Oh. I didn’t feel anything.”

This has all been at LEAST as much fun for him as it has me.

So that’s how we started our year. Surprise! You’re insulin dependent! That was the first appointment of MANY to come.

My new hardware

We interrupt your regularly scheduled program…

During our morning walk, my co-workers were discussing their journey as writers. I mentioned that I felt like my writing muscles have atrophied. Once upon a time I would have considered myself somewhat of a writer. That started about the 6th grade (aka a LOOOOOOONG time ago). These days? Not so much. It’s something I regularly feel “nudged” to do but rarely follow through on. As social media grew in popularity, I started using those platforms more. I feel like those posts lack the substance that a blog encourages although I do enjoy the ease of interaction.

That being said. When I re-read my first two entries on the whole cancer journey, they felt somewhat stiff and shallow. I attribute that to two factors: (1) the aforementioned lack of writing practice and (2) the genuine lack of emotion I remember feeling during that time (other than irritation of course). I mentioned it felt surreal. It really did…or maybe just not at all real.

Also – and this might go without saying but still. I’m relaying how I remember things…and my memory isn’t great during the best of times. You’ll find my husband is the actual hero of the story. But I’m sure he has a much different memory of many events/moments . In the last two decades he lost both his grandfather and his mother to cancer…and he was heavily involved in both of their journeys as well. This is pretty much my first encounter with the disease. That contrast in experience, along with the natural difference in perspectives, means we saw things through distinctive lenses. I’ll talk about how I saw him react or what I THINK he was thinking/feeling but that’s no guarantee that I’m accurate on those points.

Before I started treatment, we joked about “chemo brain”. (We actually made a lot of jokes within the walls of our home that would have made most people look at us in horror. We use humor to deal with a lot of life. I only regret that I do not remember more of the jokes but I DO remember laughing a lot). After I started treatment I tried to use chemo brain as an excuse. Still do actually. Most people let me have it. Hubby shakes his head and said “Nope. That’s just Rhoni brain.” The week before I started chemo I walked in a circle THREE TIMES in the kitchen trying to remember what I was doing. He might have a point. MY POINT is that I thought I had something else to say but now I can’t remember what it is.

Without a fun seque or nice tidy ending, I’ll simply say – stay tuned. I’ll return to recounting the journey soon!

The Biopsy and Results (Miracles #2 & 3)

My husband drove me to the biopsy appointment. My best friend had offered to go with me. I thought it was odd that anyone would want to go. It was just local anesthesia so I could drive. And they would just be sitting in the waiting room. But it was at the downtown hospital so I was glad that Jon took me since I’m not familiar with that location.

The biopsy team was fantastic even though I felt like they were handling me with kid gloves again. There was a lot of hand patting and arm rubbing. Jon and I had talked about that after the last appointment and I realized that they probably worked with a lot of very scared, freaked out women. I just…wasn’t. It all felt a little surreal. And (as I’ve mentioned), a lot irritating. But like I said – the team was great. They are good at what they do. I knew when the doctor was about to take a sample because the nurse would ask a question to get me talking/distract me even though I honestly did not feel any pain or discomfort, I would just hear the loud “click”. I spent the evening watching movies with my ice pack but never developed a bruise. It was a non-event. I’ve talked to other women who did NOT have that experience and am very grateful that it was so easy for me.

Because that was a Wednesday afternoon, the results phone call was scheduled the next Monday afternoon (Dec 16). I’m a planner. While I don’t mind (good) surprises, I hate suspense. I usually “plan for the worst, hope for the best”. My husband says I’m pessimistic. I say I’m prepared. But in this case, I barely thought about it. My usual MO would be to consider every possible scenario and how I would respond to it. And while I did that a little, I did not obsess over it. I was going to take the phone call at work and move on with my day. Jon asked me to come home so we could both be there. And yes, I know, that makes MUCH MORE sense. But it was still mostly a non-issue to me.

Driving home Monday afternoon, it suddenly hit me…this could be a thing. I felt anxiety start to rise…and then immediate calm. I felt like God was saying “I already know the results. I’m already in that moment waiting for you.”

When the call came, I put the nurse on speaker phone in our living room. She started by saying the lymph node biopsy came back negative. Whew. But then she said “But they did find cancer in the breast.” And she told me to schedule an appointment with my Primary Care Physician asap.

Miracle #2 – it is very, VERY difficult to get in with my PCP. He is ALWAYS booked out for months. I know in this situation they would have found a way to work me in. But I already had an appointment for THE NEXT DAY. That I had scheduled a YEAR EARLIER. It was supposed to be my annual check-up but the purpose had just changed.

I hung up the phone, looked at Jon, started laughing and said “Well. At least if I have to have a mastectomy….” He interrupted me with “No. No. You are NOT going to tell me how this will help your triathlon”…which was EXACTLY what I was going to tell him. I was laughing about “free speed”. He was not amused. Too soon.

I like my lists and calendars and schedules. I like my plans. I like control. The fact that NONE OF THIS had freaked me out is Miracle #3. The next day when my PCP asked how I was doing, I told him I was irritated that it was going to mess up my 2020 triathlon season. He said “Nah. It’s pretty small. You’ll have surgery and be back to training in twelve weeks.” And that was what we told people.

Ha. Little did any of us know…

In the beginning aka Miracles #1

It’s been almost two years since I posted. Does anyone still read blogs? Maybe not. I know I often don’t take the time to even read an Instagram post, much less a full blog post!

I’ve decided to document the past year/my cancer journey. I don’t really know if there was a reason. But the thought has come up more and more often lately. Last week a co-worker commented that she had appreciated being able to keep up on social media but thought I should blog the journey. That was the confirmation I needed. And if I’m being REALLY honest, I kinda miss writing. So maybe no one else will read this and it’s just for me. But maybe God will bring who needs to read it. So with no further ado – let’s start at the beginning.

Once upon a time…October 2019 to be exact….

Some co-workers and I were taking our usual walk break and discussing mammograms. That sounds really random. Context – the company health fair was coming up and St. Luke’s Health Care was going to be there with their mobile mammogram bus. I mentioned that I had never had one (at 43 years of age). I had a whole list of reasons: it’s a hassle, there’s SO MANY false positives, there’s no family history….I wasn’t planning to sign up for an appointment. But the day before the fair, my teammate Crystal mentioned she had called to make her appointment and there was one left. She told me I should call and schedule it. And she had HER list of reasons: they were coming to me, insurance paid for it, my doctor had recommended I get one… Fine. I called and got the last open appointment – which also happened to be the last appointment of the day. October 11, 2019 I had my first mammogram. (Miracle #1)

The next week they called and said they wanted me to come in for a diagnostic mammogram and scheduled me for November 21. I was irritated. Obviously they weren’t concerned since it was over a month away. It was exactly why I didn’t want to do this…it was a hassle.

On November 21st I went in for the diagnostic mammogram. The tech cheerfully told me they were going to try and “squish that spot out”. Yay. They tugged and squished and squashed and smashed. And then told me to sit in the gowned waiting room for the ultrasound tech. At which point I thought “Huh. Guess it didn’t ‘squish out'”

I laid on the table while the ultrasound tech rubbed the cold wand up around my left boob…and up into my armpit. And I thought “That’s lymph node territory. Great.” I was not surprised when she asked me to wait for the doctor. I was not surprised when the doctor came in and told me they wanted to do a biopsy on a spot on my breast…and my lymph nodes. I did feel like they were treating me like a fragile vase they were expecting to shatter at any moment…which kinda irritated me. I was fine. I mean, I was irritated by yet ANOTHER appointment. But I was fine. We didn’t even KNOW anything yet.

The biopsy was scheduled for December 11 – two months to the day from the first mammogram. We didn’t tell anyone except my parents and sisters and a couple of close friends. After all, there wasn’t much to tell.

Welcome to 2019

There were a couple of things I wanted to be very intentional about going into 2019. I wanted my first morning to start slowly with coffee and a new devotional book. I wanted to listen to “Come Alive” from The Greatest Showman soundtrack. And I wanted to go for a run. That last one was not because it’s January 1st but because it’s the 6 month anniversary of hurting my hip.

The morning was lovely and almost exactly what I wanted. I just listened to my song. But I did not run. My hip has been aching since yesterday and today moved up that scale to actual pain a few times. Given how poorly I felt my last two workouts, coupled with the ouchies and the fact that we were pretty occupied cleaning out/packing up a house most of the day, I decided not to force the issue for the sake of such an anniversary.

I have a rough outline of some 2019 events. Lots of concerts, two races that are paid for and at least one or two more that I want to get on the calendar. I don’t make resolutions (they just cause me to feel guilty) and I’m not setting a “word for the year”. But I do want to continue working on being present in the moment/situation, being intentional in relationships and continuing to chase a few goals. None of that is new. Those are areas I will probably be working on the rest of my life. But it’s nice to take a deep breath on the 1st day of the year and remind yourself that every day (hour…minute…) is a new opportunity.

2018 Review

This week between Christmas and New Years is odd. It doesn’t quite feel like 2018 anymore but it’s not quite 2019 and it’s like this black hole of the year. It’s not BAD. It just is.

I decided instead of a (late) week in review post about a week that had almost nothing to report, I would just do my year in review. This one is mostly for me. I’ll be impressed if you make it through all. the. words.

January 2018

Because of work schedules etc, we started the New Year having our family Christmas. I thought maybe having to be available at 8am would help curb the older boys partying. What ACTUALLY happened was Hubs and I were at a friends’ house until after midnight and *I* nearly died at the 8am start time I scheduled. (I laugh about it. Now.) We spent the rest of the first day with our Good Friends, watching an Indiana Jones marathon. It was a fun way to kick off the new year. I signed up for an indoor mini tri later in the year. And those same friends we started the year with? Well the husband has a January birthday and so does my hubby so we celebrated together with a big meal out.

February 2018

Game night with Good Friends. Winter Olympics. I did my first (and last) tri of the year…a mini indoor. Signed up for my first half marathon later in the year (spoiler: I was not able to do it)

March 2018

Hubs and I made an EPIC road trip to Indianapolis for a friend’s wedding. There is a whole HILARIOUS hotel story that I might have to tell you sometime but will probably rank as one of our funniest, and most disturbing, memories ever. He surprised me on the way home by stopping to visit one of my oldest and best friends. Then Hubs went on his first Africa trip of the year.

April 2018

Started with Easter service with my son and then taking Grandma to her church & lunch. Locked my youngest out of the house. (It was an ACCIDENT.) The youngest was awarded “Student of the Month” – an achievement still memorialized on the refrigerator. I bought new running shoes that I was able to put very few miles on. I went to our work women’s retreat. And it snowed. 

May 2018

We celebrated 9 years of marriage! I attended the first annual Treasure Valley Mission Conference and started to get an inkling of what God wanted me to do locally (it had nothing to do with “missions”). About a week later, God very clearly informed me I should be working with our church’s youth group program…specifically 6th grade girls. Despite my protests that I’m not a “kid person”, I volunteered and promptly started praying for my then unknown co-leaders. (They are AMAZING) I bought a wetsuit in anticipation of ALL THE RACES I had planned. (ha) I did a 10k race with a friend. I was under trained and under fueled and it was much hotter than I expected. But I ran with a wonderful woman who made it incredibly fun. The leg/foot cramps afterwards were NOT fun but I discovered pickle juice works miracles. We saw the Glitch Mob with friends and a middle school play that Good Friends’ daughter was in (that was surprisingly hilarious and entertaining!). My middle son turned 20 and my oldest 21 (what?). 

June 2018

Celebrated our Good Friends’ OTHER daughter graduate high school…and cried more than when my older boys graduated. I participated in my first Color Wars with our youth group (like dodgeball but with socks filled with that colored powder). Freaked a barista out after because the colored powdered mixed just right to look like I had major bruising down one side of my face/neck. Nice. Left the same day for the first camp with my youth group girls where we walked approximately 8 miles a day, with hills, did zip lines and bb gun shooting and rock climbing, had wonderful God times, and (mostly) enjoyed being together. Went on a hike I haven’t done in years with my friend Kim and her husband and son. My mother had major oral surgery and a few days later my father had a heart attack. Thankfully he had nitroglycerin and was able to mitigate the damage so we get to have him around awhile longer. 

July 2018

The Amani Children’s Choir from Uganda were in town and led our church worship at a service in the park. I danced enthusiastically with my oldest and tore a muscle in my hip. I was on crutches for 3 weeks, in physical therapy for longer than that and out of all races planned for the year. We worked a fire works stand on the 4th. My husband made the biggest sales of the year wearing a god-awful patriotic cat suit. We went to a party at our Good Friends house later. We attended the wedding of friends from work (same woman I ran the 10k with). I was part of the crew that helped him pull off a pretty sweet proposal but I didn’t document when that happened.

August 2018

My parents came to visit for my birthday. I invited a bunch of friends over to spend the evening on my patio just hanging out and it was wonderful. My youngest started high school. I cried. A lot. No really. A LOT. (But he is THRIVING at this school.) I got back in the pool for the first time since my injury. We went to the hot air balloon festival with friends. 

September 2018

The youth group did our annual “Slip & Slime”. But this year we used foam, not the green slime and chocolate syrup of years past. It was so much fun and the blue dye washed right off. I was so excited to be able to participate a little because I was still barely walking without crutches. I got to take pictures of my oldest and his wonderful girlfriend. We had a President and Board Summit at work – a major event that happens every other year. I had the opportunity to fly on a float plane and land on the river before the event started. I got to go to one of my 6th grade girls cross country meet (SO much fun). 

October 2018

Our former roommate (“foster adult”) got married. It was beautiful. They are LSU fans and I love them enough that I wore a purple dress and gold jewelry to the wedding. No seriously. That is LOVE. (wooo pig sooie) My wonderful husband bought me a ticket to go see the Mixtape Tour (New Kids on the Block, etc)  next year with friends. I may have jumped up and down. My friend Kim invited me to go to the Casting Crowns concert with her. It turned out to be one of the best concert I’ve ever attended. I went to Leader Retreat for our youth group leaders at the same camp where we went with the kids that summer. I attempted the “high v” with another leader. It was terrifying and exhilarating. But mostly terrifying. It snowed. We celebrated the birthday of the wife portion of the Good Friends. My husband left for his second Africa trip of the year…and his longest trip to date. I got to spend Halloween going to dinner and a movie with my youngest.

November 2018

The youngest and I continued our November 5th tradition of watching “V for Vendetta” even though we were the only ones home. My husband came home from Africa. We had a memorable Thanksgiving. The Hubs 102 year old grandmother decided it was time to move to assisted living.

December 2018

I signed up for my first half-Iron distance triathlon to be done in September 2019. We had our first snow of the season and it was on a Sunday so I got to stay inside all day. My great-aunt (my grandmother’s twin) passed away. The Hubs surprised me with tickets to go see Hugh Jackman on tour next year with friends. Grandma moved into assisted living.  Christmas was nice, quiet and somewhat relaxing. I RAN FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE JUNE. (Yes. I am yelling. It is warranted). (That is possibly worth it’s own post.) And we’re only a few days away from 2019.

Are you still here? Wow. I went through a bunch of pictures from 2018 with the intention of one big picture post. That’s not going to happen primarily because the pictures mostly feature other people. I had a lot more thoughts on this year and one word that kept coming to mind as I was reviewing Facebook posts and pictures and texts. But as I started typing, I found I don’t really want to get into it any further publicly. Not now anyway. The year was not bad but in some ways it was “second hand hard”. Very little in my immediate life was negative but there was a lot hard stuff surrounding us. There was a lot of good too though. That’s life though, yes?

December 16 Week in review

My family is facing a couple of pretty major changes in the next few weeks. It’s not BAD but change can be hard. This is harder on some than others and my husband is actually doing most of the heavy lifting…physically and emotionally.  Things will start to settle in the next 6 weeks but in the meantime, if Hubs says “I need you available all day on Saturday.” my response is not “Sure. Except I have <insert workout> scheduled. Otherwise I’m free.” Nope. The answer is just “Sure.” I don’t think missing one or two workouts a week will seriously damage my race performance next September. And my family is going to be around a lot longer than I will be racing. At least that’s what I want. I think balancing priorities are difficult for most, if not all, triathletes. I’ve heard it argued that balance is actually impossible but constantly shifting priorities up and down the scale is what happens. That’s probably closer to reality. 

I was at 66% of workouts this week. 

  • Monday: Strength training at home. It’s always fun when a workout you design for yourself nearly does you in.
  • Tuesday AM: spin class
  • Tuesday PM: drills & skills in the pool. I swam with a woman for the first time who SMOKED me. I felt like I was swimming through setting concrete. By the time I had two 100s left, I was talking out loud to myself at the wall, convincing myself I could do “one more”. When I leaning on the wall at the end, a guy on the pool deck asked if I was done. I was like “Oh I am SO DONE.” And then I couldn’t pull myself out of the pool for a few minutes.
  • Wednesday: I killed myself Tuesday night. Dead. I did not get up. I was supposed to do strength.
  • Thursday: scheduled spin class. That did not happen.
  • Friday: I made up the bike time I missed on Thursday. So the workout happened. Just not as originally planned.
  • Saturday: Scheduled swim but family priorities!

The schedule this week is similar except instead of making up a workout on Friday, I plan to try to run. My last run was June 28. I injured myself July 1. I intend to hop on a treadmill and do some very short, easy running intervals to see how my hip holds up. And how I feel the next day. It’s an exciting prospect.