Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bart Happenings

A couple weeks ago I was getting on Bart. A guy looked around to see if people had room, then he pulled out a folder chair and took a seat. I was cracking up at him! He had his fold up chair, laptop and phone. The guy worked away. Now he should market Bart folding chairs, so people don't have to stand the whole way. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Surgery & Recovery Overview

I took pictures from the morning I left my house for surgery until a week later. I actually took pictures almost every day. I had said in a previous post I would let myself cry when I saw my scar and I wouldn't cry anymore. I actually didn't cry when I saw my incision. I was actually relieved to see the doctor cut much lower than she originally told me. Originally I was going to be cut in the middle of my neck, instead she cut me around the base of my neck. The incision is not that bad. It is healing very nicely. 

The morning of surgery before I left the house. Yes, I put on all my make up and did my hair. I was going to look good going into surgery. I woke up earlier than normal that day, but I got ready just like any other day minus the jewelry. 

Pre-op was probably my favorite part of course since there was no pain involved with this part. They gave me this gown with places they could insert a tube to blow hot air. The tube attacked to the gown around my thigh, I had a controller for how warm I wanted the air. This machine was used in pre-op and the OR. OMG it was HEAVEN!!! I seriously want one of those machines for at home. I had a fabulous nurse Gloria in pre-op. We joked around the entire hour before surgery. 

The doctor came to visit me and Art in pre-op to go over everything one last time. She had to write YES on my neck before I could go back to OR. I guess she has to mark where they are going to do the surgery or I can't leave pre-op. 

I kept my sense of humor all morning except when I had to kiss Art good bye that was the first time I felt scared. It was more I was scared for him because I knew the next 8-10 hours would be very hard. I had the easiest part, but the worst part was for the family. 

As we walked to the OR I asked the nurse how in the world she could work back there. It was FREEZING! Seriously it was like an ice box. I walked into the OR I said to my doctor "I am walking into this room and I will walk out right?" She said they would give me a break and take me out a little easier. The doctor assured me I would be just fine and recover great because I have the best attitude through the whole process. I met everyone in the OR, talked to them, joked with them, laid on the bed, started to get some drugs. The doctors do a overview of everything by reading patient name,  medical record #, procedure, and other stuff I can't remember anymore. It was honestly surreal to listen to them as I lay there. Even as I laid on the table I couldn't believe I was the one laying there for surgery. 

When I woke up from surgery I was PISSED!!!! Why in the world were they waking me up ALREADY! I had FINALLY started to get some great rest and these people were waking me up. I asked what time is it? They said 7pm in the evening. That was my cue everything was just fine and I didn't need to worry about surgery. If the surgery was shorter than 8-10 hours then I had lymphoma. I went back to sleep. I remember waking up on and off occasionally and the first memory I have is of my doctor sitting across the room from me at a desk. I guess that was while I was in ICU. I remember them taking blood, x-ray, moved me to a room and then BAM I was smacked in the face with PAIN. 

The pain for Friday night was HORRIFIC! Someone brought me a dinner with broth in a bowl with a spoon. Thinking back on this cracks me up. I couldn't even move, but I was suppose to eat broth from a bowl??? It didn't matter how much pain meds they gave me nothing helped. I remember laying in bed that night as I dozed on and off thinking I will never be able to move again. My shoulders, back and neck were SUPER sore. I couldn't move my shoulders at all. The nurse helped put a pillow behind my back. My overnight nurse was simply amazing! Her name was Sarah and she took the best care of me. She would come make sure I wasn't in pain, brought me pain meds when they were due instead of me asking for them, helped me drink some chicken broth. This woman even gave me a sponge bath one day. 

Saturday Art came to the hospital around 9:30am. It was the longest 12 hours without him. Some point on Saturday I realized I had on a different hospital gown. I pulled on my gown and said what a minute...someone saw me NAKED because I am changed. We just started laughing. My day time nurse Belinda came in and was amazing! She helped move me, so I had some relief. I was a little concerned I would get bed sores. lol I kept asking people to help me move. She helped me eat my liquid breakfast and made sure I was comfortable. I was able to get out of bed around lunch time to sit in a chair. I sat up while my friend Cindy visited. One of my first text on Saturday was to Cindy asking her to bring me a hair tie. I couldn't find mine and my hair was making me CRAZY. When she got there I asked her to put my hair up for me. I couldn't move my arms above my shoulders. After about an hour I crawled back into bed and slept. My pastor and his wife came to visit me. They were super sweet during this whole thing. My pastor came to the hospital the morning of surgery and sat with us for a little while. Then he prayed with us prior to surgery. 

Above I am writing in my journal. I listed all my nurses for the first couple days. I couldn't do much for longer than 10-15 minutes without feeling exhausted. I should have wrote a little each day about how I was feeling and things I remembered. I just didn't have the energy to do anything.

My first real meal! It was some type of stew, soup and peas. It wasn't that great, but I ate what I could. I had been living on broth and pudding almost 2 days. 
My evening nurse Roxy was super sweet! She was very attentive and caring. I really liked her!

Sunday morning Belinda is cleaning everything for me in the picture above. You can see the drains at the top and faintly my incision. Different people would come in to check on how I was doing. Every time a new person came in they commented on the fact I was wearing make up. I went one day without make up and that was enough. I needed to get back into the swing of things and I refused to look like I was sicker than I was. Sunday night was the best night of sleep I got in the hospital.

This picture cracks me up because I look higher than a kite!!!! Look at my eyes. LOL
This was shortly after they took out the right side drain. That one hurt like a mother. Cindy was with me all day Monday. She held my hand as I screamed. The doctor said part of it must have been wrapped around up inside my neck and that is why it hurt so bad. When he pulled it out stuff went flying on the bed, doctor face, his arms. lol He walked out of the room I told Cindy I can feel something wet, but I can't feel anything. All of a sudden we see a big clot of stuff that looked like a worm. I yelled OMG don't touch it....get the doctor. I was worried Cindy would be grossed out. Cindy found the doctor washing his face. lol He said part of it might have just been stuck inside. 

The doctor came back about 20-30 minutes later and said my doctor told him to remove the other drain. Oh lord I was scared. Cindy held my hand again as I braced for pain! There wasn't any. The drain just slid right now and it was no big deal. The doctor said that is normally how they should come out. 

Monday night I came home from the hospital. When I got home I was so exhausted. I just sat on the couch and couldn't move. Art ran to the store for pudding. I had been eating pudding with my pain pills and wanted pudding that night. When he came in the house I was just sitting there bawling. I was scared to me home because of the pain, super tired, I didn't like how swollen my neck was. I just felt awful. On and off the entire night I would just start crying. All of the emotions were finally hitting me like a train. I didn't sleep very well on Monday. 

Tuesday was my first full day home. The swelling started to go down a little and my neck was healing. 

Wednesday the swelling went down some more. Wednesday we met with the endocrinologist and went over a lot of information. Each time I would leave the doctor I feel I am on overload. I will meet with her again once the pathology report comes back and we know what the next steps will be. 

I took this picture Friday after my stitches were removed. Each day the swelling goes down more and more. The doctor said it will take a few weeks for it all to go away. 
My neck was so swollen at one point I looked like Fat Bastard from Austin Powers. When I would walk and talk my neck would jiggle. Ugh! The swollen neck has been the worst part for me. I knew I would have some swelling, but not the amount I have had. 

Prior to Saturday I have been able to cut my pain pills down a ton since I came home from the hospital. Some days I experience more pain than other days. Saturday was a really rough pain day. All the other days the pain has felt more like an ache. It would start off like a tooth ache and then spread all the way around my chest. Saturday the pain came on like a shooting sharp pain. In order to sleep the pain meds had to be increased for the night. 

I knew the recovery would be hard. I couldn't have imagined in 100 years how rough it was to wake up from surgery. I had morphine last year when I ended up in the ER and it was amazing. The morphine the first day did NOTHING. Luckily once I was able to get past the first night I was able to tolerate the pain better each day. I had to learn the difference between pain and just being sore. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Get Well Companion

On Saturday Sammy would not leave my side. I laid in bed, he laid beside me, I went to the couch, he went to the couch, I sat in the recliner and he sat at my feet. I was having a lot of pain on Saturday and he must have sensed it. He just had to be tight beside me. He has been my little get well companion. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Here is the last OOTD picture I took before surgery. I will be sporting a lot of turtlenecks and scarves going forward!

I bought this leopard coat from Old Navy online for $21 bucks!!! It is super warm. I just LOVE my leopard coat.

Friday, January 25, 2013


I saw these items on Pinterest. I just LOVE them!!! Unfortunately there wasn't a link to purchase them. Only a link to someone blog. Boooo
I am thinking I need to find those adorable sandals for this summer!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Bart Happenings

Can you see that lady with the scarf around her head?  That woman was BUNDLED up beyond bundled up!!!  She had on a huge coat, 2 scarfs and then wrapped another scarf around her head and you could only see her eyes. This is what happens when you live in California and there is a 30 degree morning!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Yuni Kelley Bracelet

I am part of a style and beauty message board. We participate in Elfster Christmas gift exchange. My elf has been in contact with me to let me know my gift was on it's way. I received a Yuni Kelley pave textured chain bracelet. I was thinking the other night I was going to actually buy myself a bracelet. Low and behold guess what arrived in the mail.....the bracelet I have been wanting! 

picture source: Yuni Kelley

Check out Yuni Kelley jewelry on etsy. It is simply amazing! Yuni Kelley is also offering 30% off to my friend and family. Enter coupon code "CELEBRATE" at check out. 

Here are some of my Yuni Kelley wants.

All pictures source: Yuni Kelley

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Best I can Be!

As I write this its 24 hours before surgery. I feel reality is starting to hit. I keep thinking this is the last time I will ride Bart without a scar on my neck. How my reality right now is about to change into a new reality.

I've been more upset over the fact I will have a scar than the fact I have cancer. To me it doesn't feel like I have cancer because I won't go through chemo. I will go through a very major surgery. BUT I was going to have surgery no matter if I had cancer or not. My thyroid gland had to be removed period.

The only time I started to cry while telling people I have cancer is when I told my mom. Her cry was heart breaking. I know my mom cries & this one was a hopeless heartbreak.

When I told my staff at work I called them into our conference room. First thing I had to clear up was NO I'm not quitting. They all let out a sigh of relief lol. I told them the news & then reassured them I would be perfectly fine. The only change would be a scar that will eventually fade. I told them they didn't need to worry or be stressed. All I needed from them was to continue business as usual. While I am out of work everyone needs to just think as me as on vacation.

One of my employees came to me the next day. He said I've never heard someone make cancer sound like a rainbow.  I told different groups of friends. The majority told me I have a great attitude & I'm so positive. One friend said my cancer announcement was the most positive she has ever heard. One of my cousins called expecting to cry on the phone with me & was shocked how great I sounded. I told her this was not a time to cry because I'm going to be just fine. Another cousin thought maybe she was blowing things out of proportion or misunderstood things because I've just been positive.

Here is the thing. If I got depressed, crying, rolling around in misery or angry that is not going to help me over come all this. I don't fight challenges with anger. 90% of the time I'm positive with challenges. I have had a couple moments where I have felt overwhelmed. It is normally right before bed and I just go to sleep. Yes, there have been times in the past 3 years I've been angry & bitter as we have battled to have a baby. I may never know why I've had to go through all this except for the fact I've been able to help women go through the same things. I understand the pain & I've been able to support them.

So I will let myself cry after I see the incision because I know it's going to be uglier than I imagine right now. I will not let myself lay around crying, angry or grieving because I have cancer. This is just making me a stronger person.  If I've learned one thing from TJ as he battles cancer it is to laugh, be positive, pray & be the best I can be!

Sunday, January 20, 2013


I had to get an xray last week prior to my surgery. I had to put one of these crazy gowns for the xray. It was actually a nice gown and covered your entire body. I hate those lovely hospital gowns where your back & butt is sticking out. I am sure I will be sporting hospital gowns for a few days while I am in the hospital. I am not looking forward to those crazy gowns!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Friday, January 18, 2013

Flipped Upside Down

Each year I like to set some goals/resolutions 2013, 2012. I started putting my goals in place for 2013 early in December 2012. I was set on returning to school to finish my degree by the end of the summery 2013. I also wanted to make some fitness goals to help challenge me in 2013.

I am a planner. I like to plan things out in detail.  When there is not a plan set it makes me CRAZY! When my little sister would come spend the summer I would have an itinerary put together for the whole summer. When my family comes to visit over the holidays I put an itinerary together. Art now asks for an itinerary for when we go on vacation. It is very rare I am not planning something in life.

Well sometimes things happen in life and no matter how much planning I do my plans get thrown to the side. 2013 has been turned upside down already. In December I went to the doctor for some stomach issues. My doctor found a lump on my thyroid. Totally not something I knew about or even went to see her about.  The doctor sent me to get an ultrasound of my thyroid. Well I fell asleep during the procedure. The tech had to wake me up to move my neck, so they could finish the ultrasound. The results came back that my thyroid had a large growth on it, so an MRI was ordered.

I take after my dad completely in the sleep department. I was strapped down for the MRI along with ear plugs. I fell asleep in that nosy machine. The tech had to wake me up to see if I was ok.  The tech told me I would have my results back in 2-3 business days. The next morning my doctor called with the results. She wanted to send me for a biopsy of my thyroid. I left work immediately and went to get the biopsy.

The doctor bypassed an endocrinologist and sent me directly to an neck and head surgeon. I had a biopsy of my thyroid. I did not fall asleep for this procedure. Two days later the doctor called stating they aren't sure if I have thyroid cancer or just an extremely under active thyroid. My right thyroid was enlarge, but the left side was extremely enlarged. My left thyroid goes down my throat and reaches my breast bone. The left side is also pushing on my windpipe. The doctor scheduled surgery and asked me to come in the next day for another biopsy of my lymph nod. The next appointment and biopsy took a turn I never thought I would face. The doctor talked about other possibilities besides just thyroid cancer. The biopsy were more extensive and we would have to wait for the results to find out exactly what the next steps would be.

All the biopsy came back as thyroid cancer. I have a rare form of thyroid cancer that has spread to some of the lymph nod. I will have surgery to remove my entire thyroid and a bunch of lymph nods. It is a major surgery that will take 8-10 hours. The recovery time will be about 2 weeks.

I was trying to deal with classes, health issues and then I got a terrible respiratory infection. I contacted my counselor at school and ended up dropping all my classes. There was no way I would keep up with school and deal with surgery or cancer treatments.

My plan for 2013 was completely turned upside down with just one phone call. I really am relieved that it only thyroid cancer. I was concerned it could be another form of cancer that would require chemo and radiation. The thought of chemo scares me half to death. I have been rather calm through the majority of all this. I feel that God just gave me grace. I did have a few moments were I freaked out. When I would start to feel anxious I would just pray and I would feel calm.

I think the hardest part has been to tell my family. Making those phone calls to my parents to deliver test results and tell them it was cancer were the awfullest calls to make. One of my grandma's called very concerned. I told her it was all going to be just fine and she shouldn't worry. At the end of the call she said you have calmed me right down and I was suppose to be calming you down. The other grandma offered to come to CA to help take care of me. Grandma said she couldn't drive me around unless I was able to give her very clear directions. lol

The rest of 2013 is about recovery, my sister wedding and just enjoying life.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


My friend TJ is going through some really rough cancer treatments this week. Please pray for him!!!!! So far he has done AMAZING!!!! He didn't have any side affects from a week of chemo. This week he has gone through numerous treatments with minimal side affects. He needs to continue with minimal side affects. He has 2 little babies that need their dad and an amazing wife who needs her amazing husband. Jen & TJ are such an amazing couple. 

TJ is such an incredibly strong person. He took the time to send me an email on Monday night to encourage me. It meant so very much to me that he took time around 1am encouraging me of all people. He didn't have to do that. I also felt a little guilty because I should have been on the one encouraging him while he was going through hell. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Habitate for Humanity Resale Store

Last weekend Art and I went to Habitat for Humanity Resale Store and St. Vincent De Paul Thrift Store in Oakland. I LOVE going through this place. Last time we went I found the chippy white window. Our trip this time we came home with just lots of pictures.

I really wanted a shutter. I didn't buy one because I didn't have a specific idea on what to do with it yet. I plan to look around Pinterest to find some ideas and go back for one.

Lots of old windows

Fire burning stove

Cabinet with a sink inside. It was a little random and we cracked up laughing when we opened the door.

Toilets anyone?

These doors were amazing!

I would have liked this little guy to put in our front yard! It would have looked really cute with some potted flowers.
The rest of the pictures below are just random shots of stuff in Habitat for Humanity. It is almost dangerous to be in that place because there is stuff EVERYWHERE. I had to crawl behind stuff, while stepping over more stuff to get back to look at some shutters. I couldn't even get a good picture of what I went to look at because there was so much junk in the way. You have to really like to dig through stuff.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Menu Monday

I have a couple of new recipes on the menu this week and some oldy but goodies. I really want tacos. I think it has been a couple weeks, since we had tacos. Normally we have tacos at least once every other week. It isn't a secret I could eat mexican food every week.

Chicken Tacos
Grilled Cheese

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Friday, January 11, 2013

Bedtime Friend

You have seen the black & white swimsuit in a previous post. The swimsuit is a family joke. It travels back and forth between North Dakota and California. This year Art was the lucky person to receive the swimsuit as a Christmas gift.

Art and I like to play pranks on each other. Lately we have been going through a lot of stuff, so I thought he could use a good laugh. I picked up the swimsuit, grab the coconut head and his hat. I made a little person and covered it up with the blankets. When he came to bed below is what he found!