Sunday, November 25, 2012

The calm before the storm...

This weekend has been great.

The time off from school has helped me catch up on my sleep (10-12 hours a day, oh yeah).

I feel like I have finally recovered from my sinus infection and now I am hoping not to get sick again anytime soon.

Thanksgiving was great. Great food that I was able to enjoy. The mashed potatoes I was in charge of turned out great and so did the pie.

Sweet, sweet cherry pie

We enjoyed hanging out with my family and Dan's mom. We watched old home movies and laughed at our awkward childhood years.

It was my Dad's 60th birthday on Friday and we had fun celebrating with him. He had presents to open first.

 Then he got to open his special present. My sister and I had sent out a letter to our friends and family asking for their memories of our Daddy. We got a ton of responses. Enough for the 60 envelopes we had planned to fill with the memories.

 What I wasn't expecting was how tickled Daddy would be by all the memories people had sent in. We laughed and cried at all the memories about Daddy. 

We heard all about how he was going to be a preacher when he was little, and about all the hilarious fraternity stories from his college years. We even got some pictures from family and friends that none of us had seen before.

 Daddy opened every single one and we got to hear all the stories behind the memories. 

It was great and I am so glad we did it. I learned a lot about my Dad this weekend and will never forget all his great stories! Thank you to everyone who reads this blog and sent us memories. It was greatly appreciated!

Dan had a gig Saturday and then we spent Sunday getting some stuff for my BIRF-DAY! 

This week is the last calm time we have for awhile. Next week we have to get ready for the party, clean the house, set up for my school concerts, have 2 concerts at my school and then celebrate my big 3-0! 

So we will enjoy this calm before the storm and enjoy our week off.

But I am getting very excited about celebrating with our friends on my BIRF-DAY! :)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

So much to be thankful for...

Here is the obligatory "thankful" post before Thanksgiving. 

I have so much to be thankful for that I have to put it in list form:

1. I do NOT have to go to chemo this Wednesday!!!!!

2. I will not have to radiation. 

3. I am in remission from cancer.

4. This whole journey has brought Dan and I closer together. When I am around him I don't feel "sick", I feel like his Julia.

5. I never lost all my eyelashes or eyebrows (just most of them)

6. That 2012 is almost over! (I have never wanted a year to end so badly)

7. I get to have my port removed on December 27th. No cancer things allowed in 2013.

8. That we have such amazing friends and supportive family that have been there to carry us when we could no longer stand.

9. I have a homey house to live in which now has a gorgeous deck outside of it.

10. We are going to have a great Christmas season with people with love.

So yes, mostly a cancer related thankful list, but really cancer has been with us since May. 

2012  has been spent fighting cancer and surviving cancer. I am hoping cancer however will never take up this much time or energy in our lives ever again.

We are spending Thanksgiving with my family over in Indiana. We have hosted the past 3 years, but figured this year we would be pregnant so we scheduled Thanksgiving over at my parents long ago. We are still glad we did that, but now it is for a different reason.

I am in charge of bringing pie and mashed potatoes. Since I haven't cooked since I started chemo I may be a little rusty in the kitchen. I am looking forward to it though. I love to cook, especially in the fall and winter when it is all about comfort food. I am hoping after Thanksgiving to make more of a permanent fixture of myself in the kitchen as well as the gym.

I am meeting with Dan's personal trainer after Thanksgiving to start a "hey you are done with chemo but now need to get all strong and hot" workout. Hopefully I won't throw up! :)

So a lot to look forward to and be thankful for. 

More than we could have ever thought when 2012 began.

P.S. The hair shampoo may be working!
November 17th :)
October 10th


Monday, November 12, 2012

Sick, Sick, Sick

Well I missed my first day of school since starting this whole cancer journey.

I am bummed!

I was always so happy to tell my oncologist that I wasn't missing work and that the only days I missed were treatment days.

A lot of people take time off work during chemo, because of energy levels and all the germs you have to worry about. I would lose my mind though if I had to stay home all the time. And I really haven't felt that bad! The chemo I am going through is not too hardcore and we knew I only had to do it for 4 months.

Well now I am done actually! :)

Problem is a sinus infection took me down. I started feeling poorly last week during my last chemo. Luckily everything was still a go and we got to finish, which felt soooo good! 

When I got back to school on Thursday I had more surprises waiting for me. The staff and students of my school wore purple for me and made me a big banner.

Yay purple!

All the kids signed my banner outside my room.
Sorry about the name. I figured maybe a few people don't know my last name yet!

One of the teachers made me this!

So it was a great Thursday and I continued to wear the purple as well!

Our weekend was good though we kept it pretty low key since I was starting to feel more and more sick. Sunday we went to our friend's one year old birthday party, which was a first for Dan and I. It was an experience but we had fun. I ended the party curled up with one of my favorite kids. 


By the time we got home though I was coughing non-stop. I took a whole bunch of meds and hoped I would feel better in the morning. Not the case, but luckily my school found me a sub. 

I spent the day in bed after calling my oncologist and asking for some drugs. Bonus if you have cancer! No more convenient care and waiting in line hoping for antibiotics. I called the doctor and 2 hours later had a prescription for a z-pack waiting for me at Walgreens. Sweet! Mucinex-D has also been my best friend and I got some vick's vapor rub in case I was really feeling old school tonight.

My plan is to conquer school again tomorrow. I have a very short time left before our Christmas concerts and I am already starting to feel behind in preparation.

P.S. I got my new LUSH shampoo bar today that is supposed to help with hair growth. I am excited!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I did have treatment today.

I am all done. Forever and ever. Amen.

Dan did an awesome post below with all the pictures that people sent to me. I was astounded, amazed and some other "a" word. So many people sent me pictures. So many people rocked purple today!

He did a neat layer on effect of all the pictures we received first and then made collages since we had so many. 

Some things I want to point out about some of the pictures:

My staff at school rocked the purple! My college roomate (and awesome friend) Kate had each of her classes wear purple and took pics of each. Dan and his best friend had t-shirts made that said "Real Men wear Violet". He came out of our bedroom wearing it this morning and totally surprised me. My mom dyed her hair purple! That's right, purple! And if you know my mother even an inkling you should know that she isn't the type of person to dye her hair a crazy color. But that's my mom and she is awesome.

I rocked purple myself today and got lots of compliments even on my purple nail polish.

Ahhhh yeah!

So thank you so much to Dan for putting together all the collages and thank you to all of you for wearing purple, supporting Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and MAKING MY DAY!    <3     :)

Little Purple House On The Prairie


You guys take your internet assignments seriously.
I'm about as sensitive as scrooge mcduck and I was getting pretty misty at all the purple shirts I saw.

Two Words:
Thank You.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Holding our breath

Tomorrow is supposed to be my LAST chemo.

I say "supposed to be" because I am sick. Not fall down sick, not run a temperature sick, but a nice cold. I have a lovely sounding cough and runny nose. I could blame Dan for getting me sick (and believe me, he already blames himself), but I am a teacher and exposed to all kinds of fun germs. We knew it was going to happen. Especially since we stopped doing the white blood cell booster.

But it's ok. 

As long as they don't delay my chemo. 

Right now I have been waking up at night in a panic. I thought I was having bad dreams, but it is really my anxiety about my doctor postponing my last treatment. I wake up thinking I have missed something or messed up and I can no longer have my treatment.

If I do have my treatment tomorrow this weekend will suck. BUT! I will be fine by Thanksgiving. I will be great by Christmas. And I will be able to party hard on New Years. All of these things I am looking forward to. All of these events I want to feel NORMAL for again. Not tired, not nauseous, not bald. Normal.
I think I look a little less bald though!
Present Day...

This is my "hair" back in September.

I want to have energy again to go to the gym. I miss the gym! I haven't gone since I started chemo in July due to energy levels and all the extra germs. 

As chemo has gone on I have noticed a pattern. I lose and gain about 10 pounds during the 2 weeks after chemo. The first week, everything tastes off and metallic and I stop eating. The second week I am starving all the time and everything sounds great (thanks steroids)! My weight though has pretty much stayed the same, but I feel so lethargic since I used to spend most of my time at the gym.

So I started running.
It is cold, but not too cold to run!

I don't like running. It is not my friend. But I started a Couch to 5k program and have been running now for 2 weeks. I figure that since I can't go to the gym yet and I can't really help what I am eating at the moment, I can at least do something to start getting back in shape.

Dan has been joining me most nights. We enjoy running together and he can at least carry on a conversation while I huff and puff beside him. It is also nice to do when I am jacked up on steroids since I sleep better after running.

I plan on doing the program 2 or 3 times to get ready to run a 5k in April that Dan wants to do.

But tonight and tomorrow morning I will be holding my breath and praying that we get to end this journey and move on. You can be sure that we will have a little party during my last chemo with the nurses and doctors. There may even be donuts! :) 

I will be wearing my purple tomorrow and may even find a purple shirt for Dan to wear. If you wear purple, send me a text or email! I would love to see it!

Monday, November 5, 2012



  I can think of exactly one regular reader who will understand that.  So don't panic.  I will explain.  I started learning a little bit about writing code for work about a year and a half ago.  The really neat thing about programming languages, and computers in general, is that when you break it down to the smallest parts; they are very simple.  In fact, the statements I wrote above would probably be clear after the simplest of tutorials in computer logic.  Let's go step by step.

The "if" statement is straightforward.  If there is a green light, you go.  The "else" statement is also straightforward, but it's trickier to read.  It simply means "if that IF statement above is false, do this down here instead!"

I can still think of only one regular reader who understands it now.  Here it is in english.

If there is cancer; julia is.  If there is no cancer; julia is.

  I am a very logical thinker.  It's probably my greatest fault.  I like things to make sense.  I assume that everything has a condition that makes it true.  The sun will rise, and the leaves will always blow from my neighbors yard in to my own.  It is silly but this kind of thinking gives me comfort.  If all these different ideas can have these "true" states, then perhaps there is a global equation that ties them all together.  Some sort of greater good, or even that elusive idea of "right."  I don't have the answer but it does help me to defend my own pursuit of perfection.

  This sort of thinking worked.  It guided my actions and decisions for a long time. It still does.  But to be completely frank, Julia screwed it all up.  Meeting Julia was the first time I had considered that I might not only be wrong, I might be REALLY wrong.

  Julia is not a logical thinker.  Yet it would not be fair to just say she is an emotional thinker.  It's astoundingly more complex than that. You see according to my thinking, and computer programming, the parenthesis and the semi colon mean something.
It means that there is something inside julia that does something based on whats given to her.  And what the logical mind wants to do is to figure that all out.  I want to know the exact blueprint that goes from ziplock-bag-full-of-red-skittles to gigantic-smile.  (julia likes the red skittles).  I'd also like to know why she thinks the top of the dryer is an appropriate place to leave dryer lint.  

You want to know what she is trying to figure out?
The perfect outfit for her upcoming birthday party.
The perfect activity for all her guests at her upcoming birthday party.
The perfect "house cocktail" to serve to her guests at this upcoming birthday party.

She's got cancer and she's planning the world's greatest party.

I really want you to think about that for a minute.  She is so not concerned about this silly disease that she is picking out the best nail polish to go with her invitations to the world's greatest birthday party.  Spoiler alert, it's the one with the most sparkles.

You would be amiss to pass this off as foolish, childish, or selfish.  Even at an event that historically celebrates her, she is most concerned with providing a great time for her guests.  That, is probably the best "definition" there is for julia.  Giver of gifts, and provider of good times.

So back to the computer programming idea.  Since we said "if there is, or isn't cancer, julia will still be there" we have really opened the doors for anything.  If there isn't cancer it could be a rhinocerous, or a new car, or anything else.  It could just be life.

So I'd like to amend that piece of code at the beginning.


  It's a little simpler that way.
  But there is more.

  Since we (I) have established that the definition of julia is parties and good times I would like to take it one step further


  I really hope this doesn't sound like a trite rehash of ferris bueller's famous soliloquy about "life moves pretty fast."  What I'd really wish to impart is that I'm somewhat grateful for this cancer.  It has shed new light on the equations I form in my head and also helped me to redefine my view of julia.  This new view encompasses the idea that maybe things don't need to be broken down to their smallest elements to understand them.  I can just accept them as they are and probably get the exact same result.

  I know that julia and I get to spend future days worrying about more cancer or more life, but it's comforting to know that as long as life is still happening there is still a party to plan.