Friday, August 29, 2008

Watch Out Ogden~

There will be a bunch of rowdy girls out tomorrow night, we are having my bachelorette party.

My sister, Heather, and friends, Jenn and Raquel, have planned a bachelorette party for me... the festivities are going to start tomorrow at Raquel's house with a "slumber party" and then off for drinks and dancing at the Outlaw.

It will be fun to have a girl's night out... havent had one since the Mama's went to Moab back in July. (Which reminds me, I need to put some pictures up here from that trip...)

Good thing the Outlaw has a limo... we are getting our drink on!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

More Boob Talk

I have been talking a lot about my mom and her battle with breast cancer. A lot of what she has gone through has persuaded others to get mammograms or MRIs or at least do monthly self-breast exams. I am one of those as well… when she was first diagnosed; I called my doctor begging for a mammogram. She told me I was too young, so I called another doctor. She got me in but it was a fight with the hospital and the insurance, they kept saying I was too young. Mind you; when I was 18, I had 3 benign lumps removed.

So I got in for my mammogram, finally, b/c my mom’s cancer was only detected by a mammogram. She never felt anything so my doctor had to write the insurance a letter saying that’s how my mom’s cancer was detected and then they let me go.

A few days later they called and said, “You have very dense breasts. We need to do further testing”. I guess on a mammogram, anything that shows up as white is bad. Well, my whole picture was white b/c I had young breasts. I understand why they now didn’t want to have me get them squashed b/c they couldn’t see anything. As you get older they lose their density and you are able to see more. So they sent me off for an Ultrasound.

They had me lay on a table in a dark room, gown open to the front and U/S’ed each breast. I know from having children that dark blobs on the screen mean something is there. So from that expertise, I knew I should be concerned as I saw about 14 spots between the 2 sides. The specialist came in and redid the U/S and said there are some areas of concern. I asked if we needed a biopsy or to remove them, but she said if we did I would look like Swiss cheese. She wanted me to come back in 6 months.

So I did. I went in every 6 months for 18 months… nothing really changed. The size stayed the same, the shape stayed the same… so after a while I was told to get a mammogram when I am 35 and not worry about it unless I am able to feel anything new.

About a year has passed since that last appointment and as you know, Mom’s breast cancer came back. This time it was detected by a new MRI procedure. A procedure she was getting done for the experience of it, not because anyone thought she needed it but I believe it was that procedure that saved her life. She wouldn’t have known her cancer was back otherwise. She couldn’t feel anything, the lump was against her chest cavity and the cancer had spread into her lymph nodes.

So as you can imagine, I called my doctor again saying I needed that procedure done. She agreed whole-heartedly and made me the appointment for a week later.

As much as I wanted to get it done, I dreaded the appointment b/c I am claustrophobic. The thought of going in a tube is enough to get my heart racing, so I brought Bryan and 3 Valium with me. In the end, it wasn’t a terrible procedure… you lay face down with your boobs hanging through 2 holes in the table. It takes about 30 minutes and thanks to the meds I slept through most of it.

About a week later my doctor called me. My DOCTOR, not the nurse, the office manager, the lady who draws your blood in the lab, my DOCTOR. As you probably know, doctors normally don’t do their own calling so I was a little taken back. I was doing this MRI for peace of mind, not because I thought anything could be wrong so why the hell was the DOCTOR calling me?

She read through the report to me… still saw about 14 lumps, same places as what were seen on the U/S’s. However there are new areas of concern. If I remember correctly, a 6mm spot on one side, a 7mm spot on the other, and scattered something-or-other throughout the right under the nipple. Fucking lovely.

She said we have some choices. My options have been we can do nothing and wait a year and re-MRI. That way we have something to measure against. (You can’t use U/S measurements and compare them to MRI measurements). Regardless of what we chose to do, she wanted my mom to get tested for the BRCA mutation gene (which she went in and did the very next day). Once we get the results of her testing, and if it’s positive then I go and do a prophylactic mastectomy and reconstructive surgery without a 2nd thought. If she is positive, it would raise my risk factors (and not just her having the gene) up to about 90% chance of me getting breast cancer by the time I am 70. If she tested negative for the gene, it goes down to about 50-60% due to my own history along with family history. I asked her what she would do if it were her. I was told “I would get the surgery”. This is my doctor who uses surgery as a last option so I knew this was something for me to think about.

I have spent the last couple of months thinking about it. Discussing it with Bryan and my mom. Doing a lot of research online. Going to a lot of doctor appointments and I had my U/S redone to compare it to May 07. At my last appointment, I was told that I am a time bomb and it’s a matter of when I get it and not if I get it.

Deep in my heart, I feel that the surgery is going to be the right thing for me. I don’t want to carry on with me thinking about it and worrying the rest of my life. I have battled depression before and its something I won and I know that if I had this constant worry, it would send me down that road again. I am starting a new life soon… adding to my family…and I want a happy start. I don’t want to have my focus be on anything other than that. Bryan has been unbelievably supportive. He says his gut is telling him to do the same as what I am thinking and that he will be there with me, will take care of the kids, and do whatever is needed to get this taken care of.

The only downfall is since my mom did test negative for BRCA, the insurance may not pay for the surgery. I am going down to Salt Lake in a few weeks to meet with a breast specialist to discuss options. She may have a different take on it that I need to think about. She may have other options. I am going to go in with an open mind and listen to what she feels would be best but at least I feel prepared to make the decision to do the mastectomy if that’s what we decide.

I know everyone isn’t going to agree with my thinking… I have had people challenge it already. I am not a gambler, I understand the risks and the benefits… but to be told you have over a 50% chance of getting breast cancer in your life and you can reduce those odds to fewer than 10% by getting it done, to me it sounds like a no brainer. Once you get cancer, your control is taken from you. You don’t get to make the decisions anymore b/c there is something in your body that is taken over. I don’t want to go through the treatments that my mom has gone through. I want to have the choices and the options before it would get to that point. It’s not something I would need to do right away. It’s something that we can continue to think about and research, but it’s something that I want to keep as a choice.

I’m going to the specialist in a few weeks. I’ll let you know how it goes…

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Trust and Believe

I found out at dinner last night they are thinking of having my mom do radiation when her chemo is done in November. I know that radiation has less side effects than chemo does, but it still sent me over the edge. She has been through so much. Why do we have do to more? I just went home and cried.

I emailed her that question, along with alot of my other feelings, and her reply was b/c the tumor was so close to her chest wall and it went into her lymph nodes there is a better chance of getting it taken care of for good if she does this. Ok... well, that's a good answer. More than anything I want it to be gone and not to have to worry about it anymore.

She says she knows its hard on me to see her look different, walk slower, sleep more... but just keep praying b/c God knows what he is doing.

I'm just having some moments of weakness. I am not a strong person when it comes to emotions but I do have a strong belief in God, that is something that will not ever go weak. Someone once told me to "trust and believe".... so when I feel the tears start welling up, that's my new mantra.

***Also, mom's BRCA results came back negative. Which means, if I have the breast cancer gene, it would come from my biological dad's side of the family ***

Tuesday, August 26, 2008



Mom is at her halfway mark. 18 weeks of chemo is a very long time… and I am so happy to say she is halfway through it. Thursdays are her days. One Thursday is 3 medicines, the next is 1, then the next there is not any chemo medicines- just a blood check and her bone marrow stimulating shots. This last weekend was rough for her. She isn’t throwing up, thanks to the medication she was approved for, but she was very nauseous and tired. She said her muscles feel very weak. She was sleeping like 12 hrs throughout the day on Sat/Sun and only worked a couple of hours yesterday before she came home.

I spoke with her on Sunday night and she didn’t sound like her self. You could tell she was struggling; she got choked up during our call which is so unlike her. That of course upset me, although I kept it together until we were off the phone… then I started bawling. My daughter walked in then (and she fully understands what is going on) and she said “Mom, you wish it was you instead of Nan, huh?” Wow… she couldn’t have said it any better. Then she said, “If it were you, I wish it were me.”

My mom, my daughter, and I are very close. We have an amazing bond but until that moment I didn’t know how strong it was. I would give anything to take my mom’s cancer away and not have her go through what she is going through and if I could trade her places, I would do it in a heartbeat. To have my daughter, say the same about me… I am very blessed.

I'm in withdrawls...

For those of you that don't know, I am a HUGE Dave Matthews Band fan. I have DMB as a friend on my MySpace, alot of room on my Ipod is dedicated to them, and I get giddy in March when their concert tickets go on sale.

Living in Utah, instead of California, is a drawback to being a fan b/c they only come here every other year. The last time I saw them in concert was this week 2 years ago, so you can imagine the withdrawls I am in.

I have been counting down the days for a couple of months now until their 8/27/08 concert in SLC... until yesterday I found out that the concert here has been postponed/cancelled. A member of their band passed away last week due to complications of an ATV accident.

I understand the need to postpone/cancel the concert... however; it's not helping my Dave withdrawls any!

Monday, August 25, 2008

PSS: My take on cheating

Shane asked about cheating... what would you do if you caught your spouse, what if its gone on for a while, what if it continued, etc...

I think my take on it now is different that it was a few years ago...I think I did alot for other people in the past, to not rock the boat, to make others happy. Now if I found out my spouse was cheating on me, it would be over. I have come too far to be happy and it's not something I can accept.

I believe something had to be missing or wrong in the relationship for it to get to that point... and IMO if you decide to take a different route than to work it out with your spouse, then its gone to far to fix.

I guess I have been thinking alot about what it takes to have a successful marriage, as I am weeks away from my own wedding. I understand that marriage takes alot of work, its not always going to be as wonderful as the day you say "I do". To make it work you have to have the commitment from both sides and along with good communication.

I know each person is different in what they will or will not tolerate and I am by no means a perfect person and although I am a forgiving person; cheating is not something I can accept.

I've got a 3rd grader!

Man... time is flying. I remember bringing Ty home from the hospital, all the things she did in kindergarten, and then today I am wishing her well on her first day of 3rd grade. How did that happen???

She is super excited... she had been counting down the days for school to start. She can't wait to see her friends again, read more, and just do the whole school thing. She was getting mad at Bryan all weekend for saying "Monday" b/c she couldnt wait.

Here are some pictures from this morning:

Friday, August 22, 2008

A date night? What's that??

Yay, date night! Even though we were worn out from the day on the boat, we took advantage of having a night out.

We actually had no kids Saturday night so Bryan and I went out on a double date with Raquel and Mike... We went to Iggy's for dinner and then drinks at Rumors.
We were hoping for some dancing, but they had techno music that only Tracy could love, so we didnt stay long but still had a good time being "adults" and not having to worry about trips to the potty, who's fighting with who, etc. LOL

A Day at the Pineview Dam

Last Saturday we went up to the dam with Raquel. Besides a horrific sunburn, we had a great time. The kids had a blast tubing and I was perfectly content being the flag-girl.

We were up there with my brother and nephew and we brought Bryan's son, Taylor and nephew, Austin.

Nothing quite like relaxing by the water!

Thanks for a fun outing, Raquel!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My thoughts...10-1

Ten Things I Wish I Could Say to Ten Different People Right Now:
- You need to pay for the actions you take, not make others pay for you.
- I have finally figured out that the world doesn’t revolve around you. I just hope you can figure that out before you lose someone else.
- You are what we have been missing in our lives.
- It’s time to grow up, move on, and be a father.
- Why do you keep doing this to yourself?
- I don’t know how you do it, but I know why you do it and for that… thank you.
- I’m scared.
- You dont abandon family.
- I don’t want the worry, let’s just do it.
- I am sorry.

Nine Things About Myself:
- I try hard. I just hope its good enough…
- I am independent, but that doesn’t mean I don’t need people.
- I bite my lip when I get nervous and cry when I am scared.
- I have a strong belief in the power of prayer.
- My kids are my world.
- I wish I could cook. Really cook. The kind that doesn't require scissors and microwaves.
- I have some serious decisions to make.
- I am turning into a tattoo addict.
- I am getting married in 30 days.

Eight Ways To Win My Heart:
- Love my kids.
- Make me laugh.
- Be honest and sincere.
- Clean my house.
- Don’t pretend to be someone you aren’t.
- Write to me.
- Just hold my hand.
- Support me, not monetarily- I can take care of myself. I want physical, mental, and spiritual support.

Seven Things That Cross My Mind a Lot:
- My mom has breast cancer.
- I am getting married in month.
- The Raptors baseball season is almost over.
- The sunburn on my stomach STILL hurts.
- My kids are growing up.
- Is mom’s BRCA results back yet?
- I hate filling up my car with gas.

Six Things I Do Before I Fall Asleep:
- Check my email.
- Check my MySpace.
- Read a book.
- Pee.
- Check the alarm at least 3 times.
- Tell the kids goodnight.

Five People Who Mean A Lot:
- Mom
- Bryan
- Ty
- Drew
- Jenn
(Sorry! Don't feel robbed! I only had 5 spots. That doesn't mean there aren't a BUNCH of other people who belong on that list!)

Four Things You're Wearing Right Now:
- brown/tan/cream skirt
- brown shirt
- flip flops
- jewelry

Three Songs That You Listen to Often (Currently):
- “I can only imagine” Mercy Me
- “Say Goodbye” DMB
- “Swing” Trace Atkins

Two Things You Want to Do Before You Die:
- Not have any debt.
- See my daughter get married.

One Confession:
Growing up, I didn’t expect to have divorced parents. When I got married, I certainly didn’t expect to get divorced. I thought I would do everything perfect so I wouldn’t have to put my kids through what I went through. That didn’t happen, and now I have learned it was for the better and I do not regret any choice that I made. I realized God had other plans for me/us.

Something I found out along the way, is I only have control over me, not what those around me choose to do. I can choose to do what I feel is best for myself and my kids. I can choose to raise my kids in the best way I see fit. I can choose to make decisions about my future health. I can choose to get remarried and be a step-mom to a great kid. I can choose to give 100% into something I believe in and that’s what I am doing. I just have to have faith that God knows what he is doing.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Stampin Up~

I am part of a Stampin' Up workshop... we meet 1x a month for 10 months at the demonstrator's house and each of us have a month that we get the party benefits... anyhow... long story short, my month is August.

We are having an open house in Farr West on Saturday the 30th from 11-2pm. There is a new Stampin' Up catalog that just was released last week. So for those of you who are crafty (and in the area!) and are interested, let me know... they are going to be doing some make and takes, some different raffles, etc.

Here is the new catalog:

Monday, August 18, 2008

PSS- Seeing or Hearing

It is my turn to ask a question... and since I am new to this, I am not sure if I am supposed to answer or not, but I will!

The question for the week is " If you had to choose, would you give up your sight or hearing? Why?"

If I had to choose one or the other, I would choose hearing. First off, I have a very good friend who is deaf, so I already know how to sign so that's a good head start... Also, because I feel you are still able to do a lot without your hearing. You may not get to hear music or everyday noises, but you would still be able to drive, watch the kids play sports, see their art projects etc.

I am blind as a bat without my contacts. I can't even see the alarm clock when its right up next to the bed so I couldn't imagine not having my vision at all. I guess thinking about this question makes me very thankful for having all of my senses.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Strides Against Breast Cancer

As I mentioned earlier, my mom went to the Strides Against Breast Cancer kick off. This is an event that the American Cancer Society does each October in SLC at Liberty Park. When she told me she was going to the U of U for the kick off, she failed to mention she was a key note speaker!!

She sat at the head table with Abby from Kosy (I think) radio station and Hope from Fox13. This is the 3rd year she has done this and St Mark's is a big sponsor and being a breast cancer survivor they have her go to all these functions.

I guess one thing I should mention is she doesn't wear a wig... or a scarf... or a hat. She doesn't let the looks she gets from others affect her... she is proud of her balding head b/c it means the chemo is working. It means she is surviving this terrible disease.

The people from ACS didnt realize that her cancer came back so when she showed up in all her peach-fuzz glory, they were a little taken back... "MaryJoe, is that you?" and then enveloped her into their arms.

She got up on stage and told her story, told how St Mark's is a support and the facilities and
support they can give, and then asked others to form teams for this walk and raise some money. She got a standing ovation when she was done. She said she was overwhelmed by the response.
I could tell she was proud and I hope that she made a difference in someone life.

Something to think about... 1 out of every 8 women in the US will be diagnosed with breast cancer. That is like 1 of the 8 girls I just went to Moab with... or one of the ladies on my in my office. Thinking of it that way really hits home. Its not just a statistic, it makes it life like....

Thursday, August 14, 2008

8/14/08- Mom Update

I got off the phone with my mom a bit ago... her white blood count has been low this week. She has been taking some shots to stimulate her bone marrow growth in hopes to raise her levels. Unfortunatly they arent working as well as they did last time... so she has to go daily to do these shots. From what she says, they are painful. Because there is activity going on with the marrow, she said it feels like she has broken bones. Her jaw and hips hurt.

I asked her if there is anything more she can do to help it and she said no... that she has to stay away from people who are sick and be careful of what she eats. They are concerned about sores in her mouth that can lead to infection, so she cant eat food that could cut her.

But even with all that... she was on her way to work in SLC, was going to a Strides Against Breast Cancer kickoff at the U, and was telling me she is excited that the wedding is only 5 wks away. Seriously, can she be more amazing?

If that was me, I would be at home, in my bed, crying, and asking for painkillers... and she is off to rally with fellow breast cancer supports. She is my hero.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Project Say Something: Memories of my childhood

Monica asked, " what is your earliest childhood memory?" so I've been thinking back....

I remember things from kindergarden- getting ready at my grandparents to go to school, meeting Angie Herendeen (who is still one of my best friend today), roasting pumpkin seeds in Sister Carmel's class and the kid near me eating glue...

But even before then, I remember my little brother constantly having his toes bit by our dog, Bambi. I remember thinking, "why cant we just send Jeff to live at Nannie's instead of getting rid of the dog??" Didn't work that way though, Bambi left and Jeff stayed. I sure miss that dog!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Take me out to the ball game...

A staple to our summer is the Ogden Raptors. Every home game can find us down at Lindquist Field. Bud Light, Oggie the Raptor, and yelling at the umpires... that's what summer is about for us. We've bought season tickets the past couple of years in an amazing fact, Tyler Baumgardner sits right in front of us. We have a very fun "baseball family" that we spend our summers with. Last year, on the last game, my daughter was in tears because she didnt want the season to be over.

Last night, Ty raced Oggie around the bases... pay no mind to the fact that she stepped over every base! LOL
Go Raptors!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Who would have ever thought? The Cool Chick is getting married!

Me? Get married? Yup, its true! Alot had happened since my divorce 3 years ago. Alot of heart ache... alot of growing... alot of tears... alot of time to figure out what was best for me and the kids and honestly, I have no regrets and feel I am a better person and have learned alot from my past.

I was totally unprepared the day I got a text from my friend Mary saying "Are you dating anyone? I've got the perfect guy for you." Uh, yeah... I had given up on dating... and I didnt do blind dates. But I thought it could be entertaining so why not? Couldn't be any worse that some of the other guys I had dated!! She gave him my number and we started texting...

About a week later, I met Bryan at Iggy's in Layton. We hit it off... dinner went well, we talked about alot of things and had a great time. I was going out with some friend to SLC to go dancing and ended up inviting him to come along. If he could survive a night out with my "crazy girls and touchy-feely guys" he was someone I could date.

Fast forward... quickly I realized what a great guy he is. He has been there for me during some tough times. He has opened his heart to my children and treats them as if they were his own. Neither of us are perfect, but I believe we are perfect for each other.

Although we had talked about getting married for a few months, the official proposal was in June and we are going to Vegas in September to say "I Do!". We are going to get married at the Valley of Fire State Park.

I believe that God brought him into my life when I had enough time to heal from my past and was finally open to giving my heart to someone again. I am just so thankful that person is Bryan. I truly believe we are meant for eachother and I cant wait to be Mrs Williams and to add him and his 10 yr old son, Taylor into our family!

Breast Cancer Sucks

Alot of my blog will talk about my family and our trials with breast cancer.

3 years ago my mom was diagnosed with DCIS (a form of breast cancer), had a lumpectomy and radiation and has become an advocate for Breast Cancer Awareness speaking at her work and for the American Cancer Society's Strides Against Breast Cancer.

Around Mother's Day, she found out that her cancer came back in the other breast and more invasive. She had a double mastectomy in June and started her 18 weeks of chemotherapy in July. She maybe bald(ing) but she has an amazing attitude. She is so positive and optimistic.
For my birthday my soon to be husband, Bryan, designed a tattoo for me. We got it done at Retribution Tatu in Layton. Its on the top of my foot and AWESOME! I love it. What a fitting tribute to my hero.

New to this...

Well... here we go. Didn't think I'd be much of a "blogger" but there is alot going on in my life... some good, some bad... so figured, why not share? Not sure how much I am going to be updating this or how long it will last, so why not give it a shot?