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How Am I Doing?

October 30, 2014

That seems to be the number one question on most people’s minds. The answer is I am doing really well. Today marks one week since the surgery and I am back to driving and most of my normal activities. I feel good and am so happy to be recovering quickly.

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When do I get the results back? This is the second most popular question and the one people struggle to ask. I have my post op appointment on November 5th. If I don’t hear back before then I will hear that day. I’m not worried. I was worried a while back when it all came up. I have too much too loose. I have to be here. My kids need me. My husband needs me. This is the life we have worked hard to create. We deserve to not have it cut short from cancer.

I feel a real sense of peace. I know how strong I am. I know that even if I have cancer that I will be able to fight it and I will not be cheated out of all the things I want to do in life.

Life is good!

> Mom's Soap Box | Comments (0)

Trunk or Treat

October 26, 2014

This year we went to Shadow Rock for our traditional Trunk or Treat festival. Our kids love this tradition. Unfortunately this year there were only 12 cars passing out candy. Tons of people came and parked and wanted to partake but with so few giving it was kind of a let down. :(

Thankfully our kids still enjoyed what it was and they never really need much candy so they were happy with the 12 pieces they received. The church still had some games and crafts to do.

Madeline got one

Annie sorting her candy. I just love how juvenile she looks here. Laying on her tummy in a parking lot, not caring if she gets dirty. She is maturing so quickly that these little glimpses into who she was are beautiful.

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These two! They are my boys!

Bill and Paul at Trunk or Treat

While we are on the subject of that boy. . . Who said he could look so mature?

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Our 4 plus their friends Paige and Alyssa.

Kimberly, Alyssa, Paige, Mimi, Paul and Annie

The 6 of us! This was my first outing after my surgery. I had to take a pain pill to make it through but it was so worth it!

6 Browns

> Annie, Family News, Kimberly, Madeline, Paul | Comments (0)

Post operation report

October 24, 2014

Surgery was this morning. It went well. There were many adhesions to my bladder and stomach wall that made it tricky for them to remove it all. After 2 hours of laparoscopic surgery he was finally done.

I was in recovery for 4 hours trying to urinate. Several hours into recovery they said if I didn’t get things going I would have to go home on a Foley catheter or possibly be checked into the hospital. Thankfully after 5 bags of fluids, 3 cups of hot tea, and at least 5 cups of water I was able to go!

At home now recovering. Trying to stay ahead of the pain and learning how to move my body.

Kimmie asked if I was in less pain. Truth is I’m not having all the abdominal pressure I was. The cyst/tumor was so heavy that it caused me a lot of back pain and stomach bloating. So much that even after surgery with swelling my stomach looks much better.
I told her I was still in pain but it was from the surgery and the healing. My belly button, where they went in, is pretty bruised and she attributed it to that.

The kids are so glad to have me on the road to recovery. Let’s just hope that post 40 I heal as quickly as I always have!

> Family News | Comments (2)

Smarties!

October 23, 2014

Annie received Honor Roll the first quarter of 5th grade.

Kimberly received Principal’s List the first quarter of 5th grade.

Madeline received Principal’s List the first quarter of 4th grade.

So proud of their hard work.

Honor Roll and Principal list!

Unfortunately I missed the ceremony because I was in surgery. Trusty Grammy was there to cheer them on!

> Annie, Kimberly, Madeline, School | Comments (0)

Surgery

October 22, 2014

Tomorrow I will be having surgery to remove my remaining ovary and cysts.

My blood test came back in the low range for cancer concern. Again, I would prefer this to be 0% chance, but I will take low over high any day.

Thankfully I am able to have it done laparoscopically. They say the recovery will be much smoother than abdominal. Here’s hoping.

> Family News | Comments (0)

Could it be?

October 19, 2014

I’m sitting here and my life has changed. In one of those moments where before something was so remote you never gave it a second thought and the next moment everything changed.

Last Thursday I went into the doctor for what I thought was normal cyst like pain on the right ovary. That ovary has produced a large cyst every 12-18 months since my hysterectomy and I really regret not pushing harder to have it removed. He sent me for an ultrasound and half way through the ultrasound I knew things weren’t “normal”.

Later that night the doctor called me and told me that I needed to see my gynecologist. I needed to have a surgeon remove the cyst. My gynecologist would be able to help determine if I needed a oncological surgeon to do my surgery.

There are some words that just hang in the air once they are said, these words did that . . . Oncological surgeon. I couldn’t need anything that would result in the word oncology. Oncologist handle cancer! I couldn’t be at risk of that, but there I was.

It was a surreal moment. No longer was I part of the oblivious part of society that is at 0% chance of currently having cancer. There was reason for my primary care doctor to believe I could have it.

I’m still reeling over this information. I have seen my gynecologist and he too is concerned. He gave me the CA125 and He4 blood tests and I am currently awaiting the results. While he tried to make it all sound routine the classification was there, I’m over 0% chance of having cancer.

The thought scares the crap out of me.

So many things have run through my mind. Most of it I push away. I can’t deal with any of those realities.

I sit and wait for the results, as I have for a week and a half already. Praying that tomorrow I will get news about the blood tests and news of scheduled surgery.

> Family News | Comments (0)

Madeline’s Costume

October 14, 2014

Madeline is so creative and loves to make things with her own hands. This year that included her own costume. She came up with a plan and we shopped for the materials. She loved creating it. Thankfully it was an easy pattern and we could complete it in one afternoon.

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She only needed help sewing the pleather onto the dress. That stuff can be kind of hard to sew over.

Once we were done she painted a design around the bottom edge.

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I love her determination and drive. She is such an amazing girl.

You guessed it! She is going to be an American Indian for Halloween.

> Madeline | Comments (0)

Girl Scout Encampment

October 12, 2014

This year I was unable to go to Girl Scout Encampment with the girls due to my condition with my cyst. Since it was so large there was a huge risk of it rupturing so I had to stay home and take it easy. It was a hard choice to make but ultimately I needed to protect my health.

The Girls had a wonderful time!

Madeline was finally able to do archery. She loved learning about it and even got a bullseye.

They all loved canoeing. Annie and Kimberly had learned over summer camp but it was new to Mimi.

Annie Elizabeth

Climbing the rock wall. Kimberly is the one in the turquoise pants. Again, both Kimberly and Annie did this at summer camp but Madeline had her first opportunity on this weekend.

Kimberly and Tessa rock climbing

Hanging out with friends. They love all the deep relationships they have with their Girl Scout friends. I know some of these bonds will be around for a long time.

Audrey and Mimi

While I missed being there with them I am so happy and proud to have such self sufficient girls who did so well with no notice of me not going. They were a great example and had a wonderful trip.

> Annie, Girl Scouts, Kimberly, Madeline | Comments (0)

Pedicures with My Girls

September 25, 2014

The girls always love it when i have my toe nails done. They love to gaze at the designs the technichian at the nail salon make. For my birthday we had some down time so all four of us went and got our nails done.

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I loved spending that time with them. Sharing in the time together and them feeling special on my special day. They are the light of my life and they hold my heart.

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> Annie, Kimberly, Madeline | Comments (0)

40 Years

September 24, 2014

On the eve of my 40th Birthday I have become nostalgic for all the moments that have brought me here. Truth be told I have a good life. I am comfortable in my own skin. I feel optimistic about the future and I live each day to it’s fullest. I try not to let days slip by without making them worthwhile. I know my days are numbered and that I can’t predict how many more I have here on Earth.

As I sit here and look back I am amazed by my courage and stamina. Let’s be honest, I have been through a lot. I have three charities that are on my pay it forward list.

I fought for years to have a baby born alive to me. It wasn’t without great personal heartache that I went through each step of infertility. I could never have gotten here without the research done by March of Dimes. Without them Annie and Mimi would have died just like the other 5 babies I had. They will always be important to my life story.

I feel personally moved by the work of Lifewater and Charity Water. My son didn’t have access to clean water. It could have killed him and others in his native country. I cannot imagine not being able to provide something so simple to myself and my children. 30,000 deaths occur each week due to unsafe water. Nope that wasn’t a typo, I said a week. :( This is why it is so near and dear to me. I have watched people drink from puddles on filthy streets, those images never leave my mind for long. Water = Life. It is that simple for me

Addis street scene

My last and final charity is for Donate Life. Tissue and organ donation saves lives. Why everyone isn’t a donor is beyond my imagination. You won’t need your organs in the afterlife and they certainly can do more good to someone else rather than roting away here on Earth. Please consider this option and sign up if you feel moved to do so. Heck if you are feeling really adventurous sign up on Be the Match, like I am, and be ready to donate marrow should anyone be my match.

Life isn’t all about what you are getting, it is more about what you are giving to yourself and others. Please consider making a contribution to one of the above charities in honor of my 40th birthday!

> Family News | Comments (1)

40th Bash

September 20, 2014

Bill and my Mother, along with the help of my amazing neighbor Tracy, went all out for my 40th birthday party. There was a DJ and delicious homemade food. Everyone had a fun time dancing and chatting.

Happy birthday Sandi

40th pictures

Dancing the night away

friends

I’m blessed with so many wonderful friends who helped share in the day. It was a very nice time and Bill even got out there and danced a little.

dancing

It really was a fun time a what a way to ring in the new era. 40 here I come!

> Family News | Comments (0)

My Baseball Boy

September 18, 2014

Paul is such a natural at sports. It seems that any sport he tries he becomes excellent at and is doing well in no time. This fall we decided to try out baseball and Paul has been doing an amazing job.

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He really loves playing infield. It keeps him busy and he has a good arm. Paul isn’t as great at outfield. He just tends to get bored and throws his hat to amuse himself. He really needs to be in the action to keep his focus. He is also really good at catcher. Mainly because he isn’t afraid of the ball, and it is a busy position.

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However, he doesn’t love the fact that his legs tend to cramp up when he is kneeling. Sometimes he practices squatting when he is watching tv. He does it only when the commercials are on.

He does such a good job and we are proud of the effort he puts in.

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It doesn’t hurt that he is beyond adorable in the outfit.

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> Paul | Comments (0)

First Day of School

August 12, 2014

I can’t believe how old the kids are getting. I have two fifth graders, a fourth grader, and a second grader.

Mimi is starting violin this year. Annie is continuing on with the clarinet and Kimberly is continuing with the flute.

Kimberly on her first day of 5th grade

Annie on her first day of 5th grade

Madeline first day of fourth grade

Paul on his first day of 2nd grade

> Annie, Kimberly, Madeline, Paul, School | Comments (0)

Bill’s 40th Birthday

August 9, 2014

Bill is the kind of person who likes their birthday to pass without any fanfare so that is what we did. He took the girls to the power plant for a tour in the morning and then we went to the ice cream social for the kids school. All in all it was a quiet day, but of course we couldn’t leave it that way so we had the family over for dinner and surprised him with a barrage of silly string.

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Sometimes you just have to break the rules. ;-)

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For his birthday he didn’t really want or need anything so I started thinking and came up with a cruise for just the two of us to take. The cruise was from Long Beach to Catalina and Ensenada. He really enjoyed the down time and the time together.

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Happy Birthday to the man I cherish, even though he is old now. The kids and I had a great time joking around with you about your age.

> Family News | Comments (0)

Paul’s 7th Birthday

August 7, 2014

Paul is 7!

Color: blue
Sport: basketball
Animal: lion
Food: mac and cheese
Book: Spiderman 3
Season: don’t have one
Restaurant: Mimi’s Cafe
Holiday: Christmas
Weather: cold
Cereal: Cocoa Puffs
TV Shows: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Movie: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Candy: chocolate
Subject: math or social studies
Toy: TMNT
Thing to do: play TMNT
Place have been: Arizona, California, Washington, Ethiopia
Place to be: home
Place want to go: Ethiopia
Person: Annie
Hero: John
Time of Day: night
Song: TMNT theme song
Drink: chocolate milk
Treat: cookies
Vacation: Disneyland

Paul was able to have his birthday party on the same day as his birthday this year. He had friends over to play video games.

Paul playing video games with his friends

Party time

Paul wanted his signature Costco cake made with chocolate cake, chocolate icing and chocolate mouse in the middle. I have them not decorate it and I made a track for Mario Cart.

Paul's 7th birthday cake

Paul with Mommy and Daddy

That night the family came over and Aunt Teresa made him a cute Mario mushroom cake.

Paul and his cake

Paul had a great night swimming with family and enjoying his gifts.

It is amazing to watch him grow and mature. He is such a unique boy and I love him with all my heart.

> Paul | Comments (0)

OT/PT Therapy Continues

August 6, 2014

Madeline’s OT therapy continued throughout the summer months. The other kids had to suck it up and sit in the waiting room every week while Madeline was working. This was not fun for them. Finally, on the last day of summer therapy the therapist asked if Mimi wanted to show her siblings some of the fun things she does at therapy. They all were so excited to see.

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Mimi had fun showing them around and the kids had a great time on the equipment.

> Madeline, Therapy | Comments (0)

Summer Camp

July 30, 2014

This year we decided that Kimmie and Annie were ready for sleep away summer camp. They were nervous so we went with the 3 night option. They went to Girl Scout camp in the pines.

Annie on her way to camp

Kimberly packing up

They loved it and had such a great time that when we came for pick up they weren’t happy to see us. I guess they really were ready for the week long camp. They learned how to be independent within the confines of a safe environment.

I am the first one to say that people helicopter around their kids far too much but on some of these issue it is even hard for me to let go. Yes, we went out on the streets until the street lights were on and came back in one piece, but where I grew up everyone’s mom did the same thing. There were tons of other kids out and about on the streets. If I were to send my girls out riding their bikes around the neighborhood they may not run into another soul the entire time. This is more dangerous than if there were lots of people out. They could be snatched up in no time and nobody would notice. So, in this day and age we have to manufacture these kinds of experiences. This camp was a place I felt comfortable letting them free.

However, as I drove away from the camp (which is located 2.5 hours from my home in the remote mountains) I felt queasy. It isn’t easy letting go. I feel it is important for them to feel safe without me as much as it is for me to feel safe and trusting without them. I would hate it if the first time this happened they were driving away in a car from my home with me having no idea where they were. Baby steps people!

As soon as we dropped them off they got right in the circle and started having fun with the counselor.

GS camp

They had such a good time and can’t wait to go back next year, but this time for a whole week!

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> Annie, Girl Scouts, Kimberly | Comments (0)

Summer is My Favorite

The kids and I LOVE summer. It is a time for relaxing, no rushing, sleeping in, having pajama days, late nights and movies galore.

One night we found the Waffle Luv truck and enjoyed some amazing waffles.

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We played in an awesome daytime monsoon storm.

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Went to Happy Hour at many places including Pita Jungle.

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Hung out late at night with the neighbors.

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Went swimming with friends.

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It was such a wonderful summer. I am so sad to see it end. :( I can’t wait for next summerwhen the kids and I can enjoy a laid back lifestyle.

> Family News, Vacation | Comments (0)

VBS

July 24, 2014

The kids participated in VBS once again this year. They loved learning more about God and I loved hearing all they had learned. They had their singing performance but I decided to just relax and listen this year instead of trying to get a photo. You are going to have to trust me that they were adorable and they sang their little hearts out for the Glory of God.

> Annie, Kimberly, Madeline, Paul | Comments (0)

Staycation

July 17, 2014

This year we weren’t able to have a big summer vacation because of cellulitis so we made do with a fun summer and a long weekend at the JW Marriott in North Phoenix. The kids enjoyed the bog pools and the lazy river. It was a nice break from our regular routine.

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Such a fun time to relax and reconnect as a family.

> Family News, Vacation | Comments (0)

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