Thursday, March 31, 2011

the pixie cut.

i did it. i have a boy cut. its short. real short. but i do not hate it. just a little sad about it.

you might recall when i first cut my hair in preparation for losing it all due to chemo (watch it HERE). justin and i went together. we took before and after pictures and video. it was quite the ordeal. i went from happy, to furious, to mostly not happy. i hated my first hair cut. i walked out of the salon and yelled lots of four letter words. i hated it. not sure if i hated the hair cut or just hated that i had to cute my hair altogether. either way it was a dramatic, emotional, tough day. but we made it. i made it through 12 chemo treatments and held on to some of my hair. i started wearing a hat in mid december when it started to get real thin. it kept getting thinner and thinner but i never lost it all. so i decided not to shave it but opted for to keep my thinning hair and wear a hat. i own several hats but my grey hat always seems to be my first choice. kinda gross that i wore the same exact hat for basically 14 weeks. that might be a little weird. but it seemed normal to me. i basically wanted to wear my hat for as long as i could and then wait a little until it started to grow back and then we would go short. pixie cut style. since that it was justin has wanted since day one. but i was never ready.

this week i was ready. our friend anne rolfe (she is in the haircut video) babysat ava the day i got my haircut and when i came home really upset about my hair she gotta go to heather. she will fix it. i love her. she is the best. so when i decided last week that i was ready for my little cut i texted anne rolfe and got in touch with the infamous heather. this haircut was a little different. it was just ava and i. no video. a few before pictures i took of myself without my hat on to document my hair post cancer. as i was driving to heather's house i started to get a little emotional. i was sad. scared. nervous. mad. a little excited to not have to wear my hat ever again. but mostly nervous. i knew i was ready for this cut because i actually made the appointment. i knew that i was ready. even though i was scared i knew i needed a change. it was time to cut off the old hair and start fresh. my hair was reminding me of cancer everyday. even though i am cancer free. i thought that my new haircut would make me think less about cancer but its doesn't. not yet. maybe in a week or so but not tonight. i still look in the mirror and do not recognize myself and that is a strange way to feel. i do not think i would have ever cut my hair this short ever in my life had i not been forced to due to cancer. i like my long hair. i think it looks pretty. but now i have short hair. and that is okay too.

back to the hair cut. we arrive at heather's house and upon meeting each other i am quickly laying my daughter on their family room floor because she had a dirty diaper. perfect way to start things off. but it's cool because she has two little boys. the environment was exactly what i needed it. not in a salon with a women who has no idea what she was doing...heather pulled up a chair in her entryway and we got to talking. it was perfect. our kids ran around and played as her husband help supervised little ava. i loved it. i asked her if she thought it was thick enough to cut it off or if i needed to wait...she said i was good to go. i asked her what she would do if she were me...she said she would go for it. pixie style. so she started cutting. no big mirror so we casually chatted and got to know each other. we are friends now. it was laid back and that made it all feel less like a big deal....this whole i am getting a boy hair cut thing. when she was done she handed me the mirror and i saw myself. i teared up. not because i did not like it but because it was just a little sad. i look so different. but heather was great. so thank you.

as i drove home thinking about my hair and how scared i was to see people. i called justin and he said he loved it and was coming home. not a total shocker. he is my husband. so he is supposed to say that. but he did say he really meant it. in the midst of my insecure thoughts i remembered...i did not necessarily choose to cut my hair off. i had to. because of cancer. not that pixie cuts are not great. i just do not think i would have ever randomly decided to chop off all of my hair. that made me feel a little better. i know i know its just hair. but this is a big deal for me. its short. my hair is short. one last thing before i post a few pictures...lie. its okay to lie to someone who has to shave their head (due to chemo) or cut it real short (due to chemo). be nice. they need to hear that they are beautiful. maybe the most beautful they have ever been. i am not encouraging people to lie. its just hard. i am nervous to see people and wonder what they are thinking so just be real nice about it. i cried tonight. but maybe i need to be more tough. its just hair. yeah right. not to me. its sad and i am still getting used to it and i think that is okay.

my normal hair after one chemo treatment.

my hair this morning. minus my hat. by the way it has grown in so much since my last chemo on feb 9.

my pixie cut.

if you like my hair leave a little comment love. if you do not like it please do not leave a comment. 
it might hurt my feelings.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

one day you have it. next day you don't. (not literally but sort of)

i wrote this back in feburary  after we found out my cancer was gone. 

cancer is strange. i did not know i had cancer until they told me. so then i had cancer. beat cancer and now i do not have it anymore. its weird how you have cancer and then you just don't anymore. none of it is gradual. you do not get time to process it when you get it. you just get it. so you figure it out the best you can. and then one day you get a call and the same doctor that told you had cancer, tells you do not have it anymore. and just like you were numb when you found out you are numb a little to this news too. the words you had been praying for months and months...cancer free. well we are cancer free. but many people are not. cancer seems to be everywhere and that's probably because it is. i am much more aware of that now. and my heart hurts more than i thought it would. i think tragedy is when it (cancer, death, etc) happens when you least expect it. it is tragic because no one has time to prepare for it. it just happens. and then you are in go mode. tunnel vision. do what you need to do to survive. i think for me it was not all tunnel vision. i processed and shared my heart a lot when i was sick.  i am not sick anymore. so trying to process this new chapter of life has proved to be challenging. i am thankful that life is returning to its new state of normalcy. i am still trying to figure out if what was normal still our normal now. i am not totally sure yet. i sometimes think i try to figure things out oppose to just living and seeing what happens. its like i have to have an explanation for every thought and emotion. i am trying to work on that. especially when people ask are you doing post cancer? i feel as if i am supposed to have this all figured out. life after being sick. but i do not have any of it figured out. i am just doing my best to get back into life in the best way i know how. sometimes it feels overwhelming and other times it feels like i was never sick at all. its a strange place to be. i just hope it gets a little easier.

and it is has gotten easier.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

a little advertising.

so for the past month or so i have been going back and forth on whether or not to start having advertisements on our blog.  i am not sure why i was so uneasy. but maybe it was because i have never wanted this blog to become something it is not. but it is evolving. i am evolving and things change. when i started thinking about whether or not i would keep blogging after i was sick i always thought...of course. i love it. it is so life giving to me. but i knew it would look different. i had to. its not all about cancer anymore. and that is okay. its our life and our story. and cancer may have been the reason it started, but its not the reason its going to continue. i did not know i had anything to say and i found out that i do. i have a voice i never ever knew i had. and my grammar disclaimer (see HERE) really helped me to worry less about grammar and punctuation and focus on my heart and what i wanted to write. so with all that said starting next monday april 4th i will announce our first group of sponsors! i am so excited. i love that this blog maybe a way to help other small businesses grow. especially when its people who discovered their own passion and creative outlet through photograpthy, jewelry, sewing, or designing clothes. just to name a few. if you are interested in advertising please send an email to

thursday is the big day. pixie cut time. i think i will post a picture. but we will see. i am excited. well a little bit and mostly nervous. but its only hair right?!? i am real ready to lose the ol' hat and maybe i will like having short hair...

Sunday, March 27, 2011


i did not really go to church when i was sick. for lots of reasons. i think the last time i was at our church was christmas eve. for the christmas miracle. (i had just had chemo the day before and actually felt well enough to go to church and celebrate ava's first christmas. it was seriously a miracle). but today i went. just ava and me. justin was on his way home from kentucky. he flew there to surprise his dad for his dad's surprise birthday party. lots of surprises. and it sounds like it was a great party. sad i missed it.

i dropped ava off in nursery. she did great. but when i picked her up the women working there asked me if we had any pets at home. i said we don't...why? and she said oh, because ava kept going around to all the other kids and "petting" them. and that little pet turned into a little hit. not a total shocker. ava means well but she can quickly go from a soft touch to a rough little hit (or a rough little love tap). we are working on that. she just likes to touch people and wants to be friends. now maybe its just me but i sometimes get a little anxious in church wondering how ava is doing in nursery. she has not been around a lot of kids so i worry about how she is interacting.  although we have a little bit to work on i am thankful she did well.

but me on the other hand. i did not do so well in church. i cried. almost the entire time. while we were singing i could not keep myself composed. i just feel so deeply now about Christ and His love and His healing and His strength. i experienced Jesus in an entirely new way when i was sick. i now understand on a new level what it means...He is strong when i am weak. and i pray i never lose this new tender side of myself. and sometimes i am not tender. i can be feisty. i can say it like it is. i can be passive aggressive and sarcastic. those are still a part of me too, but now i carry a new sensitivity towards others and their pain. whether it be cancer or not. i was at a party last night for Young Lives (its young life but for teen mothers) and i was talking to a friend who i had not seen since we found out i was cancer free. and i was sharing things i had learned and one things seems to keep coming up when i share about how i am doing now. while i was sick it was tunnel vision. i had to endure it so i just did it. because i had to. but now i am beginning to process and really think about that fact that i had cancer. are you serious? i had cancer. me. really. cancer was in many ways an out of body experience. i felt often like i was outside of myself and watching it all happen...hence the out body experience.  but now i am able to really think about it and look back and see what we were going through. how it felt and what was hard and what was not that hard. but one thing is for sure i am very emotional about it all. and church this morning brought that out of me. i can not make it through a song without crying, its a little embarrassing. but mostly i am thankful. i am thankful that i understand the love of God in a more intimate and deeper way. i have wrote a lot about how cancer has changed me and this is one of those way.

yesterday i was feeling really discouraged about this blog and my writing. i have often felt since the cancer has been gone that its harder to write now. i have less to say. this blog originally started for one reason: to keep family and friends informed. but within days it took on a whole new purpose. it was providing justin and i with a place to share our hearts and process what was happening through cancer. i have always tried to remain true to those two things. even when the blog started to grow and more people were reading it i always asked justin to keep me in check and to read each post and be sure it remained true to who we are and what we are about. and that i would not write for a growing audience of friends, family, and mostly strangers, but remain true to one thing: to God be the matter what. and maybe that has not always happened but that was our heart and still is today. we just want to share our story and who God is because of it and in it. i said this from day one...we do not know why cancer is happening to us...but since we are not writing this story God is...we trust He wanted this part to be in ours. and now everything is not necessarily about cancer anymore. but at the same time its all about cancer now because of how it has impacted our hearts and our story. i think that is a part of what happens when something big occurs and everything changes. but its good. so good. so all of this to say is that just when i was feeling bummed and thinking that i really have nothing to share...this morning happens. and reminds me yet again how thankful i am that i was sick. i am better because of it. not always but hopefully most of the time. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

a little bit of ava.

i am a little tired today. long week for me. but its a gorgeous day here on the river and ava and i have enjoyed ourselves playing outside and exploring. she is into everything and going everywhere. she is pretty fast too. she loves being outside. when i pick her up to come inside she is furious and tries to push herself out of my arms. the girl likes to be outside. we had a special request from her pop pop so here are a few pictures from today. i am no photographer. clearly. but after some encouragement by sara to take more pictures of ava in our everyday life i am trying to do just that.

as soon as ava hears an airplane she loves trying to find them in the sky

she loves to wave. excuse the runny nose.

that is such an ava face. kinda of mom what are you doing?
i actually think this is a face i make. oops.

discovering flowers/weeds.

excuse the runny nose. again.

a little more runny nose and some crumbs from breakfast. man i am in love.

enjoy your friday. its after 5pm. the week is done.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

i am back. sorta.

so since it my official week back into real life i thought i would not mess around. i will fill up the ol' schedule like the good old days. not like i am popular and think its cool to be busy. but i like that i have done more this week than i did in the the past seven months. aside from having cancer and getting chemo and stuff. that took up a lot of our time but not in a real fun sorta way. i promise i will not document my days like this again its sorta lame...because everyone is busy...but this week is monumental and special for me. i do not want to forget what we did and how it felt.

monday i did lots of laundry, cleaned the house, played outside with ava, cleaned up after ava like ten times. she can destroy the entire main floor in minutes. i just bought her the ABC magnets for on the dishwasher. i thought she would love to play with them. except she likes to grab them off and throw them across the kitchen floor. then i put them back up because i can not stand that they are all over the kitchen floor. and literally seconds later they are every where...again. so after picking them up numerous times a day i decided tonight that they will simply stay on the floor. i just push them to the corner with my feet because i refuse to pick them up...again.

then i took a little "nap." but it was a fake one because i talked on the phone and read blogs the whole time. that night i made dinner. maybe for the first time in months. seriously. thanks to meals being brought to our house and gift cards i did not go much dinner prep while i was sick. thank you for that. but i made dinner. it was linguine with sun dried tomatoes and feta cheese. see recipe HERE. we loved it. we ate outside on the porch. it was perfect. justin went to young life club and i got ava ready for bed. then our friend jess came over and watched ava while i went to club for the first time since last may. justin is the area director for young life which is a non denominational ministry for high school and middle school students in chesapeake. check out what young life is all about HERE. so before cancer i was real involved. i went to young life in high school and college. and have been a leader since my senior of college. so it was real hard for me to all of sudden not be a part of it at all when i was sick. that was my choice but we felt like it was the best decision throughout cancer. but now i am excited to do ministry again with my husband. i missed it. it was nice to be back. after club all the girl yl leaders came over and hung out and we had she-ville. that is what we named it. its a time to share about life, leading yl and our hearts. it is a really special time. that ended at midnight and my day was done.

side note. we had a super busy and full weekend as well. and it was great. i was up late both nights. seems lame as i am only 27 but i was real proud of myself. my energy is coming back. i seriously forgot it even existed. thanks steph, casey, leslie, will, and janis for staying at our home and spending time with us. it was so nice to have people stay at our house and not because they were caring for us post chemo.

tuesday. went to the hospital so they could check out my mediport. and its looking great. healing without any problems. i took ava. it is interesting that ava really only came to two appointments while i was sick. she did come to a couple but she waited in the waiting room with friends or justin. but the only two she actually attended was when i was diagnosed with lymphoma and the second was yesterday. my last appointment having to do with anything cancer related. i like that. she started and ended with me. we are a team and i love that. scary that i had to just stop typing and think about what i did and it was only yesterday. ava napped and i did boring things on computer and spoke with people concerning medical bills. it was annoying but necessary. then i babysat. i used to nanny for a family right when we moved to chesapeake but i stopped a few years ago. however, i do help them on and off. ava napped there and then we headed to the little gym for gymnastics. it was great. i am for sure signing ava for that. she would love it. since she does not sit still very well. justin came and picked her up to take her to a baseball game. then we met up and had dinner with all the yl leaders in chesapeake. put ava to bed and justin and i hung out and talked about our day. it was nice.

wednesday. bible study in the morning. loved it. then my friend ally came over. we talked and i folded laundry and organized my closet. i like to multi task when possible. do not worry ally i was totally engaged our conversation.  ava and i played outside. took the little boy i babysit to soccer practice. talked on the phone. justin stayed and played with ava. came home and put ava to bed. who i thought would be real tired since she only took one nap but not the case. she was down at 7:45 and did not fall asleep until 9. what is the deal? i try not to freak out because she is a little human being who sometimes does not sleep as well. i have that too. but now its almost time for top chef. oh, how we will miss top chef. only two more episodes left. its even cooler now since meeting tom.

and tomorrow starts early and ends late again. date night! i am back. and i am exhausted. may try to scale back just a bit. but i like it. i like having purpose. i like getting out. i like friends being in our home. its a part of who i am and who we are as a family.

two things to end on. number one my grandma (my dad's mom) fell during exercise class and broke her hip. real sad. i have not talked to her but i think surgery is scheduled for this week. i will call her tomorrow. and number two.  no new updates concerning my mom and her thyroid. when they return to washington in a couple weeks she will have a biopsy done and then we will do from there. thanks to all of you who have asked about her. so sweet. means a lot. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

our new start

today is our first typical week since we became cancer free. and its good and its hard at the same time. a lot of life is like that. a little good with a little not so good. i am ready to be back. back to life like it once was...but its a little different now. i am still tired and trying to push through. i do not feel pressure. no one has these certain expectations for me in terms of what life after cancer is supposed to be or supposed to look like. it just is. it is our life. and sometimes even blogging reminds me of cancer when i would lay in bed and share about the pain, the joy, the chemo, etc. but i want to keep writing. i am just trying to figure out what it will look like post cancer. but since that has always been the heart of this blog. us sharing our story and our hearts and i want to do that. we shared life in cancer and now we want to share life post cancer. and i have been spending too much time trying to figure that out in my head and in my heart oppose to doing what i have always done. just write. and see where it goes. and where it went during cancer was such a gift. such an encouragement to me. i want to take the pressure off a bit and enjoy sharing our life now. not try and make it something it isn't. i got cancer and we trusted the Lord with it. period. we shared about cancer and how God met us in that place and changed us forever and now we want to share about life after cancer and how God is meeting us in this new place. and it will include cancer less and less. at least i think...

for us. when i had cancer it was easy (whatever that means) to really put your hope in the Lord. we had to. we wanted to. we had no place else to go. and no place else we would go. i needed the Lord in a new way when i was sick. sadly our dependence on the Lord is meant to be the same no matter what season of life we are in...but when its hard...when its real hard i could not make it though the day without Him. but now. only a month later and it looks a little different. i sometimes do not pray with the same depth. i think i can do it all on my own because my energy is back and the idea of grocery shopping, showering, laundry, caring for ava is not as overwhelming anymore. but my heart. my desire is to experience that intimacy with Christ even deeper now post cancer. because in theory we cling to the Lord when we have nothing else to cling to. everything else has failed. but what about when He has healed you? and the cancer is gone. what then? its the same. it will always remain the same. no matter the season of life we are in the Lord desires us to cling only to Him. not only desires but offers. its a gift. that we can take or we can leave. i realized when i was sick that i could not fix myself. neither could justin or my doctor. they could help. in every way they knew how. but we experienced a miracle. there was cancer in my body. in several parts of my body. and now its gone and we rejoice in that.

but some things are a changing right now. not bad. its actually the way it should be. but i think i am allowed to miss some parts about cancer. like meals, mail, housecleaning, etc. but now its time for that help to go to someone else. as it should. we had a season of life where people came along side us and eased the burden by loving our family in countless ways. we will always be thankful for how loved we felt when i was sick. and we still feel loved. but i do miss the house cleaning. i mean who wouldn't.

it was okay when i had cancer to have thinning hair and wear a hat. but now since i do not have cancer anymore its just uncomfortable and annoying. i miss my hair. i know its just hair. but i think i am allowed  to miss it and wish it were back on my head. but its not. it is growing. so that is good. i just hate that after i get ready and have showered and put make up on...i still do not look in the mirror and see myself. i see cancer. i see sick. not all the time. but sometimes. i had no idea how insecure i would be about this. but i am.

i feel alive. like physically alive. clearly. but still weighed down by cancer when i see myself in the mirror and how my clothes still do not fit as well. which i have really done nothing about so it's my fault. ie exercising and really eating healthy. i keep saying i will start tomorrow. but maybe i will start tomorrow...

last day to order t-shirts. check out all the info HERE.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

it finally happened...

for the first time since i started blogging i accidentally deleted an entire post. i have been writing for over an hour and its gone. i just wrote about some big stuff. some things i have been thinking about for weeks and was finally able to sit down and write and take the time to reflect and process this past month. our first cancer free month and its gone. the post is gone. i am not trying to be dramatic...stuff like this happens but i am so mad. furious actually. i had put so much of my heart out there and its gone. i am really disappointed and angry at this current moment. i was about to try again but i got nothing. i was trying to make it sound exactly the same and then it didn't so i will try again tomorrow. but knowing it wont be as good as before. maybe i will surprise myself. i will just try again. enjoy your sunday.

Friday, March 18, 2011

because everyone loves a t-shirt.

the nashville 1/2 marathon is april 30.2011.

to get everyone real excited about the race 
our friends designed t-shirts.
  these shirts will be worn by the runners and whoever else that might be interested.

each shirt will have light orange and aqua blue writing.
they are being sold in silver and safety green (for lympthoma)

if you would like to purchase a t-shirt go HERE
 or please email angie at: with your shirt size, gray or safety green, name, and address. the t-shirts are $18. sales end march 21.2011

thank you for your support.
thank you for running.
thank you to those of you that 
are coming to hang out at the race with us.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

our last day in nyc

we got up a little late and headed to church. minister and author tim keller, who we both love was preaching at his church right in nyc redeemer presbyterian is across the street from central park so we got ready real quick and grabbed a taxi. after church we met our friend grace for brunch. it was great to see her and catch up. she is currently training for a marathon in san diego with team in training for leukemia and lympthoma in our honor and another friend of hers from high school. we rushed back to the hotel so we could pack up and check out. it was sad. leaving is sad. but we missed ava. we had some time before we needed to head to the airport so we walked around the city for the last time. the last time on this trip. we will be back. it was a gorgeous day so we headed to bryant park and sat at a little table and talked and enjoyed the city. then it was time to leave. got into the taxi and left nyc.
thank you justin for making it happen. all the phone calls and emails. you made me feel like i was the most important person in the world. you even told me all the ways i had made you proud when i was sick. that meant so much. its hard to explain the emotion that was in this weekend. but it was deep and special. it was so much more than just a weekend to nyc. we celebrated our lives and our marriage and out love for one another. two things that i cherish more now than i ever have in my life.

also justin and i have both been to nyc before so we had already been to the statue of liberty, empire state building, ground zero, ellis island, etc. so this trip was an attempt at seeing/doing what we had not done before in nyc.

disclaimer...i would have many more pictures to post but my husband hates. i mean he despises asking people to take a picture. 

nyc day three.

on saturday we got up and grabbed a bagel and coffee from a street cart. i love saying that. like i am from nyc and i eat my breakfast quick while walking to work in the big city. we then took the subway to brooklyn, it was our first subway adventure and it went well. we got off a little further into brooklyn than we had planned. but we like the exercise. so we walked to the water and took some pictures.

after a few pictures we finally walked the bridge. which was the origninal plan but it just took a while to get there since we got off the subway in the heart of brooklyn. we wanted to eat pizza before we walked it but the line for this famous pizza place was out the door and down half the block. we decided to grab lunch in the city. i loved seeing the city from that view.

we then made our way to little italy...justin's dream. we love italian and he loves little italy. we grab a table and we sit outside. its perfect. the sun is out. it was our favorite lunch. we ate some unreal pizza and talked and just enjoyed eating in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city. we could live in nyc in a second. but we would need to go home and get ava first.

 justin finally got his cannoli. straight from little italy. and it was good. real good.

after our late lunch we headed back to the hotel. we did make that second stop to the sporting good store where justin proceeded to talk with the salesperson about a gps watch for 45 minutes. i returned text messages and emails near a rack of north face jackets. finally we took a taxi home and got ready for the next surprise (which i accidentally found out about) we headed to 30 rockefeller center for Saturday Night Live!!! we are big snl fans. the host was zach galifianakis (from the movies the hangover and due date) and the music was jessie j (we had no idea who she was. but she had a good voice). it was insane. we loved it. it was so so cool to see it all happen and what goes on behind the camera. we went to the rehearsal. before the 11:30pm live taping there is an 8:30pm dress rehearsal. the producers then cut a few skits that maybe were not as funny or did not turn out as expected. so we got to see a few more skits. it is nearly impossible to get tickets to snl...but justin got them through a friend of a friend who works for snl. so after the show he took us down to the set and we walked around backstage. it was an incredible night.

we headed back to the hotel so we could watch the live show at 11:30pm. we grabbed some pizza on our walk home and both feel asleep watching it. haha. it was a long day in the city. i felt loved. my husband knows how to love me well and i am very thankful for that.

NEW YORK CITY. day one & two.

a few months back justin and i began talking about we wanted to do to celebrate no more cancer. we decided on nyc. we both love the city but had never gone just the two of us. we love cities. so new york we decided would be perfect.

we left chesapeake real early on thursday morning. justin's mom had arrived the night before from ky to watch ava while we were away. we are happy to report that ava did great! thanks roma for your help and for teaching ava a few things while we were away (such as patty cake and old mcdonald). she loves to sing along!

first off everything this weekend was a surprise except for one thing. someone accidentally told me. but other than that i did not know one thing that was ahead for us in nyc. and i loved that. we arrive in nyc around 10am. its wet and rainy but weather does not stop nyc. we took a taxi into the city and arrive in the center of time square at the renaissance hotel. it was perfect. we were in the center of it all. our room was gorgeous with a great view of the city. we unpack a bit and then head to a great brewery justin had found. we sat right by the window to watch all the people go by. i loved it. when we return to our room there is champagne and strawberries. perfect touch. the weather was pretty bad at this point so we just hung out for a bit and took a little nap. since we had been up since 5am and went to bed after midnight it was needed.

time square. the view from outside the hotel.

at around 5pm we start getting ready. justin said to dress up a little. so i did. (we did not take pictures tonight but did take video video to come). we took a taxi in the pouring rain to chelsea and got out. i saw the name. it was colicchio and sons. the owner of this restaurant is tom colicchio who is a judge on the our favorite show TOP CHEF. every wednesday when justin gets home we watch this show together in bed. its perfect. when we walk in i spot tom sitting at a table. we then get seated near him. i pretend to act cool. a few minutes later he walks over to our table. what? he says..."hi justin and libby...welcome to colicchio and sons." i am secretly freaking out. we chat for a bit and i ask him questions about top chef. he was really so kind and appreciative that we would celebrate at his restaurant. he said congratulations and told us to enjoy ourselves. he walks away and i look at justin...he had been in email contact with his assistant and they all new we were coming. so everyone at the restaurant went above and beyond. it was so awesome. i felt so special. we ate a lot of food. it was seriously unbelievably good. i tried a few things i have never had before...bone marrow and lamb. and the bone marrow was recommended. it was not good.  i am not picky. but bone marrow? i actually said a lot to justin throughout the why did i order bone marrow? but i did. i tried it. but it will be the last time for me. it was an unbelievable night. we even had two courses brought out to us...compliments of the chef. so pretty much tom cooked for us! so cool. justin started the trip out right. great food and great night. loved it. if you are in nyc check out this restaurant. we headed back to the hotel and sat on some comfy couches with an incredible view of times square. good first night. actually great first night.

on friday morning we got up early and headed to the today's show. it was a little cold and rainy. but we stood outside for a little bit and then left. we ate breakfast at the hotel and headed to central park. the rain stopped so we spent the day walking around nyc. we took a little pedicab ride through the park and then walked and walked and walked. all day. we ended up in the soho area where i bought my nyc souvie. justin's family calls souvenirs "souvies" and i like that. so i got myself some hunter boots. no i do not hunt. they are real cute rain boots. i got beige with grey cable knit welly socks. so excited. we ate lunch in a little place in soho and then kept walking. we discovered this sporting goods store that was justin's dream. he asked to go back there seriously five times. we did go back one other time. we took a taxi to the hotel and got ready for dinner. again i had no idea what was coming...but i did have a little guess. we both got dressed up. i wore the dress i bought right before we left. we ate a great italian place and then walked down broadway and stopped at the big Wicked sign.

we walked inside and had amazing seats. thanks to my cousin derek and his wife jen. we were like six rows from the front and right in the center. thank you. i had never seen the play before and i loved it loved it. great night. we left around 11pm and justin wanted to go back to little italy for a cannolinyc...the city that never sleeps and i chose to sleep. sorry jus. i was wrong. we should have gone to little italy so you could get a little cannoli.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

now its really done.

my mediport was taken out today. now they can not give me chemo even if they tried. i was real relaxed about the whole thing until we got to the hospital today and i realized it was surgery. not major surgery clearly, but still surgery. we did not plan this appointment very well since justin is out of town the next few days for work, so my friend allison came along. he hated that. not that allison came with me. he was thankful for that. but hated that he was not there. he has been pretty much unbelievable when it comes to my doctor appointments. barely missing a single appointment. he was a bit more nervous than me about this because i was so terribly sick when they put the mediport in back in august. but it went fine. once i realized it was surgery and wrapped my head around that. not sure how i thought they would be taking it out...but anyways we went to the hospital. sat in pre-op for about an hour. then went back to surgery. it was the same surgeons who had put the port in. they were all real excited to take it out and we celebrated the fact that i am cancer free one more time. it was nice. it was nice that they cared. the two residents said they remember me so clearly because they are both 27 years old so i sorta stuck out in their minds. and because justin and i looked so young in the midst of patients who tend to be much older than us. my nurse who was a kind older women took the time to talk with me for a bit about how cancer changed me. changed justin. our marriage. our lives. and all sorts of things i had learned. i really appreciated that. she is good at her job.

the port was removed just fine. i felt a little sick in recovery but came home and slept. the pain now is just in the area where my port was. it aches and stings. and i am exhausted. but i think its easier this time around because its the end. not the beginning. you can handle pain/discomfort a bit more when you know the cancer is gone and the long road is not ahead of you, but instead behind you. and how i pray. i pray so hard that i never have to go down that road again. so i am off to sleep. allison is staying the night just case. i know that makes justin feel better. and secretly me too.

today was just strange for me. its like it crept up on me. we have moved on in so many ways since hearing the news...cancer free. but today was just a little sad. it brought me back to august and how scared we were and how much that hospital...which once brought such joy when ava was born there, now makes me a little sad. and i would rather not go back. thankfully there are no plans to. its just a part of the whole process of life after cancer. you move forward then back a little. maybe just for today. i do not think i will be stuck in this sad place for more than a day or so. its just a small reminder that it will sneak up on us randomly. and that is okay. its just a part of it all. when i was wheeled out of surgery i looked around the corner...hoping...secretly hoping...justin would be there. he was not. and not because he did not want to be. he said about ten to twenty times..."i will stay libby. i promise nothing is more important than you. i will stay." but i told him to go and that i would fine. because i am fine. even when we were texting after my surgery he said it again..."you need me home?" i am okay. ava is okay. we have help. but i guess all i wanted to know was that he would drop it all. whatever it was to be with his family. and i know he would. so that is enough.

i will post pictures and the details of nyc tomorrow. i promise. and i am excited. wow. it was the trip of my dreams.

Monday, March 14, 2011

new york city. to be continued.

it was amazing. best trip ever. full of surprises and real special details. justin went above and beyond. but i will blog more about the trip with some pictures at some point this week.

i decided today as i was gearing up for writing and for posting pictures from nyc that i would rather play with ava. to be totally honest i am not always the best at really playing with her...i tend to multi-task. but not today. i always seem to have errands to run and laundry to all mothers. but i want to be with her and play and really spend some intentional time playing. so many of our days seems to fill with errands and car rides because i get bored at the house and too tired to play. and sometimes do not always feel like it. can i say that? since we choose for me to stay home full time with ava. and i love it.

she is rolling around on the ground crying as i type. so i will go.

tomorrow is my last and final post cancer doctor appointment. they are removing my mediport. its this thing that is in my chest that they used to administer my chemo. please pray it goes well and there are not any issues. i got real sick last night and it hurt terribly but should not be that bad this time. then no more cancer doctors until the end of may. its almost done.

ps i grew out of those jeans i could fit in last week. nyc will do that to you. and i think its funny that as a women your weight can honestly fluctuate that much in just a few days. gotta laugh about it or its too frustrating.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

my jeans.

mom update: my mom and dad have decided not to go back to washington and will continue on with their plans in mi and hilton head. my mom has spoken with a few doctors and surgeons she really respects and they have all told her she can wait until they return home to see her doctor and decide if surgery is necessary. she has a biopsy scheduled for april 11th. she seems to feel good about this decision and is looking forward to her time in mi and hilton head with friends and family. thank you for your prayers and for caring about my mother and my family.

life is beginning to feel more and more "normal" and my energy level has increased. i did not realize how severe my exhaustion was until the idea of showering, grocery shopping, and caring for ava does not seem so overwhelming anymore. its nice. i spend a lot of time thinking about what is ahead. where the lord is taking us. what life will be like now post crisis. post cancer. in many ways the same and may ways so different. but good different. i feel like i have grown so much. i feel i understand trust in a new way. i understand health and the gift that it is. no matter how much money you have or how much you think you control your can not control health. and for some people that is scary and unnerving. but for me it means i am more grateful now for the little things and the great big things. i appreciate what its like to really "feel good" because i so often thought...will i ever feel good again? and the answer is yes. its been nice to hear people say, "you finally have your color back" "you really look like libby." i love that. i met with some good friends for breakfast last saturday and they told me..."you look good. when we saw you in january at ava's party your color was not the same. you looked tired. you looked sick." and of course at the time everyone told me how good i looked. because i think they were expecting worse. what does a person with cancer look like? and the answer is not always the same. i know that because i never lost all my hair my appearance changed, but not nearly like it does for so many others. i hate hats. i hate my grey hat. i will probably burn it when i can. i am thankful total hair loss was not in my story. just waiting for my thinning hair to grow back a little bit and then i am cutting it. justin will finally get his wish. i will get a pixie cut. a "boy haircut" like i said in my haircut video (see it here). i am so over hats. i could scream. so as soon as i can hats will be gone and a short new look will be here. i am nervous and excited about that. its just hair. i know that. people tell me that a lot. but i liked my long thick hair. i am ready to look in the mirror and like what i see on the other side. i know that is hard for people...with or without cancer. but on a side note. a really good side note i was packing for nyc today and randomly decided to try on my favorite jeans (which i grew out of during cancer) and they fit. i can button them. a little more snug than i would like but either way i can wear them and they can button. so all is well. got a new little dress for the trip too. i have not been this excited about anything in a while. i love that its all a surprise. that i know nothing. justin planned it all. and finally starting tomorrow at 6:30am when we arrive at the airport...i will be that much closer to learning what this weekend of celebrations has to offer. thanks babe for making me feel special. and we are not even there yet and i already feel special. its going to be good. i know it.

i want to write about my thoughts on advertisements/sponsors on the blog and the man i sat next to on my flight home from ky. but that will have to wait. ava woke up and is yelling "mama." also a few days ago she said mommy. she said mommy for the first time and my heart stopped. literally it took my breath away. lastly ava is not sick. no ear infection. thank goodness. just a little cold and about six new teeth and a couple molars coming in. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


this is not about me. its not that i think i am cool or special or anything like that. but we have wonderful friends (and some people we do not even know...but we would like to be friends) who are training, sponsoring, and working real hard to make this "team libby"  half marathon in nashville happen. its going to be cool. i am so pumped for it. thank you for training. especially those of you who hate to run like i do but are still doing it. i love it. i love it all. so if you would like a t-shirt PRESS HERE. our friends designed them and are getting them made. thanks for your support. even if you do not want a t-shirt.

also the nyc trip is for justin and i only. no ava. justin's mom is coming in from ky to take are of her. i am sad to leave her but so excited for some time alone with my husband.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

a little mom update and ava.

my parents have decided not to fly back to washington at this point. they are continuing on with the original plan and flying to michigan on tuesday to visit family and friends. while they are in gr my mom will be getting a biopsy done and once they know the results...they will decide on what they will do next. either head to hilton head or fly back home. thank you for the comments, texts, and emails. we appreciate it very much. my mom is doing well. she really is doing a great job of not assuming the worst and allowing this not to be a huge distraction. which i know it hard. we celebrated wade's (my nephew) third birthday on friday with a great little party. he loved it. and then got a babysitter and went out for a fabulous dinner and celebrated. because we do have much to celebrate. even in the midst of the uncertainty with my mom, we are thankful for so much.

ava is a trooper. but she is coming to the end of being a trooper. we have been gone for about a week and i think she is ready to see her daddy, sleep in her own crib, and play at her own house. she decided last night from like 2am to 6am to not sleep. which she has never done her entire life. not even as a newborn. so am thankful for that. but regardless last night was tough. so it goes when having children. we are in the same room, but she is sleeping in a pack n play in the closet. we have a sound machine too. but that just muffles things a bit. so when she decided to get up at 2am and talk, whine, and then cry i had to get her up. i could not sleep through it. usually if i make her a little bottle of milk and rock her she is good to go and falls back to sleep. but not last night. she was wide awake and ready to go. i was not wide awake and ready to go. and i can not blame my exhaustion on cancer anymore. i am just tired. like most people. so finally at 4:30am we turned on the light and played. she unpacked our suitcase a few times and then settled down a bit when i turned on her DVD player. then at around 6am and watching her rub her eyes a few too many times (which i was hoping and seriously praying she would start to do) made her a little bottle and we rocked and she slept until 8:30am. which was nice for both of us. she now has a clear runny nose and is pulling on her ears. perfect. ear infection here we come. lets hope not. she also has about 6 teeth coming in. that has to be annoying. we head out tomorrow morning. hoping this day gets better and we can get through flying home.

justin and i head to nyc on thursday for our cancer-free trip. can. not. wait.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

my mom.

i ended my post last night with this...a now cancer free family. we are still cancer free. i need to remind myself and my may not be cancer. my mom called my sister from the airport on tuesday on there way to kentucky and asked her to find her a doctor. she wanted to see a doctor because on sunday she had noticed a large mass on her thyroid. huh...since allison knows about three people in louisville and she was not real sure where to start. anyways, we find her a doctor and an appointment was set for wednesday morning. so she goes. her doctor agreed it was a very large mass and thought she needed to have an ultrasound. that happened this morning at 8:30am. we waited. i tried to be optomistic. we all tried not to worry. not assume the worst. this afternoon her doctor called and told her that yes two large masses were found on her thyroid. she called them complex masses. they are not cysts. it is not just fluid. it is something more. but we do not know what yet. a biopsy needs to happen first. so my mom and dad are in the midst of making doctor appointments and deciding if they will go back to washington immediately (they were planning on a 4-5 week vacation beginning with ky, then mi, then hilton head island with my grandparents) or stay in kentucky. or go to michigan (where they lived for 30 years) to get the biopsy done there. they are still unsure. still waiting to speak with her doctors back home. this is a hard time. the unknowns. and the waiting. and the what ifs? the timing seems unfair. this trip was about celebrations. but we will still celebrate. it may just look and feel a little different than we had anticipated. but this is life. the surprises we never ask for. i like to air on the side of. caution..."no one has cancer until its offically diagnosed." but that is not easy. your head tends to go to that place. i can not speak for my family but i am optomistic. regardless though her thyroid will most likely be removed (my moms sister had thyroid cancer two years ago and they removed hers). as we bathed the kids tonight i told my mom and least we are together. at least you and dad were not alone in washington and we can go down the initial part of this road together. so that is all we know. i feel sad and happy and numb and worried and calm all at the same time. if it is cancer. is treatable. or so we have heard. i am thankful to be here. for so many reasons. please pray for peace and for clarity and for no more cancer in this family. i love you mom. and my dad too. i am sorry. for what it is worth i am sorry you even have to go down this road.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

whose going to be number one thousand? (oops as i was writing it happened. its now 1001.)

999 followers. i am seriously in awe. never imagined in a million years. thank you for reading and for joining us on this journey of cancer and now our life after cancer. we can not thank you enough. i am in kentucky with my family and loving it. instead of writing i am going to go upstairs and spend time with them. but just wanted to thank everyone who has been reading and praying since day one and those of you that may have started just today. it's all a gift. so thank you. i look forward to what is ahead for our family. a now cancer free family.