Wednesday, November 24, 2010


The children were nestled all snug in their beds... Oh wait, wrong holiday! Well the children actually are all snug in their beds and the house is quiet. Tomorrow all the craziness of the holidays will begin.

But I will take these few quiet moments to be thankful. THANK YOU so much to everyone who has helped in me in any way during this difficult time. I couldn't do this with out TEAM MANDY!! I also will be thankful for my wonderful husband, my fabulous family and friends and the little sugarplums who are asleep. But more than anything else, I am thankful to be here, happy and ALMOST cancer-free.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chemo Queen heads to round 4

My sassy spirits are back thanks to a wonderful thing called Decadron. Its a steroid that does wonders for me for a couple days. I'll crash from it by Wed or Thursday but that's OK. Tomorrow is a busy crazy day for me I gotta run to the office to drop off some contracts, beeline it from there to Evanston to get a chest x ray and follow up with my lung surgeon. From there I gotta head over to Highland Park Hospital for the Neulasta injection. My favorite. I hate that thing! But happy thoughts its not gonna get me this time because I'm not gonna let it!!!!!

So I had round 4 today!!!! Woooooooo I'm dancing barefoot, playing the air guitar in my undies, and singing badly and baldly in the shower. Sorry to those who just got a visual of that (wait til ya see the video of it I attached) YIPEE!!!! 2 more treatments to go. I'm sooooo happy. I'm getting there slowly :)

Today's chemo went pretty well.  I did have a moment of oooooo goodness nausea. I was yelling for Jesse to get me the garbage can. But then..... nothing. Thank goodness. It was very quiet today. Just me and the DH today. Got to relax and read and of course check FB fifty million times :)  This morning was beautiful sunny 61 and then as the day went on the temp stayed the same but we got rain and wind and tornado watches. Ick!

my friend our relationship will soon be over :)

The heels we don't go to chemo without them :)

reading my crazy sexy cancer book

OK we got bored so we though we would see if the green can made my eyes look any greener.

YEAH! I have eyelashes and eyebrows proudly presented to you by MAC the best place EVER!!!
                                                                                I have been trying to make changes to my diet I think I'm doing OK. No caffeine, No Alcohol, No sugar. Lots of fruits, vegetables and lots of fluids. I can have chocolate but it needs to be 70% or more cacao. I haven't been able to find much I did find an 86% Intense dark one made by Ghiradelli but they only had one left. If anybody finds any let me know. This girl CANT live without choc. and yummy green teas with no caffeine.

I have joined a support group called Breast Cancer Org. Its a National discussion board and support group. I have been able to talk to so many wonderful woman all over the world. I even got the opportunity to have lunch with a few of the girls last week at Lindy's. It was so nice to compare, vent, relate, give and get advice. Share our treatments and opinions on how to or how not to. I can't wait for our Illinois Holiday Party where I will get to me lots of breast canser sisters.

Breast canser posse :)
   I know this was a short one but its 11:30 and I'm about ready to fall over. I took two new sleeping pills they must have kicked in. I still gotta get my tea time in before bed. Night night!!!


Friday, November 19, 2010

canser blues

Not sure whats wrong with me lately. I'm extremely crabby Ba hum bug!!!! Great attitude and motivation has left the building. I m struggling more lately with the why me? I've been told its normal. Well normal you SUCK! I try not to bottle it up. I get mad, sad, depressed, numb. I'm having more and more side effects of chemo and they seem to be hanging around longer than before. Unfortunately this is normal. You know how I feel about normal. LOL! :)  I also am probably the only person getting chemo who has continued to get periods. Us girls all know how fun that can be.

So I had a Dr appt today with my oncologist whom I absolutely adore. He always has some cute little thing to say to me when he sees me. Theres my favorite girl, The chemo queen is here, canser babe has arrived. Anyway today I was in no mood for this. I had lots of questions and complaints for him today. Maybe I'm reading and researching to much. I don't know but I'm crabby and I want answers and I want em NOW!!!!  The appt always starts with a blood draw, weight, temp, blood pressure. All was good but my weight. I've gained 5lbs. I'm not gonna say anymore about that. :) 
So next to the exam room. The nurse says do you normally change for him. I quickly just whipped off my shirt and bra and said ok I'm ready. She probably thought I was nuts but this freaking disease has robbed me from everything. Why the hell do I need some ugly ass robe for. Like by having my self covered up is gonna change anything or make this process easier or more comfortable. Forget it! Let's GO.  I don't have time for this. It takes me longer to put the damn thing on than it does for him to do the exam. WOOOOOO I'm crabby. I got this spice to me today. Watch out world! LOL! So anyhow he comes to do the exam. He comments on how wonderful my incisions from the lung surgery look. He asks how I did with the last treatment? A question he probably wished now he never asked. I gave him an ear full on that one. I was right in my thinking about having the break from chemo for the surgery effected me on the last treatment. We are hoping that this next one on Monday will be different. I'm sorry what I meant to say is canser you can kiss my big fat ass and chemo your not gonna bring me down I'm not gonna let you ruin my Thanksgiving!!

Don't know if any of you noticed that I did not capitalize the word canser nor do I even spell it correctly any longer. WHY? It does not deserve any kind of power, respect, attention or recognition from me at all in any way.

Before canser I was kinda voiceless. My common response to questions or decisions was, maybe, sure, I don't know, you decide, whatever you want is fine with me. NOW I can get pretty mouthy. So watch out. LOL! And guess what? I'm learning that its ok to put myself first. Everyone else takes care of number one, so why can't I? Its not selfish!

canser isn't killing me, its just forcing me to change and grow up.

Until next time.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

mammogram guidelines

I understand that guidelines are just that; guidelines. But I am absolutely appalled at the mammography guidelines. The recommendations:

Most women in their 40s should not routinely get mammograms.
Women 50 to 74 should get a mammogram every other year until they turn 75, after which the risks and benefits are unknown.
The value of breast exams by doctors is unknown. In my case was pointless because she told me it was nothing. And breast self-exams are of little or no value.

How do they reconcile these guidelines with the fact that breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for women under 50 and the most common cancer to affect women? They say the benefits of mammography are smaller in younger women. I was 30 when I was diagnosed. Mine was not found via mammogram at first, my husband found it. It was over 5cm and it was classified as aggressive. By finding it early, it has not had the chance to spread to my lymph nodes (I'm hoping) and I get to be alive.

My concern with waiting until the age of 40 or 50 is that people will think that breast cancer isn't something to worry about until you turn 40 or 50. But the fact is, cancers found in younger women are more aggressive. If those women who are carrying around breast cancer without knowing it waited until they were 50, they then have to battle late stage cancer instead of early stage cancer.

These guidelines are based on the fact that most women are not at high risk for breast cancer. Well, thank goodness for that and it would certainly be a good point if most breast cancer patients were people who had a family history. But in truth, 70-80% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have NO FAMILY HISTORY! Less than 10% of people diagnosed with cancer have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation that predisposes them to breast and/or ovarian cancer. That leaves a huge amount of women who have no reason to believe that they will get cancer, but will.

One of the reasons for the guidelines is that mammograms don't always find cancer and neither do self exams. OK, I'll agree with that. If there was a better tool to replace these two, then I would say definitely tell people to not have mammograms until they are 50 and go with the new tool. But there isn't a better tool, so why take away the one that we have, even if it is flawed?

I will continue to tell everyone I know to have mammograms every year starting at age 30 and earlier if you have family history. I know too many amazing women who have been diagnosed in their late 30's and early 40's to be able to hide under a rock and pretend that it doesn't happen. It does. Let's not give people the idea that if you don't worry about it until you are 50 years old, it won't happen to you.

The new guidelines say that the benefit to younger women is small. Well I'm one of those younger women, and my life is worth the benefit.

Please please please share my story, spread the word and get those mammograms!!


Saturday, November 13, 2010


Ok so I have a silly request. Could all of you who have purchased either shirts and or bracelets. PLEASE send me a pic of you and or your family with them on. I am scrap booking my journey and I'd like to remember those who have and are showing their support. I need pics of TEAM MANDY!!!
I'd also like to add the pics to one of my blogs and my facebook album. Thanks ever so much.
My email is


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Form a team with me :)

I have met many, many women who have said these words to me. "I was diagnosed......" It becomes part of a normal conversation complete with treatment, surgeries, prognosis, and more medical terms than I ever wanted to know.

It is a difficult thing as an adult to say these words and understand what they mean. I'm sure a lot of you have heard the mix radiothon they do to benefit Children's Memorial Hospital. Children's Memorial  Hospital is a shining star in health care. They take care of children who need it regardless of economic ability. I normally listen to the radiothon all day and the thing that continues to bring me to tears is the interviews. I keep hearing children as young as 3 saying those words..."I was diagnosed....". They shouldn't even know what the word means.

Not all of the kids at Children's Memorial Hospital are dealing with cancer, but many are. Cancer is a miserable, terrible, cruel disease and the treatment for cancer is miserable as well. These kids who are going through chemo or radiation or stem-cell transplants are braver than brave and they don't deserve to be turned away because their families can't afford the treatment. I hope you will join me in supporting Children's Memorial Hospital. If you are a survivor who reads this blog, I want you to remember the first time you had to say those words..."I was diagnosed". If you are a parent who reads it, think about how your heart would hurt if you heard your children say those words.

CHICAGO Dance Marathon 2011

Dancing for Children's Memorial

Saturday, March 19, 2011
Sheraton Hotel & Towers
301 East North Water Street
Chicago, IL 60611

Registration: 7:00am
Kick-Off: 8:00am
Closing Ceremonies: 9:00pm

Do you have to dance the whole time?
Nope! CHICAGO Dance Marathon is about MUCH more than just dancing. There will be 13.1 hours of entertainment, great food, games, activities, but above all patients and families to interact with and that will share their stories and inspire you throughout the entire day!

I'd like to participate in this event. Anyone interested in forming a team with me. TEAM Mandy! Each person will need to raise a min of $400.00 by April 22 2011. Should be easy there is plenty of time.  Please let me know if your interested. I'd like to sign up asap and start collecting my donations. You have to have a minimum of  five people to form a team. The more the merrier. The more people we have the bigger of a difference we will make :)

Check out the site for more info.
I don't want my kids to EVER have cancer.  I sincerely hope that in the way that I missed the genius gene, they will miss the cancer gene.  I hope my children live wonderful lives and have an appreciation for things-all while they are cancer free.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010


So I am officially at the peak of the mountain here. Can't ya see me I'm standing at the very top screaming and waving. I've made it up one mountain side and I'll soon start heading down the other side. I have finished 3 rounds of chemo and the lung surgery. I have 3 rounds to go and two more surgeries. I keep trying to tell myself your almost there. One would think that the closer I'd be to the end the easier this would get. But its not it seems to be harder and harder every day. I think I'm hitting a breaking point here. I am just out right EXHAUSTED! Sick and tired of being sick and tired. I'm done with this already.

Round 3 of chemo has been by far the worst of it so far. I'm not sure if it is because this is all starting to accumulate now in my body or if it was that I was still not 100%  from the lung surgery. The effects from chemo are adding up and seem to be getting worse and sticking around longer. Nose bleeds, eye twitching, blurry vision, no taste, nausea, full body rashes, heartburn, fatigue, weakness, upset stomach. UGH! So aggravating at times. I use to wish for fancy vacations, shopping sprees and to win the lotto. But what I would give to have a full head of hair and be able to taste a meal. I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!

On the up side. I had a great busy weekend. I was able to go and watch my daughters cheer competition. They had a great performance and got second place. Our Wauconda Area Queens were in the Lake County Community Pageant. So proud of the three girls they did a great job and represented Wauconda well. Sunday was the Dist 118 fall fashion show where I was one of the models. It was a great time. It was nice to get out and see so many wonderful faces.

My husband decided he would go on a hunting trip. ISN'T THAT NICE!! Even though he has been amazingly helpful through this and he has really stepped it up with the house duties and kids. I could kill him for leaving me alone with these kids for 9 days. I sure hope he is having a good time. He is gonna wish he never went. I have a honey do list that is about 5 miles long and he is gonna do it all in one day while watching the three kids and the dog. And hes gonna do it all with a big smile on his face and NOT one complaint!!!!! LOL!!!! Oh and no breaks and while I'm at it no food or water either. :)

A HUGE thank you to those who have purchased T shirts and or Team Mandy bracelets. I can't tell you what it means. I had no idea I mattered that much to soooo many of you. Both bracelets and t shirts are still available for purchase.

I hope everyone is enjoying these beautiful days were are having!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Give fear its 15 minutes of fame.

     Fear can be more dangerous than anything. It takes away our joy and tramples our hope. Days, weeks, even years can slip through your fingers. If left unchecked, fear will strangle every breath from our lives. I am constantly amazed by this.....Why is it that we're so scared to live yet so afraid to die? We thirst for change and yet we choose to remain stuck. Trippy, right? How many of us dwell in that self - imposed purgatory? I know I've spent a good portion of my young life doing just that. The first step in taking charge of our situations is to acknowledge the fear. Let it have its 15 minutes (or more) of fame. What are you afraid of? Many of our fears are totally justified and need to be heard before they can be soothed. Those are healthy fears. Unhealthy fears are the ones that are purely negative and spread like an itchy VD! :) Those are the ones that need some TLC and a dab of cream! LOL! Do a reality scan with me an have a come to JBEE (Jesus, Buddha, Elvis, Etc) moment. Feel your body, hear your breath, ground your self in the right now. Ask yourself if your fears are manageable or if they determine your every thought, word and action. Allow the honest answer to come forward. If the response is "Yes they rule my life," then inner chaos is bound to clog you up. Few things are worse than soul constipation. It hurts and makes you feel cranky and fat.
So...... What are you afraid of? This is it part 2. WRITE IT DOWN. Put all your fears on the paper and then here's the next step BURN THEM! Put the bastard in a fire pit or fireplace and release them from your life. Dance naked like I'm going to. LOL! I know you all just got a visual of that I'm sure it was pleasant. :)

So I'll share with you my fear that I gladly burned.  I always have compared my life to my moms. She had a child very young at the age of 18. I too had a child very young at the age of 17. She had been married and divorced a number of times. She ended up to be a single mother of 4 children and struggled to keep a roof over our heads. It was difficult for her at times to even  keep groceries in the house. We grew up in a small barely 2 bd room shack. The thing was ready to fall over at any moment. After I had Christian at a very young age all I could think was OMG this is it. This is what I have to look forward to. A life full of hard work, struggles and misery. This can't possibly be. My mom was diagnosed with lung cancer when Christian was almost 2. She was 37. She fought the awful disease for 5 yrs. Of course it kept spreading to different areas over time. She passed away at age 42. So my life's cards have been dealt just as bad as hers if not worse. I was diagnosed at age 30. So my fear, here it is people if I continue to follow in her footsteps I'm looking at that I have five years. Five years is NOT a long time. I will be 35. Christian would be 19, Mariana would be 14 and Enrique would be 8. I sooooooooo can not even process the thought in my mind. I just start crying every time I think about it. Do I start living life in fast forward mode. Do I try and not think about it at all????????

OK so now that I have myself all worked up here and my husband is looking at me like I'm some kind of freak. I think I'll end it here. Remember to write down your fear and rid it from your life. It may be easier said than done. But there's no harm in trying.


Back at it again!

It is hard sometimes to force myself to spend the day at doctor's offices.  It is especially hard to have to see so many others there that are not doing well. It reminds me of how difficult it is.  Cancer is hard.  There is just no denying that it is a terrible, difficult disease.  However, I am grateful for good health care and thankful that so many people are on my team, helping me to make sure that I remain healthy.  So, I went in on Monday for Chemo and I was grateful that I was going there to remain healthy and not because I am sick. I will be going back again this afternoon for my injection. WooooHOOOOO! You all have no idea how much fun your missing out on. :)

Ok so I'm reading this book. Its called Crazy,Sexy Cancer. I'm in love with just the title. This book is really making me dig DEEP. Now remember you don't have to be a cancer patient to benefit from this. This is gonna be a fire starter, an inner revolution boot camp. We are gonna do exercises, meditations, "aha" moments, rituals, and midnight-ramble-back-porch brainstorms - for EVERYONE! Its meant to inspire you to become an empowered participant in your healing. This isn't about cancer, this is about life, and life is a juggernaut of gorgeous, staggering, messy, brilliant, yes, no, holy cow, holy shit, champagne supernova, love, loss, and learning. The only thing you have to bring to this is willingness to be fearless. No one gets a easy pass: we're all hauling around something, and we can either drown in the suffering or use it as a springboard for personal metamorphosis. Our spunky attitude is the key to our freedom. So what are you going to do? Open up, breathe in, and let yourself THRIVE!!!!

Ok Team Mandy: Stay calm. Anyone who has been diagnosed with the pesky big C knows that its a crisis of the mind as well as the body. I immediately imagined the worst and busted to my knees in prayer for a kind yet authoritative soul to tell me that this nightmare was all a mistake. I was waiting for the JUST KIDDING! But it never happened. Instead I was introduced to mortality, "Greetings, Death. I'm Mandy and I'm not ready for you yet so BACK OFF!"Time stops and suddenly I understood that dorky old saying, "Without our health, we have nothing."
Cancer demands that we get off our asses and GO FOR IT - I mean it really, What am I waiting for? Out with the complaints, in with the solutions. We need to give ourselves a tune up from the inside out.

If you haven't already, now is the time to give yourself authorization to define your own journey. Put yourself in a can -do space. In my mind I was a survivor the day I was diagnosed. As someone with cancer I live everyday with a suffocating weight on me. What if? Will I see my next birthday? I imagine myself gone and my kids being raised by a stripper. LOL! Cancer puts me on a rim and while I'm on the rim I have an opportunity to appreciate and express fear simultaneously. I multi task dying with living while managing my chores to keep it together. So why not celebrate all that I've/ we've managed to accomplish already? Sometimes just keeping it together is surviving. So stand up straight and yell the S word. No not that one :) SURVIVOR! Survivors come in many shapes and sizes. The best part about being a survivor is the appreciation you will feel for the little things (even when they're painful): the sheer joy of peeing in the ocean; of crying so hard that you burst into giggle madness; the agony of suffering over a lost loved one or a perished dream. SURVIVORS squeeze every drop of juice from its extraordinary life. From diagnosis to discovery survivor is an attitude. You my friends are ALL survivors no matter what. I am a survivor! Lets not wait til the icy patch thaws before celebrating life.
We see freedom, create it, become it. When I put cancer behind me and started smiling again, the disease lost its grip on me.

Ok here goes. Go get a piece of paper and something to write with. Pen, pencil, crayons,markers, red lipstick whatever.  I DARE YOU!  I don't care if you wanna laugh, cry, fart sneeze do what ever ya need to do. LOL! Some of this you will need to change up for yourself. Whatever it is you may be dealing with in life it doesn't matter if what it is. If your here dealing your a SURVIVOR. I of course am dealing with cancer so that's how this will all be worded for me.
Ok so this is part one: Write it on your piece of paper......... I am a SURVIVOR, a crazy sexy SURVIVOR and thriver!!!!!!
Come on people with heart and enthusiasm make it pretty twirl and doodle all over it.

Some of you are thinking this is soooooo stupid. You gotta hang in there with me. There's a lot more to this. One part at a time we will get there. I wanna see your papers people.

That's my lesson for the day! :) WE ALL ARE SURVIVORS!!!!
 We'll do some more tomorrow.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Round 3/4

So some of you are probably wondering is it Round 3 or 4. Well its kinda like 3.5 I guess what happened was the last time I was there they didn't give me the full dose of chemo because I was gonna be having surgery two days later. So because of that I went backwards. Today was considered my 3rd treatment and I have 3 more to go. 11/23, 12/13 and 1/3. I can then have my breast surgery 3 weeks after my last round of chemo. Yipee! I'm getting there. My lung cancer is GONE. Everything looks good. I need no further treatment for the lungs. I just need to finish healing which will take a couple months. I will get scans regularly to continue to make sure all is good.

Today was the first time I actually got queasy and nauseated during treatment. It didn't last to long but was enough to bother me. Today's chemo was very quiet and boring. No kids no visitors. Just me and Jesse. I traded my heels for boots today. :) I was able to read a new book I got. I'm gonna be sharing some deep stuff with you guys that I'm learning from this book. But you have to promise to do it with me. You don't have to have cancer to do this.
 So I spent 4 hrs at chemo and 2 hrs in the car to get home. Traffic was awful I was not a happy camper. I'm kicking cancers ass but my ass is getting bigger and bigger from all this sitting. LOL! And here I am at the computer face booking it up for the last 2 hrs. OY! I need to get a treadmill. Anyone have one they are using as coat rack or has 2 inches of dust on it cause you haven't used it since the day you got it. If so let me know I'd love to borrow it for a few months.

I traded the heels for boots its getting cold out there.

My friend that I can not wait to get rid of forever

the book you all are going to be hearing a lot about

Well this is a short one. I'm super tired. I will write again tomorrow. Its gonna be a good one I promise.