Thursday, April 28, 2016

All about including another dog

After our much loved Lucky passed away in the middle of March, we contemplated adding another dog to our family.  The ironic part is that my husband had always preferred cats.  We have three cats because Jeff had two before we had met, and I had one.  Jeff had always said after Lucky died, we would stick to one dog.  Seemed reasonable to me since we have two kids and three cats anyway.

Here is the ironic part. A few days after Lucky died, Jeff started sending me links to various dogs or puppies needing a home.  I reminded him about what he always said, but he remarked that Lady was depressed being alone. Also, even though Lucky was old, she had personality and spunk. We were missing it.  Lady is actually a perfect dog - calm, listens and docile.  But she isn't very energetic or playful unless another dog brings it out of her.

I hesitated a lot.  I wasn't sure if getting a dog right before breast cancer surgery was the best thing to do. I also didn't want to be impulsive because we were mourning Lucky.  But slowly and surely, Jeff, Laura and my friend (and attendant) wore me down.  We drove a distance to one SPCA with the kids and Lady one Wednesday afternoon in every intention to adopt a new four legged family member. We went to the same one where we adopted Lady.

To our disappointment, the web site failed to inform you certain dogs were only good for certain age kids.  There weren't any dogs for our family.  The kids were disappointed and we were annoyed we drove all that way for nothing and had two sad kids.

The next day Jeff and I decided to go to another SPCA just ourselves for the kids sake. On their web site, they had a 9 month old puppy that we thought would be a good fit. It was a beautiful warm day, and we got there about twenty minutes early.  Others were there too because many young puppies were available. We all waited until the doors opened.

It's always sad going into the SPCA.  Seeing all the dogs in pens just waiting to be loved. You wish you could adopt each one but you know that you can't.  On our way to find the dog we wanted, we passed Sasha.  She jumped up to greet Jeff and as he kept going, I stayed.  I read she was about three, good with dogs, cats, kids and house broken.  She wasn't crazy or barking.  I thought just maybe she would be the better choice.

I went to the pen Jeff was looking at, and quickly saw the dog was much bigger and hyper than I would like. We went in a room and they first let us see the puppy and then Sasha.  It was a toss up.  They were both friendly and adorable.  I was leaning to Sasha and he was leaning towards the puppy.  Then I asked why did they get rid of the puppy? They said she wasn't good with other pets. As sad as we were to not give the puppy a home, we knew Sasha would be best.

I never had an American hound dog.  She was very happy to leave and go home. I felt nervous introducing her to Lady.  I didn't know how Lady would react.  We introduced them the Caesar Milan way, and they were fine.  Sasha walked around the yard with her tail between her legs for about ten minutes.  Then just like a light bulb went off that said she was in her forever home, she ran around very fast with her tail up extremely happy.  She and Lady played too.

We all had to learn about Sasha's personality and she had to learn how we run as a family.  The hardest time was when I was in the hospital for three days.  My friend took care of her but she became destructive and figured out how to climb the fence.  We figured out how to make our fence better for her and she calmed down when we were all home.

Lady has become a mommy figure to Sasha. Sasha likes to lay with her and play with her. Sasha is smart and is pretty obedient when we firmly tell her.  She has a great personality and bought lively back to our family.


Monday, April 25, 2016

Moving right along after a mastectomy and cerebral palsy

I mainly write these blogs with the hope to get other women with disabilities to get their mammograms and treatment if necessary.  In doing my own research beforehand, all the information that I found was the fact that many women with cerebral palsy with breast cancer die. Why? Because of technology and lack of educated medical staff about cerebral palsy drives women away.

It's been about two and a half weeks since my bi lateral mastectomy and reconstruction.  The road has been a little bumpy but not anything horrible and much better than dying from cancer.  I'm able to crawl, feed myself again on the floor, type for short periods of time, drive my wheelchair, get in and out of bed, shower, stay awake all day, use my Kindle, play and parent the kids.  When getting in my wheelchair, we have adapted how I'm lifted but I think it won't be long now before we do it the old way. Also, I need some more assistance in the bathroom.

As far as pain and discomfort, I'm not going to lie, it's there.  No bra feels exactly how it used to and you need to sleep in one for three months after the surgery.  Unfortunately, my right side got the most of the pain and annoying feelings, and my right arm is my most frequently used. Reaching and putting your arms up is sore like after a gym workout and lying on your side doesn't feel quite that comfortable yet. But seriously, all of these things can be tolerated and most will go away in time.

Keeping a healthy diet (heck in the first few weeks - eat whatever you're craving. Your body has been through a lot,) trying your best, not over doing it but not being fearful of pain all help.  I remember the first time I got out of the shower myself. I was scared of falling, stretching my arm too much etc but after I just did it, all was ok.  I now take an Aleve and that keeps away prickly pain I call it.  Sometimes, out of no where, I just feel these prickes of pain in my chest.  Just like fireworks, but again not too bad.

Every woman is different and so is how they recover. Just remember that you'll have little victories but also some set backs.  You'll get there, and maybe never be the woman you were, but only stronger, wiser and confident.

Not Justice Quality, Mom

Jason and Laura are doing great and growing strong.  Yesterday afternoon, after teaching Prep, Laura went into full tween mode with her clothes.  She wanted me to take her to the store called Justice for tween girls.  I have no idea where that came from because we've never been a family that was hung up on clothing labels.  She claims to get it from YouTube kids.

I told her that I wasn't taking her to Justice until she cleaned out her drawers because I knew that she had lots of clothes already. Laura was cracking us up talking in a tween sassy voice while emptying out her wardrobe and discarding ones she never wore or outgrown.  I felt happy since I knew she had to do this anyway with the season change so I'm happy that it wasn't I had to make her do when she didn't want to.

Today as Shawn and I were changing my winter clothes to spring and summer, we found another bag of summer clothes for Laura. So, sometime this week she will be going through them. Then, as promised, either Friday or Saturday I will take her to Justice.  Luckily, I'm big on online deals and such as well.  She also likes Old Navy, Champion, Cherokee, Aero Pastel and a few others.

I'm certainly not going to allow her to be a clothing snob, but it's cool to see her doing age appropriate things within reason. She's coming into her own person and style. Laura also has a good sense of money value, charity and reason which is very good.  She is very grateful of whatever people purchase for her.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Best bra ever

So, before I even knew I needed a mastectomy , I tried these bras that I read about in a magazine. I was actually sad when I found out about the surgery because they are the best bras I ever had and thought I wouldn't be able to wear them again. Well, today I tried one on and it took some time to get back used to it but they fit, look great and feel great. I only had 3 so decided to order more. I found a promo code of PPL2X which allows you to buy 2 and get 2 free which comes to about $50 including shipping. But as any woman knows, $55 for four great looking comfy bras is a deal. Funny, the old me would never talk about bras on Facebook but when you've been through heck and back, I just want to help! The site is

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Husband appreciation day

Husband appreciation day is the third Saturday of April. Husbands are often unappreciated and sometimes ignored. It's nice to spend one day to show your husband how much he is loved. If you can't celebrate him on the exact day, you can extend it out to the third Sunday of April.

Most of us realize that men and women want and need different things in a romantic relationship. But we can all agree on that we need love and know we are important to our spouse. A  is a living and growing body that without attention, will wilt. However, if you give it time, love and appreciation, the marriage will flourish.

Here are some recommendations to show your husband you appreciate him. Even on the tiniest budget, you can show you care.

Give him a card of love and favorite candy.
Offer to do his share of the housework for a day or two. Do it without complaining.
Make him his favorite dinner and dessert.
Buy him a new video game.
Make him a coupon book filled with little acts of kindness he can redeem.
Get a nice picture of you and the children.
Buy him something he wants but feels bad spending money on himself.
Tell him about everything he does that you appreciate.
Stop nagging and complaining.
Watch a movie together.
Hold his hand.
Make an all about you basket filled with all of his favorite things.
Buy tickets to a favorite sport or music event.
Wash his car.
Talk nicely about your husband in front of your children.
Take him to a movie and dinner.
Surprise him in a way only you know how.
Hire a handyman to do a job that he absolutely dreads.
Rub his back.
Put his laundry away.
Breakfast in bed.
Call him out of the blue just to say I love you.
Go on a hike together.
Go to the beach.
Let him nap without a single complaint.

Have fun and love your husband!

Post bi lateral mastectomy life

Too much that I'd like to say that my energy will allow. But I survived a bi lateral mastectomy and an emergency surgery for a hematoma with having cerebral palsy.  Considering most women with cerebral palsy who have breast cancer, unfortunately die, I consider myself blessed.  It's been a long road with mammograms, ultrasounds, biopsy and a lumpectomy all leading to my mastectomy. 

After getting my children, pets, finances and all the other needs completed, I was in the hospital for three and half days.  Recovery is going better than my husband and caregivers and friends expected.  I'm not used to lack of energy but each day, I'm eating more and less pain from bruises. I gave up on heavy pain killers on Monday due to nausea.

I hand it to my personal care attendant (more friend) who learned quickly new procedures and had the patience in all care involved. Plus she took care of my crazy dog who went bizarre when I was away, kept Jason busy when I couldn't and the house clean.  My husband stayed by my side from day one through day and night in a ridiculously uncomfortable chair.  My mom was there to make sure everything was going ok, I loved seeing my sister and my dad even surprised me by bringing by Laura.  My in laws visited for a few minutes as well.

Last Saturday, when I needed emergency surgery, it was so painful and scary.  I never saw Jeff look at me with fear as if it were the last time. He said I was white as a bed sheet.  You see, when they did the surgery on Friday, the recovery nurses weren't very attentive.  I was alone in a way and my spasms were very uncontrollable.  My cerebral palsy makes my muscles have uncontrolled movements and fear plus pain intensifies everything.  u finally asked for Valium but I think I might have torn something as I was having spasms.  It's hard to say and no one can tell.  But after my emergency surgery on Saturday morning, they put me in recovery ICU with a very attentive nurse that administered Valium and had me secure from the get go.

I remember looking out the window at the snow from the ICU. The nurse remarked on the beauty of it as I fell back to sleep.  Jeff and my Mom were very excited to see me again and I wasn't in intense pain as I was on Friday and Saturday morning.  I could eat finally and after my mom left, Jeff and I slept deeply. So deeply that when my sister came to visit, she felt bad that we were asleep and waited an hour before waking us up.

Recovery hasn't been the easiest thing in the world.  I stayed in the hospital until Monday morning.  I had some issues with eating and vomiting.  One of my worst complaints is how bruised and sore my right arm had been.  My right side is, of course, my most independent side. Moving it just an inch hurt.  I was extremely weak especially in the hospital. To my surprise, I was unable to text on my phone more than three to four words and when I was in my wheelchair, I could barely drive.  My arm and hand were too weak.  But all the nurses enjoyed that I had a smile and always thanked them for their help.

Coming home wasn't too painful but I slept.  I was very happy to see Jason even though I couldn't play with him.  I talked to Shawn some and tried to eat something.  Jeff set me up in the recliner and before I knew it, I was asleep as Jeff explained how to care for my drains etc.  Jason sat with me for a few minutes.

Thanks to a friend, I signed up for Meal Train which has been a huge help.  Family, friends and community members can sign up to bring you dinner as you recover from surgery or a new baby.  Excellent idea and such a big help.  The first night, Jeff's mom bought lasagna.  Unfortunately, I was still pretty out of it but managed to eat some.  My mom came too and helped me sip coke to settle my stomach.

It has been an interesting week, tiring and humbling. Each day I'm able to gain some strength or energy.  On Monday, hopefully my drains will be removed and gain even more independence.  If you have cerebral palsy or any disability, please get a mammogram. Everything that I went through has been difficult but I'm a survivor and you can be one too.

Meal Train

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A letter to Laura

April 6, 2016

Dear Laura,

I love you with everything in my being and soul.  You have enough strength and courage in you to carry you through any challenge. Don't hide behind a sour attitude or any meanness. Let your true eternal beauty shine.  You are so smart, happy, funny, energetic and caring. No one can take these things away from you - especially yourself.  Keep reminding yourself that these qualities make you who you are.

Have faith in Jesus. He loves you more than you'll ever know. Stay on His side because any other side will only leave you sad and depressed.  Stay loving, helpful, grateful, nice, and smart. That is the true success in life. Money, being selfish, rude comments and being mean will only result in unhappiness..  I want you to be happy and live a life that makes you and Jesus proud.  When mistakes happen, get back up, shake it off and learn from it.  No regrets.  Only apologies and moving on to happier times.

Also, stay close to your brother and family. Friends come and go but family is yours forever.  You don't want to push family away because they love you and will help you.  Look after your brother and make sure he's leading a life of real happiness.  He loves you even if he needs his space.

Laura, as you grow and start to have a family of your own, remember these things.  Only be married to someone that gives you respect, loves you and has Jesus in His heart. Don't settle for any less because you deserve the world. If you're hurt by someone, forgive but if the hurt is very disrespectful with no change, leave. It's not worth it and no one has a right to ever hurt you.  Turn on your power and fight.  You can make it even if it's hard and you feel you can't.  Pick up your pieces and build again.

Always remember you're loved and cared for.  Please always love. Love rules everything and only leads to true success.



This is my fight song

I'm not sure if I'll have time to blog again before Friday. I'd like to say that I'm extremely grateful for everyone's support, prayers and love. I know I wouldn't have gotten to where I am today without my family and friends. I still remember the phone call on a chilly January morning letting me know I had cancer. Then the roller coaster ride of having the easiest cancer that will be gone with the lumpectomy.  And then finally the call three days after my son's birthday, telling me that there was more cancer than anticipated and a mastectomy is recommended.

All those emotions. All the supportive hugs from Jeff as he had his own struggles with nursing school.  Wiping tears from Laura's cheeks and helping her to be as optimistic as possible as she's also dealing with fitting in, extra activities and increase in academics.  Assuring my friends and family that yes I need them but I'll be okay.  As okay as I can fathom I'll be.  But I know I have an army of friends and family behind me and no matter what might happen, they will step in and up.

Yes, I'm nervous. Especially knowing that tomorrow is it - last day having all my wonderful body parts that God designed especially for me.  Unfortunately, cancer had to destroy so it must go so I can live. And oh yes, I want to live.  I have to live.  I need to see my children grow each beautiful day with them. Even when they are crazy and refuse to cooperate- they are simply amazing and are on a journey to do extraordinary things.  I want to be there.  I want to grow with my husband and still do crazy unimaginable things we've been dreaming about.  I want to teach, learn and write books. I want to work out and be strong.  I want to become the best hockey player that I can be.  I want to be 90 surrounded by my children and grandchildren.  I want to do whatever God has planned for me.

So, this is my fight song and I hope you have your own fight song.  Never give up. Pain is temporary but love is everlasting!  

If anyone would like to help, please go to 
meal train

Monday, April 4, 2016

A painful but needed miracle

On Friday night, I felt this miserable pain in my bottom teeth on the right side.  I couldn't sleep and nothing I could do helped. On Saturday, I called dentists but no appointments were available. I contemplated not going to hockey but didn't want to let my team down and it would possibly be my last hockey game in awhile.

So, with Tylenol and orajel plus a supportive husband, I decided to go.  I thought being distracted would help as well.  Luckily, I played two good games with my team. We won both.  On the way home, the pain shifted up my face and gums.  I realized then that I might have a sinus infection again and not a cavity.

On Sunday, I taught Prep and came home. My pain was increasing in intensity. I thought about going to Urgent care but last time, I was misdiagnosed.  I signed online and made an appointment for 8:30 today.  I started counting the hours to 8:30.  My husband set me up on our recliner with a heating pad on my face. Jeff bought me a milkshake and it hurt too bad to drink.

Today I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with a sinus infection.  I needed to shop at BJs store before my surgery.  The pain slowly increased beyond belief.  On our way home, I was beside myself in pain. My poor attendant felt so bad and I felt bad making her feel bad.  I took medicine as soon as I got home.  All I could do was sit holding a heating pad to my face, pray and try to stop negative thoughts.  I attempted three bites of soup but the pain felt like I was eating crushed glass.

Before my attendant left, she set me back up in the recliner. The pain disappeared slowly.  It's not all gone but it's 60 percent gone.  I could eat dinner and drink.

I find it a miracle because I think I have faced the worst pain thus far. Friday, I will feel pain again. But now I think I can take anything coming my way since  I've experienced the worst. I feel stronger and wiser. Now I must go because pain is slowly creeping in. Thank you to my friend/attendant who was with me at the worst, my husband, family and friends.  Thank you for prayers. Love you all.

How society views people who have cerebral palsy

Have you ever had a day when you forget that you have cerebral palsy? You simply wake up, do your normal routine and don't even think ab...