Thursday, December 29, 2011

Chemo Angel?

Hi everyone! See, another post! It's a short one, but still...I'm going to do better at this! I don't know if you all know this but I am part of the ChemoAngel program. I had 2 Angels when I was sick, and then when I got better I decided I would "give" back and be an Angel myself. It's really quite fun. I am a card Angel and I send a cancer patient (whom I am assigned to) a written card each week! Right now I have a young lady named Jennie who is battling vaginal cancer. She lives in Lousiana. I just got an address change from the program and they told me they are looking for more Angels in the US. So, if anyone is interested in applying, please do! It's fun and you know you are putting a smile on someone's face. Check out the website at:

http://www.chemoangels.net/

Happy New Year! I'll be back soon!

Love, Erin

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

Ugh, I promised I would be better at my blog and well, I failed miserably. I AM making it one of my New Year's resolutions to do better at it. I mean, it's not hard. I think about writing here all the time, but then I never do. So, once again...I apologize. I bet nobody evens reads my blog anymore because well, there's been nothing to read. Sorry!!! I will do better! Obviously this is a busy time of year for everyone. I feel like I have been TOO busy. Busy is good though. It distracts us from the bad things going on in life. It makes time go by faster (if we want it to or not) and it makes the past more of the past. I really have no idea where 2011 went. If you can tell me, please do. It all seems like a blur. I will be coming up on my 2 year mark of being diagnosed. Really? Sometimes it feels like yesterday, but other times it feels like it never happened and I sit here scratching my head asking, "did that really happen to me?"

So as we come to an end of the year, it's always nice to reflect on the past. The past is the past though. There are a lot of things in our pasts that we wish we could do-over. There are a lot of things in our pasts that we wish never had happened. There are lots of things in our past that have molded us to be who we are today. There are many things in our past that have taught us for our future. So whether you like to think of it as good or bad without our past there really is no future. So try to look back on 2011 and think about what you have learned, what you have encountered and what can make you a better person.

Hopefully all of you are spending time with family and friends today and tomorrow. It really is a magical time of year. I wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas. Be thankful for what you have and bless those that are less fortunate.

Merry Christmas!

Love you all--Erin

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Better late than never another post...

Hello all! Wow, I am horrible at this and I really don't want to be! I didn't even make ONE post in October. Whoops! I apologize for that. There is lots that I can inform you on, I guess I just have been lazy. Or maybe just busy living life. I think I like the latter better. :)

You do realize that no news is good news and I usually will write in here when I find out something. It helps me process the news. I can't remember if I ever mentioned this, although I think I did, but just a bit after I was diagnosed my doctor's got another patient who was very similar to me. Similar age, female and the same type of cancer. She went through the whole protocol, bone marrow transplant and everything. Well, I guess she still wasn't responding well after the BMT and I remember Scott telling me after the fact that I truly was lucky because I went down one path and she went down the complete opposite. She wasn't doing well at all. Just yesterday I spoke with Scott and he told me she had passed. Wow. It really put things into perspective for me. I mean that could have been me! I truly believe there is a master plan for everything. I truly believe I am so incredible blessed and lucky to be here. I truly believe everything happens for a reason. I knew all this before, but after hearing this news and really thinking about it, it actually kind of scares me.

Then, I hear that Ethan Zohn's (ex-Survivor player and Amazing Race player) cancer has come back!! Really? Geez, It should be a rule that if you have dealt with it once it should NEVER COME BACK!! It's not fair. But then again, there are a LOT of things that aren't fair. We won't go there. He was in remission for 20 months. Now this scares me. He had/has Hodgkin's Lymphoma....pretty similar to mine. He will now undergo a 2nd BMT (now using stem cells from one of his brothers) and he's currently undergoing chemotherapy AGAIN. I mean I really can't imagine myself going through what I went through last year again but I do know it is reality and it could happen. I'm just now witnessing it. The guy is a warrior though...he just ran a marathon while he's undergoing chemotherapy. Take that cancer.

Bottom line is cancer has no mercy, it has no rules. It will do whatever it wants to whomever it wants. I just will continue to live my life so very thankful and fortunate that I am here another day and will continue to pray I never have to deal with it again. I believe that's the best and only thing I can do!

So sorry to report such saddening news, but it's reality. Hopefully you all will appreciate your life even more than you already do and live it to the fullest. Life is too short!

Till the next time, and I promise it won't be long...

Love--Erin

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Update...and a couple pics...

Hello all! I am recovering nicely from my surgery. Yesterday was a VERY lazy day. I think I left the couch only a couple times. I was still pretty woozy from the happy drugs and really just didn't feel like doing a thing. It was great. My wound is still pretty sore too. I ended up taking a Vicodin last night, but it made my tummy feel not so good, so I think I'm just going to bear with the pain as it is bearable. I really just don't like how those pain pills make me feel, but it sure made me sleep good! Ha!

Today the wooziness has subsided...thank goodness. I finally feel like a human again. I decided yesterday afternoon that it probably wasn't in my best interest to work today so I took the day off. My wound is just in a weird spot and since my job is pretty physical I didn't think it was a good idea. I don't want to push it. Plus, it's still pretty sore! I hope to be back to work tomorrow but I will see how I feel as the day progresses. If not tomorrow, I'll be back for sure Monday!

Here are some pictures of my surgery...enjoy!








Tuesday, September 27, 2011

DE-PORT-ED

Hello all! I have officially been deported...well not literally, but physically! I am now missing a piece of me that has been with me for 19 months, plus a day. I can't believe I almost hit my exit surgery to the month date exactly! That's right, my port was put in February 26th, 2010 and I got it removed today, September 27th, 2011. Weird how those things work! So, there may have been some people freaking out today seeing my picture posts on Facebook with me in scrubs...like what?? You OK? Well, I have to blame it on the new layout on Facebook or...maybe they just aren't up to date on my info, but regardless they care, like everyone else that is reading this and I THANK YOU for that!! I closed another chapter in my life tonight.

This one is emotional although it hasn't hit me. It really marks THE END for that dreaded word Cancer. The last "piece" of cancer has left my body...for good. It will NEVER come back. I remember that surgery 19 months ago and it was very very similar. Of course no one wants to have surgery, no one wants to be admitted to the hospital and really no one wants to have what I had done, but from everything I have been through, today was really a happy day!! Even the nurses said "congrats". Dr. Schuster shook my hand twice and was so proud of me. It's awesome. And the fact that I'm in NO PAIN right now is awesome....but that is a different story...

So we started today like we did last port surgery....Mom and Dad came to get me (although last time it was at the crack of dawn). Today I didn't have to be there till 10:30am. That means I couldn't eat after midnight (no problem) but I also couldn't drink any WATER after 6am. I love WATER! That was tough this AM, but I did it. I didn't have anything to eat or drink until about 2::30pm! Whew! My pre-op nurse was Kathy...sweet as can be. She was touched by my story, my pre-op anesthesiologist was Heidi ( an omen) and she was nice, but I really don't remember her later...my anesthesiologist was Clive (thank GOD for this man) and of course my Surgeon was Dr. Schuster!!! I was also bunked up in Room 7 before I was wheeled back and given my happy gas...lucky 7...I like it!! All I remember was getting back in the surgery room and it being FREEZING...to the point where I was shaking. They were also having a disagreement over what arm to put something in...no idea...but they figured that out and off I was...to la la land...don't remember a thing after that! I remember Sharon, my recovery nurse asking me if I was ok...I said, oh ya...wait, it's over?! It felt like it was 5 minutes!! Ha! Then, as I was "coming to" I heard someone come in and say, I gave her port to her Dad...that was Dr. Schuster!! I of course, oh great, thanks so much...thanks for everything and he said, "you're welcome, everything went fine." Just a few minutes later (maybe 20) Ma was back in the waiting room for me, helped me dress, IV out, and off I was in my wheelchair outta there! (of course I had to stop to pee!)

Quick stop at Taco Bell (man I was starved, then nap, then wine, food and good people with me ) and here I am now!! I'm still in no pain...maybe a 2 out of 10...it's gotta be the wine. How can you have surgery...have a wound and not feel pain?! It boggles my mind but for now I'm not complaining. It COULD be the wine. It COULD be that I'm tough. it COULD be a gift from GOD like, you've been through enough, I'll leave you pain free. Who knows...but for now, I am loving every second!!!

Cancer is but a memory now, it really is. I may have a character scar....a tough man scar...but who cares...it is who I am and I wouldn't change it for the world!!

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me, been there for me, etc. etc. It means the world. Literally my fight is over with, but I continue to fight everyday to rid myself of this disease FOREVER. Amen! Love you all and goodnight....

Love, Portless Erin

PS. I'll post pics tomorrow...I need better light.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Surgery Scheduled!

Hello all! Hope your Labor Day was fun filled. I actually labored on Labor Day. Boo...but duty calls. I am now on a Monday-Friday work schedule at work now and I'm ecstatic about it. I took a leap of faith and "gave up" my Saturday bartending shift. There are various reasons, but the biggest being I have been yearning for 2 days off in a row for quite sometime so I was presented with an opportunity that would make this possible and I jumped on it! So, yesterday started my "real" work week. Who would have thought it would be possible to be a M-F'er in a bar?! Ha! I just can't wait till 5 o'clock Friday...ahhh...a weekend...ahhh....2 days off in a row....I'm giddy.

So my surgery got scheduled for port removal. It's in 3 weeks today. Tuesday, September 27th at 12:30pm. The same man who put it in will take it out. Dr. Schuster. He asked in my consultation if I was squeamish. I said, well what you do you mean? He said, well I can take it out here in the office but it hurts or we could go to surgery. I about lost my lunch just thinking about it. Are you kidding?? I know I am tough, but really, I don't think I'm that tough. The port is inches from my eyes...I can see everything. I opted for the happy gas...smart decision I feel on my part!! Ha! So, think good thoughts for the 27th as the last piece of "cancer" will exit my body!!!

Did you know that September is Childhood Cancer Month? We all know cancer isn't fair, but it's really not fair in these poor kids who are stricken with it. I have become close to the Morton family and their son Jack just beat Neuroblastoma. They are very active in raising awareness in Childhood Cancer because it is more common than you think. Here are a few stats (taken from Jack's website: thejackmortonfoundation.org

Childhood Cancer Stats

13,500 children are diagnosed with cancer every year in the United States
1 in 5 children diagnosed with cancer will die.

Everyday, 46 school children will be diagnosed with cancer.

One in 300 boys will develop cancer before the age of 20.

One in 333 girls will develop cancer before the age of 20.

The incidence of invasive pediatric cancers is up to 29% in the past 20 years.

Pediatric cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among US children ages 1-14.

In 2009, only 4% of the National Cancer Institute’s budget was used for pediatric funding.

Young cancer patients often have a more advanced stage of cancer when first diagnosed.

The average age of death for a child with cancer is 8.

In 20 years the FDA has initially approved only one drug for any childhood cancer. Half of all chemotherapies used for children’s cancers are 25 years old.

Physical and neurocognitive disabilities resulting from treatment may prevent childhood cancer survivors from fully participating in school, social acitivities and eventually work.

Cancer kills more children than AIDs, asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and congenital anomalies combined.

Source: PAC2 & CureSearch


Scary, sad and yet very, very real.

So just remember to count your blessings, be thankful for what you have and please don't relish in the petty stuff. Someone out there is suffering and fighting for their life.

Happy September. I'll update again soon!!

Love you all--Erin

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

See ya next year Ironwood!!

Yes my friends, I'm now on the 6 month plan!! YES! I got the good news just a bit ago and as Scott said, " you are doing very very very well." So whatever I'm doing is working and I plan on keeping it that way! So with this latest news I am now free from anything cancer related till 2012 and I can get the last piece of "cancer" taken out of me...my port. I will be calling tomorrow to hopefully get that scheduled. Surgery. Again. Happy surgery though. Although it doesn't bother me and half the time I forget it's there, it still is a constant reminder of what I have been through. Granted there will always be a scar but scars are signs of toughness and I like that. I will keep you all posted on when my surgery will be. THEN, I will be done with anything cancer related till next year. Ahhhh....so nice. Even Doctor Nabong wished me a Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Ha!

It still seems so crazy what has happened in the last 18 months. Unreal. Time sure flies although it feels like yesterday I was just given the news I beat it and now look it's over a year later. I'm sure 6 months will creep on me fast too. This will be the longest I've gone without having to go to Ironwood so it will be interesting, but honestly, I won't miss it. :)

I am playing hostess to 2 events this month, 1 being Bunco tomorrow night, so I best start getting ready. Now that I have a permi-smile all is well in the world. Mom and Dad are safely back from frolicking with gorillas (I'm not kidding), I'm still cancer free and life, well it's just great. Thank you all for your support, love and prayers. It means the world to me. I know you all are smiling along with me. I will be back soon...you won't have to wait 6 months to hear from me. I promise.

Love you all--

Erin

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

See you next year tube??

Hello all! I just completed my final scan for 2011 today. At least I hope. I pray. I can't wait to hear the good news. Not only will it be good news, but it simply means I won't have to go back till NEXT YEAR!! How crazy is that?? Today also was probably the last day my port will be used. Ever. Unless I decide to use it as an ornament on my Christmas tree after I get it removed. Hahaha. I'm kidding. I do want to save it though if possible. It's been part of me for 18 months. It's the last part of "cancer" in my body. I will bid it adieu very very soon.

I have my Doctor's appointment on Tuesday the 9th at 2:15pm. Of course it will be only good news. I'm excited to see my Doctor's though. That's the only thing I look forward to there besides hearing good news. Otherwise I hate going to that place. It's depressing. A lot of people are suffering inside those walls. Thankfully I was not one of them.

I will leave you with some interesting information about cancer.

20 Ways to NEVER Get Cancer:

1. Filter your tap water
You’ll reduce your exposure to known or suspected carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals. A new report from the President’s Cancer Panel on how to reduce exposure to carcinogens suggests that home-filtered tap water is a safer bet than bottled water, whose quality often is not higher—and in some cases is worse—than that of municipal sources, according to a study by the Environmental Working Group. (Consumer Reports’ top picks for faucet-mounted filters: Culligan, Pur Vertical, and the Brita OPFF-100.) Store water in stainless steel or glass to avoid chemical contaminants such as BPA that can leach from plastic bottles.

2. Stop topping your gas tank
So say the EPA and the President’s Cancer Panel: Pumping one last squirt of gas into your car after the nozzle clicks off can spill fuel and foil the pump’s vapor recovery system, designed to keep toxic chemicals such as cancer-causing benzene out of the air, where they can come in contact with your skin or get into your lungs.

3. Marinate meat before grilling
Processed, charred, and well-done meats can contain cancer-causing heterocyclic amines, which form when meat is seared at high temperatures, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which get into food when it’s charcoal broiled. “The recommendation to cut down on grilled meat has really solid scientific evidence behind it,” says Cheryl Lyn Walker, PhD, a professor of carcinogenesis at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. If you do grill, add rosemary and thyme to your favorite marinade and soak meat for at least an hour before cooking. The antioxidant-rich spices can cut HCAs by as much as 87%, according to research at Kansas State University.

4. Caffeinate every day (**REALLY?? This made me happy!! I LOVE my coffee!!)
Java lovers who drank 5 or more cups of caffeinated coffee a day had a 40% decreased risk of brain cancer, compared with people who drank the least, in a 2010 British study. A 5-cup-a-day coffee habit reduces risks of oral and throat cancer almost as much. Researchers credit the caffeine: Decaf had no comparable effect. But coffee was a more potent protector against these cancers than tea, which the British researchers said also offered protection against brain cancer.

5. Water down your cancer risk
Drinking plenty of water and other liquids may reduce the risk of bladder cancer by diluting the concentration of cancer-causing agents in urine and helping to flush them through the bladder faster. Drink at least 8 cups of liquid a day, suggests the American Cancer Society.

6. Load up on really green greens
Next time you’re choosing salad fixings, reach for the darkest varieties. The chlorophyll that gives them their color is loaded with magnesium, which some large studies have found lowers the risk of colon cancer in women. “Magnesium affects signaling in cells, and without the right amount, cells may do things like divide and replicate when they shouldn’t,” says Walker. Just 1/2 cup of cooked spinach provides 75 mg of magnesium, 20% of the daily value.

7. Snack on Brazil nuts
They’re a stellar source of selenium, an antioxidant that lowers the risk of bladder cancer in women, according to research from Dartmouth Medical School. Other studies have found that people with high blood levels of selenium have lower rates of dying of lung cancer and colorectal cancer. Researchers think selenium not only protects cells from free radical damage but also may enhance immune function and suppress formation of blood vessels that nourish tumors.

8. Burn off your breast cancer risk
Moderate exercise such as brisk walking 2 hours a week cuts risk of breast cancer 18%. Regular workouts may lower your risks by helping you burn fat, which otherwise produces its own estrogen, a known contributor to breast cancer.

9. Skip the dry cleaner
A solvent known as perc (short for perchloroethylene) that’s used in traditional dry cleaning may cause liver and kidney cancers and leukemia, according to an EPA finding backed in early 2010 by the National Academies of Science. The main dangers are to workers who handle chemicals or treated clothes using older machines, although experts have not concluded that consumers are also at increased cancer risk. Less toxic alternatives: Hand-wash clothes with mild soap and air-dry them, spot cleaning if necessary with white vinegar.

10. Ask your doc about breast density
Women whose mammograms have revealed breast density readings of 75% or more have a breast cancer risk 4 to 5 times higher than that of women with low density scores, according to recent research. One theory is that denser breasts result from higher levels of estrogen—making exercise particularly important (see #8). “Shrinking your body fat also changes growth factors, signaling proteins such as adipokines and hormones like insulin in ways that tend to turn off cancer-promoting processes in cells,” Walker says

11. Head off cell phone risks
Use your cell phone only for short calls or texts, or use a hands-free device that keeps the phone—and the radio frequency energy it emits—away from your head. The point is more to preempt any risk than to protect against a proven danger: Evidence that cell phones increase brain cancer risk is “neither consistent nor conclusive,” says the President’s Cancer Panel report. But a number of review studies suggest there’s a link.

12. Block skin cancer with color
Choosing your outdoor outfit wisely may help protect against skin cancer, say Spanish scientists. In their research, blue and red fabrics offered significantly better protection against the sun’s UV rays than white and yellow ones did. Don’t forget to put on a hat: Though melanoma can appear anywhere on the body, it’s more common in areas the sun hits, and researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have found that people with melanomas on the scalp or neck die at almost twice the rate of people with the cancer on other areas of the body.

13. Pick a doc with a past
Experience—lots of it—is critical when it comes to accurately reading mammograms. A study from the University of California, San Francisco, found that doctors with at least 25 years’ experience were more accurate at interpreting images and less likely to give false positives. Ask about your radiologist’s track record. If she is freshly minted or doesn’t check a high volume of mammograms, get a second read from someone with more mileage.

14. Eat clean foods
The President’s Cancer Panel recommends buying meat free of antibiotics and added hormones, which are suspected of causing endocrine problems, including cancer. The report also advises that you purchase produce grown without pesticides and wash conventionally grown food thoroughly to remove residues. (The foods with the most pesticides: celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, and blueberries. See the full list of dirtiest fruits and vegetables here.) “At least 40 known carcinogens are found in pesticides and we should absolutely try to reduce exposure,” Sellers says.

15. Read food labels for folic acid
The B vitamin, essential for women who may become or are pregnant to prevent birth defects, is a double-edged sword when it comes to cancer risk. Consuming too much of the synthetic form (not folate, found in leafy green veggies, orange juice, and other foods) has been linked to increased colon cancer risk, as well as higher lung cancer and prostate cancer risks. Rethink your multivitamin, especially if you eat a lot of cereal and fortified foods. A recent CDC study discovered that half of supplement users who took supplements with more than 400 mcg of folic acid exceeded 1,000 mcg per day of folic acid. Most supplements pack 400 mcg. Individual supplements (of vitamin D and calcium, for instance) may be a smarter choice for most women who aren’t thinking of having kids.

16. Up your calcium intake
Milk’s main claim to fame may also help protect you from colon cancer. Those who took calcium faithfully for 4 years had a 36% reduction in the development of new precancerous colon polyps 5 years after the study had ended, revealed Dartmouth Medical School researchers. (They tracked 822 people who took either 1,200 mg of calcium every day or a placebo.) Though the study was not on milk itself, you can get the same amount of calcium in three 8-ounce glasses of fat-free milk, along with an 8-ounce serving of yogurt or a 2- to 3-ounce serving of low-fat cheese daily.

17. Commit to whole grains
You know whole wheat is better for you than white bread. Here’s more proof why you should switch once and for all: If you eat a lot of things with a high glycemic load—a measurement of how quickly food raises your blood sugar—you may run a higher risk of colorectal cancer than women who eat low-glycemic-load foods, found a Harvard Medical School study involving 38,000 women. The problem eats are mostly white: white bread, pasta, potatoes, and sugary pastries. The low-glycemic-load stuff comes with fiber.

18. Pay attention to pain
If you’re experiencing a bloated belly, pelvic pain, and an urgent need to urinate, see your doctor. These symptoms may signal ovarian cancer, particularly if they’re severe and frequent. Women and physicians often ignore these symptoms, and that’s the very reason that this disease can be deadly. When caught early, before cancer has spread outside the ovary, the relative 5-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is a jaw-dropping 90 to 95%

19. Avoid unnecessary scans
CT scans are a great diagnostic tool, but they deliver much more radiation than x-rays and may be overused, says Barton Kamen, MD, PhD, chief medical officer for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In fact, researchers suggest that one-third of CT scans could be unnecessary. High doses of radiation can trigger leukemia, so make sure scans are not repeated if you see multiple doctors, and ask if another test, such as an ultrasound or MRI, could substitute.

20. Drop 10 pounds
Being overweight or obese accounts for 20% of all cancer deaths among women and 14% among men, notes the American Cancer Society. (You’re overweight if your body mass index is between 25 and 29.9; you’re obese if it’s 30 or more. Click here to gauge your BMI.) Plus, losing excess pounds reduces the body’s production of female hormones, which may protect against breast cancer, endometrial cancer, and ovarian cancer. Even if you’re not technically overweight, gaining just 10 pounds after the age of 30 increases your risk of developing breast, pancreatic, and cervical, among other cancers.

So when are you going to make these 20 changes? :)

Till next week with only the best news to deliver!!

Love you all--Erin

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Busy as a Bee!

Hello all! I swear every time I write in my blog I say I want to do update it more and I really do try and make the effort, but it just doesn't get done!! Good news is I will be posting again soon regardless because I have a CT scan coming up on August 2nd! So, please start thinking those positive thoughts for me once again! This could be (and will be) my last scan for 6 months!! A clean scan also means I will be having surgery to get my port out! YIPPEE!!

Speaking of clean, I have been trying to eat clean. I say 80% of what I eat is clean. I love to cook dinner for myself and I am reading lots of blogs and magazines to learn more. My friend Monika has a blog about eating clean, working out, etc. so I have learned A LOT from her. Thanks Monika!! Right now I have some chicken cooking in my crock-pot. It's delicious and super easy. If you would like the recipe just let me know!

I am still going to the gym and loving it. Actually today I tried something new, ZUMBA!! They just started offering it at my gym and I thought I would give it a shot. Oh my...it's hard! I enjoyed it though and chuckled at myself a lot because I am sure I looked silly. I really felt like I was on "Dancing with the Stars!" I know with time I'll get it down and not look so silly.

I have spent most of July going here there and everywhere! I first started off the end of June by going to Sedona for a few days for my cousin's un-birthday party. She's turning 30 2 days before Christmas so she threw her party early so everyone could come. It was great fun up at the McCain ranch. After that I was off to Vegas for the 4th of July with Mom and Dad. What fun was to be had there although Vegas stole my money. Boo. Seeing the fireworks on the 34th floor overlooking Vegas was something I have never experienced before. Stunning!

After that, it was off to Laguna Beach last week to visit my best friend Lyda. I went cruisin' on beach cruisers around Newport Beach, hit Disneyland for the first time in probably 20 years and basically just relaxed and soaked in the cooler weather! It was a much needed trip to re-charge my batteries.

I have also hit some anniversaries this month. July 10th my hair turned 1! It was one year ago on the 10th that I shaved my head for the last time. :) Here is a good pic of my hair now...it's pretty much a curly fro. I love it though and I get a lot of compliments. Finally I feel like a normal person again and curly hair isn't so bad...it's super easy too!!



Soon after that on July 15th I hit my one year in remission remark! Yes, you read that correct. One year ago on the 15th I heard the words, "you are in complete remission." YES! Best day of my life!! Here is to many more!!



I have blood sucking on Tuesday, CT scan on the 2nd and meeting with Dr. Nabong on the 9th! Here's to great news...

I will post again soon...PROMISE!!!

Love, Erin

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Hello all! I survived my 33rd birthday! What a great weekend it was. It started off on Thursday by Skyping for the first time. If you haven't done it before, I suggest it. It really is cool. I Skyped my best friend Lyda who moved earlier this year to CA. We tried it out earlier in the night and then at midnight she "called" me via Skype and we enjoyed a birthday cocktail together! Then, my neighbor and other bestie Molly and her boyfriend Chas came over and surprised me. Molly brought her dog Stella too who was wearing a doggie party hat! Too cute!! We had a couple beers and I called it a night. It was a nice way to ring in my 33rd year!

Friday, the big day, was a day of relaxation really. I started off by reading the cards I had gotten in the mail. Of course it was nothing in comparison to last year's amount of cards, but still...I am loved. I also had an outpouring of love via Facebook and emails so it was nice to read what everyone wrote. Of course, I shed some tears because I have come so far compared to where I was last year!! My Aunt treated me to lunch so we went to Caffe Boa on Mill. It was delicious! Thank you Laurie!! Then, I went and got a pedicure and manicure...both my nails and toes were covered in slimey green nailpolish. Hee hee. It was so relaxing. Finally that night I went out to dinner with Mom and Dad. I always like to try someplace new so we went to Season's 52 at the Biltmore. Man, this place is great!! All, I mean all the entrees on the menu are under 475 calories!! WOW! It was delicious too. Mom and Dad both had the lamb chops and they said they could have easily ordered another plate each because they were that good and I had the Wild Copper River salmon! Deeeee-lish! I got a birthday dessert too and all their desserts are served as individual portions. It was the perfect amount! I will definitely be back there and if you haven't been...GO!

I went back to the Hill and opened up presents. I was a really good girl this year!! :) I got home and walked into a vandalized home...literally. But in a good way. It started off in my driveway...it was all decorated in sidewalk chalk that read "Happy Birthday Rin". (Molly calls me Rin, after a drinking game...go figure.) Then, I walk into my house and there were lime green streamers everywhere in my living room. I really thought I was on Candid Camera! It scared the living daylights out of me, but I really needed it. I had just found out about 1/2 hour before that my friend Dow had lost his mother. Yes, on my birthday. We knew she was going to pass, but I was really hoping it wasn't on my birthday, but Shirl is now peacefully resting up in Heaven. Damn you cancer for taking another life. It's weird how things happen because just when I was feeling sad (and trying not to) the last hour of my birthday my friends knew how to cheer me up!! It was great! Thank you Molly and Chas!!





Saturday was the BIG birthday bash! I had a blast and I think everyone else did. Mom was already planning on doing the bar golf with me, but Dad was only going to come to Loco to eat and have a couple beers and then go home. Well, he surprised us all and decided to do the bar golf! Not only did they both participate, but they both went to all 9 bars!! What party animals/rockstars my parents are! They are the best!!! They had a great time though seeing all the places I hang out at. I wish I could do it all over again it was that much fun! Thank you to all who made my day(s) so special!!



So far my 33rd year is going great...on Thursday I celebrated my 1 year anniversary of my last chemo treatment. Instead of the chemo chair (Thank God!) I traded it for the dentist chair and I have no cavities! What great news!! Life is great people...it really is. Live each day to the fullest!!


Happy Father's Day to all the Dad's out there...I spent last night with my Dad going to my first ever Rattler's Arena Football game. It was a BLAST! Today I will be spending time eating chicken and relaxing with him once again. Thank you Dad for being the best Father a girl could ever ask for! I love you!!



Hope you all are having a great June. I will be back in a few days!!

Love you all--Erin

Monday, June 6, 2011

I LOVE JUNE!

Hello all--I'm back. Well, I really haven't gone anywhere, but I finally feel like I have something write about. I guess it can be a good and a bad thing to not have anything to write about. Given the reason I started this blog, it's a good thing I don't have anything to write about. I was speaking to one of my regulars at work last week and I was telling him that I really enjoy writing my blog but I can't figure out what to write about to keep doing it. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know! Cancer related or not, I'd love to hear suggestions!!

So it's June...I love June. June was the month I was born and to be more specific, the day I graced this earth will be in 4 days, 33 years ago. WOW!! I remember getting my driver's license and turning 21. I can't believe I'm going to be double 3. It's ok though, age is just a number. At least this year I don't have anything controlling what I do on my birthday!! I am going to live it large! I'm having a bar golf party on Saturday, the 11th. We are meeting at Loco at 2pm so if you can make it, please come! It will be amazing! The theme is not to wear golf gear, but to wear slimey green color. Wait till you see my outfit!! I can't wait! It's going to be the best birthday ever. I'm still waiting for the 145 cards to arrive in my mailbox again...hee hee hee. I do know that was a once in a lifetime occurrence!!

I have started boxing. Yes, random but I absolutely LOVE it. Ever since I got sick I feel more and more free...I feel like I can do anything and I really am enjoying trying new things. I mean why not? What do I have to lose. If I don't like it, I don't like it, but if I don't try it, I won't know. So, I tried out boxing and my trainer Henry is whipping me into shape! I have to admit I have never been in better shape, been more active and been more healthy in my entire life. It's amazing when you are faced with a killer, ie. cancer, what it can do to you. I love my life now. It's never been better!

So that is about it for now. I really really want to write more in my blog so please let me know if you have any suggestions as to what I can write about!! Thanks! Hope you all are doing well...

Love, Erin

Friday, April 29, 2011

Good for another 3 months!!!

Yes, finally some good news in my life! I have heard a lot of bad news lately (I'll discuss later) so I was so happy when I received the results of my latest CT scan! Clear! No changes! WOO HOO! Dr. Nabong wants to do another scan in 3 months since that will bring me up to a year post treatment (actually almost 14 months) and then after that I will be on the 6 month plan! I think I can handle that. I am just so relieved once again. I get to live my summer without a worry. I get to celebrate my birthday how I want to celebrate it, not how cancer wants me to. I can go on vacation and not have to worry about anything. It's simply great. Big smiles all over. :) :) :) Thank you all again for your continuing prayers and positive thoughts. I greatly appreciate it.

It's hard for me to be so happy about my news, but when I get sad I just think about how far I've come and really, just how lucky I am. When I was at the Doctor both Dr. Nabong and Scott told me that they have a similar patient (whom I remember them telling me about last year) who has a similar cancer as I did. She is a few years older than me too. Well, I took one path and she took the other. She is not doing good at all. She even had a bone marrow transplant and is 100 days post-transplant. They just got the call and really have no idea what they are going to do. It just goes to show you that cancer really has no rules and it's a beast. I really really really got lucky and I thank my lucky stars that I am able to come out of this ALIVE and healthy because there are a lot of people out there who aren't. It breaks my heart.

On Easter I was told very saddening news. An old friend of mine was diagnosed a few months after I was with terminal colon and I believe kidney or liver cancer. He is only 30 years old. I went to visit him in the hospital and told him to fight. I spread my positive attitude and it worked. He fought a good fight. Recently cancer started winning and just last night I find out that cancer won. My friend Jason Montoya has passed. Although it is so very sad, unfair, and flat out not right, he is in a happier place now. I just hate how cancer takes the lives of people so undeserving. It's just not right. So J my friend, may you rest in peace. You will be missed.

On Easter I was also told some other very saddening news. My friend of 12 years Dow's mom was diagnosed with a malignant non-operable brain tumor and was given 3 months to live. Here we go again. Why?!? I will never know the reason why and nor will anyone, but still. Cancer keeps taking people so underserving. Shirl is an amazing person and I know she will fight and live longer than 3 months. It just breaks my heart to see Dow go through this. I couldn't imagine losing a parent. We are too young to be parentless. Please keep Shirl and her family in your thoughts.

It just goes to show you that life truly is short. Please don't take things for granted and live life to the fullest because you never know when your time is up.

My Easter was a great day though because I got to spend it with my family (except my brother) but we went to a nice brunch and had a great time. Although I had to work and was told all this bad news I still had a good day! I sure hope you all had a great Easter as well.

That is the latest for now. Hope you all didn't stay up all night watching the Royal Wedding. I probably would have if I didn't have to work this morning!

Till the next time! Thanks again for all your positive thoughts!!

Love, Erin

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Spring Is In the Air!

Hello all! I apologize for not updating this more often. I feel bad. I know you want to know everything that is going on in my life. Well, to be quite honest now that I'm CANCER FREE it's pretty much a normal life. This past month (March) was crazy busy. Work was insanely nuts with Spring Training and awesome weather. We actually had our first 100 degree day last Friday. That was a little too early. Thankfully it has cooled down and hopefully we can go another month or so without it being so dang hot already!!

I haven't had any doctor's appointments since January. I had a scare with an abnormal pap smear that came back with abnormal cells that tested at high risk for cancer. So I had a colposcopy done and for the time being everything is fine. Whew. I will just have to go back every 6 months instead of yearly until I am "normal" again. Fine by me given my history.

I still haven't gotten my port taken out. I honestly just haven't had time. I will have to take a few days off work so I can heal and I just haven't been able to. No big deal at all. The thing really doesn't bother me. I went and got it flushed last week so that it can still be used. I will be getting scanned the end of this month and God willing it will come back clean and I'll be on the 4-6 month scan program now! I like that idea. :)

Uncle Sam was really good to me this year and I used my refund money to get hardwood floors. My amazing Uncle installed them for me and slaved at my house for 3 days. I LOVE them and I actually did help and learn! If I had the appropriate tools I could probably add hardwood floor installation to my resume.

April is already shaping up to be a busy month. My childhood friend is coming to visit with her son and Mom. Michelle and Alden will be staying at my house (my first real house guests ever!!!) and her Mom Sandy will be staying with my Mom. I'm taking Friday, Saturday and Sunday off to do things with them. I'm excited to actually have a full weekend off! What a treat. We have lots of things planned; a trip down south to the Border to visit Ry, the Culinary Festival, a night out on the town, a BBQ and a trip to the Wildlife zoo. It will be a jam packed yet fun 6 days! I'm looking forward to it.

My Mom just celebrated her 4th year of being cancer free. I only know what it feels like to cross that one year hurdle, I couldn't imagine what it feels like to be 4 years in remission! She's only ONE year away from being technically CURED! I like the sounds of that!!! GO MOM!

There is still a lot of cancer looming around people I know, mainly my Mom's friends so please take time to pray for a cure, pray that it goes away and stops affecting the ones we love. Thank you.

An update on Lil Jack! He's DONE with his hospitalization for all procedures/treatments. That is beyond exciting. He is pretty much done with his immunotherapy. He was recently on the local news about his story and this Thursday (the 7th) the Morton family will be on "The Today Show." They are actually in NYC right now filming for the show. How amazing is that? So please set your DVR to see their amazing story. :)

So that is a little update from me! I PROMISE I will get better at writing in my blog. I really do enjoy it...I just keep forgetting to post!! Hope you all are enjoying Spring!

Stay healthy and happy my friends...love you all!

Love, Erin

Friday, February 4, 2011

One Year Ago...

Hello all! One year ago today I heard the words, "you have cancer." It seems really crazy to me that it has been one whole year. This day has been bittersweet for me. Now only is it World Cancer Day but It's emotional in the fact that i can't believe what happened to me only one year ago and then on the other hand this day brings great joy for what I have overcome in the last 365 days. So, I'd like to take a little time and reflect back on the past year....

One year ago today I had cancer.
One year ago today I hated brussel sprouts.
One year ago today the fight for my life began.
One year ago today I had a huge tumor by my bladder.
One year ago today we thought it was a hernia.
One year ago today I drank cow's milk.
One year ago today was the worst day of my life.
One year ago today I couldn't wear jeans.
One year ago today I had something inside me that was trying to kill me.
One year ago today I had never blogged.
One year ago today I had really long hair.
One year ago today I was in shock.
One year ago today my favorite color was blue.
One year ago today I didn't understand why.
One year ago today I drank Miller Lite for the last time for 6 months.
One year ago today my life was put on hold.
One year ago today a hug from my Mom was all I wanted.
One year ago today I was scared.
One year ago today I cried a lot.
One year ago today I was relieved because I finally knew what was wrong with me.
One year ago today my life revolved around cancer.
One year ago today I was given 5 half gallons of ice cream because 1 wasn't enough.
One year ago today I could barely walk.
One year ago today I hardly ate vegetables.
One year ago today I drank a ton of soda.
One year ago today I hated working out.
One year ago today I ate a lot of red meat.
One year ago today I was mad.

And what I know now...

Today I am cancer free.
Today I love brussel sprouts.
Today I am stronger.
Today I take one day at a time.
Today I am fearless.
Today I am an inspiration.
Today I know that things can always be worse.
Today I am a lot of people's hero.
Today I still have ice cream in my freezer.
Today I have a greater appreciation for patience.
Today I eat organically.
Today I can drink Miller LIte whenever I want.
Today I eat a lot of vegetables.
Today I can walk without pain.
Today I appreciate life on a whole different level.
Today I hardly eat red meat.
Today I am more aware of my body and listen to it.
Today I am learning yoga.
Today I eat a ton of vegetables.
Today I am healthy.
Today I'm not afraid to ask for help.
Today I love spaghetti squash.
Today I don't sweat the small stuff, life is truly too short.
Today I am learning pilates.
Today I am making a difference.
Today I have a short sassy cute pixie haircut.
Today I am drinking almond milk.
Today my favorite color is slimey green.
Today cancer is but a memory.
Today I do things I want to do because you never know when it will be turned upside down.
Today I smile more.
Today I look for the positive in everything.
Today I understand why.
Today I am truly grateful for my family and friends.
Today I pray I never have to go through what I went through one year ago ever again.
Today I go to Farmer's Markets.
Today I am victorious.
Today I cry tears of happiness.
Today I am making changes.
Today I am excited for the future.
Today I am triumphant.

And most importantly...Today I am a SURVIVOR.

Here's to many more celebrations on February 4th for years to come. Thank you again to all of you for your support over the last year. I really couldn't have won this battle without you.

I got to spend the night with my Mom, Dad and my Dad's cousin Steve. We went to dinner at my other favorite Mexican food restaurant TeePee and of course afterwards Mom had a surprise for me. Not just one surprise but a whole bag full. She has spent the last year or so hunting around for anything slime green in color. That is my cancer color if you weren't aware. I am now fully slimed out, but i love it. What a thoughtful and clever gift. The best gift in the bag was my slime green piggy bank. It's not just any piggy bank though. It's a special one. Inside the piggy bank are emails that were sent to Mom when everyone first found out about my diagnosis one year ago. So whenever I am feeling down or discouraged I'm to take an email out of the bank and read it for inspiration. Of course it brought tears to my eyes. I LOVE IT. What a great gift. I really truly am loved by so many and I couldn't be more appreciative. Attached is a picture with all my slimey green items! Happy One Year Anniversary to me! :)

Love you all--Erin


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Free and Clear...still.

Hello all! I got the good word today that I'm still in remission! Woo hoo! Nothing too significant has changed since the last scan and THAT'S GREAT!! My blood counts are in normal range (although still low normal, but normal) so that means my bone marrow has been restored. WOO HOO. I am so happy with the good news.

Those scans sure show everything though...quite funny (yet embarrassing) when it says there is stool in your colon. Whooppss. Well, that's not my fault, I couldn't have my morning coffee that morning! Ha. I also have a cyst in my sinus (that was there before) and a small nodule in my lung (which was there before as well). Both are stable and nothing to be worried about. What matters is there are no swollen lymph nodes. Yippee skippy. Happy Dance for everyone!!

They gave me the green light to get my port taken out too. I will be going back for another scan/meeting the end of April but at this time they said, "take it out!" Ha. So I'll be calling to schedule that soon although I hope and pray it's not the kiss of death...

Both Scott and Dr. Nabong LOVED my hair growth...even Dr. Nabong asked, "is that real hair?!" Hahaha. I think he's just jealous that my hair is now longer than his. He's a funny one.

Next Friday, the 4th will my ONE YEAR anniversary of the day I was diagnosed. I will never ever forget that day. I really can't believe it's been a whole year. Time sure does fly. So far 2011 is off to a great start and it will continue to get better and better.

So that my friends is the latest. My chemo angel buddy has completed her chemo program so that was good news as well. Hopefully this cancer stuff has gotten the message to stop messing with people I know!!

I hope everyone is doing as good as I am! I'll ding back in next week! Have a good one!

Love, Erin

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

CT Scan #2...MANANA!

Hello all! Hope you all had a great New Year...I sure did...well, I didn't really do anything to ring it in, but I am just ever so thankful that 2010 is over with and it's a new year. Compared to last year it's starting off great...pain and cancer free. I think I like you 2011...at least so far!

Nothing too exciting has been going on. I have just been working...a lot. We were really busy with the BCS Championship and other bowl games so I put in a lot of hours. My feet weren't happy, but my bank account was! Hey mind as well make the money while I can! Ha.

I have finally returned back to the gym (I took a little hiatus because I was lazy) but now I'm back and it feels good. I actually went to my first Yoga class on Monday night and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I will definitely be back. I can't believe I haven't done it before. It was great.

So tomorrow is my 2nd CT scan. I have to be at Ironwood at 7am (ugh) so that means a 6am wake up call. For some that's not early, but for me it is. I will definitely be ready for my coffee after the scan. So please think the good thoughts tomorrow for me. I'm sure there won't be an issue but positive thoughts never did any harm!

I meet with Dr. Nabong on Tuesday morning so thankfully I don't have to wait long to find out the results!

Thanks in advance...I'll update again on Tuesday!

Love, Erin