Friday, July 31, 2009

10 things I know for sure about cancer thus far

1) cancer is a noun, a thing, not an adjective - it doesn't describe me
2) cancer will show you were the cracks in your foundation are, and force you to fix them, or crumble
3) if cancer breaks things down, take it as a gift that you can rebuild things right
4) cancer makes you look in the mirror every morning and ask, "Am I going to live in fear today? Or am I going to live Free today?"
5) cancer can get you cool t-shits like : "The Chemo Made me Do it!" (came in the mail today)
6) cancer will freak you out - no, check that - the unknown will freak you out
7) cancer can give you the chance to celebrate life, forgive easily, and rejoice in the small things
8) cancer doesn't mean you can't rock - check this guy out: (if you heard my recent fears - that I will never be in shape enough to hike/climb again)
9) cancer doesn't think, people think, and people think cancer must be all your think about, but it isn't
10) cancer is like a truth serum and will freak some people out and draw others to you

with love,

P.S. To Rachel. I am SO sorry. I did a bad bad thing. I thought you KNEW. I really didn't mean to smack your psyche and heart out of the blue like that on FB. So, in honor of your lightness, and your ability to rebound, I am editing this post and sharing with the rest of the folks here the silliness we share as we have grown up together. I do apologize for you NOT knowing all this time! So in honor of our sisterly silliness and in the spirit of apology and silliness, I post what you posted to me for all to share in the sisterly silliness:

Thursday, July 30, 2009

And Soma Did It 3 Day Breast Cancer Walk DC here she comes!

Soma and all the wonderful donors did it. What a WHIRLWIND day!!!!!! It went above and beyond the 2,300 and went on to 2, high can she go?

If you want to see this thermometer do the nifty little trick of rising to the top and blinking you must go here....

If you want to see it go to 102% donate there too....there is no limitation to the good you can do!

Go Soma!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Coolness - no no - HOTNESS

Goal: $2,300.00
Achieved: $1,150.00

In the past 24 hours, things have gone CRAZY - as of this moment - it is now 2,200! $100 to go! Go Team Go!

Seattle thermometers aren't the only ones going up!

Soma wrote on FaceBook today that someone annoymously donated a generous amount towards her 3Day Walk goal. I want to take a moment to say Thank You to that person, and to keep the ball rolling.

Let's do some math shall we?

2,300 - 1,150 = 1150

So, you may not have $500 to plop down. But what if everyone did:
$10 = 100 people donating
$20 = 50 people donating (we can do that? can't we?)
$40 = 25 people donating.

And look at all the wonderful ways you can break it down. If you donate $40, some else who doesn't have $40 could donate $10 and it all evens out. I think NPR makes most of it's money off of small pledges, not just HUGE ones. We can too.

Get Soma to D.C.'s 3Day! Save the Ta' Ta's. GO HERE to her donation page.

Herceptin has saved SO many lives and extended life span for Stage IV breast cancer patients from months to decade +???? It came from research.

Somewhere in some lab is a researcher on the cusp of finding the drug that is my miracle drug and throws this into remission for good. They say they are close.

So what does your $10 have to do with it? Let's try this:

don't drink a Mocha for 3 days, one for each day of the race, and put that money into Soma's fund. Call it the 3 Less Mocha's, 3 more Lives campaign. And let's get Soma to Race for the Cure!


Why I Will Love Every Second of Time Here - Gratitude List for July 29, 2009

1) Time isn't linear. So cool. There is no end point. Ask Einstein.
2) My daughter is growing up, and turned 6 now. 6! And she is a handful, but awesome.
3) I loved sitting in my gardened patio, watching the sun go down behind the hemlocks and cedars, talking with Kris. And finally being strong enough to get outside my own drama and be there for him this time.
4) Knowing that while I am sitting there, eating sweet blueberries for dinner because it is too hot to eat anything else, and Kris and I catch up on love and life, my daughter was laughing and playing at the lake and getting in a visit with her dad and her dear friends who love her like family.
5) Electricty, because Seattle houses weren't made with air conditioning, so we need fans. Lots of strategically placed fans.
6) Kara's pea plant finally grew a pea pod!
7) Daydreaming, and I am not going to tell you about what ;) Because it is my daydream. So I am just going to tease you with it and keep it to myself.
8) Feeling lightness of spirit.
9) Feeling like the chemo is working and checking only to find the lump is completely gone. Not a trace can I find. NADA. It might try to take my body, but my soul it can NEVER touch and I KNOW it. Na-na-na-na-na-naaaaaa.
10) Just the sense of peace and serenity that is following me around wherever I go, even if I am sad or scared, I just have this sense.....of something good around me.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Much much better

god bless Stella...such an amazing healer. I am so grateful for the multiple levels on which she works to help you heal.
of course

Which brings me around to music...

music? Why?

Finding the feminine. Calling her back up again. She is getting lost in chemoland. Blagh.

"But Jenna,", I hear some of you protest, "this musician below is a dude. A hairy dude, but none the less, a dude playing music. how is this calling back the feminine?"

Let me 'xplain.

Okay. there is much too much talk of people hiking, and kayaking, and bellydancing, and finding themselves in forests. Now this earth, she is a SHE. And I miss her. I miss smelling rain on a hiking path. Or hearing owls freak me out with their wild calls at night. I miss dangling from cliffs looking for Apache ruins, and I miss sleeping in a tent.

The Earth is a She. And She is ALIVE and full of destruction and creation. All in one.

I know, I know, I got this cancer biting away at my bones, this veretabra. Damn. I wanna climb again. I want to learn to surf. I want my body back in shape so I can do Tree Pose even. I can't even do Tree Pose anymore! AH! I am getting antsy.

Now now now, this is NOT a pity party. More of an angry party in my head. I am allowed to get angry about all this sometimes. Sitting around a fire beating a drum, and pounding the earth, calling up something inside me. If I can't go there with my body, I will go there in my mind and remember all the great hikes.

But my god....I feel thirsty for it.

So, I turn to my dear Xavier Rudd (yes, the hairy hobbit dude who so AMAZING captures the voice of She Earth and all her sexiness). And close my eyes, and remember the waves, or the large cedars towering above me at night, and use it as motivation to kick cancers ass. Can you tell I am feeling fiesty tonight?

So if my many damaged vertebra and hips can't shake it, or hike it, or climb it, I can close my eyes, listen and remember when I stood in the Arizona desert in the middle of the night, shaking my rattle with the others under a full moon, and dancing around a campfire again with REAL drums playing around me, and friends stomping the earth along side me.

But for now, motivation to keep healing when the healing gets tough.....

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Someone get the plate number

Of the mac truck that just hit me?

Holy Moses! OUCH!

Two weeks in a row. My "chemo hit" day has changed. So apparently I get a free ride 5 days, and 1 one of Ouch, and one day of Oh Great Joseph and Mother Mary - who parked the semi on my back and beat my ribs with a bat?

Wow....I can't even twist boxes around and point and say "put that one there" anymore. New life paradigm. Reliant.

But by the grace of a goddess named Ms. Direction, and Divine timing my child was whisked away to the low tide beaches while I stayed firmly hidden under my blanket. If she was here, oh dear.


Monday, July 20, 2009

What sweet run is this?

So, chemo today. Double dose of Herceptin so I can have a WEEK OFF NEXT WEEK!

I did it. Made it through round #3!

I am having such a beautiful serene moment. Went to chemo. Had a nap while Becky played with Kara and tidied up a bit for me. And then, my energy CAME BACK.

We went to the grocery store and got some yummy salmon, cooked said salmon and broccoli and had a lovely dinner around Kara's birthday ring (picture to follow), went outside and potted a rosemary bush, and some dahlia's and played hide and seek in the garden with some shells that Kara retrieved today at the beach with Becky. We decided to just leave the shells, they looked to pretty and provided good water dishes for garden faeries.

And now, jazz in playing, the kitchen is clean, Bug is sitting in her indoor fort quietly reading and I PEACE. WOAH. Serene. I think if I didn't have my ovaries out, and I had another child somewhere down the road, and it was a girl, I would name her Serenity. It is a good quality.

Now to wrangle the wee child to bedtime and call the day Good. A good day to Heal.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Rack Pack

My old high school best friend and warrior goddess of all warrior goddesses is doing The 3 Day Walk. Help find a cure. Save the Ta Ta's and a Life! Donate now!

This year, I'll be participating in a very special event called the Breast Cancer 3-Day.

I'll walk 60 miles over the course of three days with thousands of other women and men. The net proceeds will support breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment through Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund.

I've agreed to raise at least $2,300 in donations personally, and $5,000 as a team. So I need your help. Would you please consider making a donation towards my goal? You can give online at Just follow the link below to visit my personal fundraising webpage and make a donation. You can also call 800.996.3DAY to donate over the phone.

My small walking team, the D.C. Rack Pack, is walking in the name of my childhood friend Jenna Smith Helm, who is deep in her battle with Stage IV Breast Cancer. 2 years and still fighting strong and sassy! I am walking for her and I am walking for her daughter, Kara.
You can read all about their story here:

According to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, approximately 200,000 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and nearly 40,000 will die from the disease. That's why I'm walking so far. To do something bold about breast cancer. I hope that you'll share this incredible adventure with me - by supporting me in my fundraising efforts. Please feel free to forward this email to anyone you think we like to support this cause.

Thank you in advance for your generosity!

Soma Brodhun

P.S. Ask your employer if they will double your donation through a matching gift program!

Click here to visit my personal page.
If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:

Click here to view the team page for D.C. Rack Pack
If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:

For more information about the Breast Cancer 3-Day, Susan G. Komen for the Cure or the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund, visit call 800.996.3DAY.

Click any of the logos below for more information about that sponsor/partner.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Steroids Insomnia Night

Okay these steroids give me insomnia the night of chemo.

So high, from the middle of the night.

Zometa - Navelbine - Herceptin - Zofram - Atavan

daily Neurontin, Oxycontin, and some anti-seziure/anxiety drug (god bless it).

I want to interject something here.

I am all hippy earthy mother type. I want to go all natural. But as you can see, I am a walking pharmacy. God bless it. It keeps me here, and moving. I have had time with pain meds. I have TONS of pain med controls that are all natural. I think I am on such low doses of pain meds because I do all that other stuff.

On another note. Currently, I am on anti-anxiety drugs. GOD BLESS THEM. I do not have the time to give to the natural methods. I will get back to them soon. I feel it. But right now, I am going through a divorce, parenting alone (for now), and dealing with financial stresses, and cancer uncertainty. I hit my end point and took the meds to think clearly and make good choices.

I say this because this blog is filled with lots of natural ways to help keep your mood up while going through all this cancer smacher stuff. However, know your end point and know when to get the extra help.

I am not depressed at all. But one girl can only handle so much uncertainty, lack of sleep, and body doing freaky shit before a little med help can be of SERVICE to you. I feel like myself again. I feel clear headed and sleep better. Aaaaaaaaaah.

I say this for those trying to stay all natural, but maybe feeling ashamed that maybe you need some medical help.

So for now. I am a pharmacy. I am honoring the mix of natural empowerment of the bodies immune/stress system, and using adjacent medical help.

I think I am starting to see my patterns. Seeing where I need help. And seeing where I need to do some work to keep this boat afloat. I am scared, and hopeful, and looking forward to what life will be like a year from now. ;)

This morning Kara and I took a walk in the misty morning park, finding gardens, and creeks, and moss to give to daddy when she sees him next. I felt normal. It was beautiful. I the simple things in life never change. Nature is always there to heal, children are always there to keep you in the present moment, and friends are always there for hugs. THAT is what life is about. The rest is transient.

Love, love, love

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Nevalbine, Herceptin, and Zometa, oh my!

So, I know many of you are wondering what the trip has been like this week. A little bit of everything really. It is following the ebb and flow of the past chemo. Wednesday it felt like I had a flu, but then it broke around 4:00. Today, I felt GREAT in the a.m., then the aches and joint pains set in in the afternoon. A short cat nap, and lots of water helped tremendously. So many WATER is the key.

By 5:00, my energy was back up and I was hanging with my daughter like nothing happened. It is just all over the place. After watching it this week, the two keys to getting through this will be:

1) Daily naps. My daughter and I have already started up a booktime. She sits on one end of the couch and reads, I sit on the other. I have the option of napping while she does. She rocks. This kid, just rocks.

2) WATER. As stated above. When I get feeling achy, drinking water seems to almost immediately help. So I must be dehydrated.

I am going back to my weekly acupuncture. She is a healing goddess and will help me weather this round. Something feels, easier, all around. Lighter this time. Maybe it is like having a second child, you've been there, don't that, know this will be the same, but different. I dunno.

On a completely, rocking fun note......Sharon emailed me yesterday saying I HAD to try to win tickets to have lunch/concert with Tori Amos.........and I WON A SPOT! So I am taking a dear friend, who only ever gets to see the back of Tori's head at concerts, and giving him one of my passes to see her up close and oh so personal. Thanks Sharon!!!!!!!!!


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What a difference a drug makes

Wow. Just wow. One two fronts. Let's go in order shall we?

First of all. In the waiting room for chemo, I usually put myself in a protective bubble. So many people see us "young ones" and have this look of pity. A double take. Is that a PORT TUBE coming out of YOU .....I even hear it often, but you are so YOUNG!

But Monday, this light of a angel sat down next to me and I did something unusual. I had a hunch she was a breast cancer gal too and I introduced myself. And she was. She was filled with smiles and light and good information. She was a Herceptin girl too, but she was allergic. And guess what, she was just like me. Stage IV, in all the same spots. And guess what, she is in remission now for awhile, but still gets weekly chemo. She's been through 13 drugs. She went on to tell me there are many others "like us", who have been around the block for 14 plus years! Pre Hereptin and all. She was just full of life and I love her for sitting down next to me. She gave me Hope.

And now the second bit of good news. I feel great today. Even after the steriods have worn off. I spent the day gardening even and getting as much in order in case the cumulative effect hits over time and my backyard is as far as I go. Bug is all set up too with backyard games, sidewalk chalk, lots of mud pits, and mint to eat. I feel GOOD. COOL.

Here is hoping this means this drug is what they said it would be, easy. ;)

Oh thank the Lord. I feel the earth stabilizing under my feet after two months of feeling like I was walking on quicksand.

I wish I had some good pics to share of my gardening work. But I don't yet.

I will share this though, a link to some inspiring music. If I feel this good, and stay this stable, I plan to join this Choir of Light. Always with the music. It can keep me moving and my spirits lifted. I sing around the house allllll the time. I have always wanted to be a part of a choir, but this one is "different". Check it out, click below and listen away.

The rendition of Amazing Grace is, well, amazing.

It is so amazing to me, to be going back into stage IV chemo, having my family transition, and still have Hope.

Cancer may take my body one day, but it will NEVER break my spirit, even when I am scared and overwhelmed, there is always the light waiting.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Big Ole Heap of News and Updates

Wow. How to sum up the last two months.

Surgery. Went well. Didn't do the trick.

Marriage in transition. I will be going this journey alone now and that is all I will say on the subject on this blog. Sometimes, cancer brings you closer together, sometimes it helps you realize where you need to heal on your own. I choose on my own.

I am now a single mamma......who is......

going back to chemo tomorrow.

I have been busy trying to do TOO much. I have refocused this weekend on just BEING with my daughter. We've been busy planting and caring for our backyard, since that is probably where I will spend most of my summer. Lots of herbs planted. Grasses that sway in the breeze, butterfly attracting flowers, sprinklers, ring tosses, and sidewalk chalk. I just wish I had a hammock and we'd be all good.

I am also busy getting setup to undergo chemo with a child in tow and no in home backup. Good news is that this new chemo drug is suppose to be as easy on me as Herceptin. We just have to wait and see. I sure hope so. None the less, I have to heal, and I have to heal in the middle of a divorce. So I am looking for a live in doula/student/massage therapist, in exchange for free room and board. Top priority. But again, if this is as easy as Herceptin, I must just be able to pull this off with LOADS of help from friends. Don't be shy. I will need WAY more help than last time and I am not ashamed to ask for it. I have my daughter alone all summer. No camps, etc. Just her and I. If I get things set up just right, and things are too hard on me, this might be nice. I will keep you posted.

We had a rockin' 4th. Actually got down to a parade AND a fireworks show together! We had a great time.

I am a tad bit sad to start chemo, but more in the realm of being afraid of the unknown. Good news is, once again, I feel stronger than ever in character and heart.

Let you know.......back to blogging........