Saturday, July 30, 2011

Chemo Round II - Day 3 News

The hair is going but I just received a beautiful father's blessing that brought great comfort and peace regarding my treatments and this necessary step in the process. It will be interesting to see how it “plays out” (pun intended) over the next week. 

One more round of pictures tomorrow according to my mom, the passionate photographer :).  

Today was good -  I had a nice work out this morning and was spoiled by a friend who was kind enough to drive me for some retail therapy ;) and a yummy dinner at Tsunami and then Red Mango!  I’m a little tipsy, so no driving yet but feel much better than I did after Round I. 

Quote for the day:  

One ship drives east and another drives west
With the selfsame winds that blow.
'Tis the set of the sails,
And Not the gales,
That tell us the way to go.
Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate;
As we voyage along through life,
'Tis the set of a soul
That decides its goal,
And not the calm or the strife.
                                    Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I am so grateful for the calm and peace I have been given by the Lord and for the friends and family I have been given to join me on this journey.  I am truly, truly a blessed woman.  A favorite song comes to mind:

Friday, July 29, 2011

Chemo Round II

So far not too bad with Chemo Round II - actually feeling better than the first time, now that I know the drill.  No puking, slight fatigue and nausea but not near what it was before.  I had acupuncture done the day before and after, and I really think it has helped a lot! 
To give you the run down: Thursday, my day started by a nice, long work out - a few days earlier than the Dr. predicted (or approved) but I felt ready for it and it was amazing!  I got my wish for an afternoon Chemo time and gave my Oncologist the usual hard time.  I asked if I could speed up the Chemo treatments and just do one every week to get it over with faster :). He laughed at me as usual and told my mom, "I'll bet she was fun to raise" - LOL.  He thinks there is a good chance that my continuing treatments will be as good as the first but that my hair will fall out soon.  But not to worry, I have plans in the works to welcome the new "DO" to the family when it happens.  Stay tuned for the rest of the story on that! 

I had the usual reaction when they "accessed my port".  The port is a device that was surgically inserted into my chest so that the infusion can be put directly into me there instead of an IV (thank you!).  They insert a needle and draw blood from it.  It really doesn't hurt that bad but the whole idea of it just makes me a little queasy, so if you ever come with me please hold my hand and help distract me.  I hate seeing my own blood and I get sort of a metallic taste when they access it.  I also tend to cough and get a bit sick to my stomach.  But that went away after about 30 minutes.  Then I met with my Dr. and he gave me the go ahead to start the infusion based on my red and white blood cell counts being good to go!

So I checked in at infusion and then the party really got started.  I had a visit from Kimberly, the Study Coordinator.  She followed up on how my side effects were going and I was happy to report that they were pretty minimal - I wonder if I get paid more for that? There is a small stipend for participating in the study - yea, it pays to get cancer - LOL. 

Then the cute nutritionist Lindsey came in and gave me the ok to eat junk food for a few days after treatment as long I get back on track after that ;).  Lots of good advice on supplements and creative recipes I can try.  It was really nice that she came in to help pass the time and convenient to meet while I am sitting there.  After about the 5th time of the nurse checking my badge to make sure it was me, I asked if people really try to sneak into Chemo ;)? 

My fun and beautiful friends showed up and gave my cute mom a break from me after my shenanigans.  We laughed pretty much the whole time and I think there were a lot of dumbfounded people in the infusion room.  The nurse came over and congratulated us on our merriness :).  I loved it!  They also brought me Jamba juice and chips (hint if you ever come – they say it helps to suck on cold things during the infusion).  Thanks guys!

I got to rip off 2 more links in the Chemo Countdown Chain – yahoo, only 12 left (25% done!).  I loved the quote for today:
“The scriptures tell us there must be opposition in all things, for without it we could not discern the sweet from the bitter. Would the marathon runner feel the triumph of finishing the race had she not felt the pain of the hours of pushing against her limits? Would the pianist feel the joy of mastering an intricate sonata without the painstaking hours of practice? In stories, as in life, adversity teaches us things we cannot learn otherwise. Adversity helps to develop a depth of character that comes in no other way. Our loving Heavenly Father has set us in a world filled with challenges and trials so that we, through opposition, can learn wisdom, become stronger, and experience joy.”  Dieter F. Uchtdorf
I am so grateful for the wisdom, character and even joy that this trial has brought to me.  Have I mentioned that your prayers are working?  Please know that it is becuase of you that I have been blessed with this perspective.  You truly are wonderful for your love and concern.   Chemo Round III - Thursday, August 11th.  If I don't write much, it's probably becuase I'm out paryting :).

Monday, July 25, 2011

This is the Place - Chemo Days 8-12

Today we recognize the Utah state holiday that celebrates the safe arrival of the Mormon pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley after an unbelievably challenging journey and incredible test of their faith.  The famous line by Brigham Young rings in my mind: “This is the right place”.  I love to hear the inspiring stories of their incredible commitment and determination to find a place where they could have the freedom to worship without affliction.  This year, their experience resonates even more in my soul as I contemplate the journey I am on and the destination I am moving toward with faith.  Although I have not yet arrived at the end, I am blessed with the feeling that I am in “the right place” at this point on the trek.  
I haven’t written anything for the past 4 days because I have been so blessed in feeling really quite normal.  My friends and family have been surprised that I am up to my normal activities and I am planning to enjoy the next couple of days before Chemo round 2 on Thursday.  I am at peace with the concept of losing my hair and appreciate the insights shared by a wonderful new friend who is also a cancer survivor.  She helped remind me that my hair doesn’t define me and that this opportunity to "discover more about who I am on the inside while my outside is temporarily under construction" is truly unique.  Besides, I have been told by more than one good looking guy that “bald is beautiful” :).  We’ll see how that plays out in the dating scene – LOL.  I did ask my oncologist if it is ok to kiss boys during Chemo and he gave me the green light ;).  He also said I could ride a wave runner/get in the water in a couple of weeks after I am healed from my surgery.  I think he is getting used to my crazy questions by now but I’m sure I must be a crack up for him.  One of the nurses on his team introduced herself on a recent visit and said: “I’ve heard about you”.  Not sure how to take that . . . hmm
For those of you who are wondering about the rest of the story on the Penguin Cold Caps I mentioned on the last post, I decided not to go with them based on the small chance that they could somehow stop the Chemo from working in my head/scalp.  Not interested in encouraging any kind of brain cancer, since I already defied the odds and got breast cancer at my age, I’m not willing to take any risks that could interfere with my treatment in an attempt to save my hair.  But it was fun to learn about them and explore the possibility.  It was also a great reminder of how much I need to continue to rely on the Lord every step of the way and be specific in my prayers.
So aside from some “Chemo brain” moments and deliberation over my hair, I really have felt very good the past few days.  Even the worst part right after the last round wasn’t near the challenge I heard it would be.  Either I am incredibly blessed or the Chemo didn’t make it into my system :).  I’m pretty sure it’s the first.  I pray the rest of the treatments will be this good and that I will be able to go back to work soon.  I miss my job and appreciate the patience of my employer as I have been focusing on my return to health.  Did I mention that I am blessed?  Thank you for reading – sweet dreams :). 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ask and ye shall receive – Chemo Day 7

The Rapunzel ProjectI am a possibilities person.  I believe that there is a solution to every problem, a way to make things better and explore new ways of doing things and I don't give up without a fight :).  Last night I had a special experience that reminded me of some important truths that I am going to need as I continue this journey.   As I thought about how much I really want to keep my hair, the thought came to me that I have never actually asked God for this specific miracle.  A scripture from Doctrine and Covenants 9 verse 7, ran through my head: “Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.”  Now I know that asking God to preserve my hair is a tall order and perhaps a bit trivial in the scheme of things.  But as He has guided my journey thus far, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to ask :). 
In the scriptures there is a story about a righteous man known as “The Brother of Jared”.  He is faced with the difficult trial in getting his people across the treacherous sea to safety.  The Lord directs him to build barges that will get them there but then The Brother of Jared sees that the barges will have no light in them for the journey.  He asks the Lord for help with this and the Lord tells him to think it through and propose a solution.  The solution he comes up with is to take 16 small, clear stones and ask the Lord to touch each one so that they will have light for each of the barges.  The Lord grants this request and the people are taken across the sea with safety and light. 
While my journey is different, and we don’t always get everything we want, I know that the Lord is just as willing to grant blessings to me that are contingent upon my asking for them.  I don’t know if He will let me keep my hair but I did find a resource shortly after my prayer that showed me a possible way.  I felt inclined to google the words: “remedy to keep hair during chemo”.  I was intrigued when the search results pulled up:
It has information on a product called the Penguin Cold Cap, that you wear during the Chemo infusion and is supposed to protect the hair follicles.  It is based in the UK but sells in the U.S. through a distributor in California.  I spoke to them today and I was intrigued by what they told me.  It may not work for me because unfortunately it is something that you normally need to start using on the first chemo treatment, so it would have been much better if I had contacted them 2 weeks ago. But I am still not deterred from exploring the possibility further.  Whatever happens, I am grateful for this experience that has reminded me of the importance of using the intelligence we have been given, asking for the help of God and acting on the promptings we receive.  For me this is the greater lesson than whether or not my hair remains. 
So it has been a really good day.  I actually drove today and met some friends for lunch.  Then I went to the grocery store and to the LDS temple.   I had very little nausea and other symptoms, aside from fatigue.  I am grateful for the blessings I am receiving daily from your prayers and faith.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tough Enough to Wear Pink - Chemo Day 6

So I made it to the Days of 47 Rodeo tonight to sing the National Anthem with the Survivor Sisters Group.   I admit I wasn’t that excited to be part of the group at first – nothing personal, just not a club you want to be welcomed to :).  However, I realized quickly how wonderful these women were and how much their life experiences have molded them into someone even more amazing than they were before.  They were all so kind to take me under their wing as the newest member there and give me encouraging tips about chemo brain, hair loss and nausea.   My family was all there to support me and to capture a few photos and I even managed it all without too much nausea.

Overall Today was a good day.  A few mouth issues and some anxiety about the upcoming but not yet reality of hair loss - but overall good.  After sleeping for quite a while I mustered up enough energy to do some very light exercise on the elliptical - I figured this would help with my psyche.   Just 10 minutes on a low setting but it was so great to get moving and then I was able to stretch for the first time in 4 weeks – whoo hoo!.  I feel more and more healing from my surgery every day, and  I have hope that there is a light at the end of this tunnel.  I know that there is, and seeing the wonderful women tonight at various stages of healing helped me know that this is a very temporary situation.  I’m grateful to have this trial and not another that could be so much worse.  I'm thankful for the kind words of friends and some beautiful flowers I recieved from one today.  I'm thankful to have a wonderful family who loves and supports me and to live in this land where I can enjoy and appreciate the freedom of so many choices.  I know that I am very very blessed.    

Monday, July 18, 2011

Chemo Day 5

Today I have been extremely tired but made it out for lunch with a friend.  It is a goal for me to get out of the house at least once a day so that I don’t turn into recluse :).  I feel a lot like Westley on the Princess Bride after the “Machine”, with no real strength but half a brain that works.  I still can’t believe what I am eating – after a lunch at Pei Wei, I had Arby’s curly fries for dinner and some Dr. Pepper and a slurpee (thanks to kind friends who showed up with these in hand). I know all you health nuts are worried about me – I promise I am going to change my ways soon :).  Just trying to eat whatever will go down right now.  I have been having a bit of heart burn and and somewhat of a sore mouth, but nothing too drastic at this point.  Hair still in intact - yeah :).
Tomorrow I will rest more but hoping to have the strength to join the Survivor Sister’s Support Group at the Days of 47 Rodeo in the evening.  We have been invited to sing the National Anthem at the beginning – I think the theme is “Tough Enough to Wear Pink”.  It should be a memorable experience and I am happy to get out to test my strength so that I know what I am capable of.  If things continue on the upward slant I am going to try and ease back into my job part time for now.  I am grateful to my employer for their patience and understanding during this time.
Let me end with a little kick in the butt for cancer:

Cancer is so limited...
It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot eat away peace.
It cannot destroy confidence.
It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot shut out memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot reduce eternal life.
It cannot quench the Spirit.
                                                                                     Author: Unknown

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Chemo Day 4

Today has been good – my best day yet since the Chemo – a little less nausea and fatigue.  People keep saying that the worst of it was going to hit me this weekend but so far the worst I have felt was on Thursday night and Saturday was a lot of fatigue, so maybe I’m going to defy all logic and create my own version here :).
I slept until about 10:00 a.m. but was able to make it up for church – at least a revised version :).  I went to Relief Society at my family ward and then to the singles ward for Sacrament Meeting.  Between the two, it was good to get some spiritual nourishment and I was able to see some great friends.  My family transported me so that I didn’t have to risk any crazy situations from the nausea.  Then we celebrated my dad’s birthday tonight and my cute 15 year old niece hijacked the party with a serenade for me – see the cheesy clip we got of it on my iPhone :).  Lindsey's Serenade
I had a nice visit from a new friend, who has already blessed my life with her wisdom and kindness.  Truly one of the greatest blessings of this journey has been the time I have been able to spend with new and old friends.  I am truly blessed in so many ways.  Love you all!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Chemo Day 3

Nothing too exciting to report – I guess that’s a good thing. I stayed in bed most of the day and finally got up around 5:00 p.m. to shower.   No sign of hair loss or mouth sores :). No puking going on, just nausea and the feeling that I am in a dream world due to the 4 medications I am taking.  I don’t have much of an appetite and so whatever I do feel like eating is what goes in – my dad brought me In N Out fries and a burger and I loved it.  That’s about all I had today + a Jamba Juice and a Slurpee – again, all nontraditional foods in the Amy Stevens diet.
So I got ready and made it to the Jon Schmidt concert down the street tonight – thanks to my friend Jennifer for arranging it.  She made it so perfect with blankets and making sure I was comfortable just lying there.  It was great and I got to meet some amazing new women who I am now blessed to call friends.  I love my life and the way that wonderful people continue to come into it, even when I don’t have much to give in return right now.  Thank you all for loving me and caring enough to bless me through this process.
Tomorrow is Sunday, so that means more friends and family to see!  I hope to make it to some form of church – perhaps even part would be nice.  When I'm not having cancer I am normally a primary teacher to a very cute little class of 7 and 8 year olds.  They brought me a card and blanket this week to show their love and concern.  Their innocence and faith remind me of an important truth that humbles me: "Except ye become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" Matthew 18:3.  I've got a lot of work to do on that front . . .

Friday, July 15, 2011

Chemo Day 2 Report

So today I woke up at 10:00 a.m. after a few challenging moments last night – but even though I have felt nausea off and on both last night and today I was able to successfully avoid any unappetizing outcomes by taking my 3 main nausea pills + the steroid for inflammation and special effects :). 

My dad took me to get my Neulasta shot around 2:00, after stopping by Ann Taylor to do a long overdue return.  I had to pull the cancer card on them because they didn’t want to give me the full price I paid on a return for something I bought on April 28th (ironically the day I found the lump).  I had already tried explaining that I had been a little bit tied up and why, but they were sticking to their guns about their “policy” and I had to call them on it.  Not just because I am a cancer patient but because I happen to be one of their most frequent shoppers and without me, well the whole enterprise could go down.  So, in the scheme of things, giving me the full price I paid on a credit isn’t going to kill them – but I did feel just a wee bit bad for my assertiveness. 

After that I was craving a snow cone, so of course we had to stop.  Then we made it to Huntsman and after waiting just a short time, it was a pretty quick shot – not too much pain.  I think I was only up to 3 nausea pills at this point – one of each variety except for the Lorazepam, that makes me more loopy and tired. I finally gave in and took the Lorazepam tonight, so if this post is loopy, that’s why :).

My appetite is starting to mimic that of a pregnant woman – whatever sounds good I eat it.  I didn’t eat much earlier today but started getting hungry later. I told my dad that halibut sounded good, so after the Neulasta shot we went to Market Street Grill for dinner.  It was good but I couldn’t eat all of what I ordered.  I did manage to squeeze in some ice cream for dessert.  After dinner we stopped by Macy’s to pick up the rest of my retail therapy, I suddenly had a craving for frozen yogurt – so off to Frogurt we went.  That’s 3 frozen treats in one day :) – normally that would be more than I eat in 1 month.  Are we concerned?  I tried eating some of my favorite crackers and they tasted like cardboard.  So I am just going with whatever sounds good + gallons of water to flush things out.

When I got home, I called in for my daily report on the research study I am doing regarding the symptoms I am having from Chemo.  After completing all of the automated questions, I began feeling like Westley from Princess Bride when he was tortured by the “Machine”.  Probably because it kept saying “I want you to be completely honest about how you are feeling” :).

So that’s my day for you – they say the weekend is supposed to hit me harder, so I think it’s time for bed.  If it’s at all feasible I may drag myself to the Jon Schmidt concert tomorrow night and lay on the grass, looking up at the stars.  It’s my favorite summer concert and not too far from my house, so I hate to miss it.  Watch for me, with barf bags in tow :) – there’s still hope for my presence there! 

Because there are 16 links in my Chemo Countdown Chain, I decided I am going to take one off for the Chemo and one the next day for the Neulasta shot - today's quote: "The storm also beats on the house that is built on the rock." The rock that built me was from my parents.  They have been amazing through this process.  My mom arranged to have a photo shoot for me the day before Chemo, to capture my hair and she surprised me by being in it too.  My good friend and business partner Alisa showed up and it was so much fun.  I've posted the link here for your review - we've yet to decide on our selections :). 

Thank you Julie for making it so sweet and memorable at a crucial time in my life - you truly have a talent for this! 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Chemo Kick Off Update

My day began as planned at the Huntsman Cancer Institute.  The nurses accessed and flushed the port in my chest to get me ready. It gave me a weird taste in my mouth and I started coughing a lot, which apparently is not normal and so I went for a chest x-ray to check things out.  Things were fine and I was cleared to start. I made it to the infusion room about 11:00 and got picked to be in a research study about chemo side effects. 

They started me on the anti-nausea  infusion first, which takes about an hour and then the chemo meds are given.  Between answering questions for the research study, talking to a nutritionist and social worker, the time went by very fast.  My nurse Sally was great and we even got a snap shot of her giving me the Adriamycin (known as the "Red Devil" because of it's color and effect on your output). This was about a 20 minute process. Then I got the Cytoxan, which took another hour.  When the infusion beeped twice, I was done and got to leave after I picked up my 4 anti-nausea meds at the pharmacy.

I felt a little loopy and tired and my mom took me to the grocery store after for some comfort foods.  So I got home about 5, I slept for a few hours and am now feeling really nauseated - just laying by the toilet hoping I can get this under control soon :).  My hair is still in tact - should be 14-21 days before it's gone. I'll be laying low tomorrow except for my visit to get the Neulasta shot. Thanks for your prayers and support - I think things went about as well as they could at this point.

It has been said: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – I’m glad that I have this first step behind me :).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Learning to fly

Today was a very good day – I drove for the first time in 3 weeks and it was great!  Over the past week I have been gradually easing into sitting and today was really the culmination of this in being able to kneel, stretch and drive!  I did some retail therapy at Macy’s, had a photo shoot in the afternoon and after much deliberation I bought my wig – just in time :). 
Tomorrow starts the countdown to the end of Chemo.  My cute sister Mitzi brought over a Chemo chain for me to countdown the days until I’m done.  There are 16 links in the chain (one for each week I will be in treatment) and each link has an inspiring quote written on it.  Here’s the one for this week:
"Because of the conflicts and challenges we face in today's world, I wish to suggest a single choice — a choice of peace, protection, and a choice that is appropriate for all. That choice is faith. ... Choose faith over doubt, choose faith over fear, choose faith over the unknown and the unseen and choose faith over pessimism."  Richard C. Edgley
I do choose faith and I am feeling very hopeful and optimistic that this is the beginning of the end of this trial. I’ll start bright and early with a meeting with Dr. Ward, blood work and then on to the infusion room for the excitement to begin at 10:30.  After about 3 hours, I should be done and will then have firsthand experience of the process and will see the pattern for my side effects to unfold from there.  As the famous quote goes: “When you come to the edge of all light that you know and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly”. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Preparing for Take Off

Thursday is Chemo day.  I know I said I was scared last time I wrote - but I am so thankful that my fears are being put to rest as I prepare mentally, physically and emotionally for this next step:  “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear”.  Being able to connect with great, inspiring people, realizing how beneficial this next step is going to be long term and just having time pass to get used to the idea, have all helped me “walk through the fear”. 

Today I spoke with a beautiful woman who knows me only peripherally through my sister in law.  I was touched when she told me that there are 350 people who don’t even know me - in her home country of Venezuela praying for me – WOW!  Many of you have mentioned that you and your families are praying for me as well.  I know that this is all a big part of why I am feeling much more at peace with things.  While there have been bumps in the road, I have been able to move through the challenges quickly and there is simply no other explanation than the hand of God in blessing me with this feeling of peace.  This process has taught me that the depth of human compassion is much greater than the suffering that I have or will experience.  I have come to understand on a more personal level how alone the Savior must have felt during His suffering and yet how much strength and compassion He received by going through what He did, so that He could understand and truly “succor his people according to their infirmities” (Alma 7:12).

Chemotherapy is designed to kill fast-growing cancer cells and in the process it also affects other fast growing cells that line your mouth, intestines, bone marrow and hair . . . yes, I will lose my hair. There are several types of Chemo and based on the various features of the type of cancer you have, the oncologist decides what kind of chemo you get.  Mine will be 8 treatments: 4 rounds of Adriamycin + Cytoxan and then 4 rounds of Taxol.  Each treatment is generally 2 weeks apart unless something happens that delays a treatment such as the white/red cells or platelets not being at the right level – in which case a treatment could be delayed.  

I will have my treatments on Thursday's in the infusion room at Huntsman – so if you’re in the area, feel free to stop by the 2nd floor and chat :). It's an all-day affair that starts in the morning with blood tests and a meeting with the Dr.  and then when I am cleared to start they will mix my Chemo and  attach the IV through a port in my chest that will drip the fluid from a bag - this process takes about 3 hours.  I can sleep, eat, use technology or chat while the infusion is going on.  One tip I have heard from several people is to suck on ice and other cold things the whole time to avoid mouth sores. The next day I will go back in for a shot called Neulasta, which boosts the immune system and builds bone marrow – thus counteracting some of the negative effects of the Chemo drugs. 

Side effects: dry mouth, mouth sores, bone pain (from Neulasta), skin/tooth sensitivity, nausea and fatigue to name a few.  The first 4-5 days after the infusion are supposed to be the worst.  But I am hopeful, optimistic and even have a pipe dream that my hair won't fall out :).  I have stocked my cupboards with Orajel, extra soft toothbrushes, soda and comfort foods. I am ready for the battle, prepared to fight to the end with my family and friends cheering me on.  Thank you for being part of it all - your presence and faith make it bearable.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Baby Steps

I had my appointment today with my plastic surgeon and I have now graduated from standing and laying to being able to sit on a chair with one cheek :) – the right one of course, since the left one has a huge incision that is still healing – LOL.  In another week I’ll be able to try sitting normally, so we’re easing into it – baby steps to get back to my normal life. I might be able to try driving in a week too – whoo hoo, I haven’t been this excited about that since I was 16 – LOL!  She said I need to wait for 6 weeks after the surgery before I can work out – really? You’re killing me!  That by the way, is August 3rd, so watch for me at the gym that day :).
I had a fun weekend in Park City with the fam – we stayed at the amazing Park City Hotel and I had my own little suite.  It was my first try since my surgery at being self-sufficient and I was able to manage pretty well thanks to my amazing grabber (see the attached picture).  My nieces and nephews had a great time playing with it and “grabbing” everything and everyone in sight with the contraption.  I’ve always been a connoisseur of creative solutions to difficult situations and let me tell you that grabber is definitely one of my best :).
I had to opt out of the family baseball game and swimming activities but I did manage to get a little shopping in at the Banana Republic sale and snag myself a date for Friday night – the first since my surgery.  He was a good sport and didn’t mind the creative maneuvers I used to get in and out of the car or the fact that I had to recline the seat back for the drive.  We even found a restaurant where I could eat standing up – LOL.  It was good to get out and I am glad that I didn’t have to miss the family 4th of July celebration, which is a long standing tradition in the Steven’s family. 
So I officially start Chemo next week - my Oncologist will let me know tomorrow which day but I’m hoping for a Thursday Chemo time, so that I can have the weekends to recover.  I'll be attending the Chemo 101 class this Thursday - if anyone wants to learn all about it feel free to stop in :).  I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t a bit nervous.  I have to be honest, I am scared about the many and varied side effects, not the least of which is losing my hair. But it is a necessary step in order to ensure that I have the best possible chance of the cancer never returning – so of course, I’m all for it.
Before this whole thing started I was going at lightning speed in all aspects of life – things were going well with my job, I had just finished my MBA and launched my side business – Utah’s Matchmaker.  I was even contacted by one of the producers of Millionaire Matchmaker about doing my own reality show, which I wasn’t so sure was for me, but the offer was quite flattering. I wondered what was going to happen next.    This quote seems quite fitting:
 “Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more. He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding and compassion, which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain" Richard G. Scott
As a good friend of mine once told me: “walk through the fear”. This is what I have tried to do throughout my life and I will do it again now as I start on this last but treacherous part of the journey.  Thank you for walking with me.  I need you now more than ever as I take this step into the darkness . . .