The journey continues. I feel like I am a trailblazer for my friends. I know thousands and thousands of men and woman have gone before me in this challenge. Many in much worse cases than mine. Yet, I feel like the experience I am gaining is important to share with my friends and family so that if one day they have to take on this task they will not be feel as blind-sided as I do.

Yet, I know that no matter how much you think you have it figured out there are twist and turns as you go. Sometimes it could be a lack of communication between patient/doctor. It could be that something new was discovered after a test. I have learned that I have to trust that they know what they are doing. Be a good patient.

With this said I have had another twist. I was told by the original surgeon that during the mastectomy she will do a Sentinel Lymph Node Mapping. It will involve blue dye and some type of radiation. The oncologist confirmed the procedure and said that after my surgery we will know if there is chemo needed afterwards.

My surgeon is ill and out of the office indefinitely. I have been transferred to someone she works with and trusts. I met with the new surgeon yesterday. She sprang on me that she likes to do the mapping a week before surgery! Um, that is almost too late at this point. So yesterday I waited for 2 hours for them to schedule a surgery for tomorrow. And they also are squeezing in an EKG too.

This is the mapping schedule:

No food OR water after midnight tonight. (makes me feel like a gremlin) Apply EMLA (lidocaine cream) at 10 AM. Check into hospital at 11 AM. Get EKG. Go to Radiology department at 1 PM. Surgery at 4:15 PM. So if you are reading this, re-read this part. NO FOOD OR WATER for a whole day!! I will be shaky and hungry and thirsty, really thirsty, I drink a lot of water each day and no coffee! The reason for the early check in is it takes hours for the blue dye to get to the sentinel node. Meanwhile it will turn my nipple and urine blue! Hello Smurfette!


My husband is upset because he will miss another day of work that he wasn’t anticipating. I have a follow up appointment to go over the pathology results on the 12th. Means another copay, more missed work, another day of not being normal.

And don’t even get me started on the cost of cancer…. Maybe that will be my next post.

I should have focused more on the Gremlins, it would have made this a funnier blog. Just need to get the thoughts out. I will end with this:

Blue Nipple, Blue Pee, not a Gizmo, just an angry hungry Gremlin.



There was a sketch on Saturday Night Live many years ago making fun of President Bush and how he makes words up. They had the character say the word ‘strategery’ over and over in the bit. It was fun. It was years ago, yet I remember that word like it was today.

I have a friend that makes up words for herself to this day. She will say things like ‘the awesomtasticalness that is me’ and things like that.

My mother always said I just made up my own words when I couldn’t think of one that fit the moment. She would tease me about it often. I don’t really recall any of the words I made up. I do know for a fact that my brain is always three words ahead of my tongue and even as a grown up (kinda) I will spit words out that don’t make sense because I have already moved onto a different conversation in my head. Everything will get jumbled up and comes out funny. Anyone who spends any amount of time with me during the day has learned to understand ‘Renee speak’

I tend to text/email/post/tweet the same way. I will leave key words out. I only proofread AFTER I hit send. That is just how I am.

The word at the top. Well this is the new word for where I am mentally and emotionally. Scared, terrified, anxious, tired. Surgery: could be anywhere from 7-10 hours. That is a long time. It is eleven days away. It seems very close and yet VERY far away still. Will I ever be able to teach my classes again? How will this change me, my personality? Will I be funnier? Will I look older? Will I have energy again? Will I learn to love more? When will I get to shower again? How long will the pain last? Will I move like a T-Rex  after the bi-lateral mastectomy? Is this the end of the cancer? Will it pop up in my lungs, or brain like it has in my family? Will I ever be normal again? Well as normal as I am now, that is to say, not normal but very me. How is my husband REALLY handling this? Will he tire of taking care of me?

Sometimes I can’t get the thoughts under control. Scared, terrified, anxious, tired. Hoping to one day say: relieved, rested, peaceful.



It is the first day..

Today is January 1st 2016.

To some that means a paid day off. A three day weekend. A brand new start on a very fresh page of life.

For others it may mean time to make some changes. Start a new diet. A different workout. Or to just start working out and eating better.

I have never really truly understood the fascination with celebrating the end of one year and the start of another. Maybe I am too much of a realist. You will still wake up today and be you. If you hated working out and struggled doing it in December. You will still hate it in January. If you didn’t like fruit and veggies over bread and bacon, well taste buds don’t change over night either.

Drinking heavily to say goodbye to the old year means starting the new one with a hangover. Concepts I just don’t quite understand.

We, you have the opportunity to start your life over at any given moment. Not when it is the first of something. You could wake up tomorrow and say  ‘this is the first day that I will do ten minutes of cardio’ Next week you can decide to cut out sugar for a week and that will be a first. It happens when YOU want it to happen. Not when the media is telling you to start over, be a better person, get healthier, make better choices.

In my most recent life (the last five years) I stopped doing resolutions. I stopped making new years ideals/goals/empty promises. I have chosen to do something new every year. I never know what it will be. I do not have a bucket list of things I want to do before I die. If a new opportunity arrises that I have never done before then I will embrace it and try it at least once. That is how I choose to live my life now.

So far in 2015 it has been:  started blogging, ran in several 5K’s, became a nationally certified group fitness instructor, got my Zumba Step license. Went to Portland. Flew to AZ for a one day trip. Started my own fitness accountability page. Tried new foods. Made new friends.

After I beat this cancer and am given the free and clear signal that I can resume a ‘normal’ life again, I will not wait for the first of the month, or the first of a new year. I will embrace the challenge of pursuing something new and different always.

Okay soapbox moment over.

Onward and Upward.