Monday, January 31, 2011


Friendship can develop in the most unexpected ways. And I've been fortunate to experience this a few times since beginning this journey.  Cancer can take a lot from you, but I have found that it gives a lot back too.  It opens the space for greater possibility.  There is a richness to experience that comes after looking at life through different colored glasses.

I'd like to write today about the people I've made friends with because of this experience, and what a gift it has been.

I'd like to start with my now dear dear friend Dr. Lori.  We've talked many times before, professionally, going over Metametrix test results.  For a few months I noticed she wasn't on my calendar to consult with.  And when we finally reconnected I found out she was away treating cancer.  A few months later I found out about my cancer, and when it was difficult for her to reach me for consults I finally told her what was going on. We've bonded because of this big C word, but it has become much more than that.   We've never met, but she's become one of my favorite people to talk to on the phone (and for those of you who know me know I DON'T like to talk on the phone).   I've never met her but our friendship has developed strongly and deeply via shared experiences not only on the cancer realm, but on the living life realm.  I know we will meet one day, and have a long, loving embrace and then share lots of laughter and fun times.  (as a side note, as I was writing this, she called me!!!  We haven't talked in a couple of weeks because of all the craziness in each others lives, and now, while she is heavily on my mind, she calls.  I have a huge smile on my face.  I love the way she helps me process my fears, and experiences, and I also love how we can talk about fun stuff too.)

My next friendship developed after a short lunch shared together at one of the Metametrix seminars I lectured at.  M found out I was battling this by doing more research on Metametrix, and me, as the speaker, and stumbled upon my blog.  Since then she has become a devoted friend and checks on me frequently, sends the sweetest, most thoughtful gifts, and is THERE for me!  She is a gem (and SMART!) and I feel honored to know her.

My friends I've met at the alternative clinic where I received care for a year will always be a reminder of  the laughter we can experience despite the struggle.  To Karen, Laura, Robyn, Jim, Andre, Patty, Lupa, Sandy, and to Holly, Michelle who were brave and strong and loving.  

To Connie, Michael's aunt, whom I've never met.  She lost her husband to a many years long struggle with lymphoma.  Even though we've never met, she continues to send me sweet e-mails and encouragement.  Today is the 4 year anniversary since she lost her husband.   We joke that even though we've never met, it seems like we know each other.  I look forward to the day when we do meet. 

To Franny, who I've also never met.  We have a connection because we've both been diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. a month away from getting married, and you a month after having your second baby.  Neither time good for hearing the news (if there ever is a good time), but you with two children to survive for.  I am so happy to know you, so happy that you've shared your experience via blog, and so happy that you are cancer free and singing again.

A few weeks after hearing the news that I relapsed my aunt Patty offered to get together each week and practice Taoist meditation with me.  She'd come to my house and bring her friend Mary whom she'd been meditating with for years.  We'd just see what would develop, and at the time we thought I might be going straight into stem cell transplant, so it might be a lot of sitting around watching me sleep...But the three of us  have been getting together since August, once a week, meditating, doing readings, guided movement, energy work, talking, laughing, crying, has been amazing, incredible, life changing.  I am so grateful for Patty and also so happy to know Mary.  She is an amazing woman.

Next doesn't technically fall into a new friendship, but a changed friendship.  Dr. Hartle, my major advisor in graduate school, has been so amazingly supportive during this tough time.  I see her brilliant heart lights shining bright with her strong words of encouragement, love, and the most amazing ways of creating visualizations for healing.  I won't forget it, and will certainly pull up her e-mails when I am feeling crummy and needs words of encouragement.

And finally, the most recent friendship developed is with Kate Blue.  Remember this post when I went searching for a picture to post and found this amazing artist named Kate Blue, with her painting, Walk the Path?  Well, she has the computer technology to know when people have used her photos illegally and she caught me!  But instead of being angry, she has been the most kind person!  We've developed a sweet friendship and she is rooting me on!  She even offered to paint me my own soul painting and DID!!  See above :) :)  I absolutely LOVE love love this painting and it is on the altar in the basement where we meditate.  each time I look at it I see something different.  It is a painting that speaks, it has words, and imagination.  It is very special.  She did a reading too, before the painting, and asked her spirit guides about me.  I am totally stunned by this act of kindness.  And to top it all off, I just got a t-shirt in the mail from her, with hand-painted hearts on it. Please check out her website, she has so much to  I really can't believe the kindness of strangers. It changes my whole world and makes me realize the importance of human interaction.

So here is a post to honor my newly made friendships. I in no way want to undermine those who I've been friends with and are there for me 100%.  Your love means the world and really does keep me going.  Love makes the world go round, (and makes Evie want to fight even harder!!!).

My love to you all!!!

the next steps...

In life, some memories are move vivid than others.  One very vivid memory I have is when I was 16 and I heard that a classmate of mine had to donate her bone marrow to her sibling because she had leukemia.  It was the first time I had ever heard of a bone marrow transplant, and it was also the first time I had seen someone show such an incredible act of kindness like that. It was her sister, and she'd do anything to save her.  Things have changed since then to where the process of bone marrow harvest is easier, and less traumatic, but back then, they had to go right into the pelvic bone 75 times with a large needle to get enough marrow (bone marrow biopsy times a million).

I remember being scared about this and thinking of all the hard things people encounter in life.  I remember thinking how lucky it was that I didn't have leukemia.  And even though I wasn't very close with either of them, it still sat with me...the heaviness of the whole situation.  But, the sister ended up surviving and it was a good thing.

So now here I am 18 years later facing my own bone marrow transplant.  Fortunately I don't have to have a donor, I can donate my own stem cells.  It is called an autologous stem cell transplant instead of an allogeneic transplant and comes with much much fewer complications. 

Some people have asked me why I need to do this transplant when I am in complete remission according to PET scan.  I am sorry I didn't explain this earlier, but to clear up the's how we got to where we are today.

I have met with the bone marrow transplant specialist doctor twice now.  He seems pretty confident that more ABVD wouldn't have helped the situation because I was in complete remission, continued 2 more ABVD therapies after that and the cancer still grew back so quickly (4 months). That seems to be the key.  There are lingering cells in my body that are resistant to that chemotherapy.  He did order the lab to check my original biopsy and they did find  I was in the highest risk group according to a certain cell marker, highest risk meaning most likely to relapse.

Other areas for concern were that the tumors grew back so quickly after my biopsy this August when the surgeon thought he got the whole tumor out.  And I was doing heavy duty alternative treatments.

So we opted for the mainstream method for treating relapsed Hodgkins Lymphoma--ICE therapy to put me back into complete remission via PET and then high-dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplant.  It was IMPERATIVE that I went into complete remission via PET before moving on. If I hadn't, my chances of the second phase working were slim.  It puts me into the category of refractory Hodgkins lymphoma, and the high-dose might not work either (might be resistant).  It also means that the high-dose would have had to work on bulky tumors, not just stray cells.  You just do the high-dose once (over 5 days).

Basically, the high-dose chemotherapy is killing my bone marrow which might be a source of the tumor cells.  It is also coursing through my veins and working hard on scouring the entire body.  My stem cells are harvested before the high-dose chemo, then frozen, and then put back in me two days after the high-dose.  The day my stem cells go back in is called my "rebirthday".  From then on out I work each day to regain my strength, my immune system, my health, and celebrate my new cancer-free life! 

During the anticipation phase of this process I thought I'd have to be quarantined for 30 days after the stem cell transplant.  Well, turns out that the process is much more complicated.  The stem cell collection, called mobilization, starts this Wednesday.  I have to get a new port put in that is external, so I have to deal with tubes sticking out of my chest for two months!  Thursday I get another round of regular chemotherapy and then I have to take a lot of bone growth stimulators for 10 days to help kick the stem cells out of my bone marrow into my blood stream.  Once my counts are high enough then they harvest the cells through my new port.  It could take up to three 7 hour days!  Once the stem cells are collected, I start the 5 days of high-dose chemotherapy and then two days later have my rebirthday (if all goes well, March 4th).  I have to go in every day after that for 6-7 hours for blood products, fluids, etc. Several of the people I met with on my education day say that the worst part of it all is the two weeks after transplant.  The pharmacist also said to me that just be prepared to be admitted to the hospital for some reason or another...usually everyone does.  Wouldn't it be nice to prove him wrong! 

So this is at least a two month process, and instead of being quarantined after the transplant, it starts THIS WEDNESDAY and lasts until after the transplant.  It means that I can't drive myself anywhere, I can't be left alone, I can't go into public places, not even the grocery store.  It is to the doctor's office (almost everyday) and then back home where I must be babysat.  One month after transplant I will probably be released from going to the doctor all the time and be babysat, and I think I can start to drive but I can't go in public places for 3 months! I can't garden this spring either.  Needless to say, I was not to happy to learn this.  But they were pretty strict about these rules and said my caregivers (Michael and my mom) are responsible for enforcing these rules because it means my life. 

The good news is that they said I could have visitors to the house as long as they weren't children under 10, they aren't sick, or around anyone sick, and it is a small number at a time. So yay! 

It has been a long road to get here.  I am happy to begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I am ready to get this started as I want to get it over with even faster.  I have fears around this, I am scared, but I have love and support and I am strong, both physically, mentally and spiritually.  So when those fears rise up, I feel them and then release them until they come again. 

So here we go!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

First day of school

I finally took a picture of the painting I did a couple of weeks ago!

Well, despite the continued icy road conditions, my evaluation day was still on!  Mom picked me up at 8:30 and we headed to the hospital.  I slept last night, thankfully, but my dreams were filled with stress dreams about the looming bone marrow biopsy.

Fortunately the biopsy was scheduled for early in the day so I wouldn't wait in anticipation for too long.  The nurses at the Bone Marrow Transplant of Georgia group are all really nice, and when I expressed my concern about this whole thing they said not to worry, they would give me something to take the edge off.  Take the edge off???!!!  I thought, hmmm...not cool.  I don't want to remember the edge, or anything near it.  They said they can't give me sedation because of risks, and recovery time.  They did calm my worries a bit saying that they do 5-6 a day, so they knew what they were doing.  I thought this is good....maybe we can avoid the 6 tries to get some marrow like last time.

So I really had no choice but to suck it up and do this.  I get on the table, mom holds my hand, and they give me some sort of calming drug.  I could feel it relaxing me, thankfully.  But I could also still feel the needles for the lidocaine injections, and I started to get pretty scared.  But by the grace of god, this wasn't torture.  Turns out what the previous nurse said about my bones being really hard IS true.  This nurse said of all of these she's done, I was number 2 in hardest bones.  My pelvis is also tilted a bit so she had to readjust her angle.  I felt the pressure, and I felt the marrow being sucked out, and it didn't feel great, but I didn't freak out, I didn't scream bloody murder coming from the bowels of the earth.  I was able to deal and the experience wasn't horrible.  Good thing too, because apparently I have to do these again over the next year.  I am so so so grateful that these nurses have made me less scared of this.  Now I am just sitting here with a pain in my ass, but I can also deal with that.  :)

Anyway, that was just a part of this big evaluation day.  I told mom as we were nearing our last appointment that it felt like the first day of college (without all the excitement though....).   We had a schedule and went from appointment to appointment and had to find our way around the maze of Northside Hospital.

So today I have been evaluated:
1.  Labs/Bloodwork 10 tubes, I counted!
2.  EKG
3.  Bacterial Infection swabs
4.  Bone marrow aspirate
5.  CT scan of the brain
6.  Echocardiogram
7.  Pulmonary Function tests
8.  Blood bank services
9.  Financial services
10.  Psychological evaluation had to be rescheduled due to weather.

This is real.  This is all real, and it is really happening.  It hit me like a ton of bricks as I was sitting on the table, getting my labs drawn. I was asking the nurse all kinds of questions.  I do have to get another port put in, it will be above the surface of the skin, and I have to leave it there for at least 30 days post-transplant.  My red blood cells are so low right now they are considering giving me a transfusion.  I have to be in everyday for up to 50 days to get labs, transfusions, IVs.  They say to expect being there 4-6 hours each time.

I also read in the little booklet that I got today that I really shouldn't be in public for 3 months post transplant.  3 MONTHS!!  I was thinking 30 days...this makes me sad.  But really, 3 months is nothing compared to a lifetime.  I get happier when I think of it that way.  I also get happier when I see that I can have more visitors than I thought (I thought it could only be two) silver linings :)

So I am sitting here on the couch, feeling exhausted. Michael is making dinner--he got me a nice good quality steak to help those little blood cells.  A lot is going through my mind and I realize this is a chance for growth.  A lot of people have done this and survived and are cured!!  I also read in the booklet today that for most people we can stop taking medications after a time and resume a normal lifestyle--I won't be tied to the medications for life.  This is a relief.  I am also very grateful that I can use my own stem cells.  This process is infinitely easier than those who have to get a donor.  So gratitude still is beaming bright despite my fears and trepidations.

Finally, as far as logistics...I won't go back again until January 25th for my "Education Day" where we discuss my results from today and the plan going forward.   So I won't be getting more chemo until at least after the 25th.  That is two more weekends of living!!

Thanks to you all who sent me love and prayers today for a good day.  You are the best!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bone marrow biopsy...what??

So it is a funny testament to my personality...We found out the results last Thursday afternoon (much earlier than expected) of my PET scan that showed complete remission, and by Friday afternoon I was frustrated that I didn't have the complete plan as to what was next yet.

I have now been released from my regular oncologist to a specialist for the stem cell transplant process.  I've been in touch with them before now, I have been talking with the nurse who I adore already even though I haven't met her.  She has been aware of my current ICE treatments and said to let them know when we have good PET scan I did.  And I am ready to go!!!!

I had to have  reality check when I didn't get all the answers as to what is next, right away.  Fortunately the nurse realizes my anxious personality and sent me what she had so far late Friday afternoon.  It wasn't the final plan, but it was everything she knew by then.  And there was nothing planned until this Thursday, and it was more testing, no treatment....I felt a bit disappointed by this.

On top of that, the buzz of the clean PET scan fizzled a bit when I read that I am scheduled for another bone marrow biopsy.  I don't know if you remember, but I can guarantee you that that was the worst possible thing I have experienced yet in my lifetime.  My mom is there to attest...she refuses to witness another one of those without some sort of sedation. Barbaric is the term we use...

For those of you who haven't been here to experience it, or haven't read about it in the news, Atlanta has been hit by a huge snow storm.  We got 5 inches Sunday night, and the city has been shut down ever since.  All my testing for the next phase is scheduled for tomorrow, and until today I didn't even know if it was going to be possible.  Fortunately then nurse called me today and said, yes, let's go!!  No time for delays.  All that was on my mind was, .... will you sedate me for the bone marrow biopsy???? And she said yes, no problem.  We take good care of you.  PHEW!!!!

So tomorrow I will go for an entire day of testing to prepare me for what is next.   I hope to know soon what the schedule is for the next couple of months.  I am a planner, and the not knowing is tough on me. But we are on the path!

So there we are for now.  I have had a great week.  Michael and I went up to the mountains last  weekend, and even though my stamina and strength aren't great I still managed to get to the top of the mountains (slowly...)  The snow hit on Sunday night and I had a nice time feeling cozy with my love.  We went for walks, enjoyed the crystal brightness of the snow and ice, made our snow family and cuddled savoring each moment for what it is, and bracing for what is next.

Here's to staying warm and feeling loved.  Sending love to you all!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Scan is CLEAN!!

Dad took this picture.  I asked him to send me one of his sunset pictures because I felt like the sun is setting on this disease!  I love this photo. Thanks dad!

Yep, that's right folks.  Those pesky little tumors are gone!!!  It is the most we could have asked for today.  And I am ecstatic!! I made a scene in the radiology department, but the people there are like family and just helped me right along with making it...crying and hugs and joy and laughter and YES!!!  Michael was there with me to hear the good news.  It was awesome.  It IS awesome!!  So nice to get good news after all the bad news we've heard.

So now we move on to the process for the stem cell transplant.  I am not sure what that will be exactly yet. I'll keep you posted, you know I will!!!

I couldn't have done this without you all.  Truly.  You are my strength.  You are my encouragement.  You lift me up and keep me going.  I am incredibly grateful for you...every cell of my body says so.

Much love and sweet dreams!!!
p.s.  edit for Friday morning...Dr. Hamrick e-mailed me the final report from the radiologist this morning and all over it it reads COMPLETE REMISSION!!!!  yipppppeee!!!  And, all other organs look good, my lungs look BETTER.  My bones are showing some wear from the chemo, increased metabolic activity, meaning they are working hard to get those blood cells up.  Go little bones!!!  I'll feed you all the good stuff to repay you...
He also sent me this one...said it was one of his favorites.  He took this of Curtis and me soaking in the sunset December, 2004.  I love it too. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Journal Entry to Remember

Last Wednesday I feel like I had a glimpse of what scholars call enlightenment, or the awakening.  I have never thought much of it before.   It always seemed so abstract to me that I could never quite get my brain around it.  I've certainly had my share of experiences in life to know that there is something greater than we can understand or explain.  Then my brain gets too involved, and feels like I need to put definitions to it and rationally can't do it.  How can we explain something we don't understand, or know, or have proof, other than talking about the experience?  I can't seem to go on blind faith.

Anyway, I still struggle with the definitions, and have realized that it doesn't matter.  Just feel, just experience, just lessen the resistance, open the senses....and see what happens.

So Wednesday...well, I guess I can say it started on Tuesday night.  My dear friend Erin, who've I've known since I was 14 was in town for the holidays.  She's a planner, and two months ago sent out an e-mail inviting people to a Cork and Canvas event where you go and paint and drink wine (kombucha for me!) with your friends. Now, remember two months ago...everything was up in the air.  And then even two weeks ago, I knew I'd be getting chemo and not really sure if I would feel up to it.  But, last round of ICE left me feeling pretty good by Tuesday, so I thought this would be the same so I said, YES! I'll go!

Well, ICE did not leave me feeling great by Tuesday.  It was actually a pretty rough few days leading up to it.  But, my mom said, don't worry, I'll come and get you and we can go together and we can leave early if you want to.  This was so sweet of her because I was definitely not on the way, and I knew it was a late night adventure that'd put her even later after dropping me off again.  But she insisted and I was grateful because I get so spacey that driving is a chore.

SO I get myself off the couch, put on makeup and try to make myself presentable.  And we show up and immediately I feel better from all the warmth of Erin and her family there.  They are like family to us and so much fun to be around.  There are always smiles and laughter, and that can be healing of the best kind.

And then we got to paint!!!  It was SO much fun!!!!  Three hours flew by like it was nothing and we all said we could have kept painting!  Art therapy...boy I tell you, it is good!!  I wish I had a picture to post of the paintings.

So that night helped so much in bringing me out of the chemo funk.  I awaken on Wednesday morning and head to yoga.  My body is still achey and weak and trying to talk myself out of going.  But I went with the promise that I could just lie there, as long as I was there.   Fortunately it was a small class because of the holiday, and the wonderful teacher, Essud, seemed to pick up on the fact that I needed a restorative yoga class that day.

Now, I've done my share of yoga in my day.  I even attribute it to the reason I am married to that sweet man of mine.  Since this illness I haven't done as much yoga, but have been introduced to QiGong and have found it resonates really well with where I am...learning to be aware of the subtle energies, and the movement of the energies.  I have really been charged by this practice and found it more uplifting than my previous yoga classes.  Essud also teaches QiGong, and that is why I started going to him. But there was no Qigong that morning, just yoga.  Either way though, I needed to move my body.

Little did I expect, but that yoga class totally blew my mind.  I realized that yoga awakens the subtle energies too, moves them and uplifts the soul too.  I just had to be open to it--I had to situate the brain that way.  I took moments to stop and just feel, and it was ecstatic!

So I left class buzzing in the soul despite the dumpy physical drag.  It was a strange combination of feeling good and bad all at the same time.

...and then I had to go to the post office....where there was a line out the door with one clerk on the job.   But instead of getting bothered, I found myself in a place of profound love and connection with all of the people in that line and the clerk himself.  I felt that cosmic collective consciousness and connection between us all, and got totally zoned out on the heartbeat there.

After that strange experience I headed to the local tea shop where we hold our women's circle.  I had to pay for the next round and stopped in for a cup of tea while I was at it.  I was sitting at the bar and I hear the door open with a jingle and I look over and this woman is coming towards me with tears in her eyes. And all I could think to do was to give her a big hug.  We embraced and then she sat next to me and told me that a week ago she went in for a mammogram and found out that she had breast cancer.  She was still in shock, and in the whirlwind of appointment nightmare, decision making, fear, and the unknown.  She said when she walked in and saw me with my scarf covering my bald head, all she could think of is this might be me.

So we talked for about an hour.  And I was working hard to hold her up in my heart and help lift some of this heavy burden she was carrying for I know all to well that the phase she was in is one of the hardest she will have to go through.  The beginning is scary.  Very scary.   And during that time of fear and emotional havoc you are called on to make important decisions and deal with insurance companies and choose doctors, etc.  It is tough.   So I listened and tried to give encouragement and love.  And now we've got this connection and I think we are going to have tea again sometime soon!  I hope that I helped ease some of her worries and fears.

I sailed on to the rest of my day with a call from Michael, my beloved, who never ever ever leaves work early.  But today he said he was coming home and we were going to go buy a 4-wheeler.  A back story---he has been obsessively looking for the best 4-wheelers to buy for a couple of weeks now.  He's been up at 6 in the morning to go look at possibilities.  We've been looking because we've got land that we need to develop.  So no, this isn't a is an essential work vehicle ;p.  But he had finally found the perfect one, the only problem was it was south of Atlanta, and the dealer was only open until 5pm.

He picked me up and was giddy like a little boy. It was so cute.  I enjoyed so much seeing him happy and smiling, he has certainly deserved it.  He brought me along because I am the haggler...he's so nice that if he were left to his own devices, he'd buy it outright at sticker price!  So despite the nausea in my belly, and the ache in my head, I was still high from the day and seeing him made it even better.   We went, we haggled, and we bought the best 4-wheeler ever :-)

And we made it home just in time for Patty and Mary to come over for meditation group...I couldn't believe how lucky I was to end such a cool and strange day with meditation with those two.  I wasn't disappointed.  Far from it. I think we had some of the most intense mediations of yet.  We had several meditations, back to back with different intentions, and boy, how powerful.  We were all three together, yet all had deeply intensely different meditations.  My most memorable left me in a puddle of ecstatic bliss that I couldn't put words to afterwards when talking about the experience.  Silence seemed to be the best words.

I was totally blown away by my day.  The yin and yang.  Interesting to have such a good day while still feeling physically blah.  It was a nice lesson.

Thursday was an interesting one as I had to pack for Michael and me to go out of town.  It took me forever because my brain just wasn't working.  I even had to stop and throw a bit of a tantrum because I just couldn't get it together to figure out why I was in this room or that, or what I had packed and what I hadn't and even find some kind of order to the way I was going about all the tasks.  After that difficult experience I went for acupuncture with the pleading begging to fix my brain.  So I had a pretty intense session.  My brain has truly suffered from these drugs and I just hope that it finds its way back to health.  It has gotten better since then so I am hopeful.  We did make it out of town, finally, after an even more surreal trip to Whole Foods for groceries for the weekend.  I walked around that store, spacey and a bit sweaty, probably 10 times trying to figure out what to bring.  But I made it, and Michael and Curtis and I escaped to the mountains for an incredible start to the new year.  I had a noticeably harder time hiking the mountains, but slow and steady, I made it to the top by golly!!  I just hope I get my stamina back. I will....  In the meantime, the peaks are even brighter the harder you work to get there (or that is what I am telling myself :).  We had a beautiful ceremony under the Hemlock tree in the rain to let go of the lessons from 2010 and welcome health, gratitude and love for 2011.  It was the highlight of the weekend.

I am back now, and expecting to be back to normal.  But again, toss those expectations out the window. I was extremely fatigued yesterday that I, after a 10 hour nights rest, slept for a solid 3 hours in the middle of the day.  It was crazy how tired I was, and I didn't even party hard for the new year!! And I slept like a baby last night too.   It didn't occur to me until I read my friends post this morning about how her 6-year old son slept 12 hours last night and woke up visibly taller.  And I thought, hey!  That's my problem!  I've been taking these shots that stimulate my bone marrow to produce cells, and my body is warn out from all that work!  I'll listen to the words of my Qigong teacher and say "I love my body, and thank you for taking care of me"  So I just need to be gentle with myself.  Take each day and each experience as it comes.

I also found out yesterday that a friends husband has passed on, and my heart breaks for my her and their young daughter.  Life is delicate and fleeting.  We need to cherish each moment because you never know when it will be your last.  I don't envy this healing process for them and I hold them solidly in my heart for strength and love and rememberance.

Well, this was a long post, and I think I mainly wrote it because I wanted to remember this time for me.  I wish I were better at explaining the mystery, and have had so many of these experiences these past months that I guess I am just going to have to go on memory until my tongue catches up with the sensations.

Love to you all, and Happy New Year!!!  2011 will be one to remember, it will be a great year.

Expect little and you will never be disappointed

Paintings by Kate: Art with Spirit
What a way to leave you hanging!  Last you knew I got sleep, which I was insanely grateful for.  Phew.  I took another 1/2 ambien on Christmas Eve night and then we were good to sleeping powers were returned.

The thing about nothing as it will always surprise you.  These were the wise words of the nurse on the very first day I started chemo back in 10/2010.

So I guess I can't expect ICE regimen to be the same as ABVD.  And for that matter, you can't expect one ICE treatment to be the same as the one before!

Here's the strange thing.  Physically ICE is doing a number on me, but spiritually I am soaring to new heights.  I guess this is what happens when you are faced with a life-threatening illness, you find ways to step up to the plate.  I mean books upon books are written about it, I am no exception.

I am faced with my next PET scan on Thursday.  Please please, I ask that you put me in your heart, send me strength and thoughts of health, pray for me, do whatever you do that can help lift me up on Thursday.  It is a big day, we need to see that the tumors are gone before we can move on to the next step.  If they are not gone, it means more chemo, but more worrisome is that it might mean they are chemoresistant and the stem cell transplant might be less effective (if they even do it at all).   So I believe in the power of thought, the power of love, and the energetic shifts that can occur when you spend time with it.  You can make a difference.  So I thank you in advance for it.  It means the world.

P.S. So I go to think of a title for this post...and this is what came to me...expect little and you will never be disappointed.  So I will go in on Thursday with no expectations and will deal with whatever life chooses for me.  Even as I type this I realize how hard this is.  ... I want to go in with warrior spirit and say YES, we've beat it!  How could that be bad?  hmmm.....time for more reflection...

P.P.S.  And then I go to look for a picture to post and I find this by Kate.  It is called Walk the Path and is beautiful.  I love this painting.   Reminds me what I need to be reminded of.  Thank you Kate.