Much To Celebrate


I just turned 34.  Yes, I know I'm not old - that's not where I'm going at all.  One of the benefits to this whole Brain Cancer Thing is newfound perspective - every day is a blessing, kids.  Birthdays have always been exciting, celebrated milestones for me, and this year was no exception: Boyfriend took me out to see Secretariat, brought me home and fed me delicious homemade pizza and some yummy red wine.  The next morning he whisked me away for a weekend of camping, hiking and hot springs. Double-super-extra-credit for him! 

Yay for another year well-lived...

I turned 33 shortly after starting radiation (seven weeks) and chemotherapy last year.  I can hardly believe that was over a year ago.  So if 32 was the year I was diagnosed with brain cancer, 33 was the year I began to beat the crap out of that little brain tumor!  Not to mention the year I won my battle with MediCal.  And got my ability to drive back.  Every year brings new adventures - just what will the next year bring?

But let's not get ahead of ourselves...

I realize that I haven't updated you (healthwise) in a while, and some of you (so sweet!) have been asking.  Others have made comments that they don't know if I want to talk about it, so they haven't wanted to ask.  Well, I haven't wanted to bore you with it, but here's the quick update, for those of you who wonder:

The latest photo shoot:  My most recent MRI was October 5th.  The images show further reduction in "enhancement" (fancy medical term for irritation in the tissue) surrounding the tumor and the tumor's size remains stable.  This might not sound that exciting, but they're both really good things.  It means my continued monthly chemo is working,  and it's keeping the tumor from growing back at all.  Which means my brain is happy.  Which means fewer seizures.  Which makes me happy. 

The chemo story:  My monthly chemo regimen continues.  I take five doses of the oral chemotherapy drug Temodar over five days, every four to six weeks, depending on how quickly my blood counts recover each round.  I seem to be managing my chemo weeks a little better all the time.  I didn't even need a day off or any naps this last round (last week).  I just finished my eighth round of at least twelve rounds ("one year").  I may or may not continue for another year (or two...) after that, depending on what my doctors and I determine to be the best course of action.

Hello, hair:  Have you noticed?  My fabulous follicles are beginning to need regular taming!  Washing and drying!  Styling and product!  I started growing it back this spring, so you're looking at about six months worth of grow, baby, grow!  I kinda liked the pixie, but alas, this Girlbert has a few too many cowlicks to pull it off without just as much effort as having regular girl-hair, so I let it keep growing.  Might stop soon, though - short hair is fun!

In other news: Boyfriend turned 40 in September.  I threw him a nice little Birthday-Party-On-A-Budget at our Little Cabin in the Woods.  Lots of his friends came, brought food and/or helped me stay organized; making it a really wonderful day for him.  Thank you all!

Y'all keep asking: We're not moving to Marin County until I'm finished with chemo treatment, and that could be years.  I like (okay, so I LOVE them!) my doctors too much, and they know my case too well, to change providers mid-treatment.  I would also have to reapply for MediCal in Marin County if we moved, and I feel like I just finished that battle here in Santa Barbara!  Oh, and we're really happy in Santa Barbara: we have lots of friends here, and our cat and horse are happy here, too.  So we will stay.

Did I miss anything?

More answers to your most burning questions here, as well.

What's Not To Celebrate?

River Rock Family Portrait

River Rock Family Portrait

River Rocks

River Rocks

River View

River View



Our neighbor stopped by to ask us if we'd like to join him for a hike today.  We were, as per our recent M.O., holed up in our office, frantically, tiredly, grouchily working.  We hesitated for a moment - we usually go for a hike or a bike ride every other day or so, just to remove ourselves from our desk chairs and give our tired eyes a rest, but we've been a bit lax in our routine.  Work seems to have had the upper hand over play lately.

But we decided to go.  We took a walk down the Santa Ynez River, just beyond our backyard.  We walked right down the middle off it, getting our shoes wet and rinsing off our legs on this hot, how-did-it-get-to-be-summer-already day.  We dug rocks out of the riverbed and stood them on end on top of the boulders poking up out of the water, a la Andy Goldsworthy.  We skipped rocks, threw sticks for Nickel the Wonder Dog, watched him swim after them, laughed and talked and played.  We were refreshed and creatively inspired.  It was, gloriously, the perfect thing to do at that moment.  As all things spontaneous tend to be.

But we all tend to forget to be in the moment.   To forget that the present moment is always perfect.  If only we would just enjoy it.

I've long prided myself on listening to what my gut tells me to do.   On doing what's best for me and my body in any given moment.  But sometimes logic and my head win the battle over intuition, and it's never pretty.  Gut feelings and spontaniety triumphed today!

When's the last time you fought the logic in your head and did something spontaneous, only to have it be the PERFECT thing?


River Rocks
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