Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Can It Be the "End"?

Today is supposedly my LAST AVASTIN TREATMENT!!!!! I say supposedly because after a year of doing it, for some reason it doesn't feel like it's really going to be the end. I don't think it will really feel over until after my PET scan in January. But this is such a great Christmas present!!! Even though Avastin doesn't have the extreme side effects as a full chemo drug, after a year+ of it, the small side effects start to wear on you. I will miss coming to the infusion center because I like meeting and talking to other cancer patients. I love bringing treats to share and I love making people smile during one of the most miserable times in their lives. I hope I make the time to come back to visit as a volunteer.
I got another certificate of completion and a penguin blanket. It's official and real!!
Pictures of: My first day of chemo, my most pathetic looking self, my last day of chemo, and my last day of treatment!

I am actually really going to miss my port! I won't get it out until after my scan, but little Gouda has come to be a part of me. I don't even remember I have him most of the time. But its a great conversation killer :) If I ever want to make someone feel awkward, all I have to do it make them ask "what is that?" "Oh, its just my port. I had cancer" .....silence.....awkward stammering.....mention of how they know someone who went through cancer......silence.....change of subject. Hahaha. Am I evil that I think this recurring conversation is great? Probably.

I was thinking about life the other day. I have a passion for it. A passion for life I mean. I love living. I LOVE adventures. I love the unknown. I love change. Have I always been this way? Did I have the same passion for life before cancer and divorce? As I pondered these questions, I concluded that, yes, I have always had a passion for life. However, I have not always been as expressive or true to myself as I am now. Going through the fire and brimstone the past two years have brought me has strengthened my sense of self and lowered how much I care what other people think of me. I am not afraid to be myself anymore because I don't care if people think I'm weird or not cool. Because I am weird sometimes! Weird and crazy and funny and reserved and adventurous and silly.
Case in point. I found a wand. An icicle to some. A wand to me. 
Go, live your dream! Beeeeeee yourself! Let it go, don't hold back anymore.

Just a few tidbits of Disney advice :) (Tangled, Aladdin, Frozen) If you haven't seen Frozen yet, SEE IT NOW. It was soooooo good. I liked it almost as much, maybe even equal to Tangled. And you all know how much I love Tangled. The music was amazing. The princesses were beautiful and spunky. And the "prince charming" was actually a man you'd want your daughter to marry. I loved the message of the song "Let it Go". All her life Elsa has been holding herself back, forcing herself not to feel--hiding her emotions. I feel like I've done a lot of that in my life. I think most people have. But holding back and suppressing herself like she has done her whole life only leads to trouble. It's only when she finally lets go that things work out and she is finally happy. So let go! Be yourself. 

Another way to say it is YOLO! This is the motto of the new generation--You Only Live Once. While it is silly and trendy, it's true. You do only live once. So enjoy it! I have a severe case of wanderlust: strong longing or impulse toward wandering and/or travel. I finally am at a point in my life that I can do the things I want. I loved being an athlete at UVU, but it was quite a commitment. Now I am committed to nothing and to nobody. It's great. I love being in charge of myself. I am still planning on traveling to Thailand for at least a month or two or maybe three or four. Or if my friend commits to it, we will backpack southeast Asia together for 5 weeks. Either way, it is going to be quite the adventure!

To end, here is a good article that kind of describes what it's like to be a "cancer person". Maybe it will give people a little insight into what it's like.

You never know what you are capable of until you try

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Wanna Know a Secret?

Wanna know a secret? Life rocks. Like really rocks. I love my life. I loved summer. I love fall. I love traveling. I love crafts and running and being outside and the mountains and my dog and my friends and my family.
Frolicking. I love crunching leaves.
I've been busy living the past couple months which is why its been over two months since I last posted! I mean with Instagram and Facebook these days most people have a day to day update of my life. But those social media platforms are not the place for sharing feelings and in depth details so, for my future posterity's sake, I am going to update this public journal of mine (because yes I do believe my children will read my blog someday and see how awesome and amazing and fun I am....hahahaha. Insert funny meme here).
Rainbows are one of my favorite things in this world. Last summer I was having a REALLY hard day. I prayed for help and strength and courage and peace and when I looked up there was one of the brightest rainbows I've ever seen. And the most peaceful, warm feeling enveloped me like a hug and since then rainbows have been very special in my life. This particular rainbow is from hiking King's Peak in September/
Summer was amazing. I worked a lot but I also played a lot. I got really into rock climbing. I LOVE to boulder. I even am getting kind of good at it! I mean for a beginner anyway. I got to hike King's Peak, the highest peak in Utah which was super awesome!!! It was so much fun and I realized that I love backpacking. A lot. I also realized that all the outdoor things I love to do are extremely expensive because you have to get all sorts of gear and such! How lame. I am still working at Zion's as a teller which even though it sounds like a lame dumb job is really fun. I get to meet and talk to all sorts of crazy and interesting people. I love it. I love the sweet elderly people that come in and want to stay and talk to me forever because they are probably lonely and going to the bank is their social interaction for the day.

I recently got back from a five day trip to New York. First of all, I am a mountain girl. I would die without them. But there is something about New York City that I absolutely love. I could definitely live there and be a real city girl. For like a year probably. It's my favorite favorite big city. But I actually spent most of the time in upstate New York in the teeny tiny town of Chestertown. It was SO incredibly beautiful I can't even describe. Every single time my eyes were open my breath was taken away at the beauty of my surroundings. Like dang, Heavenly Father is the most incredible artist there has ever been. Obviously. But still. It amazes me. I was a bridesmaid in a long-time (since middle school) friend's wedding. It was so fun! I got to wear a super cute dress and walk down the aisle and see her and meet a ton of new friends and cool people. 
Forgive me, its a selfie while I was running.

Is it ridiculous that I feel extremely overwhelmed and sad that there are so many amazing and cool people in this world that I will never get to meet? I met lots of awesome people and friends at the wedding that I would have never met without it and I realized that there are so many incredible people that I'd love to meet and might not ever get to! That's why I might have to become a hippie bum traveler. A new age nomad. "Hold me fast cuz I'm a hopeless wanderer" [lyrics from one of my favorite bands, Mumford & Sons]

I felt like a real grown-up traveling all by myself. Especially on the last day when I got to wander NYC alone. I went to my favorite gluten-free bakery, my favorite dessert place, ate lunch in central park, and of course wandered aimlessly around times square area....checking out cheap clothes. And of course I spent a while in a bookstore. Sorry for my Facebook friends that have already seen all these pictures....but I had to put them on the blog too!

Cancer......its a funny thing. People ask me all the time, "so....like....is it gone now? Like, are you good?" Well, I mean, yes, there is no evidence of cancer in my body but is cancer really ever gone? I don't feel that I can just walk around saying, "I don't have cancer" because I think I'll always "have" it. Cancer isn't something that just goes away. Maybe the dumb little cells that multiply and destroy the insides of your body will stop growing, but the side effects and the doctors visits and the small voice of worry that you pretend isn't there never go away. Especially since I'm still finishing up my maintenance/preventative drug Avastin, I don't feel like I'm done with the whole cancer thing. I still go to the hospital every three weeks. I still sit there for at least an hour, hooked up to an IV tower. I still see my doctors. I still have cancer friends. My mom is trying to get me into a clinical trial that is working on developing a vaccine-like treatment. I would travel to either Dallas, TX or Buffalo, NY once a month to get the drug. So is my cancer gone? No. It's not. It never will be. It will always be a part of me. There's a lot of long-term side effects to chemo that nobody thinks about. Being done with chemotherapy doesn't mean everything is happy daisies and rainbows and you are a normal healthy person all the sudden. Fortunately for me, I am very healthy and happy and have very minimal lasting side effects. Some of my friends aren't so lucky. It's just something we cancer people deal with that others don't understand. I think that's my point of this rambling--to maybe help others understand that cancer isn't like a broken bone. It's not something that heals and then goes away and is something you remember when trying to think of a good story to tell. Maybe in twenty years I'll feel differently, who knows?

Banana man....this is my friend Dov that I've mentioned a few times here on the blog. He is the ultimate example of bravery, courage and humor when it comes to dealing with life, and cancer in particular. Talk about never ending, he's been in treatment for six years. This is his way of dealing with it. Not only does it help lighten things up for him, it really inspires and helps other people. He gets nervous on scan days so naturally dressing up as a sexy banana makes it easier to handle :)

I only have three treatments left though! My last treatment is scheduled for December 10th :) And sometime after that I will get my port taken out! I think I might miss my little Gouda buddy. I've gotten so used to having it now that its going to be sad to take it out. I mean like just a little sad. 

So the next thing on my bucket list that I'd like to do is fly to the cheapest destination that is offered for the weekend. Just randomly pick up and go. My next weekend off I'm going to do it. Not sure how you search for "cheapest airline ticket right this second" but I'm going to figure it out. Even if I end up somewhere random like the middle of Kansas. Won't that be fun! 

I found this song on Pandora a while ago and fell in love! One day I wanted to listen to it, so naturally I searched for it on Youtube. Turns out its the cutest Youtube video in world history and now I'm even more in love! I had to share. If at least only for my Camp friends to enjoy :)

Also, this quote from general conference gave me real hope in the boys of this world. Love like this must exist somewhere. Can you imagine a love like this?
I about cried.

I realized as I've been working and meeting lots of people that there are quite a few angry people in this world. I think I have a lot of legitimate reasons to be a pretty angry person. But honestly, I can't remember the last time I was truly angry. Annoyed yes. Bugged yes. Indignant once. But like blow up-yelling-wanting-to-punch-something angry? Nah. Not my style. I have a forgiving disposition. And man is my life so much the better for it. It's a lifestyle I think more people should adopt. To the lady that got F-word-in-my-face angry at me at the bank for miscounting her money....I'm really really sorry. It was an accident. I'm not a money counting robot. If only you knew what has gone on behind my fohawk and name tag. And if only I knew what you were going through. Then maybe we'd have more compassion and kindness to each other.

I think that if I could have one sentence said about me on my headstone it'd be that because of me, someone didn't give up. I hope that I can be a tool in God's hands to inspire others. Even just a tiny bit. Even just one person. Then everything I've been though, the cancer, and the getting un=married thing, then it would be worth it. Actually, I think it already has been worth it. I understand life and God's plan and feel His love more than I ever could have without my experiences.
How true that has been.

I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.
Loon Lake, New York
Salt Lake City, UT

Lastly, (for now), I learned how to use a chainsaw and an axe recently! I'm not very good with an axe so I'm crossing axe murderer off my list of possible career choices, but I was quite decent with a chainsaw so chainsaw massacre-ist is still in the running. If only I had a picture of these monumentous events of my life.

Till next time, au revoir. Peace love and happiness. 

I dare you to do something brave today.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Life Ain't All That Bad

You think your life is awesome and good and going really great. And then out of no where something really crappy and hard happens and life kind of sucks for a while, and then all the sudden, life is better than you ever imagined and you have suddenly grown a lot and become a new person. Its the one thing you can count on in life....this cycle of happiness and trials and greater happiness and harder trials. I've definitely been through a few in the past year. But right now life is super awesome :) I'd forgotten how happy I could be! I mean I thought I was happy, but now, I am so happy and just love life! I have so many blessings. It's amazing to know myself again. I definitely lost who I was for a while. I've found myself again.

I haven't written a blog in such a long time because I really just didn't have anything to write about! I'm just living a normal boring life these days. I work at Zion's bank as a teller, which is pretty fun as far as working goes (I just wish I could be rich and play and take adventures and never have to work haha). And besides that I hang out with friends and go running and rock climbing and boating and such. I don't have a lot of pictures to share, but I will put up what I have.

I was inspired to write a blog tonight because I had treatment today. It was a lot of fun. I know it sounds silly, but I think I am going to kind of miss going to the infusion center once or twice a month. I love the nurses there and I love talking to the patients and making people happy when they feel miserable. I brought some candy today because the last few treatments I've gone and just read to myself and haven't visited with people like I used to. So today I brought candy so I could have an excuse to walk around and talk to people. Everyone was excited to have candy or at least excited to have someone come over and smile at them so big and tell them to have a fun awesome day :) One lady come up to me after I'd sat back down and began to cry and told me thank you so much for having such a bright positive attitude and that I really made her day. I loved it. I love things like that. It makes me so happy to see that I can make others happy. I also made a new friend today!! Her name is Tami and she has colon cancer and has been going through treatment for THREE AND A HALF YEARS!!!!!! Oh my gosh. I can't even imagine how draining that would be. It would be so incredibly emotionally and mentally draining not to mention physically. She was so much fun to talk to, I love making chemo friends. We talked about how much different cancer patients view life and how stupid petty things don't matter anymore. She was talking about how she had to deal with drama at work and how it just seemed so ridiculous to her when she was just grateful that she even could come to work. I have definitely become a lot more loving and understanding towards others.

As I was driving home I was admiring the mountains and thinking how much I LOVE our mountains here in Utah. When I get to a lookout point on a trail run, I can't help but stop and take in the view. The top of a mountain I have just climbed is probably one of my favorite places to be/see. The view from a mountain that you have just hiked or climbed or ran is soooo much more gorgeous than a view that you get from driving to a lookout point or something. Even if they are the exact same view, you appreciate the grandeur much more when you have accomplished something to get there. It is the same in life. I appreciate things so much more than I ever have before. I'm glad that God knows what he is doing with me. He definitely has got an amazing plan in store for me. I would never have chosen this path for myself, but I'm glad he knew better than me :) Why is it that parents always know best? 

Some pictures from the Teton mountains in Idaho. We spent a weekend there in July for the Bossard family reunion. I love my family. We are so awesome. We went river rafting, hiking and did a mud run 5k at our family reunion. Way cooler than the average family!

People always ask how I'm feeling. Even now, even seven months out of chemotherapy. No offense, but it seems like a silly question to me. I also don't really like when people tell me "Wow, you look so good!" As if I'm supposed to look like a sick weak person just because I had cancer? I know I know that no one means it like that and I don't really get offended, but I do get tired of hearing that. So....just tell me that you like my hair or just don't comment on how I look :) And if you do, I'll forgive you and know that you just care about me and are happy to see me looking healthy and not like a cancer zombie dead sick person.

But....to answer how I'm feeling since everyone always asks me, I feel great and normal like a normal person. I am not back to 100% myself yet, but I am comparing my 100% to when I was a collegiate athlete, so obviously I still have a way to go. I am still weak, but I've been rock climbing and slowly, very very slowly, I am getting a little stronger. My endurance has vastly improved this last month! I have been doing 9 mile runs about once or twice a week and one day I did a 10.5 mile run at an 8:15/mile pace!!! It was amazing and so fun. I still would like to get faster, but I know it will come in time. My goal is to get back to a 18:30 5k by next year sometime :) I would be sooooo happy if I could do that. On the 24th of July I did the Deseret News 10k. It has been a tradition for me to do it ever year with my dad since I was 12. I've only missed one or two years. Last year I couldn't do it because I was still recovering from surgery. This year I ran it in 42:40 :) I was so happy. I obliterated my goal of 45 minutes. I didn't really know what to expect because I haven't really had a real race since over a year ago. So it was very encouraging and exciting.
Me and my friend Joey Plaskett. It was his first 10k ever and he ran it in 38 minutes! An awesome training partner, he's definitely made me faster and helped me push myself again.
Here's some more pictures from the family reunion. We wore hula skirts and leis for the mud run 5k. It was a great idea. Until we had to swim through a river, jump over fire and army crawl through the mud. Then I was cursing that stupid skirt and how heavy it was all wet and muddy and I couldn't get it off! But it was an awesome race. Plus, I was the first girl to finish so I got this AMAZING trophy straight from Africa! Because the money they raise goes to orphans around the world and the race directors picked up these cool little statues last time they were in Africa helping the orphans. It was definitely the coolest prizes I have ever won.
Inside the cave at the top of the mountain we hiked to. It got pretty narrow and it was FREEZING inside. Like 32 degrees. There was ice. Brrrr.

One of my best friends from camp had to go to MD Anderson in Houston for a scan and possible surgery about a month ago. She was nervous because this is a recurrence of her cancer. I made her a care package and I was so excited to send it :) You know those presents you just can't wait to give people? This was one of those times. I made her a Build-a-Bear and put in her favorite candy and cereal and some things to help pass the time while she was there. She lives in Tennessee so she had to stay at the hospital for a week. Luckily she doesn't have to get surgery! She just has to do chemo for a while.
I love her :) I love all the friends I met there! Such amazing and inspiring people. They know what really matters in life.

So I also decided that I am moving to Thailand next year because guess what?! I will be done with treatment in NOVEMBER!!!! YAYAYAYAYAYAYAY! I am so happy and excited! I thought I was going to have to stay on treatment until next July and I was super bummed and really really sad. But my doctor said it'd be dumb to stay on it that long because the side effects are worse than the slight minuscule benefit that we might possibly have by staying on it any longer. So that means I will be free soon! My mom says "No you need to stay and work" Why? Why does society say that? I am 23. I have the REST OF MY LIFE to work. Someday I will probably have a family. I will never be single and young again. Why do I have to stay here and work? I don't. I don't have to do what society expects me to. I can have fun adventures right now. And I'm going to. Probably even as recently as a year and a half ago I would have talked about something like this, but I never would have actually been "irresponsible" enough to do it. But I realize now after what I have experienced in life, that a bucket list should be more than a wish list. How many people actually accomplish very much on their bucket list? Probably next to none. I've accomplished a lot. And I fully intend to do more. 

Life is an adventure that is meant to be lived

Adventure: an exciting or unusual experience. A risky undertaking with an uncertain outcome

For my adventures this upcoming month I have planned to do a trail Ragnar race at Snowbasin, spend a week in Lake Powell, do a sprint triathalon and hike King's Peak in two days. 

No more rambling. Go, live your dream! 
(ten points to anyone who knows what that quote is from!)