Friday, May 31, 2013

1 Year, 2 Surgeries, 18 Chemo Treatments

One year ago today I was diagnosed with Stage IV Ovarian cancer. Little did I know it would be the easier of my upcoming trials for the year. I sure have learned a lot and grown in ways I would have never imagined. I'm more grateful for life and less afraid of expressing myself. I have learned to tell people that I care about them and to make time to spend with friends and family. I've been more blessed than I could have dreamed. Life is sure hard sometimes. I know I've said it before but the only way to handle hard things is to live life one day at a time. Make the most of every moment you have. I'm grateful for the growth I've experienced this year. I've had some really hard things but I know that everything happens for a reason.

To celebrate my 1 year since diagnosis anniversary, I of course am spending it at no better place than the good old Huntsman Center getting my maintenance drug infusion. I'm lucky to have such a sweet mom that is willing to spend her Friday morning sitting around with me. Later today we will be heading to Logan for the Little Red Riding Hood bike ride. I did it last year less than 2 days after my diagnosis and before my first surgery. It really means a lot to me to be able to ride,  this year cancer free. We are planning on doing seventy miles!

Last night I got to have a girl's night with the most adorable little girl, my sweet cousin. We had lots of fun together. We went swimming,  painted pictures,  played with dolls, watched Tangled, made brownies and ate them warm with ice cream. How precious little children are. So sweet and just think the world of you. Even playing dolls was fun :)

And I always have to include a picture of Koda....I got him a new frisbee without a center so he can pick it up easier. He loves it. And loves to wear it haha. I love the little guy.

Wish me luck on the bike ride tomorrow!!! I'm a little nervous, 70 miles is pretty far! But I did run NINE miles yesterday without dying so I think I'm getting back in shape :)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Year for the Hall of Fame

Yesterday was my birthday!! I turned 23. Since that is Michael Jordan's basketball jersey number, that must mean this is going to be a lucky that will go in the Hall of Fame for greatness. Right? That's at least what I keep telling myself.
I didn't actually do a whole lot to celebrate my "Michael Jordan" birthday. But last weekend I went to Las Vegas to visit my Aunt Debbie and my cousins Mackay and Alyssa. It was so much fun! I loved driving down by myself. Just a nice quiet car with me, myself and I. I listened to Inkheart book on CD. The weather was perfect. Not too hot and way better than the weather in Salt Lake. I heard it was pouring rain and freezing. My aunt had all sorts of things planned to keep me busy. I got a desperately needed haircut--I was seriously starting to look like Shaggy from Scooby Doo, I got a super nice pedicure, laid out by the pool, volunteered at a 5k for Dress for Success (a company that helps clothe needy women professionally so they can get a job), read a book, and went out to Lake Las Vegas for a free jazz concert and picnic. It was so nice to get away and have a fun weekend without anything to worry or stress about. My favorite thing was the picnic. I LOVE picnics. It's probably one of my favorite summer activities. Plus it was gorgeous by the lake. It was fun spending time with that side of my family because I don't get to see them all that often. I wish I would have taken more pictures but I kept forgetting :(

I of course remembered to take pictures of the chocolate "pizza" from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory though. It was divine. The "crust" was dark chocolate and the toppings were rice krispies, marshmallows, peanut butter and chocolate chips all covered in white chocolate. To. Die. For. Literally....I probably clogged all my arteries eating it.
I am really liking having short hair. It is fun and spunky and different. I don't know if I'll grow it long again or not.

Yesterday for my birthday I woke up bright and early. At 5:30am to be exact. I wanted to go running before I had to be to work at 7:30. I dragged my dad out of bed to go with me. It was a gorgeous morning. Not cold at all like I thought it would be. I love running.
Unfortunately the flash made me all whited out, but you get the idea
After work I went shopping with my mom for new running shoes. I've been needing some for like 4 months. For dinner my mom made me Thai food! YUM. I love Thai food. It's probably my new favorite type of food. Ever since Thailand that is. We had green curry chicken, vegetable stirfry and the best sticky rice.

After dinner we went to my brother Caden's band concert at Butler Middle. I was expecting a squeaky eardrum splitting performance but they were incredible!! I enjoyed listening to them, it was great. And of course to top of the night I had cake and blew out a candle :) But I can't tell you what I wished for or else it won't come true!!

Today I went hiking with Cesia. Hiking is my other favorite summer activity. I LOVE hiking and being in the mountains. Koda had fun coming with us too. Like his cute saddle bags?? :)  They're a little big for him, but it worked.

I love summer :) I love the sun and being hot and hiking and picnics and running and mountains and getting in a hot car.

Thanks everyone who wished me a Happy Birthday and made me feel special. Such a simple thing really made my day.

Here's to a fun summer and hopefully a year full of goodness and joy and happy things!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Today the Sun Will Shine

I have one of the greatest friends. She gave me a gift and inside were a bunch of smaller gifts that all had perfect awesome quotes on them. The one from today was a short little poem. It is how I try to live each day. I thought that maybe other people could benefit from it besides just me, so I want to share.

It is called Today. I don't know who wrote it.

Outside my window, a new day I see
And only I can determine
What kind of day it will be.
It can be busy and sunny, laughing and gay,
or boring and cold, unhappy and gray.
My own state of mine is the determining key,
For I am only the person I let myself be.
I can be thoughtful and do all I can to help,
Or be selfish and think just of myself.
I can enjoy what I do and make it seem fun,
or gripe and complain and make it hard on someone.
I can be patient with those who may not understand,
or belittle and hurt them as much as I can.
But I have faith in myself, and believe what I say,
And I personally intend to make
The best of each day

And this. Because how can you be sad with a face like this?

Make the best of each day. You don't know how many you'll have. You never know how many people you can affect for good. Tell people how you feel.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Diamond from the Rough

You know the saying that diamonds are just pieces of charcoal that handled pressure extremely well? Well I am planning on becoming one dang beautiful perfect huge sparkly diamond. Yep. That's the plan.

On a side note, I have been way busy and having so much fun! I don't know how anybody has a full time job; how do people have time to socialize and do fun things?? I have the greatest friends and family.

I really hate being cliche so I'm not going to write a whole post about my incredible mom even though she absolutely deserves it! But I will give her a little shout out. I have such an awesome mother. She takes such great care of me and does SO much for me. She has helped me so much, especially lately. She was the most amazing care-giver any cancer patient could ever ask for and she continues to spend so much time doing things for me. This year I gave her a really special Mother's Day present. My uncle Dave Despain (pianist for The Salamanders...awesome band, you should check them out on Facebook) helped me record a CD for my mom of a bunch of her favorite songs! I played viola and he accompanied me on piano. It was so much fun and turned out amazing. It was really fun to give it to her :) We did songs from Phantom of the Opera, Les Misreable, Sound of Music, some church hymns, etc. This is the picture I put on the cover :) She was patient with me for so long as a kid, forcing me to practice and making me stick with it. I'm so glad she did! Thank you Mom for teaching me not to give up. It's a lesson I've definitely needed in my life.

The best Mother's Day present for all of us was getting to talk to our missionary Josh! He is doing so well. He has grown up a lot and is so responsible and happy and outgoing. It was really fun getting to talk to him. He is serving in the Anaheim California mission and is currently located in the Yorba Linda area. Such a stud.

So Friday it rained. I love the rain. Like really truly LOVE the rain. It was the most perfect kind of rain there is. The sun was still shining through the clouds, it was warm, and there was a beautiful vibrant rainbow shining the whole time. It was a lovely evening at the park. I'm grateful for rainbows. I know that they are God's way of telling us that everything is going to be okay. I know that everything IS going to be okay.
I took this on my phone at the park.
I got to go dirt-biking with my dad and brother at a motocross track in North Salt Lake. It is super fun to go to because there are huge jumps. I forgot how much I like to dirtbike. It's been a really long time since I went!

I also got to go to the Tulip Festival at Thanksgiving Point. It was pretty! 

One night I even went rock climbing! It was awesome. By the end I thought my arms were going to fall off. I couldn't even grab the rocks anymore. I wish it was cheaper to do it because it is so much fun. I need to find someone that will take me in the outdoors that already has equipment ;)
Everyone was pooped.....especially Zack :) hahaha. We all felt like he looks.

My cousin Rachel graduated in Psychology from the University of Utah!!! Yay! We got to go to her graduation and out to dinner at Taggart's after. Graduating is the best. No more school! At least for a while....

Apparently Taggart's has a peacock theme. Never seen a peacock in real life so close before!
And this is my awesome Aunt Debbie. I am going to visit her in Las Vegas this weekend, I am SOOO excited. Hot sunny days by the pool and nothing to worry about. I can't wait.

This past weekend we went to my dad's lake. It was a perfect day and we had a ton of fun. Koda especially liked it. I guess he likes to swim :) Such a cute little bugger.

He's getting real big. I love him. And Koda and Gizmo are starting to get along better now. They even snuggled on the couch tonight.

One of the coolest things I've done lately was get to see Cassadee Pope in concert! It was a tiny little event with maybe 30 people. We got to meet her after and talk to her and hug her. She is adorable and the nicest person ever! For those of you who have no idea who she is, she won The Voice last season. She played her new music for us and we got to hear the single she's going to release on June 4th on The Voice! It was incredible. My cousin Brittany was dying; it was so fun. Plus I have always wanted to meet a famous person and now I have!

She is seriously so pretty.
And we were totally freaking out. At least I was. Obviously. I'm such a nerd.
I have her SIGNED poster hanging in my closet :)

Also, I have become hooked on Gilmore Girls. It has saved my life. Thank you to Lorelai Gilmore for teaching me how to me social and funny. Her and Rory are the best date night buddies :)
My cousin Brittany let me borrow her whole collection. Like I said, I have awesome friends and family.

Well I know reading about my normal mundane life is pretty boring so here is a cancer related sentence or two. I am feeling pretty good. My hair just keeps growing like a weed, I even think I'm needing a haircut. So if anybody knows a really good hairstylist that can cut short hair well please recommend them to me! I'm scared to just go to anyone. I really want a cute pixie and I'm nervous to have someone ruin it if they aren't good at short hair. I had a cold about 2 weeks ago and it took me a while to recover from that but I think I finally am feeling good again. I've been running and even trying to go to the gym. I guess I have osteoporosis now :/ pretty weird for an (almost) 23 year old, but such is life! I just have to keep lifting weights and running and try to eat healthy!