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August 28, 2015

When you ask the universe for what you need–


be prepared to receive. Most know I attempt each day to walk this journey with grace, love, patience, and gratitude; some days I do better than others, and this is okay. Real Talk – it has been a challenge to achieve this lately. Today I found myself, yet again speaking the phrase “things have changed…it is different this time…I am dying” into the universe. As I drifted off into an afternoon nap alongside my puppy Junior and my friend Kim, I began thinking about how my words lately are not serving me well. The frustration and anger that is boiling within my thoughts – that I would like to attribute to the cancer, actually has little to do with this cancer diagnosis. Yes, it is true that things have changed; yes, it is true that it is different this time; but what I will not continue to claim and speak into the universe – is that I am dying. I am just not going to keep saying it anymore – I do not have an expiration date on my life and I will not claim one before it is time. My body is tired.  My mind is tired. But my heart and soul are strong and still in this life journey, it just looks a little bit different than it did four weeks ago and that is okay. I am determined to live this life that I have to the fullest – filled with positivity because that is who I am … #fuckcancer!

Now let me slow my roll and give the back-story; I crawled slowly out of bed this morning, exhausted, achy, itchy, and feeling defeated. I wanted to crawl back into bed and stay there all day, forgetting my doctor appointment and my manicure date with my friend Kim. But instead, I chose to get up, get dressed, and ready for my day which by the way only takes about 7 minutes since I don’t have to worry about my hair! Equally fun is that I am a bit forgetful and confused these days – mind is impacted by the chemo. When I walk, its with a little semi-sexy wobble of sorts; at least that is what I like to think. During my blood draw I had quick snooze; I guess I am getting used to being poked, and then it was off to my appointment at Hair, Body, and Sole for a complimentary manicure.

This foundation was created by cancer survivor Lisa Mattson, owner of Hair, Body and Sole Salon and Day Spa. Lisa has experienced chemotherapy herself and understands the special needs of patients undergoing treatment. Her goal is to provide a supportive environment, giving local women the opportunity to relax and indulge themselves monthly with a variety of salon services. The stylists at Hair Body and Sole donate their time to offer free manicures, pedicures and hair/wig trims to cancer patients as they go through their journey.   


Christina Christina & Kim Ragain
I met Tiara who treated my hands to a fabulous complimentary manicure. As her and I talked, I was reminded of who I really am and the choice I made four years ago about how I was going to walk the journey called life – even though, even when. Although it is a difficult time emotionally and physically for me, this does not change the essence of who I am as an individual. It is okay to hit some speed bumps in the road; they slow us down giving us a chance to remind ourselves of what is important. Today, Tiara and I needed each other and it was not by accident that we were connected by the universe on this day.



Today, I am hopeful~

August 27, 2015

This week is not going as planned...

well, for the most part. I take pride in using what I refer to as “book end”– meaning I begin with a positive or something that is going well followed by negative and then looping back to a positive. Right now, book ending – may be challenging. Recently, I have experienced so many shitty, yucky, seriously?, what the fuck, can this really be happening, and how the hell did I win the jackpot of “how much can she take” kind of days.  I freely acknowledge that I am definitely more cranky than usual but not to worry, I am psychoanalyzing the hell out of my feelings and sorting out my a-typical behavioral output. Yes, I am a therapist. 

Here I go… I am itchy as fuck! I have a rash that continues to develop in various places on my body. This delightful rash presented first on my left elbow, migrated to my right elbow, then crossed back over to the left side of my body onto my left knee, then crossed back over to right side of my body where it presented on my right knee. The end…but wait, it really did not stop….it is now presenting on the back of my right hand, and as I glance down at my left hand as I type, I see that this rash is now on the back of my left hand as well! I will describe The Wrath of The Rash as a “what the fuck moment”. 

How does one get the itching to stop? You try everything and let us face it I have plenty of fertile rash areas to test different products; five different types of please stop itching topical concoctions – homemade and purchased. None has provided the desired relief that I am seeking. Not to worry though - there is a positive that can be found within The Wrath of The Rash; when I am itching, it feels SO fabulous it is pure delight – awe, I love to itch, yes itch me more, yes, yes!  

The next situation did not directly happen to me yet I was the main attraction: this experience will fall under “Seriously?” As most know, I have cancer and I am dying – yet I am determined as ever to beat the odds and live because that is how I like to roll. Well, apparently, the local pharmacists believes it is their business to question why I have been prescribed large amounts of pain killers. Then refused to fill one prescription citing it “was too early according to the insurance company” (5 days prior to running out –which may be a policy – who the heck knows). Followed by said pharmacist contacting my oncologists’ office to make a further inquiry into “why” I needed the prescribed pain medications. Saving the best for last – said pharmacist, after acting as though I was somehow drug seeking, writing my own prescriptions, and questioning my diagnosis felt as though it was then appropriate to “share the good news” by emerging out from behind the pharmacy counter into the middle of a large store, to pray for me. While I find it thoughtful to want to offer a prayer for healing – It is beyond offensive to question the prescriptions written by the same doctor, ask what my health condition is, contact the office as though I am drug seeking, and then try to make themselves feel better by offering to pray for me??? Yep, “Seriously” that happened.  

“Shitty” and “Yucky” can be combined – my memory is becoming impacted by the chemotherapy. Just have a conversation with me and you will experience it first-hand. My memory is toast. Sometimes I am surprised I know who I am. Ugh, it sucks to lose your memory – after my last encounter with chemotherapy four years ago, I was just finally starting to feel as though my smarticles were returning. Well, they are actually leaving…it is frustrating for me.

Let me finish this with, “how the hell did I win the jackpot of how much can she take kind of days.” After only three weeks of chemotherapy – my body has decided to say STOP! The easiest way to explain it is to say that my immune system is weak and not able to build itself back enough to take another round of poisoning. It is questionable if it will even be ready next week. I know what kind of weirdo gets frustrated that they will miss a round of chemotherapy? This girl! I am trying to knock these cancer cells back enough to prevent an ulceration – which is looking hopeful at this juncture and to shrink the tumors enough to be able to maybe consider surgical removal of some tumors, if possible.

Some of this stuff sounds awesome and promising – but the reality is that right now, any medical interventions are not lifesaving or curative measures; they are simply quality of life interventions thus I must carefully weigh each option as it presents. For example, I could get a shot, occasionally, post chemotherapy to help build my immune system – however, the side effects are not awesome and pretty much suck. It all comes back to quality of life – without any promise of anything positive. Okay, I am going to stop here with all this negative stuff – I have so much more but it is not helpful to perseverate on negative things but it sure feels sweat to off-load them! It is all about the Real Talk for sure!

Let’s look at some super awesome things! I am going to list them and write more in detail later because many of them are in the works right now.

1. Curtis’ fundraiser has raised enough money to allow us to fly four of our Texas kiddos home for a few days to spend time with their mama!
2. Our family will be interviewed on Monday by a TV station – details to follow after the event
3. I am experiencing less pain due to better pain control
4. The tumors under my arm are less swollen allowing my arm to rest more comfortably by my side 
5. Curtis and I spent and awesome night at the coast which was perfectly timed.

I want to thank everyone that continues to send me letters via snail mail. I love when Curtis comes through the door yelling out “babe, you scored again!” Every letter I receive, I will write back to you.

I love writing letters everyday – typically about 6-10.
I love that I have so many people that care about me and who continue to send letters.
I love to laugh!
I love to read how I have influenced people’s lives!
I love to share how others have influenced my life.


Please keep sharing and staying in contact by sending letters. As this disease progresses, my energy level will continue to fall and communication will need to shift toward letters instead of in person visits. I feel so loved and supported right now from all the letters. 


I too want to give a shout out to the delicious meals from our food Angels Elaine Markley and Kim Ragain, not to forget the extra stuff from others like Lene’. Tell you what; Elaine is the best food sign up person you can ever imagine. She brings toilet paper, paper towels, prune juice, sweet treats, fruit, bread, and a main dish! She is the Bomb! Curtis gets downright giddy when Elaine is about to come over. Thank you Elaine for your generosity and kindness, we love that you care for us deeply.



Support Websites: 

Today, I am hopeful~ 

August 19, 2015

Bald is Beautiful...

That day has come again…it is time to shave my hair off. It is not that big of a deal for me, I have been there done that, plus I actually think I look pretty good with a bald head. I was wishing my hair would have fallen out sooner so I didn’t have to shave my legs! But that is okay – the days of shaving my legs will be over soon enough. My original plan was to have my good friend Adrian McBroom shave my head this time; Adrian is a compassionate, gentle, generous, fun, and caring individual. He and I met at George Fox University, we attended the same Graduate School of Counseling together; he graduates spring 2016. He is an accomplished hairdresser in Corvallis, Oregon and has been for many years. If you need a great haircut, style, color, or change contact:
Adrian McBroom
920 NW 9th St
Corvallis, Oregon
(503) 351-9015

…But then last night happened! It was waaaaay past my bed-time, I think around 11:30 pm and I could not go to sleep. My body itched from the morphine, my elbows itched from something, not sure what is going on there, my head itched from hair falling out all over the place. I finally sprung out of bed and announced to Curtis – “you know what I want right now… a chocolate shake with whip cream on top and to shave my head!” So I sent my new kiddo driver Jackson to the store to get celebratory chocolate shakes for all of us, pulled out the hair clippers, and Curtis and I started chopping off my hair! It felt incredibly freeing to shave off my hair – liberating for sure.

I am enjoying life right now! Every single day I am receiving letters that encourage me, share memories, laugh-out-loud stories, and express how I have made a difference in people’s lives. It really feels good. It makes me believe more than ever that we need to be compassionate, kind, caring, loving, and express our appreciation for the ones that we love – freely – every single day.
I know that my husband Curtis adores and loves me more than life itself – he shows me this EVERY single day. He continues to bring incredible joy into my life. I want to share an excerpt of a writing he did as he works to raise money to bring some of my Texas children home to see me before I pass. Get the Kleenex out – this one will touch your heart too.

Dear Christina,
All my life I knew I wanted to be a husband, a father, and share my life with my best friend. It wasn't until you were diagnosed with Cancer that I…

My name is Curtis Garrett, and the letter above is THE letter that I can't find myself finishing without thinking about losing my soul mate. Christina is someone who gives me so much life and purpose; we share our passion for joy and for helping others. Several people can say that Christina is smart, funny, irreverent, fiercely compassionate, and inspires everyone she encounters. For me, she is my reason for being a better person every day, for doing my best to love everyone around me unconditionally.

Four years ago, Christina was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. This is an aggressive type of cancer with poor a prognosis but a built in silver lining:  a 90% survival rate if you make it past the first five years. My first thought when hearing about this was to automatically go into "protector" husband mode and figure out all the ways my wife could live and of course, support this process no matter what; being hopeful and positive was the only way to continue to live and love. At the end of all of her blogs, "Christina's Real Talk", she wrote, "Today I am hopeful!" 
This is the way she lives her life every day and as her husband I had to believe that her health would get better and that she would be one of the lucky ones.  Even now, it's hard to give up and to let go of the possibility of a miracle. At the same time, because Christina is who she is ...she is preparing us all for r-e-a-l-i-t-y. How can I be hopeful and be present to the reality?

The only answer I can come up with is to be with her every step of the way. In the coming days, weeks, or months my mission is to give back to my wife and to be with her to help her relive all her best and most beautiful memories. I want to be strong enough for her so that when our only communication is eye to eye or hand to hand, she will be able to receive all the love, beautiful memories, and all the admiration I carry for her in my heart. I want to bestow upon her all of the love, care, support, and most importantly time to simply be her husband. I want to remind her everyday how beautiful her eyes are, how she still give me goosebumps when I hold her hands, and how I can fall in love with her all over again because all it takes is one conversation to understand she is the love of my life.

Christina is a great WOMAN, wife and mother. We have fostered and/or adopted 16 children over the last 11 years. Having been in foster care myself, it has always been a dream to give back. Christina made this possible and we love all our children. We never give up and once they came to us, it didn't matter where they went afterwards; we are still their parents and keep tabs on them. For Christina, this was one of the most important gifts of life.

Now I won't lie to you all if I say this is going to be easy; most days I pray so hard for any miracle to come; please keep praying and wishing to the universe or whatever other "woo woo" you like, as Christina would say, to keep her in high spirits. Christina checks in with me every day to see how I am doing; I can't tell her I don't want to lose her and I can't express to her that Iam not ready. The truth is I'm not ready to let go, so I choose to stand, sit, and be directly by her side until she takes her last breath.

I chose to take time off of work to be by her side and relive every moment of love with her; to express our love and to finish the letter I started writing to her so that I can read it to her with pride and bring her legacy and our love to light. I pray that my love will endure this pain of the unknown yet foreseen even in the hardest days.

Our financial situation has already declined to the level where it is hard for us to manage regular expenses. As we are trying not to exhaust all of our savings, I am raising money to be with my wife during this time, relive our most beautiful memories together and to be able to pay the medical and housing expenses. I will try to provide regular updates via gofundme.com, her blog, and social media.  Please help me spread the word and help us accomplish her BEST LIFE EVER LIST!

Curtis is an amazingly awesome guy that I love forever and have been blessed to have him be a part of the journey. He loves me even though and even when - that speaks volumes to me.

I had so many visits from my friends and family; it is fantastic - gosh I am so lucky. Thank you to each person that continues to touch my life, support my family, and love like you never thought you could. 


Today, I am hopeful~


August 16, 2015

I am sleepy and itchy but I am still funny!

I am in the middle of recovering from Round#2 of chemotherapy. It is complicated to sort-out which side effects can be attributed to chemotherapy vs. pain medication. There are pros and cons to every situation, so let’s do a quick chemotherapy pros and cons list.

Cons
Pros
Fatigue
Get to sleep a lot – typically wake-up around 10:30-11:00
Increased Body Aches – deep bone aches
Husband is even more attentive – well his baseline is that he spoils me already but it is even cooler now!!!
Memory Loss
Get to read beautiful cards that are being sent, filled with special memories and words of encouragement
Slight Nausea
Unlimited reflection and meditation time
Agitation
Additional quality time with my family and friends
Increased Sleep
Nurses, family, and friends willing to help make me comfortable, feeling surrounded by love, and taken care of
Loss of Appetite
Time to write letters and cards to people as I reflect on memories that I want to put on paper
Don’t get to drive my car
A clock is not necessary, as time simply does not matter – for the most part

I get to spend quality time with my friends and family every week – super awesome fun times snuggled up on the sofa in our blankets watching a funny movie or TV show

“Oh my gosh…babe you scored” is what I hear nearly every day, after Curtis checks the street mail and/or PO Box mail; he walks in carrying a handful of letters that are all addressed to me. I LOVE IT!!!  It brings me such great joy and lifts my spirit to receive the letters everyone is sending. I cherish each written word and long to read and share more memories. I hope people do not mind me sharing some of these precious words on my blog. Please keep writing, I will continue to write back as long as I am able. Curtis took me to Hobby Lobby – my first post chemo outing, 45 minutes in length and it wiped me out! However, during my Hobby Lobby adventure, I picked up some really cool things to make the cards I write to everyone are super Jazzy! I hope you all enjoy them because I am having so much fun writing back.

Elaine Markley authored an amazingly touching piece of poetry, which was accompanied by a handwritten letter, that is now framed and displayed in my home. I want to share it with everyone – I hope Elaine does not mind.

CHRISTINA CHRISTINA
COURAGE
Facing the enemy head on
Not backing down
Troops rally around you
You are not in this alone.

BELIEVE
Miracles do happen
Being hopeful one will come your way
“She makes broken look beautiful
and strong look invincible.
She walked the Universe on her shoulders
and made it look like a pair of wings.”

SENSE OF HUMOR
Laughter is the universal medicine
Happy endorphin's flow freely
Side aches and happy tears shared with friends
Who else would ever admit they “prefer weed up their ass?”

FRIENDSHIPS
From near and far, young and old offer hope
Your warmth spills over to touch so many
No borders, no barriers, no boundaries, no strangers
Only joy to share with a special person.

MEMORIES
Fill the trunk
Share your thoughts now to be treasured forever
Capture good times, sayings, pictures
Make memories real and Christina’s wish fulfilled

Christina Christina
Always in our thoughts
Always in our hearts
Always hopeful
Your journey has made everyone you have touched
a better person
  Elaine Markley
August 5, 2015

As I visited with some friends this morning, I spoke of how neat it is that I get the opportunity to hear how I have influenced the lives of others and relive memories while I am alive. Most of us will not get this opportunity; it is typically at a funeral or celebration of life ceremony that people share these beautiful heartfelt words and memories about their loved one. However, for me, I get to hear it, read it and relive it while I am alive. This is one of the many pros of knowing that your life is winding down!

As I take a quick break from typing, to itch myself – the morphine makes me itchy, I think about how strange it is that I have cancer and that I am dying. I then quickly remind myself that I am open to miracles. It makes me sad to think about dying when I am so young; I have so much more that I want to do with my life. It too makes me sad when I catch my husband, out of the corner of my eye, looking at me with deep love as his heart breaks that he may soon be losing the woman he longed to grow old with. It hurts my heart when Curtis’ expression of sorrow is so deep that it is indescribable. I watch Jackson as he makes himself something to eat in the kitchen, and wonder if this might be the last time I get to see him do this. I tell Jackson I love you before going to bed, hanging-up the phone, or leaving the house (I have always done this will all my children) and wonder if this will be the last time he will hear those words. I watch my son Cole be defiant yet call it being independent whose verbal expression is incredibly self-centered and uncaring – thinking, this is not how I raised him to be and hoping he will step back into the giving person I raised him to be. I cling to the words of my son Carlos who called to just let me know how much he loves me and to make sure that I knew he is going to “make something” of his life. To hear him say that I have been his number one role model in his life and how much he loves me. I reflect on my son Dominic who expresses that he does not know how to even imagine me no longer being alive – that he can’t even go there, it is too painful. It is interesting to see how the people around me respond as my life is winding down. My hope is that everyone will find peace and be able to respond in love – while I am still alive. Life is a precious gift.

I have made many mistakes during this lifetime and hope that I have repaired these wrongs, learned from each experience, and grown into a better person. With gratitude, I say thank you to everyone that has touched my life in small and large ways – you have enriched this journey and I am thankful.

Please keep sending me letters and bringing me hope! My trunk is quickly filling; I may need to get a larger one before you know it! Live each moment as though it is your last. Love hard. Give freely. And SMILE more!!!


Thank you to everyone that is donating to my End of Life fundraiser - one of my desires is to stay at the beach at least one night monthly and because of the donations received thus far, I am getting ready to schedule my first August trip! 




Today, I am hopeful~  

August 10, 2015

Opportunities to Support Christina~

As my team comes together this week to make final arrangements and assistance in the home - everything is falling into place. A fundraiser has been started to raise funds that will enable me to stay at least one night monthly at the Oregon Coast where I find the most peace.

Christina maintains that the coast is where she finds the most peace, is grounded in her thoughts, and experiences a euphoric joy. It is not simply about being at the beach, but rather "on the beach" - hearing the waves crash, sitting on the hotel balcony enjoying the ocean breeze. As Christina’s life journey continues to wind down, wouldn’t it be an amazing gift for her to stay a couple evenings each month with her feet in the sand on the beautiful Oregon Coast? Her two favorite spots are:

COHO Lodge
Address: 1635 NW Harbor Ave, Lincoln City, OR 97367
Phone:(541) 994-3684

Elizabeth Street Inn
Address: 232 SW Elizabeth St, Newport, OR 97365
Phone:(877) 265-9400




Many local individuals have been sent an email link Lotsa Helping Hands where you may schedule a time to visit Christina at her home, provide a meal for the family, and offer to clean the home. 

Chemo Buddy scheduling must be done
directly through Leslie Brittell
leslie.brittell@frontier.com




The Garrett family appreciates everyone’s extension of love


Today, I am hopeful~


August 7, 2015

Pokes, chemo, and a lot of tired happening here!

I am going to keep this short, as I am exhausted from my treatment yesterday. On Wednesday, I was scheduled to have a PIC line placed – this was an epic failure and an extremely painful process that lasted 2.5 hours! In the end, there was no PIC line placed. I will say that John and Jim did a fabulous job of trying their best and being supportive. Nearing the end, I could not take the pain anymore and began to sob; Jim so sweetly handed me tissue and was gently cleaning up my bloodied arms.  The positive is that the appointment was at the coast – my two friends Leslie and Kim went with me. After the failed PIC line, we went to grab a bite to eat at Kyllo’s – thanks for the treat Les!! I appreciate my strong support system! I am so lucky.

Over lunch, I was sharing some of by ideas about how to celebrate my life and/or to remembered me after I pass. My first fabulous idea was to have my body stuffed and mounted…it could be really cool, yes a bit creepy, but let us not focus on the creepy part. The other idea was to have a large gathering on the beach around sunset. Have food and make a bonfire. When the moment is right, I would take my death with dignity pills and pass, and then a few friends could pick my body up and throw it on the fire. After the fire burns down, collect my ashes and leave them in the ocean! Fabulous idea, right?!?! Well, perhaps not, but don’t deny there is some genius within the idea. Not to worry – I am still in the planning stages!

Everyone is so important to me and I want to make sure that I have a system in place that allows me to take care of my body- resting a great deal, visiting with friends and family, and seeing individuals face to face. After only one day of chemotherapy, I am exhausted and managing the side effects as best possible. I have recruited Team Christina to assist is end of life planning and the day to day operating of my life.  I ask that everyone please remember this is a difficult time for my direct household, Curtis (husband) and Jackson (16 y/o son). I want to dedicate a large portion of my time to them as my life winds down. I too want to balance this with spending time with my close friends and family.

My team will help me get everything organized and I will keep everyone informed along the way. Although I am planning for my departure – I in NO WAY have decided to throw in the towel, just the opposite. I remain determined as ever to continue to live.

I had my first babysitter today, Krista and she was terrific. You see, Krista is a gifted writer and she brought a heart felt writing to share with me. As she read, my eyes remained closed - I could picture exactly the words and situations she spoke of. I could feel her heart through its brokenness, I could feel her heart as it gained wholeness. Krista - thank you for sharing your heart - what you wrote was absolutely perfect! I love too that you mentioned us in Dr. Bearden's classes. I too remember when I followed you into the bathroom when you left class that one day - I was drawn to your soul like a magnet. Thank you for being a part of my life. 

One of the best ways to connect with me is by USPS – snail mail!

Christina Garrett
PO Box 192 
Philomath, OR 97370

Today, I am hopeful~

August 4, 2015

Healing Energy Needed~

My goal, according to my last blog entry, was to be able to evacuate my bowels and get things moving again! I was able to do just that. Unfortunately, I am locked-up again – the struggle is real people! LOL Although it may take a bit of time, I strive to find a balance between pain medication and fiber intake.

Taking a deep breath…and here we go! The PET/CT results shows that the cancer continues to grow and is migrating across my chest. Wednesday I will be traveling over to the coast to have a PIC line placed and to see the oncologist. . The PIC line will be in my upper left arm; this is delivery system for the chemotherapy. I am getting a PIC rather than a Port, due to the migration of the cancer across my chest; having a foreign body placed in the left chest will only open my body up to increased infection When I see the oncologist on Wednesday, I plan to have him complete the MD portion of the Medical Marijuana application. I am seeking better pain control options and a cannabis oil suppository that has been proven to kill cancer cells.  Some people smoke weed, I apparently prefer to take it up the ass!

This cancer seems to be moving quickly, there are changes in affected breast tissue; the changes occurring within 24 hour time periods. I am beginning to feel a bit tired and need afternoon naps. The pain and discomfort is not too bad, but I am still trying to get a good handle on what to take, how much, and when. It is a process. I do not want to suffer! Managing my discomfort and pain is at the top of my list of things to do.

Over the past several days, I have been working on organizing my life, expressing final wishes to friends/family, processing that my life is ending, scheduling appointments, and getting my comfort team together. It is an interesting time right now. It is difficult to plan for anything beyond several hours – I so wish I had the vocabulary to describe my processing and thought process. I will say that I sure am enjoying each moment as it presents. I am grateful to rest comfortably in peace throughout this entire journey - this has been a beautiful gift. 

I want to extend a special thank you to my soul sista’s Vicki & Karri. Vicki graciously spent a majority of the day with me hanging out, talking, eating, laughing, and crying. I sure love you Vicki! Karri met Vicki and I at the house for some yummy eats and girl talk. I am such a fortunate woman to have so many amazing individuals in my life. 


THANK YOU to everyone that continues to walk this journey with me, I know it is not easy to be my friend right now, as your hearts are breaking for me. Let us all enjoy each moment. Channel thoughts and prayers for my body to heal. Send peaceful, accepting, and healing energy to my family, this is beyond difficult for my darling husband Curtis and my kiddos.

Please uplift me, give me strength, encouragement, laughter, hope, and peace by filling my mailbox daily with your memories. Getting mail the old school way is super cool!

My mailing address:
PO Box 192 
Philomath, Oregon 97370



Today, I am hopeful~


August 1, 2015

It feels like 2011 all over again…but worse

It is difficult to wrap my mind around the resurgence of this cancer and this time, it looks like it is the last and final round. I have always known that this diagnosis takes most women within 5 years of diagnosis; I have lost friends to cancer during this time. July 11, 2015 was the 4 year mark for me, so although I am surprised on some level, it was expected.

Thanks for carrying my handbag Jacks!
In case you had not heard, I graduated from my graduate school program May of this year with a 4.0 GPA, Clinical Mental Health Counseling! I did not let this cancer slow me down; I just kept on going. Following graduation, I was blessed with a wonderful position working at Sacred Heart Hospital. I resigned my position last week after learning the cancer has returned. My time there may have been short but it was a rich experience. I had the pleasure of working alongside coworkers that share a passion for making a difference in the lives of individuals. Friendships quickly formed and my support system grew. I have many memories I take away from my time at Sacred Heart. I am going to miss being a part of a terrific team and impacting the lives of patients.

This is an interesting time. My goal is to not be in pain and to delay or prevent the cancer that is presenting within the tissue of my breast, and the growing breast tumors from ulcerating – opening up into a wound that will not be able to close and heal. I am currently taking a daily dose of morphine to reduce pain and have access to short acting morphine to address break through pain. I am exploring cannabis oil options as well. The CT/PET scan is scheduled for Monday, I am hopeful the cancer has not spread to other areas in my body, that will simply add to the complexities of my situation and most certainly cause additional unwanted suffering. After the scan, I will be meeting with my treatment team and putting additional palliative care measures in place that will include weekly chemotherapy sessions. I will do this regiment until my body can not take it anymore, when organs begin shutting down.

My goal today is to get my bowels moving!! Thanks to the morphine, I have not been able to drop a deuce  since Tuesday…it is Saturday! Me speaking of this reminds me of a patient that was offering a vivid description of his “days of being locked-up” and how he finally was able to shit out what looked like a can of SPAM. Well I hope that doesn’t happen to me, the can of SPAM that is, I do want to be in daily drop a deuce club again.

I want to thank everyone that is offering supportive encouraging words. There are many offers of direct support, which lead me to think of some ways my family and friends could encourage me as my life is winding down. I want to create trunk of memories that I will get to enjoy while I am alive and can be passed to my children and husband.

BELIEVE – send positive thoughts, energy, and pray that my body will heal itself.
SHARE – write down stories and memories that we shared or ways I impacted your life and mail them to me.
CAPTURE – if you have photos of us together or photos/sayings that remind you of me or time we spent together, mail them to me.

Please uplift me, give me strength, encouragement, laughter, hope, and peace by filling my mailbox daily with your memories. Getting mail the old school way is super cool! *Send an email for my street address if you would prefer to send letters to my house. 


My address is: 
PO Box 192 
Philomath, Oregon 97370


Today I am hopeful~