Thursday, December 31, 2015

NYE 2015 Pinterest Fail Party...

I spent the day in the clinic getting my 7 hour infusion of chemo cocktail.  BF accompanied me and we came fully stocked with lots of coloring books, iPads, books, mags...we didn't even use any of our entertainment sources.  We talked the entire time.  It's not often that we even get an hour of uninterrupted talk time so 7 hours was a rare and special treat.  The nurses and docs were in a great mood...they tried to make a pretty crappy situation into a fun one.  I think their plan worked because all the patients were pretty jovial.  They treated us to sparkling fruit juices that we could make toasts with, and Dr. H passed out gifts to his patients.  I even convinced Dr. H to take a picture with me with his silly NYE glasses!  He's always a great he obliged!
My BF & me....we were later joined by our 3rd counter part, can only bring 1 person with you to chemo but i was the last person in the chemo room, so they didn't mind that one more person had joined us for a little bit.  The three of us have gone a lot of places and done lots of things together...but I never ever imagined we'd be laughing together in a chemo clinic.

Me & BF cheering with our mango bellini & sangria sparkling juices!

Me & Dr H.  I'm pretty sure I am the only one who is able to convince him to do silly photographs like this with me because I'm pretty sure he thinks I'm his big sister from another mister....that's how he cares for me anyway...and I'm so grateful!
Luckily once I got back from infusion I felt pretty well.  My sister and I had whipped up some appetizers and desserts from a few pinterest recipes...which were all pinterest fails!!!!  I've never experienced a pinterest fail before, so I'm going to blame it on the chemo.  A few of my friends and my niece and nephew came over and we played games and ended the night at midnight with sparklers!   By that time...I was totally SPENT!

Had a great time ringing in the new year with my sister and the kids!
Wishing you all a New Year full of sparkles and the presence of  God's light and love in your lives!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Bon Jour!

My mom said that I was so different today than when she saw me yesterday. Apparently I had a lot more life and energy...She has a sneaky suspicion that it has to do with the fact that my sister and BF are here.  I think she's possibly right!  They chilled with me all day, spent time with my visitors, ran errands to prep for tomorrow and even squeezed in lunch at the infamous Johnny Carinos.  And just like the old days...we enjoyed our traditional chocolate cake!  The only thing missing today was......SUNU!  Typically, I get to spend lots of time with Marissa and Andrew...but my sister doesn't get to.  So it's been really nice to spend time with them all together.  We played a not-so-friendly game of Go Fish.  Apparently this crazy competitiveness is genetic...

My hair has been falling out in astonishing amounts lately.  I knew today I'd have lots of visitors because that's usually what happens on the the eve of big chemo day.  I try to squeeze in as many visits as I can since I will spend the next few days feeling pretty sickly.  However, I wasn't prepared to face everyone with how my hair looked.  Luckily one of the new hats my cuzzies helped me picked out came in the mail today!  I think it worked as a pretty good disguise...because my friend from Houston told me that I didn't look sick at all!  He said that I looked like I just got back from Paris!  In fact, he thought Charlotte was my purse!  BF loved my hat so much she ordered me two more in different colors!
Prayer Request:  Tomorrow I spend 7 hours at the clinic for chemo filtration.  Please pray that I feel strong and healthy enough to enjoy ushering the new year with my friends and family!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Year 2015 in Review...

I did a little reminiscing through pictures on my phone yesterday.  I can't believe this is the final few days of the year...more over, that this is how the year is ending for me.  Looking back, I realize that I must have been in hibernation for the first four months of the year, the summer was jam-packed, the fall was uneventful, and then things took an astonishing turn in the winter.  I thought I'd share a few pictures of the hilights of 2015!
Ok, so clearly this isn't from this year...but, this was too cute for me not to post!  Me and my cousins circa 1980.  The big kids from left to right:  Cousin Abe, brother Abe (looking chipper as ever), sister Beenz, and cousin Faith.
Lil Kids from left to right:  CCL (she's 9 months older than me, please note the height difference!!), cousin Bobby (is it me or does he look like he's up to no good??  I think he probably was! Also noteworthy, he's 2 years younger than me and note the height difference!),  and me (sporting my favorite bright yellow "Daddy's girl" t-shirt!)
Paycom Prom, Feb 2015....Me & Sav...This was when I had a side messy bun made of hair and not jersey knit!

March 2015...nothing momentous happened on this day.  It was just a really good, noteworthy hair day!  (Those are important to me right now!)

May 2015, Mousse was out on a stroll and made a new best friend. ...another chocolate lab that lives in my neighborhood that's the same age as her!  I call them milk & dark chocolate.

June 2015...that one time Sav and I made 50 Harry Potter mugs for Les's bridal shower!

July 2015....that one time I was the only 40 year old at Les's bachelorette weekend in Austin.   I was convinced I would tag along to cook for the girls...little did I know that I would forge some pretty important friendships!  

I spent all summer working out with these folks at the fit camp led by my friend and co-worker, Lauren.  I pushed myself like I never have before and learned how to do pretty decent pushups and squats.  Sure...I threw up after every leg day...but hey, it was worth the results!
August 2015...My once in a lifetime vacation to Greece!   
August 2015....I've never been the wedding planner and the bridesmaid at the same time....but, that just goes to show what I would do for this girl!  This was the day two of my favorite people on the planet became husband and wife!

August 2015...Apparently August was a jam-packed month.  Me & Sheryl decided to go to a old school hip-hop festival.  Any time me & Sheryl decide to do anything it's usually  filled with lots of laughs and lasting memories.  This time she decided that we should dress 90's...and I so stupidly agreed. I get to her house and she looks very 2015 and I have turquoise jeans, neon-colored Biggie shirt, massive bright pink hoop earrings, and a swatch watch.  I looked like an idiot among a sea of people who were NOT dressed 90's.  Thank you, Sheryl for your bright ideas!  We did have a blast though!  And DJ Kool literally came right up to us and serenaded us!  (DJ Kool .."Let me Clear my Throat" oldie but a goodie!)

October 2015...I thought this was a simple birthday dinner with Sav...and then I walk in to see my amazing co-worker friends and my 2 besties from high school!!  What a sweet surprise!  

And there you have it folks my year (+ 1980 throwback) in review...before things got kinda cray!  I think this trip down memory lane taught me a few things:  

1.  Take the time to make memorable moments more often...Live a little!

2.  Be open to new experiences because you never know what opportunity God is opening up for you or what lesson he's trying to teach you...

3.  You never know how drastically life will change.  How you start the year, may not be how you end the year.  Spend less time complaining and more time appreciating.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Weekend in review...

So much of the weekend was spent trying to find hair alternatives.  I was so happy to have my cuzzies, Leslie and Ansley with me because otherwise, I'm not sure I could actually stop pouting about it long enough to find alternatives.  The three of us sat on my couch with my laptop and looked at hats and wraps for what seemed like forever.  We finally found a really easy head wrap on you tube that was made out of a t-shirt of all things!  I found an extra t-shirt and tried it out! What do you think?  I think I liked it because I can add to it with flowers or intertwine scarves of other colors.  And it kinda reminded me of how I wore my hair in a side bun for Paycom Prom...except the side bun is now jersey knit!  We ordered a few hipster hats we'll see how those look when they come in.  I'm so glad my sweet cousins came to town for Christmas!  God definitely knew that I would need my little cuzzie angels' love and support this weekend.

The weather took a turn and this morning we woke up to ice.  I was hoping this would keep my cousins here for a few more days, but they're not little kids anymore...they're grown adults with jobs and responsibilities, so they braved the weather and went home.  My sister is supposed to come in tomorrow, but the weather is going to be horrible, so her and BF will both be arriving Tuesday!  I'm anxiously awaiting their arrival!  In the meantime, Mr. BF paid me a visit today since he arrived a few days early!  We played a friendly game of Scrabble...which we haven't done in years!  I had forgotten what a bad sport he was!!  I was clearly annihilating him, and he couldn't take the pain of before we were even finished, he came up with a clever excuse to leave!!  So. Typical.

I feel like this is going to be a tough week.  I'm going to take it one day at a time.
Prayer requests:  Please pray that the weather clears up and that my  sister and BF will arrive safely!  Also pray that God gives me a little extra strength and bravery to get through this week and all the challenges it will entail!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Day...

Christmas Day had a few unexpected I noticed that my hair is starting to fall out.  I have to admit it was alarming to see that much hair coming off in clumps.  It's not like I have super thick hair as is, so I'm pretty territorial over what I do have.  I went through a pretty wide range of emotions....first astonishment, then fear, then sadness.  I never thought I'd be exempt from this side effect...I just didn't think it would happen so soon.

Although I love clothes, accessories, and make up...I don't consider myself vain or high maintenance in the least.  Obsessive compulsive, perhaps.  High maintenance, definitely not.  But, there's just something about my hair that I can't imagine living without.  I think that's definitely a girl thing.  A girl's hair is her crown.  A bad hair days means a bad day.  From the amount I saw falling out yesterday, I feel like this is going to happen fairly quickly.  A week...two at the most?   I didn't know this would happen in round one.  Now I'm just having to deal with this much sooner than I expected.

People are asking me about wigs vs. cool head covers and whether I want to let it all fall out vs. shaving it off.  I can't even wrap my head around the fact that MY HAIR IS FALLING OUT to even fully answer these questions.  But here are some of my thoughts...

A. I'm not sure a cool head cover has been invented just yet.  So I'm going to use all my creative powers to come up with some kind of cool option for the masses.  But until I come up with something, I've seen some cute hats that might suffice.

B. I haven't met a wig that I've ever liked.  I remember when my dad had chemo...He had this beautiful curly hair that he used to let me put barrettes in.  And then one day, it started falling out.  It was devastating to all of us.  Back then, guys didn't really walk around like Mr. Clean with their brain lines showing like they do now.  So I think my dad felt like he had to cover his head.  I can still picture that horrid thing...It was nothing like my dad's hair that was so full of his character...instead, it was black and straight and lifeless.  And ever since then, I've had this deep, seeded contempt for wigs.  I know wigs are totally different these days and there's a lot of amazing options.  I'm willing to explore them, but I'm just not 100% convinced that it's going to be my thing....I'm not even 50% convinced.

C.  Shaving my head...hmmm.  Lots of people have head shaving parties, so that they're surrounded by lots of love as they take the power of hair loss into their own hands.  Now, I've never been one to turn down having a good party.  The party planner in me has already mentally designed invitations...but realistically, I don't think I can muster up the strength to shave my head in the privacy of my bathroom...much less in front of a room full of people.

Basically, I have no idea how I'm going to handle this.  I don't know if all these thoughts I've shared will be the same way I feel tomorrow.  My thoughts and feelings are changing minute to minute these days.  I know it's just hair and it'll grow back, but it's still a major concern for silly as it might seem.  At this moment, I'm pretty inconsolable about this...I have to handle it in my own time in my own way.  For now, this means...I have decided not to blow dry or straighten or add anymore unnecessary heat to my hair.  I want to protect all the hair I currently have. I've spent my entire life fighting my natural curls (which I  inherited from my dad), but now I'm going to just let them be free!!!  I also decided I'm going to take a lot of pics and post a lot of pics here on the blog, so I can look back and remember what I used to look like because I feel like before long I won't be recognizable.

That being from Christmas!
Me, Miss, and Andrew...missing


Ansleykins got me this amazing Notorious BIG shirt for Christmas!!!  This adds to my collection of Biggie shirts...but by far, it's my current favorite!!  
Me and my boy...Andrew overheard me having a conversation with my mom  about my hair falling out.  He asked me what we were talking about.  I felt like I should be honest with him.  This was hard for me to do because he's 12 now, and I was 11 when my dad was diagnosed.  So, I know how hard it is to watch all of this at a young age.  So I proceeded to tell him that my hair was starting to come out.  He had a few questions for me about my eyelashes and eyebrows.  I tried to explain that I didn't know exactly what all would fall out but that I will definitely look different.  He said super sweetly, "It's OK, Sue Aunty."
A few tears leaked out.
My mom &Aunt with my nephew & niece.  We grew up calling my Aunt, Molly Aunty...and then when my oldest nephew, Aaron was born, he combined Molly + Amachi and started calling her Mochi.  The name stuck and now everyone calls her Mochi....kinda like all my kiddos call me Sueny.
my cuzzies...Ashley, Wes, & Ansleykins
My Christmas coworkers brought over the S...with all my colleagues signatures with sweet messages...which happened to match my mantle perfectly!

Andrew and Missa's gingerbread house!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve...

It's been a full day...I got the worst part out of the day over first....chemo refill.  Refill days aren't nearly as bad as filtration days, but I do have to get my port re-accessed for refills...without any numbing cream.  Last time I refilled, the nurse promised that next time I'd be able to use the cream if I brought it.  So, I let her re-access with the hope that next time would be less painful.  This time I came fully prepared with the cream in hand, but this nurse told me there's no way the cream would have enough time to work so it'd be pointless.  She then proceeded to re-stick me.  It hurt, not horribly...I think my feelings were hurt worse.  I was trying to choke down the lump of disappointment that had formed in my throat.  I didn't even know why I was getting so upset over it.  I think I just felt like my previous nurse had lied before to appease me...and I felt a little tricked.  But then, it was like God knew my feelings were hurt, and he sent his little angel nurse, Melinda (my favorite chemo nurse at Dr H's office).  She was just passing by and saw me, came over to ask me if I was doing okay, wish me a Merry Christmas, and then she gave me a big, heart-warming hug.  I wish every nurse in the chemo room had the same compassion as she does...but I am so grateful for her because she is definitely a ray of sunshine on very gray days!

Afterwards, I felt pretty wiped out...I spent the rest of the afternoon watching the Kardashians marathon on TV with my cousin, "Iguess"...which eventually made me fall into a deep, much needed slumber.  I woke up just in time for Missa & Andrew and our traditional viewing of the Elf.  Afterwards, Andrew insisted on playing a friendly game of Scrabble.  I tried to warn him that I don't play "friendly" games.  I'm competitive...yes, even when playing against a 12 year old.  I did, however, suggest that he ask his big sister to be his partner to help him.  He thought that I was giving him a helpful suggestion...but actually, I was just trying to annihilate both of them so I could gloat more.  Yes, I'm a very bad sport.

After my victory...Mousse and I spent the rest of the evening waiting for Ansleykins and Wes to  arrive from Texas.  And just when I thought the night was over,  and we could all just go to bed...Santa arrived!  He walked in singing a Justin Bieber song and ate the kale chips I left out for him...He came bearing gifts...a lifetime supply of popcorn!  I thought Santa would leave considering he had been spotted.  But no, he decided to sit and chat a while...told a lot of dramatic stories replete with flailing hands and reenactments and played that Justin Bieber song on repeat on his Bose speaker.  Finally Santa realized there were more gifts to deliver, crunched a few more kale chips, hopped on his sleigh singing the SAME Justin Bieber song and rode into the night!  Good riddance, Santa!

And that, my friends...was Christmas Eve!  Let's see what adventures can be had on Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

So Fresh and So Clean....Clean...

So my girl had her spa day today! The mobile groomer that CCL hooked us up with turned out to be great! I put her on her leash and she had no problem skipping out the door with a complete stranger.  My heart sank a little bit.  But, she definitely hesitated getting in the groomer's van...which was good to know that she wouldn't just jump in the car of any stranger.  Yes, I'm worried about my dog getting kidnapped.  After two hours with the groomer, she came back home looking so fresh and so clean, clean!  The best thing about it is that they de-shed her!!  The groomer dropped her off with a present for Mousse (dog biscuits) and for me (hand lotion)!  Pretty sweet! We were both impressed!!  Thanks, CCL!!
I was going a little stir crazy sitting at home, so I had my niece, Marissa  (Missa, as I like to call her) take me out and about.  My niece and nephew arrived on Monday for their Christmas break.  It's always nice having them around....especially now since Missa drives. Although  I do still drive,  it's nice to know that if I tire out, she's finally old enough to take the wheel.  I'm excited to do our Christmas tradition while they're here...which basically consists of eating delicious appetizers on Christmas Eve as we watch the movie Elf!!  This year, we're adding the construction of a gingerbread house to our tradition!

For the first time ever tonight, Charlotte's alarm went off.  This typically indicates that there's something wrong in the flow of chemo.  I panicked a bit, but finally pulled myself together long enough to call the "in case of emergency # on Charlotte.  The person on the phone basically talked me through taking Charlotte apart to see if there were any kinks.  The problem at hand is that I only have approximately a tablespoon left of 5 FU.  Hopefully we solved the problem temporarily for tonight and tomorrow is chemo refill day!  Just how I wanted to spend Christmas Eve....

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

One day at a time...

I'm having a little trouble sleeping tonight...well, the past few nights....I'm feeling kind of anxious about my next big chemo day which is looming.  It's really hard to believe that my first 21 days is almost over.  My sister and my BF will both be here with me the next time around...but I'm worried about  how I will react to it this time and what they'll have to witness those few days right after my 2nd round.  I'm not one of those people who googles and researches everything there is to know about my diagnosis and treatments.  In fact, until tonight...I've done really good about just getting facts from Dr. H and my cancer buddy.  Sometimes the internet can be grim and depressing.

The other day my sister suggested that perhaps I won't get as sick as I did the first round.  Maybe my insides won't freak out and wage a war against me since they've now had the chemo once before.  It seemed like a sensible I decided I'd go on line and research it.  Can we say....BIG. MISTAKE?

I guess this is what happens when your mind gets ahead of you.  I told myself I'd take each day as it comes and just try and get through the best I can without thinking ahead.  But tonight I got way ahead of myself and read things that I shouldn't have.  I was quickly reminded of Matthew 6:34  "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own."  Ain't that the truth?  Thankful to God for his reminders that He's still in control...and that He's bigger than 5FU, the red devil, and cisplatin...(my chemo cocktail).

No more googling random things late at night...

Prayer Request:  I'm tired all the time, but I can't seem to get any sleep.  I have a hard time falling asleep at night and in the day time I'm really good at finding things to keep me awake too....and all this only makes me more tired.  I think I'm avoiding sleep because I've been having weird dreams with chemo that usually make me jolt awake several times.  Please pray for restful nights of uninterrupted sleep!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Crafting Therapy...

I saw a project on Pinterest that I wanted to try making as a Christmas present, so I went on a short trip to my home away from home this morning...Hobby Lobby.  I haven't been there in what seems like decades...but I'm sure it's just been a few weeks.  It felt so....right...being in my natural habitat.  I left the store invigorated and inspired!  This weekend, Htown wiped the dust off  the box of the brand new Cricut Explorer that I had gotten for my birthday last year.  I'm not one to read directions, so instead I do everything the old fashioned way with scissors and my hand...even though I have modern technology literally waiting for me to use it right at my fingertips!  I saw the joy in her eyes and the delight in her maniacal laugh as she used the Cricut to make the most amazing t-shirts for her church youth.  The t-shirts looked like they had been ordered from a professional.  It made me think that maybe I needed to get in on how to use this amazing machine.  It helped that she already read the directions and now I wouldn't have to....I could just sucker her into teaching me!  And today...I did just that!  I actually used the new machine to make the project.  I would post a picture of the finished product, but it's a Christmas present...and I would definitely let the cat out of the bag for the person I made it for.  

It felt really good to start something and finish it...It made me realize that I need to keep myself as active as possible and keep doing things that I enjoy on days that I feel well.  Turns out that crafting is a great distraction and pretty therapeutic so I guess I will keep pinteresting little projects and work on them when I can.  And maybe even one of these days....I'll organize my craft room!!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Friday with CCL...

Usually I have volunteers, my mom, and my aunt checking in on me throughout the day and night...but since CCL came it's just been me and her.  I had high hopes for today since my counts were good I thought maybe I could go out and about with her.  I suggested lunch, movie, and some grocery shopping for tonight's dinner.  We got as far as lunch...and I was absolutely spent.  I realized that I have no earthly idea what my limitations are.  I was so tired from merely sitting at lunch that I couldn't go into the store with her...I stayed in the car and tried to nap.  

Mousse cozying up with CCL's leg
She's taken good care of me...helped with chores, made me kale chips and monster cookies, andwalked Moussey while I've pretty much just been lying around.  Mousse loves her because CCL is super animated and talks to her a lot.  Talks...scolds...same thing.  CCL gave Moussey the best Christmas gift ever!!  I just have to convince Mousse that it's going to be amazing!  She found a mobile dog groomer!!!  So Wednesday, we have someone coming to the house that's going to brush her teeth, clean her ears, trim her nails, do unmentionable things to anal glands, bathe her, and DE-SHED her!!!!  I plan to leave out the unmentionable things to anal glands part when I give Mousse a pep talk about all this before their arrival!!  CCL and I are both super excited about the de-shedding part!!  This should help greatly in my daily vacuuming these days!!...or should I say my volunteers' daily vaccuming.
Kale chips and Monster cookies!
It's been great to have her here... Although she spent a lot of time putting the fear of God into me about drinking water.  Gone are the days where we used to pull all nighters talking until the wee hours of the morning.  It's a different season of life now...I'm thankful to have all those great childhood memories with her...with all my cousins....and thankful for their visits, texts, calls and prayers now.  Aaaaaah, I love my family.  (Check back with me next week when someone does something to piss me off! ;)
It's ok Moussey, Auntie Lisa will be back to see us!!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Not much news to report I thought would share this insanely cute meme!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

5 FU...

Such a fitting real name for Charlotte, my chemo pack that I cart around 24/7.  I remember on Day 1, Round 1 I saw a guy come into the chemo room who was about my age.  He had these dark bags under his eyes and he looked so tired.  He slept pretty much the entire time he was there.  Now I know why...5 FU.  

Most days I know that God has a plan for me...even in the midst of fighting through this disease.  Most days I know that I'm blessed because I have lots of love and support.  But today...right now...for some reason, I'm really annoyed.  It's annoying to cart around this crossbody bag all the time like I'm going somewhere, except that I'm not...and it's annoying to have this extra long tube hanging from my shirt that sometimes lassos around my dog's tail...and it's annoying to hear this little "adding machine" like sound and know that I'm getting pumped up with some more 5FU that is going to make me so exhausted from doing something as simple as taking a breath.

I'm not typically a positive..."look on the bright side" type of girl.  I've been compared to a few disney characters in my, not princesses like Jasmine and Ariel...more like Eeyore, the manic depressive donkey friend of the pant-less bear Winnie...and most recently, Sadness from Inside Out...(yes, I have to admit the resemblence on that one is a little uncanny...short of not being blue.)  So a lot of people have been astonished and amazed at how well I've handled my diagnosis.  And I have to say that the peace and strength I've felt so far have definitely come from God.  There's no other explanation.

But I don't feel strong every day...and even though I am, I don't feel blessed every day.  Some days I'm scared...and sad...annoyed...and just exhausted.  I'm pretty sure all those feelings are normal and okay too...especially since I'm dealing with 5 FU on the daily.  I think it's important to be honest about all my feelings here...the good, the bad, and the ugly.  

Tomorrow, I go back for my first refill for Charlotte.  I'm only excited about this because I get to change the bandages on my port and get it cleaned...which is a really good thing because if I had to wait one more day, I might just scratch this port right outta my flesh!  I'm also happy that CCL is coming tomorrow to stay with me for a few days!!!  It will be so nice to have her here with me and maybe I can even convince her to take me out of the house!  

To end this post on a positive note,  I will share a praise report!  I talked to my cancer buddy for quite some time today!  He sounded fantastic...full of life and energy.  He's doing so great post surgery and is even leaving the hospital on Friday...just a week after such a major surgery.    He feels awesome and strong and so happy to have the cancer out of his body!  Thank  you to all of you who thought of him and kept him in your prayers as well!  It's so great to see prayers being answered!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

5 Days Post Big Chemo Day...

So, yesterday I went to Dr H's clinic because he thought it would be a good idea for me to get hooked up to some IV hydration since I couldn't keep anything down.  So, while they were getting me plugged into the good stuff, he said that typically 5 days post chemo, patients start to feel better.  He was definitely right.  I woke up this morning and curled my hair...and then suddenly was hit with a craving for cheerios....and for lunch, rice with tuna and vegetable curry with a side of lemon pickle and papadum.  My mom was kind enough to make sure that I had everything my little heart desired.  I ate and drank well...not my typical serving size...but hey, small steps.  And, I was able to keep everything down.  Of course, eating and washing my plate was enough to completely tire me out though.  I had a few good naps through out the day but felt so much better overall!

Since I was feeling more like myself I didn't have around the clock care...Instead Mousse was providing around the clock surveillance.  The doorbell rang in the afternoon...and Mousse's bark is even more ferocious these days as she has made it her #1 goal to guard and protect me.  It freaked me out and I raced to the step stool to see who was at the door.  Somehow Charlotte's tube that is also connected to me managed to lasso itself around Mousse's tail.  I was trying to climb down from the stool carefully while praying Mousse wouldn't make any sudden movements.  Luckily I managed to unhook her tail before she realized it and jolted.  My life literally flashed before me in an instant.  Can you imagine the damage she could have done if she jolted and the tube pulled out of my chest?  ***ouch!****  Turns out no one was at the door...but, I did receive a really nice package addressed to "Sue Chechi"...with some cozy socks and a lovely PINK polkadot robe.  I'm not sure who this sweet package was from but, thank you whoever you are!  I love it!

I'm so happy to be up and walking around  my home again...and I'm praying that this good health will continue...especially because my niece and nephew, Marissa & Andrew will be home for Christmas on Monday! ...and my cuzzies will be rolling in later in the week!  I usually go all out on Christmas and try to get them everything on their lists and make things special...It will be really different this year, but I want to be able to spend good, quality time with them and try to maintain some of our favorite traditions!

I must mention that we lost a member of our family this week.  Bailey the Cat Kurien was my aunt's cat...or 4th child.  She has been with the family for 14 years.  Yesterday, Bailey seemed to be acting a little off...but, my aunt had left her house last night to come stay with me to make sure I was ok.  While she was here, she called home only to hear that Bailey had died.  We then had to break the news to my cousin, Leslie...who was broken hearted by the news.  Some people may think it's silly when people shed tears when a pet dies...but I don't.  I can't imagine the  pain they must be feeling.  Their home will never be the same...there is a very important presence missing.  Bailey, you were the softest, fattest cat I've ever known.  I loved when you let me hold you like a baby and when you furrowed your sweet little head into my sweaty little shoe.  You brought so much joy to the Kurien clan and you will be missed by all of us....even Mousse.  Rest In Peace, Baileykins!

Monday, December 14, 2015

I'm willing myself to sit up for a while and focus on something else other than nausea.  I'm not sure where this weekend went.  I slept through it completely...I haven't left my bedroom or my bed...for that matter.  It's been a brutal few days.  My friend Sheba came to stay with me and my Okc friends came in and out of the house working tirelessly to make sure help schedules were in place to prepare for this week, everything in the house is clean, and groceries and meds are stocked.  I didn't really know who was coming or going, because I was either asleep or moaning and groaning from the nausea.  I am so blessed to have friends and family who are so willing to step in wherever there is a need.  I am surrounded by such love and care...and I know that is an extension of God's love for me.  Although, I'm really weak and have definitely seen better and brighter days than this...I still feel overwhelmingly blessed.

Prayer Request:  My cancer buddy is recovering but in a lot of pain.  Please keep him in your prayers.
Please pray that I will be able to eat something...anything...soon.
My girl has been really worried about me.  Most of the time she sits by a wall and just stares at me.  She is definitely aware that something is wrong with her mom.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Chemo Kicked In...

I told myself I'd blog and be honest about how I'm doing and what I'm going through until I can't physically type. And yesterday I just couldn't physically type. The chemo kicked in and I felt so nauseated and exhausted. I could barely keep my head up and my eyes open. I couldn't eat or drink...chemo was definitely trying to show me who the boss really is. 
I'm much better today! After a good shot of anti nausea meds, I slept perfectly through the night! I was able to eat some breakfast this morning and I'm actually sitting up to write this post.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Round 1...Day 1

So, today was my first day of chemo.  My mom called me this morning to pray with me, and afterwards I got ready.  I decided that I was not going to wear sweats and go for a comfy, casual look.  Instead, I decided to do my hair, put on some pink lipstick, and pick out my favorite polkadot shirt (cuz there's power in polkadots, ya'll)....and show chemo who's boss.  Now, not only was I the  youngest one in there for a while, but I was the only person stupid enough to not dress comfortably.  It was very obvious that I was the newbie.  But, I think that I'm going to try to look as put together as possible every time I go for as long as I possibly can...because for some reason it makes me feel better and stronger!

A special thank you to my sweet, talented, niece Lauren for making me this beautiful blanket!  It was so soft and perfect...and my nurse told me I should keep an eye on it because she wanted to steal it!

So, they pumped me full of nausea meds, and a chemo cocktail plus tuns of saline.  So after it was all said and took 7 hours!  I listened to my music watched half of the movie "the Best Man" (hoping it would inspire me to write my 2nd book like it inspired me to write my 1st book), answered texts and talked a lot to Htown, who was kind enough to waste her day sitting with me on my first day of chemo.  Have I mentioned she's my angel?  I did really well through the whole thing, ate my entire lunch although it was painful, and even felt pretty good when I left...just super tired!  They sent me home with a chemo pouch to last the entire week until next Thursday.  At which time, I will only have to check my counts and refill the pouch!  I only have to do 7 hours again when I start round 2...which ironically is on New Years Eve!!...Just how I dreamed of spending the last day of the year!!  So, This lovely black and gray contraption is the pouch, which I've named Charlotte!  (Don't ask...I have no idea why) There is a tube coming out of charlotte and attaching to my port, so we are going to be besties for the next 63 days!!  We never separate...not even to shower!  My biggest fear is that I'll wake up and forget I'm attached and walk off with out her...which won't be a good thing!  I'm pretty sure side effects will commence tomorrow...nausea, lack of appetite, other joyous stomach issues, and fatigue...lots of it!!

For those of you in the OKC area who are wanting to visit....Please bear with me.  I'm accepting visitors very slowly but surely.  And please, remember I can't be near anyone who is sick..and that means even just a cough at this time.  I just can't afford for my counts to go down or end up in the hospital.  I know all of you are only wanting the best for none of this is a huge concern...just a disclaimer!  I love you guys!!

Praise report:  I contacted my cancer buddy's wife...and she told me they were closing him up after surgery around noon today and that he did great!!  I told her that my entire support system was praying for him and asked her to let him know!  I was news I had all day!

Prayer request:  I need to eat and keep my strength up and eat well!...which is a bit hard to do these days with the swallowing issues...and now, that combined with chemo side effects!  So please pray that I'll be able to find food that is easy on my gullet and my gut! ;) I can keep my strength up!!

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Love for SueVee...

A special thanks to my friend and colleague, Savanna for taking the time to create a Facebook & Go Fund Me page for me.  It was really hard for me to agree to let her go ahead and set them up.  Writing on my blog is one thing...I feel like it's my little online diary and sometimes I forget that other people are reading it.  But  Facebook is so public and I knew once the information was'd be OUT.  It was hard for me to click the share button on the page, but once I did it...I was glad.  I received such an outpouring of love and support.  It's been overwhelming.

If you haven't seen the pages:
Go Fund Me-

Today I spent the day preparing for tomorrow morning.  I finished getting the house in order...minus the craft room (we won't talk about that) to squeeze in a few more visits with sweet friends, and picked out a few things to bring to entertain myself for 5 hours tomorrow.  I received so much love and encouragement today...and I know so many people from all over the world are standing with me in prayer...I feel completely ready to get this chemo show on the road!!

Mousse, on the other hand, has been acting a little strange as of late.  I know labs have sad eyes, but hers look sadder, she seems to have lost the pep in her step, and she stares at me even more than normal!  I hugged her at least a zillion times today and probably gave her more treats than I should have, but nothing seemed to cheer her up.  I know she understands English & Malayalam, and definitely knows something is up.  I tried to assure her that I'll be okay and she shouldn't worry...but I think she's still worried.  She went to bed way early today and I tried to cajole her out of bed to come hang out with my visitors.  But she wasn't budging!  I'm not sure what's going to cheer this girl up!!

But, I will tell you what cheered me up today!  One of my favorite couples,  L & J sent me the most amazing video!!  I'm not sure if they are mind readers because I had actually requested a video like this from one of my friends earlier today!!  (yes, I like to make unreasonable requests now just for fun to see if my friends will actually comply with my wishes!!...and no, they never do!) L&J rapped Fetty Wap's 679 in its' entirety!  I wanted to share a snippet for you guys because it was so awesome and adorable and hilarious...but I couldn't get the video to work!  I'm sure L & J are probably thankful for that!  Thank you, L&J...for making my day!!

Prayer requests:  Tomorrow is the big day for me and my cancer buddy.  Please pray for him as he undergoes surgery and for me as I begin round one of chemo.  We both need an abundance of strength and peace!!

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

What a Difference a Day Makes...

I am so much better today! I still can't make any sudden movements!  So, no ninja tactical training this week...But I've been chauffeured around to all of my appointments so far, and today I actually drove myself!  So that's a huge improvement from yesterday...when I could hardly get up from my sofa.  Today's EKG went fine, and the Dr. called me this afternoon to tell me that chemo starts Thursday morning.  Such a coincidence that my cancer buddy has his surgery Thursday and I start chemo Thursday.

Two things that made me smile today....a visit from my sweet, friend Janice and  this cute little dimple-cheeked, wiggle worm, Lorelai!  I was Janice's wedding planner a few years ago, and we became friends ever since.  I think our bond of friendship was solidified when she came over one night and her car battery died.  We tried calling every guy we knew to help us jump her car, and then she insisted that we try to jump it ourselves.  I wanted to keep calling guys..random ones...I didn't care.  I just didn't want her car to blow up on my driveway when we jumped it ourselves.  But her confidence and perseverance paid off, and the car started just fine.  I decided that day that she would be a good person to have in my corner!  And she definitely has been!

Second thing that made me smile was this text from my lil' angel today. Shoma (aka Okla-Shoma) belongs to a group of cousins that I inherited from my cousin Ben.  He was their cousin from his mom's side...and I was on his dad's side.  After he died, both sides sort of merged and became one family.  Now, I have a whole new set of little cousins that I absolutely love to pieces!  I'm not sure who all 13 of these prayer warriors are but it  amazes me that there are 13 people thinking of me at one time and praying for me.

I am surrounded with so much love and support on the's sometimes overwhelming.  People are just literally waiting for me to tell them what my needs are so they can help me in any way.  I'm not so sure how I got so lucky to have a life filled with such amazing people!  I am definitely feeling very grateful and blessed today!

Monday, December 07, 2015

The Port...

Today I had a minor procedure to put in my port for chemotherapy.  I really didn't know what to expect.  Initially, it just felt a little weird and then after the local anesthesia wore off it was pretty painful.  The right side of my body from my chest to my neck is extremely sore.  It hurts to chew, reach, bend...pretty much it hurts to move at all right now.  My inability to do much at all took a toll on my spirits today.  I didn't want to see anyone or talk to anyone. It's been another one of those hard days where I found myself just crying sporadically for no particular reason at all.  I think there's just a lot of emotions building up over this week and all the challenges I will be facing.  I'm trying to take each day as it comes without thinking too much about what's coming next....but sometimes that's easier said than done.

Sunday, I went to Walmart and ran into my childhood friend, Jen's dad.  She had told him about my diagnosis, so he was a little surprised to see me prancing around Walmart.  When we stopped to talk, he mentioned that his church had just prayed for me during Sunday morning service.  It made me stop and wonder exactly how many people are praying for me!  If my childhood friend''s...entire church just prayed for me...I'm going to guess I have lots of prayers bombarding Heaven on my behalf. I do feel like those prayers are the reason I've had strength this far...and it's those prayers that will get me through tough days like this one...when I'm hurting physically and emotionally.

I got a piece of advice from a friend of mine tonight...she said the way to make it through chemo is to worship God through it..."even when it hurts."   She suggested I play my favorite worship songs and focus on them through the pain.  It's funny she mentioned that because I have actually been thinking that I need a theme song that I dedicate specifically for this battle.  And Fetty Waps 679 seems a wee bit inappropriate!!! There's a Hillsongs United song that I love, and it would come to my mind when I thought about pickinga song for this. Oddly enough, BF texted me the link to the same song a few days later....and then, when my friend mentioned tonight that I needed to worship God through this..."even when it hurts."  I knew it was confirmation that this indeed is my song, so here's the link for you...Even When it Hurts by Hillsongs United

Prayer Request: My cancer buddy is scheduled for surgery this Thursday!  Please keep him and his team of doctors in your prayers!  

Sunday, December 06, 2015

The Weekend in Review...Getting Chemo Ready

It's been a whirlwind weekend! It feels really weird to sit here on a Sunday night with out thinking about preparing for my work week.  Instead, I'm thinking about what all I have to do this week to get chemo ready!  Tomorrow morning, I have a quick outpatient procedure to have my  port put I think chemo will start any day now.  Meanwhile my friends have been helping me get the house chemo ready....which means lots of dusting, scrubbing, sweeping, I will be comfortable with out clutter and clean to prevent infection and illness.  Thank you to my lil' minions who came out and helped this weekend!!   Friday night was spent turning my room into a zen sanctuary.  I can't even express how much I love it!!  Ok Ok, since you insisted, I will share a few pics of my favorite areas in my room with you guys!
My cute little writer's nook!  This is where the blogging magic happens, folks. (Thanks for the fancy, new pillow, Jen!)

My dresser used to be covered with tubes of lipstick and blush brushes, but all that's been cleared away and I have all my pretty perfume bottles displayed on this beautiful tray my friend, Sarah had given me for my birthday!  I thought it looked perfect!...especially with the lilies I got this week!

Saturday was officially Cuzzy Saturday, which was kicked off with a short but sweet visit from CCL!  After we parted ways, I went home and anxiously awaited the arrival of my favorite newlyweds (Denny & Leslie)...when I got a phone call from Ansleykins.  She asked me what I was doing and then told me to open my front door and there she was!!!!...All the way from Houston!!!  Just to spend time with me on my last weekend before chemo!!  Can you tell by all my exclamations that I was super excited?!?!?  So the fam + a few of the friends went out to enjoy my last Saturday night free from "the pouch!"
The crew...minus a few!
Denny is Mousse's favorite human...and mine too!
My little cuzzies...Ansleykins and Wes (babytalk for Les.  What? Is it strange for a 41 year old and a 26 year old to talk baby talk to each other?!)  I love these two so sad they're both in Texas now and that I don't have access to them anytime I want!!

It meant so much to me to have my cousins and friends come out for a night of footloose and fancy free fun!  I am blessed to be surrounded by such love!  It was especially awesome to have Ansley with me all weekend.  So sweet of her to surprise me!  We got to go to church together today and she spent the rest of the day helping me shop for essentials, air up my tires, and change my AC filters!...I'm sure she could've spent her weekend doing a plethora of other things...but she chose to come out to help me! So nice to know that even though they're far cousins are here for me when I need them!
Me & Ansleykins at church!

Friday, December 04, 2015

Being Transparent...

Sometimes it's hard being transparent...especially in such a public forum as the world wide web.  I do feel safer this space...then say, Facebook, but it still isn't always easy.  I had to take a break from cancer talk because I received new news, and I wasn't quite ready to talk about it just yet.  There was even a point that I thought I just wasn't going to talk about this at all anymore.  However, it's hard to explain....but I feel like God wants me to be transparent about my life right now.  And He wants me to write about what's happening and share what He is doing.  

There have been so many periods of my life that I questioned God.  I always knew He existed because I've seen Him work in the lives of people around me, but I've never felt his presence personally.  I tried really hard to find the perfect combination of what I'm supposed to do to feel his presence.  I tried reading certain books, reading the Bible every day, prayer at night, prayer in the morning, only listening to worship songs, but I love rap too much so that didn't work very well.  

But there is no perfect combination.  You don't have to read the whole new testament to find God.  All you have to do is "be still and know that I am God."  Being still is the hard part especially for a control freak like me.  I need to know how things are going to play the story is going to end...maybe that's the writer in me.  But for this particular story...the story of my life...I'm not the author and the finisher ....God is.  Looking back, I never fully relinquished my control until now.  I mean, I'm hard-headed and I'm only now giving it up because my back is to the wall.  Cancer is bigger than me....It kills...It's unpredictable...there's no way I can control this.  So, now that I've finally stopped wriggling around fighting for control..I feel like I have a certain calm and peace and knowing about things...and that is God.  I see Him in the people who have been taking care of me...and in circumstances/situations....and I am finally able to feel His presence, and I know all He expects from me is trust.  He doesn't need me to sit in a corner and pray and read scripture for hours....He knows my heart, my needs, my fears.  I have a sense of peace about what's happening to me, and that is God....and I know that He wants me to share this experience with people in this format and this way....

All that being said, I feel like I've taken some time to deal with my new news and now I feel ready to share.  My Endoscopy with Ultrasound revealed spreading around a few lymph nodes near my stomach.  I no longer have esophageal's stomach cancer.  The tumor is at the very top of my stomach....pushing into my esophagus.  The new diagnosis has to be treated more aggressively.  So now, the mad dash to get to MD Anderson has been put on hold for a bit.  I have to have 3-21 day-rounds of chemo here in OKC, and then surgery at MDA,  and then 3 more rounds of chemo and possibly radiation.  The treatment plan change threw me for a loop and it was a lot for me to wrap my head around.  But after talking about it a lot and crying about it...I'm now ready to move on and deal with it.  Chemo starts next week....

Prayer Request...That God continues to keep me emotionally and physically strong to keep fighting my way through.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Project Kitchen Reorganization

I need a little break from the serious talk about critical bear with me as I brag about my little kitchen reorganization project! When I go to my mom's house, I tend to snub my nose at how cluttered her kitchen is.  I always told myself I wouldn't collect mugs or tupperware excessively and that my counter space would never be cluttered.  But it was recently pointed out to me that my countertops are indeed cluttered and I have a lot of unnecessary things in my cupboard.  So, immediately we conducted a purge.  We cleared the counter space and reorganized my cupboard and it looked so amazing!  I wish I had a before shot...but I do have an after!
My beautiful, de-cluttered cupboard! (Is it obvious that I love polkadots?!)
I was so inspired by my cupboards, that I decided to tackle my pantry as well.  It was in horrid condition!  I could never see what was in there, so I just kept buying more.  It got to this point where I refused to open it because I was scared of what I might jump out of it.

This is totally embarrassing to even admit that this is what my pantry looked like!

So, I threw away everything that was dated, cleared out the shelves, lined each shelf with paper, bought some storage bins and containers, and...VOILA!
My beautiful pantry!!!  Now I always make people look at it before they leave the house!
I love the kitchen so much...I plan to go through every room in the house and organize each one!  Why wait for spring cleaning when you can have this much fun now?!?!?!