Monday, February 29, 2016

Changing the hug at a time!

I can't say that I was ever much of a hugger before getting sick.  I'm pretty sure I gave awkward hugs...and I'm pretty sure if anyone tried to give me a hug, I'd change my angle and turn it into a side hug.  But, I started realizing the importance of hugs after I got sick.

My BF has been blessed with the ability to give good hugs.  I've always thought she gave the best hugs, but I don't think I ever appreciated them as much as I do now.  These days, I pay attention to hugs and take note of how they make me feel.  At the chemo clinic in Okc, there was an angel nurse who gave amazing hugs.  At first I thought she just hugged her patients, but then noticed that even if she wasn't my nurse, she'd come by and give me a matter how busy she was.  And she didn't just give me a loosey goosey hug...She gave me a really tight hug...She hugged me like she meant it.  That hug had power in cheered me up and just made me feel better.  Here in Houston, I have family who are as passionate about hugs as I now am about getting them...and they give me great ones that totally make my day!  In fact, I find myself trying to out hug them...but I've come to the realization that my arms just aren't as strong.

I know it's odd that I'm dedicating an entire blog post to this subject.  Even odder is that I was doing research on the benefits of hugs today for a few hours.  I have also done a lot of thinking about starting a non-profit organization that goes to local hospitals and hugs cancer patients. Guys, THAT'S how much I love and need hugs these days....and I absolutely know there are the people out there who could use a good hug too!  

So, I decided to share some fun facts about hugs, so the blogosphere will know how important they are...and understand how a good hug can do so much for a person who needs it!

1.  A good hug releases oxytocin in your body.  Oxytocin calms your nervous system and boosts positive emotions.  When you have a good flow of oxytocin in your body it can lower your blood pressure and lower your cortisol, or stress hormone, which in turn allows better sleep.
2.  Reduces your heart rate
3.  Boosts the immune system
4.  Builds self esteem.
5.  Increases feeling of healing

Other fun facts...
1.  We need four hugs a day for survival (which isn't good news for me because I MAYBE get four a week)...need  8 for maintenance...and 12 for growth!  (no wonder I'm short!)

2.  Hugs should last 10-20 seconds to have physical effects. (Count it out so it counts, people!)

3.  1/3 of people are touch deprived and don't get daily hugs!  (We can change that one hug at a time, folks!)

4.  A study done on babies who didn't receive hugs showed they developed slower.

Now if that didn't convince you to hug and be hugged more...maybe these adorable memes will...

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Weekend in Review...

I've lost track of how many weekends in review I've had here in Houston.  I sometimes just can't believe how long I've been here...and how much longer I'll be here still.  Tuesday I start treatment.  I'm nervous...just because I don't really know what to expect.  But, I think I'll get through it ok.  This the others...went by in a flash.  

Friday, I decided to get out and explore a bit.  I went to Rice Village...which is the area around Rice University.  It's uber nice down there, but has very limited parking.  At first I freaked out, but then I calmed down and told myself..."You came all this way.  You're not turning back!!"  So I roamed around and found a parking garage!  I proceeded to walk around a bit...but, you can only have so much fun walking in and out of shops when you're alone and ONLY window shopping.  Since I've been off of chemo for 3 weeks, I thought it was safe to get a much needed pedicure.  My poor little footsies have been getting really calloused due to treatment, so I decided to treat them to some much needed TLC.  I think the lady who did my pedicure noticed how sad my feet were because she gave me the best foot and leg massage I've ever had in my life.  That night, my friends picked me up for dinner....It's so nice to have friends in this city as well!  They surprised me with kori kotta's...for you non-Indian readers...those are my absolute favorite indian treat!  They're dough balls filled with coconut flakes seeped in brown sugar me, they're amazing!  We also discussed the latest and greatest Malayalam movies, and when I got home I spent the rest of the evening watching one called, "Life is Beautiful."  Out of a 3 thumbs up scale (3 for Hrithik Roshan who is a hindi actor with 3 thumbs)...  I give the movie 1.5 thumbs up.  Story line could have used some work.  

Saturday, I spent the entire day on my balcony reading my new Jhumpa Lahiri booked called the Lowland.  I keep trying to like her writing.  I mean, she's a pulitzer prize winner, after all.  Try as I might...I just can't get into it.  But I will force myself to read the book till the end.  I'm sure the story line is great...but it's just the way she tells the story that makes me fall asleep if I'm not sitting up and reading the book.  I'm more into authors like John Green...I know he writes teen books like Fault in our Stars...but he's just so darn witty.  After a full day of basking in the sun with my book, A came to pick me up for her fancy pants birthday dinner.  I usually miss out on her events because she's here in Texas and I'm in Oklahoma, so it was really nice to be here to celebrate with her.  She let me put on her eyeshadow for her and curl her hair...and she wore the dress I picked out for her!  She looked supa cute!  Since we all were getting dolled up, we decided Milo should get dressed up too.  He didn't get to come out with us, but he did wear his bow tie and take a picture with his Mom.  I had a few mixed emotions Saturday night.  Not only was it Ansley's fancy
pants birthday dinner, but it was the night of Paycom Prom.  The one night a year I throw aside my basketball shorts and Biggie tee and get totally dolled up with my friends and have so much fun.  This year, I clearly couldn't go.  My friends were sending me pictures all night, which made me really happy.  I was totally glad to see them having fun because I know they've been busting their tails all year long.  But, it also made me sad...that event is usually tradition...something I normally do every year....and it made me realize yet again how far my life is from normal.  I was grateful to go out with Ansley and her crew so I could have a distraction...but going out bald was also a hard pill to swallow.  While the girls curled and straightened...I tried to "act" like I was fixing my hair trying to tame the little wisps with mousse.   It's one thing to be hairless in jeans and a shirt...but when you're dressed up and's just weird.  Nevertheless we took a group pic...and although I'm not too crazy about my hairdo...I'll post it anyway...because it is my reality now.  Note to all you not wear a romper on a night where you will be out for hours.  
I so stupidly went to the bathroom and realized there's no way I could go to the bathroom wearing that thing...Unless I took the entire thing off.  Needless to say...I never went to the bathroom.  Who invented rompers anyway?  So not practical!!

Sunday, I spent the entire day with the namesake and the kiddos.  We went to the ranch!  My nephew, JP got to zip line, and I took an amazing video that I was going to share on the blog...except that I thought I was hitting record, but I wasn't.  He wasn't too crazy about doing the entire thing again for the sake of me catching it on you can just take my word for it.  It looked really fun!!  Butttt, not fun enough for me to do for myself!!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Flash back Friday....The Green Men

For this flash back Friday...I decided to post one of my old short stories.  I used to write weird things...actually I still do!  I call this one..."The Green Men"  If you're left scratching your head at the end...well I apologize in advance!  

“Mr. Hinkle, it’s me, Mike with Bentley’s Grocers,” I announced in a completely unenthused tone.

“Are you alone, kid?” He asked.

I looked over my shoulder as I laughed to myself. “Yep, it’s just me, myself, and I.” The door cracked open a bit, and I could see Hinkle’s bulging eye looking through the crevice before opening the door a bit wider.

“I have to make sure those green guys didn’t follow you up,” he stated, as he grabbed the sack from me and stuffed a whopping one dollar tip into my hand.

“No, I didn’t notice any,” I said as I put the dollar in my pocket. “I guess you’re the only one who sees them.”

“They’re sneaky guys,” he explained. 

“Ahh, that must be it,” I said sarcastically.

“Say, kid, do you think you can walk with me across the street? I really want to get a copy of today’s paper.”

“Why don’t you just give me some change, and I’ll run over there and get you one,” I offered. The thought of climbing back up twelve flights of stairs seemed better than walking across the street with a loon.

“I really want to go outside. I haven’t been out since my last doctor’s visit, which was two weeks ago. I just want to breathe in some fresh air,” he pleaded.

“Listen, Mister. This really isn’t part of my job. I deliver groceries and that’s it.”

“Kid, if I walk out there alone, it might be the last time I walk out of this apartment. They might get me. Next thing you know, you’ll be reading it in the paper in the morning. Then you’ll feel guilty.”

I felt a tinge of sympathy for the guy and wondered what in the hell happened to this man that made him lose his marbles in such a way. He wasn’t old and senile. He was probably in his mid-to-late 40’s. He looked well kept and seemed to live a comfortable lifestyle from the looks of his apartment. Maybe he was just born nuts or maybe this is what living a lonely life did to your brain after a while.

“Okay, but let’s make it quick. I have one more delivery to make and then I’m going home.”

“Thank you, kid. I really appreciate this,” he said happily.

“Yah, yah, just hurry up,” I said unenthusiastically. Two minutes later he was back at the door, closing it behind him, turning the knob to make sure it was locked, and turning it again to double-check. “Uh, Mr. Hinkle, it’s locked,” I assured him.

We made our way down the twelve flights of stairs. Hinkle was basically running. It was hard for me to keep up with him. We got to the doorway of the building and he insisted I walk out first and check for any green men. I rolled my eyes, took a few quick glances around the perimeters of the building, and gave him the signal that the coast was clear. Slowly and very carefully he stepped out of the building. As we walked across the street, Hinkle stuck very close to me. It made me feel uncomfortable. People around us might think of our relationship to be a lot more than just customer and market transport specialist. I was relieved when we got to the news stand.

The man inside the stand was humming along to the blaring sounds of a sitar and a woman singing in a high-pitched, nasal voice. His eyes were closed and he was moving his turban covered head in a rhythmic sway.  

“Hey, I need a paper,” Hinkle said rudely. The man’s eyes popped open as if he was interrupted from a deep meditative state. He glared at Hinkle for a moment.

“Did…you…hear…what…I …said?” Hinkle asked, as if the man was deaf and slightly dumb. “Do…you…understand…English?”

“Yes,” the man stated matter-of-factly. “I understand quite well. I may wear a turban and have an accent, but neither are signs of ignorance. Nor am I deaf, so you don’t have to talk so slowly.” The man was clearly irritated. 

“Listen, smartass,” Hinkle said, “just give me the damn paper that I asked for.” I didn’t know why he was being such a prick to this guy. I wanted to run and leave him behind. Why was I standing there anyway? Who hired me to be Hinkle’s body guard? Why in the hell did I not just say no to this loon?

Turban Head was not one to put up with Hinkle’s blatant and deliberate rudeness. He didn’t feel that the loon’s dollar was worth this lack of respect. “I’m not going to sell you a paper,” he stated calmly. “There’s a newsstand down the road. Maybe you should try them.”

“I’m not walking down the damn street,” Hinkle yelled. “You’re going to give me that paper,” he screamed as he moved forward to grab one from behind the counter himself. I was in shock. How did this situation get so out of hand? I was almost waiting for my alarm clock to go off. This seemed like some sort of strange dream. But why in the hell would I be dreaming about this loon? 

“Get off my counter,” Turban Head screamed. “I will call for the cops.” Hinkle got off the counter and turned away. I was relieved that he had finally come to his senses and given up this senseless argument. I started to walk away. I was so angry. I wanted to punch Hinkle in the face myself. I surely wasn’t going to walk his sorry ass home. Let the dumb green men get him. I didn’t care. He deserved it. I turned around a second later to tell him that he was now on his own.

That’s when I saw it. Hinkle reached into the inside of his jacket pocket and pulled out a shot gun, pointed it right at Turban Head, and shot it. Turban Head fell behind the counter with a cry. Everyone standing around stared in utter disbelief and shock. It was as if they were all frozen in this strange moment in time. I broke free from the trance and ran to Hinkle. I grabbed him by the shoulders and turned him around to face me. 

“What in the hell did you just do?” I screamed. “You just killed that guy. Why? Whyyy?” Hinkle never responded. He just stared at me with a stoic expression. And then, I heard a horrifying sound. It was another shot. I let go of Hinkle and looked down at my gut, convinced that I would see blood pouring out of the seeping orifice created by the bullet that was released from the loon’s gun. But there was no blood and no orifice. When I looked up again, Hinkle had fallen to the ground. Behind him was Turban Head, holding a gun as blood oozed from his left shoulder. 

I stood there in disbelief, swallowed deeply, blinked a few times, turned around, and walked away. I didn’t know how this happened. It was a normal day and a routine delivery. I walked up the street and felt as if I had no energy left to take another step. I wanted to sit somewhere…anywhere. I wanted to close my eyes and wake up and have all of the events of the past 20 minutes erased. I could hear the approaching sirens in the distance. And just as I turned around to watch for the flashing lights, I saw it.

It was a black car. It looked like an old model Cadillac. It was headed the same direction as me and moving rather slowly. I couldn’t help but stare at it, although a part of me wanted to run for some reason. Just as the car passed me, I noticed two men in the back seat. They were both looking at me through the passenger window. They had pale white faces. Their hair couldn’t be seen under their tall top hats which matched their suits. Both were a shade of bright green.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

I miss my old life...

Lately I have felt like I sort of drift through my day.   Very rarely do I watch TV or crack open a book.  Most of the time, I play music from my iTunes and rock in a rocking chair, or sit out on the balcony and stare at whatever happens to catch my eye.  I have so many things cluttering my mind that I'm not really conscious of what's happening to me in the moment.  But every once in a while, I suddenly become very aware of the present.  This typically happens when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror or see my shadow and notice there is no hair flying haphazardly in the wind.  The other day it happened when they were tattooing me for radiation.  In those moments, I find myself thinking..."how is this happening?"  or "why is this happening?"  or "I can't believe this is happening!!"

Cancer is hard to describe.  I can't feel my tumor.  It doesn't cause me pain unless I'm swallowing.  The treatments for cancer make me sicker than the cancer itself.  But even more than not feeling physically well...I just don't feel emotionally well.  Everything in my life has changed drastically...and it's changing continuously and quickly.  I can't keep up with it, really.  I just want to press pause...better yet, stop.  But I can't.  I just need a minute to process things, but most days I don't have a minute.  Bad news is thrown at the face.  

It's hard to get people to understand how it feels.  Everyone wants me to fight and be a warrior.  But, have you met me?  I may look gangsta now since I don't have hair...but I'm not a fighter or a warrior...i'm a weapon of choice is a hot glue gun. Sometimes I just need time to cry...a lot...wrap my head around the situation, and then face it.  This week has been a grueling one...I've become really aware of the fact that my life as I have known it is completely changed and different.  And perhaps it is temporary, but that doesn't make it any easier to accept.  

I miss taking Mousse for walks.  I miss hanging out with my mom on Saturdays.  I miss getting ready for work every morning and then staring at the clock until 5 pm.  I miss cooking in my kitchen.  I miss sitting around my dining table chatting with my friends for hours.  I miss my old life....

Happy Birthday, A!

Happy Birthday, Ansley!!
On this day, twenty something years ago...this lil cutie was born!
She's grown from being an adorable baby with the cutest bowl hair cut to an adorable young woman with the same hair cut...just a lil grown out. ;)
Some of my favorite things about her is that she's fiercely loyal to her family,  independent, resilient, mature, driven, confident, and fun!!...and a total foodie!
I'm so proud of the young woman she's become and so thankful to have her by my side right now...
Happy Birthday, Ansleykins...can't wait to celebrate you at your fancy pants birthday dinner!
Love you to pieces!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Ready, Set...Radiation!

My visit with the radiologist today was very informative.  Most importantly, I have a start date for therapy...A week from tomorrow!  Tomorrow I have to go back to MDA to get tattooed.  Apparently they're tattooing me with dots so they'll know where to aim the radiation.  At first I was irritated about the tattoos...but, I have an abdomen full of surgery scars anyway, so who really cares?  I wasn't planning on wearing a two piece or a crop top in this lifetime anyway.  I'm going to consider them polka dot tattoos....that will make them cute by default.  They went over the side effects...nausea, fatigue, abdominal pain.  Nothing I haven't felt before or that I'm not used to by now.  I'll get through it!

I've been thinking about being stuck in Houston...and I've felt a peace about it.  Not only have I got to spend a lot of quality time with my family, but I think God took me out of my comfort zone so I could rely more on Him and really focus on what I'm supposed to be doing during this time.  I've gotten a few amazingly encouraging cards  and a super snuggly blanket from my cancer one of the cards he said, "The purpose God has for you is noble and by design."  That really put things into perspective for me.  I realized God brought me here to trust and rely on Him and focus on His purpose for me.

That being said, for the first time in a long time...I've been working very diligently on a writing project.  Initially it was my style...a factional piece...a lil bit fact plus a lil bit of fiction.  But, I've since changed it to all fact, and I'm really excited about it.  I'm not sure where I'm going with this or how all this will end..but for right now, I'm just following God's leading.  And as long as I'm healthy enough to keep going, I will...

For the next five weeks, going to the hospital will be my full time job.  It's only an hour a day, but I'm pretty sure it'll be exhausting.  They warned me that I'll start to feel the side effects after the 2nd week of treatment.  So, I'm going to try to make the most of my time here until then.  I'll write as much as possible and spend lots of time enjoying my Houston in lots of hugs and build up a hug reserve that will hopefully get me through my hard days here.  (I truly believe hugs work better than nausea meds and pain pills!!)

Even though it was a rainy day...and I'm a solar powered girl...I was able to think positively today and  focus on the bigger picture.  Most of that is because of the package I got from my cancer buddy.  I've decided that I want to be someone like him when I grow up! Ha!  I want to be able to reach out to people...not just my friends and family...but strangers...and be empathetic and encouraging.  Please keep him in your prayers.  He received word that he has several more months of level 10 chemo now....just when he thought he was completely done with the process.  And keep me in your prayers, not just for my health, but please pray that God will reveal His plan for me...and that I can turn my focus to that plan instead of my illness.  

Sunday, February 21, 2016

My first weekend visitor...

My first weekend visitor came into town Saturday afternoon...Ironically, she was the first person to come stay with me after my first round of chemo too...andddd even more ironic is that she was my first friend in Okc and first Indian friend in life.  Wow, that's a lot of firsts Sheb!  Luckily this visit I was feeling a lot better than when she saw me a few months ago!  We got to go out and about in Houston and enjoy our time together.

The first stop was my nephew, Andrew's playoff game.  His team was undefeated, not bad for a team comprised of pretty small Asian kids.  I love to watch Andrew play because he's really good and super passionate about it!
Sadly he played the championship game the next day and his team lost.  I wasn't able to watch him play because I had visitors coming to see me.  Which...I'm pretty glad because he was broken hearted, and I don't think I could have handled watching that.
After the game, we girls went and did a little shopping.  Ansleykins is celebrating a birthday this week and is having a fancy pants birthday dinner.  So we have to make sure the girl gets all dolled up for next weekends festivities. Missa got to come with us since we were in her neck of the woods.  It's really so nice to be able to see their faces more these days!

Me, Missa, and boba smoothies!
Dinner with Sheb and Ansley
So, after viewing the above pictures...I realized something.  I hate wearing these damn beanies.  First of all, it was like 80 degrees this weekend.  My head gets hot real quick.  Secondly, they are looking more and more ridiculous to me.  I'm growing just enough hair on my head to kind of give me some fuzz to comb to the side.  Ansley's been encouraging me to just go hat free.  I haven't built up the courage to go hat free to anywhere except the hospital.  I've realized I keep the hat on because I feel like it will make other people sad...especially kids.  But the beanies are becoming increasingly this weekend I'm going to attempt to go hatless to Ansley's fancy pants birthday dinner!  In order to accomplish that goal, I realized I need to do something my first bald selfie on my blog.  I figure if I can post a pic on the world wide web with out my hat, I can surely walk out into the world with out my hat.  So for the first time on my blog.....
SueVee...hat free.
I've heard I look like a cute turtle...GI Jane...someone on Orange is the New Black.  Lez be honest... What do you think?
PS:  Prayer Request....tomorrow I have a consult with the Radiologist.  Please pray that i will have some answers as to when Radiation and Chemo start!  I need to get this show on the road so I can get back to oklaHOMEa!!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Flashback Friday...

So, now that I have too much time on my way I entertain myself is to go back and look at old blog posts.  Some posts make me laugh, others make me cringe, and some are down right depressing.  I did find a few pictures that I loved and wanted to re-share...and what better day to do it than on a Flashback Friday!
I think this one might be my favorite.  This is a very preggo BF.  At the time, we both lived in FL and Dains and I used to go  to scenic places and take pics. BF used to follow us around without complaint...even though it was really hot!  I just happened to catch her taking a breather!  It was the best shot I got that day!
me and night service at church.  It was the last one I've ever been to and I'm sure she's been to quite a few since.  I miss ringing in the New Year with her...spending weekends with her...being each other plus one's to social events.  Why does Kuwait have to be so far away?
Me and the cuzzies...circa 1991  I think I was pissed at CCL and Suetee because I didn't get the matching dresses memo.
3 of my favorite people...I wish I could shrink Aaron back to this size!!
CCL's daughter, Lauren...(Lola)  She's a big girl now...but she was one of the most adorable babies ever!
Andrew and Mousse when they were both babies...They're definitely on the adorable babies list with Lola
My original crew...missing a few.  I've always had amazing friends...They dubbed this day "Sue day"...they just thought I needed to feel we spent the entire day doing things I loved to do...we went to an art museum, did manis and pedis, and had dinner.  It was one of my most memorable days!
oh Dains...where do I begin?  When BF & Dains first got together...I was leery.  He belonged to the opposing gang...the VC...a group of guys who have been a thorn in my posterior for decades.  Then they got married, and well...he grew on me.  Yesterday someone said that Dains seems like a great guy...and I laughed....and said "sometimes."  Other times he's anal retentive and annoying.  I just so happened to find a post where I wrote about a conversation between me and Dains...which describes anal retentive and annoying quite perfectly.  See below....
The following is an IM conversation between me and Dains that I happened to copy into a blogpost...this was back in the days of AOL instant messenger:
D: aight peace beasts, like sunu k would say
S: later gator
D: you're supposed to say after a while crocodile now we have to start all over
S: okay...sheesh go.
D:aight peace beasts, like sunu k would say
S: after a while crocodile
D: oh no oh no...u're right. it's later gator first.
S: damn it. i told u.
D: so now we have to start over
s: fine, damn it.
D: peace beasts, like sunu k would say
s: later gator
D: after a while crocodile
s: okie dokie artichokes
d: i'm's after a while crocodile first.  
s: damn it! make up your mind. i'm just gonna sign off
d: no no, get it right. u have to practice
s: practice for what???????? a performance?
d: u just need to learn to do it one more time
s:fine, damn it...go
d: peace beast
**************meanwhile my phone rings. it's sonia*************
SM: sue? (laughing hysterically)
SV: what bf? why are u laughing (i sound irritated cuz dains is driving me crazy)
SM: he's laughing. he's doing it on purpose to make u nuts. he fell off the couch laughing...just stopp…stoppppp.

And there you have it folks...anal retentive and annoying!
Speaking of old posts and funny's one between me and BF's mom that had me chuckling too!  Too preface this story...She used to always make cakes at her house and never put frosting on them.  It used to literally drive me insane!!!

Sue: I'm not going to make that cake unless you have frosting for it. Do you have frosting for that cake?
Sandy: I have vaneela
Sue: vanilla?
Sandy: Yah Vaneela
Sue: You're making vanilla sound like a Malayalee girl.
Sandy: *laughing*

Ahhhh...I found some treasures today, guys.  They're treasures to me anyway!  Among the treasures were some short stories...that I will repost on future Flashback Fridays!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Missing Moussey...

Today, I  had an appointment with Dr. Personality (just a touch of sarcasm in that nickname) so I ventured out on my own.  Mind you, MDA is only a little over a mile away, but for me, a mile is enough to get lost or into some sort of predicament.  Luckily I got from point A to point B and back with no problems.  Dr. Personality said all my test results from Monday came back negative and the next step before treatment begins is a consult with a Radiologist next Monday.  He also informed me that my chemo for the next 5 weeks is in pill form!  That means no infusions and no Charlotte!!  I'm ecstatic.  This time around chemo isn't a level 10 it's more like a level 3 or so...but of course, radiation will be hard to stomach.  (no pun intended)

So now that I've got all the medical updates out of the way.  Let me update you on life in general.  The new place is quiet and serene... In the mornings, I open up the balcony door in my room and in the living room and just enjoy the beautiful weather and the great view of the sunshine and palm trees.  Yesterday I was actually inspired to sit at my little writer's nook and write one solid page of a story.  I haven't done that in years.  Now, I haven't decided where this story's going or what exactly I'm going to do with it.  But, it was really nice to see a full page of work...even though it literally took me all day to do it! 

After venturing out today, I think I built a little bit of confidence.  I live across the street from a really amazing park.  So maybe one day, I'll go for a walk while I still feel good.  I'm sure one of my cousins wouldn't mind accompanying me.  During the day time I stay pretty positive and upbeat.  But then when day turns to night...I can feel my pep begin to dwindle.  That's when the quiet really gets to me...

I really miss my girl.  I miss her staring at me till I give her a snack, snuggling with me on the couch, and getting annoyed with my friends and retreating to her room.  I just miss her presence and her constant companionship.  She's my bestie...and I wonder if she thinks I'm never coming back for her.  

Everyone always tells me it's just temporary.  And yes, everything I miss is just dog, my family, my friends, my house, my job, my hair, feeling 100% normal....but that doesn't make it any less difficult or painful.  I know there's an end in sight...I just don't know when it is.  And I can try to guesstimate it...but then there could be a change in plans or a temporary set back.  So I rather just not guesstimate anything at all.  

I need to just plow through these next six weeks, so I can go home and recuperate in my own comfy cozy house with its' revolving garage door...and the colorful cast of characters that are constantly coming through it.  My frenemy always tells me I have brute strength...(this is because there was a Christmas Eve blizzard one year, and I helped him push the car out of the snow when it got stuck three times!...Not bad for a girl with no visible muscles!) I just have to muster up all that brute strength I possess to get through this last round of chemo and radiation.  If I can handle 3 months of level 10...I can surely handle this.  

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

My home away from home...

It's funny...a few months ago when my cancer buddy told me he got an apartment in Houston so he could do treatment at MDA...I never thought it was something I would have to do.  But here I my apartment in Houston.  I moved in and tonight's my first night here.  I don't suspect I'll venture out alone too much.  A.  I will probably not feel well enough.  B.  The thought of driving in this city is terrifying.  However, this seems to be a great part of town and there's the beautiful Herman Park right across the street.  The best part is that the hospital is only 6 minutes away...which I think I can handle.  And if I can't, there's a shuttle that will take me to and from.  The apartment is fully furnished and really convenient, but it's super quiet.  I feel really weird not having a dog around.  I miss Mousse so much that I tear up every time I think or talk about her.  Milo was a great distraction...but now I have no furry friends around and it just doesn't feel right.  I've had a few requests for pictures of the new abode...

dining room
living room that opens out to a nice patio
bedroom with patio access 
my little writer's nook-where the blogging magic happens

So there you have it home for the next few weeks.  All that's missing is a craft room!  A&B were kind enough to help me move my stuff in, grocery shop, and get me settled.  I miss them already but I know they're near and will check in on me often.
A&B...and SC
I'm looking forward to my family and friends to come stay with me because the silence in here will become deafening soon.  Sometimes it's all so surreal... I can't believe I'm here in Houston.  I can't believe I haven't been to work since Thanksgiving.  And I definitely can't believe I have cancer.  

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentine's Weekend...Htown Style

So, I'm not sure how many people know this about me but I LOVE VALENTINE'S DAY!!!  For many years, I tried to convince myself and everyone else that I hated it...but, come on...hearts, all things red and every shade of pink, and syrupy sweet sentiments???  What's not to love???  I was super disappointed that I didn't get to go home in time for Valentine's Day.  I had planned to make valentines for the patients in the chemo clinic with my Cricut Cutter.  Instead, I made chocolate covered strawberries for A&B and enjoyed a cuzzie filled Valentine weekend!

Friday I went to my cousin's ranch and spent most of the day there...They breed bison and american standard bull dogs and lots of fish.  I was pretty intrigued by all of it.  As much as I love the city...I love me some country living too.  I secretly wish I was the Pioneer Woman.  The only thing that creeps me out about country living are the unwanted critters like snakes and mice and anything else that scurries and slithers.
My uncles and aunts fishing!  They caught an unreal amount of fish but they just couldn't stop wouldn't stop fishing
They caught 15 catfish that were 10 pounds each.  Do the math...that's a lot of pounds of catfish!
A cute wittle American Standard puppy...only problem is they don't stay so little.
They even have a deer named Bambi that found it's way to the ranch and now refuses to leave.  He actually comes real close to you and let's you pet him!! 
The beautiful gazebo on the ranch...the wedding planner in me immediately thought it would be such a beautiful spot for a wedding!
Ansley and Sue squared...
Me and Mr. Bison.  He was pretty gross...slobbered a lot and his nose was running like a faucet and he had no problem

After a fun-filled day at the ranch, my Friday was topped off with the ultimate treat!  Htown came to Htown.  I'm pretty sure I've made it abundantly clear to the blogosphere that I have some of the most amazing friends ever!!  But in case you had any doubts...let me go ahead and clarify. Thursday my world was turned upside down once again when I discovered I have to be away from home for at least another month. Htown and chocolate chip quickly went to my house, packed my clothes, laptop, favorite blanket, and other essentials and loaded up my car...and Htown drove my car to me!  My frenemy delivered a refill of dog food to my mom for Mousse. And so many of them have offered to come spend time with me while I'm in Houston and take care of things at home for me while I'm gone.  Sometimes I wonder how and why I've been so blessed with the absolute best!  

Saturday I had to get things in gear and look for a place to stay here.  Although A&B are amazing roommates and have made me feel so welcomed and taken great care of me....dealing with a cancer patient during chemo/radiation is a little bit too much for anyone to have to deal with.  I decided to find some temporary housing near the med center.  These places aren't easy to come by because MD Anderson and other hospitals in the area have people coming in from all over the world.  While Ansley and I were driving to the area to go look at places, I just prayed that God would open the doors for me to find a good, safe, convenient place for me that wouldn't be too far from the med center.  And he did...I found a place and should be able to move in fairly quickly!  I celebrated the good news by being the fifth wheel on a double date with my cousins Mikey & Jessy and their friends. Just the first of my many Valentine's outings with my cuzzies.

Sunday, Ansley and I went to church and  had a lovely Valentine's brunch...probably the first time in a very long time that I actually cleaned my plate.  It's tradition for me to wear all black for Valentine's day.  It goes back to my days when I tried to convince everyone I hated the holiday.  But now that the truth that I love it is out I always wear a splash of color....Red accessories. Don't worry I don't have diseased legs...This year's ensemble (all black shorts romper) was replete with polkadot tights.  It's official...I'm polkadot obsessed!!  But true to Sue form...I wore my tights inside out.  (At least this time it was just my tights...I've worn pants, shirts, and sweaters inside out on the regular.)

I ended Valentine weekend with a lovely dinner with my namesake and her family!  Overall, I had a great weekend!  I feel so blessed to be loved by extraordinary people who do so much and care so much for me.  Every day I'm blown away by their kindness and generosity.  To all my loves...Happy Valentine's Day! 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Unexpected turn of events...

 For the first time since this entire cancer thing started I feel alone in the process. From the beginning I was clearly able to see how God was making a way for me and now things aren't so crystal clear. Today I met with the surgeon and everything he told me left me feeling like I had just gotten sucker punched. I have one more test scheduled for Monday and after that they want me to stay in town for 5 more weeks to do more chemo and radiation before surgery. I thought I was going to get to go home Saturday. That's what I get for thinking. So now there are lots of things to do! I have to find temporary housing in Houston and mentally prepare myself for 5 more weeks of chemo and radiation. I can't clearly see that God is with me because this is definitely not the outcome I had wanted but I know that I have to have faith that he's still there. In my heart I know there's no way He would bring me this far only to abandon me now.

While I'm stuck here...there's one guy who keeps a smile on my face and that's Milo!! Ansley's sweet dog! He makes me not be horribly sad without Mousse! Milo showers me with kisses and is the worlds best cuddle buddy! I call him mr. Luva  luva because he's such an affectionate little puppy!!

Milo sleeping under the covers in. His tent!

No more pictures please!!

I'm really greatful for him and my other two temporary roommates...A&B! We have had great conversations, they give me much needed hugs, and make sure I relax with amazing bubble baths! So one must wonder why I want to go back to OKC so badly when I have such great roommates here?? Well ...I think Dorothy said it best...there's no place like home!!

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore....

I'm in Houston and had my first appointment with MD Anderson today. My cousin Mikey was kind enough to meet me here and accompany me to my appointments! I don't think I could have made it through the day without his support. We had a 7am start time, battled Houston traffic in time for my pet scan. The hospital is massive and there was tons of walking. I'm pretty sure I haven't walked this much since I got diagnosed...not to mention chemo has caused my feet to become so calloused that it's now pretty painful to walk. (Tomorrow I will soak my poor little feet and give them the TLC they deserve) Although MD Anderson is an extremely efficient hospital, it didn't take me too long to realize that I'm not in OKC anymore...under the protective wing of my little angel dr. H...things are different here.  I'm in a massive hospital where EVERYONE has cancer and I'm just one among the many. Unfortunately, things weren't set up the way I had hoped. I didn't get to meet with both the surgeon and the oncologist. I only saw the oncologist and I'm waiting for the referral appointment with the surgeon to go through. This will most likely require extending my trip. And although there is no place like home...and OKC is definitely where my heart is...I am so glad that if I'm stuck in a's a city where 40% of my family lives! I'm so grateful to Ansleykins for opening up her home to me! I feel comfortable and well taken care of! I have lots of other cousins, uncles, and aunts who are willing to help and support in any way they can.  So yes, it's a hiccup..and hiccups are always annoying...but I have to focus on the positive aspects as well and remember i am still blessed! And trust me after an 8 hour day at the hospital, I wasn't feeling this optimistic but I had some encouraging calls and texts that helped me see the brighter side of things!

Weekend in Houston....

The weekend in Houston has been full of hustle and bustle! Pretty sure I wouldn't have been able to do much of anything if I was still attached to Charlotte! Life without her has been amazing! I always tell Ansley that I'm going to take a quick shower and then I end up basking in the glory of being free of tubes! I got to spend lots of time with the family the past few days...we did a little shopping on Friday... I was able to find a book of 500 writing prompts!...which will keep me busy for the next 500 days!! Saturday A&B took me wig shopping. I actually found one that was a lot like my real hair! We all really liked it but there was just a few minor problems....#1 it was THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS!!! #2 I was informed this week that I have a "large melon head" amd apparently it's true because the wig felt like it was squeezing my brains out of my head! I can't imagine how it would feel wearing it on the regular!! So I thanked A&B for taking me out to explore my options but I am officially ending my wig search! It's just not for me... The slouchy beanie will get me through the winter and then when it gets warmer I'll create some kind of amazing alternative! I also got to watch my nephew, Andrew play in his basketball game Saturday! His team is undefeated and theyre all so good and pretty adorable!

After the game we spent the rest of the afternoon prom dress shopping for Marissa! I'm not sure how it's possibly time for that baby girl to be going to prom or graduating high school! But I'm glad I was able to go do some preliminary shopping with her...since I can't be here to do her hair and makeup and accessorize her!! It was nice to be able to be with the kiddos in their environment and spend time with them!

The remainder of the weekend was spent  making the rounds to see moms side of the family! And tomorrow I get to see more cuzzies so being stuck in Houston worked out after all! Ps....I have an appointment with the surgeon on Thursday! So hopefully I'll be back in OKC by the weekend!

Prayer request: my cousins son, Daniel was diagnosed with Leukemia just a few weeks before my diagnosis. He's only six and has three years of chemo ahead of him. He's doing really well but it's a long road ahead...please keep him in your prayers...that God will continue to strengthen his little body...

Monday, February 01, 2016


So a few of my friends have expressed some concern that I haven't been updating the blog.  And I have to admit...I just haven't felt up to it.  I've come to realize that this whole chemo thing isn't just 5 days of being ill.  It's 5 days of being VERY ill...and then the remainder of the 21 days being ill.  But, I have a lot of updates and good news to share, so I thought I'd pull myself together and write a blog post.

Dr H. worked his magic and got me my first appointment with MD Anderson...this week!  I will be meeting with one of the top oncologists in the country.  So it's safe to say I'll be in very good hands.  And even better news is that I get to meet with the oncologist and the surgeon at one time in one appointment!!  So it's not going to be a long drawn out process where I have to fly out to Houston several times to meet with different doctors.  The first appointment and some testing will be done in this trip!  In my heart, I knew I shouldn't be stressed about getting into MD Anderson.  From the beginning, God has made sure that I have excellent and timely care.  And I knew he wouldn't just stop providing a way for me now.

All that being said...I'm flying to Houston and I'm still attached to Charlotte.  I have to admit I have been stressing out about traveling with my chemo pack.  I know getting through TSA would be annoying and just traveling with it, showering with it, and dealing with it in a new environment would be challenging.  Today I called Dr. H to see if I could get my chemo refill early since I'll be in Houston on my refill day.  He gave me the best news ever!!!!  I'm going to get unplugged!!!  They're going to let me go chemo free for a week.  I couldn't be happier about this.  Not only will this make traveling a lot easier, but maybe I won't feel so run down the entire time in Houston.  This has just been another way that God has shown me that He is very present...and the small things I worry about aren't small in His eyes.

So, although I haven't been feeling well lately...I'm still feeling hopeful and blessed. I know that God gives me enough strength to get through each day.