back to life, back to reality…

It was only Monday that we were eating breakfast with sand between our toes, but it seems like so much longer! The boys transitioned back to school great – eager to share their shells and stories with friends.  I have had a little bit harder time this week.   I so enjoyed my vacation from cancer, break from research and letting myself relax and just be me.  Now that I am back I am feeling the enormity of reality and digging down deep to feel the joy and determination I had while away.

I had an injection of xgeva upon my return – which is a drug that helps strengthen my bones.  I leaned back in the big leather infusion chair and closed my eyes… picturing the beach chair and blowing palm trees of just 2 days before.

I am happy to be home because this is, well, home.   And, I am giving myself a break to live a little more like I did on vacation.  I don’t have to research and read about cancer every day.  I don’t have to obsess over eating the  very best, most healthy thing every time I put something in my mouth.  It isn’t a sign of weakness when I have to take a nap in the afternoon.  It is just the way it is right now.   I think the hardest part is that it is the most amazing spring weather here and we live right near Cherokee Park – a home we purposefully purchased because of its access to running and biking.  The marathon is next week and there are about 100 people running by our house every day.  I can’t run.  My sciatic nerve pain is just too much, not to mention the fact that I have very little energy.  I didn’t think it would bother me this much, but it has hit me pretty hard.  I guess the biggest reason is because I just don’t feel like myself.  I would be meeting up with friends on these glorious spring days and running.  I took it for granted and I miss it.  But, this morning I met up with friends and we walked.  And, we laughed and I realized it isn’t about the running, really.  It’s about the friendship and being in nature and smelling the springtime freshness.   Maybe I will be able to run again, maybe I won’t.  But, I am thankful for the friendships and the springtime.  I have to focus on the positive.  Every. single. day.

After my walk – I met my friend Jenny and her sweet daughter Lucy to do a little Derby shopping.  I have had very little interest in getting ready for one of my favorite weekends of the year.  I appreciate her getting me out and just laughing and shopping for hats and dresses like everyone else.  It felt really good to bounce around the boutiques and grab lunch like I used to.   I think i even found my dress for derby!

So, here we are, “back to reality.”  But, more so I hope I will be “back to life” (Remember that song by Soul II Soul in the 90s… loved that song.) Finding energy each day to be a great mom, engaged friend, loving wife, creative professional and strong breast cancer survivor!  I felt rejuvenated on spring break because I left like myself, not a scared cancer patient.  I need to focus on just being myself.  Being happy in this body- even if it can’t run, is consumed by hot flashes at a moments notice and is turning against me for some reason.  I have a lot of living left to do and I want to do it as ME!  I hope you are living your life true to who you are.   Celebrate each day – whether at the beach or the grocery store- life is so beautiful.

back to life, back to reality

cancer does not win

We are having an amazing spring break adventure together as a family. We returned for the 4th year in a row to Hawks Cay resort in Florida keys. This place holds so many great memories, experiences and firsts for all of us. This year is no different- jay caught his first tarpon (45 minute fight- in and out of the bridges, 150 lbs!) Wills caught an elusive hog fish and conquered his fears as he swung on the rope swing into the ocean at our favorite kayak spot, I jumped 4′ waves in the ocean on a jet ski (with crying wills clinging to my back begging me to stop! Ya, right!) and Bennett enlightened us all with the fact that, “every hour is happy hour here.”

It has also been hard to be in such a happy carefree place when our current circumstances seem anything533c5e97af3d79d0313e53cc but this. I can’t help but watch all the families enjoying such happy ease. Thinking about how our life has changed and how badly I wished for these happier times.

But then I look around and think – we are living the same life. I feel great, the boys couldn’t be happier, jay and I have an even deeper love having again faced the beast that is cancer.

Cancer does not win. I am taking back my vacation, my life and OUR future. I refuse to lose another day of this amazing life with our amazing family being a scared cancer victim. I am a cancer survivor- as I have been for the past 7 years. It is a part of who I am. (But Hopefully my April PET scan will show it isn’t a part of any new spots on my bones) But, it is only a PART of who I am. I am more than cancer. I have big plans with my 3 boys and I intend to be back here to the Florida keys many times.

Right now I have to put some squid on a hook and catch some dinner. One day at a glorious, palm tree swaying time.

It’s “happy hour”

Face of Hope, April 2014 – Jodi (Lawrenceville, NJ)

1. How did you become connected with Hope Scarves?

I met Lara at the C4YW conference in 2012 in New Orleans. My dear friend, a fellow survivor, met the ladies first and she was so excited she came over and said you have to meet them and fill out your story and send your scarves. We all started talking to the ladies and I was so inspired by the mission and vision of the organization that I filled out my story right away and took home my “HOPE” plaque that still hangs in my office.

2. If you donated a scarf please share what this experience meant to you or if you received a scarf and story please share how this impacted your healing journey?

Upon arriving home from the conference, I packed up my scarves and sent them all to Hope Scarves the next day. It felt like this was the next step in my journey and it helped me to move further down the path. I hardly wore my scarves because in my mind it really meant I was in treatment and cancer was really happening.

3. What are the things that provided hope and strength to you throughout your battle?

My son was 2 years old when I was diagnosed and he was the one that I fought for. I wanted to do everything to be here for him. My parents, husband and friends were cheering me along and right by my side the entire journey and they still have not left me.

4. Where are you currently on your cancer journey? Tell us how you are living life over cancer.

On April 13, I will be celebrating my 5 year “cancerversary” and at the end of the summer a dream that I have had since the day I was diagnosed will come true, we will be welcoming twins.

5. What do you wish other people knew about Hope Scarves?

I wish everyone knew that Hope Scarves is there to provide hope and encouragement and as a scarf donor, the words that you write and the story that you share provides someone with more than just a scarf.

6. What would you tell someone who is thinking about sending a Hope Scarf to a friend battling cancer?

I would tell them to pick a scarf that reminds them of their friend and write a note with it so they know they are not alone and provide them with encouragement during their journey.

7. What is one of your dreams or goals for the future?

One of my goals is to continue making sure that no young women faces breast cancer alone and they are connected to the services and supports needed during their journey and I dream of a world without any cancer.

8. What is your favorite inspirational quote or words to live by?

When life gives you lemons, make pink lemonade!

9. If your friends or family had to describe you in two words, what would those be?

Hopeful and determined

10. Please share something you learned having gone through cancer – either as a survivor or as having a loved one with cancer.

I have learned what truly matters to me in life and the rest is just noise. Focus on the positive and leave the negative behind.