Friday, June 28, 2013

How can I help?

We are so blessed for the outpouring of love you have already given us.  We are grateful to be in your hearts.  Still, people keep asking "How can we help?" or "What can we do?" 

Mark and I are both working.   Mark is the owner of Phoenix Taxi and I work part-time in the Materials Managment Department at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. I work to keep the health insurance for our family.  We just keep going, keep living, but when pressed, here are some things that we appreciate...
  •  Target Gift Cards.  We do most of our grocery shopping at Target and fill all our prescriptions there.  Email me for my address.
  • We are registered at
  • Monetary donations to help cover our out of pocket medical bills. This year, our costs for my cancer treatment and meds will be over $6000.  Any little bit helps.
  • Your positive thoughts and energy. 
  • Your prayers.
  • Your love and support.

Thank you for everything.  You light our way...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Up North

Today, we put Round 3 of chemo on hold due to my stomach pain and diarrhea.  I felt like a kid with a snow day!  So, we took advantage of this unplanned time off and packed our bags and headed North. 

We drove up I35 to Duluth for Malts at Grandma's Restaurant and then on to Bayfield, WI.  We stayed the night, walked along the shore looking for interesting rocks.  We watched the sunset from a beach of Lake Superior.

We stayed in a haunted hotel.  We took the girls swimming before bedtime.  The next morning, we woke up early to catch a tour of the Apostle Islands. We drove back to Duluth and stopped to ride the Timber  Twister, then home again, home again jiggity jig...

The SS William A. Irwin and My Monkeys

One of these sailboats caught our eyes.

My parents may have named me after this sailboat.

Sarah Joy with Sarah's Joy

Daddy's girls: Natalie, Larissa and Olivia.

Pictures from the boat.

Olivia and Natalie


Treasure Hunting on the Beach

Treasures Found

Beautiful Day


Monday, June 3, 2013

Chemo # 2 (NKTR-102)

Here's the drill. Labs checked a few days before, then I go to the clinic infusion center.  Peripheral IV is started.  Chemo drips into my arm for 90 minutes.  I read magazines, talk to my mom and Mark (if he is not busy), look up cool stuff on Pinterest on my phone and then go home to clean the house, take the kids to the beach and hopefully get a nap. 

Fatigue, nausea and stomach pain are my main  side effects- a small price to pay for killing cancer cells.  My body is still a battlefield, but I am holding my ground.  After the next round, I will have scans to check the progress.

Thank you for thinking of me.  As always, it is what it is. Let go of fear and all the things we do not control.  Believe. It is a beautiful day- I am part of it and so are you.  Get out there and feel your place in the whole- woven in and connected to all....

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Garage Sale

My sister, Ashley, lives in the foothills near Vacaville, California.   She lives and works at an animal sanctuary.  Her home is at the end of a long and winding gravel road.  She lives in what used to be the garage of a log cabin, now converted into a small studio apartment with a screened-in porch.  After spending a week visiting my sister's home I was struck by the beauty, the simplicity, the peace.  She doesn't have a lot of space, so she can't have a lot of things.  Each thing she has is meaningful to her, important to her and and reflects who she is.  Being at Ashley's felt like home.  It felt more like Home than my own house. There is just something about how my sister lives that makes me feel both relaxed and alive.

When I returned to Minnesota, I started looking around.  Our house is filled with so many things, too many things.  I slowly started weeding through my stuff.  I asked myself what this thing or that thing meant to me.  Some things had no value.  Some things had no place.  I started thinking I should have a garage sale. My girls helped me sort through clothes and toys and books. We spent rainy evenings washing, folding, preparing. I called my dad to see if he could bring over a few long tables.

My dad stopped by to drop off the tables.  Amore started barking.  Olivia ran to the window, saw her Grandpa and announced, "Santa is here!  Santa is here!"  As far back as I can remember, my dad has grown a beard every winter.  When summer comes, he shaves it off.  Our weather has been unusually cold, snowy and rainy this year, so he hasn't shaved it off yet.  Plus, this past Christmas we got my dad to put on a Santa suit that I found at a Thrift Store.  Olivia hugged and kissed her Santa.  We unloaded the tables.  Then, we waved good-bye to Santa.

Natalie and Larissa helped me fill the tables with our things in hopes that someone would find a treasure and our things would find a good home. It was a little sad unloading nine 18 gallon totes of baby clothes. It made it feel more real that Olivia will be my last baby. As we filled the tables the girls oohed and ahhed over all the small clothes and remembering Olivia wearing them. I did keep a few preemie oneizes and sleepers. I laughed at the food stain on her 3m clothes and am amazed at how small she once was and how much she has grown.  She will be 3 years old in July.

I asked Mark to go through his things, but he says he he needs all his stuff- like his first Mac Laptop that's about 13 years old, his first digital camera that has 3 mpx, photo paper that must have gotten wet and is stuck together, shoes, shoes and more shoes, a printer, his police belt, stuff from college, and so much more.  Mark needs it all.

He hasn't realized this simple truth yet:  There is no UHaul behind the hearse.

Each year, our neighborhood has an annual garage sale. We opened bright and early on Thursday morning- with about 10 sales in all in our area- selling mostly kid's clothes and toys. Thursday was a little slow, most likely because it looked like rain. Mark ran the sale for me for an hour so I could go to the clinic and have labs drawn.  Friday was busy, even after the rain.  Saturday I worked, so I told Natalie that if she ran the sale I would split that day's profits with her. She was happy making deals, she earned herself $40.00. Labs back- Chemo is a go for Monday!!

It was fun watching all our things being claimed by new people.  Treasures found.  Probably the most funny moment was when one lady picked out some stuffed animals and set them down in front of me.  She said she had to get her money out of her "girl pockets" and proceeded to lift up her shirt and feel around for the money she had in her bra.  She put this "girl pockets" money into my hand.  I looked at the five dollar bill.  I wondered about all the other places this money has traveled.   From hand to hand.  From bra to hand... I gave her a few dollars in change and back it went into her "girl pockets."  I bet money has quite a story to tell.  I wasn't wearing any gloves. Hand sanitizer time for me!  :)