Monday, December 23, 2013
As some of you may know, my family has a tradition of singing the 12 days of Christmas at some point over the holiday. I am pretty sure that it started years ago in Carlstadt at Carol's house. It's been ongoing for years, and brings lots of fun memories. Like the time Grandma Carrie (God love her) kept forgetting what day she had and would just giggle when it came her turn. A new generation of the family continues the tradition and now my nieces and nephews have since joined in the fun. We have taken to modifying the lyrics to add to the holiday sillies. Having had chemo today, an idea struck me... I am happy to share with you the 12 days of chemo. I hope it brings you a smile, especially to my survivors sisters. As the song can be quite long, we will just start from the 12th day and work backwards. On the 12th day of chemo, my doctor gave to me: 12 counts of blood cells 11 nurses cursing 10 ports to access 9 checks of vitals 8 pills of zofran 7 veins a-warming 6 wigs a-spinning 5 siiiiiideeeee efffeeeecccctttss 4 combo drugs 3 sets of scans 2 perky boobs and a benedryl iv naaaaapppppp
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
This journey is an ever-evolving educational experience. I thought I knew so much about life, but I keep learning more. I am sure that there is much more I haven't even come across yet. First off, I have learned that just because you might have a horribly crappy day doesn't mean that the next day can't be decent. I've learned that even if you don't get your way, you can still smile and have fun. I learned that even when you want to crawl under the covers, the best thing to do is to keep walking forward. Sometimes, you might be able to run. Other times, you might just limp along. But you have to keep going. I have learned that sometimes the only way to gain true perspective is to go through painful experiences that open your mind and your eyes. I have learned that the squeaky wheel does get the oil, but it gets the better quality oil if it squeaks politely. I have learned that most people are immeasurably kind when they put their minds or rather their hearts to it. And when they are not, it is usually not intentional. It's so important to keep hope. Keep positive. The reality is that there is no crystal ball. So while things might not be what I want them to be at the moment, that doesn't mean they can't improve. I have learned that some people in worse situations than me have improved and done well. Why not me? I can't think of a reason. So I will keep moving forward. and trying to enjoy as much as I can until the day when I have the joy in my heart knowing things are better.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
I had hoped to wake up this morning to have a different set of circumstnaces to be grateful for, but alas, I don't make those decisions. The decisions I make are what I do with the situations presented to me. So here goes. Today, I am grateful for resilience. The ability to catch my breath again after the wind has been knocked out of me time and time again. Knowing that hard times come, but the intensity of the emotions surrounding them can fade in time. Life can look and feel a little bit more normal then. I am grateful for options, that as much as I could see the pain and sadness in my doctor's eyes, not all was lost and he could offer me more. I hate bad news, but if it is followed by a plan, then I can handle it. I am grateful for love. It manifests in so many ways: through outpouring of support, through quiet tears, through a big tight hug. It is the devotion of a husband who feels like life just isn't fair, but he lives it with me and makes the best anyway. It's in the eyes and smile of a child who has no idea what is happening, but just knows how to love so deeply. It's in the hearts of the parents that keep getting broken and put back together with crazy glue and hope. I am grateful for holidays. It gives me a chance to be with the family I love and focus on something other than this. I am also grateful that I don't play football because my family is crazy, and cancer or not, they would break my fingers to pry the ball from my hand if I played. They show no mercy ;-) I am grateful for faith. It helps me to believe there must be some rhyme or reason to this craziness, especially when I can't see or understand it myself. It pushes me forward and keeps me trying harder every day. It helps me believe that if I don't give up, amazing things will still happen. And it helps me know that I am never, ever alone.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Seriously cancer, what is your problem with me? I don't get what your issue is. Are you pissed that I keep vowing to beat you? You are one fierce competitor, I'll give you that. The crap you pulled on me this week was pretty obnoxious. You play dirty. I need you to understand something though. I am not planning on quitting. I just don't work that way. I am pretty persistent. I just think though it is not right what you are trying to do. Do you realize how many people you are hurting? Please leave me alone so my loved ones stop having heart ache... And to be a little selfish, I'm really over you and your drama. Cut the crap. Suck up the infusion and die. Leave me the hell alone.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
“I, Nicole, take you, Steve, to be my husband. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.” 9 eventful years have gone by since I spoke those words, and we still try to live them every day: the good times and bad, in sickness and in health. Granted, we have had a lot of ups and downs and have had to put our vows to the test more than most do in the first 9 years, but we have had some amazing times too. Nine years went so fast, but when I stop and think of everything we have seen and done, we have crammed in some pretty impressive stuff. Here’s the happy recap: • 5 cruises • 4 Disney trips • 1 trip to Aruba and 1 to Puerto Rico with wonderful friends • 1 amazing, beautiful, stubborn child • 1 natural disaster • 3 mailing addresses • 1 mortgage • 7 surgeries (and no, they were not all mine) • Hundreds of thousands of miles racked up on vehicles • 6 vehicles • 3 new godchildren • 1 dream come true in “the Mr Beaumont” • 1 Master’s degree • 2 t-ball seasons • 14 weddings which we attended as guests • 10 baptisms • 7 job changes • 1,000,000,000 laughs • 999,999,999 tears • 1 shared anniversary with amazing friends • 2 wedding solos sung by Steve • 1 anniversary spent in the emergency room watching Harry Potter • 4 Easter egg hunts at the farm • 3 speeches about cancer • 1 big fierce, ongoing, team-effort battle against cancer • Hundreds of hidden Mickeys • 2 best friends, life partners • One love Thank you Steve…. For all that you are, but for mostly, being my home no matter where the roads may take us. And to our wise-ass best man, NO these were not all up north! ;-p
Friday, November 1, 2013
You might notice there was less posting during this October than the previous two. This was somewhat intentional. This year was a little different for me. I still enjoyed seeing the tributes and love to the disease that I live with each day. It does warm my heart to see kids wearing pink on the football field and baseball diamond. I do love seeing the NFL go all out for us pink sisters. There is something special about seeing big tough guys (including those in my family) wearing pink to honor me and the others. That is special, and there is nothing that can change that. However, for me this year, rather than jump in every sea of pink out there, I took a different approach. My strategy for honoring breast cancer awareness month was to just live my life. Live it simply on some days and live it large and loud on others. I want to share with you today what I (a girl with advanced breast cancer, with several organs affected, going through active treatment) does. I went to baseball games with my son because I can. I worked every day. I celebrated my Godson’s and my father’s birthday (along with many other family members. Apparently the fall is birthing season for Briamontes). I was thrilled and honored to learn that I have my third Godchild on the way. I planned my son’s 5th birthday for November and planned a vacation. I traveled for work for the first time in months. I took pictures of 2.5 special people on the beach. I held my beautiful baby nephew and watched him smile. I snuggled with my boy. I traveled and ran around like a nut with my husband. I went to a wedding with friends and laughed a lot. I uttered the words “I am on chemo and am drunk, I cannot be held accountable for what comes out of my mouth”. I laughed a lot. And I cried some, but less than in other months. I worked on my faith and relationship with God. I went to 2 appointments with my oncologist. I took 33 doses of chemo. I grew my hair back. I got one shot of x-geva (the bone boosting drug to prevent skeletal complications from the cancer). I managed nausea with Zofran and fried rice. I found out what hand and foot syndrome is. I learned I don’t like it but it is temporary and it passes… I got tired sometimes, like mind-numbing, cannot function or stand up any second longer tired. I did not walk in any of the cancer walks this year. I cheered, smiled and supported when I saw my friends who did support the cause. I cheered on my pink sisters in the battles and successes. I spoke in front of 400 people to enlighten them on the amazing organization called the cancer support community. I wore a sexy dress. I proudly work an obnoxious pink wig with my costume for Halloween. I was published in Coping with Cancer Magazine. I sold more copies of my book which means I helped other women. I heard from women who read the book and got great comfort out of it. Here’s the bottom line of how I celebrated Pink-tober…. I lived my life! Cancer be damned. Live Love and Laugh…
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
I thought it would be a good time to revisit my very first blog post, “all these things plus one”. During the course of my two and a half year dance with cancer, I have discovered even more cool things about me. So here goes. I am a woman who is not content to sit on my laurels and let others determine my destiny. I am a pretty darn good mother, who is raising a compassionate, bright, funny, healthy and happy child with my husband. I am biased. I am still a woman of faith, who refuses to walk away from my beliefs despite the challenges I have faced. I am proud of my accomplishments, but still suffer with moments of pretty intense insecurity. I am an author. I am a public speaker. I love to read a good novel. I wish I could write one on the caliber of some of the enjoyable works I have read. I am the 2013 honorary Mets bat girl. I love making other people feel good about themselves. I am an HR Manager. I am a pretty decent mediator in the professional setting. I am a calming influence in the office, even if not so much at home. I am dedicated to making the work place better because I am in it. I am not a fan of chemo-induced nausea, but am a fan of fried rice as being better than Zofran. I am ok with wearing wigs, hats and bandanas as need be. I do miss my long straight hair. I am a baseball momma. I am a fierce fighter, and have no hesitation taking on whatever treatment throws my way. I am relentless. I am willing to try whatever doctors suggest if it will help. I have a lot to live for and do feel that I have an obligation to do my part to make that happen. I get angry when I see women being abused or mistreated, even if it’s only on tv. I think every woman should know her worth, her strength and her beauty. I think that women should be treated with respect and not like slaves. I think men who treat women as equals are awesome and men who look down on or degrade women should be kicked in the nuts, and knocked down a peg. I feel that men who abuse woman are scum and should be subjected to the same type of torture, whether it be physical or emotional. I believe in treating others as you would want them to treat you. I love the people in my life and do whatever I can to support them. While my treatments limit me sometimes, I still am wanting to do for others and I get really cranky when I can’t. I am pretty tenacious when I set my mind to a goal. I am not o to give up. I am resilient. I have no patience for people who throw pity parties for attention and most especially when they don’t try to better their own circumstances. This is me. Cancer or not…