Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!


  What a week!  Last chemo, false eyelashes, weak muscles, new cravings, and amazing inspiration from fellow survivors.
                       (Photo: Chemo nurse Doug, me, and my husband Kent)
  Yes, we celebrated my last chemo treatment, but the side effects came on a bit stronger than last time.  I kept busy on the weekend with volleyball and baseball tournaments, and the fuzzy, icky feelings started kicking in Sunday evening.  Monday was a lump-on-the-couch crummy day, and Tuesday was similar, except added a light-headedness to the mix.  I got to feeling partially human Tuesday night, so decided work would be okay Wednesday, bright and early at 3am!
  False eyelashes now add about ten minutes to my getting ready time.  I have about six lashes on each eye, and since I've been using Latisse for several months, they are long...but look pretty skimpy, even with mascara.  No eyelashes is almost as big of a visual shock as no hair.  I thought I looked like an old man with no I look like a turtle!   I asked our beautiful lifestyle correspondent, Amanda Chamberlain to hook me up with eyelash advice, and her friend MaryAnn did a segment on the morning show to show me how to make the best of the four dollar fake lashes from the drug store.  If I could see close-up (weird chemo vision changes) and get my fingers to be a bit more steady, I bet I could get good at this.  Hopefully I won't have to do it for long!
  I have always looked at chemo and cancer as something I will deal with TEMPORARILY.  And it is!  My hair is starting to grow fuzzy, little, white strands.  Makes me think of a tufty, baby bald eagle, or the ugly duckling!  You think- no way will that thing grow into a pretty bird!  The jury's still out on what will happen in the weeks to come, but I know whatever happens, it's chemo's fault!  No one has to know that my hair was mostly white before.  It's coming in solid white, and it's because of chemo, got it?
  I've been told that it helps to stay active with walking or some kind of workout while you go through chemo, but I haven't followed that advice.  Busy, napping, just didn't make the time to do it...and now I'm feeling the effects.  My muscles feel like I just worked out, but don't look like it!  It seems like stretching gets my circulation pumping and I'm hoping that will give me a boost as I try to get back in shape to coach volleyball this summer.  (Long road ahead, girls!)
                           (Photo: Ringing the bell to celebrate final chemo!)
  As for the weird eating habits of chemo...I'm still pretty ticked that I've gained weight!  When the taste-buds are weak, I seem to need more food to fill the gap!  Mexican food has been at the top of the list all four months of chemo, but lemon is a new craving!  I've always liked lemon desserts, because of the strong flavor, and it's not too sweet...but I've never craved it like I have this week.  I had a scoop of lemon sorbet covered in fruit loops the other night.  Last night, a slice of lemon meringue pie.  Big flavor, big calories, bigger Mary!  (But it's temporary!!!)
  My Mother's day weekend has been fantastic and more than memorable!  When you kick things off on Saturday morning with a gathering of thousands to support the fight against breast cancer, you can't go wrong!  We got my son to baseball, then my husband, daughter and I attended the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Salt Lake City.  As we hung out in the Survivor's Cafe, the organizers asked me to carry the "Newly Diagnosed" sign in the Survivor's March to the stage.  I was humbled, and honored to carry the sign for other women who are less than a year from diagnosis.  A few of these beautiful ladies I got to meet were diagnosed while they were still breastfeeding little babies.  Young moms going through this like another week of carpool duty!  Amazing strength, and showing that there is something so valuable to fight for.  Others diagnosed at Stage 4, and fighting for their lives.  All of us know the percentages, and know there is hope.
               (Photo from Komen's facebook: Survivors March)
  I also got to meet some friends in person for the first time!  Facebook, email, and blog friends I've come to know personally, but hadn't met face to face!  And my chemo-buddy Nancy came up to say hello.  Her team of 70 did the race, and pushed her in a wheelchair because she had a pretty rough week after her chemo #5.  She helped me carry the sign to lead the march, and her strength gave me more support!
   So many incredible ladies... our neighbors, teachers, sisters, moms and daughters... with amazing stories of power and support.  They inspire and energize me to push, and keep fighting.  Not only fight cancer, but fight to spread the word about early detection, and help raise money to find a cure.  Ten years from now, we should still gather for support, but hopefully we will have a cure.  Our goal should then be to increase early detection, raise money to pay for treatment, and maybe find a vaccine to prevent it!
   To top off the Mother's Day weekend, my kids and hubby took me to see The Avengers!  It was incredible if you love action and humor...which is exactly what I love at the theater! And it makes you wonder if we can invent a cancer killing super hero that doesn't cause as much collateral damage.  Let's get busy!  And Happy Mother's Day!!!


  1. Mary, congrats on being able to ring that bell! I'm so happy for you that you are done with those treatments! You still look and are a beautiful person! My mom and I walked in the Walk for the Cure on Saturday and you and Jill were definitely in my thoughts. I was hoping to 'run' into you on Saturday, but hoped that you were there and doing alright. I love ya and know we are thinking of you each and every day! You keep up that great attitude and smile and you'll kick this thing in the butt! Happy Mother's Day to you! -Marshelle

  2. Wonderful post! I was in the "sea of pink" myself... the 1-5 year group. So glad you are done with chemo!! I am proud to say that we "fought like a girl" and won! Hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day. Kate

  3. Your post is very inspiring! I am glad I have found your blog :}. Thanks for sharing your good news, especially on Mother's Day. I am seeking new ways to encourage those that I pray with on how to overcome breast cancer. I highly recommend Judith L. Pearson's inspirational book, It's Just Hair: 20 Essential Life Lessons. She will tickle your funny bone and touch your heart in just the right way :}. You can find her website at:

  4. I love you, Mary!

  5. Hi Mary,
    This is Sherri, i went to school with your hubby. Diagnosed with BC just when we arrived in Germany, but i think you know all that. My last chemo was not to long ago. I know how your feeling, weak, no hair, no eyelashes, no eyebrows, no boobs or nipples Lol. well that's my case any way. I am getting stronger every day but still have bad days ;( where i am just hurting like hell. I started on my cancer pill, that i have to take for the next 5 years. It has the same side effects as chemo, damn the luck Lol. just wanted to pop in and say "it gets better". It's been tough, i cannot lie, but it sure could have been worse. I am still here, waking up to my hubby's beautiful face and the sun every morning <3 All my prayers and thoughts are with you. We made it!!!!!

  6. I just came across your blog, and for some reason, it surprised me that you have been going through chemo treatments. I had not heard that you were diagnosed with cancer. I am so sorry to hear that, but happy that you are going through it with such a POSITIVE ATTITUDE. I have not as faithful at getting my screenings done every year, but with reading this and having advice from a new doctor, I am calling to set up my appointment now.
    Best of luck to you during your radiation, and keep being positive, because that is what is helping you get through all this.
    God Bless you and your family, and watch over you all as you continue to heal from this episode in your life...

  7. Mary, you are such a powerful voice for good. As event chair for the American Cancer Society's Nebo Relay For Life, I am blessed to be with so many people going through the same thing you are going through. It is hard to stay positive when you feel like your world is spinning out of control. Thank you for sharing your story and your beautiful outlook. You magnify the power of your voice by using it for such a good cause. I'd like to speak with you about talking at our Relay Event, but am not sure how to get a hold of you. If you would be willing to help us, could you please send me your contact information to event Thank you so much.

  8. Your comments about looking like a turtle and hair growing back white gave me a good smile, because that was my experience exactly at the end of the chemo run. Except I called it lizard eyes. A little freaky, but like the hair, the lashes grew back. And absolutely you can blame the white hair all on the chemo:). You've made it through the worst and been a class act and inspiration to many, many people. Radiation will be easy compared to chemo. Hang in there, it will soon all be behind you!