You Can….and So Can I

Why do we have so many people telling us we can’t do something?  Why are there so many negative people out there who seem hell-bent on stealing another person’s joy, dreams, and goals?  Jealousy?  Hate in their hearts?  I don’t know….but I’m so tired of it.

When I was told by a friend when I was younger that her parents thought I was immature because I laughed too much…..I kept laughing.

When I was told by a parent that I’d never amount to anything without them….well here I am.

When I heard whispers that I may not make it through chemo….I fought harder.

When people said I wouldn’t be able to work full-time and go through chemo treatments….I worked harder and not only passed probation, I excelled.

When I was told I shouldn’t try to have kids….I did and I have 3 beautiful daughters.

When I got my dream job and a person I trusted was behind me telling others I wouldn’t ever be successful…..I was.

And now I see so many people being told they can’t.  And it makes me angry.  Don’t let another person dictate what you do in life.  Keep going for it, don’t give up, and pursue your dreams.  This is your life, not their life.  If you give up on what you want, you will never know if you could have done it or not.  And if you give up, you are giving those people what they wanted….to see you fail.

Just a rant for a change….surround yourself with people who love and support you….and leave the others behind.  You don’t need them.  And is this a plug for praise….no….I have those people around me too and need support and reminders that I don’t need it either.

Katie 🙂

Birthday Breasties!

39 years ago my partner in crime, life, and all things breast cancer was born.  It took us years to truly find each other, even though our lives have been intertwined through it all.  Our dads grew up together…..and it’s always funny to me that I’m sure at some point her dad arrested mine….very likely happened…..and that is a story for some other blog.  We ended up in grade school together, somehow ended up working together at the same place for years.  For a long time that was it….just being in the same places at the same time, but never really interacting.  We knew each other, we were friendly…..but that was about it.  Until one day in 2012.

I remember it well….I had a newborn and was at my daughter’s preschool Christmas party.  I got a phone call from a number I wasn’t familiar with.  Something told me to answer it anyway.  It was Jamie…..and she was calling to tell me she had just been diagnosed with breast cancer.  And it shook me.  People were coming to me throughout the years about concerns they had, family members or friends who were possibly facing it, but this one really got to me.  And people knew that I was very open about hearing from anyone who had questions or concerns.  And she knew to call me…..and it started something that just cannot be stopped.  We grew closer as she fought, had ups and downs, and now is at my side in a battle to rid the world of this evil disease.

The way we are now makes me wonder how on earth we didn’t truly find each other earlier  We are both dorks….the weirdest people you’ll meet.  We are silly, crazy, and laugh at everything.  We both faced a horrible disease and used our experience to reach other people.  At that time in December 2012 she needed me…..but I didn’t realize I needed her too.  She’s challenged me to be the person I am now.  She has taken me WAY out of my comfort zone and I’m truly grateful for her influence in my life.

But it’s more than that…..we are true friends and sisters.  I don’t know how many times we talk in a day, but sometimes it doesn’t seem like enough times.  We get each other, understand what we are both going through in life after cancer.  Not many people understand it, and I’m so thankful I have someone in my life that does, that I can call a friend.

A breast friend.  Breastie.  BFF.  Pink sister.  We’ve said them all…..and on her birthday…..I’m just so thankful she’s here living life with me.  No matter what we do.  Crazy conversations,  roaming through stores, laughing on the phone, going to galas, supporting each other, and just being there.  I’m so freaking blessed.

And now I’m going to share something I never thought I would.  This is a true example of her pulling me out of my comfort zone.  She has no fear, and I’m getting there.  Everyone has seen her picture….the one with her painted chest.  Not many people know that I was there that day but my current job prevented me from sharing it.  And I also looked horrible….no matter what she says 😉  I was painted by the amazing Jenni Bush and my pictures were taken by the talented Olivia Kohler.  And the pic is small….baby steps…..but this is a glimpse of the shenanigans we get in to together. The other pictures are mostly selfies….and we take a lot.  One thing we learned together….we can’t have enough pictures together ❤

Happy Birthday my breastie bff Jamie!!!  I’m proud and honored to be your friend….and so very thankful to have you in my life 🙂


Katie 🙂

Another Year!!

Today is my birthday!  Feel free to send me all kinds of birthday greetings 🙂  I’ve always loved birthdays….they are usually terrible for me, but I still love them.

I have even more reason to celebrate every year….even though I love to lie about my age….I’m extremely grateful to be here to celebrate each year that I get.  I know how close I came to not being able to celebrate this age, and how many people don’t get the chance.  I’m so grateful, and thankful, and blessed.  Each and every year is my best birthday gift.

I’ve got a little side by side thing here….a picture of me celebrating my birthday during chemo….and one of me more recently.  Yes….I did pick a really good after picture of me…but we have filters now….so why not use them?


Even at this time during my treatment, I didn’t realize how bad I was…..and I’m glad I didn’t.  I had a lot of hope and determination to make it to my next birthday….and my next….and my next.  I’m thankful for every day I have….and the chance to celebrate my….ahem……39th birthday.  Ugh.  Just kidding….but if you ask my kids, they will probably tell you I’m 29 😉

Happy Birthday to me!!

Katie 🙂

Not Everyone Can Say The Right Thing….

We have had massive flooding where I live, and I’ve been seeing the struggle all around me. People are sharing their frustrations and experiences….and mostly people are supportive and sympathetic.  Then there are those who just can’t say the right things.  Sometimes their thoughts are not intended to be mean or cruel…..some are, but I’m not talking about them.  There are people…..and I’m one of them….who no matter what they think….the words that come out are not always the best.  I struggle with this a lot…and end up saying nothing to prevent my stumbly self from making someone feel bad.  This is why I was so understanding of those who said the wrong things when I went through chemo….and even to this day.  Not everyone understands what you are going through and want to show their support in any way they can.  It’s not every person’s strong suit.  There are people who should be professional supporters.  The beautiful and perfect things they say could be poetry…and then there is me and all the others like me that just seem to say one long DUUUHHHHH.   Ugh.

There were a lot of people who said some pretty horrible things to me.  I was able to recognize they weren’t trying to hurt me.  Sometimes the things your heart feels and your mind thinks just don’t come out right.  Not everyone is as understanding….I’m not easily offended.  And maybe because I suffer from the same thing…..I get it.  I’ve often asked to write rather than talk….it’s easier and less awkward.  I tend to speak before I think….and that leads to some backtracking and explaining….I always feel sorry for people who have to endure me in conversation.

Not everyone is out to offend.  Just remember that….not everyone truly understands and they try to show their support and love no matter what.  They want you to know they are thinking about you…..they just can’t express it like a poet.   All of this coming from someone who often has to remove her foot from her mouth.

Katie 🙂

What I Didn’t Tell You….

I have been blessed with a husband who has supported me through all of my cancer crap. He stayed with me when I was diagnosed, took care of me when I went through treatment, didn’t make fun of me when I was bald, accepted that I was changed, and loved me no matter what.  I couldn’t have gone through this all alone.  When many people would walk away, he jumped in to the crazy and never looked back.  But…..there were many things I thought of during all of this that I never told him.  My fears and insecurities.  These are some…..

I almost gave him an out.  Even though he promised to stay with me, I feared that this would just ruin his life. He was young….he didn’t need to deal with something so big.  Many nights when I couldn’t sleep I thought long and hard about this.  I loved him….but I wondered if I was wasting his life.

I thought about saying no when he proposed.  I’m still amazed that he did….it was the ultimate promise to be with me through it all….and starting with the sickness part! But I wondered if he was only doing it out of pity? Did he really know what a lifetime commitment to me meant with all the cancer stuff involved?  Again…..was he going to be wasting his life dealing with a woman who was losing so much and didn’t feel much like a woman anymore?

I was terrified he would be devastated if we couldn’t have kids. My treatment put me in to early menopause and it was never a guarantee that we could have kids.  Was this a deal breaker? Should I just let him go so he can find someone who could give him children? It was something we both desperately wanted…and it broke my heart if we couldn’t.

Life hasn’t been easy.  There have been many lows…..but also so many highs!  I’m so extremely blessed to have my husband by my side.  He has literally picked me up and walked me through some awful times.  He’s been so patient, understanding, and just plain awesome.  But he never knew my fears, and if he did, he’d probably tell me I’m crazy.  Which I am….but that’s another post for another day 😉

I’m so thankful to have him……and I try to push my fears aside, because I still have them. They creep up and fill me with worry and sadness.  But he’s still here….and I’m blessed.

Katie 🙂

You Never Know…..

I thought I had life figured out at 24.  Great job….great life….sure about my future.  Life always has a different plan, though.  I learned that.  But I had no idea exactly how different the plan for my life would be.  Everything is as it should be….but every turn has been a wake up call that you are not in control!

I’ve never been a person to be in the spotlight.  I’ve always been a behind the scenes girl.  Sure….I’ve sung in church and was forced to be in plays, but other than that…..I’ve been happy to sit on the sidelines and cheer for those who can shine.  There was always that secret part of me that thought it would be cool…..but really….it was never me.

Getting diagnosed with cancer put me in a spotlight I didn’t like at the time.  I didn’t want anyone to know I was sick or what I was going through.  I was extremely worried that everyone could tell by looking at me.  But as time went by…..going through treatment and everything….I began to change.  I became more open about what I was going through.  I didn’t have a clear idea of any mission…..but I felt strongly that people needed to know what I was going through.  So they could understand it, be part of it, relate to it.  I didn’t know then, but I know now, that this was the beginning of a crazy new life.  I can’t say that cancer was a blessing….but something you have to find the good out of a horrible situation.

I started to meet other cancer survivors and those fighting it.  I started slowly getting involved.  At first it was Relay for Life.  I walked every year.  I have a ton of survivor pins and shirts.  I looked forward to it.  As I met more people, I became involved in more things.  What stands out most is meeting my friend Denise Bohn.  She was like a magnet.  I was drawn to her from the moment I heard of her.  She is known locally to me, but for anyone else…..Denise was a news anchor for local tv and radio stations.  She was diagnosed with breast cancer after me, and was very public about it.  I was intrigued by this woman who was so bold to share her story with EVERYONE!  She didn’t care that she was a public figure.  She wanted to spread awareness and give hope to others.  I wanted to know her.  It would be years later that I got that chance, and it started a friendship I’m forever grateful for.  She invited me to be part of so many things, and the most important to me was the Pink Tie Ball.  I started as a committee member and photographer, and then she made me speak.  If you knew her…you knew you didn’t say no.  She had a way of making you want to be part of it.  She changed my life.  When I lost her…..I lost a huge part of my heart.  She inspired me so much……but I never expected to be walking in her shoes.  I was blessed to take on the job she left behind.  It was humbling and inspiring.  I met some of the most amazing people and became part of some of the most amazing events.  I would speak at them, host them, help plan them, support them.  I felt like I was all over the place and living a dream life.  And it was a dream life! Truly……there are some things I’ve been able to do that have just been amazing.  And if not for her encouragement, I would never have started being involved.

This past weekend I hosted the 4th annual Pink Tie Ball.  The 2nd without her.  Standing at that podium and addressing all the guests still felt like a dream.  How is this my life?  The reality of this event going on without her hits me hard sometimes.  This was her baby….her dream.  Sometimes I really feel strange standing in her place.  I’ve been told that she was grooming me for this…..getting me prepared for something like this in my life.  Maybe she saw potential in me.  All I know is… is so crazy and twisted.  And funny….in weird way.  I’ve been able to introduce people I love to the world to share their stories.  Like she did for me.  I have been able to encourage and support people.  Like she did.  I will never say I’m like her…..but I’ve been able to honor her life with my actions.

Was there a point to this blog?  I’m not sure.  I’m coming out of my Pink Tie Ball coma.  Life is just crazy sometimes….and after our 2nd time doing this event without Denise….it’s still so emotional.  I’m so grateful for the time I had with her, grateful for the person she helped me become, and grateful for having the chance to continue her mission.  Even if that means I have to talk in front of people.  Maybe my point is…don’t be afraid of what happens, or what can happen.  You aren’t in control….there is a destiny for you.  Sometimes it’s not what you ever expected…..but it can be what you needed.



Katie 🙂

p.s.  I miss you so much Denise.  ❤

I Don’t Always Feel Strong

I’ve started so many blog ideas the past couple of weeks….different ideas, situations, themes.  I wanted to find something perfect and inspirational to write about.  What if I don’t want to be inspirational this time?  Sometimes life is just……blah.

And that is my life this week.  About 5 days ago I came down with shingles.  Not my first time, probably won’t be my last.  I’ve had shingles in varying levels of awful, but this time….it knocked me down.  My entire left arm, left side of my back and chest….all the areas affected by radiation and cancer.  This is not a pain or experience I would wish on anyone.  It’s awful.  I was forced to rest, which sounds amazing, but there is only so much resting your body can take!  Fevers came, my appetite left, and of course I became dehydrated.  Today…..I’m just ok.  I’ll probably need a nap after this, which makes me feel sad and want to laugh at the same time.

This is just one of the many things I have to deal with after cancer.  I hate that.  Didn’t I go through enough?  Sometimes it just gets so frustrating….and I try to be positive, but times like this bring the negativity to the surface.  And anyone can say you deserve to have your bad and negative days, but that helps nothing.  I mentioned to my husband that I feel like something is always going on with me now.  I used to be so strong and healthy, and now it feels like I can’t get through a month without something going wrong.

Some days….I think it’s ok just to be really pissed about what cancer did to you.  You can’t live there……but you get to have that.  And today…..I’m just really pissed.