Every Spring….

Every fall I find myself feeling the same way I did when I started chemo.  That nauseous feeling….just that general uneasiness that came with putting poison in your body.  Without fail….every fall…..I’ll have that feeling for a bit.  The same thing happens in the spring….but for a very different reason.  Every May I would find out I’m pregnant…..and morning sickness would come with it.  I have 3 beautiful daughters….so looking back it wasn’t so bad, but my 3 miracle daughters didn’t come easily….and the journey was also filled with heartbreak.  And it’s crazy….that I can actually show the timeline of my pregnancy journey with pictures from when I would go to relay for life.

I was given the go ahead to try for a family after my 5 year mark.  I wasn’t sure how it would go, there were no guarantees…..but we would try!  I had gone in to menopause during treatment, but seemed to come back to normal when it was done.

The first time I found out I was pregnant…..I can’t even describe the excitement we felt!  Like all our dreams were coming true and cancer hadn’t done anything to me!  We were beyond thrilled and even put together special ways to announce it to our families.  We were making plans, going over names, dreaming of the future.  It was just perfect.  But I should have known…..life had already shown me what happens when you think everything is perfect and nothing can go wrong.

I was extremely happy to tell my oncologist’s office….this was their victory too.  This was a big deal, and they were also so happy!  When I attended the Relay for Life that year…not only did I get to celebrate with all those people from the office, but hear my oncologist speak! He’s a brilliant man and he even made a little comment about me….of course didn’t mention my name….but it meant a lot.  The pic below is the moment I realized he was talking about me.

 

Sadly……that day…..I miscarried.  It was ironic that it happened that day…..and it was beyond devastating.  I figured I’d done something wrong….no matter what the books said…..I was sure I did this.  Why would something like that happen after all we had gone through?  It was so extremely unfair and heartbreaking.  I don’t know what our families did with the items we gave them to announce our good news….but thankfully I’ve never seen them again.  We actually tried again really soon, got pregnant, and miscarried again that same year.  Then I took time off.  It was so hard to prepare my heart for the possibility of losing another baby.

So we waited.  Until the year our first child would have been born.  Like I said….we never had any trouble getting pregnant.  It was keeping the pregnancy.  We found out that my progesterone was not staying high enough during the first trimester.  So they put me on a supplement.  A magic pill that “kept me pregnant”.  That’s how it felt, and let me tell you…..that is the only pill I’ve ever taken regularly and not missed a day.  It was hard to stop when they told me I was safe…..and I took them until they ran out.

So my third pregnancy….I was so scared to go to Relay.  It’s funny how you associate things or circumstances with what you have gone through.  The irrational part of my brain was sure that Relay was causing me to miscarry…..I KNOW THAT IS CRAZY!  But….you know how it is.  So yes….I was terrified and actually went to the bathroom every five seconds (it felt like) to make sure all was well.  This is us that year……along with my amazing oncologist and his also amazing wife…..the medical team that saved me and cheered me on!

 

And in February 2008 we welcomed our miracle baby to the world.  It was a journey that was so difficult, heartbreaking, devastating, and overwhelming.  I know that we are extremely blessed to have the outcome we did….not everyone is as fortunate.  img_2035

Getting to bring her to Relay the year she was born felt like a huge victory! Like laughing in the face of evil cancer……like….here she is.  We did it.  You didn’t steal this from me.  That survivor lap was the happiest one I’d taken since my first.

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We were blessed with 2 more daughters along the way, and even though our last was never part of our Relay life, (as we stopped attending), it was special to be able to bring our girls to the event and celebrate the entire journey and the way life has turned out.  I didn’t know if I would survive cancer.  I didn’t know if we could have kids.  I didn’t know if we would be able to have our own kids.

Everything we have gone through has shown us just how precious life is.  How blessed we are.  Every single day with these dorky crazy mini versions of us is just pure happiness!  We just celebrated Mother’s Day…..and admittedly I had to stop and cry when I typed that.  I’m so extremely blessed to be a mom….my girls are the most amazing and beautiful thing that I’ve ever had a part in creating…..and even though my journey to becoming a mom as so hard…..I can look back and say it was so worth it.

 

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 🙂

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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?

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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 🙂