And So it began

"ONCE UPON A TIME"....there came along this little lump...insignificant really when you compare it to the entire world of lumps. That is, right up to the point that it wasn't...insignificant I mean............... and so began my journey.

A NEWER SHADE OF I more then SURVIVE...I am learning to THRIVE...

OF COURSE... we all know things are bound to get a little crazy with a surprise around most every corner...not to mention an assortment of bumps and bruises along the way...but I am ever thankful for them all...they have all made me who I am. So buckle up, hold on tight and enjoy the ride thru what I lovingly refer to as LIFE

Monday, October 24, 2016

Makin' Tracks - Our Grand Road-Trip Adventures

Hope you will enjoy my new ongoing series...

Since relocating to a more east-central part of the Great White North, VoR & I have taken to the road to discover what is around us...since we are both westerners by birth this is as one Capt James T. Kirk would say "The Undiscovered Country"....yup...I am a "Trekkie" thru and thru..."live long and prosper"....rabbit holed that right off track again...."squirrel!!"
ANYWAY...we have only in the last year or so realized just how close things like Boston, (Massachusetts)... Kennebunkport, (Maine)... Ben & Gerry's & Cabot Cheese factories (Vermont)and the White Mountains of New Hampshire really are.  Some are a little longer drive then others but all within a good solid day trip....who knew?!?!?!?

We have spent a week here and there but it all started off  in 2014 with a week in beautiful mountains of New Hampshire and a ride on the historic Cog Railroad up the side of the mountain....spectacular for sure!!!  We did some short day trips to Maine coast to wandered the shops of  the board walk, breathe in the Atlantic Ocean & taking a peek at the summer home of US President George Bush (41st one) in Kennebunkport.  The Autumn leaves were so bright and colorful as we meandered thru those New England states. The next day trip was to Boston, Mass to attend the LDS Temple there. It was another beautiful building and such a refuge from the business of the world.  We are so blessed to have sacred places of peace to go and feed our spirits and prepare to face whatever the world has coming our way.

Our next trip was to Smuggler's Notch, Vermont last spring.  There we found some REAL treasures....Benn & Gerry's Ice Cream factory....need I say more????  We also came across the Cabot cheese's my favorite tasting cheese so of course we had to tour and shop at both...YUM!!! I have to admit to being a map reader....even in this time of GPS and much to the mocking of my children...but there are just some treasures of info that is on the printed paper...for example...I was just looking at the Vermont one while VoR was filling the car and discovered (not far down the road) was a granite quarry. Now never having seen one...I thought it would be fun for a little side trip...why not...that''s what a VaCa is all we got there only to discover on the tour that this particular quarry supplied the granite for the outside of the Bountiful , Utah LDS temple as well as the 38.5 ft monument at the birth place of Joseph Smith Jr. in Sharon, Vermont....our next stop....WAY COOL & a neat "happened to find".

The visit to Sharon was really wonderful. We got there late afternoon and so it was peaceful and the sunlight was just perfect coming just above the trees.  The tour guide for our private tour took us around to the west side of the monument and had us back up just a bit so that the light hitting the top of the monument shone so bright it was blinding. The spirit and sacredness of that place along with the significance (the monument being 38.5 ft, one for ever year of his life) to the life of that one humble boy with the ginormous faith that began there was not lost on either of us

We have had a bunch of fun adventures...some grander then others but we have every intention of continuing to plan & discover the cool things there are to see on both sides of our neighboring countries...along with any outlet malls that happen to wonder along our path

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Final Touches


So if I am being totally honest...(which is the mission statement of this blog...if you haven't noticed that all ready...but I digress) the only REAL positive in a Breast Cancer diagnosis (that includes a full mastectomy) that happens at the end of treatment are those new "perky" boobs (either implants or your own tissue) & tummy tuck ....come on I know I am only speaking the truth..cause those are the 2 top wishes for nearly all of us... who have birthed and breast fed our babies

Soooo...let me first remind you that I am fully immersed & a life-time member of the "2%" club. We are the chosen ones that are commonly dealing with the "unlikely but just in case" list of weird/less common,"it happens to one in a million happens to"....worst case scenario side effect...I AM SOOOO OVER IT!!! It is so bad that my family Doctor actually looks at the bottom of the side-effects list for red flags before she prescribes ANY medication to me....sigh!  

I met with my plastic surgeon this last week to have a "no holds barred" appt. to see exactly where we are at.  After much talk and examination it was deemed too risky for me to undergo the HUGELY long & meticulous procedure of reconstruction.  Needless to say those perky boobs and tummy tuck are just not in the cards for me. I knew I was fighting an up hill battle when you consider my weight...1.75 above the benchmark of 30% BMI which hasn't changed in 3 yrs no matter what I do. It just hasn't changed all even with the daily hour long lap swim and mindful diabetic eating. You add my diabetes (perfectly controlled and below the diabetic benchmark...BTW) & the physical changes my body experiences when exposed to my allergens and you've got 2 of the 3 sides of sides of the perfect trifecta of events then throw in  (thanks radiation treatment)the mastectomy scars being deep and very tight  and we have created breast cancer's "Perfect Storm"....(batten down the hatches boys it's getting a smidge bumpy). She tells me that the risks are just too high for me she and that she couldn't/wouldn't consider doing again my options are limited to reduction and uplift of the left boob or complete removal of it...both of which are very easy short day surgeries. If I left it there and fixed it....which isn't really a solution since it would still be there messing with my ability to wear most clothes...and yes...a bathing suit (which is still really funny to me that I worry about things like that now)....or the complete removal (commonly called "prophylactic mastectomy") are the only 2  options I have. What really got to me was the fact that once again, it no longer was MY decision...landing me again in a situation completely out of my control. 

I'm honestly and truly okay with me evolving from "The Uniboober" to "The Unboober"...

Now you can imagine this perfect storm + the feeling of having the rug pulled out from under me again and WHAM!!!!....I am drowning my anger at this ever giving Troll in some pumpkin spice cookie dough and proceed to have the biggest "mad at the world" pity party in history.  When I began this cancer journey everything moved at light speed & I truly only retain control of a VERY FEW things (sometimes my control was really just an illusion but I held on tight to it) so when this final(I hope) rug was pulled out from under me that final time that primed storm came down with avengence...mine lasted 8 hrs....luckily no one around to watch it.

Now I will admit that the ever present still small voice that guides me clued me into this possibility several weeks ago...then randomly VoR tells me that he's OK with the removal option...he just glad and thankful that I am still here.  We all know he has nothing to do with it....that it's totally MY body...and that he's just not that kind of controlling weaselly guys fixated on the outside appearance (we all know more then our share of those kind)..he soooo gets the eternal big picture  Interesting how I had been pondering it anyway but to have him show that kind of support is AMAZING!!  He is ALWAYS my anchor and example.

Anyway...when the dust settled....I am at total peace sitting where I am with the new view of my future....& once again at the beginning of yet another "waiting list"...I sure hope this one goes faster then the 3 yrs I have been on this last one....sigh

Etta May

Friday, September 30, 2016

Swimming??!?!? most people it's a normal part of childhood...ndb..right?!?!? For me not even close...I can't even begin to explain the terror that goes along with this activity...let's just leave it as a HUGE NO!!! for now...OYE!!!

What started as a simple little push off the end of a dock as a very young child...turned into a huge life changing & traumatic moment by nearly drowning. Since that day water and I have been mortal joke!! It's soooo bad that I have never put my face in the shower or or dunked my head in water...thank heavens for wash cloths...they are the best. VoR has tried on a few occasions to get me to relax and try to float which only earned me the auspicious title of "Lead Butt" cause my rate of descent to the bottom of the pool is legendary.

Jump a head a few decades & I find myself facing the perfect storm of gentle bullying, peer pressure and support (love & understanding) that forced me to face my terror head on...

As a result of this lovely cancer troll & the surgery that came along with it... I am left with a reduced number of lymph nodes in my armpit which if not watched closely can turn into permanent lymphedema.  I have been starting to have some swelling and pain in my arm so after consulting with both my massage therapist & family doctor the best thing for me would be Aqua fit classes. So, with way more  internal dialogue then I care to admit to...and a flash back to Julia Roberts in "Sleeping With the Enemy"...(don't ever underestimate the power of movies)....I finally resigned myself to the fact that Aqua fit really would be my best treatment option because the water pressure acts on your lymph system and makes it drain. So I put on my big girl panties and stepped into that perfect storm approached my 2 dear friends with skills enough to not let me drown, and asked them to attend a couple aqua fit classes with me and being the women they are...jumped on it.  They suggested that maybe we should start with a few trips to the pool just to get comfortable...(start peer pressure here) jump ahead a few morning (way too early for my night owl schedule)and they had me not only dunking my head but actually floating...WHAT!!!!...see there are miracles happening all around  We decided to keep it as a secret from VoR and surprise him once I could actually swim a bit.  I will never forget the look of shock and complete pride I saw on his face that first day. This was the most GINORMOUS hurdle I have ever faced & sometimes I still look more like that fish in the bottom of the boat thrashing around then a swimmer...but I keep plugging away at it. I have since learned that I really love the backstroke and use it to do my lap swimming which, since VoR joined my gym, is 6am 6 days a week...again..way too early for this night owl) well we go a little later on Sat. I can NEVER thank those 2 women enough for opening up this new world for me. THANK YOU!!!  Not only have I overcome this terror but the health benefits are range of motion and lymphatic system are jumping for joy...and I can't begin to tell you how great that's a win-win in my books.  

Etta May

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A New Shade of Pink...SURVIVOR

I am gonna start this off with a couple items of "business" for you to be aware of...
First...there is a little spot on the right side where you can add your email and become a follower of this blog so you don't miss any future posts.
Second...I have added a spot on the bottom of these new posts that gives you an option to leave a't be shy...go for it.  I can't wait to hear from you!!!

Now let's move on...I just thought I would take a minute and explain why the "New Shade of Pink".  Understand first that my life will forever have a "hint of pink" in it.  No matter how many years I get beyond the actual boob battle...once you have walked down this path you are forever changed and always glow a smidge pink

I have really been at a loss...struggling, stewing & brewing over this blog for the last year wondering if I had anything really to share.  All I know is that I didn't want this to turn into an everyday over share facebook post...(ain't nobody got time for that silliness...just sayin) but I was beginning to feel a real disconnect because it just wasn't relevant to where my life is today. I started this blog as a newly diagnosed breast cancer patient but 4 yrs later my life is no longer revolving around treatment, side effect and complications. YES...I still have ongoing issues that will always be part of my "new normal" but I accept my new limitations...slow my pace and just keep moving forward figuring it out as I go.

DON'T get me wrong...I LOVE this blog and all the blessing it has brought into my life...more than I could ever begin to list.  It has taught me so very much about myself & brought people into my life that inspire, support, motivate and have loved me thru some really dark days....but I am not the same person...I have evolved into something more.

I am now OFFICIALLY A SURVIVOR but I not only SURVIVED but I THRIVE!!!  I am rediscovering my limited (it ain't always pretty...OYE!) creative self and embarking on some creative adventures.  I still love to ponder, reflect & try to understand my purpose/role in this life...what I am supposed to learn...cause after all...that is what this life is all about.  Facing new challenges (even the ones we don't want) that are meant to smooth off my rough edges making me a better version of myself then I was the minute before...always moving forward.  


So let me end by saying again...Welcome to my new shade of PINK!!  Can't wait to share more laughs, tears & "aha" moments with you. 

Glad you are here
 - Etta May -

Saturday, September 24, 2016

With a TON of help from my Blog Guru....who is most definitely my "Fairy Blog Mother" (you are the best!!!) I  figured the best way to start  the new chapter of my journey was with a little pampering... after all...the girl does deserve it. It has been a long and grueling few years to say the least....lessons learned, faith sustained, love received and exhaustion hit...more then a few times.... I am taking a much needed and long overdue BIG STEP.. Iv'e tried to make "The "Boob Battle" posts easier to find by running the label list  down the side so you can find exactly the one you want to re-read 

So...with the face lift complete we are ready to tackle all the new adventures and explore some of the side roads and probably stumble over more than a few roadblocks along the way. It is bound to be a crazy ride and I can't wait to share it with you...but most importantly learn from it as I meander along this journey...


Friday, July 15, 2016

Thursday, August 20, 2015

I can't begin to tell you how deeply I love words. 
 At any given moment they can produce such an array of emotions in me.

Anyone who really knows me...or even just reads this blog on a regular basis has long since figured out that I am a "QUOTE HOARDER"...(not in those crazy over the top TV hoarders kind of way)....but I have a SERIOUSLY HARD TIME passing any quote that sparks some response in me...signs...wood, name it....I am drawn to anything with words on it. My family could tell you about the piles (ok...files, boxes & computer folders) filled with quotes I have collected & stuck up random places over the years - my scripture front pages are filled with ones that have sparked gospel understanding or have moved my spirit.  I don't really have any particular subject or style that I gravitate to....they can range from goofy & funny to deep & thought provoking...but somehow, somewhere & someway on some day they all have had a profound effect on me. 

They have often sparked different emotions & insights as I have read them...depending on what I need...sometimes giving them an entirely new meaning. It isn't that the words have changed but my need to learn & understanding has. Those moments are such tender mercies...when I feel those words move me I & I know the Holy Ghost is speaking to my mind & my heart, bringing insight to my spirit.  I have felt the stirrings in my soul & the burning in my bosom testifying to me the things vital to me & my journey on this earth.

Let me give you a few examples of those random phrases that have crossed the void I call my brain in the last little while...
"Came loaded" 
"Family First or First Family?"  
"Lost Forever"
"Questioning vs Murmuring" 
"Second Guessing"

I'm not gonna tell you anymore about them. Over the next few posts I will share what some of them did for me & their effect on the very root of my life and faith. What I really want is for you to just live with them for a little while and see what emotions or thoughts they invoke in you....have some fun with them & maybe learn something about yourself in the process...make some are some "jumping off" ideas you...

Did they spark anything?
Did I feel the urge to give them more consideration?
What are my first thoughts/impression of them? 
What other meanings do they have to me?
Were they really just words & phrases? 

Lets get personal for a second (forget the effect on others for a minute) and just look in the mirror and consider....
Do YOU ever stop to think how the words you see, hear & use effect YOU?
Do you just using them every second but never really giving them a second thought?