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Cental Coast, California
In March 2012, at 35, I was diagnosed with invasive ductal breast cancer, Estrogen-, Progestorone-, Her2+. With a 4-year-old daughter, this is my journey to cancer-free and parenting with cancer.
Recent Activity
This last weekend, my brothers and I, along with many relatives, buried both our parents in the family plot in Tennessee. In the past several months, I've spoken a lot about my dad, his cancer, and our relationship, but besides this solitary piece, I haven't shared much about my mother.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2014 at I [Heart] My Life
I remember picking up my flannel pillow and pulling my twin-size down comforter off my bed. I balled them up together as best I could and then lugged the heavy bundle up the stairs, dragging a large portion of it on the floor, stepping on parts of it in my... Continue reading
Posted Oct 27, 2014 at I [Heart] My Life
The afternoon before my father's memorial service I still hadn't written my speech. I'd been thinking about it off and on all week, but I'd been busy with other things: lining up the other speakers, writing the programs, coordinating with the mortuary staff re flowers, food, audio / visual, room... Continue reading
Posted Sep 24, 2014 at I [Heart] My Life
George Herbert Johnson November 15, 1952 – September 5, 2014 George Herbert Johnson, 61, passed away peacefully on Friday, September 5th, at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, surrounded by his three children, April Johnson Stearns, Dale Johnson, and Kyle Johnson, and his two brothers, Milo Johnson and Craig Johnson.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2014 at I [Heart] My Life
Wow, you look really good! People (well-meaning to be sure!) say this to my dad all the time. Later, we discuss this: What does it mean, exactly? What should a stage IV cancer patient look like? Should he be more bald? Even more thin, weak? Less dressed? Less up-right? I'm... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2014 at I [Heart] My Life
This is a necessary post, and yet it is one I don't want to write. I need to let my dad's community know that his condition is worsening. I keep hoping the bad days are a fluke, an anomaly, but unfortunately, the more he has and the longer they are... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2014 at I [Heart] My Life
I didn't know Robin Williams any more than we can know an actor from his films and interviews. We think we know them because they've touched us, but we don't. I have no little personal story of running into him in the Bay Area (though I always felt a little... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2014 at I [Heart] My Life
A little Q&A on how my dad's doing lately: Q. How is George feeling these days? A. Whenever I ask my dad how he is feeling he always says the same thing, no matter what: "So so." Translation: "I've been better... and I've been worse." He's a stoic guy, to... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2014 at I [Heart] My Life
I remember three little vignettes in the Learning to Drive chapter of my teen years, all featuring my dad. I drove a lot with my mom, too, but I prefered having my dad as a teacher. He was always calm. Fashion: Dad said, "Always wear sensible shoes and your sunglasses."... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2014 at I [Heart] My Life
Last November, while out doing some errands before Thanksgiving, my dad suffered from an out-of-the-blue grand mal seizure (now called a tonic-clonic). He collapsed in an automotive store, was taken by ambulance to the hospital, and then was unconscious for a week in the neuro ICU. Eventually he was diagnosed... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2014 at I [Heart] My Life
It goes without saying, I'm not the only one heartbroken over my dad's cancer diagnosis. He has a whole community grieving now, but more than that, I have two younger brothers. We've been through a heck of a lot together, and I cannot imagine facing any of this without them.... Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2014 at I [Heart] My Life
After posting this picture of this morning's Mineral Broth-makings on Facebook & Instagram, I got a few requests for the recipe. I can't take credit for it. It comes from Rebecca Katz's The Cancer Fighting Kitchen. Both the book and the broth are life-savers! This is my Rosetta stone of... Continue reading
Over at Green Tea & Chocolate I'm salivating over a few of my family-invented green smoothies. Pop on over and let me know your favorite flavor combinations. Continue reading
Posted May 27, 2014 at I [Heart] My Life
One hundred and fifty days of green smoothies. What does that mean exactly? That means I kept my first New Year's Resolution. Ever. It started off as a 30-day challenge and then I was hooked. A "green smoothie," by the way, is a smoothie containing some sort of dark, leafy... Continue reading
Early on in the diagnosis days of my cancer journey, Joe and I met Doctor #2. The surgeon of the team. Eventually there would be three: a chemo oncologist, a radiation oncologist, and a surgical oncologist. His office was messy, with papers and books all over, like you'd want to... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2014 at I [Heart] My Life
This week marks George's second chemo infusion. With the regiment he's on, he gets an infusion every other Monday (with continuous drip for an additional 48 hours after leaving the infusion center, aka the "Chemo Lounge"). This particular regiment takes 5 hours to dispense, which is similar to my time... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2014 at I [Heart] My Life
There is a new normal round here. Alarm goes off at 6a. I reach for my phone & clumsily scroll through a few social networks while I blink hard to clear away the bleariness. Wake up! Between 6:15 and 6:30 I pull on yoga pants, a sweatshirt, a hat, and... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2014 at I [Heart] My Life
When I was going through chemo for breast cancer two years ago, I ate these bars a lot. Little protein punches designed to satisfy whenever food actually sounded good -- hence, "anytime." Oddly, food sounded most good when I was in the Chemo Lounge, receiving an infusion of medicine! But... Continue reading
Some families have a crest. Some have matching tattoos. I guess in our family we have matching medi-port scars. (At least among us who don't share the same love of power tools, battling fires, and 4x4s, or towering 6'+ heights.) Me, pre-op: March 2012 George, pre-op: April 2014 Today George... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2014 at I [Heart] My Life
Thanks for the compliment & the edit, Angus! I appreciate both. :)
Toggle Commented Apr 13, 2014 on Checking For Vital Signs at I [Heart] My Life
Thank you to everyone who read my last post and sent their well-wishes for my dad and our family. It means so much to have the support and love coming our way right now. I'm afraid that we received additional bad news this week. The same day I posted my... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2014 at I [Heart] My Life
A few weeks ago, my dad turned yellow. Really yellow. Like, goldenrod. His skin and the whites of his eyes. Everyone thought it was a medication he was on that was causing the jaundice. The medicine was changed, time passed, and still he was yellow as a manila mango. Next... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2014 at I [Heart] My Life
The other morning, while we were breakfast-ing and getting ready for school, out of nowhere Nia burst into tears. Between sobs she said she was worried that Santa would discover that she was a horribly naughty child and not bring her any presents. Misreading her fears (which were very literal,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2013 at I [Heart] My Life
A few nights ago, I watched my little girl teeter on the razor sharp edge of her own comfort zone. It was the night of her school's annual winter performance of Robin Hood. For weeks, the whole school had rehearsed, made costumes, painted props, memorized lines and sequences. Each day... Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2013 at I [Heart] My Life
I've been thinking a lot about the Princess and the Pea fairytale. And vampires. Together, in that order. I'll explain: For the past four weeks now, I've been experiencing a tenderness in my left rib cage, about an inch below my mastectomy scar. For most people, without a history of... Continue reading
Posted Oct 18, 2013 at I [Heart] My Life