Archive | June 2013

Weekly Photo Challenge: World Through Your Eyes — “Old San Juan”

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Thank you for all of the likes and wonderful comments and congratulations for celebrating my first year of blogging.  You’ve made me feel so special!

The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge topic for this week is “The World Through Your Eyes.”

The criteria for this post is as follows:

IN A NEW POST CREATED SPECIFICALLY FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PICTURE OF THE WORLD THROUGH YOUR EYES.

A few tips reinforcing what Ming taught us on Tuesday:

  • Observe a scene first before lifting your camera to your eye.
  • Ask yourself: What is the subject? What will you (not) include in the frame?
  • Look for natural lines or frames in the shot to guide the viewer’s eye.
  • Try different angles: Get low on the pavement. Look down from above.

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I’ve chosen to feature photos of Puerto Rico.  I know, I know — Puerto Rico, again?  But when you view the photos, I hope you’ll see why I chose to share them.  They were all taken in Old San Juan.

As always, thanks so much for visiting…

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To participate in this or a future Weekly Photo Challenge:

click HERE or HERE.

Thank you!

Today is My 1st Birthday…My Blog’s 1st Birthday, That is!

The twins asked for matching Angry Bird birthday cakes, so I made 6 cakes in a matter of a week.  Two blue, three red, and one yellow Angry Bird.  This was my fave -- a lemon cake, even though I am a chocolate girl!

The twins asked for matching Angry Bird birthday cakes, so I made 6 cakes in a matter of a week. Two blue, three red, and one yellow Angry Bird. This was my fave — a lemon cake, even though I am a chocolate girl!

Yep, today is my first blogoversary!

It has been one year since I first entered the blogosphere.  One year since my very first post, Yep, I’m a Cancer Patient.  One year since I first sent my thoughts out into world for everyone to see.

The thing is, I never expected anyone to see them. I didn’t tell anyone about my blog or where to find it.  So I thought no one would.  I thought this blog would just be an online diary of sorts, a memoir for my kids.

And that’s it.

To this day there are only a handful of people in my offline life who know about it.  I almost said in my “real” life.  But that wouldn’t be fair to you or to my blog.  What you are seeing, what you are reading, is my “real life.” In fact, you, dear reader, have been privy to more of my experiences and thoughts than most people in my “life-life.”

With you I have shared my joys and my sadness. My valleys, my peaks.  The waiting.  The worrying.  The hope.  The FEAR.  The beautiful.  The ugly.  The pain.  The LOSS.

And so much more.

You’ve laughed with me and cried with me.

Your beautiful comments have helped me celebrate the good moments — and have lifted me up through the most difficult times.

Took this photo at the boys'  District Art Show.  The quote says:  "My life would not be complete without my friends and family. I don't know what I would do without them all."

Took this photo at the boys’ District Art Show. The quote says: “My life would not be complete without my friends and family. I don’t know what I would do without them all.”

So it is you who deserves a celebration on my blogoversary.  It is you who has spurred me along and encouraged me to write and to share, when I felt like it — and when I didn’t.

And it is you who deserves my gratitude.  Thank you for reading, liking (even when some of the content seemed unlikable!), commenting, following and sharing…

I feel like a VERY lucky girl!!  Well, aside from the cancer thing, of course!  😉

If this is your first visit, welcome — and click HERE for a good place to start.

First anniversary stats for those of you who like math:

-226 wonderful followers

-15,300 views

-1,100 (exactly!) comments

-95 posts

And cake, for those of you who prefer baked goods!

I asked the boys if I could share their cakes with you and they said, "Of course!"  They looked at me like I was nuts, but they were happy to give you all cake!

I asked the boys if I could share their cakes with you and they said, “Of course!” They looked at me like I was nuts, but they were happy to give you all cake!

THANK YOU!

The Dream

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I realize it has been over a week and a half since my last post.  Since I am too tired to muster the energy for a proper post, I thought I’d leave you with a short story — a dream, really.  

I promise to be back soon.  School ended for the boys on Thursday after 4 half-day sessions.  And the weekend was filled with their soccer games and errands in 90+ degree temperatures.  I thought being out in the heat  and hot sun all weekend would tire them out, but it’s actually me who seems to be having trouble!

Thanks for understanding.  I’ll “see” you soon…

——–

The Dream

Nina awoke in a panic.  She had been up well into the early morning hours again.  The last time she recalled looking at the clock, the bright blue numbers read 5:13 a.m.  She remembered getting up to go to the bathroom — again — and that was it.  She must have fallen asleep soon afterward.

More often than not, this was about the time when her eyes would finally close for the last time each night.  She was in pain all day, but the nights were in a class by themselves.  It was as if she kept herself so busy throughout the day that she managed to distract herself from what her body was feeling.  But at night there were no distractions.  It was just her body and her thoughts.

And she didn’t like either these days.

When sleep finally came, it was a deep sleep.  The kind that encourages dreaming.  She didn’t usually remember her dreams.  She was okay with this because there had been times in her life when her dreams had come true — and they were never the “good” dreams.

She thought of this as she remembered the dream she’d just had.  When she slept that morning, she found herself running from an assailant wearing a dark sweatshirt and black sneakers.  She was out of breath and panting as he came upon her.  He had the same shape as her husband and the same dark hair.  She couldn’t see his face.  But his scent was familiar.

She saw something shiny in his hand.  It caught the light from the streetlamp just right.  She recognized the object now.  It was a long kitchen knife.

Panic set in as she tried to run faster.  But it was too late.  He grabbed her from behind.  She tried to scream.  Tried and tried.  But no sound emerged.

She was still straining to scream when she woke suddenly.  Her heart was racing.  She was dripping with sweat and shivering because she was so wet that she was cold.  It had seemed so real.  And even in her groggy state she realized that she’d had this “dream” many times before.

She rolled onto her back and saw her husband’s dark eyes staring at her with a look of disdain.

“You woke me up,” he said, angrily.

She apologized and started to tell him that she was having a nightmare.  He cut her off and said he knew this because she was whimpering and saying “No” in her sleep.

She said “Sorry” again, but he didn’t care.  He never cared.

When Maroon 5’s “Love Somebody” interrupted her pathetic apology, she was glad.  It was 7:30.  Time to get the kids ready for school.  Time to put her game face on.

Her husband rolled over, positioning his back to her.  She caught a whiff of his musky odor.  And it was then that she recognized the scent from her dream…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting — “Not Enough Time”

I know my response to last week’s photo challenge was far from pretty.  But I appreciated the comments I received and I was grateful for everyone who encouraged me to continue to share the truth of my story.

Cheri Lucas Rowlands of The Daily Post posed the theme “Fleeting” for the current Weekly Photo Challenge.  Naturally, my thoughts turned to the fleeting nature of life itself.  I got to thinking about how we are on this earth only briefly, and of how we have such a limited time before our bodies turn to dust and the memories we spent a lifetime making soon begin to fade.

So for the challenge this week I’ve decided to tackle the fleeting nature of life.  But to make it far less morose, I am going to focus on childhood and how quickly those precious years pass.  I say “far less” because I am still going to sprinkle a few cancer-y photos in the mix.

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As always, thank you for visiting.  And if you’d like to participate in the challenge, just click here.

I DO NOT LIKE WASHING MY HANDS!

FROM MY SON, M.  He thought this was important and needed to be shared with my readers:

cancerinmythirties.wordpress.com breast cancer thirties 30's 30s handwashing infections kids twins healthy eating

my mom is always telling me to eat my vegetables and wash my hands.

she said a  million times that ” I have a higher chance of getting cancer because my mom got it when she was so young.”  so I have to make healthy choice’s so I don’t get cancer.  That means I need to eat my vegetables and fruit.  I know I shud.  But I dont like to.  My Mom doesnt want me to get cancer when Im her age.  

AND

my mom makes me wash my hands a lot.  espeshally after i come home from school.  my mom makes me yous soap and hot water.

some times it gets annoying but I no why she she make me do these things.

i have to wash my hands because her white counts are really low.  and she gets infectshuns really easy.  and fevers easy.  she had to be in the hospital a long time for infectshuns.

So I wash my hands because i dont want her to be sick.  and i dont want her to go to the hospital.

i dont like to wash my hands or eat my vegetables but i love my mom!

Weekly Photo Challenge: “The Sign Says” I Have Cancer

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*WARNING:  The last image on this page is pretty disturbing — and gross — so be careful as you scroll down the page if you don’t want to see it.*

I am writing this post in response to The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge topic “Signs.”

While I know this isn’t what Sara at The Daily Post had in mind, taking the post in this direction is what feels right to me.  Rather than compiling a handful of hysterical sign photos (I do have a few!), I have decided to abandon my first inclination and leave funny at the doorstep.  Instead of happy and light, I’ve opted to share a few photos that capture my physical state just months before my diagnosis of Stage 3C breast cancer.

Now, before you run off in the other direction, I’ll tell you that I won’t go as far as posting photos of my breast with its visible lumps.  But I will post more benign shots that really were not benign.

I was 33 in these photos and had lost about 10 – 15 pounds without changing my eating or exercising habits [I didn’t exercise].  It may not show, but I was thoroughly and completely exhausted.  I had been tired before, but this was the first time I would hit a wall where I couldn’t, regardless of how hard I tried, force myself to keep going.

I was so sick.

I had infection after infection.  Bronchitis.  Pneumonia.  Eye infections.  Etc.  Etc.

My lymph nodes were swollen.

My skin was dull and grey.  I was breaking out in rashes and developed acne-like bumps.  I had sores in and on my mouth.  My lips were peeling and cracked, swollen and often bloody.

I had been growing my hair for ages so I could again donate to Locks of Love, an organization that provides wigs for kids going through cancer and chemo (and other serious illnesses). But I was afraid they wouldn’t accept it this time because it was so dry, dull and lifeless.  And it was falling out.

And I was falling.  On one of the occasions when I blacked out and fell down the stairs, I hit my back and head so hard that I ended up in the emergency room.

I was experiencing a constant tingling throughout my left breast, similar to the “let-down” feeling I remembered from nursing my twin boys.  But the pain in the breast, from the surface to somewhere deep inside my chest was just as concerning.  The pain in my armpit was also making me wonder.

And there was more.  But why bore you with the details?

I knew something was gravely wrong.  And I knew that if I didn’t find out what it was soon, it would kill me.

And I was right.

While these photos are not pretty or well done, they are real.  They may not look like much if you didn’t know me before all of this, but for me these photos illustrate clear signs that cancer had engulfed my breast and lymph nodes and that it was trying to go further.  I just wish I had recognized them for what they were.  I wish I had paid attention to the signs sooner.

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The two photos that follow were taken on Christmas Day, 2009, just under 4 months before my diagnosis.  I was so ill and had been for a while.  And other than pneumonia and very swollen and sore lymph nodes and these recurrent infections in my mucous membranes, etc., no one knew what was wrong with me and why I couldn’t leave these infections and illnesses behind.  These were two of the rare photos I was in that Christmas:

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Just a warning:  the disturbing photo is coming after the photo below.  Last chance to turn back!

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You probably thought I would share a photo of my breast or axillary lymph nodes here, but I promised I wouldn’t do that to you!  The disturbing photo I am sharing is of my eye, my skin, and my swollen (and bloody — though you can’t see the blood here) lips.  Both of my eyes looked like this quite often near the end.  They were as painful as they looked and were infected over and over again.  I knew something was seriously wrong with me because this wasn’t normal.  But no one sought to get to the bottom of my symptoms — I’m sure having no insurance at the time had something to do with this lack of action.

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Thanks for making it to the end.  Even though this photo montage isn’t pretty, I think it is important to my story and I appreciate everyone who was willing to see it through.

And I promise that the next photo challenge post I do will be filled with beautiful images of people or places I hold dear…

If you’d like to participate in The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge, just click here.

Daily Prompt: Tourist Trap

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I don’t often participate in The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt challenges, but this one caught my eye because it asks for photos that illustrate vacation. You all know how much I love to take and share vacation photos, so I couldn’t resist.

Here are a few favorites you haven’t seen yet. All were taken during our holiday in Puerto Rico:

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breast cancer thirties 30's 30s young puerto rico

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breast cancer thirties 30's 30s young puerto rico

breast cancer thirties 30's 30s young puerto rico

breast cancer thirties 30's 30s young puerto rico

As always, thank you for visiting. Your “likes” and comments brighten my world!

If you would like to participate in a Daily Post Challenge, just click:
here or here.