Onward.


I am the worst blogger. It has been nearly 2 weeks since my last update. Life has been a little cray. In the wake of my terrific PET scan results, it was hard to come back down from my high! However, such is life and back to reality. Now I’m just trying to stay busy until my next scan/results. Once again waiting to hear either remission or stem cell transplant sucks, but based on my last scan results, I am much more optimistic this time around! Remission here I come. For the first time in a long time, I feel stronger/braver/more like-I-can-do-this-er.

Over the past few weeks, a lot has gone on. For one, my friends from high school put on a fundraiser for us. We attended, even though we felt a little awkward at first. We had an awesome time. It was great seeing my friends from high school again, along with my coworkers and family. I’m glad my friends were able to meet Mack and Derek in person finally, and we really can’t begin to thank you all enough for your support and generosity over these past few months. A special thank you to Nikki for putting the event on, and for spending a lot of time away from your 4 children to plan it. She said “if you are able to do something nice for someone…then you just do it”. And so, I know for sure, you will be paid forward. Thank you again so much. 🙂

I am starting to get back into shape and working out on a regular basis, now that I’m feeling more like a human being! This past weekend, I ran in my first 5K since my diagnosis. (I say my first, because I plan on running many more!). This was a “bucket list” item of mine when I was waiting to get better. Something I really wanted to do whenever I was finally able to. And not to toot my own horn or anything, but TOOT TOOT!!! I was pretty proud of myself for running the full 3.2 miles without stopping. I wasn’t running for time or anything like that, I just really wanted to see if I could do it! It’s a funny thing. I used to HATE….no LOATHE is more the word….running. But when you are barely able to stand up and walk for a long time, the very first thing I thought about was running. I have never appreciated more, the fact that I CAN run. That I’m physically ABLE to do it. And because of that I figure I owe it to myself to try. And I did 🙂 I couldn’t have gotten through the last stretch without Sam E., so thank you for the last 1/4 mile of encouragement!! I shed some tears at the end for sure. I didn’t really want anyone to see at the time, but this just felt like a really big deal to me. All I kept thinking was hell I still have cancer, and yet I did it. And then I thought, dang….no excuses. Having cancer, or having had cancer, is no excuse to sit around and pout. And then I was again reminded of the best life lesson anyone ever gave me at the start of this journey: “Pick yourself up and get your shit together. You’re not going to die”.

And so, 5K?=Nailed it. (Team Sunnycliff what?!!!!) Derek said he was really proud of me, and hey that’s all I could really ask for. Next up, Warrior Dash and Tough Mudder. Who’s in?! Also just FYI, this 5K was a color run event. I didn’t wear a head scarf or hat, and by the end, my head looked like a globe. …well let me correct that. It DID look like a globe until I ran my hand through it all, and mixed all the colors up. Ya that was a big time fail. It turned gray. I mean I was already bald, did I really have to look bald AND gray? ugh. So anyways, just a heads up to any baldies out there planning on running in a color run.

I am waiting for a note from my oncologist, but I will be starting to go into my office for work once weekly now. I’m excited to see actual people. Even though I’ve been working full time from home since January, it doesn’t feel “real” since I don’t see my coworkers. I have like first day of school type jitters, and really can’t wait to get back to a little normalcy.

And now we’ve come to the TMI portion, just so you know. …a few days ago, I actually got my period! normally I would be all, oh f*ck I just got my period. Stupid period. But this time, I’m like, ooh…period! yay!….and basically that is for 2 reasons: 1) I didn’t know whether or not I would ever get one again, since I had gone through menopause and 2) I actually feel like a woman a little bit for the first time in a long time. So what does that mean? I have no idea. But even though it has been suggested to me not even to try to have another baby for risk of the hormonal change relapsing my cancer, it was a sign that hell. Anything is possible, and maybe one day I will be well enough where I can have the green light simply to try. And if not? I’m still ok with that. Because the other good news is that with my period came major hair growth! My head doesn’t even know what to do with all this hair I’ve been growing over this past week. I thought about wearing a headband or something, just to keep it out of my face! …nope just kidding. not that long yet. But hopefully soon!! The downside is that the rest of my hair is growing back too. I mean I dont know why I thought it would be possible to ONLY grow hair for the rest of my life on my head only….I thought well shit that would be a pretty nice consolation prize for having cancer!…anyways ya its growing EVERYWHERE except my armpits. eh. merp. I’ll take it. 🙂

I hope the O’Connor family doesn’t mind, but I assumed since it was publicly posted on Facebook, it would be OK to share. A lot of people have asked me for an update on Marty, and have been praying for him. I’m super happy to say, he’s really doing great. Please keep up those prayers! They are really working! :

Today, August 12th, is the one year anniversary of receiving that fateful phone call that Marty had fallen and was in the hospital, paralyzed from the chest down. It was, and remains, every family’s nightmare to have their precious son/brother seriously hurt, facing surgery and an unknown future. To say that this has been a difficult year is an understatement. We have, however, all grown in so man…y ways. We have learned to cope with the daily challenges, yet remain positive AT ALL TIMES even when nobody can offer any promises or cures. We have celebrated EVERY twitch of a finger or toe and know always that there will be more where that came from. AND THERE HAS BEEN MORE! Marty O’Connor is a fighter. He has great inner strength and has come such a long way! We’ve learned that you have to work with what you’ve got–if the bicep is firing, but not the tricep, then work the heck out of the bicep and help the tricep along. Patience??? Hmmm…I think I would call it more “tolerance with a constant eye on THE GOAL: FOR MARTY TO WALK AND USE HIS ARMS AGAIN.” We will do whatever it takes and go wherever we need to go until we reach that goal. Patience is more necessary, along with a sense of humor, when that transfer didn’t quite go as planned or when multiple family members, your girlfriend, and a giant dog are all crammed into a 2-bedroom apartment. Family?–we are all closer than ever. Although we are spread all over the U.S., there is nothing that any of us would not do for Marty or for one another–and we have needed each other in so many ways. And I include Jessie, our extended family, and friends in that statement as well. Your unending support has been extraordinary and we are so grateful. We have learned to focus on what is important in life, and not let the little things get to us–absolutely no energy will be wasted on “the small stuff.” We have grown in our faith. I know that God is smiling down upon Marty and allowing him to heal. So many of you have reached out and included Marty and our family in your prayers. Please keep them coming. They ARE working! We are so thankful for all of the talented, creative, and compassionate professionals who we deal with on a daily basis who work with Marty, encourage him, and make all of his therapies tolerable. And finally, we have learned to be strong and do what you have to do. All of us took on roles that we could not have foreseen this year and certainly would never have consciously chosen–Now, as we move on with some positive changes on the horizon, I will be taking a leave of absence from teaching and will be able to be with my husband, son, and daughter Lauren, in CA. I am so excited to be a daily player in “Marty and his SCI-year 2.” Looking forward: Marty has been very fortunate to be included in a study (he just completed week 3) at The Neuromuscular Connection where he is being treated with laser therapy in conjunction with physical therapy three times a week. So far, his response has been very promising and we look forward to the results from each session. He continues to work diligently with his therapist (weekly) and on his own at the Goodwill Fitness Center five days a week. He receives massage therapy once a week at St. Jude’s. We do more exercise, stretching, and massage at home. We have been and will continue to be RELENTLESS in this endeavor. Our warmest thanks go out to all of you for your continued support–Judy, Martin D., and family

WHOOP!!!! Get it, Marty.

In closing,I just wanted to say a few things. One of my family members recently had her whole life turned upside down. It’s a sad thing when you think you knew someone so well, but it turns out you never really did. Just remember you are strong, you are loved, and most importantly, that some of the prettiest flowers grow out of the smelliest shit. 🙂

Please continue keep my friends Kris, Ashley and Nick in your prayers (all of whom just so happen to be kicking cancer’s ass right now), as well as my sister, Jeanne.

Thank you, Nikki!

Thank you, Nikki!

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Post race wrap up at "Town Hall" in Ohio City. This is a pistachio ice cream milk shake with bacon and bourbon. Also known as heaven.

Post race wrap up at “Town Hall” in Ohio City. This is a pistachio ice cream milk shake with bacon and bourbon. Also known as heaven.

Post-race dye fest. We "ran" into our other Fake cousin Barb!

Post-race dye fest. We “ran” into our other Fake cousin Barb!

I ran into this strong chick at the end of the race as well. She just kicked cancer's ass as well!

I ran into this strong chick at the end of the race as well. She just kicked cancer’s ass as well!

This was my shirt. Nailed it.

This was my shirt. Nailed it.

Probs one of the most unflattering pics of me running, but whatever. ha proof that I did it!

Probs one of the most unflattering pics of me running, but whatever. ha proof that I did it!

Thank you Sam for your support. You're the best. :)

Thank you Sam for your support. You’re the best. 🙂

Mack wanted to make "silly faces" for the camera. :)

Mack wanted to make “silly faces” for the camera. 🙂

Spending some time with my amazing hubby at the Mayfield fair this weekend.

Spending some time with my amazing hubby at the Mayfield fair this weekend.

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And so….onwward I go.

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