Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tomorrow is a New Day and My Hubby Rocks!

2 years ago at my sisters 20th wedding anniversary
Tomorrow is the day.  The day that will forever change my life, but not for the worse because (crossing fingers) the cancer will be gone.  I KNOW it will be gone!
So why am I not nervous about or crying over the surgery or the soon to be loss of both my breasts and not having reconstruction?  I’ve gone over it in my head a zillion times and can’t figure it out.  I know I’m not ‘normal’, but seriously this is odd.  Mark gave me lots of compliments of why that is and without sounding vain, I kind of agree.  He rocks my world.

With Lucas at Ian's soccer game "did you see Ian score uncle Mark?!"
You know, a very sweet friend of mine said to me yesterday that I should be very thankful to have such a wonderful husband – and I truly am – beyond thankful actually.  Mark is not only my loving, caring and supporting husband, but is also my very best friend.  People who know us, know how we are.  We do everything together.  Always have, always will. He’s my soul mate.  My life after life partner.  The beat in my heart.  The love of my life.

Mark's awareness bracelet
Mark has always supported me, stood by my side and cheered me on through many obstacles and not once turned away. We’re both there for the other no matter what.  Like the past 3 weeks, which sometimes feels like we time warped and other times like an eternity.  Mark has been with me every step of the way and so far has done the following:  research and more research; handling all the finances and insurance (as usual); rearranged the living room so that I can sit in the recliner close to him and can see the TV when we watch movies; bought me a post-surgical mastectomy camisole so I will be comfortable while the drainage tubes are in; bought me survivor stickers, awareness bracelets, hat and more and sent me sunflowers, my favorite flower.

I won’t be alone in the hospital either as he’s spending the night with me.  I told him that I really appreciate that, but he should sleep at home to get a good night’s rest.  Besides getting a look of “are you nuts?”  His exact words were “I am not leaving you alone” and also how he wouldn’t be able to sleep without me, etc.  I just didn’t want him to be uncomfortable trying to sleep in a chair.  However, I found out yesterday when the pre-op nurse called that I’ll be in a private room which has a sleeper.  When I told Mark, I got the “ha ha, I won!” from him – which I knew was coming, but that’s okay in my book.

1994 - office pre-wedding party
Well, tomorrow is a new day. A day of hope and courage as they say.  I know it won’t be easy, but I am strong, positive & motivated, surrounded by my loving and supporting sons, family and friends - and have the love of my life by my side, as always.  So there is nothing to worry about.  Guess that’s why I feel the way I do.

Peace & Love, Rocki

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Inner Peace - right in the palm of my hand

"The life of inner peace,
being harmonious and without stress,
is the easiest type of existence"
Norman Vincent Peal
"I would rather have eyes that cannot see;
ears that cannot hear;
lips that cannot speak,
than a heart that cannot love"
Robert Tizon

Monday, August 27, 2012

Reality Check - 3 days until surgery

While it’s true that I’m a strong person, I still have weak moments - and this weekend was one of them.  Call it the human factor - and lack of sleep.

I know what I’m facing with the upcoming surgery Thursday morning, but reality sort of hit me upside the head.  Well, I don’t know if I should actually call it ‘reality’ though.  It’s not like I don’t know what is going to happen as Mark and I have read SO much (and continue) about my diagnosis, Bilateral Total Mastectomy (without breast reconstruction) - from the procedure itself to, and after, recovery.  I honestly think what got me started was when I read about the sentinel node biopsy that the doc is also doing (due to multiple locations contained in my right breast).  Since I have to be there so early for the injection of the radioactive dye I thought that meant he was doing that first and THEN the mastectomy.  Helloooo… freak-out time!  Nope, he’s doing it during the mastectomy (wipes brow).  Been through one breast biopsy and do not want to do that again.

Mark thinks it all came to a head because the surgery is 3 days away and it finally sunk in, especially since it all happened so fast – 3 weeks to be exact from the find to surgery.  Even though he knows I’m okay about the outcome, as is he, it’s just the reality of it I guess.  With not much time to ponder and prepare for everything, it simply hit me is all. 

Still thinking it could be from lack of sleep. These 3:00am wake-up calls are getting old. Except last night it was 11:31. (h'm... ponders all the "3's")

Another part of my mini freak-out was my metalwork jewelry business.  What in the world am I going to do about my work and shops!  Yes, I know, I should not be the slightest bit concerned about that and focus purely my health – which I am truly doing as that is most important.  But, even though Mark works, my business is my livelihood and I so enjoy it.  This could be a whole blog topic in itself, so to try and sum it up - most of my work is online and trying to get your shop/items found via Google, etc. is a huge job in and of itself.  So, on top of all my hard work to build my successful business, I started worrying (yes, I admit it).  The thought of having to put my shops in ‘Vacation Mode’ – which means that I will be entirely invisible - sort of stressed me out.  Once taken out of VM it takes a good while for Google to pick you back up, so to speak.  So instead, I plastered my basic status all over the place – NOT for pity, but so that my awesome customers and potential customers know about when I’ll be back to work and will be at a slower pace at first. 

I understand there will be pain, etc., and that full recovery takes months up to a year and varies from person to person - as well as motivation and being able to stay positive. It also depends on the type of breast cancer, surgery, treatment, etc.  But mine was found early and as long as the SN biopsy comes back negative, I will be cancer-free and no other treatment necessary.  I think that’s pretty darn good considering what could have happened had I not gone to the doc when I did.

A final note for today... some people are concerned that I will be upset or in shock after surgery because I’m going to be ‘breast-free’, just to say it plain and simple.  I can honestly say that no I’m honestly not upset about that part as I guess I should be.  Of course I’d rather keep them, but it is what it is and I feel that is a small sacrifice to pay for my health.  Yes, I know there will be a variety of emotions, but I will be okay – I have an awesome support system near and far!  I'll save more of this topic for another post.

Peace and Love, Rocki

Friday, August 24, 2012

Unexpected Joys

"Sometimes, the ones you think least likely, will make the best friends. Life is full of unexpected joys."
~Charlotte (PixieWinksFairyWhispers)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rocki vs Breast Cancer - round 2

Where to begin.  Yesterday was exhausting – seriously exhausting, but relieving as well.  Wait, actually this past WEEK has been a drainer!

I’ll jump right to it and explain from there.  Next Thursday, August 30th, I am scheduled for a Bilateral Total Mastectomy (removal of both entire breasts) without breast reconstruction and Sentinel Node Biopsy.  

The surgeon, who has done this for over 36 years, after reviewing everything informed us that there is more DCIS  than was noted and he’s going to do a lymph node biopsy at time of surgery to make sure it hasn’t spread, which he’s pretty sure it hasn’t.  It’s hard not to get too personal about this… I know, as if this isn’t personal enough, but I’m NOT going to be hush hush about this life changing event.  I want to be a part of making other women aware of how VERY important it is to do self-checks, yearly appointments, mammograms, etc. and not be afraid to talk about it.  It can change your life.

Anyway, the options were presented to me and bilateral mastectomy was the best choice, so to speak.  As mentioned in my previous post, Mark and I discussed the many possibilities that may be brought up at this appointment, and this was one of them. Like I said, if one has to go, so does the other. 

A little more personal here, just a warning.  So why not the breast reconstruction?  Because it just isn’t me.  I’m not saying that breast reconstruction is wrong by ANY means as I know that most women want to try to save their ‘sisters’ or at least have them remade, and I stand with them for that decision.  For me, I’m not well endowed anyway, have no cleavage to speak of and hardly ever wear a bra (hate them with a passion!) unless I need to that is.  Plus, ‘they’ do not define who I am as a woman.  I simply do not want a foreign substance in my body - or have tissue, muscle, etc. taken from other parts of my body to make a pair.

On a couple good notes…the cancer should (will) be gone after the surgery (happy dance) AND I get to continue working through the 28th (more dancing).  I’m told that recovery time isn’t that long and then I’ll be able to work at a slow pace until I’m up to par.  So I won’t have to put my shop in ‘Vacation  Mode’ after all, which I’m very excited about because I’ve worked too hard to build my business where it is today.  What I am going to do though is post everywhere in my shop, etc. about my current status with creating and shipping timeframe.  Oh and start relisting a ton of sold items over the next couple days.  Since I didn't know what was going to happen, I never relisted after they sold.

I just want to say again, thank you to my very supportive hubby, my sons, family, friends, customers and to everyone else that has been so kind during this time.  You all rock!

Round 3, I plan a TKO. 

Peace, Rocki

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Rocki vs Breast Cancer - round 1

Let me first start out with saying that I am okay.  However, since last Thursday Mark and I have been dealing with the unknown and yesterday I received the diagnosis - breast cancer.  After talking with my family I decided that I was not going to be shy about it, so here I am loud and clear.

So how was it discovered?  Well, I had an itch and felt a new little lump in my left breast so the next day called the doc to make sure.  Okay...Mark MADE me call.  I was hesitant because I figured it was just another one of those cysts that I get (fibrocystic breast).   My doc got me in quick... I'll try to condense this part: after the exam I was sent for a Mammogram, that was Thursday Aug. 9th.  On that day I had 2 separate mammograms plus an ultrasound.  Long day.  Conclusion: lump was nothing so lefty was ok, but I was told that I had multiple clusters of microcalcifications in my right breast.  I had no idea what that was, but was told I needed a breast needle biopsy to rule out cancer and that was scheduled on Tuesday morning. THAT, my friends, was not fun.  After being shown all the clusters on the mammogram, I swallowed hard.

Before jumping to yesterday's shocker, I have to share a couple things.  On the day of driving to my mammo the car in front of me had a breast cancer awareness ribbon license plate.  Kind of funny I thought.  The same thing happened to Mark on his way home that day when I told him the results of the mammo.  Ever since then, every where we go there's the big ol' pink ribbon.  Plus on the day of my biopsy, none of our kids (dogs) would eat breakfast and Maelyn just stared at me with sad eyes while I got ready to go.  Just to note, Mark & I have discussed the elephant in the room all week from every angle - through tears, logic and hope.  "Plan for the worst, hope for the best" as they say.  I think the not knowing was the worst part.

Okay so back to yesterday... which by the way sucked, to be honest.  Just waiting to find out whether or not it was the big C was nerve racking, to say the least.  I'll shorten this part - so I was told that I have Severe High Grade 3 Ductal Carcinoma in situ (Solid Type) in multiple locations of right breast.  There are 3 grades of DCIS before becoming invasive (spreading): low (1), moderate (2) and high (3).  Anyway, it's bad/good news, so to speak.  The bad is the obvious, but right now the good is that it is not yet invasive.  Here's a short blurp about it from

In the high-grade pattern, DCIS cells tend to grow more quickly and look much different from normal, healthy breast cells. People with high-grade DCIS have a higher risk of invasive cancer, either when the DCIS is diagnosed or at some point in the future. They also have an increased risk of the cancer coming back earlier — within the first 5 years rather than after 5 years.

Jumping doc made the surgeon appoint which is this coming Monday.  I'll get more info there, but apparently surgery will definitely happen - but I do NOT want radiation or chemo!  To be honest, if one goes, so does the other and I'm absolutley fine with that.

I have my boxing gloves on again and coming out swinging!  This isn't the first time I've had a life altering event that I won - they don't call me Rocki for nothin.  Trust me when I say I'm okay.  I have a great support system with my loving and supportive family and friends.

Peace and love,

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Birds - Wings of Compassion

Female Finch
The Finch.  These are just a few of our feathered friends that visit us daily.  We have several types of feeders to attract different types of birds, which we get a good variety of.  Even though my favorite bird is the Gambel's Quail, I love all birds.

Male Finch sweet talking to the female Finch
In the beginning I was really surprised how quickly the birds arrived - and continue to do so in groups.  I think the word got out that there is free food and water at Rocki's Resort (that's what hubby calls our back yard)

Young male Finch
Not only do our feathered friends enjoy food, water and baths, but also a nice little patio with a misting system to keep them nice and cool. We also have our Tibetan Prayer Flags all around the patio.  Prayers are carried by the wind to others, and now the birds are blessed and carry them on their wings where ever they go.

"Look, it's Rocki...and she has more food!"
Kuan Yin (female buddha of compassion) is a standing statue in our back yard and the birds love her.  Everyday as I tend to our feathered friends, I also hose down the patio and make sure Kuan Yin is clean.

Male Gila Woodpecker
Okay, so this is not a finch, but I just thought I would include Woody.  It's hard to see it, but Male Gila Woodpeckers have a bright red cap on the crown of their head.  As with most of my patio pics, I have to take them through the arcadia screen door.  He loves the peanut butter suet and definitely enjoys it.  I can't tell you how excited I was when he first came to our patio - and when I identified him!

Hope you enjoyed this little visit of our Finch friends.  And Woody too of course.  Who knows, maybe the next time you see a bird it might be carrying wings of compassion.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Chick-fil-A or Chick-fil-hate

Let me start out by saying that I’m a practicing Buddhist and follow my path wholeheartedly.  I strongly believe in Human Rights for ALL people and will defend those rights in a peaceful manner.  I feel love and compassion for most and trying very hard to extend that to all sentient beings every single day.  It’s not easy.  I’m human, and still have feelings of all nature.  So here it goes.    

Yep, another Chick-fil-A post, fueled by an article I read this morning.  Some people should read their own words.  A Mississippi Republican Rep.,  Alan Nunnelee, sent a letter to Dan Cathy to “show support for the manner in which you have defended your values and reputation in the face of unfair and malicious criticism”.  H’m.   "unfair" - that’s funny right there.  He opens his mouth further and states  “The criticism they have received has been appalling, elected officials that are now threatening to block new Chick-fil-A restaurants in their cities are acting in a manner that is un-American.”   Excuse me?... "un-American"... think about that please.

Okay, let me say that of course everyone is entitled to their opinion, no matter how ignorant or hateful it is, but that is NOT what the Chick-fil-A controversy is about.  If that were the case, then people would starve, be unclothed, not own vehicles, etc., for protesting people’s opinions – on both sides.  Dan Cathy and all the others like him who deny people THEIR natural born rights, in my opinion, are racist and teaching their children to hate.  And that is just sad.

Did you know that Dan Cathy and his company promote hate AND pays for it to continue?   Why on earth would it be “un-American” to not want a hate promoting company in your city? Is that not “un-American” in itself?   Here’s a quote from Wayne Self’s article post regarding the punishable crimes (yes, punishable!) just for being gay, let alone same sex marriage:

Two organizations that work very hard to maintain this status quo and roll back any protections that we may have are the Family Research Council and the Marriage & Family Foundation. For example, the Family Research council leadership has officially stated that same-gender-loving behavior should be criminalized in this country. They draw their pay, in part, from the donations of companies like Chick-Fil-A. Both groups have also done “missionary” work abroad that served to strengthen and promote criminalization of same-sex relations. - Chick-Fil-A has given roughly $5M to these organizations to support their work. - Chick-Fil-A’s money comes from the profits they make when you purchase their products.”

This saddens and angers me.  No matter how hard I practice.

People, this is not a "biblical" debate.  We're talking about Human Rights.  Rights that were given to each and every one of us the moment we were conceived and born into this life.  NOBODY has the right to take that away.  This simply needs to stop.

On the flip side of this, I hope everyone who dines at Chick-fil-hate enjoys their cola drinks.  Coke products are the only beverages served.  Coca Cola supports Human Rights.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Tator Dude Returns

Tator Dude
This is Tator Dude.  He's a potato.  A Ruby Cresent to be exact, and I found him in May of 2008.

Unfortunately he's no longer with us.  During his short life in our refrigerator, he provided us with laugh out loud laughter - every time we opened the fridge.  We had lots of visitors during that time too.  Tator Dude was quite popular.

To see more pictures and find out more about Tator Dude from my original blog post, just click on him.  Go ahead, he won't mind.  Really.

Okay, if you don't want to touch him, here's the link:

WAIT!  If you want to find out what happened to Tator Dude, AFTER you read the blog post above, here's the final blog post:

Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Zen Cacti Rock Garden

This was my first bloom
We have rock landscaping in both front and back yards.  We have a lot of plants as well and a few months ago I changed out our front planter.  I wanted something a little different this time - a simple blooming cactus.

So Mark and I headed to the local nursery garden and after looking at several cacti, the Echinopsis Oxygona was the one.  The common name is Easter Lily Cactus.  It is a small clump of cacti that shoots out several blooms at once and one at a time.  It blooms constantly during the spring, but this one doesn't know that because we are still getting blooms in the middle of our 100+ degree summer.

After planting the cacti, I added some 1/4" minus rock from our side yard and thought it looked pretty good.  I stepped back and looked at it for a moment and realized it needed a little more.  I went into the back yard and brought out some river rocks and one of my Sedona rocks.  Another look and then I realized I had created my own little zen cacti rock garden.

I love my little garden.  I love rocks too.  In fact I still collect them, you know those special shaped rocks. What can I say.  Maybe it's all the name.