Thursday, August 29, 2013

Wash Away the Year and Celebrate the Happy!

Flat and fabulous - a few months ago, but I love this dress!
8/30/13 - 1 year of being cancer free since my bilateral mastectomy surgery!

This is a follow-up to my FUNNY How Time Flies post a couple weeks ago.  You can read that if you want to be up to date.  And if you're totally new to my blog, you can click on the Breast Cancer Survivor! tab at the top.

As mentioned, we are going to Sedona to celebrate my 1 year 'cancerversary' of being cancer free!  Take THAT breast cancer!  It's actually OUR celebration because Mark, as always, has been right there with and for me the entire time.  And what better place to celebrate than Sedona.  Well, okay a secluded island would be totally awesome, but we're perfectly fine with Sedona - our Happy Place.

Sedona Motel

We don't do fancy, expensive or elaborate.  We love simplicity.  We'll be staying at the Sedona Motel, which has been described by many as a "throw back to the 60's/70's style drive-up motels."  In speaking with Bill, the owner, when making the reservations, I knew right then that this was going to be a nice place to stay.  He seemed quite laid back, relaxed and friendly.  According to the online reviews, he's exactly like that in person.

The view from the motel is beautiful, judging by their photos which I have no doubt.  In fact, there isn't a view in Sedona that is not beautiful.  Red happy rocks and earthy scenery everywhere.  You'll see more of that when we return because oh yes, there will be pictures to share.

Rain is forecast on and off over next few days in Sedona as well as here in the valley, which will be absolutely perfect.  Rain is cleansing. Refreshing.  Hydrating.  Nourishing.  Healing.  What better way to wash away all the negative crud of this past year.

Okay, I can't deny that it will also be nice to simply be in cooler weather, with or without the rain.  Sedona is about 2-2 1/2 hours north of us.  We're looking forward to the enjoyable drive.
Rocki & Bullwinkle - let the adventures continue
This post isn't about the sad and ugly side of breast cancer and what it does to you and everyone around you.  Nor is about what I personally did and didn't have to go through.  This is a celebration!  With the one I love.  My best friend in the entire universe.  The absolute love of my life.  My soul mate and partner throughout eternity and beyond.
It's a time to be happy, as always, but happier.  A time to let go of any negativity that is clinging to us.  And, not that we haven't done it a million times already, a time to reflect on what truly is important. 
We're going to our Happy Place.  To breath in the rain cleansed air with every fiber of our being and breath out all the bad.  We're simply going to celebrate what is. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Nip It In The Bud!

Next time I say "bring it on", somebody smack me with a wet noodle!  Gluten-free please. 

I'll get right to the point.  I was recently diagnosed with Pre-Diabetes.  Yep.  My raw vegan jaw slammed to the floor with this one.  I am 100% positive that I can and will reverse this.

Like good ol' Barney Fife says: "Nip it in the bud!"

This fun little journey began when I ended up in the E.R. a few weeks ago.  The souvenir one.  I was told that my glucose was rather high and when I went to the follow-up appointment with my M.D., he ordered some blood tests due to that.  He assured me that he did not think I had Diabetes.  I assured him that I agreed.

Jump ahead and skip all the in between stuff.  My A1C results came back that I was in the Pre-Diabetes range.  Excuse me?  How on EARTH can this be?  I do not eat processed food, sugar or anything of that nature.  I eat a healthy raw vegan diet.  I am not overweight at all.  In fact, I keep loosing weight without even trying.  This totally took me by surprise.

I do have family history of it.  My brother Chris has Pre-Diabetes.  My mom had diabetes, but she called it "borderline" and didn't do anything about it.  I know, you either have it or you don't, but that was my mom for you.  December 1997, she died suddenly and unexpectedly in her sleep at age 53 of an undiagnosed heart blockage.  I'm 52, but am much healthier than she was, despite what medical issues I have.

So how could this happen to an otherwise healthy person like me?  First off, it doesn't just happen.  I found out that it gradually happens over time without you even knowing it.  Some people are just predisposed.  I still didn't get it.  It didn't make sense to me.  I'll use the car analogy that was told to me.

You have two cars.  One has obvious body damage, needs new wheels, etc.  Lift the hood and you can see that it has not been taken care of at all. It is obvious that this car is falling apart and is in need of repair.

The other car looks brand new inside and out, despite all the miles on it.  Lift the hood and it is clean.  One day you're driving down the road in your well taken care of car and then it spits, sputters and stops.  Sometimes things just happen no matter what.

I'm not going to go into what all Pre-Diabetes is, you can Google it for more info.  But what I will say is that it is treatable and reversible.  It is not a guarantee that it will or will not turn into Diabetes.  I'll be monitoring my glucose at home and have other blood tests down the road.  I'm going to work on my exercise routine and get on a regular schedule.  I will continue eating healthy and will heal myself naturally.

I'm going to NIP IT IN THE BUD!


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Why I Wear Pink

Rocki in pink
My favorite color has always been blue.  But pink butted it's way into my life.
When I was a young girl I did not like the color pink.  I despised pink with a passion.  I blamed it on the fact that I wasn't a girly girl, nor am I today really.  Then several years ago, for some odd reason, I began to like pink.  Pink this, pink that... I even had pink bangs for a few years.  It's funny to me that my pink fascination happened well before breast cancer knocked on my door.
Or should I say chest.
Now I wear pink for an entirely different reason.  But before I go on, please know that I completely respect my fellow sisters that do not like the color pink or the breast cancer awareness ribbon.  I honestly understand that the color pink and the ribbon do not define breast cancer in all it's ugliness. I honestly get that and the world needs to see the ugliness of it too.
So why do I wear, live and practically breath pink?  Breast Cancer Awareness.  Okay, and to make me feel like a girl.  NOT because I feel insecure by any means as I'm a very confident gal, but because it makes me feel... oh gawd I'm going to say it... pretty.  Not in a conceited way, just feminine I guess.  Anyway...
Before I became my own spokesperson for happily living life as a flat chested woman due to breast cancer, whenever I would see the color pink or the awareness ribbon, I immediately thought of breast cancer.  It's like something clicked in my little brain.  That in turn made me think to check my breasts, which I did do monthly, but if I'm anything I'm honest so yes I did skip a few here and there.  Hey, I'm human. 
It made me think about the breast cancer walks, which Mark and I did prior to me becoming a survivor.  It made me think of the many lives, young and old, that have been and will be lost until we find a freakin cure.  It reminded me to donate (to reputable charities) in hopes of finding a cure.
Now it's my turn.  Like anyone else that goes through a life altering event you want to be a spokesperson to help others.  To warn others, in hopes to prevent them from going through what you've gone through, or far worse than what you experienced.
That's why I wear pink.  That's why I support the ribbon.
Not for attention.  Not because I want to broadcast that I had breast cancer - my chest speaks loudly for itself.  But for the sake of others.  To make them think to check their breasts NOW. Go to their yearly well-woman appointments.  Get their mammograms.  And so on. 
Maybe, just maybe by someone seeing my pink attire, or my awareness ribbons, or our warrior tattoo's, just maybe that will ignite something in their brain to say "Hey! There's that pink ribbon - that's for breast cancer awareness, I better check mine" - or something like that.  

Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Anklet Band
I have to wear it on my ankle because my wrists are way too small

Pink.  Whether I like it or not it is a part of me.  So until a cure is found I will continue on my path to inform others any way I can.  Until my very last breath.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Pretty Yummy Raw Vegan Dessert

Raw Vegan Custard Filled Brownies with Raspberry Sauce

Okay, I don't do this too often where I post one of my food creations without an actual recipe, but I just have to with this one as it is SO darn pretty and yummy!  However, I am including the ingredients I used for inspiration.

Yesterday I wanted to make a special dessert for Mark.  No special occasion, just because.  I knew I wanted a brownie or cake as the base, but with a little more pizazz.  I didn't know exactly what I was going to do next, so I just rolled with it. 

I opened the fridge and the first thing that caught my eye was the fresh raspberries.  Ahhh, a nice sauce for the top of the brownies.  Perfect.  Wait, something else for it, but not overwhelming.  Then it hit me...a custard like filling.

Picture a mad scientist at work in the lab and that was pretty much me.  Grabbing this and that, creating and smiling and tasting and....oh sorry.  So in other words I was so busy creating that I didn't measure or write anything down.

After popping everything in the fridge I cleaned up the lab and started on dinner.  I could hardly wait for dessert.  Oh and it looks much sweeter than it actually is.  We don't do icky sweet, makes my teeth hurt just thinking about it.

Time to prepare the dessert!  Because I made the brownies as a regular batch for later consumption, after cutting a couple long pieces out I simply sliced them in the middle to hold the custard filling.  Then a thin layer of custard on the top brownie, followed by the raspberry sauce and mmmm... so yummy!

I make a variety of my raw brownies and have a couple recipes here, but this one is a bit different, simpler actually.  I need to get better about writing my creations down as I go.  I'll be making this one again and will write it all down, but probably not for a while.  So in the meantime, here's the ingredients I used:

Custard Filled Brownies with Raspberry Sauce

Brownies: pecans, medjool dates, cacao, unsweetened coconut shreds, hemp heart seeds, vanilla

Custard: cashews, vanilla, agave, coconut oil, water

Raspberry Sauce: fresh raspberries, hint of agave

Let your mad scientist out and see what you can create in your own lab :)


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Buddhaful Buddha Wall Art

Buddha Wall Art

If you've been on my blog for a while you know that I shop at Goodwill and Savers for clothing and other household goods.  Sometimes we find the most unexpected items.

This took place just a few weeks ago.  We walked into Goodwill and right smack in front of us, hanging off the front of one of the clothes sections, was this beautiful Buddha wall hanging.  Of course we immediately went to look at it.  It was perfect.  Simple made, a tad worn, but absolutely nothing wrong with it. 

Let me say here that we have a variety of Buddha's in our home, but not expensive ones.  We are simple people for the most part and do not shop at expensive stores.   

Anyway, we turned the Buddha over and there was the price tag.  Mark and I looked at each other in confusion after seeing the price.  This couldn't be right.  We searched for another price tag just in case.  Nope, just that one stuck on the back.  It was shameful, the price that is. We didn't give it another thought and bought it for $1.00.  Yes, stop rubbing your eyes. One whole buck.

Buddha find at Goodwill

After we got home and cleaned it off a little, we measured it out of curiosity.  The entire length is a little over 3 1/2 feet from top to bottom of tassels.  We hung it on the wall in the living room right next to the arcadia door. 

Our new to us Buddha looks absolutely Buddhaful in his new home.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Raw Vegan Creamy Chocolate Energy Smoothie

Creamy Chocolate Energy Smoothie
One of my favorite afternoon pick-me-ups is my uber Creamy Chocolate Energy Smoothie.  It is a raw, vegan and gluten-free yummy healthy treat!  I make different variations of this simple, yet delicious and nutritious recipe, so if you would like to try it as is or alter it to your tastes, here it is:

Creamy Chocolate Energy Smoothie:
Makes 1 very large glassful (or 2 small glasses if you dare to share)

1 cup pure unsweetened coconut water
1 cored, unpeeled green delicious apple cut into chunks 

1 medjool date
1 1/2 frozen ripe bananas cut into chunks
1 Tbs fully rounded cacao powder (or cocoa)
*1 1/2 Tbs raw hemp heart seeds
1 cup ice

Put all ingredients into your vitamix/blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy. Due to climate and blender type, you may need to add more ice or water. 

Pour into a very large glass and enjoy!

*I use hemp heart seeds for the nutritional benefits, but they also add to the creamy part.  If you don't have any, then use 2 frozen bananas instead of 1 1/2 and that should work well. 


Sunday, August 18, 2013

FUNNY How Time Flies!

Fried eggs anyone?

It's hard to believe that in 12 days it will be exactly 1 year since my surgery, but more importantly... 1 year of being cancer free!  And we have a fun celebration planned.  Oh and for those that are new, I had a bilateral total mastectomy and sentinel node removal without reconstruction.  In other words, I'm flat as board.  More info in my Breast Cancer Survivor tab.

Before I go on, let me explain the pic above... and my humor for those who don't know me.  We went to Portland in June to visit my boys (awesome visit!).  There was a Goodwill store at the end of the street where we were staying.  I love and shop in second hand stores. Anyway, I spotted pink and when I pulled the shirt off the rack (rack... that's funny!)  I about doubled over with laughter!  Ha ha ha... fried eggs on the front!  Perfect!

There's more to this story.  It just so happened that the next day, Saturday June 29th, while we were enjoying Portland weather, everyone back home in Arizona was dealing with a toasty 119 degrees that day!  The hottest day I experienced was 122 back in 1990.  Fun day - not.  So I wore my pink shirt in honor of everyone frying eggs on the sidewalk that day and posted it on Facebook.

Get your melons!

Yes, I'll be getting back to my 1 year 'cancerversary' plans soon, but since I'm on the humor train...

True story.  I got me a pair of nice melons on sale for .48c at Sprouts!  Mark hasn't had melons in a long time so I figured I would give him a treat.


Perfect!  by Tales of a Broken Boobie
I'm guessing some of you may be thinking "OMG, breast cancer is not funny!" or "having your boobs removed is not funny!"...etc.  Trust me, I'm not making fun of breast cancer, any other cancer or anyone dealing with this ugly disease.  I'm also a melanoma survivor, among other life altering crud, so I know many roads of emotions.  Basically with all the crap I have been through in my life I have always used humor.  As cliché as this may sound, humor truly is good medicine.  Maybe not for everyone, but it certainly works for me.  Oh and no I'm not masking anything or hiding my 'true feelings'.  This is just a part of who I am. 

Me and Mark - my soul mate - the love of my life - my very best friend - my hubby

Okay now back to our big simple plans for our cancerversary trip.  I say "our" because Mark has been by my side from day one of our close to 20 years together and has never ever flinched.

We are going to our Happy Place - Sedona that is.  Yes, we call it our happy place as that is where we used to go when we needed a break from the craziness of life and to rejuvenate.  In fact, we used to go there a couple times a year, then once a year and then crud/life happened.  We haven't been there for the past couple years or so for a variety of reasons, not just because of breast cancer.  So what better place to celebrate this first year of being cancer-free than beautiful, peaceful, and mesmerizing Sedona!  Our Happy Place.

I'll save the rest of our plans for another post before we go as for now I need to get into the kitchen and uncook our dinner. 

I can almost feel the happy vortex vibes now!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

E.R. Souvenir - Bruise due to IV Leaking

Bruise from IV Leaking into arm - today, day 7

After going to bed feeling perfectly fine, on 8/7/13 I woke up horrifically sick and ended up passing out.  Since this blog post is mainly about the IV that leaked into my arm, I'll sum up this part.  I was diagnosed with Acute Gastroenteritis and Dehydration.  The doc said I was the 3rd person that morning with the same thing, and it was only 9:00 a.m.   

Fun times in the emergency room - ha!

I'll admit that I hate IV's with a passion.  I always bruise from them, but I have never experienced an IV that was inserted wrong and/or came out of the vein, causing blood and the IV fluid to leak into my body.

IV that was leaking into my arm was removed and placed in my wrist
Because I can never have blood drawn, IV's or blood pressure (BP) taken from my right arm (due to nodes removed), they had to do everything from my left. 
After it had been in for a bit, the nurse took a second BP and I told her that it was burning terribly and also more painful than I've experienced before.  She decided since my BP was stabilized that she would remove the cuff.  
So the IV had been going for at least 15 minutes or so when a second nurse came in and after looking at my arm he said that he needed to check the back flow (or whatever) as he said it looked like it was leaking inside my arm.  He did and he was right.  He removed the IV and put another one in my left wrist.  
When I was finally discharged to go home, they took the bandage off my arm where the IV was leaking.  Mark and I looked at each other like WOW! as it was already bruising.  I didn't take pics then because I was simply ready to go home and go to bed.

Bruise from IV Leaking into arm - day 1

Day one after waking up from a few hour nap the bruised area was growing. 

Bruise from IV Leaking into arm - day 2
This is day 2 and while it was still painful, it didn't look too bad - yet.

Bruise from IV Leaking into arm - day 3

I woke up on day 3 and holy cow!  It looked like the bruise was healing, but then it started expanding into a new area towards my elbow.

Bruise from IV Leaking into arm - day 4

Yep, day 4 and expanding more and getting deeper red.  I think I have a shirt that color.

Bruise from IV Leaking into arm - day 5

Day 5 and it is not near as painful as it was, but the reddish area continues to expand.

Bruise from IV Leaking into arm - day 6

Day 6 and it is just as ugly, if not uglier.  Wait, I think Amanda Bynes tweeted this. 

Had my appointment with my doc this day and his first words were "OUCH!" and "that is one ugly bruise."  Yep and yep.

In short, I found out that the leaking was not just the fluid  as I thought (that gets reabsorbed into your body) but also blood due to the punctured vein or whatever it's called.  I thought it was just the fluid.  Silly me.  Anyway, he said that this could cause serious infections and proceeded to explain them to me.  Oh... well that didn't sound nice.  Thankfully there was no infection and it will take a couple months to heal AND that it may get a little bigger.  Great.  I just need to watch for some warning signs of infection, but I think all is well.   

Bruise from IV Leaking into arm - day 6, evening before bed.
Last night I decided to mark the end of the bruise going up my arm just to make sure it wasn't traveling any further up.  It is still working it's way around my elbow area though. 
It's now the evening of day 7 (pic up top is from this morning) and it is still ugly.  Thankfully it does not hurt like it did and is only tender and sore at this point.  On a good note, I'm feeling MUCH better from the nasty virus crud which ended me up in the E.R. to begin with. 
I guess they wanted me to go home with a memorable souvenir.  I would've accepted a T-shirt. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A brief moment with Dino

A few weeks ago while sitting on the couch with my laptop (hence the worn out wrist supports) something caught my eye. As in something moving across the kitchen floor.  I could barely see what it was so I got up to check it out.

Awe!  It was an adorable baby lizard!  No, I'm not afraid of little critters.  I used to have snakes, mice, rats, geckos...  Anyway, I got on the kitchen floor and played with him for a bit.  He was a friendly little lizard.     

Well it wasn't too long before all three kids (4-legged kind) realized that I had a new little friend and they wanted in on the action.  As much as I would have loved to keep Dino in the house (well gosh, I had to name him!), I didn't want the kids to get a hold of him.  So after enjoying Dino's company for a bit longer, I picked him up and outside we went.

I gave Dino a tour of the entire backyard so he could decide where his new home would be.  He must have enjoyed the ride because he honestly stayed on my hand the whole time - so cute!

I finally came to grips that we had to part ways and tried to put Dino on the ground, under the yellow bell bush.  He really made this difficult for me because he did not want to leave my hand.  I even put my hand flat on the ground, but he just crawled around my hand and would not get off.  It was as if he was saying "this is nice Rocki, but you can take me back inside now", or some kind of cute lizard comment.

Believe it or not I seriously contemplated on bringing Dino back inside.  But I knew that he would not survive indoors for long and I definitely would not keep him confined.  He had a much better chance outside with all the other little (sniff sniff) lizard friends.

We hung out for a little while longer, enjoying the moment and sharing conversation.  Okay, so it was a one sided conversation, but I'm sure he understood me.  I knew it was time, so once again I put my hand flat down on the ground, blew him a kiss, gave him a little nudge and off he went.

Friendships come in all forms.  Dino was no exception.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Happy Pink Peace Buddha

Happy Pink Buddha - Peace!

Just a quick share of my new pink peace luv'n Buddha!  I spotted this adorable happy Buddha at Ross this past weekend and knew right away that he was coming home with me.

He's happily blessing our backyard by the pool.  Now he's in my studio where I can see his happy peace luv'n face while I work.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Mastectomy Scars Healing Video

Hard to believe sometimes, but in exactly 4 weeks it will be 1 year since my mastectomy surgery.  While I have shared a variety of photos here on my blog, with and without a top, this is my very first video of my mastectomy scars.  In fact, it is my very first YouTube video ever.

I talk about my breast cancer experience, show photos and now videos in hopes of helping and supporting others who are going through the same thing.  Living life as a flat chested woman is not as scary as it may sound, at least for me it isn't.  I'm completely and utterly happy as I am and more confident than I have ever been in my entire life.  I won't ramble on here since the short video is pretty much what I wanted to say, for now.  There will be a variety of more videos to come.

Wishing you all a beautiful day!