Thursday, May 28, 2015

Cancer Opens Doors

Admittedly, my cancer journey has been a walk in the park compared to what so many other people go through.  Despite that, it cannot be denied that cancer opens doors.  Cancer opens people to conversations, to sharing.  Even though the club you’re part of is The Suckiest Club Ever, you’re still part of a group of people with shared experiences, people you can talk to who understand, people that can emphasize instead if sympathize.

Recently I became Facebook friends with a coworker.  Today we were on the elevator together, and he mentioned my recent “good news” post, and we shared a solid fist bump (okay, less than solid, because I was holding an apple in one hand and a notebook in another, but I never turn down a good fist bump).  Cancer opens the door.  Enter the shared experience.  Suddenly I was introduced to one of the many sides of this person that I might never have experienced, were it not for Cancer.  And despite the evil that is Cancer, I felt blessed the rest of my day; blessed by the shortest conversation with this person.

I’ve had similar experiences with others.  Others at work, others out in the world.  Despite the horror and fear that can accompany cancer, there are silver linings as well, and often these linings are others sharing the experience.

(For those wondering about the “good news”, I learned this last week that just 23 months after first learning that I have leukemia, I am in molecular remission – less than 0.001% detection (“undetectable”) in my blood.  As long as my numbers continue to stay low / near undetectable, I will be able to avoid bone marrow biopsies (at least for a while!).  I’ll continue to take the Sprycel to continue to fight the CML.  Here’s to amazing drugs, amazing doctors, amazing scientists!)

I know that it’s been a long time since I posted a blog.  I’ve struggled with words; there is so much to tell that it became stopped up inside me and today the cork was freed by one fist bump.  I never know what will open my heart again to sharing with others, but I’m always glad when it does!

I want to share also that Adam, the girls, and I, along with my dear friend Amy, will be walking the LLS Light the Night walk on October 1, 2015, in Denver.  The walk is intended to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Much like other organizations that raise money, the money goes towards research and a host of other things so that people like myself can experience the freedom from the fear of cancer that comes with amazing drugs, financial support, or other means.  Were it not for the scientists who first discovered the gene mutation that causes 95% of CML cases, and then the scientists who developed the drugs known as TK inhibitors that help find my CML, my life would have a much different outlook than it currently does now.  Hardly a day goes by that I do not think of this and remember how blessed I am.  I look forward to the day that I can share this miracle with our daughters.  Even though they may not understand the concept of cancer, the girls walked last year and will walk again this year.  During the walk we discuss the different people there (survivors, in support of, and in memory of).  This year we have a goal to raise $10,000 for LLS through the walk.  If you feel compelled to donate, you can do so through our website here:

Thank you for continuing to read the blog, for the love, for the support.


Monday, November 24, 2014


My baby turned seven today.  Seven years – 84 month – since she exited her cozy and comfy womb – which she was not inclined to leave when life dictated as much.

Julia.  Born on November 24, 2007.

She spent a week in the NICU at Blank Children’s in Des Moines due to suspected pneumonia – the healthiest baby in the NICU; oddly another cozy cocoon where new parents learned to be parents and nurses and doctors provided structure and schedule.

She is determined, encouraging, loving, delightful, self-assured, silly, cautious, direct, devoted, motivated, opinionated, talkative, sensitive, sentimental, warm, proud, caring, dependable, lovable, friendly.

Her favorite colors are green and blue or blue and green. 

She wants to be a teacher and a mom when she grows up.

She is a great big sister.  She knows what makes her sisters tick – both good and bad – and knows when to play her cards with them.  And she – groan – has learned to tattle on both of them.

She thinks her parents are in their 60s.  (HA!)

She enjoys school, but seems to enjoy pleasing her teacher more and works quickly – sometimes missing that working diligently or hard would be more responsible – and mommy sees a lot of herself in her daughter in this area.

She enjoys learning about things from her dad – curious about his projects, wanting to help with them, not thinking that anything is above her or beneath her.

She is happy cleaning the kitchen (with vigor, a lot of spray, and a WHOLE ROLL of paper towels)…. and she enjoys working in the electronics kids’ book dad has for her.

She enjoys reading and math.  But she still likes recess more – especially since they have a new playground.  She does not like gym because they have to run laps.  A lot.

She still snuggles her blankets and baby at night – those she’s had since she was an infant.  She takes on the orphans but yet gladly shares with her baby sister to make sure that she knows how wonderful and lovely it is to have a favorite blanket and baby too.

She loves to imagine play, playing teacher or parent or whomever at any given moment.  She enjoys building rooms within rooms – she can create a whole “house” within the living room and has created her own bedroom in her bed within the bedroom she shares with her sister – she has a host of imaginary worlds.  I imagine she would love an indoor teepee or tent.

She loves hot dogs and mac and cheese.  But she loves ‘snacks’ even more.  She prefers water to any other liquid for consumption.

She can do a fairly good cartwheel and is working hard on handstands.  She loves dance and pom poms. 

This year she asked for a Monster High birthday and doll – and that’s what she received and she loved it all. 

We celebrated seven with another tree decorating; another year further away from being a baby, but always being my first and always being my baby.  (“What????!!!?!?!  A seven year old baby?  That is WEIRD.”  Oh man, that kid cracks me up.)


Tuesday, October 28, 2014


I’ve finally started reading blogs again after a long break.

Perhaps that means I may feel desire to write them again – there’s a glimmer of hope.

It is hard to explain or perhaps it’s that I believe it might not be understood – that it’s possible to have SO many words in one’s head that it’s almost as if they’ve stopped up the exit and renders me completely incapable of writing, let alone string along a set of words into a coherent thought through my mouth.

But there’s hope.

Friday, October 3, 2014

This is For You

These words.  These are for you.  These words are for me.  These words.  This.


"He is Here" by Gungor

He is here.

He’s right here.

In this room; in your heart.

He is near.Nearer than breath; heartbeat.

Nearer than you are to you, closer than second chance, or next opportunity.Closer than tonight, or yesterday.

He is real.

More real than touch; see, hear, smell, or taste.More real than reality; he is our reality!More real than joy, pain, sorrow, or the love of being in love.

He is present.Like space, wind, time, silence, night.

He is waiting.Like; creation.

Like words on the tip of tongue.

Like; songs that have yet to be sung.

He is beauty.And oranges, blues, every hue, every shade.

Sunset and sunrise whisper his name.

He is holy.

Cannot be touched, explained, like; sweet seconds of prayer.Like; grandmother on knees.Wood floor, bare.

He is old hymns.

The extending of limbs, stretched across trees;strives to heal disease.

He is son.Distinctly three; distinctly one.The only one.The only wise.The only resurrector of lives.

He is king.

And no earthly throne can house him.

No amount of elegant words can espouse him.

He is moment, and voice.Power of choice.

And word.

And deed.

And fruit.

And seed.

Nailed hands; nailed feet.Innocent wounds, that bleed.

He is believe.

He is all

He is call, and purpose.

Everything we can sacrifice he’s worth it, and more.Much more.

Our good deeds are mere pities; we’re never even to score.

He is behold.

And wow, he is who, what, when, why, how.

He is the one who puts on the show.

He is the one that we turn to see.

He is souls’ cry, and sinners’ bleed.

He is the epitome that no one can light a candle to or, come within a million-foot pole of.

He is above.He is a father’s love.

Maker of waves, of earth and wind.Ancient of days.

Has no fear.Have no fear!Have no fear! Our God is here!

Sunday, July 6, 2014


Numbers are hard to talk about because numbers don’t lie.  It’s easy to talk about ideas and dreams and goals because those things don’t *have* to be real; if they never come to fruition, there are means to justify why.  But numbers… they are concrete.

When it comes to losing weight, numbers mean a lot.  And it’s not simply the number of pounds – calories eaten, weights lifted, miles ran, sizes worn, inches lost, and so on.  Simply relying on one doesn’t tell the whole story.  Together they are a collection of where you were and where you are going; what you achieved.  Yes, you can have a goal to run 13.1 miles, but there are so many more miles run in between.  Yes, you can lost 10 pounds, but you might have gained muscle and lost a certain number of inches or dress sizes.

It’s a nice idea to say that numbers don’t matter, but at times when your goal is to take one more step, lose one more pound, or anything concrete to feel accomplished and to feel like what you’re doing is actually worth it, it is important to have something that reflects the challenges and that feels like a reward.

And I am a numbers person.  I am judged by my numbers in my job – making cost, meeting schedule, analyses resulting in impactful ways, etc.  So is it any wonder that numbers flow over into my non-work / everyday life?

So this is where / when I need to be honest to myself.  Unfortunately I haven’t tracked a lot of the numbers listed above over the years, but I have tracked my weight and while weight isn’t reflective of the whole, it is something tangible at this point in my process.

Today I weigh:
- 21 pounds more than I did the day I was married.
- 2 pounds more than I did the day I gave birth to Anna.
- 40 pounds more than I did the day I went back to work after giving birth to Anna.
- 12 pounds less than my heaviest weight ever, which was when I was pregnant with Raven.
- 80 pounds more than the day I graduated from high school.
- 53 pounds more than the day I graduated from college.
- 33 pounds more than what my driver’s license says.

I don’t have to tell you what that number is.  When I reach my goals, perhaps you’ll be able to back figure it out if that is your desire.  By then I won’t care.  Today I care, today it hurts, and today it speaks to me as to what it is I need to do.

There is the truth.  The black and gray and white of this situation.

Other thoughts:
- In preparing for this blog post, I read some fascinating articles on “vanity sizing” and how sizes have changed over the years.  It was interesting and a bit bothersome to see that today’s size 00 is a size 8 from 1950.  I truly hope that size 00 girls don’t see that and try to figure out how to make themselves even smaller.
- Even though we as women are still very mean to ourselves, we’re a whole lot nicer than we were “back then”.  Shaming isn’t healthy, no matter what.


I’m pretty sure that calling girls “chubbies” didn’t help them and could have easily been onset for eating disorders or other issues.
- I have to be careful around my girls because I don’t want them to see a mom who is sad about herself/her appearance, I don’t want them to see a mom who shames herself.  I really don’t know how or where my girls learned the word “fat” already, and I sure as heck hope it wasn’t from me, but my daughter already knows that I am “fat” – and she is six. 
- There’s a fine balance between becoming healthy and fit and being obsessed with being healthy and fit.  Keeping that in mind on this journey is all important.
- I’m really glad women don’t really wear corsets anymore.  Though Spanx and the like are fairly popular, so maybe we do and we just call them something different.  Yep, I think that’s it.  (They CAN make clothes look nicer on a body – “can”, being the operative word.)
- It is okay and necessary to feel good about yourself as a person along the way.  Shaming oneself into submission, so to speak, doesn’t work very well.  It never has for me in the past and won’t now.

So.  For now.  And a few thoughts with respect that.  A very hard post to write; a harder one to publish.  Hopefully one someday I can look back on and be proud of.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Tale of Two Tattoos

On June 14, 2013, I found out that I had leukemia.  This was also the day of my first bone marrow biopsy.  I held it all together fairly well while I was in the office, listening to the information, learning as much as I could, learning about a drug trial, reading my numbers and being taught what they understood, and enduring a biopsy.

I wasn’t so calm and collected while driving from Aurora to Arvada.

It was on that drive that I decided I would get the tattoo I always wanted to get when I knew I was done having children, and on that day, I knew.  I knew I was done having children.  So I drove to see Adam at Colorado Plus, and then I drove to a tattoo parlor.  And I got this:

photo 1 (2)

This tattoo – the idea of this tattoo – spoke to me.  It grounded me.  It reminded me from where I came, who I had been determined to be, and who I was in my life – a physics-geeky engineer, a wife, a mother.  Cancer had nothing on me.  Cancer has nothing on me.  I didn’t let it that day.  And as I sat in the tattoo parlor chair enduring some slightly stinging bites into my wrist, I willed away the pain in my pelvic bone and relished my life.

That was almost a year ago.

A couple of weeks ago my friend Chrissy came to visit; she has been one of my dearest friends for over a decade, and we have lived apart longer than we ever lived in the same town.  We had a lot of good discussion about her life; about my life.  About our passions.  And one of the things we talked about was getting a tattoo together; something we had considered many years before but there never was one we had settled on.

Chrissy had introduced me to this Jim Carrey commencement address, during which he said, “So many of us chose our path out of fear disguised as practicality…… I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”

Love over fear.  Choose love over fear.  Love expands your world; fear contracts it.  Even the Bible preaches this and it was ironic that just the week before we had listened to a sermon series about movies during which they discussed the Love and Fear in the movie Frozen

1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

Discussing this; it felt as though the very tattoo we were expected to get together was born.

And of course we had to add a bit of geek to it.  Love.  Over.  Fear.  Get it?

photo 2 (2)

And this is where things got a little Twilight Zone on me.

We went to get our tattoos at the same tattoo parlor (Old World Tattoo) that I had gone to last year.  And, crazy enough, we had the same tattoo artist that I had last year.  And then it hit me.  It was exactly a year to the day that I had gotten my left wrist tattoo of the atom; here I was getting one for my right.  A year to the day.  June 14, 2014.

This is where you say, “hey, cool, but whatever, you are all crazy stoked over something dumb,” but people, it’s been a long year.  While my life might not nearly the hardships that others have had, it had been a wild year.  There were ups and downs and so much so that I felt like I was coming to the end of the right of a very intense roller coaster.  Adrenaline.  A little bit of let down.  Fatigue.  Anxiety.  Excitement.  I have been a bundle of nerves and a bundle of emotions and a bundle, period, for the last year.  The intensity doesn’t have words.  I have struggled with my faith, I have struggled with my role at work, I have struggled with my place in life.  And yet that one weekend was so uplifting and the acceptance of love over fear so freeing… there is so much to do and so much to say and so much to learn and yet, I feel like I have turned a corner that I didn’t believe existed.

So now I’ll get a little more nerdy on you.

I’ve been thinking about this blog post for a few days.  Love over fear.  Love over fear.  Love expands; fear contracts.  Love is infinite.  Fear becomes nothing in the face of love.  Infinity over zero is infinity.  Fear cannot win when overcome with love.

The end.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Step 5: Tell Everyone You Know

I find it comical that when I first considered writing this post, this clip from “The Wedding Singer” popped into my head:

You Spin Me Right Round (Unfortunately I cannot insert the video!)

So why did this clip pop into my head?  Because I’ve been here before.  I’m back at the beginning of my never-ending circle. 

But, before I even started reading The Nonrunner’s Marathon Guide for Women by Dawn Dais, I had signed up for a half marathon in South Carolina.  It’s in December; five and a half months away.  It’s on Kiawah Island; a place that has quickly become one of my favorite places to sleep overnight thanks to a dear friend and her condo.

To be able to successfully complete a half marathon (which, believe it or not, I have done before in Des Moines), one needs to train.  To train, one needs to want to do it.  One needs to make the decision to do it.

Back to that record.  Did you read that I’ve already run a half marathon?  That’s because I did.  In fact, I very slowly jogged the last few miles simply because I knew if I stopped jogging/running, I wouldn’t be able to start again.  But I did it.  And then I stopped.  I stopped running.  I stopped. 

There are questions that I can’t answer like, “Why now?”  I don’t know.  I guess today is as good as any.  “Why at all?”  Well, I guess, why not?  Regardless, having already signed up for the half, I knew I needed to start training again (that’s a different story for a different day).  As I was preparing to leave for Jury Duty yesterday, Adam told me to bring a book.  The one mentioned above was sitting on my desk.  Why not?  I started to read it, and it’s a great book for me to read because it is as sarcastic as it is not, it is straight and real.

Now remember, I’ve already made the decision, so chapter one was a little “late” to be reading, but it had some really good thoughts/advice, and Step 5 is, “Tell Everyone You Know.”  The reasons why make me crack up like, “Frankly, when you start to feel weak and sad and sore and broken, it’s easier to just keep going than to try to explain why you quit.”  So here I am, telling everyone I know.

My real goal?  To break the record.  To stop spinning around.  At one point when I thought to write this blog post tonight, I was going to get super personal and down right emptying of myself, but I no longer feel the need.  Telling you is enough.  I will, perhaps, save the rest for another day.


ps.  I’m running a half marathon in December.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Kids & Words

Here’s another quick little snapshot of the words our kids hear or make up…

“Betend” – It’s not PREtend – it’s BEtend.  As in, “I am betending to be a princess.”  (As said by Julia.  Of course, in her case, more often than not she simply says, “I am a princess.”  Touché, Julia, touché.)

“Elmo-U-S-E!” – That’s right – the Mickey Elmo-use Club!  Again, another one brought to you by Julia, as opposed to Sesame Street.  As she sings the Mickey Mouse Club song, she belts out, “M-I-C-K-E-Y Elmo-U-S-E!”

“Ticklish” – The funny thing about “ticklish” is that it’s actually a word… but not the way Raven uses it.  Raven thinks that “licorice” is actually called “ticklish”, and asks me for “ticklish” when she knows it’s in the house.  Daddy and the girls bought me a bag of Red Vines yesterday as a gift, and they are all the rage in our house.

“Almost Anything Anna says” – I’ll say this for Anna – she has a superb vocabulary.  She says a lot of words and she says a lot of them well.  However, I realized last night while going through a book with her that much of it is because of context that I understand what she is actually saying.  She drops a lot of consonants, so that makes things a little difficult at time, but we work it out, as most parents with two- and three-year-olds are wont to do.  Horse = Orsie; Tiger = Iger; Bird = Bird (Julia says, “MOM.  That’s a macaw.  Make her say ‘macaw’.”  Mom to Anna, “Bird.”  Anna replies, “Bird”.  Dang kids who can read and spell already………..)

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Wonder Woman Does Not Live Here

From my vantage point, I see scraps of paper and doll clothes lying on the floor.  The blankets are in a heap on the couch, and the chalkboard is a drying rack (I wondered where that towel went; I never thought to look there).  The girls found blocks out on the porch; evidence from our weekend fun, which ended two days ago.  There’s the basket of clothes I still haven’t taken to the thrift store, I am pretty certain there is food on the floor under the kids’ table, and the pile of laundry that I vanquished last Thursday has returned.

We had pancakes for dinner because we really need groceries.

I am not Super Wife or Super Mom.


My kids were pretty happy to spend time with Daddy tonight working on school workbooks while Mommy took a quick nap.  Julia was pleased as punch to show me a new ballet jumping move (how many times did I try that as a kid – she sure thought she was flying).  Anna used the word “yes” with me more than the word “no” tonight.  Raven asked me to make her bed pretty for the umpteenth time.  We had a fort with those blankets on the couch and the kids love pancakes.  Anna doesn’t mind snacking on random cereal bits from the floor, and thankfully we have more clothes than we can shake a stick at so who cares if the laundry gets done.

I have Amazing Kids.


I received a promotion and a raise at work yesterday.  I was asked to fill a role almost three months ago that I wouldn’t have expected to achieve for a few years yet, and while it’s tiresome and robs me of time and the commute is long, they picked me to fill that role permanently, and that’s saying a lot.  I’m the first woman and the first person under the age of 40 to fill this role on this program.  I have a heart for my team and want to see them succeed.  I have a lot to learn but I have amazing mentors.  I’m learning to accept opportunities and not rest in pride cloaked with humility.

Yesterday I was reminded by my boss that I had told her about a year and a half ago that I wanted her job some day.  And I won’t get there by holding back. 

Still not Wonder Woman.

The proverbial Wonder Woman can Do It All and Have It All and Be Everything to Everyone.  I confess I don’t know much about the actual Wonder Woman other than that I had a Wonder Woman underoos set as a child and recall swallowing a nickel while wearing it and thankfully didn’t land in the hospital.  In my mind Wonder Woman doesn’t have to make choices because she can simply do it all.  But that’s not true for me; it’s not true for most people and most moms.

Every choice has a consequence.  Consequence has a negative connotation, but the definition isn’t negative; it simply means a result or outcome.  Each choice I make has a result – I choose to work and succeed at my job and the outcome is that described above.  There are days that I would change it all if I could – and most people try to tell me that I can and I should – but it’s not that easy.  And I don’t know that I want to.  And it wouldn’t make me anymore Wonder Woman.  There would simply be different outcomes.  The question is whether or not the current results would be outweighed by the potential results.  Greener grass and the like.  And I don’t know that and can’t know that unless I make a different choice.

I don’t have a reason for this blog post other than that I have a lot of rumblings in my head that make me question what I am doing and the choices that I’ve made and whether or not they are the right ones.  There are no changes on the horizon.  But that doesn’t mean that I don’t consider the alternatives and what they might look like and whether there might be a better option.

So for tonight, I’ll accept the choices I’ve made and rest my weary brain as my girls flit around me, make forts, eat pancakes, and sneak in snuggles with me while I take a nap.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


Catching two on camera is like trying to catch the wind.  But when you do catch it, it is breathtaking and simple and beautiful.
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