Sunday, June 29, 2014

40 before 40...on top of the world!!

So a couple posts ago, I mentioned that I wanted to do 40 things out of my comfort zone or that I wouldn't normally do, before I turn 40 on June 4, 2015. I played kickball and put that as the first thing because it's not something I would normally do, especially being on chemo during the game, even though it wasn't out of my comfort zone.

I have really enjoyed hiking for the past couple of years and my daughter told me about a hike she wanted to do to "Potato Chip Rock" and I said that I would do it with her. Then I saw a photo of a friend who did it, so I mentioned that I want to do it, but that my daughter was worried about it being a 7 mile hike up. My girlfriend told me that she does it the back way, so it's 2.2 miles up on a paved service road. She set up a date and time that she, my family, and our friends would go. So we did this morning (and of course it happened to be the morning after my boys returned from camp)!! Here is our hike through photos...

Our group before the hike at the start of the trail.

Early on in the hike
Josh and Zach doing some basic training, lol! I did make them stop after the photo, because I didn't want them to wear themselves out. 
 Little brother, Ben, always trying to keep up, had to do some push ups.

Those push ups may have tired Ben out too early, because Zach is carrying him at this point, but it only lasted a few seconds. 
 And then it was my turn

Josh and Zach had so much energy and they climbed nearly everything!

Daddy's turn to carry Ben. We left for the hike early in the morning and Ben put on his old shoes (slightly small) without anyone knowing, so his feet hurt too bad for him to walk uphill a little over half way through the hike.

Josh and Zach climbed this rock and since Ben was being carried, Daddy took him up the rock so he wouldn't miss out.

Half way up, checking out the view and seeing how far we'd come!!

Posing for a quick photo at the half way mark.

We knew we were at the top when we saw all of the television satellites on top of the hill.

This was the line to go out onto Potato Chip Rock

And once in line, this was what was on the ground to our was a cliff drop to our right!! Notice the rock with the pole sticking out of it, I climbed that a little after going out on the "potato chip"

Faith and her boyfriend, Nicco, on Potato Chip Rock.

My boys were too scared to walk out to the edge of the rock because of the drop you could see on the right hand side. So we took a quick family picture on the rock, just not out on the edge.

Carrying Ben off the rock, he was the most afraid of it out of all my boys.

I was trying to think of a good pose for Sean and I to do on the rock and thought this would be a cute one, although it didn't turn out like I thought it would. I wanted it to look like Sean was saving my life as he has through out this cancer journey.

Out on the edge of the rock with the girls! Laura, my friend furthest from the edge was the one who lead us on this hike and she was the most afraid to go out to the edge. She had to scoot to her spot!!

 And then it was my turn on Potato Chip Rock...I decided I would hang ten and give a little surfing hand gesture up there!!
Here is the pole cemented into the rock that I mentioned earlier. I HAD to climb it!

And then I had my "I'm on top of the world" moment!!

As my boys were a little scared to go out on the potato chip, we walked around at the top of the hill and found this rock with a gorgeous view (if only it wasn't so overcast) for a family picture! Possibly one of the many photos on our Christmas card this year!!

My mini me, trying to climb this pole!

Ben poured water on himself many times to cool off, it was the cutest thing with his smile. Seeing my kids happy brings me so much joy!!

My little climber Zach, had a blast climbing everything he could!

On our way down the hill Josh and Zach got a little ahead of us and when we rounded the corner, we saw them meditating, so cute!

Little brother had to do it too!

Our walk down was fun because it was so much easier that straight uphill, so I climbed into this rock that Sean named "butt crack rock" and he happily called me a turd when I got into it, lol!

And of course a hike with my family wouldn't be complete without an injury and Zach got a thorn stuck into his calf which bled once removed. He was fine, but had an instant bruise.

And with boys, you never have to find them a restroom!!

It was a great hike and we all had so much to find 38 more fun things to do to complete my list!!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Camp Kesem

There is a camp here (all over the US actually) called Camp Kesem, ours being through UCSD. It's an overnight camp for children who have or have had a parent with cancer, whether living or not, to attend camp where they can be a kid and not have to think about cancer, so we sent Josh and Zach, Ben wasn't old enough to attend this year as you have to be 6 and boy was he bummed.

We know a few families that send their children to this free camp and we decided to this year. I actually signed Josh up last year, but pulled him out at the last minute because I was worried that he may hear more about cancer and death than we have told him. This year we decided to send both Josh and Zach. This was the first time my children have been away for such a long time. Six nights and 7 days!!

My boys playing with other kids and the counselors, while waiting for the buses, before heading off to camp on Sunday
 My cutie pie Zach, heading off to camp

Josh looks a little too excited to head off to camp, so I really had no worries about him.

I wasn't worried about Josh, but worried all week about Zach. I wondered who was putting him to bed. For both boys I worried they were covering themselves in sunblock or if they had a sunburn, how they would do as vegetarians with meals, if they would be in the same cabin as I knew they would be in different age groups.

The week seemed to drag on, luckily it fell on my chemo week, so I didn't have to feel too guilty about not giving them a great start to the summer, because they had the best start at camp!!

The following Sunday when they returned we realized how much fun they had and we were told many stories, bringing us back to the fun times we had at camp as kids. The funniest part was seeing their different personalities come out through their stories!

And the buses finally returned, I was so looking forward to seeing them as I had missed them so much during the week and just needed to hear them say that they had a great time!!
And they did!!
There was a potluck at UCSD when the campers returned. You can see that they didn't eat the healthiest at the potluck. hopefully they ate better at camp, but I guess that's the joy of summer camp!
Josh must have been hungry and starved from only having camp food for a week!! His first words to me were "I want to do this every year and when I'm too old, I want to be a counselor!" Proud mama moment!!

Lots of fun foods that we almost never feed my boys!!
Although camp was over, the counselors continued playing games that my boys loved!
In this game they sprayed shaving cream on each other!

And then my boys said their goodbyes!!

You could see how much they loved their camp counselors and how much the counselors enjoyed them!

One last goodbye for Josh, he chased her all over, maybe a little crush (hey, she's cute) or maybe because she looks a little like his sister.

In the end Josh was given an award for being "Most Likely to go to Harvard" and Zach came home super excited to tell us about a boy with 3 nipples!! Both boys true to form. Everyone at camp had nicknames, even the counselors...Josh was Burpy Bee and Zach was Mr. Bee. Josh is thinking of good names for all 3 of them for next year and they all can't wait!!


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

MRI and kicking through 7 rounds, literally

On June 18th, I had an early MRI up at Cedar Sinai Hospital. Sean was back in town so he was able to drive me up there. Which is so nice, that area is way to confusing and there are specific parking lots you can park in or you'll have to pay the full price and not get discounted parking.

The drive was very slow as there was a freeway closure, again thank God Sean was able to drive me!! Once there we had to wait...everything with the hospital and doctors appointments is a "hurry up to wait!" I had my MRI, and for the first time since I have stopped wearing the scarfs and sports bands around my head, my hair has grown out enough that I no longer need them, I was wearing bobby pins. Now MRIs are magnetic, so wearing bobby pins just in the room was a big no-no. And now I know why. When I went to lay down I had a pull on the top of my head, put my hand up there and realized it was because of my bobby pin. It was so difficult to take out because of the magnet. It was such a trip to me, lol!
 Here is my MRI hospital gown selfie!!
After my MRI, we headed up to see Dr. Rudnick. We met in the viewing room after doing all of my vitals and he had great news!! He showed us how the images are not changing, which means the white stuff showing up on my MRI is scar tissue. He even said that I could stop the chemo, since I did so well on 6 months of it. He said we could just do radiation or surgery when it grows back (remember this type of cancer continues to grow). But knowing that I refuse to do radiation and asking if those images were of his wife's brain what he would have her do, he told me to continue for 6 more months, especially since I'm doing so well on the Chemo. My blood counts are staying strong and he said he hit the "sweet spot" in my dose where my body is able to make a come back and that I'll do fine for 6 more months. Kind of a bummer that I have to continue, but also exciting that I am doing so well he did consider taking me off of it!!

Dr. Rudnick looking at my MRI from several months of no change!
Because I'm a little crazy and think I can accomplish anything, I have decided to do 40 things out of my comfort zone (or just not my usual) before I turn 40, in a year. I was asked a while back to play in a charity kickball game and I said yes, it happened to fall on my chemo weekend and with my doctors permission I was allowed to play!! It was so much fun and I can't wait until next year, especially since I won't be on chemo, know what to expect, and can really kick some butt!!
During the first game a man on the other team hit me in the stomach with the ball, I thought I was going to die, so I laid down for a bit after the game. Then played 2 more games, went home and took a very long and much needed nap!!
Sean kicking the ball, I don't have any of me kicking it, probably because I'm not any good!

Resting in a grassy area after getting hit in the gut with the ball. It made me so mad that they guy hit me as I was running towards first base...most men know that all they have to do is touch the base and the runner is out. He didn't need to touch the base and hit me in the stomach, I should have puked on him, lol!
Anyways, it was a great time and I'm so happy that I got the chance to play kickball again, probably haven't played since elementary school!!
So very happy that my 7th round of chemo is done and that I checked the first thing off of my 40 before 40 list!!