Lucky 13 🍀

Not sure if it’s lucky or not, but our oldest son just turned 13. When I see the young man in front of me, I still see him as a toddler or a 6 year old. I remember him watching tractor videos, farming my carpet & learning to read. He’s a healthy teenager. While I wish I could keep that little boy who loved my lap, I am thankful to get to see him growing into a thoughtful young man. Will there be struggles? Sure, that’s part of it all. I’ve seen glimpses of what is to come. Moments of defiance or testing boundaries have started to peek out. But, my sweet teen still asks me to “shut his door” at night, just to give me an extra kiss.

He spent his 13th birthday skiing – one of his favorite things. He got some fishing tackle, a gift card to Scheels sporting goods, and we activated one of our old (non-smart) phones for him. Instead of the homemade cakes, cookies or cupcakes, he picked out assorted cheesecake for his birthday. And he had cheesecake & coffee for breakfast.  He was skiing both Saturday & Sunday. The only thing that would have been better is if there was ice fishing also. He did tricks on the ski/snowboard terrain park and took a nasty fall. But since we got it on video, it became like a “cool scar” – a badge of honor in his world. I was just glad he had a helmet on.
He has changed a lot in the last year and there will be more changes to come. I’m thankful to be here for it. I plan to soak it all up. My “5 more years” will fly by in an instant. Something happens when you go through a life changing event… your perspective changes (or I think it should).  You appreciate things more, take some time to breathe, allow yourself to take more risks and, if you have a teenager, you go on the “black runs/the most difficult” ski runs just to make your son go WOW!

I’m a long way from being enough, but I’ll get there. And, to my new teenager, hopefully I will be enough of a mom to make a positive impact on his life. To show him how to push through pain, have faith in God, believe in yourself & to go outside your comfort zone. On the eve of my surgery anniversary & just a few days away from half marathon training, I have a lot to reflect on. I have some anxiety about it all, but I have a great support group and I’ll have a great cheering section. Peace be with you on your journey of enough.


Not done…

So, it was almost a year ago when I had my lumpectomy to remove the cancerous and pre-cancerous tumors. Yesterday I had my follow up with the surgeon. I was unsure as to what to expect. I wasn’t decked out in pink, but I had my birthday necklace and my pink ribbon shoes. I went alone, but was in a much larger room than before.  It went well. He didn’t notice anything abnormal or concerning. The 3D mammogram had looked good. That’s awesome all awesome news! The pain I still have will likely always be there. Since I had the mammogram in Oct, I can have an MRI in March. Yes, please.

As I waited to get the MRI info filled out, I kept thinking, “it’s not done.” Even though the surgery is done and the radiation is done, I’m still not DONE. There are always check ups … With the surgeon, with the Oncologist, with the radiation Oncologist etc. I look fine and I feel pretty healthy, but for the next 5-10 yrs, I will have check ups. They will eventually be more spread out. It’s easy for everyone else to see me as “done” but to me, I’m not done. There are things that pop up & create anxiety … Recurrence, metastic breast cancer, etc. The stats on recurrence and metastic breast cancer (showing up in some other/random area of your body) is enough to freak a person out. I try to focus on being the 70% that don’t get metastic cancer but there is that number in the back of my mind … 30% is high.

On the way to my appointment, I heard the song “Blessings” on the radio. If you’ve not heard it, Google it. It’s a good song.

“What if our blessings come through raindrops. What if our healing comes through tears.”

This song was playing as my sister drove to the hospital to be there for my lumpectomy and here it was on my “anniversary.” It’s not a coincidence. Sometimes God needs to nudge us and remind us of things. So, while it may not always be easy, I choose hope. I choose to believe that I will have many great years ahead of me. And, whatever comes my way, I will try to handle it with God’s help. While I’m not “done”, I hold my head up and make the most of it.

Oh, and you are enough… I can’t tell you too many times! Peace be with you on your journey.

Pay it forward – Pink version 

There is a nonprofit organization called Pink it Forward. The group of 4 women have been impacted by breast cancer. With 3 of them having beaten breast cancer, they wanted a way to Pay it Forward for other women battling the disease. They send out free care packages to women going through treatment. They raise funds to cover the costs of the care packages & shipping. One of the care packages is a hand-made tied fleece blanket. This past Friday, they held 2 “Wine and Tie” events (in Bismarck & Fargo). Volunteers brought 2 yards of fleece and were treated to wine & appetizers & more wine.

I asked my friend, Jessie to come with me to tie blankets. I also notified my co-workers of the event and had 2 more friends show up, Kristi & Charla. The 4 of us made 7 blankets in just 3 hours. We visited, had some wine & even tied some extra blankets with fleece that people donated (people who weren’t able to attend the event). Charla even won a door prize. I’m not sure how many blankets were made total, but it was a nice table full.

I love this organization & what they do. It’s such a wonderful idea… to pay it forward to other survivors & let them know that they have a sisterhood supporting them. It’s not just women though. There were men at the event – so “shout out” to the dudes making tie blankets with us!

When you finish treatment, it’s common to want to help others. This is a great way to do that.  If you know someone going through treatment and want to help them but don’t know what to do, send them one of these care packages. It costs you nothing & will make their day!  When you are going through this yourself, people mean well by saying “let me know what we can do for you”. Let me tell you from experience, they won’t tell you what to do for them because they don’t know. They are just trying to exist, keep it together, make it through appointments, treatments, keep working, keep the family “normal”, try to balance it all etc. They most likely won’t call you on a random Tuesday & ask you to make supper. Just bring them something. Who would turn down a meal that’s ready to go or to freeze for later? Um, probably nobody. Just do it. 99% of the time, you will be making their day – trust me. I was soooo thankful for everyone who brought meals during my treatments and recoveries. I hear people say, “But I’m not a good cook” – you know what? Olive Garden lets you order take out, and most places do. Pick up a meal if you don’t cook – your recipient won’t care. They will just be relieved that it’s one less thing to worry about. Ok, that was a bit of a rant, but you get the idea.

Thank you to my friends for coming to make blankets with me on a cold January Friday night. You are making the day of 7 ladies whom you will likely never meet. How cool is that?! Maybe next year we will have an even bigger group! I plan on helping my 2 boys make tie blankets for Pink it Forward this summer. Visit to learn more about this cool group of ladies!

Time out?

If you have kids, you may have given them a “time out” before. Have you ever felt like YOU needed one? I’ve felt that way for the last week. Part of it is getting back into the swing of things after holiday break. Part is nerves about upcoming half marathon training. Part is work stress. Part is the crazy cold weather (-25 wind chill). Part, a big part, is the appointment next week. Next Tuesday, I have my (almost) 1 year anniversary of my lumpectomy, so I have a follow up with the surgeon. Because the mammogram was clear, I expect this appointment to be pretty “routine”. You’d think its no big deal. I mean I’m cured, right?

I’m fully confident that things are fine. I keep telling myself that. But there is that doubt that likes to creep in to survivors’ minds…Why does it still hurt? Does that mean something? Will the feeling ever change? What will he say? The list goes on. There should be a list that they give you called “these things are normal” so people like me can read it and cross things off. Oh, that feeling is normal? Ok. I can deal with that. But, my husband reminds me that normal is over rated. Still, there is a yearn to feel normal. 

Recently, a fellow survivor/friend and I went to a painting event. It was a fun afternoon. This was the first time that she had referred to herself as a survivor… Said it out loud. Trust me, it’s a big deal. When you’re in the midst of treatment, you just fight through. But after, you step back and realize “wow, I did it” – and you acknowledge that what you did was a big deal. So, saying it out loud is a big deal. I’m super proud of her. I’ve been pretty vocal and have tried to draw attention to  breast cancer happening in young women. She fought hard too, but hasn’t wanted the attention. I admire her strength. We’ve learned a lot from each other in the last year. My time out place would be much like the painting that we did. 

Tuesday will go fine. The winter won’t last forever. Half marathon training will be tough, but I can do it. And I will think of our painting as my time out place. I wish you peace on your journey of enough.




It’s the first Monday of the New Year. I still enjoyed my morning coffee at work, but I decided to mix it up with some tea. I found this tea called positive energy tea. Although I’m not sure if tea can make you feel more positive, it’s worth a shot. If nothing else, the citrus flavor goes well with the EmergenC that was added to it (due to 12 yr old having a bad cold that I don’t want to get). 

Can tea really change our mood? What can? What can shift your thoughts from “ugh, it’s Monday” to “OK, let’s go, it’s Monday!”? Everyone has their own trigger to shift their mood. It might take a while to find it, and you need to be open to the idea, but I think it’s possible. What changes your mood for the positive?  Is it a walk outside? A run? A pet? A hug from someone you love? 

As we start a new year, we might need some reminders of the good things. We will be bombarded with messages of not being enough disguised as resolutions … You should lose weight, exercise more, quit smoking, quit drinking soda… The list goes on and on. Did you ever see the movie “What about Bob?!” If you haven’t seen it, rent it some snowy Saturday. “Baby Steps” is the name of the book in the movie … Take baby steps to get where you want to be, baby steps to your goals. Small steps are ok, it doesn’t have to be a monumental change. Keep that in mind as we start out 2016. It takes 16 weeks to train for a marathon, not 16 days. If you want to lose 20lbs, it won’t happen in 20 days. Give yourself permission to take baby steps, and remember… You ARE enough! Oh, and try some tea!

Turn over a new leaf…

Happy New Year. January 1st is the biggest “Monday” of all. Time to turn over a new leaf. Time to start a new good habit and lose an old bad one. “I’ll start my diet on Monday or on January 1st” – similar ideas. January is typically the time for new resolutions, when we think that somehow things will be different. It’s just a day. Or is it? This year it falls on Friday, which makes for a nice long weekend.

What are your New Years resolutions? What new leaf do you want to turn over? I’m not sure that I’ve decided what mine are. I’m kind of running out of time, huh?  I’m guessing I can come up with something. Here we go…

I will train for and run my 4th half marathon.  

I’m not sure if this counts as a resolution, but it’s something big that I’m planning to do. I start training the end of January. In the early morning. In North Dakota. What was I thinking? I’m not much of a morning person. Even though I’m typing this in my bed, on my phone, at 5 am, I’d rather be sleeping. Every Saturday for 16-18 weeks I will need to be up at this time to drive into Fargo (15-20 min) to run. I’m also not a big fan of winter. We run outside the whole time. And I’m not a fast runner. I jog and walk. I don’t do 8 minute mile pace runs. I’m more of a 12-15 minute girl. So, you may be wondering why I signed up for this. I kind of am too, but there are lots of reasons. Listing them will also help me to remember my motivation. 

1. Because I can. I can run. I lived through cancer & broken foot & hysterectomy. I should be able to go 13 miles.

2. I can be an advocate & raise money for Lend a Hand (an organization in Fargo who helps people with the financial struggles of medical costs)

3. It’s another time where I will get to wear lots of pink & raise awareness for young women – Get your mammogram!!

4. I will have a big cheering section. (I hope) This year, I’m requesting my family & friends to come out and cheer me on. I’ve run the Fargo Half Marathon before, but didn’t specifically ask people to come out & cheer me on. This year will be different. I want to see those people who cheered me on through my cancer struggle to cheer me on to this finish line. And, if you’ve never witnessed a marathon before, you will be inspired. Trust me.

5. My 3 biggest fans will be there. I want to show to my kids that I can do anything – and so can they. I also want to thank my husband for believing in me. (He will be the one with the megaphone & super loud cowbell)

So there. I have declared it. I also plan to lose some weight along the way and get healthier.

2016 will be a great year. Day 1 of the rest of my life. Cheers to you on your journey & whatever “finish line” you are looking to cross. We CAN do it!!