Mountain Lion…what it’s like to have cancer.

Mountain lion:

What is it like to go through cancer treatment? It’s something like this:

One day, you’re minding your own business, you open the fridge to get some breakfast, and OH MY GOSH THERE’S A MOUNTAIN LION IN YOUR FRIDGE.

Wait, what? How? Why is there a mountain lion in your fridge? But how? NO TIME TO EXPLAIN. RUN! RUN! THE MOUNTAIN LION WILL KILL YOU! UNLESS YOU FIND SOMETHING EVEN MORE FEROCIOUS TO KILL IT FIRST!

So you take off running, and the mountain lion is right behind you. You know the only thing that can kill a mountain lion is a bear, and the only bear is on top of the mountain, so you better find that bear. You start running up the mountain in hopes of finding the bear. Your friends desperately want to help, but they are powerless against mountain lions, as mountain lions are godless killing machines. But they really want to help, so they’re cheering you on and bringing you paper cups of water and orange slices as you run up the mountain and yelling at the mountain lion – “GET LOST, MOUNTAIN LION, NO ONE LIKES YOU” – and you really appreciate the support, but the mountain lion is still coming.

Also, for some reason, there’s someone in the crowd who’s yelling “that’s not really a mountain lion, it’s a puma” and another person yelling “I read that mountain lions are allergic to kale, have you tried rubbing kale on it?”

As you’re running up the mountain, you see other people fleeing their own mountain lions. Some of the mountain lions seem comparatively wimpy – they’re half grown and only have three legs or whatever, and you think to yourself – why couldn’t I have gotten one of those mountain lions? But then you look over at the people who are fleeing mountain lions the size of a monster truck with huge prehistoric saber fangs, and you feel like an asshole for even thinking that – and besides, who in their right mind would want to fight a mountain lion, even a three-legged one?

Finally, the person closest to you, whose job it is to take care of you – maybe a parent or sibling or best friend or, in my case, my husband – comes barging out of the woods and jumps on the mountain lion, whaling on it and screaming “DAMMIT MOUNTAIN LION, STOP TRYING TO EAT MY WIFE,” and the mountain lion punches your husband right in the face and rips him open with his claws. Now your husband (or whatever) is rolling around on the ground clutching his nose and wounds and he’s bought you some time, but you still need to get to the top of the mountain.

Eventually you reach the top, finally, and the bear is there. Waiting. For both of you. You rush right up to the bear, and the bear rushes the mountain lion, but the bear has to go through you to get to the mountain lion, and in doing so, the bear TOTALLY KICKS YOUR ASS, but not before it also kicks your husbands ass too! And your husband is now staggering around with a black eyes and bloody nose, bleeding everywhere and saying “can I get some help, I’ve been punched in the face and all scratched up by two apex predators and I think my nose is broken,” and all you can say is “I’M KIND OF BUSY IN CASE YOU HADN’T NOTICED I’M FIGHTING A MOUNTAIN LION.”

Then, IF YOU ARE LUCKY, the bear leaps on the mountain lion and they are locked in epic battle until finally the two of them roll off a cliff edge together, and the mountain lion is dead.

Maybe. You’re not sure – it fell off the cliff, but mountain lions are crafty. It could come back at any moment.

And all your friends come running up to you and say “that was amazing! You’re so brave, we’re so proud of you! You didn’t die! That must be a huge relief!”

Meanwhile, you blew out both your knees, you’re having an asthma attack, you twisted your ankle, and also you have been mauled by a bear. And everyone says “boy, you must be excited to walk down the mountain!” And all you can think as you stagger to your feet is “F this mountain, I never wanted to climb it in the first place.”

This story was not written by me but another fellow cancer patient. They hit the nail right on the head and I couldn’t have said it better myself or made a better comparison. And to think that I’ve climbed that mountain twice! And both times I was pregnant!!! Not a little pregnant but very, very pregnant… TWICE!!! I’m not saying this to toot my own horn. I guess I am talking to myself right now. To drill a point home to my dense brain. For me to really remember and recognize all I have been through the last 4 years. Because I am probably the biggest offender to myself. My mentality has been to not stop, to forge on like nothing is wrong, to think to myself, “I’m not tired”, when in reality, I am a total wreck, exhausted but too delirious to even recognize it. Don’t tell anyone, but I think I have learned to sleep with my eyes open. Keep going, keep going, keep going. I mean really, when there is a mountain lion chasing you, wouldn’t you just keep going? At least until you may think it’s safe to stop and catch your breath for a moment or you’ll just collapse from total exhaustion. Who has time to think about better choices in a situation like this? The raptor brain kicks in and for me it’s nothing but a drive of pure adrenaline and a positive thinking, “nothing can get me down” attitude and to keep the “F” running forward. I know I should extend myself a little more grace sometimes. Give myself more time to rest, heal, recover. And yes, I do nap, I do rest, I do take time for myself… but I certainly put up a good fight that I WILL NOT LET THIS DISEASE WIN! I will not be eaten by a mountain lion. 

Sure, I will come out of this battle scarred and missing some body parts. And my poor husband, he has been beaten and bruised from this, acquiring his own battle wounds from this fight. Not to mention my entire family and extended family has been banged up as well. But we all keep going, running up that mountain, fighting off any predator (not just the bear and mountain lion) that we encounter mountain side. 

And that my friends is a glimpse of what fighting cancer is like. 

October is breast cancer awareness month. Do me a favor and get those boobies checked. In fact take this time to check out any part of your body that could be suspicious for cancer. Early detection is key. Do this for yourselves and your families so that you don’t wake up one morning and find an immortal mountain lion in your fridge. 

Here we go again…


The last 9 weeks have been an adjustment. Time is tight so finding a quick minute to blog while feeding Calvin, playing with Cora, or getting her to school/ other activities (or trying to get some laundry done) has been a challenge. So much has happened I couldn’t possibly fit it all into one blog post, but it feels like its time for an update.

Well… my hair is a mess, and I barely have time to put on mascara. I smell of sour milk and somehow find myself perpetually covered in baby puke. I may have bags under my eyes but I’m smiling just typing these words out! I wouldn’t change it for the world. Being a mom has been an amazing experience for me and I am soooo thankful to have two beautiful children.  I love all of it. I love the puke, the 2am feedings, Coras adorably sassy attitude.   I have my ‘moments’ when I’m totally exhausted, but for the most part, I’m enjoying ALL of these moments and taking nothing for granted. I guess that’s one of the perks of having cancer (and not one but two ‘chemo babies’). 

Most importantly, Calvin is doing great! He has doubled his weight and is truly thriving. Hitting his weekly milestones, he appears to not be 5 weeks ‘behind’ at all. He is tough and strong.; that’s how we make um’ in my family! Both Cora and Calvin have overcome so much in their short little lives already.  I’m one proud momma! 

For me… well, treatment continues. Last week I started radiation, which is a whole new experience. I go everyday, Monday through Friday and will have a total of 35 treatments (yet one more thing to pack into cramped days… as if they weren’t busy enough).  I continue to see my friends at Dana-Farber in Boston for chemo, injections, and close monitoring.  I’m taking chemo pills and some other medications. Some of the pills I was on before, some are completely new. Some do the same as previous pills I’ve been taking, but are stronger and others are completely new to me. The prescription arena is where it’s gets all hairy.  Last time, I didn’t do so well on some of these medications.  Beyond the baby puke, I’m in side effect city, but I’ll save those juicy details for an entire different blog post.

For now, Nate and I are taking things one day at a time. We are both pretty tired at this point but somehow make it through another day. We were recently lucky enough to be treated by my family to a quick trip to see the mouse and celebrate my nieces 21st birthday, which was awesome! It was nice to get away from cancer town and side effect city and feel a bit normal for a few days.  But we’re back in town and things continue on, trucking along.

More Peach Fuzz…..

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Its growing and its growing fast! I thought my baby might have more hair than me but I think at this point we might be tied or I might end up having more. One thing for sure both our heads have and will have that baby, super soft hair. The kind you cant stop touching, like baby bunny soft hair. So when you meet my little bundle and cant resist to smell its head and touch it soft hair- don’t forget about me and give my head a pat too!

We all remember back when my I had to shave my head and what a truly a formidable experience it was. Since then it has proven to not be that bad. The positives:  I guess i have a really nice shaped head. Of all the compliments I have gotten, the shape of my head has been a very consistent and popular one.

Showers truly only take about 3 minutes now and getting ready has been drastically reduced to about 15 minutes.

I didn’t have to worry about getting my hair wet in the pool,  instantly turning that perfect blow dry that took me 20 minutes earlier that day into a french poodle style. Very convenient.

I have been told that being pregnant is August is not fun for anyone- well, I have remained that perfect body temperature all summer, not too hot and not too cold, just right and I am guessing it has to do with no hair!

I guess there is a period of time after you give birth that your hair, well, sheds and thins. Been there, done that, check!

Needless to say, life continued on… I just had to do it bald.

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Sorry about the middle finger. I am not a potty mouth on social media but when it comes to cancer, I feel the middle finger, respectfully is quite appropriate.

So whats the big deal about being bald? This was a reoccurring question I would often ask myself… I would follow that question up with, what’s the big deal about being bald and pregnant?  I came up with this: when your bald people just assume you have cancer and your sick. Easy judgement. Being pregnant and bald, people just assume your some kind of sicko! That was readily told by the disapproving look on people faces that would be shot at me in Target or at the grocery store. Point blank I could easily read … “what kind of mother would do that to herself?” or “your that babies mamma, poor kid”.

There were a few times I wanted to shout back “yes, I have breast cancer! ” or just totally pink myself out to the max on breast cancer awareness garb in order to help the poor people at the guessing game they were playing in their head on what was actually wrong with me. But, that’s not my style and I think it was more fun to keep the strangers guessing. I would allow them to stare, continue on, and then fire back with a big ole sickening smile, maybe even say hi. Something a crazy person was sure to do.  It really didn’t bother me and I don’t think they were trying to be mean.

Before being sick I probably would have made that same judgements because really, what are the chances of being pregnant and having cancer..????

Being bald for me felt like my head was constantly wet. It did keep me cool but often too cold. It was very sensitive to temperatures and just wanted to be covered. Like it was a private part that rarely saw day light and preferred to have some thing, anything on it. My fuzz is doing the job now and I could care less if I have a scarf or hat on. I don’t think I have covered my head at all in the past 5 days now that I think about it. There was a time when going out and putting on a scarf or baseball hat made it easier for everyone. but I think that time is behind me.

Over all I have come to like my downy. peach fuzz state, I could do with out the gray…. But, I am not special. Everyone’s hair comes in gray after loosing it from chemo.

I do long for the day when I can once again run a brush through my hair or pull it back in a pony tail but after a few tears, well a lot of tears and some getting used to loosing the hair really hasn’t been that bad….. I guess 🙂

I am glad its growing back in and happy to share my progress with you!