Monday, February 13, 2012


Hello and happy Monday! I'm one of those rare people who loves Mondays - because I get the day off work! I work four ten's and I honestly think it's the perfect schedule. Having a weekday off to get errands done and have some "Lisa" time is so helpful for my sanity.

A couple weeks ago I had my blood drawn to check my thyroglobulin (Tg) level. Like I've mentioned before, this is the tumor marker used for thyroid cancer. The goal is zero (no evidence of cancer). It takes a while to get the results back because they have to ship the blood across the country to the lab. As you can imagine, it isn't cheap - but necessary. Last time, in September, my level was 1.1. Now, nearly five months later, it is 0.9. The good news is it hasn't gone up. But the idea of some cancer cells still residing in me, waiting to multiply out of control whenever they wish, torments me. So I will continue with my healthy living and hope that my body keeps them in check - and fights them ferociously! 

Next month will bring more scans and follow up visits. Next month will also bring something else - something that I'm not sure I should celebrate or mourn. My one year cancer-versary. I was diagnosed on March 18, 2011. This year went by so fast, and while I won't call cancer a blessing, I will be thankful that it has brought me so much closer to some of my friends and has inspired me to write, to drink green juice, and to surround myself with people and things that I love. So, perhaps I should celebrate my first year of living (or as some people say, thriving) with cancer.

Alright my loves, Happy Valentines Day tomorrow. Calories don't count tomorrow (just like birthdays, Christmas, and Thanksgiving!), so spoil yourself with chocolate and conversation hearts! Or flowers - those really don't have calories.


Monday, February 6, 2012

I'm back!

You might have noticed that my blog was down for a while. I started having second thoughts about having so many personal experiences out there on the web for all to see. I'm sure that most bloggers experience these feelings sometimes. But then I remembered why I started my blog: to keep my loved ones updated. And then it morphed into something bigger - I wanted to share my story with all - to inspire people. And this is who I am. I know that anyone who reads this will only get to know me better. This is the real me!

I am sitting outside in the sun as I write...without a coat on! These sunny winter days are a rarity in Seattle, but oh how they lift the spirit. During our snowpocalypse a few weeks ago I was so desperate for some sunshine that I was surfing the web for some last minute tickets to the OC, but unfortunately they were over $500 each way. I probably would have walked to SeaTac just to get out of here, had they been in my price range. It wasn't the snow that I needed to escape; actually, the snow was fun for a few days. But I wanted to see the sunshine! Preferably from a California beach! For now I will enjoy the Seattle sunshine and dream of a tropical vacay.

The last few months have been full of amazing time during the holidays with family, busy hours at work, and beautiful moments with friends that have proven how much the relationships have grown. We are still struggling to get my thyroid medication at the right dose. Every 6 weeks I get a blood draw and my dose changed. Being kept so hyper is not fun. Night sweats, moodiness, hot flashes - you'd think I was going through menopause! I will learn to adapt and thrive, though, because this is my new normal!

I had a bit of a scare a couple of weeks ago. I woke up with the right side of my face all swollen and a large lump deep in my cheek. It is on the right side, the same side that my tumor was on. My PCP got me in the same day and after a quit exam she informed me that it was actually my salivary gland! The glands can get clogged and even develop a stone. The radioactive iodine is absorbed by the salivary glands, resulting in a permanent dry mouth post treatment. The cure? Hopefully it will go away on its own. Otherwise the ENT surgeons can do a small surgery where they insert a little catheter to allow it to drain.

I regretfully didn't make it to the gym much during the holiday season. But I have renewed my commitment to healthy living and green juice is my new coffee; yoga class is my new Saturday morning routine. But while I can tell my stamina and flexibility suffered from my exercise hiatus, the plus side is that after the break now my workout classes seem so fun and fresh. Green juice tastes better than coffee, and salads are what I crave. Maybe a short break is good for us sometimes.

green juice on a sunny morning

In other good news, I have signed up as crew for a Portland regatta aboard Anam Cara at the end of February. I realized how desperately I missed sailing, even if the thought of shivering on a boat doesn't seem very appealing; I know once I get out there I will be back in love with the sport that I have devoted so much of my past to.

Some things that I love, have always loved, that I want to commit to doing more of: sailing, dancing, reading books, learning, playing my flute & piano.

And off to play in the sunshine....