Saturday, October 31, 2015

31 Days of Pink Ribbon Selfies!

Day 31!!!  The October pink ribbon selfie project has reached its end!  I probably sound too excited about that, don't I?  I've enjoyed it, but honestly, it was more work than I thought it'd be!

Today I napped, which is unusual for me (at least for the more healthier, recent me.)  We did not have a peaceful night's sleep last night because of the heavy rain that fell all night long, AND our phones kept alerting us of the Flash Flood Warnings for our area.  I want to know these things, but maybe not several times in the middle of the night, right??  Anyway, our little street flooded this morning, so we were forced to stay home and take it easy for much of today.  By the afternoon, the rain had stopped and our Halloween plans could proceed.

Our only Halloween plans were to go watch the KHS Drumline perform at a community event, and to take David to a friend's party.  Afterwards, Danny and I found ourselves alone and we took the opportunity to go on an impromptu dinner "date."  It was a nice evening, THEN we EVEN went to the grocery store ... yep!  We are wild ones, alright.

Here we are back at the house, just hanging out until it was time to go and get the kids.
 
Today's pink ribbon item of the day is a blingy little something I picked up at Kohl's a couple of years ago as part of one of their "Kohl's Cares" promotions.  A hot pink grosgrain ribbon with an eclectic mix of jewels affixed to the front.  Also, notice that Danny is wearing his "K" hat out of love and support for me!  Some people may think it stands for Kingwood (where we live) or even Kingwood High School, but I like to joke that the K is for Kim.
 
Since it's Halloween, and it's the last day of this October Project that I casually started 30 days ago, here are a couple of bonus pics, taken tonight in our kitchen.  You know I can't ever get an acceptable selfie in one shot!
 

 
I want to thank all of you who have stuck with me on this 31-day journey!  Good days, bad days, bad hair days, busy days, at home, out, at The Pink Ribbon Shop, alone and with all of my peeps, I tried to share more of me here than I ever have before.  I appreciate your support, positive vibes and comments!
 
 
And no, although it sounds like it, I am not saying goodbye for good, but I do intend to take a little time off from blogging after an intense 31 days straight.  :)


Friday, October 30, 2015

Day 30 - Lesson Learned

Sooooo tired!  Love our KM4B, but one thing I learned this evening was that I should NOT volunteer to chaperone to a football game just two days after getting chemo.  Way too soon!  My dinner wasn't going down well, and the bus ride didn't agree with me.  Thankfully, once we got there and off the bus, I did begin to feel better.  Another plus:  it didn't rain!  Glad I had my warm rain jacket anyway though, because it was super windy and downright chilly at times.

Here's me and Bethany at the game:
 
 
And here's my pink ribbon-wear for the night:


So ready for bed!  I'm sore all over.  Goodnight!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Carbo Glow and My PNKRBN Ride

Hello all!  My "carbo glow" is in full effect right now, having just received my Carboplatin/Gemcitabine infusion yesterday!  (for more on that, head on back to my Day 8 post.)  Here's a tiny close-up of the purply-red-hued hotness and puffiness I'm experiencing today.  And I can't believe I'm sharing this one ... it'll just be between you & me, okay?  No Facebook for this lovely!  I'm thinking really, no one my age looks good this close-up.  Except maybe supermodels and others who get airbrushed or heavily photoshopped.  At least this is what I want to believe.  In the end, it's real and it's me, and you can take me or leave me.










Let's move on, please!  On a happier, more attractive note, I thought I'd show off my personalized license plate.  There's no pink ribbon, but I'm going to go ahead and count it as today's (and every day's!) pink ribbon.  Here we are, me & my ride:

I splurged a few years ago and got this plate for a 5-year period.  I actually thought at the time that the term would likely outlive me.  But hey ya never know, right? 

If you live in the Kingwood, Texas area, you've probably seen me tooling around.  I do A LOT of driving, now that I'm alive again!  Driving kids places, that is.  I think PNKRBN is fitting in a couple ways.  First, it's a reference to myself:  my battle, my survivorship, and how I'm beatin' the odds.  Second, it's a reference to our business, The Pink Ribbon Shop.  I explain in case you've seen me and wondered what it was all about.  I remember when I first got it, I felt very self-conscious about it, like everyone was staring at me.  Now I don't think about it at all.  I think it's pretty clear what it says, but ... funny story ... I once had a guy in a grocery store parking lot come up to me and say "Pink urban??"  I kindly corrected him and then he got it right away.

Hmm, maybe I really AM the Pink Ribbon Lady!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Chemo Woes, History Lesson, and Meet Dr. C!


Today was chemo day.  It's almost always a long day.  A 45-minute drive each way.  First, labs.  Then, nurse and doctor visit.  Lastly, infusion lasting 2-4 hours.  It's not ALL bad ... I am usually rewarded with a lunch "out" on chemo days, which can almost always brighten my mood and cure any crankiness or worry I may have, even if it's temporary.  But I digress.  I was surprised to learn that the lab results were not as good as I expected.  After a full three-week recovery time since the last infusion, I thought that surely everything would be super!  Not so.  My platelets (cells that help your blood to clot) were very low, as was my H&H (a measure of the blood's oxygen-carrying capacity and its proportion consisting of red blood cells) and my ANC (a value indicating the white blood cells' ability to fight infection.)  Despite the fact that all of these values were low, I am asymptomatic, so Dr. C made the decision to go ahead with today's chemotherapy infusion.  I trust her decision completely, but the situation worries me.  I know I've discussed this before, but it's an ongoing worry in response to a repeated problem.  I am already on a reduced frequency chemo schedule due to these issues.  My body is having difficulty recovering from the repeated chemical assaults.

The good news is that because I've gained back some weight, and the cancer has responded well to this duo of drugs (Carboplatin & Gemcitabine,) I am "healthier" than back in March when I first started this regimen.  I seem to be better able to tolerate the blood issues and not "feel" the side effects in my daily living.  I can detect subtle changes, but it's not the can't walk five feet without having to sit down problem that occurred after the first cycle or two of CarboGem.  Also, the anti-nausea drugs I am now on have completely eliminated that pesky problem that was so debilitating and miserable in the beginning.  It actually amazes me how the lab values can be so dismal and yet I'm looking better than ever (in real life) and feeling pretty good too.

The bad news, of course, is that if my bodily systems don't recover adequately between chemo cycles, then at some point, an infusion will have to be postponed to allow more time for said recovery.  Clearly, repeatedly rescheduling chemo appointments is not good.  Here I am on something that's working wonderfully and amazingly, but if I can't get it regularly ... well then how will it continue working so miraculously?

It's a problem, but one that I just have to take day by day.  I'm not in control of any of this -- only God is.  All I can do is pray, and trust that His plan is much bigger than my plan for my life!

I'm at Day 28 of my October pink ribbon selfie project.  I'm throwing it way, way back to the wee, wee days of The Pink Ribbon Shop by wearing a ribbon pin from Avon's Breast Cancer Crusade collection.  I became an Avon representative just so I could have access to and "sell" these products when our online store first went "live" with only 4 products.  We had the Avon lapel pins (which came in silver and gold,) an Avon candle, and a third item which was a t-shirt of our own design.  As an Avon lady, I could only offer their items at Avon's retail price point, and the representatives made zero commission on the BCC products.  That's how limited the selection of "pink ribbon" products was, not just at Avon, but everywhere, way back when.  The pink ribbon as a symbol itself was in its very, very early stages.  Having recently been diagnosed and going through mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation and breast reconstruction, I wanted to wear a pink ribbon hat as a way to let people know why I was bald and what I was going through.  I searched for one, but it didn't exist!

Well I didn't intend to give a brief history of how The Pink Ribbon Shop got its start, but the Avon pin, which is still a treasured favorite piece for me, got me "feeling nostalgic" (as a Facebook status would be worded) and the words just flowed.  Now you know!

All of this talk about it, and you can't even see the pin (it's on my cardigan's left lapel) in the selfie!  That's because the real star in today's picture is Dr. Coscio.  She's been by my side for the last three years as my oncologist at MD Anderson Cancer Center.  I cannot say enough about this wonderfully caring, vastly knowledgeable, and super competent physician.  She is a beautiful person, inside and out.  So thankful for her and the rest of my care team at MDA in The Woodlands!!!


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Socks and Cats and Pink Ribbons

Day 27 -- I'm in the home stretch of this PROJECT!  Today's pink ribbon item of the day are these super cool socks with a tie-dye effect.  I was going to photo just the socks, but while attempting this on my bed, my cat Tigger kept getting on me, wanting attention.  So I gave her my pink ribbon sock-clad foot and she loved it.  I couldn't resist posting this of one of my babies!  And my sock-clad foot and lower leg!  As an added bonus, you don't have to see my big forehead or my I-only-got-one-hairstyle hairstyle.  :)
 

Random factoid about me:  If I'm wearing socks, there's a 95% chance that they're pink ribbon socks.  I have quite the collection!  It's probably because socks are less conspicuous than other apparel items, and I don't want to look like a crazy pink ribbon lady all the time.  With the socks, I can be kinda crazy, but no one will know!  Conveniently, I have, at my disposal, access to oodles of pink ribbon socks and pink ribbon you-name-its  :)

How 'bout another random factoid?  I love cats.  I have 3, and I'd probably have more if I was allowed to.

Have you guys noticed any anti-pink-ribbon sentiment this month?  I have, and it bothers me.  I touched on it a little in yesterday's post, but I have more to say.  If you want to really make a difference, don't just buy something, DONATE.  Or join a team and RAISE MONEY for a reputable organization.  If you're making a purchase with the notion that the entire purchase price is your "donation," you are probably incorrect.  Oops, well, this actually is (almost) the case with our Funding a Cure bracelets.  We donate the entire $1.00 purchase price (what the bracelet costs us, plus the remainder of the $1.00 purchase price that you pay) to The Pink Ribbon Shop Fund for Breast Cancer Research at MD Anderson Cancer Center.  Phrases like "net proceeds" or "a portion of the proceeds" should tip you off that the retail sales price is not the amount of the donation.

What the anti-pink-ribbon sentiment is going to do is make companies stop doing the October awareness campaigns.  And that means they're going to stop making big donations.  Fifty thousand dollars here, half a million there means that there will be much less money put into research and outreach efforts.  Already there are fewer walks than just a few years ago.  Is that really what we want?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Day 26 - Let's Make a Cure Happen

It's Day 26 of my month-long pink ribbon selfie project.  Today's item is mostly message, and not so much ribbon.  The Let's Make a Cure Happen t-shirt by New Balance has a big and bold pink message on its front, and it's my thoughts exactly!


And yes, I took this pic in my bathroom.  I had other plans for today's shot, but I missed (okay, squandered) the 15 minutes of sunshine that we were treated to today, so it had to be indoors.  I tried to take one in front of my desk ... even cleaned my desk (somewhat) first ... but then I couldn't get the shirt AND the desk, AND me looking decent.  This evening with the iPhone and selfie stick was particularly difficult.  So, so many attempts.  I'm sure you're getting tired of hearing about it, and maybe you're thinking that I must just be putting on.  I assure you, I'm not.  The girls even tried to help, to no avail.  I got a short video, lots of blurries, and even a "burst" of 29 photos of me looking like "whattheheck!?"  [don't even ask]  After 26 days I think it's safe to say that it's hopeless.

You know what's not hopeless?  The quest to find a cure!  I'm hearing a lot lately about the commercialization and profitability of pink ribbon campaigns.  Lots of companies are pinking out their products for breast cancer awareness month.  People are getting tired of it, and some are complaining that organizations aren't donating "enough" to the cause, and are merely profiting off the sale of their pink items.  The complainers also like to point how much money the organizations make overall, and what a small, small portion of that is going to breast cancer.  I've seen articles that break down what is actually donated of, say, a single item in the campaign, and they are disappointed in the end figures.

They way it works, FYI, is that ultimately, people need to be paid for the production of a product.  The product needs to be transported and marketed, too.  Not everyone in the chain has agreed to working for free to donate to the cause.  That's why the amount donated CAN'T be the amount the end user paid for the item.  You get to the wear the item, and a portion of what you paid for that item is donated.  I'm not saying that there is no abuse going on.  Certainly, if someone says they are donating and they don't, that's a problem.

But the way I see it, if a pink campaign allows an entity to donate MILLIONS of dollars to a reputable cancer organization (such as the American Cancer Society,)  HOW CAN THIS BE A BAD THING???

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Celebrating Life

Day 25!  It's been raining here for about 30+ hours straight, as a result of Hurricane Patricia's remnants.  Not a heavy rain, and very little wind, but just a steady drizzly rain.  Makes me really look forward to the day when my garage is cleared out and I can actually park my car in it, and not have to go through the weather to get in and out!

Here are today's selfies, taken in the car after church.  They're of me and two of my girls, Bethany & Christa.  (FYI we had to split up and take two cars to church today, because D had confirmation class and then B had to be there 35 minutes later for praise band practice before service.  I'm sure you were curious as to why only 3 of our 5 family members are pictured.)  Anyhoo, I couldn't choose just one picture, so I decided to post the three best ones.


 
I know you can't see it clearly in the picture, but I'm wearing our "Celebrate Life" necklace.  It's an oldie, but goodie, and it's still available!  I've always liked this phrase.  In fact, one of The Pink Ribbon Shop's earliest original t-shirt designs was our Celebrate Life tee (T/celebrate.)  It's been retired, which always makes me a little sad, because it means that it wasn't popular enough to warrant its continued printing.  I just think it's such an important message!  You have to live life to the fullest, because you just don't know how long you, or your loved ones, will be around!  Just the other day, I listened to Tim McGraw's song Live Like You Were Dying, which has a similar message.  And it's really fun to sing, too!  Love that song, but it always makes me tear up.
 
After church, we headed home to pick up the chicken & sausage gumbo that Danny made yesterday, then to Danny's brother's to share it with the family and watch the Saints game.  Yes, more football!
 
Thanks for reading, y'all!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Rainy Day

Nobody said a selfie had to include my face, did they?  Whew, good.  I'm feeling a little under the weather today.  My mood matches the day of rain we're having here in the Houston area.  And, I'm running a low-grade fever which has me feeling blah.  Hopefully it doesn't mean I'm coming down with something.

Here I am in my favorite plush robe.  It's well-worn, but cozy, and still my go-to robe for when it's cold out or when I'm just cold, which is pretty much all the time.  (hence its well-wornness)
 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Pink Out

It was more Friday night lights for us tonight and this time, it was the KHS Pink Out game.  Christa and I each had on a hot pink t-shirt, because they're the pinkest!  Hers was our Pink Ribbon Chevron T-shirt and mine was a Cancer Sucks shirt.


BTW, check out what my crazy hair is doing!  When we parked the car, I decided to NOT wear the hat I had planned on wearing, not realizing that it was humid and very windy out tonight.  Big mistake, because then my hair curled and frizzed and blew and stuck out in every direction.  And there was nothing I could do about it.  So outta control!

Back to the tshirts ... Cancer Sucks is a sentiment I embraced a long, long time ago.  As I believe I mentioned in a previous blog post, there is really no statement about cancer that sums it up better!  I created the t-shirt design years ago (I have way too much personal experience on the suckiness of cancer) that includes a narrow awareness ribbon used as an exclamation point.  I like how it's a simple design yet its message has a little edginess to it.  For years now we've printed it on a light pink tee.  I'm preferring the hot pink color lately, as are many of you, so I requested a hot pink "Cancer Sucks" to wear to tonight's pink out game.  Lucky for me, I know this guy who screenprints, and he (Danny) was kind enough to make it for me earlier today.  I think it came out great!

So, there I was with the edgy message on my tee and my outta control hair.  You can't stop me!  Yes, cancer sucks, but lately, it's not so bad being me.  :)

Thanks for hanging out with me on Day 23 of THE PROJECT.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Project Fail

Day 22 of THE PROJECT is in the books!  Now when I type "The Project," referring to my October pink ribbon selfie project that is, I hear it in a deep, manly voice, all announcer-like, drawn out and echo-y.  You hear that, too?  Whew, I thought it was just me.

I didn't actually wear anything pink ribbon today, but I did drink from this Hope mug:
 
Random fact about me and pink ribbon mugs:  I collect them.  I haven't met one that I didn't like and take home with me.  (there are other items that I feel the same way about, but I'll save that for a later discussion.)  It's not a crazy collection ... I have a handful of them, max.  But I'm no coffee drinker.  My mugs get filled with either hot tea or hot chocolate.  I thought you would want to know.  :)
 
Earlier today I discovered an epic PROJECT FAIL on my part.  I was reviewing this month's posts and pics and noticed that on October 8th, my selfie was with our Pink Ribbon Roundup pink wristband.  I even discussed the wristband and how it's our least expensive item and that its entire purchase price benefits The Pink Ribbon Shop Fund for Breast Cancer Research at MD Anderson Cancer Center.  So evidentlyyyyyyy, 13 DAYS is too long a stretch for my feeble mind to remember something like taking a picture of myself wearing an item then writing a couple paragraphs on the blog and a Facebook post about said item.  The plan was for me to wear/highlight a different pink ribbon item every day of October.  And yesterday, I failed by wearing the same bracelet as I did on October 8th.  "Keeping it simple ..." --more like simple-minded!  So disappointed in myself!
 
Here's what I'm going to do.  I'm going to blame the chemobrain.  Because I can.  Honestly I do have cognitive and memory impairment that we attribute to the chemotherapy.  Really!  And also, I had a long day and a stressful evening yesterday, so by the time I had a chance to take the selfie, well, clearly, I wasn't thinking clearly.
 
Giving it more thought, we should excuse the fail considering the fact that on some days, I actually wore more than one breast cancer awareness item.  Technically, that should cover me for more than one day.  Am I right?  Of course I am.
 
Thanks for reading, y'all!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Day 21 - The Pink Ribbon Roundup Wristband

Going to be brief tonight. Been a long day and a not so great evening. Today is Day 21 of my October selfie project, and I'm showing off one our Pink Ribbon Roundup silicone bands on my wrist. There is a LOT I'd love to share with you about this VERY special wristband, but honestly I'm really tired, so the yakking I usually do here will have to wait until tomorrow!


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Project's 20th Day

Day 20 of "The Project" finds me at the Creekwood Middle School 8th grade football game.  When we arrived, it was misty-raining and breezy.  Surprising, and not really too nice!  So thankful I wore my fleece-lined rain jacket and had an umbrella, a compact pink ribbon and damask print beauty (http://www.pinkribbonshop.com/pink-ribbon-telescoping-umbrella-damask-panel.aspx) to help block the wind.  Wouldn't miss watching my baby play just 'cause of a little bad weather, especially considering the text I got from him before we headed out to the game.
Heading to the stadium.  Rain games are my favorite.
Gotta love that sweet boy!  Once the game got going, the sun actually came out (just before sunset,) the wind died down, and the rain stopped.  Which was great for us parents, although it stayed a little chillier than I would like.

In today's picture, and something I've noticed a little more lately, my hair is showing some subtle signs of curliness.  It's nothing compared to the waves and curls that I had all of my life until a few years ago when my cancer treatment really started taking its toll on my body.  But I'll take it!  Now if only it would grow thicker, and maybe in the eyebrow and eyelash areas, too!


In other news, yesterday we accepted an offer on our house, after just four days on the market!  Woohoo!  It's exciting but I won't stop being nervous about it until after closing, which is scheduled for December 4th.  There are so many steps that could go awry between now and then!  I'm just a worrier.  But so thankful that the work (and $) that was put into it paid off with a quick sale.

I thought I'd share this work of art that my oldest daughter created for me.  She does caricatures, and she's really good at it.  And fast!  She recently started doing parties and everyone just loves her work.  People really get a kick out of seeing caricatures of themselves.  Here's mine:
Don't you want one of yourself??

Goodnight all!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Orders and More

Day 18 of my breast cancer awareness selfie project!  It's a busy Monday morning in The Pink Ribbon Shop's warehouse in Porter, Texas.  Lots of pink ribbon stuff going out to customers all over the country!  What happens is this... Every day, our online orders are electronically "imported" into our order processing program.  Payments are electronically processed, then a "pick list" is generated.  The pick list is a list of all of the items in the orders being filled that day.  Each line item identifies that product's location in the warehouse, designated first by letter of shelving or storage bin unit (A-Z, then AA-ZZ,) and then shelf or drawer number.  Since the items are listed in the order they are organized in our warehouse, this makes the "picking" as efficient as possible.  Then the orders are printed:  a customer copy which will be included with their shipment, and a "file" copy for our records.  The products for the day's orders are (neatly) piled atop our giant order-filling table, and the items are labeled, bagged, folded, etc.  And finally, each order is boxed up, weighed, and labeled for shipping.  This entire process is repeated as many times a day that we can squeeze in before our postal carrier and UPS driver arrives.  That's it, in a nutshell!  In case you were ever wondering how we do such a bang-up job at getting orders out so quickly.

Today I'm wearing a New Balance Lace Up for the Cure long-sleeved athetic tee, one with all the bells and whistles for you active people.  (And for gals like me who like to look all sporty, but who really aren't anymore.)  Moisture-wicking, reflectivity, flat inner seams, you name it!  Here's a link to the NB "Accelerate" tees, if you're interested:  http://www.pinkribbonshop.com/search.aspx?find=accelerate+tee.

 

Shout out to Lisa (pictured in background,) our faithful employee of many years!  And there's Danny back there, too.  He's been running "The Shop" for quite some time now since I've been sick. 

And geeeez.  My apologies about my neck.  So bony and just eww.  And the forehead.  So big.  Uggh!

Thanks for reading.  You go out and have a great day today!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

iPhone Incompetence


We're what the French would call "les incompetent."  All I was trying to do was October's daily selfie, before church, in our backyard.  I decided to let the hubs in on today's, and it was quite comical.  After much difficulty on my part, I let Danny have a whirl with the selfie stick.  It helped my psyche to discover that he was no better than I.  He is quite proud of his inability to do this, and asserts that a 40-something year old man shouldn't be good at selfie-taking.  I suppose he has a point.  Here's a sampling of what we got today:

One of two videos inadvertently taken instead of a photo...

 
 
Then there are these...
THE HOUSE AND THE FOREHEADS
THE FUZZY...Gotta have at least one of those every day.
THE DANNY-DIDN'T-LIKE-HIS-"SMILE"


THE HAND 

You just can't make this stuff up!
 
Today's pink ribbon item of the day is a silver awareness ribbon-shaped pendant with a bold pink cz stone accent.  Perfect for V-neck tops and dressy occasions.  But you can't have one, because it's been discontinued!  :(  Sorry!
 
Thanks for reading, y'all.

 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Blessed

It's Day 17 and another "band mom" day!  Here's me, Christa and her best friend Hayley, ready for the big send-off!  The Kingwood Mighty Mustang Military Marching Band had their biggest contest of the year today, and we were just a few of their dedicated fans cheering them on.  The KM4B had an amazing performance and took home the sweepstakes award, scoring a superior rating from every judge!  So proud of all the band kids, and my Bethany!


I'm her number one fan, so naturally I must wear my spirit gear, but in honor of breast cancer awareness month, I did sport a hot pink satin awareness ribbon on my KM4B hat.  It's oh so easy to get the look:  cut a piece of satin ribbon to about 9 inches in length, fold it over into an awareness ribbon shape, and safety pin it in the middle and onto your hat, shirt, purse, etc.  I, however, took an easier route and used one of our "Hot Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Ribbons with Pin Attachment - Bag of 100" ribbons.  Packaged in bags of 100 (as the name says,) these are the best and most affordable way to pink out your office, team, family, or group of friends.  Honestly, people LOVE these ribbons!  They show up better than their smaller enamel ribbon pin counterparts, and they're cheaper.  By a lot.  The hot pink ones are by far our most popular, but if you're more of a traditionalist, the light pink ones look swell, too.  I've talked to some of you who still believe that the light pink color is the "real" color of breast cancer awareness.  And that's okay!  Hot pink or light, pin attachment or sticky tape, we've got your pink ribbons!  (By the way, our breast cancer ribbon-themed items of every kind come in a wide array of shades of pink.)

About yesterday's pic that didn't show my pink ribbon ... sorry about that!  Twas a long and late night, and as I said I didn't have time (or desire) to take multiple shots so everything was just right.  Usually I try to get the ribbon apparel in the shot, and also view of where I am and/or what I'm up to.  You know, so I don't end up taking selfies in the car or in front of the bathroom mirror.  To keep it interesting!  This takes time!  But anyhoo ... I'm not a fan of taking selfies in front of lots of people, and that's exactly what I did at yesterday's football game.  The drumline was playing on the field, right in front of the band and spectators, and I wanted to include them in the picture, so I positioned myself right smack in front.  I noticed someone looking at me as I took it, but she was smiling-- I think because it was evident that I really was enjoying myself-- hence the goofy grin.  Goofy, yet genuine.  That's me!!

Okay, still haven't covered yesterday's pink ribbon!  It's a handmade necklace that I received as a product sample years ago.  Sadly I don't even remember who made it.  For some reason it never made it as a Pink Ribbon Shop product, but I wear it still, probably partly because it's one of a kind.  Unique, different, and versatile.

Here it is
 
And check out the back!


Know what I think?  The October selfie project that I casually took on is turning into an illustration of how blessed and full my life is! So thankful for the life extension I was given just a few short months ago!!!

P.S.  I'm just noticing that I've used an awful lot of exclamation points today.  It's been a great day.

!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Band Mom proud!

Ahhh!  Almost didn't make it home in time for the daily update and picture!  Loooooong day.  It was a big win (49-17) for the Kingwood Mustangs.  Here I am with a few of the KM4B drumline after halftime.  Yes, it's a goofy-a** picture.  But I didn't have time to take and re-take (and re-take,) so it is what it is.  And yes, I am wearing not just A pink ribbon item, but multiple ones.  Will have to explain later!  I'm down to the wire here!  Fun night with the band and watching my girl play!



Thursday, October 15, 2015

Halfway Through The Project, and Going Strong

It's another absolutely gorgeous day here in our neck of the woods!  Clear blue skies, sunshine ... started out cool but it's warmed up to the low 90's.  Ahh, Fall in Texas!

Today is Day 15 of my October selfie project.  Are you tired of seeing me yet??  Who knew that a commitment to daily pics and posts to social media would be so consuming!  I'm still having fun, and anyway, I'm not about to give up now.  I'm only halfway done.  Hopefully I haven't been too annoying to anyone.  I get that things can be overdone, and there are definitely people who post too much.  Right now, perhaps I am one of these people.  BUT, as I mentioned earlier, I am committed to the project, and to stop now would be just wrong.  Hey if you don't want to read or view, just don't!  Once October is over, I'll go back to my more reasonable and less frequent posts, promise.  In the meantime, you guys sure are getting a good look at the ins and outs of my life.  There's probably an internet safety issue discussion that could come of this, one that I myself would probably start with my kids if they did what I'm doing.  :)

Today's pink ribbon item of the day is on my wrist:  a cute little magnetic bracelet.

It's made of polished stainless steel, so it won't ever tarnish (yay for that) and it has pink cz stones all the way around it, on every other link, which adds some sparkle.  I love how it's less than a quarter-inch wide.  And it has a clasp like some watches -- very secure and substantially made.  Oh and also, I love how the hot pink cz's coordinate nicely with the pink stripe in the shirt I'm wearing.  If you prefer a lighter, softer color pink, you're in luck because this bracelet comes in both color options.  Here's a link:  Pink Ribbon Stainless Steel Magnetic Link Bracelet.  In case you were wondering about the "magnetic" component, let me explain further.  This info is also on the product page, but if you didn't click the hyperlink above to view the product page, you haven't read it yet.  :)  Each link in the bracelet has a magnet embedded within.  It is thought that magnets worn on the body promote good health and may be beneficial to the circulatory system.  Now, I admit that I'm a skeptic regarding this.  I'm no expert, but I don't think magnets on a bracelet are harmful.  What's that they say ... can't hurt, might help?  All I know is that it's just so darn cute.  Plus, the manufacturer donates a portion of the bracelets' proceeds to the American Cancer Society.  It's a win/win.  Or would it be a win/win/win?  Wait ... Alright, let's just say that donations to the ACS are never a bad thing.  You're welcome!

Lastly ... how YOU doin?  It's October, so I feel it's my duty, both as a blogger in the breast cancer survivor/awareness world and a woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 32 to remind ALL of you to have your yearly mammogram and perform your monthly breast self-exams.  ARE YOU CURRENT?  How 'bout your wife, girlfriend, best friend, mom, daughter, sister, sister-in-law, aunt, niece, grandmother???

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

iPhones, Football and Rambling

Another day, another fuzzy selfie.  I just don't get it.  The other day, I went to Best Buy to get my daughter a new phone since she broke hers and God knows that's an emergency situation.  While I was there, I decided to also get Danny a new iPhone, since he was eligible for an upgrade and had been "suffering" with his iPhone 4 and a really, really old iOS for a long, long time.  I was given a choice between an iPhone 6 and an iPhone 6s.  I asked what the difference was, and Adam, a very, very knowledgeable dude at the mobile phone counter listed off some of the differences, but the main point I heard was that the 6s had a better camera, especially the "selfie" camera.  At that moment, a little star-shaped gleam of light shone brightly from Adam's eye and I simultaneously heard a clear but very subtle "Ding!"  And then, Adam suggested (no really, he did) that I should get the 6s instead of my husband.  He really did say it!  It just seemed SO right!  I mean, upgrading from an iPhone 4 to the 6 is HUGE, and Danny doesn't take many pictures with his phone, much less selfies, so it made all the sense in the world for ME to take the 6s and him to switch over to my 6.  So the question now is, why are my selfies still blurry??  This is really trying my patience!

Day 14 of the October selfie project and I am again at a football game, this time at David's middle school game.  We do a lot of football!  It's a pink ribbon twofer, as I have on my black Komen ribbon cap and our very own chevron ribbon tee in hot pink.  Who doesn't love them a little chevron print nowadays!?  And I'm loving the "missy fit."  It's slightly fitted, but not too tight.  It runs a little small, so if you like it and want to order it, order a size up.

Rethinking the twofer statement.  It's a pink ribbon fourfer.  Is that a word?  I have on some New Balance Lace Up for the Cure capris AND as the evening cooled off, a matching jacket.  The NB items are a little pricey, but the quality is so amazing that, I have been wearing some of the same pieces for literally, years.  They are my go-to comfort clothes, and probably part of why I think that one day, I'm going to end up on What Not to Wear.  Not that they're a bad look-- they're actually super cute and sporty-- but since I am in no way athletic (any more,) I probably shouldn't wear them as often as I do.  Or maybe, I think too much!  It's unfortunate that New Balance has been paring down their breast cancer awareness line for several seasons now, so right now there's basically only t-shirts that are new.  :(

Well, thanks for reading!  I seem to have rambled a bit tonight!  Here's the picture:


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

T-Shirts & Genes

Today I had a "bonus" appointment at MD Anderson.  Unrelated to my chemo/treatment, I met with a genetic counselor regarding further genetic testing they are recommending for me.  Nine years ago, when I was first diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer, I had genetic testing done (BRCA-1 & BRCA-2.)  Since then, there have been more cancer-related and breast-cancer-specific genes discovered and researched.  Submitting a blood sample to test for these "new" genes is a tool to assess my daughters', mother's and sister's risk of developing a genetically-linked breast cancer .  So I decided to go ahead and do it.  It is amazing that in just 9 years, there have been discoveries significant enough to warrant further testing.  The longer I'm able to survive cancer, the more medical advancements and treatment options there will be for me!

In other news, it's Day 13 of my pink ribbon selfie project, and I'm wearing one of our Pink Ribbon Shop Original t-shirts, the Pray for a Cure tee.  We call it the T/pray for short.  It's not a new design, but this year it received an update (similar to how our Promote Breast Cancer Awareness tee did.)  What can I say, it's a year of t-shirt sentimentality, born out of necessity!  Resurrecting some old designs and updating them with some fresh colors was a simple way to "create" a few "new" products at a time when we had little or no time to dedicate to The Pink Ribbon Shop because I was very ill.

Anyhoo, here it is, selfie #13 taken in our humble little screenprinting shop.  Because we print many of our t-shirt designs right here, on-site, we are able to have virtually all sizes in stock and ready-to-ship, and also accommodate team and custom orders.  This also gives us the ability to offer more competitive pricing.

 
 
By the way, I was beginning to think that me and the selfie stick were getting to be friends.  Not so!  This one took around, oh, 10-12 tries.  And still it's fuzzy.  And I'm shiny.  Forgive me!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Day 12 is Done!

Day 12 is done!  Another long day of visiting with family, plus TWO dine-outs!  I overate, but at least there are leftovers, meaning I didn't completely pig out and clean my plate at lunch and dinner.  :)

Today's breast cancer awareness item is a throwback to many years ago:  a handmade, sterling silver "hope" awareness ribbon pendant.  A simple square pendant is stamped with the word Hope, and a ribbon-shaped charm hangs in front, overlaying the square.  It's discontinued now, but still one of my favorite pieces.  There's something about a jewelry or apparel item that is no longer available.  We can carry a particular product for years and I may or may not claim one as my own.  But then if I get word that we can no longer carry it, I suddenly have to have one!  I really hate when I'm NOT aware that we can't get it anymore, and I miss out on my opportunity.  For some reason I treasure this kind of piece more, knowing that I "scored" one.  Can you relate, ladies?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Family and Saints Football

The highlight of day 11 of this beautiful October was a get-together with family for lunch and Saints Football.  Too bad my home team couldn't pull out a win today!


In the pic you can only see the tippy top of the pink ribbon on my t-shirt.  It's a New Orleans Saints Football tee ... part of their "A Crucial Catch" breast cancer awareness promotion and fundraiser.  Thank you, NFL, for raising awareness of the importance of early breast cancer screenings, and for auctioning off your worn-on-field pink merchandise to benefit the American Cancer Society!

Lagniappe photo from today:

Our family gatherings always include lots of good food.  Today was no exception!  We enjoyed this scrumptious KING CAKE, from my favorite bakery in New Orleans, as part of our half-time "dessert" selections.  Mmmm!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Day 10 has been a SWEET day!

Winding down another long and busy day!  Day 10 of my October selfie project ... my parents have arrived for a visit.  And they brought my favorite sweets from New Orleans:  king cake, chocolate petit fours, and Krispy Kreme donuts!

 
 
Wearing a classic, but retired, Pink Ribbon Shop original t-shirt design from several years ago:  One Day a Cure Will Come.  This one has retained its position in my dresser, despite several periods of it NOT fitting.  You know you love a shirt when you can't seem to part with it, even when it no longer fits.  Glad I held onto it, because today, it fits!

Friday, October 9, 2015

It's been a long day!

It's been a long day. I'm tired & cranky. I'm sore & tender all over. My purply-pink cheeks peaked last night...sorry you guys missed it. Not really!  Having iPhone troubles, family squabbling, and stress on top of stress.  Need some rest and peace!!!

Here's today's selfie, taken late this evening at the "old" house, which we are still working on getting ready to go on the market. Can't wait to get that baby sold and out of our hair!

 

My pink ribbon for today is actually a DIY little something to jazz up your purse or bag.  I cut a piece of pink/white chevron patterned ribbon, looped it around my purse's hook, and used a glue dot to hold it into an awareness ribbon shape.  Voila!  (Note:  The ribbon was crafted much, much earlier today, when the day was new and my energy hadn't yet been zapped by life's problems)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Day 8 - Grrrr

Day 8.  I'm not too thrilled to be selfie-posting today or in the next couple of days.  Yesterday was a long day that started early and included nearly four hours at MD Anderson for chemotherapy, 2+ hours of driving, a big lunch (not complaining!!), a fair-sized grocery trip, and the usual "driving kids places."  I was really tired, and I felt like my (too) big lunch wasn't digesting properly or in a timely manner, but then I had a bad, bad night of sleep, which I attributed to the Dexamethasone (a steroid) that I receive, IV, as part of my chemotherapy pre-med package of three drugs:  Dex, the steroid; Emend, an immediate-acting anti-nausea med; and Aloxi, a long-acting anti-nausea drug.  To be honest, I'm not sure what benefit the steroid gives me.  I should probably know that, but sometimes it gets rather tiring trying to keep up with all of the details of all of the treatments that I've been on.  I am, however, acutely aware of what the steroid gives me in the way of side effects!  A restless night's sleep!  I've only noticed this on the first night after getting the infusion, and I can live with that (unlike my 2-month stint on Dex in 2014 which was an absolute nightmare!!... but I digress)  I'm telling you all of this, because I'm begrudgingly posting my Day 8 selfie.  Feeling pretty run down, and looking the same!!

 
 
 
Additionallyyyyy, if you look on my cheek where I'm pointing, you can see the start of what I call my "Carbo Glow."  The Carbo Glow is a disturbing and embarrassing side effect of the Carboplatin.  It starts with purplish-red splotches, then progresses to cover my entire cheeks in a deeper purply-red color.  My cheeks "feel" hot and they are hot to the touch as well.  I try to limit my time out in the public during this time, which only lasts 2-3 days, but if I have to go out, I will.  I'm not real strict about that ... I'm able to think to myself  "Hey this is me, if you don't like it, too bad," but in reality I'm very self conscious about it, as you can imagine.  Thankfully this side effect is short-lived.  And I know, I know.  In the big scheme of things, this is VERY, VERY MINOR.
 
Today's pink ribbon item of the day, in honor of breast cancer awareness month, is my pink silicone wrist band.  These have been around a looooong time, but they're still pretty popular.  Easy to wear for guys, girls and kids, they show up nicely on the wrist, and they're super affordable.  Even though I have collected a ton of pink ribbon goodies over the years, I'm pretty low-key in what I actually wear/use myself, so these definitely fit the bill in that sense.
 
While I'm on the subject of pink silicone wristbands, just want to mention that we carry LOTS of different styles of them on our online store.  Here's a link for reference http://www.pinkribbonshop.com/breast-cancer-bands.aspx.  Funny thing, glancing at that page to add the page hyperlink, I quickly mentally noted that my favorite breast cancer band is the wide CANCER SUCKS one.  That doesn't exactly jive with my previous statement of liking more low-key items, does it?!  Can it still be my favorite, even though I don't wear it??  How's this ... it's one of my favorite designs, and the phrase Cancer Sucks just sums up my feelings really nicely on the subject of cancer.  It's only in this context that I allow my kids to say "sucks."  They can say Cancer Sucks, but not that anything or anyone else sucks.  In front of me, that is ... I know it's an extremely common word for teens to use these days.  And I'm sure they do!  Anyhooooo ...
 
The last thing I want to mention about our pink silicone wristbands is that our LEAST expensive band is just $1.00 each.  All of the proceeds from the sale of our "Funding the Cure with the Pink Ribbon Roundup" band is donated to our Pink Ribbon Shop Fund for Breast Cancer Research at MD Anderson Cancer Center.  The entire dollar!  There is a minimum purchase of 5 of these bands though.  No one should mind, though.  Right?  Because it's for such a great cause.  Here's a link:  http://www.pinkribbonshop.com/pink-ribbon-funding-the-cure-with-the-pink-ribbon-roundup-silicone-bracelet-band.aspx.  There, you can read all about the wrist band and our Research Fund.
 
Thanks for reading, y'all!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Day 7: Brought to you by the letter C

Hey there!  Day 7 of my breast cancer awareness month selfie project is brought to you by the letter C.  Chemo, Christa, and Carrabba's!

Earlier today I was sitting in a recliner at MD Anderson's St. Luke's location-- getting my life-giving chemotherapy infusion of Carbo-Gem (Carboplatin & Gemcitabine, plus three pre-meds). Thankful to have Christa with me today! She only has classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so she's mostly available to accompany me to my appointments.  The last "C" is Carrabba's, my favorite Italian restaurant.  The bread, the oil & spices, the salad, the chicken marsala ... Mmmmm!  I almost always go out to lunch on my chemo days if I'm feeling up to it.  Just because I deserve it!  Had a nice day with my sweet girl.  Lotsa laughs and silliness.

 
I was pleased with this picture of us.  However, I am just noticing that I appear to be wearing a white lab coat.  I assure you, I am not!  It's actually a really cute, off-white denim jacket with very subtle, tone-on-tone polka dots.  Incidentally, I've been out of the medical profession for quite some time and have permanently crossed over to the receiving end of nursing and medical care.  At least my crystal pink ribbon pin is nice and visible though.  Like it?  http://www.pinkribbonshop.com/pink-ribbon-crystal-pin-with-dark-rose-crystals.aspx.
 
Thanks for reading!  And goodnight.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Selfie Project, Day 6 ... I hate you, selfie stick!

My pink ribbon selfie project is going strong!  However, the selfie stick is NOT my friend!  Evidently I'm a real spaz.  I'm not going to say how many shots I had to take before I settled on this one (cough, cough ..8..cough), taken on The Pink Ribbon Shop's Porter, Texas campus.  Okay, I know ... it's just one acre, but true to country living, this one acre has three separate buildings on it, four if you count a little storage shed.  And the well shed would make five. And you know you're in the country when you're also storing your brother-in-law's storage trailer and boat on the property!  So, campus it is!  In seriousness, though, we refer to it all as simply "the shop."  I'm going to the shop. You goin' to the shop?  I'll be at the shop late tonight.  You get the idea!

Anyway I've digressed off my selfie stick soapbox.  How do the teenagers do it so effortlessly??  It's so heavy when it's fully extended out. Hard on the wrist, then you have to press the button while keeping it steady. I'm weak ... weak I tell ya!


I know what you're thinking. Where's your pink ribbon, Kim?  You said you would wear a different pink ribbon item every day in October.  No worries, people, they're there!  On the ears. Which leads me to my next epic selfie FAIL!  I really did try to get a close-up of the earrings. Really I did (even more than 8 times.)  Have you ever tried taking a picture of your own earrings while they're in your ears?  I got my cheek, my neck, my hair, and a handful of fuzzy, out-of-focus and off-center earring shots. And to be honest, what I saw, even through the fuzziness, was skin that was way too wrinkly and old looking to be seen that close-up, by the public. I'm not using photoshop or any filters, so the raw results have forced me to abandon the in-the-ear earring pic. You're just going to have to trust me that I'm wearing them. Petite little crystal ribbons:  3/8-inch of breast cancer awareness cuteness.  If you must have a look, here's a link:  http://www.pinkribbonshop.com/pink-ribbon-crystal-mini-earrings-light-pink.aspx.

All of this selfie drama transpired before I left this morning for MD Anderson. Today I had labs done and saw my nurse.  Labs are great, so I'm good to go for chemo tomorrow.  I knew they would be, considering how super I'm feeling.  Just lllllloving this every-3-week chemo schedule.  Normally I have labs, doc visit, and chemo all done on the same day, but they weren't able to work it all out on the schedule. Wish I didn't have to go!  I don't wanna!  I don't wanna!
 
This evening was my baby's football game (he's a teenager now, sniff, sniff.)  Go Colts!  He wore his pink socks, wristbands and gloves for his momma!  So of course I wanted a picture with him after the game.  He was, let's say, "resistant" to the idea of taking a picture with his mother on the sideline.  But he eventually (involuntarily) relented.  Sweet boy.  Hey at least he smiled!  A bonus pic for today!
 
 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Day 5's Change of Plans Selfie

DAY 5!!!  I was totally planning today's selfie to show you guys what a crazy busy place our warehouse is these days.   Pink ribbon items piled up and laid out on our big order-processing table, stacks of orders waiting to be filled, boxed-up orders piled high and ready to ship out, and Danny and our worker bees all abuzz making all of this happen in an efficient, timely and accurate manner.  But then this happened ...

 
 
It was just so gorgeous OUTSIDE that I decided THIS was wayyyy more picturesque than inside the warehouse.  So here it is, the front corner of the exterior of our warehouse!  Oh, and me, wearing one our newest breast cancer awareness t-shirts.

Actually, the small ribbon "Promote Breast Cancer Awareness" tee is one of The Pink Ribbon Shop's earliest shirt designs, dating way back to around 2001.  Our second ever pinkribbonshop.com design!  It's still one of my favorites, perhaps because of sentimental reasons.  So, we decided to bring it back and give it new life on a black t-shirt in a ladies' fit.  Hope you like it, too!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Day 4 of October's Selfie Project

Don't know about where you are, but here in Kingwood, Texas the weather is be-You-tiful!!  Sixty-five degrees and sunny, y'all!  Today's wear-something-pink-ribbon-every-day-this-month item is a silky pink ribbon infinity scarf that I paired with my *new* bright pink blazer.  (*new* = first time wearing, even though it's been hanging in my closet for many months.)  Lotsa pink, I know!  Maybe too much, but ya only live once.


Tried the selfie stick after church, which was less embarrassing in front of my own home then out in public, but ultimately decided to go with this arm's length shot taken before I left for church this morning.  Love, love, love the garden (see background) left by the previous homeowners:  azaleas, duranta, verbena, golden thryallis, and I think, camellia.  Have all of my windows OPEN today to let the fresh air in.  :) 

After church, I got to thinking.  So many families, couples and singles in attendance.  I thought, what if everyone had turned to the lady beside them and reminded her to have her yearly mammogram?  It's breast cancer awareness month, after all.  Why didn't I think of it while I was still there!?  With all the pink going around this month, we have so many opportunities to start a conversation about what it's really about.  Let's starting taking them!  How 'bout you?  Are YOU up to date on your yearly mammogram and monthly breast self exams?  Who's nearby who you can ask?  Ready, set, go!  Just do it.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

October Selfies, Day 3

It's Day 3 of my October selfie project, and I've already goofed.  Yesterday I blogged and posted to Facebook, except that I only posted to my personal Facebook page and not The Pink Ribbon Shop's.  Grrr!  I can do this!  I can!  I will.

Not only that, but the public selfie-taking that I'm doing is WAYYY beyond my comfort zone!  I'm a 40-something year old mom and g****ma, for crying out loud.  I am committed to the project, though, so I will press on.  Just didn't want to take a selfie every day in the front of my computer or the bathroom mirror.  How boring would that be?!  As I said in the beginning, my goal for the month is to wear a different pink ribbon t-shirt or other apparel item every day, plus provide a little insight into my everyday life.  So I'll try to make each selfie a reflection of my day, and not merely a pic just for the sake of the project.  Got it?

This weekend, Danny is still working on our soon-to-be-on-the-market home, and I didn't want to miss my daughter Bethany's high school band's marching contest today.  Feeling super BLESSED that this morning I was able to drive there, alone.  I impressed myself!  The ramps and steps at the stadium were a little tough on me, a reminder that I'm not fully back to the super woman (haha) that I used to be, but I did it and surely it made me stronger.  Am I right?
The KM4B had an awesome performance, considering it's early in marching season and this was their first contest this year.  So proud to be a Kingwood band mom!  Definitely needed my pink ribbon sunglasses on this gorgeous & sunny Day 3 of breast cancer awareness month.

 
See the teeny tiny ribbon on the lens?  So cute! These have been around for awhile, but I still love them (a) because of the teeny tiny pink ribbon, and (b) because of their timeless design.  Of course that's just my opinion and I'm certainly no fashionista (I'm basically a t-shirt & blue jeans kinda gal.)  I mean maybe their design is totally out of style and somebody out there is silently mocking my timeless design statement, buuuuuuut hey they are pink ribbon sunglasses and darnit I like 'em!  FYI:  Check out pinkribbonshop.com if you're interested in these or other pink ribbon items to support the breast cancer awareness cause this month or all year long.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Day 2 of my Pink Ribbon Selfie Project

Day 2 of my pink ribbon selfie project for breast cancer awareness month!  I was intending to only post these to Facebook.  However, because a VIP friend of mine is not on Facebook, but is a faithful follower of my blog, I will also post the pics here as well.  You know who you are!  Love ya!  :)

Here I am at the KHS football game.  Donning a pink ribbon baseball cap.  Friday night lights with the Kingwood Mustangs!  The KM4B drumline (snares) pinked out their sticks in honor of breast cancer awareness month.  I happen to be the #1 fan of a certain snare drummer girl.  Nobody said selfies had to be just myself, right?  Thanks guys!  And girls!  The pink sticks looked great and y'all rock.



I admit I felt a little foolish taking a selfie with the high schoolers.  I'm such an amateur!  I borrowed my daughter's selfie stick, which certainly added to the foolish factor.  When she uses it, you can't even tell in the pic.  I use it and my hands are all awkward, visibly holding the stick, and the picture is crooked.  Goofball.  Maybe by October's end my technique will improve?!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Good Times

Well hello there!  It's October 1st, the first day of breast cancer awareness month.  We'll be seeing lots of pink this month.  Let's keep it in perspective, shall we?  Fundraising efforts by individuals, teams, and companies small and large have led to millions of dollars being donated to breast cancer research.  Trickle that way, way down to little ol' me, and know that BECAUSE OF THESE EFFORTS, I AM STILL ALIVE TODAY!  And the same can be said for 100's of 1000's of women LIVING with stage IV breast cancer.  It matters.  You matter.  Whatever you have to contribute to the cause, you are making a difference!  Thank you!  (and keep it up!)

2015 marks my 15th year as a breast cancer survivor, and my 9th year as a stage IV (metastatic) breast cancer survivor.  9 years, people!!!  This past year, well really the last two years have been difficult.  If you're a regular follower here, you may know that there was a period of time when it was not looking good.  We were planning for the end of my earthly life.  Not exaggerating, just truth here.  However, since March I've been on combination chemotherapy of two different drugs.  Since then, I've been steadily improving, both subjectively in how I feel, and objectively in my scans, tumor markers, and other lab values.  My latest CT scans show a decrease in size of all tumors, or they are stable (no bigger, no smaller.)  There is very little fluid in my lung.  The bone metastases are stable.  The tumor markers CONTINUE to go down.  It's been amazing!!! 

One year ago today, I was having a thoracentesis to drain excess fluid that accumulated in my lung.  This turned out to be the first of two that I required, because the fluid re-accumulated.  My "tumor burden" (a name for the volume of cancer in and affecting the body) was so great, that I was having trouble breathing after any small effort or activity.  I was coughing constantly.  I was tired and slept a lot.  My heart rate was consistently (and for months) over 100 beats per minute at rest.  My heart was actually pushed to the right side of my chest by the expanding fluid in the left lung!  Bad times!!!  Bad, bad times.

Also, earlier this year, I required a blood transfusion.  My hemoglobin and hematocrit levels were critically low as a result of the chemotherapy agents' attack on my blood-producing bone marrow.  I was having shortness of breath any time I tried to get up and DO anything.  Interesting what missing a couple units of blood will make you feel like!  The improvement after receiving the blood was truly amazing.

The chemotherapy has been working phenomenally, but it's been complicated.  I was getting two drugs on Day 1, then one of those drugs on Day 8, then a week off.  My doctor tried several dose adjustments, but it just seemed that I was more often than not having to miss my Day 8 infusion because of low blood counts of some kind.  Low platelets, low H&H, low white blood cells, etc.  Eventually (just a few weeks ago) she altered the chemotherapy schedule by doing away with my Day 8 infusion altogether.  Now, I only have to go every three weeks!  Hopefully that gives my body enough time to rebuild so I can get regularly scheduled infusions and not be so hit or miss with treatments.

On a more personal note ... we have moved!  We found a house in a sweet location in a great neighborhood that is close to all the kids' schools.  Wish we had moved sooner!  Hate moving, but loving the new house.  The old house is still being "fixed up" and will hopefully be on the market in the next week or so.  Prayers please for a quick sale!

My graduate girl decided to stay home and attend a community college until she figures out what she wants to study.  Yayyy!  So happy to have her home with us.  It was the right decision, for lots of reasons.

We are busy at The Pink Ribbon Shop, and that is awesome but stressful on the family.  It took longer than we expected to find a house and move, thus putting the move right when school started and also right when we need to prepare our business for the busy season.  Tough times, but hey, at least I am leading a more normal life, healthwise, than I have in a long time.  So thankful for that.

More exciting news ... My oldest daughter and her husband have just adopted a baby girl.  This makes child number 5 in their household!  They are fostering, but it is looking like a pretty sure thing that they will adopt this little one with rather unfortunate birth/family circumstances.

Lastly, since it's been so long since my last blog entry, and since it's breast cancer awareness month, I decided to try something kinda fun.  You may get tired of seeing me!  I'm going to post a selfie to Facebook wearing a different pink ribbon shirt or apparel item every day.  Little glimpses of a month in the life of Kim.  Who's with me?!  Here's the first:
 
 
This is in front of our modest lil office in the country.  Still can't believe this is what I look like ... that this is the best I could do after several selfie attempts, but it is what it is!!  I do have some hair, and it's growing, but it's very thin.  And my forehead is huge, uggh.  The good thing is, I am UP 20+ pounds from my cancer low a few months back, so at least I have some chub in my cheeks, and color!  I'm sportin' my Saints t-shirt ... supporting my favorite home team and promoting the breast cancer awareness cause all at the same time.
 
Thanks for reading, y'all!