Happy Valentine’s Day, 2013!

Sweet valentines from our kids

Last year, I canceled a Valentine’s lunch with my husband.

I had a Valentine’s biopsy, instead.  I left that appointment with an ice pack in my bra.  And so began a year-long assault on my chest.  And on our family’s charmed world.

That’s it.

I have no inspiring, tear-inducing words.  We’ve dealt with it – and continue to do so, although it doesn’t consume us anymore.

Please know that I never mean to make light of cancer.  It’s awful.  I’m also well aware of how incredibly lucky I am.  Every day I think of those I know and love who are still fighting for a good outcome.IMG_1382

But to anyone who’s afraid of having a mammogram, or making an appointment to get that weird thing checked out, just do it.  Sooner is always better than later when it comes to detecting cancer.

If, God forbid, you get that phone call confirming a malignancy (most biopsies, by the way, are benign), put one foot in front of the other, ask for help and do what you need to do.  You will find strength that you never knew you had and you will deal with it, too.

This is the first and last time I’ll acknowledge Valentine’s Day as my “cancerversary.”

Instead, it is – and forever will be – about my 3 Most Awesome Valentines.


Class Valentines from Pinterest

Given the popularity of Pinterest, my kids probably won’t be the only ones giving out “You Rule” valentines, or paint-strip bookmarks Thursday.

But we sure had fun putting these together today, and I’m a fan of anything that keeps more candy from coming into our house.

Credit for this great idea goes to relocatedliving.com – thank you!
My 1st grade son was thrilled.

Getting back to fitness

Yesterday I turned in new employee paperwork to the YMCA!

If all goes as planned, I’ll start teaching a weekly Zumba® class for kids on 2/22.  Ages 5-8 from 4:30-5pm and ages 9+ from 5-5:30pm.  For Y members only, it’s part of their new initiative to offer daily “wellness” classes for children with no sign-up required or extra charge.  All kids checked into the playcenters will participate.


I  took the training required to teach this format on February 26 of last year.  It was a stressful time (to say the least), as my cancer diagnosis was new, and I spent the weekend in Zumba® workshops for the distraction.


Back in 2011, Zumba® was a family affair!

There’s something full circle about actually getting to teach Zumbatomic® now – very excited!

It also means more progress on the fitness goals I set up last month as part of the Winship at the Y program:

  • Run a 10K
    Up to a slow 5K so far, and my hubby and I just signed up for a 5-mile trail race in April.
  • Increase strength and endurance – 6 hours of cardio/week and 3 hours/strength training
    Just started strength classes at the Y – I need a class versus the weight room so I won’t leave!
  • Lose 10 lbs
    Refuse to be a slave to the scale, but pre-treatment clothes still don’t fit.
  • Go back to teaching group exercise
    Hopefully, will have the stamina and opportunity for an adults’ class soon!

By the way, my progress report for January (emailed to me via FitLinxx) says I burned “9,586 calories, or 26.2 ice cream sundaes.”  (Does that mean I could’ve eaten all of those sundaes?!)

But, alas, I’ve lifted “0 pounds, or 0.0 African elephants.”


Reconstruction, Part Deux

Today we refinanced our mortgage, so we’ll save a lot of money, and I had my first expansion since radiation, so my boobs are bigger than they were this morning.   In other words, my husband had a great day!

4 months after surgery, I’m still numb.  This is quite a relief, because the plastic surgeon sticks a thick needle in the middle of each breast to inflate the expander with water.  (Really).  I am quite lopsided, though – the radiated side is tighter and swollen – but Dr. Woods says that can be fixed.  If the swelling doesn’t go down before my exchange surgery, he’ll just make the right implant larger.

This reconstruction business is no less bizarre than it was a few months ago.

I also returned to physical therapy this week.  Massage helped the tightness in my left arm and I’ll go back weekly to try to restore the range of motion that was lost with radiation.  The swelling in my arm has decreased, though, so I get to start weaning off the compression sleeve.  Anita told me to gradually reduce the hours each day that I wear it.

IMG_1130-001All good news, but the best part of my week was watching our son’s 1st grade class get into oil pastels and watercolors to make Jim Dine-inspired heart paintings for Valentine’s Day.

Which, by the way, will be exactly one year from my diagnosis.


1st Grade Heartwork

1st graders loved the freedom of this Jim Dine art lesson.  11×15 watercolor paper, Sax liquid watercolors, oil pastels and a lot of paper towels.  Cardboard hearts and stencils were available but not everyone used them.

Easy and beautiful!