Well that was just as fun as I was expecting it to be with a few little surprises thrown in.

Friday started off rough, but in the end everything was wonderful!

My dad was so happy that the weather was going to be nice and he could pull his 1967 travel trailer with his 1967 Pickup. Four blocks from home, the old truck died.

He was eventually able to get it started and we headed back to his house to get the modern day truck.

We had a few other rough spells getting to the campsite and setting up camp, but by late afternoon we were set up and I was ready to meet the others in our group and share Effie with my new friends. Luckily, this first trip was less than 30 miles away and the weather was absolutely perfect.

What a great group of people! I felt very welcomed and it was so much fun seeing inside everyones vintage campers and inviting them over to see mine.

We spent the evening together Friday sharing appetizers and playing Jenga in a large grassy area of the campsite. It was a rather small campsite so everyone was fairly close to each other, but I still hit 10,000 steps before the end of the day! We all had breakfast together Saturday morning in the same area. These are some experienced campers! Several of them brought amazing Crockpot Breakfast Casseroles while I showed up with a large platter of berries. I’m learning. However, they all loved that I brought fruit, so I’d likely do that again.

Saturday night we all had dinner together and more games. Such a friendly group!

One of my favorite parts of the weekend was waking up on Saturday morning to make my first pot of coffee. I woke up at 5:30 and couldn’t stand it any longer, so I got up. I’m certain that was the best cup of coffee that I’ve ever had. 

I also met an unexpected friend over the weekend.

One of the things I had thought about before even going was the people that I would meet over the weekend. 

Two campsites down from me was an enormous old white bus. While I was setting up my camp there was a lady walking by me and we waved at each other and started up a conversation. I asked if she was the bus owner. She was. She looked about my age and I was really interested to hear her story. I love a good story. She was in month two of living in her bus full time. She pulled a car behind it for getting around town. She has a job that allows her to work remote and she said that she has always been the one in the family seeking adventure. We really hit it off and assured one another that we would get together later. I really wanted to see inside of her bus and learn more about her.

Saturday night after dinner with my group I headed back to my site so I could just sit and look at Effie. I think I’m in love with her. lol 

I started my first campfire and just sat. It was a perfect Saturday night and it was just as I dreamed that it would be. 

Pretty soon my new friend showed up. We had a great chat, she invited me over to see the bus, and then we came back to my campsite and she got a tour of Effie. I really enjoyed my evening.

Sunday morning I had coffee at my place, then walked to my dads and stepmoms campsite to drink their coffee. The weather was absolutely perfect!  A nice morning breeze with sunshine. Other campers in our group stopped by to visit.

Eventually I headed back to Effie to cook my first meal in her. Dad said he’d be more than happy to come eat my food. Ha! I fixed breakfast while dad sat at my table and chatted with me. I was so enjoying this time with my dad. Christy, his wife actually fell on Friday while we were setting up their canopy. She was trooper all weekend. She fell hard and landed on her wrist and I know she wasn’t feeling great by Sunday morning. Swollen and sore. She wasn’t really feeling in the breakfast mood on Sunday.

While dad and I were having breakfast, one of the campers in our group came by to say hi and I invited her in. I was having so much fun sitting at the table and having company! I was giddy and it was ridiculous. I offered my guest some breakfast since I had plenty. She accepted my offer and that made me even happier! I think I was playing house!

Moments later, my bus friend came by. My dad was like, come on in! We’re having a party! I offered her coffee in one of my vintage cups. She said she didn’t really want any coffee but that she did want to drink out of my cute cups. SHE’S MY BEST FRIEND!  She totally got me! She had coffee.

The four of us had the best conversation. This was my favorite part of the weekend. Sitting around my little dinette area that I had built. Conversation with my dad and two wonderful people that I had only know for hours. At the end of this conversation, my new bus friend shared with us that she lost her dad within the last year and that they were very close. She said that my relationship with my dad reminded her of her and her dad and she thanked me for sharing my dad with her that morning. Now I was handing out tissues to everyone. 

Before she left she asked my dad if she could give him a hug. They hugged forever and she said…”You give hugs just like my dad did. I feel like he is here with us.”

I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying!

I love people.

Yes. I have her contact info.

We were packed up and ready to go by noon. I followed dad to where we would exit the highway and go in opposite directions home. As we exited the highway, he yelled to me out of his open window and over two open lanes, “Nice trailer!! Maybe we could take a trip together sometime”

Classic dad. Always with a joke.

Here are a few pics from the weekend.

 

I have a custom made awning ordered, but in the meantime, Dad let me borrow a spare canopy. I was happy to have this as the noon sun was HOT!

My appetizer contribution for Friday night. 

 

My daughter in law gave me this journal about three years ago and the only entry in it before this weekend was the fact that she gave it to me. It is perfect to keep in Effie and journal every trip!

 

Getting my Berry Platter ready to go meet the others for breakfast. 

 

They even made pancakes outside on the griddle! I skipped those and went with the eggs, but I was super impressed with the variety of foods!

 

I did snap a few pictures of the other trailers. Sooooo cute!

 

Not vintage but with our group and OH SO cute! There is a full shower in here!!

 

I kept my food fairly simple with healthy choices. Lunch on Saturday afternoon while Dad and Christy hit a few flea markets close by. I didn’t want to leave Effie!

 

This is Gary. He lives two doors up from me in our neighborhood and he is maybe just as excited for me and my new toy as my dad is! He came out to the campsite to visit. I was so surprised to see him and so happy he was so interested! I was able to introduce him to a few of the others as well.

 

This is the daughter of a mother/daughter duo that own a tiny 10′ trailer that I got to see inside of and forgot to take a picture of. It was sooo cute!

Her and her mom hosted this event. Sloppy Joes on the griddle made by one the campers in our group for dinner on Saturday. I took a container of Potato Salad. I didn’t put a lot of effort into food. I think I was more focused on….”Do I have everything I need?”

 

So many nice and interesting people!

 

Saturday night, me back at my place.

 

Sunday morning Coffee.

Dad visiting me. 

 

 

I can think of a million things that I can make in this little 8″ electric skillet!

 

Happy Place……

 

I forgot to mention that my new friend was almost run over by her car just a few days before we arrived! She is okay, but showing off her scratches and bruises here while enjoying coffee out of my little cups. 

 

 

I am who I am because of this man. Thanks for always supporting me and believing in me and for your sense of humor which I believe I have inherited. 

I LOVE YOU DAD!

“love the life you live, live the life you love”

A Happy Place

June 7, 2019 — 4 Comments

I am happy to report that life is pretty awesome right now.

I’ve determined that I need to “not commit” to when I will be able to post a blog. When it can happen, it will happen.

I am going back to where I was at the beginning of this blog in 2011. This is my journal. I come here when I need to write. If sharing my day to day life, hobbies, experiences, struggles and challenges, successes, can help someone, then I am extremely grateful for that.

There are many of you that have followed me for a very long time and I think about you when I am not blogging. I feel connected and obligated to many of you. I feel guilty for not blogging because I feel as though I have been a support source for you as I blog through my own experiences.

I am a people pleaser. However, as I go through life and figure out what it is that I need for myself to be happy and healthy, I have learned to prioritize, and for me that means fitting in a blog post when I have the time to put my heart into it. The only blog post that matter must have my full attention and all of the emotions.

That all being said, Hi!

So many great things are happening right now and 2019 is going to be one to remember for sure. 

I’m just going to highlight a few things, or else this would be a novel and I’d still be writing into July and August….and the fall and winter and into 2020.

Work

I can not possibly love my job as a WW Coach any more than I do. Each week I am having conversations with members where I get to know them on a personal level and we have such great conversations. I feel like a therapist and I feel like I am in therapy. I truly could not be happier. I feel extremely fortunate to have this job. 

WW Ambassador

As a WW Ambassador, we are given all sorts of great opportunities. WW sends us products to try, we get a sneak peek at what’s coming up and we are given the opportunity to host parties.

WW is currently featuring many of the Ambassadors on their stories in a series of #whatieatinaday. They send readers over to the Ambassadors page to watch their story. They featured me last week and it was kind of a fun thing to get to participate in!

Seeing this on the WW page was a nice reminder that even though I’m above my lowest weight, I’m much healthier than I was in this before picture.

 

 

This year, the WW Ambassadors were offered a Spring Brunch Party Box. I decided to make this one a Breasties Brunch, and I invited a six Breast Cancer Survivors over so we could talk healthy eating and boobs. Can you believe that I know SIX women (I actually know more than that!) that have been diagnosed with Breast Cancer within the last two years? We are all at different stages of breast reconstruction. I thought it might be nice to get together and share our stories. Some of these ladies had met each other, or already knew each other, and a few had not. They are all lovely strong ladies and I knew it would be a great group together.

I loved this day and the conversation around the table was even better than I was expecting it to be. I think we all learned a few things and it was a great opportunity for each of us to share our story with someone who really understood. It was a perfect morning of coffee, mimosas and food.

Nipple Tattoos are the final phase of breast reconstruction, so typically you go a pretty long time with no nipples. I had no chemo or radiation and I’m still two years out with no nipples, so for some it is soooo much longer.

I found these amazing Temporary Tattoos and I have shared them with several friends of mine going through breast reconstruction after cancer. I thought it would be nice to share them with the ladies at brunch, so I plopped them right on the their plates with their place card!

Please give this info to a friend that you think might be interested. They really are great during that time while waiting for the final phases of reconstruction.

 

Mimos Bar with Orange Juice, 5 calorie Cranberry Juice and 5 calorie Grapefruit Juice with the new Cense Sparkling Wine.

You can find the wine on Censewines.com. Only 3 Smartpoints per serving.

 

 

I kept the menu simple so I could enjoy the conversation.

Egg Casserole, Blueberry Cobbler, Yogurt Parfaits, a coffee bar and Mimosas.

 

I hadn’t made this in forever and it was just as good as I remember.

Blueberry Cobbler – 3 SP perserving

 

Wonderful day. Beautiful ladies.

 

Eats and Activity

I’ve spent so much time working on my new little travel trailer that I’ve spent little time in the kitchen. I’ve been eating salad bars from the grocery store, grabbing food to go (usually some type of salad ) snacking on Zero SmartPoint Turkey and pickles, eggs, nuts and berries. I think my adrenaline rush has affected my appetite. I don’t remember the last time that I actually felt hungry. I’m getting in right around 10,000 steps just working on my new toy! I’m exhausted and excited all at the same time! 

“Effie”

I have wanted a vintage trailer since the summer of 2016 (really maybe before that) when I went to Branson for a Vintage Trailer Rally. Now, I have one. My dad and I have been working on “Effie” together for the last few weeks preparing for our first camping weekend. We are leaving tomorrow!

I’m having a hard time sleeping at night because I’m so frickin excited!! My dad also has a vintage trailer and we will be camping together. I followed him around as a kid watching him work on projects around the house. I was always eager to help and interested in what he was working on. He was always building something. I remember the excitement when he would let me jump in and hammer in a few nails.

Years later and we’re working together. Making new memories and bringing up so many memories for me as a kid.

My dad has taught me a lot over the last few weeks. I was pretty adamant that I wanted to do this project on my own, but with his guidance. He has taught me to use a few different saws and drills. I’ve changed out the existing light fixtures and replaced them with new ones. We’ve had a great time coming up with ideas and watching them come together.

I still have several small projects, but she is ready for her first outing and I am beyond excited!

I will be camping with my dad and stepmom but I wanted my mom to be able to have some fun with this too so I asked her if she would make me some simple curtains. She was so happy to have a part in this little project and I think the curtains make the whole camper cozy and super cute!

“Effie” is sitting over at my dads house. Thank goodness he has room to keep her!

She needs an outside paint job. I’m thinking about tackling that this Fall. Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe.

There was no dinette area in her when I bought her. There was a table with a table cloth that made it look pretty. My dad assured me that we could build one. I believed him. He’s my dad.

We emptied her out to check out her bones. 

 

We discovered that I have trunk access from inside the trailer. Nice for rainy nights if I need something!

 

 

 

I cut all of the wood. I’ve learned I love a power saw!

 

I changed out all of the light fixtures!

 

Come on in!

 

I made the seat cushions (not very well I might add) and I’m using pillows for the back cushions for now. 

 

 

 

This area makes into a bed. I can’t wait to take the grandkids with me after I get a little experience.

 

 

 

My Bedroom/Couch area. Can’t wait to snuggle up in there with a journal and a good book.

 

I did not want a travel trailer with a lot of maintenance, so while this little cutie does have electricity (I can hardly wait for that first morning making coffee in my little kitchen!) it has no bathroom. I do have a portable potty. (It’s basically a 5 gallon bucket with a plastic toilet seat! lol) That should come in handy camping by myself at 2:00 am, because that’s totally going to happen.

Oh, and no A/C. So while it feels all cute and fun, this girl is gonna be hot!

It’s been fun sharing with you!

I’ve got to get some sleep. I feel like tomorrow is Christmas and I’m a kid again!

I love this!

“love the life you live, live the life you love”

Goals Set, Goals Met

May 15, 2019

(I am healing really well and am pleased with my recent phase of breast reconstruction. I am happy to say that I have zero regrets!)

I knew that 2019 would bring a fabulous wedding (pictures are coming…..soon!) and I truly hoped that it would bring a Vintage Camper too. Goals set. Goals met!

I’ve watched my dad enjoy his vintage camper since 2016 and joining him seemed like a great way to spend time together. We spent a lot of time on projects together when I was a kid. I would have much rather have been outside building something than inside cooking. Funny, now I love to cook!

I always enjoyed listening to my dad tell stories and watch his creativity over the years. He was always building something when I was a kid and he has continued to do that his entire life.

Finding a vintage trailer so I could camp alongside my pops was something that was really important to me. I also look forward to seeking out campsites with friends, with grandkids or on my own and meeting other vintage camper owners and campers in general. I’ve been following several campers on Instagram and it seems to be a great community of people enjoying the outdoors and sharing similar interest. I have a lot to learn about camping, but I’m eager to get out there. It’s nice to have my pops along side me to show me all the trailer do’s and do not’s while also looking forward to spending time together at the campsite.

I officially signed up to join Sister’s on the Fly! This will be a great way to meet other women campers enjoying the great outdoors! I currently have no plans to fish, but you don’t have to have an interest in Fly Fishing to be a member. News to me!

On Saturday, my dad and I went to pick up my trailer at the trailer store. I was having it all checked out for safety. Turns out it was not ready after all. Today, I was able to pick it up! Today was my first trip alone hooking up the jack, then unhooking at my dads house after backing in to my parking spot at his house. SUCCESS!

I played in her all afternoon. I took window measurements for curtains, I took measurements for the new dinette area that my dad will guide me through building, and I made list upon list of what I’d like to do and what I think I will need for my first camping trip next month.

My color scheme and ideas I’m playing with. Thanks for my cute camper pillow Steph!

 

I had fun playing today. Not much to do in this end of the trailer but make it cozy for sleeping and maybe a snack.

 

My dad had a pretty specific spot he’d like for me to park the trailer in for the summer. I backed her in there all by myself. No one around. I think it’s a big deal. lol

Trailer goals.

 

This is not 100% complete. Still needs handle hardware, but this happened Friday night at almost midnight! This booger is heavy! Mike and I carried it out of the garage, in the front door and up the stairs which has a 45 degree turn midway. This was NO easy task, but we did it! I originally blogged about wanting a Barn Door in the master over 3 years ago. Goals met!

 

Mike built the door and the headboard and bed frame after completing the master bath remodel. I love it all!

 

More goals. Time to get back to regular blogging and planning activity challenges for myself.

I’ve been getting in some good walks and I’m ready to make that happen regularly. My current goal is to walk 5 days a week and do Yoga 2 times a week. I haven’t had a regular routine for sometime, so this feels good to me for now.

 

Monday I hit 10,000 steps. Barely, but I got em in! Felt good to simply put my Fitbit back on!

Do you have a daily step goal?

 

 

WW has been really spoiling the Ambassadors these last few weeks. I’m excited to share what they have been sending us in some upcoming post!

One recent fun gift was this adorable water bottle. We all received personalized bottles. Having a new water bottle was just what I needed to get me back to my 80-100 oz of water daily.

What tricks do you use for getting in your water?

 

Favorite new snack for 4 SmartPoints and 15g of Protein.

I’m really liking the Vanilla!

Yogurt – 2 SmartPoints – 12 g protein

1/2 T Almond Butter – 1 SmartPoints – 1 1/2 g protein

7g Slivered Almonds -1 SmartPoint – 1 1/2 g protein

Blackberries – 0 SP

 

Also great on top of your favorite pancakes!

 

How about this 1 SmartPoint Snack?

Dill pickle wrapped in Cream Cheese and Turkey sprinkled with EBTB Seasoning.

 

I hope that you all have had an awesome day! Believe in yourself!

Believe you can, and you will.

“love the life you live, live the life you love”

I’ve Got Nipples!

May 8, 2019

It’s been three weeks since getting my new nipples and these last three weeks have just been…….odd.

I’m trying to imagine the expression on ones face if this is the first blog post of mine that they have ever read. 

Hi. I’m Julie and I write weird stuff and post weird pictures, while trying to inform, yet not embarrass myself or my readers. For years I’ve blogged about WW and my personal successes and challenges.

Now I also talk about Breast Cancer.

I will be posting pictures in this post of my nipple reconstruction because I am sharing my experience in case you or someone you know is considering nipple reconstruction. It’s actually quite fascinating. I encourage any questions and nothing is off limits here.

I had to come back and edit this post today based on what a member asked me at a WW Workshop I was coaching this morning. 

First of all, she is adorable and I am just getting to know her. Her question to me at the scale while I was weighing her…..

“You look great. Now are you wearing Spanx?’

I giggled.

That question allowed me to share my story with her of breast reconstruction via DIEP flap. I told her that I was not wearing Spanx but my tummy is flat because after a double mastectomy, my genius doctor was able to transfer belly tissue along with blood vessels up to my chest and make me two new breast! She was amazed. Then I said, not only that, but three weeks ago the doc made nipples for me out of my own breast skin! 

It lead to a great conversation and she thanked me for sharing my story. It was a great opportunity to then open the Workshop by sharing our conversation and reminding all of my members to do monthly self breast exams. 

WW is such a great place to learn how to live your best life, and a huge part of living your best life, your healthiest life, includes annual physicals, a colonoscopy if recommended by your doctor, mammograms, screening of anything your doctor has suggested and knowing your family history if it is available to you.

It was a great Workshop and I appreciate my members so much. It really is an honor to be able to reach so many people.

Now…..nipples.

I had my nipple reconstruction surgery on Tuesday the 16th. I took my doctor’s advice, and I took the remainder of the week off of work. This was a good decision. My body was wrapped up like a mummy and I feel like I spent the next two weeks in a strange fog and operated through life on auto pilot. I was just going through the motions. Mind you, the following day I went to a coffee at a friends house, then a happy hour at another friends house (I sipped on tea and water), and I believe the day after that I ran a few errands and kept myself busy. A few days later was Easter and Mike and I went to our annual Easter dinner with his side of the family.

The following week I did go to work and I think I appeared to be my normal self. I’ve actually had three very full weeks, but it’s all so oddly foggy. I had one of the granddaughters over for a sleepover, I shopped on three different days for pillows, blankets, fabric for curtains, jack stands, bug spray, and all sorts of accessories for my trailer/camper that I recently purchased. I took my trailer to a trailer shop to have it checked out for safety, I’ve taken a few good walks and one Saturday evening Mike and I went to a beautiful Celebration of Life for a friend of mines mother that recently passed. So, I have certainly remained busy, but busy and in a fog all at the same time. Outta sorts if you will.

Finally, going into this last weekend, I felt like the fog was lifting and I could think clearly.

Along with the nipple reconstruction, I had some scar tissue removed and fat grafting was done (harvested fat from hips and thighs is used to fill in areas of the breast to make the breast look more full and natural).

The scar tissue removal was a success and I’m very happy that I decided to have that done. It was uncomfortable and I would have always wondered…should I have?

Fat grafting. Ugh. My thighs actually still hurt, and unfortunately, they still look the same. I’m not sure how that’s possible, but I guess it is. I do not like the way my legs look, but I do appreciate what they do for me. I keep telling myself that. I appreciate what my legs do for me. I appreciate what my legs do for me. It’s on repeat in my head. Positive self talk. 

Pre surgery. Marked up and ready to go! The areas marked are where he injected the fat to give my breast a better shape and fill in some of the empty spaces where the breast tissue was removed. 

 

More notable in this picture with me standing up.

 

Three days post nipple reconstruction, I was allowed to remove the bandages and nipple shields and shower. What I saw I was NOT prepared for at all. 

My doctor explained this to me basically like origami, but with your skin. Kinda.

My right nipple looked as expected in size, (approximately 1/4″ in diameter and in depth) but I was not prepared for the 20+ black stitches surrounding it. I had 20+ stitches on each nipple! I guess I wasn’t expecting to see so many! I also just assumed they would be the kind that dissolve. They were not.

My left nipple however, was twice as long as my right nipple! (1/4″ wide but a good 1/2″ long) That’s right. It was sticking wayyyy out there.  It looked awful. The stitches on my left side looked nothing like the stitches on the right side as far as the actual incision. It looked like two different doctors worked on me. Then I was unclear about how to care for these new nipples over the weekend leading up to my follow up visit 7 days post surgery. My post care paperwork was vague. Possibly the fog I was in. Then my phone call to the office was not returned. I was a little bit of a mess. I didn’t like the way I looked and I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be doing.

With each surgery I have asked 1001 questions, and for some reason I did not do that this time. Therefore, I was feeling disappointed with everything, I was feeling foggy, and I knew this meant a revision of some sort. Ugh. Can we just be done?

Thankfully I have my friend Nancy that is going through the same exact thing. I called her for advice. She had nipple reconstruction about 4 weeks before me at the same office with the same plastic surgeon and she helped  me figure out what to do over the weekend and also told me what to expect over the next few days. She was also surprised at the amount of stitches and at the appearance of her nipples when removing her bandages. There is certainly something to be said for knowing someone that knows exactly what you are feeling and experiencing, physically and emotionally. I was happy I had her, but I was feeling uneasy about my outcome.

A part of me was now beginning to feel a bit vain for even having nipple reconstruction. It’s the first time since being diagnosed with breast cancer that I questioned one of my decisions. I hated that I was experiencing some regret. Why did I add more surgery? Why did I think I needed nipples? Why wasn’t I just happy to not have cancer and to have breast and just move on? Mike didn’t care if I had nipples or not. Why did I? Was it worth it?

Then another part of me (the more sensible side of me and the side I like a bit better) reminded myself that these incredible doctors have worked hard to make this even a possibility for women that have had a mastectomy and I’m extremely fortunate to have this opportunity. It’s okay for me to want to look more natural.  It’s okay for me to want to have nipples. It’s okay for me to want to tattoo an areola on my body later. It’s okay for me to want as much of me back as I can get. I need to not be in a hurry. I am so fortunate to be here and I do not forget that. I can be grateful that I don’t have cancer and also get me back to feeling comfortable with what I see in the mirror.

I have now had three post op appointments.

First appointment, the doc just looked at everything to see if I was healing well. There I expressed my disappointment. There was also a large knot of fat in the middle of my chest. He said that I could massage it and that it would go down. It was visible. He assured me that I would be pleased with my end results. I doubted it.

Last week I had my second post op appointment. They removed every other stitch and it was obvious that I would be returning this week for a procedure to reduce the size of my left nipple. This sounded absolutely awful. Most women lose all feeling in their breast after mastectomy. My breast are mostly numb. However, I have been noticing quite a bit of sensation on my skin and on different areas of my breast. This is apparently unusual, but for me, nice for the future of me and my breast! I felt the nurse remove some of the stitches! Thinking about what the doc would actually be doing to reduce the size of my 1/2″ long nipple at my next appointment had me freaked out just a bit!

While in a fog those first couple of weeks, I was feeling all sorts of emotions. I never came here to blog because I didn’t really know what to say. Imagine that. Me? No words? Doesn’t happen often.

Here are the last three weeks in pictures.

After surgery. I do not remember posting this on Instagram.

 

Nor do I remember this on the ride home.

 

Me, for the first three days after surgery. (So glad I didn’t go to work.) After the fat harvesting (liposuction), you have to be wrapped up pretty good! Remember when I said my thighs don’t look any different? I do not lie.

 

This is three days after surgery. This I remember. The compression pants were part of the post surgery care. I was basically one big bruise. I was so nervous to take these blue shields off and take a look. Don’t judge my underwear. I’ve had that pair for years! They’re comfy.

 

Me convincing myself to just do it. I was SO not expecting this process to be so emotional. Emotional? Yes. Just not like this. There’s no going back. 

 

I was not pleased when I saw how different my nipples looked and when I saw how oddly large and long my left nipple appeared to be. I knew it meant another procedure but I didn’t know what would be involved. I also was not expecting to see so many stitches. Nor was I expecting to do this on my own at home. I guess I just assumed they would do this at the office. I was just all around unprepared for this.

 

Yesterday, I had my third post op appointment. They have a “procedure” room at the office. It looked like a miniature surgery room. Doc numbed me up with a local anesthesia just in case I was feeling anything. He turned on the tunes and we chatted a bit about what he was going to do. Lynn, my nurse, helped me relax and we got started.

He actually gave me two additional doses of anesthesia during the procedure because I was feeling a bit of what he was doing. So strange to be awake while knowing what was going on with my body. It ended up being one of those situations where the anxiety leading up to it was actually worse than the procedure.

He removed the stitches in my left breast while nurse Lynn removed the stitches from my right breast. Right nipple looks great!

He actually used a tape measure on my right nipple to see how long it was. He then went to the left nipple, measured and made a mark. I watched all of this and it was just weird.

He then reduced the size of my left nipple (I watched none of this!) to match the right nipple. It wasn’t so bad. I’m feeling so much better. The fat knot in the middle of my chest seems to have gone down with me massaging it. The fog has lifted. My emotions are in check.

While the stitches are now removed from the nipple reconstruction three weeks ago, I have new stitches that will come out in about 10 days on the left breast. Along with reducing the size of that nipple, there was also an odd skin fold/pucker on my breast that he fixed with another 6-8 stitches. Things actually look pretty good on each side.

This whole process has been such a learning experience, an emotional experience, and an experience I am happy to have the opportunity to share in hopes of helping others understand the process of breast reconstruction after cancer.

This is my right reconstructed nipple. My scars will fade. Areola tattoo to come. So far all of my scars have healed nicely and faded well. My areola tattoo will cover most of the stitch scars that do show and eventually, I will be able to put this chapter behind me.

I think it is all extremely fascinating. 

 

Fun stuff over the last three weeks.

Sleepover with this little ball of energy and smiles and hugs.

 

Our small annual Easter Sunday with Mike’s family. So many wonderful people in this room. 

 

Fun things going in my trailer next week!

 

It’s already feeling more and more like mine and the above items aren’t even in her yet!

 

Mike and I celebrated our 20th Anniversary over the weekend. On our 15th Anniversary we took a beautiful trip through California Wine Country and talked about how for our 20th, we’d like to go to Hawaii.

Here we are on Saturday at an annual local art fair that we enjoy. Not Hawaii. We spent the entire day together doing things around Kansas City that we like to do. It was a perfect day for the convertible and we enjoyed our time together. He looks adorable, I’m just trying to fit us both in the picture and smile. I’m also likely directing him. Lean in. Move over. Okay, smile now. I took four pictures. This was the best one of me. He looked good in all of them. 

 

A lot has happened over the last 5 years, and as much as I would love for us to go to Hawaii one day, spending the weekend together in town was a great way to celebrate us. 

Our actual anniversary is today, the 8th. Tradition says that the 20th is celebrated with china or platinum, so tonight we’re going out for Chinese Food. No Joke. Maybe we will have a platinum candle stick on our table. I’m not finding any information about nipples being a 20th anniversary gift, but somehow I think we ought to celebrate that!

How fortunate I am to be celebrating my 20th anniversary. I am thankful everyday. Thankful for great doctors and nurses, thankful for support from family and friends, thankful that I paid attention to my body and thankful for you that take the time to come here and read when I post. Thankful for many of you that have stuck with me when I’ve slacked off. Thankful for your kind comments, well wishes and prayers.

 

Pro and Con of Nipple Reconstruction

Pro – You have nipples.

Con- You ALWAYS have nipples.

I’m okay with that. 

 

Please remember to feel your breast monthly. Mark your calendar for a time of the month that works best for you.

Check for any lumps, bumps, dimples in skin or changes in skin color. If you feel or see something unusual, please have it checked out. It can be scary, but you can also be saving your life.

Share this message with your family and friends. 

This is for women AND men.

Breast cancer is much more common in men than I realized.

No one wants to think that it can happen to them, and we certainly hope that it doesn’t, but I can not believe how many people I know personally (one friends 90 year old father) that have been diagnosed with breast cancer just since my diagnosis.

Be your own advocate. Know your body. Pay attention to any changes.

Did you know that there was a law passed in1998 called the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA) in order to provide protection to patients who choose to have breast reconstruction in connection with a mastectomy? That’s right. It’s the law. You have the right to choose breast reconstruction, nipple reconstruction and a areola tattoo and have insurance pay for it.

After my mastectomy, pathology reports showed markers of a different type of cancer in my other breast. I would likely have developed cancer in the other breast as well. This law allowed me to have a double mastectomy with reconstruction of both breast. I never knew that. One of my concerns when making this decision was cost. My doctor told me about this law right away. 

Visit CMS.gov for more information.

Are YOU practicing a monthly self breast exam?

“Love the life you live, live the life you love”

Follow Your Dreams

April 16, 2019

Good morning!

I don’t want to post pictures from the wedding that Tess has not had a chance to share, so I’m waiting patiently for that to happen. The photos from the photographer are not in yet. I will however sneak in just a few family pictures here that our son Jake took.

Tess and Manuel LOVE to dance so I had to share this one. It’s one of my favorites.

 

Our son Jake and his family.

 

Our daughter Kate and her family.

 

Our daughter Anne and her family.

 

This has been a very full last two weeks.

Mike finished this gorgeous Headboard and framed in the bed. I am in love with all of it. He is working now on a Barn Door that will go between the Master and the Master Bath.

 

 

We spent Palm Sunday at my In-Laws. They are both 80 and you’d never know it! They host and his mom is always right there playing with all of her great grandkds.

Love this pic!

 

It was a beautiful day outside for an easter egg hunt and an Egg Art project!

 

Love these cuties.

 

Since the summer of 2017, I’ve spent many days feeling like I was waiting for life to get back to normal. I realized one day, this life I’m living is normal, it’s just that some days, weeks, or months are much fuller than others and over the last two years, my life has changed. A lot.

During the last two years, my time spent here blogging has slowed way down due to the fact that my time spent working with WW has increased significantly. Also during the last two years, two of our daughters have married and we’ve had three new babies come into our family. Oh, and I had breast cancer, and knee surgery and wrist surgery.

Those are all things that have affected my life a great deal and changed my priorities.

After my breast cancer diagnosis, I had my mastectomy in August 2017. Since then, I have had a surgery every three to four months.

Today, I am having surgery number six.

This is the last phase in my breast reconstruction. I scheduled this surgery a few months ago, so I have been preparing. I wanted to wait until after the wedding.

Today I am having some scar tissue removed that is bothering me, I am having some fat grafting done to fill in the less full areas on the top of my breast (currently it looks like there are dents on the top of each breast where the breast tissue was removed. This is common in breast reconstruction and fat grafting is used to fill in those spaces).

 

Also today, I AM GETTING NIPPLES!

That’s right. These genius doctors that made new breast for me from my own belly tissue, will now make nipples from skin on my breast.

I was planning to only have 3-D nipple tattoos made, and not have the actual nipples made, but I have a friend going through exactly what I am right now, even with the same doctor, and she recently had nipples made and she said that it made her feel complete and that she was very happy, so on with the nipples!

I will have to wait 8 weeks after todays surgery, then I can have the areola tattooed on each breast. Then I will be done with my breast reconstruction!!

 

In other super duper I can hardly believe it good news…….

I left my house on Saturday morning at 6:00 am. I picked up my dad and we drove 5 1/2 hours to a small town in Iowa. A vintage trailer was recently listed for sale and I had been chatting with the owner. I had to check it out. I first fell in love with these little vintage trailers the summer of 2016 when I met my dad down in Branson, Missouri at the KOA campground where they were having a Vintage Trailer Rally. I knew then that one day, I would have one.

Guess what? I bought her and I brought her home!

Meet Effie!

 

I knew when I bought the truck last year that a trailer would soon follow.

 

Larry and Effie. Don’t they make a cute couple?

 

The below pictures are the way that she had it decorated, and as cute as it is, I left all of the decorations with her. 

I want to make Effie my own.

 

We came home late Saturday night so we just parked her and I went home and went to bed. On Sunday morning I went over to my dads house and had my coffee in her, planning what I want to do with her. I can’t wait to make her my own.

 

My dad and stepmom came out to the trailer with a pot of coffee. My came over too and we all had coffee together in Effie. It was such a great morning.

I was hoping to find a trailer that was ready to camp in, and luckily, she is! I have electricity and water and working lights on the inside and out. I have several things I want to change but they are things that my dad and I will be able to do as fun weekend projects and nothing needs to be done in any hurry.

We’ve already got three trips booked!

My dad and brother also have vintage trailers, so I”ve been looking forward to joining them in their hobby.

I’m looking forward to taking the grandkids with me and making great memories! We can even camp out at my dads house. He’s got plenty of room on a large lot.

I’m so excited!

I am on top of the world right now. Life is so good and full. 

Follow your dreams. Chase your dreams. Live your dreams. Whatever dreams you are dreaming, if it is within your reach, grab it!

I’ve got to go now. If I’m not too doped up tomorrow, while I’m resting, I fill you in on the rest of life and share some links to recipes I’ve been trying.

Have a great day!

 

“love the life you live, live the life you love”

They did it! 

I only have a few pictures to share as I put my phone down for the night and soaked it all in. Everything was absolutely perfect. Better than I could have imagined. I want to do Saturday all over again.

I’ll write a long post tonight or in the morning, but I wanted to share just a peek of a few pictures others took.

I love these two so much!

 

They had a party bus for the wedding party between the ceremony and the wedding. I have a few good stories about the below picture, but this was a planned stop.

Cracks me up.

 

Four of the best friends a girl could have.

 

Manuel and his parents surprised Tess with a Mariachi Band! They were the hit of the night and the only people that knew they would be there were Manuel, his parents, his sister and me. I didn’t even tell Mike. I wanted to see the surprise on everyones face. There is a dramatic staircase that comes down into the room we were in and the band showed up in the middle of the reception and walked down the staircase single file while playing.

It was magical I thought.

Tess had no clue. Her face was priceless. 

Below is the bride and groom and parents dance with the Mariachi Band playing for us. I loved every minute of it!

 

I love how they incorporated so much culture into the  ceremony and the reception. More details later.

I just can’t say enough about how perfect everything was.

There are several signs that Tess and Manuel made for the reception, but this is the only one I snapped a picture of before deciding to put my phone down for the night. This will be so perfect hanging in their home. 

 

My sweet girl just before the ceremony.

 

One last moment with my girl…..

 

This picture is EVERYTHING.

That was a sneak peek into the wedding. More to come.

Have a wonderful day!

“love the life you live, live the life you love”

One Week From Today

March 24, 2019

One week from today, my little girl will be married. I am feeling so many emotions. I’ve been spending so much time recently reflecting over the last 27 years of my life, and of my daughters life. I’m having a really proud mom moment right now.

I am just so happy for Tess and Manuel, but also so happy for all four of our kiddos. (Mike and I blended our families when we married in 1999. Mike has a son, Jake, and two daughters, Kate and Anne.) Tess is the youngest of the four and the last one to marry. Mike and I will celebrate our 20th Anniversary in May and when I think about all of the life that has happened over the last 20 years for he and I and our four kids, I can’t imagine what the next 20 years has in store for us and our family.

You know with 8 grandchildren already, I have more little ones on my mind and in my heart. I certainly will not rush things (they will kill me for writing this!!), but I often think about how damn cute their little babies will be and I can hardly wait for that time in our life. I know. I know. No rush. Let them enjoy being married. I will. I promise. But when I think about the last 20 years, then the next 20 years, I know it means our little growing family will only grow more, and it just makes me feel all warm inside.

Okay, enough mushy stuff. 

WE ARE ONE WEEK AWAY!!

How cute are these two??

 

Unfortunately, my mom will not be going now. We’ve spent several days shopping for just the right clothes and shoes for my mom. (My mom is 4’6″ and has a very small frame. Finding dress clothes is difficult, but we were very successful!) Last Saturday, my mom and I spent the morning preparing for the upcoming wedding. We went to have our hair cut, we went out for brunch, then back to her apartment so I could drop of some luggage and there we went over some travel details.

My mom was exhausted after that.

My moms health is just not great. It hasn’t been for some time. She has decided that the travel day on Thursday, and all that we have planned for the weekend will just be too much for her. I agree. I’m extremely disappointed that my mom will not be at my daughters wedding, however I am also extremely relieved.

I was spending a lot of time already worrying about how I would take care of her needs while also enjoying my daughters wedding in the way that I wanted to enjoy it. I also didn’t want to have anyone worry about my mom, while also trying to enjoy the wedding weekend.

It’s certainly not what I wanted to happen, but I do know that it is for the best.

 

Tess and Manuel sound great, relaxed, organized and ready. They are disappointed that Grandma Kay can’t come, but they completely understand.

These two have been so busy planning and creating items for the reception. I can’t wait to share the pictures of the things that they have made.

I am going to Dallas tomorrow morning and then Mike and the rest of our family will come down on Thursday. All of the big items are complete and this last week we will spend wrapping up a few details, but honestly nothing stressful.

It’s going to be such a great weekend.

I have everything marked off of my To Do List here at home.

I decided that the Navy Blue shoes I had bought just weren’t right with the Navy Blue dress, so I returned them, shopped a little more and found these and am so happy I spent a little more time looking! Not a very high heel and I think I can handle these at least during the wedding. I have a reception pair that I’m calling my “Cheat Shoes” Ha!

 

As soon as I post this, I’m going to put my feet up and relax and prepare my mind for the next 7 days.

While life has been incredibly busy, it has also been incredibly good. Work life is great, I have been lacking on meal pictures, but trying to stay a active over on Instagram so I don’t completely lose my mojo!

I’m anticipating a beautiful Spring and I have several things I want to do. Kayaking is at the top of my list!

 

I’m trailer shopping. Is this little 10 footer adorable?? I gotta work on Mike a little bit, but once I discovered these, I want one. I want one baddddd.

 

Unfortunately, our fridge looks like this most days since we returned from Mexico.

 

Below are just a few items I’ve been keeping in the freezer so we have some healthy options available!

Mr Green Giant is one of my new BFF’s! I bought all of these items at Walmart.

Each of the two Protein Bowls pictured were only 4 WW Smartpoints. They had other varieties that were higher in SmartPoints, but I just grabbed these 2 to try. I will buy these again. Great for a quick lunch! Or Dinner. Or Snack. Heck, they’re only 4 Smartpoints!

 

This was full of flavor!

 

 

I do a variety of things with the riced veggies.

A favorite is to simply cook them, then stir in a few Laughing Cow Cheese Wedges.

Recently I made Sloppy Joe’s and we skipped the bun and ate it over a bed of Riced Butternut Squash. Delish and easy. When I find Delish and easy, I double what I am cooking and we have it two nights in a row. Mike see’s now that we are not having leftovers, we are just having really good food, two nights in a row. Ha!

 

I’m loving this little bag of carrots from Trader Joe’s.

 

I followed the suggestion on the back and added to my carrots an onion and fresh green beans.

 

Isn’t it pretty? I love to eat pretty food.

 

We had this over a bed of Crockpot Shredded Chicken. Simple.

I placed 6 frozen Chicken Breast in the crockpot with 32 ounces of Chicken Stock, salt and pepper. I let it cook all day long. Shred. Tada. Easy. Really. Season for a variety of different dishes, Taco’s, BBQ sauce, add to soup, or eat just like this with a few tasty veggies.

 

I’ve recently discovered these handy little snacks at Target and I’ve found three different ones. I’ve now tried the Pickles, the Green Beans and these Snap Peas. They all taste like pickles! 

0 Smartpoints

 

We have a few Zoe’s Kitchen locations close to our house. When I’m out and about, this has become a favorite place to stop for lunch or dinner.

The Mediterranean Chicken is 4 Smartpoints and I really like it! The Roasted Veggies are 2 Smartpoints. The Fruit is 0 Smartpoints.

 

Okay, I hope you see something you might like to try.

I’ve got to go put my feet up and relax. The next seven days are going to be busy and full and happy!

A recent Instagram Post of mine….

“It’s no secret that I love my job. WW has made a huge impact on my life, my health and my confidence. It’s here that I found my tribe. I love every conversation that I have with every member. Find your tribe. Surround yourself with like minded people.”

“love the life you live, live the life you love”

It’s Wedding Month!

March 10, 2019

Happy Sunday peeps.

We are counting down the days to the wedding. We are three weeks out. I can’t believe we’re so close. I went to Dallas last weekend and that was my last trip there until wedding week. I will spend the whole week of the wedding there so Tess and I will have that last week to wrap up any last minute details. She has done an amazing job of being her own wedding planner and sticking to her budget. I’m super proud of her. She has made all of the decorations for the reception, centerpieces and all of the signage. She’s super clever and definitely has an eye for exactly what she wants. Three more weeks!!

She picked me up early last Friday morning at the airport and we headed out for coffee and breakfast to brainstorm ideas and finalize a few logistics.

 

It has been hard being so far away and not having every weekend to get together in person and plan, but I think we made up for some lost time last weekend. After breakfast and coffee and going over the wedding weekend schedule, we went to our appointment with the florist. So pleased with the flower choices.

In the evening, a friend came over to help us go through the wedding weekend timeline. Ya’ll, Tess had a spreadsheet of everything that she put up on the TV so we could all look over things and make any necessary changes. She’s super organized!

 

She’s been working so hard and has made some beautiful signs for the reception. I can’t wait to show you all that she has done!

 

I finally found my dress! In my last post I told you about the 17 dresses I ordered on Nordstrom.com. Of the 17,  I found one that I really liked. Navy Blue, full length, off the shoulder, simple but elegant, in my opinion. Now it’s having a few alterations. I also said in my last post that Nordstrom does free alterations. That was a lie. lol. I really thought they did, but they don’t. They do however do alterations, which is nice because now I don’t need to worry about where I would go to have that done.

Tess originally had 5 bridesmaids. One of her sweetest and oldest friends is expecting baby number two just two weeks after the wedding and will not be able to travel to Dallas, but she has still had a big role during the engagement phase. Her family threw the Couples Shower for Tess and Manuel back in October. She was able to come to Dallas for the Bachelorette party annnnd…..her and her mom went with me to try on my Nordstrom dresses and help me look for an outfit for the rehearsal. I hate that her and her family won’t be at the wedding but I am super excited to meet Rose, baby number two!

I found shoes too. They are probably not the most attractive shoes but they were the most comfortable ones that I tried on. I have all sorts of foot issues and I need comfort. My feet swell easily if I’m on them all day. The last thing I need is swollen achy feet. Girl needs to dance!

Navy with elastic straps, yes, I said elastic (they won’t dig into my swollen feet!) and with a very low heel.  They’re not going to show anyhow and I mean, there not hideous. I did ask Tess for approval and she said that she just wants me to be comfortable. I love her.

 

This is my first weekend at home with my new WW schedule. I traded out my Sunday workshop for a Wednesday morning workshop and now I have my weekends back. Yesterday I realized just how much I missed them.

My new schedule includes 10 WW Workshops. I Coach (lead) 8 and I work as a Guide (receptionist) at 2. I love my schedule! I love my job.

We actually had date night last night. Yesterday was really just an all around perfect Saturday.

I started off my Saturday morning with Yoga with Adrienne. . Then I looked for a beginner Tai Chi video on Youtube. I recently chatted with a WW member who was telling me that her and her husband do Yoga and Tai Chi, and I was intrigued. I loved it!

This was a simple 8 minute introduction. After doing this once, I turned down the volume and did it again. I may have discovered a new interest.

Have you ever practiced Tai Chi?

I felt relaxed and energized all at the same time after taking a little time for me.

Then, tons of errands. After shopping for my mom and myself and looking for just the right shoes and outfits, I have so many things to return it’s not even funny.

After completing just a handful of my returns, I told Mike that I wanted a date night, then I laid out the evening plans for us. He was game.

Over twenty years ago, we first went to this BBQ and Blues joint.  BB’s Lawnside BBQ. Kansas City has a strong history of BBQ and Blues. We hadn’t been in forever, and one of our favorite things to do is go to a little dive, have a few beers and enjoy some live music. I loved our night! We’ve been lazy about getting out and I am so glad we did this for several reasons.

We both agreed that we were tired and wanted to stay in and watch a movie. That would have been the easy thing to do. We both likely would have fallen asleep and it would have been a plain ole blah Saturday night.

Instead, we headed out after 8:00 (I sound so old and lame here, I’m aware) and had a great night out, doing something we both love to do! It was a great reminder for both of us how much we love nights like this and how we need to make date night “out” a priority again. 

 

So much talent and Kansas City history in this little place.

 

I get to reading the walls and forget I’m in the only bathroom and need to hurry for those waiting in line!

 

Not only did we have a great time, but we met the cutest couple. 

This is Martin and Henrietta. Martin is 85 and I would imagine Henrietta is close to that, although she did not reveal her age.

 

They have been dating for 5 years. They met at a church social. They each lost their spouse 9 years ago. I had so much fun chatting with them and listening to their active social life. I told Mike we have no excuse not to be getting out more after meeting these two. Inspired to continue on the path of health and wellness so we can be just like Martin and Henrietta!

Now, do you think I should go to the grocery store today?

 

We have been living on eggs for breakfast, and lunch and dinner have been out. Fairly healthy choices as far as eating out goes, but I have got to get to the store and plan at least three dinners at home this week.

This has been a really easy Zero SmartPoint breakfast. I found this Zero Smartpoint Turkey at Whole Foods, but I would imagine you could find it elsewhere as well.

 

 

We have had a few meals at home with some fish and shrimp that I had in the freezer.

Simple dinner of Shrimp over Spaghetti Squash (which last for quite on a while on the counter, thank goodness). I cooked the shrimp in butter and garlic. When you are choosing Zero Smartpoints food, you have room for real butter!

 

I didn’t take a picture of this dinner but this was another simple meal. Baked Mahi-Mahi with a bag of Caulirice that I had in the freezer. I like to stir Laughing Cow Cheese Wedges into the Caulirice for an easy side dish. Again, Zero Smartpoints for the fish and veggies, so plenty of room in your Smartpoints budget for cheese!

 

A few staples in the freezer allowed for a healthy meal that came together quick.The hardest part of the two above meals was remembering to take the shrimp of fish out of the freezer to thaw!

Meals out? I love me a grocery store salad bar for lunch when I’m out and about. For my dressing I used Balsamic Vinegar and a drizzle of Olive Oil.

 

There is fast food place called Slim Chickens by my WW Studio that I work at on Friday. This is a simple lunch when I’m done working.

Grilled Chicken with Honey Mustard. Tasty and simple. It gets me home so I’m not ravenous when I walk in the door,

 

Ya’ll likely know I love me some First Watch. This is on the seasonal menu. I’ve had it twice in the last two week. It is AMAZING!

Chicken Breast in a tomato sauce that is to die for, with Eggs (I like over easy) and Feta. Served with Mixed greens. I ask for the Gluten Free bread simply because the bread that it comes with is huge and delicious and I didn’t want to use my Smartpoints for it this particular day. I skipped on the yummy preserves as well and dipped my dry toast in that yumminess.

 

Oh! Yesterday was the four month anniversary of my last surgery. That was the surgery on my wrist. For the last 17 months, I have had a surgery every four months. I am so happy to finally be where I am today! I just wanted to share. I knew I’d get here, but dang it that took a long time. I still have a few out patient procedures to finalize my breast reconstruction, but those will be a cinch. For now, it’s all about feeling good and wedding planning.

Okay, I’ve got some groceries to buy and a few things to mark off of my Wedding To Do List.

I’ve enjoyed sipping on some coffee this morning and getting caught up with you all.

I have received some of the sweetest emails recently from readers, and I just want to say how much I appreciate you all. It’s so crazy how you can build a relationship via a blog and emails and really feel a connection with folks you’ve never met before. Like Pen Pals from back in the the day I suppose.

Happy Sunday. Have a very Happy and Healthy Week! Come visit me over on Instagram.

Three weeks until they say “I DO”!

Okay, you have to laugh at this. I know I’m guilty of it.

“love the life you live, live the life you love”

I was wide awake at 3:30 am. I woke up from a dream that included Bradley Cooper and Tess’s wedding. I think in my dream I wanted Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga to sing at the wedding. The wedding has been on my mind pretty much 24/7, and apparently so has Bradley Cooper.

The last three weeks have really been a whirlwind of work, wedding planning and a cold I couldn’t seem to shake until just the last few days.

Mike and I had one weekend at home after vacation, then headed out to Dallas for a couples shower for Tess and Manuel. We went out Saturday morning and came home early Sunday morning so it was a really quick trip, but the shower was absolutely perfect. I’m so excited for these two and their upcoming wedding! March 30 is approaching quickly.

 

They’re really are a bunch of other people here too! lol

 

I had two more WW meetings in the works that finally got started over the last 10 days. I now have 7 meetings that I get to lead. I’m super excited about where I am with my job right now. There was a part of me that hoped the new meetings would not start until after the wedding, but I’m happy to have them and I’m looking forward to building a relationship with even more members!

I have been working a Sunday meeting and I was able to trade that meeting for a Wednesday meeting with a coworker. She was looking for a weekend spot and I was hoping to have my Saturday and Sunday back to myself. It worked out well for both of us and hopefully it works out well for the members as well.

Mike is happy I have Sunday off too so we can get back to a weekend schedule that works better for us.

The WW Ambassador program is in full swing and WW is really taking great care of their Ambassadors. They sent us all a really nice Winter Weekend Box full of goodies.

It’s always so fun to see what is inside. We never know what they’re sending us!

 

I’m stoked about these Bluetooth Headphones.

 

I might wear this on the plane to Dallas in the morning!

 

I’ve been shopping for a dress to wear to Tess’s wedding and also helping my mom shop for wedding weekend outfits. We’ve hit a lot of stores and she has everything she needs now except for a pair of shoes.

I have bought two dresses for myself. I’m taking them with me in the morning to Dallas. This will be my last trip to see Tess before going out for the wedding. I’m going to take the dresses with me and get her opinion. While I was dress shopping last week, the sales person at Nordstrom suggested I buy dresses online (larger selection), have them delivered to the store, then try them on there. Anything that I didn’t like I could easily return at no cost. Great idea! Also, free alterations!

Friday night I curled up in my chair with a glass of wine (perhaps two) and Nordstrom online. I ordered 17 dresses. That’s right. 17!

30 minutes later my credit card company sent me a message from the fraud department to verify my purchase. I now have 19 dresses to choose from. Surely one of them will work. Right?

 

I’ve had a hard time getting back into a routine since getting back from vacation but I’m getting there.

If you’re following me on Instagram then you know I like to post meal and snacks ideas over there.

Those post automatically go to my Facebook Page, The Weight of my Weight, so if Instagram isn’t your thing but you’d like to see a few meal or snack ideas then you can follow my Facebook page.

In the meantime, here are a few of the things I’ve been enjoying.

Oatmeal topped with Warm Cinnamon Apples

 

Blueberry Oatmeal topped with 1 T. Mixed Nut Butter from Trader Joe’s

 

.8 oz Nonfat Greek Yogurt with 5 drops Liquid Vanilla Stevia, 1/4 tsp Cinnamon topped with Berries

 

I love this Egg Roll in a Bowl  from Cheryl over at 40 Aprons. Easy and absolutely delicious!

 

My Sweet Potato Turkey Chili

 

This was one of those skillet meals that I made up as I was cooking.

I start a lot of skillet meals with cooked Turkey Taco Meat.

To this skillet of taco meat, I added a bag of cooked cauliflower rice, then topped it all with cherry tomatoes, just a little cheese and a few crushed Roasted Plantains.

 

Looking for a tasty snack?

Have you tried an Opal Apple? These are so good!

 

Since tomorrow is the first of the month, I’ll end with a friendly reminder to do your monthly self breast exam.

“Feel it on the First” 

You just might save your own life!

Have a great day!

“Love the life you live, live the life you love”

Hola Amigo!

February 9, 2019

We returned from a fun, beautiful and adventurous nine day vacation in Cancun to ice and temperatures in the teens in Kansas City. What the heck??

Welcome Home. You have re-entered reality!

After many many difficult months, 2 years in a row of canceled vacations, five surgeries and recoveries over a 15 month period and just a lot of life obstacles, Mike and I were so happy to be able to go on this vacation. I was so happy to feel physically well enough to do whatever we wanted while we were gone.

Oh my gosh, I have SO much to say in this post before I share our trip with you.

Let me share this first. I’ve only shared this with Mike, my daughter Tess and a few others, so forgive me if you are reading this here and I did not share it with you in person. I was trying really hard to pretend like it wasn’t happening. Everything is fine, so no worries, but I did have a scare.

On Christmas Day, I found a lump. In my left breast. The cancer breast. So many things went through my mind. Why now? How can I help my daughter wedding plan without her knowing the cancer is back? How will I keep this to myself so my family can just move forward and enjoy life? After doing so many things to prevent a reoccurance, having a Double Mastectomy, a complete hysterectomy, taking the prescribed meds that lower the risk of reoccurrence, taking really good care of my body, after doing all that I can to prevent the cancer from coming back, and now it might be??? Does this mean chemo this time? How will I hide it if I have to do chemo? Okay, I can tell my daughter but assure her that her wedding will go on as planned and this is just a little bump in the road, again. Shit. Does this mean the cancer has spread? I’m not telling anybody anything until I know for sure that there is something to tell. I laid in bed every night feeling this lump and praying. Praying hard that it wasn’t cancer. Praying hard that if it was, that it was only this lump, and it could be removed.

I didn’t even tell Mike. I just couldn’t have anyone filled with worry after the last year and a half.

I had an appointment already scheduled for January 14th. For the first two years, post cancer, you go in to see the breast surgeon, the oncologist and the lymphedema specialist every three months. Reoccurrence is most common in the first two years. Every three months you are reminded that you might not be out of the woods just yet. I hate going through the door each time I have an appointment. Now I was petrified.

After keeping this to myself for about a week and a half, I finally had to talk about it, so I told Mike. He thought I should call and get in before the 14th so that we could find out what the lump meant, and go on our vacation as planned. So, I called. They made an appointment to see me immediately and scheduled an ultrasound. The ultrasound would confirm if we needed to do a biopsy.

I met with the doctor and she agreed that we should move forward with the ultrasound. After doing the ultrasound, I waited for the tech to come back in the room for what seemed like an entire day. They had Mike waiting in the lobby. My mind went back to the first ultrasound when the tech came in accompanied with a radiologist to tell me that they were recommending a biopsy. My heart was racing. My mind was so full of so many thoughts. Too many loved ones lost too soon recently. I was scared.

The tech finally came in the room and told me that I had a cyst. Just a cyst. They saw absolutely no reason at all to do a biopsy. I was like…are you 100% certain?? She guaranteed me that if they had any concerns at all that they would do a biopsy. She said that it was a cyst that seemed to have developed after my mastectomy.

WHEW!

2019 is simply going to bring nothing but good news and I am going to 

KICK

IT’S

ASS

Would you like to hear some more good news? Okay!

Just before leaving for our trip, I found out that I get another WW meeting in one of our stores. Yay! That’s 5 meetings a week I get to lead.

I am also working on two new At Work meetings. Those are in the works and may happen soon. As excited as I am about filling up my schedule, I was secretly hoping these would hold off until after my daughters wedding in March, but it’s all good. I’ll make it work and I’m super excited about having the opportunity to meet more WW members!!

Okay, vacation. Ahhhhh. Vacation. Such a nice word, isn’t it?

Such a great trip with this group! We have another couple that traveled from Georgia and arrived before we did, but this is the group that traveled together from KC. If you’ve never been to the Cancun Airport, there is a bar immediately outside of the door where you can grab a drink before you hop on your shuttle and let the party begin!

I love this picture. The beginning of a great vacation with lots of laughs and great memories.

 

We were SO ready for some fun!

 

We stayed at The Fiesta Americana Condesa All Inclusive in Cancun. The resort had great reviews and as far as I’m concerned, it met its expectations. Very clean, such a friendly staff, good food with a lot of variety, very reasonably priced and so many pretty views.

 

Nothing better than watching the sunrise with a cup of coffee on the beach. That’s a good morning.

 

 

If I didn’t make it to the beach for the sunrise, we had a great view from our room.

 

I watched the sunrise every morning. Some mornings, I drifted off back to sleep.

 

The pool area was beautiful. Don’t wanna get out of the pool to get a drink? Just swim over to the swim up bar.

 

This was such a fun place to hang out. We all did Water Aerobics here one day. Great way to get a few good laughs and a little exercise.

 

I love a morning walk on the beach.

 

I could sit here all day.

 

We had several options for food on the resort. One of my favorite spots was this little Fish Taco place. The food was great and why wouldn’t you want to eat lunch while enjoying this view?

 

This was a pretty good view too! It was good to see him so relaxed.

 

We all ate here more than once!

Boy table.

Girl table.

 

This was another favorite morning spot of mine. Coffee just outside one of the restaurants overlooking the ocean.

 

They had Yoga! A few of us did Yoga two mornings.

 

This was the view while laying on my back, listening to only the waves. Namaste. It was perfect.

 

They had a cute little sushi bar that came in handy when we needed a snack before dinner!

 

I didn’t take many food pictures, but along with the fish and shrimp taco’s, I ate more shrimp, had Cod twice, Salmon one night and enjoyed more than my share of Chips and Guac. I could live on that stuff.

 

Breakfast almost every morning…..accompanied with eggs on some mornings.

 

In Mexico, they claim that Crickets are their Viagra. lol. I did not have any, but some of my friends did!

 

We all decided to venture out a couple of days. We took the Ferry over to Isla Mujeres. Such a beautiful island!

 

Tiny cars, scooters and golf carts are used for transportation on the island. 

 

So many little shops.

 

We rented a few golf carts and Mike and I hopped on the back of one.

 

Lots of shopping….

 

We discovered some beautiful views.

 

This is my friend Sidney, also known as my food truck boss, if you were reading back then. She gets credit for planning the trip and taking most of the photos in this post. If it’s a really pretty and clear picture, then she likely took it. Thanks Sid!

 

We found a cute spot for lunch with a great view!

 

Um, can we go back please? I’m very happy here.

 

We also ventured out one day to Xplor. This was a Zipline and Water Park with many adventures through the caves. None of us took the chance of getting wet phones or losing phones, so I’ve borrowed these pictures from the Xplor Instagram page.

We were able to  Zipline, ATV through the caves, raft (more like a canoe or kayak) through the caves, walk through the caves, swim through the caves, have lunch and relax in a hammock while our suits dried off.

A Zipline adventure has been on my “bucket list” for a while, and I was so stinking excited to feel physically good enough to participate in everything that the group wanted to do!

We zipped from tower to tower. They went higher and higher. I think we did 8 lines total? It was a tad scary, but the views were incredible.

I can’t believe we did this!

 

You Zipline to each tower, then climb up that tower, higher and higher!

 

We swam through caves. The water was cold that day! We had our choice once in the cave to go right and take the 10 minute swim or go left and take the 30 minute swim. I chose the 10 minute swim. The photo below is where our swim ended and it really was beautiful. I will say…thank goodness for life jackets and helmets! Caves can be a little rough on the body!

 

This was a fun little adventure. Mike drove on one trail and I drove us on the other trail. Dark caves, caves with lights, driving through cold waterfalls….lots of fun!

 

We spent the entire day there and it was a great adventure day! A little scary at times, but fun!

 

We had plenty of entertainment while at the resort too. Have you ever played the Saran Wrap game?? Oh my gosh, so fun. Two friends packed everything needed to play and assembled this huge saran wrap ball one night. So many giggles.

 

I visited the spa at the resort one afternoon to simply enjoy the sauna, steam room and hot tub. Along with that, came a mini facial. So relaxing.

I came home with only 3 extra pounds. That is the least amount of weight I have ever gained while on vacation! And this was a nine day trip! I drank a TON of water. I drank very little beer. I discovered that I actually like Vodka Soda’s with a Lime and a splash of Cranberry Juice. Who knew??

I have a lot of scars, and I am still getting used to this new torso of mine, but I decided to take advantage of the reconstructed breast and the flat tummy and buy some new suits. I think you all know by now that I appreciate my legs very much for what they can do for me, but I still don’t like the way they look. I’m not being hard on myself at all, I’m just being honest. It was fun however to focus on the parts of my body that I felt good about.

I asked a complete stranger to take my picture because each time Mike and I were by this sign, I either didn’t have my phone or I kept forgetting to have our picture taken!

 

We had a lot of yummy food, and although some dinners I ate more than I should have, I felt like I handled the food buffets really well. There was a great little coffee bar that Mike and I would visit each morning and get a latte. They also had a cute Ice Cream shop at the resort where we stopped a couple of nights for ice cream and one night for a Nutella Crepe. Dang it that was tasty!

I would say we got in a little bit of everything! I am so happy we had the opportunity to go on this trip.

2019 started of great!

I hope you all are having a wonderful 2019! 

Thank you so much for your continued support and following along. 

“love the life you live, live the life you love”