Spa/Soup Day

January 17, 2018

I spent yesterday either in the kitchen cooking or pretending like I was at the spa. I did my nails, (fingers and toes).

Then I did a face mask You’re welcome.

Right out of a horror film!!!


At least it was better than my last mask experience. I think I’ll stick with a simple mud mask. I’ll show you that next time. I know. You can hardly wait.

Then I took a long shower and I used all of the hot water.

Then, I cooked.

I’ve surprisingly been very successful spending so much time at home and not eating the house! I am in the zone!

I cooked up meatballs, Bird Balls, to put in the freezer and have later (after I made myself a yummy meatball sandwich).

Have you made these yet?

1 Freestyle SmartPoint each. They are about 2″ in diameter. Freeze very well and took about 10 minutes to prepare before baking them.

Oh, and they taste great!


I made a pot of Steak Soup and a pot of Turkey Sweet Potato Chili.


I’ve not been super adventurous in the kitchen, but these are all easy things to make. They all taste great to me on a super cold day. They all freeze well and now I don’t have to cook dinner for a few days.


Breakfast – 6 SP

Big Ass Waffle batter (3 SP) made into several little pancakes, topped with Warm Cinnamon Apples (0 SP), 1/2 Serving (8 g) Sea Salt Hershey Chips (2 SP) and 1 tsp Pure Maple Syrup (1 SP).



Lunch – 11 SP

Meat Ball sandwich made with 2 Bird Balls cut in half, 1 slice of Havarti divided between the two slices of Toast and 1/8 Cup Marinara. Carrots and Kiwi on the side.


Dinner – 4 SP

(1SP) Turkey Sweet Potato Chili (made with 99% lean ground turkey) topped with Avocado (1 SP) and Trader Joe’s Roasted Plantains (2 SP)

Daily SmartPoints Total = 21

2018 Goals
Make time each week to Meal Plan
Drink 100 ounces of water each day
Exercise 5 days a week
Eat three meals and one snack daily
Fitbit 10,000 Daily Steps

Sitting on the couch can get old, so my spa day at home felt good.

If you are not sitting at home recovering, it is still important to take a little time to pamper yourself.

Paint your nails, mask your face or use all of the hot water and steam up the bathroom.

You just might surprise yourself at how nice it feels.

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

Practicing Patience

January 16, 2018

I’m getting super antsy being at home wanting to organize this or that, move this chair or that chair, paint a room, move a dresser. These are just the sort of things I do when I’m home a lot. I get these ideas and want to change things up.

I’m advised to not lift over 10 pounds for the first 8 weeks post op. I’m also advised to do nothing strenuous as there is a risk of a hernia following my recent surgery. I hate asking for help, I hate to sit and I also hate thinking of things to do then not being able to do them.

I’m venting.

I’ve noticed that I’m in a much better mood if I keep myself busy. however, getting out in this cold isn’t my cup of tea either.

A cup of tea. Now that’s my thing. (But you can only sit and drink so much tea.)

I started the second season of The Crown, Mike and I are watching Stranger Things Season 2, I’ve colored in my coloring books and I’ve done a bit of meal planning.

Now that Tess and Manuel are engaged, there is a wedding to plan, so Tess has a Pinterest page all set up and I’ve been spending some time looking at that too!

I’ve had a lot of contact these last few days with other Breast Cancer patients. It’s nice to be on the other side now where I can answer questions about surgery instead of asking them.

I’ve also have been on the phone planning more doctor appointments

I felt like life was on hold for so long in between my two surgeries, and now that this surgery is over (but with Phase II in March and April and maybe May) and my hysterectomy is scheduled in March, things feel like I’m back on that hold button.

We were supposed to be leave this morning for Mexico with friends, but we had to cancel that a few months back since I wouldn’t have the okay to fly just yet.

Friday I am scheduled for an MRI on my knees.

They both have been bad for a few months now and I’ve decided to just take care of everything while I have the time. 

While scheduling the MRI, I had to answer a series of simple questions. Then the scheduler asked me if I had ever had cancer. Just the question put me in a funk and the remainder of the day had me thinking about how hard it is to really plan anything right now.

So….I just wish summer would get here and we could move on. I’m working on remaining patient while keeping a positive attitude about everything.

Sorry for the rant. 

Let’s talk food!

Breakfast – 7 SP

Cooked Sweet Potato (120 g – 4 SP), Red Onion and Zucchini Hash (sautéed in 2 tsp Olive Oil for 3 SP) topped with Eggs (0 SP) and Everything But the Bagel Seasoning from Trader Joe’s


Lunch  – 0 SP

Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt with Cinnamon flavored Stevia Drops and a good dash of Cinnamon. Topped with Berries and Banana Slices.


Snack – 0 SP

A couple of handfuls of berries.


Late Afternoon Snack – 1 SP (For the Olive Oil on the squash)

Roasted Butternut Squash and Scrambled Egg Whites


Dinner – 18 SP

I met my niece for dinner at Red Robin. I looked at the menu online (highly recommended if available!) and found a bunless burger for 12 Smartpoints. I also had about 10 fries out of the basket of “all you can eat” fries dipped in the sauce, so I’m guessing 6 SmartPoints for those.

Daily SmartPoints Total = 26 

2018 Goals
Make time each week to Meal Plan
Drink 100 ounces of water each day
Exercise 5 days a week
Eat three meals and one snack daily
Fitbit 10,000 Daily Steps


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

Do you remember when the Healing Chair was first delivered to our house? You can read more about that in my post, My Breast Cancer.  

A wonderful group of volunteers provide this electric recliner for patients having a mastectomy.

They also brought me a blanket, a beautiful Kendra Scott necklace and a journal that moves from patient to patient along with the chair.

Mike and I delivered this chair to another breast cancer patient after my mastectomy recovery.

I received a Healing Chair again for my reconstructive surgery.

It was a comfortable place to heal after both surgeries and greatly appreciated. Mike and I were able to take the most recent Healing Chair from our house to another patients house yesterday. I remember the comfort of meeting the woman and her husband that first brought the chair to our house. They were so open to our questions about recovery and what to expect. I hope that Mike and I were able to give her and her family the same comfort yesterday.

I hate that so many women are in need of this chair, but I was happy to be able to give the next recipient a hug, words of encouragement and my phone number.


I had gotten in a bad habit of only getting in a few glasses of water a day and for the last 5 days, I’ve been back to drinking 80-100 ounces a day and I feel so much better when I wake up in the morning!

Do you keep track of how much water you drink?

Breakfast – 6 SP

Toast with Smashed Avocado (40g) and Eggs. Grapes and Black Coffee too!


I love this meal!


Lunch – 5 SP

We hit up a new drive thru. After one bite, I swapped out their two Corn Tortilla’s (ICK!) for one of mine at home. I’m not sure how the Chicken was prepared or if it was all breast meat or not, so I called my lunch 5 SmartPoints.


Dinner – 8 SP

I was craving Beef Stroganoff, so I made up something that I thought would satisfy my craving.

Mike thought it tasted great!

I followed a basic Stroganoff recipe but I used 99% Ground Turkey, Trader Joe’s Vegetable Broth, Light Sour Cream and I served it over Riced Cauliflower. The points are for the butter I put on the Broccoli and the Oil I used for the Roasted Brussels Sprouts.

Don’t be afraid to play in the kitchen. You might love what you create!

Daily SmartPoints Total = 19

2018 Goals
Make time each week to Meal Plan
Drink 100 ounces of water each day
Exercise 5 days a week
Eat three meals and one snack daily
Fitbit 10,000 Daily Steps


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

I Love Connecting Here

January 14, 2018

I love when readers send comments and emails. Those small exchanges over time have allowed me to build relationships here on the blog with people that I otherwise would never have known anything about. Although I may never meet some of you in person, I feel like I know many of you.

Occasionally, I have the honor of meeting some of you in person!

I recently received an email from a reader that found my blog and discovered that we had a LOT in common. Not only did we have the same breast reconstruction surgery in December, but she lives close to me and is with the same group of doctors! Crazy, right?

Yesterday we met for coffee at 10:00 a.m. and chatted into the afternoon. I got home well after 2:00 p.m.! It was so great to talk to someone that is experiencing exactly what I am feeling physically and emotionally right now. I am so happy that she reached out and I know for sure that we will be getting together again soon.

Thank you Nancy!


It feels so good to be in control of my food and tracking these last couple of weeks. Why do I forget how good this feels?


Breakfast – 0 SP

Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt with 10 drops of Vanilla Flavored Stevia, a good dash of Cinnamon and a Banana with Black Coffee.

I LOVE this. Mike does not. I guess it’s just not for everyone.


Snack – 2 SP

10 of these tasty Chips!


Lunch – 6 SP

An un-pictured Frothy Coffee and a Salad Bar from the grocery store.

Everything in here is Zero SmartPoints except for the few Tortellini noodles. I chopped this all up and didn’t need any dressing.


Snack – 4 SP

I was craving sweet and warm since it was freezing outside so I made myself the Big Ass Waffle (3 SP) batter and made these two pancakes. I topped them with warm blueberries and 1 tsp of Almond Butter (1 SP).

I place frozen blueberries in a microwave safe dish and cook for about 2 minutes. It makes this beautiful and juicy topping.


Dinner – 8 SP

On Friday we had this same  Fall Chopped Salad 

My only points were for the dressing. Last night I added a few dried cranberries and raw nuts.

This will be plenty for Mike and I.

If you want to include everything in the original recipe, it includes Mixed greens, Chicken, Bacon, Eggs, Roasted Butternut Squash, Red Onion, Diced Apple, Dried Cranberries, Pecans and a homemade dressing.

Seriously, go check it out!

Daily SmartPoints Total = 20

2018 Goals
Make time each week to Meal Plan
Drink 100 ounces of water each day
Exercise 5 days a week
Eat three meals and one snack daily
Fitbit 10,000 Daily Steps

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

A Few Simple Things

January 14, 2018

Simple post for my accountability and maybe you’ll see something you like?

Breakfast – 5 SP

Eggs are Zero SmartPoints and I love eggs, but every once in a while, I go with just the egg whites.

One Egg has 6 grams of protein. One Egg White has 4 grams of protein. If I know I will be going several hours in between meals, then I try to get in extra protein. That’s what I did here.

Cook 3 Egg Whites and Wrap in a warm Tortilla, two times.


These are really hearty and don’t fall apart. These are 2 SmartPoints each.


This also taste great with Cheese or Canadian bacon. I just went with egg whites and a little smashed Avocado (25 g)


That’s a Cara Cara Orange. They are SO sweet!


Lunch – 3 SP

Tuna Salad (the only points are the Mayo) on a bed of greens with Carrots for crunch.


Snack – 1 SP

Frothy Coffee


Dinner – 4 SP

Fall Chopped Salad (It’s a favorite)

I love this Salad. Click HERE for the full recipe. Like yesterday, I don’t always add everything that is in the full recipe, but if you do or don’t, you can’t go wrong with this salad. I like to use 1 T. of the dressing, put a lid on it and shake the ever loving daylights out of it to give everything just a taste of the dressing.


Happy Hour – 19 SP

Wine with Friends. I took my WW Wine Glass and measured out my wine and snacked on carrots. 🙂

Daily SmartPoints = 32
2018 Goals
Make time each week to Meal Plan
Drink 100 ounces of water each day
Exercise 5 days a week
Eat three meals and one snack daily
Fitbit 10,000 Daily Steps

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

Happy Friday! I’m Back!

January 12, 2018

It feels great to sit down and write a simple post about what I ate yesterday.

I started tracking two weeks ago today. I’m going to go to my WW meeting next Friday. It has been too long since I have attended a meeting as a member. I’m anxious to work that back into my weekly routine.

It was a snow/ice day yesterday, so I pretended like I still had kids in school and spent the entire day in my pj’s. Not really unlike many of my past several days. I’m still working on a Blog Post about 2017. It’s like this really depressing drama that I’m trying to turn into a dark sitcom. Or something like that.

I’m trying to focus on all of the great things that happened, but lets be honest, 2017 brought a lot of shit with it and I’m sorting through it all.

Let me just say that reviewing 2017 has me feeling a roller coaster of emotions.

Moving on…..

My only exercise right now is stretching, so that’s what I’m doing.

When I wasn’t on my computer or stretching yesterday, I ate a few things.

Breakfast – 5 SP

Toast (2SP) topped with 2 tsp Trader Joe’s Mixed Nut Butter (2SP) and fresh Blueberries with 1/4 tsp Honey (0SP) Drizzle along with a Frothy Coffee (1SP).


Lunch – 5 SP

Tuna Salad made with real mayo (3 SP) and bulked up with some diced Apples.

Carrots, Celery, Trader Joe’s Roasted Plantains (2 SP) and an Apple with Cinnamon.


Dinner – 6 SP

Dinner was one of those one dish meals that I throw together and sometimes they taste great and sometime they don’t.

This one? Not bad.

One Dish Meals aren’t for everyone, but the hubs will eat just about anything and I’m going for easy right now.

I sautéed some fresh green beans with onions, then threw in three slices of cooked bacon chopped up and added some Butter Infused Olive Oil for flavor.


I added to the skillet some rotisserie chicken breast that I had pulled out of the freezer earlier in the day. Again, easy here.


I made  some Roasted Butternut Squash. Why it looks burnt sometimes, I have no idea, but it tasted great!

I added this to the skillet.



One dish meal and the only SmartPoints here are the bacon and the Butter Infused Olive Oil that I used to flavor the beans.


Snack – 4 SP

RX Kids Bar and Hot Tea


Daily SmartPoints = 20

2018 Goals
Make time each week to Meal Plan
Drink 100 ounces of water each day
Exercise 5 days a week
Eat three meals and one snack daily
Fitbit 10,000 Daily Steps (When I get released from the doc to do so)

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

WWFreestyle 2018

January 11, 2018

I’m happy to be back at Weight Watchering! (it’s a word.)

A VERY sweet friend of mine (Thank you Niki!) organized a Meal Train for my surgery in August and for this most recent surgery. I so appreciate my friends singing up and bringing us meals. One less thing to worry about and so very kind!

The Meal Train was organized through the month of January, but since I’ve felt pretty good these last two weeks, I decided to cancel the remainder of the Meal Train. I love that friends want to help, but I feel bad having someone bring us a meal when I now feel good enough to throw something simple together.

That being said, I got back to tracking and making a few simple things in the kitchen. Basically, soup, tuna salad and any kind of breakfast food that you can think of that is easy.

If you are a WW member, you are a few weeks in now on WW Freestyle!

How is it going?

Do you like the plan?

Do you hate the plan?

What new Zero SmartPoints foods do you love?

What foods are making Freestyle easy for you?

I would love to know your thoughts!

My weigh in day as a member was always friday, so on Friday December 29th, I began to track again and it feels really good.

Before my recent surgery, my weight had gone up about 10 pounds from what I had maintained for about three years. I wasn’t crazy about the way that I was feeling, but my plastic surgeon did tell me to try to maintain where I was so that he had enough belly tissue to work with for my surgery. I did that.

Leading meetings, feeling uncomfortable in my own skin, and two major surgeries ahead of me, I wasn’t feeling like a very good Weight Watcher role model.

Now that surgery is over, I can work on getting back to a weight that I feel much more comfortable with.

I am super excited to get back to blogging in my Julie form, whatever that means.

I really like to post a daily blog (I rarely miss one) of what I ate, how many SmartPoints it was, and what activity I got in for the day. I also like to throw in any recent shenanigans. There always seems to be something going on!

Blogging daily is a great accountability tool for me and it has become such a routine, I miss it!

Hopefully, I will be able to give you all some easy ideas for meals, whether you are a WW member or just trying to come up with easy and health meal ideas.

I like to just throw things together and I hope that you do too!

I’m terrible at actually creating  recipes and posting them here on the blog, but I do have a few and I do try to do that.

I have yet to go in and update any more than a few recipes to Freestyle, but I am adding it to my goals for the year. Forgive me for being terrible about that!

I havne’t been really busy in the kitchen and we haven’t had anything fancy, but I’ve made lots of soups, we’ve had simple proteins with salads, we’ve done taco meat and I’m now back into enjoying the non fat greek yogurt. Of course, I always love my eggs.

Here are a few of my favorite things lately!

Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt and Nonfat Plain Yogurt are both now Zero SmartPoints

Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt with a few drops of liquid Stevia (I like Vanilla and Cinnamon flavored) and a generous sprinkle of cinnamon makes a great meal or snack!

I typically buy this brand.


I tried this recently and it is amazing! It is much thicker! They taste the same to me, but I do like the thickness of this one better! I found this at Whole Foods.


I like to add a little additional cinnamon to the top!


I added a 1/2 T. of Almond Butter to this bowl and it was delicious!

2 SmartPoints


Eggs are Zero SmartPoints

Sweet Potato Hash topped with Eggs and Avocado! So many flavors in here.

7 SmartPoints for this breakfast.


Soft Boiled Eggs!

Place Eggs in Boiling Water and boil for 6 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the eggs and place them in a bowl of ice water for 2 minutes. Peel under running water. Perfect every time!


Fruit is Zero SmartPoints

Some mornings, I don’t mind a slice of toast all dressed up!

This piece of bread is 2 SmartPoints, then I topped this with 2 tsp of Almond Butter, 1/2 Banana, Blueberries, 1/4 drizzle of Honey and a sprinkle of Cinnamon.

4 SmartPoints. Perfect with my black Coffee!


I could do Pancakes for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner. 

Maybe you prefer Waffles? This is the Big Ass Waffle recipe, in pancake form.

Sometimes I just don’t want to get out the waffle iron. These cakes are about 3″ in diameter.

3 SmartPoints for just the Pancakes.


Same recipe, but two large cakes.


Tuna is Zero Smartpoints

3 SmartPoints for lunch.

The mayo is 3 SmartPoints, everything else, Zero SmartPoints.


Did I mention the fun that I’ve been having with the letter/chalk board that WW gave all of the WW Ambassadors??


I started driving last week, so I met a friend for coffee and lunch at Whole Foods.. I always love their salad bar. This is all Zero SmartPoint Veggies and Hard Boiled Eggs topped with a drizzle of Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil.


I picked up a few Pre-made Salads at Trader Joe’s for a quick lunch or dinner.

The dressing on this was pricy as far as SmartPoints go, so I used my own mix of Vinegar and Oil. This was one of those meals you just have to guess on.


Want easy? These are Bird Balls. A Weight Watcher member created these and they are easy and freeze nicely! I asked his permission to write a blog about them, and he said Yes! You can click HERE to read that post and get the recipe!

On Freestyle, these are now only 1 SmartPoint each and they are about 2″ in diameter!

You could eat these with sauce and Zoodles or Spaghetti Squash for a very low SmartPoint meal!


Chicken Breast and Corn are Zero SmatPoints

I think I ate this Zucchini Soup (with Chicken Breast and corn in it) for at least three days. I love this soup and without any toppings, it is Zero SmattPoints!

Drizzle a Banana with 2 tsp of your favorite Nut Butter and 1/4 tsp Honey. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp Chia Seeds for a 2 SmartPoint Dessert!


Same Zucchini Soup the next day. Some soup just taste better AND looks better the next day!


99% Ground Turkey and 99% Ground Chicken are Zero SmartPoints

I made Taco meat using the 99% Lean Ground Turkey! I ate this over a bed of Caulirice and with my few extra toppings, this was a great meal!


We also ate this Steak Soup for about three days. I could eat a bowl right now!

1 Cup = 3 SmartPoints.

You could make it with 99% Lean Turkey and the only SmartPoints would be the potatoes! 


So few SmartPoints in this soup, there’s room for Wine!


Okay, those are just a few of the simple things that we have been eating over here for the last two weeks.

What are you eating on WW Freestyle?

2018 Goals
Make time each week to Meal Plan
Drink 100 ounces of water each day
Exercise 5 days a week
Eat three meals and one snack daily
Ftibit 10,000 Daily Steps

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

Post-Op & Commit30

January 10, 2018

Hi All. It’s Julie. Remember me?

Oh my gosh, so much to talk about!

  • Post op updates,
  • 2018 Goals,
  • 2017 in Review,
  • Tracking my food and WW Freestyle

I’ll save “2017 in Review” and “Tracking my food and WW Freestyle” for my next post, otherwise I could be here ALL day……..and you would be really bored. Heck, that might happen anyhow!


Post Op

My daughter Tess came in town December 6th and ended up staying through surgery and didn’t go back to Dallas until December 28th. I loved having her here and so did Mike. Recovery would have been so difficult without her here.

She actually came back this past weekend and organized an un decorating afternoon for me with our son and daughter-in-law. Everything is put away and organized just like mom likes it. They all did a great job!

I’m now 4 Weeks Post-op! I can not believe that surgery was 4 weeks ago! I was finally able to get all of the surgical tape off of my body! I’m still trying to get used to this flat stomach. I gotta tell ya, it’s really weird. I had spent so much time wondering what my new breast would look like, I just hadn’t put much thought into having a flat tummy. It’s very tight, it’s completely numb to the touch and it is still super uncomfortable. But it’s flat and I don’t hate it!

Mike and I went in for my  3 week post op last Friday with my plastic surgeon and he said that everything is healing nicely. When Dr. Chandler walked into the room, I asked him if I could give him a hug. When I hugged him, I gave him a really tight hug and he hugged back just as tight. He was smiling and I asked him if he had any idea what he was doing for women who had lost their breast to cancer. I told him that I felt like he had put me back together again and made me feel like, although they look very different, I had my breast back!

He told me that he didn’t hear it very often, but that he really appreciated hearing it from me.

All smiles.

I go back to see him in 6 weeks, then we make plans to move forward with Phase II. More on Phase II when the time comes.


On Monday I had a post surgery appointment with my oncologist to discuss my next steps.

There are commonly prescribed medications for pre menopausal women with estrogen positive breast cancer and  different medications prescribed for post menopausal women with estrogen positive breast cancer. These medications are to reduce the risk of cancer reoccurrence.

Tuesday I began taking Tamoxifen (typically taken daily for 5 years), the one prescribed for premenopausal women.

I will be having a full hysterectomy in March. After that, I will be taking the postmenopausal medication.

I’ve had a lot to learn over the last several months and the months to come will bring more questions. There are a lot of possible side effects with the medications so I’m crossing my fingers that I experience little or none of them. I’m trying to keep an open mind about it all while also telling myself that the important thing is that it is reducing the risk of reoccurance.


The first two weeks of healing after surgery were quiet and and relaxed with short visits from family and friends.

The last two weeks I have begun to feel super antsy. I am not good at sitting still and my brain is full of things that I want to do.

I’ve tried really hard to take advantage of the coloring books (so cute!) that my friend Ashli brought to me. I’ve had several long phone conversations with family and friends. Several friends have stopped by for coffee and long chats.  I’ve scoured Instagram accounts for yummy meals to make when I’m back in the kitchen 100%. I’ve caught up with lots of friends via text messages and phone calls, and I’ve thought about things that I’d like to accomplish this year.

My physical restrictions are….

  • No lifting anything over 10 pounds for 8 weeks (4 weeks to go!)
  • No strenuous activity to elevate my heart rate
  • Don’t do anything to break a sweat

I can however stretch, so I have been doing a lot of that!

Sleeping sucks right now because I simply can not get comfortable. Waking up kind of sucks too simply because getting out of bed doesn’t feel so great.

Once I’m up and on my feet, I’m good. Walking around the house is actually when I feel the best. Sitting isn’t so comfortable.

That being said…..I am ready to move forward and I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’d like to accomplish in 2018


2018 Goals

I’m always all about January. It may be my favorite month. I always feel like January is a fresh start and things feel new. I think if you read the blog regularly, then you might understand why I would be anxious to get 2017 over with and move into 2018 with excitement and curiously as to what the year will bring for me and my family.

One of my friends that came by for a visit after my surgery brought her new 2018 planner. She knows I’m a planner too so she showed it to me. I loved it! 

Have you heard of Commit30?

It’s a great little planner that helps you to break down some of the steps that you can take to achieve your goals. Each month, you can focus on that 30 days to commit to achieving a goal. You decide what you’d like to achieve, and the planner helps you to break it down.

Next month, work on a new goal, or improve on the previous month. Your book. Your goals. You decide!

I stopped making New Years Resolutions a long time ago, and started looking at the year as a whole and thinking about what it is that I would like to accomplish. Some things I succeed in and some things get put on the back burner. I don’t let those back burner things get the best of me, I just move them into the next year and try to make a better plan for them to happen.

I think I am going to love this planner! It comes in different colors, but I loved the Gold. My daughter Tess bought one too!

It’s the perfect size to toss in my purse or carry in the car.


It also helps you to break down different areas of your life.

These are just a few of the things that I would like to work on this year. I’m sure I’ll think of more as January rolls by.


Each month starts with this page. I need a little practice in my action steps, but so far I am doing well on these two goals.

Since my January is really about recovery, I kept my goals simple.

You decide how to reward yourself for achieving your goals at the end of the month.


Each month starts out with a great quote!


Each week is broken down with plenty of room for morning, afternoon and evening plans. Plenty of room at the bottom of the page for notes (or even a grocery list if you plan to carry this in your purse!).


This year is for sure starting off slower than years past, but I am looking forward to goal setting and crushing those goals!

I met with one of my WW Co-workers yesterday and it was good to talk “work” and WW Freestyle and get caught up on a few of my favorite members, but it was hard to know I’m still a few weeks out on being able to go back to work.

I’ll talk Weight Watcher Freestyle in my next post!

 I hope that 2018 has started off well for all of you!

Have you set Goals for 2018? I’d love to know what they are?



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

Julie’s Steak Soup

January 1, 2018

This steak soup really isn’t streak soup at all, but while playing in the kitchen one afternoon, I made this soup and it totally reminded me of a Steak Soup that I love at one of our locally owned restaurants.

I used ground turkey and vegetable broth the day that I first made it, then I thickened it up a bit with a puree made from potatoes and broth. Mike and I both loved it but of course I was just playing around and I didn’t write anything down.

Now I’ve played with this recipe a few times and I finally came up with a recipe that I could write down.

Some friends came by for a visit on Saturday, and I had a pot of my soup on the stove. With the fireplace going and the crazy single digit temps we are having here in Kansas City, (and the fact that I cooked something 17 post op major surgery), I was ecstatic to be able to offer them a warm bowl of soup.

After the first bite, our friend said, “This is great Steak Soup!”

His daughter worked as a hostess at that particular restaurant that I mentioned that had the Steak Soup, so I asked him if that was what he was referring to.


So…go make yourself some Steak Soup that really isn’t Steak Soup at all!

Enjoy all of the Zero Smartpoints veggies that are in it! 

I use 2 pounds of meat because I really like a thick soup.

This is one of those recipes that taste great the day that you make it, but it is even better the following day!

You could totally make this soup using 99% Fat Free Ground Turkey and leave the potatoes out all together for a great Zero SmartPoints Soup!

Serve that over Whipped Cauliflower and you still have a yummy tasting and thick soup!

Julie's Steak Soup
Yields 14
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  1. 2 lb Ground Turkey - 93% lean
  2. 1 Onion, diced
  3. 3 Celery Stalks, diced
  4. 1 Garlic Glove, diced
  5. 4-6 Medium Carrots, sliced
  6. 16 oz White Potatoes, peeled and cubed.
  7. 1 C. Frozen Peas
  8. 1 C. Frozen Corn
  9. 3 T. Tomato Paste
  10. 8 oz fresh sliced Mushrooms
  11. 1 tsp Worcestershire
  12. 1 tsp Parsley Flakes
  13. 1 tsp Sea Salt
  14. 1 tsp Rosemary
  15. 1 tsp Thyme
  16. 1/2 tsp Cracked Black Pepper
  17. 2 Bay Leaves
  18. 6 C. Fat Free Chicken or Vegetable Stock
  1. Set aside 1 1/2 Cups of stock and 1 Cup of diced potatoes.
  2. In a large dutch oven, add turkey, onion, celery and garlic and cook until turkey is no longer pink.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, minus the stock and potatoes set aside.
  4. Mix well and simmer on medium low stirring occasionally.
  5. In a small pot, bring the 1 1/2 C of broth and 1 cup of cubed potatoes to a boil.
  6. Boil for 8-10 minutes, or until very tender.
  7. Using an emersion blender, puree the cooked potatoes in the broth until the consistency of baby food.
  8. Add this to your pot of simmering soup. It will thicken things up nicely.
  9. Simmer soup for at least 30 minutes.
  10. Remove bay leaves and serve.
  1. 1 Cup = 3 SmartPoints
The Weight of My Weight

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

I am including before and after pictures of my breast cancer in this post, along with a few recent post op pictures. 

If you think that this post might bother you, you may want to skip this one.

Tomorrow I’ll post about soup. You can come back then!

The biggest Thank You ever to Dr. David Chandler with Kansas University Plastic Surgeons.

Do you think that he has any idea at all of what he is doing for women with breast cancer? Maybe. I’m gonna tell him at my appointment on Friday.

I plan to hug him so tight, he explodes. You know what? I’m still tender. I’ll have Mike hug him. Mike did say that he wants to hug him too.

My goal in this post is to be as informative as I can be in a tasteful manner. I want people to know what their options are if diagnosed with breast cancer. 

I feel compelled to share my story.

I found a lot of comfort in being able to view photo’s online and in my doctors office. It gave me clear expectations and it helped me to know what questions to ask.

I hope that my pictures are helpful if you are faced with making similar decisions that I have had to make over the last several months.

That being said….

Wow. What a two weeks it has been. I’m 17 days post op and I really wasn’t sure what to expect post surgery. I can say that I have felt much better than I expected to feel and that I have experienced much less pain than I was expecting. Yay!

Ironically, the most discomfort that I have had has been in my lower back, and that is simply because standing up straight after a tummy tuck is a slow process, but in another week or so, I should be upright!

I’ll write yet another post on just how awesome my husband and daughter have been over the last few weeks, and what an important role they have both played in my recovery. I have no idea how I would have gotten through all of this without them. It has been so sweet to watch them work together to care for me. So much love happening here right now.



On July 21st I was diagnosed with breast cancer in my left breast. Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC) , Grade 1 Stage 1. Estrogen Receptor Positive.

On August 31st, I had a Skin Sparing Bilateral Mastectomy. Based on my diagnosis, I was able to keep my breast skin, but not my nipples.

After my mastectomy, my pathology report showed precancerous cells in my right breast. A different type of breast cancer. Lobular Carcinoma in situ (LCIS).

For me, the decision to have a double mastectomy was a really good choice.

Now what?

  • Getting the news that I had cancer was scary as hell. 
  • Knowing that I would forever lose my breast has been extremely emotional. (They were too large and unattractive, but they were a part of me and they were mine.)
  • Discovering the possibility of having new breast made from my bodies own tissue was fascinating.

My DIEP Flap surgery was on December 14th and lasted 10.5 hours.

If you read my blog regularly, then you may already know what a DIEP Flap surgery is, but if you are new to the blog, DIEP Flap surgery is breast reconstruction surgery for breast cancer patients who have had a mastectomy. To be a candidate for the DIEP flap surgery, you must have large enough blood vessels to do the tissue transfer and you must have enough belly fat that will allow a genius plastic surgeon to give you a tummy tuck, then transfer your tummy tissue to your chest and make breast for you! Seriously, its GENIUS!! Click HERE for an awesome and short, but more detailed description of what DIEP Flat surgery is.

A CT Scan is required prior to surgery to make sure you have blood vessels large enough that the surgeon can use them to make the tissue transfer a success. Since I had my CT several weeks ago, and never heard that I may not be a candidate for the surgery, I had no concerns. Well, actually, I did have one concern. Even if the surgery is performed successfully, there is a slight chance that over the first 72 hours, the blood will not flow properly and the tissue can die. This is rare, but it can happen. I really wasn’t concerned about this.

Just a week prior to my surgery, my surgeon told me that he was not sure if my surgery was going to be a success or not based on looking at my blood vessels in the CT Scan. He said that one side might work, and the other side was really quesrionable.

Since I really did not want implants, this news came as a bit of a shock to me. Now I had new decisions that I had to make going into surgery in case the surgery didn’t work.

I decided that if neither side worked, that he could then use implants. I knew that if I didn’t like them after several months, then they could be removed.

I had also decided that if only one side would work, then I wanted him to do the one side and give me an implant in the other side. This was a difficult decision and for some reason, super emotional for me. I wanted my breast to match. It seemed strange to do one breast DIEP Flap and the other breast be an implant. But, the more I thought about things, I put myself at age 60, 65, 70 and older. I thought about how I might feel about my body years down the road. I knew that if an implant needed to be removed for some reason at the age of say 70, then I might be okay with being flat on one side at that age knowing that my breast on the other side was all me.

It’s a very personal choice, and one that I thought long and hard about (one evening while standing in the shower sobbing for over an hour). I needed clarity on my decision, and once I made up my mind about what my options were and what I would be happy with, I felt good about moving forward.

I did not like knowing that I wouldn’t know anything until I woke up from surgery, but I did go into surgery feeling at ease with the decisions that I had made.

The week before surgery, I was a little more emotional than I had expected. Knowing you are going into a 10 hour surgery, and the risk involved, is a tad scary. I didn’t want to vocalize my fears with my family because I didn’t want them to have those fears if they didn’t already have them. It was a rough few days.

I know for my husband and daughter, those hours spent in the waiting room made for one of the longest days ever. They were given updates as surgery moved along. At one point, they were told that one side was a success and that they were moving forward with trying to do the other side. Then they were eventually updated that both sides were a success and they were finishing up. Ten and a half hours later, surgery was complete.

The picture below is of a single breast DIEP Flap. I could NOT find an illustration of a double DIEP Flap, so while this is a great picture to show what this procedure entails, keep in mind that I had both breast done and they used all of my belly tissue. No muscle is removed in this procedure.

The picture on the right with the red arrow, shows a football shaped skin paddle. (That’s what they call it, a skin paddle.) The skin paddle is the belly skin on the breast after the DIEP flap has been completed.

The skin paddle is monitored for 72 hours in the ICU after surgery to make sure that the blood vessels are pumping blood and that the tissue transfer is a success. With the skin paddle visible, they are able to look for any discoloring in the skin. The skin starts to turn dark if the tissue is dying. Not good.

Prior to surgery, I asked Dr. Chandler to show me exactly on my body where I would see the belly skin on my breast. I had looked at several pictures on the internet and in his office of a completed DIEP flap, and I wasn’t crazy about the way that my breast would look post surgery. Don’t get me wrong. VERY happy to possibly have new breast made with my own tissue, but I wanted as little scaring as possible, if it was an option. It never hurts to ask!

I asked Dr. Chandler if we could make my skin paddle a circle instead of a football shape. The final stage of a DIEP flap is nipple reconstruction or a nipple tattoo. I wanted to know if my “skin paddle” could be the shape of a circle so that everything would look as good as it could for the final phase. I had seem some pictures of “skin paddles” that looked more like circles than footballs, and other skin paddles that really had no shape at all, so it seemed like an appropriate question. Right?

He then proceeded to tell me that he might be able to do the surgery on me without using the “skin paddle”. 


He said that he could put the belly tissue under my breast skin and possibly not use the belly skin at all. He said that there was a way that he could attach a very small wire to my belly tissue under my existing breast skin and that wire would be connected to doplar ultra sound machine that would monitor my transferred tissue.

If he could do this, then he wouldn’t need to visibly see the “skin paddle” at all.


This would make a huge difference for my scars and how I would forever view my new breast!

Oh, I also had asked my breast surgeon (different doctor) for a vertical incision with my mastectomy. I had looked at several pictures of vertical and horizontal incisions on mastectomies and I liked the look of the vertical incisions. She agreed to do as I had asked and my plastic surgeon agreed that my results would be visibly better after my DIEP flap with a vertical incision. Seriously, It never hurts to ask!

Not only did I wake up from surgery to discover that I had two new breast made from my own tissue, but Dr. Chandler was able to do my surgery without visible skin paddles! I was a happy mess.

The first 72 hours after surgery are the most critical. This is when the tissue transfer is monitored hourly in the ICU to be certain that the transfer is a success.

I had little wires going in my new breast and every hour a nurse would come in and do an ultra sound on each breast and we would listen for the blood pumping. Every hour, my nurse and I would look at each other after hearing that sound and say “Yay!”


The first day after surgery, the goal is to sit up on the side of the bed, then work your way to sitting in the chair. Did it. While sitting in the chair, I asked what day two goals were. I was anxious. The day two goal was to take a walk down the hall. Did it day one. It was short, but I did it. I was needing to continue to feel good about things.

Another post surgery goal is to poop. That’s right. Gotta make sure everything is working before you go home.

Goals people.

So, there I was, in the bathroom, hooked up to four body drains, one at each breast and one at each hip. I had two IV’s, I had an oxygen monitor on, I had oxygen coming out of my nose (I think that went to the bathroom with me?) and I had little wires going into my chest that were hooked up to an ultra sound machine. And, I was trying to hold up my hospital gown. Can you imagine all of this going on and trying to take care of “things” yourself. Oh, and my arms were really sore. Apparently they have your arms in a really strange position during the surgery. So, a successful trip to the bathroom was a lot to ask of a girl!

As I flushed the toilet and stood up, the toilet overflowed. Yep. It did. I pulled the red cord.

Nurse… “Can I help you?”

Me…”Um, yes. I was very successful in the bathroom and now the toilet has overflowed and I’m just standing in it .”

There are other stories, but that is the best one. You’re welcome.


After four successful nights in the ICU, I came home.

One of my nurses at my plastic surgeons office told me at a recent post op appointment that she had never seen the DIEP flap done without the belly skin being visible after surgery. SUCCESS!

One of the interns told me that I may be the Poster Patient for DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction! YIPPEE!!!


Now for some pictures.

Here is what I looked like before mastectomy and obviously, above my goal weight. 

That black dot is where I first felt my lump while putting on lotion after a shower.

Please do self breast exams!

I had large breast (DD) and obviously, one larger than the other. lol

The white oval is the area to be removed to make my new breast. Note that the white line is above my navel. My navel was removed and then reattached.

The blue line represents the scar that I now have on my belly.


This is a tissue expander. They are inserted following the mastectomy to expand the breast skin so that the skin is large enough to hold the new breast, whether it be an implant or a DIEP flap breast. I’m actually unclear why I needed these since I had plenty of skin, but I think it is standard procedure during a mastectomy with reconstruction, no matter how much skin you have.

The smaller circle on the tissue expander is a magnetic port where the saline is inserted at intervals.

These are miserable.


This is me post mastectomy with tissue expanders in and just a little bit of saline in them. My nipples were removed. I only put the red marks there so you don’t have to look at the gray tape over the incisions. I’m trying to be considerate here.

The gray tape in my arm pit is covering the incision were the lymph nodes were removed.


More saline was then added at my 2 week post op appointment through the port in the tissue expander.


Each week a little more saline was added until the desired size was reached that the plastic surgeon thought that my new breast would be.  Then we stopped. The tissue expanders were miserable (did I mention that?)  and I hated them. I am so happy to have those out of my body.

Some plastic surgeons will perform a DIEP Flap at the time of mastectomy if they can coordinate that with the breast surgeon. I don’t believe that my surgeon does that, 

This picture is about half way through getting fills. This was as uncomfortable as it looks! Not painful, but uncomfortable.


This part was hard for me to look at.


This picture below is the day before my DIEP flap surgery.

The tissue expanders had been filled to the plastic surgeons satisfaction. He actually wanted to fill them just a little more to fill my breast skin out so I would be pleased with the way that they looked temporarily, but I was miserable after each fill and really wanted no part of it. We agreed that even though I had a nice sized belly, he didn’t think my breast would be as big as they are in this picture, so there was no need to stretch my skin beyond what I naturally had.

The white arrows show dimples where the tissue expanders were not completely full. It was weird, but I knew it was temporary.

The blue arrows show how awesome my scars are. Of course, I’m starting over there now, but I think they will barely show!

The red dot is just me trying to be polite. I don’t even have nipples!



This picture is about 6 days post op the DIEP flap surgery. I guess my tummy was bigger than I realized!

These are much larger than I was expecting! I also have incisions all the way across the very bottom of each breast. These scars will never show!


They are very flat.

It will take a while before my posture is 100%! My back is killing me! lol

That blue arrow is like….Look! No Belly!! (Hey, there’s a first time for everything.) It’s actually a bit swollen here. It will go down.


This is me today. These are really bad photo’s, but Tess took all of my other pictures. 


With my underwear up where they belong, my scar won’t even be visible!


Now, I’ve got some work to do so my ass and my thighs match this flat tummy I got going on!


All drains are now out. All tape is now off.

I have an appoint next Friday. 

My appointment on Friday will complete Phase I of DIEP Flap.

Now, I wait three months before beginning Phase II.

Phase II consist of fat grafting. That means after everything settles for the next three three months, the plastic surgeon will take a look and see where any indentions are visible. Common areas are at the top of the breast where the breast tissue was removed during the mastectomy to the chest wall. It is common to see dents in that area and on the sides of the breast. In that case, fat is graphted from different parts of the body and used to fill in any areas needing to be filled. Fat grafting can also be used to fill in the breast so they do not appear to be flat. Cool, huh?

Phase III, the final phase, is the nipple Phase. We can discuss that later

Now, I wlll start taking Tamoxifen. This is the pill commonly prescribed for my type of breast cancer. I will take this pill daily for five years to reduce the risk of reoccurrence.

Because I am premenopausal, and my breast cancer is estrogen driven, I have decided to have a hysterectomy. That will likely be scheduled before Phase II of this surgery, so maybe late February.

Then, I look forward to moving on.

I’ll continue to keep you posted on my progress.

I am beyond grateful that I was introduced to Dr. David Chandler.

I truly think that what he was able to do for me is amazing. I had prepared myself to not like what I saw in the mirror post mastectomy, and I now know that I will be very pleased.

I hope that through my Breast Cancer experience, I have been able to inform you, inspire you to schedule your mammogram, have open conversations about breast cancer with your family and friends, encouraged you to ask questios about your own health, and most of all, encouraged you to share your own story.

You just never know who might benefit from it!

Thank you ALL for your continued support, your prayers, your good vibes and your kind words. I have read every comment and will reply to them all within the next few days. You are all so appreciated! I wish I knew you all in person! You really know how to make a girl feel great!! Big Hug to you all.

What a post to end the year! 

Happy New Year!

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