Tuesday, April 25, 2017

#520 What's an Outlier?

These are the statistics we face as we dream of becoming an outlier.

Outlier— according to Merriam-Webster dictionary:  a statistical observation that is markedly different in value from the others of the sample.  

What does that mean to me and why does it continue to be such a profound word in my vocabulary?  

To put it simply, an outlier is everyone’s dream if you are living with metastatic breast cancer.  A question often asked is could I possibly be one of those who defies the statistics and lives beyond the median three year life expectancy?  

When my first treatment passed the average length of time most patients take the drug-- seven to nine months--the word, outlier, crept into my world and gave me hope that maybe I could join the most sought after club in the universe.  

Unfortunately, despite my successful 26 months on this drug, it wasn’t the miracle I had hoped it to be. The next line of medications may prove to be a successful marvel and hold this cancer at bay for many more months but one never knows. It is always a guessing game, this cancer world we live in, but that four letter word, HOPE, continues to raise its beautiful head as we cling to the possibility that the term “outlier” will attach itself to our name.  The greater hope is it will some day become obsolete in our vocabulary as some brilliant researcher will cry, "Eureka! I found the cure for cancer". 

While perusing the internet, I found an article from the NY Times about an outlier,The NY Times.  Was there some type of magic behind her long existence and can it be bottled to be shared?  A spoiler alert--nope.  Doctors have no idea why she defied the odds when so many succumb to cancer--no matter what kind.  

So we metsters continue to read about the longer living individuals and yearn to be part of their group.  When a survey is sent out and requests those living more than ten years with MBC to reply and share their stories, I am thrilled to read all about them but admit the green machine of envy rising up.  Maybe someday I will be filling out an outlier survey and will encourage the newly diagnosed woman to dream about reaching this goal too.  

Please help me and others add a new moniker to our names--outlier--by donating to UW Carbone Cancer Center today. We are forever grateful.

Thanks for reading #520 of 7777.

Friday, April 21, 2017

#519 Carpe Diem!

Having a moment today--a good one--reflecting on the week in paradise with the family.  It's one of those unparalleled experiences forever stored in my memory bank and in my heart.

Planning this amazing trip began with a couple of simple requests on my part--actually they were quite complex but it didn't deter the king of logistics--Rob. He loves a challenge and this one could be rated a ten on planning a complicated family excursion while coordinating nine people to all end up in the right place at the right time.

It began last fall when, on a difficult day living with this disease,  I sweetly requested (or whined, depending on who is the story teller) about returning to Kauai--an island that feels like home.  Rob immediately agreed but then I hit him with the bombshell of inviting the entire family join us.  If I remember correctly, he gulped and responded, "Of course, dear, that's a lovely idea" (Remember who's telling the story). Orchestrating this adventure would tax even the best logistical guru, but my beloved husband came through hitting "the ball out of the park" making it a whale of a good time for all (Get it, whale of a good time?  Too much sun and fun is causing chaos with my sense of humor--or lack of...).

I can happily report that all went well without any hitches or catastrophes and this number one husband has also moved up to number one dad by his children.

Some of the highlights:
Family time--24/7
Grandbaby holding
Watching sunsets on the lanai
Swarming parakeets gathering at dusk
Game playing every single night
Dolphins leaping
Eating, eating and more eating
Hiking to the canyon

Devouring shave ice almost every day

Whales breeching
Flowers blooming
Boogie boarding
Surfing the waves
Sand building
Volleyball in the pool

Creating memories for a lifetime
Walks to the "Horn"
Ukulele playing and singing
Seder meal
Birthday celebration

An exhausting but exhilarating time was had by all.   Here's to fine memories and an abundance of family vacations together for many years to come.

Oh, and you can make this happen by going to UW Carbone Cancer Center and donating to the brilliant researchers working on a cure.  A whale size thanks!

Thanks for reading #519 of 7777.

Saturday, April 15, 2017


This is absolute joy in paradise as I spend a glorious week with the entire family.  No time to sit on the computer so will end it with a picture worth a thousand words.

Help me make sure I will have many more vacations with this lovely group of people.  Go to UW Carbone Cancer Center and donate today.  Thanks from all of us.

Thanks for reading #518 of 7777.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

#517 Hairy or Not

                                                   "Shoulder length or longer,
 Here baby, there, momma, everywhere, daddy, daddy
Hair, flow it, show it
Long as God can grow, my hair".*

What is our fascination with the golden tresses. We admire those who have them and feel cheated when our own hair does not give us the same satisfaction.  Toss your head around and feel your luxurious mane glide from side to side in slow motion--magical!

Hmmm.  In my 65 years, I think that happened about once when I was still in high school and I'm not sure if it actually did the whole swaying movement--I only thought it did.  Mine has never been in the lush quality or quantity category that we all envy. I would rate it as wimpy fine with a random uncontrollable curl that never seemed to curl in the right direction.

When I went through chemotherapy a few years ago, I was completely distraught at the thought of losing it all--which happened; and after shaving it off I didn't feel quite as devastated as I imagined. However, after months of chemicals flowing through my body the stubble began to grow and I swore I would never cut my hair again picturing me as Rapunzel with golden locks down to my knees.

Didn't happen.  After it began to grow back in I remembered the weak texture, and with the added chemo toxicity, the quality didn't improve.  Mid chin length is what I settled on and it suited me fine for a while.  Looked okay but it was a pain to blow dry every day without stunning results and was a constant reminder of the after effects of the drugs.

After thinning again because of my current medication I made the decision. Short was going to be the new me.  It took a bit of an adjustment but now when I get up in the morning it is a quick shower, towel dry and I am off saving the world or whatever is on my agenda for the day.  Time is precious and an additional fifteen more minutes does make a difference.  Besides, I remind myself (which sounds like my mother), beauty lies within us and quit being so shallow.  At least that's my justification when my gaze settles on someone with that "shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen"*  hair and I feel the jealousy bug popping its head out.

I say, unite short hairs and embrace the young sleeker look and think... sassy. That's what my new do makes me feel. Although I still admire those with the endless flowing tresses and often envision a luxurious head of hair, this short cut is working out just fine.

Thanks for reading #517 of 7777.

*Metrolyrics (Lyrics to Hair)