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Choose Happy

I’m going to start with, “Sorry, Not Sorry.” My previous blog post was titled “Happy Dance” and man, oh, man was I so happy. Well, truth is that I may have celebrated a little prematurely. Last week my labs dipped down and I don’t know what changed. I was so frustrated. Not only that but the menopause crap was coming in HOT, (ha! get it, hot?) Seriously folks, menopause is not fun and I will have the luxury to go through it twice. Once now, with chemotherapy and then again when I become of age… anyone else jealous? If you were curious what other symptoms come with menopause here is the list that I’ve been experiencing. Trust me, it’s a great list:

  • Vaginal dryness.
  • Hot flashes.
  • Chills.
  • Night sweats.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Mood changes.
  • Weight gain and slowed metabolism.

Anyhow, like I said, last week my labs dropped and I was so disappointed, frustrated and just plain old annoyed. So what did I do? I had a mini pity party for myself. Sorry, Not Sorry! So dumb. I let Barb do most of the talking last week and it was awful. I didn’t work out, I didn’t drink near as much water, and I hardly slept. It’s ok to have bad days, so long as we use them to remind ourselves that the days that may not seem so good aren’t so bad, or makes the good days even better. What matters is how you go forward.

Thankfully I had the girl gang (aka the Wolf Pack) that got me out of the house and a trip to Duluth over the weekend to occupy my mind. I also made my children wear shirts that said, choose joy. I wanted the reminder that I am responsible for my happiness. I CHOOSE HAPPY!

Today, I went into my 11th round of Taxol with a better feeling. I was putting the right foot forward and reminding the universe that:

  • I am an overcomer
  • I am healthy and insanely fit
  • I am cancer free

Obviously, I’m not there yet, but I will be. Those are three of the ten dreams I write down everyday in my Start Today Journal. So with my intentions set, I will act the way I want to feel. I am manifesting wellness. I will get back on the horse and drink the stupid water, move my body for 30 days and take ALL of my supplements. Why? BECAUSE IT MAKES ME FEEL BETTER. So why did I not make it a daily priority or get lackadaisical? Well, because friends, I was bummed out! If you didn’t know this, I am not perfect. I too struggle with the roller coaster I am on- life. It happens, we have no control, we just have to remember that God has bigger plans for us. He wants us to learn from our experiences. God doesn’t give us what we can handle. He helps us handle what we have been given.

Besides being grateful for my Wolf Pack, I am also so thankful for my dear friend, Andrea. We are always touching base with each other to see how the other is doing. We have sooo much in common. Same type of cancer, same amount and gender of children, same marriage situation (married to farmers) and same craving for laughter and friendship. Much of our conversations are about the kids, our sanity during quarantine and our symptoms, but specifically our gas. (Hold tight, you are about to get a laugh of a lifetime, at least I did when I read her message she just sent me.)

Our flowers from B the Light

So, it’s like Andrea even knew that I am a lover of random, fun facts. Here we go. Get ready to laugh. Andrea and I have been sooooo gassy. Not only are we gassy, but our smell is something special. It’s the amazing Taxol Toots. Ok, so fun fact, like most mammals, blue whales fart. Unlike most mammals, their fart bubbles are so big that you could fit an entire horse in them. There, that’s a thing. Now you know. That’s what she sent me. If you were in our shoes and knew all the things we have shared about our bad gas you would be rolling on the floor laughing. No matter your age, you can always laugh about a fart, a toot or better yet, the trots. Oh Andrea, I am so grateful for you.

So with refocused mindset, here is to a new week, with new adventures and positive attitudes.

Shout out to my amazing support group! Ashlee Suker, Michaela Sheesley, Sarah Wenisch, my family, my friends… my Wolf Pack. You are so amazing and I am going to say it again, I am so grateful for you all every. single. day.

Tomorrow’s gratitude list:

  • Flowers from B the Light
  • New friends (We had two new people join us today. “Scared” and “Nervous” were their descriptions when I asked how they were doing. I may have found an area I want to play a bigger part of. When I am done with my cancer journey, how can I help others with theirs? God always has a plan. Let Go and Let God)
  • GIFYs
  • Mindset refocusing and Perspective changes
  • Quiet nights
  • 1 TREATMENT LEFT!!!!!!!

Love and Air Hugs!

Sara

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Happy Dance

You guys, I am so stinking excited! Almost all of my labs are back in normal range. YES, even my white blood cell count! Is it the fact that my body is listening to my subconscious (you are almost done)? Is my body simply just getting stronger? Is it my immunity green juice? Is it my supplements? Is it the prayers and good vibes? I think it’s a combination of all of it, so I owe a thank you to you, the prayer warriors and those sending the positive vibes <3. THANK YOU!

ARMPIT HAIR!!!!!!!

Not only are my laboratory tests more normal, but I am also growing hair… on my head, my legs, my pits and nether region. All in time for beach season 🙂 Seriously, who knew I’d be so excited to start shaving again?

So many things to be grateful for today and everyday- friendships, family, lab tests, B the Light– making my dream a reality, conferences, hair and I am almost done climbing this mountain! Can you believe it? I only have 3 Taxol treatments left before I can call myself an OVERCOMER, a SURVIVOR!

This past weekend, I attended the RISExLIVE conference presented by the Hollis Company with some amazing speakers: Rachel and Dave Hollis, Brit Barron, Ed Mylett, John C. Maxwell, Eric Thomas, Jen Hatmaker and Donald Miller.

John C. Maxwell mentioned that life isn’t perfect, we sometimes have to take the detours and that’s OK. We just need to remember that when we are given lemons, we CAN make lemonade.

Donald Miller compared life to a story, are you the victim, the villain, the hero or the guide? It’s ok to play the victim for a short while, but you should never play the villain. True leaders want to be the guide in our story, but you can’t become the guide without courage to play the hero.

Dave talked about confidence and identity and how it all starts with understanding the “if/then” relationship with our personal values. Are we limiting ourselves because of the beliefs we have that question our ability to fully live into our identity?

Ed Mylett reminded us that EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR YOU, NOT TO YOU! We just need to re-frame the story we are telling ourselves. The quality of our life = The quality of our emotions.

Brit Barron talked about moving through fear to find courage and that it’s ok to have certainty about a dream in an uncertain time.. She reminded us that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., almost didn’t include the “I have a dream…” to his speech at the Lincoln Memorial. Someone behind him whispered, “tell them about your dream.”

Eric Thomas reminded us that we need to continue with enthusiasm and patience. “Fear is a reaction, courage is a decision.” I CAN. I WILL. I MUST.

Jen Hatmaker shared her thoughts on being a courageous parent. Brave moms, raise brave kids. She also reminded us that we shouldn’t be worrying about whether or not we are doing it right, the fact that we are worried about it means we are doing just fine.

Rachel talked about mindset, perspective, resilience, consistency, habits and leadership. We were built on the shoulders of giants. We are warriors- we train every day so we are strong enough to take on battles. We expect to get our butt’s kicked. We learn from our previous battles and learn to strengthen our weaknesses. Those are the keys to resilience and becoming a good leader.

MIND BLOWN….RIGHT?!?! I could go on and on and on. The reason I’m sharing this with you is because it’s this right here…. it’s practicing self development that makes me the person I am today. In my last blog I told you that God had me preparing myself for this cancer journey all along. God pointed me in the direction of self development and I became obsessed- how can I be a better version of myself? It was through conferences, books, supporting great causes (like B the Light) and my diagnosis that I found my answers. Like Ed Mylett said, “Life is happening for you, not to you.”

Pay it forward. Have courage. Go into battle. Learn. Have a positive mindset. Support others. Give when you can. Practice gratitude. Move your body-change your mind. Strive to become the guide, the leader…. and so much more.

Thank you God, for pointing me in this direction to give me the strength and courage to climb this mountain called cancer.

Thank you all, for your support, prayers and kind words to keep me fueled and full of fire. I couldn’t do it without you. It is with your help that in just 3 weeks, I will be an OVERCOMER!

Love and Hugs to each and everyone of you.

Sara

Dreams Do Come True

Grandma Larsen was always willing to help those in need- food, money, gas, you name it. I may not have the means to give as much as she could, but I do aspire to show my support whenever I can, whether its supporting a small business, attending an event or buying a t-shirt.

What if the shoe was on the other foot?

In 2018, I was on the Sleepy Eye Medical Center gala planning committee to raise funds for our 3D Mammography software. My job is all about enhancing the patient experience and after hearing about the anxiety a patient went through when they heard, “additional imaging is required,” I was ready to do my part to help plan the event so that SEMC could provide start of the art imaging services for breast cancer detection.

In October 2019, to support a great cause and a dear friend, I attended the B the Light Gala. It was a phenomenal event held “to give hope to breast cancer survivors.” I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room when we heard the story of Aunt B., and learned why this foundation means so much to Amber, also a breast cancer survivor.

The Cancer Tumor

Well, you guessed it and if you’ve been following my blog, the shoe has been on the other foot since November of 2019, when my family and I received the diagnosis of breast cancer. (Now that I’m typing this all out for you, I’m realizing it was meant to be. God was preparing me for this breast cancer journey all along.)

Ok, long story short, I have been following B the Light on Facebook since attending their gala and when I saw they were taking applications for their HOPE Getaways, I knew I had to apply. Part of the application process was to write an essay of 500 words or less. Here is my essay:

Hello, my name is Sara Schultz. I am a daughter, wife, mother, friend, co-worker, goal getter and breast cancer warrior. I was diagnosed on November 14th with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma at the age of 31. At that point in time, I felt robbed. My life as I knew it was about to change- how would my children, Samuel (3) and Rowyn (1) cope?  Will my husband still think I’m beautiful? What about all of my hopes and dreams?

Thankfully, I had an amazing doctor to guide me in times when I needed her most. I may have only sent her a few short texts, but she was always quick to respond. One day I told her I felt like I had been robbed- I spent most of my time worrying, stressing and waiting. I wasn’t doing things I enjoyed anymore, like running or training for an upcoming triathlon, marathon or climb (remember, I told you I’m a goal getter.)  Dr. Jordan responded to me with this, “Cancer robs you of control over your life and body. But it also teaches us that we never really had control in the first place. It’s humbling and empowering at the same time.”

It was at that point in time that I decided that breast cancer wasn’t going to control my life, it was going to transform me into a better version of myself, and it has.

Sure, I put much of my dreams on hold, like climbing Rainbow Mountain, but right now I’m climbing a different mountain, cancer. Cancer definitely sucks, but it makes the positive things in my life shine so much brighter. Thank you, cancer. There is a saying, good things come to those who wait, and in this case, I think it does. Had I taken the trip to Rainbow Mountain before my diagnosis it would have just been something to cross off my bucket list, now it would mean so much more. It would mean I am an overcomer.

I can imagine myself there, on top of Rainbow Mountain, I have tears streaming down my face as I take in the unbelievable beauty that this mountain has to hold. I am completely still, calm and overflowing with gratitude.

Receiving a HOPE Getaway Award would mean so much to me. My husband and I actually looked into flying to Peru and embarking on a 1 to 3 day hike up Rainbow Mountain, sadly it just didn’t fit our budget. Now we joke about it and say, “if it wasn’t for this diagnosis we could have climbed Rainbow Mountain twice!” Climbing Rainbow Mountain will continue to be a dream of mine, but with your help and generous consideration you could make my dream a reality. I could be an overcomer.

If you are curious as to whether or not I was awarded the opportunity to climb Rainbow Mountain, check out this amazing video made by Amber from B the Light.

My dream is coming true and I couldn’t be more grateful for this opportunity!

Folks, God has a plan for all of us, we just need to remember: Let go and Let God. He was preparing me for this diagnosis the whole time: attend Rise, practice self development, raise funds for 3D mammography and support a friend with a great cause.

Now in closing, I ask you to do the same. Help a friend, buy a shirt, make a donation.

Another Year Older

The start of the pout.

For those of you who know our daughter, Rowyn, you know she is the best pouter. She exaggerates all the characteristics of a pout. She stops what she is doing, stares at you and frowns. She puts her head down (unless there is a table near by, then she rests her head on her arm) so her cheeks sag forward and then she will check to see if you are looking at her. If you are looking or not she will “hmmph” with a big shoulder slump to make sure she has your attention.

Anyhow, I may have just figured out where Rowyn may have learned to pout so well. You guys, I’m 32 years old, “hmmph”.

But… I am 32 years old!! This past year was rough, but it was also amazing:

  • I ran a marathon
  • We went to Seattle to visit Zac and Christa
  • I traveled to Texas with Mikayla to attend RISE
  • I had a Tiny House adventure with some girlfriends
  • We went to the Atwater Threshing Show with the family
  • I drank wine at Chanksa Winery with some of the Larsen crew
  • We sent Samuel off to preschool
  • We transitioned Rowyn into a big girl bed and successfully potty trained her.
  • I attended the B The Light Gala
  • I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
  • I had a double mastectomy.
  • Our marriage and family bonds grew stronger

Not only did all that happen, but I also grew- developmentally and spiritually. Definitely a year to remember.

I was telling my dear friend, Andrea that cancer definitely sucks, but it brought us together and that it is really turning me into a better person- I live with more intention, I have goals and dreams, and I am definitely more grateful. Oddly, 1- Thank you, Cancer. Obviously 2- Thank you, God for preparing me for this diagnosis by guiding me to grow. I don’t know where I would have been had I not learned about courage, being my true self, the importance of prayer, empowerment, friendships, gratitude and wellness: physical, social, mental and spiritual. All things I learned and started practicing after I read Rachel Hollis, Brene Brown and other authors of self development books.

Last year when I turned 31 I had 4 goals for the year:

  1. Enjoy the little things
  2. Stress less about the messes or things I cannot change
  3. Be present
  4. Start each day being grateful for what I have

Upon review and some reflection I’d say I did pretty darn good. I spent more time practicing self-development and growth which helped me reach some of those goals. Sure I still stressed about things I couldn’t change, but honestly, who wouldn’t have stressed after hearing they have breast cancer? Thankfully my surgeon gave me a different perspective on it and I was able to grow and learn from my diagnosis too.

Now for my 32nd trip around the sun I have new goals:

  1. Start each day with Gratitude and Meditation- prayer, goal orientation and self development
  2. Celebrate all the wins, big and small
  3. Be an exceptional wife, mother and friend
  4. Embrace all chaos and choose joy
  5. Finish chemotherapy and officially become an OVERCOMER (only 5 rounds of Taxol left!)
  6. Gain new perspectives and live intentionally.

Here’s to a year of continued growth, development, overcoming and goal crushing!

Mindset

To change our reality and heal our bodies the secret ingredient lies in making up our mind to do so. We have the ability to fully recover and change our external circumstances exactly like those patients who are told they would never walk again yet do so, sport stars who suffer from irreversible injuries yet fully recover, or those who have suffered a life-threatening cancer and a few months later it is no where to be found. They understand the secret is having a powerful intention, believing they have the power to change their circumstances, loads of determination and the will to create what they want in life. -Inc.

I am firm believer in the power of mindset. I mean look at the placebo effect. Our minds have power, we just need to use it to our advantage.

My mindset, my attitude and my perseverance are what keep me going. Yes, I am ready to be done with chemotherapy and put this whole cancer nightmare behind me, but this diagnosis really has turned me into a better version of myself. I know I say that a lot, but I mean it. I am more grateful, more persistent, more positive, more faith-filled… just to list a few.

I posted on Facebook and Instagram recently that so many of the experts talk about excuses, the power of habits and mindset. It is so important that we start each day with the right attitude. I start my day with gratitude and writing down my goals. This is what starts the snowball effect. I write down everyday that I am an exceptional wife-mom-friend. I write down everyday that I am insanely fit. I write down everyday that I climbed Rainbow Mountain. I write down everyday that I am Cancer FREE! These goals are something I need to work toward everyday. So, if I want to be an exceptional wife-mom-friend, I need to show up 100%. If I want to be cancer free, I need to keep pushing forward with my chemotherapy and my quarterly skin checks. If I want to be insanely fit- I need to move my body everyday. Yes, even on treatment days. Have I climbed Rainbow Mountain- NOT YET, but I WILL… I mean, come on, I’m an OVERCOMER!

If you can’t tell in my writing tone, I am happy. My labs did something they haven’t done in four weeks. They went up! My White Blood Cells went up to 3.3! My Hemoglobin went up to 12.1! WHAT? HOW? Well, besides your prayers, adding some additional supplements, drinking 80 ounces of water and moving my body for 30 minutes I also focused on my mindset. That my friends made the difference. I am choosing to feel well, I am manifesting wellness. Therefore, I will be well.

PLUS…. I’m half done with the Dirty Dozen!

Sara, how can you talk about your mindset, when just last week you shared that you cried. Yes, last week I cried, but you know what, I’m human too. We can’t be 100% all the time, we can try, but to get back to where you want to be, you need to acknowledge your feelings, emotions, your frustrations. Crying is a great coping mechanism. It’s an emotional release that can be beneficial to your mental health. I acknowledged my feelings, I let it all out and in doing so I felt better and could refocus on my mindset.

I encourage you to take a step back and focus on your mindset. What do you want out of life? How do you want to face life? I promise you, if you start focusing on your mindset you will see an improvement in your attitude and your outlook on life.

Before I leave you, I have a huge favor to ask. There is a sweet little boy, Lennon, who was recently diagnosed with B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. He also has an unfavorable gene mutation called KMT2A and the leukemia is in his brain and spinal fluid. He has a long road ahead of him and his family could really use your help, if you have a spare dollar, I ask that you please consider helping this sweet boy and his family during this time: Lennon’s GoFundMe

Love and Hugs,

Sara

Toots and Giggles

Good morning, my friends!

It’s been a week since I talked to you last, so I felt you deserved an update. I’m going to keep it short and sweet.

I completed my 5th round of Taxol, aka the Dirty Dozen. Only 7 left! Thank goodness, because my mental psyche is ready for a break. I’m feeling fine with the exception of feeling tired, subconsciously dealing with anxiety and loneliness, and extra tootiness. I’ve been drinking 80 ounces of water, moving my body for 30 minutes, taking all my supplements and practicing gratitude… EVERYDAY. I was hoping that everything I was doing was going to help improve my counts, but my white blood cell count dropped again, along with my hemoglobin and platelet count. Not only was I upset about my counts, but I am missing my friends, my family, seeing people smile and giving hugs.

Yesterday I broke down and cried. Thank you mom, for calling and allowing me cry. Thank you mamma Schultz, for taking the kiddos so I could rest.

Not only did I rest, but I did what helps me mentally get back on track: I moved my body for 30 minutes, I read a chapter in my book written by John C. Maxwell, took a bath and reviewed my Joy List. (If you need help with your Joy List, visit Quibi, download their free 90 day trial and watch Rachel Hollis explain Joy and Happiness. Be sure to do the homework at the end: Make a Joy List, Make a Gratitude List, etc.)

Ok, now get ready to giggle.

When I started chemo, my friend, Christa asked me if I noticed being more gassy and if I did, did my toots smell different. With my Red Devil regimen, I didn’t notice anything, but low and behold, Taxol has done it. I kid you not. Fridays after treatment, I start developing stomach aches and gas, lookout! Thankfully, Samuel and Rowyn think it’s funny that mommy has the toots. What is it with kids and tooting? Dad on the other hand always says, “girls don’t toot!” This might be too much information, but the toots, smell like chemo. What does chemo smell like? Well, it has it’s own odor and I honestly don’t know how to describe it other than I think it smells like chemo- a mixture of hospital and medication.

So, if you have seen me out for a walk on Fridays and I occasionally look more light on my feet, I probably just tooted he-he!

On a serious note, I just want to ask, what are you doing do take care of yourself during this time of the Stay at Home Order? If you need someone just to listen, I’m here. If you need someone to make you giggle, I am here. If you need someone to give you some healthy ideas, I am here. Hang in there, we can do this!

Take care my friends,

Sara

xoxo

I’ll Show You Mine, If….

It was about a week ago when my dear friend, Andrea texted me, “Can I see your boobs?” I immediately, said “sure! I’ll even let you feel them!”

To you that might sound outrageous, but if you were in our shoes, it’s totally the norm. I don’t see Andrea every day, nor do we talk to each other every day, but we have a bond that connects us and makes us a good pair. Thank you, Cancer for bringing her into my life. Andrea is on a different journey than me. She is having chemotherapy first and then her mastectomy. So I totally understand where she is coming from with all of the questions, because I had the same ones. What is the process, what will they look like, will I still have my nipple, what about feeling….so many questions!? Thankfully, I had Chiloe, Sarah and Dr. Jordan to go to with all of my questions, but now it’s my turn to pay it forward and help another breast cancer warrior. So yes, I showed Andrea my breasts today and yes, I did allow her to feel them. (John’s face was priceless!)

This is going to sound crazy to you too, but I look forward to my treatment days! (I only have 8 left!) I miss my friends and my work family like crazy, but on Wednesdays I get to see an amazing group of nurses and other cancer patients- my other friends. It has been so fun getting to know each and every one of them and it is so nice to have face to face interactions with other people, even though we have to wear masks.

Just finished a 5k

Anyhow, I feel like I can’t write a blog post without mentioning COVID-19 and how much it has impacted my life. My white count dropped again today, thankfully only by .1, but it still means I need to make sure me and my family are limiting any unnecessary exposure… and now with confirmed cases in Brown County it means we really need to be even more careful. Besides limiting our contact, I am trying to work from home, be an exceptional wife and mother, take time for myself and mental health, and be present and patient. It’s a short but tough list some days.

With potty training behind us, we are now able to find our new routine, our rhythm. It wasn’t only bothering my children, but it was also bothering me. It was stressing me out. How am I supposed to get any work done and still be a present parent? Well, I decided to get myself a new routine: I wake up earlier to get a couple hours of work in, I work during quiet time and then again after the kids are in bed. Once the kids are up I work on my gratitude list and spend 40 minutes getting my workout in. As for the kids: they have breakfast, play time with daddy, walk or ride to get the mail, play outside, lunch, quiet time, play time, snack, learning time, supper time, snuggle time, bed. They are happier and I am happier.

On a quick note, thank you Ashlee, we now have a family gratitude list to fill out on a daily basis! Hopefully that means Rowyn will now leave my Start Today Journal alone, although I do appreciate her enthusiasm for wanting to be like mommy. (It is so important to instill those good habits in our children- move your body, practice daily gratitude and much, much more.) A couple things I’ve been thankful for lately: I am so grateful for our extra time together as a family <3. (Even though they take turns tormenting each other. Even though the require me to be on my toes at all times. Even though they have temper tantrums. Even though they wear me out.) I am grateful for the reminder from my children that they don’t require anything expensive or extravagant to bring them joy- it’s the attention and extra time spent together.

With that said, Tyler is getting ready to get in the field and the kiddos could not be more excited. I’m not sure who likes farming more… Rowyn, Samuel or Tyler? Rowyn is all about being outside exploring and looking at farm equipment. Samuel can name almost every piece of equipment and what it is for and well Tyler, he’s our specialist! He gets to answer all the questions, “… right daddy?” “…What is that daddy?” “Can I get a ride?” It makes my heart so happy to watch the kids with Tyler. We are definitely a farming family and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Well my friends, I’m going to leave you with a few takeaways:

  1. Pay it forward when you can
  2. Keep a routine
  3. Practice gratitude
  4. Be patient
  5. Embrace the chaos
  6. Stay in touch, but ensure social distancing
  7. Prayers are appreciated for my friends down in the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute (NUMC) and for my sister-in-law, Ashlee.

Love and hugs,

Sara

Magic

My white blood cell count didn’t do as I had hoped, it actually did the exact opposite. Yup, that’s right. It went down by .3. Like seriously? Why? Well, it’s probably a combination of things: stress, adjusting to a new chemotherapy drug and a cumulative effect of the treatments.

I’m not going to lie here and pout, even though sometimes I want to. instead I am going to look at the bright side of things and just keep swimming. My fairy tale ending is coming, I just need to hang on a little longer. (Nine more weeks to be exact.)

Remember- No one’s life is perfect. Even Cinderella had to scrub a few toilets before she became a princess. We just have to remember that the magic happens when we don’t give up. Bippity-Boppity-Boo.

Whatever you are going through, just hang on a little longer. God has a plan, let Him work His magic.

Tough Love

Have you guys seen that meme that’s been on Facebook lately? The one where it says something about this past week feeling like a year? Well, welcome to my life: COVID-19 social distancing, chemotherapy treatments and potty training.

At my last treatment day my white blood cells (part of my body’s immune system) dropped by more than 50%, which means my odds of fighting off any virus, infection or disease is greatly decreased. Perfect timing considering the situation with COVID-19. Not! No one, especially me, likes being the first person to react and leave work because of a snowstorm or in this case, COVID-19. Thankfully, I have friends and family that reminded me that my health is a priority right now and I should do whatever I need to do to protect myself. #toughlove

What does protecting myself mean? It means Tyler and I have had numerous conversations about what is best for our family. It means I’m doing as much as I can from home to help out at work. It means I’m staying hydrated and taking vitamins by the handfuls. It means I’m taking advantage of the COVID-19 deal from Crested River to keep up on my CBD/CBG tinctures. It means I pulled my kids out of daycare. It means I haven’t gone anywhere other than my chemotherapy treatments. It means my kids haven’t seen their friends. It means lots of time at home waiting.

All of these recent changes had me and my family searching for answers. What if I get COVID-19? How long is this going to last? What is the best thing we can do for our family? Is there something we don’t know?

As if we weren’t already under enough stress we thought it would be a good distraction to start potty training our little firecracker. Rowyn, is 23 months old and she showed all the signs of being ready to be potty trained. She would instantly tell me she needed to be changed, heck she would even bring me the diaper. She has gone on the potty a few times after expressing her need to go and has shown interest in others going to the bathroom.

Day One: It was a disaster. We went through 6 pairs of underwear and 6 pairs of pants. Rowyn would tell me she had to go potty, but refused to go. As soon as I left her off the potty, she would pause, look at me and say, “wet!” Yup, she just peed her pants right after I took her off the potty.

Who the heck said potty training girls was easier than boys?

Did I cry? Did I throw a temper tantrum? Did I have a glass of wine before 5 p.m.? Yes, yes I did. #toughlove

Day Two: Progress. Instead of going through 6 pairs of underwear and 6 pairs of pants, we only went through 2. That’s right, which means she used her potty chair more than she wet her pants! Did she fight me tooth and nail? Yes, yes she did. She told me when she had to go potty, but she yelled at me the whole time I made her sit. It was brutal.

Day Three: Progress. Ms. Rowyn only had one accident! We still went through 2 pairs of pants, but that’s because the sun was shining and we were all overdue for some fresh air and natural Vitamin D.

Day Four: I’m hoping and praying that things continue to get easier each day and soon Tyler and I can pop a bottle of bubbly to celebrate that we are officially done potty training!

Sonja Teclai once said, “Stress has the tendency to blind you from your blessings.” She was right. With everything going on this past weekend, I didn’t write in my journal- 5 things I’m grateful for and 10 dreams I made happen. This break in my usual routine probably explains why I feel like I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster.

Come to think of it, it also explains Samuel and his recent behavior. Mommy and Daddy have been doing a lot of talking about something that can make us really sick, mommy has done a lot of crying and he hasn’t seen any of his friends. My poor, sensitive little man is lacking routine. Thankfully, the bulk of the hard work required to potty train is done. Now we can get into a routine. I need the routine just as much as he does.

What’s my take-away here? Well, it’s to remember that even in times of stress we should still keep to our routine- practice gratitude, exercise, drink the stupid water, take the vitamins, do whatever it is that brings you joy and to stop dwelling on what you cannot control. Let Go and Let God, or to quote my husband, “it is, what it is,” my friend. Time to put on the big girl pants and tackle that shit. If it’s important to you, you will find the time. #toughlove

Today I am grateful for…

  1. Extra time with my family
  2. Sunshine
  3. Puddles
  4. Chemotherapy treatments (even thought I don’t want to go)
  5. Perseverance
  6. Perspective
  7. Tough Love
  8. FaceTime
  9. Dance parties
  10. Vitamins

What are you grateful for?

These are some of the dreams I made happen today:

  1. I am cancer free
  2. I am an exceptional wife, mother and friend
  3. I am a healthy and fit person

What about you, what dreams did you make happen today?

Sending you love, hugs and a friendly reminder to wash your hands,

Sara

The Dirty Dozen

I’m pretty jazzed about the name I’ve come up with for my last chemotherapy regimen. 12 Rounds of Taxol = The Dirty Dozen. I had my first round yesterday, which means I’ve only got 11 more to go! I just hope the rounds that follow go a little smoother.

I was about 5-10 minutes into my infusion when all of a sudden, I felt off. I had to sit up, my heart felt like it was working so hard to beat, my face was hot, my hands were tingly and I was chilled. I was honestly scared, but with some deep breathing and some amazing nurses coming to check on me, it subsided and I was able to finish my infusion. Scary, right?! Wait, there is more!

I think I mentioned before all the side effects that come with Taxol, but in case I didn’t here they are:

  • Arthralgia and Myalgia- muscle and joint pain
  • Peripheral neuropathy- numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • Low blood counts
  • Continued hair loss- Goodbye eyelashes and eyebrows
  • Discoloration of the nail beds
  • Edema- swelling of the feet or ankles
  • Mouth sores

Fun right? Of course there is also the usual chemotherapy side effects like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea! But I don’t have any of those symptoms today. I am feeling good, but I’ve got this mentality… ACT THE WAY YOU WANT TO FEEL. I want to feel good, so I will feel good. I choose to manifest wellness.

Until I start feeling those side effects you’ll catch me doing what I love (besides being a wife, mom and friend) running, chasing goals and getting better at my practice. Today, I managed to run 2.5 miles! Not a marathon, but that’s ok. I felt so good afterwards, thank you runner’s high, that I thought why not push myself a little more. So for those of you familiar with yoga, you probably know that one of the most difficult poses is the Crow Pose, well it is for me at least. It’s been so long since I’ve done any yoga, but today, I thought why not! My form definitely isn’t what it used to be, but that’s ok.

“Did you make progress? Did you apply effort to learn and grow as it relates to what you want? It doesn’t matter how small; progress is all you’re after.” – Marie Forleo

I have goals and dreams that are still unmet and many of them have been put on hold, thanks cancer, but I’m still making progress. I’m still training. I’m still climbing. I’m one step closer to being an OVERCOMER.

Lookout Rainbow Mountain, I’m coming for you.

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