Monthly Archives

August 2010

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Moving Mountains

This weekend, friends of ours got married. The bride is a true inspiration. During a 20 week program, she lost 70 lbs. Amazing. That’s what a determined woman can do. Move mountains. Encouraged by her dedication, Danny and I went to the gym just minutes after we got home from the trip. For the first time in years I reacquainted myself with lunges and squats. Instead of just running, I’m doing all kinds of strength training. I’m determined to transform my body as much as possible before October 12th, my next MRI. My goal is to cherish my body, and turn it into a well oiled tumor fighting machine. The stronger my body becomes, the better. I’m going to fight this disease from all angles, with my body, my mind, and my spirit. I’m going to move mountains.

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My First Juice

The other day, my parents went to Costco and surprised me with a juicer. I’ve been eating vegetables for breakfast, lunch and for dinner, and now I have the ability to make juice! In true Jessica form, I snagged a little bit of everything for my first attempt at fresh juice. In odd quantities I included the following: Cabbage CarrotsParsleyKiwiNectarine Ginger CeleryAsparagusCucumberSpinach I was excited because I didn’t have to peel anything (just make sure they’ve been washed – and when applicable, pit). You can even use a whole kiwi, skin and all! Anyway, when I was finished juicing I poured a cup and sniffed the glass. Instantly, I recoiled severely, and started dry heaving. It smelt like baby poop. You know the kind when babies are starting to eat solids, and meats? Absolutely horrendous! I walked a glass over to Danny and told him not to smell it, but to chug as much as possible as quickly as possible. I tried to convince Danny (and myself) that in the cheese world the stinkier the cheese, the better the taste, but within the first sip it was obvious that the same can not be said about juice. Laughing hysterically, and sick to our stomachs, we each almost finished a glass, and I vowed to never make another concoction like that again. I think, for now, I’m going to start with the basics; carrots, apples, oranges, etc, but NOT in the same mixture. No more mixing until I’ve earned it.

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River Run Wenatchee

Ok! I did it! I just signed up for my first official race since my brain surgeries. My parents are going to walk the 5k and Danny, my friend Annie, and I are going to run the 10k. I would absolutely love it if more people can join – so this is a call out to friends! I know people are busy, and the race is in only three weeks, but this is going to be so liberating for me, and as I always say, “The more the merrier!” Danny and I are creating shirts for the run. I’m not sure how much they’re going to cost, but I can’t imagine it will be that expensive. Maybe I should start looking into it.  Regarding the shirts, we’ve come up with several ideas, with the funniest concept below: “And I just thought it was air…”(using my brain scan – with the tumor – as the main image) To be honest, at first I didn’t really get the concept, but when I admitted that, both Danny and my mom laughed hysterically (and explained the joke). Danny’s genius humor strikes again.  It’s a work in progress, so if anyone else has another idea for the t-shirts just let me know!

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Giving It Purpose

The other day, I was having a conversation with someone about my tumor and recovery. She asked how I was doing, and I came up with a pretty good analogy (not to toot my own horn or anything). It’s like when you’re sick. You can’t get out of bed, and your throat hurts so badly that you can’t swallow. The pain in your body is unbelievable. Then, one morning, you feel less badly, and then, after another nap things start looking bright. All of a sudden, you’re so excited to get out of bed and start moving that you don’t even notice that your throat still hurts and you still have a low grade temperature. You’re just so grateful to be out and about, able to do the things that you love to do. The memory of everything (the surgery & recovery) is finally taking on a different roll in my life. I’m transitioning away from fear and working toward acceptance. I think that everything has happened so quickly, and it feels like emotions have come in stages, just like my physical recovery. Now, I’m moving forward, and working toward eliminating (as much as possible) my fears. I’ve had a few step backs, where I’ve come into new information about the tumor and it has petrified me, but I like the fact that I’ve been able to bounce back. My life is completely different than I would ever have expected, and yet, I still wouldn’t change a thing (other than the pain this has caused Danny, family, and friends). It goes back to the statistics, people are going to get brain tumors, and I’d rather it be me than anyone I know. I realize it sounds crazy, but I have the perfect support group, and I’m aware that not everyone…

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Munchie Mix

Even though I haven’t been posting my daily photos, I’m still taking them. Here is what I found today… This morning, Danny and I walked over to the farmer’s market after the gym. We were enjoying all the different fruits & vegetables, when I came across this little guy. With a cute little sprout face like that, how could I resist! I almost felt bad when I opened the bag and started eating his little buddies.

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Speech Therapy

The speech therapist appointment went great. As always, the drive was a joy (road trip!) and it’s fun to watch the changes between eastern Washington and the coast (often the difference between rain and sun, or green and brown). I love being at the UW. In fact, I love being around the entire u district. I feel so safe, and protected. At the appointment, I learned a lot about my cognitive deficits (and we tracked my insane growth…yay!!). It’s still hard to reconcile the fact that speech therapy isn’t about speaking, it’s more like a cake that has speech as the icing and cognitive abilities as the layers. I love it that I have an advocate that’s trained and can help challenge me. I told my parents the other day that I feel like I’m back to 80%. I feel great about my growth and my abilities, but it was nice to have Julie open my eyes and challenge me, and show me how to recognize how I can improve.  I know that I can function without therapy, but it’s similar to the difference between losing weight by doing cardio or doing cardio and adding weights. I feel like my therapy is optional, but it helps me be the best “me” that I can. I’m not going to give up on my option to nurture my mind. Julie helps me figure out how my problem solving skills can be fine tuned, and how I can be more successful in the future.

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Defusing The Situation With Laughter

Danny and I are heading over the mountains tomorrow morning for another speech therapist appointment. I already feel like I’m at 98% so it’ll be interesting to hear what she says. Sometimes, if didn’t have such a short haircut I would almost think I’ve imagined this whole tumor episode. Well, that, and I have a different perspective on life which carries with me every day. I just got off the phone with my brother, and we were discussing how amazing my recovery has been. There were times when I didn’t think I would ever get back to my pre-surgery state, but I feel wonderful. The only changes that I can notice are the fact that I can barely retain information when reading, and I’m horrible at arguing. When it comes to reading, I have to re-read each sentence, at minimum twice, probably on average four times. Secondly, I used to be able to debate, and argue things, but these days I’m not able to remember what we’re debating or arguing (for the record, I’m not going to lie, I still give it a good effort). The good thing is that it works wonders for my relationship. So I guess maybe here’s a shout out to the tumor. Maybe it’s a Jess upgrade? Truly, Danny and I had an argument the other day and quickly, within my first words, I started arguing a completely unrelated point that made absolutely no sense. Which, in turn, made Danny erupt into laughter, and instantly defused the entire situation. Who can argue with a person that’s laughing at their own inability to make sense. It takes the seriousness right out of it!

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No Editing On My Account

I’ve got something on my mind, it’s been bothering me all week, specifically since last Thursday’s post. It stems from when I had the girls over for art night. During the conversation that night, we discussed the passing of one of their colleagues. Later, after the girls left, Danny and I had a long conversation about death. What I didn’t know at the time of the conversation with Danny, was that he was already upset when he came home, which spurred a lot of questions regarding mortality. I then shared with him the sad story I had heard from Art Night, and things got pretty deep from there. He had been watching the movie, Rocky (the newest Rocky – he just mentioned over my shoulder), and he started thinking about our situation. The main character’s wife had passed away and he was trying to go on with his life without her. The fact that Rocky’s wife was dead, in the movie, wasn’t a major part in the storyline, but it hit Danny incredibly hard on a personal note. During the movie Rocky visited his wife’s grave, and that image hit Dan deeply. Danny recently explained why he was so upset (the movie), and that’s why he was already in a morbid mood. Then, once we got to talking that night we were emotional together. I was emotionally raw for my grieving friends, and unable to shake the fact that the gentleman passed away so quickly. My heart genuinely hurt for his family, and his children, even though I’d never met them. I wish I could say that I can compartmentalize, and put things away mentally, but I can’t. I couldn’t help but think about my own mortality, and that’s how I got to writing that post. Since that post, the…

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Marsala Tandoori Naan

I’ve been running (or “slogging” if you will) lately, and I’ve lost a lot of my stamina. I’m not sure what’s going on. I’ve started limiting my coffee to one cup every few days, and I’ve removed most processed foods (other than some canned goods, and select breads). I’m living off of vegetables, marsala tandoori naan (you do NOT want to run next to me on the treadmill…it doesn’t take much, but it’s coming out of my pores) and quinoa. This week Danny and I are starting to cook whole beans. I don’t have a pressure cooker, and it’s going to delay the cooking process, but maybe I’ll find one at a garage sale or something. Although I feel clean, healthy, and refreshed, I am also incredibly hungry. Maybe it’s because I want to eat what everyone else is eating. That maybe in my mind I feel hungry. Danny and I went to dinner at Jenny and Bryan’s house tonight. We brought pizza – the meal of champions – because they’re always cooking dinner for us. Not exactly the healthiest choice, but it sounded delicious at the time. Of course, I can’t eat pizza since I’m lactose intolerant, and regardless, I’m still panicked that my food is trying to kill me. So I rudely brought a cabbage salad, quinoa and a jalapeno humus. I knew that in the eight years of friendship, Jenny would care less if I brought my own food – but why didn’t I just cook them the same thing that I had in the fridge? Why am I afraid to serve my food? I guess I feel like I’m shoving it down my friend’s throats. At one point Jenny said, “That doesn’t look half bad.” And then I felt like a complete jerk. That maybe they…

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An Extra Month

Last Thursday night, I panicked at the date, the 12th. I mistakenly thought that I only had one month before my MRI. For about an hour I thought things were moving too quickly, that I was losing time, and my freedom was coming to an end. The fear of impending radiation overwhelmed me. I don’t know how I figured out my error, but once I did, I let out a sigh of relief. The first thing I did, was go for a run. There’s nothing more freeing than propelling yourself through nature. Your movement is on your terms. Luckily, I now feel like I have an extra month! Funny how that works. The extra month was never taken away from me, only in my mind. What a powerful realization.

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