Seasons Greetings

I’ve wanted to pop in and say hello for a while and kept forgetting. Thank you, chemo, for the short-term memory loss. And, you know, for still being alive and all that. I have so much to update!

I’m still cancer-free. YaY! I’ve been to my oncologist, gynecologist, and my breast surgeon for regular exams and all is well. I’m still going every four weeks for the Lupron shot and taking the Femara. That’s where I’m at with all that.

I’m still volunteering with the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life. I’ve decided not to do the golf tournament again this year. I might revisit it next year, but this year I’m volunteering for the event. The local director would like for me to be a community champion and try to recruit some teams and sponsors. I’m excited to give it a whirl. I forget that I worked in a small marketing and development role for quite some time at a previous employer. I’m excited to pull those skills out of my bag and use them again.

On a sad note, we lost another friend to cancer this year. On Halloween, our friend James passed away. He would have been 40 in January, I believe. He left behind a wife and two daughters. He was such an amazing guy, the best kind of friend. It really sucks that he’s gone. Like the sun got a little bit less bright in so many lives. It was actually kind of special that he passed on Halloween because it was his favorite time of year. If he could have picked a time to go, it would have been this time. We’ll miss him every day.

On a happy note, I just submitted my last exam for the Verified Course Sequence for BCBA certification! I still (STILLLLLLLLLL) need to finish my thesis so I can finish my Masters, but that’s okay because I need to finish accumulating my supervised independent field work hours, which will probably take me through March. I need 1500 hours and there’s a lot that comes into play with what’s acceptable for experience hours, so I end up with anywhere from 80-100 hours a month. So I’m hoping to have everything I need completed by the end of the spring semester. Then I’m going to study my butt off over the summer so I can take the certification exam. And fail. Like 900 times. Seriously, I have so much test anxiety.

No travel planned for the immediate future. Our last trip was to West Virginia, Staten Island before that. The drive was absolutely gorgeous, through the mountains. Makes me want to walk the Appalachian Trail. With a weapon, of course. For the creepers.

We went to a hockey game recently. It was Hockey Fights Cancer Night at the Stingrays. We had a really nice time and want to try to make it to some more games this season. They won, too, which made it even better! What else? My entire family was here for Thanksgiving, so that was fun. I always enjoy seeing my nieces and nephew. I’ve started a mug collection…thank you, Marshall’s. It started with one, “Make it Happen.” Then there was, “She believed she could, so she did.” And then there were cats, and Peanuts, and Nightmare Before Christmas, and…you get the picture? At less than $5 a pop, it’s hard to not buy one or two whenever I’m in Marshall’s or TJ Maxx.

Oh! Brad and I did the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in October. We had a nice time at the event. Our friends Chanda and Ms. Beth joined us, which was great.

I feel like I’m forgetting something I wanted to share and as soon as I hit publish, I’m going to curse. I guess that’s all for now. I’ll try to pop in more frequently and share a little bit more about Life After C.

❤ Jen

A little bit of inspiration

Hello! I’ve got a lotta little going on at the moment. Brad and I designed a few t-shirts. Some are for the upcoming American Cancer Society’s Making Strides for Breast Cancer walk and others are just for general cancer badassery. You can find them through the website www.freedomroadink.com. Proceeds from the shirts will go to the American Cancer Society. I’ve also decided to do another golf fundraiser in the spring, and am working to put together a committee. Proceeds from that event will again go to the Relay For Life!

I can’t take the credit for this little bit of inspiration called “six little stories,” I found it on a friend’s Facebook feed. Can’t locate the original source.

Enjoy!

{1} Once all villagers decided to pray for rain. On the day of prayer all the people gathered, but only one boy came with an umbrella. That’s FAITH

{2} When you throw babies in the air, they laugh because they know you will catch them. That’s TRUST.

{3} Every night we go to bed without any assurance of being alive the next morning, but still we set the alarms to wake up. That’s HOPE.

{4} We plan big things for tomorrow in spite of zero knowledge of the future. That’s CONFIDENCE.

{5} We see the world suffering, but still we get married and have children. That’s LOVE.

{6} On an old man’s shirt was written a sentence ‘I am not 80 years old I am sweet 16 with 64 years of experience.’ That’s ATTITUDE.

Have a happy day and live your life like the six stories

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

Hello, hello!

Presently, I’m sitting in the backseat of my car while me, Brad, and his brother, Jeff, head to Charlotte for a concert. We’re going to see Breaking Benjamin (can’t resist one of their concerts if it’s within a 200 mile radius), Chevelle, Three Days Grace, Diamante, and Dorothy at the PNC Music Pavilion. It’s a three hour trip so I have plenty of time to marinate on the different ramblings in my head.

First, we’re doing the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in North Charleston on October 27. I’m excited. Team More Than Ribbons is back! If you want to come walk with us, please do! I want lots of people to join! If you can’t walk but want to make a donation, that would be amazing!! Here’s the link to join our team: click here.

This is the second trip to Charlotte Brad and I have made this summer. We went up back in July for a book signing. We had a great time and even brought Barkley along. The little guy had to have surgery last month because he broke a tendon/ligament in his knee, so we didn’t feel right leaving him behind when he was recovering. He’s doing great though, it’s like there was never even anything wrong with him. Before his surgery, he was running around on three legs like he didn’t even need the fourth leg. Anyway, he goes for his six week post-op checkup next week. He’s a maniac though, so you’d never guess he had surgery.

We have a couple more weekend trips planned this year. We’ll be heading to New York for a book show next month, and West Virginia for another in November. We’re also entertaining the idea of heading to Universal Studios in Florida in October to do their Halloween stuff. Busy, busy, busy, but always looking for an adventure!

In other news, I’m taking the last two classes for my graduate certificate in the fall, beginning right after Labor Day. I sent my thesis proposal in to my adviser for feedback, and hoping to get the go ahead from him on that. I’d like to present it at a conference here in November, so that’s my completion goal. It’s my priority for the next two months, so hopefully that’ll get rolling soon.

At work, we had camp for our kiddos this summer. It’s always such a great time and it got me thinking about the long term. I volunteered to help my boss organize Social Saturdays at our clinic for our kiddos during the school year. This is something I’d love to continue to do in the future. I was thinking about what I want to do with my degree and certification once I’m finished and while I would absolutely love to continue to do home-based therapy with kiddos with autism, I think I’d also love to run a camp, too. It’s something that’s always been a little niggling thought in the back of my head, but not anything I thought I could really implement. But our camp at work has really inspired me and I’d love to do more. In fact, I’d love to start with a summer camp and grow into a year-round school for kids with autism. It’s such a long term goal, but it’s there, and when I get an idea in my head, I tend to aim high and go for it. (If you haven’t already figured that out, haha.) So I’m looking into special education and autism education doctoral programs to help make this dream a reality. I’ll keep you posted.

Ok, I’m getting a little nauseated from trying to be productive in the car and I still need to post to the More Than Ribbons website and make some fundraising notes.

xoxo

Anniversaries, Relay For Life, Cancer Sucks, and Maybe More

It was kind of hard to come up with a title for this post…can you tell? Just lots to update on!

May 10th will be one year cancer-free for me! I kind of had that “ah-ha moment” yesterday, where I suddenly realized it’s May and I had my mastectomy in May so it was almost one full year. Pretty cool, I think.

Also, on May 3rd Brad and I celebrated our 11 year anniversary. Congrats to us for putting up with each other this long! Here’s to another 11! Er…here’s to forever! Kidding…I love you, Brad.

The Relay For Life event was April 26. We had a great time. The survivor lap was humbling. Just seeing all those cancer survivors…how crazy. I always knew cancer sucked, but going to an event like that REALLY shows you just how much it sucks. We did not last until midnight, we were SO tired, but we stayed until the luminaries were lit, which was around 10:30. Here are some pics from the event.

The Relay For Life was a Friday night, and that Sunday we went to the hospital to visit our friend Heather who has been fighting a fierce fight with a very aggressive cancer. Unfortunately Heather lost her fight on Tuesday. She left behind a husband and two young kids who are going to miss her so much. We attended her services this passed weekend, and it was beautiful, but completely heartbreaking.

It makes you want to know why, you know? Why did she have to lose the fight? There are two kids out there now without a mommy. Two adorable, sweet 5 and 7 year old kids. A husband without a wife. It sucks. Cancer sucks.

And that’s the reason why I participate in the Relay For Life. I do it for the Heathers, the Matts, the Alyssas and the Lukes. I do it for the parents, sisters, brothers, friends, and other relatives of people fighting cancer. I do it for every single person in that funeral home and the church.

No one should have to attend the funeral of a 32 year old mom who died from cancer.

Golf Tournament Recap

I’ve needed some time to chill, process, and get back to my regular routine after the tournament, but I’ve been wanting to post a recap of the event.

First of all, everyone was SO generous. My expectations for our first event were exceeded in both players and dollars.

The tournament had a profit of around $4300.

I was not expecting that. I wasn’t expecting 59 players and I wasn’t expecting thousands in profit. Especially not for our first effort that was put together in three months time.

I can’t thank everyone who participated enough for their generosity. I’m still sort of riding the high of a successful event so I’m thinking I’ll probably do it again next year, only this time we’ll start the planning process a lot earlier! I plan to post the pictures I took on the More Than Ribbons website and Facebook page soon, so please look us up on Facebook.

Fundraising for the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life is a year-round thing, so if you want to either participate in the Relay or make a donation, there is always opportunity to donate to team More Than Ribbons!! Link: https://bit.ly/2FL8Jn8

Learn more about our relay…

I apologize in advance if you follow both blogs…this will be a duplicate post.

I didn’t know much about the Relay For Life event and what it symbolizes before I joined. I just wanted to do something more because I’m sick of cancer.

When I read about it, I realized it’s actually pretty amazing and I wanted to share that here, as well as provide the link to the American Cancer Society so you can have the full story (click here).

Relays are anywhere from 6-24 hours in length. They are walked on a course or a track. At least one person from each team is always on the track, representing the ongoing fight against cancer. It starts with a survivor/fighter lap, then a caregiver lap, then the Relay begins. Teams have “campsites” around the track with activities, games, and refreshments that people can enjoy when they’re not walking. At sunset, the Luminarias are lit.

The above image is from the American Cancer Society website (link here). It’s a great, eye-opening visual of the event.

So, local peeps! I’d love it if you’d join us. So far, it’ll be me and Brad walking for 3 hours each, haha (our Relay is 6 hours). We’re going to have some fun stuff at our campsite so you’ll be entertained and well taken care of. It’ll be a great time for a great cause. Join us!!

Join More Than Ribbons (click here).

Relay for Life

So I’ve decided to do a thing and join my local Relay for Life event which is organized by the American Cancer Society. I’m going to work on some fancy and cool fundraising ideas over the next 150 some odd days until the event, so stay tuned!

And, of course, if you’d like to join the team and walk the walk, please do! The more the merrier. My team name for this event is “More Than Ribbons” because we ARE more than ribbons. We are more than cancer. We are people. We’re people who have dealt with or are dealing with more BS than anyone should ever have to experience. Join the team here.

I will be working on and sharing some fun ways to contribute to my fundraising goals, but if you feel like making a straight donation today, I won’t fight you on it. You can make a donation here.

The Relay for Life also has an awesome and beautiful way for you to support fighters and caregivers, honor survivors, and remember those we’ve lost. For $10, you can purchase a luminaria and include a personal message. I plan on purchasing several for those I know who have been affected in one way or another. You can get yours here.

So, the walk itself is April 26th at 6:00pm at Cane Bay High School in Summerville. Join the team so I can see you there!

More info to come, but I ask you, on this Giving Tuesday, to consider making a donation or purchasing a Luminaria.

Also, you can check back on the static blog page for More Than Ribbons for updated information (click here) AND you can also see the amazing logo I designed for the team!

xoxo

Lowcountry Race for the Cure

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This is what the 2018 Team Rack Attack looked like. Just a handful of us who joined up together today to do the Susan G. Komen Lowcountry Race for the Cure.

It was my first event. I would have loved to have participated last year, but I was chemo sick so it just wasn’t in the cards. But it’s all good because I got to do it this year and fundraise for a cause I support – hope for a world without breast cancer.

Team Rack Attack did so well with donations that we earned a tent with breakfast and treats for being within the top five. There were some yummy breakfast burritos and biscuits from Triangle Char & Bar, Starbucks coffee, and cupcakes from Cupcake Down South. So amazing of those sponsors to do all that. I wasn’t expecting any rewards for raising money, so it was a very cool surprise. We got to decorate our special little tent space, and that was fun. (It’s still not too late to donate, you can click the “Race for the Cure” menu tab and follow the instructions.)

We pinked ourselves out and had a great time. I’m looking forward to seeing what next year brings!

On a different note: I’m sick! I started feeling it on Wednesday last week – lots of sneezing and coughing up crud, also a sore throat. That stayed with me for the rest of the week until I woke up feeling horrible Friday. I managed okay today, but was exhausted. After the walk, I went home and napped, and when I woke up the sore throat and body aches were present. I’m hoping it’s just exhaustion from a super busy week, but I’m laying low and drinking tea the rest of tonight and tomorrow.

Why “Rack Attack”?

Some have asked about my team name for the 2018 Race for the Cure. First of all, I’m whacky, so you know I’m not going to have a normal team name.

Again, I consulted Google for names (because while I am whacky, I’m not very creative or original when it comes to naming stuff). So I found a bunch of silly names, some of which I will absolutely utilize in the future.

“Rack Attack” stood out because I was a 90s child! And what TV show was huge in the 90s? That’s right, Saved by the Bell. And what was the band name in Saved by the Bell? Zack Attack! So, it was obvious to me what I should choose for my first goofy team name.

Next year will be something different, as will the year after that, and so on.

If you want to walk with Team Rack Attack, or make a donation, or buy a t-shirt, click here! The t-shirt order will close around the first of September, but registrations and donations will be around longer!

Race for the Cure

I mentioned in a previous post that I’m putting a team together for the Lowcountry Race for the Cure. Here are the details:

Why am I racing for the cure? It’s one thing to wear pink ribbons and talk about supporting a cause. It’s another to do something about it. That’s why I decided to show that I’m More Than Pink™ by racing for the cure and raising funds in support of Komen’s vision of a world without breast cancer.

Saturday, September 22, 2018
7:00 Race Village Opens
8:30 Walk Begins

Location:

Riverfront Park
1061 Everglades Ave.
N. Charleston, SC  29405

To join Team Rack Attack or to make a donation, click here.

  • To register: when you click the above link to go to the website, you can choose “register” (pink button at the top) and then “join a team.” The team name is Rack Attack.

To purchase a shirt, click here.

  • I will be placing the shirt order around September 1st, so please place your order before then. The shirts will be delivered to me and I will distribute before or on race day.

Here is the graphic that will be on the back side of the t-shirt. The front will have the team name and date over the left breast pocket.

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Please consider sharing this with your friends and family so we can build our team and raise lots of money for breast cancer support and research!