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Saturday, November 22, 2008

What I am Thankful For

I found this online today. I won't tag anyone because you just never know who has time to do it...but if you'd like would be fun to read. I'll comment if you link back and let me know you did it. :)

1. Which do you like better: Cooking at your house, or going elsewhere?

I think I prefer staying here, cooking and my family brings a few dishes. I have had years I really loved going to family's house but with the kids and the baby sometimes it's easier to stay home.

2. Do you buy a fresh or frozen bird?

hmmm I think I'd rather it be frozen. Super fresh food honestly creeps me out a bit.

3. What kind of stuffing?

I know it's awful of me...but I HATE stuffing.

4. Sweet potato or pumpkin pie?

Pumpkin Pie. I found a yummy looking recipe for a double layer pumpkin pie! mmmmmm

5. Do you believe that turkey leftovers are a curse, or the point of the whole thing?

Ummmm what is thanksgiving with no leftovers???? I raid the fridge by 8 p.m.

6. Which side dish would provoke a riot if you left it off the menu?

Mashed Potatoes and gravy

7. Do you save the carcass to make soup or stock?
No, but it's a good idea.

8. What do you wish you had that would make preparing Thanksgiving dinner easier?
2 stoves? haha

9. Do you get up at the crack of dawn to have dinner ready in the early afternoon, or do you eat at your normal dinner hour?

no, actually I choose to have a late lunch. I usually do a 3 p.m. type dinner so I have a light snack around lunch time (or just pick off the things I'm cooking hee hee) and then I don't have to rush. It's how I like it.

10. If you go to somebody else's house, what's your favorite dish to bring?

Cinnamon Chips Gems. If you haven't made these, look it up on Hershey's Website. They are mouth watering.

11. What do you wish one of your guests wouldn't bring to your house?

Can’t think of anything other than do NOT add green pepper to anything! blech!

12. Does your usual mix of guests result in drama, or is it a group you're happy to see?

No, no drama. Good conversation and loud kids...pretty much.

13. What's your absolute favorite thing on the menu?

Turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy!

14. What are you thankful for this year?

I'm thankful this is my first Thanksgiving being cancer free since knowing I had it. I am thankful I have a healthy baby girl out of all of it who just turned one. I am thankful I had a wonderful husband who took care of me through it all and stood by my side...never complained. He mowed the yard, then cooked the supper. He even tried so hard to brush the girls hair into ponytails. Something he never had experience with. He brought me my meals (what I could eat) in bed...and rushed to the store if I had a craving just so I would gain some weight. Yes, thankful for the hubby. And I am thankful for my other 3 beautiful girls...and how much they helped when I got sick. They had to grow up fast and learn to help around the house too. This year I am all better and for that I am most thankful.

Old Man Winter is Tapping on the Window

Yeah I think he wants in. We had some snow recently, which always surprises me in November. I guess it shouldn't. I remember years though when I was a kid and I begged and begged God for snow. I wouldn't see so much as a flake until January. It's sad for me when I see no snow on Christmas. It's just how I have been conditioned I think. Still, I love a snowy Christmas morning. It sets the whole mood.

The snow we got was on the 17th. It came down pretty hard for about 15 minutes. I was surprised when I looked out the window and I picked Gabriella up and tried to make her look at it, since technically she wouldn't remember snow from last year. This is kinda her first experience. She didn't care though and I also think she thought I was sorta nuts so I quit bothering her.

The snow didn't stick but the cold sure did. I hate cold. Hate. I will be OK with a quick dash to the car and begging the heater to hurry up and heat me but any longer and I turn into a real baby. My toes go numb no matter how many socks I have on or how thick my boots are. I could have a turtleneck and a giant coat. Still, I go numb.

This reminds me of the most odd of all symptoms I had before I was diagnosed last year. I think there is actually a name for it. I do not remember what it was though. I had been outside in the cold. I was freezing but needed to run back to the store. I was feeling short of breath at this time but not at my worst yet. I was still believing it was thyroid related. Anyway, I put my purse in the crook of my arm and got ready to walk out the door. I had still been rubbing my hands together trying to warm up my fingers. I noticed one finger in particular was painfully numb. I looked down in aggravation and the top of half of I believe my ring finger was white. White as a sheet of paper. Just the top half. The bottom was good and pink/red. I blinked a couple of times, not sure what I was seeing. I wondered if the cold had anything to do with it...or did I hang my purse on my arm and pinch a vein...but that's weird. Why the top half. I showed the hubby and started rubbing the finger trying to get the color to return. The finger looked dead. It was scary white. I can't even explain it. I rubbed and rubbed and nothing. Hubby rubbed. Nothing. I started thinking I was gonna lose my finger if the blood flow didn't return soon. I ran it under warm water thinking the cold had something to do with it. Nothing. I rubbed more. Finally I turned on hot water and rubbed up and down on the finger like crazy and it was just insane watching the blood flow return to that finger. I saw it coming back into the finger from bottom to tip.

It was the wildest thing I swear that happened to me simply because I have NEVER heard of that before. I always get a little nervous when my fingers go numb now but honestly I think it was the pressure of the tumor on the veins so probably not something that should ever happen again. Still.....scary!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Too Much Caffeine?

Do you ever have a day when you feel stressed for absolutely no reason. You notice you have this uneasy feeling but no real cause. I've had that feeling today. I think it's probably just my hectic life and running in all directions. I have so much on my mind. I have a million things to get done. It seems overwhelming sometimes. Now with the holidays coming up there is that much more on my mind. Still I can't relate the stressed feeling back to any one specific thing. I think it also has something to do with how much coffee I consume. Seriously I get anxious when I drink just a tad too much. I have to be pretty careful. Top that off with my regular cups of diet pepsi and we're in a lot of over caffeinated trouble! haha I have been buying some caffeine free generic lately. It's not as good as my diet pepsi but I think I'm just ever so slightly addicted to the carbonation. I need to break the habit. Now, if only I could figure out how.

Christmas is Upon Us.....but How Excited Can We Be?

Well, one of my main goals in life is to provide my children with a healthy, happy life. I'll do that one way or another. It's this Christmas thing. I love Christmas. It's like the most beautiful, happy time of year. Or is it? Isn't it a reminder of how broke we are? haha Especially when you have four children. There are so many things we need to pay. I have medical bills pouring out of my ears. Everyone wants my money and when I think of Christmas I'm honestly thinking of spending money that needs to go elsewhere. It's the only way to do it. Don't we all rack up credit card bills around Christmas time? It's supposed to be a wonderful time of year. How come it leaves the middle class and everyone else in debt? It makes the whole mood much less joyful.

I want to make sure my girls have the best Christmas possible and they'll never know that things are tight. They don't need to know. They can grow up oblivious to it and that's fine by me. I know Christmas has become so commercialized but still. I get those warm fuzzy feelings around this time of year. Until you go out on Black Friday. Then you remember how nasty people can be. Ha!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

More on Misdiagnosis

Misdiagnosis doesn't only occur because of age. I have seen it happen not just with cancer but all kinds of things and at any age. I think it occurs more frequently in those that are younger. I realize doctors see many patients, do their best to make a diagnosis and move on to the next. If a patient is frequently complaining that they are not getting better, or are in great pain or discomfort more needs to be done. Suggesting one is just depressed and putting them on antidepressants could be fatal. Sometimes and very often it seems to me, these patients aren't at all depressed but truly do have something wrong with them. So, I think more awareness needs to be out there. We need to somehow change how the whole system works.

When I was 16, I lost one of my best friends to a car accident. It was a tragic situation and so hard on their family. Her brother had just been diagnosed with cancer days before. The whole family was just totally in shock. He actually recovered and things went well for years. Then their mother was diagnosed with cancer. She was a wonderful woman. I really cared for her. She went undiagnosed for a long time. She had frequently complained of pains which the doctor prescribed pain pills for and sent her home. By the time it was discovered it was really too late. At the time my husband was a driver for the ambulance service. She was a frequent caller of theirs because of her condition. She lost her life. I think so much more should have been done for her as well. She wasn't as young but she was still misdiagnosed. I think in her situation they tried to say her pain was a part of getting older so it can work both ways.

It all goes back to this. We know our bodies. We shouldn't be paranoid but we should be aware. If we know something is wrong, and one doc says you're fine, you're just depressed. Go find a new doctor.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Age and Cancer?

Does cancer care how old you are? I think we all know the answer to that question. No, it doesn't. So why do doctors so often misdiagnose someone because they are young? Why do symptoms get ignored or people get passed off as depressed or obsessive?

I had many symptoms that shouldn't have been ignored. I was told for four years I had a thyroid problem. I did have four thyroid nodules so I do not blame the doctors for initially thinking that's what caused the sensation of pressure in my neck. I do however blame them for telling me "The nodules aren't growing. They just aren't big enough to be causing those symptoms. Come back for another sonogram in a few months." This is what I heard time and time again. I would leave crying. Why did I have to live with this horrible pressure??? I would HOPE and pray they'd find that the nodules were huge and needed to be removed. I wanted them gone. I wanted the pressure gone. Imagine feeling like someone had their thumbs jammed into both sides of your neck all day. Right where our veins are in the sides of your neck. Imagine the pressure you feel in your head when you have your worst head cold. You know how you bend over and your head feels like a bowling ball? I felt like this every day. 24/7. I was sent to Ear, Nose and Throat specialists. I was put on Allegra, Singular, and even given prednisone for eyelid rashes and swelling. Yes, I even woke up each morning with my eyelids swollen so badly I wouldn't even go anywhere. I used to try to sleep elevated wondering if this was all a part of getting older. I had so many signs. I was wheezing. They told me maybe I have allergies, or slight asthma. I couldn't breathe. It was SO much worse at night and until I could no longer put my hair into a ponytail because if I tried to put my hands above my head my whole face turned beat red and choked me to death, no one listened. My chest was visibly swollen, my neck veins protruding grotesquely before any doctor paid any real attention to my complaints. I know there are hypochondriacs out there. I realize some people really are depressed. But doctors need to listen to their patients. They cannot take a risk by just saying "You're depressed, take a pill." I was so lucky that my cancer didn't invade all my major organs and kill me for how long I let it go. I listened to the docs. I felt they must be right. It took one very kind endocrinologist who finally listened. I cannot begin to tell you how happy I was the day I went to this new doctor. I sat down and told her my complaints. I told her how no one listened. She said she could see my problem and knew I was serious. It was quite possibly the worst case of superior vena cava she had ever seen. I was relieved. She saw it. She knew something was wrong. I was going to get help. She did a thyroid biopsy then an MRI. That's where it all began and how we found out was wrong. I love that doc to this day and yet that was the only time I ever saw her. She quite possibly saved my life.

I am not saying you should be paranoid or worry that every little thing could be cancer or some serious disease because it most likely is not. The thing is we know our bodies. We know if something is wrong. If you feel something is very wrong find a doctor who will listen. Even your family members may tell you it's in your head but if you just feel like something is not right get it checked.

My oldest sister had excruciating pains after her fourth child. She constantly complained to her OB/GYN that her bones felt like they were breaking down below. He called her depressed and wanted to give her pills. She was in agonizing pain but he felt she was just having postpartum depression. She came to my house crying. I know my sister. I told her she was not insane. She found a doc who listened and guess what? Her uterus was prolapsed. Literally coming out of her. She had to have a hysterectomy. If she hadn't persisted god only knows what could have happened. The thing is, I am not encouraging anyone to be crazy or feel like something is wrong if it isn't. I am talking about obvious, no doubt about it, you are in pain or something is NOT right. We knew it. There was zero doubt that something was not right. I think that docs often think that because we are young these things cannot happen. They do happen. It's time you listen to your patients. It just might save a life.

An Award!

I got this award from My Autism Insights and Dolly's Daily Diary

Thank you so much for nominating blog for this award. I love it. I hadn't gotten this one before. It's always nice to see my blog is appreciated by others. Thank you again!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Year I Was Born

I got this over at Comedy Plus.I decided to give it a try. You try it too! It's pretty cool.

In 1975 (the year you were born)

Gerald Ford is president of the US

Evacuation of US civilians from Saigon as Communist forces complete takeover of South Vietnam

FBI agents capture Patty Hearst, who is indicted and convicted of bank robbery

Teamster Jimmy Hoffa disappears without a trace

Marines rescue the crew of the American ship the Mayaguez near Vietnam

First Lady Betty Ford says in an interview that she thinks her children have tried marijuana

Natalie Imbruglia, Drew Barrymore, David Beckham, Enrique Iglesias, Angelina Jolie, and Tiger Woods are born

Cincinnati Reds win the World Series

Pittsburgh Steelers win Superbowl IX

Philadelphia Flyers win the Stanley Cup

Production begins on Star Wars

Jaws and The Rocky Horror Picture Show are the top grossing films

Soul Train premieres on television in the United States

"The Way We Were" (performed by Barbara Streisand) wins the Grammy for best song

Saturday Night Live and Wheel of Fortune premiere

Birthday Pictures

Here's my little miracle baby on her first birthday. I made the Wacky Cake as well. I doubled the recipe since it only made an 8x8 pan. I had my parents over so no way was that enough. I doubled it and it turned out SO good. I just decided to not do frosting. It's so moist and delicious I didn't even feel it needed it really. Even though I have a sweet tooth and LOVE frosting I felt I was saving calories for us all by not doing it. I could have found a no milk frosting and I believe someone posted one here before but I just decided this one time I'd do it without. I thought it was delicious! So did everyone else and my mom wants the recipe. Here are some birthday pics!

My oldest daughter being wacky with the yummy Wacky Cake

Awards and a New Status at Wellsphere!

I have more awards to post tonight. I am juggling Gabbi here so I am going to try and get those done later tonight so I can get the right links up. I also wanted to say I was chosen as a top health blogger on a site called Wellsphere some time ago now. They are now doing something called Health Maven and I have been chosen to do that too. Basically people can ask health questions and if given my own personal experiences I feel I can answer it then I will. They gave me this nifty badge for my blog. I really like it and am honored to be chosen for this. I will be doing a new post shortly with birthday pics for Gabriella :)

sandilynn1975's on Wellsphere
Wellsphere's Health Maven
Wellsphere - Health Knowledge Made Personal

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Got Some Blog Awards!

I'm way behind in posting the awards I got from On The Verge. I am honored to get these awards. I love her blog! I am a regular reader there so it is such a compliment that I would be given them. I have been so busy with Gabbi and I having bad colds. Then I got busy planning her birthday. Now that it is all done and Gabriella is tucked safely in her bed I am ready to get my awards posted! So here goes.

The Rules:
1. Each player starts with eight random fact/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3. A the end of your blogpost, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their name.
4. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged and to read your blog.

So I guess I am supposed to write 8 random facts/habits about myself. These are always hard. I have a hard time thinking of anything. Here goes.

1. I have four sisters and no brothers, just like I have four daughters and no sons.

2. I like to stay up waaaaay too late.

3. I am a chronic insomniac. I wasn't until I was prescribed prednisone for an allergy in 2004 and then never could get my internal clock right again.

4. I like to sing loudly in my car to the radio. Sometimes I am even listening to my daughter's Chipmunks CD! haha

5. I absolutely love to dance. It's hard to get me off the dance floor.

6. I watch the same TV shows every night to help me sleep. Frasier and the Golden Girls! lol

7. I like to read while watching TV.

8. I have sat here for 10 minutes and can't think of anything else. lol

OK. I have to pass these awards on. So here goes.

1. Life 2.0

2. Comedy Plus

3. Happy to Be Called a Mommy

4. The Virtual Dime Museum

5. Pink Stinx

6. Random Ramblings

7. Health Nut Wannabe Mom

8. I Kicked Cancer's Ass

I'm Featured Today on

I found this site through Entrecard and have loved it. I relate to her so much and enjoy reading all of her posts. If you haven't, go check out her blog and be sure to read the interview I did for her site posted today.

Happy Birthday to My Little Girl!!!

It is finally here! Gabriella turns one today. I love my baby girl! My little lady has grown so much. She's a big girl and has made such an impact on the lives of everyone in our family. We love you Gabbi! Happy Birthday my sweetie!

Yesterday we decided to let her open ONE present for practice. hee Maybe we just couldn't wait actually. So here she is....learning to open her very first gift.

I love this one. Her first eyes closed pic. lol

Entrecard for Traffic to Your Site

I have been using Entrecard now for about 2 months. I joined it not really sure what it was. I was simply trying to increase traffic to my site. I wanted people to see my blog. I enjoy writing and I was doing it before anyone really knew it was here. Still it would be nice to know others were reading and getting to know my story. So, I joined Entrecard as just one of the many things I found to increase traffic. It has so far been the one thing that increased my traffic the most. I have this Blog of the Day widget to the right here. It says "Get One" if you don't have an account under the picture. Well basically this is a buisness card. You go to other sites that have a card and you drop yours. They come here and drop theres. It's any easy way to find new blogs. Lots of the time people just drop and run but I can't tell you how many people say they found me through entrecard and stopped because they liked what they were reading. I try to keep content good. I thought I'd share with all my readers about entrecard. Dropping cards earns you credits on their site and others dropping on you earns you more credits. You then buy advertisements such as the one on this page to put on others sites. It gets your site out there. People click on your card. My traffic pretty much doubled when I joined. So give it a try. I recommend it. You'll hear differing opinions. You do need to make sure you keep the widget on your page. Don't have music on your page because honestly that irritates some people and I believe it can get you deleted from Entrecard. Read the rules. Some have gotten deleted and didn't know why. I also use Blog Catalog, Blog Log, Twitter, Digg, Technorati, among others. Yet Entrecard has really been the best for me. Hope you all have success with it too!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

More of Gabriella's Birthday

To continue what I was writing yesterday, my water had broke and I was on my way to the hospital at 3 a.m. last November 17th. I got to the hospital in my town and they checked me and monitored me for a short time before calling in Life Flight. I was doing fine and so was baby thus far, but with my risk situation we'd planned long before to send me off to a hospital about 2 hours away that specialized in births that were high risk. They had the proper facilities for a preterm baby. I just felt safer there. So off I flew. I have never flown in an airplane but this was my second trip on Life Flight. It was a beautiful cool morning. I was bundled up like a burrito on the gurney. I felt warm and hadn't had any contractions yet. I was pretty worried about having them on a cramped helicopter!

They positioned me so I could see out the window. The sun was just creeping over the horizon. It was beautiful. The helicopter is very loud. They said I could put some headphones on if I needed to, but I kind of liked just looking out that window, the hum of the helicopter blades in my ears. I looked out across the flat beautiful land and watched the sun come up, wondering what was in store for me. I felt peace. You wouldn't think going through all of this you'd have such a strong peace. I did. I knew she would be ok. I just knew it. It was all a new beginning for me and a start for Gabriella. I had just finished chemo and I was bringing a new life into this world. Her life was like a symbol for me. She symbolized strength and getting beginnings. That sun just coming up over the horizon just made that feeling stronger. A new day. No mistakes yet. No bad news. Just hope.

I got to the hospital. I was alone of course. The hubby had to take the kids 2 hours the opposite direction to my parent's house. He had to take our dog to the kennel. We weren't ready for any of this! We expected it to all be organized when I was induced. That wasn't what Gabriella had in mind though. She was coming when she wanted. I got to the hospital in about 20 minutes. It was around 6:30 a.m. when I got in and hooked up. My contractions were just starting to feel bad enough that I had to breathe slowly through them around 9 a.m. I was worried that by the time my hubby got there that I'd be in a lot of pain. It wasn't bad yet...but since I have done this 3 times before I knew it could get bad in a second. Finally around 10 a.m. the hubby got there. I had the epidural literally seconds after he walked in. My mother was there too. My dad was watching the kids. I loved having my mom there with me. She was really excited as well.

We had a whole lot of docs. There were regular docs and the nurses and docs for the NICU. None of us knew what to expect. Four weeks early and months of chemo. It was so uncertain. I progressed pretty quickly from there. I pushed for maybe 10 minutes tops, and Gabriella was born. I wanted to hear her cry, to know she was ok. She did. I heard her crying and that was it. Mom and dad were crying too! We were looking at her, and just seeing how perfect she was. There were still tests to be done and the docs needed to examine her but she looked perfect. She needed no NICU. She was doing great. She was born 6 lbs. 2 oz. and 18 inches long at 2:10 p.m. on November 17th, 2007.

I felt good too. I didn't take my eyes off of her. I really couldn't. I loved her so much and we'd been through so much together. Her life and mine will always have a bond. She won't possibly understand how much of a miracle her life is for a long time. She won't understand what her life meant to me and my husband for many years. I will always tell her and make sure she knows. We beat cancer together.