One. Month. Left.

That’s right. November 25, 2016 will be my last chemo treatment. That’s just one month away! This calls for a happy dance…or maybe a few of them.😉

[FYI…These are all GIFs, so they may not show up properly in an email preview. Click the post link to see them in all their glory on my site.]











Hey…stop stealing my posts, you hack!

Um. Weird thing happened today. I got a notification on my site that someone else linked to my post. Oh, okay, cool! Well, then I checked it out. This bastardization of a website stole my content and splattered the words “bone marrow biopsy” all over. Like, word for word stole my post. Sure, they gave me credit, but I didn’t approve this! What the crap?

And can I report it? Well it doesn’t look like I can. There’s no information on who’s powering this site. And a deeper look shows this is just a kooky site probably powered by some weird algorithm because there’s no “About” section, there’s no titles on the banners running on the home page. It’s just…crap disguised as a legit medical website. DO NOT BE FOOLED!!!

Grrr. Take it down, you hacks!

Seriously, I don’t know how to get this to go away so my only recourse is to blast them about it. Spread the word that this site is a hack. Don’t let them win!!!


[UPDATE: I found out who the website was registered to and sent them a scathing email saying I would seek legal action if they didn’t take it down. Your move, you hacks!]

The weird thing about writing…


Over the last couple weeks, I’ve been writing and editing and hemming and hawing over this rough draft of a novel that I started two years ago. Most of the time, it’s rough going. It’s only fulfilling when I look back on what I’ve accomplished, but the act of it is rough. Even still, the actual act of writing something creatively (not for a blog) – be it fiction or non fiction – still amazes me. Here’s why:

What I write today is not what I would have written yesterday.

Let me give you an example. Yesterday, I was working on a scene that was new to me. It hadn’t existed in the story so far, and it was new material. I was creating it out of some far reaching part of my mind and I had momentum. I wanted to keep going. I wanted to finish the scene. But it was five o clock, and my son bounded through the door and I knew I would have to put it on pause for the rest of the night because I was busy helping with dinner, talking about what my son and hubby did that day, and just generally winding down.

Today, I’ll continue that scene, but it won’t be from the same part of my mind I accessed yesterday. The scene will be slightly different and the words will be not what they would have been yesterday. What I write today could make the difference between good and better…or maybe the trajectory will be the other way. Maybe yesterday was on track for greatness and today it’s going to take a turn towards the worst. And yet, I’ll never know which is which. Isn’t that crazy?

Somehow, I always find the answers

I was complaining recently about figuring out “the logistics” – you know, the stuff that makes your story make sense? Sure I can put two characters in a scene where they’re on the moon and they’re talking about which is better – cow’s milk or almond milk…and you as the reader can suspend reality and believe that, but at some point you’re going to want to know a little more context. Why are they on the moon? Why is that such an important conversation? How did they get to this point? Can they breathe? Are they floating? Sure, you don’t need to know EVERYTHING about everything. Books aren’t meant to be instructional manuals (unless it is literally an instructional manual). But you need to know enough to keep suspending reality for the remainder of the novel.

Well, for a while I was having issues with the logistics. I had come up with a story where I knew vaguely what the problem was – a grand social problem. But I couldn’t figure out what the physical, real life, I’m-gonna-do-this-thing-over-here-to-fix-this-thing-over-here situation was. Which is kind of HUGE. I mean, really, what are they all doing if I can’t nail that down? And this has been plaguing me since I started writing this draft two years ago.

Finally, within the last couple days, I’ve been able to brainstorm and theorize and finally put into words what it is they’re trying to do. It didn’t come in some muse-like fashion where I just shouted “EUREKA!!!” No. It was more like a series of what ifs that I kept asking myself that finally led to the answer. And that’s what I think is so amazing. That you can start a story and not know any answers, and then through some twist of fate, create the answers as you go.

Everything is the worst thing ever…until I look back.

This holds true not only as a writer, but in my life generally. Here’s what I mean. When you’re writing the first draft of anything, the best thing you can do is shut out all self-hate and doubt and just let the words flow. They could be the worst words you’ve ever strung together (strung? stringed?). It could make absolutely no sense. But you have to get the crappy stuff out there in order to find the diamonds. This is the motto of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month…which is this November, by the way). Write with abandon. Don’t focus on the quality, focus on the quantity. Do NOT edit. That is for second and third drafts. The first draft is meant for twirling imaginations and random thoughts and cave-man like writing abilities. No one will see this draft so do whatever the heck you want. So for my first draft, I did just that. I didn’t worry about if it made sense. Some days when I was tired I literally checked out and just kept pecking away at the keyboard until I hit my word count goal.

So when it came time to edit, I was preparing myself. I kept telling myself, “Now remember, you did some pretty reckless things with that first draft that you’re now going to have to clean up. Who knows, maybe you’ll keep 20% of it. Maybe only 10%.” And I was steeling myself for that fact as I started to re-read my draft. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are definitely cringe-worthy parts. I can see clearly where I was tired or I was overthinking something, or I became overly verbose where I could have been short and to the point.

But more often than not, I’m quite surprised at what I wrote. Not only is some of it quite eloquent…but it’s interesting. Sometimes I look upon a scene and question whether or not I actually wrote that or some friendly little elves came in the night and plunked that page in there without my knowledge. And in those moments, I do pat myself on the back and think, “See…maybe you’re not just a hack after all! Maybe you can do this.”

And as I mentioned, this is true in most parts of my life. One example stands out in a big way. A couple years back, I trained for and completed Ragnar – a 200 mile event where you and 11 other people compete in a relay style running event. For my part, I was responsible for 15 of those miles over a 24 hour period. I had never done a team running event before and I was supremely scared of the idea that I could let others down doing something I had loved so much. I had run 5ks, 10ks, half marathons, and even one full marathon. But I was always only ever competing against myself. If my time was slower than usual, I might beat myself up, but no one else depended on my time. Ragnar was the opposite of that. I couldn’t start running until my team mate handed off a “baton” (like a slap bracelet thing) to me, and the person after me couldn’t start until I handed off the baton to them. Now, my team wasn’t trying to get any medals, the point was to do this as a team and support each other no matter what. I understood that. And even so, I was REALLY freaked out about my parts. I wasn’t a fast runner. And what if I had to stop and walk? Would they be disappointed? What if I was slower than what they estimated and the vans were waiting too long for me and that threw off the schedule for the rest of the team? It was very stressful at the time.

Well, it was my turn. My first run was four miles. I had to climb this hellish hill and ended up walking at one point in time. I berated myself throughout. I cursed at how slow I was being. I mentally screamed as I saw someone else pass me. At the end, I handed off the baton and ran away from my teammates. I found a tree to sit under (my whole run was in the sun and I needed shade) and I started bawling! I just knew in my head that I had let them down and I was so embarrassed! How did I think I belonged on that team? Yes, I had trained hard, but I should have known it wasn’t enough.

My teammates ran over to me and were very concerned. I thought they were just being nice. They asked what was wrong and I just kept spewing, “I’m sorry! Ugh, I’m sorry! I had to walk at one point. I’m sorry to keep you waiting!” I couldn’t see their looks of shock because I was crying into my dry fit t shirt. But finally, one of them said, “No! Jamie, you did awesome! You beat your estimated time by FOUR MINUTES.” I looked up at them and started trying to process what they were saying. I looked over at my dear friend who was nodding in agreement. “We literally just got here with the van. We almost missed your finish…we didn’t think it would be so soon.”

I’d love to say that I started laughing and all was good, but I was in way too much of a tizzy, so I simply nodded through tears and asked, “Really? Oh.” They helped me to the van, and I remained quiet for the next twenty minutes, just trying to calm myself down, but that moment was something I’ll never forget. I had such fear, such doubt, such hatred towards myself that I couldn’t even see how well I was doing. The next two runs I had were almost as nerve wracking as the first, but with those two, I found myself continuing to run faster than I had in training, and I managed to shut out the negative voices and focus on the positive. Our team did great and it was seriously one of the hardest and yet most rewarding events I’ve ever done.

Is it a coincidence that five months later I finally worked up the courage to write my first novel? I think not. It was this super hard lesson that finally allowed me the courage to keep going even when I thought I would be a huge failure. I only wished I would have learned that sooner.

So yeah…that’s what’s weird about writing. And life in general.

p.s. This post got SUPER long. Ha! Oh well. 

Good news alert!


First off, I’m not feeling super awesome today as I had chemo yesterday, but I’m managing. And this news needed to be shared TOOT SWEET, so I’m plowing through it because I just gotta get it out there.

PET scan results are in!

And they are….

GREAT! WHEW, big sigh of relief there. Now let’s get into the details. What exactly does great mean? Well I’m gonna lay some technical terms on you because it’s not as simple as saying, “THE CANCER IS ALL GONE!” Trust me, I really tried to get my oncologist to say that…even on tape…and he kept tip toeing around it because he thinks “gone” or “not gone” is too vague for what’s going on here. But pish posh, I’m here to break it down for you all so that we can essentially have some big ol’ warm fuzzies about the fact that it’s BASICALLY gone (shh, don’t tell him I used that vague word).

So happy day! Woohoo!

I just have to finish the three chemo treatments I have left and then I have a final end-of-treatment PET scan a month after my last chemo – so around Christmas or so. At that point he’ll make the final call as to whether I need radiation, but after talking with him later, he personally feels like he doesn’t want to do radiation…based on the results of this PET scan. But we shall see.

What was REALLY said in that conversation.

I don’t have experience with a ton of doctors, but my oncologist likes to be very specific and sometimes uses technical terms that go over my head. However, he’s great at stopping to explain those technical terms if I don’t get it. But since there was such good news with this talk, I decided to record our conversation and then I transcribed it so you could see exactly what was said. Am I breaking some HIPAA laws? Well, maybe. But it’s my personal health information I’m choosing to share, so it’s not a big deal. Plus, there’s nothing in this transcription that I would find embarrassing or TOO personal. That stuff I left out or quit recording when we got to that stuff.

But I thought some of you might find the conversation interesting, because you do kind of have to dig for the good nuggets. That’s just how doctors talk sometimes. To be honest, It was kind of an anticlimactic conversation until the end when I was like, “so this is good news, right?” and then him and the nurses and my sister laughed at me like, “YES, that’s what he’s been saying!” (Yeah, but in super technical terms). Anyway, you’ll see.

Dr. Shah: Your PET ct looks better.

Me: Yeah?

Dr. Shah: Yep. Things are moving in the right direction. So, we’re looking at it for a couple different things. Right? From a lymphoma standpoint the activity level has decreased.

Me: Okay.

Dr. Shah: Okay. So, the hypermetabolic activity in that focal area is now done to 2.5 and it was 5 before.

Me: Okay.

Dr. Shah: Okay? So, the activity level is coming down and 2.5 is sort of baseline. There’s some activity of everything in our body. So remember there is a scoring system for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma?

Me: Yeah.

Dr. Shah: And you’re at Doval 3 which means remission. Okay?

Me: Uh huh.

Dr. Shah: There’s doval 1 and 2…and basically those just tell you the level of activity compared to the liver…which is used as a baseline. So you are less than the liver. And the liver is a basic take of what your body is, so this is good.

Me: Okay

Dr. Shah: This means that you are having an ongoing response. There’s no other areas of activity that they commented on. Okay? The other thing that they talk about, so remember we had also seen those lung changes at the bottom of your lung from the pnemonia, but weren’t sure if it was the bleomyacin toxicity?

Me: Yeah.

Dr. Shah: That is all improved as well.

Me: Good.

Dr. Shah: Okay? Maybe it was because the Pnemonia is treated, maybe it was because the bleomyacin is gone, they [pathologists] sort of questioned it, “Was the patient’s bleomyacin held?”

Me: Yeah.

Dr. Shah: And so, we did hold it and things are better so I’d like to just continue, because your PET ct looks better, I would just continue to hold it at this point rather than risk any toxicity.

Me: I would prefer that as well.

Dr. Shah: Other than that I’m trying to make sure nothing else is in here, nothing else meaningful [looking at the pathologist’s report], so um, I would say that we just finish up your treatments now.

Me: So…Okay, cause I don’t have a visual right in front of me, is it like…the last PET ct scan showed just like this tiny little dot, is that still there?

Dr. Shah: There’s still a tiny little dot, but it’s not active anymore.

Me: It’s not active.

Dr. Shah: Mmmhmmm

Me: Okay, so does that mean it looks like the scar tissue now?

Dr. Shah: Right, so what it becomes…just remember this stuff doesn’t always disappear right away, it could take months and months to disappear, until your body has cleared it out, but it may be scar tissue.

Me: Okay.

Dr. Shah: um, but at this point, ongoing, things are getting better on each scan, there’s nothing to do other than finish.

Me: Yeah. Okay.

Dr. Shah: And then if that next scan looks stable or better, we’ll just follow you.

Me: So, at this point can you say the cancer is all gone? Or no?

Dr. Shah: It looks like it’s all gone, but I mean remember…

Me: Sorry, I’m just like trying to dumb down everything you’re saying so it’s in terms I can understand.

Dr. Shah: What I would say is, that the activity level is less than the liver. Okay? And that’s how we score it for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. So, using words like “gone” or “not gone” are very vague, and are very hard to say, and I would say you’re having an ongoing response…

Me: Okay

Dr. Shah: And we’re going to get an end of treatment PET ct, and as long as that looks the same or better, we’re just going to place you on observation and then time will be the only way to know definitively if you’re cured.

Me: Yes.

Dr. Shah: But overall, things are moving in the right direction.

Me: Okay. Cause I was kind of freaking out the last few weeks, because I feel like I have started to notice more of like a dull sensation under my armpit and in my back and I wasn’t sure if that was related to just feeling congested and maybe my lymph nodes are acting up because of it or what, but it was kind of freaking me out a little bit.

Dr. Shah: Right, um.

Me: But nothing is coming up here [motions to the pathology report they’re looking at]

Dr. Shah: No they didn’t comment on any other areas.

Me: Alright, okay. Very cool.

Me: Alright. Alright! Well that sounds like good news.

Dr Shah: YES! No, this is VERY good news. [People laughing at me] No seriously, this is looking better than the last, so the bleomycin stuff is better, and the activity level of that remaining spot is getting better.

Me: Okay.

Dr. Shah: So, there’s nothing else to do. We finish your chemo. We get an end of treatment scan.

Me: So you don’t think there’s any need for radiation at this point?

Dr. Shah: I will make that decision based on your end of treatment scan.

Me: Okay.

The visuals

Here is the side by side visual of what I looked like at my last PET scan (on the left) vs. what is visible now on Wednesday’s PET scan (on the right).


Here is a picture of my lungs, specifically where I had a large tumor in the upper lobe of my left lung. Top is before, bottom is after. It’s still kind of there, but there’s no activity and it looks a lot more like the scar tissue shown next to it now.


At the end of treatment, I’ll show you all of the pet scans so you can see the full progression. This one wasn’t as big of a transformation as the last one, but pretty monunmental in the fact that there is now “NO ACTIVITY.” WOOHOO!

Other silly pics from yesterday and today


Jake had an all-employee meeting that he couldn’t get out of so my oldest sister volunteered to come with me to chemo. She also had Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and writes about her life over on Joy beyond the Cross, if you’re interested.


This was me after I got the good news from yesterday. I mean, I’m about embarrassing myself with a happy dance, but that just seems a bit cruel in a waiting room full of cancer patients. So I restrained myself to a happy face.


Today, sitting here in front of the fire, tippity tapping out this blog. Also, this is the first time since we’ve lived here that we’ve had a REAL fire going. BIG thanks to our in-laws who gave us a gas-burning fireplace as a present for our anniversary (it was previously a real wood burning fire, but we’re not about that upkeep)! And thanks to Jake’s uncle for installing it! Anyway, it’s so cozy feeling, this time of year. THANK YOU!!!

Alright, now it’s time take it easy for the next couple days.



It’s Thursday, which means I have my ninth round of chemo tomorrow. Already? Yes, already, darn it. Some good weeks creep by and I’m happy for the pace. This good week? It went by way too quickly. Which, in the grand scheme of things is technically good…weeks going by faster means I’m that much closer to be doing with all of this cancer business. But even still, when it’s good, I really don’t want to see the bad return. But alas, that is how I get healthy, so I’m stuck in this terrible catch 22 for about the next 8 weeks.

So here’s why this week went by too quickly.



Last week I did some hard core outlining on a rough draft of a novel I wrote two years ago. This week, I’m in full editing mode. And let me tell ya, it’s not easy. First off, I have to re-read what I wrote which is very cringe-worthy for the most part. Then I have to figure out what exactly I’m trying to say and then fix the problems. Some are easy fixes. Some are monumental, my-brain-can’t-think-this-hard issues. These are the ones I put to the wayside when I was writing my first draft because it wasn’t productive to think about at the time.

Stop thinking and just write! You’ll figure out logistics later.  

Well, wouldn’t you know I’m now at that “later” point in time and I’m struggling just as much with logistics now as I was then. But now, I have to solve them. If I don’t figure out logistics now it’s going to be pretty obvious to anyone reading. So I’m sighing and huffing and puffing and staring at a screen and writing down theories and drawing crude visuals and looking up if it’s actually possible for California to fall into the sea (maybe).

But for those wondering, it’s not possible for California to fall into the ocean and it’s NOT a part of my story…but if it were possible I might have considered it. Stop judging!

But all in all, it’s going well. Progress is being made. Slow, snail-like progress. In my mind I was hoping for a chapter a day. HA! Let’s shoot for a chapter a week, maybe.

Beyond this, I can’t say. I’ve found that throwing my plans out there too early usually leave me backtracking a lot, so I’m staying in the present. I’m editing and that’s where I am for the foreseeable future.



I don’t know if #amreading is as popular of a hashtag as #amwriting but we’ll just go with it.

I just got done reading Clive Barker’s, “The Great and Secret Show.” It was solidly good. It’s largely about the fight between forces of good and evil but it’s kind of a horror-esque book with really dark scenes. Like if this was a movie, I probably wouldn’t watch it. I can read these things, but visually my mind can’t handle this stuff. There is a second book called “Everville” that I will get to eventually, but right now I’m more excited about entering the world of Harry Potter. Which brings me to a dark confession…

Hello. My name is Jamie LeRoy. I’m an avid writer and reader. And I’ve NEVER read Harry Potter…or seen the movies. 

ARGH. YOU GUYS. I’m sorry if you thought I was better than this. I thought I was better than this. But I’m not. So I’m trying to make it right.

For our anniversary on Monday, I got the full series of Harry Potter and started on it just last night. I already know that I love everything about J.K. Rowling as an author, so of course I ALREADY love the writing even though I’m only two chapters into the first book. It’s just so…magical. Which is super fitting for a magic-based book, really. But lovely, all around. Really. So I’m super excited to continue reading. But now I have to balance this with my need to write and solve tough logistical problems. Oh yeah, that sounds AWESOME in comparison to exploring the world of Harry Potter… #eyeroll. But it’s not even just that. There’s more.



First off, you all know I’ve been trying to get out and walk more, and sort of running and maybe I have this crazy idea to run a 5k by the end of the year…maybe. Well, this week I ramped it up a lot. I’m now on week 3 of this couch to 5k program…but before you’re like “slow down there chica,” I’m actually repeating each week twice so I don’t go crazy on my bad weeks. So this week is week 3 (round 1) and next week is week 3 (round 2). See? I got this. Well, even still, week 3 is stepping up the running. Which is to be expected. But it’s pretty tough. Like, I’m super-out-of-shape tough. Like, I’m-trying-to-lose-baby-weight tough. But not at all like, my-lungs-and-heart-hate-me tough. No, they’re doing fine. I promise! And I know this because I wear a heart monitor the whole time, so chillax already.

Anyway, I stepped on the scale on Sunday and was kind of shocked at the number that came up. It was DEFINITELY not in the range of what I thought it should be. It was a good 10 lbs over my “comfortable zone”…the zone where you kind of eat what you want, workout maybe twice a week but like your jeans still fit with a little muffin top…yeah, it was 10 lbs over that.

Before I go any further, let me address the fact that I KNOW what you’re thinking. Trust me. You’re thinking any one of the following:

  1. Do you really need to be worried about that right now? I mean, really? Isn’t this something you can tackle AFTER you don’t have cancer? 
  2. Isn’t your body going through a ton of changes from chemo? Isn’t that the most likely culprit? If so, why worry about it now? After you’re done with chemo, your body will likely recuperate, so why worry about it now?
  3. This sounds pretty vain. Can I stop feeling bad for you now? You obviously have moved on to pettier things to care about other than your life. See ya!
  4. I love you, but STOP. Just STOP. I really just want you to get better and if that means gaining some weight, then shut your face and deal with it!

Well, guess what, I’m going to keep going on about this, because this blog has my name on it and I’m the queen where it’s concerned. If you don’t like it, then don’t continue reading. 

Well, like you…I thought all of the same things and berated myself for caring about this. And then I did something to test a theory. I counted my calories for an entire day. You know that that added up to? 3,000. THREE THOUSAND CALORIES. I told my husband this and he asks, “Is that not normal?” cause he’s sweet and does the sweet husband thing where he pretends he can’t see the extra pounds I’ve put on.

I replied with, “No. That is not normal. Maybe if I was in a bodybuilding competition that might be normal. But for me, no. That’s not normal. That’s far too much.”

So yeah. I’ve been eating. A lot.

Again. I get that this is one of those things I could really easily just turn a blind eye to because I’ve got cancer for god’s sakes and yes, I do deserve a pass in terms of what I should or should not eat. But my mind can’t get there. I don’t think I need to be a model of moderation, but my god, I need to stop indulging my sweet tooth at every turn. And maybe like, stop eating an entire pan of apple crisp. That’s all I’m saying! I just need to take that down a couple notches.

So now my fitness plan includes doing the couch to 5k thing, going on increasingly longer walks (and improving my mental state by listening to empowering audio books during that time), and at the very least trying to take in fewer calories than I burn each day. Really, it’s not too much to ask when you don’t have a full time job to worry about. I’m here. I’ve got the time. So why the heck not?

Also, I say all of this on a good week, knowing very well that I might throw most of this out the window during a bad week, but at least it’s a place to start! 

Whew. Glad I got that off my chest. Still judging me? Well, that’s your deal I guess. I can’t help you with that.

So that’s it. That’s how I made the week speed by. Lots of writing/editing, lots of reading, and lots of fitness-related things. Okay maybe there’s one more thing, but it’s really more about what’s still to come.


'Your cat scan looks fine, your pet scan looks fine, your MRI looks fine, but your insurance reimbursement doesn't look fine.'

Yesterday, I had my third PET scan. This is the big one that detects the amount of cancer in my body. I had one in August with pretty amazing results (read more about it here), and I really want to hope and think and pray that this one will be even more amazing, “Yay! The cancer is all gone!” but I have these nagging, possibly hypochondriac feelings/issues bubbling up in me that make me super anxious that that is NOT the answer I’ll get tomorrow from my oncologist.

And if it’s not, the plan is still the plan – deal with shit I can deal with today and stop stressing about the future. But still. It’d be super awesome to have someone give me a definitive answer that when I’m done with my 12th round of chemo…that will be it! I’ll be done! So that’s what I’m REALLY REALLY hoping I can get out of tomorrow.

So, think good thoughts for me. Even though you may still think I’m stupid for obsessing over some extra pounds on the scale. Just put that out of your mind for a bit and help me focus on tomorrow’s successful report.

Whew. Thanks for hearing me out, everyone!

Arguably the most successful bad week so far.

I have four rounds of chemo left. Which is awesome because it means I have less than eight weeks left. We’re getting there! And it means that I can look back at my progress so far…my JOURNEY (barf, gag), if you will, with a little bit more hindsight. And this week, even though it was a bad week, had a lot of cool stuff going on, so it’s probably the best bad week to date. Also, because I have one less chemo drug to take (Bye bleomyacin! See ya never!), it also means I get another day and a half back. So, by Wednesday evening I’m doing exceptionally well. Again…woohoo!

So here’s my bad week so far. In pictures. Cause that’s just more fun.

Lakefront Marathon


On Sunday, Jake and Jackson braved the rain to cheer on the runners and drink some bloodys (Jake, not Jackson, obvi). I was feeling pretty crappy that day or I totally would have gone. Instead, I stayed back and watched Nightmare before Christmas. Classic Halloween flick, right?



My mom came down this week (Sunday through Thursday) to hang out and cook delicious food. And I gave her this photo album I’d made for her and my dad for their birthdays (both have birthdays in October).

Best 3 out of 5?



Then we played a couple rounds of Scrabble and Chinese Checkers. She beat me in Scrabble both times, but I beat her in Chinese Checkers. And yes, I was trying for “Sardine” but it didn’t happen.

Light the Night = Success!

As most of you know, Thursday night was Light the Night. Jake and Jackson braved the rain (yet again) to go support Team Jamie. My friends sent me a bunch of pics from the evening, and it looks like even though it rained off and on it was a pretty great event. Can’t wait to go next year!


Jake and Jackson gearing up for the walk.



Hey that’s me! Also, funny story. My friend was leaving and said, “Jackson, say hi to your mom for me.” He turned to the sign and waved at my picture, “Hi mom!” What a card.



Team Jamie’s amazing leader and organizer, Andrea! You are the bestest ever! Thank you for putting this altogether and choosing to honor me. Love you lady!



White is for the survivor (me, but I’m not there so they carried one for me…and oh yeah, i’m kind of in the process of surviving but shhhh. I’m almost there). Red is for those supporting the survivors. Yellow is for those we remember/have lost. Not too many yellow ones out there from what I could see. A very promising thing for someone in my position.



Some of my faithful supporters. From left to right: Jackson, Jake, Suzanne, Lindsay and Andrea. You guys are my rock!


This is a screenshot of the Team Jamie fundraising page as of today. HOLY COWS YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME SAUCE! Thank you so much to everyone that has donated so far or come out to the event. You are seriously amazing people.

Prayer shawl, ya’ll!


On Friday, I received this gift in the mail. I got it from Gail Yelton. Who’s Gail Yelton? Well until yesterday I had no clue who she was. But apparently she’s been following along and she’s friends with my friend’s mom (does that make sense?). Anyway. THANK YOU GAIL YELTON!!! This prayer shawl is so warm and cozy and I love the color. I’m trying to stress the coziness of it in my glamour shots-esque pose above. Did that come across? Well, I tried.😉




I was feeling cheeky (excuse the pun) and decided to capture my hair at its wildest right after I got out of the shower. It only felt right to do crazy faces with it. I’ve got a nice George Costanza thing going on. Thinning on top, thick around the sides. Just how I always dreamed I would look.




Those boys and their adventures. Today they went to Lego Fest with our friends and had a blast.



So, I’ve revived it from the dead. This is the first draft of a book I wrote two years ago. I wrote it. Hemmed and hawed for a couple months. Then my company went under and we moved and I got a new job…and life just got to be too crazy so it has just been sitting on the back burner since. But this week, I finally dove back in. And it’s both overwhelming and so exciting. I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN. EEEKKKK.



Finally, some spooktacular window decals I put up as it gets closer to Halloween. Ahhh, I love this season.

That’s all I’ve got for you. Have a great rest of your weekend!


Reminder: Light the Night is this Thursday


Hello all!

It’s Tuesday which means I’m sort of, kind of, coming out of the nausea fog that I reside in during my bad week. Not quite there yet, but getting there.

But more importantly, I wanted to remind you about the Light the Night walk that’s happening this Thursday. I blogged about it a couple weeks ago, and I’m not going to lie, some amazing things have happened since then.

First off –  a TON of you have donated. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! That’s a good reaction, in case you’re wondering. No but seriously, I’m speechless. So many of you have donated already and my heart swells with joy knowing that I have so many amazing friends and family supporting this cause and my plight in particular. You guys are the best!

Second – We hit our team fundraising goal! Woohoo! Okay, but we didn’t just hit it, we blew the roof off of it! We’re way over the team fundraising goals, so again, thank you to everyone that helped contribute!

For those that still want to contribute or walk, there is still time. Donations are still being accepted, and you’re more than welcome to come walk with the team. If you sign up and raise $100, you’ll get to walk with a lantern. But also, you can still just sign up and walk with the team at no cost if you don’t need all the goodies.

Here are those details again in case you’re interested…

Team Jamie Fundraising page (you can donate to the team or join the team from here)

Date, time, location…
Thursday October 6, 2016 04:30 PM CDT
Veteran’s Park
1010 North Lincoln Memorial Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53202, USA

Also, I should probably make it a bit more clear here (as I don’t think I did it on the previous blog) that I won’t actually be attending. I know. SUPER bummer. It’s this whole neutropenic thing and I should stay away from large crowds and what not. If it were a small gathering, maybe I could manage, but from the looks of past events there are typically thousands of people at these things, so I think that’s a little much for me to be exposed to. So yeah, super bummer…BUT…my husband and son will still be down there walking in my honor. So if you do attend, you’ll see them. I think they even get a special colored lantern because I’m currently going through chemotherapy.

Another thing to note – I don’t think you have to be there right at 4:30, I think 5:30 or 6 is fine as they won’t start walking until it gets dark. That’s the word on the street, at least (and by “street “I mean my Light the Night expert Andrea Fischer).

So, again, thank you for all of your contributions so far. Thank you for walking with the team. Thank you for supporting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. And most of all, thank you for supporting me and other patients as we get treatment for this and other blood diseases.

Can’t wait to hear all about the walk!


Mmmm…Fall…and other little updates

Weather wise, Fall is my favorite season. The crisp in the air means I won’t be beaten down by the sun during my semi-daily walk/runs. That’s probably the best part of it.

Then there’s the fact that everything is just so BEAUTIFUL..for like five days. I mean, it’s not much, but it is certainly something when it does happen. It hasn’t quite happened around these parts yet, but it’s getting close.

And finally, you can’t think of the CRISP air without dreaming about Apple Crisp, right? Apple crisp is my jam all year long, but I might go a little overboard during this season. Not only do I make boatloads of apple crisp (which I end up eating by myself because somehow my son and husband don’t like fruit-based desserts), but anything to do with baked or caramel apples and I’m all about it.

Today is a beautiful Fall day so instead of tappity typing about it, I’m just going to show you. Come along, why don’t you!

Fally fall things…


Fake gourds and sparkly pumpkins on a large leaf on top of a fall pattern. BOOM.


Two light up pumpkins and a grimace from my husband. Yes, Jake, these are TOTALLY necessary.



Sparkly pumpkins as a center piece. Done and done.



Beautiful mums and pumpkins complements of friends and family. Thanks, ya’ll!



Fall-themed wreath and another grimace from Jake. YES IT’S ALL NECESSARY.


Okay, technically this is from two years ago, but its still really cute. Keep it up, little man.


Still missing from this set of fall images? Apple crisp because it’s currently baking in my oven, and pretty fall leaves. Ah, maybe next time.

Lakefront Marathon – a family tradition!

For the last couple years, we’ve made it out to Atwater park to sit by the road and watch the runners go by for the Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee. This year, it falls on my “bad” Sunday…i.e. this coming Sunday, as I’ll be having chemo tomorrow. I’d love to say we’ll still for sure be attending, but I think we’ll have to play it by ear as that is typically my worst day. But in lieu of that, let’s just bask in the glorious hair I was rocking on that day. It was so long and chestnuty brown and wavy. Ahhh…someday, my lovely hair, someday I’ll be back there. Oh and my family’s cute too.😉


Last year’s Lakefront Marathon viewing.



Apparently today is National Coffee day. If there is every a whacky holiday to celebrate, this is the one. Coffee is amazing and I’m so glad it’s in my life. There were maybe a couple days I didn’t drink coffee in the beginning of my chemo, but other than that, we’ve continued our daily love affair and it has been great. Thanks coffee! And thanks @theawkwardyeti for celebrating this day with your funny little comics.


Breaking news!!!

You know I love Disney. That’s a given. But did you know I am a FREAK about the movie “The Lion King?” Yep. Certifiably.

So I hollered from the rooftops when I heard this news (and by hollered I mean I kept poking Jake for about ten minutes asking him if he knew how cool this was)…

Be still my beating heart. Or not! Whatevs! THIS IS AMAZING.


So yeah. It’s going to be amazing. In case you’re not aware, Jon Favreau, among his other many talents, was the director behind the newest live action “Jungle Book” movie. Having seen that, I’m even more excited because he did a great job with those animals…even if it was mostly CGI. I DON’T CARE! THIS IS MY DREAM COME TRUE, PEOPLE!!!


What in god’s name is this, you might ask? It’s me and three other talented 4-Hers performing a rendition of the Circle of Life during a talent competition. We did that and other Lion King songs. Who picked the theme that year? Me…and then I peer pressured others into liking the idea. Oh and I’m on the far right. Pretty stylish back in those days, right?


Well it’s clear that Mr. Favreau liked my early 4-H work and decided it would be great to do a live action movie twenty years later. You’re all welcome.

Fun with family…

Last weekend, my Aunt Kathy and my cousin Amanda drove down to Milwaukee to see me. It was a pretty awesome day. We got to catch up, eat some delicious food they brought with, and I got to show them Atwater park and Veteran’s park – both great places to admire Lake Michigan near downtown Milwaukee. It was a beautiful day, with cooler weather. And at one of the parks we got to see lots of kites being flown AND a pirate ship. Not too shabby!





Ahoy mateys!!!


Thanks for all the fun, ladies!

Other updates…

  • Tomorrow is chemo round number 8. 2/3 of the way done! And only four more left to go.
  • After this round of chemo I’ll do another PET scan to see if the cancer is all gone yet. Crossing my fingers it comes out clean. Stay tuned!
  • I’ve been trying out a couch to 5k program. I’m on week 2. It’s hard…but not “I’m sick and I shouldn’t do this” hard…just “I haven’t run in FOREVER and that’s why this is hard” hard. So it’s a good hard…if there is such a thing. My goal is to be running a 5k by the end of chemo. Crazy? Well time will tell. I’m hopeful, though.
  • Are you watching any new shows? I just started “This is Us,” “Speechless,” “The Good Place” and “Superstore.” So one sob fest and three funny ones.

Alright, that’s it for me. The apple crisp is beckoning and it’s my reward for finishing this blog post.


Disney Fan Art: Disney University


It’s a rainy day outside and instead of going for a walk, I thought I’d divulge some of my favorite portraits of Disney princesses (and other Disney folks) as re-envisioned by some truly talented fans.

But I can’t get to it all of it in one post, so today’s take is all about Disney University.

What is Disney University, you ask? 

It’s a world created by a very talented artist (goes by the user name Hyung86) in which Disney characters all go to college together (so keep in mind all photo credits go to this guy and that’s why you’ll see a watermark on most of them). Below are my favorites as well as my version of what their lives look like now.

Disney University — My Favorites



Let’s start off with an easy one. Aladdin kept the shaggy hair, but traded in the rags for a sportier look. His place on the track team and his humorous disposition secure him an invite to all the best parties.



True to form, Jasmine (Aladdin) is still too cool for school. By the looks of it, she’s trading the rebel genes with Aladdin and may be causing more trouble than she’s worth. She’s not sure their high school puppy dog love is going to last in this place.



Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) kept the corset but lost the frilly princess dress. She’s still Regina George, but now she’s garnering even more attention…from the boys who should be focusing on their own true loves.



Prince Philip (Sleeping Beauty) still has his classic good looks, but now he’s really nervous about keeping up with Aurora. Can he continue to be the apple of her eye or is she looking elsewhere? Killing a dragon can only get you so far at Disney U.



Belle (Beauty and the Beast) likes to keep up appearances that she’s hitting the books hard, but we all know she’s burning the midnight oil with a certain rugged and reformed bad boy.



Flynn Ryder (Tangled) is not so sure about his future with Rapunzel. While he once had eyes for only her, he’s starting to see that he shares a lot more common interests with women of a less naive nature.

Kida (Altantis: The Lost Empire) is ready to shed her limited world view and rub elbows with those that understand her outsider ways. If Jasmine wants to galavant around without Aladdin, she can’t be blamed for taking him up on a carpet ride or two, right?


Megara (Hercules) is more than happy to shed her damsel in distress demeanor in favor of her true self – queen of secrets and scandals. She knows who is doing what…and who they shouldn’t be doing it with.


Anyone who’s anyone has been to a Pocahontas gala thanks to a certain Chief whose name is the hottest fashion line from coast to coast. All she has to do is make daddy proud by keeping up her 4.0 GPA and she’ll be poised to rule when she graduates.

Disney University – animal edition

To my surprise, there are also human versions of the greatest Disney animal characters. Now my childhood dreams of marrying Simba don’t seem so creepy, right?


Simba (formerly a lion from The Lion King) learned a thing or two from his former scuffles, but he’s not about that bad boy life. What he really wants is to study psychology so he can help others with their daddy issues.



Bambi (formerly a buck from Bambi) is not sure what he wants to study. But he does know that Phillip is way too good for that vapid Aurora. What Phillip needs is a strong and mature counterpart with dashing good looks. And maybe more than a bromance?



Robin Hood (formerly a fox from Robin Hood) is on to Megara’s games. She pretends to be in control and above that damsel life, but he knows she craves a knight in tattooed armour. He has just the plan to have her falling into his arms in less than a fortnight.



Lady (formerly a cocker spaniel of Lady and the Tramp) is not sure how much more she can take of Tramp’s (formerly a mutt) antics. The spaghetti act was cute when they were in high school, but if they’re going to live in an apartment off campus then he needs to shape up or ship out. Goatee hair is not so attractive when it’s left all over the sink, each morning.

Want to see more?

Visit the artist’s site here for a ton of other renditions. Also, stay tuned for the next spotlight on Disney fan art as there is so much more to explore.

It’s time to celebrate!!!…from afar.

Today is the day of my brother’s wedding. Since I can’t actually make it, I decided I would try to honor him (or maybe embarrass him a little bit) with some old family photos. In addition, I also found more recent ones of him with his lovely bride to be.

The old photos are compliments of the large box of photographs my mom brought me a couple weeks back. Over the last couple days, I’ve been cataloguing all of them by uploading them to my Shutterfly account, and sorting through which ones will go in an actual scrapbook.

I’m only halfway through the box, but there are some good ones of my brother. Here are my favorites!

A trip down memory lane…

(Childhood through college years)


My brother and I playing on the sand bar up at our cabin. CHEESE!!



Christmas morning with toothless mcgee.



Another christmas morning – sunglasses and all.


Homemade dresses for the girls. Hawaiian shirt for the boy. Because sure, why not.😉



You may think he’s giving me a loving hug…but really he’s trying to choke me.



Having a blast with grandma and our cousin up at the cabin. Shaggier days for my brother, I guess.



We may look like the wild ones, but judging from the dirt on his knees I’d guess he’s in timeout for something and looking sorry for what he did.



Christmas eve pictures at our aunt and uncle’s house.



Christmas day pictures at our other cousins house. Can you tell my brother really liked the Kansas City Chiefs? p.s. that’s not food in my teeth, those are colored braces.



My brother and I enjoyed the fake bake a little too much in college.



Golden locks on golden boy.


More recent memories…

(Post college years…but before he met Stefanie)

My brother posing at one of his first jobs out of college – in Boston. Can you tell he’s an important businessman now?


Being a diva at a family christmas party. Because, of course.


Hmmm, how to explain this one? Let’s just say it was a fun night of sibling bonding in the Twin Cities when I still lived in St. Paul. I basically poured him into bed while I slept on the couch. Fun times!


Jake and I visited my brother out in San Fran when I was 7.5 weeks pregnant. It was a fun weekend celebrating Jake turning 30 and the sights were incredible.



This is actually a more recent picture of just the siblings without their significant others, but it’s still a good one.


From my wedding – my brother escorting one of my brides maids into the reception hall. 414-704-9609

A dance with the bridesmaid. Such a goof!


Bride and groom through the years…

Some of these I had to steal from the wedding website. Thank you soon to be sister-in-law!


The engaged couple back before they were engaged. Taking trips to Milwaukee to celebrate Jackson’s 2nd birthday. And snuggling my parent’s dog.



This is the only photo I could find with the two of them and our family. For shame! Will have to remedy that the next time I see them. p.s. Thanks for cooperating, Jackson. Sheesh!


Cute photo of them at my parent’s house.


Doing what they do best – traveling the world and enjoying vacations in remote locations. Pretty sure they swam with pigs at this place.

The proposal and their engagement photos

These were all from the wedding website. Again – thanks for letting me borrow these!

The proposal actually happened at a trampoline dodgeball competition where he faked a leg injury to get down on one knee to propose to her (yes, trampoline dodgeball is a thing out in CA). This is just a posed shot after the fact. Still done in the only way he knows how…as a goofball.😉


She said yes!


Mount Tamalpais Engagement Photography

One of the many gorgeous engagement photos they had taken.


The happy couple. And soon, the married couple.


It’s time!

In a few short hours they’ll be married and I couldn’t be happier for them. My part in all this? Stalking my family via text for any and all updates, and maybe some facetime during the actual reception. Should be fun.

Hope you’re all enjoying this gorgeous weekend!