One Year

One year ago today, I received a call from my doctor asking if Dan and I could come into the office ASAP. One year ago today we sat in her office and I blatantly asked if I had cancer because she was describing things, but not using the word. One year ago today our world turned upside down.

This past year has seemed to crawl by. It seems like ages ago Dan and I were traveling to Seattle and Houston to decide my treatment plan. Chemo and radiation seem like a distant memory from years past, not something I just went through six months ago.

Today though, I am spending the day biking around Montevideo with Dan and spending time with his mom and stepdad. I thought by this point we would have a six-month old taking over our life, but instead it’s just me and Dan. Life may not be where I thought it would at 33, but I’m taking what I have and trying to make the most of it.

I feel better and am getting stronger. I recently ran 5.5 miles at a 9:18 pace, then ran three miles under a 9 minute pace the next day. I’ve started doing spin, yoga, hot yoga, and rock climbing.

Dan and I have booked a trip to Europe over Christmas and will have that to look forward to once we’re back from South America. While Dan and I have traveled a lot this past year, minus a work trip to Boston, everything has been for health reasons. We haven’t seen his siblings in over a year since his youngest sister got married last September. We’re hoping to meet up with them, his dad, and stepmom in Seattle in April, and we’ll be doing a week in Hawaii to celebrate his stepmom’s birthday.

We’re trying very hard to make up for all that was lost last year. While I know nothing will take away the pain that we have gone through, trying to enjoy what we do have helps to ease some of it. Here’s looking to future adventures.

XOXO,

Gossett Girl

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Hello 2018!

Happy New Year! As with everything I do, this message comes a little late. But at least it showed up, right? I hope you had a great Christmas and New Year. I had time off between the two holidays and had grand plans for reading, cooking, blogging, and binge-watching Big Little Lies, but instead I got sucked into reading the new Dan Brown novel, Origin, and then began re-reading the Robert Langdon series. Should I have read something a little more thought-provoking? Maybe. But it was a fun way to finish out the year — A little European, art history adventure.

Dan and I hosted Christmas dinner for friends who were staying in Montana which was a fun evening filled with good food (crab over-nighted from Seattle!) and lots of wine and bourbon. New Years Eve was spent in Spokane at our new favorite bar, Durkins. We sipped French 75s and champagne all night. I may have fallen asleep at our hotel before the fireworks went off.

2017 was a horrible year, but it also brought a lot of support and love. I’m hopeful for 2018. I am going to try and spend this year enjoying life and doing more things. I want to make up for things that didn’t happen last year: travel, cooking, baking, reading, outdoor adventures, and more.

We are headed to South America next month, and are planning on running the Calgary marathon/half marathon (and hopefully the Lululemon SeaWheeze half marathon in Vancouver). We’re hoping for another big trip around Christmas as well. And of course, my every 3-month follow-ups in Seattle start up again next week. We’ve talked to family about doing a weekend meet-up in Seattle for one of these trips.

My friend gave me a Great British Bake Off calendar for my birthday, and I plan on making the baked good on the calendar each month. Great for dusting off my baking pans, maybe not so great for my waistline, but definitely worth it! I have also started borrowing cookbooks from the library to try different recipes. I was barely in the kitchen last year, and this year I’m going to make up for it.

As for reading, I should challenge myself to read books with a purpose. I love a good dystopian novel, perhaps throwing in a book about finance or self-betterment wouldn’t hurt. I’m also hoping to spend more time reading instead of watching TV shows that I don’t even like.

And finally, I’m sure outdoor adventures will come. Our love of trying new things and living in Montana, I have no fear we’ll get out and do things.

Here’s to a great 2018!

XOXO,

Gossett Girl

Thirty-three

Ever since I was little, I had always thought 32 would be my year. My mom had me the year she turned 32, and in my mind, I always thought I would be 32 when I had my own child. Life has a way of letting you know you’re not in charge, and obviously that didn’t happen.

Last year  we celebrated my birthday with an evening party, watched the Sounders win the MLS Cup, and I was pregnant and didn’t know it. This year we celebrated with brunch, and watched the Sounders lose the MLS Cup. We went XC skiing on my birthday again which is always a fun time.

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It was so cold I couldn’t do a real smile.

A year ago I thought we would possibly be celebrating as a little family. It was bittersweet to try and celebrate, but also wondering what could have been. I have definitely felt supported by all my friends this year, and that means a lot.

I’m hopeful for 33. I look forward to what it will bring. I already know we are going to South America and most likely Hawaii. We have a ton of Seattle trips planned, and it will be good to spend time with friends.

Goodbye 32, hello 33.

XOXO,

Gossett Girl

Giving Thanks

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We celebrated with two Thanksgiving dinners (that included a turkducken and prime rib plus the regular turkey and sides). I’m thankful that we have found so many friends here, we get to do two Thanksgivings! My jeans on the other hand, not so thankful.

We started the day with our local Turkey Trot, and I’m happy to say that I was able to run the three a 9:51 pace (while slightly hungover). That’s the fastest I’ve gone in a really long time. I ran four miles yesterday at a 9:40 pace, slowly getting faster! I’m definitely feeling it today though. I’m thankful for my body starting to finally pick-up the pace.

I had my follow up appointments on Friday with my hematologist and radiologists and they said everything looked good. My blood tests came back with a normal white blood cell count, meaning my immune system should be back to normal. My hematologist did say that it would take 6-12 for my hair to start growing back normally, and that it will take at least six months for my body to get back to working out normally. I’m thankful for normal test results!

I’m thankful for friends who have gotten me through this year. From those here in Montana who house/pet-sat at a drop of the hat when I was hospitalized and took care of us during my treatment, to those in Seattle who drove me everywhere and let us stay with them whenever we need to. I’m also thankful to friends from afar who offer a shoulder to cry on and thoughtful gifts to cheer us up.

I’m thankful for family who support and love us, taking care of us through treatment, and through all the awful things we’ve been through this year.

And most importantly, I’m thankful for Dan, who is an amazing support and rock through this. He has always been great at taking care of me, from donut and cereal runs during the pregnancy, to donut and cereal runs during treatment. Without him, I’d probably still be in a ball refusing to get out of bed.

Dan and I are especially thankful for our Gestational Carrier. Hopefully she is able to help us on our journey to becoming parents. We’re still in the holding stages on this part, but we’re thankful that she offered to give us this great gift.

And with that, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, and are looking forward to a great holiday season!

XOXO,

Gossett Girl

Fork to Farm

Remember in my last post when I said it was way too smoky to workout? Well, apparently the weather gods were listening and now there is snow on the mountains a couple miles away and the temperature has been in the 40s. It’s so cold. What happened to fall???

After a couple days of rain and freezing cold, we got a quick reprieve on Sunday just in time for a 40-mile bike ride called Form to Farm. We rode around the Bitterroot Valley to four different farms where we got to tour each one (including farms where we get our CSA and milk from) and get snacks. It was a great ride, but exhausting. 40 miles is harder than one thinks. I thought I’d be ok with breaks in between, but man, were my legs tired. Luckily, one of my friends have ibuprofen and that helped me get through the last 15 miles.

The doctors told me working out wouldn’t be the same as before, and while I believed them, it’s still frustrating to live out. I can now run a mile without stopping, but it’s at an 11-minute pace. I can do a yoga class without going into child’s pose, but my body shakes while holding poses (ok, I’m pretty sure it did that before as well). We started doing spin class and I feel like I’m lagging behind everyone when we’re sprinting or trying to “climb that mountain.” At least I’m getting out there though, right? #smallvictories

I should actually be out for a run right now because the sun is out, there is blue sky mixed with clouds, and it’s 52-degrees. Instead I did some housework, prepped dinner, and am trying to keep this blog alive. I also think that I’m pms-ing right now, or supposed to be on my period because man, do I have that period feeling of lead-legs and exhaustion.

Here are some photos from Sunday’s ride. Mostly Dan eating food.

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Dan enjoying frittata at stop SweetRoot Farm (where we get our CSA box).
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Dan enjoying some local bread, passing on the ratatouille.
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Piglets!
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The cow our future milk will come from at Lifeline Farm.
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Last glimpse of summer.
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Local cheese and honey. But seriously, that cheese (from Tucker Farm and Lifeline).

XOXO,

Gossett Girl

Easing Back Into Working Out

It’s been two and a half weeks since my last chemo treatment and one week since my last radiation. I’m feeling pretty good and back to eating almost normal. I am not loving meat as much as I used to. I’ll eat a couple bites and then not able to do anymore. I had a moment of panic last week at a friend’s dinner when I tried red wine and thought it tasted horrible. I was devastated. I had been looking forward to red wine for months! But luckily the same friend came over last night and brought red wine and it was delicious. Whew. I still don’t like beer, but… I suppose that’s better for my waist line?

But back to the main topic; I’ve been trying to get back on the workout bandwagon. The first week after chemo I did a yoga class, and I’m pretty sure the instructor, a friend who knows what I’ve gone through, did a pretty easy class to help me ease back in. There was also only four people in class so it was easier. This past week though, class was full and it was pretty difficult. Near the end I started to feel faint and had to stop mid-pose to regain my composure and catch my breath.

I also went on a couple “runs” last week. I took Fred who stopped me every 3 minutes, and I had to do a run/walk combination, plus I could only go a little over a mile. The smoke has been really bad here lately, making it even harder to run and motivate myself to get out there. It’s slowly clearing out, so I might I try to give it a go today.

I have also been doing some biking which I’m new to. After years of owning my bike, I finally got it fitted this summer so I have better posture, and bought clip-ins so I have more power biking. The routes I’ve gone on have been around 13-16 miles at around 11-12 mph, which apparently  is slow. But whatever, I’m getting a good workout! My legs have been tired. On Wednesday I got home from a bike ride and was exhausted, and felt the sort of sick I get after a long run. It’s hard to remember that I’m not at the same fitness level as before.

It’s nice getting back to normal life. I can clean the house now, and do other things besides sit on the couch, curled in a ball watching tv. I spent yesterday evening prepping for a BBQ we’re hosting today, and three hours in the kitchen wore me out. My legs are still sore from all the standing and walking around! My weight has stayed the same, so now I’m just trying to tone everything, and as always, get rid of that extra pooge that hangs around my tummy and thighs.

Have a great Labor Day weekend!

XOXO,

Gossett Girl

Radiation Treatment: Check!

You can mark radiation as completed! On my list of “Things I never imagined I would have to do”, radiation and chemotherapy have both been checked off. This week I completed two rounds of brachytherapy.

Brachytherapy, for those of you lucky enough to not be in the know, is a type of radiation in which a plastic tube called a dilator is inserted vaginally and the radiation comes from a source, and specifically targets a certain area, in my case, the apex of the vagina. The dilator looks like a church altar candle, and is closed on the end that is inserted, but has an opening on the other side that the source is fed into through a wire. You awkwardly lay on a gurney while they insert the dilator and make sure that the angle is correct, and hold it in place with an intense looking metal device. The device reminded me of the Black Widow scene in the Avengers when she’s being sterilized, guess it’s a good thing that doesn’t effect me anymore! They then take a CAT scan to ensure everything looks good, then moved me to a room that the source is held in.

What is the source you ask? That’s a great question. I am not 100% sure, but I know it’s held in a radiation specific box, that’s not that big, and just hangs out in a room by itself. It goes through a wire that gets fed through the dilator. It’s not painful, but you definitely feel a weird thump during it. Well, it is painful, because there is a lot of pressure on a sensitive spot, but not any sort of burning sensation.

The first day, the whole process takes about 45 minutes with the angling, measuring, CAT scan, moving to another room, waiting for the program to give all the information needed for the treatment, and then treatment was three minutes. The second day, I went straight to the source room, had the measuring and angling, then had the treatment, so about 15 minutes all together. Not too bad.

It feels amazing to finally be finished. I have my follow up appointment in Seattle in October with a PET scan. I’m a little scared something will grow between now and then, but one cannot focus on that. I’m still trying to recover from chemo, my appetite is slowly coming back, but I’m still sensitive to certain foods and smells. I went to yoga on Tuesday which felt amazing, and tried to “run” a mile on Wednesday which was painful. Not sure how this half marathon in 3 weeks is going to go… Hopefully I can try another “run” this weekend. I use quotes, because honestly, it’s more a shuffle than an actual run.

It’s bittersweet celebrating this moment. We should be celebrating something else tomorrow instead. I’m trying to stay positive and not focus on my alternate reality, but it’s hard. It will continue to be hard. I’ve been dreading this weekend for months. I’m hoping if I surround myself with friends and keep myself busy, it will make it easier. I’m sure it won’t be though. I know the moment that silence hits or that I’m alone I’ll start crying. And that will be ok when that happens.

XOXO,

Gossett Girl

Happy 4th!

AKA the last day I have to take my Lovenox shot! That in itself deserves some fireworks. We’re heading to a bbq at a friend’s tonight after a long day hiking, fishing (just Dan), and attempting to make sourdough bread. We are trying a sourdough starter — Wish us luck. The hike was 6 miles round trip and the most exercise I’ve done since… Probably February. I feel good though so hopefully this means I’m recovering quickly!

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Fisherman Dan.

It’s been a busy weekend with one of my best friend’s visiting me from Omaha and bringing out one of her friends, her mom, her mom’s boyfriend, and her 120lb wooly mammoth. Ok, maybe a German Shephard-Malamute mix, but really a wooly mammoth (as seen above). I haven’t seen her since my wedding and I was so excited to hangout with her.

Chemo and radiation start next Wednesday, so I’m trying to relax as much as I can before then. Minus the fact that Dan will be running the Missoula marathon on Sunday and then we’re hopping on a plane to Seattle right after for my follow-up appointment on Monday. Then flying back that night. And then my MIL is coming on Tuesday. So yes, trying to relax until then.

Hope you have a safe and happy 4th!

XOXO,

Gossett Girl

Surgery: Two Weeks Later

Ok, more like two weeks and one day. I’m doing pretty ok physically. I’m off my Tylenol/Ibuprofen mix, and on/off my Docusate/Senna cocktail (for those in the know…). The pain is still there, both in my incision and inside where parts of me were cut out. I still have feeling coming back to my skin. When I put my hand on the area it tingles and feels a little dull. My skin on my stomach is getting dry though, so I’m trying to be better about nightly moisturizing. Also, I still have to give myself nightly Lovenox shots to prevent blood clotting.

FYI — Risk of a blood clot is much higher if you have cervical cancer and need a radical hysterectomy. So they make you take a shot that is more painful than all my IVF shots put together. The needle is small, but the medication is painful. The injection burns as it goes in, and the area stings for quite a few minutes after it’s done. I still have about 18 more days to go with the shots. Not that I’m counting down… I almost gave up on my shot yesterday because I couldn’t even jab it into my skin, until my best friend said to do it because she had just read about Toni Braxton having blood clots in her lung. I’m not sure if it’s just so sore because I’m still sensitive from the surgery (injection site is subcutaneous in the stomach area), or if it just sucks. Probably both.

Dan and I went for a walk yesterday and our neighbor was surprised to see me walking around already. I feel like I have the energy to get out, and a small part of me wants to get back to exercising, but I know I’m nowhere near healed. I also stopped taking the pain medication because Sunday night I had the worst stomach pains. It felt like my stomach was trying to explode or burn a hole in my body. Dan was worried I had an ulcer or some sort of reaction to the surgery. The pain finally subsided, but came back briefly Monday night. I think it might be my stomach’s way of telling me I ate too much. Sunday night I had a Seattle dog (hot dog with cream cheese, onions, sauerkraut, jalapenos, mustard) and perhaps it was just too much for my gentle stomach (ok reading the description now, I realize that maybe the Seattle dog isn’t for the faintest of hearts). Maybe at 32 I just can’t handle what I could in my 20s after a night out drinking… (No I wasn’t drinking on Sunday.)

Mentally I’m doing just ok. I was supposed to see a friend yesterday but I didn’t have the energy to meet up and chat. There’s a commercial going on right now that talks about how amazing women’s bodies are; they give birth, run marathons, etc. It makes me feel like my body isn’t amazing. Though, I have run a marathon so I guess in that case, I am pretty amazing. And my body has been through so much these past couple of months, and I’m still going strong. I’m still sad though. Seeing families and babies still makes me cry. I can’t watch Modern Family when Gloria is pregnant, and I’ve decided the Real Housewives of NYC are my favorite housewives because none of them are trying to get pregnant.

I’m sure one of these days I’ll be back to normal. But until then I’ll just wait and see if Bethenny and Ramona can be friends again and if Tom and Luann’s relationship will last…

XOXO,

Gossett Girl