Doctor visits and Scans

About two weeks ago, I had my latest hospital check up.  It seems inevitable that Brett and I drive down to St. Louis for my check up scans in icky weather.


But drive down to St. Louis we did.  For the first year after my treatment ended I had CT scans every 3 months.  In October of 2012, this frequency changed to every 6 months.  The not eating for 8 hours prior to each scan makes me a little giggly and a lot uncomfortable.  The hospitals tend to be cold but the nurses and office staff are always as friendly as can be.  There is even a woman who works the front desk of the CT waiting room who now knows me by name.  🙂

Not having had a scan for 6 months now, I was a little nervous about whether something had cropped up during all of that time away from my friend the CT scanner.  I’ve found myself feeling around on my neck the past few weeks thinking about whether I can detect anything abnormal or anything larger than normal.  I have dreams sometimes about what my life would be like if I were facing another round of chemo…about how I would change my life and what this new life would look like.  The formality and the coldness (literally, these places are always soo cold!) of the hospital never seems to be comforting and the process of getting the IV started and getting scanned are lonely.

This time though, almost right off the bat, the ice was broken and all worries needed to be thrown out the window.  Due to a new CT area protocol, because I have fallen in the last 30 days (and even though I fell on ICE), I was deemed a ‘fall risk’ and made to wear this ridiculous bracelet around the hospital.  It is just hard to feel as nervous about the consequences of having a new CT scan with that goofy bracelet around your wrist!  I proudly told everyone I came into contact with about why I was deemed a fall risk and to let me know if they spotted any ice in the hospital that I should watch out for.  🙂


In the end, the scan was clean!  Brett and I met with my oncologist and everything looks fine.  We scheduled my next scan for 6 months from now and the four of us drove back to Champaign.  And whenever Brett forgets his sunglasses and needs to wear mine, the drive is that much more entertaining 🙂




letter writing

I have always loved getting snail mail (doesn’t everyone?!) 🙂  I also really really enjoy sending out letters and cards.  When I lived in France I had a few friends who would send me monthly correspondences.  When I was going through chemo, a few of my mom’s and my dad’s friends would send me little cards/care packages and so would my own friends.  I’ve found sending cards to be a great way of connecting with those that I love, both those who live close by and those who have moved far away (or those who I have moved far away from).  I feel connected to them when writing the letter and the goal is then to allow them to feel connected to me when they receive their little surprise in the mail.  I have found the connection created by snail mail to be so much more personal and loving than those connections obtained through social media outlets.

I have kept every special piece of mail that has ever been sent to me.  Brett learned when organizing the paper that was building up in our office that ‘letters/cards’ needed their own shoe box as they were overrunning the file folder that was holding them.  The ones from my childhood and undergraduate years are in their own boxes.

This also means that I tend to LOVE purchasing stationary and card sets.  TJ Maxx is a great place to buy some great letter writing supplies at a discount!  Here are a few of my current collection of supplies…


Do you have a way of feeling connected to those you love?  Maybe through the joys of snail mail?  🙂


To live or not to live in an Aquarium?

Mother Nature decided to recreate an episode from Noah’s Arc at our house recently…too bad we only had 2 humans and 2 female dogs to offer.  🙂  Brett and I traveled to St. Louis on Tuesday, returned home on Wednesday, and by Thursday evening it had been raining for a week here in Chambana and our downstairs was full of water.

Brett and I live in a tri-level so the downstairs isn’t really treated as a basement.  We have carpet down there and a ‘rescued from the garbage’ ping pong table along with an old tv.  We have a few adopted futons (seriously, we just collect other people’s furniture!) and the backseat from the McDonald-Jones family minivan (that is an entirely other story, haha).  The carpet is a lovely red shade of the indoor-outdoor variety.

When we moved in, there was a drain that I needed to have checked out by a plumber/roto-rooter.  After having some difficulty scheduling this due to our chemo treatments and other summer conflicts, the drain was never looked at.  Last spring, Champaign-Urbana received some pretty heavy rain fall.  Brett and I made sure everything downstairs was pulled away from the exterior walls and yet, we had no water enter the house.  “Perfect,” I thought.  “No need to get the drain checked out after all!”  This spring it rained for almost an entire week straight…lots and lots of rain and just as the rain was stopping, we ended up with a very wet downstairs indeed.  (we also later had someone come and look at that silly drain and it wasn’t even to blame!)  🙂

I called my dad and Lucas for pointers and Brett and I attacked the lower level immediately.  We moved everything upstairs into the entryway and kitchen, and started shop vac-ing the closets and carpets.  In 5 hours our lower level went from looking like this…




to looking like this…




using our handy, dandy shop-vac.  (Seriously, in this post I mentioned 3 things that are essential to home improvement…I’m adding the shop-vac!)


Brett even went out in the rain and cleaned out what he could of that pesky drain!



Did anyone else have water in their house lately?  Do you all have any tips/advice on how to avoid it or how to deal with it?  🙂


Girly Wednesday ~ ii

The other week I was looking through some of my favorite beauty/fashion/design blogs and ran across this great article from thebeautydepartment where they describe how to make a more matte look from your lipstick, lipstain, or lip gloss.  They blog article also said that the method would help the color more thoroughly set, and therefore stay on your lips for longer!  Well…I *had* to give it a try!

1. I have many shades of lipstick and lipgloss.  For a first try though, I used Sunset from Mary Kay

2. For the blush, I used a sample from Clinique that I had lying around.  It is a shade called fig

3. My lips, pre-lipstick.

4. My lips, post-lipstick.

5. My lips, post application of the blush.  You can tell that the color is now matte.


The color of the shade has changed a little, but not much.  I tried this with another lipstick color that I don’t like as much any more and also saw very little changes in the final shade of the matte lip color.  I think that using a blush with a different hue (either brighter or darker, depending on the desired final color shade) would do more to help change the appearance of the matte look.

Do you all have any fun make up tips or strategies?  🙂


Flourless Chocolate Cake!

I made a flourless chocolate cake recently for Brett’s mom, Patti’s birthday.  It’s her favorite!  🙂  I used a recipe from here.

After beating the sugar into the batter, its time for the eggs, and then the cocoa powder.

blog_cake1The cake is baked in a round, 8″ cake pan (I used our pie pan), allowed to cool, and then dumped upside down onto a platter.  The recipe I used said to line the pan with wax paper…they meant it 🙂  I didn’t and there were some structural problems (i.e. the middle of the cake really wanted to stay in the pan while the rest of the cake didn’t mind falling nicely onto the platter).


A final dusting of cocoa powder, and…bon appétit !



Do you have any favorite sweet recipes?