Butterfly Brave: my fight continues…



It’s been a while. Since I’ve talked about this battle I’ve been fighting. Because most of how I feel is dark and sad and very broken. So I don’t talk much about it. This darkness that has overcome me.

It’s now been nearly 3 months since my diagnosis, and I’ve undergone 4 chemotherapy sessions, with 15 more rounds to go. 15 of which I try not to think about often. Which doesn’t work in the dead of night, when I’m in pain and feeling sick. Because 15 more sessions, to me, feel like forever. All 4 of my previous sessions has made me very sick. Sick as well as struggling with sometimes horrific pain. Which none of the pain meds I’ve been taking have relieved. Pushing me towards seeing the inside of the ER a dozen times since starting chemo. Because their drip meds have been the only thing to bring me any sort of relief. Needless to say, most of the ER doctors and nurses know me. Well. Not something I’m proud of.

I’ve been an emotional wreak. Pain and constantly feeling sick does that to me. Forcing  the darkness deeper into who I am. And so far, I’ve found nothing to save me. With the exception of the brightness of my daughter, everything is dark. And I’m struggling now more than I’ve ever struggled before. And am jealous of everyone else around me going about their daily lives, with work, and homemaking, and activities with family & friends. Most of which I’m too sick to partake in. And with this jealousy comes a lot of anger. At cancer. Of where I am right now. Of who I’ve become within this bleakness.

With the sole exception of my beautiful, fiery, loving, affectionate, comforting little girl. Who’s big smile and wide, merry eyes are the only things keeping me from giving up. Because without my Mischief Maker, I would. Give up.

Because this is where I am right now…

A warrior fighting a battle she doesn’t want to face. A warrior too tired and hearts worn to do anything but try to keep her stand.

Photography by the most loving Colleen R with C.R. Photography

Happiness Project#83: The Fruitastic Breakfast Smoothie!




Let’s talk about smoothies. Or milkshakes. Or maybe both. Since starting chemotherapy 4 weeks ago, my taste buds have gone, well, a wee bit wacky. Many of the things that I used to love to indulge in, I simply don’t love anymore. Like coffee and chocolate. I know. Two things that simply don’t taste like coffee, or chocolate anymore. Truly saddening, right? *sigh* I can only hope that next year, one I’ve completed chemotherapy, I’ll finally be able to enjoy both of these Mom “staples” again.

Until then, I’ve developed a list of things that I DO truly still enjoy right now. Mashed Potatoes, White Rice, Buttered Toast, Broccoli, Snap Peas, Peaches, Grapes and best yet, Strawberries! Can I get a hallelujah for strawberries?? Whew. Thanks Be. So to celebrate the list of things that I DO still enjoy indulging in, I’ve been on a smoothie/milkshake making frenzy! Because somehow, this Mama is determined to create the BEST fruity mix!

After a couple of trail & errors, I’m overjoyed to say that I’ve finally got it JUST right! And I truly know so, after my 3-1/2 year old came running up to me in the kitchen, hugging my leg while saying, “You make the best smoothies, Mommy!” Yeah, I nearly crumbled up into a giant puddle of love right then and there. Thanks Be for my greatest fan: my beautiful, sassy, enthusiastic Little Girl. She makes everything better.

Anyhow, back to this smoothie. Or milkshake, since true to any classic milkshake, this does incorporate milk.  You ready for one of the fruitiest breakfast drinks you’ll ever come across? Let’s do this! You’ll need:

2 cups fresh, rinsed and sliced strawberries

1 cup fresh, sliced peaches, either white or yellow, your choice

1/2 cup sliced banana

1-1/2 cup ice cubes

3 scoops vanilla ice cream

1/2 cup whole milk or orange juice

Throw all of those fresh ingredients into a blender, and pulse for 3-5 minutes until each of the ingredients is fully blended.

Spoon out this fruitastic smoothie into 4 of your favorite serving glasses. And serve while it’s cold!

Your tummies, and your mornings will thank you!

Until next time, xoxoxo

Butterfly Brave! A lesson in eggs!

fresheggs (1)

Beautiful, farm fresh eggs. With lovely speckled shells and thick (perfect) yolks. A dream for hard core bakers and pastry chefs like me. Every (rather infrequent) time I get my hands on fresh organic eggs like these, my heart sings a little (okay, a lot) like it’s Christmas Eve. In July. Since it IS July. […]

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Happiness Project#81: Broccoli Salad with a side of Chemo!


3 weeks ago I went in for my 7th surgery. To remove another tumor. But things didn’t quite go as planned or expected. Instead of leaving the operating room with one less adrenal gland, I ended up leaving without a full kidney as well. Though I wasn’t told WHY I had unexpectedly lost a kidney […]

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Happiness Project: 3 Days


I’m just 3 days shy of going in for my 7th major surgery in 11 years. To remove my 6th tumor. This one being a 7cm tumor engulfing my adrenal gland. And no matter that I’ve undergone so many major surgeries, it never gets easier. I always go through short bouts of nerves and anxiety […]

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Happiness Project#80: Summer Peach Smoothie!


Summer is officially upon us. Can you tell how excited I am? Yeah, not so much. Menopause, my friends. Menopause is just not fun in 90 degree heat. However, you know what I do LOVE about the summer? Playdates for my Daughter. Because not only are other preschool children out of school, but my Daughter’s […]

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Happiness Project#79: Lemon Ice Cream Cake!


Adult friendships are, well, difficult. To put it lightly. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have three very close adult friends in the last 20 years, two of which live out of state from me. And because of my naturally reclusive nature, made even more so since becoming bi-polar, with an anxiety disorder, it’s not easy […]

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Happiness Project#78: Chocolate Chip Monkey Bread!


In light of the recent tragedy at the Cincinnati Zoo last weekend, this chocolate chip monkey bread recipe apparently was calling my name. Or my heart perhaps. And I couldn’t resist it’s pull. The frenzy (& madness) that flooded social media after the tragic killing of the zoo’s incredibly popular silverback gorilla, Harambe, has drawn […]

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Happiness Project#77: Cookie Dough Milkshake!


It’s time, my friends. Time to take a piece of my heart and run with it. I’m a strong advocate of helping those less fortunate than I. Particularly those who face circumstances that no one should ever have to face. Circumstances that become a battle for ones own life. Neuroblastoma. DIPG. Leukemia. Three pediatric cancers […]

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Happiness Project#76: Ross Family Butter Noodles!

Who’s doing a little happy dance, right now? This Mama! I finally decided to take the plunge and purchase an indoor, tabletop lightbox studio, with two adjustable studio lights, and I totally love it! Up until now, I’ve been using the natural lighting that my “studio” porch bench outside provided, but would always need to […]

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