Thursday, June 18, 2009


This picture is the one that people see and realize that how much Abbey looks like me. She is going on her third week at Camp Mystic and doing great! I am so proud of her but I'm also missing her like crazy. I thought I would post this pic in her honor!

I am a self professed shopaholic. Anyone who knows me in the slightest can testify that is a true statement. I love to shop. I always say it is how I work out. I can get a great cardio workout running from store to store and the weight of shopping bags helps me firm up my arms. Stick with me here- this is not a testimonial to me being a materialistic Betty Bow Head. Yes, I love things like shoes, purses and makeup. And even though I refuse to dig through piles or really don't classify myself as a bargain hunter, I do love a deal. I'm a true Southerner in the fact that I try to "buy low, sell high". I do get giddy when I find a great deal.

But I don't just love shopping for myself. I love finding the perfect gifts for people. I love finding something for someone that I love that I know is going to bring some sort of joy or happiness to them. In the South, we call it a "happy" or my old roommate and I used to call it a "mall prize". I love the challenge of finding that perfect thing for someone.

One of the MANY lessons I've learned through the Hodgkin's Hump is how to receive gifts. I've always gotten a little uncomfortable receiving a gift. We have had some many wonderful friends and family who have come forward in so many ways. This past Saturday was the marrow drive in the neighborhood. We had over 300 people come forward to get tested. It was truly incredible! For those of you who couldn't make it and still want to get tested, here is the info. The on line drive will go through July 12th.
1.Go to
2. Click on Join Now (there will be a note about a $52 tissue typing fee that my apply, please disregard since it will be waived by the promo code entered.)
3. First 2 pages are account set up
4. Enter Promo Code: TracyeS
5. The Buccal Swab Kit will be mailed to the address entered with instructions on how to properly swab and return.
6 Swab your cheek and mail the kit back in the self addressed, stamped envelope ASAP! (Please note that the Buccal Swab Kit must be returned within 60 days of registering)

The past two weeks have been very trying for me. I spent Monday through Friday of last week at MDA. Sometimes for eight hours a day. Today is the first weekday that in two weeks that I have not had to go up there for some reason. I have been poked like a human pin cushion. This Monday they took 12 vials of blood from me. The ironic thing is that I'm reading the fourth book of the 'Twilight' series which is about vampires! On Tuesday, I had a bone marrow harvest. Since the cancer has not spread to my bone marrow, they took some out to possibly use as a future option. If I were to relapse, they could give me my marrow back since it is not infected. They had to take it now to prevent the risk of the cancer spreading to it and then not having it as an option. I am VERY sore and won't be doing yoga anytime soon! I had my CT and PT scans to re-stage me. There was good news and there was bad news. The good news is the scans showed significant shrinkage of cancer in my neck. The bad news is that there was so growth in my chest. My stem cell onc wants me to be as close to remission as possible for my transplant. So I am doing a couple rounds of traditional chemo. I had my date with Joel last night. It was pretty uneventful. I am really getting tired of him being so needy with me and really think it's time for us to part ways!

This was really not the news Doug and I were wanting to hear- of course we wanted to hear that I was in complete remission. But I do realize God has given us several gifts with this.
1. My transplant has been pushed back at least a month. I have to be chemo free for at least 3 weeks before the transplant. This means I get to go with Doug to pick Abbey up from camp. I can't wait to see her!
2. We have been given the gift of knowledgeable doctors that are looking out for my best interest and want this treatment to be successful. I personally think that after this past week, they just don't want to deal with me anymore so they're doing their best to make me well.
3. I have been given the gift of feeling great. Other than being sore, I feel like my typical self with my freakish level of energy.
4. I have been given the gift of a wonderful husband who goes to the important appointments with me, asks questions that I don't think of and gets on my case when I'm being persnickety. I've been having to take blood thinner shots (in my stomach, no less) and Doug has to give them to me nightly. I cannot give myself shots. In fact, I cannot even watch him give it to me. The other night I thought 'what would I do if I didn't have him or had a husband with the same needle phobia I have?' It is so true- God gives you what you need.
5. I have the gifts of friends and family. I am not in this alone. Thanks you so much everyone!
6. I have been given the gifts of serving my children's school and community through PTO and Junior League. This is one of the ways that I keep sane. I can just be me, do something I love and be a contributing member. I am so thankful for the positions I hold.
7. I have been given the gifts of healthy children. I was about to hit a wall yesterday with waiting for the doctor. The MD in MD Anderson stands for Most of your day! I got on the elevator and there was a mother holding her baby. The baby was the one wearing the patient bracelet (that is one piece of jewelry I could do without!). It made me thankful, once again, that this is me going through this and not my girls.
8. I have been given extra time to find out if a 10 out of 10 will come out of the drive last weekend. Pushing the transplant back, gives the marrow center more time to test all the people that have come forward. Everything happens for a reason and this just might be the reason there was some growth in my chest lymph nodes.

I'll wrap up with that before this blog entry becomes an epistle. I will probably lose my hair again with this chemo and the steroids will probably make me chubby again. That's one of the downers- if I'm going to be chubby, at least throw in some Ben and Jerry's. Come on! But the gift will be that I'll get my life back- literally. So it's back to the Hanna Montanna Plan. For those of you who don't know, I have names for each of my wigs. Which will I use the most this time? Sexy librarian or chic soccer mom? Stay tuned to find out!

I'm off to Austin next weekend for my literary agents conference. Please keep your fingers crossed that I can land an agent and get my novel published. I am about 100 pages into my second. Writing has been a huge outlet for me during this whole ordeal. I just wish I had a couple extra hours in the day to sit and write. But then, couldn't we all use a couple extra hours to do the things we enjoy? Time is a gift- to you and to the one you give it to. Make the time.

Love the comments. Keep them coming.

God bless you all!