The WOO at the end

Sep 17

The WOO at the end is what matters. Our seventeen hour flight from Texas, USA to Queensland, AUS ended up taking us twenty hours.  There was bad weather on the east coast of Australia last night, so we had to go around the storms.  We didn’t have enough fuel to maintain the rigorous safety standards, so we were required to make a refueling stop in Noumea.  I know, where?  I can’t tell you anything about the place.  We sat on the plane (weren’t allowed to de-plane at 4:15am local time) for an hour and twenty minutes while it refueled.  Since the four of us occupied the four middle seats in the plane (full flight–no extra seats to stretch out in), we couldn’t even see out the window what Noumea has to offer. Overall it went as expected.  Maren enjoyed the in-flight entertainment immensely (as I knew she would), and Greta was frustrated by almost everything about the flight (as I knew she would be).  We all slept a little bit, all of it during the first half of the flight, so it was that second half (including those bonus three hours) that were *really special.* But, after walking through Australian customs with Greta screaming like a crazed banshee, we made it: our people were waiting for us and we were WOOOOO HOOOOed into Australia.  We have the best family.  AND all the gear fit into the car with a lot of room to spare.  Phew. It’s so good to be here and to see my girls here.  Maren is intrigued by the steering wheels and cars on the “wrong” side.  She’s learning Aussie slang: chips = french fries, lolly = candy, togs = swim suit, jumper = sweatshirt.  My uncles have won them over already and they are buddies. We went directly from the airport to see my grandmother, Ma.  The fact that we were willing to go to her before showering our hours and hours of travel crud off says something about how important she is to our family.  She was able to see Maren be Maren and Greta be Greta.  She was able to see me, cancer-free and to see mom cancer-free.  I’m looking forward to building...

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Race day details

Sep 12

Hiya, There is still time to sign up for Saturday’s Race for the Cure if you are interested.  Here is the link to register, and our team name is “Do Today Well.”  You can donate on that page also.  I am a procrastinator myself, so I have a special love for all the last minute folks who sign up. For anyone meeting up with me/us on Race Day, here are some key details. We’re traveling with a stroller and our pace will be family-friendly.   The 5k starts at 9am at the corner of Race Street and Freedom Way. We are going to get there early so that we can park easily and walk through the exhibition at Great American Ball Park (Red’s stadium.)  Plan on lots of people and lots to look at. From 8:30 to 8:45, Team Do Today Well will hang around the northwest corner of Walnut St and Freedom Way.  This is my best guess as a good meeting spot; it’s about 2 blocks from the starting line and right in the middle of the action.  See map of this location.  We can also be in touch via phone/text.  Email me (andersonfamilyzoo (at) gmail (dot) com) if you want my number. I’ll be walking with Brad, Maren and Greta, as well as many other family members.  I’ll be walking with long-time friends, and new friends.  I’ll be walking with fellow-survivor friends, and even stranger-friends.  I’ll be walking and praying for a cure.  If you see me and we’ve never met, please introduce yourself!  Cheers!...

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Eve Eve Eve

Sep 12

In our family, we count down to special events in Big Sleeps.  141 Big Sleeps, 40 Big Sleeps, and now we are down to 3 Big Sleeps.  It’s Aussie Eve Eve Eve, people. In 3 Big Sleeps NanaRoz, Maren, Greta and I leave to see Nana’s side of the family, all of whom live in Australia.  Mom (Roz) was an exchange student in high school where she was placed at my Dad’s high school in suburban Cleveland, Ohio. By the way– can you imagine getting your placement envelope?  She’s coming all the way from small-town Australia, and gets to go to (drumroll….)  Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Cleveland. Lucky for us, it worked out for the best.  Mom and Dad got married in Australia five years after they met during her exchange, and then promptly moved to the U.S. to start their life together. I always knew that my parents had a wonderfully romantic love story, and that always made me happy. We’ve always had a strong connection to the Australian Mob; we make the most of our across-the-pond visits.  All of them have been here at some point or another, and I’ve been blessed to travel there quite a bit.  My mom’s favorite saying is “It’s only miles between us, nothing else.”  We’ll be visiting with my grandmother (Ma), my four sets of aunts and uncles, and my eight cousins. This will be our trip to celebrate five-years-worth of birthdays, Christmas’s, school holidays, picnics and vacations.  This is our post-cancer WOOO HOOO trip.  We have one month to cram in as much as fun and celebrations as possible.  The most important thing about the trip is seeing our people.  Lucky for us, an added bonus is that this whole side of the family lives in actual paradise.  Colorful lorikeets (think parrot, but smaller and cuter) are all over one family’s tree, kangaroos are frequently spotted bounding through another family’s property, and there are adventures and experiences awaiting us that are uniquely Australian and amazing memory-makers in their own right.  I am so excited to see my girls experience the country and people I know and love so much.  It is so important to me that my girls get...

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Little Buddy

Sep 10

Little Buddy

      My children are four years apart in age.  Four years, and two weeks, to be exact. Maren was an only child for all of her baby and toddler years.  I have magical memories of those years with her.  Some moments were magical, at any rate.  Many days were long and frustrating and I wondered if being a stay-at-home mom was good for either one of us.  But the chaos is lost in The Blur of raising small children, and I am left with a handful of crazy toddler stories and memories of happy long hours spent with my once wee one. She was my little buddy when we moved out-of-state and Brad took on a challenging MBA program in addition to his already demanding full-time job. I have many memories of Maren during those baby/toddler years.  Once, in the grocery store, she climbed out of the (dreaded) car cart, and went around the corner. I said in my best Mad Mommy voice, “Maren. You. Get. Back. In. The. Cart. Right. Now.” I also assumed my Mad Mommy pose: one hip thrust out, foot tapping, eyebrow arched, arms crossed.  I am a force to be reckoned with and Ye Shall Yield! Maren did not come back from around the corner.  I took some Mad Mommy steps and looked around the corner. No Maren. Recognizing the look of panic on my face, two moms at the other end of the grocery store aisle began pointing and swinging their arms to the right.  I took off in the direction they were signaling.  It was as if I was running the bases and they were waving me through.  So, I ran.  It took me two laps around the store to catch my little booger Maren.  (Seriously, two laps around the whole store is embarassing.)  I had to pass those same moms twice.  It was a scene.  The stinking car cart (WHO invented those things– NOT COOL) was abandoned near the apple sauce. By the time I caught her, I was laughing too much to scold her.  Because, really?  Really Maren?  You just did that? I’m so thankful for our meandering grocery trips, our exploration of every park and playland in...

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NED-iversary

Sep 04

Today is my very first NED-iversary (also known as my cancer-free anniversary). Forgive me while I imagine a balloon cascade, confetti galore, trumpets sounding, and angels singing.  Because that’s what I’m doing.  All. Day. Long.  There is a spotlight from heaven above shining upon me and I am leaving actual sparkles wherever I go. While I put Maren on the bus, and pack her lunch.  While I play with Greta.  While I take a walk with my friend.  All around me: balloons, confetti, trumpets, angels. There are days that I’ll always remember: water-skiing as a child, my first play in a Varsity match, walking onto my college campus for the first time, meeting Brad, our wedding day, Maren’s birth, Greta’s birth, and my NED day.  NED ranks up there with the most glorious moments of my life. Balloons, confetti, trumpets, angels.  It’s an amazing day. One year ago today I got the call from Dr. Awesome, my surgeon, that the pathology report showed clean margins after my double mastectomy.  This meant that I had No Evidence of Disease (NED); it is the prize every cancer patient dreams about. The call came four weeks after I completed 20 weeks of chemotherapy.  (End result: Chemo killed the cancer cells.) The call came after two PET scans and a bunch of follow up scans–especially my spine and liver which showed “suspicious spots”.   (End result: My body showed no evidence of metastases.) The call came after a bi-lateral mastectomy surgery.  (End result: Dr. Awesome cut the cancer out.) You can see why I was eagerly anticipating this call.  I’d been through a lot.  Throughout my diagnosis and treatment, my medical team had been quite careful to never tell me “it will be okay” or “we have every reason to hope” or “good statistics” or “early detection”.  Those feel good phrases just weren’t used for me: we all knew that if I was to be cancer free, it would be by the grace of God and a straight up miracle.  So this NED news is what I had been praying for all that time.  Many of you joined me in those prayers.  (Thank you!) I was five days post-op when I got the call....

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