October 31, 2008


Our traditional pumpkin carving went down last night on these beauties from our garden. Claire carved her own jack-o-lantern this year and even took extra time to add a tiny bat on the back of her pumpkin, while Ben was pretty much just interested in using the knife to hack the guts apart.

Here's the finished product. Blurry photo, but you get the drift. The picture was taken in complete darkness with my camera set to the action mode; I wasn't trying to be artsy, I just didn't feel like getting the tripod.

Hope your day is super spooky. We're taking our witch and our skeleton out on the town tonight and I've already been thinking of ways to scam their peanut butter cups.
Happy Halloween!

October 30, 2008

Let's Focus on Art: Part 1

Let's take a break from the cancer thing and the waiting for the blood test results that will determine my fate and concentrate on a mini book I recently completed. It's all about our experiences last winter with the amazing amounts of snowfall and winter storms. I was able to go back on this blog and use my entries from those cold days for my journaling. The pictures really don't do it justice, but I'm sharing anyway because it turned out to be quite beautiful.

Stay tuned for the rest tomorrow. Hope your week is treating you well. Thanks to all our friends and family for the amazing support and love, and thanks to Mark for that funny post yesterday. We're really trying to keep it light and embrace the humor. But don't worry, I've been doing plenty of falling apart too, lest you think I'm in denial!!

October 29, 2008

Mark posts while Kristi rests

Ahhh a new demotivator,, just in time! These always cheer me up.

This one kinda sums up our day yesterday. Kristi’s endocrinologist wants to run some more tests before the surgery. She thinks the pathology suggests that this may not be a “run of the mill” papillary carcinoma and wants the surgeon to be more aggressive if needed. Even if it is just a papillary carcinoma, the whole deal sounds more unpleasant than we thought as well. After the Sweeney Todd surgery they want her to spend a few weeks getting way hypothyroid (which doesn’t sound fun at all, but the body makes a bunch of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone in response and that is good) and be iodine restricted before radiation. The nuclear medicine will be administered in the hospital in Spokane where she will be sequestered away from us living things that matter for a couple days. You are welcome to send any big assholes you can find to visit her; I suspect she'll be feeling more than a tad testy and might enjoy nukin' 'em. Five days later we are back up in Spokane for a whole body scan, but at least she will be starting to get thyroid hormone back in her system by then.
But the potential alternatives are way worse,, so lets all chant in unison: "GO papillary carcinoma GO!"

October 27, 2008

Happy Birthday...

...to my dad, Brian. He turns 62 today, but pretty much still looks the same as this picture from 1965. In addition to our excellent taste in music, my dad and I share the same body type (thanks for those genetics pops!) and I recently made a startling connection to that effect. For as long as I can remember, my dad's ankles have creaked when he walks up the stairs, and guess what?, so do mine! It's a little weird dad, but I want you to know that I think about you every time I ascend the staircase.

Have a happy happy happy happy happy birthday!

October 25, 2008

The Dealin' Is Done

The word SURGERY is etched in red on my calendar for November 19. Mark and I have been awarded a two-night stay at beautiful downtown Deaconess hospital, compliments of the party going on in my thyroid. My surgeon, Dr. Bunn, is a nice enough guy, but how much can you really know (or want to know) about a person who's gonna pull the old Sweeney Todd on your neck? I just hope he gets his Truman mojo going on and nukes those little bastards.

Long week here, but we're all dealing really well. We're working hard to think of the unexpected pleasantries of cancer, like when Mark asked me if I'd help split and stack firewood and I said "but honey, I have cancer". The truth is, today goes by just like yesterday, even with cancer, so I'm choosing to laugh way more than I cry. Mark got out in the sunshine today for a little steelhead fishin' and the kids and I did Claire's last soccer game this morning and spent the afternoon at the park with friends. I've got a fire going in the hot tub for a little soak under the stars tonight. I bet I could talk that guy of mine into a nice long backrub too....

October 21, 2008

Tuesday's Not Quite So Black

I talked with my doctor this morning and she is very optimistic that we will be able to take care of this and make our departure date to Germany. I have a consultation with her next Tuesday; she will be handling my case and will not refer me on to an oncologist. She has referred me to a surgeon, who will be able to consult with me this Friday morning and perform the surgery within a month. After surgery we will begin hormone replacement therapy and radiation treatment. Mark and I spent a lot of time reviewing the pathology report last night and are feeling fairly comfortable with the diagnosis. I have some "rare" cells which are good markers for the type of cancer present and it falls in the spectrum of upper to high curability. I have to share with you how very thankful I am to have a partner who can decipher microphage, follicular epithelium, and "orphan annie" inclusion!! I have about a 50% chance that the cancer has metastasized, but we can't know until the surgery and we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. In the meantime, I'm trying to stay in the moment. My mom is coming for the surgery and I can't tell you how comforting that is to me right now. Thanks for all your good thoughts, I'm feeling the energy.

October 20, 2008

A New Meaning for Black Monday

First, me and my guy all gussied up to go dancing on Saturday night. We traded some babysitting and headed to Spokane for the night. We still got it, uh huh.

An impromptu invitation from the WSU Women's Soccer Team for Claire's team and another to play a 10-minute half-time game on Sunday afternoon. In addition to the pride I felt at seeing my kid on the field, the women's game against Stanford was awesome. That's the first time we've ever been, but I think we'll be going back!

Now, for the moment you've all been waiting for, drumroll please.......... we're going to have to get used to the big "C" in this family. My pathologist report came back this afternoon and this is what it said: This constellation of findings is disconcerting and is very suggestive of a cystic hemorrhagic papillary carcinoma. I have yet to speak to my doctor, but I assume that will happen fairly quickly and we'll be able to share more info soon. May I just say F@#K!

October 16, 2008

Tom Petty Had It Right

The waiting is the hardest part. And my endocrinologist, bless her heart, has given me internet access to all of my medical files. Is she insane? You can probably guess I was at the site numerous times this afternoon, checking to see if my test results were posted yet. No news.

When Ben and I were driving today and listening to Nickelback on the radio, he expressed to me his interest in becoming a rock star someday. I told him there had been a time in my life when I had wanted to be a rock star too, to which he replied "Mama, you're a music lover, not a rock star." Excuse me? I can still rock with the best of them you little booger. Just for that I'm totally going to make fun of your dancing right before you take that girl who makes you sweat to the senior prom!!

October 13, 2008

Business As Usual

Friends for sleepovers.

Soccer games.

Everyday beauty.

A messy, messy desk because I'm working on a fabulous mini album.

Mario racing cart on the Nintendo.

The goodness of coffee while working on my computer.

Tomorrow is my biopsy, FOR REAL. I'm not nervous anymore, just ready to get some results.

Happy Monday!

October 9, 2008

Happy Belated Birthday...

...to my wonderful mother-in-law Nancy, a.k.a. Mom. She turned the ripe young age of ??? on Tuesday and I have been delayed in wishing her a happy birthday here on the blog. Some MIL's would become angered at such an oversight by the woman who professes to love their son, (and mom I want you to know that I do love him dearly, except for that one little thing you and I have talked about.....) but I know mine will forgive me, she's just that cool!!


October 7, 2008


I met my endocrinologist yesterday and she kindly refrained from sticking a needle in my neck just yet. I guess she felt like that was a bit forward for a first date, so it's been planned for our second date next Tuesday, Oct 14. The information I walked away with is this: she does not think my pms/hormonal swings are a result of the nodules in my thyroid, they're probably a result of progesterone swings (a.k.a. pre-menopausal) and she started me on a therapy for that; the nodules in my thyroid are certainly "misbehavin'" and should be removed, cancer or no cancer. If they are malignant (95% of nodules are not), get them out immediately of course, but if they're not, might we wait until after Germany to do the deed? So as my FIL so eloquently says each time his bloodwork comes back negative "I'm cancer-free for another 90 days" or in my case, another 14 at least!

Ben on his 6th birthday.

Ben's first day of kindergarten.

I'm feeling the scrapbooking goodness coming on and just found out I'm free this weekend. Anyone up for a crop?

October 5, 2008

Making Pies

One of my all-time favorite songs by Patti Griffin is "Making Pies." The song lyrics imply that sometimes life hands you stuff you don't want to deal with, but you have no choice, so instead of being angry or sad about it, you can just make pies. Art is like those pies to me. Instead of tuning in to the worry of my tomorrow, I disappeared into my studio for awhile this afternoon and this is what I churned out. Because these layouts are what I call the "necessary" layouts (events and holidays), they didn't require a ton of creative energy but still gave me some welcome creative peace.

Ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration biopsy, here I come.

October 2, 2008

School Pictures

I loved school pictures when I was a kid. It was exciting, the disruption of the normal school day, standing in line nervously with your friends and trying to whisper, knowing when it was your turn everyone would be looking at you! We encourage the kids to dress themselves each day, so the clothing choices for school photos are always theirs. That way when they look back at themselves, they'll remember that they had on their favorite duds.

Claire: Grade 4

Ben: Kindergarten