Feeling Good!


Spending an afternoon at Marymount during my internship!

My rocks!

My rocks!
Wouldn't be where I am without my parents!


Walking for my Masters. An interesting book end as this all started when I graduated from undergrad!

Awesome Nurses!

Awesome Nurses!
After my port removal and saying goodbye to my chemo nurses before moving away from Michigan. Wouldn't be doing that without them!

Last Chemo

Last Chemo

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Something to remember and return to. A good day!

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Sunday, May 29, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 294. A Lot Done!

Saturday has always been a day for running errands but I usually fade out about half way through. I get tired and over welded by my to do list. But I noticed this time I not only got through my whole list...I also spent about three or four hours job hunting online and submitting resumes!  

I love that I can keep moving!!!

365 Things to Smile About Days 292 & 293. Just Good Days!

Combing two days in one post. Been so busy going all day every day and just enjoying it immensely!  Lol!  Doing lots of paperwork and working with clients!  Just being busy doing what I like!!  That's a good feeling!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 291. Umbrellas

All my life I have had really white skin.  Because I have ocular albinism, I burn VERY easily.  Then chemo somehow increased that sensitivity!  I didn't think it was possible but apparently chemo drugs take that as a challenge!  At any rate, I now burn through sunscreen.  And my job keeps me outside, rain or shine.  And most of the month of May Richmond has been under a gray, rainy cloud and  I was walking with an umbrella in my hand.

The sun has come out recently for a small appearance this week.  And I still find myself walking with an umbrella!  Lol!  I decided I was tired of getting burnt no matter how much sunscreen I put on.  I wanted to keep my mind on my students, not wondering where there was shade or if I had to stop to put more on.  So I lather up in the morning, and walk my lessons with my students holding a big umbrella between me and the sun!!  I don't care how silly it looks...I would rather be looking silly and 100% focused on my student then not look silly, be distracted and ultimately as red as a tomato!!  So now I am on the lookout for a cool umbrella!  Maybe the parasol that Abby uses in NCIS?  Lol!  If it is big enough!  And ever goes on sale!  Until then...I would love to find a way to make a personalized one!  I have had a phrase bouncing in my head lately that I think would be fun to put on an umbrella..."O & M Takes You Places!"  Give a shout out to my field as I work!

And now I am rambling so I shall close for the evening!!!  Let me know if you find any cool umbrellas!

365 Things to Smile About Day 290. 12 Hours!

I have to laugh because I went for 12 hours strait with work!  I was exhausted when I got home, could barely move and collapsed into bed...but I DID IT!  I worked a 12 hour day!  And I have a lot more of them coming up!  Lol!  And it's going to be a struggle and a battle each time.  But the long and short of it all is...I worked a 12 hour day so TAKE THAT chemo fatigue!  You didn't win, I did!  I came back from you and it's hard and I can't do anything afterwards but go home and crawl into bed but I WON!

Monday, May 23, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 289. YES!

It's a little thing...and like many things lately tied to my internship.  As I was teaching today I had a difficult time explaining something.  When I finally got my student to where I wanted them, I then stopped the lesson and went back over the difficult section with them.  I wanted to make sure they understood what I was telling them and what they needed to do in that specific situation.  We walked through the issue together and clarified everything.  I found out afterwards my supervisor was watching the lesson before I reviewed and was thinking he would have reviewed with her afterwards. Then when he saw me doing exactly what he was thinking, he said his reaction was "Yes!".  Lol!  Feels good to know that I am on the right track!!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

365 Things to Talk About Day 288. Cava and Relaxing!

Today was, I would say, half a good day and half a frustrating day.  I shall focus on the good part of the day, before I had to deal with traffic to go back to Richmond!

Today was a relaxed day!  Spent just hanging with a friend as we went to mass, got some Cava and chilled during the afternoon going back and forth between eating and chatting with friends, reading and looking up places to stay for the group beach trip this summer!  The rain did help set the mellow tone of the day and that was ok!  Every once in a while you just have to slow it down, settle down on the couch and just chill:).

365 Things to Smile About Day 287. Long Talks & Old Friends

I think one of the marks of a true friendship is the ability to go years without seeing one another, and then pick up where you left off.  I had an opportunity to visit with one such friend Saturday night and it was such a good night!  Last time I saw her my hair was just starting to come back in and looked like a very short buzz cut!  This time my hair was falling well below my shoulders!

We had a great evening of talking and eating a delicious home made dinner for about three hours strait!  Catching up and going back and forth, taking turns talking about so many different things!  We could have easily talked for another three hours!  Lol!

This particular friend has been like an older sister to me since I first met her when I was 18.  Here we are, just shy of 18 years later and for half my life she has been a dear friend to me!  Someone I can pour my heart out to and she takes it all in and seems to always know just what to say.  So Saturday night was a pretty great night!!!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 286. Frozen Yogurt!

One of the many things I love about living in Virginia again is being closer to my friends!  Friday I left work, stopped by my house to grab some clothes and headed up to Northern Virginia to visit friends for the weekend!  Just time hanging out with folks!  No more timelines or planes to catch. 

So last night my friend Ginny and I walked to a nearby self serve frozen yogurt and enjoyed some deliciousness and sat chatting for a while:). It felt so great that no flights and rides had to be set up to be able to just visit with friends!!  Never take closeness of friends for granted!  For five years and one fight with cancer I had to fly to see my friends maybe once or twice a year. Now I can go visit them just to go get some yogurt!  Loving this!!!

Friday, May 20, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 285. Two Mile Power Walk!

Yesterday, like every day lately, was a good day!  It was good because I'm working on O & M with people and seeing a wide range of individuals. But yesterday made me smile for a completely different reason. It has to do with power walking!

Going through surgery, being so anemic, then the total exhaustion of chemo...I honestly never thought I would have an even semi normal life again because of lack of energy and stamina!  Forget ever adding the words "power walk" back into my vocabulary. I talked about the day I could power walk across campus again but deap down, I didn't really believe it could happen. 

Then yesterday happened. One of the lessons I taught involved walking a route to a destination, get lunch, then reverse the route. What I wasn't aware of, as I was not the one who planned the lesson, was that the total route was two miles round trip nor did I know how fast the client walked naturally!!  And so, in order to keep up on my short legs, I had to power walk a mile to lunch and power walk a mile back...up hill!!!  And I did it!!!!!!  I was sucking in air and praying to God to give me the strength to do it and He came through!  I kept up with my student, monitoring their progress and observing their technique. Then after several minutes catching my breath and guzzling my supervisor's water he wisely grabbed at lunch, I gave my feedback and what they should do to improve.  Then my supervisor and I collapsed in the car, cranked up the AC and checked the number of steps we got on that one lesson alone....8,000!!!  Lol!

I guess I learned that Fival was right..."never say never", even if it's just to yourself!!

365 Things to Smile About Day 284. Teaching!!!

Today was s FULL day where I taught FOUR people who will be my own clients!!  It was exciting as all four are starting out!  Some with previous experience and some starting from day 1.  I love it!  I get to make a difference in their lives!  I get to show them the possibilities in front of them!

I think people can tell I love my work!  Lol!!!

365 Things to Smile About Day 283. Eyes Crossing!

And so I'm doing more and more paperwork!  It comes with the territory but it also makes your eyes cross too!  Lol!  I'm getting a system down where I can be more efficient as my case load grows this summer!

And here is the crazy part...even the paperwork makes me smile. Sure, I might make growling noises as I correct my errors in it and try to find the best words to describe what my students are doing and utilizing...but when I look at the finished product I'm starting to be able to say: "Those are MY students!"

465 Things to Smile About Day 282. Week 2

Catching up on the week!
Monday was a busy day but good!  Started week two of my internship!  As I walked in my supervisor and the person in charge of the regional office both started laughing as one calls out..."You came back!!!!"   LOL!!

The day was full of work related things and observations and setting up appointments. A good day!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 281. A Lovely Estate!

Today I spent the afternoon at a lovely estate in Richmond.  It's called Maymount and was donated to the city by it's owners when they passed away back in the 1920's I believe.  It is a BEAUTIFUL estate and the house is so gorgeous!  I loved the decorations and ceilings and pretty much everything.  Over 90% of the furniture and other belongings are original to the house!

It was such a nice day with two friends walking around and sitting and talking and just enjoying the beautiful weather and amazing views!  I am adding some pictures because honestly, they can describe better than my words can how beautiful it is there!  I can't wait to go back and continue exploring the grounds!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 280. Hiking Day in the Sunshine!!!

For the first time in over a week today was a sunny day for most of the day!  So I decided that I was absolutely going to get my 10,000 steps in and started googling local hiking trails.  I found Three Lakes!

It took me a little while to figure out where the trails are as I parked near the park they have there for kids.  But eventually I made my way to a side trail that lead to the lakes:).  I walked 3/4 the way around on lake, half way around the other lake and all the way around the third lake!  Lol!  Now that I know where the proper trail head starts, I think I shall have to return to this place in the future:).  The paths are wide (when you are on the designated trails) and the breeze off the small lakes is refreshing!  But the best part is the paths are almost completely under trees so I can hike without getting a sun burn!!!  SCORE!!!!

My 10,000 steps are in, the rain has returned, and I am ready to take a break today:).  Been going since 7 am (which is ironically sleeping in for me this week!) and I am thinking curling up with a little Netflix sounds good!!

A good day today!

365 Things to Smile About Day 279. First Week!!

Well, today I finished my first week of my internship and it was a really good week!  A lot in my head and I am trying so hard to fit an 8 hour plus day in each week.  The problem is when you are first starting out that there isn't always 8 hours of things to do in a day!  But I managed it!

I got to teach in my first week and plan a lesson for next week!  I saw several different clients and personalities and learned new ways of teaching already:).  I spent time figuring out how I would explain a specific area and learning the new areas to teach in.  And I met a lot of really kind and wonderful people at the regional office!  I found out that the person in charge of the regional office is also a cancer survivor and we had a great conversation and bonding moment when I mentioned a fast doctor visit during chemo in connection to her being late from a doctors appointment that day and her response was "I thought that was a port scar I saw yesterday!" and the conversation ended with a big hug with both of us fighting back a little emotion!

So yes, this is the place for me right now:).  So many lovely people here and a fun and knowledgable supervisor (who has taught me not only O & M but also how to do the beauty queen wave!) and a lot of good experiences all in the first week!  Lol!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 278. Sunshine!

It's gonna be short and sweet tonight. THE SUN CAME OUT TONIGHT!!!  It was starting to feel like the sun was gone forever but this evening it made an appearance as it set!  So I enjoyed a nice walk around the neighborhood and soaked in some vitamin D!!!  Thank you Lord!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 277. Puppy Smiles & Friends:)

This evening was a pleasant day!  Not only did I get to do my first O & M lesson, I also had a lovely evening with friends!  BBQ for dinner and a Facebook recipe for desert. ๐Ÿ˜Š. I spent the evening with Lauren and Bev and two cute puppies!!

I was given another reason to know these two are definent friends!  Lauren's dogs are named Ziva and Sam!!!  Lol!  And Sam has the cutest smile!!!  It was fun to watch the dogs play and I managed to get a smile picture!  Lol!  Nothing makes you laugh and smile like a  puppy's grin!!!  I dare you to look at this picture and not smile!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 276. Happy Memories Through Tears

Eight years ago today my older brother, Peter, passed away from cancer.  For 14 years he had been fighting it through three bouts.  The first two times it was a KO after a good fight.  The third time...it was time for him to go home to God and finally rest.  Eight years later and it still feels like it just happened.  I don't think the tears will ever stop coming when I think of him.  He was my brother.

We were less than two years apart and almost always paired off when doing things in the family.  We went through high school and college at the same time.  Dealt with dating and break ups and trying to get out on our own and finding where God wanted us in life.  It was like we were going through everything in life at the same time.  I knew I could always call him for advice when I was struggling and he knew he could always call me when he was struggling.  One semester he was having a rough time over a break up and he had my class schedule memorized!  lol:)  One time class went late and I had a voice mail from him asking me where I was:).  Lol!  But I was happy he knew I was there to listen.

He would come out to visit me and our other siblings in Virginia and Maryland and generally didn't tell us until he was there:).  One night I was with a house mate working on cleaning and we were being silly and singing when the doorbell rang.  My friend opened it and there was Peter, standing on the front porch with a big smile on his face!  I was so shocked it took me a minute to comprehend he was actually standing there!  Lol!.

Then there was the time he drove me from Virginia to Florida when I was starting school down there. He hung around for several days and helped me get settled in and explore the town.  It was really a great time just the two of us road tripping and exploring.  We had a little thing where I would get him stuffed toys for special occasions.  I had gotten him a stuffed dog in college and he loved it.  So I got him a small teddy bear for taking me to Florida.  He had that bear on his desk at work for years.

So many memories keep flooding back to me tonight.  The year he got a GoCart as a family gift and we took turns driving it up and down the snow covered road, doing doughnuts and sliding all over.  He was so tall he barely fit into it!  Or when we made stupid, silly videos with mom and dad's old VHS camera.  He was usually holding the camera:).  Going sledding and the year the boys were obsessed with snow boarding!  The summer we first moved to the farm and the ditch by the road was HUGE and full of water.  It was his idea to grab a canoe and paddle back and forth in the ditch!  His inability to forget the many times I always looked in the wrong direction at exciting moments:)  Scaring me out of my mind at grandma's!  He convinced me that at midnight a monster would come out of their Grandfather clock.  As it struck 12 we both heard footsteps coming towards the room we were sleeping in.  By the time grandma opened the door to see what the noise was, we were both up on the bed, holding each other and screaming in terror!!!  I guess that back fired on him!  So many memories that I can't write them all down.  But they are all in my memory and in my heart.

Yes, I am crying as I write this but at least I have almost 30 years of memories with him.  And I know he is watching over me even now.  I know he was next to me the whole time I was going through cancer and recovering and in school.  And I know he is with me now, encouraging me in the direction I am going.  But I still wish I could hear his voice; see him roll his eyes at me in irritation.  Get into an argument with him knowing I will never win...even when I win!  I miss him with my whole heart.  But I am going to keep smiling through these tears, and always remember him.

Monday, May 9, 2016

365 Things to Smile About. Day 275. First Day!!!

Today was my first day on my internship.  It started early (and is going to start even earlier tomorrow!!) and kept going with a lot of information!  Lol!  I toured the center grounds and I have to say it is a really nice place!  Very fresh and nicely laid out and just pretty!  Then we talked over the expectations of the internship and went to lunch!  I am happy my supervisor also likes Thai food and he showed me a great little place not far from the center!

In the afternoon we went down to Carytown and walked around the routes used in residential and business sections of lessons.  I saw some interesting new intersections.  They were plus intersections with a round green space in the middle of the intersection so it forced you to use it like a round about to turn left.  The really crazy one was a 4 way YIELD!!  A challenge for teaching street crossings!  It was good to be able to see these areas and stop and listen to the flow of the traffic and figure out how I would teach different intersections.  I was also introduced to a chocolate shop that I am seriously keeping in mind for lessons that require my students to find a specific business!  Lol!

All in all it was a good day.  I met a lot of people and I hope I can remember all of their names soon.  I think by week three I might be getting some of my own students but until then I will be observing and soaking it in and learning the area:).  A good start to my summer and looking forward to the rest:).  I think I will have to become a morning person though!  Woke up at 6:30 this morning and have to be up at 5:30 tomorrow morning!  But you know what?  This is the first job ever where that doesn't bother me:).

Sunday, May 8, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 274. Afternoon Out!

One of the things I love about my friends is they always introduce me to their friends!  This afternoon I had a lovely afternoon with a new friend down here in Richmond!  We got my desk moved into my room, (yeah no more sitting on the floor or at odd angles at my computer!), then had lunch and talked and talked and then capped it off with watching the new Captain America movie!

I was worried about sitting around this afternoon thinking about tomorrow.  I am excited and nervous!  But instead I had a really fun day and now I am ready for tomorrow!  No sitting around making myself anxious!!!  So glad to be getting to know people down here already!!  Looking forward to more fun times this summer!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 273. Bunnies๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

Tonight after dinner I decided to go for a small walk around my new neighborhood. It's a pleasant place with newer houses and wide streets lined with trees. I think the only things missing are sidewalks and white picket fences!  

As I was rounding a corner towards my road I looked into the yard next to me and saw a rabbit sitting very still and watching me walk pass him!  I couldn't help but stop and take a picture!  He was such a cute little guy and it brought back nice memories of the pet rabbits I had when I was little. Just a little something that made me smile and enjoy the rest of my walk:)

365 Things to Smile About Day 272. Shopping!!

I am not a huge fan of shopping. More often then not I get frustrated with the prices or the styles and walk out with nothing. Today, however, I couldn't let that happen. I have either been in school or sick for the past five years and my wardrobe reflected that!!

I needed to find clothes that were professional but also comfortable to be out doors in and cool enough for a Richmond summer. I also needed plain  colors and no loud patterns. I don't like loud patterns to begin with and they are horrible for people with low vision to look at sometimes. But it seems loud patterns are en vogue these days!

Fear not though!  I discovered, quite by accident, a shopping mall two hours from my house and between Burlington Coat Factory and Penny's I managed to find several shirts and pants I can interchange for work!!  Now I just need to find good walking shoes!!  I had a place to get them in Kzoo but ran out of time:(. However, I'm rather happy with my shopping triumph!!  To celebrate I went to a movie at a theatre I also discovered by accident!  Lol!!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 271. Falling Flat!!

So often we try to put up a front when we fall, wether it's literally or figuratively.  We don't want people to think we aren't perfect or strong. When you have cancer many people expect you to be strong. They don't know what to do when you don't have that face up. So you put on that face.  You are strong. You hide it when you fall. 

Today I was walking into my storage unit on smooth, wet pavement and my feet slipped out from under me and I fell almost flat on my back in front of a handful of strangers!  I was ok. I sat there a minute shaking out my arms and hands that failed to catch me. And I realized something. I can't hide it when I fall anymore. And I don't want to hide it anymore. I don't mean I'm going to show every difficulty and stress I experience. But I'm not going to constantly try to put up a front when I fall when it's just too much. 

So today I'm smiling because I felt a little weight lift off my shoulders:).  Nothing like a small dose of public humiliation to make you see that you don't have to be strong 24/7!!!  Lol:)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 270. Coffee!

About ten plus years ago I had to give up coffee and basically all caffeine. It was giving me very bad headaches that easily turned into vicious migraines. 

Today, as I was driving from NOVA to Richmond my eyes started doing their dance as I got more and more tired. Music wasn't helping and neither was water. I stopped at a rest area and found myself standing in front of the vending machine with the Starbucks frapacino drinks and decided that since I don't start work until Monday I would give caffeine another chance. I needed my eyes to stop dancing from being tired!

I bought and drank down a mocha frapacino and it was GOOD!!  I've never been a fan of Starbucks in general but this drink was one I've always liked!!  It was like saying hello to an old friend!  Lol!  It did the trick and got me home:)

So far the only headache is a small sinus one that comes and goes with the barometric pressure change. So maybe once in a while I can indulge in some delicious coffee again!  We shall see! 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

365 Things to Smile About. Day 269. Good Days:)

So today was a good day. Many things made it that way, such as finding out I passed my certification exam!!!!!!  Huge accomplishment!!!!   But I think specifically it was good because of time spent with friends!  I had a three hour visit with one particular person who is very near and dear to me:). At the end of which we were at Five Guys and I could only look up and smile and honestly say that today was a good day because of our time together:). 

Then this evening I had a wonderful time with two more friends!  This included and last minute (and for me, first time!) trip to a "make it yourself" frozen yogurt shop!  I think it was called Zinga's. At any rate, it was soooo good!!!  Then we spent the evening talking until we were all to tired to keep talking!  Lol!

So a good day with friends!  And the best part is...I don't have to say goodbye anymore, just see you soon!!  

Monday, May 2, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 268. Breakfast! Lol!!

This morning before heading down to Richmond my brother and I got a lovely treat from a friend. We had stayed at a hotel with a kitchenette and my dear friend Ginny came over with pans and eggs and bacon and juice and made us an amazing, delicious breakfast!!!!

A great way to start a long and exhausting day!  Hanging with friends and eating a delicious breakfast together!!!  

365 Things to Smile About Day 267. Road Trip!!

Driving from MI to VA in a Uhaul with my little brother!  Lol!!!  It was a very long but good day!  Sometimes chatting, listening music, and being silly. Laughing over rediculous things and, in my case, napping:). 

Then we finally made it to Northern VA and my two dear friends brought us dinner!!!  So tired but so happy to spend time with friends!!  

Sunday, May 1, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 266. GRADUATION!!!!!

Three years ago I was going through my cancer diagnosis and getting ready for a surgery that would completely change my life. I was praying and hoping that I wouldn't need treatment afterwards but that wasn't the case. Six brutal chemo treatments were in the cards for me. I couldn't imagine a specific future at the time. I could only think in the moment and anticipate in fear the next doctor visit or treatment. It took a long time to not make myself sick with that fear. I still get nervous but no where near as bad. 

At any rate, I didn't know what was going to happen in my life anymore. Then, as I got a few months into my recovery, I found the graduate program I started almost two years ago. And today I made it to the end!  I walked across the stage during graduation and heard my name called!!  I wasn't in a wheel chair this time from anemia. I didn't have a cancer diagnosis hanging over my head! I had kicked that evil creature in the teeth and took my life back!!!!  I am now on track for a career that is meaningful and something I love!!  I have people in my life who I love and who love me and have been rooting me on and supporting me!!  Pushing me and encouraging me to take my life back and make it great!!  Walking across that stage was a moment I had been working for!!  No matter how hard it was going to school during recovery I wasn't going to give up!  And that ceremony was my payment for that work and determination. 

As I write this, my brother and I are driving a UHaul full of my things out to Virginia for my internship and the rest of my life!  My message here is...NEVER GIVE UP!!  There will be days you want to. There will be days where all you can do is cry!  Days you don't want to get out of bed because it's too hard!  Well, let yourself cry and maybe curl up in bed for a little. But then GET UP!  Keep putting one foot in front of the other and before you know it...you will be at your goal and your whole life will be before you, just waiting for you to jump in and LIVE!!!  

365 Things to Smile About Day 265. Awesome Neighbors!!

Friday was a stressful day!  My brother and I had to pack my apartment into the moving truck!  Fortunately I have a pretty amazing neighbor!!  She saw the two of us starting work and offered to help. She very kindly saved me from having a total melt down by packing up my kitchen for me!!!!  All I can say is thank you Lord for such an amazing friend and neighbor!!!!