Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thyroid Cancer Update: Surgery and Post-Op Recovering

Hello, everyone!  I'm comfortable at home, taking it easy most days and trying to take all my medicine on time and drink lots of water.  I can't believe that only a week ago I was having surgery!  It went pretty well.  The surgeon is happy with his "good clean-up job".  They removed everything they could see.  The nodule was up on my vocal chord and they had to scrape it away.  I was told I would have voice issues for a while, but my voice has been pretty great.  My throat and muscles have hurt, but the voice has only been affected in how loud I can comfortably talk.

Seventeen lymph nodes were inspected and only four of those were in need of coming out.  They had micro-calcifications.  One parathyroid gland was removed and two others were biopsied and re-implanted.  The cancer was growing out of the nodule and wasn't contained to the thyroid anymore, so I definitely need radiation. It makes me worried, but the surgeon is very positive and thinks I will be just fine.

During the last week, I have shared quite a few photos on Instagram and Twitter, but I thought I would compile those into a bit of a "photo diary" for this post and talk a little about this first week of recovery.  (Again it is a long post, but I am trying to be thorough for anyone who may have to go through this...)

December 20th - Surgery Day

DivineMrsDiva.com - Thyroid Cancer Update: Surgery and Post-Op Recovering

I woke up at 4 AM on surgery day to shower, straighten my hair, and do a little makeup so I could feel human.  I figured straightening my hair would help me look decent during my whole procedure.  Not that it mattered that much what I looked like.  But at least I felt sort-of pretty.  It was definitely easier to deal with straight hair than a mass of unruly curls.

I was pretty freaked out when I arrived at the hospital.  My blood pressure was high and I was crying.  Someone came in to take my blood before someone else came in to put in an IV.  The doctor was running a little behind with his previous surgery, but the nurses kept me updated on timing quite frequently.  By this time, I had already been given valium to calm me down so I wasn't too concerned with the extra time. The three-ish hours I spent waiting went by pretty fast; and I was off to surgery around noon.  I gave my husband a kiss, waved bye to him and my mother-in-law, and was wheeled to the operating room.  They put the oxygen mouthpiece on me and told me to breathe.  I distinctly remember taking two deep breaths, where the last one smelled funny, and that is all I remember.

DivineMrsDiva.com - Thyroid Cancer Update: Surgery and Post-Op Recovering

I think it was around 4pm when I woke up.  I was in a different room with various people walking around me.  I remember someone with dark hair and a lab coat looking at me and then turning to someone else and telling them my name.  It felt a little like an out-of-body experience as my hospital bed began to move and I was wheeled to my room.  My eyes couldn't stay open the whole time, so various pictures are in my head of the hallway scrolling by and the red-headed guy who was wheeling me around.  It is all just flashes of images.

And then suddenly I could see my husband's sweet face and I felt happy.  My vitals were checked, my medicine was given to me via applesauce, and then I was just hanging out in my room.  My mother-in-law stayed for a bit, I think.  Everything else is kind of a blur.  Sean and I checked in on Facebook and he took calls from family members.  Later in the afternoon, I ordered chicken soup and pudding for dinner.  After the soup, Sean helped me go for a little walk up and down the hallway a few times.  I could have gone more, but I wanted to go back to my room to watch Blue Bloods and eat my pudding.

Everyone made a huge deal about how awesome I was for walking.  I didn't feel bad at all, so I didn't see why it was such a huge deal.  I wasn't having any pain, my voice was fine.  I was just a little loopy still.  The rest of the night was pretty uneventful.  Nurses came in to check on me and take vitals once in a while.  Sean and I watched some television.  I had to get a nurse to come unhook me from stuff when I needed to go potty.  Applesauce was consumed to help me take my meds.  I slept pretty good and was happy everything was on track for me to go home the next morning.

December 21st - Day 1 Post-Op

DivineMrsDiva.com - Thyroid Cancer Update: Surgery and Post-Op Recovering
(Clockwise from Top Left: Flowers from my stepdad and his wife; A framed card from my mom-in-law; Scarves from my mom-in-law and cousin Mindy; Flowers from my husband's coworker; My Amazon goodies; Flowers from our friends Tim and Derek, cute "Get Well" cards, and some Christmas goodies from my Aunt Wendy)

By the time everything was said and done on Saturday morning (medication given, paperwork received, drain tube taken out), I was home around 1PM.  My mother-in-law was at our house already to check in on the furkids, so she stayed with me while Sean ran errands to pick up my prescriptions and get some soft food for me to eat.

I fell asleep for a couple hours and awoke around the time my cousin Mindy and her lady Allison came to visit.  They dropped off goodies from a get-together I was unable to attend and chatted with me for a little bit.  I was happy my voice was well enough to visit and laugh with them.  After all that excitement, we had a pleasant evening of watching movies and snuggling with the furboys on the couch.  I was pretty pooped and my throat hurt a bit.

December 22nd - Day 2 Post-Op

DivineMrsDiva.com - Thyroid Cancer Update: Surgery and Post-Op Recovering

After not sleeping well on the loveseat in the bedroom, I was pretty wiped out for most of Sunday.  We took it really easy.  Sean made breakfast for me, as we watched some television shows and napped on the couch.  In the afternoon, I finally felt energized enough to get a much desired shower.  I wasn't allowed to bend over or move around too much, so Sean had to help undress me and help me shower.  It was totally not sexy.  LOL  I felt so helpless and pathetic not being able to dress myself and do simple things.  He even had to wash my hair for me because I couldn't lean my head back and it hurt to hold my arms up to scrub my head.

Once I was showered and dressed, I was exhausted.  It totally wiped me out.  So I went right back to the couch, where we watched more TV and movies.  I had (and still do) have to use a travel neck pillow to support my neck and head.  Plus, using an ice pack on the incision area really helped the pain subside from time to time.

December 23rd - Day 3 Post-Op

DivineMrsDiva.com - Thyroid Cancer Update: Surgery and Post-Op Recovering

Monday wasn't much different.  I switched from sleeping on the loveseat in the bedroom at night, to going to sleep in the recliner in the front room.  It was a bit easier to sleep in the recliner, but I was still uncomfortable enough that I didn't get a good night's rest.  There was a lot of relaxing, icing the incision, snuggling with chihuahuas, napping, eating soft food, taking meds, and doing it all over again.  We managed to catch up with at least four television shows we've had waiting for us on the DVR.  I had a bit more pain and had to keep up with the pain meds and icing the incision regularly.  It helped to keep my head pretty still and supported and not move around too much.

December 24th - Day 4 Post-Op

DivineMrsDiva.com - Thyroid Cancer Update: Surgery and Post-Op Recovering

Tuesday was much of the same.  I ended up leaning against Sean while we were relaxing on the couch, which really helped me relax my neck muscles completely.  This did wonders for the amount of pain and I was even able to fall asleep for a bit.  I worked on figuring out what times to take my medications and supplements.  My thyroid hormone has to be taken an hour before eating and four hours before any other medication or supplement.  So I set my alarm to wake up at 6AM every day to take that.  Iron and Calcium have to be taken three times a day each, but not close to each other.  Plus, I have lots of other supplements and a blood pressure medication.  The schedule that ended up working was starting everything else at 10AM and taking stuff every two hours.

DivineMrsDiva.com - Thyroid Cancer Update: Surgery and Post-Op Recovering

Later on, I sat at my office desk to get my Christmas post written up, brushed my teeth, washed my face, and went potty.  In those easy tasks, my neck muscles became super weak and the incision began to hurt a lot.  I also started experiencing a tightness in the incision area that made it feel like I was being choked or like someone was gripping my throat.  I could still breathe, but it was a very off-putting feeling.  Icing the incision for a little bit seems to help that feeling go away.  It was back to the couch and my trusty neck pillow.  Sean and I watched Rudolph and Nightmare Before Christmas (my first time seeing it!) before calling it a night.  I was still having softer foods, so my special Christmas Eve treat was a banana and gluten-free chocolate pudding!

December 25th - Day 5 Post-Op

DivineMrsDiva.com - Thyroid Cancer Update: Surgery and Post-Op Recovering

Day 5 after surgery was Christmas Day!  Sean and I spent 45 minutes the night before trying to find the right combination of pillows for me in the recliner.  It paid off because I slept really well for the first time since surgery.  So well, in fact, that I didn't want to get up.  We got a bit of a late start.

Christmas Day is also Sean's birthday, with his birthday tradition of having cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  We tried gluten-free ones this year that were not very delightful.  Next year, I will try to make some from scratch.  We did find gluten-free waffles that are pretty tasty; Sean also whipped up some scrambled eggs too.  Having had a pretty great sleep, I was very happy and feeling good that day.  Sean and I opened our presents before I showered (on my own!), did my hair and makeup, and put on my Christmas PJs for hanging out at home.

My mother-in-law made dinner for us and brought it over in the afternoon.  She made gluten-free tastiness, like polenta lasagna with spinach and chicken sausage, and gluten-free carrot cake.  We ate, opened presents, and hung out for a little while.  My friend Sami stopped by with a gluten-free pumpkin pie.  By 6pm, I was very tired, had a sore neck and a sore throat, and needed to rest.  It was the most active I had been in a day since surgery.  Also, hiccuping and yawning are painful.

December 26th - Day 6 Post - Op

DivineMrsDiva.com - Thyroid Cancer Update: Surgery and Post-Op Recovering

I was tired, but cheerful on Thursday.  Sleep was pretty good and I was interested to have my follow-up appointment.  Meeting with the doctor went well.  They snipped the stitches out and said it all looked to be healing well.  We discussed the pathology from the intro to this post and I went back home to do some more resting.

This is also the day I stopped the pain medication cold turkey.  Before I left the hospital, I was warned that the oxycodone would make me constipated.  I never had issues when I was taking a TON of iron, so I wasn't too worried about it.  But I also wasn't eating a lot of fiber lately and things got painful.  (Sorry if this is TMI.  I am just trying to give anyone else that goes through this the head's up.)  So I retired the oxy and now I only have ibuprofen when I feel some pain.

December 27th - Day 7 Post Op

Friday was a very relaxed day.  I felt like I did too much too soon on Christmas and the doctor outing day, so Friday was reserved for resting.  I managed to start this post and work on pictures and reorganize my vanity table to fit in all my lovely new Bare Minerals eyeshadows Sean gave me for Christmas.  I also watched three episodes of The Sing Off while Rusty slept in my arms.  That was the extent of my productivity.  I also almost sneezed (like started to sneeze and managed to not have a full on sneeze) and it hurt my incision SO BAD.  I thought the incision was going to rip open.  I have been told by my friends who had C-sections that the sneeze is a normal nemesis of surgical scars and incisions.

December 28th - Day 8 Post Op

It was literally difficult to get out of bed on Saturday.  I think Friday night was my first night sleeping in our bed again and the pillow situation was not ideal.  Also, our mattress is a foam one and it hurts to strain my neck at all, so it was hard to maneuver in a comfortable way.  My hair appointment was at 1:30, so I made it right on the dot.  Since I washed my hair that morning (which is getting way easier), my hairstylist just wet my hair down. I told her I was unsure about how comfortable it would be to lay back on the washing basin.

After my hair appointment, Sean and I ran some errands and had lunch.  (I wore a scarf.  I am still a bit nervous showing my scar in public.)  I've been a bit naughty with the food the past few days, but will be going back to my previous healthy diet at the New Year.  We made it home with just enough time to change into dressier clothes for our End-of-the-Year Fancy Bunco night.  It was so great to see so many friends and have some fun, though I managed to turn my head a couple ways I shouldn't have.  I also managed to really hurt my muscles when I went to scoot a dining chair closer to the table.  Pain shot up my arm to my chest and into my neck.

I am finishing this post up Monday night, December 30th.  I still have neck muscle pain and aches.  Resting my neck whenever I can helps, and icing the incision from time to time also helps a lot.  I take ibuprofen about once a day to keep things manageable for now.  As long as I am careful with my movements and rest my neck, I don't have pain or issues with things.  I do occasionally still get the choking feeling at the incision site.  It usually happens if I have been moving around a lot or using my neck too much.  Relaxing my neck and icing the incision area help the choking feeling go away. Right now, I keep the scar moisturized with cocoa butter, but the Mederma I ordered should arrive tomorrow.

Overall, my recovery has been going really well so far.  I have been keeping up with a message board of other ladies who have all had surgery this month.  Everyone's experience seems to be very different.  Some people have had a lot of issues with pain and swelling, which makes me even more thankful that my experience has been much better than anticipated thus far.  I'll continue to post updates when things happen.  I have another follow-up with the surgeon next week and am waiting to hear from the new endocrinologist I was referred to as well.  Once I meet with the endo, we will discuss radiation and the timeline on that.  That will be the next step.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Holidays from my family to yours!

I just wanted to take a moment to wish you all a very Happy Holiday filled with love and laughter and as much joy as you can possibly fit into a 24-hour chunk of time (or more really.  Make the fun last!!)  I am still recovering from surgery, which means lots of naps, medication, water, and hanging out in my pajamas.

I'll talk more about surgery and all in a few days, but I am doing pretty well....just really sore from time to time.  I am four days post-op and am starting to get the tightness at the incision site that makes me feel like I am being choked frequently.  That issue, combined with a general lack of being able to find a comfortable sitting or sort-of laying position to sleep, has been the most frustrating part.  I count myself lucky that those are my major issues thus far. 

More chilling out, watching movies, and such will be in order tomorrow.  My husband turns another year older on Christmas day, so his mom is bringing over a home-cooked meal for us to enjoy.  I have a follow-up appointment the day after Christmas and hope to be somewhat rested enough to make it to Bunco Saturday night.

My husband and I are kind of obsessed with doing goofy card pictures, so here is this year's:

DivineMrsDiva.com - Happy Holidays!
Previous card picture posts: 2012 (though not really goofy as we wanted a nice picture for our last Christmas with Miss P); 2011 (totally goofy)

My mother-in-law was over to supervise and took a moment to cuddle with one of her grandsons.

DivineMrsDiva.com - Happy Holidays!

And no Christmas post is complete without a cute chihuahua close-up!  Rusty just celebrated his 17th birthday and made the cutest little elf I've ever seen!

DivineMrsDiva.com - Happy Holidays! with Rusty

Happy Holidays!!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thyroid Cancer Update: Some Pre-Surgery Thoughts

If you've missed my cancer updates, you can find them here and here.

DivineMrsDiva.com - Thyroid Cancer Update: Pre-Surgery Thoughts

If you have been following me on other social media, you may know I am scheduled for surgery tomorrow (Dec. 20th). The surgeon will remove my entire thyroid and any lymph nodes or what not that he feels need to come out.  Yes, I am super nervous!!

After my initial meeting with him on the 4th, I filmed a video of some thoughts and feelings in order to share them with you.  I have embedded the video below.  You may also find it on my YouTube channel.

In addition to the information in the video, I will add that I will be in the hospital overnight and should be able to come home Saturday morning.  My husband and I will be posting updates as much as possible in order to keep friends and family and all of you in the loop.

I look forward to posting again next week about how awesome I am doing and how kick-assy I feel! :-)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What I Wore: Tropical Garden Party

Hey, y'all!  I am trying my hardest to get a few posts out this week.  I apologize for the sporadic posting.  Last week, I had a ton of issues with the hard drive that houses all my downloaded photos.  It was so very frustrating.  My surgery is scheduled for Friday morning, so if you don't hear from me until next week, you know why.  I will definitely try to check in and let you know how I am doing.  Follow me on Instagram and/or Twitter for breaking news and random photos!

DivineMrsDiva.com - Easy Tropical Garden Dress by NorthStyle via Gwynnie Bee, Amber Shrug from SWAK Designs, Peep Toe Flats from Avenue, Necklace from World Market

I told you I was on an all-over patterned dress kick!  This one is from a company called NorthStyle that I became aware of through Gwynnie Bee.  I love the colors of the dress and was wondering how a larger print would look on me.  The fabric is a not-too-heavy stretchy knit that is comfortable to wear.  The turquoise in the dress goes perfectly with my SWAK shrug, while the nude flats don't fight the pattern for attention.  I added a dark blue necklace to keep things a little more grounded.

DivineMrsDiva.com - Easy Tropical Garden Dress by NorthStyle via Gwynnie Bee, Amber Shrug from SWAK Designs, Peep Toe Flats from Avenue, Necklace from World Market

While I appreciate the ruched waistband giving the dress some shape, the dress was a little big on me and didn't fit my body the way it may have been intended.  I also found it at least eight inches too long.  Below I have an example of how I pulled the ruching up to my bust to make the dress a suitable length.  Had the dress done its own thing, the ruching would have been around the biggest part of me and the length would have been too long.  It felt really frumpy in the longer length.

DivineMrsDiva.com - Easy Tropical Garden Dress by NorthStyle via Gwynnie Bee, Amber Shrug from SWAK Designs, Peep Toe Flats from Avenue, Necklace from World Market

I'm glad I tried the larger pattern, even though I don't think it is necessarily the best thing for me.  Maybe a V-neck would have made it a bit better?  I do love the colors and the tropical flowers reminded me of my honeymoon in Hawaii.

DivineMrsDiva.com - Easy Tropical Garden Dress by NorthStyle via Gwynnie Bee, Amber Shrug from SWAK Designs, Peep Toe Flats from Avenue, Necklace from World Market

Easy Tropical Garden Dress - NorthStyle via Gwynnie Bee (I am wearing the 3X.)
Amber Shrug - SWAK Designs (I am in the 3X.)
Peep Toe Flats - Avenue
Necklace - World Market

Have you tried anything out of your comfort zone lately? 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

What I Wore: Bunco Casual

DivineMrsDiva.com - Torrid Glitter Striped Peplum Top, Lane Bryant Cardigan, Old Navy Skinny Jeans, Sequin Converse, Bestey Johnson Star Necklace

The weekend before Thanksgiving was our monthly Bunco night.  It provided a great distraction from all this recent medical drama and a chance for me to catch up with friends I had not seen since my diagnosis.  Bunco nights are always so much fun because we laugh so much.  Being surrounded by wonderful people never fails to be uplifting to the spirit.

DivineMrsDiva.com - Torrid Glitter Striped Peplum Top, Lane Bryant Cardigan, Old Navy Skinny Jeans, Sequin Converse, Bestey Johnson Star Necklace

I kept it casual and cute for moving from table to table.  I really didn't feel like fidgeting with a fussy outfit.  I wore this comfy peplum top from Torrid, a new item I picked up during a recent sale.  It is made of a stretchy knit fabric and has little sparkly stripes.  It is a great top that can probably be dressed up a bit too, though I have only worn it this way.  Never one to shy away from sparkles, I added my rhinestone necklace and sequin Converse to kick up the fun factor.

DivineMrsDiva.com - Torrid Glitter Striped Peplum Top, Lane Bryant Cardigan, Old Navy Skinny Jeans, Sequin Converse, Bestey Johnson Star Necklace

Fit wise, I ordered a size 4, but had lost about 15 to 20 pounds by the time I wore it.  I could probably size down, but the arms would be tighter. It still fits good and doesn't feel too loose, but if you like a more fitted look, size down.

This is definitely a go-to kind of outfit for running errands and such, and is pretty indicative of an average "Hailey" outfit.

DivineMrsDiva.com - Torrid Glitter Striped Peplum Top, Lane Bryant Cardigan, Old Navy Skinny Jeans, Sequin Converse, Bestey Johnson Star Necklace
Glitter Striped Peplum Top - Torrid (Grey version here)
Black Knit Cardigan - Lane Bryant
Dark Wash Skinny Jeans - Old Navy
Sequin Converse - Target (there are some on eBay now.)
Rhinestone Star Necklace - Betsey Johnson
Thyroid Cancer Awareness Bracelet my sister gave me :-)  It says "No one fights alone!"

DivineMrsDiva.com - Torrid Glitter Striped Peplum Top, Betsey Johnson Star Necklace

Are you a sparkles-all-the-time kind of girl or do you keep it a little more toned down?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thyroid Cancer Update: The Endocrinologist and more!

I am a little bit behind in my updates.  I hope you all had a fun Thanksgiving!  I stuffed myself with a paleo stuffing I made, some steamed carrots and green beans, turkey, and some mashed potatoes.  It was the first time I have felt really full since this whole issue started.  It was wonderful!

DivineMrsDiva.com - Thyroid Cancer Update

By mid-November I finally had an appointment with an endocrinologist; *insert sarcastic tone* I only had to wait two whole weeks to get an appointment with her after finding out I have cancer.   Seeing the endo was more of a formality than anything because the endo was the one that had to refer me to a surgeon.

My appointment with her wasn't anything too eventful.  She has a weird personality that I couldn't quite figure out.  She told me I "am not on Death Row" and then took this long pause just staring at me like I was supposed to start dancing around or thanking her or something.  I ended up starting to cry and felt like I was a fish in a bowl as she stared at me without saying anything.  Most of the conversation with her was her telling me every piece of information I have already read on the internet.

I was also bothered that she wasn't concerned about any dietary restrictions at all.  I told her that I have been gluten-free, sugar-free, grain-free, and such to kind of starve my Throat Monster.  (Gluten-free because I have Hashimoto's.) She laughed in my face.  She said she has Hashi and she eats gluten all the time.  She didn't care what I ate.  As sugar feeds cancer I think it is extremely irresponsible for her to say that.  Obviously, I am not impressed with her, but I can find a new endo a little later.

After her spiel about how I shouldn't die from this thing, she took my blood pressure and all that jazz before grilling me about my menstrual cycles and sticking her hand down my pants without a warning.  I do not like doctors.  And you probably wouldn't believe how much she charged for my appointment either!  It is crazy!

She referred me to a surgeon before dismissing me with orders to re-up my iron intake for now.  I had to wait a little over a week for the surgeon's office to call me, only to find out that they don't accept my insurance.  They had some long explanation of how they could essentially accept my insurance by doing this thing and that thing.  It was some weird explanation that just felt like they were pushing too hard to get me to see them.  I had to say no.  I don't need insurance headaches on top of all this stuff.

I did some internet searching and found a doctor that specializes in thyroid surgeries and also does plastic surgery.  I met with him yesterday (Wednesday), a whole month after finding out my diagnosis.   Both my husband and I actually feel good about this guy.  He was knowledgeable, has experience, takes pride in making sure things are done correctly (both inside my neck and how the scar will look), and he was really nice.  It is pretty cut and dry what I need to get done, so I don't feel like a second-opinion is needed.

OH, also, I had another ultrasound done of the thyroid area on Monday.  Happily, there are no suspicious lymph nodes at this time which is awesome news!  Having that information and feeling confident about the surgeon have made me *slightly* less stressed out this week.  I will still be able to do a few Christmas related fun things before surgery.

I am waiting to hear back from the surgeon's scheduler, but I am hoping for a mid-December surgery date so I can be healing well in time for Christmas.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Q & A Monday: Unforgettable Moments

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving weekend!!

I managed to get full on veggies, which was so wonderfully satisfying.  I haven't felt adequately full in a month and a half.  My husband and I do not venture out on Black Friday, but we did find some great deals online.  I may have gone a little overboard.

I'm finally doing Q & A Monday on MONDAY for a change! lol

It is time again for Friend Makin' Monday.  If you have a blog, I would like to invite you to answer the questions as well.  Leave me a comment here, so I know you are playing.  Then you can also leave a comment over at All The Weigh, so other folks can check out your answers as well.  It is a fun way to connect to other bloggers.

Unforgettable Moments

1. Share the details of your first kiss.
I was visiting family for Thanksgiving one year and went out on a date with a friend of my brother.  He was a cute and very nice guy and he ended up kissing me later that night.  It was nerve-wrecking!

2. Did you put your foot in your mouth in 2013? If so, tell us about it.
Not to my knowledge.  I try to be thoughtful and tactful with my honesty.

3. Share the story of one of your most embarrassing moments.
Hmmmm, I try to shy away from situations where I might embarrass myself.  One that sticks out is when I lived in Boston in 2000.  My friends and I enjoyed the hobby of meeting celebrities.  One snowy winter day, we ventured down to a music event and ended up meeting 98 Degrees.  Well, 50% of 98 degrees anyway.  The Lachey brothers were rather rude and couldn't be bothered with us.  Justin and Jeff were very nice though.
At one point Jeff came out of the bus to go get food down the street and kindly stopped to take a photo with us.  The bodyguard asked for all our cameras at once so he could take a photo with each camera while we all stood with Jeff.  I was the last one to hand my camera to the bodyguard and when I turned around both of my friends were on either side of Jeff with their arms around him.  I wanted to be right next to him too and was sad I couldn't since he only has two sides. LOL  I said, "I wanted to touch him too!"  When they all laughed, I realized I said it out loud.  That was embarrassing.

DivineMrsDiva.com - Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees circa 2000

4. Tell us what it was like when you traveled outside of your home state or country for the first time.
I don't remember the first time leaving my home state. We moved around a lot when I was a kid, so I don't necessarily feel tied to one place anyway.  The first time I went outside the United States was when I traveled to Vancouver, British Columbia with friends.  I think I was 21 or 22 maybe.  Looking back, it seems like a really spur of the moment overnight trip.  We walked around the city a little bit when we arrived and then changed clothes to go out to a club that night.  I wore a thong for the first time and decided it was NOT for me.  I need more butt support to feel comfortable.  We waited in a line at the club for a while only to find the club extremely packed when we finally got in.  It was so cramped in there that the only way to "dance" was to barely sway back and forth. 

5. Share something that forced you outside of your comfort zone in 2013.
I am absolutely terrified of doctors, hospitals, needles, blood, etc.  The beginning of October, I happened to feel that one side of my neck was bigger than the other.   This forced me to visit several doctors, give various amounts of blood, and have a long needle poked in my neck when they biopsied the nodule.

6. Tell us about a gift that you received that meant a lot to you.
Once I found out I have thyroid cancer, my friends signed a mat board and framed it with a sign that says "No one fights alone."  My sister sent me supportive goodies too.  It means a lot to me to know that all of that positive energy is being sent out into the world for me.

7. Share the details of the best date that you’ve been on in the last year.
As I was trying to decide how to answer this, I realized that Sean and I don't have enough date nights.  We need to remedy that soon.  I guess when we have time and are able to chill we end up staying home, watching a movie, snuggling on the couch, or playing a video game.  I think two of our best this year were in May.  Right before my birthday we had dinner at a tasty fish place and saw Chris Hardwick at the comedy club.  The end of May marked our 5th wedding anniversary, but we were unable to go to the beach like we had planned.  Instead, we met with two real estate agents to start our house hunting process and then had dinner at the place where we were married. 

8.  Describe one beautiful moment that was not captured by a photo.

Every sweet kiss from my husband, every laugh with my friends, every loving hug from friends and family both are beautiful moments that haven't been captured in a photo. I'm happy I can replay them in my head.

9.  Share one important thing that you hope to accomplish before the end of the year.
I know these answers seem pretty focused on one topic, but I hope to get surgery done this month to remove my cancer and officially have the added title of Cancer Survivor.

10.  Tell us about one defining moment of 2013.

Again, I feel that receiving the cancer diagnosis and all the emotions that come with it has been a defining moment.  I'm forced to change parts of myself, but I also see parts of myself and others more clearly.

So there you go!  I hope you participate and link up with Kenlie.  Make sure to let me know you are playing this week!  Have a great week full of fun and laughter!

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