March 29, 2011

Silence of the Spams

Dear Mom,

I promised you long ago that when the time came that you were too weak to fight, I would continue fighting for you. I thought that fire inside me went out the day I lost you, but yesterday I felt it ignite for the first time in over three years.

You can read Nancy's Point or Uneasy Pink for the full story, but here is the jist of what happened and my two cents (it may end up being twenty-two cents with all I have to say, but who's counting?).

"Feel Your Boobies" is a non-profit organization that campaigns towards young women to tell them to, for lack of a better term, feel their boobies. Despite the lewd comments on their Facebook page from teenage boys and even grown men revealing their desire to grab women's breasts, it's actually a campaign about early breast cancer detection and self breast exams. Who would've thought!

So, whatever, they use innappropriate slogans to appeal to the younger generation (can I exclude myself from this age group yet? I'm pretty sure I stopped fitting in when I was like 12); I can get over that. What has caused an absolute ruckus this past week was when Uneasy Pink, a breast cancer survivor, spoke up on FYB's Facebook wall to explain that comments like, "I can help with feeling the boobies if ya'll need any help!" were inappropriate, disrespectful, demeaning, and hurtful to the people who have been affected by the disease.

Uneasy Pink received an immense amount of backlash from FYB 'fans' calling her 'uptight' and accusing her of not being able to take a joke. I'm pretty sure the only jokes I read on that site are the hundreds of crude comments underminding the importance of self breast exams and making a mockery of breast cancer. Oh, and then more jokes came when all of her comments were deleted by the founder of the organization (or one of her corrupted minions), but she chose to leave all the rude comments that were written in response(Uneasy Pink took screen shots of this as it unfolded, and I highly recommend taking a peak!).

As a journalist, the thought of censorship alone makes my blood boil. Don't even get me started on how I feel about that organization taking away our Freedom of Speech, and yes, our, because I got involved too. Uneasy Pink and anyone who supported her had their comments deleted and were reported by the company as 'spam' so they could no longer comment on public pages. After reading Nancy's Point, which unveiled that FYB doesn't even put a single cent towards actual breast cancer research (research, you know, the ONLY thing that will save the people we love from this disease), I decided it was time to use my voice before it was silenced like the other 'spammers'.

Without hesitation, I posted on the FYB wall.

"Waaait a second... so your entire campaign and profits simply go toward just telling young people to 'feel your boobies'? Maybe I am misunderstanding, but... what's the point of finding a lump if there's no money going toward research to actually get rid of it and save lives? Yes, there are other organizations who raise money for research, but there is still no cure, which means other people need to step up and step in. Any chance you'll consider being the organization to do so?"

My comment was deleted within minutes.

So, let me get this straight. They'll make more money in a year than most Americans will see in their lifetime, yet they'll spend it all on cheeky t-shirts and bumper stickers rather than on cancer research? They'll delete concerns and inquiries from women who are actually (and unfortunately) a part of the cancer community, yet they'll keep comments on a picture of a girl sitting on a pink bicycle from men saying how badly they wish they were a bike seat? That's just downright embarassing. I'm embarassed for them and the freakshow they're running over there at "Feel Your Boobies".

The fact that my comment was deleted speaks more to me than any response ever could, so I have a little message for them in return:

"Although humor is important and helps us get by sometimes, the bottom line is that cancer is not a joke, and it's certainly not a pretty little picture wrapped in a silky pink bow like your organization markets it as. So go ahead and remove our comments, delete the images of what cancer really looks like, block us from your website, and report us to the myserious Facebook police. You've already done all that, and guess what? We're still here; We're still talking; And you will never silence us, so listen up FYB because I have a new slogan for you. It's called:

Feel My Finger.

...And guess which one I'm giving you?"

Love you,

March 18, 2011

The Taboo Topic

(A continuation of All Dogs Go To Heaven...)

Dear Mom,

There are certain things that most find to be inappropriate to talk about in a public setting: topics like politics (booooring!), work (I hope they don't read that past post), personal problems (...I hope they don't read my whole blog whatsoever), and religion, which I'm about to discuss right now. Woopsies, I'm such a rebel.

You dragged me to church with you a few dozen times when I was younger until I made it so completely unbearable for you that you started leaving me at home. It never bothered me that I didn't learn about God or understand what He was all about in the least bit. My friends didn't ever go to church, and quite honestly I can't remember a time they ever even mentioned religion at all. It just simply wasn't a part of my life, and I never felt a void or noticed anything was missing... until my first, beloved childhood pet was put to sleep.

I never told you, but I prayed to Dixie and God the night she died and continued to every night for the next six years (that was probably when I realized how uncool and weird it was to pray to a dead dog, so she was eliminated from my little nightly spiel, and I just asked God to continue to take care of her up there instead). Sometimes my prayers were simple and quick, while other nights they would literally last about half an hour. Like I said, I hadn't been to church since I was really young, so I absolutely had no idea what I was doing; I just rambled (clearly that's one of the things I excel in) and asked that He watch over my loved ones.

When you were diagnosed with cancer for the first time, and even through your recurrence, I still allowed myself to believe He was listening to my prayers and watching over you. I never stopped praying and hoping for a cure for the disease that was going to eventually take you from me. I remained faithful because, in my mind, losing faith in God meant losing faith in you and your odds of survival.

The night you told me you were dying was the night I stopped believing. I decided to stop praying for the first time in almost 10 years, and it was honestly a fairly easy decision; I was just so empty.

I was reading song lyrics one day (while you were still alive) about how the silence I felt from God was speaking volumes to me. I felt like He had let me down, therefore causing me to doubt His existance. As I walked away from my computer to go see you downstairs, the TV turned on across the room. It was on a scambled, static channel, and it was blaring. I ran over to turn it off, smiling. Was this His way of showing me He was listening? The doctors are wrong, I thought, my mom's going to live! I was positive that this was a message from God saying just that.

But, a month later, you died. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe He let this happen. He didn't care about you, our family, or even me, so why should I care about Him? I was so angry and found that rebelling against Him was the only way to feel anything anymore, so that's exactly what I did.

For the next year or so, I hung out with the "cool" college crowd, went out a little too much, and wore clothes that would give Dad a heart attack. It's something that now, looking back on, I'm not proud of, but at the time, I thought filled the void (I was in grief therapy during all this, but never addressed my weekend rituals with my couselor). Don't get me wrong, I still went to class, and I even started making the Dean's List; my actions were nothing more than what most correlate with that of a "typical college girl", but it was out of character for me.

The following January, I snapped back to reality. I remembered that I expected and wanted more for myself-- and you would've too. I needed a change. And one day, something just clicked, but I can't quite tell you what it was. I remember going to church with a friend, seeing the people singing with their hands outstretched towards the sky, and thinking, wow, I want to feel what they feel.

Suddenly, I started to.

I'll be honest, I don't know much about Him, but I'm open to learning for the first time in a long time. Out of the blue, I began to realize that He didn't kill you like I accused Him of... He saved you. I think I feel a lot of guilt for ever questioning His actions, but I was uninformed, scared, and utterly broken. Is that excusable? Will I ever be forgiven for those actions and my thoughts? Those questions hang over my head like the blade of a guillotine. I just need to know that I'm forgiven.

I listen to some Christian radio stations in the car now that I once found too over the top. On many occasions some of these songs even bring me to tears. One of those moments happened this morning on my drive to work while my past mistakes and guilt were weighing heavily on my mind. Right at that very moment, I heard this:

Well, the past is playing with my head
And failure knocks me down again
I'm reminded of the wrong
That I have said and done
And that devil just won't let me forget

In this life I know where I've been,
But in your arms I know what I am

I'm forgiven
And I don't have to carry
The weight of who I've been
Cause I'm forgiven

Fighting back tears, all I could think was, Thank God.

I love you,

March 16, 2011

Two Peas in a Defective Pod

Dear Mom,

Flashback to sorority life, circa 2009. Sisters get recruited, they pledge, participate, get initiated, participate some more, and then graduate. Meanwhile, this cycle continuously repeats itself each semester to keep the sisterhood consistant in number and quality. While we're recruiting new people, it's not uncommon to meet many fabulous, charming young women. It is uncommon, however, for them to be 100% real when they come to our events (I mean, who honestly wears a sundress, pearls, 5-inch heels, and make-up to perfection day in and day out?). For the most part, it's a week filled with awkward giggles, forced smiles, and hours of small talk, and yet we love every minute of it because eventually, someone comes along who makes it all worthwhile.

'J' is that girl for me (don't worry-- still totally straight-- this isn't a 'coming out of the closet' post or anything!). She is always her kind, down-to-Earth self and never goes out of her way to impress anyone because being who she is does that all on its own. She is respectful, smart, and worldly (literally, she's traveled abroad more times than I've been to Wal-Mart practically, which is a lot). She is just stunning in appearance, yet her inner beauty radiates even brighter somehow. Despite the laundry list of desirable traits she posesses, it's what came before the passport, fluent Spanish-speaking skills, and preparations for her first triathalon this summer that truly caught my attention. It was something that makes most people uncomfortable, yet made me reach out.

It was when she said, "My dad died of cancer too."

Immediately after accepting her bid to the sorority, she asked me how to join the Relay for Life committee on campus and what she could do to help us out. It was the night of the event that we had our first real talk about our losses. She told me that her family installed a huge aquarium in the cancer wing of the hospital when he died because he said the hallways were too boring, and that each fish represents a member of her family. I told her that I stood in front of that same fish tank more times than I can count while making phone calls, clearing my head, or silently crying and feeling so alone. How many times did I run my fingers over that plaque engraved with his name? I never would have thought that I would meet his daughter, welcome her into my sorority, become her friend, and eventually, ask her to be my roommate.

This similarity between us hasn't fused a supersonic friendship that defies all odds and keeps us inseperable; she's still taking classes, I work all day; she travels for hours on the weekends to see her boyfriend, I stay in right town; she has a close group of friends in the area, mine have graduated and moved away (like she plans to in a few months). We are still very different, and surprisingly, there have been few nights where we've stayed up late talking about you and her dad, but when we do, I am reminded of just how special our friendship is to one another.

One night in particular, between hours of mindless DVR'd television, in our pajamas, all wrapped up in blankets while we sprawled out in the living room, she told me about her dad's final days alive. She said she had only ever told one other friend that. I can't even begin to tell you how that made me feel-- and not even in the "wow, I rock!" kind of way, but in the "that must have been so freeing for her" kind of way.

J has helped me to incorporate you into my every day life. Living with her has allowed me to naturally bring up your name in a casual conversation or mention a memory that you're a part of without feeling awkward. Every time she says, "Oh! My dad _______" it reminds me of how important our pasts are and how much they have shaped our futures.

Last night, J and I went to the movies. We made a pit stop at a gas station to buy some snacks in order to avoid the overpriced bags of popcorn at the theater. She picked out a bag of Cheez Doodles, and I nonchalantly mentioned the story about how much you loved them. I told her how I would sneak you some when you were really sick and on a liquid diet. During that time, you had a tube connected to your stomach leading to a bag propped up on the floor, so within minutes I'd see orange clumps forming. We'd laugh, and I'd help squeeze them down into the bag before Dad came back into the room.

J laughed too at my memory of us, and then thought a little more about what I said. "Wait. How did she get nutrients?"

I looked over at her, and like I was truly realizing it for the first time (because that's almost what it felt like in that moment to say it outloud), I responded, "...She didn't."


I thought, way to be a buzzkill Sami. You even made the girl with the deceased dad clam up.

"Well," she quickly interrupted my internal dialoge, "my dad started having us sneak him spicy chicken sandwiches from Wendy's!"

And just like that, we laughed all the way to the register.

It's so refreshing to have a friend like her.

I love you (more than you love Cheez Doodles),

March 10, 2011

Hip, Hip...

Dear Mom,

...HOORAY! I just wanted to give you a quick, random rundown of all the good news I've received recently! It doesn't make up for all that happened last week because nothing ever really could, but it's reminding me that things will always turn around eventually if we are patient enough (if only your friend knew that... sigh...). Anyway, focusing on the positive!

1. I had my internal ultrasound on Monday, and Dr. S's nurse called last night to tell me that they came back normal! YAY! A funny sidenote: My iPhone has a digital-ish voicemail, so if I have no reception I can't check it-- such a pain! Well, I missed this call and the nurse left me a voicemail. She said, "Hi Samantha, I'm calling to let you know that your ultrasound results came back ----" Oh yes, I lost reception and my voicemail cut out just as she was about to say "normal" or "abnormal". I was immediately in a fit of rage, screaming at my phone and scaring the crap right out of my friend at the dinner table, when it connected again, and the messaged finished playing. Then I danced around the kitchen, furthermore scaring the poor guy, before I hugged him so hard his head almost popped off. I sat back down, and he said, "So... you're normal, but you're not... normal." HA, so true. My head thinks in overdrive and pretends something is seriously wrong with my body when it's fine, I'm an emotional rollercoaster, and I dance around like a freak when I get good news. So sue me! I at least have a healthy pelvis. YES!

2. I got a call today that I am going to be in our local newspaper again, but in a special issue covering the top stories of the year, which one was me winning that traveling grant to film an international documentary!

3. I have some really, really, REALLY great news that I can't share until approximately five days from now, so here's an I.O.U. on that one, but be excited anyway!

4. I opened up another gym membership today, and just got back from my first workout in months. I can hardly move my legs already, but I feel GREAT!

5. Dad is on vacation, and he just texted me that he's about to be in The Price is Right audience. Hilarious! I hope he gets called to "come on down!" That would be the greatest.

That quick rundown ended up being a little long-- typical, I know-- but that's okay because, as my blogging BFF says, Life is Good, and I wanted to share every bit of it with you.



March 7, 2011

Because All Dogs Go To Heaven

Dear Mom,

I experienced two significant deaths in my life between the ages of three and five. The first was Dad's mom; I have no memories of Granny, but I really wish I did (I'll have to ask Dad to tell me some stories!). The second was my baby cousin who died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) while you were babysitting her at our house. I was much too young to understand what occurred at the time, but I do have a faint memory of a police officer questioning and consoling me in the driveway.

Despite the impact those deaths had on those around me, I managed to escape without any severe damage (although I recently realized that my cousin's death may explain my nervousness around babies and the hesitation I have felt my whole life regarding having children of my own at all). Unfortunately, I wasn't that lucky for long because about five years later, I was handed my first real, heaping plateful of grief.

Dixie was the first dog I ever had. I'll never forget the day Dad brought her home unexpectedly, and she came bounding through the door. I still laugh when I watch the home video of me screaming in fear and climbing up on the back of the couch desperately seeking refuge. Eventually, I realized that she wasn't a rabid, child-eating creature, but instead a cute, cuddly black lab who would become my greatest childhood companion. I'm sure we still have pieces of the old, wooden bunkbed that I not-so-secretly carved "SAM + DIXIE = BF4L" into with a pair of sharp scissors I snuck out of your office (that is kid code for "Sam and Dixie are best friends for life", just in case I stumped you with that acronym).

To me, our friendship was the real deal. I spent all my free time playing with her and loving her (but not brushing her, feeding her, or giving her water since I was so sweet and had to leave something for Dad to do!). I loved everything about her, from the way she laid there while I read her stories to how she always sensed my moments of sadness and quietly rested her head on my lap til I felt better. The silky smooth fur on the top of her head was like crack for kids, and I was addicted to petting it! She slept on my bedroom floor most nights, and sometimes I'd cave in and let her curl up next to me in bed (which was a short-lived treat since she took up 2/3 of my twin-sized mattress). I even started teaching her how to stop and hit my brother's soccerball back to me with her nose when I kicked it to her. She was absolutely fabulous, and I simply adored her.

When Dixie's stomach started getting bigger all of a sudden, I told Dad, "YES! She's going to have puppies!!!". This didn't seem far-fetched to me since, in 1996, most 9-year-olds had no idea that she needed to come into contact with a male dog in order for this to occur, or that being "fixed" means this option was eliminated completely. We brought her to the vet and had to leave her there while they ran some tests.

A day later, I remember having a family meeting and asking Dad when she was coming home. "Well... she's not," he said. I screamed a long, drawn out, "NO!" at the top of my lungs and can still remember clawing my fingernails into the arm of the couch, straightening my arm, and burrowing myself as deeply into the couch cushion as a little girl could possibly go. I wanted to disappear. I felt so overwhelmed, confused, and frustrated that I thought I was going to crawl right out of my skin. I had never felt that way before, and I later learned with your passing that this is what true devastation feels like.

Dixie ended up coming back home for a little while. The vet drained her stomach, wired her shut, and had her sport a vivacious, purple doggy-diaper to catch any liquid that seeped out of her incision (which we later learned was liquid from a strain of Hepatitus, which thankfully, after lots of blood tests and shots, we were told none of us had caught).

You even covered a comfy chair with a pink blanket and finally let her up on the furniture. She was really confused at first because: A. you were never a "dog person", and B. according to you, dogs were supposed to eat, sit, sleep, and live on the floor and nowhere else. You letting her sit somewhere besides her dogbed was huge. She probably thought, "Oh frig, she's patting the chair cushion and motioning for me to hop up. Yep, I'm a goner."

I remember her last night alive quite vividly. You and Dad were in the newly spruced up basement watching TV, and I was upstairs in the living room doing the same. I kept hearing Dixie coughing in the kitchen (I still panic now when a dog coughs actually), and I finally went out to check on her. There were small piles of vomit all around her, and I ran downstairs to tell you two. Dad, who wasn't nearly as alarmed about dog vomit as I was, went up a few minutes later during a commercial to see what the problem was. He immediately yelled down to you, "Barb, there's blood everywhere. I'm taking her to the vet. It's time."

I was absolutely horrified. I froze. I refused to see the floor-- or her-- like that. I couldn't bring myself to go upstairs and say goodbye... so I didn't, and I never saw my best friend again.

I missed her terribly. I had never known sadness quite like what I felt that night when I rolled over and she wasn't curled up in a ball on the floor next to my bed. I was so overwhelmed that I felt compelled to do something I had never done before. I didn't know how to do it, but I heard somewhere that it would ease the pain.

So, I closed my eyes, clapsed my fingers together just below my chin, and, with tears streaming down my face... I began to pray.



March 5, 2011

The Aftermath

Dear Mom,

The title of this post is a bit ironic. It describes, well, the aftermath of my last post, and it also happens to be the name of the company who cleaned up your friend's house on Thursday. They ripped out the walls, the floors, the ceiling... everything was covered with... him. I'm so relieved that his wife will never have to see that scene again in person, even though I know it will always be embedded in her head. Thank goodness for a company like that and for the people who have the strength to handle that kind of job. I had no idea they existed, and every part of me still wishes I never had a reason to.

The dark clouds have lifted, but I'm still left with this foggy haze overhead. I didn't sleep well, my anxiety is way too elevated, and I can't get the thoughts and potential images of how your friend found her husband out of my head. I think it's even harder to cope with because I know that no matter the emotions I'm feeling, she's feeling them a million times over; the only thing that can heal her is time, and that's currently at a standstill for her.


I wrote that this morning after breakdown #4 in the shower and before breakdown #5 in my office. Not ideal, but I am doing better tonight. I spoke with Dad and he sounds better (this loss is hard on him, but really it in no way compares to losing you).


I wrote that yesterday before I got food poisoning at dinner with a girlfriend. Can't a girl finish a thought without something interrupting her?! What an awful week I'm having! Did I mention that I also have a head cold and got into a car accident too (just a fender-bender, although it didn't bend my fender, instead the girl rear-ended me, pushing my car up onto a snowbank practically ripping out my exhaust)? Sunny days just have to be coming my way soon right?!

Besides my stuffy nose, headache, queasy stomach, and random flashes of our family's friend here and there, I'm doing much better. I've already gone through one of the most painful things a daughter possibly can endure when I lost you, so everything else is ultimately meek in comparison. I can't even begin to tell you just how much I miss you or how badly I wish things could be different, but... in a way you were still teaching me a life lesson through your death. You taught me that even the worst kind of heartache and pain eventually subsides, and there's nothing I can't overcome. No matter how badly it hurts, it won't feel like that forever.

I'm so thankful for that.


March 3, 2011


Dear Mom,

About an hour I got a call from Dad telling me that the husband of one of your closest friends (who has grown to be one of Dad's best friends) committed suicide last night. They were all together beforehand, and when he got home he shot himself in the face. Your friend was in the next room. I am devastated beyond words. I am sad for her, Dad, and for the rest of your close group of friends who are all huddled in a room together right now at someone's house trying to make sense of it all. I am sad for him because he must have been so depressed and not able to move forward. Even in my lowest points when I felt no will to live, suicide was still never a thought. I knew it would get easier with time, and I waited for it. He felt so terrible that he couldn't wait for it. That absolutely crushes me.

Yet at the same time... How could he do this to his wife? I can't imagine the weight on her heart today that may never ever lift. I can't imagine all the thoughts going through her head about what she could have done differently. How will she move on from this? How can she erase the images in her mind of running in after hearing a gunshot and finding him that way? It makes me feel sick.

And how could he do this to me? I now have to watch my father mourn another great loss in his life. They were supposed to leave for vacation together on Sunday, and now Dad's going to be attending his funeral instead. It makes my heart ache in ways it hasn't for years.

And how could he do this to you? All you ever wanted to do was live, and he took his own life on purpose. How could he? I don't understand. I feel broken. I'm so confused.

Was he having these thoughts when he came to my graduation party 8 months ago? When he wrote to me on Facebook in January asking how I was doing, would things have been different if I remembered to respond and asked him how he was too?

I'm sobbing. Can't write anymore.


March 2, 2011

If They Really Knew Me

Dear Mom,

I wrote this post a few weeks back, but it has just been sitting there waiting for the right day. It kind of has a sad tone to it, and I haven't really been that sad, so I wasn't sure of when to post it. Instead of waiting for the 'right' time, I'm making the decision that today is right! But remember, I'm happy, so don't fret my pet.

If they really knew me, they would know this is more than just a simple picture of us.

They would know it is the last picture we ever took together. They would know that, although it was taken in our living room, you weren't sitting on our couch; you were in a hospital bed that had been delivered months before. They would know that just behind me is one of the machines you were hooked up to, and I was in the midst of trying not to step on the bag that was connected to a tube in your stomach.

If they really knew me, they would know that earlier that morning, this is where I washed your hair. They would know that you asked me to comb it for you so you could look nice for this photograph that you would never live to see. They would know that the angel hanging on the wall above your pillow was from Gisele's little nephew, who hardly knew you, but still thought enough of you that he wanted you to feel protected and safe.

They would know that this is one of the many pictures we took that day because you hated the way you looked in each one when we showed it to you in the viewer of the camera. They'd know that I'm draping my arm across you because you asked me to cover your neck since you hated the way all the weightloss from chemo and cancer made it look. They'd know that dad refuses to look at the pictures we took that day because he can't see past the hint of fear in your tightened smile that the average person would never notice.

If they really knew me, they would know that you chose to be buried without your favorite posession that you're wearing here-- your wedding ring-- because you wanted me to have it someday instead. They would know that when you saw the color of my nail polish that morning, you asked me to have the people at the funeral parlor paint yours the same color when the time came. They would know that this is where we ate Thanksgiving dinner and where you later gave me my birthday gifts two weeks before it took place because you knew you wouldn't be there for it. They would know that not long after this picture was taken, this is exactly where we said goodbye.

If they really knew me, they'd know that they'll never really know me... not like you did.


March 1, 2011

The Results Are In

Dear Mom,

As I hoped to say in my last post: I'm just fine. At least Dr. S thinks so; I am having a pelvic ultrasound a week from today to get a better picture just to be sure, but she's almost positive that it's some lingering bacteria from one of my wonderful past yeast infections that is causing my bladder to spasm (hence the pressure feeling off and on). I should get a call by Wednesday to verify that much at least. I feel better now-- physically and mentally-- so that's a huge relief.

Gisele couldn't make the appointment with me because her father-in-law passed away last week. Of course I was bummed and extra nervous going alone, but I know her husband needed her and that was where she needed to be. I, of all people, can understand that. In a way, it worked out really, because after the examanation Dr. S pulled up a seat and chatted with me; I mean really chatted with me.

She's not one of those cold, intimidating doctors, which is why you knew I'd love her. She's in her 40s now (and just had another baby too after trying for seven years!). She's still blonde, super thin, and absolutely beautiful. She looks intimidating, but once she opens her mouth and the sweetest tone comes out, I'm always instantly at ease. We talked about Belize, my grieving improvements, and my excellent support system. I even told her about my blog (and Carly, Nancy, Tina, Teresa, Dee, Chez, Stacey, etc.!). She's really proud of me and made sure to tell me so. I was shocked. Her? A doctor? Proud of me? I felt pretty special.

At the end of our conversation, she mentioned doing a CA-125 test on me each summer when I go in for my annual check-up. She thinks it would help me to physically see that I have a low, cancerless number (hopefully... I mean, you never know what's secretly brewing down there... sorry for the bad/gross choice of words, but you get what I mean). I've always thought about this, but never thought it would actually be a reality to have the test done. Although I was hesitant, now I'm kind of excited.

Best case scenerio: it stays low forever; Worst case scenerio: it goes up, and we catch it almost immediately. Sometimes the number can spike because of an infection or something and give false, inflated results, but I think that's the only downside really. And maybe the cost too. Does it cost a lot to get that done even if a doctor requests that you do it? I don't know. Will I start to live for that number like you eventually did? I hope not. If you had this done 5 years sooner could they have done something when your CA-125 was 140 instead of 1,400? Something tells me yes, and that this could be something that could someday save my life.

I miss you and your good advice; I could really use a large dose of both right about now. But regardless, today, I'm just fine, and that's surely something to celebrate!