The Power of “I am” on Chemo Day

I went to school and taught in the morning. We have moved onto learning about penguins. This bird has wings but doesn’t fly. Imagine that. The kids loved learning that there is a penguin called the macaroni penguin and we all laughed and laughed. There will be lots of waddling in the next few days.

I also put Donnie cream all over my hands and feet because I lost the whole layer of skin on the bottom of my right foot. You know how people are obsessed with that pimple popper doctor? And there is a new show about feet doctors? I was like, these gross fetish people would pay money to see this, as I dealt with this side effect. The thoughts we have…

I wore white gloves yesterday so the cream wouldn’t get over anything.

The kids asked why I had on gloves, so I told them I had some dry hands and want to make them smooth, and I’m also a magician. I said I could make a room full of children quiet when I waved my hands… and proceeded to wiggle my fingers and they were so quiet watching me you could hear a pin drop. “See? It worked!” I also said they help me perform the magic trick of helping children learn to read, and besides, I like looking like Mary Poppins.

I left at lunch and rob and I drove in to the hospital. He has a cold now, so he wore a mask the whole time. We listened to the Oprah Winfrey podcast with Joel osteen. It reminded me to watch my words, and the power of “I am”. When I was first diagnosed I wrote “I am healed” on every morning update. I need to get back to that. He said our body hears our talk. “I am so fat”, “I cant lose weight”, “I just can’t keep the house clean”, “I never win”… all self fulfilling prophecy talk.

Oprah said every morning when she wakes up, she opens her eyes and says, “Thank you”. If that’s the only prayer you ever say, that’s enough.

Joel said it’s important to say your positive “I am” statement out loud, so the words come back into your ears and you HEAR the words.

Say what you want to be in five years.

“I am beautiful.

I am worthy of love.

I am strong.

I am blessed.

I am surrounded by those who only want me to succeed and want the best for me.

I am healthy.

I am successful at all I do.

I am grateful for my loving family and friends.

I am healed.

I am living my best life.”

It was good to hear on the way in.

I saw so many of my nurse friends and got lots of hugs. It makes it so much easier.

The port gave us some trouble but I started the cough and raising my arms and legs trick and it started the get blood return. The nurse was new to me and said I was a pro at knowing what to do.

We say my doctor and her nurse assistant and they were pleased with how I looked. She said my labs looked great and we discussed the plan should things go south again with this infusion. The tumor markers weren’t back and she said they could go up because it’s been five weeks without chemo. My heart sank, but I remembered Joel’s words in the car.

“I am healed”.

We went up for the infusion and I learned I can watch movies. I chose Dr Strange, a superhero who uses his mind and harnesses all of his powers that way. I figured it would be a good way to pass the time.

They pushed IV fluids for an hour, and some steroids. Then it was decided instead of one quick push of the Benadryl, it would be a slower drip. It still affected me the same, but not with one big hit.

We started the doxil drip after that, and although I felt like I had about six shots of vodka and had that drunk feeling, I had to stay awake. Rob put the frozen peas in ziploc bags on my feet and hands and covered them with socks, then gave me a frozen smoothie and spoon fed me ice to keep my mouth cold. He had to take it all off when I had to go to the bathroom and I had a nurse help me walk with the pole. I totally would have failed a sobriety test. Rob put it all back on again and we got blankets because I was shivering and freezing.

As much as I wanted to sleep, I knew in the long run it would help me with side effects and mouth sores, so i forced myself to stay awake and freeze. Jean came and sat with us and we talked about being proactive, and about the tumor markers.

One went up again.

But two dropped… when we were expecting a rise. So maybe those two are even lower.

The rest of my labs are fantastic.

I looked up more things to make me laugh on Instagram on the page called “TheCancer Patient”. Dark humor but when you get it, and live it… you have to laugh or else you cry.

We finished, packed up the peas and socks, got “deported” with my port, and grabbed dinner. I’ve been fasting, and we had a discussion about no warm food again. Salads, smoothies, juices… any warm dinners I’ll have to have go cold, and then eat. Suck on ice as keep hands and feet in ice.

“I am healed.

I am healthy.”

I’ll keep saying it.

We came home but I was out of it. I hate that the kids see me like that.

I’m up now since three a.m..

Steroids. Good times.

“I am sleepy.”

Today I’ll go to work, then Madison has her navy ball. I’m excited to see her all glammed up. She is a beautiful girl who makes no effort every day when she goes to school. No Makeup, glasses, sweatpants and sweatshirt, hair in a ponytail. I can’t wait to see her with her hair done and in her dress.

“I am grateful to be here to see this day, and can’t wait to see her at her wedding.”

“I am excited for my life and my future. My best days are ahead of me.”

Thank you, Joel.

I’ll try to get an hour or so more of sleep.

“I am sleepy”

“I am grateful”

“I am healthy”

“I am healed”

In Jesus’s name, amen.



Cancer Makes you Angry

Confession time?

I’ve been getting angry inside again.

At situations.

At people.

At little things.

And I’m not really angry at those things.

I’m angry about the cancer.

I’m angry that I’ve got steroid “moon face” and my face is a big round circle.

I’m angry that I’m forty pounds heavier than is healthy, but the medicines keep the weight on, no matter what I do.

I’m angry I’m still wearing wigs, and the new hair is coming in black and has a widows peak on my forehead. Which means I have to wear the wig lower down and now it looks fake.

I’m angry the skin is peeling off my hands now.

I’m angry I cant sleep more than a few hours a night again.

I’m angry that I’m a good person, and horrible people are out there NOT dealing with cancer.

I’m angry I took down my Christmas tree yesterday and kept thinking how sad my kids and rob would be next year if I die and am not here next Christmas.

I’m angry that the government isn’t doing enough for stage four research.

I’m angry at all the pink, and women ringing bells and making cancer seem like a party. Because this isn’t a party.

I’m angry that now I am back to every two weeks of getting chemo through a tube stuck into my chest, and have to get medicine that makes me want to crawl out of my body as they push it in.

I’m angry I think about dying about a hundred times a day, when four years ago I took for granted that I would grow old with rob and meet my grandchildren.

I’m angry we are finally finishing up my quiet place room and keep thinking I may not be here long to enjoy it.

I’m angry that little children are going through this too.

I’m angry that Quinn wants to go skiing on a day trip and I cant go. It’s right when chemo hits me and a day full of driving, sitting and standing in the cold, and then driving home would be too much.

I’m angry I cant take my detox baths anymore because the heat would bring the chemo to the skin and make it worse. I also miss warm showers.

I’m angry I look like a cancer patient on the outside now.

I’m angry seeing other people go on vacations and not have a care in the world, and I have to watch all of our money because the cancer is in charge of my finances now.

I’m angry it’s been three years of appointments and pills and chemo and not feeling normal.

I’m angry we don’t have college savings for our kids, and have to rely on scholarships of they are to go anywhere other than community college or trade school.

I’m angry that I’m fighting for my kids education and it means more to me than other parents. It means more because I may not be here to fight for them in a year, and I dont care who I piss off now.

Get…out… of …my …way.

But you wouldn’t know how angry I am if you look at me.

I’m still teaching kindergarten full time and using my “teacher voice”. I’m still smiling at people. I’m still having play dates with my kid’s friends and soaking up every giggle and laugh I hear. I’m still driving my kids around everywhere and thankful I get to do it.

I’m still breathing.

I’m still here.

I got an email from my oncologist last night asking how I was and if I thought I would be ready to have chemo this Thursday.

I said yes.

It’s a weird place to be…

Angry, sad, grateful, fighting for your life and trying to stay calm.

I never thought this would be my life.

I look at other moms going about their lives and think…”That was me. I wonder what they would do if they got stage four cancer out of the blue?”

It’s Dr Martin Luther King Jr day. I spent all week teaching my kindergarten children about him and about equality.

How everyone should be treated the same.

Death is the greatest equalizer. It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white, rich or poor, religious or atheist, beautiful, young, old.

It comes for you.

It comes for all of us.

Some have it appear out of the blue and take them away without warning.

Some have Death send it’s henchman named cancer, and it follows that person around all day long, whispering how it will take you…someday. But first it’s going to scare the crap out of you and make you suffer.

You think you will live forever…

Until you know you won’t.

So today, I’m going to breathe and read and go on a walk. Morgan had a friend sleepover last night and today Quinn and Maddie have friends coming over. I’ll work hard on releasing the anger again.

It’s a cycle and ebbs and flows.

December and January were hard months.

Physically, emotionally, mentally.

It’s time for things to turn around.

I’m hoping the much lower dose of chemo is a dose my body can handle, yet is still effective on killing the cancer but not my organs. I’m hoping my herbs and supplements and diet kills the stem cells and switches genes back to where they recognize cancer and kicks it out.

That’s not too much to ask for, right?

Here’s to releasing anger, accepting peace, and my moon face going away.

In Jesus’s name, amen.




It’s Rally Day.

Time for everyone to put up or shut up.

Either you fight for our district and stand with us to get what we are owed, or you get out of our way.

To make it even more movie worthy and magical, it’s going to snow.

Don’t worry, we will be inside.

I don’t want to hear excuses of why people can’t go.

Want to know why?

Because I’m going to the rally… instead of seeing my daughter run in a league meet and watch her coach at his last meet ever with her. This man has been a part of Madison’s life for years. Three days a week all summer long we would meet and he would coach these kids. He brought her up to varsity as an eighth grader. He put together the go fund me which has helped our family have some breathing room during cancer treatments. He has been Madison’s social studies teacher, and is so gifted, she got a five on her AP exam. I wanted to watch Maddie try and break the school record today, and be there for Justin Cobis, an amazing human.

But I’m not.

I’m rallying instead. He understands, as he is an educator. I’m choosing to fight for all of my Kid’s future today.

I also should be home resting. It was only one week ago I was released from the hospital after thinking I was dying. I still have a rash all over me that’s itchy and painful. I’ve got skin coming off of my hands and feet. I’m exhausted, and I’ve got chemo this week. I worked all week teaching kindergarten. It’s Saturday and I’ve got two weeks worth of house chores to do.

I’m rallying instead.

Morgan is performing tonight at East Hampton for the Hampton Music Educator Association concert, where the best musicians from all of the schools on the east end are selected to perform. I’m rallying so I can make sure my district gets its fair share of aid and we can continue to enrich their education with music.

Quinn’s troop is hosting a pancake breakfast from 8-10 at Applebee’s. Everyone is up and moving. I’ll be there a little later with madison. Go fill your bellies before the rally and support this troop that has been a blessing and also through so much.

I’ve personally contacted media, tweeted politicians and made signs. All while working full time, raising three kids, and going through heavy chemo.

I don’t want excuses.

If you can’t make it to the rally, I’ve put up links to sign petitions. I found out last night we have another big rally we may be planning.

It’s that big of a deal.

It’s $31 millions dollars.

Sharing what other districts are owed opened people’s eyes. Especially when they saw the white districts get their fair share. But district with kids with different color skin?

Millions are missing.

Brentwood is owed over a hundred million dollars. Imagine that.

What is weshampton owed? Zero/

Tell me again how politicians aren’t racist in their actions and who they stand up for and fight for.

I’ll wait.

Then I’ll show you how they treat the children.

I love riverhead. I love that my kids are in school with kids of all skin colors and cultures. My kids are better prepared for the real world, and have amazing friendships. I drove Maddie around last night to a sweet sixteen party with a friend from Guatemala. We laughed and laughed as I tried to find this party. As we drove we talked about America and all of the opportunities it has.

My kids know how lucky they are.

They also know how NYS is screwing them over.

Ill be at the rally with my thirteen signs.

I’ll be fighting for ALL kids.

I’ll be standing up for OUR town.

It’s time.

Let’s go!!

May our voices be heard and the money given back.

In Jesus’s name, amen.



I’m Calling You Out, Albany

I left school yesterday, picked up all three kids, ran to michaels crafts store for poster boards, dropped off two kids, picked up dinner, ate, then worked for four hours on signs for the rally on Saturday.

I was both disgusted and hysterical.

Hysterical at some of my signs.

Disgusted when I saw just how unfair this funding formula is to my kids. I found a website where I can check how much districts are owed from NYS.

I typed in Riverhead and there it was…

$31 million dollars.

Then I typed in surrounding districts.


What the what?

I got really upset when I was thinking of the skin color of the majority of the students at those other districts.


White kids.


We are a melting pot.

You want to think that Albany cares for kids of all colors and treats them all the same… but then again, it’s only 2020.

That’s right, Albany.

That’s right, Cuomo, Palumbo, Thiele, LaValle.

I’m calling you ALL out.

Talk is cheap.

Education is expensive, and you have not done NEARLY enough to help my town.

Hell, I am not asking for MORE money.

I’m asking for WHAT YOU OWE US.

$31,000,000 dollars.

The last time I made signs and rallied was when I went and spoke up against testing.

Commissioner John King was the focus of my signs. He left soon after. It took some time, but people woke up to how the politicians were screwing public education and they began to refuse the tests.

I emailed, made phone calls, and sent letters.

We’ve been fighting for years about the state aid funding formula as well.

In Riverhead, we also get extra screwed because of the charter school. That school takes millions away from us each year. We have kids leave, go there, then they inevitably come back and are usually farther behind than when they left us. Parents are also using it for child care because of the longer day.

So not only are we owed money, we have money siphoned off from us.

Let’s add in the sudden increase we’ve had in students and the fact that my son is now in a school where classes have 30 kids in a class…. in fifth grade.

Size matters, people.

My daughter at the high school has trouble making it through the hallway.

We deserve better.

We deserve what all the other districts around us have…

Support and funding from the state.

I’m looking at YOU, Albany.

How do we have money to give people Mets tickets to show up to court, money when you are released from Jail for food, yet don’t have money for children?

How about we put more funding in the front end of their lives so they don’t end up in jail.

Let’s stop the prison pipeline and fix this system.

$31 Million.

We demand you pay us back.

I’ll never forget when we went to the Viking Swim Meet upstate with the kids. A small town…with a HUGE pool and track and shiny big beautiful building. Mine and robs jaws dropped. How did this tiny little upstate town have such a gorgeous facility? There’s a lot more like it too. Albany uses Long Island as their cash cow, and then ignores us… especially if you live where everyone’s skin color is a different shade.

I’m calling you out, Albany.

I’m sharing this on my blog, which is read all over the world. I had over 55,000 visitors last year. Maybe God placed me in the cancer situation so the platform could be bigger. I’m going with that.

I hope to share a follow up that the rally this Saturday at 12:00 Riverhead middle school was huge. Media covered it and politicians were ashamed. They found the money they OWE us and gave us a check.

And if they don’t?

The signs I made last night will be nothing compared to the signs I’ll make.

If you live in Riverhead, bring EVERYONE tomorrow. We are all equally screwed over by the state on this one.

This is one of those rare moments we can all stand together for what’s right.

Seniors, children, brown skin, white skin, Republicans, Democrats, Christians, atheists.

Albany has screwed every single one of us in Riverhead over.

It’s time to tell them we won’t take it anymore.

I’ll see you tomorrow!

Let’s go get our money and help our kids!

In Jesus’s name, amen.



This Mom is Rallying for Riverhead

Feeling like you are dying sooner than later changed a lot.

One would think I would relax more.


I laid in that bed and felt a switch turn on.

I need to make sure everything is ok for my kids.

Which meant a few things had to happen.

The first was the death paperwork. I’ve held off filling it out for years now. I finally did it yesterday. If I should pass while still teaching and working, and this isn’t filed, my family gets nothing of my retirement. Zero. Zilch. Mentally it was hard to do. Your mind can play games. But this was serious enough of crisis to put aside my mental and emotional concerns and take care of business.

I’m calling it the snowblower policy. You know, when you buy a snowblower it doesn’t snow. You fill out this form and you don’t die.

The other thing that happened is i don’t care anymore what people say about me… I’m all in and fighting for this district.

You see, this year…people bashed teachers, there is a whole group that has first added me then blocked me, there are people who add to the chaos without answers, people who are stirring up the racist soup yet pretend they aren’t holding the spoon.

I’ve kept quiet lately because I was tired of being bashed as “some teacher”. But guess what?

I’m way bigger than that.

I’m a MOM.

MY kids deserve more.

We’ve got some big issues all at once happening in this district. I am not speaking as a teacher now, because no matter what happens, I keep my job. I’m not worried about my job.

But my kids?


They will be affected in a huge way.

As a mother, it is my job to fight for MY kids.

The first is the rally this weekend. Five districts in NY have been shorted millions and millions of dollars. New York State politicians crap all over Riverhead, make us a dumping ground, and pass us over because no one speaks up. Oh sure, people speak up all over Riverhead Local and Riverhead News Review. But actually make calls and write letters and send emails? Crickets.

This Saturday at 12 pm our district is hosting a rally at the middle school to fight for the state to give us what’s owed. I’m talking millions and millions and millions. We don’t have to even travel to rally, it’s right in our own backyard.

I see two scenarios.

The first one is embarassing. This town which has hundreds of comments bashing the district any time it’s written about has no one show up. We try to show we are angry and dammit! “Give us what you owe us! “ But turnout is pathetic and small and politicians look and laugh and say, “That was cute. Hey Sally, remind me to send more money for the rich white districts which will vote me in next time. Riverhead shows up for homecoming but won’t even fight for the money we’ve stolen from them. Riverhead just doesn’t show up. Those silly blue waves…more like ripples.”

The second scenario is amazing.

The middle school is packed. Overflowing. Families bring their kids to show how much they care. Everyone is holding signs. Seniors from the senior centers are there. Town government representatives. Media. People of all races and genders standing together. No matter where they stand on the bond or the town or the school, they all know this money helps everyone. We get this money and we can improve programs, add staff, improve the quality of education and programs which would improve the school, and in turn improve their house values. People cheer the speakers, media blows up how Riverhead comes together and fights. “We are sick and tired of being ignored. WE ARE THE BLUE WAVES AND WE WILL TSUNAMI YOU OUT OF OFFICE!”

I wonder which scenario will happen?

I’m making signs.

I’ll be there.

Do you care enough? Or is a football homecoming game more “fun” to show up to and anything else that actually matters doesn’t matter to you? Your kids have graduated and you’re checked out? You don’t have kids in the town?

Guess what?

You pay taxes?

Then you should be angry and show up and fight.

The second is the bond.

We will be short 350 seats in the high school in 2023. The district didn’t pull this number out of thin air. They have to go by a set number and the state makes them stick to this number; even though we all see even more monstrous apartment buildings being built and proposed. Right now my fifth grader is in school with classes of thirty kids in a class.


Split sessions are on the table. They are not a scare tactic. That would be devastating to families like mine who have children that they are excelling. My eleventh grader doesn’t even take a lunch. She takes advanced classes and orchestra and NJROTC. She is in classes all day long. A split session would cut offerings. How would that look for kids wanting to go to college? I want my eighth and fifth grader to have the same amazing opportunity.

MY kids deserve it.

I’m seeing parents who have had kids graduate now say they will vote no. I’m seeing parents whose kids were saved by our district when their school shut down and left them high and dry saying they will vote no.

Every no vote I’m taking personally.

Because every no vote is a vote against MY kids.

MY kids deserve what YOUR kids got.

I’m angry that our district has been swamped and overwhelmed by so many new students, and so many state rules without the state giving us the funding.

If we don’t stick together…

We will drown.

You think we are in bad shape now?

Just think what your house value will be if the bond fails. Good luck to all of you people saying you’re going to move out of NY. How about we rally for the aid, pass the bond, then you can move and get your house value and I will stay alive and work to keep our town and district great?


Rant over.

See you all Saturday.

Being your signs.

Mine will be epic.

Let’s do this for MY kids, for ALL kids.

In Jesus’s name, amen.



Ps. I worked all day yesterday, went to a meeting after school and a PTO meeting last night. Getting stronger every day. Thank you for your prayers!

Chicken Soup for the Soul

Yes, I’m going to work today.

Listen, if I was able to work in the shape I was in last week, this is nothing.

I’m packing my cold lunch food, cream, and Tylenol of needed, but I haven’t had any pain medicine since Friday night. I’ll be good.

When you are hooked up to an IV pole and in a bed not knowing if you are going to make it, getting to go to work and be normal?

It’s a blessing.

Rob was up early yesterday and helped Quinn pack up. Quinn has a red rash all around his lips. He tends to get that when nervous, and having his mom in the hospital for days and then outside camping probably didn’t help. But man, he had an amazing weekend. Boy Scouts has been awesome for him. He was especially proud he learned to make grilled cheese and also had ramen noodles. We were so proud of him that he stuck through the tent collapse with the wind and set up a new tent at 2:30 am with the older scouts. I love that the older boys look out for the younger boys. Adventure, respect, responsibility, fun, new friends… God bless the Boy Scouts.

We straightened up the house a bit, did some laundry, went food shopping and rested. We appreciated having the five of us in one place at one time.

My friend Laurie made us chicken soup and it was so nice to just all sit and have soup on a Sunday. I also has some of sarahs famous chicken pot pie.

I may have had to have it all cooled, but it was Nourishing.

The rash is still a bit painful but slowly starting to improve. I can actually swallow and not cry. I can have liquids and solids on all parts of my Mouth without sore issues. I can walk on my feet without hobbling.

It’s going to be a good day.

Here is to a healing day, a peaceful day, and a day full of kindness.

In Jesus’s name, amen.



I Busted Out!

It was a long day yesterday. I got up early, cleaned myself all up, got only best yoga pants and tank top, brushed out my wig and teased it up, fixed my eyebrows, and got ready for my 7 am inspection. The young doctor came in and his first words were, “Wow! You look good!” I had a good feeling after that.

Rob came early to back me up…

At ten the oncologist on call came and was a dream. She was my kind of doctor and said she wanted me to get another dose in the afternoon of steroids but i could go home that evening. HUZZAH!!

I had my last cold meal of tuna sandwich, prayed over my roommate one last time, and was wheeled out later that day.

We all crashed on the couch.

One would think i would have had the best night sleep ever, right?

Instead of vitals at 4:00 am…

We got a call from Quinn at 3:30 am.

His tent collapsed, he was scared, and he had to go sleep in a new tent.

Going back to sleep was easier in the hospital than after getting Quinn’s call.

Rob is already up and at camp help the troop break down and pack up. If anyone needs a vacation, it’s my husband.

It’s good to be home, but also unsettling.

I had a few panic attacks when I got home.

The worst first thing to be told is you have cancer.

The next worst thing to be told is it has spread and is fatal.

The next worst thing is to be told is treatment isn’t working and it is spreading.

I’ve heard all of those.

There is only one thing left to hear.

“We are out of options”.

And it’s pretty clear that after all of this, the fact we are still going to try to stick with a chemo that put me in the hospital with the worst side effects they’ve ever seen means we have to hold on tight to every single option so I dont hear the final horrible thing.

I have to work very hard to stay in each moment.

I have to work very hard to be grateful for every single thing.

My roommate helped me with that.

You see, she was an 83 old woman who cried and called out to Jesus all the time. She was also bedridden and her arthritis was so bad, she couldn’t move her arms. So she had to be fed. She had to have someone wipe her face and arms from crying so much. She couldn’t get up to use the bathroom. She didn’t have visitors all day and night so the tv was her friend. People kept suggesting I switch rooms.

God put me in that room for a reason.

It helped me stay grateful.

I had all of you.

I had my family coming and sitting with me.

I had my family taking care of my children.

For me to use the bathroom, I simply had to slowly stand up, unplug my IV pole from the wall, make sure my port tube wasn’t in danger of getting caught on anything, and roll right in.

I could feed myself, and even though it was all cold food, I was still allowed to eat solid food.

I couldn’t take hot showers, but I could use the packages of wipes and clean myself without needing help.

And her constant talking to Jesus?

Reminded me to keep my faith.

What if she was scared and in pain and couldn’t do anything and was calling out to Jesus at 3:00 am when nurses couldn’t get any blood out of her painful arms, she had a roommate who grumbled and was not nice? I would talk to her through our curtains when she would ask God why, and remind her it’s not for us to know why, but to know He is with us in this room. That He has plans for us. Good plans. And she is a testimony at 83 years old.

I prayed over her as I was wheeled out yesterday, and prayed for her at 3:30 am after Quinn’s call.

So keep Joyce in your prayers today.

Keep Quinn in your prayers. Today is the first day he gets to see me since Wednesday. We didn’t bring the kids to the hospital until I was in shape to see them. Which means he didn’t get to see me at all.

Keep my friend Karen in prayer as she continues to recover from hip surgery. I’m so lucky that the women I work with are like family. We get each other through some hard times, and last year? What a year. Let’s just say 2020 hasn’t been too good for us yet with the hospital. Here’s to a healing February.

I love that I can laugh with my friends, even when in so much pain. I sent them my picture of my thigh with my biopsy scar. It looks like a little asshole, and we laughed and laughed. Even little assholes can cause a world of pain. I’m including the picture so you can laugh too. Be kind about the dragon scales though. That’s a prayer that they go away and I don’t have scars on the outside from all of this… as we all know I’ll be scarred on the inside from this past week for a long time.

Keep rob in prayer. He has been holding it all together with my family. I just love him.

May today be a quiet and healing day.

In Jesus’s name, amen.



Hospital Day Four

I wake up with a tired and grateful heart.

A very tired and exhausted heart.

A heart that really wants to go home, was told I would probably be going home, then later night told may not go home for a few more days.

So I’m praying really hard that labs are good, rash is acceptable, and whoever is on rounds today says that I can get one more good IV push this morning of steroids and then can go home to begin an oral taper.

Yesterday was a mixed bag of news.

I started the day with another round of several oncology residents and interns and the head coming to see me. There was a hot discussion about how supplements could have caused this reaction, and I kept saying nooooooo, because number one, I havent been taking them for a few weeks because of the issues of swallowing, and number two, Donnie is brilliant and they all know what I’m doing. The doctor was adamant he wanted the list of supplements which meant more emails back and forth. As he walked out I hear him telling the young doctors how you can’t trust patients at times to be honest about what they are taking.

Which means that a whole new generation of doctors need to be re-educated when they finish medical school.

Which meant that when two of the young doctors came back to me last night I made sure to re-educate them.

I know that some of my best teachers have been my students. The same can be true in the medical field. Some of the doctors best teachers can be their patients if they have an open mind.

Unfortunately, after educating them, they said their doctor said I may not be allowed to leave until Sunday or Monday.

My doctor had come by at lunch at saw no reason to hold me past today. I looked better, I’ll rest better and eat better at home, and I’ve already weaned myself off pain meds. My lymphocytes took a big hit yesterday, which is not good as a cancer patient. I need those to fight cancer, and steroids are releasing them from where they are needed and into the bloodstream. So steroids are great short term but not great long term, and I’m a big picture long term kind of girl lately. We even agreed to do a 20 mg dose of chemo in two weeks with Benadryl push and no steroids, to see if we can try this dance again and not affect my micro biome.

The dermatologist came soon after my oncologist and was excited. Why? Because there is some super scary skin issue which can be a life threatening disease, called Stephen Johnson syndrome, which apparently they all thought was a possibility. Hence the biopsy. It was a core biopsy, which meant it went several layers down into my thigh. The good news is the rash was only on the top layer and on the upper part of the second layer. Which ruled out the SJS and pretty much verified it was a doxil reaction to too much chemo at one time.

The nice thing was the doctor told me how impressed he was by my ability to go toe to toe with doctors and speak the language. He said he recognized immediately I knew my stuff. We now have a mutual admiration society. He also spoke to us about Morgan and her alopecia which seems to be stress related. We will be watching her closely after this episode, as her hair has started to grow back and we pray it doesn’t fall out after this stress of the last month. It’s nice to have another doctor in our toolbox.

I was definitely on a high after my doctor and the dermatologist. I took some laps around the hospital wing.

My brother Scott came in the morning with my mom and we had some laughs. I now have more hair than him again and we compared.

My mom stayed all day, rob was by for a few hours mid day to make sure he was able to meet with doctors, my dad was driving really the kids around, scott and dad met Quinn off the bus, rob got Quinn to tennis and to his camp out this weekend, and my dad brought the girls to the hospital to see me and grab mom. It was good to see the girls and we had some good mom talk. I’m always amazed how petty some girls who can seem like friends can be. I’m glad I was able to be here to talk through a life lesson.

They all left and I was alone, and a little thrown off that the two doctors had just burst my bubble that I may not go home today.

That’s when my neighbors stopped by.

I had their son in first grade twenty two years ago. We moved onto their block years later, and the wife runs a bible study group on Facebook that I start my day with.

I knew God sent them to me at the right moment. We stood and held hands and prayed, she read psalm 91 and sang to me, and we hugged. It was what I needed at that moment.

God always provides.

Rob then came and stayed until 11:30.

I dont know what today will bring me.

I’m praying it brings me home.

I’m grateful I have access to good care, kind nurses, and a family that has been here for me and rob. We could not have been able to do this without their love and support. Rob and my family and kids have a texting thread and we all have been in constant contact. My kids have been so supported by all of them. So I’m thankful for cell phones too.

It was my niece brennan’s birthday yesterday and even though they are all states away now, they all texted and have been showing how much they love us.

I’ve had so much support through my blog and Facebook and instagram as well. I had a new friend stop by yesterday and my mom and scott saw a glimpse of why I share so much. We fill our own cups when we help others fill their own.

I’m praying for my roommate today. She had a very long day of tests and is scared, and prays out loud all night and day. I’ve been talking to her through the curtain as she is alone all day. 83 years old. God bless Joyce.

I’m praying for my friend Karen. Hip replacement is no joke. We were texting again at 1:00 am. I’m praying for sleep, pain relief, and the first of many strong steps towards a pain free and beautiful, peaceful life.

I’m praying for rob and my kids and my parents and siblings. I may look good in pictures, but in real life this has been scary. This has not been easy. This has been a little too real about what a terminal illness is. This has been hard physically and mentally and emotionally on us all. We have our tribe and are grateful for everyone.

I’m praying that whoever is on rounds agrees with my oncologist and the dermatologist and agrees to let me go home to continue to heal.

And I’m praying for healing.

Complete and total healing to last for years and years and decades.

In Jesus’s name, amen.



Hospital Day Three

I was admitted into the hospital Wednesday. I was too out of it to update the blog, but I’m on the upswing now, so here it goes.

I wake up with a grateful heart.

Yes, I am still covered all over in what my friend Karen and I were joking about at 1:00 am …my dragon scales. You should see my Khaleesi GIF. It’s an appropriate name for them, as I feel like I’ve walked through yet another fire. Your skin is your biggest organ and we take advantage of it.

“Love the skin you’re in.”

So true, people.

Get up today and moisturize or something.

Yesterday started off stressful, as at one point I had the attending oncologist, his four attendings, and as I am explaining my history another doctor walked in. I knew he was my guy right away, because I was in the middle of making sure they all knew that I may be a kindergarten teacher, but I have a doctorate degree from Save my Ass, University. The new

Guy listened to me for a minute and got that look in his eye of “She knows her stuff.”

The other men cleared out pretty quickly when he showed up so I knew he was a big deal.

Apparently, he is the dermatological specialist. He explained he read my chart and based on what he read, he booked over because he was afraid I had the fatal kind of reaction happening. The fact that he walked in on me speaking and reviewing medical jargon toe to toe with five doctors, even with marble mouth, relaxed him greatly.

I’ve lost all shame elements, and he took pictures of my body all over. Maybe they’ll make a dragon scale calendar and I’ll be their girl of the month… meet Keri, Miss November.

Then he explained he wanted to do a biopsy to make sure it’s simply the type of reaction he is thinking, and to see if it is a deep reaction or just skin. This would entail getting a core sample of my thigh. As my dad always says, “knowledge is power”, so I agreed.

Speaking of my dad, the six time cancer survivor, former marine, and retired police officer… keep him in your prayers. I think this is harder than he lets on. He had a hard time staying for the port access, the morphine injections, and walked out when they did the biopsy yesterday. Don’t let anyone fool you…

My mom is the marine.

They did the biopsy right there on my hospital bed and she held my hand the whole time. Poor Rob was rushing to the hospital after dealing with the kids and drop offs and trying to get things from his office. He ended up coming right after we finished, and mom, dad and Rob and I all had a discussion with the doctor/specialist/surgeon. Results will be in today.

The rest of the day was a flurry of emails between Erin, Donnie’s secretary, and my team at Stony Brook. I’m refusing heparin injections and making sure I get up and walk to prevent blood clots.

We had a huge relief when my oncologist stopped by after her long day. We are not stopping the doxil. We are adjusting our sails a bit.

I’m canceling the chemo for next week and pushing it off a week. We may push it another week if needed, but I already know in my heart

I will be fine by then. We are going with metronomic dosing. Lower doses at a more frequent schedule. So instead of one one big dose once a month, we will do a small dose once every two weeks, or maybe even three. Donnie is pleased with the tumor markers and also noticed a jump in lymphocytes which is good. The spike in oesinophils is probably due to an allergic reaction. We asked when I could go home and it will probably be tomorrow or Sunday. She wants to keep getting fluids and the steroid IV push into me. I’ve been wearing myself off the pain medicine as well.

Don’t get me wrong, morphine and oxicodine are good things. They’ve been life savers and necessary to even have fabric touch my

Skin. My doctor last night said I looked

Worse than a week ago… and last night was after a day in the hospital already. I guess bloated and dragon scales won’t win me the calendar girl contest.

She shook her head that I was even teaching Wednesday morning. I had a new student coming and wanted to be there. She just laughed and shook her head like I was crazy. I said i would probably be back to work Monday.

Teachers are crazy, but kindergarten teachers are a special kind of crazy.

It was another long night. Vitals every four hours, my Roommate’s phone going off in the middle of the night. I used my Headphones and listened to Christmas music all night long. It helped.

“Joy to the World”.

I’m up now, and going to attempt to clean myself up a bit before slathering the lotion all over my scales again.

The thigh hurts where they took the biopsy, so I may need some pain management there as well.

I think my brother Scott is on “Keri duty” today and will bring my mom here. My dad is the kids Uber driver today. Rob is going to come from mid morning until about 3. Jill went over last night to help out with the kids. Morgan got hit in the face in gym and had to have her braces looked at after school, and Quinn had to pack for his big Boy Scout camping weekend. I dont know what we would do without my family. They have been here for us every step of the way.

I also had God step in a few times yesterday. My friend Melissa, a swim mom and one of the most amazing and passionate teachers I’ve ever met, sent me a selfie. She was with carol Masin. Carol was my building reading teacher when I was hired at Roanoke, and left every day with a suitcase of plans. She was a dynamo, and part of what will always be called my “Roanoke Family”. She retired, and school districts now hire her as a trainer. If I ran our district, she would be my first call, followed by Pat Bloss, math trainer extraordinaire..

These two women, both who I admire and love, met for the first time and sent me a selfie.

I looked at it all day long.

God sent us Stephen too. Rob has been dealing with this and so strong. He doesn’t have a big open Facebook. He has a few close friends, and one came yesterday. Stephen is actually one of the people who helped rob and I meet. Digger O’Dells is “our place”. It’s where he asked me to be his girlfriend by quoting New Edition. “If it isn’t love, why do I feel this way?”

How could I have ever said no to that?

We laughed when I joked that here I am, not wearing pants, or a bra, and had on a hot blond wig. Years ago that would have been called a wild Friday night. I think rob needed to see him more than me.

He isn’t a hugger or emotional , but please, send him love. He is a good man.

The best.

Please pray for my dear friend Karen, who is recovering from hip surgery. Texting at 1:00 and laughing with her was a blessing during a long night.

Please pray for my roommate Joyce. She is an elderly woman who speaks out loud to Jesus all night long and is cries and is scared. I just prayed again with her, and pulled a nurse aside that perhaps a clergy visit would calm her down. Listen, anyone can pray with anyone, but she knows her bible verses and names and numbers, and it’s time for a professional.

Please pray for Quinn’s troop as they camp this weekend. I miss my kids. I won’t see him now until Sunday.

Please pray for all of these amazing and overworked nurses who are so kind. 19 North is now added to my nurse squad.

Please pray for good biopsy results, healing, and along life ahead.

In Jesus’s name, amen.



Better Healed than Unbroken

I made it through the day yesterday.

My whole body hurts to touch a bit, and opening snacks is a bit hard but I’m managing.

I’m excited about the next two months as it’s when everything starts to come together in kindergarten and their confidence grows.

I still can’t believe this is happening.

It’s so hard to not play the “What would I be like now if this hadn’t happened?”

What kind of wife would I be?






I read something yesterday about how we can become better people healed than when we were unbroken.

I like that thought.

That’s what I’m going for in both ways.

Healed and better.

I look around and see others who don’t even recognize how lucky their lives are and the blessings they have. Can you touch something and not wince in pain? Can you swallow water and not want to cry? Can you go through an hour and not think about dying this year?

If so… you are blessed beyond your own knowing. Be happy and grateful . That doesn’t seem to be the way lately.

I see people, adults, name calling and writing about others, and we wonder why we have children who bully.

Do as I say, not as I do.


The children are watching.

Today, let’s all be better people. Raise others up who need a hand. Give a second chance, or a third, or a fourth. If we can’t ever come back from mistakes, we all lose as a society. People will stop trying. Accept apologies. And of one isn’t given, live your own life anyway.

Keep your eyes on your own life and how to make it better for those around you.

And if the people around you aren’t who you want to be like… I saw a quote


“You can’t change the people around you..

But you can change the people around you.”

Be a blessing.

Pray for healing.

In Jesus’s name, amen.