Saturday, July 26, 2014

Love these Sol-mates

We had our annual Sol Survivors family BBQ last week, what a great group of people we have among us!  We come from all walks of life, backgrounds, and stages of disease, but we all have one common bond--our experiences with melanoma.  I am so grateful that melanoma brought us together.  I thought I would highlight each Sol Survivor: (from left)
Lisa: Our mother hen.  She has such a warm, calming presence about her and is so nurturing and caring.  She is the first person to ask, "How can I help?" and always lends a hand even despite her busy life.  Lisa also provides the unique perspective of understanding a cancer patient's experiences and emotions, but also a caregiver's (her daughter battled Lymphoma a couple years ago).  Lisa is also my right hand woman and I don't know what I would do without her!
The Dunns (Kevin, Virginia, and Eric): This family not only lost their daughter, Amy, to melanoma, but Kevin has battled Stage 4 colon cancer this past year and is such a trooper!  Always so positive and supportive.  They are the picture of strength amidst major adversity.
Shaelyn (the little girl): Shae is our newest and youngest Sol Survivor.  She was diagnosed with Stage 3 melanoma a little over a year ago.  She was a total rock star throughout year long treatment and has a smile and contagious laugh.  When she walks in the door, her spirit lights up the room!
Janice (blond, next to me on the right): Janice is my other wing man! Janice is super organized and on top of things. When you ask her to do something, she gets it done.  She is also very sweet natured and loving, but what I love about Janice the most is she makes you feel at ease talking to her.  My first time meeting Janice, I felt like I had known her for years!  She is total best friend material. ;)
Christy: Christy is also somewhat new to the group.  She comes from Mountain Home, about an hour away from Boise.  She is a fighter!  She has been battling Stage 3 for a couple of years now, off and on, but continues to hold on and not give up hope!  Christy also seems super positive and that positivity rubs off on everyone around her!
Robin: I met Robin a few years ago in yoga class and I think in our conversation, we talked for an hour!  When I think of Robin, the first word that comes to my mind is WARRIOR.  She is a survivor, and not just melanoma, but a survivor of many things in her life.  She doesn't slow down, she is always willing to help others, and she lives life to the fullest!  Despite Robin's melanomas and frequent health scares, she never gives up or lets her hurdles get in the way of living life. She just does what she has to do and doesn't make excuses for it.  What I also love about Robin is her vulnerability.
Ruby:  Ruby is our "sunshine" of the group.  When Ruby is around, you can't help smiling and laughing.  Ruby also lights up the room and always has something nice to say about everyone.  She is a good supporter and cheerleader to everyone in the group and also very positive and proactive about her own health too!  I just love Ruby!
Courtney (not pictured):  From the very first meeting Courtney attended, she wanted to be involved with Sol Survivors.  She is also a "get it done" (or get it dunn) kind of girl.  She is on top of things and always willing to help and lend a hand.  I also love Courtney's sense of humor and wit.  She makes me laugh!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Happy to be alive

This picture is of me jumping off a rock into a river near where we live in Idaho.  I love it because it represents my love for life!!
 My main purpose and reason for living.  These 3 boys.  Love them with every part of my being!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Sad news

About a month ago, I received news that my doctor--my amazing, brilliant, caring, trust-worthy oncologist is retiring at the end of this month (after 38 years of practicing medicine). To say this news was devastating to me is an understatement. The last few weeks I have been reflecting on how blessed I was to have four years under his care. Not only did he save my life, but he played an integral part in helping me stay optimistic and hopeful for the future. From the start, Dr. Minor treated me as an individual and provided me with the BEST level of care. He has never once treated me as a number and given me a prognosis. 
It's going to be difficult to trust and love a doctor as much as I love Dr. Minor, but I'm hopeful that the doctor replacing him will be just as great. (He has big shoes to fill though!) My only wish is that I could've had one more visit with him to adequately thank him for all he has done for me. I just hope that I will be lucky enough to someday do that in person. 
P.S. The top photo represents me (along with Dr. Minor and his nurse) half way through my treatment in 2010 after we found out the "good news". I was puffy from the drugs, I had no eyelashes and I was beyond exhausted, but getting the news that the drugs were working was the best medicine I could receive. The bottom pic was taken at the MRF gala last year with two of Dr. Minor's other Stage 4 patients and survivors, and dear friends of mine!