Friday, March 30, 2012

An update and some IORT

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Mom did really well during the surgery and things are looking good.
She was able to get the new fancy IORT procedure.

That's intraoperative radiation treatment for all you people who aren't in with the newest technology.
It's still fairly new here in the states, although they've been doing it for years in Europe.

Basically, they are able to do radiation during surgery, directly to the targeted area.
It's super awesome and I'm sort of jealous.

In fact, I really don't think it's at all fair.
I had to do 7 weeks of radiation.  35 treatments total.
And my boob looked like burgundy aged leather by the end.
And it didn't completely fade away for years.
And it still tans differently.
And I have several tattooed dots on my body.
But hey, if you have it a bit easier, that's cool.
:|

Anyway, they were able to do it during surgery, minimizing exposure to unnecessary tissue and organs, speeding up the treatment process and really targeting what is most important.
The whole process is really exciting!

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I have to say that with all the awareness and money raised for breast cancer, 
it is really exciting to see that money at work.

It's only been 5 years since my diagnosis.... less than 4 years since my treatment and we've already progressed so far in better treatments.

Thank you mom for getting cancer so that I can see that our fundraising money was put to good use!

Mom is doing really well.  I always say that she has super healing powers... or maybe it's that she can handle pain a lot better than I can.

Thank you for all the well wishes and prayers!!

PS  I will have a 52 Foods post up for this week... I'm lagging a bit but I'm totally going to play the cancer card... even if it's not mine.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Once again, from the other side



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It's been almost 5 years since my breast cancer diagnosis 
and everything seemed to be working out just fine.  

That is, until about a month ago...

when mom was diagnosed.


She found a lump in her breast and went to get it checked out.
I didn't even worry.  
After my diagnosis I had done the genetic testing and the tests came up negative.
There are two markers that they know of linking genetic breast cancer and I came up negative for both.

Last summer, in August, on two consecutive days, my cousin (on my mom's side) and my aunt (on my dad's side) were both diagnosed with breast cancer.  
They've both been through various surgeries and treatments and are doing well.
It seemed crazy but then again... it seems that people are getting diagnosed right and left these days.

So when my mom said she was going in for a mammogram, and an ultrasound, and a biopsy I didn't worry much about it.  I thought about the what if's but I didn't really take them seriously.

When I had cancer the experience was oddly positive.  I know it sounds crazy but I didn't spend time stressing about the what ifs and I didn't cry over the why's.

The moment I found out mom had cancer I felt like someone had kicked me in the stomach.
I obsessed over it all day.  I thought about it constantly.  I'm still thinking about it.
It's so much worse being on this side of things.

I'm not really worried, I know she'll be fine... although between you and me (and all of the internet) she is such a horrible patient.  She's cranky when she can't do things and she doesn't follow the rules.  Getting her to relax and recover should be interesting. 

She's doing fine now, there have been amazing leaps in technology and knowledge in the five years since I went through this process.  I'm beginning to think it's quite unfair and I'll share more info about all that later.

When asked how she's handling all of this she'd tell you that "Anything Dawn can do I can do better!"
We shall see mom, we shall see.

Mom goes in for a lumpectomy and sentinel lymph node removal Wednesday morning.
Keep your fingers crossed and say some prayers for a good pathology report and a fast recovery!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

#12 / 52 Food Adventures: Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Bailey's Frosting

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For St. Paddy's Day my mom made this super fantastic, totally awesome, delicious cupcakes.

I ate two spoons of just the batter.
It was sooooo thick and delicious and the chocolate stout flavor actually came through on it.

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She used THIS recipe but substituted a frosting made of cream cheese, powdered sugar and Bailey's Irish Cream instead of the ganache.

These might have to be a St. Paddy's tradition.  They were full of chocolatey goodness but not too sweet.

My mom sent home a plate of about 10 for us to share with B's work.
Yeah, um, they never made it that far.

What did you try this week?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A rainy St. Paddy's day

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We were just looking at pictures from last St. Patrick's Day and laughing to ourselves.

It's noon right now and it's been pouring all day.
That's ok because pouring all day means that I wasn't motivated to work out this morning and B's afternoon ride is cancelled and we're all home together... at the same time... all day.

Peanut's taking a nice long nap, in a room darkened by the gray sky, with the sound of the rain in the background.

Although I should be doing other things, I'm catching up on some blog reading.
You wouldn't believe how much I miss it.  I miss my friends.


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I've been reading books in the evening, I've given up TV completely (not that I watch much before) and with the exception of Pinterest and Facebook I seem to be off the internet for the most part.

The two things I'm still attached to are done in such short amounts of time.  I think I need to rearrange some priorities around here.  I miss the connection and inspiration with the blogs and bloggers.

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We'll be spending the rest of the day playing at home.

I have a few presents (from Peanut's birthday and Christmas) still stashed away that I'll break out to get rid of toddler cabin fever.

We're having non-traditional corned beef and cabbage with Irish cupcakes for dinner.

It's going to be a good day.

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Happy St. Patrick's Day!

What are you up to today?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

#11 / 52 Food Adventures: Swordfish Carpaccio

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Last week my parents and I went to Canaletto Ristorante in Fashion Island 
and this was my favorite dish of the night.

House-cured Swordfish Carpaccio with sliced fresh artichokes and something crunchy and something green.

Our menu didn't give a full description and I forgot to ask the server.  

Actually, I was avoiding speaking to (or making eye contact with) the server.  He was quite the actor and I couldn't handle the overly animated "Italian" service.  
He was a nice guy, really, I just didn't have the energy. :)

I loved the flavor in this dish, I loved the swordfish and I loved the texture.

What did you try this week?

I believe next week will be dishes with lemon and/or lime thyme... 
that is if I don't kill my plants before then.  Any recipe suggestions?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I can walk the dog...

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Now that he's a big boy (with his big boy hair cut) we decided that it was time for him to start pulling his own weight around here and do some chores....
like walking Ginger.

I'm pretty sure Ginger feels like she got the bum end of the deal here.

Peanut's been paying attention to grandma and grandpa.
He knows what to do.

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You see, 
here he is pretending to pick up poop with the little poo poo bags.

Isn't he charming?

He's thinking, hmmmm, I see them take these bags and put them on the grass like this.....

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Pretending to pick up poop is fun!!!

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My job here is done, 
better head back home before the street lights come on.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Fancy First Cut

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Oh my little man, where has the time gone?!

Although Peanut still doesn't have a lot of hair exactly,
he definitely had hair that was too long in places.

It was finally time for a hair cut.

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We headed down to First Cut in Corona Del Mar, where I knew it would be fun for Peanut
and most importantly, cute for my pictures :)

We had taken Daniel to First Cut in Mission Viejo and all of the chairs were rockets.

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You see Peanut's wispy, goofy hair?

He has my hair.  B has that super thick, black asian hair.
I have much finer, brown hair.  I just have a ton of it.

Peanut does not have a ton of it.   Yet.

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He was actually pretty eager to get into the airplane.

It is a pretty cool chair, is it not?

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Then she started cutting and he was like.....
ummmm, what the heck is going on here?
I don't think like it.
Papa, get me out!
Why does she keep touching my head?
What are you doing up there?
Quit messing with my hair.

He keep saying please and trying to get us to pick him up.
He wasn't crying but he wasn't sitting still either.
Poor Peanut kept reaching up and pushing her hand away.

Man, she was patient... and fast.... and careful...
can you imagine what it would be like to cut kids hair all day long?

I'd clip someones ear off for sure.  And probably my finger.
And forget about a good looking hair cut.

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She asked if she could bribe him with a dum dum and I told her to go ahead.

Hey, whatever works.

Check out that look he's giving her, ha.
He's like, sure I'll take this thing you're handing me... but that doesn't mean I trust you.

So today Peanut also had his first piece of candy.
He was uninterested.

I finally pulled out a video of.....himself!
That kept him still for about a minute.

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Between all the toys they provide, candy, applesauce, a video camera, a pair of sunglasses, an airplane chair and 4 adults we managed to get through his first hair cut.

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This was the happiest expression we got.

I'll take it!

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Getting your hair cut is serious business.

This is Peanut's serious I-just-got-my-hair-cut-look.

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If you think this whole airplane or rocket chair is a bit much you should see the package they sell.

I read about it online.
You can also get the First Cut package which includes:
kids shampoo and body wash,
hair cut
before and after pictures
lock of hair
commemorative album
DVD

and

live broadcast on internet (at select locations)
for only $150!

I know.

I know!


So hey, if you thought these bazillion photos I just posted were bad then realize that I could have been
streaming live feed of Peanuts first hair cut instead :)

By the way, they did give me a lock of hair (and when Daniel went they also gave us a certificate).

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I didn't actually think that his hair cut would make much a difference
but there is just something about that clean cut that makes my little boy seem so big.

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In that first picture he's trying to ignore me and my camera.

And he's plotting.  You can just tell.

Hopefully next time he'll sit still.
We shall see.
He probably won't be in a cool airplane the next time but as long as we manage to keep all ears and fingers in tact and there aren't any meltdowns during the cut,
then I'd say it's a success.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

#10 / 52 Food Adventures: Lobster Roll

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This, my friends, was my very first lobster roll.

Although it may not seem such a food adventure for those of you on the East Coast,
I can honestly say that lobster rolls are hard to come by around here.

I was lucky enough to stumble on Wink's Lobster while at the Mission Viejo Farmers Market on Friday.

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So.much.lobster.meat.

Apparently there are lots of ways to make a lobster roll but I'd like to declare that this is my absolute favorite.  Yes, I know it's the only one I've had but I can't imagine that it gets better than this.

Buttery toasted roll.  Loads of sweet lobstah meat.  Light seasoning.
Topped with lovely melted butter or mayo or both.
The answer should be both, by the way.

I'm sort of obsessed.
I think I might have to go back Friday.

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Also, the owner Mr. Wink we'll call him because I can't remember if it was a first or last name, was super nice.  Originally from Maine he brought this lovely roll to Southern California just to make me happy.

Or something like that.

He just started up in October and I'm positive he'll have a booming business.
Wink's makes it way around OC and LA so check their Facebook page for a schedule or follow him on twitter @WinksLobster.

Also, Wink's gets bonus points for having pamphlets with fun lobster facts because I'm a nerd and I love things like this.  B likes them too because it means I read them to him when he's trying to do other things.

Did you know that lobster has less cholesterol, calories and saturated fat then skinless chicken breast?

Have you had a lobster roll?  How do you like yours made?

What did you try this week?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A day on my own

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On Friday morning I woke up to the sound of an incoming text message.
Before opening my eyes I felt his fingers twitching lightly against my arm as he slept.

I love this hour or two when he's sleeping between us.
Well, most of the time I love it.  
When he's not rolling around, when he's not all elbows and heels in my ribs.

I checked my phone, a message from work, and then I remember that B and Peanut were headed to Sacramento for the weekend.

I got out of bed, showered, did my hair, put on my make-up and got dressed.
A long maxi skirt (as comfy as yoga pants but so much cuter and more socially acceptable in public), a tank, a light, loose v-neck cardigan worn open and sandals.
I looked in the mirror approvingly.

I tried not to think of how it would be without my Peanut all weekend.

We went to the airport where I hugged Peanut repeatedly and probably too hard all the way to the gate.
In the rush of boarding B almost forgot to pause and say goodbye to mommy which he never would have heard the end of.  The nerve.

I walked away telling myself not to cry... it's only a weekend.
They'll be back Sunday night.

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From the airport I stopped by the cafe (work) and then to the El Toro library to pick up a book I had on hold.  It's a no nonsense sort of place that is tiny and not all that fun to wander around as it's really only one big room.

I decided to head over to another, larger and newer library to soak in the quiet and the smell of books.
I'd been eyeing it as I drove past for months but never had the time to go in and browse.

Oh how times have changed.  I finally get a moment alone and all I really want to do is wander a bookstore/ library and eat without being rushed or interrupted.

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When I got to the library I realized that it was closed until 1 pm because of a farmer's market in front.

I had 2 hours until opening and decided to stay because why the heck not- I'm all by myself!

The sun was shining and warm on my back and the fragrance of herbs pulled me to the nursery's booth.

I ended up walking away with 2 different types of thyme (lemon and lime) that I have no idea what to do with but made me happy regardless.

I hope I can keep them alive.

Anyone have lemon and/or lime thyme suggestions?

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There were several food trucks and lots of little food booths but I could not resist the lobster roll.

I found a seat in the shade of tree, listened to the mellow guitar music and watched the people go by as I savored every last bite of this buttery, delicious piece of heaven.

I've never had a lobster roll before and you'll hear more about it on Tuesday.

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I wandered around a bit more and thought about how wonderful this day was already turning out.

Sure I missed my baby but days like this reminded me that I did have a life before Peanut.
Everyone needs a little time to themselves.

Then I saw a little one run past me and my heart did a little flip.

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I stopped and talked to vendors.  We had real conversations about their businesses, their passions and what a gorgeous Southern California day it was.  74° degrees with the perfect breeze.
I can't remember the last time I had time to wander around and talk to people for no reason.

This gentleman took me through a honey tasting and it really was interesting.
It's like tasting wine and learning the subtle differences in each one.
Bees are remarkable creatures.

I had 45 minutes to spare so I headed back to the car to sit in the passenger seat and read.
In the background was the sound of the guitar, children laughing and people in conversation.
I was parked just next to the food and my car was filled with the scent of garlic and butter.

I love the smell of garlic and butter.

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When the library finally opened I looked around quietly.
Big fireplaces, gorgeous views, sunlight and cozy chairs.

I forgot to go to one whole side as I got caught up in the new books section.

I wandered through the aisles picking up books I had on my too read list.

There was no rush whatsoever.

When I was a little, I always imagined the adult me having days like this.
Casually walking, good food, perfect atmosphere, browsing books 
with a basket of my market finds over my arm.  

I was thinking that very thought when I saw this book...
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and giggled quietly before I took a picture.
Apparently the adult-me still has plenty of the child-me still inside.  
Very mature.

The real title is Class Warfare, if you must know.  

When I finally went home I pulled out my bag of treats from the day and spread them on the table.
I stacked my books up nicely and thought about what to read next.
I made a dinner of pasta with lemon cream sauce and cilantro garnish... something B wouldn't be very interested in.

Unfortunately there wasn't any champagne (why hadn't I picked some up?) so I settled for cran-grape instead.  It was that or pedialyte.

B's mom called me to give me an update on my Peanut who was having a wonderful time being spoiled to pieces.  I pictured his giggles and smiles and curious looks.

I watched a movie (I'll admit it was Breaking Dawn, B will be so sad I already returned it) and then finished the rest of If I Stay, the book I had started earlier.

It was an absolutely wonderful day.
Sleeping that night would be a whole different story :)

When was the last time you spent a day to yourself?

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