Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Love in the winter

One of my favorite juice recipes: lemon, cucumber and kale!

Carrot, cucumber and celery! Sean even drank this one!

My chickpea kale stew I made for the soup exchange!

Training at Rec Hall!
Rec Hall training: laps and steps! We are preparing to run 10 miles in March!
So, February is insane. We have plans literally every weekend. We’re in Philadelphia the first weekend for an adoption workshop. Then that Thursday we leave for Florida to visit Seth, Katie and baby G. The following weekend is Valentine’s Day weekend and Pink Zone. Our families are once again coming in for the game, which I’m really excited about! Then the following weekend is THON, which is a huge reunion weekend of Sean’s college/our friends. It’s a weekend of celebrations and events.
In between all of that I’m having another colonoscopy (yes, yay), since have them every two years for LFS screening. Plus I’ve been having some stomach issues and my doctors (oncologist and primary care physician) couldn’t find anything wrong, so they thought it best to refer me to a GI and have another colonoscopy.  Also went to see my plastic surgeon in Hershey last week. Implants are fine, and he wants to see me back in a year! Good, good news. And I’m seeing Dr. Kass in February, not for a breast MRI since that isn’t until August, but just for a regular checkup, since I’m pretty sure I see her twice a year. I’m a little nervous about her feeling around, but I know I need to see her and I will have peace of mind after the appointment is over.
Also in the middle of this February cray we’re putting the finishing touches on OUR beginning part of the adoption process. My fingerprint results were rejected a second time, so I have to get a name search done by the Dept. of Public Welfare, which could take a while. And we still have to put together the profile book. Then we will be READY to WAIT! And lots of fun things have happened this past month. Sean and I have gone to lots of wrestling matches and basketball games, plus my girlfriends and I coordinated a soup exchange where 8 of us made soups to share. I was proud of how my chickpea kale turned out, and can’t wait to eat all of the soups this week and next! (or however long they last!) I already had two yesterday, both of which were delicious. Plus lots of plans with friends and the like. We’re very busy and I like it that way, even though some days it’s been so cold I don’t want to get out of bed. I have to keep my spirits high or I’ll never make it through the winter.
Sean and I have begun training for our 10-miler in March and I’m trying to get in as many yoga sessions as I can since every weekend in February we’re booked. By the time March rolls around I’ll have some more time (right, like that ever happens) and then it will be almost, almost spring. (almost?)
And I am SO excited and honored to have two more public speaking engagements coming up: one in February for Experience Town& Gown: Pink Zone, and one in May for Park Forest Elementary’s Mini-THON, in which I’ll speak about my childhood Leukemia and also (wait for it!) donate my hair to Locks of Love on site! I’m really excited to share my Leukemia story publicly. I haven’t since a survivor’s workshop I attended in college in which I was part of a panel of childhood cancer survivors. As you know, most of my public speaking has been about the breast cancer, so I’ll really have to think hard about how to prepare for this part of my story and what I want to share. It will be a different audience as well; mostly elementary-aged children. I’m so, so honored (thank you, Nanci!) to be doing this. I was going to donate my hair anyway, so what is more fitting than doing it AT an event to raise money for children fighting cancer? (https://thon.org/about/minithons) You can read more about Mini THONS by clicking on the site. They are “mini” THONS, literally, based on Penn State’s larger annual THON, which raises money for the Four Diamonds Fund. (http://fourdiamonds.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donordrive.home)
The mission of Four Diamonds is to conquer childhood cancer by assisting children treated at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital and their families through care, support and research, according to the website. The event I’m speaking at in May is one of these Mini-THONS. Money raised during it goes to the Four Diamonds Fund.
So that’s the new stuff! We are just plugging along and doing the next things, which is really great and really amazing. Any time I can run more, practice yoga more, juice more and cook more I am happy, and that’s really been a big part of my plans in January. Try to break through some of the winter funk with things that make me feel good.
I try to imagine myself, in our current plans and situations, as a mother. Like when we’re at a basketball game I imagine what it would be like if we had a baby with us. And at the soup exchange last Saturday my friend Kim brought her gorgeous baby girl who I got to hold for a while as she bounced around on the counter in her adorable sweater skirt. And I pictured what it would be like if I had a baby with me at the soup exchange.
This is my way of preparing for the next step. Not that you can prepare for how your life will change once you have a child, but for me it is a kind of coping mechanism. Picture my life now. Picture my life with baby. Am I ready for this? How will my routine be different? Picture buckling in the car seat. Reaching into the diaper bag when he/she needs to be changed, needs a pacifier, spits up. There’s no way to know, there’s no way to really be prepared, and no mother or father, after 1 year or 1,000 years of parenting, has all the answers. But this is MY way. I’m picturing my life as a mom.
I don’t really care that there’s no way to know. Life, in all its different pockets, never comes with any type of certainty. There is never a guarantee. Plans don’t always work. People can’t really truly prepare for every situation, or really any situation. Life just happens. It’s the same way with us having a child. Adoption was not part of the initial plan, but neither was the breast cancer or the LFS. Neither was Tour de Pink.
Referring back to my “reflection” post at the end of 2013, adoption is a stone we chose. Here’s where we placed it. We’re not expecting anything, except to be parents.
We’re not expecting it to be a certain way. We’re not expecting it to be this way or that way or this type of easy or this type of hard.
We’ve been through enough, together, to know that’s not how things work. We embrace what we are given. We embrace the good and the bad.
This is a stone we chose together. We did our part. Where the stone leads, or what type of stone it is, we do not know. That is not for us to decide.
Every day I just feel so lucky to have all of THIS. A loving husband and 100,000 friends and family who have supported everything we’ve done, and are on the support train once again as we pursue the adoption.
So much of the anxiety that comes with living with a genetic mutation that makes cancer possible at any time with no warning or rhyme or reason, is alleviated by the love in my life. It’s mushy gushy but it’s true. Pink and Pearls has never failed in the truth department.
Part of that anxiety is alleviated by my plan with my doctors who take me seriously, know about my “condition” and follow through with my tests and screenings.
But the rest is alleviated by Sean and my family and friends. There’s so many of them, yet I feel we’re all in this together, all the time. I’m actually not scared when I think about the LFS. Fear is actually not the word that comes to mind. Because in the end it will be what it will be.
Having so much love and support from so many people, literally all over the world, lets me know whatever happens, they all have my back.


  1. I didn't know you were planning on adopting! That is wonderful news. (I am behind on the blog reading... nursing school) I look forward to hearing more about your journey. Derek and I are anxious for kids but just too much going on.. yikes :)

    By the way any chance you posted or will post your kale soup recipe?

  2. Hi Katie! Thank you so much for the kind words! I am absolutely happy to post the recipe. I will admit I didn't follow it EXACTLY :)
    I hope all is well with you guys, and I wish you the best with nursing school! What an exciting journey for you. Sending love, Marjie

    Vegetarian chickpea kale stew:

    2 tsp olive oil, extra-virgin
    2 small uncooked onion(s), chopped
    1 tsp table salt, divided
    2 clove(s) (medium) garlic clove(s), minced
    2 tsp ground cumin
    1 tsp ground ginger
    15 oz canned diced tomatoes, packed in their own juice, undrained
    45 oz canned chickpeas (undrained), rinsed and drained
    10 oz fresh kale
    2 Tbsp water
    1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
    1/4 cup(s) cilantro, fresh, chopped
    • Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, cumin and ginger; cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and their juice, and chickpeas; stir to combine and mash chickpeas slightly with a potato masher.
    • Using tongs, toss in spinach and sprinkle mixture with water; cook, covered, until spinach is wilted, tossing mixture once half-way through, about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, cilantro and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Yields about 1 1/4 cups per serving.


Photos by me

Still Being Molly


Photo by Marjie

Photo by Marjie

Photo by Marjie

Photo by Marjie