Friday, August 28, 2015

Two of a kind

Tonight, the Jude and I went on a mission to get our matchy/matchy hairdos documented on film. 

I'm not too shabby at selfies, going solo. It's an entirely different matter when I've got to cram two faces in there. (Obviously.)

Anyway, this is the few from the front. Jude's rocking more gray in the front than I am, but from the back, we have very much the same color.

Don't worry. Neither of us broke our arms trying to get this angle in a truly backwards selfie. Oh no, Judy absolutely chased down a couple strangers and then we handed them our very expensive camera equipment and literally turned our backs to them. 

We have such grand adventures in the city!

And here's a true close up side-by-side. (No strangers were involved in the taking of these pics. This is Evans work, for sure.) Mom's hair is longer, but the curl patterns are the same and the color is very close. It's awesome! 

And I'll leave you with this awkward selfie, complete with the inclusion of a glorious handicapped sign behind us. You're welcome.

Results Day

Okay, so... the long and short of it is that the tumor IS growing, but it's growing slowly. (This is very good news!)

The tumor in my back (between ribs #9 and #10) was 1.5 x 2.7 cm in June. It's now measuring at 1.8 x 3.3. The doc wants to see that on a PET before she even thinks about going back into chemo. (She needs to see the SUV to decide how to treat it.)

Soooooo... my body just bought us another 10 weeks chemo-free. WAHOO!

I'll come back in November for a PET/CT, and then we'll go from there. But for now... I'm cleared to keep living the way I have been for the next two months. I could not be happier or more grateful!

Time and dirty Dr. Peppers are,  pretty much, the most important things in my life. And I feel like I just won the lottery on both fronts!

Project Chia Pet - Week 10

It appears that I have a new uniform. How is it that I've been wearing this same white shirt  three Fridays in a row? 

As you can see, Houston had made my hair a little bit bushier and flippier. It's been a super good time! 

Today's pic was taken just a moment ago, in the Dr's waiting room. (That would be me, live blogging from the waiting room, in an effort to not get too worked up.)

Stay tuned for the results follow up.  Fingers crossed that I'll be greenlit to keep growing this crazy mop of mine! 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Scan Day

I started today off bright and early in the Diagnostic Imaging dept. Here in Texas,  they use a different (tasteless and colorless) contrast than what I'm used to in Gilbert. And I'm here to tell you,  I'll take 32 oz of Tropicana OJ with a half cup of chemicals thrown in over the same amount of mocha flavored barium any day! 

I mean... Look,  I'm genuinely smiling in this pic. That's happened with barium exactly zero times. 

After my scan,  Judy and I went to lunch with Cousin Jan. This time she took us to The Raven (OMG, aaaaaaaaaa-mazing food!) and then on a driving tour of Rice. (OMG, beeeeautiful campus!)

After lunch, Jan and Jude dropped me back at the hotel do I could take a much needed nap,  and then they enjoyed some grown up cousin bonding time. 

After a good three hour nap,  I woke up with a screaming headache and a need to go outside and warm up. (Hotel a/c always kills me a little bit.) So Jude and I took ourselves on a walk of the facilities. 

It took us an hour to walk on one side of the street lunged with MDA buildings. My guess is that there's another hour worth of walking to be done on the other side. 

This place is GINORMOUS. 

And totally awesome. 

And at the end of our travels, we stopped for a selfie in front the main building. If you look at the tippy top of the pic, you can see the MDA signage. And if you look at our hair you'll see that this is probably my best matchy matchy hair cut pic yet!

I'll get results on today's tests tomorrow afternoon. Be looking here for the update.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Project Chia Pet - Week 9

Funny story. This week's side-by-side selfies were taken in the same room, wearing the same shirts. Not even on purpose. 

Obviously, they were taken at different times of the day... check our last week's shadows, vs this week's bright face, but whatev.

The bummer about both these selfies being taken in my front room is that you can't really tell how crazy my hair is these days. It started curling up a couple weeks back, and is almost officially out of control.

Here's a bonus pic for your ocular enjoyment. I took this yetserday to send to Spencer and Judy to show them we need to get together and have a group matchy/matchy hair selfie.

It's not quite long enough to just let it be and have mass curls everywhere, but I've officially lost the ability to part my hair, and my bangs are doing this new and very special thing where the front of them curls down and towards my forehead, but the section of hair right behind that is curling backwards. Totally on its own, not even on purpose.

It's like my hair KNOWS that I went to Snowflake High School in 1989.

And here's one a more close up, so you can see my sweet feathery/flippy action. 

Don't be jealous that my hair changes weekly. ... That said, I'm super curious to see what it does in the Houston humidity next week!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Three months

Three months ago, today, I sat in Dr. H's office and was given an estimated 3-6 months to act before this tumor chokes me out.

Two months ago, today, I sat in Dr. Z's office in Texas and was told that #9 hadn't shown enough growth in the month from May-June 18th to merit starting another treatment plan right away.

A week from today, I fly back to Texas. I'll have another round of tests/scans done Thursday and I'll get the results on Friday.

Fingers crossed that the scan will show that my little friend is still little and I can squeak in another couple chemo-free months before I go back into treatment.

I know that it just is what it is, and when I'll go back into treatment and how that's going to look is totally beyond my control. But man alive, am I grateful for the last three months.

I am tired in a way that I didn't know existed eight months ago, and I have some discomfort that is pretty consistently bordering on pain these days, but I've said it before and I'll say it again... I will take feeling this level of crappy all day long, and for as long as I can get away with it.

I haven't been all that awesome about blogging lately. And, I'm sorry, but... I'm not sorry. It's because I've been busy squeezing as much life out my life as I can, and the reality is that all that living has made me really tired.

But listen... it's been a great three months. I mean, the best.

Here's to hoping that the doctors' calculations are off and I have, like, 372 months left. (And hey, assuming they're wrong, someday I'll get back to blogging again. Promise!)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Project Chia Pet - Week 8

Okay, so... here are the pics from last week.

Don't worry about how it's Tuesday and I'm just barely posting last Friday's side-by-side.

The pic was taken Friday night. I just totally spaced uploading it. (Ha!) I had some friends come into town for the weekend and I took this right before walking out the door to dinner Friday night. (You may or may not have noticed, but on the off chance that you didn't... I'm gonna go right ahead and point out that my cheeks look less chubby in the pic on the right. It appears that I was correct and it was the angle of the camera the week before. Hooray!) Anyway, I took the pic Friday night, but then came home from dinner and got straight into bed, and then spent all day Saturday with friends (and all day Sunday in bed to compensate for having been out of bed all day Saturday... my life is such a fun balancing act of down time vs. actually leaving my house). And then spaced it...

Until tonight.

When I remembered that I needed to get Week 8 the heck up here before I'm responsible for Week 9 in 72 hours.

My, how time flies when you're having fun. (And/or recuperating from having had fun. Tomato/tomahto.)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Here's the thing about making plans: I need them. I love them. I also hate them.

Without a plan, I'm too tired to do anything. If I have a plan (meeting a friend for dinner, going to work in the morning, washing laundry, going out of town for a few days, having a friend or relation coming here for a weekend, etc), I can push through the exhaustion and the pain and I can get myself up and out of the magical bendy bed. I can get dressed and I can show up and I can do the thing that I planned. If I make plans to live my life, I somehow have the energy that I need to do whatever it is that I planned on doing. But here's the thing... making too many plans, doing too many things, also renders me completely useless. (I should know. Because I am typing this from my bed. At 3:00 PM.)

It's a weird (and really hard, mostly because my body is getting less and less dependable) balance of making plans to go out and making plans to stay in.

I want to spend as much time as I can with the people I love the most, but I don't like it when I'm too tired to enjoy that time, so I feel like I have to limit myself to X number of hours so I don't get so tired that I can feel myself coming apart at the seams.

I want to go to work, because that's what feels normal, but I keep learning the lesson that I don't have the stamina to work even a half day. I've been able to push myself from 2-3.5 hours a day, but it took a month to get to three hours, and I've found that I lose the ability to articulate if I try to stay four.

Which brings me to another thing. I'm fine until I get too tired, and then I hit a wall and words just fall out of my sentences. I think I've typed a complete sentence, but when I reread an email prior to sending it, I find that I've missed words that I know I meant to type... that I thought I  had typed... but they're not there. Or I talk like it's backwards day. For real, last Friday I said "you're welcome" when I meant to say "thank you", in the middle of a conversation. It would be funny, if language wasn't one of the most important parts of my life. But it is. So, this is heartbreaking more than hilarious.) The obvious upside to losing my words is that it lets me know when I'm at my limit. I work until I catch myself getting weird, and then I'm out.

I want to stay home and read or watch TV and just hang out with me, because that's also part of my old normal. But sometimes I have this fear that I'm running out of time, and that makes it hard for me to enjoy downtime like I want to. Like I need to, because I neeeeeeeeed to be able to hang out with just my books and/or my shows, so I can sell myself a story about how if I do this, I'll have energy later to keep my plans.

It's so hard.

Here's the thing about making plans: I need them. I love them. I also hate them. ... So much.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Project Chia Pet - Week 7



Is it just me, or do my cheeks look chubbier?

It's either the box of chocolates, or the angle of the camera. (Let's blame it on the camera angle. I have a 15 yr old houseguest for the weekend and there are a lot of calories in store. I don't want to think that every single bite of cheesecake that I'm gonna eat will be going straight to by chipmunk cheeks.)

But hey!

Good news!

My hair's getting curly!

Also, I have a very strange hairline that I can barely stand. (I feel like my neck looks especially werewolfy in this pic. While I know that my hairline is weirdie and awkward, I feel like the angle the camera was held at increases the weird factor. ... I know, I know. Me and my "camera angle" theories. Just go with it. ... Please. Because the alternative is that my cheeks really did chub out in a week and my neck really does look a little Lupin-ish.)

But seriously, the hair is getting actually CURLY in the back! I'm so excited that I can hardly stand myself!

Thursday, August 6, 2015


This just happened.

Yeah, that's a 1 lb box of See's.

Or, rather, it was a 1 lb box of See's. ... I've eaten as much of it as I can.

I've been setting housekeeping goals for myself. (Don't judge. I can't make myself clean the kitchen if I haven't made a "rule" that it has to get done on a certain day of the week.) Aaaaaand, today, while cleaning said kitchen I ran across a box of See's that's been sitting on a shelf since I got it. ... As a Christmas present.

That's right. I ate an 8 month old box of chocolates today. And now I'm preserving the moment for posterity.

In my defense, most of it was inedible. It was a box of nuts and chews, and the caramel had crystalized, rendering practically EVERY "chew" pretty disgusting. (Don't worry. I gnawed the chocolate off the sides of the caramels. Waste not, want not and all that stuff.)

But listen, it was still a pretty decent amount of chocolate. I'm more than a little sick to my stomach, but I also feel like VICTORY IS MINE!

Man alive, I love candy. It's so great that I can eat it again! (And, tender mercy, kids. The rum nougat was still perfect. Soft and chewy and awesome in it's rummy fruitiness. Who cares that there was only one good candy left in the box? It was my favorite kind, so that's a serious win!)

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Blast from the Past

Yesterday, my friend Cili came over to make brownies and watch movies with me.

Product Placement Break:

Have you had these?

They are a-maaaaaazing! (And they're just under $2 a batch if purchased at your neighborhood WalMart.)

You're welcome.

Anyhoo... C came over to make (and eat) a batch of brownies and watch some movies. Knowing the Wood house rules, I gave the girl a handful of PG movies to choose from.

Sleepless in Seattle was her first pick. (Smart girl.) She'd never seen it, and I knew she was in for a treat. (I mean, besides the brownies. Those were an obvious treat and a half.) That movie and 11 yr old girls are MFEO.

She laughed, I laughed. I teared up a little at all the Affair to Remember references. ("It was nearest thing to heaven. You were there!" ... "Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories.") She asked me if Meg Ryan's character was crying. I had to tell her that, yes, she was. (I did not admit that maybe I was a little bit, too.)
All around, it was a good time had by all.

And I'm not just saying that because I saw this familiar face.

Ahhhhh, Rosie.

Back in the day when, everywhere I went, people told me that I looked just like her. 

Case in point:

Mind you, this face I'm pulling is a little bit more "Another Stakeout" than it is "Sleepless in Seattle". But still.

I'd forgotten how much we really did look alike. ... And how, circa 1993, that was a compliment. (Post-A League of Their Own, anyway. I never did like to hear that I looked "just like" Doris Murphy, as I'm sure you can imagine.)

I had a friend in one of my BYU wards who actually called me Rosie instead of Laurie. (It's alright. I called him Bob. As in, Bob Saget, of Full House fame.) 

See the pic below: 

Care to guess which one is my boy, Bob? 

I promise you that he was bent almost in half in this pic. In no way was Bob short enough to put his head on my shoulder on the reg.

When Rosie was doing her daytime talk show, she did a show when she filled the audience with women who were look-a-likes. When Mark Packard found out that I had known she was doing that show, and hadn't sent my picture in, he was furious and insisted that the bank would have given me the time off to travel back and forth so I could be on TV. He was certain that no other woman in the country could possibly look as much like Rosie as I did, and that I would have for sure won a huge prize.

Ahhhh... the Rosie days. They were good times.

I mean, so are these. But those were good times. For me and for Rosie. (Is it just me, or did she use to smile more?) It was fun to see the old me/her on the small screen yesterday. And when I told C that people used to tell me I looked like her, she looked me over and then sagely said, "I can see it". Ha!

The Utah trip

I drove to Utah last month. For the first time in ten years. (For real. That's not an exaggeration. I moved to Mesa in 2006, and I've lived 10 minutes from the airport since then. The last time I drove to Utah was in 2005, when I was going from Taylor. Crazy.)

Because I knew that well... my body is broken, and my energy level is pretty crappy, I planned to break the drive up into three days. Judy agreed with, just in case I got to tired to drive. I left my house Saturday morning and went to Flagstaff, where my dad had driven down to give me Judy. We met with Brett and his sweet family for brunch before hitting the road.

After lunch, Jude and I got in the car... planning to get as far as Page that night.

Uhm... until we had to stop at Cameron for a potty break and they had one room available in the lodge. 


And if the scenic views and incredible rock work wasn't enough to make us happy... The restaurant on site was AMAZING. Such fabulous food, and an awesome variety of traditional Navajo and boring American fare.

Sunday, we drove from Cameron to Cedar, through Jacob's Lake and over Cedar Mountain. It was an awesome drive. Beautiful, breathtaking scenery... but since this post is already going to be about a million pages long with the pics of the people, I'll skip posting the pics I took on Cedar Mountain.

Monday, Amy and Holli were off, so we got to just hang out ALL DAY. It was awesome! I got to see their new house, and meet their new baby, and Aunt Cindy bought me an all-I-could-eat salad bar for lunch. It was the best day ever!

Sadly, I forgot to get a pic taken before Holli left for work, and before Rae went down for the night. (Or at lunch, when we were all seated around a table and could have gotten a group pic.) But Amy took this pic of Baby Owen and me on the sly, and I just love it. He's the sweetest little dude. I love him!

On the way to Provo, I made a little stop in Spanish Fork to have a sleepover at Mich's house. 

Knowing I was in Spanish for the day/night, our old pal, Stacia, came by to say hi. And then we had a group photo with Michelle's scarecrow/boyfriend. (Because Mich gets real attached, real fast, to her Girls Camp props.)

Shelly was on her way to Hawaii in the morning, so I didn't get much time with her, but I dropped Jude at Shell's the night I was sleeping at Michelle's, so I could give her a quick H&G hug. Love that girl!

And then... the next morning, I went to Rachel's for a couple nights.

Rach lives in our grandparents' house, so it's always fun to have sleepovers there. I get to sleep in the downstairs, where the bathroom still has light switches that Grandad labeled, in the room that has smelled the same... for my whole life. I love it there!

And because Rachel is the most laid back, accommodating, person I know (outside of her mother, who can also handle having large groups of people thrown at her at a moment's notice), she totally let me invite all the cousins (and Kathy U) over for a last minute get together Thursday night.

Friday morning, on my way out of Provo and up to Kaysville, I stopped by Jule's to say goodbye to her girlies. I love those weirdos! It was so great to get to see them, to hang out at the house for a few hours, and take them all to see Inside Out. (Nothing like dropping $50+ on concessions at the movies. ... That is not me complaining, btw. I so love to make children's wishes and dreams come true when we're standing at a candy counter!)

Friday afternoon, the Jude and I got to Spencer's house for the weekend, where we met up with my dad, who'd come up for a friend's funeral. (Lucky timing, right?)

Saturday morning, Hilly and I went and got matchy/matchy mani & pedis.

Front porch selfie with my sweet Hilly

Saturday afternoon, Conman introduced me to his favorite drink place, Fiiz.

Yeah, we ordered (and drank) all of those.

We started with the two 32 ouncers in the bottom right, and then he started listing all of the other drinks he thought I should buy. Uhm... okay. (We may or may not have filled an entire punch card in one day, and then when we tagged ourselves at Fiiz that afternoon, they reshared our pic as the customer of the day.)

Best Laurie/Connor bonding day. Ever.

Sunday, Seth (and Hillary) sang for us.

Brea made some rocking awesome salsa.

For real, look at the bowl. We basically drink that stuff. It's freaking amazing!

Sunday night, we had a Cousins dinner at Nikki's house with Lindsay's family and Spencer's family

Good times were had by all. 

And Sethie and I were photobombed by Jesus.

Monday morning, breakfast at Granny's. 

Spencer and me in our matchy outfits with our matchy short, salt and pepper hair.

It was a super awesome trip. Exhausting, but exhilarating. I had multiple breakfast, lunch and dinner dates with old friends (no pics exist of any of those... I blame the chemo brain), and was able to see, like, every single cousin who was in town that week.

I am tired, but I went on a trip. I'm glad to be home, but I'm also super glad that I went. I saw people and places that I love. I'm so grateful that I am well enough, that I was strong enough, to do this. I'm so grateful that so many of my favorite people were gracious enough to make time in their busy schedule for me when I was in their city.