Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Last Scan Ever.

Last month, on Halloween to be exact, I received my LAST CT SCAN EVER. This is ten years later. Well, almost ten years. December 10 will mark ten years since I got into my accident. December 16 will mark ten years since my back surgery. December 18 will mark ten years since my port was surgically implanted in my chest. December 22 will mark ten years since my first chemotherapy treatment.

It's pretty unbelievable. 

I went in just a couple weeks ago for my check up with my oncologist following this last scan, and I am happy to say that there is still no evidence of disease, and that I am perfectly healthy. My chances of recurrence are so low at this point, ten years out. I'm finally just a regular patient, like everyone else.

Dr. Sivarajan told me that I do not ever need to come in for another CT Scan, ever again. I didn't really ever think about this day much. I guess it was in the back of my mind, but I am quite pessimistic at times regarding my health, kind of always waiting for something bad to happen, again. I am blessed. When I walked out of that appointment, I sat in my car and starting crying. I couldn't believe it. I am done being poked, scanned, I am done paying CANCER bills. I'm done with everything.

That entire experience that I went through was obviously life-changing, as I'm sure if you know me, you already know that. It really shaped me into who I am, and made me really appreciate what I have. It's also pretty amazing that this celebration of mine coincides with something else very near and dear to me, The Samfund.

I know-- you're all probably all too familiar with my talk about how much I love The Samfund, but it's the honest truth. I'm sure you all know that I received a grant back in 2008. I'm sure many of you have either been to the fundraisers that I have helped plan for the past 7 years, and I'm sure many of you have donated to my online campaigns in the past. But let's not stop it here. I am asking you for your continued support.

No donation is too small. 

I am asking you to help me celebrate ten years by making a donation my online fundraising campaign for The Samfund on Giving Tuesday. 

Please help me give back to those who are in the shoes that I was once in. My goal is to raise $1000, and The Samfund has a generous donor who will be MATCHING up to $12,500 TODAY!  How amazing is that? 

Thank you, as always


Thursday, June 30, 2016

10 Years Later.

I called my cancer center today to check in on my balance & payment plan, and see where I was at. Marissa, who helps me EVERY time, (bless her heart!), told me I had a balance of $46, and my $50 payment comes out tomorrow.

I said to her, there has to be a mistake. I'm sure I had a balance upwards of $300 or so (which isn't a lot, I guess? But, I have many many med bills, and have had for 10 years, so it adds up, trust me).

She said no, as of tomorrow, you will be at a zero dollar balance. I kid you not, I immediately started crying, ask my co-workers. I was so beyond happy. This is a bill I have been "paying off" for TEN YEARS this December. TEN YEARS. At one point, this balance was over $10k. Every year, more is added onto it for my CT/PET scans, blood-work, etc. My onco still has me seeing him for post-treatment scans, and I believe that this November might be my last one since I'll hit my 10 year diagnosis anniversary in December.

I was crying tears of joy. I couldn't believe I FINALLY paid this off. Let me tell you, cancer IS NOT free. Not even close. I'm healthy now, but still have had this following me around. This is not me being sympathetic towards myself, we all have bills, & med bills, especially. For me, it's a huge triumph. I paid this off. Finally. It took me ten years, but I am SO PROUD & SO HAPPY.

Back when I received my Samfund grant, in 2008, they negotiated my bill down and paid off a lot of it to help relieve that burden. That was a life-saver for me. I remember going in for treatment/post-treatment and they'd pull me into a side room and say "Katherine, we'd really like a $3000 payment today. We can't refuse treatment, but we strongly recommend you make that payment today". Imagine how scary that is. Who can afford that? I didn't ask for cancer, I didn't want it. It came with a price. I just can't believe that it's paid off now. Maybe I sound crazy for celebrating something so "menial", but this is huge for me.

This is purely why I chose to volunteer & fundraise for The Samfund. This is why. I can't even imagine what I would have done without them. They relieved a huge burden off of my shoulders so I could focus on my health + moving forward. Look where I am now? I hope you'll consider making a donation to my fundraising page. Today is the last day of the campaign, and like I always say, no donation is too small. I mean that. I love this organization, it's so near & dear to me. They are everything, and your donation will go on to make a CHANGE in someone's life, as it did in mine back in 2008.

If you would like to donate, you can do so by clicking here.

Monday, January 11, 2016


at first, i thought it might be weird to have my own little (public?) dedication to bowie, but then i realized that i don't really care what anyone thinks. it's my little tribute.

i woke up super early to a text from my best friend who lives in europe. she had texted me the sad news about bowie. she must have found out first thing since she's about 7 hours ahead of me. it was so early in the morning that i thought maybe i dreamt it. i woke up to a crazed morning and barely had time to even google it, let alone, watch the news, as some baby show was playing since the twins decided to get up earlier than normal this morning, and baby shows were my saving grace as i was trying to manage our tightly-packed morning routine.

i told chris when he woke up, he thought i was joking. why would i joke about bowie? i got texts/calls/emails from my friends, how sweet. as if it was someone i actually knew. but his death felt too close?

many many years ago, circa junior high?, i stumbled across a pop up video on vh1 for "china girl" and just knew i loved it from there on out. i read about bowie's relations with mick jagger and thought "how weird". weird? my favorite. i've loved his music + art ever since. man, i even remember loving the labyrinth, before i realized who bowie even was. i had to have been so young then.

bowie reminds me of everything. of college. listening to him on my shitty ipod during my all-nighters in college from my illegally ripped music, (i had ALL his albums, sigh). working at a coffee shop in college (1 of many, ha), where we gave 10 cents off coffee if people got our daily trivia right--- the trivia was always regarding bowie when i was working. being inspired by his art for my own design while in college. listening him during my 6 hour + chemo sessions. i even had gotten a brand new macbook decal of bowie as ziggy stardust as a gift, and had an interview for my current job, and needed to show my portfolio, so i sadly took it off in risk of embarrassing myself (why?). man, i've even celebrated his birthday each year, it's like i know him, so that's weird, but whatever. just constantly listening to him. i mean, he has be producing music for over 4 decades now.  i know this is all over the place.

i remember that time (not in college, embarrassingly), that i requested for the dj at this bar to please play some bowie. he thought i was nuts and wouldn't do it. i walked away (drunkenly) crying. ask julie. or don't, actually...

chris & i sing bowie to the girls when we put them to bed! is that weird? i don't care. the girls loved him from the beginning. abby & i went to see the bowie exhibit at the mca last year with liz.  we've shared a love for bowie for many many year. the exhibit? it was amazing, and of course, abs donned her baby stardust onesie. the exhibit was the best, and as liz says, bowie is "magical". he really is. how lucky were we to see his actual lyrics written on pages that were over 20 years old? seeing his actual costumes and designs. liz even got to visit berlin recently, and said it was amazing. i told her that some day soon, her & i need to visit berlin- to feel inspired like bowie did while he was there.  i know that sounds super cheesy, but it's our plan. every time i listen to heroes i can picture myself there.

maybe this is all a weird obsession, but i've found myself to be constantly inspired by bowie. every song. every album. there really is something for everyone. i really admire his ability to express himself in every artistic way, holding nothing back.

you don't even want to know if i have a life-size poster of him-- i won't even tell you if i do.

i literally listened to his black star album on repeat today at work. is it weird that i cried a little in the car this morning? i really thought that some day, i'd be able to see him perform live. it's okay.

i think he left us with an amazing album, and his music will never stop playing for me. shall i leave you with some of my favorites ? (in no particular order)

  • sorrow- one of the best
  • china girl- my very first song i think i ever remember hearing by bowie
  • black star- a new one, that i cant.stop.listening.to
  • heroes- classic one, doesn't everyone love it?
  • sound & vision- this reminds me of college- of working in the wood shop all day long, and asking this kid who was ALWAYS in there to play bowie. this was played often, and i can remember things from that time so clearly when i hear that song.
  • ashes to ashes- this reminds me of college also, but when i was sick. meg and i were roommates at the time, and we always listened to that.
  • modern love- another classic, this definitely reminds me of jr high
  • andy warhol- don't even know what to say, i love it.
  • blue jean- another classic, so 80s
  • drive-in saturday- you can NEVER tire of this one
  • oh you pretty things- again, just love
  • the stars (are out tonight)- his single from his 2013 album, so catchy.
  • john, i'm only dancing- who doesn't love it?
  • velvet goldmine- LOVE
  • golden years- LOVE LOVE
  • all the young dudes- i know he wrote it for mot the hoople, but i love his version so much
these are only a small handful of my fav's. is this the weirdest blog post ever? probably. i don't care. bowie would be proud :) haha

i'll leave you with my favorite bowie quote:

"I always had a repulsive need to be something more than human."