My Journey through Breast Cancer

On October 11, 2013, I was diagnosed with Stage II Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) ... or as we like to call it, extreme measures for a nap (EMFN). For a while, this blog will be my cancer journal. Enter at your own risk.

19 June 2014

a letter to my new workout instructor

We haven't really even met. I've only been to 2 of the last 5 classes you've taught. I apologize for that. I was sick one week, my husband was out of town two of those weeks ... and I can't leave the kids at home alone (as much as I'd like to). Excuses, excuses, I know. But for some reason, I feel the need to explain myself, or at least to introduce myself.

My name is Heidi. I'm significantly out of shape and overweight. I haven't always been. There was a time, and it wasn't that long ago, that I spent my summers training to climb mountains. I've summitted three of California's "fourteeners" (mountains over 14,000 feet), including Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the continental U.S. No small feat, if I do say so myself.

But that was before kids. Hubby and I had all the time in the world to go to the gym, to eat properly, to encourage one another in our endeavors. We didn't know how easy we had it.

I got pregnant with  my first baby in 2008, not long after losing 25 pounds and getting into pretty decent shape. As a result, that pregnancy went pretty well. But around the time the baby was born ... everything fell apart. My husband lost his job, we lost our home and moved in with my parents, I had to go back to work three months after Baby Girl was born. It was stressful. And I eat and sleep when I'm stressed. Consequently, I lost none of the 40 or so pounds I'd gained during pregnancy. And when Baby was only 9 months old ... I got pregnant again.

My husband eventually found work, we found a way to move out of my parents' house, and Baby Girl #2 joined our little family. I didn't have to go back to work this time. And once we got past that newborn phase (you know, where you don't sleep for more than 2 hours at a time, but somehow manage to function), for a while, things were good. I tried getting back into shape, but with two little kids just 18 months apart ... Well, eating right and exercising takes a lot of focus. And I didn't have that. My kids kept me too busy.

In 2012 we got pregnant with Baby Girl #3. So exciting! I always wanted a big family. But it was a truly exhausting pregnancy. My unhealthy and (ahem) older body didn't have enough energy to make a baby AND care for two little ones all day. It was a very stressful nine months. I slept as much as I could (which wasn't nearly enough), and spent the rest of the time sitting, letting the kids watch too much TV. I was tired beyond description.

Baby was born at the end of May, 2013. I was thrilled not to be pregnant anymore ... but then, of course, I had a newborn. They don't sleep for long stretches at a time. I was still tired. Oh, so tired. By the end of the summer, though, things started looking up. I started caring about life again. I started cleaning my house and cooking real food. I turned off the TV and made the kids play outside. I started getting back to my health, and even lost 14 pounds.

But it was short lived. In October I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer, the nasty kind. The kids were 4, 2.5, and four months old. I spent weeks getting tests done, talking to doctors, learning about the disease, etc. I had to switch the baby to a bottle (very sad). In November, at age 38, I had a double mastectomy. In early December the chemotherapy started. I'm guessing I don't have to say that stress and weariness settled upon me once again. Comfort eating and couch sitting and too much TV watching characterized my life ... again. I quickly gained about 10 pounds. On the one hand, I didn't care. On the other hand, my weight depressed me. It didn't help that I'd lost my breasts and my hair. Feeling good about myself was a daily battle during my fight with cancer.

But on March 26th of this year, I had my last chemo treatment. On May 1st, I had reconstructive surgery. A week or so later I noticed my hair finally growing back. The energy that chemotherapy had stolen was starting to return. I no longer needed help with meals or cleaning or childcare. I started running my own household again. It was an adjustment, I'll admit. It was very nice having hot meals brought to my house and others doing the vacuuming. But it felt good to care for my own family again. Slowly but surely, I began to feel whole.

Which brings me to now. I am still about 50 pounds overweight. This depresses me. I battle daily to love myself as I am, mindful of what I've been through, to appreciate what my body has endured (I've made and nursed three babies AND I've beat cancer!). Some days I give myself grace, recognizing what the last six years has held, and I'm OK. But, some days I'm so disgusted with myself I stay in my pajamas all day and eat the kids' macaroni and cheese and the M&M's meant for Ella's potty training rewards. I find it ironic how the more depressed I am about my weight the more junk I eat.

But with each passing day, each millimeter of hair growth, increased movement in my left arm (where they removed lymph nodes), as energy returns ... I find myself once again ready to attack my health. It's slow, but I have made some progress already. Before I started your class I lost 5 pounds. I've been cutting out most bread items, and I've switched to Diet Coke from regular (baby steps, right?). I'm incorporating a lot more vegetables into our diet. I don't buy cookies or too many crackers. And I am trying to get to your class once a week. I've started doing 10-minute workout videos at home. Arms. Legs. Core. It's something, right? Cardio is hard for me, mostly on account of the kids. But in just a few weeks two of them start school ... and I'll have time to walk the baby in the stroller.

The last time I weighed myself I'd lost half a pound ... over a two-week period! I told you the progress was slow. But hey, it's forward movement, right? I just want to keep moving forward. Changing life habits takes time, right? And, my life looks a lot different than it did six years ago. I have a handsome husband, three precious little girls (now ages 5, 3.5 and 1), two dogs, and one fish to look after. Every. Single. Day. The kids still leave me exhausted, but they are also the motivation to stay alive and healthy and energetic for as long as possible.

Cancer didn't shock me into crazy healthy eating and exercising, or change anything drastic in the way I live my life. But, for the first time in my nearly-39 years, I have an appreciation for the fragility of life. This body is not going to last forever. And I'm OK with that. But, while I'm here, it's the only one I've got. I need it to work for me. I have three kids to raise and a husband who'd like to have me around for a while. I am desperate to take better care of it.

So I'll see you in class Monday. Because even if it's slow, I want to keep moving forward.

03 May 2014

Are we there yet?

The silence on this blog over the past couple months wasn't because I had nothing to say. There's ALWAYS something to say. But about half way through my chemo treatments, some time in February, my energy level dipped so low I barely had enough to get through my days ... let alone sit and think through a blog post. Even today, I don't know how clear I'll be. And I'm afraid I'm already using too many commas. I'm also afraid I'll try to cover too much ground in this one post ... a lot has happened in the past couple months. But I'll try and get my foggy mind to focus a bit ...

Almost exactly 48 hours ago I emerged from breast reconstructive surgery. The doctors said I did really well. Its nice to know I'm cooperative and strong, even when I'm unconscious. They sent me home bandaged up like a mummy, with the doctors notes in permanent ink still visible on my chest. I can't shower until after my doctor's appointment next Wednesday. Fortunately I have no hair to wash or worry about, and I don't intend on leaving the house in my mummy costume anyway. Last time we did this I had to wait THREE WEEKS to shower, and I had hair to worry about. So a little one-week stint of baby wipe baths doesn't scare me. I'll just pile on extra deodorant when necessary.

As I started to really pull out of the anesthesia on Thursday morning, I found myself tearing up. And for the rest of the day, as it really hit me what stage of "fighting cancer" I had reached, I couldn't help but let the tears come.

I made it. I made it through hard decisions, major surgery, chemotherapy, the loss of my hair, more chemotherapy, doctor's appointments, blood tests, serious lack of energy, digestive issues I won't go into, my nails separating from their nail beds, my eyebrows getting thinner and thinner and thinner, another surgery ... and then ... it's all over. Just like that. I'm done. All I have left to do is recover, heal, and move on. It's almost surreal, how quickly I've moved from "fighting cancer," to "cancer survivor."

Oh, I still have another month before my hair will start growing in. And, I have to wait four weeks before I can pick up my kids. The oncologist said to give it six months before I really feel like myself again, with all my energy back and those drugs fully out of my system. And I imagine there are some frustrating times right around the corner, as waiting for these things will be hard. But, again, it really is the end. Healing may take a while, but it's all that's left to do. I can't hardly believe I've actually reached the end. I beat cancer.

After all the work of the past 8 months, I think I might take the summer off.

22 February 2014

life is a battlefield

Does life ever feel like you're fighting a war? A war in which many daily battles are fought, some won, too many lost. We are warriors! Fighting daily for our families, our homes, ourselves.

There are the everyday battles, the seemingly small, but not insignificant, external ones: the laundry and the dishes and the cleaning and the scheduling and the chauffeuring and the finances and the cooking and the feeding. These battles can keep me feeling bogged down, like all I do all day is put out fires, a slave to the urgent needs of my household. I don't have time to be proactive, or plan ... let alone sit down and breathe for a minute. I definitely fight my to-do list.

Then there are the many internal battles we moms fight each day. My biggest daily battle is for my patience, with my kids, with myself. And when that patience can't be found, it is followed by the inevitable battle with guilt and shame. We fight battles for wisdom and confidence in our parenting as we battle "social norms" and countless "suggestions" from those around us. We often have to fight for what we believe is right for our kids and our home.

There's the never-ending battle for my weight and the consequential battle for self-esteem. Right now I even get to fight chemo-related acne and hair loss. Not helpful.

That reminds me ... I'm fighting cancer, battling for my very life.

There's the battle for serenity in the midst of my battles. I fight daily for just a few minutes to stop and breathe.

In our Women's Bible Study, we've just started Exodus, and last week we studied the Israelites' escape from Egypt. They walked on dry ground after God, through Moses, parted the Red Sea. They watched as God swept the pursuing Egyptian army away and drowned them when they tried to follow. God provided sweet water from a bitter stream, he instituted a daily bread delivery system in the form of manna. He hemmed them in before and behind with a pillar of fire and a cloud. Those lucky Israelites were witness to some of the biggest miracles in the Old Testament!

When they were safe on the other side of the Red Sea, and clear of the Egyptian army, the Israelites sang a song of praise to the Lord. "The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him. The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name." (Exodus 15:2-3) This song of praise goes on for 18 verses.

My favorite part? The Lord is a warrior! In another version, it says "The Lord is a man of war." And even earlier in this story, as the Israelites are still being pursued by Pharaoh and the Egyptians, Moses reminds them, promises them, "The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent." And he did. Oh, how he fought for them!

My Father God is a warrior! He fights alongside me and  for me. If I would only let him. I'll be honest, I'm not entirely sure what that looks like. I can't stop doing laundry and dishes and paying bills. But maybe I can stop fighting the expectations I place on my to-do list, on the cleanliness of my house and the nutrition of every meal and the neatness of my daughter's hair. Maybe I should stop fighting for self-esteem and believe what the Lord says, that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Maybe I should stop fighting my insecurities as a parent, and trust the Lord to lead. Instead of fighting for patience, let the Holy Spirit fill me and be patient for me. Even fighting cancer isn't my fight, it is the Lord's. His will be done.

I think I would take a lot more deep breaths of contentment if I would just be silent, and let the Lord, the man of war, fight for me. As he says: Be still, and know that I am God.

11 February 2014

chemo ... take me away!

No matter what extraordinary circumstances might be taking place in your life, Life still seems to think it can go on as usual. Even though I have chemo treatment #4 looming tomorrow, I find myself not only mired in the daily grind, but dealing with a few extras as well. Let me share.

On Sunday both Ella and I came down with the flu. It was a nasty 10 hours, but fortunately it was short-lived. My wonderful and handsomely-bearded husband took great care of us all.

Yesterday everyone seemed healthy and we thought maybe nobody else had caught it ... until Eowyn woke up around 9:30 last night having thrown up in her bed. I was up with her until 3 a.m. last night, waiting for her to finally stop vomiting. She did, and then I got about four hours of sleep. But I'm supermom, right? Sleep is for sissies.

Eowyn is better this morning, but Ella, who was better yesterday, is running a fever today and complaining about her ear. Awesome. She has spent most of the day on the couch with garlic in her ear, eating waffles and watching TV.

Fortunately, Josie and Caleb are still the picture of health. Hopefully it stays that way. Did I mention I have chemo tomorrow? We don't need any more sickies in this house.

And on top of all this nonsense is the seemingly never-ending battle with the flea infestation in our house! This requires daily vacuuming and cleaning, which I am literally incapable of keeping up with. Therefore I am constantly losing this battle and my kids are being eaten alive. Its difficult to express just how frustrating this is, except I kind of want to burn the house down and just move.

Extreme? Perhaps. Effective? Definitely.

Then there are the "simple" daily tasks of laundry and dishes and feeding children and changing diapers and balancing the check book (which today refuses to balance and is driving me crazy!) and ... wait, I still have to feed myself! I'm not sure the quarter of a waffle and few chocolate chip cookies I've had count as lunch.

All I know is its a good thing I have chemo tomorrow. I get to leave this crazy house for a few hours, enter a land where skilled and caring nurses will ask me how I'm doing, bring me cookies and juice, place me in a comfy chair, and let me be for a few hours. I intend to drink fancy coffee and settle in with Anne of Green Gables and let my worries be killed by the drugs. Who knew chemotherapy would be something I could so look forward to?

12 January 2014

the loneliness factor

Since my cancer diagnosis in early October, our little family has experienced an outpouring of love and care that is impossible to quantify. We've had people bringing meals, helping clean the house, taking the kids for play dates and driving me to doctors' appointments, sending gifts and countless notes of encouragement. Every time I go to church or a family event, I get hugs and hugs and more hugs. I have never felt so loved. Truly. Which is why it's difficult to share this. I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea about how blessed I have been by the Body of Christ.

But when it comes down to the bottom line, nobody can go through this but me. When I was wheeled through the doors of the operating room, I was alone. I alone am poked with needles, I alone am pumped full of toxic drugs. I'm the one who can't sleep on account of various aches and pains and the insomnia the drugs cause. I alone have to battle my thoughts, fears, and anxieties. The helping hands of so many can only go so far.

I remember, when this process first began, a few survivors mentioning what a lonely process fighting cancer is. That didn't make sense to me then, but it does now. It doesn't matter how clearly I try to communicate, I am the only who really knows what I'm going through. And therefore, it's very easy to slip into a lonely place.

I don't share this for sympathy or to get anyone to feel sorry for me. That is not my purpose. I suppose if you're reading this and you're a praying person, you could pray for me. What I need most is strength, a strength far greater than what I can muster up myself. I need strength to have patience with my kids ... Kids who don't even begin to grasp what their mommy is going through. They just want their milk or their diaper changed or to play with me, and they want it now! I need strength to love those around me, even when I feel like crawling in a corner and hiding from everyone. I need strength to fight the battles for my thoughts, which sometimes try and take me to dark places. And sometimes I need strength to let others in, let them help. It's amazing how hard that can be to do.

Again, I can't begin to describe or express my gratitude for the amount of love and care I and my family have been shown. There is no way in you-know-where that we would be getting through this without you. And don't worry too much about me. Overall, I'm doing well. Just a bit lonely, despite the crowded room.

08 January 2014

lessons in self-esteem

If you live in this country, and especially in Southern California, you are well aware of the value placed on outward image. There are two camps, as I see it. There's the Hollywood / Fashion Industry ideal with which every woman is supposed to comply. This image is unattainable, even by the people who sell it. But that doesn't really matter when we're standing in grocery store lines or watching the latest theatrical release. We see an ideal we'll never measure up to. Consequently, we live perpetually defeated in the area of looking good, in a world where looking good is to be our number one priority. A frustrating cycle, to say the least.

 The other camp is the one that combats the first camp. The leaders here are entities like Dove and Oprah, each telling us that who we already are is not only OK, it's perfect. Simply to be a woman is to be beautiful, no matter our shape, color, size or hair.

Its easy to feel jerked around, not sure where on the spectrum is right for each of us individually. For a long time, I thought I was good. I thought I had this mostly figured out. There's more to who we are than the clothes in our closet, the number on the scale or the color in the dye bottle. What really counts is character! Right? I was pretty content actually. Or at least I thought I was.

Then I was hit with breast cancer, and everything I've thought about myself has been put to the test. The things about me which are the most feminine, my breasts and my hair, have been taken from me. My ability to care for myself and my family has been greatly compromised. And I've been forced to take another look at how I view myself. What I discovered was somewhat unexpected, because I thought I had it together.

In early December, after surgery but before chemo, I was reading my devotional while sitting on my bed. From that vantage point, I can see straight into my closet, the doors of which were open. The devotional started out, "Your needs and My riches are a perfect fit." It goes on to invite the Christ follower to bring all her neediness to the Lord, to watch HIM meet her deepest longings. Unfazed at first, I began to ask myself the question, "What are my deepest longings?" And my eyes naturally shifted to my closet, and I took in all the clothes I own, many bought since my diagnosis during a couple waves of "therapy shopping." And it hit me like a brick wall: I long to truly feel good about myself. I spend more time than I care to admit worried about my weight, my  hair, my make up, my wardrobe choices, and what people might think about my weight, my hair, my make up and my wardrobe choices. If I were honest (and if you can't be honest on the internet, where can you?), I would admit that it consumes a great deal of my mental and emotional energy. A great deal.

How did that happen? I was always OK with me! But when I stop to think about it, I realize I've spent a lot of time in the past few years focused on getting back to that pre-baby weight and figure. I think I was fine because I was on my way to being what I thought was a better version of me. I could deal with being overweight today, because in six months, I would be skinny. For four-and-a-half years I've said this to myself.

Before I was diagnosed with cancer and started comfort eating, I had lost 14 pounds. I had started exercising. I was below my pre-Eowyn baby weight by a few pounds (its that pre-Josephine baby weight I'm looking for). I was on my way to the me I could feel good about.

But cancer has done more than halt my health and weight loss goals. It's forcing me to examine what I really think about myself, how I view myself. Not only is the stress level a bit high to be focusing on weight loss, it's not really good for me. And I am too tired to exercise. I need to rest. So, for the time being, I literally cannot work toward any goals for what I think is a better me. I have to choose to feel good about myself now ... because this is the real me, and its going to be the real me for a while.

I've come up with two conclusions for now: I actually don't think very well of me in the here and now, and I think of me way too often.

Its been said that the physical act of smiling can actually improve one's mood. And so the first thing I've begun to do is practice not thinking so much about me. When I start worrying about what someone thinks, or start overthinking what I'm going to wear or what lipstick to use ... I make a conscious effort to just stop. I make a choice I feel good about, and then I move on.

The second thing I'm working on, and this is a bit harder, is to learn to be OK with me today. Right now my post-baby belly sticks out farther than my chest. I have no hair. I certainly don't have the newly popular "gap between my legs." I'm chubby, like my baby, and everybody loves her, right? Somehow rolls are just so much cuter on a 7-month-old with wild hair. But I digress ...

I believe one of the key lessons cancer can teach me is to truly be content with myself exactly as I am ... today. Cancer has certainly put into sharp relief that life is too short not to! I still believe that weight loss and better health are good goals, and I will get back to them. I will not use cancer as an excuse to go ahead and just eat whatever I want to the further detriment of my health. But I have to stop waiting for that day when I've lost 50 pounds to finally feel good about myself and just be happy. I can do that today. And why in the world wouldn't I?

I don't want to waste one more minute worrying about these peripheral life issues. I want to eat the cookie without telling myself "I'll skip it next time." I just want to enjoy the cookie! I don't want to get dressed and think, "Well, one day I'll get to wear a smaller size." I just want to get dressed and feel awesome. Today! I don't want to look back on my life one day and regret that I wasted precious energy on self-loathing when I could have spent it carefree and happy, playing with my kids and dancing with my husband. They say that happiness is the key to beauty anyway, right? Well, even if they don't, they should.


I would like to send a special shout-out to two people in particular who've helped move me along in this journey. One is my sister Amy, who a while ago so delicately told me I was going to have to deal with being ugly for a while, and maybe now is a good time to learn to be OK with me. The other is Julie Penton, who lives in complete and total comfort with herself, which I believe is why she is so beautiful. Julie, you are an inspiration to me.

This doesn't mean I'm ready to post pictures of my bald self online ... just in case you were wondering. It's a process people!

03 January 2014

Jesus Calling

Refresh yourself in the Peace of My Presence. This Peace can be your portion at all times and in all circumstances. Learn to hide in the secret of My Presence, even as you carry out your duties in the world. I am both with you and within you. I go before you to open up the way, and I also walk alongside you. There could never be another companion as devoted as I am.

Because I am your constant Companion, there should be a lightness to your step that is observable to others. Do not be weighed down with problems and unresolved issues, for I am your burden-bearer. In the world you have trials and distress, but don't let them get you down. I have conquered the world and deprived it of power to harm you. In Me you may have confident Peace.

Psalm 31:19-20; John 16:33

31 December 2013

3 weeks already?!

I'm afraid I go back in for my second chemo treatment this week on Thursday morning (Jan. 2). That's one way to ring in the new year, eh? And with another round of chemo looming, so are the needs of my little family. Chemo renders me tired beyond tired, along with some other side effects, for about ten days. And I'll need some help around the house ... cleaning, meals, getting kids to and from school. The Care Calendar has been updated through April. Anything in red is a need that still needs to be filled.

One specific need we have is for someone to come stay with me on Tuesdays. I just need someone around the house to help me with the kids and everything that needs to be done here. Its a pretty easy job, really. Just come hang out!

Help with kids: we've added "Josie and Ella outing" a couple times each week, and it says 1-5 pm. But they don't need to be gone that whole time. Any portion of that time would be helpful, even if its just an hour. They love the park, McDonald's, even playing at your house! They'll go anywhere, really. My car is always available to be used if you need car seats.

The care calendar is easy to get to ... simply click here on Care Calendar. The calendar ID is 163750 and the security code is 4849. Your help would be GREATLY appreciated by me, but also by my mom and sister, who bear a great deal of the burden of caring for me and my kids.

Thank you!! Let me or my mom know if you have any questions.

28 December 2013

it's just hair, right?

The next traumatic stage in cancer treatment is hair loss. As many of my friends and family know, anticipation of this inevitable "side effect" has weighed me down of late. It didn't ruin Christmas, and I haven't crawled in a hole intent on hibernating for the next six months. But, it has been a fate to contend with.

 On Christmas Eve, my hair started coming out in chunks. I couldn't take it. So on Christmas Day I had my mom cut it down to something super short, so the pieces that fell out wouldn't be quite so alarming looking. This was the cute result. Not bad, eh? It gives me hope that I won't have to wait long for my hair to come back in before I'll be comfortable without the scarf.

Unfortunately, this cut only lasted two days. All day long, everywhere I went, I was rained upon by my own hair. It was EVERYWHERE! Individual strands caught in my shirts, on my kids, in Caleb's beard. It was all over my pillow in the morning and it was clogging the shower drain. So, two days after Christmas, I had my sister Amy cut it even shorter. And you know what? It wasn't that bad! Not necessarily a look I would choose for myself, but I don't mind it, either.

Amy cuts her husband Hans's hair all the time, so she was the perfect person for the job. Hans and I now have the same hair cut. Its a toss-up on whom it looks better.

Well, even though my hair is down to about a half inch, its still falling out all the time. And even though the pieces are super short, they're still getting everywhere. And I'm starting to get little bald spots. So, to keep the falling hair in check, I am now wearing head scarves. The one I'm wearing here my friend Wendy and I found in a thrift store in uptown Whittier. Its awesome. It was only $4.99. This pic of me and Wynnie was taken while we waited to be seated at IHOP. We're classy like that.

I was fairly certain the girls would eventually want to copy Mama's style, so I put bandanas in all their stockings at Christmas. Initially, they were totally ignored. But, tonight, after just two days in head scarves, Josephine came to me wanting to put hers on. And of course, Ella had to follow suit. This is the best picture we could get. Eleanor, in particular, is rather uncooperative when it comes to pictures. Well, she's rather uncooperative no matter what. She's 3.

And so I've entered the head scarf-wearing phase of cancer treatment. I don't know if its all the prayers of the masses, my own dependence on God's strength to get me through the tougher moments of this process, or my own general sense of all things being an adventure, (its probably all three), but it hasn't been as traumatic as I thought it would be! In fact, I'm kind of anxious to get the hair-falling-out phase over with. I'm already tired of cleaning it out of hats and scarves and drains.

In fact, if one were to look at the bright side of things, there are some distinct advantages to baldness. There are no bad hair days. Showers don't take as long. I don't have to take the time to blow dry and style. I won't have to pay for a hair cut, or dye, or shampoo,  for quite some time. And there are a million ways to wear scarves and hats. I can try out gypsy style, pirate style, biker style. And what a great opportunity to show off my earring collection!

I know there will be days I will be tired of it all, but overall ... I intend to make chemotherapy look good.

19 December 2013

dogsitters wanted

Our household includes two wonderful dogs, whom we adore, the kids adore, and the mail man fears. Normally, we love the chaos that comes with having three kids and two dogs. And they're good dogs, really, but right now they are adding to our stress level in unnecessary ways. Sometimes they bark in the middle of the night, waking us up ... and we need our sleep! Caleb gets up early every day to walk them, which he doesn't mind! But he could use the extra rest right now instead. Yesterday they barked during my nap, waking me up from much needed sleep. It was the final straw.

So, we are looking for a good foster home for Bear and Lucy while I go through chemotherapy. If there is someone out there willing to love on our dogs through the middle of April, please let me know! We will, of course, provide all their food and any other paraphernalia they might require. I know taking two dogs into your home is a huge ask ... but you just never know what someone out there might be willing to help out with, and you have not because you ask not, right?

This is Bear. He is part Golden Retriever, part Chow. He's about 45 pounds. He's the most lovable, gentle dog you'll ever meet! He's great with kids, and other dogs. Not so much with cats, though. The main difficulty with Bear is he can jump a six-foot fence like its not even there ... which he does when he's bored or he senses people are leaving without him. He suffers from a little separation anxiety, and tends to chew and scratch on the walls when his people leave without him. Otherwise, he is house trained, and truly a great family dog. We adopted Bear at the end of the Summer, and he has quickly become a most beloved part of our family. 

I was diagnosed so soon after his arrival, that we have not had a chance to get him neutered. If someone were willing to help get him to surgery and back, we would most appreciate it! We've had to cancel two appointment we made at a clinic in Garden Grove (the cheapest clinic we could find).

This is Lucy. She's part Jack Russel, part Yorkshire Terrier. She weighs about 15 pounds. She's a little neurotic, but lovable. Also house trained and spade. Her main difficulty is her barking. She barks at everything. We have a bark collar for when it gets out of control. She's great with kids and other dogs. I have no idea how she'd react to a cat. We've had Lucy for 5 1/2 years, and she's as much a part of our crazy family as our kids.