Saturday, April 21, 2012

Green Tea Slows Development Of Tamoxifen Resistance

Green Tea Polyphenol EGCG Slows Development Of Tamoxifen Resistance - Food for Breast Cancer:
" ... a new study has reported that EGCG [from green tea] can slow the development of tamoxifen resistance in hormone receptor positive breast cancer cells."
Note to self: Make green tea. Drink it. Even if you don't like it very much. Do it. Some finger wagging going on here.

Friday, April 20, 2012

I'm Ever Thankful for Greens!

I still marvel every day at the effect of these greens products! Honestly! It's been amazing. 

I was a little disheartened after that colonoscopy and it seemed that I'd sunk back into my pre-greens life even though I was still taking greens. And then slowly, a week later, I could feel my energy returning and I was just hoping ... hoping ... that I could get back to how I felt through all of March ... trying not to get too hopeful. Then, just as things were improving, early this week I had some kind of stomach thing happening. I lost my appetite, felt crappy and unsettled, and didn't dare put anything but toast, banana, and egg on my sensitive stomach. So no greens for three days. I could hardly drag myself out of bed and then getting through the days was tough, too.  On Wednesday morning my stomach felt more settled so I dared to chug down a dose of greens. Two hours later I noticed I was feeling actually pretty good. Not too tired. And it got better from there.  Was it the greens. I can't say for sure. Maybe it was just timing. But I think it was the greens.

In addition, I've gone a whole week without a decent sleep. That's longer than usual for me. The fact that I've felt good the past couple of days despite not getting even near adequate sleep, is freaking crazy!  I can hardly believe it!  What if I'd been getting good sleep?  How would I feel then?  WOW!  

Another unexepected bonus from greens is that I no longer feel I need a diet coke in the afternoons to get through the day. I've hated relying on pop and the caffeine in it to get me through my day but since I don't drink coffee, it's the ony think I've known (until I discovered greens) that helps me keep my eyes open in the afternoon. When I'm tired and need to stay awake, it's been what I've reached for.  Since I've started greens, I hardly ever think of coke. I don't need it. That a big bonus in my world. 

So, yes, I'm feeling good again and I hope I can get some good sleep in this weekend and maybe feel even BETTER!

I've included here a few more truisms from Xeni. Love that pinata metaphor. I can't help but visualize it. Xeni nails it!
Posted by Picasa


Xeni Jardin - Tweeting About Her Breast Cancer

If you don't know who Xeni Jardin is, I'll start by saying she has long been a hero of mine ... long before she, too, was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2011.

I first encountered Xeni when I started following Boing Boing many years ago. It's a website she co-founded with some others (who I also admire for individual reasons) and for which she writes. It's my favourite tech/pop culture/art/smart stuff blog and it's a favourite of many.

Xeni, for whom using technology is like breathing, decided to get a mammogram at 41 after learning that two friends in the same age bracket were both diagnosed with cancer. And, being Xeni, she decided to share her mammogram experience on the internet. She was shocked to learn right there and then that she had breast cancer ... almost a whole decade before she would be encouraged to get screened.

She is undergoing a pretty nasty chemo regimen right now in the hope of kicking cancer butt and she tweets about it on Twitter, for those of you who might not know what tweeting is all about. Here are a few of her tweets about losing her hair.

What she wrote about her mammogram and subsequent diagnosis (at the clinic she went to they did the biopsy right there and then ... amazing ... NO WAITING!! ... God, I remember that dreadful waiting for what you pretty much know will be bad news ... but you still need to hear it ... and you're still hoping beyond hope). You can read Xeni's story here at Boing Boing.

Here's an especially touching and wise part of her story:
"The gravity in this place is different. I've spoken to others who've traveled out here, too, and returned home safely. When you become one of them, you learn quickly that you share a language others can't understand.
The trick, these fellow travelers tell me, is to accept the not knowing and find your equilibrium in that new gravity. Calm the mind. Find your balance out on the cold planet, whether or not you know the next step, or the date of the next appointment, or what good or bad news the Technetium-99 isotopes floating around in your blood during the last scan reveal.
You must be at peace with not knowing, they tell me. That is how you get through outer space, and find your way back home.
The thing about this thing, or, at least, this first week of this thing, is how it takes you out there to the cold planet again and again and again, when you aren't expecting it. Long, undulating waves of fear pull you out to where you are alone and unreachable, even by words sent from the strongest satellite.
The thing that brings you back is love."  
The Xeni I know is fierce and tough but she's also scared silly, too. Her commentary on twitter about her experience covers the gamut ... anger, frustration, fear, sarcasm, keen observations, and, of course, her wry wit.

I wish her well.

Click on the photos of her tweets to enlarge them.
Posted by Picasa


ZLT Salad Recipe

Eileen, this is for you!


  •  1 cup chickpeas (if you buy tinned ones, make sure the tin is marked "BPA-free"), drained and rinsed
  • olive oil
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp chile powder
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes halved lengthwise
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 med zucchini, ends trimmed and sliced lengthwise in 1/4 inch thick strips
  • romaine leaves
  • Preheat oven to 400 deg. Pat chickpeas dry and toss in a large bowl with lemon juice, chili powder, salt and 2 tsp olive oil. Spread on parchment paper lined baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 35 - 45 minutes until golden and crunchy. Let cool and set aside.
  • In a bowl toss tomatoes with 1 tsp olive oil, and sea salt and pepper to taste. Arrange tomatoes cut side up on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
  • Brush zuchinni strips with 1 tsp oil and season with sea salt and pepper. Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast at the same time as the tomatoes for 8 - 10 minutes, flipping once, until browned and softened. Set aside and let cool.
  • Arrange romaine leaves on plates, top with zuchinni strips. Drizzle with dressing (recipe to follow), garnish with tomatoes and crispy chickpeas, and serve.
  • 3/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Whisk all ingredients together and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour or ideally overnight.

Of course, there is lots of room for interpretation in this recipe.  You can use any old dressing you like, you can substitute any crunchy topping (roasted pumpkin seeds might be nice) for the chickpeas. And if you're not big on zuchinni, roast some other vegetable. And if you like your bacon, well ... 
 By the way, there are lots of recipes for making crunchy chickpea (garbanzo bean) snacks. I've set some aside but this is the first time I've actually tried them. Now I want to revisit some of those other recipes and try some other, perhaps, stronger flavours. Here's one recipe for roasted chickpeas that I plan to try some day.

Posted by Picasa


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Survivors Of Breast Cancer Suffer Treatment-Related Side Effects Long After Completing Care

Finally ... it's out in the open ... 

Survivors Of Breast Cancer Suffer Treatment-Related Side Effects Long After Completing Care:

More than 60 percent of breast cancer survivors report at least one treatment-related complication even six years after their diagnosis, according to a new study led by a researcher from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The findings are part of a special issue of Cancer devoted to exploring the physical late effects of breast cancer treatment and creating strategies to prevent, monitor for, and treat these conditions in the nation's 2.6 million survivors of the disease.

"Our work provides the first accounting of the true magnitude of the post-treatment problems suffered by breast cancer patients, and serves as a call to action for proper monitoring and rehabilitation services to care for them," said Kathryn Schmitz, PhD, MPH, an associate professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology who serves as a senior scientist on the committee overseeing creation of a surveillance model for breast cancer survivors. "We can no longer pretend that the side effects of breast cancer treatment end after patients finish active treatment. The scope of these complications is shocking and upsetting, but a ready solution for many of them already exists in rehabilitative exercise."

It's of some comfort to me that the long-lasting side effects are increasingly being recognized and acknowledged by the medical community.  While they are experienced by many (most?), I think they are largely dismissed and, post-treatment, people become increasingly reluctant to speak of them for various reasons.  I could elaborate on the many reasons why someone might keep their discomfort to themselves but I won't go into that here. Suffice it to say, that I hope post treatment programs increase as a result of this and other related studies.

Obviously, treatment doesn't just take a year of your life, which is what I was mostly led to believe. And yes, despite the many issues, I am very grateful and happy to be alive, which doesn't negate the fact that I have last some things that I mourn and I have had to accept changes that I wasn't ready for.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What I've Been Reading - The Emperor of All Maladies

I hesitated to make this my "vacation read" but since I didn't have anything else in hand that was speaking to me, I took it with me and started reading it on the flight to Louisville. I finished shortly after I got back - it's a big read. It's an excellent, informative, and extremely well-written account of cancer. The first accounts of cancer are so interesting and the early treatments horrifying. Some of the trials and the key characters in the advancement of research and treatment are very interesting.

The author, Siddhartha Mukherjee, is a skilled and compassionate story-teller, which makes this account of the history of cancer and the slow progress of research and treatment actually engrossing and compelling. It sounds as thought it might be a bit dry and technical and I probably wouldn't have tackled this book except that I'd read such positive reviews that emphasized how accessible and well-written the book is.

There were some areas that I got a lost in, such as the latest RNA and DNA research, but nonetheless, I learned a great deal and have already found what I learned helpful in better understanding the steady flow of cancer research that I regularly follow.

More significantly and unexpected for me was how I found myself relating the stories to people I know who have had to face cancer. It was interesting to understand the state of cancer research and treatment at different times. It broke my heart to read the 80's being referred to as "the dark days of chemotherapy". That's when Charles, a friend, had cancer treatments and died at age 23. I remember vividly. I don't know all the details about his cancer - we were very young and I knew nothing about cancer except to be terrified. To my mind Charles had stomach cancer and whether I'm right or not, I recall Charles as having problems with an ulcer in high school. In this book, the author talks about the discovery of H. pylori ... not discovered until after Charles had died ... that surprised the medical world by determining that most ulcers were caused by this bacteria making them treatable with the proper medication. Significantly to my connecting this with Charles is that H. pylori can be pre-cancerous. I didn't know that before reading this book. It makes me wonder if Charles had developed an ulcer AFTER the identification of H. pylori, might he have avoided cancer?

The book explained things that made me better understand the progress of the cancer that took the life of a friend's husband recently. 

During the chapters on smoking and cancer, I thought of my Dad. I better understand the progress of his cancers ... the first one, a cancer of the esophagus and the second one, caused by the radiation he received for the first cancer. This, to me, is the kicker --- that cancer treatments can actually cause cancer. I thought of the many women I know and have known who have fought breast cancer and how treatments for our cancers have progressed and yet we're still not in the clear. I better appreciate how complex cancer is and how determined it is to survive at our cost. Cancer is pretty foxy and there will probably never be a magic bullet kind of cure for it because cancers are all remarkably different and still changing. I'm grateful that some of the women I know have had the benefit of Herceptin without which many women would not have survived.  One of the happy stories in the book is about a woman who had given up - she was considered a lost cause even by her medical team - and had to be begged to join the drug trial for Herceptin. She is still alive today. There are other good stories in the book.

The book deepened my respect and compassion for oncologists and the difficult work of trying to save people from cancer ... the complexities in the effort to find just the right cocktails of poisons for a particular person and a particular cancer. It's not an exact science by any stretch.

While this isn't a book that would have been good for me to read at certain times over the past few years, it was good for me to read now. I better detach emotionally and I'm able to read research and honest information about cancer without getting too emotionally caught up in it with regard to myself. And I'm glad to better understand cancer in general.

I have to say, I shuddered sometimes when I read about cancer research and treatments in the past 20 years ... about recent discoveries that have impacted my own treatment. And I'm very sure that there will be changes to cancer treatment very soon that I will wish had been part of the knowledge base during my time of treatment.

If you're interested in knowing more about cancer and it's history told in a humane and accessible way, this is a good book to read. has several reviews of the book.


I've Been Robbed ...

... of my perkiness mojo. I'm not happy about that. Not one bit. I've had 5 weeks of amazing, thrilling energy and general sense of well-being.  That feeling seems to have been flushed with my colonoscopy prep.  It hadn't occurred to me ... probably because I don't remember any of it ... but Kevin thinks it's probably an effect of the anesthetic I was given for the procedure. That makes more sense, I think. Still, I'm impatient to get that feeling back and I hope it happens soon. Meanwhile I keep taking my greens and protein powder.

So I didn't do much all weekend. I slept more than I had been and mostly dragged my butt around. I did cook a meal on Sunday, though, and made this pretty, healthy salad with roasted tomatoes, roasted zucchini and crispy, crunchy spiced chickpeas. It's called a ZLT salad.
Posted by Picasa


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Evidence Mounts for Aspirin's Anticancer Attributes

Evidence Mounts for Aspirin's Anticancer Attributes : Internal Medicine News:
In a review of data from 51 studies, daily aspirin use reduced cancer deaths by 15% compared with no daily aspirin use, and reduced the risk of cancer deaths by 37% for those taking aspirin for 5 years or more.
Note to self - keep taking that daily aspirin.

ER+/PR+ Breast Cancer Shows That Estrogen Fuels Recurrence

Animal Model Of ER+/PR+ Breast Cancer Shows That Estrogen Fuels Recurrence - Food for Breast Cancer:
Estrogen receptor negative (ER-) breast cancer has been found to be more likely to recur early than ER+ disease. However, the risk of late recurrence is greater for ER+ tumors. One study reported that while the risk of recurrence was lower at first for ER+ compared to ER- disease, ER+ tumor status was more detrimental after 7.7 years.

Given the risk of late recurrence for ER+ disease, some researchers and practitioners are recommending that patients remain on endocrine treatment beyond the five years that has been standard.
This is news to me. Crap. I wonder if I'll really be able to stop taking Tamoxifen or some other estrogen blocker after 5 years. Maybe I'll be afraid to quit taking them. I wonder.

For those unfamiliar with the ER- and ER+ designations, mine is the ER+ type (Estrogen Receptor Positive), which means that estrogen was the cause or, at least, what made my tumour grow and this is why I'm now on estrogen blockers.

Latest Research On Exposure To Bisphenol A (BPA) And Breast Cancer

Latest Research On Exposure To Bisphenol A (BPA) And Breast Cancer - Food for Breast Cancer:
Exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine disruptor, might be associated with increased risk of breast cancer. BPA that has leached from food packaging and containers is the main source of exposure. BPA has been shown to induce breast cancer cell proliferation. Chronic low-level BPA exposure during adulthood increases tumor development in mice. BPA also induces mammary cell proliferation in BRCA1-deficient mice, leading to hyperplasia. Finally, BPA can reduce the effectiveness of some types of chemotherapy. Taking reasonable steps to limit exposure to bisphenol A makes sense.
Read the article to learn about the various sources of BPA and then do your best to avoid them.

Latest Research On Lymphedema After Breast Cancer Surgery

Latest Research On Lymphedema After Breast Cancer Surgery - Food for Breast Cancer:
Early intervention soon after surgery has been found to reduce the risk of lymphedema, prompting some observers to recommend this strategy rather than waiting for symptoms of lymphedema before starting treatment.
This is the approach I wish the cancer centre promoted here.  Trying to prevent lymphedema is better than trying to treat it after symptoms appear.

Just a Reminder to Keep Chowing Down on Broccoli, etc ...

Consumption Of Cruciferous Vegetables Linked To Improved Breast Cancer Survival Rates:
Eating cruciferous vegetables after breast cancer diagnosis was associated with improved survival among Chinese women, according to results presented at the AACR Annual Meeting 2012, held March 31 - April 4.


Friday, April 6, 2012

You're Never Too Old To Believe in the Easter Bunny

Happy Easter everyone! Luke and Karsen with a slightly frightened bunny!


Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Last of the Travelogue - Nashville

Luke was busy with school and lacrosse for a couple of days so we took a short side trip to Nashville. Why not? It was just a 2.5 hour drive. While it's never been on my bucket list, I knew I would enjoy it nonetheless. And I did.

We stayed at a hotel right downtown within walking distance of the main drag ... Broadway, I think. Pretty touristy. Lots of pubs and restaurants with live music and souvenir shops. Lots of people buying cowboy boots. Lots of girls in dresses wearing cowboy boots.

There was a beauty pageant going on in the hotel we stayed at. Lots of pretty young girls wearing sashes and tiaras and lots of Mom's with cameras.

Kevin was thrilled to visit Ernest Tubb's record shop. Who knew?

We stopped to get out of the heat at a little bar with some live music. I felt right at home. Can you tell why? Doesn't this look just like our kitchen? Okay, so I have fruit and vegetable stickers instead of beer signs. But the general idea is there.

Our hotel was next door to the Hermitage Hotel so we took a walk through its very impressive lobby. Beautiful. Fancy schmancy!

We wished there had been a Predators game for us to see while we were there but they were on the road. We saw the arena, though. A nice building.

The first night we selected B.B. King's Blues Bar for dinner. There was a live band, which we thoroughly enjoyed. They were excellent.

A little off the beaten path is Printers Alley and it's literally a back alley but with some venues in it. We had planned on getting back to the Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar but didn't make it.

The next day we ventured out of the downtown area and made our way to an area near Vanderbilt University ... a trendy little shopping district called Hillsboro Village. We poked around shops, bought a few things, and then ... because it was so smoking hot ... we stopped at Cabana ... a very happenin' bar and restaurant, though not so happenin' at 3:30 in the afternoon on a Tuesday when we were there. It was lovely to sit in the sunshine, have drink and a bite to eat. We learned later that Cabana is one of the hippest places in Nashville. We just picked it by chance.

I had an unusual but delish cobb salad and Kevin had lobster mac-n-cheese. Talking to the people at the shops and in the restaurant gave us some ideas for dinner and drinks that night. The suggestions were excellent. Awesome, in fact.

For dinner we drove to East Nashville (thank you GPS) in search of a recommended restaurant called Eastland Cafe. Such good food.  And then we drove back to the area close to Vanderbilt University where all the recording companies have buildings. Sony. Warner .... all the big names as well as lots of old houses that have been converted to the offices of many smaller recording companies.  At the edge of that district is an establishment called Patterson House - a tapas bar - but, more than that ... it was a very cool experience! I don't have any photos but let me tell you, it was SO COOL!! Very mysterious. I felt famous just being in it!

The house itself was a bit difficult to find. The only identifying signage was the name "Patterson House" in rather small letters across the middle of a normal front door suitable to the older home that it is. Inside was a little lobby with books shelves, leather sofas and chairs, antique chandeliers and a podium where an attendant stood beside a closed velvet curtain. Our name was added to the list and we waited about 15 minutes and then we were led to our seats at the bar that dominated the dark, moody room.  It was a massive square bar and bartenders wearing jeans, shirts, ties, and vests, worked behind it. Booth seating was along the perimeter of the room along with book shelves filled with books. The bar tenders train for about 6 or 8 months before they're allowed to apprentice in the bar. The cocktails on the menu are original and everything is made from scratch in front of you. They create their own bitters and special flavours. They keep some special flavours in little dark bottles and they add them to your drinks with eye droppers. We had some yummy tapas and tried some adventurous bar drinks. Very fun!  Very COOL!

It wasn't until we spoke with the Davis family whose son Brad plays lacrosse with Luke and who live in Nashville that we learned that there were bar rules that we somehow missed. Rules such as you are not allowed to stand in the bar ... you are not allowed to approach anyone else in the bar and are not allowed to disturb anyone famous. Latedah! Well, that explains why nobody was hitting on me and why there were no paparazzi, right? That's what I tell myself. It was a wonderful evening experience and if you're in Nashville, definitely GO!

By the way, the Davis's were amazed that we had been to the Patterson house. Apparently it's so secretive and exclusive that most people in Nashville don't even know it's there! Even the website it mysterious! Check it out here ... Patterson House. Read an article about the place here. Here's a link to a photo on Flickr taken from the vantage point of the exact place at the bar where we sat.

We tried to see the Grand Old Opry. It's a bit of a drive to Opryland. It's not downtown where I expected it to be. I had no idea it would be so huge! In fact I don't know if we ever did find the famous concert hall. There were signs everywhere and attached hotels and conference centres and we drove and drove and looped and looped. We finally gave up looking for it when we found Opry Mills, a big shopping centre in Opryland. Kevin's eyes lit up when he saw the sign for the Bass Pro Shop. So we shopped instead. And that was fine with me.

I think this sign was serious! *shudder*

Nashville. Nice place to visit.

Posted by Picasa


A New Body Adventure - Can You Say Colonoscopy?

Yes, a scheduled colonoscopy is what I've had hanging over my head for the past while. I thought the timing of a vacation just before it was perfect. I was wonderfully and happily distracted.

WARNING: Gory details ahead. Stop reading if you don't want to know about this stuff.

Just to add an additional challenge to the event, I came home from work on Tuesday to find a big yellow monster machine partially parked on our lawn and digging up the street to put in some new water pipes to the apartment building across the street. This means we're under a "Boil Water Advisory" ... probably until after the long weekend. No warning, of course. We're supposed to keep boiling water until we get a "green notice card" in our mailboxes but I'll be surprised if they deliver over the holidays and we were told it typically takes 3-4 days before water test results confirm a lifting of the advisory. Oh joy. Just what one wants to deal with when starting the prep for a colonoscopy. I boiled some big pots of water since I didn't get out to buy bottled water. Kevin brought some home from work on my prep day, which was helpful.

So yesterday was a bit nasty! I had to take 2 of those Dulcolax tablets at 8:00 a.m. and I thought to myself ... this isn't so bad. A little bit of cramping. A little bit of bathroom business. No biggie. And then at 1:00 I had to drink a whole bottle of the citro-mac ... a purgative. Is it EVER! HOLY CRAP!! After drinking that, I had to drink 3 big glasses of water. I was so bloated and crampy and ... wow ... it sure works!  There were a couple of particulary nasty hours in the afternoon after which I mercifcully slept huddled under a blanket on the couch. I thought the worst was over. I mean how much could be left to purge?  Apparently there was more.  I had to swallow another whole bottle of the Citro-mac at 7:00. It was harder to get down this time and with the instant bloating, it was also harder to get all the required water down, too.  During the process, one is instructed to stay near bathroom facilities. Oh, yeah. Even from our bed to the bathroom is too far.

I expected the hardest part of the day would be not eating ... nothing but clear fluids allowed ... and I was hungry around lunch time before I swallowed that purgative. After that food never crossed my mind. All appetite was gone until I had some toast after I woke up after my procedure today.

The other part I was unprepared for is the disappointment that there is no toilet tissue with lotion, like facial tissue. That would have been helpful. Things ended up a bit raw and a bath was required. In fact, with things going the way they did, I ended up having 3 baths within half an hour - I kept getting interrupted. And then, because my skin was raw and because of the water issue (instructions are to avoid getting the water on open wounds) I had to apply Polysporin, which provided some relief.  I did not sleep much last night, that's for sure. I was worried I wouldn't be flushed enough for my "procedure" but ultimately I was.

The colonoscopy itself was the easy part. People had warned me as much. The nurse explained everything to me very clearly, which I really appreciated. The last thing I remember was talking with Dr. H before the procedure and I don't remember anything until I woke up around 10:30 a.m., about an hour after it was over. Kevin waited for me the whole time and took me home. I don't remember talking to Dr. H before I left. I don't remember getting dressed. I don't remember leaving the hospital. I went right to sleep when I got home and my memory starts around 2:00 this afternoon. So my verdict on the colonoscopy itself is EASY. The Prep --- NASTY!

I'm learning that it will take a little while for my system to get back to normal. I'm still a little crampy and rumbly but I expect all will be good for tomorrow. Understandably, I haven't given Easter a thought. I'll think about it tomorrow.

I'm glad to have had this colonoscopy done, though, and to know that all's okay. Dr. H only saw some minor hemmerhoids and they are what have likely been causing the ocassional bleeding I've experienced since September. Nothing to worry about, he said. And, in fact, I haven't had a bleeding experience since January so maybe the problem is generally resolved.

As for our water, I'm guessing that it isn't as awful as it sounds. The work on our street was finished by this morning and our water hasn't looked "off". Still, we have to be careful until we get the notice from the city.

I must add, too, that while I was going through this nasty business I was very aware that today poor Barb was going through her 7th chemo and a friend who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer will have had a double mastectomy today.  Compared to that a colonoscopy is nothing. Nothing at all. I'm thinking positive and healing thoughts for them both.
Posted by Picasa


Honey, We're Home!

Warning! Lots of vacation photos!

After an uneventful and perfectly paced series of flights, we got home late Sunday night and hit the floor running! Which I was able to do and which delights me more than you can possibly imagine! Me. Hitting the floor running. Me. Yes, me! I never thought I'd ever be able to do that again. Thank you greens! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! When we got to Louisville, we quickly found a Whole Foods store and stocked me up with greens!

We had such a fantastic vacation this year! Really, I can't remember a vacation where I've felt as good - not in 5 or 6 years at least. I'm so happy about that. I didn't have to take rest breaks while everyone else was having fun. How wonderful! So we had a pretty jam-packed stretch of days. We'd leave the hotel in the morning and usually wouldn't get back until late in the evening.

We found this Tim Horton's in Columbus while we were there for a lacrosse game. Nora LOVED Tim Horton's when she visited here so that's where we stopped for lunch before the game. Interesting to note that this Tim Horton's was a little more up-scale than the ones I'm familiar with.  There was a fireplace and very nice, modern lounge chairs. Swanky. That's Nora (Luke's girlfriend) and Crombie (Arden's girlfriend, who was visiting from Saskatoon) in front of Timmy's. They joined us for the road trip to and from the game. We had a lot of fun with them.

We watched two lacrosse games and since Luke (#10) wasn't playing, we watched some practices. Luke is cleared to play - he's recovered from his concussion - but he and his coach have decided to "red shirt" him, meaning he won't play this year but will play a full season next year. And since Luke had planned on going back for a semester next year anyway to complete a second degree, he'll just stay for a full year instead. While it's hard to not be out there on the field right now, I know he's looking forward to getting in a full season next year. That's Luke at the far left in the t-shirt instead of a jersey.

While Bellarmine had disappointing loss to Ohio State they came aggravatingly close to winning against Fairfield. It was tied up until Fairfield scored in the last seconds of the game. Natch.

After the game parents, players, and friends went to Shenanigans, the local pub that the boys typically congregate at, for drinks and to secure a spot to watch the big basketball game. It was crazy to be in Louisville for the Final Four game between the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville!  A match between the two rivals hadn't happened at this level since sometime in the 70's.  Exciting!  University of Kentucky won the game and, this past Tuesday, beat Kansas to win the whole thing.

A loving father and son moment outside of Shenanigans. And Arden, of course, who is like a son to us.

The weather was fantastic while we were there. It was unseasonably warm for there, too. Spring was about a month ahead of time. In fact, it was more like summer! Hot days, warm evenings. What's not to love about that?!

I was a bit disappointed that we had missed most of the magnolia blooms but, on the other hand, we saw so many other beautiful blooming trees that we hadn't seen before.

Louisville having a French history means there are fleur de lis everywhere. I love that!

We found some nice eateries. NamNam Cafe, a newish Vietnamese eatery, was very, VERY good.  Ingredients were, as much as possible, locally sourced, and were fresh, organic, and wonderfully prepared.  And inexpensive, too. This is the Vietnamese sub that Myles had. All of our food was good and beautifully presented. Go there if you're ever in Louisville!

We had a very fun night, across the river in New Albany, Indiana at a Cuban restaurant called Habana Blues in the Market area. We mostly ordered many tapas and shared them guided by an excellent waiter. Our table was outside in a little bricked terrace area with a big fountain in the middle. Lovely and fun! Luke, Nora, and Arden were with us.

While Kevin and I waited for Luke to get his hair cut, Kevin and I stopped for a drink and a bit at O'Shea's Irish Pub. How nice to sit outside along Baxter Street (an extension of Bardstown Road all of which is much like our Broadway but longer and with a whole lot more pubs and restaurants) in a pretty courtyard ... again with a nice, big fountain.

Bellarmine University is such a pretty little campus and is in the beautiful Highlands area of the city.  The house Luke, Arden, Myles, and Cam rent is less than half a block from campus! They don't know how easy they have it! The photo of their house isn't a fair indication of the area they live in. The area is just so lovely. Even the small houses usually look charming and on the some of the streets the houses are positively grand! They're also a short distance from Bardstown Road, which is the best place for restaurants, bars, and shopping.

Luke's house above. This is the house right next door. The neighbours are very nice and very good to the boys. As you can see, blooms were abundant!

Kevin took some time to get together with his fish nerd friend, who just happens to live in Louisville and another fish nerd friend from Europe just happened to be visiting, too. Kevin was thrilled.  I was able to get to one of the two quilting shops I had hoped to visit and I came away with a little bit of fabric and some much coveted Aurifil thread. Now I can see what the buzz is all about.

Nora, Luke's girlfriend, usually has track practice while Luke has lacrosse practice so we were able to see them both doing their thang!  Nora does high jump and hurdles. She badly bruised her ankle while high jumping on the day we were watching and then she had to spend some time icing her ankle. She was able to compete in the meet in Cincinnati the following weekend and did very well, too ... with a 2nd place in high jump.

This is the first time we've been to Louisville since Jack, Luke's coach, died. We really missed seeing him there. It was nice to see the many dedications to him around the lacrosse field and the poster of him in the locker room.

Here's Luke's locker and a poster of him on the wall, too.

We had some time on Sunday with Luke and Nora before we had to leave for the airport so we took them downtown to see the 21C Hotel. They're not far from downtown and yet they've never seen it! Here we are playing with the falling letters.

In this photo you can better see how when you see us with the falling letters you are just seeing our reflections. It's fascinating to watch the letters fall and gather on our heads and limbs. See how they're caught on Luke's outstretched arms?

I was definitely not ready to come home. If you ever get the chance to visit Louisville, Kentucky, DO! I can't imagine anyone not enjoying it.
Posted by Picasa