Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z- Zip-Lining

Last summer my husband and I took a trip to the San Juan Islands in Washington State. An amazing trip filled with lots of fun, adventures and  outdoor activities.
We kayaked with whales, we rode bikes around the Island, hiked and took a Ferry to the other surrounding Islands.

One of the highlights of the trip was our first time to go Zip-lining! It was so much  fun climbing up the first tree to get started and then zipping through the forest and over water to get from tree to tree! I wish we could have gone twice, we were just getting warmed up!

We had to learn a lot in a short amount of time.How to wear and put on your equipment, the dangers and safety rules while zip-lining, to watch for the guides hands so you know when to do certain things before "landing", and how to land in a tree!

As we all seemed more and more comfortable they began to give us options like letting go, spinning, and jumping off backwards. I tried them all and they were all fun. I was grateful that this experience was fun and I did not feel afraid.

Don't our lives seem to be similar to many of the experiences we had that day? Sometimes we have to cram a lot of information into a very small amount of time whether we are ready or not!

Sometimes we have to trust people we do not know and even put our lives in  their hands. Hope that they get us from "tree to tree".
Sometimes we have to take risks, some are fun and some not so much. Sometimes to take the risk it is well worth the outcome at the end.

I am now finished another year in the A~Z Challenge and just about to finish my chemotherapy! The challenge, like the zip-line has been fun. I have crammed a lot in a short period of time but it has all been worth it!
The chemo was a risk I took, trusting my "guides" to get me from "tree to tree" and the risk was, in the end worth it as my tests have shown "No Evidence of Disease"!
I do believe it is now time to get back to some of these great adventures once again!
Thanks to all of you that have followed along and prayed for me and my family.I hope to meet up again with you next year in the A~Z challenge!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Y~is for yoga

Right up to the time I was hospitalized and began chemo I had been enjoying Yoga classes at LifeTime Fitness. The classes were intense and I LOVED them!
Prior to the classes I had some videos I would do at home so I was familiar with yoga but these classes took it to a whole new level, with my favorite being Yin-Yoga.

I have missed my workouts at the club, swimming, cycle classes and yoga of course.

I began searching for yoga videos that I could do at home and found two I am happy with. After taking such advanced classes I worried these might be too easy. However after about 9 or 10 rounds of chemo, these were perfect! Honestly good for anyone starting out or with some yoga experience. There are just tips how to modify for those of us who have had surgery, are going through chemo and the like.

 I plan to use these DVD's to gain my own strength back and then teach them in my classes...which I can't wait to get back too!
Ocean Soul, Yoga for cancer recovery with Claire Petretti. Photo from Amazon

Thriving Yoga, Yoga for breast cancer. Photo from Amazon

X is for X-TERRA

This is the same title of the post I wrote last year with a different story. The link below is part 1 of this post.

 Less than a year later I was able to get my "dream car"! I realize it may not be many people's first choice for a car and maybe not even a "girlie" car, but it is a perfect match for me.
We live an active lifestyle and need a vehicle that can tow boats, hold kayaks and bikes on the roof and room in the back to pack up gear. This car does it all!
The day after we received my great test results my husband took the X-TERRA and had a heavy duty hitch put on it. We are ready for summer now!
I wondered where the name X-Terra came from and here is what I found
From Wikipedia.The ironic part is before I knew this was the car I hoped to own one day I also have two passions; first to return to Hawaii as much as possible and two, to complete a Triathlon. Who knows maybe both in Maui.

XTERRA is a series of off-road triathlon races, i.e. three-sport races which include swimming, mountain biking, and trail running. The XTERRA Global Tour is owned and produced by TEAM Unlimited. The XTERRA race series is the best-known series of off-road triathlons, and is considered by most to be the de facto world championship of the sport.[citation needed]
It began in 1996 on the Hawaiian island of Maui as the Aquaterra, and was later renamed the XTERRA. The Japanese company Nissan Motors Corporation named their popular sport utility vehicle (the Nissan Xterra) in 1999 after the race and was the race series' primary sponsor from 1998 to 2006, when the two companies parted ways.[1]


photo by elayne M.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

W~ Women

Twelve Extraordinary Women of the Bible. This book has been a great source of comfort and wisdom over these past weeks for me.
I have studied women like Eve, Sarah, Ruth and Hannah so far. The one thing that continuously stands out to me as I read more and more is their unwavering faith in God.

I have been amazed by the number of years that they remain unshaken in their faith, even when time goes on and what they are praying and waiting for seems more and more impossible.They wait, they pray, they trust and God answers them.

I kept thinking about these women as I was having my tests done, laying there in the machines, waiting.  I usually spend this time in prayer,it brings me peace and I feel completely calm.

This time was a little different. I had recently been reading about Hannah and how she prayed for a son, how she would go to the tabernacle and pray. What stood out to me about her was that she would bring her request to God and then leave it there. God knew her heart she asked for the desires of her heart and then trusted God with the rest.

When it was time for me to have the final test last week I had that same peace. I had prayed and asked God for the desires of my heart. To live, to be here for my husband, children and grandchildren. For my family and friends. To live the best life I can and hopefully I am doing what He has called me to do.
I went into the test knowing I have done all that I can possibly do and felt a calmness over me and a sense that I can rest now. He, once again heard our prayers and He answered them!
I hope that I will always have the faith that these women had. That I will not be shaken and will live my life the best I can for Him.

I have not finished the book yet and I am looking forward to learning about the rest of these Extraordinary Women!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

U & V~ Ultimate Victory!

I have spent several days at the hospital having all kinds of tests done to see if the chemotherapy has worked.

Yesterday we met with my oncologist. He walked in, handed me 3 pieces of paper with my PET scan images on them.One from August...looked ok, October...looked bad, and yesterday...completely clear!!

My CT and PET scans look great, there is No Evidence of Disease!! I have three more chemo treatments left!

This has been such a long and scary ride over these past 6 months but I have been so blessed to have the support, love, help and prayers from all of you and Gods grace!

Before we left the doctors office I was already asking if I will have any limitations when I am ready to get back to my "former life" , he said no.
I will admit both my husband and I are having a little trouble taking this all in, putting our guards down. I am sure as the days and weeks go by, the chemo ends and my strength comes back, we will find our way back to the life we always have and will continue to love!

We thank God for this Ultimate Victory over cancer at this time!

Thursday, April 25, 2013


A few weeks ago I experienced a difficult situation that has led me to make a small change that has had a big effect.

My husband and I decided to get out and run a couple of errands on a Saturday, a windy day. My decision to not wear a wig, and only wear hats was tested on this day.
I don't know why but on this day I was feeling very self conscious, particularly about people staring at me or looking at me with sympathy. Normally I notice it but can just go about my day and it doesn't bother me. This day it did.

As we walked from the car to the store it was so windy I had to hold my hat on my head for fear of it blowing off and my little bald, gray straggly head being exposed for all to see. Normally something like this I would get a great laugh out of, but not this day.

The young clerk at the checkout doesn't make eye contact at the counter, more stares and looks of pity, at least that's how I felt, it's what I saw.

I shared with my husband that I felt uncomfortable. He reassured me that people were not staring. We then went to a favorite restaurant for lunch. Beautiful day, minus the wind, we decided to eat on the patio outdoors.It was very crowded and again I felt the stares. Becoming more and more uncomfortable I then found myself having to hold my hat on my head with one hand and eat with the other. Then my head sank lower towards my plate, just trying to eat and not loose my hat.

As soon as we were done my husband asked if I wanted to walk around the shops. I said no and looked for the shortest path back to our car.
I cried the whole way home. I just wanted to get back to my home and crawl under my blanket. I have never experienced this at this level before.
Am I embarrassed because I have cancer...NO! Do I have a bad day once in a while...YES!
So, what do I do to prevent another day like that one? Transition from "hat" to "hats with hair"! I bought a hair halo that I wear under any hat so it looks like you have hair. I gave it a try for the first time on Tuesday and it worked beautifully!

Whether or not what I felt that day was as bad as I thought or not, this small change that transitions me on the outside for just a little while seems to help. I think that's ok right now.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

S~ Stitching

One very important part of going through something like chemotherapy is to try to maintain a sense of humor! I am fortunate to have several people who get this and have fun with me, even through the the many hours spent in the "chemo room".

A great friend of mine Vicki, is one of the "regulars" who takes me for treatment. We always have a fun time and we laugh A LOT! Even at chemo.

To make use of these hours she agreed to teach me to crotchet. My first lesson was during chemo and I fell in love with it!

After just a couple of lessons I decided to make my youngest son a blanket for his 23rd birthday, which is today! I immediately started working on my second blanket for my husband....I am hooked!

Vicki and I decided we didn't like the term, chemo or treatment. We wanted to call it something else,something lighter. Since we bring our crotchet projects with us and talk about all kinds of things, some light some heavy discussions,we decided to call our Monday chemo sessions "Stitching & Bit**ing" instead. We do stitch, hardly ever Bit**, because we are too busy laughing and making the best out of a not so great situation.

A few weeks ago my son Matt took Vicki's place. He and I have some GREAT laughs together! We had our "Stitching & Bit**ing" morning and some great laughs too!

"My mom tried to ride on the IV machine when the nurses weren't looking >_< hahaha. Yeah we have fun at chemo"! ~Matthew
photo by Matt M
There are plenty of hard times through all of this....keeping it light when we can has been a great coping method for all of us :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

R~ Reality

It's NO chemo Monday! HOWEVER, it is TEST WEEK...This is probably one of the most difficult, nerve racking and important weeks of my life. This week we will learn the reality of where things are. Is the chemo working? What are the next steps?
 On Wednesday I will have a CT scan and muga (heart) scan, Friday I will have a PET scan, labs and meeting with my oncologist. All of these tests require some difficult preparations, drinking 2 bottles of awful contrast, fasting, no caffeine...that one always gets me! And lots of needles!
 Your prayer support for this difficult week ahead of us is GREATLY appreciated. I am trying to focus on all the positive and your encouragement along with prayers will certainly help. Thank you for praying with us this week as we wait with great hope and faith for answers.
This is our reality.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Q~ Quilt

I knew from the beginning of the challenge what I would write about when we reached the letter Q! This is my "runner/ survivor quilt"!

I would like to share  what it means to me. This quilt was made by a very special person in my life, our Aunt Judy. As you can see she is incredibly talented!
She asked me if I would like her to make me a quilt using my race t-shirts and of course I said yes!

Each t-shirt represents a very special time,  race and the people who were involved. I won't lie, giving them up was a little bit of a struggle as  they all carry wonderful memories for me.

Now, I have them all in one place! I snuggle up under it everyday and love looking at the beautiful work that went into making this quilt as well as all the memories it holds for me.
Thank you Aunt Judy!
I hope to start a new collection of race t-shirts soon!

Friday, April 19, 2013

P: Parenting, by my sweet daughter (in-law) Nikki

The letter P by my sweet daughter (in-law) Nikki.

I fell in love with my husband at eleven.
Okay, that may be hyperbole. The inherent sacrifice, complexities, and dynamics of love are not easily understood at eleven.
But I thought he was beautiful. In mind, body, and spirit. Just beautiful.
And his family was beautiful. He loved his dad. He talked endlessly about uncles, cousins, brothers.
And he really loved his mom.
Now I’m his wife. Now I’m the mother of his child. And now, for the first time, I’m starting to understand just how much of this joy in my life that I owe to his mom.
My husband’s mom taught him forgiveness; I know this because he forgives me—instantly and without question—when I mess up. When I speak a little too harshly, lose my temper a little over dishes left in the sink. When I shuffle up to him sheepishly, reach my arms out, and whisper, “I’m sorry, honey.”
My husband’s mom taught him selflessness; I know this because he bends over backwards for me, for my son. He works tirelessly, endlessly. For his little family.
My husband’s mom taught him chivalry; I know this because he is one of the most romantic men I know.
My husband’s mom taught him the value of kindness, leadership, silliness, and intelligence.
Best of all, my husband’s mom fostered in him a love for the Lord.
How do you sufficiently thank your mother-in-law for loving her son so well? It is because of her that he loves me so well. I watch him kiss my son without reserve, and I imagine him as a blonde-haired, blue-eyed baby, smothered in kisses from his mommy. I listen to him sing to us when we’re sick, and I picture him as feverish, droopy-eyed toddler, snuggled in bed next to his mommy, comforted as she hums him lullabies. This beautiful childhood shaped his beautiful man. This amazing mother raised the man I’ve fallen in love with.
P is for parenting.
I’m so grateful for my incredible mother-in-law.
I adored her the day I met her.
I admired her as I grew to know her.
I loved her as I grew to love her son.
Sweet Mama M,
Thank you for parenting my husband so well. I watch him parent my Liam, and I wonder how I am so blessed. I marvel over the idea that they’re mine. How could that be?! How could one woman be THIS lucky?
Thank you for your patience in teaching him and raising him. It is because of the morals, values, and ideals that you instilled in him that I am so, so incredibly joyous today.
Thank you for being a guide as I struggle to parent my own baby. For the tips, tricks, and suggestions when I am at the end of my rope. For the support and encouragement. For accepting me and loving me as your daughter. I fully believe that there isn’t a better mother-in-law in the world. I can’t imagine my life without our coffee dates and long talks on the porch outside. I can’t imagine Liam’s life without his precious Nonna. I can’t imagine my husband’s life without you and your parenting.
I love you, I love you, I love you.
Thank you for all you’ve done for him.
For Liam.
For me.

photo by Tim Minich

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Today is a special day, it is my husband's birthday! So first of all Happy Birthday Chris! I would like to share some thoughts on the role of a spouse/caretaker.

When a spouse or family member is sick or living with a chronic illness the focus tends to be on that person, which makes sense. However, there is someone that tends to be overlooked, the caretaker. Usually a spouse, parent, adult child, etc.
In my case it is my husband who shares this journey with me. every bit of it, all the time. He hurts when I hurt and he celebrates when I celebrate.

The person going through this with you usually juggles a full time job, commute and picks up many, if not all of the responsibilities the person fighting is not able to do.These are long, hard days, months and years, but we do it together.

In our case my husband is this person, he juggles all of this and being there for me as well. The physical and emotional ups and downs, he shares them all! Your life changes, their life changes. So today I ask that the person in this role is not overlooked in any of our lives.
         Thank you Chris, ONLY YOU can understand this the way you do!
photo by elayne minich

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

N- Nominated!

Yesterday my blog was nominated for the Liebster award by Sherri Lackey over at   http://sherrilackey.com/blog/  Please take a moment to check out her blog! Thank you Sherri for taking time to look around my blog and share my story through this nomination and participation in the A~Z blog challenge.

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/p/what-is-blogging-from-to-z.htmlSo, in accordance with the rules of the award, here are 11 random facts about me:
1~ I am a vegetarian, most of the time.
2~ I have taught over a thousand  people how to swim
3~ I love to crochet, a brand new hobby
4~Pistachio almond ice cream is my favorite flavor
5~ I am a grandmother
6~ I have run a marathon
7~My husband and three sons are musicians, I have no talent whatsoever.
8~ I want to complete a triathlon
9~When I'm not fighting cancer I am teaching boot camps/swim lessons and run groups.
10~I don't like cake, especially chocolate
11~I am a 6x cancer survivor, fighting for the past 15 years!

Here are the 11 questions Sherri asked;
  1. If you could have any celebrity chef cook you a meal, who would it be and what would they fix for you? My cousin, David Gilbert, author of Kitchen Vagabond @  http://www.beyondthekitchen.com/ vegetarian pasta dish of his choice.
  2. If you cold have your choice, a free ride into outer space to stay at the first resort on the moon, or take a submarine ride down to the lowest trench in the ocean to view exotic aquatics, which would it be? The moon, for sure!
  3. What’s your style: modern, traditional, or country? A little of all three.
  4. What’s your favorite fiction genre? Nicholas Sparks books.
  5. What’s your favorite non-fiction title? Life and Death in Shanghai.
  6. What’s your favorite shade of blue? Gray blue
  7. If you could have a backstage pass to any show, what would it be? The Olympics
  8. If you could drive any car what would it be? My car, a Nissan Xterra
  9. If all cars, trains, planes, etc. suddenly stopped working due to say – a zombie apocalypse – what mode of transportation would you choose? My bike.
  10. Would you rather be a zombie or run from a zombie? I would run!
 11.If you could be a superhero: Would you wear high heels while fighting the bad guys if you are a female? Would you wear spandex tights while fighting the bad guys if you are a male? Do you think superhero attire needs to be revised to fit the real world – realities? It’s just a thought…No and No...I don't wear heels as a real person. 

Here are my (6)11nominees and questions for them to answer.I am behind a day with my blog so the other 5 spots are open if you would like to nominate someone or yourself. Just leave me a message in the comments section.
http://castlepinesnorth.blogspot.com/   Loverofwords
http://kayedraper-writeme.blogspot.com/  Kaye Draper
http://the2mara.blogspot.com/  2maras blog
http://stephcb.blogspot.com/  Stephanie at In my own words
http://sopphey.onimpression.com/ Sopphey explains the Liebster award at
1. What is your favorite day of the week and why?
2. Did you set a goal for 2013 and what was it?
3 Do you have a pet? What is his/her name?
4. What is your favorite form of exercise?
5.Why did you start a blog?
6.Where would you live if you could live anywhere?
7. Prefer camping or hotel room?
8.Do you know how to swim?
9.Besides writing what is another favorite hobby?
10.What is the title to your favorite book?
11. What is the name of your favorite movie?

Here are the rules if you choose to participate:
Post the award on your blogs
Thank the blogger(s) who gave you the award and link back to their site
Post 11 random facts about yourself
Answer 11 questions that the presenter of the award has asked
Nominate 11 new bloggers with fewer than 200 followers that you want to pass the award on to
Ask your nominees 11 questions

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

M~ Marathon Monday

The Boston Marathon! The mother of all Marathons. The race every runner hopes to qualify for and participate in. Marathon day is exciting, filled with hope, enthusiasm, thousands of people there to run or cheer on the runners from the sidelines. The city streets shut down and our first responders are there and ready! We runners need all of you! The cheers coming from family, friends and strangers lifts our spirits and keeps us going. You are a vital part in a marathon!
Diane Yotts Perella's photo.
 As a half and full marathon runner myself, there are many things you think about on race day. Am I going to make it? 26.2 miles...that's a long way to run. But, you have trained and your strong..you are ready! Do I have everything I need? Did I forget something? Am I hydrated, did I drink too much? These are the things we think about.

Sometimes we joke and say, I'm crossing that finish line even if I have to walk, crawl or roll across it. I'm finishing!

What we as runners NEVER thought about, until yesterday, was being knocked off our feet  at the finish line, having the moment of victory co inside with the moment of terror. Being attacked! NOT finishing because bombs are exploding  and those very people who stood and cheered the runners as they approached the finish line..a moment of triumph, victory, are now hurt, bleeding, dying. That our first responders would be called to a "war zone" instead of the typical calls they get of dehydration, people collapsing from fatigue or sprained ankles and hurt knees. No, we didn't worry about loosing our feet and legs or dying at a marathon.

These Boston runners trained for up to a year preparing for this day, Patriots day! Knowing the mindset of a marathon runner I have no doubt that runners will continue to participate in races of all kinds...everywhere! I look forward to that day when I can rejoin my fellow runners once again.

I was born in Boston, lived outside of Boston for my first 15 years. It's where I grew up. My family lives there and several were at the race yesterday. Thankfully, all are fine. That sadly is not what all family members can say today. My thoughts and prayers are with you Boston!
Russell Hyjek's photo.

Monday, April 15, 2013


Over the past few weekends my husband and I have been thoroughly enjoying getting our yard and garden started for another year.

My garden means so more to me than just the enjoyment of getting outdoors, getting your hands ( and the rest of you) in the dirt, choosing our plants, planning the layout, turning the soil and finally planting all the new growth for another year.

We began gardening about 6 years ago when my brother-in-law Jim was fighting for his life battling leukemia. When we had no control over this situation and the times we could not be by his side, gardening brought to me a comfort by taking care of something I could control... the life growing in my garden.

 Shortly thereafter came my time to once again fight for my life and I knew I wanted to continue gardening.  Still, 6 years later it brings me that same peace and comfort as well as lots of good nutritious fruits, veggies and herbs.
photo by Elayne Minich

Our Spring begins early here and summer lasts LONG. There comes a time in July and August where I swear I am NOT growing another garden next year! The heat and lack of rain makes it very difficult to keep your garden alive. Then each April...we enthusiastically plant again and continue this wonderful life cycle. After all, every good fight for life  is worth the battle!
photos by elayne minich
This year we tried our hands at a pallet garden.  Continuing not only the life cycle of the plants but also introducing another product of a "life cycle" to gardening....our grandson Liam! Happy gardening fellow gardeners!
photos by elayne minich

Saturday, April 13, 2013

K~ Kevin, a letter from my son.

                A Letter from Kevin - Trials of the "Corinth Minichs"

I believe I was only 10 or 11 when I first heard my Mom had cancer. I remember, we were sitting in the living room, I was on the ground right by the table my dad had recently made (still strong and sturdy as ever today, which is what he said it would be 15 years ago when he made it) the rest of the family was there. Mom and Dad walked in and told us the news. I wanted details on what it all meant and how we were going to move forward. Once I heard that some rounds of chemo and it would be gone I had faith that everything was going to be fine. Never once did I doubt things would become worse.

 Of course, at that age I didn't know much about chemo and how horrible it can be, and still to this day I feel I blocked out how sick my Mom really was. I just remember her being in her room sleeping a lot and then it was over. I remember the day we shaved her head and how we made it fun, as my Dad was being goofy when shaving all her hair off.

 In my eyes it was just temporary and it would be over soon, and it seemed like that is what happened. Chemo was over and there was no more cancer...simple and easy. 5 years went by and still no sign of disease. The 5 year marker was big. Odds went up after 5 years. We walked all the "Race for the Cures" fund-raised, etc... Things were fine, life went on - in our immediate  family of five, Dad, Mom, me, Tim and Matt.

After that it was family around us that received what we call "The Minich Curse". It seemed like every 6 - 12 months a tragedy would happen. My Uncle Jim with leukemia passed away, My Grandpa Minich with a brain tumor, my Grandma Minich shortly after that,then  my cousin passed away.

 Multiple cancer diagnoses...the list goes on, and we joke and say it's about that time when we will get a phone call, the ones at 11pm that you just know are bad...your heart sinks, you prepare yourself, then the tears come and multiple phone calls are made to others followed by more tears. It's a sick cycle, exhausting, but we're tough...we're Minichs! We have to be rocks otherwise we would all crawl into a corner and fall into a deep depression. We can't do anything but carry on.

So...fast forward. Cancer gone...nope. Round 2, ding ding, fight! Mom was training, running marathons, at the top of her game, and cancer decides to show it's nasty evil face again. Where? Spine, rib, lung, etc... Of course this sucked for everyone, but the Minich curse eventually made it's way back to the Corinth Minichs. What did I do this time when I got the word? Same thing as last time. "Give me details". I heard the details and with me the glass is always half full and still is. What's the game plan? What do the doctors say? What are we doing? Pray and go!

Every time the cancer comes back, I have always put my money on my Mom...every time. Only once was I scared when she was in the hospital having the surgery on her lungs. Even then though, I never lost hope and knew things would work out. It just gets tough being in those damn hospitals time after time.

 The first time I had been in a hospital in a LONG time was a year and a half ago for the birth of my son...and even then, he scared the hell out of all of us as he came out without crying, without breathing, pale, and lifeless. NICU came rushing in and started working on him giving him a kick-start. I remember Nikki looking over at me and  giving her a fake smile ensuring everything was ok as she was totally oblivious to what was going on. Just one more moment in my life where my heart sank to my stomach and a feeling of emptiness came over me. Nothing has been better in the world than hearing Liam cry for the first time as he began to breathe.

Now...back to my Mom. Finally, the lung surgery was a success, she was able to come home after 11 long days in the hospital, her strength was returning, now...time for chemo! Yay! :( Now being older, I better understood the side-effects that may ensue with her treatment. Luckily, despite a constant state of tiredness, some nausea, etc...this time around has been a million times better than what she went through the first time. These last few runs are getting tougher and tougher, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel, tumor markers are down, lungs are cleared up...everything is going according to plan! Just as I had faith it would.

Where am I now? 4 treatments away from more tests to be run of which I have faith will come back great, no sign of disease, and we move forward with a "normal" life. Ask my Mom what a "normal" life is...I don't think we know anymore.
I have faith, and am positive my Mom will be there at Liam's wedding, will watch her great grandson be born, and crotchet many more blankets. There is no doubt and there has never been a doubt, at least from me, that everything will be fine.

This was supposed to be one paragraph, quick synopsis, but that is impossible to do with the Minichs, Mom, Dad, our lives, what was, is and will come. I love you Mom, and I'll have Liam's son write you an article about you and how awesome his great grandma Nonna IS and how he can't wait to ride on the jet ski with her. You will have your lake house by that time. ;) Hopefully me too!
Love you,

Friday, April 12, 2013


As with any journey this one has it's long straight paths and twists and turns. Just as I thought the trail ahead was laid out before me and I knew where the end was I was surprised with a turn in the road yesterday.

This is what I thought the path looked like; just 4 more chemo treatments and then the TESTS! I have been mentally preparing myself for the tests...in May, after chemo.

I received a call from my oncology nurse yesterday saying my doctor wants all tests done sooner, during my "week off" from chemo. But wait, I am not ready for that.The trail just went to the left instead of straight, throwing me all off course!

I guess it's time to wrap my head around this unexpected part of the journey and pray that this chemotherapy is doing it's job.

Just a test or two can determine what the next day looks like, what is going to happen with your life. Incredibly difficult decisions often have to me made. I don't think I'll ever get used to it.

Your thoughts and prayers are truly appreciated over these upcoming weeks.             I know I am never alone on this journey.
I lift up my eyes to the hills- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip-he who watches over you will not slumber. Psalm 121;1-3

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Isolation is often a difficult part of going through any long term or chronic illness. Along with chemotherapy your immune system is being greatly compromised. This often leads to a lot more time at home, away from all the "normal" activities of your day and people.

There tends to be  fears of being alone while out somewhere, driving or even making plans to get together with people.Fear of  being hit instantly with nausea, pain or tremendous fatigue. They can all come on in just seconds. There is definitely anxiety with all this. So it becomes easier to be isolated which I have found changes you.

I have been thinking about how this has somewhat turned me from an extrovert personality to more of an introvert and why. I knew isolation  would be an issue and tried to prepare for it. If I am not out doing my regular daily activities and don't feel well, what do I do during this period in my life? After all, I'm not good at this alone stuff.

 I do  try to go and do when I feel good and "tag team", having someone with me that understands our plans may change in an instant or not happen at all. Here is where you loose a lot of independence, in having to depend on others for so many things. It is quite difficult.

By nature I am a people person, don't typically like spending long periods of time alone.Could never understand how someone could spend a day reading or crocheting, doing projects or watching movies by themselves. Well, I have become one of those people. I think I have, maybe temporarily, become an introvert through this isolation.
I do look forward to getting back to more of my extrovert life soon!  I will admit, I hope I still enjoy this new me I have discovered on this part of my journey.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

H~ A Happy, Healthy Day

Today I am thankful for a little bit of energy! I made it to Calloways and bought all the flowers and herbs to make a pallet garden and walked a mile with my hubby. 
 These days are getting fewer and fewer right now but I am happy to get them when I can :) I  cant wait for chemo to end and start having more and more happy, healthy days.

Monday, April 8, 2013


How do I express gratitude to all the friends, family, medical teams and complete strangers who have been so gracious and giving to me and my family? I try to always thank each and every person, no matter how big or small this expression of love and care is. It never feels like enough. If I have not thanked you please know how very much you are appreciated!

So here I would like to talk about some of these people and the gift of time, meals, rides,prayers, encouragement and help they have given. On their own, from their hearts...graciously. I also hope these words below may give some of you possible ideas for someone else in your life that may just need a little extra something.

Gratitude for all this and so much more!
 For my sons and husband who never let me spend a night alone in the hospital.They missed work and time from their homes.

For washing my hair,running errands and driving. For mowing our lawn and being their for their parents. For sitting for hours with me during chemotherapy, and just being there to laugh with and enjoy their company.

For my daughter-in-laws who made me meals both at the hospital and at home. Shared their husbands time to help take care of me. Brought my grandson to visit ( best medicine ever:) and sent me special teas to help with side effects and health.

For setting up a Facebook page to keep everyone updated and let people know if and where some help would be appreciated.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Prayers-Hats-Meals-for-Mama-M/393494657414315?sk=infoFor setting up a gift registry when I made the decision not to wear a wig this time but hats instead. These hats are designed specifically for people who have lost their hair.They cover area's of your head that regular hats do not, giving you total coverage. For all of you that sent one of these wonderful hats to me.

 For all of you who took on the daily antibiotic treatments, driving me and sitting for hours while I received this therapy. You all were great, everyday...7 days a week!
For all the unexpected  , cards, letters, comfy PJ's, movies,books, tea's quilts and more!

For my family and friends that shaved their heads when my hair fell out-Wow!
For my husband who has taken life on triple time. His job and commute combined with taking over so much of the work at home. For just holding me, rubbing the pain out of my neck and back while we watch movie's. Lots of movies! He makes my coffee in  morning so its ready whenever I wake up.He never misses a doctors apt., test or chemo unless I convince him I am ok with a friend or son taking me.

A few special people I must also give a shout out to!
For Donise, she is my dear friend who I wish lived closer. Because she is out of town she comes and stays with us when she can. Her help while here is honestly too many area's t list! Most of all, it is our long talks and friendship that matter most.
For Vicki, another dear friend that has done everything from being my own personal driver,teaching me to crotchet, cooking, cleaning doing our laundry and again, so much more. Our coffee and crotchet time is what I enjoy the most! Well, shopping is pretty great too!
For Janine and all who have  been such a wonderful help with meals! Janine has been bringing meals to us once a week and more! This is not the easiest task as I eat mostly vegetarian and have food allergies. She is brave!
For my mom and dad and family~ they are always there! When things get tough those first responders are usually your family.I love knowing they are always there for me/us.

For the many Blog friends I have made over these years.I love to hear from you and feel as if I know many of you although we have not met.You are so much encouragement! The A-Z challenge opens those doors to "meet" so many more of you! Grateful for the Challenge!

The most important of all has been you! For keeping us uplifted in your prayers.For you, my family & friends from all over.Thank you...Thank you...Thank you!I am so GRATEFUL!
Matthew 18:20
King James Version (KJV)://www.facebook.com/pages/Prayers-Hats-Meals-for-Mama-M/393494657414315?sk=info
20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Sunday, April 7, 2013


My faith tells me not to fear, but my human nature has to battle that fear often...fear of the unknown.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.~ Joshua 1:9

My faith tells me to put everything in His hands, the Great Physician.
I love the Lord, for He heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. ~ Psalm 116:1-2 

My faith tells me to be strong, my body is yelling"uncle". It is getting weaker.
 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest~ Matthew 1 1:28

How do I trust in my Faith, in my God? How do I NOT fear? I truly turn it over to Him, for there is nothing I can do on my own.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

 Reaching that place where you can put all your faith in whatever the outcome is, has been the hardest thing I have ever had to do. And, yet, the fear creeps back in, over and over.
Because He himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. ~ Hebrews 2:18

 There remains a peace in that trust and in that faith that I can barely describe, and there is also a fear so deep and huge, I can also hardly describe.
When in those times of fear, I reach for God and ask for His comfort, for His peace, to take my fear away.
He always does, sometimes quickly, sometimes not. But He always does.Be still and know that I am God~ Psalm 46:10

 I do not know how I would get through this...15 years, 6 diagnosis and everything that has come with it. How would I get through this without my God? Without my Faith? I imagine it would be Fear.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.~ Isaiah 41:10

Saturday, April 6, 2013

E is for~ Endurance Specialist

Several years ago I decided to follow my passion of combining health/ fitness and working with people all into one and became a certified personal trainer and sports nutrition specialist. This led me to the world of endurance sports, which I absolutely love and have been planning to become certified as a "sports endurance specialist" as well.

Although I played some team sports when I was young I have always been drawn to endurance sports. The seeds were planted back in high school when I ran track and learned about  the "White Rock Marathon"! I knew then that I wanted to "Run The Rock". But, honestly didn't think I would. I did however think a triathlon was in reach for me as I love all three sports, swim/bike/run.
Just the word endurance motivates me! How much more, how much faster, how much better can I do if I push, if I endure? This helps me even now as I am enduring a very different kind of race.

I did get to Run The Rock at both a half and full marathon! The triathlon is still an event I would love to do. My doctor said "maybe this summer" .I'll take that as a yes!
I once wrote about how similar training for and running a marathon was to going through cancer. It still rings true to me.One taught me so much of how to handle the other.
I am now running those last 6-7 miles of a marathon with this long journey of chemotherapy. I am worn and getting a bit exhausted, but.....I can see the finish line ahead!
It seems I have become an "endurance specialist" after all.
A post I wrote 3/2/2010
Why do an endurance event or push yourself to your limits in anything? Just for fun? Just to see if you can? I think it builds and develops strengths you never knew you had and prepares you for other "events" in your life that may not be as much fun,or planned or expected.
By training, running and completing a marathon just a little more than 2 months ago I have found myself using those very same skills, strengths and strategies to get through this next "marathon" in my life called cancer.
In both;
you have to pace yourself
you have to be wise about what you eat and the timing of that food
you have to get rest and let your body recover
you have to get up each day and push through physically weather you feel like it or not
you have to get used to pain and learn how to ignore it
you learn how to focus and be in the "zone",overcoming the emotional struggles
you will have good days and bad days no matter what you do
you will celebrate those good days and accept the bad ones
you know that God can get you through anything
you will envision the finish line & the victory
you will celebrate!

Perhaps this is why we see so many survivors running or participating in endurance events. They have learned these skills in life already.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Well that's kind of Dissapointing

I planned to write about Dignity tonight and just could not find the words.

Then I started to notice little tiny hairs falling out...again. I am nearing the end of this chemotherapy, with 5 more to go. My hair fell out 2 weeks after chemo began. Then, it started growing back! Much to my delight and surprise. I didn't know your hair can grow back during treatment, but it can! It can also fall back out, which it is, much to my disappointment.

Just yesterday my friend and I were out shopping and I pulled off my hat in the car to proudly show her my "hair" that was really growing! I looked over and saw a woman smiling and she waved to us. Apparently she witnessed my hat removal and got a kick out of it too.
So much for Dignity :)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

C~ Connections

A wonderful friend of mine comes to visit from out of town and help us out when she can. During her last visit we headed out to pick up a few Easter presents for my grand baby Liam.

As we walked into the children's clothing store this adorable little girl ran up to me with such excitement  in her eyes I thought for a moment she was one of my "Little Swimmers" that I teach each summer.

No, I did not recognize her. I said "Hi, how are you doing" and with her big brown eyes and her cowgirl hat on she replied "good"!  Just some small talk between us and she was off back to her mom.

Although I did not recognize her, she recognized something about me. My hat. She noticed that I was wearing a hat covering up my bald head....and so was she. I just didn't see it when we were talking. Not until she turned around, walked over to her mom and tried on another hat did I then understand the connection.

It made me wonder, did she want to talk some more, should I have acknowledged we were both fighting the same thing and we both had on our cute hats, making an uncomfortable situation fun and playful? (like a child's life should be). I'm not sure. Maybe just a smile and some small talk was all she wanted with someone she felt a connection with.

Either way, this little girl in her cowgirl hat made my day!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Letter B~ Books

I think for most of us if we have a passion for writing we also have a passion for reading. In this time of fighting cancer I have had to spend a lot of time in  rest and recovery. I have had to be creative with activities that are of a much slower pace. Reading and listening to audio books have been a great way to spend some of this time!

My husband and I love most outdoor activities, and spent most of our free time enjoying them and being together. These are a few of our favorites; running, hiking, biking, swimming, jet skiing camping,traveling and kayaking.
During the first half of chemo I was able to do many of these activities, including a fantastic hike in Oklahoma, we hiked 4 miles on day one and 8 on day two.
 We also took on a 20 mile mountain bike ride, which ended at 14 miles.
http://elayneminich.blogspot.com/2013/03/bikes-butterflies-and-bonk.htmlLots of walks and and even some running and Yin Yoga.

I have read a few books during this time that were not only good reads but helped inspire and motivate me to do my best to continue doing the things I love. Would love to read more like this and hear any of your suggestions.

Crossing Divides: A Couple's Story of Cancer, Hope, and Hiking Montana's Continental Divide

Race for Life (P)

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Answer was Africa ~ The 2013 A~Z blog challenge!

For the third year in a row I am participating in the A~Z blog challenge! Each day throughout the month of April I will post a blog entry with the topic co-inciding with the letter of the alphabet from that day.
This year, I happen to be going through chemotherapy during this blog challenge and will write from the perspective of what life looks life for someone living with cancer. The day to day events, thoughts,trials, joys and hope. I hope you all will follow along as I write about this part of my journey.

Two weeks ago I was receiving my weekly dose of chemo when an older woman sat down for her treatment. She was beautiful and still had all her hair, which was long! She looked at me and with a mature voice said "well hello there darlin' ". We got to chatting and of course we asked each other the "what are you in here for " question. She shared with me that she is stage 4 and has stopped chemo. She was just getting med's for hydration, nausea and pain.
She seemed surprised when I shared that I too am stage 4 and have been living with cancer for nearly 15 years now. She told me she is 75, I would have guessed late 50's maybe 60.
She told me she has a had a full and wonderful life.Raised her children and has even seen her grandchildren grow up. Her passion is fly fishing, which she can no longer do, but told us some great fishing tales.  She spoke of how she traveled the world and went many places to go fly fishing.

Then she said, "no matter what age I am and even if I have done most of the things I wanted to do, I am not ready to go".
I thought alot about that, I am 48, have not done all I want to do, so much more life to live. And then there was Daisy, a little girl who recently lost her battle with cancer at only 8, I've had 40 more years than she did.

I look at the woman in the chemo room and think, I sure hope I can say I have done all that I wanted to do, see ALL my grandchildren grow up and be saying it when I am 75.
So I asked her, out of all your travels around the world, where was your favorite place? She replied "Africa"! Where she went on a trip by herself and slept outdoors in only a tent! What an extraordinary lady to talk with!
Today when I was pushing my IV pole across the floor to get to the restroom I heard "Hello Darlin' "  She was back :)



Related Posts with Thumbnails