Sunday, November 29, 2009

Black Friday

This past Wednesday, I had my 5th chemotherapy treatment - I can't believe it! I've been responding well to treatment and am still in the best of hands with my friends and family. I have to say that I've gotten used to being the patient in all sense of the word - at home and in the hospitals. However, I got a taste of what it's like to be on the other side of the hospital bed this Thanksgiving's Black Friday.

On Thursday, the entourage headed up to northern Arizona to spend Thanksgiving in the high country. Thanksgiving was moved to Saturday to accommodate every one's schedules. When you're with a medical family - you learn to change the date of holidays frequently. Dashing's sister, Miss E, then started having complaints of stomach pains, and by Friday morning, Dashing and his Dad had determined that Miss E would be appendix-less by the end of the day. Yes, Miss E had a head on collision with appendicitis. This was the start of Black Friday. We headed over to the emergency room (which luckily Dashing's dad runs) and Miss E was prepped for surgery after a positive CT scan. As she was lying in the hospital bed, I started to understand what my family and friends feel as I am going through my treatments.

The uncertainty overwhelmed me and I felt quite helpless. I tried to find ways to keep the Miss E's spirits up with the little things, like loaning her socks and reading magazines. I felt like this was my opportunity to give Miss E support like she has been giving me for the past few months.

As a medical student, Dashing was able to actually stand in and watch Miss E's surgery, which was a success. I am happy to report that Miss E is recovering fabulously and demanded to go out to a Mexican dinner only a few hours after surgery. What a trooper!

So, this Thanksgiving especially, I want to THANK every friend, family, and blog friend for your support and love. It makes all the difference.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The sweet taste of chocolate bread

In my last post, I mentioned baking chocolate bread - a favorite of mine. Fantastic blogger For the Love commented to post the recipe - so here it is! It all started with Glenda finding this small bakery in San Diego that made chocolate bread every Saturday morning. Needless to say you had to get there early or else it was sold out. Then, I thought - why not try to make it ourselves! I gathered online recipies for chocolate bread and we went to work. Although we haven't completely perfected it yet and continue to tweak the recipe - here is a recipe to start with.

2 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast (we think we should still add more)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup warm water
4 1/2 cups all-purpose or bread flour
1/2 cup plus
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 cup chopped semisweet chocolate (we tried Nestle, but are thinking a more rich milk chocolate will be better)
Egg wash (one egg plus 1 tablespoon water mixed)

Stir yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar into 1/3 cup warm water and pour into a large mixing bowl; let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

Mix flour, remaining sugar, cocoa and salt. Stir remaining 1 1/4 cups water into dissolved yeast, then stir in the flour mixture. Knead dough until elastic (5-8 min) and then add in chocolate chunks for the last few kneads.

Place dough in greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in volume, approximately 1 hour.

Turn risen dough onto lightly floured surface, punch it down - not too much though or you'll lost the chocolate chunks! and divide in half. Form each half into desired shape and place on cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.

Cover with plastic wrap again and let rise. It doesn't rise as much as other breads do - we think it's because of the chocolate weight.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Brush loaves with egg wash and bake in 450-degree oven for 10 minutes, Then reduce the heat to 350 and bake for 30 minutes more or until bread sounds hollow when tapped - it really sounds hollow.

Enjoy warm or cool, and always good with a glass of milk!

Happy baking!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sometimes it's all about me

So many things have changed in my life over the past few months. In lieu of this, I have to remember that things like my hair aren't the only things that make me, me. So, here are some things you may not know about me that make me, me. Then, leave a comment and tell me what makes you, you!

I hate soggy cereal and melted ice cream.

I am a midwest girl at heart - plus it's confirmed by my Indiana birth certificate.

I stalk follow people in full parking lots to take their spot.

My favorite show is 30 rock...."Liz Lem-min" as TJ would say.

I'd rather go to the beach than a ski lodge.

I heart magazines - glossy pages get me.

I despise Cancer Treatment Centers of America's commercials.

I love fresh bouquets of flowers, especially peonies!

I am a Delta Gamma woman.

My new favorite thing to bake is chocolate bread. Both carbs and sweets....yum.

I just found out that my state business application for Sincerely Sara Cate note cards was approved! Website and order forms to come :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A part of something bigger

For an initial update, I did go to the state fair and rolled around in a wheelchair to enjoy my favorites of corn on the cob and elephant ears. It was fantastic.

Now onto what I want to share with you....

On Friday, I woke up planning on attending what physicians call a "noon conference" at a nearby hospital with my fertility doctor. The office had invited me to attend with them to hear some presentations about what new options are arising for patients facing fertility issues due to surgeries and treatments (like me). When Glenda and I arrived, I quickly learned that not only was I invited to attend, but they wanted me to tell my story as an advocate for education on fertility preservation options for cancer patients. I was quite caught off guard, but was honored to be a part of something bigger. I've been racking my brain to find a way to make my experience more than just survival, and it landed in my lap - how often does that happen? I shared my experience with the hospital staff starting with my diagnosis and how fertility preservation has given me a sense of calmness, security, and hope for the future. See, I am not at the stage of my life that I am ready to have children - but I am not ok with the possibility of losing that chance because of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. The challenge here is that most women facing treatments like these are never exposed to the options they have in fertility preservation - and may not even be informed that the treatments they are about to endure may affect her fertility. To put it this way, the first oncologist I visited had a nurse practitioner give me a 10 minute presentation on all the horrible things that could happen to me, but never mentioned the possibility of infertility - why!? Well, I hope to assist in my fertility doctor's quest to gain support from the medical community and spread awareness to the public about fertility preservation for patients to prevent the loss of the amazing gift of fertility, or as the movie "Couple's Retreat" would put it, saving the "earth." I'm good with that :)

Post script: My hair has been falling out in massive clumps and I had to cut my hair to about an inch long. I'm not ready to share photos of this near crew cut. Just know I'm getting use of my baseball caps and wig.

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