We survived the Polar Vortex that came the first part of this month. Our car was prepared with extra blankets, mittens, hats etc. Luckily we were able to make it to my chemo treatments without any interruptions.

2014 began with a terrible tragedy in our neighborhood. On Wednesday the 8th of January,  our neighbor Marilyn was killed in a house fire. It’s still not clear as to how the fire started. Marilyn was not well. Over recent years she has had a couple of strokes and was on oxygen day and night due to COPD. It was such a sad, sad day. Her sweet little dog Casper was also killed in the fire. Only 9 weeks before the fire, Marilyn’s daughter Liz passed away after losing her battle with cancer.

I have been using my YMCA membership. I feel so fortunate to have been picked to be a part of the Livestrong program. Our group of 12 meets twice a week with three trainers putting us through various routines. The rest of the week, we are free to use the YMCA as we please. I intend to take full advantage of this.

Mark and I were able to get out of the house over this past weekend to check out the 24th Annual Wisconsin State Snow Sculpting Competition. The Big Chill event has been held here in Racine for the past 3 years. I have always seen the remains of the sculptures, days after the event, and this year I made sure to stop by Monument Square while it was under way. We talked to a few of the artists and cast our votes. The cool thing is that one artist I voted for and we interviewed, Dave Andrews, ended up being the winner.

Monday of this week was my 8th treatment of Taxol, leaving me with only 4 left. On Monday we also had another MRI done to see how my tumor has shrunk. We met with my surgeon on Tuesday, and have decided that I’ll have a double mastectomy and an axillary lymph  node dissection.

My doctor called tonight, and said that my main tumor has shrunk considerably, and the little satellites around the tumor are no longer visible on the MRI.  She also said the lymph nodes no longer appeared affected on the MRI. It gives me peace of mind that the chemotherapy is working. Now the next thing is to meet with my plastic surgeon in two weeks, to get the date scheduled for the mastectomy and having the tissue expanders put in.

I feel excited and anxious about moving forward. Being done with the chemo is going to be a big transition. The people I have been so used to being around for the past 5 months are no longer going to be part of my life. I look forward to having this part of my journey behind me and getting  used to my new body.

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