Friday, December 21, 2007

Scientists discover how BRCA1 gene causes cancer

Whoa, gotta pass along this article. Apparently my husband saw it weeks ago and forgot to send it to me!

I found it through this great new organization I discovered today, Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation. I didn't like reading how my form of breast cancer is the most aggressive out there, but it is nice that there is an organization focusing on TNBC. I will get more involved with it.

Monday, October 29, 2007


I haven't visited this site in a long time, but I found that Fred and Stella still have their pages there!

I guess all they need now are their own Dog Blogs.

Friday, October 26, 2007

It's Meez

Here Meez iz with my pup. We went to the Grand Canyon last weekend.

Meez and pup, Jupiter

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Perfect Fall Weekend

It was another weekend with excellent weather. At least the temperature was closer to normal, around 75 degrees or so. On Saturday I spent most of the day riding my horses. Darn near perfect to me! I got to spend the evening with my husband, which ended the day on a good note, too.

I took Jimmy over to the old Starfire place to go on a road ride with B and one of the boarders there. It was great to take Jimmy to a new place to ride and explore. I chose to take Jimmy because the horses had to be in for a few days due to the rain and bad weather and I trusted that Jim would be well-behaved. I thought Zoe would be a bit too energetic. It was a great ride for Jimmy. The person we went with was a bit conservative since her horse had some lameness issues and could only trot for a bit at a time. Jimmy was unhappy with that and took any opportunity to start trotting. I love that about him. He has such good energy and willingness, and truly loves to ride down the road. I felt bad keeping him at a trot since I could tell he really wanted to move a bit more. But we made it around just fine. It was a pretty decent ride, about 6 miles. The barn owner's dog came along with us. At the end Jimmy still seemed to have a lot of energy and wanted to keep going, so I told B that I would go ahead and ride him home. I started out from the barn, got about a mile away, looked back, and saw the dog still following me. I live 4 miles from the barn and didn't want the dog to follow me the whole way, so I turned away and cantered back to the barn, the poor dog following me as fast as he could.

B was riding in the indoor when I got back, so I joined her with Jimmy. J was super! So light and floaty. He is such a great horse and I love riding him. I could tell he had a good time that day, too.

After lunch I tacked Zoe up and started riding her through the soybean field next to the house. We walked and trotted out towards the neighbor's house. I could see some people at the house, so kept going over to say hello. About halfway there, Zoe wanted to veer off to the right. When I asked her to stay straight on to the house, she thought it would be a great time to start cantering, and even more fun to buck. We started bucking across the field. Luckily she was bounding through the field in a nice, balanced way and I could easily keep my seat. I sat deeply and relaxed my legs (do you know how hard it is to keep your thighs loose and relaxed when you start to think about falling off a bucking horse??). My feet stayed underneath me and I never pulled on the reins. I kept a steady, calm voice and repeated, "whoa, Zoe" over and over again and gently steered her back towards our yard and the tree line on the north side. I was relieved to feel her slow down the closer we got to the trees. We started trotting about 10 feet from the trees, and walked into the yard. We came up to a rotted out tree stump and Zoe stopped dead, looked at that, snorted, and jumped over the small hole. I saw Sven walking near the driveway, so I yelled for him. At this point, the danger was over, so my adrenaline started kicking in and I could feel the shakinesss starting as I caught my breath.

"She bucked me across the field!" I yelled to him.

"So what?" he replied.

So what?, I asked myself? That was a big deal! Does he have any idea how close I might have been to dying or getting hurt??

"They were big bucks!" I retorted, almost defensively. "She bucked all across the field," I added as I pointed back toward the field to emphasize how big the field is.

"Well, you look okay to me."

"Yeah, I did a great job of keeping my seat. My feet stayed in the stirrups and everything."

I started to take my feet out of the stirrups, and he pointed at me urgently and wanted to know what I was doing. I just said I kept my feet in the stirrups!

"Yeah, I am getting off the horse now," I admitted. I still hadn't caught my breath and I was worried that the adrenaline shakes would affect Zoe and set her off again. I wanted to get off while I remained calm and get her on a longe line so she could burn off some of her steam.

Once I got her on the longe line on the circle, she took off. She ran full steam around the circle for at least 10 minutes in each direction. Finally she settled down to a trot, though still showed no signs of pooping out. I got back on her, rode around the yard a bit, then went back out to the field. Zoe did great. I came back in the yard, worked on lateral movements. She was very light and responsive and cooperative. I took her back out to the field to go in all the directions and to do a final test of her calmness and ability to listen to me anywhere in the field. Again, she did a super job. In the end, I was very happy with the ride and how Zoe worked for me once she worked out the extra energy. Needless to say, I was feeling a bit tired after all the excitement.

Sven and I dropped off the painting he did of Lili and we came home and had some dinner and watched a movie ("Next" with Nicholas Cage). It was a nice evening. I managed to not fall asleep during the movie. :-)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Physical Therapy

One of the side effects from my cancer treatment is lymphedema in my right arm. Since I had lymph nodes removed from that side, my lymphatic system has slowed down and when I am active (which is almost all the time), the fluid has a tendency to build up because the system can't process it fast enough. So I've had a couple of instances of bad swelling in that arm. Luckily it all goes down if I rest for a few days, but I need physical therapy to help my body cope. I go today for my second appointment with PT. The first one was to have my arm measured for a sleeve and gauntlet (fingerless glove) that will apply compression therapy to the arm when I am active. This appointment is for having the sleeve and glove fit. Next week I start PT twice a week. I think the biggest inconvenience about the swelling is that it makes my whole arm ache. Well, I feel good about treating this before it is a huge problem.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My Hero

I want to mention, and congratulate, my husband's huge accomplishment this month. I am proud to tell everyone that Sven Ran For Survival in the Chicago Marathon on October 7, 2007, and did a fantastic job. Not only did he raise $4,000 for the Young Survival Coalition, but he also outran experienced marathoners in some brutal heat. He finished a little slower than his target time (of under 4 hours), but considering the horrible conditions (heat and humidity in October!), his time was fantastic. He looked strong the whole race through. I can't give justice to the intense feeling of pride and excitement I got the first time I saw him run past me. His dad and I went to about the 3 mile mark, I found a newspaper box to stand on, and I watched for him, scanning every runner that came by, zooming in on anything pink. He was wearing a pink Fighting Illini basketball shirt because the YSC custom made shirt didn't get to our house in time (they screwed up the address, sending it to Champaign instead). I am glad he was wearing pink because it made it a lot easier to spot him.

To surprise him, I made some signs on some hot pink poster board while we waited for him. "Go Sven! You Rock! Run breast cancer into the ground!" I screamed like crazy and waved the sign for him as soon as I saw him coming. He blew me a giant kiss, and I think that made my whole day. My heart felt so full and my eyes teared up with pride and happiness. Jon and I ran to our next lookout spot that we had planned the night before: right about the midway point, just before mile 13 when they go over the Chicago River. I found another newspaper box to stand on, and thank goodness this time. Some very selfish people started crowding into the street, narrowing the lane for the runners to only 2-3 abreast. It was crazy and inconsiderate, and made it so anyone else on the ground couldn't see anything coming down the road. Sven almost didn't see me standing up on the newstand. The guy next to me yelled his name in a huge voice, and that got him to look at the last minute. He still looked strong, and he wasn't pushing it, so his dad and I felt a lot better about it. It was starting to get hot even at that point.

Right after the midway sighting, we headed for our third lookout point: Chinatown. We got on the CTA Red Line and headed out. On the way, we chatted with some other folks who were supporting runners. A woman with a toddler sat behind us and I asked who she was supporting and she explained her husband. This was his fourth time running the marathon. She advised that Chinatown could be really crazy and too crowded to get close enough to see. We almost waiting to get off after Chinatown, but when we got to the stop we saw that it wasn't too bad and some really good spots were still open. So we jumped off and parked ourselves right up front. This was one of the more entertaining places to wait. There was a dragon or two dancing, music booming, and a DJ doing some talking. This was at mile 21, I think, so by the time runners got to this point, you could start seeing some exhaustion. Still, the people we saw were still going pretty strong. Again, we were really relieved to see Sven come by. He was looking more tired, but we were so happy to see him still looking strong. My heart jumped for joy to see him running by. He blew me a kiss, and I think I smiled for the next 2 days thinking of that. :-)

The final spot for looking out was closer to mile 25, the final mile. That's when we started seeing more people walking, some sitting, and a few wheelchairs. A lot of hurting people. Sven came running by and you could see sheer determination pushing him every step further. I can't imagine what your body must be feeling like during the last mile of a marathon, but his dad and I decided we might just mark off "Running a marathon" from our list of things to do in life. It didn't look fun. We were sweating and dehydrated just from watching these runners, so when you looked at the runners, you could only imagine. I wanted to run with Sven the rest of the way in, to give him my energy, to show him how proud I was of him, and to keep his body moving forward. After he passed me by, I couldn't help yelling at Jon that I was going to run to catch up with him. I started sprinting down the sidewalk after him (he was finally going a pace I could keep up with). When I caught up with him, I starting yelling and cheering and jogging with him. He smiled through the pain, but in the end wasn't too happy that I was making him run harder. (whoops) I could only hope that I helped to keep his determination going, and that he knew how proud I was of him.

After that short burst, we didn't see him again until we finally got to the family/friend meeting points that were set up closer to the start/finish area. By this time I could tell I hadn't eaten any lunch and hadn't drank enough water. I was getting grumpy and my feet hurt after running in my sandals. It was really hot. Sven was really exhausted when we finally met up. He wanted water, and I couldn't find any bottled water anywhere for him. None of the vendors we passed had any water left. That was pretty sad. He drank the gatorade we brought for him, but we only had 2 small bottles. We made our slow trip back to the el, back to our car in Forest Park, and drove on home. He got to rest a little bit (me, too) before we departed again for a very yummy dinner hosted by the Young Survival Coalition at the China Grill restaurant in the Hard Rock Hotel. China Grill ended up donating the dinner to YSC. How awesome. It was a great day and a lovely dinner.

China Grill is a great restaurant. Check out their menu, and if you ever get a chance to go, I'd recommend any of these appetizers and entrees we had:
curried chicken satay
lobster pancakes (or was it shanghai lobster?)
thai shrimp cakes
pan seared spicy tuna
grilled garlic shrimp
sake marinated "drunken" chicken
a beef dish (I didn't eat this, so I don't remember what it was)
wild mushroom profusion pasta
one other meat dish

Sven's Race Results:

Stephen Johnson | Bib # 23151 | Champaign, IL - USA | Age 31 | M
START 5K 10K 15K 20K HALF 25K 30K 35K 40K FINISH
0:08:17 0:28:21 0:56:26 1:24:06 1:52:50 1:59:16 2:23:34 2:58:30 3:32:41 4:11:27 4:25:02
TIME Chip Time: 4:25:02 Clock: 4:33:19 Pace: 10:06

Placement Overall: 7224 Gender: 5039 Division: 801

Sven, you are my hero!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Breast Cancer Awareness Links

Some of the things I found when I surfed around today. I was eating pink M&Ms while I was doing it.

ThinkPink at benefits Young Survival Coalition -- 30% of purchase goes to YSC.

A Chicago-based organization for young women at high risk for breast and ovarian cancers (BRCA 1 positive, for example), The look and feel of this organization really appeals to me.

Lifetime TVs End Breast Cancer For Life Blogs. I have always found this site to be entertaining and educational. From this blog: Be A Research Volunteer, YSC. This talks about the need for young women (pre-menopausal) to take part in research and directs you to the Young Survival Coalition research advocacy page.

Hmmm, I wonder if I should stock up on some Think Pink protein bars?

From Lifetime Games, you can create your Bra character. My bra ID is 43483, so search for me. (also try 43498) (UPDATE: 5/2010, You are supposed to be able to search for these, but it is a few years later, and it appears to not work anymore: )

I'm bummed that some of these things only are supported by Windows, but if you have a Windows machine, you could do something fun like send a scrapbook or mammogram reminder.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Video Art

I love this one, Sleep.

Also my sister sent me this great clip from a movie that we will have to add to our NetFlix list:

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Not My Breasts

I love this site: Not My Breasts! I had a ton of fun making posters and having $1 donated to the Breast Cancer Fund for each poster I made. I hung 2 posters outside my office at work, and one a little racier (the lace-up camisole with the masked red-head is my favorite) in my office. They are fun and educational, and if I can get 50 other people to play with the site, make as many posters as I did, and tell 50 other people about the site, then we are getting somewhere!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

We Made It!!

I received word from Ekkehard Brysch, the CEO of the ISR Oldenburg Registry of North America (this is where Zoe is registered), that Zoe and I have been accepted to participate in the Young Horse Training Symposium with Heike Kemmer! I am excited and scared all at once. Heike is an Olympic medal winner. I am just an adult amateur trying to get above 2nd level. Am I going to make a fool of myself? Can you dig deep in your mind for moments you've personally experienced when you felt completely intimidated? I'm feeling a lot like that. B has nothing to worry about -- Lili is doing fantastically and is impressive being able to do the 4 y.o. and 5 y.o. FEI tests. Zoe and I have barely done Training Level. B-I-G difference. However, the Symposium is focusing on the training of the young horse from the beginning to the highest level, and our horses are really good examples of the training scale. Zoe and I will get to where Lili is, we just aren't as far in our training. I've got a month to get Zoe whipped in shape. Was I just lamenting that I needed a reason to get back on a training schedule?? Well, I just gave one to myself. You'll see me out there in the rain, dark, humidity preparing for that weekend. Put it in your calendars: weekend of September 22.

New Video

We taped this last night of me riding Zoe. She's such a good girl! We taped it so I could send it in for the Heike Kemmer training Symposium. We could go there with Lili and B!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Zoe Video

Finally got around to uploading a clip of Lorie riding Zoe in June.

Also, huge congratulations to two of my friends. J took her filly to the Oldenburg inspection this past weekend and Rosie received Premium! That is really an accomplishment since Rosie's dam is only in the Mare Book and the foals of those mares rarely, rarely, rarely receive Premium. They had to make an exception for Rosie! In other news, B was accepted to take Lili to a Young Horse Training Symposium sponsored by ISR/Oldenburg NA registry. She gets to train with Heike Kemmer for 2 days.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Home Sweet Home

The horses came home on July 22. I can't tell you how wonderful it is for them to be there. It was the best moment when I finished riding during the first week, got off the horse, untacked, and all that was left to do was go in the house. I was walking around in a cloud of happiness and disbelief that this was actually happening to me. I mean, this very thing has been my dream since I was a tiny tot. I used to draw out my horse ranch on paper. I bought hundreds and hundreds of Breyer horses and pretended they were on my horse farm. I imagined riding them and watching them graze in the pasture. For so long I thought these plastic toys would be the closest I ever got to my dream. And now I look around me and I feel proud that I was able to create the world I dreamed about. Okay, well, if I really created the exact world I dreamed about I would have about 200 more acres, 100 more horses, a huge, beautiful Kentucky barn, rolling hills, miles of fences, the perfect indoor arena, the ocean on one side, a forest on the other, mountains to the east. But, well, we know that isn't possible, so I am deeply thrilled with my 5 acres, 2 horses, 2 miniature mediterranean donkeys, 7 chickens, barn kittens, 2 dogs, house cats.... You get the idea. I still hope one day we will be able to purchase the land adjacent to us so we will have larger acreage, but for now, living in our current home really is a dream come true. Just as having Sven as my husband is a dream come true. Unfortunately for him, the country part of our life isn't exactly fulfilling his dreams, so now I will work on bringing some of his dreams to life. He deserves it.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Our Adorable Kittens

And check out our adorable kittens this May 2007. This is just a few days after we got them. Putz (tigerstripe), Greta (gray), and Cake (creamy, like icing on a cake) jump and bat at each other. I videoed them for about 45 minutes one day. There is nothing like watching kittens play.

Abe and Superbowl

Have you seen our baby miniature donkeys? These guys are great!

Regained Access!!

I have finally regained access to my blogs! When Google aquired Blogger and had users move their blogs to Google, I made a typo in my email address. This was back in April 2007. After several exchanges with Google Support that didn't fix my problems, I was so frustrated that I gave up for awhile. Unfortunately, I have had very significant things to blog about. Ironically, those significant things also zapped my energy to pursue getting my access to the blogs fixed. So nothing got done, and I didn't blog anything.

Today I finally decided to sacrifice some riding time (it's rainy anyway) and get back to fixing my access problem. I reviewed the Blogger Support emails, tried again, and failed again. I found that the help they sent wasn't exactly what I needed, but finally I was able to modify their suggestions so that it did work. Of course, this is after I emailed support again to complain that I couldn't get it fixed. Now they will probably go in to "fix" it and break it all again. I hope not.

It's good to be back. I hope I can catch up with life.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

A Long Hiatus

My last post was in October 2006. I really had no idea it had been so long. Basically since that time, my training with Zoe has been sporadic. So many things ("life") get in the way. First, she was in another location, separated from Jimmy, and it was really difficult having the horses in 2 different locations. That put my whole rhythm out of whack. I finally got her back to AW later in October, and that was such a relief. It was even more a relief that she did not have the allergic reaction when she returned. I got a few weeks in of good riding, snuck in a lesson or two, but then my schedule went crazy, and I decided that Zoe's not really "in training" so I wouldn't worry about recording our rides. I guess that included not worrying about writing anything in my blog. That's too bad, because we had some historic moments this year. Since the holidays came around, I really got off my riding schedule, then we had a long cold snap in early December. However, after the cold snap, we had ridiculously warm weather for this area -- 60 degrees! That lasted a couple of weeks. It was fun to be able to ride outside in December, and we even got a long ride down the road with a group from the barn. That was a blast. I took Jimmy on that ride, and found that he may be getting older, but he still does have the oomph he used to. It was great to feel his energy.

The holidays were really memorable. We hosted Thanksgiving for the first time. We organized and had great fun with the "First Annual Sadorus 'Brined Turkey Trots' 4-Miler". I brought Jimmy and Zoe home for the first time. They got to go in the new stalls, and how exciting it was to see the horses in my barn! I can hardly wait to bring them home. I really should tell you about the ride around the section. J. rode Jimmy and I rode Zoe. It was a nice 40 degrees Thanksgiving morning. Zoe was a bit high, and when I got on her she felt like she was about to burst. I thought for a second that I did a great thing just by getting on her, and maybe I would be good to get off her and count this as a victory. But it was so much fun, that I stayed on and we rode in the side yard until she calmed down. She had been going through a stage of kicking out when we go into the canter, so I hadn't been cantering her as part of our regular workouts unless we just went into it easily and effortless without much forethought. It had been working, but I was still a bit worried about cantering that cold morning in my side yard. Still, we did, and we did great. I was very proud of her. After about 20 minutes of trotting and cantering at the house, I decided she felt like she could focus again and we started on our way around the section. The walking group had already started (S, father-in-law, JT, and the dogs). My mom had even shown up and went in the house with C and S to wait it out while we did our 4-miler. We started walking around the section, about 1.5 miles behind the walkers. Once we turned the corner, we started trotting. It felt wonderful. We trotted most of the way around, trying to catch up with the group on foot. We did get some cantering in, and how much fun! We finally did catch up and we finished the last half-mile together. We untacked the horses and went into the house where S had cooked up a big breakfast and had hot apple cider waiting. It felt so great to have friends and family around, having the sense of accomplishment and warm muscles from our ride, and having the horses on the property. This is what Thanksgiving is about to me.

We cooked our first turkey for the family, a brined turkey. We got the recipe from Good Eats. We brined the turkey overnight in a bucket. Everyone coming over brought a side dish. We were able to set up out tables in the dining room so we could all sit together for dinner! That was a first for my family in a very long time. It was a great feeling bringing together our families in our own home and combining our traditions -- sit-down dinner, family specialty dishes.

There is still so much to write about, but it is getting late and I need to take care of the horses still today. I'll have to come back to this later.