A Childhood Cancer Survivor Blogging about the World of Childhood Cancer

Archive for August, 2010

Happy Birthday Dean!

My brother, Dean, is 19 today. He’s getting ready to go back to Westmont College this weekend. I have loved having him home for the summer!!!!!

When we were little, Dean and I would play together every day. We both loved stuffed animals, and we would play with them for hours. Sometimes they explored our backyard, sometimes they played baseball on the field we mowed perfectly into our lawn, and sometimes they were entrepreneurs with Starbucks Stores set up complete with plastic croissants, little Starbucks cups, and of course, cash registers.

Sometimes we would spend all day writing intricate stories, or we would make up plays or movies that our stuffed animals would act out. Other times we would gather everything we could find in the recycling bin, grab our duct tape, and enter the world of creating out of cardboard and plastic. When we were in the car together, we would play, “Make me Laugh,” with one trying to do something that would make the other crack up. One of my mom’s very favorite activities of ours (sorry Mom!) was gathering every pillow and cushion in the house into a “Jumping Pile.” We would fling ourselves onto the soft mountain and roll down it… ahhhhh… fun, fun, fun!

Today, as I watch this brother I love so much hop  into his ’92 Honda Accord and head to the beach with his surfboard next to him, I feel grateful. To have not only one, but two brothers who bring me joy is something I will never, ever, ever take for granted.

Happy Birthday, Dean! This Mushy Quail loves you so much!

Gosh, I have missed you!

My goodness, my goodness! Do you ever get so busy in life that you feel things are swirling around you????????

Well, this would be me these past three weeks:)

The really difficult thing about not posting for a long time is that so much happens in that time that I have a hard time condensing the happenings. Here is my Campbell Soup “Condensation” of the past few weeks:

August 10–Kelly Teal from KSBY TV and Carina Corral taped an interview:

Published author, dancer, cancer survivor: Nipomo teenager being honored this weekend – KSBY-TV- msnbc.com:

August 12– I traveled to Santa Barbara for a TV interview with Marni Rozet, Executive Director of the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation. It will air on Cox 8 during September for Child Cancer Awareness Month.

August 13– Early morning radio interview to talk about the upcoming American Cancer Society Tolosa Winery Fundraising Event with Amy and Kahuna, Coast 101.3.

August 14– All day dance rehearsal for Academy of Dance School Show

August 15– Early morning rehearsal at the Performing Arts Center– show at 2:00 p.m.  5:30– speak a few words at ACS Tolosa Winery Event.

August 18– Travel to Los Angeles with Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation for their annual Universal Studios Event.

August 19– First day of my junior year in high school… trying to add a community college course to my schedule.

In the meantime, I have been doing interviews and writing articles:

 RIT Open Publishing Guide Article:


(This one was fun to write and I got to meet Rachael… very, very nice!)

 TheSBON Interview:


(Thank you, Kira!)

 Choose to be a Hero Interview:


(My thanks to Shennendoah!)

Aren’t you happy I gave you the Campbell Soup “Condensed” version?


KSBY News San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, Paso Robles – Published author, dancer, cancer survivor: Nipomo teenager being honored this weekend

KSBY News San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, Paso Robles – Published author, dancer, cancer survivor: Nipomo teenager being honored this weekend.

Dave Congalton KVEC 920

I had a great time today talking with Dave Congalton in a radio interview to promote the American Cancer Society Gala Fundraiser that will be held at Tolosa Winery in San Luis Obispo at 5:30 on August 15th. I loved Dave’s questions– especially the one about my port and Lance Armstrong! Gosh, he is funny! Now you are going to have to listen to the podcast to see what all that hilarity is about:) I finally had the chance to meet Kathleen Schroeder– American Cancer Society volunteer extraordinaire and Dave Ruiz– another volunteer extraordinaire, with a voice that belongs on the radio!

This morning, just after I yawned and opened my eyes, Kelly Teal from KSBY came to our house to tape an interview that will likely air on KSBY TV on Friday. Tomorrow, Mom and I are heading back  to Santa Barbara so I can do a TV interview with Marni and The Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation. Have I told you lately how much I love the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation????????????? Also, September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This child is asking you to “Be Aware!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Your helpful assistance in some way is even better:)

Right after the interview in Santa Barbara, I am looking forward to joining Starbright World in their online chatroom. They are a group that does wonderful things to support teens with life-threatening illnesses. I am already looking forward to meeting them. I pray that I will be able to help them in  some way– somehow I already know that they will be helping me!

Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery


Lots of new information on the Happy Quail website:)

Grace is here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My Brother, Nicholas

Yesterday, my oldest brother turned twenty-one.

Let me tell you about Nicholas. Nicholas was born with a maximally curious mind. As a newborn, he never slept much, preferring to continuously take in information from his environment. This behavior has continued to this day, making my brother one of the most intelligent people I know. He is a mechanical engineering major at Sacramento State, and we are enjoying having him home for the summer. He’s working at the place he has loved working for the past three years, Melfred-Borzall.

One other really cool thing about Nicholas is his interest in racing. He is on the Hornet Racing Team at Sacramento State, where they build a racecar each year and take it to competition. He invested hours and hours and hours of his time and effort, and he relished every minute of it. I love how when you are doing what you love to do, it doesn’t seem like work. I love how Nicholas has found what he loves to do… and I love that he is doing it!

Finally, I need to tell you how Nicholas helped me through my darkest days of illness. Every weekday morning, without fail, the phone would ring at 10:10 a.m. It would be Nicholas on the other end of the phone, calling from his break at work to ask how I was doing that day. Sometimes, he would sit with me and teach me how to do the Rubik’s Cube. (Man oh man, did I ever need distraction!) And Nicholas prayed for me. He prayed for me.  I love Nicholas’ faith!

My brother, Nicholas, blesses my life every single day. I pray God will continue to bless his life, and at the same time I thank God for blessing my life with Nicholas.

Happy Birthday, Nicholas. This Quail loves you!

Marian Cancer Care Support Groups

What a wonderful thing Marian Cancer Care is doing for survivors! I have had the honor of speaking with three of these support groups over the past couple of weeks. Meeting people is something I love, and meeting these people, well…. I told my mom, “These are my people.” I seriously love these folks who have been through the same battle I have been through. There is a connection, an understanding, and a deep care that I have discovered which exists between survivors– no matter what age they are. It is remarkable; it is truly something I treasure.

It touches me that there are people and places who reach out to those who are suffering, or have suffered through cancer. I know how critical it is that cancer patients have support even after treatment has ended. Unfortunately, even when cancer cells are pummeled to death by treatment with chemo and radiation, there is a time after treatment when you’re wondering if you will ever feel well again. There is a time when you wonder, “What now?” There is a time when you need someone to listen to you tell about all of the things that are still not physically right– and things that are not emotionally right.

A lovely woman told me today that when she told her doctor she was having digestive problems after finishing treatment, he told her he did not want to hear about it. Others have told her it is “in her head.” 

We can do better than this. We can do much better. Number one, let’s believe patients when they explain how something is wrong. Number two, let’s reach out with loving hearts, listening ears, and acts of kindness to help each other through the rough times that life flings our way.

I thank Marian Cancer Care for reaching out to help these people. I thank them for caring, for listening, and for loving.

Greenleaf Book Group and Grace

I am a researcher. Before launching myself into this book-creating process, I learned as much as I could about many aspects of publishing. There are so many options that it can be overwhelming trying to sort everything out in order to make good decisions. I am extremely fortunate to have had a mentor named Matt who placed many options in front of me that I could investigate. He never told me what he thought would be best for me and my book, but instead he described the options with the pros and cons. I cannot say how much I appreciate what he has done.

It’s funny that many people think that they have to tell someone what to do in order to be helpful. Actually, I prefer the “Matt Method,” because everyone is different. What I want for my book will be different from what you want (okay, we all want “best-sellers”!!!!!!!) 

As I hold one of the very first books of mine– hot off the press– I can’t help feeling gratitude. I am grateful to God for my life! I am grateful to my mom for typing over 90,000 words that compose my book. I am grateful to Matt for lighting the Greenleaf Option. I am grateful to Greenleaf Book  Group for allowing me to work alongside their incredibly talented, caring, and fun folks to make Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery just how I wanted it. I am grateful to Gramma and Poppy for their love and support for my project that was born straight from my heart. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my heart with readers.

Grace is in my hands right now, but it feels like “she” will always remain in my heart.

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