Saturday, May 12, 2012

2012 Be The One Run - San Jose: Kick it in the Butt! - Be the One Run

2012 Be The One Run - San Jose: Kick it in the Butt! - Be the One Run

Ivan and I's mini road trip and our Family Race! : )

Last Friday turned out to be absolutely spectacular!! I mentioned in my last post that Ivan and I were going to go on a spontaneous drive since he was going to be off a Friday finally. We decided to see where our hearts would take us....and a full tank of gas of course. Who are we kidding, gas is expensive in itself, so we would drive as far as 30 dollars would take us! : ) The day was absolutely stunning outside. Warm, yet a nice cool breeze leaving room for lots of happy smiles. I have always wanted to drive down the coast, so we decided to head in the direction of water. As we drove, we listened to the latest albums of Goteye and Red Hot Chile Peppers. I love listening to entire albums on trips because it creates an imprinted memory of that particular day/s, that way when you listen to that song in the far future you think of that memory and it instantly puts a grin on your face...For instance, the Temper Tramp album reminds me of my daily commute to work across the San Mateo bridge. I would be waking myself up in the mornings singing my lungs out with the windows rolled down, with the cool breeze in my face. Making sure to quickly turn down the music and roll up my windows just in the nick of time as I pulled into my school's parking lot. It was my version of coffee. And yet till this day, everytime I hear a Temper Tramp song it never fails to remind me of those happy days. Before you knew it we were at a Free wine tasting room at Casa de Fruta (don't remember the freeway, sorry!). How we ended up here...wel that is pretty simple, we saw FREE! And to our suprise, no purchase, no sign up, no nothing was necessary. It was just plain FREE! We indulged in some good ole fruit inspired wines, and left happy! Our next stop was the San Juan Bautista Mission. Again, we saw a sign, and decided to stop. It was quite fun. We felt like complete tourists, as if we had traveled such a far distance, excited to see every possible site. The mission was beautiful, not to mention the incredible view of florishing vineyards. Ivan recalled a place he had been to with his cousin many many years ago in Big Sur with a waterfall. I had never been before, so we decided to continue driving and reach our half tank mark. We ended up in a park named Julia Phifier Park, which indeed has a waterfall! The sight was stunning, I seriously felt like I was at a tropical island getaway . The water reflected hints of turquosie and sea green. The time we spent admiring this beautiful site did not comp the time we actually spent driving to this magnificent site, although the three hours was well worth the sight in itself. But it was beginning to get late so we decided to head back. On our way home we stopped in Monteray to grab a quick bite to eat. All in all, it was a beautiful day. It is so exciting and fun to not know where you are going and just see where you end up (What life should be like!). During the week, I spent a lot of time working and putting in extra hours at my tutoring site since it was the last week. I squeezed in some new recipes to add to my portfolio :) (Thai Spicy Basil Chicken, Thai style beef salad, and Cuban garlic chicken with fried platanos) I painted some, and began a new collage project (of course). I was mostly looking forward to our family's race on Saturday all week! Today couldn't have came quicker! Our family ended up fundraising a total of 1,300!!! I am super proud of everyone! We definelty kicked butt! The race called for us getting up at the break of dawn, as it was in San Jose and would require a drive. But for once in my life, I didn't mind the early wake up call because I was so excited for the day. A possy of orange dressed peeps (being my family and a few friends) arrived pumped and ready to kick the race in the butt. Being that our team name was Kick it in the Butt, we couldn't fall short of anything less. I don't know what was better, seeing many of my family members unite for such an awesome cause, hearing from actual individuals who had received a bone marrow donation or donated, witnessing a 12 year old kid and his family raise 10,000 for Be the Match after being saved at the age of 2 from a bone marrow transplant that came from an umbilical cord, or the abundant amount of energy everyone had to make a difference in this world! It was all rather touching and so inspiring! The actual run, was beautiful, we all finished!! What a day it was, truly memorable. I hope you all can one day take part in something like this, I promise you, you will not regret it : ). Below are some photos to illustrate all my jibber jabber. And you can see the short do I've been promising to post. Much Love, Keep following!

Friday, May 4, 2012

And the race continues...

And the race continues! Last week my family and I had a garage sale fundraiser for our Be the Match walk taking place next week. We were able to raise a total of 250 dollars! Our goal was 500, and we surpassed it! It was such a great time having our family unite for this amazing cause. Even the little kiddos did their part by selling cupcakes and lemonade...if anyone out there is interested in donating to our team, visit and donate to be the match be the one run, team "kick it in the butt." The San Diego half marathon is also quickly approaching too! I've been working my tail off getting my weekly miles in so I'm ready for race day! I love to walk/run, but I do get bored at moments, so I try and change it up from time to time and attend a workout class at the gym instead...anything that gets my blood flowing and heart pumping works. Alright so I must share with you all my new hobby for this month...yes, another! Sewing! I decided to sew my friend Alyssa a clutch that matches her wedding colors that she can use for when we are all out in Hawaii. I saw something on a DIY YouTube video (another one of my new guilty pleasure hobbies)and was inspired to try it! I didn't do half bad, yet the stitching inside was a bit rusty, but no one will be looking inside I figured. I can honestly say I have never dabbed into so many new hobbies before...thanks to cancer I've had the chance to try lots of new past times;) On a separate note, I have one more week left of work at the after school program and tutoring:) yay! I get two short weeks off, and then I start teaching summer school for a month. And once summer school ends its off to Hawaii!!! Ivan and I's close friends are getting married in Maui and we are both super excited to attend! It will be an opportunity for us to finally get a honeymoon and also a time to celebrate getting through this past difficult year. We can't be more excited! Tomorrow Ivan is off, so we are taking off on a spontaneous day trip...who knows where we will end up! This is the first Friday he has been off in months since he has had classes on Fridays this whole semester. I'm sooo proud of him for getting through his first semester back at school. He did super well in his classes. I'm a proud wifey! I should get some rest for our excursion tomorrow. Just wanted to update you all a little. I'll be sure to let you all know about how the walk goes next Saturday. Until then, take care and God Bless! P.s. I've been meaning to post a picture of my new hair coming in...yikes! I've lagged. In case you all are wondering, I look just like my mom, hahaha. Not, but seriously I'll get one up soon! I'm sporting all kinds of new do's as my hair grows back!!! Suggestions??

Sunday, April 1, 2012

24 never looked so good! 1 year celebration of my parrrrrty!:)

I woke up today recalling the mixed emotions I was feeling on this exact day one year ago. The crushing news that I would have to fight for my life at the age of 23. Everything I had worked for and established for myself seem to have shattered at that one moment of hearing I had been diagnosed with leukemia. Every other word that came out of my oncologist's mouth became nothing more than monotonous jaw movements. I remember Ivan repeadivley asking me "are you ok?, are you ok?" In reply all I could say was, "Are you ok??"
And after snapping out of a moment of complete shock which seemed like a lifetime, I gathered myself together and started to write this blog.
I turned to God and placed complete and ultimate trust in a plan, future, and outcome only he knew. With every corner of faith I had in me I began a fight that has thankfully brought me to this exact day today. I've made it this far, and a few days ago I celebrated by 24th birthday, which was by far the most meaningful and beautiful birthday in my life! My family planned a surprise dinner for me, which was incredibly thoughtful.
Well enough with the sentimental part, because I know I can go on and on with all the amazing life experiences I've gained this past year...yet I don't need to because they are all kindly saved in this blog:) Let's get to the present and future excitements in my life. For one, my marathon training has been progressing! About 2 weeks ago I hit 8 miles!! I tell you all, I was in complete shock. I never thought that I would ever be able to come to the point where I could regain my strength and endurance to go 8 complete miles. If you remember my posts from when I was first receiving chemo, I could barley even make it out of bed, none the less take a shower without feeling like I was about to collapse. I remember thinking to myself, "I don't think I'm ever going to regain my strength." What seemed like an impossibility, has revealed itself to be one of my biggest accomplishments. Just a few more months of training to go until race day!! I can't wait to cross that finish line!
I also have some extremely exciting news for the future. I know I mentioned that I was beginning to look for a full-time teaching position for next year and, and I was applying everywhere, yet wasn't having any luck. Well, this past week I found out about a teaching position I applied for in San Jose, and I got it!!!! It's at an immersion charter school, which was what I was teaching last year before I became sick. The school seems perfect, and I can't wait to start in August! Of course that requires Ivan and I to move, but we were preparing ourselves to do so anyway.It was quite bitter sweet news. I have gotten acostomed to being around family all the time this past year, yet I know we will be visiting often. I just feel so incredibly blessed because I know God's hands were truly in the making. I just knew he would bring the right opportunity along when I was ready, and he has! So, tha means Ivan and I have the next few months to pan out all the small details and such, but we are so happy to be putting the pieces back together.
Ivan, my sister in law and I took a weekend trip to LA a few weeks ago to visit my good ole SF roomies. We had a great time, although most of our time was spent shoving delicious food in our face...I'm surprised we even conversed much with all the time that was spent chewing and demolishing LA's fine cuisine. It was great to see the girls and catch up, especially under better circumstances. Last time I was in LA I was bedridden, so I definetly appreciated seeing them out of that context.
Other than that, I've just been working. Still teaching at the after school program, which I feel my students are actually enjoying getting a consistent teacher who shows up everyday rather than from earliear in the year when I was missing so many days due to long term hospital days and sick days. I feel every time I update I have a new hobby I've picked up. Although the one I'm about to share is not a pastime I feel very proud of. I should technically be reading more, yet I've been indulging myself in a guilty pleasure called beauty YouTube videos...which I will say no more of since I'm deeply disappointed in myself in regards to how many countless hours I've spent with my pupils glued to a screen with girls talking about beauty products.
I'm off to bed! So utterly thankful to God for all of his grace and all of you who have read or are still reading my posts. You all know you have had some part in this long fight with me. Thank you for joining me! Keep following:)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I'm done! Hip hip, hooray!

And so the second phase of my treatment ends!! Goodbye to hospital stays, with mortifying cafeteria food, smelly sheets, loud hallways, beeping machines, sleepless nights, sad white walls, long boring days, poking needles, uncomfortable beds, and last and certainly least, IV pole. You will certainly not be missed! I know we had our many many days together, yet I wish to not drag you around anymore for I hope to be a very long time.
After coming home from my last hospital stay I was challenged by sick nauseous feelings, stomach aches, and loosing my excitement for food, which is by far the worst for me. Dr. Ivan of course had me on a strict schedule which was simple, yet so difficult for me to do, relax. After getting used to all the energy burning through my body these past few weeks I wanted to do the exact opposite. But, I knew the only way I was going to recover and get back to my skipping and jumping was by taking it easy and getting some much needed rest. So I did, and managed to quickly recover within a week :) just in time for a wine tasting party Ivan and I had planned on attending with some friends, which was a fantastic way to celebrate.
I also started a new additional job this past week as a tutor. My fist session went very well. I have a small group of kids twice a week that I will be tutoring in English. Hopefully I can find a teaching job for next year within these next couple of months. The market seems rather empty though, yet I'm sure the right opportunity will come along when it's supposed to.
I started my marathon training back up this past week. It was a little challenging after taking a week off, but became easier after the second day. I'm just glad and thankful I was able to feel well enough to go back to training! I will continue keeping you all updated on how that's going.
This past Wednesday Ivan surprised me with tickets to a Warriors basketball game. I've always wanted to go to a professional basketball game, and was so excited when I found out we were going to one. He had planned it with some friends of ours and made all the arrangements without me finding out. He even ordered us shirts to wear. He is not into the whole valentines day very much, which is fine because the game was way better than any box of chocolates or plush teddy bear!
Well, I must go to bed. Its way past my bedtime, and i must get some rest for my long day of training tomorrow. It feels so great to be done with the worst part of my treatment regimen. I definetly feel that things can and will only get better from here! God bless you all and keep following.

Friday, February 3, 2012

I don't stop when I'm tired, I stop when I'm done!

Well, it happened. The displeasing ring from kaiser permanente sadly showed up on my phone yesterday afternoon. I mean, I knew it was coming. Last week my doctor called me to inform me that my counts as well as my liver had recovered enough for me to begin my final IV treatment. She was even so kind enough to give me the option to pick which day I preferred to be admitted the following week. I grunted in disapointment and replied "ummm I guess Thursday." I guess I wasn't lucky enough to get that late Christmas gift. But I guess it's good news afterall. I mean, it is the last (I hope)IV chemo treatment.
As I unenthusiastically packed my usual bag of clothing and belongings for my much dreaded 5 day stay at the Kaiser 3 star hotel, I couldn't help but fear the sick feeling of that poisonous bag of liquid dripping into me for the last time. I have been sticking to my marathon exercise plan, and feeling fantastic lately! I've had so much more energy and sleeping well at night. I'm scared for having to start all over again, and recuperating myself back up once again. But, "I have to get it done," I've been saying to myself. Afterall I can't stop when I'm tired, I must stop when I'm done (my friend Mena shared this quote with me the other day), and I'm certainly not done yet, so I must push through my tiredness and my feeling of giving up just as I have been while training for this marathon of mine.
With that thought, I got up this morning, ate breakfast, placed my running shoes on, headphones, and walked the crap out of this hospital. I walked and walked and walked. I felt like I was on one of my recent runs on my last lap feeling exhaustion at its fullest, yet the only thing keeping me from moving my legs is my mind and uplifting music telling me I can and will go further and finish. I must finish this last cycle, push through, stop complaining, and finish stronger than any race I've ever ran!
I have a new recent hobby development. That's right, another pastime to keep me occupied as I wait patiently for my life to restore itself back to the working full-time pattern. I'm sure most of you have heard about the clever little website called Pinterest that can suck the days out of your life. I'm a newbie to this website, and let me just say, it was made for people like me!! I mean it's pretty darn genius. Something so simple as sharing photos of just ideas via online boards has brought on an even larger desire for me to cook and make everything. Just this week alone I've cooked 4 recipes and made 2 crafts from this life changing website. I do not exagerate when I say its life changing. It has seriously changed my life. Yes, I know this may sound a little pathetic of me, but if you had the chance to try one of these delicious recipes I've discovered on here, would you change your mind?

Keep following! God Bless!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

It's a new year, hooray!!

It's 2012, and things are already looking so much brighter!! I've been afmb(away from my blog) for quite some time, I know:( so I have lots and lots to update you all brace yourself! Since my last post Ive had an additional IV treatment which took place the second week of December. I was able to manage the nausea, but the constipation (tmi, I know) is always very uncomfortable. I received the treatment over a five day period, and boasted in excitement as I only had one more treatment to go!! Every week following this treatment I went in for labs, yet either my blood counts were still too low or my liver function was still a little too high or me to start up my last treatment. month later, and I still have not received my last treatment. I'm not complaining, yet part of me jut wants to get it done and over with already. Two days ago my doctor said to me that if my liver function was still high and not progressing back to normal as quick as she'd like that she would just cancel my last IV treatment and just have me start on the oral chemo next month. I've been anxiously waiting for her call as if I was waiting to hear about an important job interview or something. Frankly, I'm pooped with having to be in the hospital so darn much and would just love her to say that my last treatment could just be cut as a late Christmas gift/early birthday gift. So until she calls,I will just be playing the waiting game and of course praying for a pass and go;)
On a different note, holidays were certainly tough without my dad. My family and I spent thanksgiving at my mother in laws house which was a nice change. My sisters and mom were not too enthusiastic about having it at my moms, so Ivan and I took on the hostess with the mostess role lol It went well, yet it was rather quite. Christmas was also rather different. Since Ivan and I didn't get a chance to go to his family's house for thanksgiving we decided to go to his family's for Christmas eve. After all, last year we did the whole split time between two families thing, and it was rather exhausting and rushed. Christmas day we decided to all volunteer at the Modesto gospel mission, which was great! It was certainly nice to share that experience on Christmas with my family. As a family we also decided not to do a gift exchange this year, rather purchase a gift for a needy child instead. My dad was always so giving, and always gave whatever he had to others. We felt we wanted to do something different this year in his honor. I definetly felt his presence though even if he wasn't physically around.
New years eve I stayed in and cooked. Ivan and I went to a raiders game on new years day and tailgated, so Nayra (my sister in law) and I pulled pork all night for the big game. I went back to work at the after school program this past week, and these thriving attitude teenagers are already driving me nuts! But, I try my best to hang in there and teach. I've been applying for other jobs as well. I was hoping I could start going back to work full time once I hear back from my doctor about this last treatment. I haven't had any luck thus far, but I'm sure the right opportunity will come along when it's supposed to. In the meantime, Ive been keeping myself occupied with my usual hobbies. I've even started running...yes running if you can believe it or not. Back in November I started taking our dog for walks, and trying to jog just a little. I've been going just a little further every time. The first time I was barely able to walk half of a mile, and now im almost at 4 miles jogging straight without stopping!! My sister Sovia has even signed up all my sisters and I to take part in the rock and roll marathon in San Diego this June! So, I'm going to do it! I said I was going to run a marathon this year, so I'm gonna do it(well, half that is;))!! My friend Mena has been training with me, which makes it more enjoyable. We push each other through the pain and sweat. I'm so excited, and have been feeling more and more energized since I've started the training.
Also, the wig has (hopefully) officially come off! My hair has managed to grow back just a tad and not fall off with the previous treatments, so I'm trying to get used to the short boy cut. I'm rather tired of the itchy wig after all these months:( hopefully it can manage to at least stay this length through the oral chemo so I don't have to put the raggedy hair nest back on.
Well, I think that's about it. I hope you all had a wonderful and blessed holiday season and have started this new year off healthy and happy! I know I have;) Just living life more fully for today, because we never know about tomorrow!
Keep following! God bless!