Friday, October 28, 2011

Hello from Maple Ridge

Wow, it's been over 2 months since I wrote last.  Where does the time go?

Since August, I have finally completed "chemo".  My last herceptin treatment, bloodwork, and oncology appointment was September 21st.  A whole flood of feelings and emotions has come along with finishing treatment.  It's like you go into "fight" mode when you are diagnosed with a disease like cancer, and you work your way through the treatment because you know it is taking care of business.  And one day, the treatment and the regular check ups stop, and it is pretty scary!  I am continuing with my naturopath treatments and daily dose of tamoxifen, but I am in a weird transition place.  I can't shake the thought that every ache or pain I feel could be cancer.  My next oncologist appointment is February 21st - and I'm hoping he will do some more scans/tests to put my mind at rest, even though I know the worries and paranoia will fade as time moves on.

My great friend Shelley recommended a perfect book - Picking Up the Pieces - and it is like someone climbed into my brain and wrote a book about this phase.  It is helping a lot, along with my Young Women's Cancerchat group that I attend online every week, and regular visits to the counsellor.  Someone once told me, "the climb down the mountain can be harder than the climb up!"  They weren't kidding.

I got word back from the genetic testing and it was not the best news, but not bad news either.  The results could have come back that I carry a mutated version of the BRCA1/BRCA2 gene(s), that I don't carry a mutated version, or there is a variable (meaning something in my genes they have never seen before).  Naturally, my results came back as a variable meaning they can't tell me if this variable is a genetic mutuation or not - and that leaves the results inconclusive at this time.  A confirmed genetic mutuation would mean that my daughter and my sister are likely carriers and have a greater chance of getting breast cancer (50%), and my chances of getting ovarian cancer increase dramatically.  Both Kim and Keira could be tested for the gene if my results came back positive - but since they didn't come back positive or negative, neither can be tested further. we wait and see if other genetic findings come up with the same variable as me so they can do further research and eventually, maybe they can confirm or deny the findings.

An ultrasound has determined there are non cancerous cysts on my ovaries.  In light of the inconclusive results that may or may not make my chances of ovarian cancer a higher risk, and these cysts, the decision now is whether or not I should have a hysterectomy/oovarectomy is on the table. This, of course, is a very permanent decision so I am going to contact the Cancer Agency in 6 months to determine if there has been any more research and maybe confirm or deny my results. 

I completed my last expansion last week.  This has been quite a long, drawn out, and painful process.  I started back in May and am just finishing now.  I never knew how incredibly painful this was going to be so I am quite glad to see this part of the journey come to a close.  After tomorrow, I wait for a few months to allow the skin and muscles to stretch and then my next appointment for surgery is January 9, 2012.  My Mom will come and stay with us after my surgery to help with my little munchkin!

..and on that much sunnier topic - Keira is now 15 months old.  Her red hair is coming in now, and she is babbling all the time, and saying quite a few words and sounds.  She starting walking last week so now she is non stop.  She is a very smart little girl - and her favourite word is "Oreoreo" (as she chases our cat, Oreo, down the hall).  We took her swimming to the Leisure Centre this past week and she loved the water. She also had her first visit to the ER as she fell and hit her eye on the fireplace hearth.  Does every kid have to do that?  Anyways, she was fine, no stitches or glue required (but Mom was a bit worse for wear!)

Me and my amazing team, "Kelly's Klique", walked the 5k CIBC Run for the Cure on Octber 2nd.  Thanks to all my walkers, and to those who donated to cancer research on my team's behalf, we raised about $1800.  It was very touching and the venue in Abbotsford was small and kind of intimate (compared to the Vancouver walk). We will, however, be back in Vancouver for the 2013 walk so keep October in mind!

Things are going well with our business - both Mullen Bros Landscaping & Snow Removal, and our newest venture - Albion Flats Landscape Supply.  We took over a Landscape Supply storefront property here in Maple Ridge and things have been running full tilt since then.  We are looking forward to a dry Fall for the Landscape Supply store, and a cold and snowy winter for Mullen Bros.   I never thought I'd ever WISH for snow but I am...sorry everyone!

Anyways, hope you are all well!
Love Kelly, Keira, Oliver & Aidan


Getting into everything...

Cruisin' at the pumpkin patch yesterday

Aidan, Keira and Mommy in the corn maze

Declan, Liam & Aidan

Aunty Kimberley

Keira and Daddy hand and hand in the pumpkin patch

Add caption

You should see the other guy!

Monday, August 15, 2011

What a Weekend!

Hello to you all!  So sorry I haven't been writing much in my blog these days.  Things have ramped up in the busy department in the last few months.

An update since the end of June entry - 

I'll get the "c" stuff out of the way first - still going every 3 weeks still for herceptin treatment, and was going weekly to the plastic surgeon for expansions (reconstruction process), but it was getting really painful so we are taking some time away to let my skin and muscles stretch and heal.  I'll be back at the process in the beginning of September and then will have to let the skin and muscles heal some more before my next surgery which will probably be in November/December.  Not looking forward to another surgery, and the challenges of having a very mobile toddler, but we will make it.  

I'm also waiting to hear back from the genetic testing I've had done to determine if there may be a need for another surgery.  The genetic testing will outline if I have the BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 (breast cancer) genes, and if I do my chances of getting ovarian cancer increase to 50% so it would be recommended that I have my ovaries removed if not a complete hysterectomy.  The chances of me having the gene are slim as we have no immediate family history of breast cancer and because of my age - but if I do have the gene the chances of my sister and Keira having it increase too so it is a bit of a stress waiting for that, but keeping positive. On the other hand, if I don't have the gene we may never know why I got cancer in the first place - and I'm coming to terms with the fact that it's just "luck of the draw".  I really can't call it bad luck because I have learned so much about myself in the past year - and I have met some AMAZING people along the way.  

I've been very tired but it's a combination of past and current treatments, training for my walk, and my little one.  Someday I will have some down time to rest - but not today :)

Now on to the rest of life -

Keira turned one and we had a big celebration at our house with all our friends and family.  There was a crazy amount of very generous people here to celebrate the little one's special day - and yes, she was very spoiled.  She is still not walking, but she can get from A to B pretty quickly with that crawl of hers. She gets in to just about everything, as we would expect of a curious 1 year old little girl.  She has been to music class and gym class and we see that she loves to dance.  She has this cute little shake shake that she does with her hips when the music is on - maybe we have a dance star on our hands :)

Oliver, the kids, and I have been camping at Golden Ears and Derby Reach so far this year.  This week Keira and I are off to Cultus Lake with my mom, sister, and my nephews, and Oliver and Aidan are off to Burkenhead. We hope to get another family camp in before the "summer" is over!

I am happy to say I just completed my 60k walk at the Weekend to End Women's Cancers this past weekend.  Not gonna was TOUGH but me, my friend Lisa and her hubby Barry, along with about 1000 other amazing people did the journey together.  We walked the beautiful streets of Vancouver and I'm a little sore and stiff today - but it's nothing I can't handle!  Keira and I did get interviewed and photographed for the 24 Hour Vancouver newspaper, and we were happy to see our smiling faces in today's issue.

Take a look -

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Plugging along

I always knew how fast time goes, but having a little one almost turning one - it sure makes it feel like the days and weeks just whiz by.  

Since I wrote last, we continue to be as busy as ever. I have been working through recovering from radiation - and started the reconstruction expansion process earlier this month. 
I have to say that this phase of the journey is definately taking the most toll on me. Not only is the expansion process very painful - I am tired, and I am now starting to allow myself to feel some of the emotions that come along with dealing with what we have been dealing with for the past year.  Sometimes I stop and think about it all, and am amazed at how much we have contended with in such a short period of time.  It is incredible, actually!  I'm also very mindful of the fact that in a few months time, "active" treatment and regular doctors visits will stop - and that is bitter sweet.  Going to the many appointments I go to makes me feel like we are still kicking any cancer out of my body - and the idea of stopping that is quite a lot to get my head around.  At the same time, I won't miss all the poking and prodding that goes along with the various appointments.  I just try to take things one day at a time, and am thankful for an incredible support system at both the Maple Ridge and Abbotsford Hospital - along with my good friends and family.

We had a great fundraiser on June 4th raising about $1600 - and add to that the $1600 in donations I have received on my website directly, together we have raised over $3000 towards breast cancer research.  I have split the money up between the Weekend to End Women's Cancers, and "Kelly's Klique" Run for the Cure - and as of today, Team Kelly's Klique has 8 registered members, and is #4 in the ranking for online donations! 

Our business is booming - and Oliver is doing a great job managing that.  I am so very proud of him.  If only we had more consistent weather, and more money - but we keep plugging along.  Rome wasn't built in a day.

And little miss Keira - weighing in now at 21lbs, getting longer/taller every day - and moving around like there is no tomorrow.  She will be walking in no time at all.  She climbs up on everything, and walks around using the couch and coffee table to help her along.  She is quite a ham, actually.  She has 5 teeth through, and other than one major diaper rash incident, she has been in great spirits.  I didn't even realize she had so many teeth through because she didn't really fuss about it.  She is such a good girl - and we are thankful for her every minute of the day. 

We are celebrating Keira's first birthday with a party and BBQ on Saturday, July 16th at our home (10891 249th St, Maple Ridge) so please feel free to come out for the day.  Party starts at 2pm and goes throughout the evening - we'll have hamburgers and hotdogs, salads, cake, pop and chips. If you want something else to bbq or drink, feel free to bring it along.  RSVP by July 10th if you can make it out.

Aidan is out of school next week - and we have some camping plans in the near future :)  Let's all hope and pray for some consistently warm weather - I don't know about you but having the heat on in June seems so incredibly wrong!! 

What's next?  Weekly visits to Abby Hospital for expansion for likely the next month; weekly visits to the naturopath; every 3 weeks to Maple Ridge Hospital to see the oncologist and get Herceptin treatment until October; training (if you call it that) at least 2 times a week for the 60k walk in August and the 5k walk in October; Keira's first birthday on July 20th!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Finally...some down time!'s been a long time since I sat down and wrote in my blog! 

May 4th was my last day of radiation, and I can honestly say this leg of my journey took the most energy out of me.  We have had a lot to contend with over the last 6 weeks, but we have made it through and are ready for a little downtime.  I am so very grateful for my friends and family for helping us through - we couldn't have done it without them.

Me getting ready for a radiation treatment

My radiation team of nurses - such amazing, kind women!
Now, I wait for the treated area to heal and meet with the plastic surgeon in the next few weeks to start the reconstruction process.  That involves a weekly visit to Abby Hospital to get saline injections.  The process takes about 4-6 weeks, and then about 3 months after my last injection, I go in for surgery again.  In the meantime, I will start tamoxifen, an oral pill that I will take for 5 years that interferes with the activity of estrogen in my body and helps reduce the risk of reoccurence.  I go for herceptin treatment this coming week, and will be asking my oncologist to get me booked for some tests and scans to make sure things are still "all clear". 

Things with our business are coming along nicely, despite the unpredictable and unreliable weather patterns.  We are specializing in laying sod, and Oliver and his crew do a fantastic job!  We'll be laughing when we finally get some long stretches of dry weather.

And last but certainly not least, our sweet little Keira is growing like a weed.  She officially crawled on May 11th, which ironically is the one year anniversary of my diagnosis so that was really special!  She is very determined and strong, and gets into most everything now!  She is a very independent little thing - and so low maintenance.  She still has only 2 teeth, but she is sure thinning out and getting longer.  We just love every minute with her - she is just the best!

Go Canucks Go!!

...and Go Bruins Go!!

My First Easter!

Can't wait to find Easter eggs with my brother next year!

Hello cheeks!

Hanging with the girls - Aunty Lo and Aunty Lilly

Keeping Mommy company at her last radiation appointment - she's kickin' it!

What are you doing June 4th? As most of you know, we are planning a fundraiser on June 4th at the Cat & Fiddle Sports Bar & Restaurant in Port Coquitlam.  We hope to see all of you there to enjoy dinner and a drink with proceeds going towards my fundraising goal of $2,000 by August for the Weekend to End Women's Cancers 60km walk.  Tickets are $12 and you can contact me by email ( or phone (604.477.2595) for more info or to purchase tickets.  If you cannot make it, but you wish to donate, visit my personal page at

What's next? Still going to the naturopath weekly and the hospital for herceptin every 3 weeks until at least October.  Reconstruction and tamoxifin start early next month.  Big weekend walk in August, and surgery after that... Things are coming along!

Hope everyone is doing well and looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the fundraiser!!

Love Kelly, Oliver, Keira and Aidan xo

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

10 down, 18 more to go!

Well, it's been a few weeks since I started radiation, and it is going as good as can be expected. The first session was pretty emotional as I was not sure what to expect - will it hurt? what is this radiation and what damage will it do to me? and of course, damn cancer! Once I got through that one, and the second one, I started to feel a bit more at ease. Now, when I go in I know the drill - lie down in the body mould, line up my chest with the coordinates from the oncologist - 3 blasts of radiation to my underarm area, 2 blasts to the right side of my left chest, and 2 blasts straight on my left chest and done. In total, I am in the room about 15 minutes - but with the commute from Maple Ridge to Abbotsford, it is about a 2 hour journey every week day until May 4th. Good times!

This week was a bit rough as I had my herceptin treatment at the hospital as well - and I still see the naturopath for treatment once a week so getting in to all those appointments has been a juggling act. All in all, I am feeling pretty good. Glad to have enough hair to finally keep me warm and do away with the hats. I am so excited to pass them on to the women in the cancer agencies who need them. It makes me so happy to give away the hats that kept me warm and feeling normal throughout that time in my journey.

Me & my girl!!

Oliver has been working the business when the weather is good - and he has been doing a fantastic job for his customers! I am really proud of how hard he works, and the pride he takes in his jobs. I love his determination and we are very excited at where things could go with this!

..and now on to our little girl. She is now 8.5 months old, has 2, maybe 3 teeth coming in on the bottom and is rolling over and really trying hard to crawl. It won't be long before she is moving around on her hands and knees - but for now she rolls from one side of the living room to the other to get to where she wants to be. She is a little ham, and is the love of our lives! She takes centre stage where ever we take her - especially to the cancer agency. Something about kids and animals that just make anyone smile so we are glad we can give a piece of our joy to those who need a pick-me-up.

My first St. Paddys Day!

Playing sure makes a girl sleepy!
What's next? continue herceptin and naturopath injections (until Oct); finish radiation; continue with the reconstruction process (next surgery in August/September); start taking tamoxifen (an oral drug I must take for at least the next 5 years designed to prevent the original breast cancer from returning and also helps prevent the development of new breast cancers). Getting that much closer to the finish line!

And last but not least, I am $600 towards my $2,000 goal for the 60km Walk to End Women's Cancers so please visit my personal page and make a donation. Let's find a cure for this thing before Keira grows boobies :)

Take care and keep healthy!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The countdown is on...

...only a few more sleeps until radiation. I am quite anxious to get going with it. It'll be a long 6 weeks, but will be over before I know it!

I am recovered from surgery, and back to doing life as I always do. Super excited as I went out today without my hat for the first time. I took it with me (of course), but I didn't put it on - and it was cool to feel the wind and the back of my fluffy lined coat on my head. Oh, the things we take for granted!

Things are a bit crazy with our business picking up, and all my appointments, but thanks to our friends and family, we have lots of help. Oliver purchased a small dump truck so we will add "dump truck/delivery services" to our menu. If you or anyone you know is looking for landscaping, general yard maintenance, and/or delivery of soil, mulch, sand - visit us at

Now that I've got that plug in.... :)

Keira woke up with her first fever today, so that was kind of sad to see. She is a trooper and while she isn't feeling 100%, she was in pretty good spirits overall. Aidan is pretty sick too so we hope our munchkins are back to good soon!

Anyways, just a quick update today, and I'll write more after my first rounds of radiation treatment (I start on March 24th!).

Bye for now,

Friday, March 4, 2011

Back to good...and on to the next!

Long time no "talk"!  Sorry it has taken so long to write, but I thought I would wait until today as we met with the radiation oncologist in Abbotsford this morning to discuss the next phase of my treatment.

As it stands today, I have recovered quite nicely from my latest surgery.  I continue to receive Herceptin, which is an antibody used to treat a unique form of breast cancer cell I carried, and it is administered by IV every 3 weeks until October.  I am still seeing my naturopath every 2 weeks for IV Vitamin C injections, and I continue with my cocktail of vitamins and supplements - all with the goal to prevent reoccurrence.

The plan as we understand it from our meeting today is to start radiation on March 24th (Thursday) and I will need to go for 28 radiotherapy sessions - that is every business day until May 4th.  I had  CT scan today, and the technicians tattooed my chest to pinpoint where the radiotherapy will target.

Once radiation is complete, I will be back in to see the plastic surgeon to carry on with the reconstruction process - and then my oncologist will be prescribing Tamoxifen, another drug which helps block breast cancer cell growth.  I'm told I will be taking this drug for up to 5 years :(

I can honestly say that today I am feeling pretty overwhelmed with everything.  I'm not sure what it is about today that has me feeling this way - but it is what it is.  I will be happy when this phase of the process is over - and soon after that we will be honoring the first anniversary of my diagnosis (May 11th - time sure flies!).  I am happy that my hair has started to grow back.  It's coming in a bit darker and I am now comfortable not wearing my hats, in fact I much prefer to go without but it is still just too cold!

..and on to the light of our lives - Keira Faith is now 7 1/2 months, and as of yesterday, weighs 19lbs 2oz. She is just a little monkey - rolling over now, squirming around and chatting up a storm.  She had her first PJ party this past weekend with her BFF Anna Marie - and is saying her first word..."HI".  She is pretty clever and just loves everyone.  No teeth yet, but they are trying - and she is loving her solid foods.  She is a great eater and still an amazing sleeper.  We are so blessed to have such a great baby!

I got this eating thing in the bag!

My cuzies

My big brother loves to read to me!


Hanging with my BFF, Anna Marie

Bouncy bouncy
Oliver and I are still working on growing the business - and we are now offering small dump truck services.  Check out our website at!  Slow and steady wins the race - and, while we have had a few snow contracts, we are getting busier with lawn contracts now as we head into the spring so that is exciting.

I am happy to say, with the help of some very generous people in my life, I am up to $550 towards my $2000 fundraising goal for the Weekend to End Women's Cancers.  Click here to check out my webpage and I'd love to have some company on my 2 day walk!

Anyways, I hope you are all doing well and we hope to see you all soon.

Love ya!
~O, K, A, K

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Hello my friends and family..

Just wanted to send a quick update out to let you all know that I am home after my surgery, and recovering amazingly well. 

I went in early Monday morning, was in surgery around 9am and back up to my room (which I lucked out to have one to myself) by around 2pm.  I had a rough first night with nausea and trying to manage the pain, so I did stay for two nights to make sure I was ready to make it at home - and that was the best thing I could have done.  Thanks to my parents, my friends, and my amazing man, I had a lot of company so the time went by quickly.

I came home yesterday, and thanks to my Mom and Oliver, I am getting lots of rest and spending my time recovering with my little one.  I don't think things could go any smoother :)

Anyways, I will send another update and some recent photos soon, but wanted to let you know how things have been going since my last blog entry.

Take care, and talk soon.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Calm before the Storm

It's really happening - I'm going in for surgery (again!) tomorrow at 6:15am.

Not only is that an awful time of day to be up and at 'em, but I feel a lot more anxious about this one. There are a few reasons for that - one being this one feels more "elective".  I don't HAVE to do this from a medical standpoint, but I have to do this from a recovery standpoint.  The other, more pressing reason, is I don't know when I will be able to lift my little one.  I'm told "several weeks" and that my range of motion will be quite restricted. That makes me very sad, but having said that, I know my body heals well, and I just don't have time to be down and out so - I plan to be back to good in no time.  I just won't have it any other way :)

I will be sure to have Oliver send out a text to those we have on our contact list by phone, and an email as soon after as possible to the rest of you so you all know how things are going.

I have officially registered for the 2-day 60km Shoppers Drug Mart Weekend to End Women's Cancers walk.  This takes place in August and if you or anyone you know is interested in joining me, or donating to my fundraising goal of $2,000, please click on the following link: Kelly's Personal Page.

This walk will mean a lot to me, and will happen just around the time that I am back to normal, so thank you for your support (and I promise I won't ask for any other donations this year :)).

...and little miss Keira.  She is growing like a weed.  I stood on the scale with her just after I wrote last time, and she weighed about 18.5lbs.  That was a few weeks back now.  Oliver will be taking her for her 6 month shots on Feb 8th so he will get the official weight then... She did go through a bit of a cold a few days ago, but she seems to be on the other side of that now.  Let's just say, she is a very healthy and happy girl.  I have entered her in the Virgin Radio "Cutest Kid" contest so please click on the following link: Keira Faith is the "Cutest Kid" between February 12th and February 17th to vote.

I'll send out another update closer to the voting time so you can all go in and place your vote (or enter your kids age 0-5).

Anyways, enough said, talk soon and take care of yourselves.

Love Kelly

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you all!  Wow, can't believe it has been nearly a month since my last blog entry.  Where does the time go?

Since I wrote we have had a wonderful Christmas - baby got spoiled, as did I!  We decided to bite the bullet and move on New Years Eve, so we could spend our first day of the new year in the new house.  It's good to start fresh - so we worked our butts off to get things in and it was great.  Keira didn't make it past 9pm, but Aidan, Oliver, and I banged pots and pans at midnight.  We learned that very few of our neighbors get involved in that tradition :)

As for me, I did experience some fatigue and numbing/tingling in my hands and feet after the last round of treatment, but my first round of herceptin only treatment was on January 11th and all seems to be going great.  My hair is still working its way back, but still sporting my hats.  It sure is cold without hair, even when it's warm outside.  I miss my long WARM hair! I've been pretty tired overall lately but with the baby, holidays, treatment, the move, and trying to get the business off the ground, it's not much of a surprise.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature doesn't want to deliver the snow so we are stressing out a bit - but doing our best to keep positive.  It'll come....someday :)

I received a call on Tuesday from the Abbotsford hospital to go in for a pre-admission appointment next Wednesday to prep for surgery on February 7th.  I am not really looking forward to the pain aspect - or the fact holding my little one will be very tough for a while - but I know I will heal and it will be behind me before I know it.

Keira is 6 months old today - and growing like a weed.  She is now eating rice cereal and we have tried carrots, bananas, and apples.  She is pretty cute when we try something new out, and so far she has taken it all without any fuss. We haven't had her weighed since December 6th so I'm guessing she is close to 20lbs. She has her next shots on Feb 8th so if not before, we will for sure know what she weighs then.  I know my arms are getting a good workout :)

Well, we hope you are all enjoying the unseasonably warm weather (I say with gritted teeth).  Have a wonderful day and enjoy your weekend - it is supposed to be dry and we may even see the sun.

Bye for now!
Love Kelly, Oliver, Aidan, & Keira

Gramma got me a nice head piece!
Mmmm, my first cereal

All our amazing presents :)

Oh, I could get used to this freedom thing

So fashionable - thanks Aunty Nina!

I've had cereal and carrots and milk..yet I'm still awake