And Just Like That…

And Just Like That…

Today, February 10, 2021, is my last day of radiation therapy and my LAST DAY OF ACTIVE TREATMENT for triple negative breast cancer (*breathes huge sigh of relief*)!! It has been the most rollercoaster-y 10 months of my life and I am ready to close this chapter of pokes and stitches and breath holds forever! Or at least until my follow up scans in April….

Triple negative breast cancer is a scary diagnosis. The recurrence and mortality rates are much higher than for other breast cancers, especially in the first three years of remission. After five years, however, the average recurrence rate drops quite a bit. As part of my follow up care, my wonderful breast surgeon and I have agreed to do an annual mammogram (coming up in April) and also an annual MRI (planning for October) so that I’ll have some type of surveillance scan every 6 months for the near future. Because TNBC has a high grade (cells multiply rapidly), it’s important for me to continue self-monitoring by doing a monthly breast self-exam. Should anything return between scans, I’ll be able to catch it earlier (again, #KnowThyself).

I’m planning to transition back to work in the next few weeks. I’ll likely start out seeing patients part-time and slowly ramp back up to a full time schedule. I am also transitioning to our women’s health center from our regular outpatient PT department where I’ll get to work with more pelvic floor and oncology patients (this is really where my passion lies so this is exciting for me)! As daunting as it may be, I’m very much looking forward to getting back to patient care. I feel like I am living my best life when I’m helping people live theirs so I’m thankful to have an occupation where I get to do that every single day.

Taken on my regular walk down Mahalo St. – Mahalo means “thank you” in the Hawaiian language! Fitting for today’s post…

As much as I didn’t want to get all sentimental in this post, it’s impossible to reflect back on the past 10 months and not feel completely overwhelmed with gratitude. I’m overflowing with thanks for those of you who prayed for me, who supported me financially or by sending gifts and cards, who called or texted just to check in and talk with me about anything (especially anything that didn’t have to do with cancer).

I’m amazed by my excellent medical team – they are smart, smart cookies and always made sure I was well taken care of, not to mention the whole “saving my life” thing. I’ve met many women recently who weren’t as lucky as I was with their medical teams and were told things like “you’re too young to have cancer” or “let’s just watch it closely over the next several months.” Honestly, best practice should be to just refer for the dang imaging. I could go on a long rant about how insurance companies should NOT dictate what practices and procedures are recommended by doctors (who are the actual experts on medical things, by the way), but I’ll spare you. Instead, I’ll just continue to urge you to stand up for yourself and refuse to settle for a “wait and see” approach to your health.

I’m also incredibly grateful for my body for carrying me through all this treatment. It was hard, you guys, and it was hard for my husband to watch me go through it. But, now I know just how strong I am – how strong I can be – in case I ever forget. I’m really proud of myself for seeking care when I knew something was wrong, for taking the time to research integrative treatments to support my body during treatment and recovery, and for making exercise and stress relief a priority the whole time. It’s been a privilege for me to take time off work while recovering and also to have so many knowledgeable people (healthcare providers and other cancer thrivers/survivors) around me pointing me in the right direction.

Lastly, I just have to shout out my husband one more time. Truly, I could not have done this without him. He is the best guy around, and every day I’m lucky enough to spend with him is an absolute blessing. Looking forward to many more (less scary, more exciting) experiences with you, Justin ❤

Love this guy…

Don’t forget to find the joy in the simple things today. We all have our own struggles, but it’s important to look for the blessings in each day. Sending my love to you!

Aloha ❤



It seems like time is moving so slowly some days during this pandemic, and yet here we are in Thanksgiving week already. Though 2020 has had it’s detours, I can honestly say there has been more to be grateful for this year than ever.

Yesterday, I went in for my pre-surgery blood work and COVID testing. In all honesty, my white count was still quite low and I was pretty sure we were going to have to bump my surgery, but my surgeon and oncologist agreed that it’s high enough to proceed on Friday so today, I’m most grateful not to have to delay. My COVID test was also negative – not surprising since I never go out without a mask on or practicing social distancing. That immunocompromised life, though…

Peep that 4-week post-chemo hair growth!

My mom has been here for a little over a week now and it’s been so nice having her here. Thankfully, she’s been up for trying all of our vegan cooking, walking almost daily, and watching plenty of The Crown and Holiday Baking Championship. We were lucky enough to be able to have a little stay-cation at Aulani Resort thanks to my mom’s colleague, and we had a really nice time relaxing by the beach and pools.

I know that it would be easy to look back on the last 9 months and say what a shit show this year has been between COVID restrictions and a cancer diagnosis, but what I’d rather remember from this year is the simple, day-to-day moments that are the true blessings in life.

I’m grateful for the way my husband has stepped up more than I ever could have expected he would after my diagnosis (I should have known better, though…he’s the best person I know).

I’m grateful for my my mom calling and FaceTiming with me on a daily basis and who patiently waited for a safe time to come visit. For my sister, who has sent care packages, shared my posts, and called often. For my dad, who’s been calling more often just to say hi and to check in on me. For my stepdad, who calls and texts me just to let me know he loves me, too.

I’m grateful for texts, calls, & vent sessions with my besties and zoom mocktail dates. For care packages and cards from my aunties. For frequent check-ins and notes from my co-workers.

I’m amazed by the empathy and integrative care I’ve received from my doctors and healthcare providers this year who are doing their jobs excellently while dealing with added considerations from a pandemic.

I’ve enjoyed trying new plant-based recipes and taking an extended break from alcohol and processed sugar. I was lucky to get to work with fun nurses and to be able to give people good news while working safely from home. I’ve been able to walk outside often and to improve my Pilates skills at home.

If I can sum it all up, I’d say that I’m most grateful for my people who make this life so beautiful. We all have a responsibility to each other, and with all that has gone on for me personally this year, I urge you to be kind to one another and take care of each other as best you can.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! Take a moment to write down what you’re grateful for this year!

Aloha ❤



This week has been really good ❤

On Monday, my CT, bone scans, and ECG/EKG came back all clear! This means I am a true stage I, and you just can’t ask for better news than that.

But Tuesday….I honestly barely have any words for how well my coworkers held me up yesterday. Over the past few weeks they’d put together a (vegan) lunch and the most thoughtful gift basket for me…complete with shower curtain hugs (!) and my very own new pelvis model (*AMAZING*).

I knew I lucked out getting a job at Queen’s (Ann Frost, if you’re reading this, I owe you BIG time!), but they continue to prove to me over and over that they are the true definition of good people.

Ryan – thank you, especially, for this prayer…

Ka Pule No Ka Malumalu ~ Ka Pule Lokahi
The Prayer of Protection
The Unity Prayer

Ka Malamalama O Ke Akua E Ho’opuni Mai ia Kakou
The Light of God surrounds us.
Ke Aloha O Ke Akua E Kipuni Mai ia Kakou
The Love of God enfolds us.
Ka Mana O Ke Akua E Ho’opakele Mai ia Kakou
The Power of God protects us.
Ke Alo O Ke Akua E Malama Mai ia Kakou
The Presence of God watches over us.
Ma Kahi A Kakou, E Hele Aku Ai He Akua No.
Where we are, God is.
In your name we pray, Amen. ❤

If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.

Sir Isaac Newton

To my Queen’s Rehab ‘Ohana,
You really know how to make a girl feel special. I am so honored to know and work with you.

Mahalo nui loa ❤