Words when there are none…

I promised myself that in 2017 I would blog every day. Well it’s been very quiet around here…

Honestly, I got through my dads funeral like a champ. It was so much fun reconnecting with all of my dads friends, both sides of our family, and my best friends growing up. My brother shared memories of my dad, which inspired the heroic tales of my parents bicycling the entire country, bush whacking through cacti as my dad looks for the perfect beach in Baja to study the vast marine life along the Baja peninsula. Super bowl Sunday both sides of our family gathered in our home sharing stories of childhood and memories with my dad. And then New England suddenly won the a Super Bowl. But this is North Idaho and we are receiving record breaking amounts of snow…so our family, all Californian natives, had to leave early to drive through the snow storm. 

But as soon as family left, my depression got the best of me. I fell into an emotional funk. I ate endless amounts of brownies as I binged on Army Wives, unable to get myself out of bed unless the fire died out. The cold weather made it hard to go outside. My mother shared the harsh reality that my dad left behind endless amounts of medical bills, forcing her to figure out how to pay the mortgage, car payment, credit card debt on one salary….this forced me back into my own pity party. I suddenly am being forced to pay my own rent, all of my own bills, and figure out how to get by on my own. It’s forcing me to grow up and become independent faster than I wanted to. When I fall into my depression, I feel like the world is caving in on me. I can’t breathe, my muscles tighten, and I am swirling deeper and deeper into a black hole. 

Thankfully, this only lasted a day. My mom told me we would be driving down to stay with my brother, and engage in some pickle ball, tennis, and exercise. After my dad died I was waking up at 5:30 am to participate in Soul Cycle before my shift at the hospital. It was such a positive place to vent and pour my pent up anger, frustration, and stress. But I soon became terribly sick, and couldn’t find the energy to get out of bed for 3 days straight. I have been so angry that GOD took my dad from me so soon, and that I didn’t get to spend more time with him before he left. I stopped reading my 1-year bible, and I’ve just been so angry. When I was reading it every day I was more comfortable with myself and my life… 

On Monday my sister-in-law and I went up to Schweitzer and enjoyed fresh powder skiing, thanks to the endless amounts of snow we keep getting. I was laughing as I struggled to get back on my skis after falling into waist-deep heavy powder. 

Today my sister in law and I created a 30-minute arm circuit workout before battling our fellow family members in pickle ball. Apparently pickle ball is all the rage with celebrities, and pickle ball courts line up in the private tennis clubs. So to get out of my depression, I’m going to work on:

  • Surrounding myself with family and great friends
  • Make sure I get  adequate sleep
  • Exercise
  • Stop playing the comparison game….it only forces me to fall into a deeper, darker depression
  • Keep my goals in sight…one small goal at a time. Otherwise I get overwhelmed and nothing gets accomplished.
  • Exercise 
  • Exercise 
  • Exercise 
  • And eat healthy too
  • Enjoy every moment I get at home, because I know I’ll miss it dearly the second I leave

Love you, Dad

James Lyle Klein

May 23, 1933 – January 14, 2017


My dad was the most loving, selfless man in my life. He loved me more than any other man ever will. I pray that I marry a man who loves me as much as my father did. Granted, we fought a lot. He was the most impatient man I’ve ever known. But there was no doubt that man loved his children more than anything. 

Fun facts about my dad:

  • Born in Lynwood, California May 23, 1933 to Ada and Jack Klein
  • Grew up with his brother Jack, and his parents in Southgate, CA
  • Member of the Southgate Men’s Gymnastics team
  • Passionate about swimming, diving, and surfing
  • Spent summers exploring the Baja peninsula, camping, diving, and fishing
  • Served in the United States Navy stationed in Astoria, Oregon
  • Bachelor of Science Degree from Long Beach State in Biological Science 
  • Married Nancy Lou Danner with whom he had 3 children: Steve, Tami, Tina
  • Moved to American Samoa with his son Steve to teach Science on television
  • As a public school teacher, he began leading trips to Baja, Mexico to conduct marine biology trips in remote areas along the Gulf of California
  • Met and married my mother in 1974, Cheryl Klein, while teaching at Dana Hills High School
  • Had 2 children with Cheryl: myself and my brother Geoff
  • Summer of 1976, My parents rode their bicycles across the USA from San Clemente, California to Portland, Maine
  • 1984, same year I was born, my dad qualified for Ironman and competed in Kona on the big island of Hawaii
  • Competed in numerous marathons, ultra-marathons, and triathlons
  • Worked with Schweitzer Ski Patrol in Sandpoint, Idaho for over 25 years
  • An avid handball and beach volleyball competitor
  • Taught Math in North Idaho 
  • Worked at the  Alpine Shop as a ski mechanic and most recently with Bonner County Bicycles as a bicycle mechanic

Almost every summer, our parents took Geoff and I to Kauai where we spent the summer living with Steve and his wife and 2 children. If we weren’t in Hawaii, we traveled to Baja Peninsula and camped on remote beaches, where we swam with marine life and fished for Mahi Mahi. Both of my parents worked hard to provide an amazing life for Geoff and I. Our parents loved us so much. 

My dad’s oldest daughter Tami flew my dad to Kauai for his granddaughters wedding December 2016-January 2017. Our spent the last month of his life with his 3 older children and his grandchildren. His last week in Hawaii my dad began passing out. My mom flew over to Kauai after my dad ended up in ICU. She got him safely back to North Idaho. On their drive home he passed out again in the car and his pacemaker shocked him, so my mother drove him straight to Kootenai Medical Center where he was admitted into the ICU. Turns out my father went into Ventricular Tachycardia and his pacemaker shocked him 25 times, which explains why he was passing out. Friday, January 13 my mother called me and told me dad was unconscious and being kept alive by intravenous cardiac meds. I jumped on a plane Saturday morning, and got to the ICU in time to spend the last few hours my dad was alive by his side. I was there to hold my dads hand as he took his last breath. 

I’m grateful I was sober so that I was able to hold my dads hand and be there to comfort him as he took his last breath. I was not ready to say goodbye. My dads ICU nurse let me pull his catheters out of his arm, and I layed on my dad’s bed holding him until the final second that the PETS department wrapped my dad’s body and transported him to the morgue. 

In the last week I realized just how much my dad did for me. He was no longer around to wake up at 3:30 am to load wood into the fireplace, which kept us warm during the cold winter nights. Before I went skiing, my dad would always take my skis into the Alpine Shop to get them waxed. I got to the mountain this week and realized they hadn’t been waxed in 2 years…and ended up having to rent skis. He would always set up a gym pass for me while I was home, and I had to pay for 3 days worth. After I was diagnosed with cancer, my parents gave up their teaching positions to drive me back and forth to Seattle for treatment. They bought a new car so that we could get back and forth safely. They gave up almost everything to keep me alive. Things that are coming up soon though: Taxes. I aLways sent my dad the documents, and he did the rest. Now I need to figure it all out on my own. I also just totaled my car last month, and sadly he’s not around to help me find a new one. My mom told me while my dad was in and out of shocks from his pacemaker he would ask about my car. Bless his heart! ❤

People in our community have been wonderful. Multiple people have cooked us dinner. My dads friends at the mechanic are helping me find a car and checking out prospects. My brother’s father in law fixed our pipes in the house that froze while we were in ICU with my dad, and my brother has chipped in, helping load wood, fixing the snow blower, and laying salt on the icy driveway. 

The dogs miss my dad too, especially Gus. He would lay with my dad at the house, hang out at the bike shop while my dad was working, and their big outing was when dad would take Gus to the dump, haha! Gus has officially claimed dad’s favorite chair.

Despite the sudden passing of my dad, we did manage to have some fun this past week. The day after my dad died, my mom, brother, sister in law and I went to the athletic club and played pickle ball on the new pickle ball court. We spent the afternoon watching the Green Bay Packers beat the Dallas Cowboys. Dad would have been very happy. My brother said they spent the last week of dad’s life discussing football and who would make it to the Super Bowl, and what games they would watch together. My dads ICU nurse turned my dad’s bed to face the tv so that dad could watch the Seahawks game. I’m telling you, they really went above and beyond to make my dads last few days alive happy, memorable, and comfortable. We ended the night by watching Bridget Jones has a baby. That may be the first chick flick I own that my brother liked. Win for me! My dads cardiologist with whom he had a deep friendship, came in to be by my dad’s side, even though he was off duty.

My sister in law kept my spirits high all week. She kept me laughing, and she took me to Pilates and yoga class. We ended the week by skiing all together at  Schweitzer where my dad was a ski patrol. 

The hardest days for me were the 2nd and 3rd days after my dad was gone. My brother and I got into a huge fight at the funeral home. My brother and I have very different ways of grieving. He preferred to get through the questionnaire at the funeral home as quickly as possible. I on the other hand wanted to see how he would be cremated, when, what they do to prepare his body, etc. I like the details. I just feel more comfortable knowing everything. Specifically I was getting frustrated at all the costs after someone dies as they listed them to us at the funeral home, and I was frustrated figuring things out, that I often took for granted, that my dad did for me. My mom payed an extra expense though, and I got to spend an extra hour with my dad’s body at the funeral home the next day. I sat there and hugged him and talked to him. It was the last hug I would ever get with my dad’s body before they cremate him. It was just something I needed, and I’m satisfied that I got that time. You forget what your last comment was with someone though. I deeply regret that I didn’t take the opportunity to speak to my dad one last time. He was so tired in the ICU. It makes me sad to think how much that little body of his endured in a week’s time. That last night he was alive I didn’t talk to him because the stress I endured worrying about my dad would just exhaust him more. I do remember one of the last things my dad said to me though: “Wherever you are, Whatever you’re doing, even if you’re just working, Be Happy. Just smile and be happy.”

I find myself longing for male companionship more than ever without my dad around. I had my dad’s entire outfit picked out for my wedding. I hoped so badly that he would be alive old enough to walk me down the aisle. My dad has always been overprotective about men in my life. Without even thinking, I texted my doctor the other day simply because I wanted a man to talk to whom I trust. 

I hope GOD will bring me someone worthy enough to make dad proud, someone who loves me unconditionally. Alas though, my dad isn’t around to have a say. And sadly, as of today, there are no prospects. But oh how deeply my heart yearns for that deep love. A man I can call and chat to. I wonder if in a week’s time I will forget that dad isn’t around, and I’ll dial his cell phone. 😢 My dad would sit and let me talk for days and days. I’m going to miss his phone calls, his hugs and kisses, and his love for me. 

I’m currently on a flight back to Houston to work for a week and a half. Sadly I don’t have enough PTO to stay home all month leading up to dad’s funeral. February 2 I will fly back up to Idaho for my dad’s memorial, and this spring we plan on flying to Kauai to meet up with my dad’s oldest children, and spread my dad’s ashes in the Pacific Ocean. Dad will then be with his mother Ada and close to his oldest son Steve, surfing the big waves for the rest of eternity! 🏄🏻

The last thing I EVER expected 14 days into the new year is my dad passing away. I can’t even fathom what the rest of 2017 will bring. But I am going to fulfill my dad’s dream for me of becoming an RN, and I promise to always do what makes me HAPPY.
I miss you dad. I love you SO MUCH. 💋

1 Year Sober

Let me tell you…growing up in the church, I was miss goodie two-shoes. I would never dare do anything wrong, take for instance:

  • I’ve never been grounded
  • I didn’t drink until I was 21
  • I didn’t have my first kiss until I was 22
  • I was home every Friday night with my family
  • I got good grades
  • I was on the honor roll
  • I volunteered
  • I attended church every week
  • I was part of a youth group

 

You get my point. There were 2 things in life I thought would never happen:

  1. That I would get cancer
  2. That I would become addicted. To anything…except for maybe ice cream, Starbucks, or movies

Turns out, at age 25, I got cancer. When I had cancer I lost the ability to feel my right leg, which left me unable to walk. I was in a wheelchair. I had to use a walker (tennis balls and everything just like your grandma!). I worked my way up to a cane and leg brace. But the nerve pain became chronic! So my pain doctor, who you get when you are working through cancer treatments, prescribed me pain medication.

Lovely. But honest to God, I do not think I would be walking again if I hadn’t been taking pain pills to help me along. Until you have lived with chronic pain, you have no idea how much you need something. The only thing I can compare chronic nerve pain to is child birth (by the looks of it anyway) haha.

So today, I’m 1 year sober. A year ago today I just entered treatment. I cried nonstop. I cried for Starbucks, a space heater, and my parents hahahaha! Sounds about right!

I have never been MORE proud of myself than I am at this very second. Society likes to label addiction as a bad thing. Society says it’s all our fault, that we are to blame. Nope. This is a BRAIN DISEASE. Just like Diabetes is a disease, Addiction is a disease. I have chosen to write about it with the hope that I can help someone along the way. GOD has gifted me with the ability to help cancer patients, and addicts too.

As I reflect back on this past year, it was the hardest year of my life, but also my greatest accomplishment. I have spent the past year in COUNTLESS hours of therapy. Everything that they tell you to do in treatment, I went out and did, even though I didn’t want to.

  • Get a sponsor
  • Go to meetings every day
  • Work the 12 steps of AA
  • Live in sober living for 1 year after treatment
  • Learn how to discuss your feelings
  • Learn how to communicate
  • Complete 10 weeks of Out-Patient Therapy (IOP)

A sponsor is someone who you look up to and someone you learn to trust. They guide you through life day-to-day. They walk you through the 12 steps of AA. They give you advice on relationships, finding jobs again, everything. They are a mentor.

As for the steps of AA, my uncle isn’t even an alcoholic or an addict, and he said that these steps are a recipe for life that EVERYONE should have to walk through, addict or not. For example, I have had to really dig deep and examine what my character defects are, but also acknowledge my good qualities.

Some of my character defects:

  • Perfectionist
  • Playing the victim
  • Impulse shopping
  • Running on self-will rather than God’s will

Some of my good qualities:

  • Loyal
  • Kind
  • Genuine
  • Funny (especially when I don’t mean to be)
  • Smart

It has helped me appreciate myself more. I have spent well over 1,000 hours in therapy over the past year working on myself. I have taken the time to re-examine my life and find out what is most important to me: responsibility, integrity, commitment, humility, relationships. Turns out I can be judgmental, but the judgment stems from fear. As a kid I was diagnosed with a genetic throat condition called eosinophilic esophagitis. I missed a lot of school, I was teased a lot in school, and I didn’t know how to socialize properly with people my own age. I spent a lot of time in and out of doctor’s offices and had a lot of scary procedures on my esophagus, which can be extremely terrifying for a 9 year old. I became fearful of everything. My self-esteem was always extremely low as a result. My therapist has been teaching me techniques to improve my self-esteem, such as imagining hugging ‘little Molly’ when I was in the corner of the doctor’s office crying as a child. This teaches me that it’s okay to be alone by myself. Everything will be okay.

This program has taught me how to live out each moment like it was my last. Live for today. I have learned how to worry less. As I make my way through the 1-year bible, my bible reading from January 8, Matthew 6: 34 says “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” I am now extremely present and mindful.

I have been working on alternative methods for my chronic pain: yoga, mindfulness, meditation, massage, therapeutic oils, and through diet and exercise. I’ve clearly become more open-minded! 🙂

The day that I was diagnosed with cancer, I became so close to God, that I thought nothing would ever tear that relationship apart. I know the Lord was there with me through my recovery from cancer, and my addiction, but I wasn’t present with the Lord. Thankfully, God gave us his only son Jesus, who died for our sins. There were things I did in my addiction that I am so ashamed of. But The Lord still loved me anyway. And The Lord forgave me. My mom and I just started the 1-year bible, and every day, even though i’m only 11 days in, it reminds me to remain in God’s will. Because it’s so easy to run on  self-will. In the AA book, it is referred to as Self-will run riot. This program led Jesus back into my life. Something you weren’t expecting in this blog post I bet….

I always thought that a real alcoholic or a real addict was something like you imagine watching on tv or in the movies…think Breaking Bad. But guess what. The pills that I took were all prescribed to me, by medical doctors. Here are some ‘fun facts’ from the American Society of Addiction Medicine:

Opioid Addiction

  • Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illicit drug heroin as well as the licit prescription pain relievers oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl and others.
  • Opioids are chemically related and interact with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the brain and nervous system to produce pleasurable effects and relieve pain.
  • Addiction is a primary, chronic and relapsing brain disease characterized by an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.
  • Of the 20.5 million Americans 12 or older that had a substance use disorder in 2015, 2 million had a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers and 591,000 had a substance use disorder involving heroin.
  • It is estimated that 23% of individuals who use heroin develop opioid addiction.
  • Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US, with 55,403 lethal drug overdoses in 2015. Opioid addiction is driving this epidemic, with 20,101 overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers, and 12,990 overdose deaths related to heroin in 2015.

It can happen to anyone. This disease is no joke. But, it makes all the work I’ve put in over the last year that much more powerful and rewarding. Growing up, Countless hours and thousands of dollars later in therapy have nothing on the work I put in this past year.

I still have a long way to go. But I have a lot to be grateful for and thankful for this year. I can honestly sit here today for the first time in YEARS and say I’m glad to be alive! I’ve been through a lot, but God has a purpose for all of it. God has a purpose for me.

 

 

 

 

 

20 Facts About Me

So y’all can get to know me a little better, I thought it would be fun to post 20 things about myself!

1. I always have a Starbucks coffee in my hand. My friends who have spent the most time with me comment every time I walk in the door “yep, there’s her Starbucks” 😁 And at my local store in Sandpoint, Idaho the baristas had my order memorized so by the time I had to pay, my drink was made 😊

2. I’m funny when I’m not trying to be. Just ask my family! 😋

3. I LOVE dogs! My mom’s Cockapoo named Gus is my best friend. He sat there with me through my cancer and through my recovery. He’s extremely overprotective of me! 

My puppy is a Blue Schnoodle (his hair literally looks blue in the sunlight) named Koira, which means Dog in the Finnish language. He’s the quirkiest, funniest, smartest little pup on earth. He’s got long legs and likes to talk a lot, just like his mama 😉

I also have a cat named Kisa, which means Cat in the Finnish language. I found him when he was just a little kitten. He was leading himself and his sister to safety in the rain. Friends of ours have his sister. He’s extremely independent, and very vocal when he wants in or outside the house and when he’s hungry! Keira loves pulling Kisa around by his neck haha, and oddly enough Kisa Let’s him do it…I think he loves the attention haha!

I find it hilarious that everyone always comes up to me and says “Oh, my dog is named Molly!” But that’s ok, because I love dogs! 😉

4. I’ve studied abroad twice in my life 

Switzerland 🇨🇭 2002-2003. I stayed with a host family, the Köppli family for 1 year. We are still great friends. I love them SO much!! We skied the German and French Alps,  motorcycled through the Black Forest, we traveled to London, Austria, Germany, France, and Italy, and I attended the Swiss Tennis Open! We also hiked many many many mountains! By the end of the year I understood Swiss German and I spoke High German fluently!

Florence, Italy 🇮🇹 Summer 2006 I studied fine art with Gonzaga University. Our school was down the street from the famous statue by Michelangelo, The David. I lived in the loveliest pensione close to my school. They served us the best food! We went to school 4 days a week, and traveled every weekend. My favorite places we traveled to were Cinque Terra, Capri, Sorrento, Barcelona, and Germany. I met all my best friends on this particular trip! ❤️



5. I’m a Belieber haha I know I know but I love his songs. I know every word! If you ever need an adult to chaperone your kids to a Bieber concert, I’m your girl! 

6. I was a live-in nanny twice 

Southhampton, NY 2004 for the Reed family. Newborn girl and 1 year old boy. Cutest family I love them!! Carole, the mother, became one of my best friends. She taught me so much about life. 

Puerto Rico (family from East Hampton, NY) 2008 for the Bradley family. Young boy and girl. They were just like my family. We got along SO well I had the best time with them in Puerto Rico!! They surf, swim, paddle board, mountain bike. Both humble and athletic! 

7. I’m extremely talkative

Once I get comfortable around people, I love to talk, A LOT! My parents have to remind me to take a breath. Haha. I talk about the most random things! 

8. I was a Flight Attendant for Continental Airlines 2008-2009

Training was grueling, and lasted 5 weeks in Houston, TX. We spent all day, every day studying aircraft design, safety (post 9/11), proper service, real-time evacuations on a real aircraft that had smoke, lights went off, the aircraft was on hydraulics, airbags deployed, connected to slides. I was based out of Newark, New Jersey. I flew reserve which meant I was on stand-by and would fly anywhere domestic or international, wherever they needed me. I spent most of the summer flying to Europe, and I reconnected with a lot of my friends over the entire United States. I got to visit my host family in Switzerland too! 

Favorite places I traveled Internationally: ✈️

  • Dublin, Ireland 🇮🇪 
  • Lisbon, Portugal 🇵🇹 
  • London, England 🇬🇧
  • Manchester, England 🇬🇧
  • Costa Rica 🇨🇷 
  • Québec City, Canada 🇨🇦 
  • Mexico City, Mexico 🇲🇽 

Favorite places I traveled domestic ✈️

  • San Francisco, CA
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Steam boat, CO
  • Denver, CO

9. I have been volunteering at Children’s hospitals in every city I’ve lived in since 2005

  • Shriner’s Children’s Hospital Spokane, WA Childlife Volunteer
  • Spokane Hospice Spokane, WA
  •  Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital Spokane, WA Pediatric Oncology
  • Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital NYC, NY Pediatric Anesthesia Unit
  • Seattle Children’s Hospital Seattle, WA 
  • Texas Children’s Hospital Houston, TX

10. Volunteered on a 2-week Medical Brigade through Honduras in 2004 

This experience was life-changing. People walked for 3 days straight when they heard we were coming, because it was the only medical care they may ever receive. Kids broke their lunch and shared it with all their friends, something I never experienced in America. They had such huge hearts. Men who would live the rest of their lives out in prison cried the first time they heard about Jesus. What an incredible thing to witness. This trip peaked my interest in medicine, and that’s when I began volunteering at Children’s hospitals!

11. I was baptized and confirmed Lutheran

My late grandfather was a Lutheran chapelin for the US Air Force 

12. I was a ski instructor for over 3 years

I enjoyed coaching the young 4-year olds the most, but I’m certified to teach someone of any age to ski! I taught skiing at my local ski resort, Schweitzer, in Sandpoint, Idaho

13. I’ve been to every Hawaiian island except the big island

When I was a baby, before I remember, my parents first took me to Molokai. I remember my parents taking my brother and I to Hawaii most summers growing up. My dads oldest son Steve lives there because he’s a big surfer. We stayed with the Kauai Klein’s ( as we call them) every time we went! Most of my memories growing up were in Hawaii!

14. Coolest experience ever was swimming on a whale shark in Baja

My dad taught marine biology in California. My parents used to take students from Dana Hills High School down to Bajia De Las Animas every spring. My dads friends have houses down there. We have walked the estuary as thousands of crabs scattered around our feet, we swam amongst thousands of dolphins, swam with sea lions, kayaked out into the bay at 3 am and all we could hear were whales surfacing and spouting. We fished every day for Mahi Mahi, and other huge fish! But by far the coolest thing we’ve ever done was jump into the bay when a whale shark swam under our pontoon boat, and we rode on the whale shark for about 30 minutes as it fed on plankton! 

15. I spent a summer living in La Jolla, California with Resonate Church in 2013.

For an entire summer, a group of students from University of Idaho and Washington State University moved to La Jolla, California. While being taught life skills, we all got jobs, volunteered in various churches, and shared the gospel with many people who have never learned it before. La Jolla is situated in Southerm California on a huge cove. It has a beautiful coastline, seals, and is absolutely one of the most beautiful cities! This entire experience brought me back to the Lord after recovering from cancer and  beginning to feel angry for what I had gone through. I had new found hope in the Lord after this experience. 




16. I’m a Perfectionist

I always thought I had a type B personality, but as I grew older I realized I’m completely type A personality. I function best when things are orderly, structured, and I’m very, very, very hard on myself and a complete perfectionist! Medicine suits me because things have to be done correctly the first time! My room is extremely tidy, my books and dvd’s are alphabetized, and my clothes are color coded in my closet.

17. I’m a Sarcoma Cancer Survivor

Back in 2008 when I was a flight attendant, my right leg began buckling. I fell down stairs at my apartment every day, I tripped at work every day, I fell straight onto my face out of a hotel van. Only my right thigh grew bigger, but not my left. I got a double ear infection and so sick, the airline grounded me for 2 months straight. I suffered terrible nose bleeds. And then one day, running home from the gym, my thigh started hurting so bad, I was up all night crying. I flew home to Idaho for spring break, and my parents knew my leg did not look normal, and they forced me to get an x-ray. The tumor had grown to the size of a softball in my right thigh!!! We ended up choosing to travel to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance for treatment with a world-renowned sarcoma clinic and surgeon. I spent 9 months in-patient at University of Washington Medical Center receiving Chemotherapy. I spent 1 month receiving radiation treatments. My surgery to remove the tumor left me unable to feel my entire right leg and I had forgotten how to walk. The Cancer had embedded into my femoral nerve, which they ended up have no to remove, in addition to half of my femoral artery. I had to get a blood transfusion, and the surgery took a lot longer because it was a lot more difficult than they had guessed. 7 years later, after spending every single day in physical therapy, and with determination and persistence, I can walk again. I spent 1 year in a wheelchair, had to walk with an electric leg brace, crutches, cane. I’m still disabled in my right leg. I suffer a lot of pain and numbness, which will never fully go away. Most people die from Sarcoma and lose their limbs, and my surgeon told me he thought I would never walk again. But I’m alive, 7 years in remission, and walking. It’s a miracle.





18. I get along with old people better than anyone else

My parents are older than most, and I spent most of my free time growing up at church surrounded by older people. I appreciate their wisdom, and they see worth in me that most people my age don’t care see. Everyone should cherish older people! 

19. I LOVE performing 

Growing up, my favorite activities were studio dance (ballet, tap, jazz), and gymnastics. I was also on swim team until I was 14 years old. I was on a ski team every weekend. I tried volleyball for awhile. And I played tennis through high school. In high school I was a varsity cheerleader. I got to dance at division 1 basketball games while I was part of the Gonzaga University dance team! 

20. I have a Bachelor of Art in Fine Art from Gonzaga University and I’m 1 year shy of my Bachelor of Science in Nursing

I’ve always been super creative. I love doing arts & crafts, throwing/ decorating for parties, and I enjoy painting and drawing, and interior design. Surviving cancer has led ,e to want to work in medicine, and art is more of a hobby now!

Happy Tuesday Friends!  Hope you enjoyed getting to know me a little bit more! 

XOXO 💋

Molly 

Favorite Finds 

I made a commitment to blog everyday for a year…in an attempt to become more tech-savvy and to polish my writing skills. I remember writing emails home everyday when I studied abroad in Switzerland at 18 years old. Everyone kept commenting how great I was becoming at writing. I also want to work on my photography skills and of course, most importantly, it’s a creative outlet. I do have a bachelor’s degree in fine art after all! 😉 

But I worked five 12-hour shifts this week at the hospital in an attempt to make some overtime money in order to pay off some credit cards and medical bills from 2016. So I spent most of Sunday sleeping. Therefore I put off writing for 1 day. I am such a perfectionist, so in an attempt to go with the flow, I wrote a blog post for Monday, and didn’t worry about posting anything yesterday. I’ve compiled some of my favorite beauty products that are great with the cold weather and cold environment inside the hospital! 

  • Clinique 3-Step system

My face keeps freaking out. Texas weather is SO different from the climate in North Idaho (obviously). Not only is it very cold outside in most of the Western Hemisphere, including Texas, but working in a hospital has been drying out my skin so much. My pores have also been incredibly large and visible. My face has also broken out in a rash as I try new products!!!! Grrr! My skin has always been incredibly sensitive, so I unfortunately have to stick to skin products that are completely hypoallergenic. This brings me to my latest purchase:

Clinique 3-step skin cleansing system
I tried Clinique back home in North Idaho, and the products always worked really really well! Countless times I’ve tried cheaper products from the drug store, but I end up breaking out with acne and a rash…so I’ve decided to just stick with what works, despite the cost. 

What it is: A soft, no drying lather that cleanses gently and thoroughly. 

Who it’s for: Extra mild is for very dry to dry skin types; mild is for dry combination skin types; and oily skin formula is for combination oily to oily skin types

What it does: Clinique’s guiding dermatologists believe in simple, effective cleansing: soap and water. It protects skin’s natural moisture balance so there’s no taut or dry feeling

  • Clinique moisture surge face spray


Clinique moisture surge face spray
The environment in a hospital is so cold and dry. With even colder temperatures outside than normal we have had a space heater on at our desks, which dries out my skin even more. Just spray this on your face for an invigorating moisture surge. I was trying this particular product below. It smells great, helps keep my makeup put, and I liked the cool, refreshing feeling…but it didn’t work with my sensitive skin. So I returned it for the hypoallergenic version above. 

  • Mario Badescu Facial Spray


Facial Spray
So if you’re skin isn’t super sensitive, give this one a try. But if it is sensitive like mine, stick with Clinique because everything is hypoallergenic! I originally bought this for my plane ride to Thailand. But with that trip being postponed, I realized this would be great in the dry, cold hospital environment as well. It comes in travel size, so it’s easy to bring anywhere!
As for make-up, as previously mentioned, I cannot buy any drug store products because my face breaks out in a rash and acne pops up. So I tried NARS. The products come highly recommended, and their colors are best-sellers. But again, my face broke out in a rash. Grrr! Here are some of their best-sellers that work for most women:

  • NARS Sheer Glow Foundation


NARS Sheer Glow Foundation
NARS Foundation is designed to enhance your natural complexion without masking it. The weightless formula glides on effortlessly, blurring imperfections and evening out skin tone. Sheer Glow is a glowing, satin-finish Foundation with Sheer and buildable coverage. Your skin is hydrated, more luminous, softer and smoother. All true….if only my face wasn’t so sensitive! Give it a try though it has a 5-star rating, and worth the cost! I hate feeling like I’m being masked by makeup. I prefer a light finish that hides my imperfections. This was light and made my skin glow in this dreary, cold January weather! 

  • NARS Blush in Orgasm


NARS Blush in Orgasm
This Blush gets a 5-star rating for a reason. The color called Orgasm has a glowing hue of peach. NARS Blush offers a natural, healthy looking color that enlivens your complexion. Each Blush has a silky texture. Tip: I blend a touch along my hairline, jawline and the tip of my nose to create a more natural glow. 

  • NARS lip gloss in Risky Business


NARS lip gloss in Risky Business
LOVE this lip gloss. This shimmering color is a nourishing, smooth formula that lasts. People compliment the color every time I have it on. 

  • MAC Haute and Naughty Waterproof Mascara


MAC Haute and Naughty Waterproof Mascara
Because Texas is often extremely humid, and because I enjoy working out and I don’t like to worry about whether or not my mascara is running, I prefer Waterproof Mascara. I also am very emotional, so I don’t know when I will start crying (just being honest haha). I just bought this one due to its high ratings, and I LOVE it! It makes my short, dull lashes appear large and thick. I bought it in black! 

  • Clinique age defense BB cream 


Clinique age defense BB cream tinted moisturizer
Obviously my skin didn’t like the NARS Sheer Glow Foundation, despite its 5-star rating and my personal liking to it. So I’m sticking to Clinique because all of its products are hypoallergenic. As mentioned, I don’t like to cake on makeup. I prefer products that are light and natural, because I think I’m naturally beautiful, but I enjoy accentuating my features with the correct products and colors! This particular product is a tinted moisturizer, and offers SPF protection. Because I survived cancer in my twenties, I am more prone to cancer than other people, so this product is great. I also LOVE the sun. The vitamin D helps with my depression, and I just enjoy being outside! I don’t feel like I’m wearing a ton of makeup, and it protects my skin, all in one! Yay! 

  • Eucarin intensive Repair Hand Cream


This is amazing. Working in health care, I wash my hands so frequently that my hands start to bleed if I don’t moisturize frequently. This is the highest-rated drug store hand cream, and quite honestly the only product I’ve ever used that prevents my hands from bleeding! It’s about $6 a tube, but it’s the only hand cream I’ve used that works!

  • Moroccan Oil Moisture Repair Shampoo & Conditioner 


MoroccanOil Hydrating Trio
So I didn’t know this, but my new hairdresser here in Houston told me that if you continue to use the same product for too long, it essentially becomes ineffective. My hair is extremely thick and fine so I’ve always had to use expensive products to keep it healthy and shiny. I also can’t wash my hair more than 2 times a week or else it becomes incredibly oily. I don’t like to blow dry it too often either or else it becomes too dry and dull. But lately I get so sweaty at cycling class that I have to wash my hair, and with the cold weather I have to blow dry my hair before going outside to prevent myself from getting sick. If I do blow dry my hair, I apply a small amount of the Moroccan oil treatment to my damp hair before I dry my hair to protect my fine hair from the  heat. 

I got these products from Nordstrom and they come in travel size tubes so I can bring the, with me to the gym! They would be perfect for traveling as well! 

Hope you all have a wonderful week. I’ll be at the hospital this fine Monday! 🤓

XOXO, 

❤️ MOLLY