Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A listing of "Updates for my Sweet Friends" - Kind of a running journal of my journey


hi my friends,just wanted to let you know that I went in today and we went "right tobiopsy" It wasn't fun - but I am done with it now.....I am just gonnahang out with my husband and my icepack and watch old movies now!! Ishould know the results by Thursday afternoon at the latest - I will letyou all know when I know!! Thanks again for your support and yourkindness and for listening!! It was so great to get to talk to youguys!! Have a great week and I'll update you soon!!love y'all!!Christina


hi you all,I got the call (while in Publix) that they did find cancer cells - sohere we go.....Anyway, I am still in shock - kinda angry - but anger isgood because I am not gonna let this get me down - I am gonna bestrong!!! So, I guess I will find out more after Christmas....next stepis to go to a surgeon and stuff. I have a call into my doctor now tosee if she can answer more questions.....Sorry to be the bearer of bad news - but like I said - I am gonna bestrong and I am so lucky to have wonderful people like you all around me- and I hear yoga is great for healing!! Thank you for everything!Love y'all! Merry Christmas and see you on the 29th!!Christina


Hi everyone!!
I am so sorry to do this in a group email - but it was easier for me to get the word out this way!! I FINALLY have my surgery set for Monday, January 30th at 1 p.m. at Memorial. I am feeling very good about both surgeons and am keeping a positive attitude through it all! (although I am a little scared for my first surgery!) But, I know with all of your prayers and your strength behind me - I will do great!! Thank you all for being so wonderful and caring to me - it is such a comfort to have a support system around me - especially knowing that this is just the beginning!! Thank you again and I will keep you all posted on everything (or Greg will!!)
Love to all of you!!


Good morning my dear sweet friends,
I just remembered something last night that I thought I should let you all know in case you called the hospital or something (I don't even know for sure if you can do that?!?!) but I am Christina Crum through this whole process. That is my husband's last name for those of you who don't know and that is what my insurance/navy identification knows me by. So, as is fitting - I am a true Gemini with dual personalities and names!! (well at least the names part!) Thank you again to all of you for your support and love - I feel your thoughts and prayers everyday and I am so lucky to have you all with me!!
Have a great weekend and we will keep you posted!!
lots of love,


Hello my friends!
I am so sorry I didn't write yesterday to fill you in on my progress. I thought I was going to be doing great by now - but I have had a few setbacks with my medications - allergic to my first pain medication on Tuesday and then took awhile to catch up with the pain all day yesterday. And then, this morning, I took my new pain meds with my antibiotic and was sick all morning - FUN!! But, enough of the complaining and bad news - onto some GOOD NEWS!! I heard back from the surgeon on the pathology report and my lymph nodes are CLEAR!!! Woohoo!! So, that is great news. He also said that it was a good think I had the mastectomy because there were two separate areas of cancer....but they are all gone now!!

I also went to the plastic surgeon today and they said that everything looks good and I am moving right along. So, next week to my surgeon and plastic surgeon again and the oncologist! We are on the road to recovery and then the next phase! Thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers and gifts and love and everything!! I could get quite down about this stuff if it weren't for you all!! Oh - and Gregory has been great to me - as usual - and my mom has been a huge help too! I just hope that I start getting back to normal soon!

Thank you all again for all that you do - your support and love means more than I can express! I sure have needed it and feel so blessed to have you all!! More to come later!!
Much love!


Hi everyone!
I am sorry so late in the day again with my email message!! I am doing really well today - it seems like I have one great day and one not so great day (but not horrible) and they kind of go like that in a wave. All in all though, I am really doing well - taught three yoga classes and cooked for two great clients this week - it was so fun to get back to my normal life!!

As you know, I went to see my oncologist on Thursday and I am scheduled to start my chemo next week - on Thursday. Greg and I went today for the "education" and the nurses there are really nice and very upbeat and positive! My mom is coming over the night before so that she can be there with me during my first treatment (she's been through it before!) I don't want to bombard you all with too much info - so please let me know if you want/need more details and I will share them with you. I will be receiving treatments every 14 days for 8 weeks - so it should run about 4 months....(sounds better in weeks to me!!) I am planning to go on with my yoga and my cooking and my life as normally as I am able - taking time to rest and heal when I need to!! I am going into all of this with an open mind and keeping positive - one thing is for sure, they have come a long way in fighting the side effects - so it will better than it used to be.

I am looking forward to the weekend and I hope all of you have a great one!! I will post more next week! Thanks again, as always, for caring about me and making me feel so incredibly special and strong - it is only with all of your support that I can pull this off!! Thank you for blessing me with your love, kindness and prayers!!
Love and hugs!

P.s. Happy Valentine's Day to everyone!! (in case I don't talk to you all before then!!)


Hello my dear friends,
I am sorry it has been so long since I last wrote. As I had hoped, I have been getting better every day - but I wanted to get ALL of my things done this week before I wrote to you all. I had my first (well, really second if you count the operating room to be my first) saline fill in my expander on Valentine's day. Greg went with me and thankfully the doctor and nurse were so helpful - and funny - it wasn't so bad (even though the needle and syringe were quite menacing!) I just looked away and laughed at the nurse's jokes - and before I knew it, it was done. I go back each week - or can skip a week whenever I want! They are very accommodating and understanding!! (good news there!!)

My mom came into town on Wednesday night and on Thursday morning, we went wig shopping. We found a great place and had a fun time picking out wigs for me....my mom (and dad) were nice enough to spring for TWO!! And, after reading Donna Hicken's book (thank you June!) and learning how she named her wigs - I think I will do the same!! So, my long layered weekend one will be named Veronica and my short sassy one will be named Sissy!! How fun!! I also plan to learn to tie scarves and things to wear to yoga and to wear under hats!!

After that fun, we were off to my first chemo treatment - and I was feeling pretty good, but then had to wait thirty minutes or so in the waiting room and my anxiety was starting to get the best of me! When I got called back, my nurse - Denise - was great though and was kind enough to give me a "party favor" to calm me down and help me through my first treatment. (the party favor was ativan - a mild tranquilizer). Then they started the rest of the treatment and at that point I was A-okay with everything - ha-ha!! My mom was with me there - and after what she went through over 20 years ago - she was very impressed with the care and new adjustments they have made to treatment!

I felt really fine all day yesterday and held a very entertaining yoga class that night (still reeling from the ativan!!) and had a nice big meal when I got home and a fairly good night's sleep. I taught another yoga class this morning and actually did a lot of the class - it felt SO great!! (but I did stop when it didn't feel good and made sure not to overdo - no sun salutations for me!!) Then this afternoon, onto the doctor's office again for my Neulasta shot to help keep my blood cell counts up. It wasn't bad either - and I found that my nurse loves yoga and has even been to a few ashrams and to Kripalu and took a healing energy class - so, what a perfect match!! She was even saying today that she hopes that with my positive attitude about this experience - maybe I can get the word out that this chemo isn't such bad stuff - after all, it gets rid of that bad cancer and that is what we want!!!

Also, we have been hearing a lot about the benefits of Reiki and my sister and her family got me three sessions from a practitioner that is actually in walking distance from my house!! I can't wait to try it out - and if I love it - I plan to take some classes to learn to do it myself - for self-healing and to add to my yoga classes!!

Now, onto the weekend! My mom goes home tomorrow and then Greg and I just plan to have a nice quiet weekend at home - mainly because I don't know how the chemo will affect me - but I am hoping that I will keep on rolling through like I have so far!!

Thank you to all of you for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers and for all of the incredibly nice gestures you have done for me and bestowed upon me - and for all the kind words you have shared with me! It truly is with your support that I am able to keep so positive and strong. I am so very blessed!!
Have a wonderful weekend and I will write again soon!! Much love,


Hello Dear Friends,
I am sorry that it has been so long since I last wrote!! But, you know what they say - no news is good news!!! So, to fill you all in - I had a great second week after my first chemo - really felt normal - cooked and taught yoga (and even did a little!) and really had my normal little life - and it was grand!!

For those of you who don't know, I cut my hair short (well, above the shoulders) just to get prepared - and, of course, I ended up liking it even more than my old hair!! Oh well, it won't take as long to grow out to that length!! I was feeling pretty good to have my hair this long (they say you usually start losing it at 14 days) but Friday, I started noticing a more-than-usual amount coming out - so I guess it won't be around for too much longer!! Oh well, that just means it is time to let Sissy and Veronica see the world!!

I had my second round of chemo on March 2nd, saw the doctor before and he thought that everything looked and sounded like it was going great!! I switched up my "recipe" this time and asked for no party favor (ativan) and no benadryl (because I previously thought it gave me "dancin' legs - but found out later it was the nausea pills that did that!) Although I had numerous offers from my wonderful friends to drive me, I decided I wanted to try it on my own. I noticed the first time I went that there were a lot of people doing that - so I wanted to try it too! Plus, I had all these fun puzzle books that I wanted to delve into during the treatment!!

It turned out to be an interesting day. They were shorthanded that day with staff and although I drank 15 glasses of water the day before, and 3 that morning - they still couldn't find a vein other than the one in my elbow. Oh well - that was fine - just limited my puzzle choices (because I have to keep my right arm straight!) The nurse I had wasn't as gentle as my first one with the sticks and the treatments - but she was very nice - and like I said - was about the only one there!! I did meet some very nice ladies (and one nice husband!) - we were all in one corner and all had Navy husbands. I had to brag on mine, of course - and I heard some great stories to take home to Greg. It was nice to talk with people in the same predicament as me and to compare stories. It sure made the time go by fast!

I was okay after the treatment and all the way through yoga that night - but when I got home and after dinner, I was sick. And, that continued through till Friday afternoon when I went in to get my neulasta shot (which stung this time too - same nurse as the day before!) I told them that I want to go back to my "original recipe" (sounds like KFC!) next time and to please give me something new for the nausea because I didn't like that other stuff. So, they gave me a new prescription, we picked it up and all was better a few hours later! I had some bone pain and sore throat from the neulasta shot that night and the next day - but it didn't seem as bad as the first time!! That was a good thing, because I had to go to a CPR/AED/First Aid class on Saturday (for 5 hours!) But, it wasn't really so bad - kept my mind occupied - and now I am certified for another year!
I cooked for clients yesterday and am cooking again today - and feeling just fine!! So great to get back to feeling normal (and faster than last time, I think!)! I am seeing my surgeon for my month check-up tomorrow morning - can't believe it has only been 36 days since my surgery....it seems like so long ago, but at the same time - it feels like it was only a week ago...

The main thing now is to look ahead and check off those days!! I have two treatments down and only 6 to go!! I am looking forward to a couple of yoga workshops this weekend - not sure how much I'll be able to do - but I can't wait to learn new things - for myself and for my students!! Greg and I are looking forward to a visit from my parents in mid-March and then Greg and I are off to Napa Valley on April 1st for a wonderful trip with our friend Robin!! We have been doing lots of planning and are SO excited!!

Thank you to all of you for caring about me, keeping me in your thoughts and your prayers and for your friendship! It truly means the world to me!! And thank you for all the offers to help and do whatever you can for me - I can't believe how blessed and lucky I am to be surrounded by such lovely, caring, generous, incredible, BEAUTIFUL people!! Wow!!

Have a wonderful week and I'll talk to you soon!!
Love, Christina


Hello dear friends,

Well, I figured it was just about time to fill you all in on me and what's been going on. Since my last email - I have had two more chemo treatments - so I am now at the halfway point - woohoo!! I am all done with the AC (adriamycin & cytoxen) and am on to either four more treatments of Taxol or Taxotere next. I went back to my original recipe the third time - and it was much better - no sickness or anything, but the neulasta shot put me in bed for the whole day on Saturday. I moved my chemo up one day this time around - all went well, except my red blood cells were down (slightly anemic) so I got a shot for that! And, I had my neulasta shot today and am hoping to beat the odds and have a pain-free easy day tomorrow - maybe starting the day with my yoga class will help - we shall see! I sure do have a busy day - getting ready to go to California!!

We leave for California on Saturday morning at 6 a.m. and will be meeting Robin, Virginia, Delores, Sue and Bob and all of the other wonderful people in Yountville on Saturday. We'll have dinner in Yountville that night. On Sunday, we will visit Opus One for a tour, have lunch at the Culinary Institute, stop in at Roederer for a tasting, see the Redwood Forest and then we are headed to the beautiful Harbour House Inn where we will stay for two nights! I am hoping to catch a yoga class in Mendocino and visit the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in Ukiah!! It is going to be a wonderful trip and we can't wait!!

As far as every day life, I have been busy with cooking for clients and have really been enjoying teaching all of my yoga classes!! Both have really kept me going and made me feel like everything really is normal!! After being tired of even my short hair coming out in clumps, (not to mention I was getting some undesired advances with my "butch" haircut!!) I decided to go ahead and get my head shaved - thanks to my friends David and Cheryl for making that such a good experience!! And, I have been sporting Sissy and Veronica out and about town!! I also got some great caps from my from friend Ann - and they have been lifesavers for daywear!! And, thanks to my yoga students for allowing me to sport my bald head in class!!

Greg and I attended a Sailor of the Year dinner in his honor at the base last Thursday (I wore Veronica that night!). We were seated with the CO of his command and the Command Master Chief and his wife. It was an honor for us both and I was so very proud of him!! That weekend my mom and dad also came to town and we went out to eat at Medure - (sissy made it out that night) and had a wonderful time!

So, as you can see - my life is just rolling along as usual! I have even gotten back into some work on my roses and our new camellias. Our friend Cleo sent us four new bareroot roses and Greg cleared a garden area next to our azalea garden to plant them - so now we will have beautiful roses in the front yard and backyard. It is good to be out there tending to them and all of our "gardens" again!!

We have a Relay for Life right in our front yard (Jarboe Park) on the weekend we get back from California - so we are going to attend that for sure - and a Survivor dinner on April 6th. My Sea Turtle Patrol starts up in May and our first meeting is April 13th! I am signed up to patrol just one day a week - just didn't want to put too much on my plate - but I am looking forward to my sunrise bike rides again along the ocean!!

I hope that all of you are doing great in your lives and I thank you - as always - for all of your prayers and positive thoughts! As you can see - they are really working!!! I couldn't be this strong and "normal" without all of you believing in me and supporting me!! Thank you all for being here for me and for Greg!! We love you all!!

Happy Easter to you and your families and much love and thanks to you all!!


Hello Sweet Friends!

It has been a long time - but finally I am getting back in touch with all of you!! Our trip to California was incredible. We were totally awestruck by the scenery and had a wonderful time with Robin and her family and friends. It was the perfect diversion, and with all of the fun and adventurous driving and touring through the mountains and up the coast stopping at Wineries, Geysers and the City of 10,000 Buddhas - Greg and I felt like we were on the amazing race!! Although more because of the adventure than the competition!! We stayed in beautiful places with breathtaking views and enjoyed delicious wines and vegetarian meals - and the best Creme Brulee that many of us had ever had!! It was fun on top of fun and we can't thank Robin enough for inviting us!!

I started my new treatments (taxol) on the 13th, and had a little bit of a hard time with it - but thanks to the great nurses and my sister and Greg - I made it through. The only problem really was that the medicine was painful/yucky going in.....too cold, too fast, too yucky...but they slowed it down, put a heating pad on me and it was better. I had a little bit of joint pain on the 4th day - but with yoga and time - it went away by the fifth day!! I had my second treatment of Taxol this past Thursday, and the nurses were super with me and put the medicine in very slow - in fact, I was there at the doctor's office from 11:15 until 4:40!! Wow! But, now I only have TWO MORE TO GO!! Woohoo!! After May, we'll be done with this stuff!!

We have had some nice visits lately too - from Greg's Mom and Sister, Billy and Mesa, and my Mom and Dad - it was nice seeing all of you!! We also had a wonderful evening at the Sympony with Barbara and Bob - it was our first time and we absolutely loved it!!

The weather has been beautiful around here and we have been trying to get out in the yards and tend to our rose gardens, hibiscus, meyer lemon, camellias, herbs and azaleas - not to mention our grass!! We also started a much needed diet after our trip - back to Weight Watchers and counting points - eating healthier, etc. And, I finally started my walking program last Monday - starting slow - but getting out there almost every day!! I start my sea turtle patrol next Wednesday - and I can't wait!! I seem to be getting back some of my energy - so that feels great!!

Thanks to all of my wonderful yogis and yoginis for coming to my yoga classes - continuing with my practice and teaching and sharing with all of you has been such a positive force for me - and I thank you all for being in it with me!!

And, a big thank you to ALL of you for your thoughts, prayers, kindness and support!! It is so incredible to know that I am surrounded by so many wonderful people who care about me - I am blessed!!

Happy Spring and all the best to all of you!!