Natalia's journey

In reality our entire family news will be shared through this blog as our baby grows and as we fight cancer.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

"For whom the bell tolls"?

For me!!!!!

Yes, everything has to come to an end ... the brutal war, the chemo, SCT, radiation ... every saga has it's end and mine was yesterday. I rang the hell out of the bell in front of the radiation staff and a few other patients and my voice sounded like a first grader's as I was reading the 'End of treatment' poem. I actually haven't heard anyone else ring the bell during my entire 3+ weeks of radiation treatment so it was very emotional and exciting for me.
As Hemingway puts it "The Sun also rises" and so my Sun is rising as well! We are so excited to start a new life -- I am going to be shining for my boys and all the friends around, and even strangers around cause I AM SO DONE WITH CANCER!!! Yes, I have a few nagging side effects like abdominal pain (liver?), chest pain (heart?), fatigue and dizziness but how would you know it's sunny if it wouldn't be for a few clouds? So yeah, despite my physical limitations at the moment, my soul is soaring high and I could not be happier. I even get a 4 week break till the next CAT scan -- a great opportunity to rest, recover and enjoy the sunshine!

Here are a few pics from my radiation (sorry if it's too much for you -- viewer's discretion advised) and if you really want to feel how I feel check out this 'Team in training".

Peace and Love to all!
My radiation team
My last glow!
The after effect :)
The MASS (can you believe it was even bigger?)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Our Valentine's Day 2 years ago - 2005

On top of Sacre d'Cour
The long and winding road Montparnasse
Dali's Museum

All we need is Love!!

"All together now:
All we need is love...."

"Love is all we need!" Happy Valentine's Day!
Whether you are single or married I wish you peace and comfort, love and joy of the day's simple pleasures ...some sunshine, warm cup of tea or coffee, smiles with friends and loved ones.

I must confess, I am having a new affair!
Yes, it's weird...I always thought my heart was too small to fit another love besides Raymond... well, what do I know about love and life at 29? I guess, not much... cause I am in love like never before. I've always loved Raymond's eyes for the kindness and warmth that they emitted; and now I am melting when I get the same sweet kind look with a naughty twist of an innocent child - my Andryusha! Oh, how much we love this little cupid!
Back in 2005, Raymond and I fled to Paris for the Valentine's to celebrate our newly found surprise - I was almost 2 months pregnant; and gush, we never thought it would be this way 2 years later....a love triangle that we really love!
Below are a few pics from that trip to Paris.... as for our plans today, well, Raymond was working in Florida last week and arrived home sick just as Andryusha and I got better... and now, we are on a new flu cycle, smudging kisses and flu all over each other :) Oh well, it's not very romantic but it's not as bad as last week - no chills and fevers, or major congestion. And tomorrow, I am going to MDA to see how I am doing ... I'll be done with radiation next week -- compared to chemo, it's been indeed a walk in the park but I am so ready to be done with any kind of treatments. I'll keep you posted.
Tour Eiffel
Old Paris

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

"Getting better all the time" :)

I got loaded on medications, Indian herb tea and Russian balm rubs so now I feel a lot better and I am continuing with the radiation.

So many of you wanted to see new pics ... sorry for the delay ...I finally got around to it. Here are a few of us with my dad who will be leaving back home this Saturday :(
And how do you like my new short hair? I feel like a bunny since every one wants to pet me when they see my hair :)
Dad and us Zharevich!
Always ready - bring it on!!

I am big but love to cuddle with milk :)

Monday, February 05, 2007


I am so sorry to report that I am sick ... it finally got me ... since I've started radiation I felt a little sore throat and swelling and I hoped it would go away since they told me it's a bit too fast for those symptoms to come, yet it just progressed into a full size flu with head congestion and light headiness.... and the machine was down today for some reason so I didn't have any treatment. And so I wonder two things: 1) could radiation have weakened my immune system and thus the cold/flu or is it totally unrelated 2) will they continue treating me while I am sick. I guess I will know tomorrow when I go to MDA.

And since I am dwelling on how fragile life is, I want to share the sad news of a young man Lee who recently passed away fighting Hodgkin's lymphoma in UK .... we all followed his progress for over a year and a half and I was very optimistic for the positive outcome since he just turned 18. A little over a week ago he started to have chest pain and difficulty breathing and next thing he was gone.... and I just keep thinking of him while I am sick. Here is what his brother Kev had to say about Lee ... I just hope I could be this brave and strong when my time comes....
"I wanted to thank you all for your very touching posts. To know there are others of you out there that can appreciate and share our pain is comforting, although I don't wish to make you sad you understand.In making some sense of this totally overwhelming feeling of loss I believe Lee may be one of the lucky ones and it is those of us who remain that suffer.I'm convinced there is something out there beyond this life that is just so fantastic; and that one day we will all experience what we have been missing.Lee was an exceptional young man. His courage to the very end leaves me lost for words. He passed away just a few days after his eighteenth birthday and in true Lee style, without a tear, he told us before he went that he had had everything he could wish for in that time and was excited to be moving on. Lee said he had the looks (which he did in spades), the girls, money, an extraordinary family and a talent for his golfing that bought him a 'fame' in the local golfing communities.Lee did nothing by halves and his Lymphoma was no exception. From the outset the odds were stacked against us. However, this remains a disease that is highly curable and I wish you every success in your battles.Thank you all once again, so much."