Well, it’s been a few months since I’ve posted anything here. My weekly column on the CafeMom platform has been my primary writing outlet. But some things are brewing of which I wanted to make you aware.

However, first, an update on the Montgomery Three. (And I apologize in advance for the length of this thing. It’s been a busy summer!)

Maggie. Maggie, Maggie, Maggie. Our little Magnolia Grace is growing by leaps and bounds and is becoming more full of personality every minute. She’s now nine months old. NINE MONTHS OLD. It’s still so hard to believe that it was only nine months ago that I was rushed to the hospital for the emergency C-section that brought her into the world. And that it’s already been nine whole months that we’ve had her. She’s almost a year old! And what a year it has been…. Crazy!

Maggs is pulling up on everything, navigating on two feet from one piece of furniture to the other, and seems to be on the brink of walking. She weighs about 17 pounds and is wearing size 9-12 month clothes. She has two bottom teeth (and knows how to use them). Her hair, a gorgeous copper shade that we hope she keeps, is coming in thicker by the day. It appears that her eyes are going to be brown, a similar color to her hair. Her latest trick is waving. If you say “Hi!” to her she holds out her right hand and opens and closes it, waggling her fingers (to the delight of the recipient).

She hasn’t said words yet but we think that “Hi!” may be her first one. She’s come awfully close to saying it on a number of occasions. And she babbles and chatters up a storm.

She’s eating cereal and soft foods and still taking formula. She loves Baby Mum Mum crackers … they make her squeal with delight. She goes to Montessori school three days a week and has been described as “very social”. She seems to be in perfect health and is still sleeping 10-12 hours every night (more proof that the universe is looking out for us).

She wakes up happy every single day, and one of our favorite morning pastimes is listening to her chatter before we go into her room to get her for the day.

In short, she’s an effing delight and we can’t get enough of her. How we got lucky enough to end up with this amazing creature is a mystery to me. In fact, if I had known that this is the child I’d end up with, I might have considered having one a long, long time ago. She’s a good seed, for sure.

Fountainmaggs

Mark. My husband is a marvel. He saw me through six months of chemo, has been an amazing father and co-parent to our daughter, and launched a company all in the same year. And built a studio in which he has written and recorded some incredible music with some incredible musicians. And has continued to mentor a dozen or so entrepreneurs in Nashville, as well as continued his involvement with the Center for Entrepreneurship, the W.O. Smith School of Music and half a dozen other organizations. And still has time to be the funny, quirky, caring and generous soul with whom I fell in love what seems like a lifetime ago. I’m a lucky girl. ‘Nuf said.

Daddymaggs

Oh, shit. I just realized this is looking and sounding like one of those Christmas letters, isn’t it? I’m so sorry. This is what I get for waiting so long to update the personal blog. Well, I don’t know what else to do at this point but press on; but I’ll try to make it less Christmas-lettery. And if you want to stop reading now, please do. Seriously. I wouldn’t blame you a bit.

Me. Well, I’m currently in remission, which is still the biggest and best news of all. And I’m grateful for it. Oh, so grateful. As I wrote earlier, the news that I had No Evidence of Disease was a bit of a surprise to me. I had been bracing for something less clear-cut, more nebulous. It was almost anti-climatic to get the all clear on the first visit. We celebrated a little bit, but mostly we were just relieved.

I kept waiting to exhale after this news. But, honestly, I still haven’t. I have my first three-month follow-up and scan on October 10th and I’m already nervous about it. That negative little voice is whispering in my ear, “well, of course your first scan was clear… you were still pumped full of shitloads of chemo… but your next scans, those might not be so clear…”.

So, despite all efforts to live in the moment, stay in the present and all of that jazz that I know is true and works, I am human and still get into that fear place from time to time. I try not to, but I can’t help it. So, I’m still applying that good ‘ol 50/10 rule and allowing myself the occasional freakout. And honestly, I don’t know that I’ll ever fully relax, although a few more clean scans under my belt can only help, right?

In addition to trying to keep freakouts at a minimum, I’m also managing some pretty significant residual side effects from the chemo. Because I ended up doing 24 rounds (instead of the originally scheduled 18), it seems that I pushed my body to the absolute limit. As a consequence, I’m experiencing some side effects that are common but annoying. And potentially permanent. I have neuropathy and numbness in my feet and hands, along with a lot of joint and muscle pain and stiffness. When I first get out of bed in the morning, I feel like I’m 90. And having what they call “dead feet” makes me a little clumsy. I’ve fallen a few times, stumbling over my own feet. And my foot has slipped off the brake of my car more than once, causing me to lurch forward. But so far I haven’t been hurt or hurt anyone else. And I’m learning to deal with the side effects and compensate for them in other ways.

What else? I’m getting some hair back. It’s way darker than my old dishwater blonde base color, and I now have some grays, something I was blessed not to have to deal with pre-chemo. And I have eyebrows and eyelashes again. (Eyelashes, I think I missed you most of all.)

Buds

I’ve been on medical leave since the cancer surgery, but am now gearing up to going back part-time. I’ll try working about 15 hours a week for a few months and see how it goes. The folks at my office have been amazingly kind and patient and generous. I could not have dreamed of a more understanding bunch.

Now…on to the news. You know that CafeMom Studios produced a little 10-part mini-documentary webseries on our story called, “It’s Cancer, Baby”? Well, apparently Arianna Huffington became aware of the series and tweeted about it a few months ago.

It was just a wee little Tweet. But it apparently caught the attention of someone at Katie Couric’s new show, and they contacted me. If you know Katie’s story, you know that she lost her husband to colon cancer and has been an anti-cancer crusader ever since. (And in an unrivaled show of bad-assery, she even had a colonoscopy on air to raise awareness about the importance of colon health!) At any rate, both she and her producer, Jeff Zucker, are big advocates in the cancer community, and asked if we would be willing to come on her show and tell our story.

So…. we’re going to do it! The show launches on September 10th, and our episode will be recorded live on September 18th. I believe it will air about a week later. I’ll post more details here as soon as I know them. Again, crazy!

I continue to be amazed on a daily basis by how many wonderful people and opportunities this bout with cancer has brought into my life, and for the changes that have manifested in me as a result of the experience. It has been, and continues to be, transforming in so many ways.

More on that later. But for now you’ve been duly updated. Now, if you’ve managed to read to the end of this post, you’ve earned yourself a nap!

Love and gratitude,

Joanna

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