More about Me and Cancer

I like Houston. It is hot but from what I’ve seen I feel like I’m in Peru. It may be because I’m downtown? Or wherever all the hospital are? But the tree lined streets are gorgeous. Despite the heat, we’ve walked a ton. I bet that sounds crazy to you folks here, cuz the guy at the desk thought we were nuts that we wanted to walk, but I love exploring around here.

David was falling asleep and said to me “I’m so sad and sorry you have to go through this”. I looked at him and replied, “Don’t feel that way. I don’t feel sick. I feel better than I’ve ever felt.” And that is true.

I know cancer sucks for so many and we all have our own story and path. I’m only a month in and I wish I could describe how I feel. I feel good. I feel this sense of clarity. An appreciation more than ever for everyone I come across. A stronger urge to be powerful and make a change. It’s still me, but more clear, less stress and a greater appreciation. I would say stronger drive but I doubt that’s possible. It’s part of me.

So I went to meet my Dr’s. How you pack that much knowledge in a brain has me starstruck. They were like old high school friends and I knew this was the place for me instantly.

I’m finishing up a couple tests today and Monday. All should go just fine, no worries there. And then chemo starts Tuesday. Don’t quote me exact on this cuz David takes over when we talk medicine. But I’m doing DoseDense every week for 6wks and then Taxol every 3 weeks.

I was super stoked about a few other possibilities / clinical trials they had to offer until we started talking about how it may effect some other stuff on my abdomin. Ok, it’s gross, so you can skip, but they had to take 1/3 of my colon out and sew back in 2 places. The Drs worried it may possibly damage my colon at those spots. Ya, yuck right but I guess it’s part of all of us. So we decided not to risk that. Lol

Anne and Lynette are coming down for my first 2 rounds. One gal each week. Then I’ll go home between. I think. Is it crazy that I’m excited? I think I love a good challenge. I seriously do like to prove myself on pain tolerance. Told you I’m competitive with all things.

Thank you guys again for all your prayers which I’m sure fuel my faith that I’ve got this. Thank you for all the posts, pics, emails and card. Every one of them makes me smile. Huge.


Jan Paflas - July 31, 2013 - 9:40 am

David and Denise,
I am sending you both my love and support. And so glad you have found a place with the best medical people.

Emily C - July 28, 2013 - 11:46 pm

Thinking of you everyday!

markelle - July 28, 2013 - 9:11 pm

i’ve been reading this blog off and on for the past few years now (to win an outfit, see the latest creations…) so i feel like I’ve gotten to know so many of the mj family just thru the stories I’ve read. i didn’t expect to log on today and see that denise is ill. my family and i will include you in our prayers tonite. stay strong and lean on Jesus 🙂

De Isard - July 28, 2013 - 7:01 pm

To My Daughter,
My heart is filled with love and pride at your unbelievable attitude in dealing with cancer. You are an inspiration to all who know you and I am so proud to be your Dad. You are in my thoughts every day as you begin your treatment.
Much Love to you, David, Joe and Gabe—-Dad

Mendy - July 28, 2013 - 6:49 pm

The details will not be important when you already know the direction you need to go. Remission. You got this!

Katie Casterton (madora's mom) - July 28, 2013 - 6:38 pm

Hugs and Hearts to you ❤

Melanie H. - July 28, 2013 - 3:54 pm

Denise, you continue to be an amazing inspiration as you fight this fight, but I know that is because you are an amazing woman! I love what you say about cancer giving you such clarity…what an unexpected blessing! Thanks so much for the updates on your treatment, it is a privilege to pray for you! Will continue praying as you go through chemo & I know that you are going to beat the tar out of this mess! All the best to you & the family!
Love & hugs~

Courtney Puhl - July 28, 2013 - 1:56 pm

This is such wonderful news! I’m so glad to hear that you feel comfortable with the doctors…that can make sure a difference! Best of luck for your first treatment…we’re behind you!

sandy baltzer - July 28, 2013 - 10:43 am

Denise, I am in awe of your tremendous attidude and courage as you begin your treatment! I am honored to be a part of your life. You are an inspiration to everyone.
Love and prayers to you and your family—Love, Sandy

de isard - July 28, 2013 - 10:36 am

TO my daughter,

My heart is full of love, respect and prayers for you. You are the most courageous person I know and I am so proud to be your Dad!
You have brought so much joy to so many people and I believe this challenge with cancer will not stop you from continuing that but maybe in a different way.
You are in my thoughts every day–much love as you begin this treatment.
I love you, Dad

Rya - July 28, 2013 - 1:49 am

You never cease to amaze me…you’re strength, your faith and ability to see beauty in all things hasn’t wavered a moment since your health news. I’m learning how to be a strong person from watching you. You are one incredible lady Denise!!!

Nicole D - July 28, 2013 - 12:53 am

You are absolutely graceful in every way. What an amazing momma, wife, friend, abd role model. Keep calm and be you

hollybygolly - July 27, 2013 - 11:16 pm

Tears, your the bestest. Keep kicking cancer butt. Chuck and I love you.

Mellissa Duffey-Ivashevsky - July 27, 2013 - 11:07 pm

Denise, you are an inspiration! We all love and support you! Sending prayers your way daily. You got this!!!

Julie Swanson - July 27, 2013 - 8:12 pm

You are an amazing woman and I am just so taken aback at your response to cancer. I find it refreshing and freeing and I love the thought that someday if I find myself in similar shoes I can pull from your experience. Thank you for sharing and teaching us we always get to choose our response to situations. Keep it up , we are all on your team 🙂

Karen - July 27, 2013 - 7:24 pm

Prayers for you! You got this!

Maria Bellot - July 27, 2013 - 5:51 pm

hugs Denise! thank you for being such an inspiring & amazing person. You got this!!!

Ken Sparks - July 27, 2013 - 5:49 pm

Attitude is EVERYTHING in the heat of the battle, may God’s grace shine upon you as you take this challenge head-on. You are an inspiration in many ways! Know that your impact is far and wide, including here in Kenya, where our team had the chance to walk though the under construction Mighty Acorn House at Seeds Children’s Home in Kitale on Thursday night. Most of the 16 of our team will be joining Tish Teel and the painting team for several hours each morning Monday-Thursday before we need to be at Seeds Academy for our activities with all 300+ children there.

I hope that the knowledge of the difference you, David and the Mighty Acorn Foundation are making fuels that desire to see even more being accomplished for the least of these. To know the purity of your selfless effort in Kitale, take a look at James 1:27! Worthy goals like these help provide hope in the future and can super-charge that wonderful attitude you already possess and exude…despite the most difficult of circumstances.

Sarah Eustice Custar - July 27, 2013 - 5:30 pm

Thoughts and prayers for you Denise!

Casey Schneider - July 27, 2013 - 5:26 pm


Your outlook and drive are nothing short of amazing. I have no doubt you’ve got this. However, just want you to know that it’s ok to have down days or days in which you need to rely on family and those that love you to get you to the next day. You are loved by so many!

You will continue to be in my prayers,


Dorien - July 27, 2013 - 3:48 pm

best wishes denise. We started this journey with my husband in March (liver not ovarian)–unfort. his story will not end well (he’s diagnosed stage 4/terminal)–

but the amazing thing as we walk this path is the MANY truly wonderful people and experiences we are having.

Some days are hard (i won’t lie)
but some days are more beautiful than i ever imagined.
wishing you nothing but the best!

Mama Hope - July 27, 2013 - 2:58 pm

Lady, it’s official … you are craaazy! But such a good kind of crazy! You keep smelling the roses and let David figure out the logistics! And then you can let your friends be your pain warriors … if you need them!! If you don’t … Just hang out!!! This is part of your story … It will be a good one !

Valerie - July 27, 2013 - 1:34 pm

Cancer sucks, but MD Anderson rocks!
You are in the Med Center part of Houston which is very close to downtown and Rice University. Both have great restaurants, which I’m sure you’ve found out by now. Over in Rice Village is Benjy’s, which is a great place to eat and people watch. Perhaps you guys can go if you feel up to it?
I love your attitude and it is what will take you through this.

Kathleen fleury-Olson - July 27, 2013 - 1:21 pm

Denise. You may not remember me from cheboygan, but you were actually my math tutor one summer.

I heard about your cancer about 2 weeks ago on Facebook. I have a serious question that may help your fellow woman get information that could possibly prevent the same occurrence from happening to them. I hope it’s not too personal, but I feel I have to ask for my own family/self. Did you go to an annual ob/gyn appointment? And if not how often did you go? And if you did go annually, had nothing shown up on the Pap test?

I was thinking about how your blogs seemed to suggest this was a shock and happened suddenly. But the way the cancer showed itself, seemed like it would’ve taken time. And I’m not sure how one would catch this type of thing earlier…..

I wish you and your family all the best and pray for a complete recovery. God bless:)

Caitlin Gossen - July 27, 2013 - 12:59 pm

You are so amazingly awesome. You are giving me the thought “I can have cancer… it’s not that bad!” I mean… who does that??? Only you Denise. Only you. xoxo

Michelle Ditton - July 27, 2013 - 12:55 pm

You are such an inspiration. I feel your energy! Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers daily on this journey.
Sexual Assault Treatment Center

Erin R - July 27, 2013 - 12:20 pm

What a perfect example of courage, determination and most of all grace you are. You will beat this. Praying for you always <3

Anne-Marie - July 27, 2013 - 12:19 pm


Robyn Fisher - July 27, 2013 - 12:11 pm

I use to come in to your store when you first opened in Covington Plaza, loved the funny cards and all your signs you made. My daughter was 8 and I bought her the Daydream Believer sign! Even though she never was the right age group when you first brought out your Maltida Jane clothes we have followed you through some of my older daughters friends with their little ones! Just wanted to let you know that I have been thinking of you and hoping you strength to weather this storm! DAYDREAM BELIEVER!

Chelley williams - July 27, 2013 - 12:01 pm

I love this post!! So inspiring 🙂 the whole williams family is praying for you and praying you don’t miss a beat! I have a feeling that you won’t 😉 you remind me of my moms optimism with life and I used to think she was in denial sometimes but instead she has taught me sometimes we have to choose to be positive, have faith and that is what will see is through!! Xoxo

Debbie - July 27, 2013 - 11:46 am

I’m praying for you. Thank you for keeping us updated.

Elizabeth - July 27, 2013 - 11:36 am

You are such an inspiration!!! We are all behind you!!!

Michelle Yager-French - July 27, 2013 - 11:32 am

You are an amazing strong woman! My prayers are with u!

Julia - July 27, 2013 - 11:27 am

You are an amazing woman! Sending Laker Love and prayers your way!

Gran - July 27, 2013 - 11:26 am

Good morning Denise, I have checked and re checked each day to get your updates. Sounds like things are on target and that you definitely have the place and doctors that are the ones for you. Yes prayers continue to come your way and to wrap you with love and healing. So happy to know your friends are coming each week. Love you!

Cyndi Siegfried - July 27, 2013 - 11:21 am

I read your blog this morning from FB. We are in Houston too for medical treatment. Like you, we do a lot of walking while we are here. I love to walk in the Rice Village area–even when it’s hot. Where are you staying? Are your doctors at MD anderson? We are old hands at this so if we can help you in any way let me know. My email is Also u can go to our website to learn more about us.
Cyndi Siegfried

becca - July 27, 2013 - 11:16 am

you are a strong woman denise, much stronger than i could be, im a total whimp when it comes to any kind of pain. it makes me sad you have to go through this, ill be thinking of you and praying for you! (((HUGS)))

Pamela M. - July 27, 2013 - 11:14 am

Hi Denise – I am so glad you are happy with your choice of being at MD Andersen. It is so awesome. Like I said, my cousin thinks it is one of the best medical facilities on earth. Stay strong – so glad you are getting to explore Houston. Remember to Live well, laugh often, and love much!

Amber Zahirniak - July 27, 2013 - 11:13 am

Sending many prayers for You! You are amazingly strong! Lean on the Lord and he will see you through! 🙂 I’ve walked every step of the way…where you are now and where you’re going. And I felt the exact same way that you described yourself to feel. I had just turned 24 when I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. That was 9 years ago. My firstborn son was 18m old at the time. I’ve been in remission for 8. I was never sad or upset about my diagnosis, but more of a feeling of eagerness and somewhat challenged to beat it! I wasn’t gonna let cancer win! I’m from West, Tx. My mom drove me to Houston every week for 8 months for my treatment. She is my angel! I couldn’t have made it without her! I still go to Houston yearly now…for CT scans, mammograms, and to see my cardiologist. The chemo has several side effects that they still monitor closely for me. I’m not a fan of Houston…like you said, it’s hot and humid! But I looooove, looooove, looooove, MD Anderson. It’s my home away from home now! And, I was blessed with a daughter,20 months ago…when the doctors said the chemo would fry my eggs and I would never have anymore children. So, she was a gift from God…one I never thought I’d have! And she’s always dressed in her MJ! 🙂 I will be praying for you. Once you start treatment, you will have good days and you will have bad days. But, stay strong. Have hope in the Lord. He is on your side and He will see you through. Everything’s gonna be ok. Much LOVE and Blessings to You! You got this!!! <

Courtney Aldridge - July 27, 2013 - 11:09 am

You are such a strong woman and so positive! Prayers for you and your family from Natchez Ms!

Brandi Parker - July 27, 2013 - 11:07 am

Stay strong Denise.. I read somewhere doctors know the one’s that kick cancer’s arse are the one’s with the Kick Arse attitude.. Know that we love you and support you…

“The Person that sends out positive thoughts activates the world around him positively and draws back to himself positive results”..Peale

Alicia - July 27, 2013 - 10:55 am

Our thoughts, prayers, and happy thoughts are with you, you amazing lady!

We loved MD Anderson and that we could walk to the zoo and the flower district!

We pray you feel better soon! Thank you for all the amazing things you do!

Tracie - July 27, 2013 - 10:53 am

Denise, you are an inspiration to everyone. The strength you have is what will guide you and your family through this difficult journey. You are in my prayers.

Shawna Pesina - July 27, 2013 - 10:52 am

You are amazing and an inspiration to many Denise! ‘As A Woman Thinketh, So Is She’. God Bless you beautiful lady! xoxo

Lisa Riley - July 27, 2013 - 10:51 am

Sending Prayers for you:)). We serve an AWESOME GOD!!!!!!!!!!

Aimee - July 27, 2013 - 10:49 am

You are amazing!!!!!!! You may my heart smile with joy because I can tell you feel good. I am so glad. Hugs!!! God bless and many prayers and blessings to you.