I have this thing called a blog…

…and it’s something I never use anymore.  I have been in a writing mood lately so maybe I’ll pick it back up again.

Last I checked in I had accepted a position with Cancer Research of the Ozarks and was running for LLS Woman of the Year.   That was a year ago.   In case you didn’t hear, I won!

Woman of the Year    me-john

I am still very involved with the LLS and am serving as the Nominating Committee chair this year.  One of my nurses from Dr. Ellis’ office is a candidate this year – Team Patty all the way!

I am still working at Cancer Research for the Ozarks.  I’ve learned a lot over the past year – about different cancers and about how research works.   One of my tasks is to inform the IRB about the status of patients, whether they are in follow-up care or deceased.  Sometimes it’s hard to have info about cancer in my face all day, but most days I just hope I’m contributing to the good cause.

1620518_10152276316832421_685362482_n The family is good and Ryan is another year older.  Very hard to believe that he was 19      months when I was diagnosed.  He is 5 (and a half, he says) and will be starting kindergarten  this fall.  He is in pre-school at Immaculate Conception (where John’s Mom taught and where  John went to school), but starting next year we are going to move him to St. Elizabeth Ann  Seton  (SEAS), which is our home parish.

Ryan has started flag football with his little buddies (Grant and Jackson pictured here).  He’s       no longer running back to us after every play, like he has in t-ball.  So big.

Ryan keeps John and I busy – that’s for sure.  Yesterday we played hooky and went to Silver      Dollar City in the afternoon.  It was a beautiful day and no lines, we walked onto every ride!

This past February John and I went to Cozumel with my cousin Brian and his wife Jenn.  It was amazing, wonderful, awesome, and every other adjective that describes being on an all-inclusive resort without children for 5 nights.  🙂


Health wise there is no new news and that’s a great thing!  I saw Dr. Ellis last Friday and my counts were a little off but nothing he’s concerned about so it’s nothing I’m concerned about.  I see him every six months and will eventually see him yearly.

I’m looking forward to marking a couple bands off my concert bucket list in the next couple months – hopefully I’ll still be in the writing mood then!


Almost 3 years of my life.

It’s been so long I don’t even know where to start.  I guess with the big news.  Done.  Finished.  Complete.  32 months of treatment behind me.  Almost 3 years of my life.


Ryan was 19 months old when I was diagnosed.

Ryan 19 months

and now he’s 4:

Ryan 4 years old

I just want to say thanks to all of you who were there for us on this journey.  I cannot even begin to list all the ways our friends and family have helped us and for that alone, we are really blessed.  Now I need to work on Act II, the one where I don’t think about cancer everyday and pretend it never happened.

To celebrate we are going to Disney World on Saturday!!  I was hoping to post a video of us telling Ryan, you know the ones I’m talking about, where you tell the kids you are leaving in 30 minutes, bags are packed and loaded and they go absolutely bananas.  Well, John told Ryan we were going to Florida and while he didn’t tell him Disney, in Ryan’s mind FL=Disney.  So I’ve been pounding it in his head the past couple weeks that we’re NOT going to Disney, just to the beach to try to get that moment back.  He totally doesn’t believe me though.  John’s brother Jim, Amy & their 3 kids are going to go too.  Blog post to follow.

Other highlights since my last post on June 1st.

  • Ryan turned 4 on July 25th


  • My family had another golf tournament to raise money to help with my medical bills


  • Ryan was ring bearer in our friends wedding


  • The Cards had another good run this year and I was able to make it to Game 3 of the NLCS


January 2012 Recap

I’m not sure I can call myself a blogger anymore as I haven’t done a post since December 8th.  This blog started off as an account of my treatments,  thankfully treatments have been not as often, and I guess I’ve felt that I shouldn’t post as much.  I might just start doing some random blog posts here and there, but as far as updates on my health go, I think I’ll stick to a monthly update.

I met with Dr. Ellis on the 3rd of this month.  He said my counts  have been looking great and so we’re going to shoot for me only having to come into the office every other week.  I had chemo on the 3rd, went in for labs on the 17th, then back in again today for more chemo.  I haven’t posted my counts in a while either, so here were todays:

WBC:  5.1

Hbg:  12.8

Platelets:  233

All of those are normal, and even on the really good end of normal!  I had thought I’d be finished in December of this year,  but I found out it should be the end of October!  I couldn’t remember when I started this last year of maintenance, I guess December stuck in mind because that’s when I got the hickman taken out.  So that means, only approx. 10 months of treatment left!!  Next month, on the 25th, marks two years of this.  I was going to try to assemble my “stats” so when I’m done, I can say that I had x number of doctors appointments, x number chemo treatments, x number of spinal taps, x number of bone marrow biopsies, shots, pills, etc…  I think that’s pretty well near impossible, but it might give me a good project to work on.

To recap on the Winstead Family since the beginning of December…

We had a great Christmas.  This was the first year we didn’t go to my parents house for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, and I have to say,  it was nice waking up in our own beds Christmas morning and watching Ryan go bananas over all of the stuff Santa brought him.  We did visit my parents the weekend before Christmas, and John’s grandparents in Memphis the week before that.  Ryan must have been a pretty good little dude this year:

And a pretty funny one too, here’s a link to a YouTube video of some of his best material:  Funny Man

On the 5th of this month Ryan fell off the playground at school and broke his arm!  That was a Thursday, we didn’t take him to urgent care until Saturday.  Yes, that’s right, I was going for Parent of the Year as early in the year as possible.  In my defense, he didn’t complain about it, it wasn’t swollen or bruised right after he did it.  That Saturday morning it had started to bruise just a little so we decided to get it checked out.  Prognosis:  a broken radius (buckle fracture) and on top of that, strep throat.  Absolutely no signs of that until we were in the waiting room.  Way to save us a co-pay Ry-Guy!

Right now he’s in a smaller velcro cast (purple, after compromising from him wanting a pink one) that can be taken off at bath & bed time.  We go back tomorrow and hopefully it can come off altogether.

Apart from Ryan’s cast, we also have nephew, mom-in-law and father-in-law in various casts as well.  It’s been a rough go for the Winstead bones as of late.  John’s parents take care of Shannon’s 4 month old baby girl and needed a little extra help this week, so my (saint of a) mother is staying with us and helping them out during the day.

What else… we are going to STL the weekend of Feburary 11th to celebrate my big 3-0!  No solid plans for that Saturday yet, but consider this an open invitation to anyone who would like to partake in the festivities.  Keep your calendar open and let me know if you can make it and I’ll pass on the details.

I read The Fountainhead this month and am about half way through The Great Gatsby.  I started off the year with the longest book on my list so the other classics would seem to be short in comparison.  I’m going to have a hard time reaching my goal of 50 books this year if this pace continues.  I’ve also been trying to stay on top of music news and updating playlists.  Have I told you to go get a free Spotify account?  Go now, I’ll wait:  http://www.spotify.com   I did get around to making a best of 2011… which you hear using your new Spotify account:  2011  I have lots of other playlists on there are well.

One more thing… Did you click on that link above to watch the YouTube video of Ryan telling jokes?  No, well you better go ahead and do it because it’s pretty awesome.

It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas

Guess I haven’t been much in a blogging mood since it’s been nearly a month since I’ve had a post.  I guess it’s just the time of year when things start getting busy.  I’ll start with a quick overview of Thanksgiving.  My Mom, Dad and niece Brandi came down for a couple nights.  We had the big traditional dinner and had a nice time just being lazy and spending time together.  That evening John’s parents came over with dessert and to spend some time with us, it was very nice.


Rowdy has gone to the vet a couple times in the past month, nothing is wrong with him, but I’ve been completely slacking on taking him at all since I’ve been sick.   With as much as we’ve had to spend with shots, blood work, teeth cleaning… I don’t think he’ll be getting much for Christmas.  However, we’ll be getting better dog breath.

Sara and Takara came down this past Sunday for our second annual Branson Christmas shopping excursion!  Sara had to work the next day so unfortunately they didn’t spend the night, but it was still a great day with a couple of my best friends.  We had dessert for dinner at Aviary Cafe and Creperie in downtown Springfield and it was nothing short of heavenly.

Speaking of dessert for dinner, I had been seriously slacking on the Weight Watchers since my Nashville trip.  Before that I was down 15 lbs, but gained all but about 5 of that back as of the beginning of the week.  Just to time to help me get back on counting the points, the WW app will soon be able to scan bar codes and tell you how many points are in a serving.  Sweet!

I don’t think I’ll be getting around to posting my top music picks for 2011.  My cousin Drew did a post on his blog about a playlist I made on Spotify, so if you’re in the mood for music, check it out.  And if you don’t have Spotify, you should!  Here’s the link:  http://earbook.blogspot.com/2011/11/dare-i-say-favorites.html

Tonight I have my book club meeting and I’m excited because we wrap a book we’re finished with and do a fun little game.  I need to get a picture of my book club gals!  This weekend we are thinking about spending Saturday night in Memphis visiting John’s Grandparents.  The weekend after Ryan and I are going to my parents house (John has to work that Saturday) for our Christmas festivities.  We have decided that we want to wake up Christmas morning in our own house, start our traditions.  Busy, busy!

As far as treatment goes, I’m still doing my maintenance rounds.  I had my monthly IV chemo on Tuesday and  I’ve been feeling good.  I really can’t complain.

Halloween & World Series Champs!

We had Halloween mania these past few days,  5 days in a row to be exact.  Last Thursday night we went to Spooktacular at the Zoo with Shannon, Kevin and little baby Ali.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Yo Gabba Gabba!, Ryan is a character from that show named Brobee.

Friday night we went to Truck or Treat at our church, again with Shannon, Kevin & Ali.  Afterwards we all headed to our hosue to watch the Red Birds win it all!  I have been a Cards fan my whole life; I grew up sitting on my Dad’s lap listening to Jack Buck on the radio, I worked as an usher at the old Busch for 5 seasons, so it was awesome to see them win 11 in 11!  I’m sort of sad that Tony retired, but I guess I’d like to leave on a high too.

Saturday afternoon we went to a Halloween party given by our friends Doug & Erin.  They had inflatables, about 70 pizzas and even a balloon artist!  It was a lot of fun and great to see lots of old friends.

Sunday afternoon we had another Halloween party; there were lots of games, crafts and yummy chili.  Ryan is just so shy with crowds of kids he doesn’t know.  He’s the little green one standing a foot away from all the other children.

Monday was, of course, Halloween!  John’s parents and I went to his Halloween party at his school.  (We call is school, it’s the learning center at Prime)  He gets such a kick of me showing up there 🙂  We then trick or treated around the building and got lots of candy.

Ryan always talks about Claire at school, he says she is his girlfriend.  I finally met her and her Mom, both of whom are very nice.  Last night we went trick or treating around John’s parents neighborhood and ours before heading home to hand out some treats to about 10 kids.  It was a very fun, but hectic, Halloween!

Heather’s Married!

Last weekend one of my best friends in Springfield got married!  Heather and Dan had a beautiful wedding and a really fun reception. Mom & Dad came down for the weekend to stay at our house with Ryan since it was a hectic weekend.  We had to the rehearsal dinner on Friday night, John had to work Saturday morning, wedding Saturday evening and we stayed the night at the Oasis, where they had the reception.   Congrats to the happy couple!


This past week was pretty uneventful, again I got to skip going to the doctor for the weekly blood work!  I have had allergies or a cold or something on and off for a few weeks now, it’s mostly just annoying.  Otherwise, I’m feeling really good!

Ryan, as always, has been keeping us busy.  The other day I gave him a time out and, as he often does, he ran to his room and closed the door.  I usually let him stay in there until he comes back out on his own, when he then tries to bargain with the time of his standing in the corner.  John’s mom and I were sitting at the kitchen table talking and I realized he’d probably been in his room about 15 minutes.  I went to check on him… He had dumped all of his clothes out of the basket in front of the door and fell asleep on top of them.  🙂

Happy 5th Anniversary

Today marks 5 years of marriage and I still don’t think there’s a better guy out there.  He’s my best friend and has stuck by me through the tough times, all without complaint.  He makes me laugh. He makes me feel loved, secure and safe.  I’m a lucky girl.