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LIVINGThis week last year, I went from healthy to sick – in a matter of 3 days, multiple scans, sonograms, and a biopsy.
My world, crashed when I heard the unthinkable.

Through 7 months of aggressive treatment to fight an aggressive form of Breast Cancer, I was surrounded by amazing people who believed, inspired, motivated, supported, encouraged, prayed, and provided relentless amounts of unconditional love.

I lost sooo much in the process, but it was a small price to pay to keep my soul, my spirit, my smile, my attitude…. And more importantly, my heartbeat.

For all intents and purposes, the surgery/chemo/radiation have done their job, and I am… Cancer free. I am in the process of finding a new Oncologist, as mine… who I loved, has left Kaiser. Final testing will take place when a new oncologist has been found.
But for now, I take comfort in knowing, that my body responded well to the treatment.. and I will return to living a full, healthy, cancer-free life.

I’m not sure of the exact date.
I know the timeframe though.
I feel like commemorating dates, gives cancer too much respect.
I remember going into football season, so afraid of what each day, week, month had in store for me. The unknown was my enemy.
Now, I’m headed into football season a year later and I am.. excited, for what the future holds. And all I see is opportunity to reciprocate the love & support I received, pay it forward, embrace this ‘new normal’ life and continue to be grateful, thankful and determined to be the best version of myself.

Ironically, this week I was honored to take part in a special ceremony at the Ronald McDonald House, and they provided us all with rocks. The idea was to write something on the rock in the form of inspiration, motivation or a quote. The rocks will be part of a meditation garden for the kids and families at the RMH. I left there thinking how awesome the concept was, and I would love to do something similar.. in honor of all of YOU that made a difference in my life throughout my journey. No matter how big or small.. near or far you happened to be, you had an impact on me and it would mean so much if you could tag a rock and send it to me, give it to me… however, just get it to me. =)

If you want me to send you a rock, DM your addy.
If you can send me one… let me know, and I’ll DM you my addy.
If you find a rock in your mailbox, on your desk, in your locker, on your counter, etc.. please leave your mark, and return it to me so I can add it to my motivation collection.

I’m not special. I am blessed to be in a really good place this week, this year.
And just to reiterate, like Stuart Scott said: You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and the manner in which you live.. so live & fight like hell.

Until we have found a cure, my mindset remains the same… #FuckCancer #WarriorUp

Untitled-1I thank you.. again, and all ways.



2 F’s: Fight & Football

KYM14688-loThe football season has officially come to an end… but my plight continues.

I’ve used football unapologetically throughout my battle with cancer. It was the one constant I could make sense of week in and week out. I was able to occupy my mind with games. images, editing, travel, events etc instead of dwelling on the things that were happening to me internally. Football didn’t allow my reality, to be.. reality. It was my lead blocker in a sense, and it didn’t even know it.

From the moment I was diagnosed, I made a commitment to myself to keep shooting… as if my life depended on it. Hmmm… interesting. Anyyyway, I had surgery that Tuesday and the 49ers hosted their first preseason game of 2013 two days later. Not quite the way I envisioned starting the football season, but I was there. Over the 4 months of chemo, I braved the crazy weather, long days/nights, wins and losses from coast to coast with both the 49ers and SJSU teams. The process became clear: Infusion. Fight it. Draw Strength. Focus. Power Through & Repeat.

Ironically, my treatment and the season would coincide almost perfectly. Chemo would end at the same time as the regular season , and radiation would start at the beginning of the post season. My Cancer Treatment Team and I had it all figured out, adjusting my times to accommodate my travel schedule. As the team kept winning, New York was becoming a very real possibility. My radiologist was almost giddy thinking about the creative ways he could get me treatment during SB week. (He later confirmed he was thinking about me & a plan during the actual game lol) He’s a 49er fan, kindaaaa works in your favor when you need some serious exceptions and flexibility! =)

As you know, the game.. and season came to an abrupt end. And I was left alone with the remainder of my treatment, and my thoughts. They were a little deeper, a little heavier and a lot less sugar coated. Football, was the sweet stuff that made everything OK.

I had no idea football would become this wall of protection for me. Not just the game.. but the awesome people in the building, the players on the field, coaches on the sidelines, fans or families in the stands and other photographers I shared that time and space with every week. I felt invincible in my element.

The last few weeks of treatment without football is a blessing and a curse. I feel like I lost my best friend. The one that’s with you all the time and makes you feel better without even trying. And at the same time, I have some time to be with myself, and take in all that I’ve been through, experienced, overcome and defeated the last 6 months. I suppose the end came at a good time.. the complexity of schedules and treatments has worn me down. All the cells destroyed through chemo, are starting to regenerate.. and in doing so, it sucks the life outta me.
Timing really is everything.

So is Football.

The xray shows where my tumor once grew

The xray shows where my tumor once grew

My last radiation therapy is Feb. 19th. It’s probably no surprise to those that know me, I’ve mentally checked out already. That wonderful thing called auto-pilot gets me to my daily appointments. My skin is raw and feels abused. I haven’t been able to regulate my body temperature in months… and that, may or may not go away. It drives me nuts. All day. Every day.

Ultimately, I accept that I may never be 100% of the me I was before cancer.. and I’m ok with that as long as the final scan provides me with the words I didn’t hear the first time this all started: You Are Clear & Cancer-free.

On a lighter note: My hair has started to grow back!! As are my eyelashes and eyebrows that played an evil trick on me! I made it all the way through chemo without losing too many. Forget small victories.. that was Huge!! So I thought… then… once radiation started, the inevitable happened. One by one.. they started to disappear. I would wake up in the morning, go straight to the mirror and do a eyelash count. lol When you can count your eyelashes… easily.. it’s time to just accept it for what it is. Learned a few make up tricks to get me through.. and now I see baby lashes! Hoooorayyy!
Life is a process.. no matter how big or small the obstacle is in front of you.
As always… Thank You & #WarriorUp

2.7.14 The New Normal.

The New Normal.


Wow. What a year.

My greatest achievement in 2013 is standing up to cancer and not allowing it to defeat me physically or mentally. Sure, I didn’t ask for it.. no one ever does, but once I dealt with the blows I made a very conscious and deliberate choice to fight like hell. And that’s exactly what I did for 4 daunting months of appointments, surgery, infusions, reading, listening to my body, relearning my body.. and almost tangibly feeling the poison running through my veins destroy every cell in my soul.

It seems like, since the day I was diagnosed… nothing else prior to it, even existed. Obviously, not true.. but in an instant, your collective thoughts turn into what is happening at. this. very. moment.

I haven’t blogged about my treatment in awhile. Since the last post.. I completed the chemo portion of my plan. As good as it felt to walk out of the infusion center for the last time, the progressive effects challenged me. Even though I would climb back up to what felt like 100% before each infusion, I never really fully recovered. So, I definitely felt like I was at my weakest.. and it took a bit longer to feel human again. I caught a cold before I left for Florida… and luckily, that came.. post the last infusion. Otherwise, as you know, it would have delayed treatment until I was better. That little taste of what could have been was more than enough.

In continuing to gain strength, energy and my health I had my appointment with the radiologist last week to learn what my plan was going to be. I have to admit, I thought I would be on the low end.. possibly 3wks, but unfortunately.. I am candidate for the 6wk plan. I was a little bummed, but at the end of the day I know why. So I’ll grind this out for another 6 wks.

If I can get through chemo.. I can get through anything.
Radiation will take place every-day. (Mon-Fri) I’ve already gone in for my pre-treatment where they place tattoo’d dots on me to ensure the exact location is hit with radiation at each session. It’s pretty quick, but none the less another part of the process.
Btw: radiation and playoff football doesn’t mix but.. I have an awesome team at the Cancer Treatment Center that said they’ll work with me to make sure I can get to where I need to go! =)

Recently, I was the recipient of a Random Act of Kindness. Actually, I’m not sure it was so random.. but it was certainly an act of extreme kindness that I never would have expected & won’t ever forget.
Last Monday, the 49ers hosted their final game of the season, which also happened to be the last game.. ever.. at Candlestick. I’ve been out there for 7yrs and you become familiar with many of the people that work on Sundays. I see them, they see me. We smile, greet, small talk.. and do our jobs. Most ,I don’t see again until the next football season. My point is, I know them… but I don’t know-know them.
A few of them came up to me prior to the craziness of MNF and said they had something for me.. it was from a bunch of the security guards, and they hugged me and told me to have a Merry Christmas. He handed me something but I didn’t pay too much attention to it at the time. I thanked them and we all went our separate ways. Awhile later, I looked at what I was given.. and it was a handmade card, signed by a number of the guys, wrapped around some money they had all donated.
I was overwhelmed by their thoughtfullness. Never in a million years.. did I expect anything like this, from them.. let alone anyone. I’m so uncomfortable with being on this side of the fence. I didn’t need money.. I am soo blessed to have good insurance, and I’m not sure if people realize that more than money… the love, prayers, support and thoughts sent my way are worth more than anything you can buy. I talked to a few of them shortly after I collected my thoughts and explained how grateful I was but they didn’t have to do that.. and they simply said.. Treat yourself. We’re proud of you… and you deserve it. You inspire all of us by coming out here and continuing to work through it all.
Whew.. that was a heartfelt moment. I guess it’s true that you never really know what impact you have on people.. even in silence or during your own battle.

As touched as I was by every one of those guys.. I’m also saddened to have lost 2 people recently that inspired me. The first, is Mariyah who at 4 yrs old had he biggest, brightest smile I’ve ever seen. I photographed her for her 1st birthday.. and recently her 4th birthday. Mariyah earned her wings after fighting fearless since the day she was born. Maryiah was brave, beautiful and strong. She will be missed.
I met JR Harlan in Sept. He came to visit the 49ers with the Dream Foundation. I had not yet started chemo, and in conversation he overheard with someone else.. he asked me what I was diagnosed with. JR was diagnosed with colon cancer 11 yrs ago.. and has been a warrior fighting it ever since. He gave me great advice about chemo and tips & trick to get through it. Mostly, he said to be strong minded and not let it defeat me. A loving husband and father of twin girls he didn’t let cancer steal his joy… He lived life to the fullest, and eventually lost his battle the morning of that MNF game.
My heart broke twice in less than 2 weeks. It’s very difficult for me process it all, as I fight my own battle. Sometimes, life is just unfair.

As 2013 comes to a close.. I’ve never been a new year-new me kinda person. However, I adopted the New Normal motto a few months ago when my life changed forever. I’ll continue with that into 2k14, with a new sense of appreciation for people, life & my health as a whole.
I read something recently that summed up my thoughts perfectly…

Love is when such a tragic event has shown how many people out there care about me deeply and hold me in their hearts, showing concern through  visits, phone calls, texts, emails, messages through family, and heartfelt gifts. 

I could not have said it better myself. This journey has opened my eyes & my heart in so many ways. I’m looking forward to claiming a cancer-free 2014 when all of this is over. As per usual.. thank you ALL for your support, love & prayers that had a part in keeping my spirits high from day one.

Eff cancer, still.
#WarriorUp for life.

2 down, 2 to go.

photo-2 copySince my last post, I have shaved my head, pierced my nose, tried to get used to wearing hats every day, added to  my beanie collection, flew to Colorado then Tennessee and back all in time for my second chemo infusion.
Random silver linings: My gym bag has gotten very light. No brush, no comb, no flat iron, no hair products… and my already low maintenance prep time has dropped to sub-10min. Yea, that fast. =)

No one ever wants to feel like a prisoner in their own body. Cancer kind of does that to you… you are at it’s mercy as the poison runs rampant. It decides when you have energy, when you’re tired, when you have hair, when you can taste, when you feel sick and even when you feel normal. Being able to exercise the things I can control helps. So when the opportunity to travel was presented… I decided to take control back and as long as I felt good, and capable of doing my job while out there.. I was going. And I am glad I did. Some people think Disneyland is the happiest place on earth. I happen to think the football field is, and I get to be there almost every week – despite this fight. I’m def winning!!

Infusion #2 was par for the course. Mentally, I prefer going into something knowing, or at least having an idea.. of what to expect, it eased the pain of the unknown that I had the first time around.
I do feel like my body is starting to break down a bit. As the infusions progress, it takes a toll and I definitely felt more tired this time around. It doesn’t help that I don’t sleep at night either.. so it could very well be a combination of the 2. However, the lifeless, numb, blah feeling I describe daily seems more relevant to the drugs than lack of sleep. But I honestly don’t know if I can even differentiate between them.

The 7 days that I have to give myself the shot are the most challenging. My body hurts a lot. The pain can localize anywhere. This time, it happened to be my shoulders. After the 7 days, the side effects start to subside and I start to feel some version normal again.

Since I don’t have all that much to share in terms of treatment changes.. this is a perfect opportunity to reflect on BCA (Breast Cancer Awareness) month and thank everyone who has shown support at their own games and functions. I’ve been honored to have soo many people, kids and adults play in support of my fight from the Bay Area all the way to Green Bay!!

  • The Milpitas Knights JPW’s as a team wore ribblons, eye marks, pink football gear and ran through a KYMPOSSIBLE sign the last game of the October month. Parents also supported in helping make the sign and wore pick to support as well. Special S/O to Mateo DeLaTorre who played this whole season… in my honor! ❤
  • The Bullangay boys in Tracy wore pink in their football game with my name on their eye marks.
  • Lil’ Hulk’s parents dipped him in custom pink everything for BCA month, and he played his heart out with the Morgan Hill Mighty Mites
  • Tamika Jones.. Packers WR James Jones wife played in the Powder Puff game all the way out in Green Bay reppin’ me.. and her wideout!!
  • My high school friends son, Evan, wrestled in my honor with pink tape/name/ribbon for the 1st place win!!
  • Steve Redondo’s soccer team were amazing with pictures of support!!
  • Damien Morris is a Jr Midget and plays for WV Storm. He wore pink and my name w/ribbon on his helmet.
  • The Mata’u boys honored myself and other family members all fighting BC during their football games with the Berryessa Cougars.
  • The friends that ran or walked in races all over the Bay Area raising awareness… >>> Karen Jordan, Alicia Rivera, Liza Barries, Carrie Dew
  • 49er Ladies/Friends who not only coordinated and/or attended the awesome BCA events, but cut 8 inches of hair off to donate to Locks of Love. 49ers Patrick Willis who acknowledged his support for me, which in reality supports for ALL Breast Cancer Fighters.. The attention he brings to awareness breaks records!!

And last, but certainly not least… everyone that has supported and bought the WARRIOR UP t-shirt! What a great response the #WarriorUp movement has had! It’s exciting to see so much interest, so many people wearing it because ultimately.. it’s spreading awareness in support of the people you know fighting!
Good news: We are going to put another order in.. so if you haven’t already – please send your inquiry to: and ensure you are included on the pre-order list!!


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The New Normal.

Thus far, my journey has taken place in stages.
Diagnosis.  Meetings. Surgery. Recovery. Results. Treatment Plan. Chemo and the inevitable, losing my hair.

The latter, has been something I haven’t looked forward to.
I eventually accepted it, but I still don’t like it. It’s not that I do anything extravagant with my hair, it’s far from what defines me.. but, it is.. a part of me. And this part of the process happens on the outside.
Until now, everything has happened on the inside of my body, and there were no real physical signs that showed I was undergoing treatment.

A couple days ago, I ran my fingers through my hair.. and it happened. I had more than the average ‘daily hair loss’ and my stomach sank. I did it again, because I thought, maybe… it was just that one time. But nope. Same result. My gut feeling was right… this was the beginning. The next 2 days proved to be mentally challenging. I could feel the hair follicles opening…? dying..? I’m not sure exactly what it was.. but I could feel it. It didn’t hurt, it was just sore-like. You know when you pull one strand.. and you can feel it tug on your scalp? Yeah… I couldn’t feel that anymore.  I stopped touching my hair, found it all over my shirt and didn’t even want to comb it thinking I was going to accelerate the process. At that point, I knew.. my hair had taken control over me and my emotions. The only way to get that control back.. was to cut it off. All of it. The sooner it goes, the sooner it grows back.

So I came home.. and Matthew, whose hair I used to cut, was more than willing to return the favor. I sat down in the same bathroom I where I faded him for years, and let the cutting commence.  I thought I wasn’t going to be able to watch. But there was something  about my son being brave enough to take on this task, that gave me the strength to engage in the process with him. We small talked as he moved the clippers from one end to the next, and my hair fell from my head, to my shoulders.. and eventually to the floor. Before long, there was nothing left – and I felt liberated…. and ironically I looked like my son’s twin. =)

I’ve feared, faced and got through yet another hurdle.

Next week, I’ll get my 2nd infusion.
I’m hoping the 1st was a blueprint of what to expect this 2nd time around, but I can’t know forsure. So, I’ll continue to take each day for what it is, and continue to fight.

I have to end every blog with a huge thank you to all of you who continue to support, love, inspire and motivate me. Together, we #WarriorUp and FUTW. =)

Fighting. Fearless.

photo-46 copy

1st Infusion – 1st week

IMG_0507Week 1

Day 1 aka Infusion day.  It was pretty uneventful. In fact.. it was smooth and painless. I think the idea that drugs were going to induce chemical warfare was more unsettling than anything else.

I’m receiving my chemo through an IV. So it’s a pretty slow process.. & each drug is administered one at a time. The 2nd bag I was given was supposed to take about 2hrs. They check vitals frequently, and since my vitals were so good, they were able to speed up the drip and cut and hour off my total time. Instead of a 4hr infusion, I was done in about 2.5hrs.
Small victories.

I left the infusion clinic feeling pretty good. I got a nice pep talk from 49ers D-Line Coach Tomsula who said..  ‘You have jet fuel running through your system. You feel like you can go a million miles a minute, but you have to be careful and rest. Or else you’re going to crash and burn. You don’t want to crash and burn..” If you know him… you can imagine the delivery of that post infusion debriefing!! =) He had my full attention.. As a young man he took care of his mother who is a 5x Breast Cancer Survivor.. he knew what he was talking about!!

I completely understood the message, but I hadn’t yet experienced it. If that makes sense. Sure I felt fine.. but I knew inside some things were happening that I had no control over.

Day 2 & 3 were pretty good days as well. Was able to spend a little time in the gym but could feel I was starting to lose some of that jet fuel energy. Drinking a gallon of water a day to flush the drugs out and trying to eat things that wouldn’t make me sick. I’ve also been tasked to give myself daily injections. This shot helps keep my white blood cell count high. As you know, chemo kills every cell.. good and bad. All my years building a good immune system… Gone!! Keeping your white blood cell count up is important to prevent sickness. Because if you get sick, treatment is delayed. We don’t want delays!

So as much as I understand the necessity.. I hate them. Passionately. It’s not even that it hurts a lot.. it’s the idea that I’m inserting this needle beneath my skin, injecting and I have to watch it!! I’ll do this for a consecutive 7 days after every infusion. I have 21 more injections.

Day 4 was not pleasant. It’s tough to put the ‘feelings’ into words. Felt like the stomach flu x10. Mind you, I hate throwing up as much as I hate needles. I avoid both at all costs. Unless one is dipped in ink.. but anyway, it was uncomfortable and my body was definitely rejecting/reacting something. I slept most of the day which made it very hard to maintain a hydrating and eating schedule. Especially knowing what happened shortly thereafter, even with water.
Having slept the entire day Thursday, I struggled sleeping that night. My body was sore. My head and neck felt strained. I couldn’t get comfortable.

Sleep happens intermittently. I learned quick.. get it when you can.

Day 5 was better, but remnants from the day before had me feeling a little bit in a fog. Not bad, but not good. Just blah is how I felt Day 5 & 6. I spent most of Saturday resting after taking a yoga class on Saturday morning. Yoga has never been easy for me. I’m not flexible nor do I do anything that slow and controlled. But it was good to stretch, breathe and force myself to slow down and contract muscles one at a time. My goal for the day was drink, eat, sleep so that I could be at the SNF game at Candlestick on Sunday.

Day 6 is also game day. Luckily, it was a night game.. that meant I didn’t need to be up in the city at 9am. I took my time getting up, eating, hydrating and preparing for the long day. I felt even a little bit better than the day before, so I was encouraged I would make it through the day.
This game was special because it kicked off the month long.. Breast Cancer Awareness campaign in the NFL. I plan to blog about that experience separately.. so I’ll save those details, but it was nothing short of amazing.
It was a beautiful day in the city, and the cold front that usually makes it’s way by the 5:30 kickoff never came. We were in T-shirts the entire night… It was perfect.
I made it through the game, and although I got a little tired at times the energy got me through to the end.

Day 7 was good even after a very long day and night. I made it to work and felt like my body was leveling out some after hitting my low a few days back.

Oh, and I officially can’t taste food anymore. Nothing. It’s a weird psychological thing that takes place because you know what it’s supposed to taste like, but you can’t taste a thing. It makes the sensation of eating even odd.. and I’ve been searching for things that make it not so difficult.
As of now, soup is about it. Maybe some oatmeal on occasion and protein shakes.

I feel like I can feel things happening in my body.
My bones hurt quite a bit.
That’s not very fun.
Managing the meds, fluid intake, food and hyper cleanliness takes a lot of effort.
And sometimes, I get tired thinking about it.
Trying to live a simplified life.
One that’s sustainable.
I have 1 infusion down, 3 to go.
I have to pace myself.
I still have my hair.
For now. =)

Every day is a new feeling. A new wonder. A new day.
A new Blessing.

Thank you for reading, and sharing a piece of this journey with me.

“Reality is never as dark as the places your brain visits in anticipation.”

Warrior up for a Cause

Throughout the last month and a half, I’ve had some scary moments, reality checks.. and moments of clarity.
People have reached out to me and shared the most amazing success stories… they had offered their time, their support and most importantly.. their love.

This process has become eye opening.. and life changing/altering.

 I had no idea choosing to Live Out Loud would create this kind of response.

Small influences can save lives. And by no means… am I a life saver. What I am saying is I am trying to influence early detection through my experience and journey because there is a reason I am in the position I am right now. Honestly, it took me awhile to accept the responsibility, but I’ve embraced it. And I believe God won’t give me anything I can’t handle.

It’s so much easier to give… but part of my journey is learning how to receive.
Receive in it’s entirely. Not the material things.. but the emotional, mental, physical support.. you name it. The intagibles.

When the idea to make this T-shirt was brought to my attention.. I was, humbled and honored. But that quickly turned into a warped kym-version of anxiety. Because… I did not want to make this fight ‘About Me’ I am certainly not the first person to have Breast Cancer and although I wish I was the last.. it’s not the case. Unfortunatley, there will be others diagnosed after me. So why would my fight warrant this kind of attention? When so many others are fighting the same fight?
I’m thankful for friends who ‘Get me..” I’ll be the first to admit.. I am difficult when it comes to this stuff. Not because I want control, or have to have it a certain my.. It’s just an unfamiliar place and I fear people feeling obligated.
Christina has been the mediator between Creators (Sef and BG Concepts) and Fighter (me). Together we were able to agree upon the theme (so to speak) of the Ribbon. The reason we chose the Rasta colors, opposed to Pink specifically for Breast Cancer is to make this a Universal Ribbon supporting any and all fighters of cancer as well as the other health conditions that affect people daily!

We all know… Someone.
We all support… Someone.
We all Warrior Up for… Someone.
This Warrior Up shirt is for you, for them.. and all of us.

Sefa, who designed the Ribbon has a heart condition of his own. We agree, and can’t stress enough, how important it is to spread awareness.
The symbols in the ribbon stand for Strength – Family – Community – New Beginnings.
Essentially, the ribbon is the process.
Personally, the design is very special to me and a visual reminder to myself that I am not alone. New Beginnings await me… and it’s through the Love and Support of my Family and Community that will get me there.
Much thanks to Christina and BG Concepts printing for taking an idea breathing life into it.

Every day, I try to open my mind and heart as I seek understanding and purpose. I’ve recently been inspired to put some things into work as I’ve navigated my way through my journey. It’s exciting to see the opportunities unfold even as I stand in the ring facing my nemesis also known as.. Chemo!

Please feel free to inquire about the shirts and/or order. You can email
Shirts are $25 and proceeds will be going towards a non-profit organization.
Sizes and Quanties are limited.. but we’ll do our best to accommodate you.

Much love and appreciation to all of you who continue to stand by my side.

 #FuckCancer  #WarriorUp 


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