10 Tips for Keeping Runners Safe

I remember sitting at my desk on April 15, 2013 when my phone started ringing and multiple text messages started popping up.  “Are you okay?!”  I had no idea why people were asking, but I soon found out: the Boston Marathon bombing.  I was 2 weeks out from the Nashville Marathon, and all my loved ones knew was that I was training for a marathon, but not sure of which one.  (Bless them for thinking I’m that fast…)  Of course this moment is memorable for all of us, especially for runners, but for me, it stands out for an important reason: It was the first time I realized that runners weren’t safe.

One thing that I love about running is that it is pure.  It’s (for the most part) a solo activity.  Just you and the road.  There’s no impact to others.  No hitting, blocking, punching, concussions.  So when something like the traumatic event in Boston, or the abduction of Molly Tibbets on her run in Iowa, I am rocked.  Something so pure and individual attacked by evil.  (I can’t even type this without the tears stinging my eyes.)

The attacks on runners has becoming much more frequent.  In the past couple of years, I too have been noticeably (and scarily) followed by unwanted spectators in their creepy conversion vans.  The most recent was last week, so I wanted to share my top tips for keeping us safe on the run.

  1. Tell someone when/where you are going.  Never embark on a run without telling someone.  You can even share your location with a spouse/friend through apps like Glympse or RunSafe .
  2. Don’t share your location.  (I know, sounds like I’m confused after that first tip, but stay with me.)  Look at the privacy settings in your running apps (Strava, Garmin, etc.).  Turn off the location, the tracking, the location, the public settings, etc.  People are smart, and the wrong person could find you on your run.  Closely coupled with this, be very careful about sharing your running summaries on social media, especially if your profiles are public.  You are essentially advertising where you run and when.
  3. Run with a friend or a dog.  If you’ve got a dog that likes to run, this is a huge deterrent since a stranger doesn’t know if they bark or bite.  Also, there is safety and protection in numbers.  If someone sees a runner with a friend or group, they will likely pass that up for a solo runner with no support.
  4. Run in visible areas that you know very well.  Your route should be in a non-remote, frequently traveled area that has lighting along the way.  In addition, do not try a new route on your own.  If you look confused or unsure, that is evident to those that are watching, and you won’t know where to run (literally) if you encounter a scary situation.
  5. Stay aware.  If you’re good to run without music, do it!  If you need your music or podcast, there are still some options:
    1. Run with the volume down.
    2. Run with only one earbud in, so one ear is open.
    3. Invest in some safety headphones.  I am a huge advocate for Aftershokz, because they have bone conduction technology so runners can be open to what is going on around them while listening to their music.  They have more than paid for themselves.
  6. Learn self defense.  A lot of community centers and churches offer free classes, so just do a quick Goog to find one in your area.
  7. Run facing traffic, even on sidewalks.  (This is kind of a soapbox item for me, but I’ll show restraint.)  This is actually a traffic law, so we can keep it legal.  But moreover, if you have your back to traffic rather than facing it, you can’t see who is approaching.  Face oncoming traffic so you can see who and what are coming your way.
  8. Take your phone and keep it handy.  I know it’s ideal to take as little gear as possible, but this is a non-negotiable.  If you are ever in an emergency situation of any kind, you will want your phone.  I actually even have mine pre-dialed to 911 when I’m out on a run so that a couple of quick clicks will get me on the phone with the police really quick.
  9. Change up your routine if at all possible.  Very the time of day that you go, vary the route that you take, vary anything that could make you trackable or predictable.
  10. Trust your gut!  If something feels wrong, it probably is.  No run is worth risking your safety.  Call the Police immediately if something happens to you or someone else, or if you notice anyone or anything out of the ordinary.  It is important to report incidents immediately.  Practice memorizing license tags or identifying characteristics of strangers so that you can recall them if needed.  (I do this and it actually keeps me entertained while I run.)


I hope you found these tips helpful.  If you have anything to add, please drop it in the comments so we can all benefit.

Stay safe out there friends!


Molly B.


Chocolate Chip Protein Balls


2 scoops chocolate protein powder (I use Arbonne.)

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup ground flaxseed

1/4 cup chia seeds

1 cup nut butter of choice (I use Almond Butter.)

2/3 cup agave

2/3 cup mini chocolate chips


1/3 cup sunflower seeds

1/3 cup raisins

1/3 cup dried fruit

1/3 cup other nuts

1/3 cup coconut


Place all dry ingredients in mixing bowl and combine.

Add the agave and nut butter and stir until combined.  (This will be very thick and hard to stir, so I recommend using a mixer if you have one.)

Place the mixture in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes to slightly harden.

Remove from the refrigerator and form mixture into balls.  (I use a cookie dough scoop or ice cream scoop, but you can use a spoon or just eyeball it for the size you want.)

Place balls in airtight container of choice.  Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.




Molly B.

Overnight Chia Seed Pudding

Overnight Oats are one of my favorite quick, easy, healthy breakfast items to meal prep for the week.  But I’m here to tell you that Overnight Chia Seed Pudding is the real unsung hero that I’ve been eating on repeat lately.

Chia Seed Pudding makes a fantastic breakfast, a filling mid-day snack, or a fabulous dessert!  The recipe is so simple, it’s really versatile, and the flavor and topping possibilities are endless.


  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (I prefer coconut milk, because it’s extra thick and creamy.)
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 scoop protein powder of choice (I use chocolate, and I prefer the Arbonne brand.)
  • 1 cup fruit of choice (I use mixed berries.)
  • 1 cup cauliflower rice (This is totally optional, but I’m always finding an excuse to add in more veggies.)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp nut butter of choice


  1. Add all ingredients except nut butter to the container of your choice (mason jar, Tupperware, etc.)
  2. Replace the lid and give it a shake to combine all of the ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. When ready to eat, remove from the refrigerator, and you have several options:
    1. I prefer a hot breakfast, so I heat mine for 3 minutes in the microwave, and then I add the nut butter to the top.
    2. You can eat it cold.  Just give it a stir to combine everything, and add the nut butter.
    3. To save on more time, you can add the nut butter when prepping; I just prefer to add it at the end for a creamier consistency.

Leftovers keep covered in the fridge for 4-5 days, and you can add with more toppings if you like–bananas, granola, whipped cream, whatever!


I know you’ll love it, and I can’t wait to hear what you add to yours!


Molly B.

Protein Mug Cookie


1 scoop Vanilla protein powder (I use Arbonne.)

1 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp. chocolate chips

1 tbsp. nut butter

1/3 cup milk of choice (I use almond.)



  • Combine all ingredients, using only 1 tbsp. of the chocolate chips, in a mug and stir to batter-like consistency.
  • Add another 1 tbsp. of chocolate chips on top.
  • Microwave for 90 seconds to 3 minutes, depending on desired consistency.  (I do 2 minutes.)


Molly B.

Overnight Oats


1 cup riced cauliflower

1 scoop protein powder (I use Arbonne.)

1/2 cup rolled oats

1 cup fruit of choice (I like mixed berries.)

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup water (I like my oats super thick, so I use less liquid.  Add more if you want a thicker consistency.)

2 tsp nut butter


  • Greens powder
  • Collagen
  • Nuts
  • Milk instead of water


  • Mix everything except nut butter in your storage of choice.  (I use Tupperware, but use a mason jar if you fancy.)
  • Store in refrigerator for up to one week.
  • When ready to eat, microwave for 3 minutes.  Top with the nut butter.  Eat it all! Mix everything



Molly B.

The Easiest (and Yummiest) Sweet Potatoes


2 medium sweet potatoes

1 tsp olive oil

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp garlic powder

sea salt (to taste)

black pepper (to taste)



  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Wash sweet potatoes and dice into even cubes (about 1 inch).  I like to leave the peel on, but you can peel yours before cutting, if you prefer.)
  • In a large bowl, toss sweet potato cubes with oil and spices until coated evenly.
  • Spread onto baking sheet.
  • Roast potatoes for 30-45 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes.  (They should be soft inside but crispy outside.)
  • Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper, if desired.


Molly B.

Our Three Favorite Toddler-Approved Breakfast Recipes!

Oh toddlers…They certainly don’t make meal time (or anything) easy on us.  Luckily, Jack is a pretty good eater, but he definitely has his favorites.  But more than anything, I don’t have a ton of time (or skill) to whip up a culinary masterpiece.  And I definitely have no desire to do so when I’m not sure if my little dude will throw it on the floor in protest.  I’m always on the hunt for easy recipes that can be frozen and reheated for a quick toddler-approved breakfast.  I’ve rounded up the top three breakfast recipes that I’ve perfected over the past two years.  Recipes, instructions, and freezing instructions are all below.  Enjoy!


Almond Butter Banana Muffins


  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 2 large eggs (can use egg replacer for vegan)
  • 2 large ripe bananas
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (I use almond.)
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1.5 cups flour of choice (I use almond.)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar of choice (I use coconut.)


  • Preheat oven to 350 and line a muffin tin with muffin liners OR spray with cooking spray.  Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients minus the melted coconut oil.  Then transfer dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until combined.
  • Finally, add in melted coconut oil and give the batter a final mix.
  • Transfer batter into muffin tin, filling each muffin about 2/3 of the way full.
  • Bake muffins for 16-18 minutes or until fully cooked.
  • You can also mix in blueberries, nuts, diced or shredded vegetables, or anything else of your choosing before baking.

Banana Blueberry Baked Oatmeal


  • 1 cup (2 bananas) mashed banana + 1 additional sliced banana for topping
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 eggs (can use egg replacer for vegan)
  • 1 cup milk of choice (I use almond.)
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 ½ cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Sprinkle cinnamon on top to taste


  • Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, mix together mashed banana, eggs, milk, coconut oil, and vanilla until mostly smooth.  Next, add in rolled oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt until well combined.  Finally, gently fold in blueberries.
  • Pour mixture into prepared pan and top with banana slices, spread out evenly.  Sprinkle cinnamon on top, to taste.
  • Bake for 25-35 minutes until edges start to become slightly golden brown.
  • I have also added in two scoops of protein powder for a quick protein bump or riced cauliflower for some extra veggies.

Carrot and Blueberry Breakfast Cookies


  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1 egg (can use egg replacer for vegan)
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup melted coconut oil
  • 1½ cups grated carrots (approx. 2 carrots)
  • 1 cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped (OPTIONAL)
  • 1 cup blueberries


  • Preheat oven to 350, spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.  Set aside.
  • Place the oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt into a large bowl.  Whisk to combine.
  • Add the egg, maple syrup, vanilla, coconut oil, carrots, walnuts, and blueberries and stir to combine.
  • Use an ice-cream scoop to shape the cookies.  Arrange on the cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden.  Allow to cool on the tray.


These all freeze and reheat very well.  Wait for everything to cool completely, then store in individual sandwich bags.  Place all sandwich bags in a large gallon freezer bag and store in the freezer.  When ready to eat, place in microwave for 1-2 minutes, depending on microwave.


I hope you and your littles enjoy these recipes, and I would love to hear your favorites too!



Molly B.

A Guide to a Downtown Kansas City Brewery Crawl

A few weeks ago, Chad and I unintentionally embarked on a Brewery Crawl through downtown Kansas City. Yes, unintentionally. We’d planned to spend the day downtown, with no other agenda besides that. What started as, “We should go to one of the breweries down here,” unfolded into the best little day date.

If you open your Yelp app and type in “Brewery,” you will see the dots appear in bulk. We had absolutely no idea how many breweries had opened downtown, and how close they were in proximity! So I put together this guide for you to plan your own Crawl.

First things first, be responsible. If you don’t live downtown, you can’t walk to these places, so you’re not driving. Get an Uber, Lyft, cab, DD, whatever…but leave your car at home. Chad and I actually booked a room at a hotel in the Crossroads, so we were set! Everything is walkable once you’re in the Crossroads, but you could also easily grab a Bird scooter to get you from place to place.

(I’m giving you $2 off each of your first 3 Uber rides. Just use code ‘mollyb6344ue’ to sign up.)

Start your day at Torn Label. (It is the furthest in distance, so you can start there and work your way back.) Tucked back from the road, this little hideout is cozy with a fantastic shaded patio area. They are dog and kid-friendly, and although they don’t serve food, they’re cool when you bring your own. Get yourself a Monk & Honey and thank me later.

Next you’ll head over to City Barrel. Their taproom is large and very high energy. They also win the prize for most entertaining beer names. I settled on the Sunshine Radler, which was the perfect compliment to a hot summer day. They also have a killer food menu, and I highly recommend the Local Cheeses Board for a mid-Crawl nosh.

After you finish at City Barrel, walk around the corner to Double Shift. If you’re a fan of sours, this is your spot. Chad and I decided to share a flight so we could get a small sampling of a lot of flavors. (This is also just a smart endurance move for a crawl of this sort.) Bonus points that their flight trays are shaped like hops. Double Shift’s taproom also features some of the best wall art!

Next Door is Border Brewing Company, and they have a great beer selection. The taproom isn’t large, but they have a fantastic deck that offers a lot of outdoor seating. I’m a dark beer girl, so their Pecan Brown Ale hit the spot.

Wrap up your tour of the Crossroads at Brewery Emperial. This is one of our favorite places, so we were excited to revisit. Not only is their beer delicious, they have some of the best food in the city. I have dreams about one of their dark seasonal beers, but today it was their Maibock, which is also perfect malty sweetness.

If you’re up for it, jump on the Street Car and get to the River Market area for one last stop at Strange Days. Their taproom is family friendly, a great place to watch the game, and they have a beer selection to meet any affliction. We had a blast playing with their giant Connect Four while sipping their Le Petit. I’ll spare you the details on who won every game. (Me. It was me.)

By now you’re starving, and there’s no better place to end your beer-filled day than Il Lazzarone for the best Neapolitan pizza in the city. They have a great local beer selection, but if you’re ready for a change, their Froze is exceptional. Their Cavolo Riccio side salad is big enough for two people, but delicious enough to devour on your own. Same goes for the pizzas—we shared the Bruxelles, but you know I ate the leftovers.

Sometimes the best days are the ones that have zero plans, and that was this for us. I hope you try out a crawl of your own and share with me when you do.


Molly B.

Discounts on My Favorite Products

From time to time, I like to share some of my favorite products, especially when I can offer a discount to my friends, family, and followers.  I know it can be overwhelming to keep track of discount codes and links.  And when you actually need that discount, then you can’t find it!  So I’m rounding up my links and discount codes to keep an easily accessible list for all of you.  Please know that I do not recommend any products that I do not personally use and love.


Daily Harvest:

Get 3 FREE Cups on Your First Order

At Daily Harvest, they believe that living good starts with good food. It feeds us physically, mentally and emotionally. Recognizing the challenges people face today, they have taken the care to design good food around the speed at which we live. They are meticulous about the food they choose, where the food comes from, and how they guarantee the freshest nutrients stay locked in for you.

They take care of food, so that food can take care of you, so that you can be at your best, always.

From the ground up, they partner with farmers who don’t settle for anything less than the sweetest, heartiest, most nourishing fruits and vegetables. Then they freeze everything within hours of harvest to lock in the nourishing goodness of peak season ripeness. Their in-house chefs and nutritionists craft recipes that are both delicious and bring a little something extra to the table. All delivered to your door and ready to enjoy in minutes.



Get $40 Off Your First Delivery from Care/of with Code: MBPEB1

Everyone has a different path to personal health, and Care/of is here to help you find yours. They believe in the power of technology, science, and human empathy to make the journey simpler. Let them help take care of you by taking your quiz today!


Rent the Runway:

Get $30 Off Your First Order

Rent designer pieces, Love the fit, Return for free.  Shop for any occasion!

Function of Beauty:

Get $5 Off Your First Order

Historically, beauty companies have told you what you need for your hair. Function of Beauty knows that you know your hair better than anyone else does.

Their founding team—world-class MIT engineers and data scientists—spent years building their own algorithm and machines, that pull from hundreds of ingredients to potentially create billions of completely unique shampoo and conditioner combinations.

Tell them what you want and need for your hair, and they’ll individually formulate and fill a product that is as unique as you!  Take the quiz today to get started!


Love Wellness:

Get $10 Off You First Order Over $30 with Code REFIFJG7AXT

Love Wellness is women’s wellness reinvented. With a mission to modernize an archaic category, Love Wellness provides a female-first voice alongside natural, OB/GYN-recommended personal care products. Their products are holistic, with an offering ranging from OTC suppositories for common infections, to safe personal hygiene cleansers, and their line of vitamin supplements for PMS and Total Body Care. Driven by a community empowered to create a more open and honest self-care culture for women, Love Wellness creates the new standard for women’s wellness.


Beauty By Design:

Get $25 Off Your First Order

Beauty By Design is on a mission to make finding the right skincare easier than ever.

We’ve all been there: pacing the aisles of a beauty store, desperately trying to figure out which skincare products are actually right for us. Too often, we’re unsure if we’re using the right products and end up disappointed when we don’t see results. They’re here to change all that. Beauty By Design is the first skincare brand that provides precision-matched formulas with unlimited expert guidance from your own personal Esthetician.  Take the quiz today to get started.



I’ve been wearing these as my primary running shoes for a while, and I cannot recommend them enough!

$20 off $100 and Free Shipping at Saucony.com



The lightweight and comfortable wireless stereo headphones are the safest alternative to traditional sport headphones and earbuds. Bone conduction technology, an open ear design, and a suite of convenient features deliver premium music play and crystal clear calling without compromise. Designed with athletes in mind, Aftershockz are sweat-proof, secure, and will allow you to hear your surroundings – no matter where life takes you.

Get $50 off any Aftershokz bundle with code MOLLYB

Sour Lemon:

An organic, crisp and energizing drink that will leave you wondering how ACV could taste so good! Made with love in Kansas City.

Apple cider vinegar is the foundation of their lemonade because of its time-old health benefits. They reinvented the ancient medicinal drink so even the pickiest palates could reap the benefits:

  • Reduces Cravings
  • Balances blood sugar levels
  • Good source of probiotics and enzymes
  • Powerful antioxidant
  • Boosts immune function
  • Helps with cholesterol
  • Enhances the body’s natural detoxification process
  • Improves the body’s ability to absorb nutrients
  • Inhibits Candida and other funguses
  • Boosts stomach Acid
  • Assists in healthy weight loss

Use code MOLLYB at http://sourlemonbeverage.com?aff=10 for a 10% discount!


Luxury Brow:

For $50 off your service with Luxury Brow, use code MOLLYB.


Clare V.:

I think you’ll love Clare V., a line of handbags and apparel designed by Clare Vivier and made in LA.

Shop online now and you’ll get $25 Off your first order!



Have you checked out JustFab yet?  I’m totally obsessed, and I know you will be too.  They’ve got hundreds of styles from shoes and clothing to handbags and more.  Plus, you’ll get a sweet deal on your first purchase!  Not that you need an excuse to shop, but there’s always new stuff arriving—so you better get your faves while you can!

Shop JustFab now!


310 Nutrition:

Protein Shakes, Drink Mixes, Supplements, and more!

Get Free Shipping on 310 Nutrition with code 310MOLLYBU!


Walmart Grocery Pickup:

Walmart Grocery Pickup is seriously a life-changer!  You order fresh groceries, Walmart does the shopping and loads your car for FREE.  How easy is that?  Here’s $10 to try it. You can thank me later.



It’s an easy to use, cash back rewards app.  I use it every time I shop, and thought you would like it too. Sign up and use my referral code, sxbjohh, and you can start saving real cash at all your favorite retailers.

Smart Sweets:

Started with a gummy bear, now they here! What started out as recipe testing in Tara’s kitchen, turned into a global mission to #KickSugar. 3 years later, they have now helped people kick over 1 billion grams of sugar in 2019 by choosing SmartSweets.

Use code  mollybuchanan3878 for Free Shipping on orders over $30.


Their multi-functional products are uniquely designed to keep up with your fast-paced lifestyle. From doing your eyeliner in a Lyft to freshening up on the go, they’re here to keep you moving.  Their products are thoughtfully designed to declutter your beauty routine to give you back time and space. That means each product either checks off at least two boxes on your to-do list or is compact and efficient, saving you counter space for that adorable succulent you’ve been eyeing or extra room in your purse for 4pm snacks.

Get 10% off your first order with Code CROWNINGGLORY!


The NuGo Perfect Cookie is the only vegan low sugar protein cookie on the market! The Perfect Cookie comes in 4 delicious flavors:

       Dark Chocolate Chip

       Double Dark Chocolate

       Peanut Butter

       Lemon Poppy Seed

Also, the Perfect Cookie has:

       10g of Protein

       1-2g of Sugar

       5-7g of Net Carbs

This “perfect” on the go snack contains no artificial sweeteners, is gluten-free, soy-free, Kosher Pareve and of course vegan!

We know how difficult it can be to find high protein vegan products that are low in sugar that don’t contain artificial sweeteners. We are happy to fill that void with the NuGo Perfect Cookie!

The following link will allow you to try all 4 flavors of the Perfect Cookie for $8 Shipped.



Another Mother Runner:

Get 15% off any Train Like a Mother training plan with code REFER2020 and my name (Molly Buchanan) in the Notes section.





Molly B.





My Cancer Story

You ready for this?

When you clicked on this link to read about my cancer experience, you probably weren’t expecting for someone tell you a love story. But something you should know about me is that I love big, and I love hard. So a love story is what you’re getting.

I met my husband, Chad, when I was 19 years old. The night we met, he asked for my phone number, but the screen on his flip phone was cracked, so he asked me to write it down on a piece of paper he pulled out of his wallet. The piece of paper had two other girls’ names and phone numbers on it, so I threw it in the trash, wrote my name and number on a paper towel, and said something really smooth about how it was the only number he would ever need. That night, I knew two things: 1) neither one of us had any game, and 2) I was in love. That second thing took some more convincing on his part. (Probably because I do things like tell embarrassing stories to strangers.) But eventually I did, and we were married in June 2007. I was 24 years old.

Shortly after our wedding, we bought our first house in a suburb of Tulsa, Oklahoma, where we were both born and raised. We were so excited and couldn’t wait to entertain in our new home. At the beginning of November 2007, we threw a big housewarming party and invited all of our friends into our new home. We had so much fun…maybe a little too much fun. The next morning, I had a terrible headache, but I assumed it was from all that fun I mentioned before. But it didn’t go away. For several days, every day, I had a headache. And not just your typical, “I can take some Aspirin” type of headache, because believe me, I tried that. It was debilitating. It was hard to focus; it made me nauseous; I could barely make it through the day at work. But like so many of us have done before, I tried to power through, thinking it would get better. Finally, on a day off from work, I decided to go to the doctor. He asked very few questions and determined that I was having migraines. Made sense to me, so I took that answer, filled the prescription, and felt satisfied that I would wake up the next day feeling better. But I didn’t. In fact, the headaches got worse, and I was nauseous all the time. I would somehow make it through the day at work, come home, and immediately go to bed. Not a great way to spend our first few months of marriage.

I would call the doctor’s office almost every day, and I would get comments about how the medicine takes time to work, and if I didn’t feel better in 6-8 weeks, I could come back to explore other options. One day, I couldn’t handle it anymore, so I walked in the doors of my doctor’s office with no appointment, determined to get answers. I was told that my doctor was not in, but the Physician’s Assistant would be able to see me if I was okay to wait for a bit. It didn’t take long before I was in an exam room speaking with a nurse and eventually the PA. We went through my symptoms, and I finally felt like someone was listening. And then she asked, “Have we done a pregnancy test?” My first reaction was to laugh, but I said, “Oh no, I’m on birth control, and we just got married. I’m not pregnant.” (Apparently I slept through middle school biology with that answer.) Thankfully she persisted with having me take a test, “just in case.” A few short minutes later, she came in the room, smiling, “Congratulations!” But she must have seen the look of confusion, or fear, or whatever, on my face, because her smile faded. She told me that my test was positive, and I was pregnant. Of course Chad and I had planned to have children, just not this quick. But my bigger concern was the effect the migraine medicine might have had on this surprise of ours. Thankfully, the doctor shared my concern, spoke to my OBGYN, and was able to get me an appointment the following day.

At this time, Chad was working the night shift at work, so his days were spent catching up on sleep. After my appointment, I drove straight home and didn’t think twice about waking him up from his precious sleep. If I was going to be freaked out, he was along for the ride! I woke him up, and he listened to me and watched me cry through his groggy eyes. Always the calmer side of our relationship, he assured me that everything would be fine, and we would get some answers the following day.

We went to the doctor the next afternoon, and I was immediately taken to an ultrasound room with a tech. I will never forget this sweet girl’s face as she searched that small little screen for some good news to share. At the time, I didn’t know a thing about ultrasounds, but I knew her silence meant something was wrong. She said that I could go ahead and get dressed, and I would want to get my husband from the waiting room and meet her, and the doctor, in an exam room.

Chad and I waited in that room for what seemed like an eternity. When the doctor entered the room, her normal positive and upbeat demeanor seemed to have been left in the hall. The conversation that followed was, and still is, a blur. “You were pregnant, but you’re not, but we need to do surgery, and HcG levels, but chemo, but not, and 1 in 3 million women, but everything will be okay.” My head was spinning, but I was able to determine that my positive pregnancy test was caused by a tumor that had formed in my uterus, and I needed to have surgery the following morning to remove it. I made the necessary arrangements to have the day off from work, and I told them I would be back the following Monday morning.

The next morning, I had the surgery, everything went well, I went home to sleep it off, and I was back at work on Monday. The doctor did tell me that I would need to have bloodwork done every week for 4 weeks to ensure they “got it all.” I didn’t really know what that meant, but I knew I needed to do it. So I did. First week, fine. Second week, fine. Third week, I got the call.

I remember that I was sitting in the back room at work, eating my lunch, and I saw an incoming call from my doctor’s office. (By this time, it was the most recognizable number in my phonebook.) Honestly, I couldn’t really tell you what the nurse said. I didn’t understand anything she was saying. At the same time, my call waiting was beeping in my ear repeatedly, so I asked the nurse to please hold on. When I answered, the woman identified herself as calling from Cancer Care Associates and that she was needing to set up my treatment schedule. HUH? I asked if I could call her back, explaining that I was on another call. I went back to the original nurse, trying to get some clarity. Not understanding, I said, “Well I can’t do that, I have to work.” And her response was a statement that changed my entire life: “Molly, I don’t think you understand, you have cancer.”

The feeling in that moment, and in the 8 months that followed, can only be summed up with the word confusion. Through the pills, the injections, the PICC line, the infusions, the doctor’s appointments, the tests, the hair loss…confusion. I just went through the motions, arrived when and where I was supposed to, and prayed for an end. By the end of my treatment, I was going to the treatment center every single morning before work, receiving two hours of chemotherapy, and then driving straight to work to work a full day. The nights and weekends were hard. I was tired. I was sick. I was sad. I went through the unique experience of having my husband shave my head in the kitchen of that brand new home, which not really something I wish on any couple. But I also got to shave his head in an act of solidarity, and that was awesome! When we got married, I didn’t think I could love Chad any more than I did in that moment, but this experience proved me wrong. He cleaned my PICC line every single night, he attended every doctor’s appointment, he held my hand during every treatment that he could attend, he brought me a molten chocolate cake from Chili’s every single time I asked, because it was literally the only thing I wanted to eat. We celebrated his birthday, my birthday, and our 1-year wedding anniversary while holding hands in a chemo chair.

But I got better. After 8 months of treatment, I got another call, a nurse telling me that my tumor was gone! I would have to complete a couple of additional weeks of treatment and return periodically for bloodwork, but the end was near.

My life changed because of this experience.  It sounds really trite, and it wasn’t instant, but it did. That change intensifies every day, and I am truly a different person because of that experience.  I have experienced a lot of mixed emotion. I was angry for a while, trying to get back the time I lost. I felt guilty, so many suffering or losing their battle while I was cured. And ultimately, I’ve landed here. Grateful. Convicted. Faithful. Strong.

I could share many more love stories with you, but I would be remiss if I did not leave you with one more.  Although my treatment was completed many years ago, and I celebrated my 10-year anniversary of being cancer free on July 7, 2018, my journey did leave me with one lasting effect: the inability to conceive a child. Chad and I always knew that we wanted to adopt, so when we learned that we would not be able to conceive a child, we knew this was our direction. That led to us to adopting our son, Jack, one of the greatest love stories of my life.

I’ve told this story a lot of times, but I’ve never written it. There are so many additional nuances. Maybe I’ll go back and add them. Maybe I’ll leave it raw. It felt good to write this. To let out some tears and emotion. And to let you in on the story.

Molly B.