So I walked into the Bar…


My Mom has been bugging me to write this post since November 20th but I’ve stubbornly held my ground. I told her I didn’t want to write post it until I had been sworn in because some small part of me still believes that  the California Bar is going to call me and tell me they had made a mistake. I even told her that she couldn’t throw away my bar study books until December 17th (my swearing in date). I’m not paranoid, just overly suspicious that good things can happen to me.


One surgery, Six months of chemotherapy treatment, Three months of studying, Three days of testing, 18 hours of examination, 6 Essays, 2 Performance Tests, 200 Multiple choice questions  and….One year and nine days to the day of my last chemo treatment I was sworn in as an attorney after passing the hardest Bar in the country.


Mic Drop

Life these last few weeks has been like an ending to some unbearably cheesy Hallmark movie. You know the one where after your done watching it you feel unexplainably better about the world. The birds are singing, the sun is shining, and money grows on trees!!

But that is why I waited so long to write this blog post. This blog has always been a reflection of my rawest emotions. At times this blog has watered down those darkest, hardest moments because there  were and are some  things that have happened over the last year and a half that were so shitty, so heartbreaking, and so personal that I didn’t post them on here. If this blog was only me sharing the darkest moments I’m sure most of you wouldn’t have made it this far, or at least if I was on the outside looking in I’m not sure I would have made it this far with me.

I wanted this post to be joyous, because I’m not going to lie… it feels AWESOME. I’m sure Gavin will tell you I’m a much more enjoyable spouse now. But I also don’t want to be disingenuous–I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that passing the bar does not erase the shit that I’ve had to go through. Everyone has to go through some shit, but man I (we, you, yes you are included because you lived it with me) went through SOME SHIT.

So one day on my way to the Bar I got a little sidetracked. But I ended up making it to the Bar, not entirely in the same place I was when I started my journey, but when I got there and I shut the Bar DOWN.

I’m not entirely sure this blog will continue, mostly because I’d rather end on a high note like Derek Jeter then be forced into retirement by my own irrelevancy. I do have a follow up appointment with my oncologist for that lump on my neck that continues to grow for January 5th (which is the day that just happens to mark my 1 year remission date). Maybe I’ll continue to post. Maybe I won’t.

We’ll just have to wait and see, shall we? Besides, I am being true to you, to myself, and to my struggle against cancer by ending this post on the emotions of hope, happiness, and always a bit of ambiguity and nerves that will never go away because I have been irreparably changed by my journey.

Ok enough of that. Let’s celebrate…



You can find me at the Bar,






Put me in coach, these are only battle scars!


I’m ALIVE and I’ve got the battle scars to prove it.

So it’s been a while. A long while. I didn’t write at first because I was just too tired from the Bar; and then I didn’t write because I had the worst case of writers block. I felt like the Bar permanently scarred me to go along with the two beauties I have right  below my collarbone.

Thanks to some great advice from an Uncle I was finally able to overcome my writers block, but then I had too much to say. I was too overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start.

Whatever. Get over yourself Sarah. GET. OFF. THE. BENCH.

So let’s just start in the middle.The Bar, the bar, the bar. It went and that is about all there is to say about it. It was horrible, it was hard, and it happened–kind of like cancer but nowhere near as bad. When I saved the document on my computer for the last time on the third day I burst into tears at the magnitude of it all. I mean beyond the fact that the Bar is definitely some form of sadomasochism/a giant hazing event, the fact that I sat for the Bar is something that, a year ago, I wouldn’t have even dreamed of. So there you have it, and you are all going to have to wait until November 20th to find out whether I’m going to have to go through it again.

I told myself I’d give myself six weeks off to rest and just take some time for myself where I would just relax, chill, drink beer, heal, and then I would *think* about applying to jobs. Kind of like in between the World Series and Spring Training.

Six weeks go by and so about a week ago I applied to my first real post-bar-and-cancer temporary job (a clerkship at a local government agency) that I wanted badly but I didn’t hold out much hope of even getting an interview. I’ve been on what–in baseball terms–would be called the DL list for a year now.

But I got an interview, then I got the job, and about 20 minutes ago I signed the contract. I start tomorrow.

I get to do something I want to do, and I get PAID for it. I still can’t get over the fact that tomorrow I get to do something that I love and I get paid for it. Well at least for 4 months until my contract is up. Still, this isn’t the minors anymore baby! I’m in the major league. So I’ve been on the DL, so I’ve got the battle scars to prove it, I’m ready to point to the bleachers and hit some shit outta the park.

Fuck off Cancer,


One day away from my way to the Bar…


Tomorrow I take the California Bar.

I’m not ready, and God help me if there is an essay on Trust/Wills or Business Associations. I’m not nearly prepared enough, and had a very bad day a few days ago where I didn’t study at all… but as everyone around me keeps reminding me, being here today and taking the Bar tomorrow means I’ve won.

I’m not sure I buy that bullshit.

I’m a type-A, perfectionist, anal-retentive, obsessive-compulsive control freak. And I expect a lot of myself. That is why I was successful in school. It’s probably what helped me get through chemo, and why I started studying for the Bar so (maybe too) soon after treatment.

It’s hard going into a test knowing you aren’t prepared, and that you’ve spent the last few months on a futile endeavor. I don’t want to fail, just like I didn’t want to die.

I expect that I will succeed, that I will live, that I will… by the sheer force of who I am, my personality, and moral fiber… conquer. It’s not some generational entitlement crap either. It is that I set goals for myself and am disappointed when/if I don’t reach them.

A year later life has come full circle. Maybe I have won, maybe I haven’t. But here I am, one day away from my way to the Bar.

Fuck off Cancer (& the California Bar),


Yay for failing!


So it has been a hot second on here since I’ve posted anything on here, not because I don’t have anything to say (by this time I’m sure you all know I ALWAYS have something to say) but because I’ve been so crazy stressed with Bar study. Lets not  talk about how I may or may not have gone my longest without showering ever (almost 3 1/2 days)…

In my defense, I’ve been studying extremely hard for the CA Bar and I literally only come into contact with about two or three other people on a daily basis. Also, things have been kind of crazy and not just because of the Bar either. A few weeks ago I found a lump in my neck (along with some other funky symptoms I’ve been having) and I had to have it biopsied.

Here is the spark notes version… my fine needle biopsy came back showing some cells but they are cells you also sometimes see with an infection anyway. My results were examined by a really great pathologist who specializes in hematology oncology. He basic said everything looks okay, but there weren’t enough cells to make a determination so if the lump remains suspicious they recommend an excision biopsy for more results. My ENT, my Onc, and I agreed that we should take a “watch and wait” approach. Basically if the lump is still there when the Bar is over I’ll go in for a full biopsy (and probably have my tonsils out because they are doing their own crazy thing at the moment as well…it’s never a dull moment).

I aslo had my “cancerversary.” Yes, I said cancerversary. I celebrated the day I went to the hospital and they found my cancer. I know it may sound morbid but I was more excited for my cancerversary then I was for my actual birthday. In some weird, psychedelic way June 6th now feels more like my birthday then February 15th does. I don’t have the energy to get all deep ‘n shit about how it feels like I was literally re-born, maybe some other time post-bar, but don’t worry guys I treated myself to a Mimosa and a rare day off from studying.

Fast forward a few weeks to the present.

The lump is still there. I still have symptoms. Bar study could definitely be going better…. I’ve struggled with focus, anxiety, memory retention, the fact that I’m really not sure I want to be a lawyer anymore, stamina, and (obviously) showering every day (though maybe California should really be thanking me because of this drought and all).

Right now I’m just focused on maintaining the crumbs of sanity I still have and studying as much as possible for the next few weeks. Everything else including eating, sleeping, and my health are secondary.

I’ve thought a lot about what is worse, studying for the bar or having cancer. I can say that having cancer was definitely worse but at least when you have cancer they give you good drugs.

Ok, enough of my crazed-bar-studying-chemo-brained-law-student ramblings. I’ll just leave you with this gem for now… today I took a practice test and scored 62%. The average was a 59%. I’ve never been so happy to fail something and be average in my life. I was so incredibly excited that I don’t feel that one weird gif accurately conveys my emotions so I am leaving you with three.




You’re welcome.

Fuck off cancer,


“You’re letting the cancer win.”


Recently I’ve been dealing with a lot of fear about relapse. My bad days are  Kim Kardashian-ugly-cry status.


(Reference for those of you who have never ugly cried. I bet you never poop either.)

The other day someone said to me that when I give into the fear that “You’re [I’m] letting cancer win.” I responded rather eloquently.. “Fuck you.” Three years of law school and all I could get out was an expletive… what a waste of 160K. The more I thought about it, the angrier I got.

Then I realized this person didn’t say it from a place of maliciousness, but because they didn’t know how they could help, how they could make me feel better. I realized this person loves me, cares about me, and doesn’t want to see me hurt or broken. I thought a lot about how, instead of reacting to negativity with negativity, I could’ve explained to them how to help me.

I don’t have any answers. I don’t know how I could have explained to them how to help me. I don’t know how they can help me. I don’t why I can’t get over the “fear.” Like I’ve mentioned before cancer = enlightenment.

What I can tell you is that having cancer is sometimes as much about you as it is about other people. A very wise dude once told me that sometimes during cancer you do things not because it is going to make you feel any better but because it will make someone else happy to help you. The more I think about this the more it feels right. Sometimes I do things to help others both out of the goodness of my heart and because it makes me feel better. The two things are not mutually exclusive.

When I see others I love struggle, I struggle with them. Sometimes I say things that I don’t mean not out of anger with them but out of frustration with myself, because I can’t help them. I’m still working on how this person can help me. I’m still working on how I can help myself.

Maybe on my bad days I am letting cancer win the battle. But every day I wake up and try and study for the bar or go out in public with my crazy hair and chest scars I am still fighting the war.

Fuck off cancer,


Today is the day.


Today is the day. My mountain is waiting. I’m getting on my way.

Thanks Dr. Seuss! Seriously, though…

Today is just my first official day of studying for the California Bar. In full disclosure, Bar study doesn’t really officially start until May 19th but I am starting 2 1/2 weeks early.  No I’m not that excited (but maybe just that high-strung).

These last few months of partial studying have taught me that I’m not back to “normal”… and I don’t know when I will be. I don’t have the stamina. I don’t have the attention span. My brain still feels like jelly.  I’m not going to get much studying done on June 6th (the day I was diagnosed). I’m still going to have “bad days.” And I will always have more than my fair share of doctors appointments taking up too many hours of precious study time.

Maybe things will eventually return to normal, or maybe they never will, but I’ve got to compensate the best way I can which means starting ridiculously early and limiting my studying to 8 hours or less a day. I’m not sure if I’ll make it to the finish line and take the test in July. I’m not sure I even want to be a lawyer anymore (more on this some other time), but becoming a lawyer is the most logical way of paying off my ridiculous student loans.

I’m not sure my body can take the stress. I’m not sure I can take the stress. And if I was a gambler (which I am definitely not) I wouldn’t bet on me making it up the “mountain.”

But blah blah blah a journey starts with a step blah blah. Whatever. Today is the day.

Fuck off Cancer,


That post-chemo hair life.


For your viewing pleasure I present to you the three stages of post-chemo hair…

1. Awww yeah, get it gurl.  I got eyebrows. I got eyelashes. I got hair. I’m basically ready to rule the world. Move over Hillary.

2. Wait, what is happening with my hair. It won’t go down. Why do I look like Alfalfa?

3. A can of hair spray and a head band later…so done with hair.

Fuck Cancer,


I am here.


A friend of mine asked me to talk to his friend who was just diagnosed with Hodgkin’s. Could I talk to her; she felt like she had no one to talk to, no one who understood what she was going through? Of course, I remember that feeling—I still feel that way a lot.

**INSERT: email exchange HERE.**

Wait, I know this person. No, I don’t just know this person… we were friends in undergrad. I’d tell you the full story about how we figured out who each other was, but it’s not really my story to tell anymore. Suffice to say we are both tangled in each other’s journey now, even if just for a moment.

** INSERT: uncontrollable sobbing, waking up my parents and husband up in the middle of the night because I am convinced I gave her cancer, and the irrational thoughts that there is something in the water at University of San Francisco HERE.**

People have told me they like this blog. I’ll let you in on a secret, writing this stuff is usually (but not always) easy. These damn blog posts spill out of me like a tidal wave of emotion that I couldn’t stop even if I tried. With the exception of some of my darkest places and when Gavin was diagnosed, I’ve always known what I want to say on here and how I want to say it.

**INSERT: being totally at a loss of how to express what I’m feeling HERE.**

So instead of me talking to you, this post is going to be a letter to her. I guess this is also an open letter to any friend (or friend of a friend, or friend of a friend of a friend) who I may directly or indirectly know that has had, does have, or will have cancer. I hope you carry these words with you and that you never feel alone in this fight because I am here.


Dear ****,

The next few months are going to be shitty. There are going to be times when you feel like there isn’t anyone that understands what you are going through. There are going to be days when you feel your own mortality so acutely that it will hurt. You’re going to be tired. Some days all you can do is cry. There may come a time when the fear creeps out and you think, “I’m going to be the one who won’t beat this.”

If could take away your pain, fear, and everything you are going to go through, I would. I would do anything to make it easier for you. I’m sorry that this happened to you. I’m sorry I can’t take your pain away, but I can tell you I’m here.

Cry. Scream. Get angry. Lean on people. Lean on me. Fight. On the days you don’t feel like fighting let me fight for you. Let anyone fight for you. Talk. Don’t talk. Embrace the fear, but don’t let it control you. It’s okay to be scared. Write. Know that there are more people out there who love and support you then you ever realized. People you haven’t even met yet are in your corner rooting you on. I’m rooting you on. Ignore advice. Ignore me. Be selfish. Play the cancer card – it’s ok.

I can’t make this battle any easier but I can tell you I know what you are going through, and I will do anything to make this a little bit easier for you. You are not alone. I am here… now, during treatment, and after.

You are more than this shitty disease.




Finally, I’m just going to throw out there that cancer is totally a no-good-ex-boyfriend-skid-marks-in-the-pants-of-society-drives-on-the-shoulder-doesn’t-get-up-for-old-ladies piece of shit. Also, I am here.

Fuck Off Cancer,


Cancer ≠ Enlightenment


I’ve struggled with this concept for a while — that because I’ve had cancer or that I’m in remission that I should have certain life perspective. I feel like I should be above certain emotions and fears, but I’m not.

I am taking the California Bar Exam this July (2015). Lets go back in time to last March (2014) for just a second.

Last March at approximately this time I was sitting in Wine Law “listening” to Kenneth Star talk about Granholm v. Heald and stressing about what Bar testing location I would get.

For those of you not in the “know” there are certain testing locations that are notorious. As a student you hear legal “urban legends” about how someone taking the Bar was sitting next to a person who had a heart attack, or someone’s car got stollen, or the power went out and someone lost three typed essays. I’m not naming names but I let’s just say that Tree-ville (that city across the bay from San Francisco) does not have a good test site reputation. Some of these urban legends are probably a load of BS, but what isn’t is the fact that last year (July 2014) there was a significant medical emergency at the testing location that I was suppose to be at.

I was worried about what testing location I was going to be assigned to. I was worried about finding a job. I was worried about studying for the Bar. I was worried about passing.

Fast forward to the present.

I’m sitting in my parents’ dining room (not a class room), listening to online Bar lectures because that’s all my post-chemo brain can handle, and not giving one shit whether I’m assigned to Tree-ville. A job and a paycheck would be nice, but you know, whatever.

So maybe, just maybe, cancer puts certain things in perspective. But let’s not get all “cancer-righteous-I-have-so-much-life-perspective-blah-blah-blah.”  I’m still worried.

I’m worried about studying for the Bar exam; I may even be more worried then I was before. Cortisol (stress) levels and the amount of sleep you get are directly linked to relapse. I want to be a lawyer, but getting cancer again is totally not worth the Bar card they give you.

I’m worried that I have no one to study with. I’m worried that I’ve forgotten everything I learned in law school. I’m worried about failing. I’m worried that Gavin’s cancer is going to come back. I’m worried that I’m never going to feel like me. I’m worried that I’m going to get cancer again. I’m worried about being worried because obviously that is not good for stress levels too.

Some things change and some things stay exactly the same but cancer ≠ enlightenment and that’s ok, because as a very good friend reminded me a few days ago “If anyone is not going to pass the first time and have a good excuse, it’s you.”


Fuck off Cancer,