Update:

I am having a difficult time. I’m trying to push forward, but feel like something is always pushing me back… including fear it will happen again, or pain that I fear is cancer coming back. Do i wear my cancer sucks shirt and be an advocate? Do I catch the attention of even 1 young girl and she asks me about it and then goes home and does her self exam? Or do I put them up and move on with my life and act like i’m just some regular girl in a baggy shirt with short hair? It sucks. I have stuck to the first thing because I genuinly care about other people. I will always want to be an advocate and spread awareness, even at my own expense I guess. I have been let down by people I care about and how they could care less about how I am. This year was the most awful, horrible, horrific year of my life. I had a run in with death and my own mortality, and also dealing with the scars and consquences that came with keeping my life. I don’t think many things can compare to that. So, I am a bit more sensitve to the fact that I just wanted the people in my life to reach out and see how I was….. see how I am now. As of now I have a broken hand, broken toe, sore back, neuropathy, lymphodema, brittle bones…. and so on. I want to get better… and it’s so hard to keep moving in reverse:(

Ughhhhhh is there always a reminder?

Today Kaylee is testing at taekwondo for the very last time hopefully before her blackbelt test. She will do amazing, and afterwards they always have a Christmas party and it’s lots of fun.

Last year testing was December 20th. A day I will never forget. Three days before on the 17th I had a very large painful needle jabbed into my breast to check the tissue for cancer. It hurt…a lot. At that moment I had so many things running through my brain. I was told that over 80% of these come back negative and to not worry myself into a tizzy. Well…. I did anyways. For three days John and I barely spoke. It was all we could think about at the time, but neither of us wanted to admit just how scared we were. Fast forward to taekwondo night. It is Dec. 20th… 5 days before Christmas and I still hadn’t heard anything. Nothing is more frustrating than waiting for a phone to ring. Well, on this date I was so worked up I called my doctor in the afternoon and practically begged and pleaded for answer. Whether good, or bad… I couldn’t wait any longer. So I called and left a message sobbing and sobbing to please call me back.

I took Kaylee to taekwondo that night for testing and the party. At that time it was after 5pm and I still hadn’t heard back. John is worried… my parents are worried….we are all trying not to think about the big elephant in the room. I tell my friend at the front desk at taekwondo that I am waiting for a call and hopefully it will come soon and I’ll have to step outside to take it. Mind you John was on his way there…but hadn’t arrived yet.

So, 5:30 or so the phone rings. This is it….this one call I thought was about to control my destiny. I gave the signal to my friend that I was stepping outside and all I remember is how bitterly cold it was. Even with a coat on I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay for long out there. I stood on the cold snowy sidewalk and I answered my call. I had no idea who was on the phone…I think it was my doctors nurse? Whoever it was, I didn’t recognize the voice. All I heard was the words I had prayed about….

Biopsy Is Negative For Cancer.

I stood in the cold rainy air and my fingers were starting to go numb. I asked the nice lady one quick thing….Is there a secondary bad thing they were checking for.? She happily said “no, cancer is what they were checking for…and it was Negative.”

As I stood in the freezing cold by the taekwondo studios doors I had a call on the other line…it was my Parents. I didn’t intend to tell them yet, but I just found out and had to. I tapped on the glass windows with my nail, and my friend looked up at me. I gave her a “thumbs up” signal…and immediately she flashed me a huge smile. I was starting to get very cold and wet, but I knew with my parents calling in, the tears were about to flow. I walked down a bit and stood under an awning to a train store next door. It was still cold out there, but atleast I wasn’t getting wet. I took a second to catch my cold breath..and said the greatest words ever….”I Don’t Have Cancer.” My dad was on the phone and I barely heard any words after that. Just sobbing. Sobbing and sobbing and thanking God…and sobbing more. He said “Baby, this is the greatest Christmas Present you could ever give me.” I talked to my mom a bit and she was crying too. I told them I need to call John and would call back. All I heard was “I love you baby.” and more crying.

By this time I am almost totally numb…from the weather…and also the news! I walked near the door to come in and call John, and at the same time he pulls up out front. I blurt out “it was negative for cancer.” and ran up and gave him a very very freezing cold hug:) We didn’t say much at all, but not sure we needed to. It had been so stressfull waiting those 3+ days we were exhausted! We came inside where it was nice and warm and John began to make his calls…and I went into the Taekwondo office to do mine….insert crying and sobbing here;) I don’t have a clue who I called that night, but I remember just being so relieved. It was 5 days before Christmas…and I did not have cancer. I received the greatest gift of all that year….even if that joy was a bit short lasted. At that moment in time I was more at peace than probably ever before in my life. I made my phone calls, cried a bit more…then walked out to watch my little girl test.

I had no idea a mere 28 days from that cold blistery day, I would receive news that I did indeed have breast cancer. It was agressive and I had to move fast and make some big decisions.

As testing approaches at taekwondo I can’t help but tap on that glass once more and give a “hand signal.” Will it be a thumbs up? maybe something else;) we’ll have to wait and see……. It is a day to remember…and will always be part of my journey.

Add all this up with the emotions of Christmas and what it means to me this year, and hopefully everyone will understand why I am more emotional. Who wouldn’t be? Back track one year ago and I would have never imagined any of this. It leaves an imprint on your soul.

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Christmas: till the season…for an update;)

So, Christmas will be here before
we know it. First off, at Thanksgiving we told the kids that after the year we had, we need to step back and realize what is most important this coming Christmas… our Family . The fact that we all get to be together is the greatest gift to be had. I thought telling the kids we were cutting back this year would lead to fussing and complaining…but it went really well. John and I told them they would each get around 3-4 gifts a piece. No electronics, and nothing over $20. Sophie did mention she wanted something for $30 (a twirling ballerina:) so we made an exception for that. Now as you read this you are probably thinking…”Well, they’ll just ask Santa for the big stuff.” ๐Ÿ˜‰ haha. So, we told the girls no lists this year for Santa either. He has so many kids to bring toys to that they will (as Sophies preschool teacher had taught her:) “Get what you get, and don’t throw a fit.” haha. So I prepared them for getting just a few small items that Santa can easilly carry with him. It really has made this Christmas season sooooo much easier when I’m not worried about how to pay/shop for lots of gifts. I’m not sure why I didn’t start this years ago! Now, for those who know us…we never really did a whole bunch of gifts or really expensive stuff…but Sophie did want a kids tablet last year and Kaylee a new DS.. and just those 2 items alone were $300 …so it sure adds up fast. After this year I also think…well, these kiddos have been through a lot, they should get the biggest & best Christmas ever….And They Will! It just won’t revolve around presents. I have books to read, xmas lights to see, and I’ll also make my very 1st Smore with them on Christmas Eve!

This has been a year to remember. I think my kids did so much growing up, and I am so proud of how they handled it. I can’t begin to imagine how a 4 & 9 year old felt when they found out their mom had breast cancer. I love them so much, and they are the reason I fought and will always fight to be with them.

I am now lucky to know so many wonderful woman that are battling this awful disease. They are true inspirations everyday. We all share the same common bond…
We Are All Warriors. To get to know each of them has been such a blessing this year.

This Christmas I am way more emotional than ever before. I know what I want, I know what I need, and I know what I can’t live without. I will never be able to thank my family & friends that stepped up and supported me this year. Maybe it was a text…or a phone call…maybe it was helping with my girls…or just a card in the mail. To the ones that loved me and supported my family…I am forever grateful.

Today I had a mild breakdown when I was talking to my mom. Part of it was a flood of emotions…and part of it was a flood of frustration. Pain in my legs isn’t getting better:( I just opened my mouth and all this stuff just came pouring out along with tears. I just sat in the parking lot and sobbed and sobbed. I was upset and hurt by some people in my life and I just kept it bottled up for too long. Sometimes in life you are faced with things you have zero control of…and you need people around you to lift you up when you feel like giving up. I am thankful for my husband, kids, parents, family & friends that have shown love & support throughout the toughest year of my life. Thank you for being so kind to put me first when I needed to heal and get better. Only God himself knows what the future holds. I pray each day for a Cure, and peace among those who are suffering. Love always๐Ÿ’œโค๐Ÿ’š

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cancer is a jerk.

cancer sucks…period.

I have said it from the beginning, and I still say it now.

You see, even now as I sit here…months and months and months after finishing treatment…and it was so-called “coming to an end.” It’s not. It seems like it never will….and it makes me so angry. I thought I was making progress with a new drug I was taking….but then here is reality to smack me in the face. Yes, maybe it worked for a bit….but now it’s not and I’m having severe side effects. Terrible leg pain & numbness & my brain is all fuzzy…and it’s driving me nuts! My kids are saying I’m calling them by the wrong names, my words and sentences are not formulating like normal….and it seems as though it’s a page right out of Family Guy, and clearly I’ve had too many free McBurgertown Burgers…(sorry if you don’t get that…it’s a joke about Peter having a stroke)….I’ve never had my brain not function correctly….it’s actually quite scary. Imagine you want to tell a story. In your head you have formulated it all and have the story all planned out and how you will tell it…..then you open your mouth, and you can’t think of any of the right words and you don’t remember any of the sentences. Just a few minutes before it was all planned out, and now you can’t just repeat it…..frustrating.

I want to blab on for paragraphs on in about how frustrated I am…but I’ll spare everyone. I’m back to feeling like crap and I hate that. I want to just move on…and I’m not sure now if that will ever happen. This last medicine I’m on is my last option before trying anti-depressants and so on that I’m not comfortable with. So…..I just want it to work.

I’m hurt.I’m defeated. And I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that at 33 my body is acting like it’s 83. As I type in anger, it’s still ever present that I feel like a jerk for even complaining. Each night I close my eyes and pray to God that I will be given another day on this Earth. But on that same token, I want to enjoy my life and have peace within it. I want to play with my kids without fear I’ll break another bone….I want to hold hands with my 5 year old and not have fear I’ll fall and hurt her… I want to rewind time and get moments back that I am missing… I want to just to scream at the top of my lungs I am angry….that I hate cancer and everything it has done. No one should go through this…

So, above all I will do what I do. Wake up tomorrow put on my Cancer Sucks t shirt and release some anger…and at the same time spread awareness. Cancer does Suck….period.

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Update:

Update:

With a broken hand, blogging and typing is not the easiest task;) but I wanted to give some updates.

A wonderful amazing friend of mine gave John and I a week at her timeshare in the Cayman Islands. It was amazing! The only other time I have left the country is 11+ years ago on my Honeymoon to Mexico. I had just found out I was pregnant with Kaylee….and let’s just say I threw up for most of the 7 days we were gone;)

John and I very rarely ever leave the girls overnight anywhere, and have never left them for a week. The most we have been away from them is just a day or two and that only happens maybe once a year. So, being gone for 7 days was a big deal. But…I knew we needed the time away to reconnect.

We had a blast! I knew my kids were having fun with their grandparents, and that allowed me to just relax and spend time with John. We snorkled… we swam with stingrays… we went on a submarine ride… and my most favorite part, walks on the beach late at night (although I broke my toe on a piece of coral) This year was tough on many people in my family, but as a mother it was always my primary focus to worry about my kids first. This trip made me realize just how tough this year was on my marriage too. When someone is diagnosed with cancer, everyone suffers….period. We talked…we cried….and we remembered why we fell in love with each other so many years ago:) He is my best friend and I don’t want to spend my life with anyone else. As long as we are together, we can do anything….and now that even includes beating cancer. I believe in soul mates, because John is mine.

So, the trip was amazing and I could never thank my friend enough for what she did. Also our family for watching our babies so we could go:)

I also recently had my first haircut since shaving my head for chemo in February. It may not seem like that big of a deal…but it was for me. I felt like I had waited a million years. I loved going to the salon. The day I shaved my head was awful. I looked in the mirror, and then shut the mirror doors and never re opened them for months. I hated how I looked and felt when I was bald. With no eyebrows or eyelashes either I felt like every bit of femininity was gone…and I hated that. It’s hard not to see yourself in a mirror or reflection….it becomes a lot of walking with your head down, and that is painful. So this day was so important to me. I cried, I laughed, a good friend stopped by with flowers…then I cried again;) I loved every second of it. I left there with my head held high…and it felt good:)

Now, onto other news…. which might be TMI… (skip paragraph if needed;) As many know chemo is hell on your body. I am still dealing with the side effects from it on a daily basis, and its awful. After treatment started…my period stopped…and menopause began. I have not had a cycle since Dec of 2012. I was told I only had about a 1-5% chance of my period ever coming back. I guess once your body is in menopause for that length of time, it tends to stay that way. Well….. my period started! I know, who the hell is ever excited about that happening, lol. But, for me it was my body acting like it was 32 again, and not 82. I was thrilled! I know that if we decide to have another baby at some point, this was the first step. I need to have a full hysterectomy within the next few years or so and have no idea the damage chemo did on my eggs etc. But…. this is a start… and I’ll take it:)

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I have never been more thankful. I can’t wait to cook tomorrow for my family and sit at the table and thank God for everything I have. Cancer took so much from me this year, but it didn’t take the things I need the most…my family. I don’t care about losing my breasts… or any side effects left over from chemo. This Thanksgiving I have everything I could possibly ever need. I have great friends, great family, and people around me who truly love & care for me. I don’t need a reminder on how fragile life is, I know. This year tested every possible limit I had and I am much stronger than I thought I was. I hope in some way I touched some lives in a positive way and always spread awareness when possible. I had no idea how to deal with any of this and just did the best I could. So this Thanksgiving please take a moment and think about what you are truly “thankful” for…. xoxoxoxo

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Update: trying to keep my head above water.

So much has happened…but sadly I will have re-cap another time. Chemo was the gift that kept on giving…and because of the neuropathy and a playful 5 year old;) ….. I broke my hand in a nasty fall. So, typing left handed is not easy. I miss blogging, and hopefully will feel good enough to catch everyone up real soon.

I am very emotional these days….and feel like it’s all bottled up inside me. Because I broke my hand I had to reschedule my fertility appt in St. Louis that I had been waiting months and months to get into to. The people in Kmart must have thought I was crazy when I burst into tears in the Halloween candy isle when the nurse called to verify my appt the next day.

I told John earlier today (in a tearful sad text) that I feel like I am swimming, and everytime I feel like I can come up for air….something pushes me back under again. I am trying so hard to get back on my feet…I feel like I am working in reverse.

Anyhow….I’ll save the pity party for another day when I can write more and explain. Since I can’t write very much, I’ll do the only thing I know to do….post photos:) I can catch everyone up on what’s going on lately without killing my hand๐Ÿ’œThank you to everyone who takes the time to read this and share in my journey.
XOXOXO

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Rainbow Rosie Sally

So, I forgot a few important “hair” photos yesterday. At a time when I had no clue how to explain to Sophie (4 years old) about cancer and what was about to happen. I made the choice to take Sophie to get my wig, and make it a fun thing. It was just that:) She named my wig and it turned something heart wrenching into a day I will never forget. Kaylee was 9 at the time and this conversation was something she could grasp, even if it was just a tiny bit….I could try to explain things to her. Sophie at 4 years old just couldn’t. I sat Kaylee down, and with tears streaming down my face I promised to do everything in my power to beat this demon. She didn’t have many questions, but I knew when she was ready, she would ask them. But….. a 4 year old? How could I ever begin to explain it to her? So, I did the best I could….and that was it. My mom, Sophie and I headed to the wig shop…and these pictures followed:) Some fun pictures of me and my family wearing my wig too:enjoy

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Hair it is;)

So, with my birthday coming up soon I could get all emotional about how grateful I am to even have a birthday this year…..but I’m not quite ready to get all emotional right now. Another day maybe;) but not today.

Today I thought it would be funny to post all the pictures I have saved on my phone of my hair growing:) lol. It is a true representation on how slowly hair does grow:) Enjoy.

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Think before Pink

Think before you PINK. This year is very different for me than years before. As of October 1st Pink is literally everywhere! If you buy something “Pink” that is branded for Breast Cancer please do your research and make sure your money is going where you think it should. Don’t get caught up in it just because it’s “Pink” and says Breast Cancer. Be a knowledgeable consumer:) If you want to donate I can list off some wonerful charities that are making a difference! WRFTC is one of them:) My weekend retreat with other young survivors changed my life.
xoxoxo

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Nashville Woman Rock For The Cure Retreat!

Women Rock for the Cure Retreat Update:

So, this will be a long post:) Everyone is asking how my retreat in Nashville went…and it was amazing! So much more than I ever thought it would be. I was so nervous about going and I’m not exactly sure why. These are my peers…they get me…they have all walked in my shoes…what is there to be scared of? I guess I just wasn’t sure if I was ready to deal with the emotional baggage that “is cancer” in a group setting. Most days I am crying or cursing, and I’m not sure if that is the “norm”‘or not.

So, I get there and it was really quite exciting. There are seminars, speakers, info, open discussion, and so on. For the first time since being diagnosed, I don’t feel alone. This is a Young Survivors Retreat and most of these women have a life very similar to mine. Certain times I open up and ask questions, other times I just want to sit and listen. We are all at different points in our treatment, and unfortunately at just a few months out I wasn’t feeling as good as I’d hoped. My leg numbness is no better, and some days it takes every bit of my energy just to get up and walk. I do not feel my feet when I walk and it is quite painful. So…. the bathtub at the retreat center was my friend:)

At some points it was very emotional…and other points it was very light-hearted and fun. We made music, listened to great music (had 3 song writers come and sing their music to us) had a make-up class, and just acted like girls at summer camp;) But…then there were also moments of tears.

I realized I had so much anger towards cancer I never thought of before. As I spoke about how angry I was at what cancer took from me….the tears came out. I was very very angry and upset about what this horrible thing did to me, my body, my family, my marriage…and my life. I didn’t feel like I deserved any of it…but, I was in a room full of women that didn’t deserve it either. I wasn’t alone. For once I could ask someone a question and relate to their answer. I am 32. I have small children at home and a life very different than a person in their 50’s or 60’s. Yes, we have similarities, but the women here were dealing with every issue I was…and it felt good to have peers. Having “peers” was a first for me.

I always knew I was angry at cancer, but I never realized the extent. In my mind I would act out a story that portayed a women who was going about her day to day life and then all the sudden she is walking and someone pulls out a gun and points it to her head. She is scared, she is taken off guard…but she listens and does whatever she has to do to escape with her life….and nothing more. She is told she must do certain things that will be horrible and painful, and scar her for life…but if she does them…she will be set free. So, she does it. She does everything she is told….and she lives. But she is forever scarred, she is forever changed, and she is forever scared it will happen again. That is what I felt, and for the first time I could put the right words to the right feelings.

But, it was a sadness and an anger I knew I had to let go of. I had to heal and move on, and stop being scared. This weekend helped me with that. I asked our group leader if there was a point at the retreat where we could “burn shit.” ๐Ÿ™‚ And what I meant, was for me I had to write down my feelings of anger…and finally let them burn away and be gone. Everyone thought the idea was great, and we all did just that. We burned some “shit.” ๐Ÿ™‚ And it felt good!

I felt so much love from the fellow Survivors, but also from all the staff and people working with WRFTC. They were so caring and loving and you could tell they do this each year because they want to, not because they have to. I have never ever felt that kind of generosity before….it was like Christmas for cancer patients at some points. We left with so many treats and gifts it was like nothing I had ever experienced. I couldn’t believe so many people wanted to help us, and treat us to all these nice things:)

So, the weekend was life changing. I let go of a lot and dealt with many emotions I stuffed down deep inside. I think if I ever had the chance to come back, I would be a different person. At some points in your life you are a “giver” and some times you are a “taker.” This retreat I was more of a “taker.” I listened, I kept to myself at times, and didn’t always participate in activities. I just took in the info and had my space to deal with it. Next time I feel I would be a bit more open and have the chance to “give” more to the group. My wounds were still fresh, and that held me back.

So, to wrap things up it was wonderful. There are not many moments in life where you can say something was “life changing,” but this was one of them. I could never repay them or tell them enough the gratitude I feel. It was the gift of a lifetime. It also allowed me to let go a bit and realize my girls would be just fine without me for a few days:) I very rarely ever leave them for the night, so it was hard. But, John made sure my babies were well taken care of:)

I couldn’t be more grateful. It was something I needed to move on from, and start the journey to healing. I realized Cancer does Suck…but I am never alone. I will never give up on this fight, and I will never allow it to have power over me. God is in control, and my faith is strong enough to know He will never lead me down a path I cannot handle. I may need a little help along the way;) but it is a journey I will never take alone.

Women Rock For The Cure is an amazing organization that I will forever have love for. Here is their site to learn more or Donate:

http://womenrockforthecure.org/

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Retreat…

Flight delayed twice… waiting at terminal for flight to Nashville.
AC not working properly in Airport…. and my carry on bathroom items in my ziploc had a spill and ruined everything in the bag…. no worries replacememt toothpaste etc ran me $38…. jeez! This is not starting well. Hope this is not a sign from God?

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