About Our Family

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Tuscaloosa,, Alabama, United States
"For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." Romans 8:14-17

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Happy 31st to me!!! and general update

January 16th was a special day!  My Special Day to be exact!!!  I turned 31 years old!  I don't mind telling my age because just a few weeks ago...for a few seconds, I wasn't sure I was going to see another birthday.  Asking your doctor if you are going to die is an experience I will never forget.  That moment is etched in my memory forever.  I cling to his emphatic, "NO!" during some of these hard times.  A fellow cancer survivor I've been blessed to talk with wished me a happy birthday on my facebook wall and referenced her memory of the "first" one being a big accomplishment.  Another survivor I'm friends with grinned as she was remembering her first birthday after she was diagnosed while I was talking with her giving her an update.  Then she mentioned how special the first blooms in her garden were and a few other special memories.  I don't remember enjoying a birthday as much as this one since I was a kid!!!!  Everything and anything was special that day!  I was grateful for each and every "Happy Birthday" that came my way!  My wonderful husband took me and Ashlyn to dinner.  It was so yummy and I really enjoyed our time together!  I look at things differently now.  I enjoy each experience just a little more than I did before.  I say more prayers of gratitude for my blessings and I recognize just how very blessed I am!
Me and Ashlyn at dinner :-)

I can't say enough times how wonderful Ashlyn's teachers at school are!!!!  They have been so supportive during this time.  I don't worry for one second while Ashlyn is at school because I know how much they love my girl and how much she loves them back!  They got me a bouquet of balloons that Ashlyn has believed (from the very second they gave them to me) are hers.  They gave me the sweetest card with a gift card to help me buy a new wig.  I've been asking her teacher a lot of questions about my wig because, let's face it, I don't know much about wig care and I had mentioned that I would like to get a curly one.  They have been telling me I should get some wild and crazy ones!  They would be so proud of me if I ended up buying a red, spiky haired wig!!!! LOL!
I got home to these beautiful roses....and guess what...they weren't even from my husband!  One of my oldest and dearest friends sent them and I just about cried!  They are from my favorite florist in Tuscaloosa (Tuscaloosa Flower Shoppe)!!!  I know the owner there and she is one of the most precious girls!  I think she did a beautiful job with the arrangement!

January 17th was my 4th Chemo treatment.  This is the view from the truck as we headed home.  I got to enjoy the view of the snow falling from my chemo chair.

 It only took an extra hour to get home thanks to the snow...at least the scenery was pretty.  I absolutely love snow and I wish I could have gotten out in it to make a snow man, but by the time we got back to Ttown, the snow had melted away. (frown)  Ashlyn got really excited when we got home telling me about the snow and how it was cold in her hand.  They took her out at school and she was definitely a big fan!

 One of my friends made me and Ashlyn matching caps.  Ashlyn loves them!
The 4th Chemo treatment is the last of the Cytoxan and Epirubicin!  Thank God!!!!!!  I'm HALFWAY DONE with Chemotherapy!!!!!!  To say that it kicked my rear would be an understatement.  Unfortunately, I haven't gotten a "turnaround day" this time around.  Around the time I usually get my turnaround day, I got a severe sore throat along with mouth sores that were more severe than usual.  I haven't eaten anything solid in the last 3 days.  The good news is my hubby makes a mean chocolate protein shake, I learned that you can liquefy the chunks in his soup and it tastes just as good, and I've lost 5 lbs!  I scared the bu-jingles out of my co-workers last Friday.  I thought I was starting to feel better (minus my throat) so I went into work.  I did well until about 3:45.  I called David because I started not feeling so great, but he didn't answer so while I waited for him to call me back I went into the office kitchen to heat up some soup to try to eat thinking it might make me feel better.  As soon as I finished pushing the buttons on the microwave I knew I was about to go down...I made it to my boss's door frame and said "I don't feel very well." and immediately laid down on her floor.  She showed off her seriously "super mom" skills!!!!  She went and got me a pillow for my head.  About a minute and a half later, I mumbled, "I'm gonna be sick." and I don't know how she moved that fast, but I'm telling you, it was like magic *POOF* the trashcan was right there!  My co-worker came in to help.  She went to my office to get my phone and just then David called back.  I told him what happened and he said he was already on his way.  I balled like a baby on the floor of the office, but they made me feel better.  I could tell you a million different ways I love the ladies I work with!  They are smart, amazing, beautiful, Godly, loving, supportive women!  This has been an incredibly hard two weeks, but today I felt better.  I got some work done from home.  "Teresa the Amazing" came over yesterday and cleaned my house and raised my spirits.  She is truly a saint!  Clean sheets are one of my most favorite things in the whole world!  I will leave you with a picture of one of the birthday presents she gave me.  You have to know a little of the back-story.  Teresa had come to my house to shave my head when I just couldn't take it anymore.  Later that evening when we were talking I made the comment that I guessed "it was time for me to put my big girl panties on and learn how to deal with this..."  that part of the conversation stuck with her so she made me a visual to remind me when I needed it.  Please note the remote control above them to help you gauge just how big these are!!! LOL!  Prayers would be appreciated since I'm supposed to have my 5th Chemo treatment tomorrow.  This will be my first dose of Taxotere.

Monday, January 14, 2013

What is "normal" anyway?

My turnaround day came on Wednesday!  Everything gets a little easier and more "normal" each day after I reach that day.  Just like with most things in life, the memories and emotions begin to fade and I settle into my "normal" routine.  I spend my days trying to catch up on the duties that I've been unable to fulfill for the last week...most of which are the never ending kind of tasks.  I find myself tackling them with so much more pleasure and joy than before I got sick though.  I still get tired and I have to rest more.  Like I said before, I'm not 100%...but I'm at least 80%!  I've changed in so many ways over the last month and a half.  One of the things I've noticed is that a simple conversation means so much more to me now.  The chance to sit and talk with someone is so much more important to me.  I've spent so much of my life stressed out because "I have so much to do I'll never get it all done!".  I realized I was right.  If I have that much to do...I probably won't get it all done, so engaging in a conversation and actually thinking about what we are talking about and enjoying being with that person isn't going to make that big of an impact on whether I get the "million and one things" I have to do done.  Now don't get me wrong.  There are things I have to get done and in a timely manner, but the stress part I'm learning to leave behind.  I'm not saying I don't think I'll ever stress again (wouldn't that be nice though!).  I stress daily, but I'm trying to realize when I'm stressing and overcome it.  Each day we wake up to is a gift from God.  I've always known that, but didn't understand it the same way as I am coming to understand it.  I always thought that meant that in order for it to be appreciated fully that I needed to cram as much activity into it as possible.  I'm coming to understand that sometimes the gift is just the joy we get in living it.  My to do list is so full right now, but the to do list can wait while I put a puzzle together with my little girl.  Sometimes the joy of the day comes from knocking out half the list while I feel good.  The days after chemo, the gift is just that I woke up and God carried me through the day.  It's not something I can explain, but life just looks different now...and in such a good way! 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Happy New Year and This Too Shall Pass

I've had a hard start to 2013.  I made it to 12:03am on January 1st, wished my wonderful husband a Happy New Year and fell asleep.  There aren't words to describe how hard this is.  January 2nd I had my 3rd Chemo treatment.  I wish I could say I was a trooper, but I spent January 1st pretty emotional because I was so anxious about the 3rd treatment.  I wish I could sugar coat this and just say it's not a big deal...that it doesn't make you feel that bad, but that would be a lie.  I only feel physically "bad" for a few days, but emotionally, I'm a mess.  I'm surprised if a day passes that I don't shed at least one tear.  My whole life I've worked hard.  I've been able to put my mind to something and work hard to get it done.  This battle is different.  I can't "do" anything.  My job is to rest while the chemo works, but today was day 7 since the day I received treatment and I wanted to be back at work today.  I just couldn't do it.  I feel helpless.  Taking a shower today and fixing food for myself was all I could muster.  I'm not hurting, I'm just so weak.  It's so easy for people to tell me that I'm doing what I'm supposed to..."I'm getting better, that's all I'm supposed to do."...but they just don't understand.  My job was supposed to be taking care of my husband and two year old.  I am supposed to be doing the laundry and cleaning the toilets and putting new pull ups on my little girl.  I will never look at the mundane tasks of life the same again.  Just like everyone else, I took the ability to take care of myself and my family for granted.  My poor husband just hugs me and encourages me when I break down, but I feel guilty that he has to fight this battle with me.  He has to work harder to fill in where I can't.  He tells me how proud of me he is.  My little girl strokes my cheek and tells me, "Mommy, it ok..."  I never loved them more deeply than I do now.  I keep telling myself that "This too shall pass!".  I know this will end and I'll look back on this time and be thankful for the lessons I'm learning, but right now it's just hard.  I still get to spend time with Ashlyn.  We watch lots of movies together and draw.  I am so looking forward to the day I get to go play in the park and chase her around.  It seems a lot like a dream...to imagine that day.  It seems so far off in the future, but I know it will come.  I know God has a purpose for this trial and He has supported me each step of the way.  I have so many stories of testimony of how He has gone before me and preordained provisions to come at the right time in the right place.  I wouldn't make it through this without my faith and the amazing people that God has placed along my path.  I can't say thank you enough for each and every person who offers a prayer on my behalf.  I can't say thank you enough for each and every encouraging word that comes my way.  I know in the next couple days I'll have what I call my "turnaround day".  The day that my strength comes back and I can proceed through a few days playing catch up and getting ready to do the whole thing all over again.  I'm not 100% for those days, but I'm about 80% and those days are so precious to me!  I do have good news.  My oncologist ran some more thyroid tests and they all came back normal, so prayers were answered!  Also, the chemo is working!  May be too much information for some, but the inflammation in my breast has diminished SO MUCH!  The doctor said he thought of it in the beginning as about the size of an orange (and we're not talking about a clementine) with no way of determining any definition around the edges.  It was so huge and swollen and it hurt.  You can still feel really hard tissue, but it has improved dramatically!  That is what the chemo does.  It shrinks the cancer cells.  I have such a long road ahead, but I really am trying to stay positive.