Welcome to my world

I am a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister and a friend.
I've learned that who you have in your life matters more than what you have.
Thank you for stepping in to my world!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Kicking cancer's ass - day 579

Today is chemo #8 for my mom.  After today she will be 2/3rds of the way through her treatment.  Way to be a rock star, Mom!!!

Speaking of chemo.... today is the first chemo (second time around) for my KCA friend Karen.  I met Karen online during chemo in the fall of 2013, and then I met her in person in Vegas last fall.  I can't even tell you how much I hate that she has to go through this again, and especially so soon, but she is a warrior and she'll sail through like she did before.  I'm in your pocket today Karen - show that red devil who's boss!

Last night I had insomnia.  I should say this morning, since I was wide awake at 4am.  It was a strange kind of insomnia, though.  I felt extremely tired, I was so exhausted and yet I couldn't go back to sleep.  I got up twice to get a drink of water.  I think I finally dozed back off at 5:30 and my alarm went off at 6:15.  I was not a happy camper.

Please keep my dad and Marion in your prayers.  They are having a tough time.  Dad is miserable and grouchy and Marion is at the end of her rope.  It's been a long eight months for them and I hate that I'm so far away and unable to help.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Kicking cancer's ass - day 574

It's been a week since my sweet kitty Shadow went to heaven.
I'm still not used to her being gone.  I walk in and expect to see her sleeping in her chair.  I go to the laundry room (a.k.a. "the cat room") and think she's going to be under my feet looking back at me to make sure I'm going out there to feed her.  I saw her empty litter box in the garage and my heart sank all over again.

This is the first time in almost two decades that I don't have a cat, that I don't have her.  I'm still sad.
All I can say, over and over, is, "She was a good kitty."  She really was.  Hubby thought she was a pain in the rear, but she was so sweet.

It hurts me to say this, too, but my KCA Facebook chemo group lost one of our own this week.  Lyn Kells was a spunky 60-something vintage store owning, motorcycle riding, "F#CK CANCER" shirt-wearing mother and grandmother who lost her battle after her cancer recurred in her lungs and then moved to her brain.  I may have never met her in person, but she was in the trenches with me and the other KCA ladies all throughout chemo and recovery, and I hate that cancer has claimed yet another victim.

It's sad, but life goes on.

For us, that means softball.  And band competition.  And work and doctor appointments and the orthodontist.  We have more than enough to keep us busy, that's for sure.

And to make you smile, how handsome is he????

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Kicking cancer's ass - day 567

Yesterday I lost a part of my family.  This photo was taken right before I said goodbye.  My beloved Shadow was with me for almost half my life.  I'm trying to find comfort in the fact that she brought me so much joy over a lot (a LOT!) of years, and she's in a better place now.  But all I can really think about, as I'm overwhelmed with grief, is how much heartache I've faced in my adult life.

This is Pumpkin.  We lost him to diabetes a few years ago.  I don't know how I lucked out and ended up with two wonderful cats, but Pumpkin and Shadow were two blessings in my life.  They were with me through thick and thin, ups and downs, happy times and sad.  They were always up for a cuddle and loved my little girl as much as I do.           

Five years ago this summer, we lost Boyd's mom to cancer.  She was a good Christian woman, a loving wife and mother, and the best Granny my kids could have asked for. 

Four months later, we lost Pat, or "Nana" as the kids called her.  My father-in-law's wife was a caring, spunky woman who loved her family and died unexpectedly, way too young.

  This is my BFF.  Two years before my d-day, she was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer.  She had already reached the magic five year cancer-free mark after having surgery for cervical cancer.  She fought like a warrior, though, and shows me every day how to live life to the fullest, no matter what it throws at you.  While she is alive and well, she lives thousands of miles away and I wish more than anything I could have her presence in my life every day.

This was my last chemo day, December 5, 2013.

We all know the stress and challenges I've faced over the last 18+ months (if you don't, go back and start reading from day one!).  Fighting cancer is a war I wish nobody had to fight.  I'm doing well, but every day I struggle with all cancer took from me.

Midway through my journey, my sweet friend Allyson went home to be with our Lord.  She was funny, creative, caring, devoted and more fun than you can imagine.  She was my first "mommy" friend and she talked me down from the ledge so many times during the early days after I was diagnosed.  

These are my parents.  In August my dad had a heart attack and a major stroke.  A couple of months later my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer.  They are both living life and fighting their battles, but it has not been an easy road for either of them.  I pray every day for healing.

 And then there are our friends.  One of the problems with living in a military town is that people come, but then they go.
Last summer J's best, best friend moved to Ohio, taking his mom and one of MY good friends with him. 

Around that same time, one of K's best friends moved... all the way to Germany!  Her mom was another of my good, good friends, and my dugout buddy for softball.  We miss them so much!
Recently I lost the friendship of a person who ended up not being who I thought they were.  She was someone I was very close to, and also the mother of K's BFF.  It's a sad situation all around, and I'm having a really hard time coming to terms with the betrayal and lies, and the hurt that my little girl feels because of everything that has happened.

I know that everyone has their struggles and burdens to carry.  These are mine.  I know, despite all of the heartache, sadness and grief, I am blessed beyond measure.  Many of the people I love are still in my life despite the odds stacked against them, and for that I'm extremely grateful.  My children are the greatest joys in my life, and my Hubby is and always has been my rock, my shoulder to cry on, the one who carries my burdens when I can't do it anymore.  Sometimes, most of the time, I feel so strong.  Sometimes I need someone to be strong for me, and he's always been willing to step up to the plate for me.  I love him to the moon and back and can't imagine my life without him.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Kicking cancer's ass - day 566

This morning my heart is broken yet again.  I had to say goodbye to my sweet Shadow.  People say black cats are bad luck, but she was the sweetest, gentlest, most loving cat who was my constant companion, my "Shadow", for almost two decades.  She saw me through a lot of tough times...divorce, two miscarriages, cancer treatments, and slept on my lap as I recovered from each of my cancer surgeries.  

She lived to be more than 19 years old, which is over a hundred in cat years.  She had a good, long life and was well loved.  I'm trying to accept that, but right now I'm just so, so sad and I miss her already.  I can't imagine how my tender-hearted daughter will take it.  

Go rest now, kitty, and know I love you with my whole heart.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Kicking cancer's ass - day 564

Tomorrow is Mom's seventh chemo treatment.  After that one she'll be able to count down on one hand.  She'll be beyond the halfway point.  She'll have less to go than how many she's already had.  You get the idea.

Mom has been a real trooper.  She's remained a positive ray of sunshine through one of her darkest storms.  I know it's not a picnic for her, but she just keeps going.

Dad is back in the hospital.  He's having a lot of problems with his legs swelling, and also a rash.  The rash now covers 2/3 of his extremities, and his legs are painfully swollen and hindering his ability to walk.  The doctors thought they had eliminated the medications they thought were causing it, but after a week or so of improvement, things are worse than ever.  So please pray that Dad gets some relief and that the doctors are able to figure out what is causing his problems.  It's difficult enough to try to recover from a stroke without these kinds of setbacks!

Since I'm asking for prayers, let me throw my brother in, too.  Without going into details, let me say that he has worked himself to exhaustion the past few years and he is going through a rough time.  He needs some peace, and some uplifting, and maybe a small miracle of his own.

Such a small family, and yet so many struggles.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Kicking cancer's ass - day 561

Today I had an appointment with Dr T, my plastic surgeon.  His office is on the fifth floor of a really nice building - floor to ceiling windows, very clean, etc.  The staff is nice and usually very efficient.  For instance, today we arrived thirty minutes early (hard to gauge time with a three hour drive and Dallas traffic).  They called me back immediately, and we were back on the road twenty minutes after my appointment time.  Nice!

Then there is Dr T himself.  He is wonderful.  He's kind and attentive, he answers any questions we have, spends as much time with us as we need, and he's a perfectionist.  He wants to make me look beautiful. While I know there are more important things than how pretty my breasts are, it's a light at the end of the tunnel for this whole cancer thing.  The bad news is I will need a couple more surgeries.  A couple.  The good news is that they are minor, quick (less than two hours each) AND they include the word "liposuction".  Ha!  In order to make my breasts look better, we'll have to remove some fat from my thighs.  Darn.

Apparently my skin defied the radiation odds.  He said you can't even tell by looking that I've had radiation.  The photographer said the same thing.  Yes, I said photographer.  Remember me mentioning that my least favorite part of seeing Dr T is that they take PICTURES?!?!??!  Ugh.  That's never fun, but it's even less fun when I'm covered in scars and fifteen pounds heavier than the last time I stood there.  But I digress.  They were very impressed with how I've healed, and the lady taking the pictures wanted to know my secret.  She said there is a lady that comes in there selling a rejuvenating cream for $90 a bottle and it does wonders.  I told her I used $4 vitamin E oil from Walmart.  Yay me!

One more little tidbit for today....
When I woke K up this morning to get ready for our road trip, she smiled and said she was mad at me because I woke her up from a good dream.  When I asked her what she was dreaming about, she said, "I was just about to buy a unicorn."

That's my girl.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Kicking cancer's ass - day 560

Yesterday I forgot to eat breakfast.

A lot of people don't eat breakfast, but I'm not a lot of people.  I'm the kind of person whose stomach growls at midnight if I'm still awake, so I can't be up in the morning for long without eating.

I don't know what's worse - the fact that I stopped at Sonic to get drinks for me & Hubby and didn't realize then that I hadn't eaten, or the fact that I remembered to feed the cat but not myself.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Kicking cancer's ass - day 554

Next week is spring break.
Today my kids had a snow day.
Am I the only one who thinks that's odd?

Tuesday was Mom's sixth chemo treatment.  She's halfway through!  Woohooo!!!  I'm so proud of her.  She is still working full-time (with a 40 mile commute) and only taking her chemo days off.  Amazing.  I hope the next twelve weeks fly by for her.

A few years ago we replaced our linoleum floor in the kitchen with tile.  Shortly after, the grout started to crack in several places (thanks to our pier and beam foundation).  Last week we had somebody come by to look at some odd jobs we need done around the place, and what do you know?  We could not find the cracks in the grout!  Where did they go???

My son is bored.

I miss my friends.  I wish I could teleport K from Ohio, T from Virginia, K from Germany, and even A from heaven.  Technology is great, but I need some time with my girls.

My dad got a new recliner.  It's one that has a motorized footrest and even helps lift him up out of the chair.  He hated it at first.  That makes me laugh.  I can just see him acting like a toddler, not wanting to give up his old, worn out chair.  He's still having problems with his legs swelling, but overall he's doing ok.

I have an appointment next week with Dr T (my plastic surgeon).  He hasn't seen me since shortly after my reconstruction surgery in November, so I'm curious what he'll think.  I'm also wondering what the next plan is, because he had mentioned "revision" surgeries.

Is that enough randomness for one day?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Kicking cancer's ass - day 553

I have five cancer doctors.

I have graduated to 6 month checkups with:
Dr L - my breast surgeon
Dr Au - my radiation oncologist
Dr H - my medical oncologist
(My hemoglobin is back to normal - no more anemia!!)

I don't have to go back to my gynecological oncologist for a year! 

The only one left is my plastic surgeon, but I'll probably have to keep seeing him for a while because he's not done "revising" me.

Do you know how happy it makes me to have MONTHS in between appointments???  It also helps that I've basically seen all four of those doctors within a three week span, so my next appointments should coordinate instead of having to see some doctor or another every month!

It's the little things...