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!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Kicking cancer's ass - day 665

I know it's been a while since I posted (almost two weeks, but who is counting?), so I should probably write something clever and witty.  What I want to do is share this:

45 Truths about life, written by a 90 year old

  1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
  2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
  3. Life is too short not to enjoy it.
  4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick.  Your friends and family will.
  5. Don't buy stuff you don't need.
  6. You don't have to win every argument.  Stay true to yourself.
  7. Cry with someone.  It's more healing than crying alone.
  8. It's OK to get angry with God.  He can take it.
  9. Save for things that matter.
  10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
  11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
  12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
  13. Don't compare your life to others.  You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  14. If a relationship has to be secret, you shouldn't be in it.
  15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye...But don't worry, God never blinks.
  16. Take a deep breath.  It calms the mind.
  17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful.  Clutter weighs you down in many ways.
  18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
  19. It's never too late to be happy.  But it's all up to you and no one else.
  20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
  21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie.  Don't save it for a special occasion.  Today is special.
  22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.
  23. Be eccentric now.  Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
  24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
  25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
  26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words, "In five years, will this matter?"
  27. Always choose life.
  28. Forgive, but don't forget.
  29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  30. Time heals almost everything.  Give time time.
  31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  32. Don't take yourself so seriously.  No one else does.
  33. Believe in miracles.
  34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
  35. Don't audit life.  Show up and make the most of it now.
  36. Growing old beats the alternative - dying young.
  37. Your children get only one childhood.
  38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
  39. Get outside every day.  Miracles are waiting everywhere.
  40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
  41. Envy is a waste of time.  Accept what you already have, not what you think you need.
  42. The best is yet to come...
  43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  44. Yield.
  45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Kicking cancer's ass - day 653

Let's talk facts.

  • One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.  
  • There are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.
  • The chance of local recurrence in five years is about 6% for women when the lymph nodes do not contain cancer.
  • For those who have cancer in one to three nodes, the chance of local recurrence in five years is about 16%.
  • The chance of local recurrence increases to about 26% when cancer is in four or more lymph nodes.
Think of eight women you know.  If none of them have had breast cancer, chances are you or one of them eventually will.  Scary, huh?  I've had breast cancer.  My sister-in-law had breast cancer.  My mother-in-law had breast cancer.  My best friend had breast cancer.  My best friend's mother had breast cancer.  That's five women in my small little world.  

Now, I've mentioned before my KCA September chemo group.  We met on an online message board when we all started chemo around the same time.  Some were younger then me, some were older.  Some had already been down this road before.  All of us had one thing in common - a breast cancer diagnosis around the same time.  In the almost two years since we all "met", we've migrated to a Facebook group of 48 members.  

In the months since we all finished chemo in late 2013/early 2014, one special member of our group already lost her fight.  Another recently had a local recurrence in the exact same place as her original tumor (even with a mastectomy).  Two more had recurrences in other places.  All three of them needed more treatment and/or surgery.  And now one more of our special ladies is afraid she's facing the beast again.  She has lesions on her liver that her medical oncologist said "doesn't look good".  A biopsy will tell for sure.  Since waiting is the hardest part, she's hoping to get in for that tomorrow.

So... in a group made up of fewer than fifty breast cancer survivors, one gained her angel wings only a year after completing treatment, three more have been diagnosed with cancer again, and one is hoping for the best but expecting to once again hear those words "you have cancer".  

Tell me how not to live in fear?  I had Stage III breast cancer with nine lymph nodes affected, and I carry the gene mutation for breast cancer that puts me at greater risk for other cancers.  I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I worry about every bump and lump, every ache and pain.  I feel like my body is a ticking time bomb.  

I'm only 42 years old.  I have a teenager who needs me to teach him how to drive and to help him with his math homework.  I have a daughter who wants to teach me how to do a fishtail braid and who I want to bake brownies with.  I have a husband whom I love and I want to grow old with.  I have softball games to coach, books to read, friends to spend time with, vacations to take.  I have a life to live!  

Every day it's a struggle.  I have so many physical reminders of all that I have been through.  Even beyond the fatigue, the extra pounds and the scars, the emotional toll cancer takes on someone is hard to describe.  I would love to walk through the rest of my life as a happy-go-lucky, happy to be alive breast cancer survivor.  Unfortunately, the reality is that "surviving" means more than getting through treatments or surgeries.  Surviving is the daily struggle of finding a new normal, of taking care of my body the best I can, of constantly pushing back the dark cloud of worry.  Surviving is exhausting.

Please say a prayer for all of my friends who are facing the reality of their fears once again.  Say a prayer for Karen, who has fought the fight more than once already, as she undergoes a liver biopsy and whatever else is in store for her.  

It's hard not to get weary.  It's hard to stay strong, to be positive.  It really does all come down to faith.  Faith in miracles.  Faith in God.  Faith in yourself, and finding out you really can get through one more day.  That one more day might not be easy, but it is definitely a gift.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Kicking cancer's ass - day 644

This has been an eventful week.

Monday morning I had the fit to end all fits when J couldn't find his Bible.  I was trying to get myself ready (for work), him ready (for camp) and K up and ready to go with us, and the one thing he needed to bring, he couldn't find.  I started tearing his room apart, finding massive amounts of empty Gatorade and water bottles, pretzels, popsicle sticks, empty LEGO boxes... but no Bible.  I gave him two choices:  he could go to church camp empty-handed or he could bring his sister's Bible.  He chose option number two.  I guarantee you he was the only 13 year old boy at camp with a pink Bible.

I did send spending money and told him he might ask when he gets there to see if he could buy one.  Knowing him, he forgot about that, and doesn't really care about having a girlie Bible.  Keeping up appearances is not high on his priority list.

I do feel incredibly guilty for jumping all over him right before he was leaving for five days.  He was probably happy to get away from the screaming banshee mom.  <sigh>
He comes home tomorrow and I'll be happy to see his smiling face.  The kids are not allowed to bring their phones and there haven't been any updates online from camp, so even though I'm the mom of a teenager, I still can't help but worry about my boy and miss him until he gets back.

Tuesday I had a follow-up appointment with Dr T's nurse after my last unexpected surgery.  She said the infection looks to be cleared up, my incision is clean and healing - all good news.  Unfortunately Hubby can't give up his doctor duties anytime soon because I still need bandaging (they want it to heal from the inside out, which means we can't let the skin close up).  Dr T even sent me a text today to ask how I was doing and said he wants to see me soon, so I'll be going back for a follow-up with him in a couple of weeks. (Have I mentioned that I love my Dallas doctors???)

Yesterday was my mom's LAST chemo.  Aside from a blip on her chemo radar when she ended up in the hospital, Mom rocked twelve treatments.  She is strong and courageous and positive and never once lost her sunny disposition.  It's been a long six months for her, but after she recovers from this round, it's smooth sailing from now on.

Tonight K's softball team had a scrimmage and it very well might have been their last 8U game.  We have one more tournament we'd like to play in, but I don't know if we'll have enough girls.  If not, tonight was the last time the Diamonds got to play coach pitch.  Now we move onward and upward to 10U where the girls pitch.  K, along with two others, have been taking pitching lessons, but they are newbies.  Between that and all of the rule changes, we are in for a rude awakening I think.

Tomorrow, about the time J gets home from camp, K has a pitching lesson.  Saturday we are having a work day at the softball fields, and we also have K's birthday party.

I wonder what it feels like to be lazy.

(Please keep my friend S in your prayers.  She recently found out she has a medical condition that will require surgery.)