My sweet angel

My sweet angel

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Changes

"The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new."- Socrates

A lot of changes have taken place in the last month.  Roy left us suddenly and unexpectedly.  Karley started middle school today.  I can't believe my child is no longer so little.  She also left karate to focus more on volleyball, which she loves.  I'm sure these things are going to be adjustments, but she's strong and adapts so well to change.

I, on the other hand, am having trouble adapting to these changes.  So many changes.  I am learning to build on the new.  I know I've been doing less advocating lately.  I just haven't had the drive or motivation.  I am here by myself a lot during the day, which is not always fun.  So, tomorrow we're getting a puppy!  I'm so excited.  I love my cats but they are not cuddly creatures.

I lost a lot of my drive and motivation July 14th.  I'm working hard on getting it back.  I'm working on letting go of the past.  Always a place in my heart, but I can't continue to focus on it every day.  I need to work on building the new for now.

Thank you for all of your continuous prayers for my friends and family and for me.  I know things could always be worse.  I continue to be thankful for what God has given me.  I know this sadness is not permanent, and for that I'm thankful.

God bless you all.




Saturday, July 30, 2016

Broken

So, last night I finally broke.  I was strong for so long,  14 days to be exact.  But I had the girls with me and Brent with me or family in Atlanta.  But last night was different. Karley was at her dad's, which was a good thing considering my state of mind.  Livi and Brent had fallen asleep, like tonight, and it was just me and my thoughts.

As I lay in bed I thought of that day that changed everything.  All the "should haves and could haves" which in the end really wouldn't have mattered much I don't think.

July 14, 2016, I lost the one person I was so close to and could talk about anything cancer related to.  We talked about detachment from loved ones to spare them, fear, anger, sadness, anxiety about the future, confusion on how we should live our lives at this point and how to live them.  It was sudden.  It was unexpected.  And for the first time since I was diagnosed, I realized it broke me.  I didn't realize the severity until last night.

While everyone was sleeping, I replayed that fateful day in my head over and over and it wouldn't stop.  I have been working some in the house Roy lived in to get it ready for another tenant but it smells like him, I look down the hallway and see him there.  I know this has to be rough for Amp too.

I had to help the paramedic that day because the other paramedic couldn't stand the smell of vomit....uhmmmm choose another career field lady.  

I think Roy was confused during his brief moments of consciousness until he realized Amp and I were there.  Then he quit worrying.  It's like he just went to sleep.  I could see the recognition and will forever be grateful for that part.  He knew he wasn't alone.

I say I was finally broken because last night I was.  I was strong for my family, Roy's family and friends, and speaking about our bond and that day at the funeral.  Occasionally tearing up, but fighting it back.  Last night was different.  I facebook messaged him and began to cry uncontrollably.  I think subconsciously I was waiting for Karley not to be here.  I could not stop crying for hours.  I vomited several times and sat in the cold dark bathroom trying not to wake anyone.  I am definitely broken right now and it's going to take quite some time to put myself together.  

I told Brent I can no longer go to the rental house.  It's too much for me.  I'm taking xanax for the anxiety but it only lasts so long.  

Roy was my cancer partner.  He was one of my best friends.  We always came to each other for advice (ok he came to me more than me him) but still.  He gave me another purpose in life. In fact, I can't pretend to imagine what Miss Ola, Renesha and her sisters are going through, along with his very closest friends.  

I just know from my point of view, I will never be the same.  There is a hole in my heart that can never be filled, it will always belong to him.  Some as the question, "Is it better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all?"  I believe the answer to that question is that it's better to have loved and lost.  It makes you human, it makes you feel.  

I will eventually be fine, I have my family to take care of, but I don't remember ever being this upset over the loss of someone....ever. 

Rest in Paradise Roy.  I'm crying tonight again and wish you were here to make me laugh by telling a dumb joke or something.  I can't wait to see you again....but I want to watch my girl grow up first.

P.S. we had your Roy Rooftop Relaxer tonight....good job my friend!  Love you.

Please pray for Roy and his family.

This is one of my favorite pictures of him

Roy working so hard at my wedding.   Love


Roy taught me cancer cards don't get you out of all trouble.

Our attempt at an "R" or it can be a cancer ribbon....either way







Thursday, July 14, 2016

Even the Best Fall Down Sometimes

I heard this song today.  It reminded me of the past few days that have been the worst since I was diagnosed myself.  In fact, they are about equal.

"I'm open, you're closed
Where I follow, you'll go
I worry I won't see your face
Light up again

Even the best fall down sometimes" - Howie Day

Although I know, I will see your face light up again, but I'm not sure when.  Roy Reynolds AKA dada AKA Robertson gained his wings today.  Roy was the kind of person whose smile could wipe away all of your worries.  He was so silly and loved to debate with me over so many things.

When he got diagnosed with leukemia over a year ago.  I went to the hospital almost every day to sit with him.  He didn't want to believe he had cancer.  He was in such denial.  Every day, I tried to drill it into his head.  That's the thing about Roy, he could be stubborn.

Shortly after being released, he moved in across the street from us.  Karley and Livi absolutely adored him.  He was the best tenant and friend anyone could ask for.  He was always helping us and never asked for anything in return.  I was blessed to work with Roy and be his friend for several years.

When he got leukemia, we held a fundraiser for him at Ocean Lodge.  He didn't realize how tired the medicine would make him or the side effects that took place.  He hated them.  He didn't want to really grasp that he was going to be on this medicine forever.   I told him again and again he was my cancer buddy down here and he had to keep the medicine going.

Yesterday morning his sister, Renesha and I took him to the ER for pain.  He had been to the ER several days in a row and they wouldn't admit him.  His gums were bleeding, his nose had been bleeding, and the pain was almost unbearable.

After the ER where he was just given more pain meds and released, Roy and I went to Wendy's.  He, being Roy, tried to pay for my lunch.  I threw his money back at him and told him, "Next time I have to go to the hospital and you have to take me, you can buy me lunch".  With that perfect smile he just laughed and thanked me.

I dropped him off at his house at 12:45, we told each other we loved each other like normal, we knew cancer.  Those were the last words we ever said to each other.

I arrived home around 6 p.m. last evening.  A family friend had found him unresponsive at his home.  We called 911.  He looked at me once, closed his eyes, and I never saw him open them again.  I had no idea what was going on.  I put a pillow under his head and stroked his head telling him it would be okay.  I was so wrong.

The ambulance arrived and he was still unresponsive.  His pupils were normal on the scene, but something happened on the way to the hospital.  I feel so guilty.  I don't know how long he was laying there.  My friend  was laying right across the street, bleeding into his brain with no one to help him.

The hospital here decided the trauma to the brain was too extensive so they air lifted him to Savannah Memorial.  I spent the night in Savannah and went back this morning.  He had no brain activity.  It was decided to take him off life support.

This happened so quickly.  One minute one of my greatest friends down here is okay and the next he's gone.  The girls are devastated, his family and friends are devastated.  I hope he knew how much he was loved by all of us.  Roy was one of a kind, always willing to help someone, never holding ill will.  I really thought that he would live longer than me.  Once again, I was wrong.

Roy, I'm sorry I didn't check on you more.  I'm sorry for not being the friend I should have been.

Please pray for Renesha, his mom, his family, his children, and his friends.  The world lost a great one today, one of the best.  He can never be replaced and will always be in my heart.  Love you Robertson.






Friday, June 17, 2016

Results 6/17/16

Hi All!

Thanks for being so patient today.  I didn't get my nap during my petscan FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, so I had to get home and get one.

First, I would love to thank Healthline for naming my blog as one of the top 10 lung cancer blogs for the second year in a row.  It's such an honor!  You can read many others by clicking the link for "Healthline".

So, this is going to be short and sweet.  God is so good!  My scans not only came back showing no active cancer, but my oncologist said the area radiated in 2013 is starting to clear up.  I did have to do a pulse ox test because I had some trouble breathing last night, but I blame that on anxiety.  The longer I'm on Tarceva, the more anxious I get that it will quit working.  I've been on it since January 2013!  I am really good at handing that worry over to God, but last night I felt like I couldn't.  He showed me!

I took a few pics so you could see the crazy petscan contrast workings and my "official report" since the scan was done a few hours apart from my appointment time.

Thank you for your continuous prayers.  I am so grateful that I cannot express in words how immensely blessed I am.

We will be in Atlanta until Sunday as Karley and Livi are participating in the Battle of Atlanta karate tournament tomorrow.  I'm praying for them both.  Mama worries when they spar (by "they" I mean all of the GIMAA kids for those who over analyzed this sentence. I'm not trying to take away people's children). It's hard to watch.

Once again, God bless you all, and please keep all of the people involved in the Orlando tragedy in your prayers.  Life is so unpredictable.  Hold your loved ones close.  Tomorrow is never promised for any of us, not even me.  Finally, thank you God for this time you continue to bless me with and all of the family and friends that so graciously lift me up in their prayers to you.  Amen!


Excited about my nap that never came in the quiet room...



My "official" report since I always want it in writing.  My oncologist loves me!

Someone else was tired too

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Snap back to reality, Oh there goes gravity....

Thanks to my mom's friend Glenda and all that donated to our wedding, we were able to take a fabulous 8 day honeymoon to London and Paris.  Those of you who are my friends on facebook, sorry for the photo overload. I just wanted to remember every moment. Those were two places on my bucket list I can now check off.  We had a wonderful time, taking in all of the architecture and culture.  It made me forget about cancer, doctors, time...  I was immersed in the present, breathing in the beauty of it all (Except when we got to Paris and I was breathing in garbage since the workers were on strike).  But the shopkeepers tried to move it all to buildings that weren't in use to keep customers coming in.

We saw all of the major sites we wanted.  Brent got to walk down Abbey Road and I got to go to the Louvre.  We saw Notre Dame and even lit a candle while praying everything would be okay, and the cancer would not take me.  That's about the only time I thought about it, maybe because it was such an amazing church.  We took bus tours and were total tourists, it was great.  I'm sure most of you have seen all of the pics, but for those who haven't, I'm going to add some of my favorites below.

Now we are back to reality.  I have scans and results this Friday so will be heading  back to Atlanta Thursday.  It was so nice not to worry or think about this hand we've been dealt and just be.  But, now is the time I have to give it to God.  It's in His hands. I will update you all on Friday.

Thank you all for your continuous and relentless prayers.  Please keep them coming, we appreciate them so much.  And we are all praying for the victims and families of the Pulse Nightclub Orlando massacre.  No matter what the motive was, this was a senseless tragedy.  I can't even watch without crying.  Life can change, or end, for you or your loved ones at any moment.  Hold them close, tell them they are loved, because tomorrow is not promised to anyone.






Buckingham Palace

This statue means "Anything is Possible".  It was my favorite.


Lighting my candle at Notre Dame

The Candle

Locks of Love


Louvre

Our room in Paris



Monday, June 6, 2016

Honeymoon Break

I have a busy next few weeks.  Right now in London and Wednesday to Paris.  We arrive home Sunday and I have scans next Friday.  I appreciate all of your prayers so much and please don't give up on me.  I still need them.  I love you all.  Sorry this is so short, but I'll write much more about our adventures when we get home.  God bless you all for your support!  And thank you God for giving me this blessing of time and love.





Monday, May 23, 2016

But I am Loco Sometimes

Last week I had a few rough days.  It was last Saturday and Sunday to be precise.  It took me a week to write about it because I didn't know what to say.

Well, here it goes.  Anger is a form of grief.  I am going to get angry over stupid stuff once in a while.  Family and friends without cancer, I've tried explaining this to you, but some listen better than others.

I don't mean to get angry, but it's because I'm depressed.  Not right now, but in that moment when I'm angry.  And seriously, if I tell you it's because I'm depressed and you express no sympathy, it makes me more angry.  Keeping up your defenses and not trying to empathize is probably the worst thing you can do.  But, it's an eye opener.  The ones that know something is wrong with me because I don't normally get mad and just let it go....those are my true family and friends.  Because they know me down to my very core.  They know I'm in pain emotionally and let me vent and say things like "I'm sorry" or agree with me just to shut me up (I know).  But that means a lot.

You see, it does get easier living with this on one end, but on the other, you can (and are totally entitled) to feel angry.  I rarely do it according to my husband who took the girls to the beach and pool that day so I could cry without anyone around.  He knows me and he knew what to do.  He empathized, asked what  he could do, and I told him I needed to be alone, just a bad day.  For him to do that just shows how much he would do for me.  He had a billion other things to do, but he knew I didn't want Karley seeing me upset so he dropped everything for me.

Family and friends, grief can rear it's ugly head in many forms, and one of them is anger.  I'm asking you, before you get defensive and fight back, to think to yourself, "is this normal Samantha or is this Loco Samantha"  And if it's Loco Samantha, please, help me, don't hurt me by ignoring me or yelling at me.

I'm not trying to be mean by writing this post.  It is not often I get down, but when I do, I get really down.  And I am entitled to that periodically.  I am entitled to get mad, yell, even smash plates (yes I've done that, don't worry, increased my meds).

That's the part about living with lung cancer most people don't get.  "She looks fine, and has no active cancer, she's fine, why is she acting like that?"

Well, cancer doesn't jut hurt you physically, it will break you apart piece by piece emotionally.  It will shatter your heart again and again.  And the longer I've lived with it, the harder it's gotten emotionally.  And no, It's not gone.  I'm not in "remission".  I'm dealing with this for the rest of my life.

I finally got down on my knees and prayed that God take this burden and sadness.  Then I went to sleep and woke up feeling so much better.

Just know, I'm not okay inside, not always.  It's something I will deal with for the rest of my life.  And the family and friends that care enough to stay in my life need to know that.  Because if you don't understand that, and think I'm just throwing myself a pity party, walk in my shoes for one day dammit, and see how you handle it.  And if you don't want to empathize or have a little compassion, well, you can go and I will understand.  It's hard to be my friend I'm sure.  But I didn't choose this life, it chose me and I'm making the best I can out of it.

I'm not directing this towards anyone in particular.  I'm just putting into words what I can't always say to people.  Please don't be offended and just take it in.  I'm not "playing the cancer card".  I'm expressing my true, raw emotions and I need my family and friends to be able to handle that, because it's already hard enough for me to.