My sweet angel

My sweet angel

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Clueless...but not anymore

Happy Sunday all!  I hope everyone is having a fabulous day thus far.   We just got back from Atlanta again on Wednesday.  We've been on the go all summer and it's been fun.  Yesterday and today have been lazy days for me though.  I've been going so much I think it may have caught up with me.  It's been amazing laying around though...

Today I watched that movie Clueless.  I realized it's been almost 20 years since it was released.  I used to love that movie when I was like 15....and I watched the whole thing again today.  I love watching movies that take me back to a simpler time when I had my whole life ahead of me.  Things were so different back then, anything was possible.  And there wasn't freakin cancer anywhere on my radar of course.  I didn't appreciate how great my health really was.

Then I began thinking, I was Clueless, not like the movie of course, but the title.  I thought my whole life would be different.  I had no idea all of this was coming.  Who does?  When we are younger, we have this sense of invincibility that can be so dangerous.  I pray, and believe, that I will be here for Karley when she hits that age.   I look back at the stupid things I did and am so grateful I had two parents that cared so much.  But me, I was totally Clueless.  If only we could see the future...I'm not sure I really would have done much differently except have a closer relationship to God and appreciate the little things more.  Time goes by so fast...

On another note, but somewhat related, I'm on the Atlanta Free to Breathe 5K committee this year, and if you don't have plans and are in the Atlanta area August 16th, we would love for you to come out and join us for this run/walk fundraising event.  Our team this year is called "Team Karley" and you can register or donate here:  Free to Breathe Atlanta

I've included our group photos from last year.  You don't have to run....some of our friends did and even placed in the race, but I'll probably be walking.  Free To Breathe is dedicated to doubling lung cancer survival by the year 2022 and 80% of your fundraising efforts go directly to research.  That's amazing!  So, if you can't come out, you can still help by donating to our Team.

In the meantime, thank you for your continuous prayers and support for my family and me.  They mean so much.  This is a never-ending battle and I'm so blessed to have our Father and all of you on my side.  God bless you!

Romans 8:31
"What shall we say in response to this?  If God is for us, who can be against us?"

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Results 6/24/14

Well, some of you may already know I got my latest petscan results Tuesday.  They came back, once again, with no active cancer!   We are so very happy and optimistically cautious at the same time.  This disease changes your whole life.....forever.  You have to live in a "new normal".

Some of the "new normal" for me isn't really new, it's just accepting that life will never go back to the old normal.  I will have petscans every 3 months until at least 5 years of clear scans, an MRI annually, tarceva every day forever (or until it quits working), can't be out in the sun much, my hair is growing in insanely curly and I actually have to cut my curly eyelashes.  My nails are brittle and break very easily.   And now, I'm having all sorts of women issues, of which I will spare you the details.  And I can't sit/drive longer than 1.5 hours without stopping to walk around  to prevent blood clots.

But, my "new normal" also consists of a good quality of life for  now.  I feel better than I have in years.  I can breathe so much better and that gift is allowing me to spend more quality time with Karley.  We've been making memories left and right.  Without the "new normal", I would still be working way too much.  I'm also able to live a semi-normal life unlike so many of my other lung cancer friends who are going through so much.  For all of this, I am blessed.  My problems are so small in the whole scheme of things so I'm just going to be grateful for what I have now in this life, however long it will be.

We never know when things can change, our whole lives can change in an instant. Make sure you're loved ones know they are loved every day!

Thank you all for your continuos prayers and please keep them coming.  They mean more than you realize.   And please pray for our dear friend, John Roberts.  I met him through Facebook in the lung cancer community.  We have the same kind.  He's not doing well and he is the most positive person I know.  We need to see his "Good Morning Friends!" every morning.   That's one of the "new-normals" I love.  So please pray for John and his wife Tina right now.    God bless you all and I'll  update again soon.

Meanwhile, I've got so much living to do...

Proverbs 13:12
Hope makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sidetracked from scanxiety

I know it's been a while since my last post.   It's been a busy few weeks.   Karley and I are currently in Washington DC until Friday.  We've been here since Monday.  Yesterday the air quality was terrible and I was having a little trouble with that for the first time, but it didn't stop us from seeing as much as possible.

I don't think Karley realized how much we would be walking.  She learned pretty quickly.  She has a karate tournament in Atlanta Saturday so I keep telling her it's exercise.....which is totally true.  

Anyways, the staff at our hotel have been amazing and we've met some interesting people.  Karley made a new friend already.  She is so not shy!   Thank you Erika and Madison for hanging with us!

Well, this is a quick update because I'm on my cell and Karley is ready for me to be off.  I have my next petscan on Monday with results Tuesday.  Thank you all for your continuous prayers and please keep them coming!  They seem to be working!   God is amazing and has already answered a pretty important prayer this week. 

Romans 12:21
"Don't let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good"

Sunday, June 1, 2014

18 months

Originally that was my expected expiration date.  That date was May 27th.  It came and went like a normal day and I totally forgot to celebrate.  I think that's a good thing though.  It means I'm not preoccupied with this disease anymore.  Of course I still talk about it with people I reconnect with or meet, but it doesn't control my everyday thoughts.

I have more energy, and this week while visiting my family and friends in Atlanta, I've managed to do a lot.  I met up with some old friends for Andy Smith's birthday.  He's the one who did the video of Karley's 8th birthday party for me when I first got sick.  Loved visiting with them!  It was an interesting night to say the least.  Even ran into a friend I haven't seen since middle school.  Long time!

Hope everyone had a safe and fun Memorial Weekend and remembered the real reason for that extra day off of work!

Tuesday we went to Six Flags with Shelley, Jacob, and Maddie Briscoe.  It was Karley's first visit and we happened to get to go with her family.  Maddie is a stage 4 neuroblastoma survivor.  We had a great time and Darren Briscoe took us to dinner afterwards.   Thank you guys!

The rest of the week we spent visiting family and friends.  It was a crazy busy week!

Please pray for my cousin Jessica.  She's currently recovering from knee surgery.  She's tough though.  I'm sure she'll be fine.

We can't wait to visit again before we head up to Washington DC.  My dad took me as a kid, so I want to take Karley.  I remember it being so much fun.  After the trip, we are planning on letting Karley compete in the Battle of Atlanta karate tournament.   Then I'll have my scans.  It's going to be an insane two weeks by June 13th so I'll be resting while I can.

Thank you all for your continuous support and prayers.  Life is flying by and every day I think less and less about this stupid cancer and more and more about our future.  God sure is great!

Although we may interpret the bible differently according to where we are in life, below is one of my favorite versus given my current state.  It probably doesn't have the same meaning for all of us....  

Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Lots of Living

It's been a while since my last post.  I've been super busy living.  I can't say I'm sorry for that, but I am sorry for not updating.

Since my last post, we've made no progress with Blue Cross Blue Shield.  I can't deal with it anymore so my wonderful mom and her colleagues are going to take over at this point.  I can't keep fighting with them, it's too draining.

On to non cancer related matters...I was blessed to be able to travel to North Carolina with Stephen and Karley to be in Matt and Jen's wedding.  Jennifer and I have been close friends for several years now and she's like a sister to me.  She was the one holding my hand and crying with me in church after my diagnosis.  I was honored to be there for her special day.  I know it's a lot of pictures.  I should have been updating earlier.

We got to North Carolina on Thursday so we could spend Friday exploring before the rehearsal dinner.  Karley took her first horseback trail ride, up a mountain, over the river and through the woods.  She LOVED it!  So did I.

We also went panning for gems.  She loved this too.  But it was freezing!

This was Karley's first trip to the mountains.  She was absolutely terrified when we were on those steep winding roads.  She got over it though and fell in love with them.  

It was an amazing trip and I was so happy to go.  When Jen first got engaged, I begged her to have her wedding towards the beginning of the year.  I was afraid I wouldn't make it.  But, this month is the 18th month!  18 months of living with lung cancer.

When I tell people, they are amazed.  I know, I don't look it.  But I will tell you that I was asleep no later than 10 p.m. each night I was there.  I just can't be out like I used to.  My energy level is just not up to par some days.

After returning from NC, Karley got her CRCT scores.  We had been worried.  She wasn't performing in school as well as we knew she was capable of doing.  So, we pushed her harder.  I'm learning to be a little more strict with her now.  In the beginning she got away with everything, because I felt guilty for being sick.  I wanted all of her memories of me to be good so I tried not to punish her for anything.  BIG MISTAKE.  I feel partially responsible for when she started slacking.  But thanks to John and Stephen, constantly encouraging me to stick with punishments and rewards, we've gotten back on track.  She exceeded on every subject on the CRCT.  I couldn't be more proud of her school work now.  She got to show us all of her scores at "Muffins with Mom and Dad" yesterday.

We are so proud of her.  My sweet angel.

So, nothing new on the cancer front to report.  I've just been living!  My next PetScans are in late June.  I'll keep you all updated on any news with regards to insurance or my health or my new normal when they happen.

Thank you all for your continued support and prayers.  They mean so much.  And thank God for giving me this time with my family and friends.  He is truly amazing.

I'll leave with this painting I did for Karley's room.  Our bible study class met Wednesday to paint.  I love those girls.  I picked this verse out for Karley, I know she will need it one day.  God bless you all!