My sweet angel

My sweet angel

Sunday, February 18, 2018

LIVE LIFE NOW! - Nicole Russell

This is the hardest blog I've ever written.  It's taken me a few days.  Our lung cancer community and her family and friends experienced an epic loss Friday.  Nicole Russell was taken from us, her children, and her husband, Jonathan.  I know we all have different beliefs, and I usually don't discuss those beliefs with friends, mainly because I don't want to force religion down someone's throat, but also don't want to lose friends.  Politics and religion are the two things I don't discuss.  But I am not ashamed of my religion.  No, I'm not perfect.  I sin.  But I do try to follow the path God has laid out before me, wherever it may take me.  That's why I post my thoughts.  That way, if you don't agree, you don't have to read.  But if you do or don't mind reading my beliefs, I hope I can help in some way.  But I need to write as a release now.  It's like an addiction.

I got the call Friday while driving home from Atlanta.  I had to cross 4 lanes of traffic to vomit on the side of the road, I was crying so hard.  I try to be hopeful, but lately it's been hard.  I waited too long to go visit her.  I will never forgive myself for that, and please don't tell me I should.  I had no idea how sick she really was.  She would always worry about everyone else who meant something to her.  She would seriously facebook stalk and track down their friends and family to make sure they were okay. 

She sent me silly snapchats to cheer me up on a regular basis ever since we met in person at the LUNGevity Hope Summit last year.  We also texted and talked on a regular basis.  She quickly became one of my closest friends.  I told her she was thug.   But, she always ended up making fun of me for being thug when I got mad.  We shared the same views on a lot of things, such as how you say a loved one has passed away.  She felt that if she wrote it, everyone could get over the way she says it because those are her thoughts and words.  And who are we to judge?  She was right.  Totally and completely right. 

She was spitfire.  She didn't sugarcoat things.  I LOVED that about her.  She didn't put up with anything.  Most of the time I don't either. To me, Nicole was fearless, except when it came to leaving her loved ones behind.  She didn't worry about herself.  She worried about everyone else.  I know she was so tired of living in this cancer world.  She took breaks but she LIVED.  With her family, she really LIVED.  She didn't let cancer define her.  She defined the way we should be living with cancer. 

There are no words I can say to make anything better, other than, she is no longer in pain.  She is gone from this world that was making her so sad due to cancer.  I believe she's our guardian angel now. 

After Nicole passed, I posted I wouldn't be attending the Hope Summit.  Ron Fong told me to make a page.  Ron and I share a lot of the same beliefs.  He is an angel on this earth.  Within 10 hours the lung cancer community raised $1,650 to go.  I was amazed.  I am so blessed that so many people cared enough to donate for me to go.  But what was truly amazing, is that Katie posted there were more people.  As if it were an instruction from God and Nicole herself, it became a domino effect.  Our community began raising so much money.  We needed that love, that hope, that unity to help those who couldn't go otherwise. Now we can share stories, love and hope.  There are angels walking among us.  God bless them for working with man upstairs and Nicole on getting us together.  That was the main reason she wanted to go.   To see her friends.  Well Nicole, we will be there and there is no way your presence won't be. 

I love you my friend.  Thank you for making me laugh, cry, angry, and to purely LIVE like there's no tomorrow.  You took a piece of my heart.  Hold onto it until I see you again.  I have so much more to say, but I don't know how to put it into words. 

Thank you all for your continuous prayers.  Love you all.  God bless.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

It's 3 am I must be lonely

I so miss the good old days.  I still know the words of that Matchbox Twenty song like it came out yesterday.  "Well I can't help but be scared of it all sometimes".  The last verse.  It's always stuck with me.  It's now 4 am.  I couldn't sleep.  Tomorrow night will be my first time alone since I had that pulmonary embolism January 15th, Karley's birthday.

Let me tell you, pulmonary embolisms are no walk in the park.  I'm just now getting around to do things.  I did some laundry, dishes and straightened up.  Then I literally passed out for 3 hours.  I don't have near the energy I used too.

I get serious vertigo now too.  I can't just jump out of bed like I used too.  If I sit up to fast, I fall back down.  I actually passed out getting out of bed the other day.  Thank God it was the bed I landed on.

And then I feel like pure crap.  Just everywhere and then there's uncontrollable crying.  It's ridiculous.  I don't cry much but this feeling is awful.  And it's been this way for weeks.  When researching I found it takes some people up to a year to recover.  Forget that!  I'm getting up and pushing myself because I refuse to feel like this for a year.  Time is precious over here and no way am I going to be miserable for a year.

I do feel myself slowly getting better.  I can stand up while holding something very slowly.  WTH?  I'm 38 years old.  I guess I'm just bitter, mad, and having an after hours pity party.  I know I should feel more blessed that I didn't die that day.  I know I should be grateful for living this long.  And I know everything happens for a reason.  I can't wait to get to heaven and find out this reason.

Karley worries about me so much now.  She's not sleeping well.  I hate that for her and as strong as I try to be around her, I'm a single mom and only human and just break down.  It's just been lately I've been doing this.  I just want to feel normal again.  Not the before cancer normal, even the after cancer normal would be a blessing.   But, I'm still here, trying to give everything to God.  It's so hard.  I haven't been able to fully let go, but in time I will hopefully quit scaring at every little pain. 

Well, now that I've written this, maybe I can sleep.  That's usually how it happens.  I miss being on the go.  My car hasn't been driven since January 14th.  She needs some love so maybe I'll feel good enough to go sit at the beach tomorrow.  It's always so peaceful during this time of year. 

Thank you mom for staying and taking care of things and doing so much, Betty for bringing us food, a new friend Adam, my ex Brent, Karley's father John, and all of you who have checked on me and helped us and thank you all for your continuous prayers and kind gestures.  You all give me much faith in humanity. And Cheri, thank you for taking me to the hospital that day.  I'm not sure I ever thanked you.  It's been a whirlwind year so far.  Maybe I'll start 2018 in March.  But, in all reality, I give God all the glory for bringing me this far.  There's a reason I'm still here.  I just need to get out of the funk.

Have to throw in some pics.   Here is my last oncology visit last week.  I get bored and play with snapchat. 

My dad is the most patient person ever.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Not always rainbows and sunshine

Because He wants you to depend on Him.  And Lord knows I'm trying.  I know the devil is trying to sneak in and cause me to break down like I am but I'm so tired.   This blood clot thing is literally draining the life out of me.  Today, I can barely get out of bed.  Thank God for my friend Lorna who is coming over to clean, laundry, and fix me some meals.   I never thought I could be this low.  And please don't post condolences.   I need fighting words right now more than ever.

I developed a terrible cough.  My leg was hurting yesterday like it did before the clot but it went away and that was okay according to my onc.  But I really feel the life being sucked out.  I need help.  I need help from my friends and family here.   I don't have many, but people who know me know that I would give the shirt off of my own back to help someone.   I need that in return now. 

I know, I'm usually the inspiring one.  But, this disease is so overwhelming it's hard to fight.   I don't feel like talking about it, I just needed to vent and for you to know if I don't respond, it's because I'm either sleeping or mid breakdown.  I called my mom for help when this happened.  And for the first time since I've lived here, I've called someone to physically help me.  I hate not being able to be independent.  It's killing me too.  But getting this all out is somehow making me feel a little better.  I'm going to take a pain pill and some xanax and take a nap.  I'm just so blessed to have the friends and family that I do.

As most of you know I filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy 12/29.  I couldn't keep up anymore.  My meeting of the creditors was scheduled for 1/29 but I had it continued because I was afraid they would admit me in the hospital in Atlanta.  I have a neck CT scheduled for tomorrow because of pain but am still in Brunswick.  They continued my case until 2/12 and if I have to continue it again I have to get an attorney which I can't afford.  I'm doing this all my self so if any of you attorneys that practice down here can do a quick pro bono bankruptcy, I've pretty much done everything.  It would just help with the stress.  I can't afford an attorney, I'm not sure if courts get that you can't afford the fee and an attorney, that's why you file in the first place.  I'm just praying I don't get hospitalized again before then. 

Ok, I'm done with my rant.  Pleas pray for all of my friends dealing with this.  And believe me, there are a lot right now.  It seems we are all going down hill together.  I know the first thing I need to do is give it to God and stop the stress.  So that is what I'm going to work on.  And if anyone feels they can help in any way, please let me know.  Because right not I can't even be a mother, I can barely take care of myself.  I believe God will see me through this.  I just have to be strong enough to give it to Him.

God bless you all and thank you for hearing me rant.  Not always rainbows and sunshine.  Sometimes it pours.

I feel like I should still be here

Friday, January 26, 2018

As the Carousel Turns - Results 1/26/18

Well, I went for my visit in Atlanta this week, a week after being in the hospital for a pulmonary embolism.  In short, there is some fluid build up around where the clot is but it has reduced in size since beginning the blood thinner.  I will be on the blood thinner for life.

However, my shoulder and neck have been hurting for some time so I'm scheduled for a CT of the neck next week in Brunswick as a precaution.  We don't want anymore clots.  I've come off the birth control so will most likely have to have an ablation because the blood thinners will send my bleeding out of control.   The birth control was only to stop constant menstrual cycles.  Coming off is going to make me bleed too much.

So, that is pretty much it from the visit.  No new visible cancer, we are just focusing on the clots.  And once again, I praise God for me living this long.

Now, I'm not one to shove religion down your throat.  It doesn't matter what you believe, I was taught to love everyone and never push your beliefs on them.  I express my faith in God, but you may have a different opinion.  I promise you I will never force my religion or politics on you. My good friends know this. 

However, I posted on MY facebook page that "things were in God's hands", referring to my illness, because that is my belief.  Someone decided they wanted to argue about this and began making references to "the same God that allows war, homelessness, etc.". 

I don't feel that was called for. God may allow this, but mankind made the choice of freewill in the beginning. This person blocked me, and that is fine.  If you don't want to hear what I have to say, don't read my blog or my page and if you do, please keep that opinion to yourself.  And certainly don't fight with me over it.  I'm fighting for my life here, I don't need someone fighting with me over religion and politics.   Like I said, I don't care what you believe, I am here for whomever needs it.  It just makes me feel sorry for someone like that, just wanting to argue with a terminally ill patient about her beliefs in one of her darker times. 

Ok, rant over.  Thank you all for your continuous thoughts and prayers.  Nothing will make me thank our God less or blame Him for trouble in this world.  Please pray for a few of my friends too who are struggling.  I'll post more when I learn more from my CT scan next week.  Good bless you all.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

2018 - I thought we had a deal?

So this year was supposed to be better.  I guess considering I didn’t die, it’s off to a fairly good start.   Although, I will say it’s already getting crazy so I’m gonna start my year with Chinese New Year instead.   So pretty much, January has been a trial month.

I filed bankruptcy and it’s like a full time job getting the stuff ready.  I am so freakin broke!   But I’m alive, which just makes the whole “being broke” thing a nuisance.

So, for those of you who have been keeping up with me, yes, I was in the hospital until this past Thursday, I have 2 pulmonary embolisms.  See, I’m a mortal too. I had never experienced one before but it was a sharp pain that came on strongly near where my primary tumor was.  It was also my daughter's 13th birthday.  I got home from picking her up from friends, and the pain was so unbearable I was actually crying.  Karley never sees this, so she began pleading for me to go to the hospital or call 911.  All I wanted to do was sleep.  But, she wouldn't leave me alone so I got a close friend to take me.  I was really worried it was like gas or something, but better to be safe than sorry. 

After several hours, a CT scan, Echocardiogram, and utlrasounds, it was determined that I had a few pulmonary embolisms in my right lung.  Not what I was expecting.  A pulled muscle maybe, but not this.  I began my MD google search and did not like the results.   I'm on a blood thinner now and was released after 4 days.  I spent one night in the ER because they were so crowded due to the flu.  I didn't feel I was ready to be released, but knew other people needed my bed.  And some new law in Georgia prevents pain medication from being released easily, but I can't take anti-inflammatories.  Totally gonna have to go after this law when I get to feeling better.

Not going to lie, there are several times during this experience I was sure I wouldn't make it.  Even today, I felt like I was dying, like this was the beginning of the end.  But I didn't make it this far to be taken out by a pulmonary embolism(s), so time to rise up.  I read the recover time can be weeks, months and even years.  It's different for everyone.  Right now I'm having trouble walking, staying awake, talking a little but it could all be due to the blood thinners I have to get used too.

 I just want to thank God, the hospital, my family and friends all for helping me through this.  And thank God for giving me a daughter who selflessly pushed for me to go to the hospital on her own birthday.  It gives me more birthdays with her.  Listen to your body peeps.  Better to be safe than sorry.  Thank you all for your continuous prayers and God Bless.   Ok....gonna try and sleep now.  ❤️
I'm no where giving up....but I may need some help since it's usually just Karley and me.  I just need to work on building my strength back up without over doing it.  I'll keep you guys updated.  r For now my mom is staying here to help me.  God bless her. Love you all!

I was feeling much better in this pic

I love tacos!  Thanks NJ!

The day before admission

Birthday Fun

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Tis the Season for so many emotions

The season to be jolly.  Christmas, representing so much for so many people.  To my family and me, it represents the birth of Christ.  It's always been a magical time, even now, as an adult, something about this holiday fills me with such joy.  But I know it's not this way for everyone.

As I spend time with my family over Christmas, I'm going to remember all of the people that have been in my life that have gone before me as well as their friends and family.  I'm praying for you all.  Because although this holiday fills me with joy, some people are missing a loved one.  That empty chair at the dinner table.  Holidays can be so rough on some people.  

In a way I got a bit down this Christmas when I looked back at the loss, not just this year, but over time.  Most of the loss was from people I met in the cancer world, but not all.  It's foolish to be upset over some things beyond my control, but the survivor's guilt can really take it's toll.  There's no getting out of this world without loss.  With the help of Nicole Russell, I put together a little flipagram to remember those the world lost in hopes that it will remind you that we are not immortal.  Your life can change in an instant.  We only have a brief time on this earth, let's make the most of it with kindness and love for each other.  

As we are celebrating the birth of Christ, not presents, or egg nog, or Santa, but the birth of the son God gave to save us, I also remember all the angels we have looking down on us.  Cancer takes away a lot from you, but I will not let it take away my character or spirit.  Please take a moment and pray for these families, and for the ones still fighting to survive.   Like I said, not all left with lung cancer (although that comprises about 95% of this flipagram), but they are no longer here.  And for this reason, their families will struggle.   And for this reason, we will continue the fight so their deaths are not in vain.  They may no longer be here to have a voice, but we are, we do, and we will.  God bless you all, and don't forget Jesus is the reason for the season.

Thank you all for your continuous prayers.  They do mean the world to me.  And again, please pray for the families of the loved ones lost and those fighting for their life.  Click on the link below to see the slideshow.  I'm sorry if I left anyone out, there have been so many.

And I'm sorry for the sad post, but it's been a rough year.  And I am beyond blessed to be spending another year with my girl.  I am so grateful.   Please don't take this as a post about depression.  It's the opposite, I'm celebrating life.

Our first Christmas in this "New Normal"

Saturday, November 25, 2017

A Bittersweet Holiday Forever

This very day, in 2012, my mother took me to Piedmont Henry in Stockbridge where my brain tumor was discovered and I began the fight for my life.  Yesterday, we learned we are on the brink of losing a beautiful friend, mother, and daughter in the very same hospital.  Miracles happen every day and we are praying for one.

This day is bittersweet for me and probably will remain that way forever now.  Sometimes life doesn’t always go as planned.  I’m still here, which I’m so blessed for, but she’s not awake.  So I literally cried most of the night.  Mainly for her young babies and former husband, who I grew up with.  I could barely open my eyes this morning.  They burn so bad still.

Sam Thompson and I grew up together and spent so much time hanging out.  I used to lounge around his pool as we got older and I was pregnant with Karley.  That's when I met Stephanie for the first time.  She was so beautiful and full of life and so young it seemed at the time.  I wasn't sure I liked her at first, but eventually she did win me over.  I remember their wedding like it was yesterday.  And when AJ, their daughter was born, they stopped by my exit in Brunswick so I could meet her.  She was adorable.  When Karley was born, Stephanie was still about 19 and it made me so nervous for her to hold Karley.  But it came so naturally to her. 

She's been there for me when both of my parents have been admitted to Piedmont in the past and to help me navigate what's going on.  I knew I could always call her for anything medical related and count on her advice.  I can no longer do this.

We all question why these things happen, why those sweet kids are likely to lose their mama at such a young age.  It’s hard to say it’s a part of God’s plan.  Why would God have this plan?  We won’t find out in this lifetime.  And as much as I’m questioning it, I have to walk by faith.  My prayers go out to all of the family and friends.  It's been such a blessing to know that Sam's girlfriend has been his rock.  I know our friends will surround Sam and his children with so much love.  I hope you’ll join me in prayer for strength and peace.  I love this family as if they were my own. God bless you all.

Till we meet again....Love you