My sweet angel

My sweet angel

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


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.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mother's Day - Cancer Mom/Daughter Perspective

Mother's Day is so special to me.  Without Karley, I wouldn't be a mother, so she is the reason I celebrate this day.

I was watching a recording of Grey's Anatomy last night, and in a twisted way it reminded me of how I was when first diagnosed.  The two mothers are arguing over custody of a small child.  One of the mothers realized it would be better to relinquish custody than to have her child ripped apart.  The story taken from 1 Kings 3:16-27 when Solomon must decide the true mother of the baby.

In a way, that's how I felt in the beginning, but under different circumstances.  At that time, I was more willing to let John have Karley, than to allow her to be ripped apart by watching me pass away of this disease.  I began pushing her away, asking John to take her more.  I tried to distance myself from her any way possible.  This wasn't the right thing to do, I found out from my therapist.  It does prove my love for her is greater than the love for myself.  I thought, if she didn't love me as much and wasn't around me so much, it would be easier on her when I'm gone.  My feelings didn't matter, I really wanted her around every second, but I would do anything in the world not to hurt her.  I didn't want her ripped apart.

I am glad that I changed for both of our sake.  I've lived a lot longer than expected and built so many wonderful memories, and I continue to do so.  I've realized that she will be hurt regardless of my actions should I pass away.  But, I want her to remember me as the mother that loved her more than anything in the world.  I guess all of that in the beginning was a way of dealing with everything.  Thank God for that therapist.    And thank you God for carrying me through all of the darkness the beginning entailed.  The cancer is still with me, just sleeping.  But I know with God, all things are possible.

Now, we are happy and loving life and I gained a stepdaughter, Livi.  So now there are two of them to love.  And I do love them with all of my heart.  Livi isn't my biological daughter and I can never replace her mother, nor would I ever try, but I do love her very much and will continue to be here for both of them as long as the good Lord allows.

Thank you all for your continuous prayers.  Please pray for all of the others out there, with this same burden, because they love their children so much.  Pray for them to have peace and do what's best for the children.  And thank you mom, for always being here for me.  For giving me strength, advice, love and support always when I needed it most.  I love you so much.  I couldn't ask for a better mom.

Monday, April 25, 2016

No...I'm not normally crazy...

They say you find out you find out who really cares about you when you step back and take a look at who's still by your side when you go through hard times.

About two weeks ago I went through one of those.  I had forgotten to take my prozac for several days and was on progesterone (which leads to depression and PMS like symptoms).  Needless to say, I was a joy to be around and was unacceptably cruel to one of my friends, okay...a few of them.  But, that's when I found out they were true friends.  I didn't think so at the time.  I was bottom of the barrel miserable with my life.  The true friends forgave.  They know that you have so much going on, you are treading water to stay afloat.  I'm always a mess after the stress of scans.

But, I was blessed for that bout of meanness and depression I went through because my friends showed their true colors.  I may have lost one (none of the ones I was mean too), but it's okay.  It just wasn't meant to be.  You can build years of a friendship with someone, but the unreal ones won't forgive or will call you a liar or take everything you say in the wrong context.  That's the kind of person you don't need as a stressor.  Pick your battles wisely.  No point in wasting energy on someone who has already made up their mind about you.

No one really knows what it's like to walk in your shoes.  I need to remember this more about other people myself.  Other people have problems too and I really gave myself a pity party, which I regret.  I try to stay strong.  My dad always says, "the army don't want you if you ain't tough".  Ummm, I never wanted to be in the army, so that was a mute point.  But I have striven to remain strong.  I don't have to be, that's what our God is for, I know I am weak.  After giving it all to Him to worry about, it becomes a peace that's indescribable.  I mourned the loss of that friend for a short while, but looked around at the beauty, blessings, family, and friends I have and let it all go.  I am a forgiver...always will be.

I encourage you all to do the same.  Forgiveness takes courage.  So the friends I was mean to, they are pretty courageous in my book because I know how mean I can be, which I try not to. That was the old me and I regret letting it out.  I guess I wanted to share this all with you, not only to get it off of my chest, but to let you know that life doesn't have to be so stressful and one person should not have made such a dent in my normally positive attitude.

Onto newer things, I met Karley's father's girlfriend.  She's amazing  She snapped some shots of all of us at the mexican restaurant.  I think we are all obsessed with mexican food.  I know I am.  I'm blessed that she's found her way into Karley and John's lives.  I couldn't be happier for them.  Thank you for all you do Megan.

And I'm blessed for my family at home.  Brent, Karley, and Livi complete me.  I love to hear the girl's play or work together cleaning.  I am so happy with my life.  Just stay away from me near scans...before and after!

Thank you for all of your continuous prayers for us.  Please continue to pray for Carmen Frye, Ansley Jones, Chaseman, Deena Long, and all of the others suffering from these horrible illnesses.

God has a plan for all of us, we just don't know what it is yet.  He said in this life, there will be troubles.  I believe Him now!  But I also trust in His plan, regardless of what it is.

God bless you all!