My sweet angel

My sweet angel

Saturday, July 18, 2015

I'm So Lost

So I'm on my second bout of pneumonia in 2 months.  Fun fun!  But, most importantly, we lost Gretchen Mitchell Anderson to brain cancer.  It is devastating.  When will this ever end?   When will we stop losing our children, spouses, mothers, fathers, brothers,,and sisters to this horrible disease.  I have no idea.  And this, my friends, may be the hardest part.   Because when you become a parent, that will always come first...whether it be caregiver or cancer patient.  It's hard to relate until you in that position..

The fact that I keep getting pneumonia is somewhat worrisome, but I know there are others worse off that I'm praying for.  Gretchen's passing hit me especially hard.  She was diagnosed about 5 months after me so we spoke a lot about our futures.  Now, just my future, which I'm totally unsure of.  I miss her, so very much.  She was always worried about me more than herself, such a kind soul.  As Emily Dickinson wrote, "unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality".  It's fitting in just a way that her memory will never be forgotten.

But as you all know, I still have my own battle that I try to fight every day.  Some days are better than others.  And today.....well, I started getting angry.  How could this happen to us?  We are so young.  We have children to raise.  What are they going to do without us?   I'm trying to push Karley to grow up faster than she probably should, I'm just scared to not be there for her.   I've gotten her involved in church and am trying to steer her in the right direction.  But, I don't want to lose the time with her.  Not one second.

So thank you all for the continuous prayera for my friends and me.  Even though they are not always the outcome we hoped for, God knows what he is doing.  I trust in that.  Please continue to pray for Gretchen's family, Brad Graves, and Carmen Frye. .Your prayers do work wonders.  

And Gretchen, we miss you more than you'll ever know.  You were so brave, you did not let cancer win.  You are my inspiration.  Til we meet again at those pearly gates, you will be in my heart always.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Reason 57 Cancer Sucks

I totally made that reason number up.   There are so many reasons, I can't even list them all.  One of the hardest is losing friends.  You get sick.  You find a friend(s) you may have known forever that end up with cancer too.  You form a bond.  Not a bar hopping bond, but a bond of faith and love.   A bond where you share your fears, hopes, dreams, and anxieties that a lot of people don't understand.  Many of us younger cancer fighters fear being unable to watch our children grow up.  We trust in God to take care of them, but we don't want to miss it.  It doesn't seem fair.  But it happens. 

It is gut wrenching to lose these friends.  It's like losing a piece of your heart that can't be replaced.  Yet, it's just another symptom of cancer.  Yes, it's a symptom, it's a heartache that shakes you to the core.  It's contagious too.  It spreads to your family and your friends family, who is suffering immensely.  It's always hardest for the ones left behind.  And it hits so close to home for your family.  

I will never give up praying for a miracle.  But, it's a tough fight.  Sometimes we get tired and can't fight anymore.  I am praying for you my friend.  And thank you for being here for so long to share your journey with me.  I will always love you.  

I hope this blog made sense.  I've taken some anxiety meds so you never know.  Thank you all for your continuous prayers.  And please pray very hard for Gretchen Mitchell Anderson and her friends and family as well as Carmen Frye and Brad Graves and their friends and family.  I'm so blessed to have been able to get to know Gretchen and Carmen so well.  They have made such a lasting impact on my life through their relentless faith and fighting spirit.  God bless you all. 

2 Timothy 4:7
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith."

Friday, June 19, 2015

Results, My Fashionista Spleen, and Cancer

As most of you on facebook know, I once again, by the grace of God, got results with no active cancer.  So, the tarceva is still working!  I had the pulmonologist pull the radiology report yesterday for me so I could read it last night.  I was fairly certain that everything was good...but one statement had me second guessing myself.

According to the radiology report, I have an "accessory spleen".  What the what?  I googled it, and apparently 10% of the population have it as well.  It's like a second, smaller spleen or spleen tissue.  It was the first time it had been mentioned on my radiology report so I was concerned but my oncologist quickly assured me that it was no big deal.  He compared it to an accessory, such as the hair extensions I failed to wear to the appointment today.  Then he went on to make fun of my tarceva hair.  Funny guy, that one.  I really do like him, we have similar personalities.

So, all in all it was a very good day.  I know it wasn't a good day in cancerland for everyone, this is hard too.  You see, when you are diagnosed with cancer, your circle of friends widens and extends to people you rarely (if ever) talked to before.  These people share the cancer bond with you.  So, you become close, sharing your fears, anxieties, ailments, sadness, and joy.  The hard part is when you get a good result and they don't.  Or if you don't even have results and their health begins to decline.  Sometimes you lose them.  This is so hard on so many levels emotionally.  It's like living in a different world.  One day they are there and the next time you reach out, you don't get a response, and you just know.  You either didn't get a chance to say goodbye or saying goodbye would make them lose hope.  But, you want them to know you love them.  They've been there for you and you for them and you've become so close it's hard to imagine not being able to talk or message them again.  It's one thing to drift away as friends.  Death is a whole different form of torture for the ones left behind.  And who knows, you could be next.

I know God has a plan for all of us.  I'm looking forward to finding out what that is one day.  Until then, I'm praying for my friends Gretchen, Carmen, Angel, Lysa, and Brad Graves....and a secret one.  Thank you all for your continuous prayers for us.  They mean more than you can ever fathom.

I'm getting ready for bed now, Battle of Atlanta tomorrow so I get to watch the karate kids!  Thank you all again and thank you Lord for another day.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Bye Bye Pneumonia, Hello Scanxiety

Oh how I love this roller coaster (insert sarcastic look here).  Why do these bouts of scanxiety keep getting longer and longer?  Simple.  I've been on tarceva a long time.  2.5 years to be exact.  A great many lung cancer patients don't have that kind of progression free survival time, so I have been very blessed.

As you know, I got pneumonia last week.   Or it seems, since I'm feeling better after the steroids (and an additional 5 lbs.).  The scary part for me is that the pain was coming from where my primary tumor is.  I know, I know, you can't feel cancer in the lungs.  But, it's still a scary thought.  I wish I knew already what was going on in there.  But, I don't.  And that is where the faith comes in.  I'm not perfect though, I do worry but faith is what keeps me sane.

I recently found my camcorder charger.  I was going through old videos from when Karley was so little.  The moments captured were wonderful.  It's amazing to see the young lady she's becoming before my eyes.  She watched with me, and later that night wanted to snuggle so much.  She said, "Mama, you are the best mommy ever and after watching those videos it makes me sad to think something could happen to you".  I just held her close and tried to reassure her that I'm here now, and that's what really matters.  We can't worry about the future.  (I sound like a hypocrite now with my scanxiety worries)

Also, I didn't let her see the videos I made when I was first diagnosed.   Man, I miss my hair.  But, I could tell how much I was hurting emotionally.  I feel like I've become such a different person.  Back then I was spitting out everything I thought I could tell her to fulfill a lifetime, only to realize that it isn't possible.  We have to do what we can with the time we have now.  You never know when it'll be cut short.

God designed this life to live according to His plan, not our own.  Wisdom acknowledges this.  We have to believe "Father Knows Best".  My beliefs on here may not always be popular, but maybe this is my purpose....just to reach someone else through this blog.

So, I'll keep trying to stay positive as the clock slowly ticks away until June 19th when I get my new results.  Thank you for all your continuous prayers.  They are always such a blessing.  Please continue to keep Gretchen Mitchell Anderson, Carmen Frye, Brad Graves, and another unspoken request, along with their families in your prayers.  I know they appreciate them.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

I Thought It Was Heartburn..I Was Wrong

So last evening, after almost two days of what I thought was heartburn, got a "go to the ER" from my oncologist.  So, I did.

After 5 hours, scans and tests, it was determined that I have pneumonia, or that's what it looks like.  I got 5 days of steroids and follow up in Atlanta with my pulmonary doc if I'm not better or get worse before then. Yay cancer! (sarcasm for those that don't know me).

Let me tell you, it is painful, very painful to swallow or breathe deep. It also looks like the pneumonia is around my primary tumor that is hopefully still inactive.  We will find out around June 19th.  Please pray for it all to be still in active.  I can handle pneumonia.

So, I'm having a hard time sleeping but about to take another sleeping pill and rest for the next few days.  It's just so frustrating.  I thought I was overreacting by going to the ER, but when it comes to cancer, you can never be too careful.  So don't feel silly if you go and nothing is wrong.   Better to be safe than sorry!

Now that we know something is wrong, probably pneumonia, I can keep an eye on it and take care of it.  I just have so much to do this week, it's going to be hard to not do it.  I'm blessed to have friends and family that are willing to help.

Well, that's the update for now.  I'm about to try and go back to sleep.  So happy for the ID channel that's my 24 hour a day go to entertainer when I'm so tired.

Thank you for your continuous prayers for my friends and me.  They mean so much.  You all make me feel so blessed.  And most importantly, I thank God for still being here.

Silver Lining:  No blood clot, I'm still here, get to rest by doctor's order (but will be hard)!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Is That a Half Cancerversary?

The goal of my blog today is to beat Lisa Goldman in getting it out there.  It seems like it's been a year since my last one, but really it's been a week.  So, what's changed in a week?

I got out of that funk I had due to the stress overload.  Thank you for all of your prayers.  I moved to a house and away from the third floor condo I've been in for nearly 5 years.  Thanks to John, Dustin, Waggy, etc. for moving my furniture and Wes, Karley, and Zoe for helping me unpack and break it in and my new neighbor Brent for all he's done including feeding me that first night (I literally had no food!).  I never really knew my neighbors at the condo, but this seems like it will be a great neighborhood for Karley.  One of her friends even lives across the street.

Jace and Sugar (the cats) have decided they will no longer drink tap water since moving, and are now only drinking bottled water.  Seriously.  I couldn't get them to drink until I gave them bottled water.  It's been stressful for them, but they'll be fine.

I still haven't finished moving everything, but most of it is here and will try to get the rest out this week.  

In other news, I didn't mention this in my last few blogs, but I got awarded Healthline's Top 10 Lung Cancer Blogs of 2015.  You can read the full list here  Thank you Healthline for such an honor.  I've met a lot of these people and they are amazing.  We had a little group at the Lungevity Summit. 


Never, did I think I would be a blogger.  But, it's a really good outlet when you go through so much emotionally and physically.  You don't have to explain your story and cry.  You write, others read, and maybe you can help someone else in the same situation.  

Well, that's my quick update for now.  Thank you for your continuous prayers.  Next week will be exactly 2 1/2 years since diagnosis.  Is that a half cancerversary?  I've never been big on half birthdays, but I think this calls for a celebration.  November is so far away!

Please continue praying for Gretchen Mitchell Anderson and Carmen Frye.  Your prayers are helping so much.  

Monday, May 11, 2015

Will This Roller Coaster Ever Stop?

So, it's been 5 days since my last post.  Already that roller coaster is flying downhill.  I'm not feeling cancer sick.  I'm feeling cancer sad.  This is my life now, like so many others.  I live in a resort area where good work is hard to find and stressful.  At least my old job was, but it paid the bills.  Stress isn't good for cancer, and I plan on living a long time by the grace of God.   I'm also tired a lot but recently started taking some vitamins.  I want to work again but just get exhausted after a few hours in the office.   I also don't want to work full time, I want as much time with Karley as possible.

Therefore, as of now, disability is my best option considering I have no idea when the tarceva will quit and I'm trying to get as much done as I can before it does.  Unfortunately. I'm now forced into Medicare.  Which, I don't know how in the world people understand it.  And it's more expensive than my previous insurance.  Sorry people, I tried not to take Medicare.  It's frustrating not understanding anything.  Plus trying to get new insurance for my daughter isn't a walk in the park either.  For me, more deductibles and co insurance on disability income in this area is financially breaking me.  I stay here so john and Karley can remain close though.  I want them to always be close.  Being a single mom and juggling this stinks.  John has been a lot of help.  He takes her 3 nights a week and that gives me some rest.  My stress level is just insane right now.  I guess I just wish my family were closer, as were my doctors.

And we are moving to a house on the island.  The rent is less and it's not the third floor.  No more stairs but moving and costs are crazy too.  Thank goodness for my mom and john right now.

This isn't how I pictured my life.  I guess not many people are living the life they pictured either.  I guess it would be nice to have family close to comfort Karley in the event something happened.  But I trust God to take care of that.  He will give me the right people in my life here.

Sorry for the ranting.  I can't sleep and so tired.  Thank you for your continuous prayers and please keep them up for us as well as Carmen Frye  and Jon Hicks.  All cancer survivors still fighting like me.  And please take some extra time to pray for Gretchen Mitchell Anderson.  She is fighting the brain cancer so hard.  It's a monster.  She needs extra prayers tonight.

Silver lining today:  I cried and it felt good

Good night all.  And God Bless You!

Matthew 19:26.