My sweet angel

My sweet angel

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Some Crayons Have Asbestos, Asbestos causes Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer...what the what?

Why am I writing this?  Well, Saturday Sept. 26 is Mesothelioma Awareness Day.  Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer and is most commonly caused by asbestos.

I had a new friend reach out to share his wife's story about her battle with mesothelioma and we thought it would be great to bring some of this to light.  How did she get it? At the age of 36, Heather was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma shortly after giving birth to her daughter in 2005.  As a little girl, Heather was exposed to asbestos fibers on her father's work jacket.  That's all it took.  Decades later, the effect took place and she began the fight for her life.

She underwent a drastic surgery involving a heated chemotherapy solution and removal of her left lung.  She and her husband, Cameron, now spread awareness of this deadly cancer.

Like mesothelioma, lung cancer can develop from exposure to asbestos.  Guess what?  My high school underwent asbestos abatement while I was in school there.  Makes one wonder?

It is important that the public understand the possible outcomes of  asbestos exposure to keep your families safe.

As for the's more than that.  Google it.  But for those not wanting too, here is a recent Time Magazine article about the subject of asbestos and lung diseases:  Time Magazine

To read more about Heather's story, visit Heather's Story

As always, thank you for taking the time to read and thank you for your continuous prayers.  I have some other health issues going on I'll be sharing soon.  Fun times.  I'm starting to think the doctors just want me around.

And please pray for Elizabeth, the Andersons, Roy, Chaseman, and so many more.  They appreciate your prayers too.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Results 9/18/15

Well, good news.  The petscan came back with no active cancer again.  Yay!  I'm beyond blessed that tarceva is still working.  Praise God.  The scanxiety really gets to us these days.  But, once again, God has given us so much.

Life is not about money, or materialistic things.  It's about faith, hope, and love.  You can have all the money in the world, but without these three things, you can still be poor.  It took me so long to realize that.  I do have a great life.  I may not be rich....probably barely middle class.   But, I'm happy.  I'm happy to be alive and able to spend more time with my family and friends.

Thank you all for your continuous prayers. They just keep working.  Please pray for Carmen, Elizabeth, Amanda,Sheila/Faith's family and the Anderson family as they are all going through some tough times right now.

I'm just so happy to see how God is so good every day.  And thank you also to my wonderful friends who came out this past Saturday, in the pouring rain, to help raise money for lung cancer awareness and research with Free To Breathe.  You all are just more of my many blessings.  It made my heart fill with joy!

And I had a biopsy and took some pain meds today so I'm kinda tired.   If I left anyone out, I'm kinda loopy and very sorry. I just wanted to share the good news with you all.  God bless you and I love you. ❤️   I'll blog more when I'm not loopy soon.  Love you!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Well, hello there my old friend...scanxiety

It's beginning to get like clockwork.  I know my scans are coming up in two weeks from today (actually yesterday now that it's after 1 a.m.).  This is when scanxiety kicks in.  So for the next two weeks, I will be moody, sleepy, mean, and sad.   That's usually how I handle it.  Oh, and I like being alone during this time.  I usually tend to get a little mean.

So, I could use your prayers for good news, that the tarceva is still working.  I made a huge leap of faith and started making plans for the future.  I don't want to feel like I jumped ahead.  I want to live, really live.  Not just a mundane life, but something more extraordinary.  We always think we have time.  Believe me, it can change in an instant.  So, really live while you can.  You don't want to regret it.

Another piece of advice.  No matter how young and healthy you are, get life insurance.  I was working on it when I was diagnosed.  It didn't happen and no one will touch me with a 10 ft pole out there.  So, think about your children and their future.  I just pray have enough loved ones who can help Karley in the future when she needs it. 

So the next time I will update will be sometime Sept. 18th.  If you don't hear from me on here, just wait....don't start calling.  I'm not the best at dealing with bad news.

Thank you all for your continuous prayers.  And remember, it's childhood cancer awareness month.  Go gold and show your support.  The funding for these cancers is also minimal.  Pray for Chaseman, a family friend diagnosed recently with leukemia.  I could go on for days about all the people cancer has effected (directly and indirectly) that need your prayers.  So, please...just pray for them.

I'll update soon....Thank you all for being here and following my blog.  Sometimes it's boring, but when I'm angry I'm sure it's kind of fun.   I guess we will see which way it goes 9/18.

Until then, I wanted to leave you with something besides a bible verse, trust me, I'm not giving up on God.   Just switching it up a little.  I know everything is in His hands.

"Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret?  There are better things ahead than any we leave behind" - C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Back to the Future

I've been really slacking on my blogging lately.  It's been an insanely busy summer.  But, time to catch up.

I know many cancer patients out there, including myself sometimes, feel like, "what's the point in planning a future if I'm not even sure I'm going to be in it?"   Well, the answer is, "so you can live and not let cancer win".  Cancer already does so much to us.  It takes away our self esteem by doing horrible things to our bodies, it hurts us and our loved ones, and it takes a huge financial toll.  And the thought of leaving loved ones behind, for the cancer patient, is unbearable.  Losing friends made in this journey is just another one of the hits cancer patients endure.

But, we are all given this one precious life, and God doesn't want us wallowing in self pity.  (There are days I will wallow, no one is perfect).  But I've made it on these meds for over 2.5 years now.  The shock of the initial hand I was dealt has long since worn off and it's time to move on.  There will be setbacks I'm sure, the cancer is only sleeping.  But to carry that burden is not my job.  That's where faith comes in.  So, I'm faithfully planning my future and will stand back up with every hit that cancer throws until God feels it's time.  I'm letting Him carry this burden.

Faithfully planning my future?  Well, as my Facebook friends now know, I got engaged.  I don't talk a lot on here about who I'm seeing etc because I'm sure no one wants to know the ins and outs of my love life.  People come to my blog to relate to another person with cancer.  But this girl is confident enough, through the grace of God, to pick up the pieces of her heart that cancer totally crushed and put them back together.

So, details?   Yeah, I'm a procrastinator but am working on them.  Even today. We will have something small because I'm gaining a stepdaughter and we can't afford anything big.  So if you don't receive an invitation, it's not because I didn't want you there.  It's because we just simply can't afford anything big.  Especially in this resort town where people actually come to get married.

So, who's the guy?   Brent Thompson.  A very faithful Christian and such a gentleman who happens to live across the street.   Where did he ask?  On the beach during a storm approaching at night.  You could see the lightening over the ocean.  Later on that night, I tripped on a stair and skinned my knee like a little kid.  Yeah, I'm clumsy.  Typical.

There will be more details later.  I have scans and results Sept. 18 so thank you for your continuous prayers and please keep them coming.   Also, please pray for my friend Elizabeth who recently received a cancer diagnosis and also my Karen Odell's nephew, Chase Busby, son of Chris and Cassie Busby, just diagnosed with Leukemia.  And finally, please keep our prayers up for Gretchen's family.  Those sweet girls lost their mama too soon.  Cancer is cancer.  It all sucks!

Karen Odell is greatly involved with the Free to Breathe Lung Cancer 5K we are participating in Sept. 12th in Jacksonville.  There is still time to sign up and join our team or donate if you are willing.  The link to join or donate is here:  Free to Breathe Jacksonville

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Can I Just Say Cancer Sucks Again?

I know it's been a while since my last post.  I've had a lot going on with Karley being out of school, tournaments, pneumonia, and coming off the steroids for it.  My days have consisted of sleeping as well as nights.  But tonight, I couldn't sleep.  I felt like vomiting every time I closed my eyes so went to facebook.  Something in my heart told me to check my friend Courtney's fb page.

Courtney and I met at MD Anderson in Houston in January 2013.  At the time, I was in a state of shock and depression still.  My nurse navigator put us together for bloodwork and we exchanged information.  Over the past two years we've checked in with each other every few months.  My last correspondence with her was March 5th.  When I went to her facebook page, I was absolutely devastated.  She passed in June.  Three months after our last email.  An email where she didn't sound as bad as I guess she was.  She left behind a husband and very young son.  Please pray for this family.

I feel like more and more of my posts are filling up with friends that I've met in this journey and they are leaving before me.  Survivors guilt is awful.  I cry every time.  But, I pick myself up and keep on living, because I know all of these strong women that have gone before me would have it no other way.
I can't put into words the world we live in.  On one hand I try to push everything cancer related to the back of my mind, but on the other hand, I know it's there.  Waiting for the opportunity to wake back up.  It scares me to plan a future and it puts me in a state of limbo.  Sometimes I just don't think I should plan anything, especially with my extreme fatigue (or lack there of tonight for some crazy reason).  But that would mean cancer is winning.  And that's not going to happen.

Anyways, on another note, I'm going to be speaking at the Free to Breathe Event in Jacksonville, FL Sept. 12th.  I usually participate in Atlanta, but I've been traveling so much, we are going to do the 5k walk/run in Jax.  So, if you can make it, please join us.  If not, please donate.  This is one of the good organizations striving to save my life, along with so many other people.  You don't hear about them much because so much of their funding goes directly to research, support and prevention.

If you would like to come walk with us or donate, the sign up is at the link here: Free To Breathe Jacksonville - Team Samantha  I would love to have a huge team and reach our goal.  Any amount helps.  Guys, I want to live!  Please help me do that.

Finally, thank you all for your continuous prayers and support.  God works in mysterious ways and is helping me in more ways than you can imagine.  I'll share some more on my next blog.  In the meantime, please help save us by funding this organization.  The government grossly underfunds lung cancer.

And thank you God for giving me this life, and every day I get to wake up and be with the people I love.  It is because of you I can face tomorrow, because you live.  Like the song says "Life is worth the living just because He lives".  My next results are Sept. 18th, so please pray they are still good.  Thank you all so much.

Maybe now I can sleep....

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."