My sweet angel

My sweet angel

Friday, April 21, 2017

Scan Results 4/21/17

Well, this is my fifth year into living with lung cancer.  It's been a hell of a roller coaster, that's for sure.

I've had a cold for about 2 weeks, which had us all a little concerned because my cough was bad.  But let me just skip to the point.  My scans were not only stable, but one of the three nodules is now gone!

And even better, my oncologist feels it's fine to begin to do CT scans every 20 weeks instead of every 12 weeks.   PRAISE GOD!

My mom said the best part of the news was on the way home when I said, "I think I'm going to live".   Those of you who have followed me and continue to do so throughout this journey, I can't thank you enough for your prayers.  They have not gone unnoticed and please let me know if you need mine.  I am so freakin grateful today I could scream.   And although I'm so grateful for myself....in seeps that survivors guilt.  But, we can't do that to ourselves.  We have to celebrate our own small victories as they come.  Life is to short to be anything but happy and silly.

One of my friends isn't doing so well, so in addition to prayers for me, please pray for her as well.  And Team Draft, thank you for giving us the opportunity to give back to Piedmont the funds raised during the Super Bowl Challenge.  It felt good to give back to the hospital that saved my life.  Didn't get to see Amanda. Brad or Mandy this time but definitely next trip!  I miss them!

Well, that's it for now.   Oh, and thank you God for letting April the giraffe have that baby.  I actually watched it live.  I wasn't sitting there for days, I just woke and it was on the news.  I feel bad for all those people that waited on that.  Anywho, heading back to SSI now  to see my girls and hubby.  As for my cold, I got a prescription and it should be gone soon!  Once again, Praise God.  This is the best news I've had in a long time!  Enjoy the pics.  I love playing with snapchat.













Thursday, April 6, 2017

April...and not the giraffe

I'm not really even sure that giraffe is pregnant. Kidding! Maybe...

Well, it's been a while since my last blog.  I've probably been back and forth to Atlanta 3 times since then.  We got home this past Tuesday from Karley's Volleyball Tournament at the GWCC.  I love to watch her play, all of them really.  

I spent some quality time with my mom, who is still recovering.  We binged watched shows and ate in bed.  My dad visited some too.  We were  both super tired.

The last day of Karley's tournament, we saw Beauty and the Beast after she finished.  We went with my best friend, Amanda, and her children.  I love it when our kids get together.  They make us laugh just hearing their laughter.  Of course my child would yell out "he gone" during the movie to make all of us laugh.  She definitely has John's sense of humor and my fearlessness.  

All in all, it's been a great start to April, until about two hours ago.  My friend's mother passed away of lung cancer.  Although this is devastating for them and our prayers go out to them, I've realized that I'm not getting out of this cancer world.  It's awful, filled with death after death.  Grief and more grief.  Heaven gained another angel.  That's how we have to look at it if we are to survive.  The world won't stop for us, no matter how much we think it should.

I don't know if it'll ever get easier, surviving when so many others aren't.  But I am so grateful to still be here.  I praise God for every single breath I take and every moment with my loved ones.  

Believe me, once you face death head on, it changes you.  You will never be that same person again.  I know it's changed my mom.  I can see it in her eyes and just the way she is living right now.  My dad met that change a long time ago.  And I met it in 2012.  It's a humbling experience and if not for this struggle, I wouldn't be as strong as I am today.

So, Easter is coming up.  No, not about the bunnies and eggs but about the gift God gave us, his only son, who died for our sins and rose from the grave. 

After Easter weekend, I have scans.  And the weekend after that, I'll be heading to the LUNGevity Hope Summit in D.C.  This will be my second time and I'm thankful to be making the trip again.  This time I'm actually speaking and leading a group (pray for those people with me as a leader!)

But, really, I do ask that you please pray for my friend and her family as she deals with such a tragic loss.  Also, thank you and please continue your prayers for us too.  They mean more than you know!

And please, someone let me know when that giraffe has it's baby....

God Bless.












Friday, March 31, 2017

Jessi Colwell

I had the honor of meeting Jessi Colwell at Piedmont Henry a few weeks ago.  Her goal is to watch her 13 year old son graduate.  She was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer over two years ago.  They asked me to come in and give her some hope.  But if I helped her in some way, I know she helped me.  She was so grateful and I just loved listening to her talk about her journey thus far.  We had so much in common and shes been battling this beast for two years.  I don't get to meet many lung cancer patients face to face in everyday life.  This needs to change.  The emotional toll it takes on the patients and caregivers needs to be shared with others in the same situation.

If nothing else, to know you're not alone.  Thank you Piedmont and Amanada Lynn for introducing Chris Draft and me to Jessi.  Thank you for bringing me a friend I can talk to face to face and we can share our feelings and understand one another.  That day left me smiling from ear to ear.   

Thank you all for your continuous prayers and please pray for Jessi too.  Our children are so close in age it's crazy.  Thank you Lord for getting us together.  I'm looking forward to a long friendship.

I'll write more later when I'm not so tired.  I'm in Atlanta now and this bridge fell and Karley had volleyball so I'll have more to talk about later.  But today is the last day of March.  April is going to be better.  It has to be!   Love you all!





Wednesday, March 15, 2017

March...WTH?

So, we began with my dad's dog of like 18 years dying.  Now, my mom is back in the hospital for a heart condition.  Her heart rate won't stay stable.  She's now on the highest medications possible.  If they do not work in the next 24 hours, they will shock her heart.

I'm planning on going to Atlanta Monday through Friday morning.  This is not ideal, the traveling is wearing me out for sure, but she's my mother and she needs me I feel like.  It's something I really need to do, hopefully it will work out.

The good thing about this month is that I got to see Karley go play volleyball in Jacksonville this weekend.  It was amazing.  Otherwise, life is stressful.   Let me make this clear.  My life is stressful because of insurance companies.  Not my mother.   This is my life we are talking about.  I can't afford $3,000 a month.

This is beyond stressful.   I'm trying to please everyone, but haven't been taking care of myself like I should.  I've gained weight, which totally sucks.  All of those coffee flavored drinks.  Hopefully I can get down to my normal weight before summer.

My next scan is in April.  My biggest concern right now is finding the financial assistance to help with my targeted therapy refills.  I can't afford the monthly premium and have been admittedly checking non-profits that allocate funding.  All of the money for non-small lung cancer from them has been allocated.  Therefore, I have enough funding to get through April.  Hopefully I can find some financial assistance before April 30th.

Well, that's all for now.  Just a brief update.  On the upside, I haven't been in labor like that giraffe, April.  I really don't understand the obsession.   Thank you all for your continuous prayers for my family and me.  God bless.







Monday, March 6, 2017

March...you were supposed to be better

So far this has been a tough year.  It's been one of the most emotional years I've ever had.  March is supposed to be a lucky month.  I was really wanting this to be a good month.  I feel like the roller coaster has just been at a standstill for so long, something good needed to come out of this month.

It's now day 6.  And March, you've already disappointed me.  

18 years ago, I was living with my father.  I wanted a dog.  He consistently refused.  I knew if I could just get one in there, he would be okay with it.  I found the one I wanted in Dallas, GA.  I told my dad that my friend and I were going to the movies.  

I came back with a puppy in a shoe box.  My dad was so mad.  He told me to take the dog back but I claimed they were giving them away at the movie theater and I couldn't resist and the people were now gone.  I promised I would take care of him.

He conceded and allowed me to keep Dallas.  However, I was working and in my first year of college so was rarely home.  My dad was left with Dallas since my dad didn't work.  And what do you know, they bonded.  Dallas was no longer my dog.  He became my father's dog.  Dad began calling him "Dallas, the Big Headed War Dog".  He was a tiny thing.  What's so funny is my dad never fed him dog food.  He fed him the same thing he ate every day or dog treats.

One day, Dallas got out and was hit by a mustang.  He went into shock and we made it to an emergency vet.  They didn't think Dallas would pull through, but he did.  That was the first time I saw my dad cry.  I knew he loved that dog so much.  So, it wasn't a surprise when I moved out, he said, "you can go, but the dog stays".   I just laughed.  They were inseparable.  

Dallas has also been bitten by a water moccasin.  So, he's lived 18 years, been hit by a car and bitten by a snake and lived off of people food.  He's been one tough dog.  

But, unfortunately, he went blind and deaf and has gotten to the point he can't walk.  Today he was in pain and my dad took him to the vet.  The vet told him it was time.  My dad had always hoped Dallas would pass in his sleep so he wouldn't have to do the inevitable.  But, of course, life isn't easy.  

Tomorrow morning, my father will take Dallas to the vet and have him put down.  It's the only humane thing to do.  He was so adamant about not letting Dallas suffer.  I cried a lot tonight.  I told Karley when she got home from volleyball.  She too cried.  She rarely cries.  I'm writing this from her bed because she could not sleep.  She said, "mommy, I've known Dallas my whole life".  All I could do was try to fight back my own tears and comfort her.  I stayed with my dad for a while before moving down here with Karley.  Dallas was so protective of her.  

I'm so blessed that he gave my dad so many years of joy.  My dad is grateful for that too, but tomorrow will be so hard for him.  We've had so much going on in our family, I was hoping Dallas would make it longer, but God had other plans.  I offered to fly up in the morning, but my dad said this was something he had to do alone so I respect that.  And I know I would just make things worse by crying my eyes out myself.  So, I'll stay here and be strong.  I know you're thinking, "it's just a dog".   But this dog has been with us for 18 years.  That is amazing and he's made such an impact on my dad's life.  I hate this. 

So, screw you March!  You were supposed to be better but it's day 6 and I'm already crying my eyes out.  April, I have scans.  I need you to be better.  Please pray for my poor dad who is losing his best friend tomorrow.

And thank you for your continuous prayers for me and my family.  Please keep them up.  We need good scans in April desperately.  It's in God's hands. 

We'll always love you Dallas, the Big Headed War Dog

He does have a big head :)





Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Hello March!

It is an absolutely beautiful day here on St. Simons Island!  Although I am sitting in an office helping out right now, I have an ocean view!  And I will be leaving early!

I'm so glad February is finally over.  It was such a rough month.  January was too.  But March, you have to be better.  This month will be my first wedding anniversary married to Brent.  It's gone by so quickly.  It seems like only yesterday we were getting everything ready.  It's been a bumpy year, but he's been my rock here.

My mom is healing from her bypass well.  The whole lung cancer community is still in mourning over the passing of Elizabeth Dessureault.  There are no words for the loss of such a beautiful and positive soul.  It sucks.  I know God has a plan for all of us...and I feel she truly changed the face of lung cancer in her short life.  She did so much in the brief amount of time she was with us.  Praying for her family and friends still, as well as the entire lung cancer community.  We will mourn for a while.

But, of course, this is why we fight!  So that her death wouldn't have been for nothing.  We need to continue the work she was doing and pick our selves up and keep fighting!  That is what she would want.  This is why she did all that she did.  She was a fighter and she remained positive until the very end, and for that, I envy her.  She was one of the strongest warriors I've seen

I hope some of you will be at the Hope Lungevity Summit in D.C.  This is my 5th year living with lung cancer but only my second time attending.  I would love to come together so we can all fight this disease together.  I'm very much looking forward to it.  Unity.

As for everything else going on, just taking things day by day.  Every day is a gift.  Don't waste it on bitterness or pettiness. Stop, look around and take it all in.  You never know when it may be your last chance to do so.

And.....it's almost beach time!!!!!!!!!!

God Bless and Welcome March, wore my green today!








Saturday, February 25, 2017

Just Breathe

This was the phrase 27 year old  Elizabeth Dessureault used in the merchandise the young mother made in order to help fund lung cancer and bring awareness.

We never got to meet in person and our friendship had a rocky start.  I'm an impatient person and had messaged her.  She didn't respond fast enough so I got snippy.  She got snippy right back.  I knew I liked her at that moment.  I apologized and she totally understood.  After that, we became facebook friends.  We supported each other in blog contests and talked about our disease, progression, and hope.

I have to say, she had more hope in her pinky than I have in my entire body.  She left us this morning.   When I found out, needless to say, I cried my eyes out.  We wanted to meet in person instead of messaging through Facebook.  She lived in Canada and I in South Georgia.  Quite a distance.

She was NED for a while, or so I thought.  The last time we spoke in November, they were working on a new treatment plan because of a little progression.  Then the holidays came, and the craziness of this year so far, and we didn't communicate again.  I hate it when I do that.

I hate it when I don't keep in touch enough.  It makes me feel like a terrible person.  She is the last person I thought I would see on Facebook today who had passed.

She had a gift, she made such an impact on Lung Cancer.  She fought, always had hope, always positive in her blogs.  It's times like this that you think about your own mortality.  How things can go from great to devastating in a matter of months, weeks, days.  This disease sucks, and it's taken too many good people.  But like Chris Draft says, "This is why we fight".

We fight for awareness and funding.  This little boy lost his mother today, way too young.  We all have a purpose and I think Lizzie definitely did so much in her lifetime, she helped change the face of lung cancer.

She will be missed immensely by the lung cancer community as well as her family and friends I'm sure.  She fought a good fight, so brave and beautiful.  I can't compare when it comes to awareness with what all she did, but I write.  And I know I couldn't describe how incredible she is in this blog, but I tried.  Rest in Paradise Lizzie.