My sweet angel

My sweet angel

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.




Monday, February 20, 2017

Sometimes it Hurts

There are some people meant to stay in your life forever and some that are meant to be seasonal.  Now, I've had a really bad past few weeks, so don't necessarily think this is all about you, the person reading this.  But after these really bad past few weeks I've learned so much.

I've learned to take care of myself first.  You can't please everyone for sure.  Just do the best you can with the time you have.  And don't bottle things up.  Sometimes you just have to release to the world how you feel.  I know it makes me feel better and maybe helps some of my friends and family know how I feel.  And some of them hate it when I do it.  But I can't take care of anyone if I can't take care of myself and if this is my release, so be it.  You don't have to read it.

I learned a while ago that life will throw you some shitty curve balls.  You just have to go with it and know God is in control. That is so hard to understand.  What happens to you is beyond your control.   Sometimes it totally sucks and you think you'll never be able to make it through.  But you CAN do it. You have to pick yourself up and move on with His help.  Which leads to my next point.

You have to cut some people out of your life, no matter how much you love them or have known them.  They may be toxic to you.  Let them go.  This is so much easier said than done, believe me, I know.  And hey, I'm sure I'm a toxic person to some of you out there, so just let me go.

I live every day not knowing what is going to happen to Karley, Brent, Livi, my parents, me....and it's because of me I worry about this.  It's because I didn't think this was how my life was going to turn out. Who does? But it did.  And I have to deal with it Every. Single. Day.  Will tomorrow be my last?  And so many of you have too as well.  It is so hard to walk among the living and yet feel so dead.

Now, I know some of you are like, "get over it already".  No, I can't.  I've tried.  Trust me.  I've tried every way imaginable to pretend that there isn't this cancer in my body waiting to strike and take me away from the people I love before I'm ready.  Speaking of cancer in your body, for the non-cancer people out there....cancer makes you feel so ugly.  I'm not kidding.  I don't know why, but your self esteem begins to fall more and more each year you live with it.

Ok.  Well, that's it for today.  I'm sure I've lost friends and it saddens me, but most people think I'm mean anyways.  Some things that are done, can't be undone.  Some things that are said, can't be unsaid.  We have to live with our choices. Both sides of the table.

So you all don't think I'm talking about my mother, I decided to let you know at the end that she came out of surgery like a champ and will probably be out of the hospital by Friday.  The surgeon said she will need help recovering 7-10 days.  She will sleep most of the day today. Thank you all for your continuous prayers for her.

God Bless.






Monday, January 23, 2017

Miss him already

So, as stable as my results were, there is always that thought in the back of your mind.  We never ever know when it's going to be our turn to go.  That's why it's so important to spend time and tell your loved ones how much they mean to you.

I got sick Saturday evening and it's in my chest, just an awful cough and congestion.  I stayed in Atlanta a little longer and plan on heading home tomorrow.  I just knew the drive would put me to sleep.

It's been an emotional weekend.  I got to see some friends I haven't seen in ages, although I didn't like the circumstances.

My friend, Tim Gravitt, passed away January 8th.  We graduated high school together and he ended up at GA Tech.  Let me just share a little about Tim.

Tim and I weren't really friends in high school.  We knew each other, but didn't really talk.  After my diagnosis in 2012, instead of posting a prayer on my page for a reason he didn't know, he reached out and asked what was going on.  I told him my diagnosis.  He was the first person to give me raw honest hope.  His mother was diagnosed years ago with Stage 4 non small cell lung cancer.  She was given 6 months and lived 6 years.  They had given me 12-18 months at the time.  For the first time since my prognosis, I had finally been handed a bit of silver lining.  And our friendship began...

Little did I know Tim was having his own medical issues, he would only ask about me.  Then, one day he ended up in the hospital and in a coma.  His liver was failing him.  I reached out to his brother who so kindly kept me aware of his condition.  He was a fighter.  He went through physical therapy after the coma, determined to walk again.  This all happened when my friend Reggie was diagnosed with brain tumors, my friend Gretchen with brain cancer, and now Tim with his liver issues.

We formed a small group.  We group chatted and talked to each other and really supported each other throughout our journeys.  Gretchen's journey came to an end first and it was very traumatic for all of us  We still miss her today.  Then, as sad as it was, Carmen joined our group shortly after.with stage 4 cancer too.  We all went to high school together.  Tim advocated so much for Carmen..  He was always so worried about everyone except himself.

Now that he is no longer with us, I can say this.  Back when my insurance was giving me a hard time and not paying, he offered to marry me so I would have his insurance.  How big can one heart be to do that?  I gratefully declined because I always love a good fight (BC/BS) and eventually won.  But that just goes to show how far he was willing to go to help us when fighting his own battle.

When I got the news that he left us, I was devastated.  It was so unexpected.  He always gave me hope and was the first to do so.

So, rest in paradise my friend.  Tell Gretchen we love and miss her as much as we do you.

I'm heading home tomorrow.  I've missed my family terribly.  Hopefully this chest cold is gone soon.  My lungs aren't the best....but they're still working.  And for that, I'm thankful.  I had another appointment tomorrow but rescheduled.  Just too much right now.

Thank you for your continuous prayers.  Please keep them coming, especially for that next scan where we can get a good comparison.  You all have no idea how much they mean.  Below are a few pics of Tim's Celebration of Life.  It was such a pleasure to finally meet his brother and sister in person.  I'm praying for you all.








And Go Falcons!  Super Bowl Bound!

What an appropriate verse Tim....


Friday, January 20, 2017

Results 1.20.17....And now we wait

So, many of you know that my petscans are no longer being allowed per my insurance.  I found this out 2 days ago.  They are allowing CT scans every 3 months now though.  The problem is, these are two different scans, and therefore cannot be compared in great detail.  So, we did see a difference, but have no CT scan, except from 2013, to compare it too.  It could have been there all along, but the PET didn't pick it up.  Therefore, we wait.

In my left lobe, one of the nodules looks to be separating, or it could have been that shape the whole time.  If I go back in 3 months and there is a change, then we will do a PET to see if there is any active cancer.  I have a total of 3 nodules throughout my left and right lungs.

Lately, I've had a cough and have been clearing my throat constantly.  My oncologist feels it may be post-nasal drip, So I get to take Flonase twice a day to try and rectify that.

So, I would love to tell you that everything is stable, but I can't because I don't have the same type of scan to compare it to as in the past.  For now, I just pray it's always been there and not separating.

Luckily, non-small cell lung cancer grows slowly, so in 3 months we will be able to determine more without much of a risk.  So, more living in limbo....ahhh.   Never thought this would be my life, but I don't think many people really have the life they thought they would have.  I'm blessed to still be here and am just tired after today.  Scans are stressful, leading up to them, and then after results you are totally emotionally exhausted.  Therefore, I'm going to sleep, then get some flonase and hope the coughing stops.

I know so many more people have it worse than I do.  My prayers go out to you.  I can't express what it feels like to see my child turn 12 and be alive in 2017!  I really didn't think it would happen.  I'm a worrier but am working on not being so much of one.

Thank you for your continuous prayers for my family and me.  Please keep them up, especially over the next 3 months.  I really want that comparison to be stable.  But, I do know it's in God's hands, and in that I trust.  Why worry over something beyond our control?  It just causes more stress.

Please pray for Tim Gravitt's friends and family.  I'll be attending his service tomorrow and as much as I hate crying, I think I'm going to cry.  The first person to reach out and give me hope, by telling me how they gave his mom a few months and she lived 6 years with lung cancer, is gone.  He left us January 8th too soon and unexpectedly, but he will always be in my heart.  He was such an advocate for everyone who has gotten sick.  He was brilliant.  And I miss him already.  Rest in paradise my friend.

God Bless.  And Rise Up!  Go Falcons!  (sometimes it's the little things)

Rest in Paradise friend 

My "yay", love waiting reaction!