My sweet angel

My sweet angel

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 http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/best-lung-cancer-blogs  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.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Lungevity - Hope and more Hope

Finally home after a weekend at the Lungevity Hope Summit 2015. It was an amazing and inspiring experience.

For so long I've talked to these people, but I haven't met them in person, although I did want too, but we are from all over the country so didn't think it would ever be possible.

It's different talking to someone who relates to you so well. I did learn a lot, but my favorite part was meeting other survivors. It made me feel normal...like my old world was not normal, but this one was. My new normal was actually normal normal for the first time in 2 1/2 years. It was so refreshing. And I'm not sure that made any sense to you, but it does to me.

The people from Lungevity and the guest speakers were great. I was able to speak with Nancy Brinker (founder of Susan G Komen for a cure), Dr. Flores, and some former NFL player, Chris Draft from Team Draft, (who forgot to bring me a falcons shirt). Yes Chris, called you out. But, Chris did rock his speech. It was phenomenal.

Everyone was so inspiring and I got to meet pretty much all of my fellow bloggers and about 150 survivors total. So thank you Katie, Andrea, Nikole, and the rest of the Lungevity team for making all of this possible. People aren't just Facebook pics anymore thanks to you all!!!

I can see why they call it the "Hope Summit". I will definitely be back next year!

Here are some photos from the event:

























Finally, I know I'm always asking for prayers, and I thank you all for the ones you continuously pray for me. And right now I have a few friends that are in need.

Gretchen Mitchell Anderson really needs our prayers. She is dealing with brain cancer and it continues to spread. She is in the depths of the fight for her life. She has two young daughters. Please take a moment and pray for her. Here is a link to her Caring Bridge page for updates: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/gretchenanderson


Also, please keep you prayers coming for Carmen Frye as she has her own battle. Ladies, you are not alone. Don't ever forget that. We are all fighting with you. These are both former high school class mates and friends. Just throwing that out there Jonesboro.

Thank you for taking the time to read and share for as many prayers as we can get!






Thursday, April 23, 2015

For Mandy Busch

Sometimes bad things happen to good people.  We don't know why, but we do know God always has a plan for us.  Yesterday, one of those bad things happened to our friend Mandy.  Her father passed away of a heart attack unexpectedly.  I've always been terrified of that happening to my dad (since he's had like 5).  But it didn't, it happened to Mandy's dad.

I don't know Mandy's dad, but I do hear Santa Steve and Mafia John met at a bar one day.  That's how they knew who each other was.  He introduced himself to my dad and they had a good laugh.  

I met Mandy through my sister.  We were friends, but became very close when I got diagnosed.  Let me tell you, her father did an amazing job raising this woman.  She has to be one of the most beautiful, witty, fun-loving, funny, courageous, generous, and patient women I've ever met. Those traits came from someone, and that someone is her father, her best friend.  I can only hope that my daughter turns out to be a person as full of life and love as Mandy.

I can't imagine the pain she's going through.  Some of you that know us may think it unusual that we are friends, close ones at that.  But, if you know Mandy, she has such a kind heart, and you quickly realize why we're friends.  There was a small group at my house every day after I got sick, and though she was tired from working all day and lived an hour away, she was there for me and I'll never ever forget that.  She and Brad even flew Karley back to St. Simons for me when I was in Atlanta sick.  Of course Karley wanted to sit with Mandy.  She absolutely LOVES her some Mandy.

She threw my sister's baby shower with me last year.  She did most of the work, I give her all of the credit on that one!  She's been to my celebration dinners.  She and Brad will always be a part of our family.  So, when her heart is breaking, our hearts are breaking.  I know Brook feels the same way (we've been texting this morning).  

So, in closing, please pray for Mandy and her family.  And Mandy, we love you so much!  And Santa Steve, thank you for giving this world such an amazing woman and such a wonderful friend.  You will never be forgotten, Mandy won't let that happen.  Emily Dickinson once said, "Unable are the loved to die.  For love is immortality".  I really like that quote.  Mr. Donaldson was loved, and though he is not with us in the flesh, he will always be in her heart.  We know he's in a better place, so hopefully Mandy will take some comfort in that, even though she would rather have him here.  He's in a place where there are No more sorrow, or tears, or pain.

Thank you all for your continuous prayers for me as well.  And please also pray for Carmen Frye as she gets her results today, my Mom as she plans my uncles funeral, and Roy Reynolds as he fights his own cancer battle.  Thank you all so very much.  Rest in Paradise Mr. Donaldson.













John 16:33
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world."




Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Caregivers

It's been a while since my last post, but something has been weighing on my mind lately.

Sometimes, us cancer patients get so wrapped up in our journey, that we forget how hard it is on the people that care about us.  I'm going to use my mother as an example, because she has been my rock, yet watching her daughter go through so much has to be the most awful thing in the world.  To me, I would rather go through this myself than have Karley go through it, both emotionally and physically.  So the toll it has to take on her is indescribable.

You see, I know where I'm going one day.  I know that day may be sooner than her, but with all the new drugs coming out, it may very well be later.  But, I know we are both going to the same place, home.  That, in itself, is comforting.  Karley has a great father who loves her more than the world, that gives me more peace, she will be safe and taken care of by him.

Sometimes, you don't think about these things when life is going well.  But when it takes a turn for the worse, it can consume you if you don't have your religion and your support system.

I feel like right now, my mama needs prayers.  I know Karley, my dad, sister, Amanda, and my other close friends need prayer too.  But, as a mother myself, I feel like it's different.  Plus, so far this year, my mom has lost her precious dog, Charlotte, her companion, and just recently lost her brother unexpectedly.  Compile that on with the stress of having a daughter with stage 4 lung cancer and it's a recipe for disaster.  I don't know how she holds it together so well.

I do know that she loves me more than anything, even when we fight.  It's different now.  Cancer has done some good for us.  We communicate so much better.  And we don't take our time together for granted.  We forgive easily.

As much as cancer sucks, from now on, I'm going to try and point out one positive thing it brought into my life by the grace of God.  And in this post, that positive thing is the relationship I now have with my mom that I didn't have before.  I'm so blessed to have been given such a dysfunctional, yet loving, funny, charismatic family.  We all group text now....making each other laugh and we are all so much closer even though our physical distance is so much greater.  So for that cancer, I thank you,  But, the rest of you still sucks until I point out another positive on my next post.

So, next time you're saying your prayers, please pray for peace for my mom.  I plan on being here for as long as God allows.  And I'm going to be happy doing it because every day is a gift, even the ones where I binge watch tv or read a book...because I enjoy those things.  I've had a great life so far.  I have no regrets.

And mom, if you're reading this, I couldn't have been the way I am in this fight without you being by my side every step of the way.  Now, we just need to figure out how to get my hair to grow faster so you don't have to buy another wig or extensions!   And I love you so much.  Thank you.

Thank you all for your continuous support and prayers.  Please pray for all of the caregivers out there.  I think this journey is harder on them than it is us.

Finally, please pray for Roy Reynolds and family, Carmen Frye and family, and the Graves family.  They are all battling different cancers.




Proverbs 31:26-27
"She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.  She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of the idleness."

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Results 3/27/15 and My Crazy

As most of you know from my Facebook post, my petscan results indicated no active cancer once again.  Of course I still have BC and BS (my two tumors), but they aren't doing anything.  I get to stay on the lower dosage since there hasn't been a change.  I'm happy about that.

I have to admit, I've been a basketcase these past few days.  Overly sensitive is an understatement.  I guess you can say it's understandable, but there's more.  It's getting worse with every scan.  I know with every day, I'm a day closer to tarceva not working.  I've always been a "plan b" kind of person.  I know there are new drugs already out there and on the horizon.  But, even with so much opportunity, this disease breaks you down.  My anxiety continues to get worse near scan times.   This time I cried like I had been diagnosed all over again before I got my results.  Why?  No idea.

I should be down on my knees praising God for this time, and I will.  But, I feel like I'm still living on borrowed time.  The emotional toll cancer takes on us is unimaginable.  I know some caregivers and patients know what I'm talking about.  It's just hard to explain to everyone else.  It's awful.

I guess my biggest fear is, and always has been, not being here for Karley.  That has been at the forefront of all of my thoughts every second of the day lately.  So, my best friend, Amanda, calmed me down Thursday night by suggesting a journal for Karley.  Not just this blog, but anytime I think of something I want her to know, write it in the journal.  That way it's more personalized.  I tried to make videos in the past but couldn't get through them without breaking down.

Let me just say, with lung cancer, I'm not sure I'll ever stop grieving.  I jump from one stage to another.  The good days, I'm in the acceptance phase.  And I have hope on those days as well.  But I still get angry, bargain with God, depressed, and flat out refuse to believe this is my life now.  Don't think I'm like this every day though.  Most days I'm rainbows and butterflies.... (ok, so don't ask my old co-workers about that).

But this is real.  This is my life and I'm blessed to have it.  Don't think I've lost hope or am sad just because I write a post like this.  This will always be my life (unless one of you can find a stinking cure!).

It's just normal to have anxiety and depression, especially close to scan time.  So, every three months, know that I will be super crazy and if you're my family or friend, just go with it.   Because I am still here, I'm not going to stop fighting, but I may get a little crazy!

Amanda posted this from Inspire.  I loved it so much, I thought it was appropriate for everyone out there fighting cancer.  Don't give up.  Pick yourself up and keep going.



Thank you so much for all of your continued support and prayers.  I can never thank you enough.

Matthew 19:26
"But Jesus looked at them and said to them, 'With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible'"

Friday, March 20, 2015

Quick Update

After much thought, I decided to stay with Piedmont.  I know, call me crazy.  But, my oncologist saved my life without regard to an insurance decision or any other bureaucratic red tape.  He may not specialize in lung cancer specifically, but I can always seek a second opinion if anything progresses.

I do have scans next week and should get results next Friday.  I don't feel like I get scanxiety, but maybe I do and just don't know it.  I get sensitive really easily, although I'm not necessarily thinking about scans.

I'm looking forward to seeing my parents and friends in Atlanta next week too.  I need some time with them.  When I reflect on these past 2 1/2 years, those people are always there and will always be there. I love them so much.  They see past my forgetfulness flaws, my space cadet days, and my tired last minute timing.  I really feel blessed to be loved between these two communities that I call home.

Church this past Sunday was amazing. I felt it spoke right to my heart.  I encourage each of you going through tough times to watch it at http://sscclive.com/on-demand/  The sermon is entitled "Life is Tough, God is Good".

Please continue to pray for Lucy Kalanithi and family as they lay Paul to rest in another week or so.

Also, please keep your prayers coming for Roy Reynolds as he battles leukemia and Carmen Frye with her own cancer battles.  It seems like cancer is everywhere.

And I could use some prayers for scans next week too if you don't mind.  Thank you for all of them and please keep them coming.

Proverbs 3:5-6
"Trust in The Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight."