My sweet angel

My sweet angel

Monday, October 10, 2016

Results and so much more...

Wow.  This last week has been insane.  I came to Atlanta last Sunday.  My neighbor, childhood caretaker, and the woman closer than any grandmother passed away, Ruby Williams.  I was sad for the first two days.  Crying uncontrollably.  But when I went to her funeral, I was happy.  She was 93.  She was ready to go.  She lived her life and was feisty and sassy until the end.  Although I don't remember my life without her in it, I know for sure she's in a better place and she's happy.  I could be selfish and remain sad, but she wouldn't want that.  I love you Miss Ruby. 

Then, Thursday I had an MRI and Petscan.   My MRI was clean.  My Petscan showed stability with a blood SUV of 2.2 and inflammatory neoplastic disease in my right lower lobe.  I guess that's the usual norm.  And a cyst that continues to grow.  So we have to take care of that.  Praise God for giving me more time!

Thursday the decision was also made for my family to evacuate St Simons due to the approaching hurricane Matthew.  

I was so elated they arrived safely here at my mom's house, as the evacuation was mandatory.  

Saturday night we did the Light the Night Atlanta in honor of Roy Reynolds who left us July 14th.  It felt good to be there in his honor but I also got a little upset.  He's not here.  He left too soon.  It was hard to hear survivor stories when he's gone.  I kept feeling it wasn't fair.  I will remember this when I speak at events from now on.  Yes, I want to give people hope.   But I also want to be sensitive to the people who have lost loved ones to cancer....the people that feel their loved one should still be here.  

It's now Monday.  School is still out until next Monday in the wake of hurricane Matthew.  We are allowed to go home tomorrow but opted to go to Helen, GA for a short vacation. Our home, from what we've heard, is okay.  Our rental, however wasn't so lucky. We won't know until we get home if the Damage is significant.  

So all in all we have been extremely blessed this week.  I give that all to God.  Praising Him for the good health news and news about our house.  

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Pursuing Life

What on earth is wrong with me?  I've become such a "Sensitive Sally."  I'm nothing like the old Samantha with the thick skin and witty comebacks.  Even in the beginning of this journey I still had it.  Now, I cry at the drop of a dime.

 It's like I expected everything to stop 11/27/12.  But no, my therapist reminded me I am not the center of the universe and the world will continue to turn, even if  I feel so left out of the real world.

I started seeing a therapist this week to deal with some of my personal issues, mainly with grief.  I did learn that grief usually reaches it's plateau at 6 months after the dramatic or tragic event occurred.

It just feels so damn lonely right now.  I really have no idea what to do. My therapist told me to definitely come back to work on some coping skills.  I don't want to up my antidepressants because I already feel I take too much medication anyways.  But maybe that's the only choice I have.  I've lost two great friends here, 2 of my best ones.  One to cancer and the other moved to Atlanta and has decided to just ignore me,  So, in a way, I lost a friend to leukemia but gained a blessing because the other was never really a true friend and I do see that now.  I'm glad I see it before I gave anymore of my time, energy, or help to this person.  It's hard when someone does that to you though.  We would have our little arguments but always forgive each other.  Not anymore.  It's like I never existed.  Of course it bothers me, but what can I do?  Nada

I also learned there is no time limit for grief.  It can come and go.  But that's okay.  So many people make me feel like I shouldn't be sad or try to tell me to get on with my life.  That's what I'm doing, but in my own way.   And it's okay if I'm sad, I have every right to be.  If I walk out the front door and see Roy's old house and break down crying, it's normal and I have every right to get those emotions out.

I just want you all to know the therapist was great.  She said I will probably have bouts of grief for the rest of my life, and that's okay.   Just pull over and cry it out.  And not to let anyone tell me how I should and should not feel.

We don't always get over the loss of that friendship or bond we build with someone.  And that hole in our heart never gets filled.  We just learn to live with it.  Live with the pain and make the most of the time we have here.  Roy's death certainly scared me about my own he was walking and talking that morning and gone that evening.  It's a scary thought.  But it can happen to any one of us.   We can't worry about it though.  When death comes knocking and it's your time to go, we really don't have a say do we?  So, why worry?  Well, if I weren't given an original expiration date and read the stats I probably wouldn't.  And I am focusing on leaving it in God's hands.  It's ultimately up to Him anyways.  It's a work in progress here, the worrying....

I've had a great life so far.  I'm married to a wonderful man and have the best daughter and stepdaughter anyone could ask for.  They all cater to me, even if they don't want too.  Ha ha.  I know I get down, but at this very moment, this very second, I'm smiling.   My blog didn't start out this way, but it's ending this way.  Because I know the blessings I have here on earth and the love my true friends and family have for me.  So thank you all for making me smile, when this started out as an otherwise sad post.

I have scans next week.  Please continue to pray the medicine is still working, crazy hair and all.  And please pray for a few more of my friends.  Unspoken at this time but they need it.  My heart is overflowing with joy to know that the people that read this care enough to do so and I have my little part in this world, though it may be little, it's mine.

Finally, I'm participating in the Light the Night Leukemia and Lymphoma walk at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta on October 8th in honor of Roy and for Karley's cousin, Dylan Rosier.

My fundraiser page is here Light the Night for Roy.  If you would like to donate, any amount will help save future lives.  If you're my friend in the Atlanta area and want to join, send me or Reggie Kimbell a message.

I find it interesting that in life, Roy wanted to be so independent to the point he was stubborn but always wanted to help others.  Now, I'm trying to carry on for you my friend, and raise funds to help cure a cause that took you from us, because I know how much you hated that disease and didn't wish it on anyone.

I'll be back to Lung Cancer advocating soon, after these scans.  In fact, I'm in the Sept. 26 issue of Woman's World if you happen to see it at the store.  Last page though, better than nothing, and it's about lung cancer.  But cancer is cancer.  It all sucks and I wouldn't wish it on anyone, not even the ex-friend that moved to Atlanta and won't speak to me.  Lol!

 My little world

My baby girl (not so much a baby-she's crazy)

Roy and I at his fundraiser

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Crazy Frozen

Ok, well I really tried to pull myself out of this funk but it may take more than just me.   At least I got out and now have a regular Thursday lunch date.  Thanks Brandy!

In all reality, it feels like I've been frozen in time since 11/27/12.  I see Karley growing up and everything going on around me, but I don't feel like I'm a part of it.  I don't feel like I've aged, although I may look it!  LOL.  I feel stuck.  Hard to explain.  So, of course I'm always sensitive when I feel like I'm missing out on things.

And the grief...just when you think it's gone, it's back.  It won't leave me alone!  I'm going to see a specialist about this.  I don't know whether it was the cancer bond Roy and I had or just Roy being Roy that I miss so terribly.  Maybe both.  It hurts so much.  And just when I think I'm okay, something triggers it all over again and I relive that day in pieces.  Some days I don't get out of bed and feel like I'm slowly falling apart.

I started a journal for more private things going on in my life.  It's helped a lot.  Such a release of emotions and something to leave for Karley, so she knows what was going on in my crazy head.

Please don't worry about me, I am fine, just a little broken.

Thank you all for your continuous prayers, I need them.  Especially that first week in October.  Don't take pity either.  I've been living with this for 4 years almost.  I think the longer we live with it, the harder it gets though.  I think year two was my best.

Well, love you all and thanks for reading me whine once again.  And please pray for a few of my other friends who I'm sure don't want their names mentioned, going through some life changing issues.  Thank you.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Ignorance is Bliss

Hi all.  It's been a while since my last update.

This is the first time since diagnosis I haven't done the Free to Breathe 5K.  I just have been pushing myself further away from the cancer world.  I'm not meaning too.  Maybe it's part of coping. I'm just so freakin tired of dealing with it.  Living your life not on your own terms is miserable.  I don't have just me.....I have Karley, Brent, Livi, and John to think of and what will become of their futures.   

In a way though, the backing off from the cancer world has been good for me.  I feel more normal (except my hair).  My stomach has been upset for a few days...another wonderful side effect that seems to come and go.

I got my puppy.  We named him Data..pronounced "Da da".  I named him after Roy.  This little puppy has helped me so much not feel so lonely.  Even in a room full of people, you can feel alone.

Living in the cancer world, you lose people, friends you've made.  But not living in it, you feel like no one really gets what you're going through, especially emotionally.  I can put a smile on, no probs.  But underneath it all, unless I'm out doing something crazy or with the family, there usually isn't that smile inside....  It's a catch 22.  What do you do?

Well, I've been pondering that for the past month.  I realized I just needed a  break.  I'm back.  I'm ready to advocate the shit out of lung cancer, all cancers for that matter, but the number one killer is at the top of my priority list.  I'm going to find that face for lung cancer, that star.   And if I don't do it in time, I am sure that my friends and family will continue to advocate.   Stop the stigma of lung cancer.

Look for Karley, Data, and I in the September 26th issue of Woman's World.  I haven't seen it yet but we took tons of pics.  Thank you Lung Force for making that possible and all of these interviews a reality.  And thank you Bonnie J Addario foundation for making me a part of your committee to help advocate.  And Team Draft, Chris Draft, for all you do for patients all over.  And you're crazy cause you're going over the edge of the Buckhead Tower today.  We love your crazy.  And Lungevity, Free to Breathe, and the ALA for all they do.  So many advocates.

Jessica Steinberg, I'm so jealous of you on stage with Bradley Cooper last night on Stand Up 2 Cancer.  If you didn't watch it, I encourage you too.  At least the first part.  I cried my eyes out in memory of the people I've lost and my own trauma.  There is a lot going on in the area of research for lung cancer, which gives me so much hope.

Well, that's all for now.  Scans are the first week in October.  I'm going to give that worry to God and enjoy this time.  Like they say, ignorance is bliss.  And I'm always thankful for the 3 months of bliss I have between scans.  We are doing the annual brain MRI along with the PetScan so prayers would be so much appreciated.  And thank you for continuing to pray, this is never ending, so I may always need them.

Sweet Data

Lucky Jessica

Thursday, August 11, 2016


"The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new."- Socrates

A lot of changes have taken place in the last month.  Roy left us suddenly and unexpectedly.  Karley started middle school today.  I can't believe my child is no longer so little.  She also left karate to focus more on volleyball, which she loves.  I'm sure these things are going to be adjustments, but she's strong and adapts so well to change.

I, on the other hand, am having trouble adapting to these changes.  So many changes.  I am learning to build on the new.  I know I've been doing less advocating lately.  I just haven't had the drive or motivation.  I am here by myself a lot during the day, which is not always fun.  So, tomorrow we're getting a puppy!  I'm so excited.  I love my cats but they are not cuddly creatures.

I lost a lot of my drive and motivation July 14th.  I'm working hard on getting it back.  I'm working on letting go of the past.  Always a place in my heart, but I can't continue to focus on it every day.  I need to work on building the new for now.

Thank you for all of your continuous prayers for my friends and family and for me.  I know things could always be worse.  I continue to be thankful for what God has given me.  I know this sadness is not permanent, and for that I'm thankful.

God bless you all.

Saturday, July 30, 2016


So, last night I finally broke.  I was strong for so long,  14 days to be exact.  But I had the girls with me and Brent with me or family in Atlanta.  But last night was different. Karley was at her dad's, which was a good thing considering my state of mind.  Livi and Brent had fallen asleep, like tonight, and it was just me and my thoughts.

As I lay in bed I thought of that day that changed everything.  All the "should haves and could haves" which in the end really wouldn't have mattered much I don't think.

July 14, 2016, I lost the one person I was so close to and could talk about anything cancer related to.  We talked about detachment from loved ones to spare them, fear, anger, sadness, anxiety about the future, confusion on how we should live our lives at this point and how to live them.  It was sudden.  It was unexpected.  And for the first time since I was diagnosed, I realized it broke me.  I didn't realize the severity until last night.

While everyone was sleeping, I replayed that fateful day in my head over and over and it wouldn't stop.  I have been working some in the house Roy lived in to get it ready for another tenant but it smells like him, I look down the hallway and see him there.  I know this has to be rough for Amp too.

I had to help the paramedic that day because the other paramedic couldn't stand the smell of vomit....uhmmmm choose another career field lady.  

I think Roy was confused during his brief moments of consciousness until he realized Amp and I were there.  Then he quit worrying.  It's like he just went to sleep.  I could see the recognition and will forever be grateful for that part.  He knew he wasn't alone.

I say I was finally broken because last night I was.  I was strong for my family, Roy's family and friends, and speaking about our bond and that day at the funeral.  Occasionally tearing up, but fighting it back.  Last night was different.  I facebook messaged him and began to cry uncontrollably.  I think subconsciously I was waiting for Karley not to be here.  I could not stop crying for hours.  I vomited several times and sat in the cold dark bathroom trying not to wake anyone.  I am definitely broken right now and it's going to take quite some time to put myself together.  

I told Brent I can no longer go to the rental house.  It's too much for me.  I'm taking xanax for the anxiety but it only lasts so long.  

Roy was my cancer partner.  He was one of my best friends.  We always came to each other for advice (ok he came to me more than me him) but still.  He gave me another purpose in life. In fact, I can't pretend to imagine what Miss Ola, Renesha and her sisters are going through, along with his very closest friends.  

I just know from my point of view, I will never be the same.  There is a hole in my heart that can never be filled, it will always belong to him.  Some as the question, "Is it better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all?"  I believe the answer to that question is that it's better to have loved and lost.  It makes you human, it makes you feel.  

I will eventually be fine, I have my family to take care of, but I don't remember ever being this upset over the loss of someone....ever. 

Rest in Paradise Roy.  I'm crying tonight again and wish you were here to make me laugh by telling a dumb joke or something.  I can't wait to see you again....but I want to watch my girl grow up first.

P.S. we had your Roy Rooftop Relaxer tonight....good job my friend!  Love you.

Please pray for Roy and his family.

This is one of my favorite pictures of him

Roy working so hard at my wedding.   Love

Roy taught me cancer cards don't get you out of all trouble.

Our attempt at an "R" or it can be a cancer ribbon....either way

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Even the Best Fall Down Sometimes

I heard this song today.  It reminded me of the past few days that have been the worst since I was diagnosed myself.  In fact, they are about equal.

"I'm open, you're closed
Where I follow, you'll go
I worry I won't see your face
Light up again

Even the best fall down sometimes" - Howie Day

Although I know, I will see your face light up again, but I'm not sure when.  Roy Reynolds AKA dada AKA Robertson gained his wings today.  Roy was the kind of person whose smile could wipe away all of your worries.  He was so silly and loved to debate with me over so many things.

When he got diagnosed with leukemia over a year ago.  I went to the hospital almost every day to sit with him.  He didn't want to believe he had cancer.  He was in such denial.  Every day, I tried to drill it into his head.  That's the thing about Roy, he could be stubborn.

Shortly after being released, he moved in across the street from us.  Karley and Livi absolutely adored him.  He was the best tenant and friend anyone could ask for.  He was always helping us and never asked for anything in return.  I was blessed to work with Roy and be his friend for several years.

When he got leukemia, we held a fundraiser for him at Ocean Lodge.  He didn't realize how tired the medicine would make him or the side effects that took place.  He hated them.  He didn't want to really grasp that he was going to be on this medicine forever.   I told him again and again he was my cancer buddy down here and he had to keep the medicine going.

Yesterday morning his sister, Renesha and I took him to the ER for pain.  He had been to the ER several days in a row and they wouldn't admit him.  His gums were bleeding, his nose had been bleeding, and the pain was almost unbearable.

After the ER where he was just given more pain meds and released, Roy and I went to Wendy's.  He, being Roy, tried to pay for my lunch.  I threw his money back at him and told him, "Next time I have to go to the hospital and you have to take me, you can buy me lunch".  With that perfect smile he just laughed and thanked me.

I dropped him off at his house at 12:45, we told each other we loved each other like normal, we knew cancer.  Those were the last words we ever said to each other.

I arrived home around 6 p.m. last evening.  A family friend had found him unresponsive at his home.  We called 911.  He looked at me once, closed his eyes, and I never saw him open them again.  I had no idea what was going on.  I put a pillow under his head and stroked his head telling him it would be okay.  I was so wrong.

The ambulance arrived and he was still unresponsive.  His pupils were normal on the scene, but something happened on the way to the hospital.  I feel so guilty.  I don't know how long he was laying there.  My friend  was laying right across the street, bleeding into his brain with no one to help him.

The hospital here decided the trauma to the brain was too extensive so they air lifted him to Savannah Memorial.  I spent the night in Savannah and went back this morning.  He had no brain activity.  It was decided to take him off life support.

This happened so quickly.  One minute one of my greatest friends down here is okay and the next he's gone.  The girls are devastated, his family and friends are devastated.  I hope he knew how much he was loved by all of us.  Roy was one of a kind, always willing to help someone, never holding ill will.  I really thought that he would live longer than me.  Once again, I was wrong.

Roy, I'm sorry I didn't check on you more.  I'm sorry for not being the friend I should have been.

Please pray for Renesha, his mom, his family, his children, and his friends.  The world lost a great one today, one of the best.  He can never be replaced and will always be in my heart.  Love you Robertson.