My sweet angel

My sweet angel

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  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."

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Dr. Paul Kalanithi - Gone Too Soon

I first saw a picture of Paul and Lucy Kalanithi a few days before NYE.  I'd heard of them, but forget things so easily.  We were both raising funds for Team Draft's Super Bowl Challenge.  They destroyed us.  But, when I read that it was his lifelong dream to go, I was okay with being destroyed.  It wasn't my lifelong I was down with winning the Taste of the NFL.

The first time I met Paul, Lucy, and Superstar Cady was in Phoenix for the events leading up to the Super Bowl.  We got to tour the field.  My favorite picture of their family was when they were laying on that Super Bowl field, as a family, smiling as though they were the happiest people on earth.

We had fun in Arizona.  I love that family.  Cady is the best baby girl ever.  I don't remember hearing her cry the entire trip.  Lucy and I quickly got along and Paul liked laughing at everything I said, because I pretty much told him how crazy my family has been since childhood.  They are good stories, I mean, you can't make them up.  But, that's for another day.  Paul said that one of the best things about his Super Bowl experience was getting to meet me.  That was such a great compliment that I'll never forget, I was glad we could make him laugh so much.

We quickly grew to love this little family and are planning a trip to visit Molly and Arash Golbon over the summer in the Bay Area.  Lucy, Paul, and Cady planned on meeting up with us too.  You know, an east coast west coast meet up.

Unfortunately, Paul passed away Monday night at the age of 37.  This renowned neurosurgeon had succumb to the beast we have all come to know too well as lung cancer.  His memory will live on through his family, friends, and all of the people he helped.

The last article he wrote made me cry like a baby.  Here is an excerpt, but you can read the entire article at the link:  Before I Go

"Yet one thing cannot be robbed of her futurity: my daughter, Cady. I hope I’ll live long enough that she has some memory of me. Words have a longevity I do not. I had thought I could leave her a series of letters — but what would they really say? I don’t know what this girl will be like when she is 15; I don’t even know if she’ll take to the nickname we’ve given her. There is perhaps only one thing to say to this infant, who is all future, overlapping briefly with me, whose life, barring the improbable, is all but past.
That message is simple: When you come to one of the many moments in life when you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more, but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing."

Cady was loved by her daddy, she will never not know that.  And the love between Paul and Lucy was something we should all be so lucky as to experience in this lifetime.  Lucy is such a wonderful soul, whom we all could tell, loved her family with all she could, as Paul did them.

So, rest in paradise Paul.  You are finally free to breathe and have made such a profound mark on the lung cancer community.  My news feed is seriously filled with pictures and memories of you.  You probably never knew what a difference you were making, but I hope you see that now.

Please pray for Paul's wife Lucy and daughter Cady along with all of his other family and friends.  They need them so bad right now.

And please pray for Molly and Arash Golbon and family.  She's got a Pulmonary Embolism  and they are still at the ER while I'm typing this.   They have two beautiful daughters that need their mommy healthy.  They've all been through so much.  

And finally, please pray for another of my friends, Roy Reynolds, who was currently just admitted to the hospital as well.  He's got a long road ahead of him and needs prayers and support too.

Cancer is so prevalent, I feel like I was punched by it so many times today.  It wasn't really me, it was these families.  But, I feel like we are all one big community, even family.  I love these people like family.  You get close to them for emotional support.  Someone that is going through what you are.  But, when you lose them, your heart breaks all over again. Thank you Tori Tomalia for letting me know so soon.

Well, it's past 5 am, so I'm going to try to sleep now.  I just needed the prayers out there.  And thank you all for your continuous prayers and support for my family and me.  They mean so much.   

Revelation 21:4
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes.There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away"

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Karley - My Little Heartbreaker Already

So I'm sitting here at the airport in Brunswick, GA, waiting to fly up to Atlanta so I can see a new oncologist at Emory.  This is not how I imagined my life.  As I was leaving for the airport, Karley was crying, "mommy, please don't go.  Go another time".  Oh how I wish I could say, "okay honey" and postpone this whole thing.  After all, a little girl at her school, Alexa, just gained her wings.  She had brain cancer.  Her passing hit especially close to home for Karley so I hate leaving her.  I held my tears until I got in the car and really haven't stopped crying since.

Blogging always makes me feel better though.  You don't always have to read it.  I just get such a sense of relief after I put my feelings out there.   So today, I feel like my heart is in a million tiny pieces because I had to leave.  I love my girl more than anything and it just breaks my heart to see her cry with worry.   I'm assured she's fine now.   But I know it's because she's busy.  When night comes,  and it's time for her to rest her mind and go to bed, the bad thoughts creep in.  I hate it for her.  I don't think I will ever get over this new normal.  It gets a little easier with time  but it will forever be a roller coaster.

So, we are about to board and though it's only for a few days I'll be gone, know that I love you so much my princess. When you go back and read these,  know that I love you more than you can ever imagine and it breaks my heart every time I have to leave you.   I love you sweet girl and I'm so blessed that God gave you to me.  You are the best thing that ever happened to me.

Thank you all for your continuous prayers for my family, friends, and me.  God Bless.

Psalm 127:3
Children are a gift from The Lord; they are a reward from Him. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A New Beginning and Much Needed Prayers...

I don't know how people are able to navigate this journey without support.  To me, it would seem impossible.  I'm blessed that God had given me such great friends and family.  Believe me, you find out who your friends are when your world gets turned upside down.  It's just too much for some I think.  They are all there at first, but gradually fade away.  The true ones always check in on me.  I love them for that.  The rest, I don't resent....the old me would have probably done the same thing.

I haven't been blogging as much, I've been so busy living.  But, I'll never stop blogging, because this is a never ending journey, and my story is far from over.

So, what's new in my world of cancer?  Well, I've decided to change oncologists and cancer treatment centers.  Don't get me wrong, I love Piedmont and my oncologist now.  I just know that he has all different types of cancer to treat, and I'm a specialized kind of case.  Therefore, I need someone specialized in the treatment of lung cancer with EGFR mutations.  I've found one at Emory I'm going to meet with this Monday.  I'm praying we will mesh well because I really don't feel like flying up the east coast every few months.

Anyways, I'm going to update about my Monday visit next week.

In the meantime, please pray for the following people:

Alexa - Karley's friend and an old co-worker's stepdaughter.  Please pray for peace for her and her family in the next few days.  Alexa is in kindergarten, but she only has a few more days left here.  God needs another angel.  We are just praying for her and her family to have plenty of peace and support.

Carmen Frye - another JHS friend who just discovered she has cancer as well.  Please pray for her healing and support for her and her family at this time.   Also, I know how it is to find out this news.  It's absolutely overwhelming.  I know I couldn't talk about it for the first month.  So, if you send her well wishes and she doesn't respond, just know it's because her world has just been turned upside down.  It takes time to come back from that.  But I'm sure she will appreciate all the prayers and well wishes you can possibly give.  She's also a mother of young girls and was one of the first high school friends to reach out to me privately when she found out about my diagnosis.

Finally, my uncle Bill Webb.  He was found with a burst appendix after a week with no food or water.  He is in very critical condition in a Florida hospital.  He's had several surgeries, but sepsis and infections keep setting in.  Please pray for his healing and his faith and purpose to grow through this.

And thank you all for your continuous support and prayers.  They mean so much.  And to all my friends and family, I love you more than you'll ever know.  We aren't promised tomorrow, so if I forget to tell you today, know that it's in my heart....and always will be.

Here are a few of those special people that are there for me not matter what.  It's by far not all of them, but I'm so blessed to have this many.  And this doesn't even include my church, St. Simons Community or my old work peeps at Ocean Lodge!  I AM BLESSED!

Philippians 4:6-7
" not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Changing the Face of Lung Cancer - Super Bowl Style

Well, the Super Bowl is over and since I came in 3rd in Team Draft's Super Bowl Challenge, I got to attend so many Super Bowl festivities, including the Taste of the NFL.  It was a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness about lung cancer and Team Draft while making new friends and having an amazing time.

We were able to attend a St Jude's reception, NFL wives fashion show reception, NFL experience, Tour of the stadium, Radio Row, and the Taste of the NFL.  Oh yeah, we got to meet a great family, Lucy, Paul, and superstar baby Cady!!

At Radio Row, we had the privilege of meeting Andy Dalton, quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals and current pro-bowler.   I was able to speak with him for a while to tell him my story and he was so kind to listen and retweet about Team Draft.  He's an awesome guy.

I met so many people at the events, it was hard to keep up.  I wanted to share Team Draft's mission with everyone at the Taste of the NFL.  So, I was on a mission myself.

The first person I really spoke with was Miss Arizona.  She is such a lovely lady and offered to help in any way she could.

Once making our way into the event, which is an event to help feed the hungry, I was very determined to spread the word about the work Team Draft does and about lung cancer in general.

ANYONE can get lung cancer.  Repeat: ANYONE can get lung cancer.  Most of the people I spoke with were unaware of this fact.  They were also unaware that lung cancer causes more cancer deaths in women than breast cancer.  Why?  Hmmmm...someone isn't doing their job in the cancer community.

But, being a representative for Team Draft was so wonderful.  I got to meet so many great people that really listened and wanted to help us by joining Team Draft and to help us change the way people see lung cancer.

I really got to talk to the following people at length while in Arizona and am so grateful they took the time to listen to my story: Joe Buck, Jim Nantz, Chester Pitts II (although I know he prefers Mr. Pitts), Kira Kazantsev (Miss America), Richie Brockel (reminded me to eat), Tim Tebow, the "Gridiron Griller", Davin Joseph, Alexa Rogers (Miss Arizona), Bubba Baker, Andy Dalton, and so many more!

Thank you all for helping us share that lung cancer is the #1 cancer killer among men and women, anyone at any age can get it, and it is grossly underfunded.  If you ever want to give money for lung cancer, some great organizations are Team Draft, Bonnie J Addario, Free to Breathe, and  Lungevity, or even your local lung cancer research institution.  These organizations make sure your money goes into the right hands, not the hands of a CEO.

Once again, thank you Team Draft and the NFL for giving us the opportunity to raise awareness and have fun doing it.

And FYI people - a lot of articles came out today claiming that lung cancer just surpassed breast cancer as number one cancer killer in women.   Yeah, in 1987 that happened.  It also claims that 70 year old wealthy women who smoked are the ones getting and dying from lung cancer.   I just want to clarify that I am 35, was diagnosed at 33, and most of my lung cancer friends are under the age of 40.  So thank you to these articles that have tried to destroy all the work we've been doing to end the stigma attached to lung cancer and change the picture everyone thinks of when they think of lung cancer (in my most sarcastic voice possible).

Thank you all for your continuous prayers and support.  I was so blessed to have been able to go to Arizona and try to help.  I thank God for all of this time He has given me, and He will always have the credit for my blessings.

Lots of photos from Arizona:

1 John 3:2
"Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."