Monday, November 25, 2013

Ziggys, Falcons Game and Final MRI....for now

As promised, it's been pretty eventful since last Tuesday.  Tuesday night Ziggy's held a fundraiser for us.  Special thanks to Angel and Gary Hobby, Keenan and Monica Carter and Ziggys, Scott and Lee Whittington, St. Simons Community Church and Joey and Tavia Harrison and the Brick for helping make the fundraiser such a success.  Also, thank you to all of you who made it out to support us.  It means so much, we are so blessed to live in such a thoughtful community!  Thank you for your donations, support, and most importantly your prayers!

We arrived Wed. evening in Atlanta.  On Thursday we met with Chris Draft to go the Falcons v. Saints game.  Although the Falcons lost, we had an amazing time.  This was Karley's first pro football game.  I can't put into words how grateful we are to Chris Draft and Team Draft, Amanda Bartlett and Piedmont Atlanta, and Jennifer Leslie and Luke with 11 Alive news for their help in making this special memory for us.

We started off at the Hard Rock Cafe, Karley's first visit there too.  Here are a few pictures from the evening:

Team Draft does great work promoting lung cancer awareness by working to change the face of lung cancer and encouraging people to donate to local hospitals and research cancer centers.  He takes survivors to stadiums in honor of lung cancer.  He's a great person, and Karley absolutely loves him, and her new friend, Tony G.

I've been in a decent amount of pain from the radiation still.  Luckily, I have some pain medication for that.  Today we went for my FINAL MRI, unless my oncologist orders one.  It will be a year on Wed. since my craniotomy and diagnosis.   My MRI was still clean!  We are so blessed for this progress!

We were originally told my prognosis would be 12 - 18 months.  That 12 months is up on Wednesday and I think I've come a long way....thanks to our awesome God and some great doctors!

Thank you ALL for your support, love, and most importantly prayers!  You have no idea how much they mean and how grateful I am for them.  Your messages and words inspire me and I am so blessed to have such amazing friends and family!  I love you all and God bless you all!

Happy Thanksgiving!   And don't let Thanksgiving be the only time your thankful.  Be thankful every day for the what you have, you never know when it could change.

1 Thessalonians 5:18
"give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Jesus Christ"

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Small Scare, Big Hearts, and More

It's been a while since my last update.  A lot has been going on, so here we go.

It's Lung Cancer Awareness Month, as well as pancreatic and stomach cancer awareness months.  Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in the United States among both men and women, yet doesn't get near the publicity, funding, support, or media that breast cancer awareness month gets.  In fact, No-Shave November and Movember have taken this month as well for men's health awareness.

Well men, here's some awareness, lung cancer will kill more of you then any other cancer.

As a lung cancer fighter, I'm appalled at the lack of support by the American Cancer Society compared to breast cancer, and how they don't help fight the stigma.  Smoking causes a lot of cancer besides just lung.  I want to fight for them to move the Great American Smoke Out to January so we can focus on the cancer killer, not the stigma.  January makes sense since it can be a New Year's Resolution.

Now that I'm finished ranting, I went to the Baptist ER last Wednesday due to shortness of breath and back/shoulder pain.  My oncologist was concerned about a pulmonary embolism.  Thankfully, it is just swelling from the radiation.  I have some pain medicine right now that is helping greatly.

I received a letter from my insurance company denying that same radiation, telling me it wasn't "medically necessary".  Well, I'm shocked and very disappointed in Blue Cross Blue Shield.  I guess they expected me to just die?  I cannot believe that my oncologist felt it was medically necessary but someone, who has never seen me, can make this decision.  They, furthermore, have not kept up with the progression of treatment in lung cancer, not knowing this is ground breaking treatment and is working in some patients.  I don't plan on backing down to them.  So, now worries, I have some great friends working with me on this.  I'll let you know how it turns out.

Two days later I took Karley to the fair with her friend Bella and my friend Sonja.  Sonja doesn't do things like the fair, but I didn't think I could take them alone, and I don't break promises.  Thanks girl!  I'll add some pictures at the end of the blog.  I enjoyed every minute seeing my sweet girl so happy!

And, I'm so proud of her!  She was baptized at St. Simons Community Church this past Sunday.  I cried a little.  I'm so happy that I was able to witness that amazing moment in her life.  Her faith is so strong, she inspires me.

Speaking of my church, which is AMAZING, my ladies of my bible study class made me cry tears of joy.  They donated so much money to help me with medical bills.  I cannot express in words how much this meant to me.  I love each and every one of you for all that you've done!  My church gives me so much faith in our Lord and in humanity.  Truly great and Godly people are out there. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

Finally, Ziggy's is hosting a kid's night fundraiser for us on November 19th from 5-7.  Karley is pumped!  Thank you Angel Hobby and Ziggy's for making this happen!  You guys are great!

And thanks to Piedmont Hospital, Team Draft, and 11 Alive Atlanta, Karley will be at her first football game, Falcons vs. Saints next Thursday.  I'll update more next week!

I am so blessed to have loving and amazing people that care so much about my family and me.  It means so much and your love gives me such a boost of faith in God.

I've joined a few lung cancer groups, including Lung Cancer Survivors Foundation, and decided that I cannot possibly list all of the people that need prayers anymore.  There are so many.  Know that you are all in my prayers!  I'm thankful for these groups of people that are fighting a good fight every day.  No one fights alone!

Thank you for all of your support, love, and most of all prayers!  I'm one happy chick today because I'm so blessed!

1 Corinthians 13:13 
"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love."

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Fall Festival, Halloween, Birthday, and how we are now

We had a great time at the fall festival this year at Karley's school.  The weather was perfect!  Here are a few pictures of Karley, her dad, and me all together.  Even though John and I aren't a couple, we try to do as much of Karley's activities together as possible.  Makes her super happy and he's a great dad!

Then, a few days later, it was Halloween/my birthday!  I had lunch with Karley at school.  She made me a cute hat to wear and gave me my birthday present.  Later that evening we went trick-or-treating.  She was a ninja.  Shocker!

All in all it was the best birthday and Halloween I could ask for.  I'm so thankful for all that I have, and each day I continue to have with my family and friends.

Lately I've had some back pain, in the area where the remaining tumor is located.  I'm hoping it's just a side effect of radiation.  It's effected my breathing a little for the past two days.  I just can't seem to get that deep breath sometimes.  It's very aggravating.  I'll call the doc about it Monday to make sure it's normal.

My friend, Angel Hobby, is working on a fundraiser down here in St. Simons for me so I'll post details as they arise.  She's been awesome, along with my church and ladies from bible study!

Karley is being baptized November 10th.  We are super excited so expect another post around then.

Otherwise, my next MRI is November 25th.  I'm glad we will be spending the whole week in Atlanta with our family and friends there.  It will mark the one year anniversary of my diagnosis.  I can't believe it's almost been a year now.

Please continue to remember the following additional people in your prayers:   Reggie Kimbell, Marjorie Polk,Tim Gravitt, Shelley Miller, Sheila Hodges, Seanna Reannon New, Peggy Fogerty, Gretchen Mitchell Anderson, Dylan Rosier, Tori Tomalia, and James Robert Smith.  They still all have their own battles.

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

The support of my church, friends, and family has been truly amazing.  I can't imagine getting this far without you all, but most importantly, without our Lord.  I praise Him for the strength He gives me every day.  He brought me to it, I know He can see me through it.  I know I write this every time, but I genuinely mean it.

Hope everyone had a fabulous Halloween and has a great November (Lung Cancer Awareness Month!).

2 Corinthians 5:7
"We live by faith, not by sight."