Thursday, January 23, 2014


I've been pretty busy since my last update.  We had Karley's party this past weekend and today we took the toys to Wolfson Children's Hospital.  I'm so blessed to have such a great kid.

I remember being so down last year, thinking it would be the last time I would get to go to Karley's birthday party.  My goal was to make it to the next one.  I had so little faith back then.  I tried to pretend to be strong, but inside I was beyond scared.  Thanks to some great friends and the people at Ziggy's, she had an "EPIC" birthday.  She had so many friends come out and they danced their little hearts out.  It filled my heart with such joy to see her so happy.  Thank you to everyone who came out and brought your little ones.  It made her day so special.  Here are just a few pics...

Today we went to Nemour's to have her ear checked out again.  For those that are unaware, Karley has had issues with her ears since she was 1.  She's had two sets of tubes and a surgery a few years ago to patch a busted eardrum after losing her hearing in that ear.  The patch busted a few months post surgery and we were hoping it would repair itself.  We found out today that she now has hearing loss again and will need another surgery.  This one won't be as difficult to recover from luckily.

It's amazing how much closer I am to God now.  The old Samantha would be stressing like crazy over this, worried something would go wrong during surgery.  I now know I have no control over that.  Everything that happens in our lives is all part of His plan and worrying won't do anything to change the outcome. 

While we were at Nemours and Wolfsons today dropping of the gifts, we stopped by to visit a girl from our church battling leukemia.  Karley and I hadn't met her before, but Karley insisted we go.  Ansley Jones has such an amazing spirit and positive attitude.  She helped Karley make a paper mache candle holder and we talked for a bit.  Please pray for her, she's so young and such a sweet and graceful young lady.  It was such a blessing just to get to meet her.

As for my health, I finished my steroids and now am working on my weight.  My tarceva rash is back in full force, covering my arms and face.  It seems to come and go, as well as the GI issues and fatigue.  Fun Fun, I'm just grateful to be here!  Next scans are in March, so please pray they are clean!  Thank you all so much for your continuing support and prayers.  I'm breathing pretty good right now.

In bible study, we've been talking about how God will put us in circumstances where we have to depend on Him.  It really hit home for me because I know before I got sick, I took credit for everything I did.  But He put me in a situation that would be IMPOSSIBLE without Him.  That's how He works.  So, when things go wrong in your life, sometimes you have to step back and think about how He is working to make you dependent on Him, and how sometimes there is good that can come out of that bad situation.  It's all part of His plan.  A plan we won't fully understand until we're with Him in His kingdom.  Until then, we have to keep our faith.

Finally, please continue to pray for peace and strength for Marjorie Polk and her family.  They need so many prayers right now.  Pray for her to be free from pain.

Ecclesiastes 6:10
"Everything has already been decided.  It was known long ago what each person would be.  So there's no use arguing with God about your destiny."

Monday, January 13, 2014

More Roller Coasters

Quick update: I saw my pulmonary specialist Thursday and had a chest x-Ray. The fluid in my right lung is still clearing so steroids for 2 more weeks, because I haven't gained enough weigh yet!  LOL!  I unfortunately made the mistake of asking, "you didn't see the tumor did you?", referring to the primary tumor that was radiated in my lower right lobe.

He made a sympathetic face and said, "please take this with a grain of salt because X-rays are not meant to show detail, therefore I can't tell what it is, but there looks like a small mass in your upper right area. Could be a blood vessel. We will see at the next scan". And until the next scan, it will be a blood vessel.

Karley and I are both back home now, preparing for her birthday Wed.  I can't believe she is about to be 9!  Where does the time go?

Saturday night she wanted to sleep with me.  I've been trying to break her of this because it started after I got sick.  As we were lying in bed, she started crying a little.  I asked her what was wrong and she explained that she missed me when I was in Atlanta.  Then she went on to open up about her fears of losing me, especially the night they took me away in the ambulance in November 2012.  This was so traumatic for her.  I just held her and let her cry and explained that I was here now and that's all that matters.  She has had to grow up too quickly.  I know she worries a lot but she keeps her emotions inside.  I just have to reassure her that I'm here anytime she wants to talk about it.  I believe in being completely honest with her, always.  She knows the cancer can "wake up".  But, she also believes in God and I think her faith allows her to be the happy go-lucky girl she is every day.

So, this new normal can be sad, but at the same time I know not to waste time.  It's too important.  I love Karley more than life itself.  I never want to hurt her.  That's a hard thing to do when your trying to raise a responsible child.  I'm working on it.  I've had to lean a lot on John, her dad, to do so much of the disciplining, which I'm so thankful for.  He's the best dad to Karley, we are truly blessed to have him.  I'll get better at it, I promise!

Thank all of you for your continued support and prayers.  This battle isn't over and we need prayers that the March scans will be clean.  I'm so thankful for the time I have now.  I'm also so very grateful for all of the support I have, both in St. Simons and Atlanta.  I've got a great church here....so very blessed.

Even though my story seems rough, there are others out there that have situations in their lives that are much more difficult.  That's why you have to let go of the little things.  You never know what's going on behind the scenes in someones life.  

Finally, please pray for Marjorie Polk and her family.  She is in so much pain and she and her family need prayers.  Cancer is a terrible disease and it takes so many lives.  Just pray for their peace and strength through this difficult time.  We love you Marjorie!

We are all dying to live, not living to die.

John 11:25-26
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?"

Thursday, January 2, 2014

It's a New Year!

Hope everyone is having a fantastic start to your new year!

Karley and I are still in Atlanta visiting family. We head back to St Simons Sunday and then I will be back in Atlanta Wed for my pulmonary appt. All of this traveling is exhausting!

We had the best Christmas ever and a wonderful New Year celebration with close family and friends. We have all been so thankful, and watching my little girl slowly growing into this caring, empathetic little lady has been amazing. Her best Christmas present she said, "they can't see mommy's cancer".

It makes me so happy to see relief through her eyes, but as my fellow lung cancer friends know, the battle is far from over. That's where God comes in. We just have to trust in His plan and not worry about what is next. He wants us to live in the present, not the future or the past.

That being said, I've sadly come to realize that I can't please everyone or make everyone happy. I feel like I've lost a few friends over this, but my true ones are still here. Some days I don't feel well, making it hard to plan. So instead of canceling, I don't like to make plans until the last minute. For instance today, not feeling so well. I've been up since 3 am so instead of taking the kids to visit with some friends next to my dad's house, I'm laying in the bed listening to them play mind craft. Crazy kids.

But, this is my life. Good or bad, I know that God is always with me. I guess you have to walk in another's shoes to truly understand the hardships they deal with. I know I'm blessed, but I'm also human and have my fears sometimes. I will live with these forever. My life is changed forever. It's just up to me as to what I do with it.

So, for 2014 and beyond, I am going to grow closer in my relationship with God, make more memories with my daughter, and advocate for lung cancer awareness. This battle is far from over.

Forgiveness, in our short time here on earth, is essential. Letting hate into our heart only hurts us.  It's not what God wants for us, He forgives us all of the time.  Plus, you never know what tomorrow holds so forgive while you can.  You don't want regrets haunting you...

Matthew 6:27
"Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?"

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