Saturday, December 23, 2017

Tis the Season for so many emotions

The season to be jolly.  Christmas, representing so much for so many people.  To my family and me, it represents the birth of Christ.  It's always been a magical time, even now, as an adult, something about this holiday fills me with such joy.  But I know it's not this way for everyone.

As I spend time with my family over Christmas, I'm going to remember all of the people that have been in my life that have gone before me as well as their friends and family.  I'm praying for you all.  Because although this holiday fills me with joy, some people are missing a loved one.  That empty chair at the dinner table.  Holidays can be so rough on some people.  

In a way I got a bit down this Christmas when I looked back at the loss, not just this year, but over time.  Most of the loss was from people I met in the cancer world, but not all.  It's foolish to be upset over some things beyond my control, but the survivor's guilt can really take it's toll.  There's no getting out of this world without loss.  With the help of Nicole Russell, I put together a little flipagram to remember those the world lost in hopes that it will remind you that we are not immortal.  Your life can change in an instant.  We only have a brief time on this earth, let's make the most of it with kindness and love for each other.  

As we are celebrating the birth of Christ, not presents, or egg nog, or Santa, but the birth of the son God gave to save us, I also remember all the angels we have looking down on us.  Cancer takes away a lot from you, but I will not let it take away my character or spirit.  Please take a moment and pray for these families, and for the ones still fighting to survive.   Like I said, not all left with lung cancer (although that comprises about 95% of this flipagram), but they are no longer here.  And for this reason, their families will struggle.   And for this reason, we will continue the fight so their deaths are not in vain.  They may no longer be here to have a voice, but we are, we do, and we will.  God bless you all, and don't forget Jesus is the reason for the season.

Thank you all for your continuous prayers.  They do mean the world to me.  And again, please pray for the families of the loved ones lost and those fighting for their life.  Click on the link below to see the slideshow.  I'm sorry if I left anyone out, there have been so many.

And I'm sorry for the sad post, but it's been a rough year.  And I am beyond blessed to be spending another year with my girl.  I am so grateful.   Please don't take this as a post about depression.  It's the opposite, I'm celebrating life.

Our first Christmas in this "New Normal"

Saturday, November 25, 2017

A Bittersweet Holiday Forever

This very day, in 2012, my mother took me to Piedmont Henry in Stockbridge where my brain tumor was discovered and I began the fight for my life.  Yesterday, we learned we are on the brink of losing a beautiful friend, mother, and daughter in the very same hospital.  Miracles happen every day and we are praying for one.

This day is bittersweet for me and probably will remain that way forever now.  Sometimes life doesn’t always go as planned.  I’m still here, which I’m so blessed for, but she’s not awake.  So I literally cried most of the night.  Mainly for her young babies and former husband, who I grew up with.  I could barely open my eyes this morning.  They burn so bad still.

Sam Thompson and I grew up together and spent so much time hanging out.  I used to lounge around his pool as we got older and I was pregnant with Karley.  That's when I met Stephanie for the first time.  She was so beautiful and full of life and so young it seemed at the time.  I wasn't sure I liked her at first, but eventually she did win me over.  I remember their wedding like it was yesterday.  And when AJ, their daughter was born, they stopped by my exit in Brunswick so I could meet her.  She was adorable.  When Karley was born, Stephanie was still about 19 and it made me so nervous for her to hold Karley.  But it came so naturally to her. 

She's been there for me when both of my parents have been admitted to Piedmont in the past and to help me navigate what's going on.  I knew I could always call her for anything medical related and count on her advice.  I can no longer do this.

We all question why these things happen, why those sweet kids are likely to lose their mama at such a young age.  It’s hard to say it’s a part of God’s plan.  Why would God have this plan?  We won’t find out in this lifetime.  And as much as I’m questioning it, I have to walk by faith.  My prayers go out to all of the family and friends.  It's been such a blessing to know that Sam's girlfriend has been his rock.  I know our friends will surround Sam and his children with so much love.  I hope you’ll join me in prayer for strength and peace.  I love this family as if they were my own. God bless you all.

Till we meet again....Love you

Friday, November 10, 2017

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Crazy...and A Challenge

Yes, I'm talking about the stores that seem to put out Christmas decor earlier and earlier every year.  It's like we're totally skipping Halloween and Thanksgiving.  And it Lung Cancer Awareness Month now and I should've written something sooner but have been busy.   And....

Yes, I'm talking about myself as usual!  No worries, nothing bad.  Just the financial burden having cancer really has on someone.  But, I'm here thanks to the Grace of God, and my hospital of course.  Which reminds me that the 4th Annual Team Draft Super Bowl Challenge has begun.

I was part of the inaugural challenge and came in third.  So, I was flown out to Arizona for the Taste of the NFL and other events surrounding Super Bowl 49.  It's also where I was blessed to meet Paul and Lucy Kalanithi.  These two are amazing.  Sadly, Paul passed away just a little over a month after actually going to the Super Bowl.  Our group that year automatically clicked.  It was one of the best experiences of my life.  If you don't know who Paul and Lucy are, you should google them.  They wrote the best selling memoir, "When Breath Becomes Air" where Paul shares his experiences and meanings of life.  The book ends with Lucy sharing her experience after his death.  Paul, Lucy, and superstar baby Cady will always be in my heart and I know I made a lifelong friend in Lucy from this trip.  It was good to be with people that understood and to say "hey, I have stage 4 lung cancer".  Just to say it, the looks we got from such famous people.  Many thought we were originally joking.  That's right, we weren't the poster children for lung cancer....but that was changing.

Not only is Team Draft trying to change the face of lung cancer, but  80% of donations to each persons account go directly to the hospital of their choosing.  This money doesn't go to the NFL or some other organization.  It goes straight to the source.  To your hospital for lung cancer research.

Each year I represent Piedmont Atlanta and the Falcons.  Although I've only gone once, I still participate.  It's not about going.  It's about funding research, at the source.  If you would like to donate, here is the link 2018 Team Draft Super Bowl Challenge.

Also, I want to start a group here in Georgia for Lung Cancer survivors.  So here's the deal.  If you live in Georgia and would like to meet occasionally, please email this blog or me on facebook.   I'll probably be reaching out to some of you soon but I don't know everyone in Georgia that follows this.

Well, don't forget, it's lung cancer awareness month.  The month I heard those 4 words that changed my life forever 5 years ago.  I'm so thankful to still be here.

Thank you for your continuous prayers and please keep them coming.  Not just for me, but for so many others that are in need right now.  God bless.

And sorry for the pic overload. Just wanted reshare my experience from Arizona.  How could this not be amazing?!