Monday, January 23, 2017

Miss him already

So, as stable as my results were, there is always that thought in the back of your mind.  We never ever know when it's going to be our turn to go.  That's why it's so important to spend time and tell your loved ones how much they mean to you.

I got sick Saturday evening and it's in my chest, just an awful cough and congestion.  I stayed in Atlanta a little longer and plan on heading home tomorrow.  I just knew the drive would put me to sleep.

It's been an emotional weekend.  I got to see some friends I haven't seen in ages, although I didn't like the circumstances.

My friend, Tim Gravitt, passed away January 8th.  We graduated high school together and he ended up at GA Tech.  Let me just share a little about Tim.

Tim and I weren't really friends in high school.  We knew each other, but didn't really talk.  After my diagnosis in 2012, instead of posting a prayer on my page for a reason he didn't know, he reached out and asked what was going on.  I told him my diagnosis.  He was the first person to give me raw honest hope.  His mother was diagnosed years ago with Stage 4 non small cell lung cancer.  She was given 6 months and lived 6 years.  They had given me 12-18 months at the time.  For the first time since my prognosis, I had finally been handed a bit of silver lining.  And our friendship began...

Little did I know Tim was having his own medical issues, he would only ask about me.  Then, one day he ended up in the hospital and in a coma.  His liver was failing him.  I reached out to his brother who so kindly kept me aware of his condition.  He was a fighter.  He went through physical therapy after the coma, determined to walk again.  This all happened when my friend Reggie was diagnosed with brain tumors, my friend Gretchen with brain cancer, and now Tim with his liver issues.

We formed a small group.  We group chatted and talked to each other and really supported each other throughout our journeys.  Gretchen's journey came to an end first and it was very traumatic for all of us  We still miss her today.  Then, as sad as it was, Carmen joined our group shortly after.with stage 4 cancer too.  We all went to high school together.  Tim advocated so much for Carmen..  He was always so worried about everyone except himself.

Now that he is no longer with us, I can say this.  Back when my insurance was giving me a hard time and not paying, he offered to marry me so I would have his insurance.  How big can one heart be to do that?  I gratefully declined because I always love a good fight (BC/BS) and eventually won.  But that just goes to show how far he was willing to go to help us when fighting his own battle.

When I got the news that he left us, I was devastated.  It was so unexpected.  He always gave me hope and was the first to do so.

So, rest in paradise my friend.  Tell Gretchen we love and miss her as much as we do you.

I'm heading home tomorrow.  I've missed my family terribly.  Hopefully this chest cold is gone soon.  My lungs aren't the best....but they're still working.  And for that, I'm thankful.  I had another appointment tomorrow but rescheduled.  Just too much right now.

Thank you for your continuous prayers.  Please keep them coming, especially for that next scan where we can get a good comparison.  You all have no idea how much they mean.  Below are a few pics of Tim's Celebration of Life.  It was such a pleasure to finally meet his brother and sister in person.  I'm praying for you all.

And Go Falcons!  Super Bowl Bound!

What an appropriate verse Tim....

Friday, January 20, 2017

Results 1.20.17....And now we wait

So, many of you know that my petscans are no longer being allowed per my insurance.  I found this out 2 days ago.  They are allowing CT scans every 3 months now though.  The problem is, these are two different scans, and therefore cannot be compared in great detail.  So, we did see a difference, but have no CT scan, except from 2013, to compare it too.  It could have been there all along, but the PET didn't pick it up.  Therefore, we wait.

In my left lobe, one of the nodules looks to be separating, or it could have been that shape the whole time.  If I go back in 3 months and there is a change, then we will do a PET to see if there is any active cancer.  I have a total of 3 nodules throughout my left and right lungs.

Lately, I've had a cough and have been clearing my throat constantly.  My oncologist feels it may be post-nasal drip, So I get to take Flonase twice a day to try and rectify that.

So, I would love to tell you that everything is stable, but I can't because I don't have the same type of scan to compare it to as in the past.  For now, I just pray it's always been there and not separating.

Luckily, non-small cell lung cancer grows slowly, so in 3 months we will be able to determine more without much of a risk.  So, more living in limbo....ahhh.   Never thought this would be my life, but I don't think many people really have the life they thought they would have.  I'm blessed to still be here and am just tired after today.  Scans are stressful, leading up to them, and then after results you are totally emotionally exhausted.  Therefore, I'm going to sleep, then get some flonase and hope the coughing stops.

I know so many more people have it worse than I do.  My prayers go out to you.  I can't express what it feels like to see my child turn 12 and be alive in 2017!  I really didn't think it would happen.  I'm a worrier but am working on not being so much of one.

Thank you for your continuous prayers for my family and me.  Please keep them up, especially over the next 3 months.  I really want that comparison to be stable.  But, I do know it's in God's hands, and in that I trust.  Why worry over something beyond our control?  It just causes more stress.

Please pray for Tim Gravitt's friends and family.  I'll be attending his service tomorrow and as much as I hate crying, I think I'm going to cry.  The first person to reach out and give me hope, by telling me how they gave his mom a few months and she lived 6 years with lung cancer, is gone.  He left us January 8th too soon and unexpectedly, but he will always be in my heart.  He was such an advocate for everyone who has gotten sick.  He was brilliant.  And I miss him already.  Rest in paradise my friend.

God Bless.  And Rise Up!  Go Falcons!  (sometimes it's the little things)

Rest in Paradise friend 

My "yay", love waiting reaction!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Quit Growing!

This has been such an emotional two weeks it's ridiculous.  Karley turned 12.  12.  When did this happen?  How did it happens so fast?  I love her so very much.  She didn't have as many people show up at her birthday as she would like, but her true friends where there.  And that's when I began to tell her, it's not about the "quantity" of friends, but the "quality" of friends.  And she sure has some quality friends.  I'm so blessed she's loved by these children and truly thank their parents for taking time to bring your children out.  It makes me feel a little less scared if I have to leave her.  I just want her surrounded in love.

Yesterday was her actual birthday.  She was a little sad but we were able to cheer her up.  God blessed me by giving me a daughter with such a warm and empathetic soul  She is the kind of girl that would never hurt someone intentionally and that makes me proud.  She has one of the biggest hearts I've ever seen.

So, Wednesday, I'm driving to Atlanta for my scans and Tim's service.  It all seems unreal.  He was my partner, along with Gretchen, in figuring this JHS thing out.  Now they are both gone, and in all reality, statistics show I should have gone first.  I will never forget them, they will always be a piece of my heart, like so many others.  It's amazing how big your heart can be.  I'm so blessed Jason Long has decided to help me.  Even if we don't find a correlation, at least we will know and that in itself will bring peace to so many families.

So as I go, I'll be updating scan results Friday.  Please pray for me.  I need your prayers. And please pray for Tim's family and friends.  I'm sure this will be a tough weekend.

Thank you all for still following and praying for me.  I'm sure I wouldn't be here without your and God's grace.   Love you all and God Bless.  And happy 12th birthday again my sweet angel.  I love you to the moon and back!

Sunday, January 8, 2017


Are we ever truly at peace?  Or is there always something or someone you are worried about?  I went to church today with a heavy heart.  I was still sad about the contents described in my last blog.  But, as I listened to the sermon today, I realized I need to just let go and trust in God.  Even when people cause me pain.  He is always here and has plans for us all.

I prayed for peace from the anguish that resided in my heart from last post.  The wounds are scarring over, but that's it.  I forgive.  It's healthier and less stressful to forgive and it's the way God wants us to live our lives.  I've made mistakes, I've never said I'm perfect.  I'm not even close!  But when I say, "I'm sorry", I sincerely mean it.  And I've done that.  And I'm really not sure what the big deal is when I write about my life on here.  This is my outlet.  This is how I release my emotions, good or bad.  Life isn't always sunshine and rainbows people.  Therefore, I can't pretend to feel ways that I don't.  I also don't think it's fair to just write about the good things and not the bad.  People need to hear the bad.  They need to know they aren't alone on this earthly journey.  I know I do.

God gives us all a purpose.  I'm not sure what mine is yet, but I do know that I do my best to help relate to others going through these same emotions.  Hence, my bad days being posted.  I am sorry if anyone takes offense, but I have never mentioned a name or a relationship in a bad way.  I've praised my friends and family by name who have been here for me.

Yes, my last blog was written out of pure anger.  Yes, it is still up. Yes, I should've prayed more at the time before writing it.  I'm not taking it down because I want to be reminded of what words can come out of anger. And I can't guarantee I won't ever right a blog like that again, because I get angry sometimes.  I'm human.  I am not Jesus Christ.  I am not perfect.  No one is except for the man Himself.

God says we should "turn the other cheek".  That is much easier said than done.  But if you can forgive and move past the pettiness, why not?  Both parties apologize for words that cut deep and move forward.  It takes more energy to hate than to love.

I hope someone can take something away from these writings.  If not, I'll know that I was able to release my emotions and drive you all crazy and that will make me laugh a little inside because I'm a little sarcastic like that.

When you think about your situation, think about how it could always be worse.  I was reminded of that from the Everlast song today from 1998, "What it's Like".  It was the perfect song to remind me of how blessed I am.  It's not a very Christian song, but I'm not the perfect Christian.  And if something leads me to a life closer to Christ that may not be considered "Christian", so be it.

Thank you for all of the continuous prayers and words of encouragement when I needed them most.  Scans are coming up so please don't let up!

By the way, if you are looking for a tear jerker of a movie, you should definitely see "Miss You Already".  I swear Amanda Davis, it reminds me so much of our friendship.  Yes, I cried again today

God bless you all!

This is Amanda...This is Us


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Loss - Revised for language only

This is a heart breaking roller coaster that no one can understand unless you've lived.  One day you're happy, one day you just want to be done.  Well, today is one of those days.

Am I selfish?  Yes.  I wanted more children, I want to see Karley grow up, I want to be one of the old annoying drivers.  But little by little I get discouraged.  I get drained.  I feel like there is so much negativity surrounding me and it's really more than I can handle.

Notice I said "I" a lot because I'm selfish.  This isn't the way my world was supposed to turn out and people that I've loved just ripped my heart out and stomped on it into a million pieces today.  Because I'm selfish.  Because I don't ask enough questions about them.  I'm sorry, but I have a lot of stuff constantly running through my head, non-stop, to the point I can barely sleep, barely breath, and I try so very hard to hold it together so my loved ones don't feel bad.  For them.  I hold it together.

But you know what, that's sad. I'm done holding it together.  If you can't take me as I am, then get out of my life.  I promise you I will never contact you again.  I don't care what your excuse is, but when I go out of my way to be as nice as possible or need a little encouragement to get through the day, and you am ripped apart, Screw it.  I didn't do anything wrong and still say I'm sorry and I still continue to be cussed out?  Just forget it.  There is no going back.

I know this is satan's way of getting to me and he's doing a very good job with a little help.  I have cried as much today as the day my friend Roy died.  There's that "I" again.  All about me.

Guess what people, I still have cancer!  Shocker!  It's not active due to my drug but it sure isn't going any where. So I get to live every three months holding my breath, forever.  Knowing I could die at any moment.  So if I want to have a pity party for the rest of the month I will.  The only people I need to hold myself together for are the people I live with and  my family and friends.

Yes, cancer has taken away a great deal of things from me, but I will not let it take away my happiness.  So, like I said, I'm done with people who are so into their own little worlds that they can't or even try to comprehend what I live with emotionally every single day.  At least they don't have to worry about dying on their "kid".  And for those who couldn't have children, I'm so sorry.  Because they do make life worth living.  And I'm sorry for being selfish.  I have no excuse.

I feel better now.  I had to get that off my chest.  I'm so done with people thinking I'm okay.  I'm a train wreck.  I hold it together for the ones that help hold me together.

I took the language out because I was reminded that God wouldn't approve.  I retorted that I'm not Jesus and I'm a sinner.  God can forgive.  The only thing I took out was the language, the content is the same and I feel the same way.  I haven't changed the way I feel but will work towards that because it's not healthy to let someone in your life make you so very unhappy.  You have to walk in someone's shoes before you can really know their pain.  This is my outlet and I will not sugar coat it to make others "feel better". I get angry sometimes.  Take me as I am or don't let the door hit you on the way out.  I didn't ask for any of this and am trying to make the best of it.  But we all have our days and our moments where we can't deal and need those loved ones to be there for us, when they're not, it only makes it worse.  And I think I totally need the shirt at the end.  I think that about sums it up.  And just so you know, it's rare I have a bad day unless someone pushes me to that point, hence this post.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2017 - A New Year!

Well, I spent the first day of the year watching the Falcons beat the Saints in the very last regular season game at the Georgia Dome with Team Draft.  It was bitter sweet.  I loved that dome and the memories I have and my family was with me, along with Chris Draft and company.  Thank you Chris for an amazing time and way to Rise Up Falcons!  I'm so glad they went out with a win.

Also, I made a new resolution.  I'm going to quit living like I'm dying.  So, I traded in my Escape for a Jeep and the payments are minimal.  I called SSDI about possibly working again.  I gave back to the church who has so graciously helped me in the past. Although, I probably can't afford these things, I'm not going to wait around until I can, because that day may never come.  I can afford them today, and that's what matters.  They say money doesn't buy you happiness, but retail therapy sure as hell makes you feel a lot better!

I'm thankful to be here.   2017!  Diagnosed in 2012! I didn't, in a million years, think that I would see this New Year, but God has blessed me beyond belief.  I'm so happy to have my family and friends whom I wouldn't trade for the world.

Thank you for your continuous prayers and please keep them up, I need them!  Things can change in an instant, but I'll \play Scarlett O'Hara on that one, "I'll think about that tomorrow".

God bless you all and hope your year is fabulous.  Mine is off to a pretty good start!