Sunday, September 28, 2014

Living With a Little Sass and Humor

I first began this blog simply because after cancer, I began to think so much more positive about things. It's so easy to look at life with cancer as a curse or a death sentence and every lump, cough, or mark, brings new worries or cancer scares. I wanted to get away from that.

After my first few posts, I received an email from a woman who stumbled across my blog and was so appreciative of the uplifting she gained after reading it. She was newly diagnosed and sadly, her cancer had already begun to spread. 

Over the months, she and I emailed and shared thoughts, posts, and laughs often. She was always very open with the struggles she dealt with during her treatments and yet, held on to life with both hands. 
She went on her dream trip and spent time with family and friends. She listened to her doctors and fought her battle for as long as she was asked. 

I did not hear from her and she did not respond to my emails mid summer. Then one day I noticed that  a new entry was posted on her blog that said "Angie's Epilogue." I logged off without reading it and have only blogged once since. 

Today, I finally found the courage to read about the passing of my dear friend and sweet sister Angie. Although I knew when I saw the post, that she had passed, it did not make today any easier. 
Angie, you taught me so much about facing fears. You taught me that it's okay to allow the fear to show as long as it doesn't take over. It's okay to get angry, but not to let that anger eat away at my heart. It's okay to want to be alone, as long as I don't shut the door to life or on those that love me. 
I know I shouldn't cry, but I miss you. My heart is heavy today, but I am so touched that you came across my blog, that you took to time to respond, that you called me your friend. 

I will continue to love life and everyone in it. 
For you, I will always find the humor.
For you, I will always keep my sass.
From one Angie to another, You are Superwoman to me!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A New Challenge

I have a's called get up, complete the best education you can, start a career, and establish and stay on your own 2 feet challenge. I figured if people can post the dumbest things like the fire, choking, pass out, or ice challenges and young people are doing it...why not try this.

Find your own strength to stand on your own two feet and walk away from some of the foolishness that is being posted or said. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Glow Jars

Okay, so I'm going to have to turn this into a mommy blog for today. I absolutely LOVE Pinterest. I find things for my classroom, recipes, fun activities to do with my own children, and that's what led me to write this blog tonight.

I came across this photo of a glow jar about dancing fairies. Yes, I knew it would not come out that cool, but it only took water and the contents of a glow stick, so why not try it. I pinned the picture and finally got around to doing it today.

We gathered the jars, glow sticks and started to experiment and this is what my children and I came up with:

This picture is what our 3 finished jars looked like...yes 3 jars. The first jar we did is in the middle and we used hot water. We poured in the glow stick and the light faded almost immediately. The jar to the left worked very well because we didn’t add any water, just broke open the glow stick and poured in the contents with glitter. My older son wanted to try it with cold water just to see what would happen, so we did. That is the jar all the way to the right. That one did stay lit just a little. 

Overall, we had a fun time experimenting with it, and it was a great way to show our younger 2 that you never believe everything you see or read, sometimes you have to do the investigating yourself. Our kids enjoyed it and are looking forward to the next experiment night. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Final Journey

I was moving about the house this morning, thinking about my upcoming surgery in a little bit, when the tears came.

I am hoping and praying that today’s surgery will be my final journey with cancer. I know that I will always be a cancer patient, but there is a difference between going in for appointments and even scans and lab work as opposed to being sidelined by surgery and treatments. 

I am filled with an overwhelming joy that I can’t even begin to explain.

I began this journey in 2003 and have had countless surgeries since then to remove this, probe that, and fix this, and I’m over it. I’ve been over it and have even put off dates when I could just to give myself a chance to recover both physically and mentally.

11 years later...11 YEARS and I may be closing that door forever. My prayers have been said, my fingers are crossed and nothing but positive thoughts and feelings flowing today.

That’s why I’m blogging right now. I am so emotional and excited, but I don’t want to scare my children, as once again, I’m sitting here crying LOL!

Cancer has taken me on a journey, taught me a lot about myself, the strength that I have within, and introduced me to some amazing sisters, brothers, and friends.

Today will be the day that I physically face it for the last time, a final journey! What a beautiful day for a new beginning! 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Doing This For Me

On Wednesday, I am having what I hope will be my last surgery to finish up all of the cancer surgeries.

I thought back on all of the scars, surgeries, treatments, tears, scans, and appointments and felt like I am in a good place. Well I am, mentally. I have taken my each of my diagnoses and learned a lot. I realize that each day really is a gift, sometimes, that gift has a few thorns, but there will always be something in that day to find joy in even if it is bedtime.

Well, one of the cancers that I had was thyroid cancer. I have to tell you that I never thought twice about a thyroid or what it does until they stuck a needle in my neck to biopsy it. I learned that that thyroid that I never thought about was also the reason why my weight fluctuates so crazily. Yes, I am one of those people who can actually put my weight on a thyroid condition. I went from an average weight, to very overweight, to extremely skinny, and now I’m gaining again.

The weight gain definitely bothers me, but even more is how bad I’ve been feeling lately. It scares me to think about the women that I know that have lost their battles recently and I worry a lot about recurrence, but I'm starting to face the fact that I need to be careful of my health period, not just my breasts. I can honestly say that I am not very active anymore because for the last several years I have been sitting behind a laptop doing homework or sitting in classes working towards my degree. I'm thrilled with my degree, but horrified with how yuck I've been feeling.

Last Monday I woke up ready to change that. I woke up and hopped right up and began working out. I didn’t give myself time to think about it or more importantly to talk myself out of it. Today is Sunday and I have continued that workout each day. I haven’t kept it the same because I want to keep it fun and stay motivated. I’m working my way up to a 5k even though I know I won’t be able to run the whole thing, but I’m hoping to work my way to a quicker time before signing up.

I have the best motivators around in my husband who went running with me yesterday and today in the rain, the cheers from the guy as we ran past stomping through puddles, and my children who are willing to hop up and run or ride a bike or whatever if I ask.

It’s not about weight loss for me, I’ll just settle for feeling better, having more energy, toning up and doing what I can to keep cancer at bay. I figure if I’m going to have what I truly hope is my final surgery, then I need to open the door on my life, a better life, and active life. I won't let cancer kill me, so I need to make sure that heart disease won’t either!!
Help me stay motivated!!!  
Doing this for a healthier me!!

Great run/walk in the pouring rain!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

I Miss You Susan!

I feel so shattered right now. 
A couple of days ago I came to the realization that while I believed myself to be mentally and spiritually stronger due to my battle, that it meant nothing really if I didn’t get my body in the same shape. I am very positive, always try to see the good in people and situations and walk around with a smile on my face. Not because I don’t know what is going on around me or don’t care, but because it helps me realize that what I am facing is not so bad when you think about some of the other problems and battles being faced.

So to help me get into physical shape, I started working out Monday and feel good about working up a sweat. I’m determined to get myself in a healthier place. It’s not about losing weight, but getting me together to be around for a long time. It doesn’t make sense to get past cancer 3 times just to be taken down by bad diet and a horrible thyroid issue.

Today, after working out, I get word that my pink sista Susan lost her battle. She was undergoing treatment, but just like that her condition deteriorated and all of a sudden, she’s gone.

I can’t begin to tell you how angry I am that she lost her battle so fast and during treatment and knowing that her children have lost their mom, that I lost my friend and pink sister. How hurt I am for her husband, her children, her family, for all of us. How sick and tired I am of this disgusting illness and it’s never-ending hold it has on those of us left behind. How scared I am of how quickly it kills, how silently it turns up. How sick I am of knowing that it is in someone right now, lying in wait, steadily growing, silently killing.

I know that I am considered lucky. I am a little over 10 years from my thyroid cancer, just 6 years from my triple negative breast cancer, and 9 months from my latest breast cancer. However, I can’t call myself cancer free because obviously, it hasn’t stayed away. Losing Susan, reminds me that the chance is always there, the fear is always there, the pain is always there. No matter what I do to better myself, it’s always there.

I’ve been crying off and on since I found out. I’ve cried for the loss of my friend, a mother, a wife, a sister. I know the tears will stop soon. I know that my children and my husband will turn my mind very soon, but for now, my thoughts are with Susan.

I hate cancer. I hate what it has taken. I hate what it has left behind. I hate the place that it has taken me to today.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day

I’ve been flying under the radar a bit for the last few months. I was working on finishing up the first 3 chapters of my thesis for my Master’s Degree and was so relieved to finally turn it in.
Other than that, I’ve just been moving along with being a soccer mom, bowling mom dance mom, wife, teacher, etc. 

Today, I watched my husband while he interacted with our children. Even on Father’s Day, he made the day about them in subtle ways that will make huge impacts. None of the crazy crew will ever walk away with a question of whether he loves them, but they will walk away with memories and a model of love. He’s pretty amazing.

Then I went to see my dad for a little while. I sat talking with him and my mom and just spent time relaxing and watching the World Cup. (YES I’m a huge soccer fan!!) It’s funny, as a teenager, I remember being holed up in my room, door closed watching tv or listening to music, waiting for a ride to come pick me up to head out with friends somewhere, anywhere. Now, it’s nice to just sit in my parent’s house and just be in their company, talking or not, but enjoying myself just the same. Growing up, I remember thinking that I was tuning my dad out because I was a teen that knew it all and he didn’t know what he was talking about. I was talking to my dad today and laughed to myself as I heard words that I tell my own children and my students and realize now where they come from. I guess I was listening to him all those years ago. There is wisdom, power, respect, and love in my dad and I know that I am so lucky to have been raised by him, more importantly; I carry that same wisdom...because I listened. He’s pretty phenomenal.

Whether a first time dad or an old hat I wish everyone a Happy Father’s Day!!