Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Some good byes are harder than others...

2 years ago today I said good bye to Mercy hospital and made my way back home. I was so happy to be home after spending a month in the hospital  No more nurses coming in every 4 hours to wake up and give me shots.  No more hospital food.  That good bye was easy.   I knew I was going to have home PT care and would have to get adjusted to a newer life style, but I didn't care...I was home.  After home PT, I was sent on to outpatient PT.  Little did I know that I would make friends that would change my life forever.

Almost 2 years later, I had one of the hardest goodbyes I had to face in a very long time.  I shouldn't say its a goodbye, but a see you later.  When I arrived at PT, I was in my wheelchair with my walker not knowing what to expect.  Who knew I would have met someone who has made such an impact on my life.  Even typing this is hard for me because there is so much emotion.  I made a friend who helped to keep me positive, inspired, support me, a shoulder to lean on when days were tough for me.   They say friendship isn't about who you have known the longest.  It's about who walked into your life and said I am here for you and proved it.  So many fun memories were created on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays.  From things to hold on to, to sweet tea sippin', to drunken toddler walks, and dance moves, I will always treasure those in my heart.  I'll be representing BBR. Jon and I can't even begin to say how grateful we are for not giving up on me and pushing me to reach my goals. You will do great things.  I like to think that God sends us special friends to share our lives, very special people we can be ourselves with, talk with, laugh with, hope with, and believe with.  I'm sure He knows just how special you are to me and right now I'm hoping you know too.

Good byes are never easy, no matter what the circumstance.  I like see you agains much better.  Thank you for the great memories at PT and I am looking forward to new memories.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye 2015!

   As 2015 comes to a close, I sit here and think about all the good & bad things I have faced and overcame.  Just when I thought my family was close, events drew us closer together.  We were faced with adversity when my father was diagnosed with cancer.  It came as such a shock and reminder of what I went through. I was emotionless.  I didn't know what to think or how to feel.  As much as I wanted to break down and cry, I knew I couldn't.  It wouldn't get me anywhere.  I knew I had to be strong.  I now share a bond with my Dad that no one else has.  We made it through, probably one of the hardest parts of his life, together.  I understood what he was feeling without him having to say it.  We just got each other.  My Dad was able to retire this year and has been fighting his battle...I'm not sure if it is with boredom, golfing, or cutting down trees... I'm so grateful he is here to do those things.
  Earlier in the year we successfully pulled of a 60th surprise birthday for my Mom.  She deserved a day just for her after the crazy past few years.  She deserves more than just a day, she deserves more than I can even imagine.  Growing up, most of us want our mom's out of our business and now being grown up I can say she is my best friend & she is involved in all my business.  She truly has a heart of gold.  The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us but those who win battles we know nothing about.
  There are so many things that I look back on and think, wow I am just grateful to be here.  My scans have not shown any signs of major changes, which is a good thing.  I try to fight every day that I am at the gym to make myself stronger.  I know key to getting better  my hands.  I feel I am in better shape now than I have ever been.  I have so many people encouraging me that I am inspired to keep doing more.  Even just looking back on my life, there will always be a before cancer and an after cancer.  As crazy as it sounds, my life with cancer is fuller.  I feel that this experience makes you a more humbling person.  I appreciate life so much more.  I feel I could never go back to the person I was before.  I found a quote that helped put things into perspective: "After a while I looked in the mirror and realized...Wow after all those hurts, scars, and bruises, after all those trials, I really made it through.  I did it.  I survived that which was supposed to kill me.  So I straightened my crown...and walked away like a boss."
   A new year, a new me.  A fresh start.  Is it really?  Tomorrow you will probably wake up and feel the same way you did today, maybe hungover, but you get the point.  The date 2016 will not change you.  YOU will have to change YOU.  I hope you wake up and realize a beautiful day begins with a beautiful mindset.  When you wake up, take a second to be thankful for all of your blessings, being alive, being positive.  The moment you start acting like life is a blessing, I assure you it will start to feel like one.

I hope you all have a very blessed, healthy New Year.  I hope you wake up everyday this year and are thankful for your blessings.  

Thank you for your continued love and support.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Anniversaries

Everyone has an anniversary for something....how long you have been with your significant other, how long it has been since a loved one has passed, how long you have been smoke free, how long it has been since you broke up with someone, how long you have been diagnosed with something.

November 5, 1994 I was in 3rd grade and was the flower girl in my cousins wedding.  I can still remember being in a car with someone who had their radio up so loud it made me sick so I switched vehicles and sat between the bride and groom while Zimas were being drank.  And if my memory serves me right, we had to stop at K-Mart for something....maybe it was hair tamer for my perm my mother gave me.

Fast forward to November 5, 2013.  I was so excited to wear a new pair of booties with a new sweater dress I bought to work.  I remember texting my cousin Happy Anniversary!  And the reply was, "my sweet flower girl."  Funny how little things like that stick in your memory.  We had finished the work day and I set the alarm to our building and when we were leaving I fell and luckily landed on chairs by the door.  My co-worker was concerned and I blamed it on tripping over the carpet.  I knew my leg just completely gave out, but I was too embarrassed to say anything,  November 5 2013, my first fall.

That weekend I had a girls shopping day planned in Pgh,  I limped around and tried to keep up with everyone.  I was on a mission to get Jonathan a watch for Christmas.  We were in Macy's going up the escalator and I went to step off with my left leg first and the next thing I know is I'm grabbing onto my best friend and falling.  Embarrassed again I put on a tough face and continued to limp around for the rest of the day.  I did get the last watch that was in Macy's inventory.  November 9, 2013, my second fall.

I knew Jonathan was at hunting camp and when I told him I fell, I got the vibe he didn't think it was a big deal...simple because I didn't make a big deal.  I figured I had something out of whack with my back and would go see the chiropractor the following week.  I continued to gimp around for a while and finally made an appointment.  When I got around to going to the chiropractor clinic it seemed I had pushed it off too long.  They were so concerned for me and wouldn't touch me.  They sent me to get an MRI.  I knew at work we were going to be short staffed so I kept sucking the pain up and my mom got me a cane to help me walk.  My god daughter* was to be baptized this weekend so I postponed my MRI.  That weekend, I got down on the floor with my niece and I couldn't get up.  We all were joking around about it, but I kept my poker face and didn't show the amount of pain I was in.

The next week begins and my chiro called and asked about my MRI, which I had yet to get.  She urged me to go to the emergency room because she felt something serious was happening.  I finally went and got my MRI.  The next day I was told I needed to come back and get another with contrast.  I still remember my mom calling and asking where I was and I felt like I was being babied and could handle getting another MRI on my own...little did I know I had to get a needle in my arm and I'm scared of needles.  I screamed at my mom for being there until she told me I had to have contrast dye injected into my arm through an IV.  At 27, yes I still needed my mom.

My mom was told to make an appointment with a neurologist immediately after my MRI.  My mom, brother-in-law and I went to the Dr.  After looking at my scan, he basically told me, there is a room at Presby waiting for me and I would  be seen.  Bam...just like that.  My families lives were forever changed.

After my stint in the hospital I was able to be there when my niece was born and hold her in my arms.  I have never held my baby niece and be able to walk around a room with her in constant fear that I would fall and be holding them.  She turns 2 this year.

We all cope in different ways...some bottle everything in, some become so angry, some accept it and move on and I feel that is exactly what I did.  2 years ago my life, my families life changed in a way that was never expected.  Today, I can't help but feel that time has been stolen from me.  Memories have been stolen from me.  I hate feeling like this, I hate the fact that my left foot doesn't respond to much, I mean I can wiggle my toes but that is about it.  I have been working so hard at getting my body better, but my left leg is just not responding.  I almost feel like the rug has been pulled out from underneath me and I feel abandoned.  Why I have all these emotions flowing through me I can't explain it.  I know I try to stay as positive as possible, but sometimes reality has a way of catching up with you and punching you in the face.  I'm blessed in so many ways and I need to refocus on what I have done in the past 2 years.  I'm beating the Dr's timeline of 2 years until I'd be walking again.

I just sit here feeling selfish and woe is me.  I know I can have days like today.  I had a good cry as soon as I got in my mother in laws car from PT.  Maybe that is all I needed, was a good cry and get it all out there.  I was in, what my husband calls it, "beast mode" at the gym.  I had my headphones on and I just gave it hell.  I guess when reality wants to punch me in the face, it better be able to take a good punch back.

I feel like this is all babble talk, but it makes me feel so much better getting it off my chest and out of my system.  Thank you all for the continued prayers and support you send my way.  On days like today, I sure can use them.

"Do not confuse my bad days as a sign of weakness.  These are actually the days I am fighting my hardest."

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Is it 2016 yet?!

Well I had my rescan done and everything came back with good news. My nightmares did not come true. The only change was some fluid in a few of my syrinx increased. They did not seem to feel this was alarming.

I was starting to relax and refocus on getting stronger and to push forward. With my family's rough go in August, I was finally able to take a deep breath and exhale. Then I noticed my furbaby was having some eye issues, I thought maybe just allergies. We had taken her to the vet recently and had gotten ointment for them. I felt it didn't help and made an appointment.  Of course the day of her appointment her eyes were looking less cloudy, less glazed over. We thought about cancelling but decided to keep it. Now if you really know me, Remi is basically my child, my best friend, my support. She laid with me everyday when I was sick in bed and never left my side. Yes, I am a crazy mother of my dog. I felt like I was punched in the stomach when the vet told us she had Glaucoma.  It honestly brought tears to my eyes. Then when she said she could go blind and possibly lose an eye, I had to remind myself to breathe. This morning when remi and I woke up, Remi began to have a seizure. There we were laying on the floor as I tried to make it stop and make it go away. I was petting her, blowing in her face, feeling her racing heart. I thought to myself her heart is going to explode or my baby is going to die in my arms on my dining room floor. She finally came back and we laid there starring at each other . The first thing she did was lick my face. I may not have a "child" but let me tell you that was one of the scariest mommy moments I have ever had.  After a few minutes she got up as if nothing had happened and waited by her dish for breakfast while I was freaking out calling everyone for help. The vet told me since she seemed okay now to just monitor and if it happens again to video it so they can figure it out. Wow...I thought to myself yes, I'll video my "child" seizing on the floor and maybe while I'm at it, I'll post it to Facebook.  As she was there for me, I have done nothing today but be by her side.

I love the saying, whoever said diamonds were a girls best friend, never owned a dog. 

Sorry for the lack of excitement, it has just been a rough go at it these past few months. I still am staying positive that God has a plan for us all. Thank you for your love and support.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Pony tails...

Well for the first time in almost 2 years I am able to pull my hair into a ponytail. Lol I look like my neices and if I had a bow the style would be complete. But hey even if it's on top of my head it still is a ponytail!  Whoohoo.

I don't know if I ever talked about losing my hair or not. I have received numerous complements about people loving my short hair and keeping a pixie cut. Let's say this, I haven't had bangs since the 4th grade and having these side swept bangs drives me absolutely INSANE! I'm almost to the point of being to tuck behind my ear but dang, they are annoying. Instead of complaining about my hair, I am just blessed that I have it to complain about again!! I think keeping my hair this short will always remind me of the struggles I went through.  It's not that I don't appreciate the battle, but I just don't want to be reminded of it. I can't move on from cancer if I keep focusing on the bad. Cancer may be winning the battles but I know I will win the war.

I had a nightmare a few weeks ago that my cancer spread throughout my body and I had 6 weeks to live. Not going to lie, scares the crap out of me. It had me feeling down thinking of the all the what ifs.  I get that I have to live with this disease, but I can't imagine what would happen if it came true. Sitting here thinking about this brings to mind all the dreams I have of playing basketball again, walking, and most recently canoeing and rafting. These are the dreams that are going to come true.

Let go, let God.

My next scan is the 22nd, and having that dream makes me nervous.  Prayers and God will get me through this. Thank you for your continued support.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Battle through

Wow, summer is coming to an end already!  What a journey this 2015 has been already. The end of October will mark 2 years of tripping and falling for "no reason".  It's wild to think this would completely change the way I look at life and live life. If asked if I'm the same person that I was before cancer to the person I am now,  the answer is no. I feel like a completely different person.

First off, I feel like I grew up. At 26 and you receive news like I did was something I never would have guessed would have happened to me, let alone my family. I always think, I am glad God picked me to fight this battle for many reasons. I grew up and battled against a monster. I became mentally strong, I told myself every day I was going to get my life back. Thanks to PT I have been more physically fit and thanks to everyone who tells me how much progress I have made. Hearing this just makes me want to keep doing more, keeping pushing and not give up and not give in.
No matter what you are battling, remind yourself how strong you are, how far you have come. Always look forward. When I think about my diagnosis I think wow, a year ago I had no hair,  wasn't able to walk very well. And now I have a headful of hair and am walking with a cane and braces.
I had the script flipped on me this summer. Someone extremely close to me was diagnosed with cancer. At first I couldn't believe it. I was literally emotionless. I've never felt like that before. I thought to myself I am going to be their outlet, I am going to help them get through this because I am getting through this. I didn't really know how I was going to do it because I knew the emotions and questions running through their mind. Weeks before the surgery we stopped to eat and not much was said, but I really felt like we had the best conversation. We just got each other. When the day of surgery came, I didn't know what to expect other than you've been on the other side and I knew how I felt. I will admit it was difficult to see someone I looked to as my hero laying in so much pain and not being able to take it away. I know what it felt like to be laying in pain and no one could take it away. I just kept saying that you have to battle through it and we will get through it. We are still battling through it, but we share a connection with each other and can help each other. I want to inspire them from my experience. I want them to have a positive outlook on the future and recovering. It's a long battle, but I know together we will both come out as survivors. I think of the quote, "I may have had cancer, but cancer never had me."

Thank you for your continued support and prayers. I go for my rescan this month so hopefully all is well.

"Having courage does not mean that we are unafraid. Having courage and showing courage mean we face our fears. We are able to say, I have fallen but I will get up again."

Monday, August 10, 2015

Whirlwind

I'm extremely sorry for the lack of updates, as we know summer comes and it's the 4th of July and the next day seems like Labor day.

My family and I just got back from a wonderful vacation at Ocean City. We had such a great time, great weather, and great family memories. I was able to get in the water a couple of days with Jon and a boogie board. I would have give anything to have just run in and dive through the waves. Maybe next year. I am blessed that I was even able to get into the water.

There hasn't been much new on my progression. I think the week off of pt was a much needed and welcoming break. I was able to just relax. I am sure tomorrow I will be feeling a little sore after today's session, but like I was told, hard work ain't easy.  I feel like my left foot has taken a step backwards and that is frustrating to me. Hopefully in the next few weeks it will be back on track.

I've come to the realization that cancer just completely sucks. It hits you when you least expect it to and knocks you down some pegs. I know I have been strong and positive throughout this chapter of life but when it flips back on you to be strong and positive for someone else, I get a whole new perspective. As much as I want to ask God why now, I know he has a plan. I am still unsure of how to be a shoulder to lean on and help others stay positive and dig deep to battle. I feel when I was diagnosed I just accepted it and kept battling. It's a choice, you either want to battle or you want to give up. How my parents raised me was not to give up or give in. When things were tough for me I just kept thinking of the poem about the footsteps with God. He carried me through the battle and I'm sure he's not done yet.

I don't want my pain and struggles to make me a victim.  I want my battle to make me someone else's hero.

My family  could use some prayers in the next few weeks. I appreciate all the support you all have given me because I know without it I would not be who I am today.