Thursday, December 31, 2015
Monday, November 2, 2015
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
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
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
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
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.
Friday, June 19, 2015
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
I know it has been a while since I have last updated, we have been keeping busy since it has been getting nice outside! Over the past month, we had a very successful golf benefit, celebrated my dad's retirement, celebrated my husband's 35th birthday and among many other things! At my golf outing, I took my shoe off and was able to drive a golf cart around with ease! This only made my itch for driving again greater. We celebrated my Dad's retirement in May as well. We all showed up for his last hour of work and sent him out in style. My dad was and still is a hard worker. He and my mom made sure all of us girls got everything we wanted growing up. I tell my husband its not my fault that we are spoiled, it's my parents! I wanted to do something different for Jon's birthday and had help coming up with the idea of taking him to a casino, since he has never been to one. We went to The Meadows, conveniently located by the outlets. Jon had never been to these outlets before so we christened him...and he hated it. I made out quite well though =) . The casino was a lot of fun, I enjoyed watching Jon do something new. We had such a great time with friends and family. Jon and I also celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary. We have been together for 5 years now and it still feels like yesterday that I met this guy at a bar in a softball uniform. I always knew, from the beginning, that I was going to marry this him.
I go for my next scan in a few weeks, so fingers crossed I am still progressing in a positive way. PT is going great as well. We are still walking with a cane & started to walk some without my braces on. It's an on-going battle between the braces and I, but at some point I think I will win the war.
When I started this post I was filled with anger and resentment towards everything that I've been trying to do today. However, in typing out what I have been up to, it has me shown me how blessed I am. So what has me frustrated? Stupid things...like how my husband planted a shrub that I don't like, or finding his work clothes with normal clothes, not being able to carry laundry up and down the steps, walking out to the garage only to find no potting soil for a railing pot. I should be focusing on how lucky and blessed I am that my husband does take the time to plant flowers in our empty flower beds and actually does the laundry and hangs my clothes that don't go in the dryer up to dry. And how he will stop and get potting soil on his way home from work so I can plant some flowers after working 10 hours today. Maybe it is good I get myself mad and worked up so I can see how fortunate I actually am. God does work in mysterious ways!
Thank you all for your prayers and support. As frustrating as it is to have things taken away from me, its refreshing to see my blessings.
"They say love is blind. I disagree. Infatuation is blind, love is all-seeing and accepting. Love is seeing all the flaws and blemishes and accepting them. Love is accepting the bad habits and mannerisms, and working around them. Love is recognizing all the fears, insecurities, and knowing your role is to comfort. Love is working through all the challenges and painful times. Infatuation is fragile and will shatter when life is not perfect. Love is strong and it strengthens because it is real."
Sunday, May 3, 2015
It has been a while...
Dare I say that life has been going great?! I shouldnt say it is all roses and butterflies, but things are progressing in the right direction. Reflecting back over this past year and to where I am now is unbelievable. For one, I have hair, and for two, I have been walking with a cane unassisted (most of the time). PT is going awesome. I am forever grateful for the group that I work with. They really are making me stronger, wiser and just full of determination. I truly look forward to Monday, Wednesday & Friday's. Not only do they treat me like family but they treat my family as one of their own. I have the up most respect for all of them. Each week is a new beginning as I set small goals for myself to the main goal. I'll settle for walking now, but eventually maybe even running again one day...who am I kidding I hated running. Maybe golfing...the last time I tried to swing a club was a disaster...yet comical. Thank you Chris for videoing the epic fall.
As the weather is finally breaking, I'm trying to be more active. I went yard selling with some of my girlfriends this weekend. This was my first time and now I can't wait for the next one! The weather was perfect today so I was able to finish painting our patio furniture while Jon pressure washed the deck and sidewalks. This is all because of your support that we are able to do this. Last year we were able to widen our sidewalks for me and build a new deck that I could function on.
All of your support, encouraging words, thoughts and prayers fill Jon and me with so much gratitude. I know that good things happen to those who wait but I'm the type of girl that doesn't want to wait...I want to do what I can to get it. I know that God is with me and any time I think why or feel down I always think of this to help me get through:
One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me."
He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you."
- by Mary Stevenson
Saturday, March 21, 2015
Emotion. Defined as a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with others. I feel that cancer has put a burden on my family, friends & husband. Every time I come home from dr's appointments I feel like I just went through a break-up. I don't know if I set my expectations too high and when I get the news from the dr. that nothing has changed, it's like dagger to my heart. Yes, it's great that it didn't change...it's great that my brain scans look normal. I know we aren't under a treatment plan right now, and from the sounds of it, since nothing has changed, there won't be a treatment plan. Yes, this news everyone says is great news, but I just don't feel great. This disease has turned my world upside down. I don't want to offend anyone or have people think I am depressed or ungrateful, but imagine going to bed one night and when you wake up your legs don't work. I feel like until something major has happened to you, whether it be losing a wife/husband/child, a body part, hearing the words "you have cancer", you don't fully get it. That sounds horrible of me to say, but unfortunately that is how I feel. No matter how much you try to focus on the positives, the negatives don't just get up and walk away. The piece of you that was taken away will never be replaced. The break-up will always feel so fresh.
Goal. Defined as the object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result. The dr. told my parents it would be at least 2 years before I would be walking again. Unfortunately for them, I proved them wrong. At about my 1 year mark of PT, I walked with my cane without any one holding me. I'm on my feet more at home, doing dishes, cleaning, cooking dinner, and I even did my basement stairs (yes, I caught hell for this since no one was home). So, goals for this year, be able to completely walk free of braces, cane and walker. I can't wait to get behind the wheel again. I need to fix my drop foot before I can drive so that is on my list as well. I've been building up my upper body strength and plan to get just as strong in my legs. I want to be mentally and emotionally stronger. I know I'm going to have negative days and I know it is perfectly okay to, but I want my positive days and moments to outshine the negative ones.
Thank you for the continued prayers and support. Some days I just sit and read the cards that have been sent to me and remind myself I have a whole team behind me.
Saturday, February 21, 2015
Well things have been moving towards a positive direction, physically speaking. It is like a switch was flicked in my muscle memory to "on". Granted I'm miles from where I want to be but I am making great strides..literally. I am making laps at PT with my cane and very little help. Jon stayed one day to watch me walk and I think I surprised him. I have trouble with keeping my cane and left leg together but it's such an amazing feeling to know I am getting there!
All this snow we have been getting today really has me itching to go sled riding. Growing up I would spend hours outside. We were supposed to go up to my brother in laws cabin today but didn't want to chance the roads so no sled riding today. Maybe tomorrow! Most complain about this weather but it just brings me back to my childhood and all the memories I have. If I have a complaint it could be a tad bit warmer...blood thinners and negative degrees don't mix well!
Today an old friend left me speechless with such kind words on Facebook. "You are a winner, a competitor, and never backed down from anything or anyone." I still remember my senior day soccer gift you gave me and the card that read, "this isn't us, see you on the court." I grew up on a team whether it be basketball, soccer, track & cross country and softball. No hiding it, basketball was my favorite. The team I have now is not for a sport but Lord knows I have the best support team I could ask for. Day 1 I said I wasn't letting cancer get the best of me and I honestly haven't...there may have been moments, just like in basketball I had moments. Some good, some bad...and I ran for those! But the game doesn't stop just because things didn't go your way. If you stopped it would just pass you by.
So, I feel instead of complaining try living for the moment. I may have cancer but cancer picked the wrong person.
As always, your love and support mean so much to me. Kindness, memories & prayers give me so much strength. At PT they asked what got into me and I said I think God is hearing my prayers...and I believe He is! Thank you all :)
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
I had a small setback in December through some of January. A few weeks later...I hope.. we have it under control. I missed 2 weeks of PT so I don't feel I am as in shape. I find myself out of breath after each exercise. While I was working out, an older gentleman told me "hard work isn't easy". He is not kidding. My next rescan isn't until the middle of March, so I don't really have an update on the tumors. I can really wiggle my toes lately...something I was not able to do a year ago. Its hard to think this time last year I was about the check out of Mercy after my month stay and come home. Time flies.
This weather stinks though! I basically go to PT and come home. I'll be happy to get outside without all my layers. Who knows, maybe by then I'll be packing away the wheelchair and keeping the walker and cane out!
My brother in law had his bday party at a digital golf place and I thought..yeah I can totally swing and hit a golf ball. Jon stood behind me and I was scared I was going to smack him in the head so it was just awkward all together. I did not hit him but he did let me go and fall flat on my face. It of course was video taped. I didn't get hurt, just embarrassed and got a great laugh in. Maybe at the golf outing this May I will be able to hit a ball...and not fall on my face.
Sorry such a boring and information lacking update. Maybe that is a good thing....not much to update about!
Thank you all again for your continued support and prayers.