Sunday, October 6, 2013

Survivor Spotlight Saturday

Hello!!

Is it absolutely beautiful where you are this morning?!  Holy cow, if not you should high-tail it to southeast Missouri, ‘cause it is GORGEOUS.  Sunshine and cool morning temps…ahhhh folks, this is the stuff that FALL is made of.  Is it finally here to stay??  I HOPE SO!

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But the reason I’m here is not to gab about the weather-I want to share something with you!  I am honored to be in Komen St. Louis’ Saturday SURVIVOR SPOTLIGHT!  Look!  

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Cool right?!  You’ll have to click on over to read my story, although if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you probably already know it.  I actually had this article written for awhile, and apparently I didn’t go over it as closely as I should have, because I forgot to add in the part about my bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction.  Oops.  Small detail <<<not>>>.  But I count it a privilege to be able to share my story with others through Komen…silicone or not.  Winking smile 

Breast cancer knows know boundaries, y’all.  You can’t be too young, too healthy, too-anything, to be immune.  You have to be vigilant in knowing your body and doing self-breast exams, getting your mammograms and visiting your doctor.  And for goodness sake-letting them know if something isn’t quite right.  Just do it.  Please.

Now, go enjoy your day! 

Love y’all!

XOXO

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Five Years~

Here I am again…supremely late for an important post.  On the Monday the 16th of September marked five years since being diagnosed with breast cancer.  Five years.

Here’s my previous posts about September 16th-

Diagnosis Post
Year One
Year Two
Year Three
Year Four

I am so thankful to have this list, to have made it this far.  I hope my list of “Year” posts becomes pages and pages long someday. 

I am trying to think of what to say about this day that hasn’t already been said before.  I’ve recounted my memories of “that day” several times, and honestly it still makes me sick to my stomach to think about the morning of September 16, 2008…to think about where my head was, my heart aching, the confusion and traumatic mess of it all. 

Five years later I hate to say, but I still think about cancer, A LOT.  Not as much as before, but still.  It’s a tough thing to get past.  And I think that when I was first diagnosed, I put on the brave face and smile and was so concerned with being strong for everyone else, that I didn’t really ever check in with myself.  How was I feeling?  What was my thought process??  How am I dealing? 

I am certain that I (along with many other survivors) have a form of post traumatic stress disorder, and a huge case of survivor’s guilt. 

First things first, the PTSDBeing diagnosed with breast cancer was over-the-top traumatic for me, as I’m sure it is for many women.  But I seriously had been reassured by several different doctors that my lump was indeed NOT cancer, that I did not even consider it.  The thought of them sending off my lump to pathology and then the nurse calling me with “bad news” the next week never even crossed my mind.  But when that call did come, I went into sort of a survival mode.  Emotions shut down, close off all the sad and scary things, and spend my time reassuring everybody that I AM FINE. <---Which I said so many times that I even contemplated getting it put on a t-shirt.  I did not want people to worry about me.  I just had to get through it. 

Slowly but surely over the past few years, I have woken-up a little about it.  I have really had to look point-blank at my mortality, and the seriousness of my diagnosis.  I mean, I always knew it was serious, but not to the extent I do now.  I’m certain that was a God thing.  Do you remember when I said that I “buried my head in His robe until the storms had passed”?  Yep.  And little by little He is working on me, and continues to help me get through this “storm.”  Unfortunately, life is full of them.  But our God is faithful.  And I am so thankful. 

NOW- for the survivor’s guilt.  Oy, do I have a load of it.  I first experienced it when I was still in treatment and my best friend’s brother-in-law lost his very fast battle with sarcoma.  I remember crying to my mom over the phone and telling her that I felt so bad, that I was doing so well and here this loving family had just lost a young, great man.  The guilt has come back at different times over the years, when someone I know loses a battle with cancer, but it has been especially powerful in the past few months.  Through the magic of social media, I have become friends with the some of the best “breast” friends ever.  The bond we have is so special.  I can’t explain how comforting it is to know other women like you who have battled the same way you have, who have been through the treatments, who have rocked the bald head, who have gotten some of the same pitying looks you have, and who just get it.  And many of my friends have young kids, and that is another realm all in itself.  Moms with cancer.  That’s just not right. 

In my perfect world, all of my breast friends would be doing [physically] as well as I am.  We would all be trying to transition into our new normal and celebrate being survivors.  Life would be one big pink party.  But as it goes with cancer, that’s not always the case.  I have lost friends.  Several, actually.  I have quite a few that have recurred and now fight every day.  For a while it seemed like everyone around me was having a recurrence.  It is fear-producing and anxiety-provoking at it’s worst.  Because if you ask a cancer survivor what they worry about the most-chances are, it is the fear of the cancer coming back.  And as a survivor who stands here in remission, I feel bad.  Well, not bad like I wish MY cancer was back, too; but bad, like “Why them?  Why not me?  Why am I doing so well??”  It is gut-wrenching.  And this is not to say that it is ANYTHING compared to what my stage IV girls are going through, it’s certainly not.  And that makes me feel bad too!  How can I sit here and complain about survivor’s guilt when others have SO MUCH more to complain about!?  Feeling bad for feeling bad…  I’m tellin’ ya…it’s a trip.  Cancer is so much more than a physical battle, it’s emotional, mental, all encompassing.  And even at the five year mark, I’m still dealing with it all.

So here I sit, five years and fifteen days into this journey.  I’m still learning, still growing, still figuring out my new “normal,” and I still trust in my faith in God to carry me every day.  Every is not a “bad day” and it’s not like I am not out living and enjoying my life-because it’s pretty darn good. Winking smile  My family is awesome and my kids are growing up so fast I can hardly stand it!  I enjoy every second I have with them…even when they’re fighting or picking at each other.  But this “survivor experience” is just something that everyone handles differently…this is just my way, I suppose.  But I find bits of peace in things like my little reminder like the verse taped to my bathroom mirror that has been there for probably 3-4 years now-

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And it’s written on a notecard from Vacation Bible School this summer where I had each of my kiddos in my class write part of our memory verse, 2 Timothy 1:7, with their own name inserted (taped to my wig box, ironically)-

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Little reminders to continue to TRUST HIM, even when I’m not sure which end is up.  I know HE DOES.  And that in itself brings me the most comfort.  I don’t have to have all this together-HE’S GOT THIS.

One last thing-now that I’m so stinking late in getting this anniversary posted, it’s now OCTOBER, Breast Cancer Awareness Month!  I’ll just share with you what I put on my Facebook this morning-

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That pretty much sums it up. Love you guys.

XOXO

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Playing Serious Catch Up

I’m sitting here looking at the Enter a post title prompt, and I have absolutely no idea.  Ha!

If I were to back up and try to recap all that has gone on since I did a proper blog post, I’d be here for days.  And like they say nowadays,

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

We have an an amazing, and very busy, summer.  We spent the first half chasing the boys from basketball court to basketball court as they played summer AAU and had shootouts with their HS team.  For about 6 weeks there it was NUTS.  But the best kind, of course. Winking smile  We backed that up with a month of summer league wood bat baseball, but it was only once a week so it felt like a vacation!

Speaking of vacation…we actually managed to find a free three days to take a short but VERY sweet family vacay.  I miss the days when we would just throw the kids in the car and take off for a few days or a week, just on a whim.  Now everybody has so much going on it’s hard to find the time.  But we drove to Orange Beach and crammed more into our precious three days than I ever thought we could.  Making memories and crossing things off my bucket list…it was awesome.

PARASAILING

DEEP SEA FISHING

Other important milestones that I can’t go without mentioning, include-

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Are you even kidding me?!  This sweet baby was just born, like, YESTERDAY!  See?!  I am in such denial about my babies getting so grown up.

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and on that note-TYLER’S SENIOR PICTURES,

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Again, I just can’t believe this is happening already.  I put off even talking about senior pictures all summer until it finally couldn’t be avoided…we had to get pics started so they could have one for the yearbook.  We are so blessed that my friend, Veronica, is an amazing photographer and made the whole process as painless as possible.  She takes amazing pictures, and we aren’t done yet!  Sports pictures will come as soon as he gets his uniforms this fall. 

Wow.

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I could go on and on and on about all the things that have filled this summer.  I am looking through pictures, going “Oh! I want to show that one!  And that one!  I HAVE to show that one!”  But really, I must stop. 

So in our summer of 2013 that has been filled with sports, stitches, swimming, sister time, cousin time, fireworks, Vacation Bible School, survivor sisters and survivor WINS(!), running, walking, doctors, BBQing, new dogs, and MORE…THIS has been my favorite part of it all- 

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My beautiful family Red heartIn love

xoxo

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Update 101




Real quick:

All is going well.

The reason I have not been updating is a good one-LIFE.

I just wanted to drop a little positivity out into the internet today.

Share a smile, a hug, or a kind word with someone today. I'll try to get on here to write more often.

Love y'all:)




PS-This one's for you, Michelle;)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day




- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Miles For Boston

Thinking and praying for the victims and the families of all those involved in the bombings at the Boston Marathon yesterday.










xoxo

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, April 15, 2013

Heroic

My GOSH, I have a lot to catch up!  I have post after post written in my head…too bad I can’t beam them up to my computer.  There is just no time.  Zero. 

But this morning I am making time.  Squeezing this in between a workout, laundry, and taking my boys lunch at school.  Yes, I do this every day…and yes, I know they are spoiled. Winking smile

First thing I want to tell you brag on, is this-

We have a HERO in our family…

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We went to my BIL, Brett’s deployment ceremony a couple of weekends ago.  We could not be prouder of him and his service to our country.  We will miss him terribly, but we are already talking about how awesome his coming home celebration is going to be!

And could I give any bigger props to my sister, who is wrangling my two precious, VERY active nephews while their Daddy is gone?  Nuh-uh.  She is more than awesome.  MORE. 

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We encountered a lovely springtime blizzard while we were there, but it wasn’t going to stop us from getting to my baby sister and her family.  Love you, Brett!!

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And yes, I’m going to stop here.  Not because I am running out of brain-power or motivation, but because Brett deserves a post all to himself

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Go get ‘em boys…and come home to us all, safe and sound.

Love you, Brett!!! Red heart

xoxo

Friday, March 15, 2013

Run, Baby!

Like I said before, it took me about .2 seconds for me to put on my running shoes when my doctor gave me permission to run.  I am SO happy to be back to running.   I’m sure my family is, too.  It makes a WORLD of difference in my mood. Winking smile 

So this week, I have been HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY.  <--------And yes, we are MAJOR Duck Dynasty fans over here!  We love this show, and the  Robertson’s values are spot on.  Oh gosh, I’m going to have to do a whole other post on this.

Because THIS post is about RUNNING!

Here is this week-

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Tuesday IMG_8527

Wednesday 2013-03-15_1028garmin0313

Thursday IMG_8546

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Did you notice the two outdoor runs?!  Yay!!!  The temps have been chilly but perfect and it has been a couple of gorgeous mornings to run outside.  Man, it’s good for my SOUL. 

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Happy Friday, y’all!

xoxo

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Weekending

Goodness, we’ve been busy lately!  Nothing unusual for us really, but still!  We always seem to cram nine million things into our time; and such is the case this past week.

The kids had spring break all last week, which meant a week off from all obligations and schedules and general busy-ness…right?  Wrong!  The boys’ still had baseball practice every day, we traded vehicles (our Jeep for a truck), Tyler went to state Beta convention, I had doctors’ appointments in STL AND ran my first post-op 10k, and we went to the state basketball tournament in Columbia.  Whew!

Truck.

We decided that we needed to trade in our Jeep for something a little more family-friendly, as our kids are getting bigger and the Jeep is getting more uncomfortable to all of us to take it places.  Our suburban has has always been our family rig, but it’s getting older and reallyyyy racking up the miles (countless trips to STL will do that to ya).  So we needed a dependable vehicle that we can ALL fit in comfortably, and will be much more practical for our family.  SO-a new four-door truck it was!  Our new Ford F-150 super crew cab with Ecoboost engine (No, I have no idea what that means, but I’ve heard it countless times over the past few days so I’m just going to go with it). 

But I do know that it’s very comfortable with TONS of room and we had a great time trying it out on our little road trip this weekend!

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BETA.

By the looks of the pictures, it looked like my son had a great time at State Beta Convention!  I am glad that there is at LEAST a couple pictures of him in clothes! Winking smile 

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Heehee In love

But something else wonderful did come out of his 3-day trip…A FIRST PLACE PLAQUE!!

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For what, you ask??  Why, POETRY, of course!  I mean, what else would you expect my sports-lovin’, huntin’ and fishin’ kid to excel at?!

But he nailed it.  Check out the poem he wrote-

MY MOM
By Tyler Griffin, Van Buren High School MO Sr. Beta Poetry Competition 2013


She may not be too buff,
But dang that woman’s tough.
If stubbornness were riches,
She’d be a billionaire.
She told us not to cry,
Because God would not let her die.
Cancer will not beat me,
I know this, I swear.
Going out in public,
People began to stare.
They all quickly seemed to notice,
That my mother had no hair.
Soon people started bringing me homemade food,
And sending flowers to lighten the mood.
But still my mother said,
Cancer will not beat me,
I know this, I swear.
In the face of adversity,
My mother would not give in.
When people hear the word Cancer,
They tend to think of death.
But not my mom,
She stood face to face
With something bigger than man.
From life my mom would not part,
Wow, what a HEART.


Wow, my son.  And he won first place, of course.  I was overwhelmed when I read it; it’s so beautiful, and so heartfelt.  I truly have no words.  And first place in the state of Missouri?!  Wow again. 

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And does he score bonus points for writing about his Momma? You betcha. Winking smile

Doctor.

I had my 3-month check up with my amazing oncologist (and proud to call he and his family “friends”) on Friday.  Since we were going to on Columbia to watch basketball on Saturday, we had Zach and Katie with us.  They have now decided that “doctor day” is STL is absolutely no fun at all.  Zero.

But Katie did get to get a pink bandage for her arm and didn’t even have to get poked for hers!  But she matched Mommy.  I have the best support ever.
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My appointment went pretty well.  I have some labs that are a little out of whack, but he feels confident that it is all because of my recent surgery and that things will level out.  We will recheck them in two weeks. 

I also had a repeat bone scan to check on one of my ribs that lit up during my last scan in December.  The rib is better, but I’m still showing uptake in my fibula from my stress fracture last summer.  It doesn’t even hurt and hasn’t given me any problems at all!  Go figure.

In talking about my bone issues, and me being frustrated with all the injuries and stuff that I’ve had, he said to remember that they’ve aged me.  All the chemotherapy and radiation, and drugs that I have to continue to take, all have major effects on the body.  Basically I’m 35, but my body is not.  I’m not even going to ask how old my body is…  I feel like I’m 90 when I get out of bed in the morning, and at different times during the day, but I hope my body isn’t QUITE that old yet.

Appointment and scan done.  Next up,

Celebrate Fitness 2013.

I had kept the idea of going to this year’s Celebrate Fitness in the back of my mind, but never signed up because I didn’t know where I would be in my recovery, or if the family would want to stay the night in STL so I could go the next day. 

But we stayed, and I went, and am SO GLAD I did!  Here’s last year’s recap!

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Yay!!  Even running in the pouring rain was awesome.  Seriously, I love being a part of something that is so connected to me.  If I could only do two events per year, it would be Celebrate Fitness and Komen Race for the Cure.  Love me some PINK!! 

State Basketball.

One of the teams from our conference, and my Dad’s alma mater, was playing for the state championship on Saturday night, so we headed to Columbia to support the Eminence Redwings!  (Now that’s a first for me saying that.)

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We had a lot of fun watching them win their school’s first ever state title.  And we always have fun when we are together…well, minus Tyler of course…boo.

And Zach and Katie crack me up!  They can fight like crazy sometimes, but they are the first to have each other’s backs, too.  I love them MORE THAN WORDS.

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Ok, so I’m exhausted just writing this post.  In all honesty, I started it on Tuesday…it’s now Thursday.  It obviously hasn’t taken me three days, I just have no focus.  Thank you chemo and menopause!

Bulldog Baseball season starts here tomorrow, so we will be back on schedule again!  I can’t believe it’s the middle of March already.  Geez, where is the time going?!

Love y’all!

xoxo

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