Friday, May 23, 2014

All Done!

This Tuesday was a huge day for me.
I finally finished ALL of my cancer treatments! So far it looks like all of the cancer is gone and hopefully it will stay that way forever. I have to say that as horrible as it's been to go through I have learned a lot from this experience. I've learned to really appreciate my family so much more than I already do, especially my mom. She has always been there for me, but I never realized just how much I needed her until this. She has taken me to countless appointments, watched my children, cleaned my house and helped me with all of the everyday things that I take for granted.
I've learned that I have some really fantastic friends. Many of my friends are scattered all over the map so they couldn't be here physically for me, but they made their presence known in other ways. One friend crocheted hats and scarves for me (you would not believe how cold your ears, head and neck get with no hair!), another made me a blanket, one sent me a book, another a gift card and so many of them emailed me, sent texts and called me.
I've also learned that it's okay to slow down. Heck, it's okay to just come to a screeching halt sometimes. Life does go on even if you do have a mountain of laundry. I'm hoping that I'll keep this in mind even now that things are starting to get somewhat back to normal. I think that my kids have kind of enjoyed the slower pace too.
And last but not least, I've learned not to worry about what others think about me so much. This is something I thought I had well in hand before, but apparently I didn't. I spent a good bit of time during my treatment worried about my appearance. I was constantly worried about people seeing my bald head, dark eye circles, brown fingernails, and my bloated body. It finally hit me that if it were an issue for them then I would probably be better off without them in my life. My hair is starting to finally come in, I'm getting new nails and hopefully soon I'll be able to get back into decent shape. While I am relieved at this, the most important thing is that I am healthy and have been granted more time with my family.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ten


It's hard to believe, but my sweet Audrey is now in the double digits!
If you think I've lost my mind and let my baby get hi-lights you are wrong. For some dumb reason I let her play with my wigs. She decided that long, strawberry blond hair was just the thing for The Mad Hatter to have. 
She even made some signs for the front door. It's hard to see in the pictures, but they say 'we're all a little mad here', 'this way', 'that way', 'over here', and 'over there'.

Happy tenth birthday Audrey, I hope that your tenth year is your best year yet!
 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Some suggestions for friends and family dealing with cancer

I am currently about half way through my cancer treatments and I thought I would throw together a little list of things to keep in mind if you have a friend of family going through the same thing. Most of these things are pretty much common sense, but some are things that you might not think of unless you or a family/friend have been through it. 
  1. Call before you decide to drop in. Always. Sure you may have the best of intentions, but if  you don't then the person you are visiting will not be able to enjoy your visit. They will sit there the entire time thinking about how bad they look or how messy their house is. 
  2. Don't let the illness dominate the conversation. Sure, I don't mind talking about it,  but there is more to me than cancer. I would much rather talk about my kids or a good sale I heard about than cancer.
  3. Keep in mind that things can change a lot from day to day. I may have had on a full face of makeup and had my house clean last time I saw you, but that was a good day. A really, really good day. It's not unusual for me to be sitting around in my Hello Kitty pj's all day because it wears me out too much to move. 
  4. Put your money where your mouth is. Right after my diagnosis I had so many people tell me that if I needed anything, anything at all to let them know. Guess what? It's amazing how hard it is to find these very people when you need them. You know who has been my biggest helpers? My mom, dad, husband and children. My husband and I have a huge family, yet he, my parents and our three children have been the only ones to help out. My twelve year old cooks dinner pretty much every night. When my husband can't take me to a doctors appointment then my parents take me. If my parents aren't taking me then they are watching the kids for me. Sometimes this is extremely depressing to me, but then I realize that it's okay because I know these six people love me more than anything in the world and that is more than enough for me.
  5. Please do not think that I am a babysitter. Yes, you read that right. I cannot begin to tell you how many people want to drop their kids off at my house because they know the girls and I will be home. Seriously, it blows my mind that people think it's okay to go off shopping and leave their kids with me for hours on end. 
  6. Offer to do something with the kids. I give kudos to one of the girls friends mothers. She has hosted many sleepovers for my baby and I love her for that. It gives my child a sense of normalcy and I will always be grateful to her for that. 
  7. Please stop with all the cancer articles on facebook. If I have to read through another beautiful, moving story about a husband/wife/son/daughter/etc. that went through cancer only to get to the end of the article and find out the person died, well someone might get hurt. Believe it or not it's a little depressing reading about someone going through the same thing as you and not making it. Also, just because you have a cancer diagnosis does not mean you have a death sentence. 
  8. Keep in mind that cancer is a very expensive thing. I have had to turn down a few invites to things because frankly, I can't afford them. Co-pays, these of course vary depending on your insurance, but even if you have fantastic insurance they still add up. You have to spend money on gas going back and forth to appointments. My hospital is not that far from my house, but when you have to go back and forth every day, the cost of gas starts to really add up. You miss work. In my case, I have not been able to work in months. By the way, if your place of employment offers disability insurance, get it. I'm only part time so I'm not able to get it through my job, but oh it would have been nice to have a supplemental insurance! 
  9. Don't make assumptions based on someone else's experience. My mother in law has a really hard time understanding why I can't do a lot of things. Why? Because her brother in law had some skin cancer spots removed from his face and is just fine. What she fails to realize is that he didn't have to go through any kind of treatment such as radiation or chemotherapy. 
  10. And last, but not least.. be patient with us. Not only do I move a lot slower these days, but sometimes I forget things. I find myself telling my family "I'll try my best, but I can't make any promises." It's not that I'm not a person of my word, but sometimes I am not able to do things or as mentioned before I forget. It's not that I don't care, it's just that some things are out of my control right now.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Another mommy brag

This week at PTA Kylie was given an award for placing first in the Reflections writing contest. She also won the sixth grade science fair (although she was absent the day it was announced so I don't know what place she made). The writing contest was probably the most important to her as she loves to write. She has actually been working on a series of books for over two years now. 
I am so proud of my girl!

Friday, February 7, 2014

National Elementary Honor Society

And the newest member of the National Elementary Society is...
Audrey!

Congratulations Audrey, we love you and are so proud of all of your hard work!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Saying goodbye to an old friend. Of sorts.

A few weeks ago we finally did it. We said goodbye to the playhouse loft bed. 
The girls were getting tired of it and so was I. It had become a pain to make the bed and to keep the playhouse part clean. Also, the girls are getting bigger *sniff*sniff* and weren't really utilizing the playhouse aspect of it at all. So down it went. We ordered the girls a daybed with a trundle and so far it is working out pretty well. It takes up much less room and isn't quite so daunting when you walk in the room. It's been kind of slow going getting their room in shape due in large part to well..me. The chemo has been really wearing on me lately so there have been many days I just cannot physically do anything. That kills me. I'm super impatient and when I want to start a project I want to start and finish it right away. Not so this time. I'm hoping that in a few weeks I can share some pictures of the change. Nothing super fancy of course, but just a few tweaks here and there that make a good bit of difference. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Ring a ding ding!

It's official. I am done with chemotherapy, rang the bell, and got the certificate. I am done!
Next up, surgery!