Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Next Chapter

It has been almost 7 months since my diagnosis. I start my 8th cycle of treatment- 20th round of chemotherapy, 22nd Herceptin infusion; and my 8th shot of Xgeva. Even though every cancer patient is different, most average 6-8 cycles of chemotherapy. I can't help but think, if I wasn't such an overachiever with everything, I would almost be done with this journey. Alas, I am not, a metastatic Stage IV Breast Cancer patient receives chemo until there is nothing else to try. So . . . it is on to the next chapter of my life.

I go for weekly treatments, three weeks on, one week off. I peal myself out of bed every Thursday sick to my stomach, and make the 45 minute drive to Oakland. I sign in and wait for my name to be called. I go back to have my vitals taken and my weight checked (I have gained nearly 30lbs since my diagnosis), and then to have my port accessed. Which, if I forget to put numbing cream on, is not very pleasant. I sit for 2 hours while the toxins invade my body trying to kill the cancer. Most times, it is the only time Steve and I get alone anymore. I get sicker each time I go, and feel the energy sucked out of me. I usually have to sleep for hours when I come home.

I am just tired of it. I have taken to crying like a school aged child who doesn't want to get on the bus before we leave the house. I don't want to go. I want it to be done, but it's not, and it never will be.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

8th Thankful Thursday: Ain't Nobody Got Time for That

Welcome back to my 8th edition of Thirteen Thankful Thursdays!

Before my diagnosis I lived in a virtually connected world. I was attached to my phone, computer and iPad most of the day. I was a Co-Founder, President & CEO and also a Division Coordinator at a very successful nonprofit organization. I was answering e-mails, organizing, planning, and creating about 8 hours of every day strictly volunteer. I loved what I did/do, but found that spending so much time at the computer ultimately was taking away from my family. I found myself obsessing over checking social media and emails to make sure I didn't miss anything but in reality was missing out on something far more important; my family. I realized one thing after my diagnosis, as the great Sweet Brown once said: Ain't nobody got time for that. 

The internet, Facebook, Twitter, emails, I don't have time to be glued to the screen of devices all the time. I decided shortly after that the world can wait on me, because my kids are my world. 

I urge you this week to put down your phone, iPad and computer more. If you are in the same room as your kids or partner, don't get on your devices. Go out to eat, and leave your phone in the car. Play a game with your kids instead of playing Candy Crush (that one is really for me). I'm not saying to give them up completely, I am just saying spend less time worrying about having to be on social media and the internet, or respond to every email within 2 hours. I feel a like a better spouse and mother after spending less time in a virtual reality and more in my own. Remember this, the world will keep moving and spinning, you can wait on the world; but to someone else, you are the world so give them that time back.

Don't forget!
Share your Thankful Thursday missions with me by hashtagging #thankfulthursday on Facebook (YES! FB has hashtags now!), Twitter or Instagram!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

7th Thankful Thursday: Surprise Your Kids

Welcome back to my 7th edition of Thirteen Thankful Thursdays!

The look of excitement on my kid's faces gives me a feeling unlike any other. Grace is normally my strong, silent type but she'll cry over something that astounds her. She seriously cries happy tears when I do something to surprise her. Lily will cry sometimes but she loves to run up to me, give me the biggest hug and scream "I love you, Mommy!". Stephen is still grasping what excitement is but he likes to follow in Lily's footsteps and just scream.

I think surprising your kids not only reiterates to them how much they are loved, but it also gives them incredible memories of their childhood. Even though the girls are only 4, I hear all the time "Remember when we did this Mommy?". They love surprises and I love surprising them.

Sometimes I have things planned and just do not tell them, and sometimes I just fly by the seat of my pants. I like making everything out to be as exciting as possible. And why not? Why not surprise your kids with over the top activities or adventures every now and then? What if the memories I give them today are the only memories of me they will remember? So I need to make them good ones. Life is short, or haven't I already told you that?

This weekend, be thankful for your kids. And if you don't have kids- be thankful for the kids in the world. They are our future and a wickedly awesome childhood will make not only make their future great, but the worlds. So get out their a surprise a kid.

Don't forget!
Share your Thankful Thursday missions with me by hashtagging #thankfulthursday on Facebook (YES! FB has hashtags now!), Twitter or Instagram!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

6th Thankful Thursday: Let Go

Welcome back to my 6th edition of Thirteen Thankful Thursdays!

I would have never imagined that nearly 7 years after I lost Shannon, in the midst of the struggle for my own life, that her sign, the ladybug; would make perfect sense. 

The story of Shannon & Ladybugs started when I first found out I was having a girl, my Mom bought Shannon a ladybug bank. Steve and I were always filling it up and having to empty it out. Shannon was born in January. It had been a mild winter thus far but started snowing while we were in the hospital with Shannon. It snowed the day we buried her, and it kept snowing. Two weeks after we buried her, I was getting out of the shower, and there on the counter was a ladybug. I knew it was her. I knew she was sending me a sign. I continued to see ladybugs that first year when I needed it the most. I never really knew there was any spiritual meaning behind the ladybug until about two weeks ago.

I was shopping with my friend, Steph. She wanted to buy me a ladybug bracelet and a butterfly bracelet. The ladybug one in memory of Shannon and the butterfly one in honor of her own daughter, Shelby, who survived the same birth defect Shannon died from. When we bought the bracelets, the girl handed us cards that had that had the meaning of each charm. The ladybug card read:

Legend has it that the ladybug was named for the Virgin Mary who assisted farmers once they prayed to her. Keeping fields safe from harm, the ladybug evokes the energy of harmony. A ladybug's life is short. It teaches us to release worries and to enjoy experiences to the fullest. A messenger of promise, when the ladybug appears in our lives it is telling us to "let go and let God."

Steph and I broke down. I never knew the symbology behind the ladybug until then and I couldn't believe she waited almost 7 years to show me. Shannon sent me the ladybug as a reminder that even though her life was short, like the ladybug; everything would be okay. I just needed to let go and let God work His promises and miracles. 

Consider this your ladybug sign of the day. I want you to let go of one thing that is holding you back from truly and honestly living a peaceful life. Before you know it, life could be over, so let go and live.  

Don't forget!
Share your Thankful Thursday missions with me by hashtagging #thankfulthursday on Facebook (YES! FB has hashtags now!), Twitter or Instagram!