Sunday, February 15, 2015

Prayers to Andi and Alisa

Please say a prayer for my melanoma friends, Andi and Alisa, who are both battling melanoma and fighting for their lives right now.  My heart is breaking for them and their families and I am holding onto hope for a miracle for each of them!  I know it can happen and I know that by faith, anything is possible!
 
 


Saturday, February 7, 2015

4.5 Years!!

 
I just celebrated clean scans and 4.5 years remission!  This definitely calls for a "jump for joy"!  A few of my girlfriends tagged along with me to SF for a little getaway and for moral support.  We had a great time exploring my home city and of course, celebrating the good news!!
 
I have to admit, I had severe anxiety (maybe even more than normal) leading up to these scans.  I was having more nightmares than usual and it didn't help that in the recent weeks prior to my scans, a couple of my melanoma comrades weren't doing well.  That always leads to all kinds of doubt and fear of the cancer returning for me.  I just never take good news for granted and I don't ever feel confident that I will receive good news.  There was one small glitch in my good news however...My oncologist noticed that my scar tissue in my lung looked a little inflamed.  He thinks this is to due to a bad cold I was still going through (which was upper respiratory and sinus related).  It scared me a little, but he didn't seem too concerned about it.  He could tell that it made me nervous though, so instead of waiting 6 months for my next scans, I will be getting them in 3 months (here in Boise).  I just have to have faith that he feels confident it is nothing and just related to my infection.  I'm sure it is too, but I won't have 100% peace of mind until I get my next scans (in May).
 
Crossing fingers things will be ok and if so, I will get scanned again in August and then go 1 year between scans!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

37 years, say what?!

 
It's hard to believe that I'm 37, which means I've entered my late 30's?!?!  I used to complain about turning another year older, but I have since learned that growing older is a privilege denied by many.  There was a time not too long ago that the number "37" seemed nearly impossible to reach, so I consider it the most precious gift to live to see another birthday.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Moments

 
One of my favorite moments from our trip to Costa Rica.  We had just finished a thrilling white water rafting trip through the jungle and stopped on a hillside for a drink, when low and behold, we witnessed this beautiful sight.  It was so breathtaking, the light, the green, the peacefulness of the forest.  We sat there in awe of this view for a few moments and I remember thinking, "This is what heaven will be like."
 
 

Kicking off 2015 with a bang!!

 
 All I have to say is that 2015 is off to a good start.  We spent 10 days in Costa Rica with family and it was a DREAM.  Seriously, I never wanted to come home.  In fact, I want to move there now! HA!
 
Traveling is so good for the soul. Traveling with the ones you love is the most precious, quality time you could spend together free of world cares and distractions.  We spent 10 days in paradise---zip lining through rain forest, rappelling down (and jumping off!) waterfalls, hiking in the jungle, boogie boarding and surfing in the waves, swimming in the warm ocean, observing (up close and personal!) wildlife, rafting down a river, horseback riding to some spectacular falls, snorkeling amidst tropical fish, kayaking crystal blue waters, soaking in lush hot springs, meeting new people, and stuffing ourselves with delicious Costa Rican food!  We also spent hours just laughing, talking, having dance parties, playing games, and hanging out together at "home".
 
It was a dream come true and a trip that we will never forget!!!  I am so thankful for the opportunity we had to go with extended family and share the experience together.  Life is GOOD!!!
 
(For more pictures of our epic trip, visit our family blog here and here.)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

2014 comes to a close

As 2014 comes to a close in just a week, I reflect on this past year with so much gratitude for all the blessings I have been given!  I don't know what I did to deserve them, but God has certainly blessed my life beyond belief.
 
 
I am especially grateful to be here with my boys still.  I recall a time when I wondered if I didn't make it, if they would even remember me.  Every year that goes by, I feel blessed to have another year with them.  More memories, more life experiences, more growth, more TIME.
 
 
I am ever hopeful that 2015 will be a great year too!!
 
 
Merry Christmas!!


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Share the Gift


 
Our Lord, Jesus Christ is the reason for the season!  I am so grateful for his birth, his life, his life, and most importantly, his sacrifice for us to live with Him again someday.  I know that he loves us and knows us individually and only wants us to have true happiness.  To me, true happiness is living a life that would make Jesus Christ proud of, serving and helping others, keeping the commandments, and loving one another.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

No coicidences

Just in the last 2 weeks, I have had 3 different people reach out to me that read my article in Cancer Today, then found my blog, and contacted me.  All 3 were people dealing with Stage 4 melanoma, like myself.  All 3 were in the trenches of the disease, still dealing with the shock and devastation that comes from that kind of diagnosis.  All 3 were also clinging to some kind of hope that there were survivors out there.
 
 
It's times like those that make me extremely grateful that I have been willing to share my story with the public. Every time I have done just that, I have done it with the sole goal of reaching others that, like me once, were reaching for a glimmer of hope in all of this.  Sometimes it's very hard to hear their stories and not feel guilty that I'm still here.  It's also hard because hearing their experiences gives me anxiety of the harsh reality of this disease.  And that is, that unfortunately, most people don't make it past a couple of years.
 
 
The 3 people that reached out to me, I was able to either email or talk with, and it was a very humbling experience.  I am so grateful that God has used me as a tool to help others in some way, and there have been numerous times where I have known that was my purpose here on Earth, and why I was still here.  There are no coincidences.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Nightmares=Reality??

Every once in awhile, I have these nightmares of the cancer returning.  I wake up, usually in a cold sweat, heart pumping, unable to breathe.  I quickly snap out of it and realize it's all a dream, but sometimes it feels so real I'm not sure it was a nightmare or not.
 
 
You would think that nearly 5 years out of this, I wouldn't have these kinds of nightmares anymore.  But the truth is, they are and probably will always be my subconscious thoughts and fear of this disease taking over my body again.  I realize that it's probably normal to have these kinds of thoughts still, but they still haunt me and cause anxiety.
 
 
To be completely honest, part of me feels like I'm not "done" yet with this disease, that it will come back.  Does that mean it will take my life?  I don't know, but sometimes I feel like my gut is telling me that it will return.  But then again, maybe that's just my way of preparing for the worst (that's the realist in me).
 
 
It's a fine line of balancing both worlds, I've decided.  I think I've gotten pretty good at it, but it's still hard.  On one hand, I try to live my life as normally as I can, taking good care of myself, living in the moment and not worrying about the future and the unknown so much.  On the other hand though, I see so many people around me that are falling victim to this disease and that scares the beejeezes out of me.  Am I just a waiting duck?  Or by some miraculous reason, am I cured forever?
 
 
I try to have faith in God's will and purpose for me, and sometimes, that's the only thing I have to stick to.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Seize the day

 
I think if my life could have a motto, this would be it.  I have always tried to live life to the fullest, but ever since my cancer diagnosis, this motto takes on a whole new meaning.
 
To me, seizing the day doesn't necessarily mean doing fun, adventurous, grand things everyday. I think it means enjoying the small things in life, the moments that make you stop and express gratitude for this life you live.  Seizing the day is making the most of your life, even during dark times and I believe that we can do that if we choose to focus on the good and not the bad.
 
 
The other day it was freezing cold (like 0 degrees, which is freezing for November) and I was picking up the kids from school.  On our way home, we saw a bunch of kids having a snowball fight on the side of the road in our neighborhood.  They were having a great time, despite the freezing temperatures.  My kids urged me to pull over so they could join in on the fun.  Normally, I would've said no (despite the cold weather, didn't we have homework to do?), but this time, I said ok, and so we pulled over and got out of the car.  Before we knew it, we were in the thick of a snowball fight and all of a sudden, it didn't seem cold anymore!  We were only outside for 10-15 minutes maybe, but after we were done, I noticed the happy, flushed faces on my kids (and my own!), and I knew that was a moment that we had chosen to seize the day.  It was such a small thing, and it wasn't grand, but it was a happy moment and one that made me very grateful for many things.
 
 
 
(Happy kids, happy mom.  Life is good.)
 
I've come to the conclusion that life should be made up of lots of the small moments...where we seize the day and enjoy this gift of life that we are given.