Monday, June 27, 2011

Rollercoaster ride

Anyone that has had cancer knows what a physical and emotional rollercoaster ride it can be. One day you're feeling good, hopeful and optimistic, and kicking some cancer a%# and the next day you are faced with the reality of what this disease can be to so many (or MOST in my case), and once again doubtful and fearful of your fate...

Fortunately, the last few months I have been riding UP the rollercoaster and what a blessing that is!

Physically I feel the best I have felt in a year, emotionally I feel strong and ready to face anything. But then I wonder, when is the ride going to peak and start rolling downhill again? Am I going to hear bad news again? Am I going to feel my heart beat inside my head from the anxiety as I start the pain-staking process of researching and debating treatment options and next steps? Am I going to wonder what my future holds? Am I going to doubt that I will be around to see my kids grow up or even see my 35th birthday?

A big part of me feels like this treatment is going to work (or at least put me in remission for a good while) and I will be able to continue enjoying life and feeling good. But then there's a small part of me that thinks that this isn't over, that there is a next step in the near future. Am I dooming myself to have these thoughts?

I don't know.

All I know is that I need to rely on God no matter what happens. I need to trust in Him and His plan for me. I need to take a deep breath, take one day at a time, and put one foot in front of the other. That is the only way to do it, as I see it. I also know another thing-and that is that I WILL NEVER GIVE UP. I have never just "quit" anything in my life. I am way too determined, too strong-willed, and too competitive to let this disease win. I know I have the ability to survive, both physically and mentally. It's just up to the Big Man upstairs to keep me here.

I wonder if some people think I'm in complete denial of my disease or my so-called-prognosis. Some might think that I'm completely ignorant or "live in a bubble". What do I say to those nay-sayers?

I'll show you. I won't be a statistic. I WILL BE A SURVIVOR! Miracles never cease and I am already proof of that.

Let's hope this rollercoaster ride doesn't have too many "big drops", "loop-to-loops", or "cork screws" anytime soon. I kinda like where I am at right now!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

One year. Wow.

Exactly one year ago TODAY I was hit with my Stage 4 Melanoma diagnosis.

And today I am finishing my last treatment for at least 3 months.

Ironic, right?!

Let's hope this treatment works and I will only have to return every 3 months...

I have to say that this past year has felt like a CENTURY in so many ways, yet fortunately, it has also gone extremely fast.

I have completed 3 different treatments within the last year, had 9 anxiety-ridden CT, PET, and MRI scans (yeah, that's a lot of radiation!), spent 42 days in the hospital, had 10 PICC lines performed (not fun!), had too many IV's and blood draws to count, and spent over $4200 in just flights from ID to CA...

Has it been worth it??

Well, I am still here, so YES!!! We have witnessed miracle after miracle, prayer after prayer being answered, and have felt the LOVE and support from SO many people and most importantly, from God.

For as tough of a year as it has been physically, emotionally, and in so many other ways, I can actually say that it has been a year of MANY blessings and wonderful events that have happened.

I know that God is looking over me and keeping me wrapped up in His loving arms. I know that I will beat this thing and I can feel that I am THAT much closer to hearing the doctor's words, "You are officially No Evidence of Disease!"

What a year. I feel so ALIVE right now, so grateful for my healthy body which keeps on going, grateful that I can wake up every morning and see the 3 most beautiful faces on the planet-my husband, and my 2 sons. Grateful that I am surrounded by so much LOVE. Grateful that I can keep on being HERE.

This is what life is all about!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My kids' prayers

Austin: "Dear Heavenly Father:
Please help the medicine to work for Mom
so she can doesn't have to go to CA to the
doctor anymore. Help her to get all the way
better so she can stay with us."

Carson: "Bless Mommy to not be sick so she
won't cry anymore. And bless the doctor
to make her better so she doesn't have anymore

Just a snipet of my kids' prayers as of late! I usually can't leave their rooms without a dry eye after hearing those sweet, innocent, genuine pleadings! I know that their faith (combined with my own) will make me whole someday!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Moments That Matter Most

This beautiful video touched my heart in a way that I just had to share it! Its message will brighten your day, bring tears to your eyes, and remind you of what life is all about. Please take a couple of minutes to watch it, it will be worth it!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Relay for Life 2011

Last summer Eric and I attended the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life in Boise to help a friend in charge of the event and to see what it was all about. It was right in the height of the summer when I had just been diagnosed with Stage 4 Melanoma and didn't know what treatment I would choose. It was a very difficult and emotional time for us and I remember walking amoungst the survivors in the first lap to kick-off the event thinking that if I was still around the next year that I wanted to somehow do more...

Here we are a year later (and still kicking! ) and we are planning to do just that. We have formed our own team, called Safe In the Sun, and we have two missions. The first is to help raise money to go to the American Cancer Society. There are several ways we are hoping to do that. One way is to get on-line donations (by clicking on the link below) from our family and friends. And on the actual day of the event/relay, we are hoping to raise even more money by selling baked goods and crafts. A good friend of mine thought of selling s'mores and having our motto be, "Don't roast like a marshmellow, wear s'MORE sunscreen!"

Our second mission is to promote awareness and prevention for skin cancer, specifically for melanoma. Last year there was only one tent that promoted melanoma awareness and it wasn't well publicized. Because melanoma is the fastest growing cancer in the U.S. and the deadliest out of the skin cancers, we feel there needs to be a lot more concentration and focus on this disease, especially to our youth, who spend hours in the sun and in tanning beds, which is putting them at a higher risk for melanoma.

If there is ANY way that you can help contribute, whether that be a donation, time, or products/goods to our team and mission, we would be incredibly grateful. We know how hard it is to give up those things, so we will take whatever we can get! We really want to raise a lot of money for the American Cancer Society which helps fund cancer treatments and research, and helps cancer patients. Their motto is to "create more birthdays" for cancer patients as they work to find a cure to cancer and save lives. This is a very personal endeavor for us, not just because of my own battle with it, but because we know other loved ones that are also in the fight of their lives or have lost their battle with cancer. I think EACH ONE OF US has been affected by cancer in some way or another.

Please let us know how you can help. We are so thankful and excited for this opportunity to give back. It is the first of many in the future to come as we someday hope to start our own foundation which will help other melanoma patients and promote awareness. Thank you, thank you for being such a great support to us, we wouldn't be here without you!

Please click on link to donate!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sarah Bach

I follow the journey of a fellow melanoma warrior, Sarah Bach who is also a wife and young mom. I don't know her personally, but through reading her journal, I have come to find that she is a wonderful, warm, happy, and beautiful person that truly loves and lives life to the fullest. Over the past month or so, her health has taken a huge downturn. She was also doing Ipi, but started it ahead of me. Since finishing her last treatment and having scans, she has come to find out that she has tumors everywhere in her body and that now it is only a matter of time before this disease takes over her life. This is hard for me, because on one hand I want to lend my support and love to this dear family who is on the brink of losing their wife and mother, but on other hand, it is difficult for me to read these stories because it brings back fear into my mind. I know what the reality of this awful disease can be to so many people, but I also need to remain optimistic about my own future, keep fighting a good fight, and live my life as joyfully as I can. I need to believe that my future will have a different outcome and that I WILL BE A SURVIVOR.

My heart is torn for this family as Sarah says her last good-byes, but I am also comforted by the knowledge that she will soon be pain-free and in the arms of a loving Heavenly Father. I also know that their family will be reunited someday, and so that this really isn't a good-bye, just a "see you later." I pray that their family will find the peace and comfort that they need during this difficult time. I also pray that I will be able to gain added strength, not discouragment, through this experience to fight even harder. I just won't give up!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Slow dance


Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?

Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.

Time is short.
The music won't last.

Do you run through each day
On the fly?

When you ask 'How are you?'
Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?

You'd better slow down
Don't dance so fast.

Time is short.
The music won't last.

Ever told your child,
We'll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time
To call and say,'Hi'

You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.

Time is short.
The music won't last..

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry
through your day,
It is like an unopened gift....
Thrown away.

Life is not a race.
Do take it slower

Hear the music
Before the song is over.

I needed this reminder today!! This poem was written by a young teenage girl dying from cancer and her last wish was to pass this poem on to as many people as possible to send the message to live life to the fullest!