Wednesday, November 23, 2011

To give thanks

Today, on Thanksgiving, I relflect on how much I have to be grateful for in my life. These are just a FEW things:

1. My terrific, supportive, and loving husband and best friend, Eric.

2. Two beautiful, healthy, bright, kind, and spirited boys who call me Mom.

3. An amazing family--on both sides. Eric and I really lucked out on that one! No in-law issues either!

4. A warm house with food on the table.

5. My strong body and mind.

6. GOD and his hand in my life everyday. Miracles do not cease and I am a witness of that!

6. His Son, Jesus Christ, the only one who knows exactly what we go through because he has experiened it. Which leads me to...

7. The Atonement. I am so grateful for the knowledge I have to know that I be forgiven of my sins and return and live in the presence of our Father and his Son again someday.

8. This great and bountious country we live in.

9. Much laughter.

10. Good friends who lift me and inspire me to be a better wife, mother, friend, and person. Each one of them has come into my life for a reason.

11. The scriptures.

12. Sunshine.

13. The beauty of the Earth, created by a loving Heavenly Father.

14. My testimony, beliefs, and hopes.

15. The opportunity to learn and grown in so many different facets of life--all of which improve my well being and spirit and add so much happiness to my life.

16. My AGE. I know that is weird, but cancer has taught me to embrace each birthday and to be grateful for that important milestone every year. Bring it on!

17. My health. A year ago I was in a completely different place, and I feel so blessed to be where I am now--healthy, strong, and feeliing better than ever.

18. My doctors and other healthcare professionals who have aided in my healing this year. This also includes my acupuncturist, hypnotherapist, and others who have all kept my best interests in heart and have given me the best tools that they could to get where I am.

19. Exercise. I can't imagine not doing it. It serves more purposes for my health than anything else in my life combined. And more recently, yoga, which has empowered me even more and has given me more "balance" in my life.

20. Last, but not least, my parents who have continually been one of the biggest sources of my strength throughout my life. Their encouragement, their faith, and their wisdom are invaluable and precious to me. Their examples are everything!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Joy X 2.

These two make me smile, laugh, and love life so much more! I am so grateful to be blessed with the opportunity to raise such terrific kids!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November already??

Seriously, where does time go?

All I know is that I am so grateful for where I am at right now. Last year at this time, I was starting my last biochemo round and feeling...VERY WIPED OUT. I was lucky that I didn't drop a lot of weight (hardly any really), didn't lose my hair (it just thinned), and was able to bounce back to about 70% of feeling normal within a week of completing each round of treatment. BUT with that said, by the sixth round, I could tell that it was having an accumalitive affect on me...It was rough, but I got through it. And I didn't doubt that I wouldn't get through it. I just didn't see any other way around it.

So, here I am, a year later, in remission (but not completely NED yet). I have done 3 different treatments this year, and I believe that my doctor had a sound plan in place that led me to have the successful outcome that I had. AT LEAST FOR NOW. I am realistic about this disease. I know that there is no cure yet, and that for MOST, it comes back. But I am also optimistic and hopeful about the future. I can only pray that the cancer will hold off and buy me a little time for the next best thing. Maybe a year, or two even!

My kids keep me super busy between school, sports, homework, and church activities. It's a good thing because really, at the end of the day, I don't really have time to dwell on anything else that could be negative. Those boys keep me feeling ALIVE each day. What a blessing that is! I am also exercising a lot (of course) and eating as healthy as I can right now. There are things that I want to adopt in the future, but for now, I'm doing the best I can with the resources that I have. It's a step-by-step process for me.

And then there is the melanoma support group that we started, the Idaho Sol Survivors, which is kicking off to an amazing start. Already 6 of us! Everyone comes from different backgrounds, has different stories, and is at different stages with the disease. These women are some powerful women and I feel blessed to get to know them better. I truly believe that everyone comes into your life for a reason.

On a sad note, a couple of friends have passed or been diagnosed with cancer. One girl, Sarah Hays Shurtz, who I blogged about awhile back, passed from an unknown cancer. Doctors never determined her primary, and so she eventually surrendered to the disease. Miracously enough though, she lived more than a year longer than anyone anticipated. She was an incredibly courageous, happy, caring, optimistic woman and even though it is very sad for her husband and loved ones to lose her, I am also relieved that she is no longer in pain and living with our Heavenly Father. I know that he has a plan for her and that someday she will be reunited with her sweet family.

Our other friend's husband was just diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer. He is our age with 3 young children. The sad thing is that his mom passed away from this cancer only 3 years ago. BUT he has already seen good signs and miracles happen in his life, and I have faith that he will recover and beat this thing, and be here for a long, long time. My hearts go out to them during this time.

I am humbled everytime I read someone else's story of tragedy and/or triumph and grateful that I have those constant reminders in my life of how fragile and precious life is. We all need to remember those things more often, so we can enjoy life more fully, hold our loved ones closer, and not stress about things that really don't matter.