Here is photo collage to sum up the rest of 2012. It was filled with reuniting with old friends, going out, game nights, visiting family, work, poker, doggies, training with the Cohort, a kitchen gadget engagement shower, work on Christmas, a horrible attempt at burrito making, Rock Band, and my last day at the theater. I ended the year with twenty-three pairs of Chuck T’s, and brought in the new year by bowling with Chris and friends.
September. October 1, 2012
I was checking up on my page and realized I haven’t written a single thing in September! And since today is the last day of September, I thought I should post something. But what? How about just a good ‘ole life update. Sound good? Cool.
Well, life has been going pretty grand. Since I’m an elementary education major, I’ve been teaching in an elementary school three days a week. I absolutely love it, and my sweet students remind me why I went into this profession. Your job should make you happy, and teaching definitely does that for me. I love those kiddos. It’s crazy because I don’t even mind having to get up at SIX IN THE MORNING because I know it’ll be a great day. Getting up for class, on the other hand, is a totally different story. Speaking of class, I don’t know if I’ve told you, but I’m shooting to graduate as Summa Cum Laude, which is the highest form of honors at my University. I have to get a 4.0 this semester to get that though, which is gonna be rough. I’ve been working super, super hard though, and it looks as if my goal may be within reach! I would love to be able to put that on my resume and see those ropes hanging in my office. I really hope to get it, only to make myself proud.
As far as the social aspects of life go, that’s going pretty awesomely as well. My fiance and I have 208 more days until our wedding! How exciting is that? Ah, I can’t wait. He is just so perfect for me; it’s unreal. My family is doing great, too. I went home this weekend and got to see my parents, Chris, Jessie (my sweet doxie), and my mom’s parents! It was a fabulous weekend filled with family and fun. God has blessed me so much, and I am so thankful for Him in my life. I also get to see my friends on a weekly basis! We have this “Tuesday Night Dinner” thing we do to make sure we all see each other at least once that week. I’m so happy we do that because there is nothing like spending a couple of hours enjoying time with friends. Melanee and I also Skype every other week! Although we wish she were able to make it TND! My education Cohort has been good to me, also. They threw me a shower last week! It was so thoughtful. I am so happy to be part of Cohort C, which is the best one around. Ask any of our professors; they love us 🙂 Also, I joined the University’s Relay for Life committee! I am so excited to be on the committee and help create a world with more birthdays! We had our first meeting last week, and I met my “family” in the Survivorship sub-committee! It’s going to be a great year with them, and I can’t wait til April for the event!
All in all, life have been great.
Handsome Daddy. June 16, 2012
“Any man can be a father. It takes a special man to be a dad.”
— Author Unknown
Father’s Day is tomorrow so it was only fitting to write a special post for my awesome Dad. First, let me explain why this post is called “Handsome Daddy.” My old phone would announce who is calling by saying, “Call from BLANK.” When I told Dad about this, he replied, “So when I call does it say, ‘Call from Handsome Daddy’?” I assured him it did and since then he is always Handsome Daddy in my phone. In fact, now he is my only contact with a nickname. So, as you can see my dad is the jokester, and he always has me laughing.
Dad, thank you so much for all that you have done for me. You’re always so strong in every situation, which helps me to be strong, too. You always put a smile on my face by something silly you’ve done or something you’ve said. I love our “I love you more so I win” wars. I like that you text me Jessie’s messages to me, because how else would I know that she said “arff arff” which means “I love you” (It’s a good thing you can translate for her too!). I also love our “your face thing.” Chris and I both really enjoy our game nights/movie nights. I know that you always have us cracking up. I’m especially thankful for not only my relationship with you, but yours with Chris as well. He really loves you and you mean a lot to him; more than you know I’m sure. I’m grateful for knowing that I can come to you with anything, and you’ll help me out. Thanks for helping me to appreciate The Beatles and Johnny Cash. I am thankful for your bravery in killing bugs around the house. Thanks for all your fun stories from your childhood. Thanks for letting me go crazy at the grocery store and get whatever is looking good at the time. Thanks for getting me so into the comic book movies; I always look forward to our Daddy-Daughter dates when a new one is coming out. Most of all, I am thankful that you are my dad. Bubby and I are super lucky to call you our dad. I know I’d be missing out on a lot of hugs and giggles if you weren’t my dad. Thanks for all that you do for me, and thank you for all the things I know you’ll do for me in the future. I love you Dad (more, so I win!)
When you’re having a rough day, just look back on this and realize how much I love you! You’re the best Daddy in the whole entire world, and I couldn’t ask for anyone better. Happy Father’s Day!
My Angel Mother. May 25, 2012
“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”
— Abraham Lincoln
The month of May means Mother’s Day and my mom’s birthday, so I decided to write a special post about her and how much she truly means to me. So, Mom, this is for you. (Hope you don’t mind some of the pictures I chose!)
Mom, can I just say that you truly are the best mom that I could ever ask for. You do so much for me and everything that you can for me, and I am so very appreciative. You honestly mean the world to me. I have no idea where I would be without you. Of course, you’re my mom so I love you, but I also love you because you’re a great person. You always hold me up when I am having a rough time. You accept that I’m a cry baby and let me have my moments. You love me unconditionally and show that to me daily. You support me in everything that I do and always encourage me to do my best. Your smile when you see me warms my heart. You were strong for me when I needed you to be. I could go on and on.
I hope this short little letter can help you to understand and see at least the smallest ounce of the millions of gallons of how much you mean to me. I know I can come to you for anything. I’m so thankful for the relationship that you and I have. God blessed me with the best mom there is. I love you, Mom.
Seven-Year Survivor. May 21, 2012
Alright, so I wrote this whole, long thing on my Facebook May 13, 2011, which was six years from my cancer diagnosis. Well, it’s been yet another year, and I still love what I wrote last year, and decided to share it on here with a few small edits. Enjoy!
Reader’s Digest Version Of My Diagnosis:
I was fourteen and in eighth grade. I wasn’t myself. The bones in my chest hurt when I would breath. It was my mom’s fifty-fourth birthday. I was listless after walking from the house literally across street from my own. Tried to play basketball with my dad, but I wasn’t playing the way I normally did. Went to the local Pri-Med and they saw spots on my lungs, but they couldn’t do a CT scan there. They sent me to a hospital about twenty minutes away where I took CT scans and other tests. They didn’t know what was wrong with me. After midnight, I was at the Children’s Hospital. More and more blood work. Early, early on the morning of May 13, 2005, we found out I had biphenotypic leukemia, which meant I basically had ALL and AML, two main leukemias. There was no protocol for that diagnosis because it is such a rare disease. The doctors didn’t know how to treat me. Dad asked what my chances of seeing fifteen were; they said thirty percent (And now I’m twenty-one!). Mom later found out the survival rate for BAL is eight percent! Then, about two weeks later, my numbers changed dramatically after receiving treatment for AML (which is super, super toxic chemo), and I was getting better more quickly than expected. They decided to change my diagnosis to ALL with AML markers. Meaning, I’d receive ALL treatment and hope that the AML treatment I had been getting was good enough to solve the AML problem. The treatment is much longer but not as tough. My family knows that it wasn’t a misdiagnosis, but the Hands of God healing me. I was in the hospital the entire summer and released in August and made many, many visits back. I was “homebound” my freshman year of high school, which really meant I taught myself everything because my homebound teacher was use to having students with different assignments than mine, and she did not know how to do much of it. Went back to high school two weeks into my sophomore year. I went from about 100 pounds to 75 at one point from throwing up so much. Blah blah. A few surgeries, thousands of pills, and hundreds of shots later, I received my last chemo treatment on November 17, 2007.
Ways That Leukemia Saved My Life:
1.) It introduced me to so many great people (This bullet is more for those who are written about, so you can skip it if you want). Because of this experience, I met some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met at Children’s Hospital. Dr. Crawford– Delivered the diagnosis and chose the protocol. Thinking of him makes me cry. He moved to a different state, but he is still in my family’s heart. He bonded with my family unlike any of his other patients. We were different to him somehow, and we all noticed this. He really cared for us. When he told us that there was no protocol for my condition, my mom asked him to do whatever he would do for his son (who was about my age), and that’s what he did. He made every decision based on what he would do for his family, showing us that he truly cared about my health. He is an awesome guy who God used to help save my life. Pat– My nurse practitioner. She helped my mom through every moment. She was so patient with our family which was full of terrified and confused parents and grandparents. My mom knew and still knows she can call Pat for anything, and she’ll always help us out. She is a part of my family for all of the hard work that she put into making us happy. We all love Pat so much. Lauren– Child Life Specialist. Wow, Lauren is one of the happiest and bubbliest people that I know. She always has a smile on her face. She could just come in the room, and I’d already start feeling better. No matter what mood I was in, she always put a smile on everyone’s face with her wonderful personality and big heart. Whether she was playing games with us in my room or walking me around the hospital, she was always doing what she could to be a friend to me. I consider her one of my best friends still. The Nurses of 4-Tower– I wish I could name everyone, but I know that I’d leave someone out. There were so many great women working there. I loved them all! I especially grew close to Foo, Angela, Beth, and Nicki because those were the nurses who treated me the most, but all the nurses there mean the world to me. We could never thank them enough for all the things they did for us. Nicki brought me Olive Garden once, Beth fed me my pills in my ice cream because for some reason I couldn’t do it myself, Foo put up with having to cut me new pills a hundred times before I was able to take them, and Angela helped me with my peeling skin and even visited us at my house, showing that I was more than just her patient. Judy, Meg, Alison, and Kelly (now a clinic nurse) were some other nurses that I had often. And there are so many more, and I can’t name them all. All the nurses put up with having to count to three and pushing fluids in slowly. I’m sorry for all the tears I cried in front of them. I know they were trying to make me better, but I am still terrified of needles, even after having been stuck with them hundreds and hundreds of times by now. Every time I go for a check-up, I have to visit 4-Tower and hope to see someone I know and give them a hug and let them know how great I am doing! The Many Doctors Who Treated Me– Besides Dr. Crawford, I mostly saw Dr. Hilliard, Dr. Watts, Dr. Buckley, and Dr. Howard, but there was also Nicole, Dr. Fowler, Dr. Castleberry, Cole, and so many others. These doctors were always taking care of me and running around the place trying to figure out what the best move is for me. Dr. Hilliard is my doctor now, and she is awesome. A while back, I saw Dr. Howard, and he didn’t even recognize me until he saw my mom. It’s crazy to think how sick I was when I knew these people. I wish they could all see me now. I miss them. The Nurses of Clinic 8– I may not have gotten as close to them as I did my other nurses, but they still had a lot to deal with. Some that I still see down there are Jill, Kenna, and Candy. They were sensitive to my feelings about needles and wanting to stay in a patient room instead of the treatment room because the coffee smell made me feel sick. They helped out in every way they could. They are so wonderful down there. I appreciate all they did and still do for me. Everyone else– That I may have forgotten. The woman who delivered breakfast was always a sweetheart. I loved me some Jessica, one of the CAs on 4-Tower; she was always smiling and happy. The triage nurses in Clinic 8 were always awesome. The many visitors from churches and other groups who brought me blankets or stuffed animals always put a smile on my face. The other nurse practitioners that I met who helped us when Pat wasn’t able to. The Junior League who worked the game room. The nurses who held my hand before my knee surgery because my family couldn’t be in the OR. I don’t know who else, but I know there are plenty others I’m forgetting.
2.) It brought my family and me closer to God. Definitely the thing I am most thankful for. I was already a Christian, but I had no idea who much Faith I had in God until the moment I was diagnosed. See 1 Peter 1:7, as quoted by Dr. Chase in House. I am thankful that I passed the test. I kept a journal for some of my time in the hospital, and I when I looked back at it along with my xanga site at the time, I saw that I had more Faith than I remember even having. I would write that I knew God was taking care of me and that I wasn’t worried. Of course, that didn’t mean I wasn’t scared. My entire family became closer to God though. Not that He needed to, but He really proved himself to my family. I know that because of His work in me, miracles happen.
(3) Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (4) and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you, (5) who through faith are shielded by God’s power untli the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (6) In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. (7) These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (8) Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, (9) for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (NIV)
3.) Showed me I’m stronger than I thought. I am a cry baby. Let’s face it. Not that I didn’t cry nearly everyday, but I learned that I am strong person (of course, that’s because I had God on my side). I am most definitely a weakling, but my Faith and Spirit is strong as can be, and that’s good enough for me. I take small things for more than they’re worth and blow off the big ones I should be worried about. I cried over shots but didn’t care about having my knee cut open.
4.) I learned to appreciate my family more. I really took and still take my family for granted. They did everything in the world for me. Walking to Taco Bell several blocks away, satisfying all of my cravings, watching ABC Family all day long, being strong when I needed them to, and every other tiny thing they ever did for me. I owe my dad, mom, Grammie, and Papa so much more than I could ever give them. I love you all so, so, so much.
There so many people I still want to thank for all that they did for me. My teacher and counselors at the high school who did everything they could to make sure I received everything that I needed to. My friends who continue to support me and are there for all my struggles. The rest of my family. The rest of my friends. Chris, for listening to all the crap I talk to him about it and letting me cry sometimes and understanding. Everyone. And most of all, God.