Welcome to my Blog! Yes, I have been in the fight of my life against Leukemia, insomnia, depression, side effects of medications, molting skin, pooping my pants and this list goes on.... however, I still love my life, and that's what this blog is about Real Life. I hope to meet others who trails have brought them closer to the Lord and molded them for the next step in God's will. In January 2011 , my family, physician, and Be the Match was featured on a Fox 5 news story about bone marrow donors and transplants. In March, I was interviewed on Atlanta and Company along with Be the Match. I was chosen to sing the national anthem at the Be the Match Run last year and will also be doing it this year, along with some other songs. My team, no thanks to me, raised over $4,000 and raised more than any other team! Please join my team this year or consider donating here at the Run those Stem cells out ! Team I was also chosen for a patient advocacy panel for the international council meeting at Be the Match in MN in November. How exciting!! I ended up not being able to attend due to the relapse. I had hoped I could help raise awareness about how easy it is to sign up to be a donor and how many people need your help! Please go to bethematch.org and sign up! I was able to have my bone marrow (same as stem cell) transplant at the end of March thanks to a 22 year old donor oversees that I hope to meet her one day. As I came up on my 6th month mark and continued to add more normal activities to our lives, I relapsed, meaning that the that the cancer had mutated and the leukemia came back. I spent 2 more weeks at Emory and some other nights here and there and now I'm on a drug from the FDA. I have a compassion waiver so I am able to get it. I have to take it day by day sometimes hour by hour. Time keeps moving and my little girl is growing up. I'm lucky that I'm getting to see it. I continue to praise God for his wonderful blessings he has shown us including my wonderful husband Jonathan, baby girl Evalyn Rose, supportive family and friend, great medical care, new readers, and the chance to make a big difference, even if that means being a Lab Rat.
God Bless You!

Please read, comment, enjoy, learn, grow, LOVE LIFE.

Most Recently I have started a booth at a local consignment store with handmade jewelry from friends, crafts, and my own art from recycled materials. It is called DAY by DAY. God was very clear with me starting this. Please look over to the right of blog and click on Day by Day to see some pictures. I'm just getting started but I am taking orders from people that I know. You will be able to personalize items, etc. I just haven't decided how I will be selling them via internet yet. But for now, the jewelry is at A Weekend A'fair in Athens, GA and will hopefully be at some stores downtown soon.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dec 29th Medical Update, Cool new book

            I've been doing pretty well the last few days, I'm sure that the steroids have given me a jolt and I'm not really complaining about that. I'm sure that a crash will be coming sometime Sat or Sun, this might interfere with Jonathan's football plans, ha ha. I just have to ride the waves, your know. I also have added a anti depressant/anxiety med to my growing med log. This is mostly because of the hormonal birth control that I'm being forced to take so that I don't bleed to death. Hormones and me do not get along very well. I'm not set on it yet, but I'd figure that I'd give it a try until I can figure out something else. I have not had any more migraines, a blessing for sure. I also have a new prayer request. After I get through all this a would prefer to be fertile and not infertile that the chemo can cause some women. I'd like to have another child of our own one day. So Jill, get to praying, or what ever moves you do to get that stuff going :) I also have some serious chemo brain. I really think that my IQ has dropped about 10 points. I'm going to talk to Emory to see if they have a study going on about it, I'd like to be a part of it.
              My chemo went well yesterday. I can tell that I'm not as hungry today but it didn't take that long once we got started. My counts looked good and I didn't have to go to Athens regional to get blood. Hooray! I did go by the hospital to see my Granny, with permission and a mask :) and she should be coming home tomorrow! Today, I found out about an acquaintance here in Athens, that passed away about a year ago of Leukemia after his BMT. Sad news. His wife and him were deeply in love, you could always tell. Today, I was able to take a walk and that was nice and I went to a friends house for breakfast. It's truly the little things.
              I'm reading a really neat book that someone bought me. It's called The Emperor of all Maladies: A Biography of Cancer  by Siddhartha Mukherjee. It goes through the history of cancer, how they found treatments, and basically takes medical journals down to our level. It is a very interesting and readable book. One of the neatest things I learned was that the all of the first pharmaceuticals were called chemotherapy and the first chemical drugs came out of the textile industry in the 1800's due to the need for new and cheaper dies for our growing cotton industry. Dr. Ehrlich, after many experiments, found the first antisyphilitic drug. His experiments were based on finding drugs that had specific affinity, meaning that the drug can tell which is the host and which is the intruder. This is most difficult with cancers due to the fact that cancer cells are so much like regular cells.
                 The first chemotherapy for cancer actually came out of a war weapon, mustard gas. The doctors, Goodman and Gilaman, studied the long term effects of the gas on solders and found that the gas has specific affinity for white blood cells. They call it nitrogen mustard or actinomycin D. The chemotherapy, vincristine, that I had yesterday, comes from a poisonous plant they found in Madagascar though in the 1958 drug-discovery program through the Eli Lilly company. It also learned about all many people that had to go through highly toxic treatments, and the doctors that had their ass on the line to experiment will all these drugs, so that I can get treatment now that will save my life. It took a lot for them to get to the point of using 5-6 different chemo drugs including chemo in my spine. See, cancer is like anything else, it becomes resistant to medication and will actually come back stronger. Anyway, the book is helping me understand and I thought some one else might enjoy it too :)

Have a great day!

Love, Heather

Monday, December 27, 2010

Dec 27th Granny back in, had a no stress holiday, I'm still happy

            I hope all of you are well and had a wonderful Christmas. First some prayer requests, my Granny had to go back in the hospital for a few days for treatment. Please keep her in your prayers and my sweet Poppa Bill that won't leave her side. I worry about him being up at the hospital, they are germy places, and as he says "he's not buying green bananas". Also, my brother is having some minor health issues is his digestive system. He's part mine, so I worry about him. It must get on his nerves sometimes when I change from cool sister chick to sounding like a worried mother. Well, that's just me. Don't forget Jonathan in your prayers, he has a whole lot on him right now and a lot riding on a job that he doesn't have yet. I'm excited that he got some money to purchase a new suit for interviews. He's so handsome! Evalyn has been really healthy so far this winter and we would like to keep it that way. Please continue to pray that migraines do not return, that I'm able to maintain my job, and that we can keep afloat. It always seems to be something. Last week, a vet bill, the week before Jonathan had a tooth break and that is going to be really expensive. Lord have mercy!
                We had a wonderful Chritmas and are looking forwared to the next week and a half of being together before I return to the hospital. Taking a few days off work was also nice. We were able to visit with our neighbors Mr. Jim and Eva before they left for their daughters house. I love being around these people. They say swell things like " If he ain't a bird, there's not a cow in Texas." and "Your on prayer lists from Maine to Miami!" and other sayings that I hope I pick up. Mr. Jim said that we can go ice fishing soon, not really, the last time we tried that we couldn't get the boat out and Jim cut his finger on ice. He got in trouble and we only moved the boat 3 feet. I'm pretty sure I was pregnant at the time.
                 On Christmas Eve we were able to see my Granny and Poppa for a little bit. She seemed to be feeling better but still has to go back for an IV. My Granny is so sweet and protective of me. Don't mess with me or you will see the most petite fireball coming your way! I hope to go see her tomorrow at the hospital, with a mask on of course, and surprise her with some of my mom's pound cake, which is actually her recipe. This stuff is so good, it is my favorite kind of cake although Publix chocolate cake is a close second. My in laws, Carol and Frank come to visit. It was a great visit and now we have a new faucet for our sink. Carol gave me one of the most thoughtful gifts ever. There was a vintage green lugged set at this shop called Agora's in Athens. I had mentioned at the end of August about them and how much I LOVED them. At anyother time finanicial in my life, I would have spulged and brought them for myself. I was wallowing in self pity and even took a picture! I'll add a picture on here so you can see how cool they are. I will be going back and forth from the hospital in some serious style! The snow was very pretty too!
                   My Mom , Dad, and Daniel came up for a quick visit on Christmas Day/Night. Poor Jennifer had to work but we were able to see each other during the week. We made steaks and Mom made everyone breakfast the next day. They spent the night but had to high tail it out of here in the morning due to the weather. They made it home safety thank goodness. It was great to have my family see how big Evalyn is and all the things she is doing now. She loved sitting next to one of my parents dogs, Baily, on the couch. She squealed, cooed, giggled, belly laughed, smiled, and was sweet as pie. Daniel had a good time feeding her avocados and bananas. She is really getting into eating now. She leans forward and holds out her hands. Sometimes, she will grab the spoon and put it in her mouth. We are going to start the sign for "more" this week. Evalyn also loved hearing my Dad and brothers deep voices, this proves that she is even more a Daddy's girl :)
              We received some really great gifts. Jonathan picked out some diamond earrings that I like and will cherish forever. The two of us, of course, were not supposed to get each other anything. He is such a sweetie, he actually gave them to me weeks ago because I didn't have many earrings to wear with my new bald head.   I continue to be humbled by the generosity of people in these difficult times. This is a big one.... we were adopted by my mom's work this Christmas. Even to write it, I feel a little ashamed. I know that there are so many people in need right now, and they chose us this year! We received clothes for Evalyn, gift cards, matching scarfs hat, PJ's, and quite a bit of money. Another thing that was humbling, and I hope that she doesn't mind me saying it, is that my LITTLE sister wrote us a check. Wow! It's very odd to me that my my sister, that I always felt I had a responsibility to look out for and protect, is now helping to take care of me. It really touched my heart and still brings tears to my eyes. Don't worry, Daniel will hop on board one day, I have been brain washing him since he was a kid that when he had any money he would give me a cut ha ha.


Christmas Soap Box- Beware
                I may upset someone off with this next part, but this is how I feel and this is my blog :) First, I love all sides of my family and LOVE seeing them, so no one get an idea that i don't because that would be untrue. One of my favorite things about this Christmas was the ability to STAY AT HOME. I have never in all my life been able to do that. There are several reasons why this was nice. See growing up I had 3 families due to my parents being divorced and being close to my step dad's (DAD) side. Now that Jonathan and I got married, that increased to 5 families because his parents are also divorce. This makes for some extremely stressful holidays, due to travel not family, and it always stinks to have to say " Well, we already said we would go here and the family get togethers are at the same time" or " This year we are doing Christmas here because we didn't last year." There is no one on any of the sides of family that have 5 families so sometimes I feel that we are not understood too well in that department. It's understandable, it's hard to understand something you have not been through. We also have dogs and the holidays are difficult to get people to watch them and it is so expensive to board them. It stinks to have to ask, "well, can we bring the dogs, because we will be coming through Atlanta with them." I also do not like the feeling of HAVING to buy something for someone. I love buying gifts but more on my own time because that is when I find the special stuff. I love gifts but find it wasteful to get and give stuff that people really don't need.That part didn't really happen this Christmas due to financial issues so everyone got pics of Evalyn, which they need of course. People seemed to get us stuff that we needed too and many were very thoughtful. I'm more talking about most Christmas's. Image having 5 sides of the family: gifts tend to get pretty overwhelming. Which so many sides of the family I really feel it would be easy for Evalyn to be bombarded with so many gifts that she grows up thinking that is the reason for Christmas. I was kinda like that as a kid with on 3 families. Plus I think the most special gift is spending time with people that you love. I love to go bowling, out to eat, play a board game on a hike, or a museum, or even concert with people.  So Sue me. I also think that Jesus was probably born in March when it was warmer :
                     Continuing with the Soap Box- At one point, I felt that I had a great idea about the week of Christmas. Me, Jonathan, and Evalyn would get the hell out of dodge and go some where warm every year. To me, we make a point of seeing family during the none holiday seasons. I honestly don't know anyone that keeps up with their cousins, aunts, and uncles the way the we do. We are always inviting people to come visit and when I could get out I was able to go spend the night a peoples house more. In the end, I think that is still a good idea, maybe just every third Christmas or something. I do think that trying to stay at home either on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day may be a good compromise for us. One side is already considering doing a New Years Day get together which would work out great.  We will see. This is for sure, last Christams was the last one that I will ran us ragged. I want Christmas to always be special for Evalyn, not frantic to get to the next stop to get gifts. But this year was stress free for the most part. We sure did miss everyone we didn't get to see. Hopefully we can make up for it for coming to visit and having visitors.
                       Wish that said, I really have to try and get some sleep which has been difficult lately.
Love you all!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Dec 24th Granny's home and I'm Happy

                   The last few days have been really good. I've had a little nausea and been tired but it's great to be home. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the migraines do not return. We continue to be blessed with gifts, prayers, and encouragement. It amazes me the out pouring of love from everyone. Just today, Jonathan told me about a check from one of my old friends parents that I have not seen in 8 years or more. Jonathan passed all his classes and he is glad for a much needed break. Of course, he is now appointment the medical secretary, so he might not get that much of one, but at least it's not tax. We have tons of paper work with all this stuff. My Granny was in the hospital for a couple days and came home today. She is feeling much better and we were able to visit her today, 5 doors down, and everyone is really excited to have her home.
Me with my snuggle puppy

My sis and I both ended up getting purple hats for each other.
                Evalyn visited with her Grandpa Frank and Grandmas Carol today. She seemed to enjoy some of the gifts but enjoys hearing herself squeal even more. We found out today that my sister in law Kristi is going to have a little girl! Our cousins are also pregnant so Evalyn will have lots of friends to play with! The picture of her and Santa was at the Christmas party last Friday night. I was unable to go but Jonathan and everyone said that she was just sweet as pie, she's a doll baby, and Jonathan's such a good daddy :). We can't really go many places but have told everyone, friends and family, that we welcome healthy visitors and would love to see everyone. Just let us know when your coming so we can make sure I'm here and not at Emory! Of course, I need visitors at Emory too and visitors that will bring me yummy food!
Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dec 22nd Going home!

Hey Everyone,
        I'm being discharged today! The treatment went well this trip and I'm so ready to be with my family. My sister, Jennifer, was already planning on coming to Athens today to see me so she is taking me home.
            **Medical MJ** We got the results back from the spinal test they did the other day when they did the LP, and it was negative, meaning I still don't have any cancer in my central nervous system. I never did, it is just usually the next place that it attacks. All these LP's (chemo in the spine) is hopefully preventing that from happening. I have another LP this morning and my favorite is doing it again so I'll be ok. Other treatment news is that after this A round I have a small round of chemo next Tuesday that will be done over at GA Cancer center. I will also have 4 days of steroids, not my favorite, but usually that would be the week that I'm super tired, so maybe I'll get some work done, ha ha.
           This week has been pretty good especially compared to the last treatment week. I have been pretty tired this week but I think that has to do with the anti nausea medication that they have been giving me. This is the round I had trouble with that first week, so I thought I should take it. I realized that I really don't like the way those meds make me feel, so I refused the medication yesterday during the day and felt so much better! I took it at night so ward off any nausea, but it was great not to feel like a zombie during the day. They warned me that I may be playing catch up if I got nauseous if I didn't take it, but hey they are experimenting on me, so why can't I. It ended up being a good choice.
                I'm on a different floor, 7E, due to 6E being full when I came in on Friday. Even though I miss the staff that I know on the other floor, I have met some great people up here. 7E is the medical oncology floor so there are a lot of different kinds of cancers being treated up here. My doctor this week is Dr. H, but I have not seen very much of him and I'm of course disappointed that I have not seen Dr. Khoury again, but it is the holidays and it is super busy here. I know that he is looking over my chart and would be up here in a heartbeat if anything was wrong. Dr. T is the medical doctor that sees me sometimes, and it is always good to see him. I live vicariously through him, gardening, since I can't do that for quite a while. I believe that I'm going to readmitted for treatment again around Jan. 7th. In the mean time, I hope that the migraines from the oral chemo do not come back. I have been on the meds since Sat and they usually hit between 1 to 1.5 weeks after I start the meds. I need the medication so we just keep trying. The other medication that I was hoping to try is not approved for the stage of cancer I'm in. No word yet on my donor status, till not sure how that works.
           **FLAGGED** I was flagged again this week by the food police. I very sweet girl, the new dietitian, came up here to check on me. I'm not sure who relays the news when I don't eat my food, but I have my hunches. I keep explaining that I bring food and have people bring me food and also pick and choose what I eat off my plate. See the food here is full of preservative, additives, and the meat, well, I don't think it is meat. I just can't eat most of it. I got a real flag this week, the flags here are little green slips of paper that they put on your plate to explain your type of diet. Mine is general, non restrictive. So the card basically says, "hey you, you can eat any of our delicious food so choose a well rounded diet, yada yada" I took a picture of it, I'll post it later.
           ** Visits** I had some nice visits this week. My brother came to visit on Sat, I think I wrote about that somewhere else. I think I will keep him :).  My cuz Shanna came to see me, always a treat, I didn't take a picture :(. I had planned for us to do some singing together but that stupid med was making me sleepy. I love the earrings that she brought me, they are super cute. My parents came to see me on Sunday and brought me some steam-able veggies and the green bolt house smoothie, yummy. I don't remember a lot from that visit, stupid medication. Again, now I know. A college friend of mine, Cristain came to see me. We have not seen each other in over 8 years, Crazy! It was just like we didn't skip a beat, he is such a great guy and I'm thankful that we met up again. He is teaching tennis here in Atlanta and is going to visit his family soon in Chilie. He recently got back from France where he saw my college boyfriend Camilo. Camilo

           It has been harder this week being away from Evalyn for some reason. Maybe because I'm at home 24/7 so we got closer after me being away for so long. I can't wait to see and kiss everyone. My poor puppy Chloe has something wrong with her eye and Jonathan took her to the vet yesterday. Just what we need, another medical bill, but hey she was my first baby girl. We had some help this week at the house to give Jonathan a break, he seems to be in good spirits. He is such a good Dad!! Wallace misses me the most of course, he is my snuggie puppy. And oh temperpedic, I didn't forget about you, I will be home soon.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dec 20 There’s a plank in my eye…. This might hurt

             I’m quite sure that I ‘m not the only one that this has happened to.  Ever felt pretty high and mighty and felt just because you didn’t have an issue with a certain sin or annoying characteristics that you had the right to judge someone? Maybe we nag, complain, have bad thoughts, etc that all fall under the true sin of judging other people. Sometimes we do with without knowing it. Sometimes it is the good in us that is rejecting the thought of such horrible sins. It stinks even worse when you think that you don’t have issues with judging someone until God places them into you life. Talk about grading on my nerves! There are 3-4 sins that I cannot stand. One is lying, the others I won’t say because, well, I don’t want to. Amazing since I did so much lying as a teenager. I grew up hearing that all sin was the same in God’s eyes, none worse than the other. Well I don’t believe that entirely. You can if you want, I don’t want to get in any theological conversations… if you really want to, call me, don’t post it here. I think that we are all sinners and we all need God the same amount. I think some sins are worse than others just because of the way they affect others, in other worse the consequences of the sin.  Well, let me get back to the point.
             One day, in the book maybe, I will be able to give more details about this situation.  For now, some of you will know what I’m going through, it addition to cancer, geez.  Others, just try to imagine and maybe apply some it to your own life if you can. Maybe you have a coworker, family member, friends, etc that drives you crazy, or you talk about, and you feel that you have a right to do so. I’m thinking you do, because I do, and I like to think I’m a little normal.  Like I mentioned before, it is easy to say things like, “ I don’t care if someone does this, or is like this, it doesn’t affect me, etc” .  I have found out lately that it is really easy to say those things until that person is in your life and you like “Crap, I don’t like you, why don’t I like you, oh because you do this and this and it drives me crazy, or you will never change,  and your not a Christian so I’m supposed to be a good witness, why me, why now?”  There has to be some verses about the people that God put in your life you mold you….. I’ll have to look.
                  I took this course at a Vineyard church a while back. It was called Elijah House   http://www.elijahhouse.org/?src=23.  It really helped me to understand about judging and the roots of long term issues in our lives. I’m sure you have seen in your family or someone else you know that has a cycle of sin in their family, whether it is abuse, alcoholism, the occult, mothers not taking care of their children, etc.  One of the things that Elijah House points out is that when we judge someone and  do not forgive them, we can quite easily end up doing the same thing to ourselves, our mates, our children. Then it can start the cycle over again. The key is forgiveness.  Does that mean that we forgive one time and we are done. Good luck with that, I never had any. I think that we have to forgive over and over. Our memories are like elephants, not gold fish. We feel guilty for not being able to just forgive someone the first time, well they hurt us, why would it be easy. Getting hurt was not easy, was it?  And nothing worthwhile is easy, except steamable veggies. Someone grading on your nerves is not easy either.  Just keep seeking the Lord.  That doesn’t mean you don’t tell people when they hurt you, or let people help you get out of a bad situation. No door mats please.
              Watch OUT! As soon as you realize all the above, you may do what I did. “ I can handle this Heather, you got this, just follow the Lord, you can forgive and not judge, give them a chance, hell, call them”  Then you do, and they disappoint you again and again. Man, at that point, I was madder at God than that person. I don’t think he minded. He knew it was coming. You can be angry and not sin believe it or not.  I have learning something the last couple of years about expectation. Sometimes they are too high for those people in our lives that just can’t get over being selfish, self absorbed, inconsiderate, self destructive, mean, apathetic, put whatever you want here. When our expectations are unreasonable, that is when we feel that we have a RIGHT to judge someone. If our expectations are that some people may not change unless God changes them, maybe we/I wouldn’t be so sensitive about it.  We honestly don’t really know what people have been through, what happened to them, if they know the Lord, if they are hurting right now, if they want to reach out but feel like they can’t because we have a judgment wall going on, and maybe you are that person.  It is possible to be on both sides of this at the same time. Holy Cow.  Going through the Elijah House program I was able to deal with a lot of things in my family and that happened to me, or I did in the past….. guess I missed this one J
                   Again, what’s the point of a good story if the character doesn’t change?  I just thought the cancer was the crash course. I'm in a full term. Surprise, Surprise!

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

Romans 2:1-3 

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?

Ephesians 4:29 

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear..

Matthew 6:12 

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

new videos up

That's banana on her face, not a boogie
Publish Post

There are some new videos up of Evalyn Rose, not sure why they are not showing up in the video section. Those of you on face book have seen them!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dec 19th So far so good!

                        So far this trip has been pretty easy. The first day I was admitted there was a miscommunication between the pharmacy and the orders so I didn't start treatment till 12 am. That means I have treatment every night at 12 for 3 nights. I was supposed to have an LP today but it's Sunday. I requested that it be first thing in the morning so I don't dread it all day. We will see. It looks like I will be here till Wed. 
                        I have had some nausea but it has not been too bad, in return the nausea meds have made me sleepy so I think I'm getting a little more rest then usual, but that is making not get much work done. I'm about to try to work some more tonight. I'm keeping my figures crossed that I don't get the migraines again, I started back on the oral chemo yesterday.  
                        My brother came yesterday and we had a great visit. My parents came today, my friend Cristian that I have not seen in over 8 years, and my cuz Shanna is coming tomorrow. I'm a lucky girl. I also was able to meet some people on my floor yesterday and went down to 6E to play the guitar a little. I met some really encouraging strong people today and we are all praying for each other. Some of them are really sick and some will be able to go home for Christmas. 
                    I miss my husband, Evalyn, and puppies even more this time around. 
Not sure who has the silliest hat

Friday, December 17, 2010

Dec 17th Here again.... and a new flyer!

Hi everyone,
           I'm back at Emory for 5 days. We had some communication problems and I thought that I was not going back till after Christmas. Well, it seems that I will be hear every 21 days from the start of day one. Day one being today, so I will come back the next time around Jan 7th or so. Right about when Jonathan starts back to school. It's ok, if it was not that week, it would be soon enough. When I get home, we will all have 2 and half weeks or so to be together, with no where to be (except some doc visits), no school, and no work. Just kidding, I have to work. As I said on FB earlier, this 5 days in the hospital is going to cost the insurance company $20,000, so for me to try my best to keep it isn't so bad.
            I like my new job ok, it's just taking some getting use to. I don't have the interaction with my people and their caregivers so it's all just paper work. I have the hang of it for the most part, it's just hard to concentrate for long periods of time. Now that I know what the schedule is going to be like, I can start lining up some sitters like I did before. The only thing now is that I need to get my Papa Bill a wide screen monitor so when I work over there I can see all the forms. Maybe I can just carry mine back and forth. hee hee  Jonathan probably is saying "nooooo!"   Those of you that know me, know that I break a lot of phones and computers. I break a lot of stuff, not hearts, never broke any hearts. At least I hope not.
            I'm on the A treatment schedule this time and yes, I will be getting a LP this week. I have expressed my anxiety over this and they seem to think it will be alright. I'm starting the oral chemo again tomorrow morning. Please pray that it's doesn't give me migraines again. I've been waiting all day today to start my IV chemo but it still has not arrived. I heard a rumor that the pharmacy didn't get the orders. Funny, since the pharmacist came up around 6 pm and gave me a copy of the treatment plan for the week. Oh, my patience really must have been bad for me to have to learn this one.         About my Chemo Treatment
             My cousin Shanna helped to change the flyer today. Please help out by printing them, placing them at yours or someone you know business, and giving them to family and friends that you will see over the holidays. I still need a match and so do so many other people. I think if you right click it then save it to your computer, then print it out. Thank you for your help!
             We received a check in the mail yesterday that is going to be a big help. This person has helped two other times and don't think would want me to share names. In the card, they wrote "I don't know how you do it." Well __________, I don't either. People like you that are supporting us whether its money, food, prayer, encouragement, baby sitting, letting me keep a job, bringing a Santa to Evalyn since we can't go to the mall,  etc, etc. and most important the grace and mercy of God. God has a plan, it is unfolding as I write this. I know that, so that helps me keep going. I can't say this is easy because believe me it is so much harder than I thought it would be. But is anything easy worthwhile in the long run. Not really. I could see God working that very first week. So that in turn increased my faith. He said that just a mustard seed is enough, I'm pretty sure that I have that, and so do you.

Jeremiah 29:11-13
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14I will be found by you,” says the LORD

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dec 16th Happy 5 months Evalyn!

          Today, Evalyn turned 5 months old. She is such a happy, sweet, and good baby! She has really been trying to make different noises and this week figured out how to sequel on her own, that its not so bad being on her stomach, and that Chloe is way more entertaining then sweet potatoes.
           As I have felt better over the last couple of days, we have really been having a good time. Cousin Andy came over and at one point Evalyn just kept laughing super hard. The Gamboa girls came over and we had hot chocolate. Evalyn had a great time over at Jim and Eva's the other day looking at the sky lights above the ceiling fan.
            Evalyn is really getting the hang of the eating from the spoon now. We are going to try avocados pretty soon as well as getting rid of that pacifier before spring semester hits. The Lane girls and Tasha came over yesterday and we made crafts and ate grill cheese. They though that she was so pretty of course.
             Tomorrow, Evalyn will see Santa for the first time at the Farm Christmas party. Mommy will probably be at Emory but Dad is going to take some pictures. Don't worry, Mr. Frank said that Santa will still come visit me when I get home.
Just looked at those blue eyes. I have blue eyes but I have the Warren blue eyes... Evalyn has my Papa Jacks blue eyes on the Cox side of the family. The picture below reminds me of the I Love Lucy where they are working at the chocolate factory.              Happy 5 months baby Girl!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dec 13th This is real life for sure....

Hey everyone....
                Nope, I have not fallen off the face of the earth. It comes down to two things.... time and energy. I don't have enough energy to do what I need and want to do and then I have to lay down, which saps my time.  I've been super  tired now days. I keep hoping that my energy level will go up, but I'm on week 2 after chemo and it hasn't yet. It's better, but not enough to go around. I has some energy last Friday, but it was the blood. Then... it thinned out. The last week, I have been trying to get back to work, working from home, and Jonathan is trying to pass his exams. Evalyn has had a rough week, apparently, she is not ready for sweet potatoes and seems to be fussy from teething.
             In the long run, it doesn't matter if the Christmas pictures ever get out, if I finish a hat for someone as a present, if the floor is vacuumed, or if dinner tastes good. It matters that I take care of my little girl, get my work done, take my meds, and love my husband.... and snuggle with my puppies of course. Oh, and live :)
              I'm a debbie downer today, as my sister would say, but don't pray for me to have an attitude adjustment because who knows what would happen, I am stubborn, remember? Pray that I have more energy and that Jonathan passes his exams!


Friday, December 10, 2010

Dec 10 Catching and story telling

Wallace in his MJ jacket

                    Wow, I feel great today. You really don’t know how wonderful something is until you don’t have it. Maybe I should try one of those oxygen bars one day, not now, probably too germy for me.  My body is working hard right now to build back up my counts, mainly my white blood count. After being on chemo last week, It takes about a week for my counts to hit basically 0. I still have a lot of learn about this chemo treatment and how it works. So I get knocked down, get up again, get knocked down, get up again, really? Damn, I’m going to super strong when all this is over. Makes me scared of what God might have for me next.
                There was some confusion and well now we have a huge pile of mulch right in front of our house. Dear Jonathan, I can’t help him put it out and it can’t just stay there. Luckily, Mr. Frank is going to scoop up the mulch with his bobcat, not Bob the bobcat it a bulldozer looking thing, dump the load into the back of the golf cart, where Jonathan will then proceed to drive down the narrow ally between us and our neighbors, then dump it in our backyard.  One time, Jonathan and I shoveled 8 tons of gravel into the back of the golf cart, then went through all that. Let just say that someone ended up with a wrist brace for a week and both of us were exhausted. Husbands listen to your wives… they are really smart.
                                It was nice out today. I just wanted to “Do” something outside. Like plant something, but that is on the LIST. So we went for a walk and took Evalyn in her black, smooth, Eddie Bauer stroller for a walk around the lake. Wallace came too, in his Michael Jackson coat. Jonathan pointed out his one white paw is like his while glove. I can’t believe I didn’t think of that. By the way, it’s not really an Eddie Bauer stroller, it’s just a baby trend, but it’s so cool, you feel like your pushing an Eddie Bauer. Like Hyundai and Honda. Not really. Evalyn looks so content in the stroller, just riding. I think next time we will take the car seat out and she if she is able to face forward now. Of course, I keep feeling that I’m going to wake up to 6 feet of snow or something. I’m freaking cold and I’m bald. Not sure how much more walking there will be…. We shall see.

                This evening before dinner I was able to go fishing with my next door neighbor Mr. Jim. I love this man. Two days ago, he pulled up in front of our house in his golf cart to come show me the wild hog he just shot here on the farm. My step mom said that she saw it out in the yard and had named it just before he was shot. Chocolate Mousy Pig. The name fit. Well, now he is curing about 25 feet from me and I think he is going to taste pretty good. One week ago, Jim comes to the back door to show us the HUGE catfish that he had just caught. Don’t ever try to eat a really big catfish unless you are starving, they really don’t taste good. Stick to the 2 lbs and under however when they are caught here we still have to take them because they eat the good fish.  Someone ended up eating that fish, I think it might have been Mr. Frank.
Water Dog
               When we first got on the lake, Jim pointed to the sky and said “There’s a water dog.” “ Huh”, I said. He didn't hear me. “What you say Jim?” “Sorry my ears been all clogged up” he said. “ I’m used to repeating myself.” He didn't hear me.  So I looked at where he pointed and saw a white cloud and one side of it was yellow, like the sun was behind it, only it wasn't, the sun was way over to the right of the cloud. So I asked Jim again and he heard me. He said that the sun was shining through the ice crystals and that the old people used to call it a water dog, he doesn't know why. Well, I want to know why…. Anyone know? We didn't catch any fish, or didn't even get a bite for that matter, but I could care less. I have not been out on the lake since summer and haven’t been out with Mr. Jim in too long. He taught me to use a new outfit. It’s a strange looking fishing rig that I can’t describe so I took a pic. Also in the picture, are mine and Jim’s awesome MUCK boots. I taught him about MUCK boots and now he has a pair.  Jim mentioned how great Jonathan has been through all this and I told him I wouldn’t want to go through this with anyone else. He said that Jonathan sure was a good one and he loves me and Evalyn so much. Who said I didn’t catch anything?
                      We talked about the barn owl that he saw yesterday , I told him about my father just moving to town, and then we started talking about Farmers Hardware. The old Hardware store was in that weird corner building, if you know Athens you know what I’m talking about, that is at that intersect of Thomas, Broad and Oconne. It’s now apartment buildings and my brother’s old roommate lives there.The subject come up because my Poppa Bill told me a story about Farmer Hardware (FH) on Monday.  FH used to have a red box with a padlock on it sitting right outside on the curb. This red box was full of dynamite that anyone off the street could come and purchase. I was surprised at that. Poppa Bill says that we didn’t have as much evil back then and people could use the dynamite to blow up stumps.  Poppa then showed me some brick work that he did on a building on Prince Avenue. It’s so neat to think something my Poppa did 50 years ago is still around. So I tell Jim this story and he had even a bigger story. Just like an old fisherman to try and show me up.
                Jim said the owner of FH was a man named Benny Mize. Benny had given his Dad a rifel in the 40’s that is still in the family. During WWII there was a ration on certain types of materials. Well, Benny, somehow got his hands on tons of this material and would store it out at his farm where locals could come purchase it when needed.  Jim said that it was like the black market and he came in on trains. Some dummy told on him and he was charged with a $50,000 dollar fine…. In the 40’s! I wonder how much that would be in today’s money. Jim got that crooked grin and his face and said “Benny said he still came out alright.” He also said that they were good people and would do anything to help anyone. I wonder if that story got passed down in the Mize family. I wonder if anyone wrote it down.

Gone fish'in


Good Samaritans and the Forest for the Trees

            You have heard the verse, " The Lord gives and the Lord takes away." Sometimes it's in that order and sometimes it's give, give, take, give, take, take, take, giveeeeees, givvvessss, etc. One day Jonathan broke a tooth and we are faced with a huge dentist bill, the next we are approved for co pay assistance with the L&L society. Have you ever worked overtime to try and get ahead just to have your car break down or your kid need new shoes? Of course. That's what all this feels like except way bigger. We can't get ahead to save our life but we are not sinking either. Our heads are just above the water. Just above where are face is tilted up to the heavens and we are saying, "ok you have our undivided attention, what you say goes, now what?" Maybe that is why Jesus said that its so hard for a rich man to get into heaven, it's difficult to get someones attention that can fix most any problem that arises by themselves and continue to try an fill the void with whatever the latest commercial is about. I'd still like to win the lotto and be given the chance to try and get to heaven.

              I really wish I would have started a list of all the nice things people have done for us, said to us, or gifts that we have received in the last 6 weeks. I'm sure if I search through all the rambling on this blog I could come up with a good list but I'll save that for another day. Lately, I received a ride to Emory by Mr. Frank, a ride to the doctor by my Father and my Poppa Bill, and a ride home from the hospital yesterday by Linda, who also brought some thoughtful and needed gifts. We have a pile of free mulch. We had someone from our small group bring us two meals and our neighbor Betty brought us dinner on Thursday.  My cousin came to help with the yard work. This week we received two gift cards in the mail and the card just said " a good samaritan". FYI, when something is blue like that, you can click on it... Yea,I had to say that.  It was for $100 for Walmart and $100 for Kroger. Holy cow batman. Come to find out, a couple was visiting Jonathan's cousin church and heard about what was going on with us, asked for our address, and if she would follow up to make sure we got it. They still don't want any credit. Amazing.  We are getting part of a cow this week that is organically fed and the meat is going to be very lean and yummy. The man that raised the cow heard about what what going on and is giving us our part for free, minus the butcher cost. Who are these people? People really obey God like this? And if it's not God telling them, people actually have a good inner voice? It really blows my mind. This kind of stuff should be on the news not that someone else was killed today in Atlanta. I would get cable if stuff like this was on T.V., and it didn't cost $70 a month.
Oh the leaves..... 
                  More and more, I'm seeing that this is huge. This is not a story about a tree. I don't know the whole story yet and may never know how many people were affected or will be affected by me having something like cancer and what God does through that. Just today, I emailed a Lady that goes to Athens Tech and started a Be the Match group there. She has had a history of cancer in her family but no one that needed a BMT. She just feels lead to do this. She is so excited and we are going to join forces to put on an awesome donor drive in Feb. Of course this means that we have to approach businesses that are willing to financially support the drive. It's cost about $100 per person to test, analyze, and get the DNA into the system. Of course, those that donate are asked if they will give some money but most are not able to do so or don't know the cost of the testing. Well, this should be interesting, I believe that God will provide the money for the donor drive. I think there is someone really important waiting on a match, just like me. Maybe it's you, or someone you love.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dec 9th Sometimes I need blood and don't even know it.

               Well, today was a strange one. I woke up, did some work, took care of Evalyn, felt tired but generally ok, then went to get my Thursday labs. My father, that just moved down from Indiana, took me today, even though I think that I could have drove myself. I always bring a little bag, my Michael Jackson bag, with my medical book (list of medications, etc), a book and mag, and sometimes a pair of PJ's ( didn't today). I didn't pack a toothbrush or anything else because I felt ok and didn't think I would need much. I was super surprised when the labs came back that I needs 2 bags of blood. My Hemoglobin was 7.5, which is crazy, because when I have been that before, I have felt horrible and knew I needed blood.
            I thought about it and I guess pain and discomfort is relative and feeling crappy is starting to be feeling ok because I have felt much much worse.  I guess I don't know my body as well as I thought or my body and brain are starting to cope with this being real life now. So, I had to go to Athens Regional to get the blood and it took 3 hours to even get the blood started due to having to blood type me and then run all these other tests on it to make sure I got the right blood. I never realized it was that difficult but they have to do extra things to the blood because of my diagnosis and due to me getting a BMT later. They have to put the blood through radiation to kill anything bad in it and also take out the white blood cells. Then it takes about 4 hours to get 2 bags of blood. Lets just say that the plans I had today didn't happen and Jonathan didn't get to go to a meeting he needed to go to. I'm over it now but geez, I just can't seem to get much done this week. For now on, I will bring my laptop so at least I can do some work, or write, or watch netfilx. After I got one bad of blood I started to feel pretty good and that was when I realized that I really felt like crap earlier. Well what do ya know.      
             I was not admitted but still got my own room, good thing because that blue mask was about to kill me. I was on the pediatric floor which was strange because everything was smaller and the nurses seem to be scared of adults.  I took a nap, ate some hospital food, and then my friend Linda came to see me and we talked and laughed and she gave me a ride home. I found a magazine that I had heard about but had never read, The New Yorker. I love it, it cracks me up. It is a weekly magazine and that would be too much of a commitment and I couldn't read it all, so I may just purchase one every so often.  Oh, I turned on the TV and watched a little on the history channel about an ancient city covered by water off the coast of India, in the Gulf of Khambhat. Pretty cool. Yea, I know I don't usually watch T.V. but I was too tired to do anything else, I ended up missing most of it because I would mute the commercials and then forget about it. Then there was the show Modern Marvels that I like a lot, they were showing the Rocket Belt.
As the lady on Napoleon Dynamite said about something she doesn't need, " I want that. "

I had to add this later... I was complaining on FB about being at the hospital for 7 hours just to get 2 bags of blood. My funny cuz, Andy, replied, Sounds like the vampire's version of the DMV. " 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dec. 7th Looking back.... Regrets

Yea, we all have them.... right? There are the little ones... I wish I would have played basketball in school, wish I would have went to school here or there.... well, this is not about those those. This is about mistakes that I hope certain younger siblings of mine, children of mine, and anyone else that can learn from me do not make. Good thing about God is that he knows all paths and even if you choose the wrong one at times, he can still bring you back into his will. He is that amazing. Also, without these regrets, I wouldn't be who I am now, so can I still call them regrets.... I don't know. I like who I am so I wouldn't want that to change  but then again if I would have just followed the Lord , I wouldn't have had to go through so much pain to get here. I'm not only weird and geeky, I'm very very stubborn.

1. As I told my brother last year, I regret leaving God out of some major decisions in my life between the ages of 18-22. You know, your brain is not fully developed until your 25? No one told me that. People always talk about how hard it is to be a teenager but I found young adulthood to be the most difficult because there are so many decisions to make. I wish I would have seen a career counselor to help steer me in the right direction. Not that middle school education was not fun, I love teaching science, but I could have learned some things about myself earlier.... wanting the ability to work independently with small groups of people and not having patience with children that misbehave and parents that don't care would have been good to know. If I really would have sought the Lord, I think I would have either joined the air force or went to medical school. Maybe both.  No kidding.
2. I regret wasting so much time being concerned with relationships and trying to change people. Guess what, God changes people not you. If you have major red flags about a person, don't even entertain the idea of being with them. I regret that I married so young, 23, before I knew my ex husband even a year. We may would have saved ourselves and the girls a lot of pain if we would have realized that we were better off good friends.Realize it is so important to be on the same page, not the just the same book, religion wise. Also, any relationship requires work but it shouldn't be like banging your head up against the wall.
3. I regret ever being a bad example to those that I knew didn't know the Lord and those that did. I can't even count how many times that happened. I partied a lot during my young adulthood and realize now how much time I wasted.... well, on getting wasted. I'm glad that I had a lot of brain cells to start out with. Some people don't. Sorry, it's true.
4. I regret not spending more time with my sister when she was in middle school... I was too self absorbed at that time. I also regret not seeing my Nanny Johnson more before she passed away and I was able to drive. She was always so good to me. So learn from me, make the time to see those that you care about and realize that family should be number 1. You never know what life will throw at you, or them. Call and visit your cousins, aunts and uncles, don't lose touch with your people!
5. The times that I disobeyed God and my parents. I only hope that Jonathan reaps what he sowed for Evalyn's sake and not the other way around!! Jonathan was a great teenager and young adult. Never even smoked before, amazing. I was very rebellious and still have to fight that tendency to this day. Just tell me not to do something.....

Dec 6th headaches and depression be gone!

                Thanks goodness today was a lot better. I called Emory and they decided for me to stop the oral chemo for now, at least give me a break, and I had a little headache but not a migraine.I was able to eat and drink well today since I was out of the bed.  I went to get labs done in Athens and my counts were good, well good for just having a bunch of poison in my body. My WBC is low but on it's way up again: I just have to be careful this week not to be around many people. I was just glad not to be in bed and be able to take care of myself and Evalyn. I didn't want to have to get a sitter to take of Evalyn while Jonathan was at school and me just laying in the bed! My back is still pretty sore from all the LP's, I'm not sure if my body just isn't healing as fast as it did before. God, please don't let my back be messed up!  I also have bumps on my bald head that are itching like crazy. Funny, they didn't itch until Jonathan let me know they were there. It's freaking cold. I'm cold all the way down to the bone marrow. I look like I'm camping inside my house. At one point I almost put on two of everything and nothing I have on matches. Real sexy Heather. I guess it is the chemo because I'm not usually this cold.
                 **Depression**  I wanted to talk a bit about depression.... you might be reading this and just started your treatment. People are so scared by that word and the words that go with it. Is it chronic, manic, dysthymic, post partdum, seasonal.... the list goes on. Here is a link if you feel like trying to diagnosis yourself , I'm kidding....types of depression. I don't think I'm any of these, I think I had a horrible weekend. Let me say, that I'm not against anti depressant medication, or any other medications, but I do think like antibiotics they are over used and not the "answer" for everyone. Sometimes people need, I mean NEED, their medication. I know people like this and I'm glad they have it. I also know people who are always the victim, self absorbed,need to grow up, and need to learn some coping skills or get a hobby. Now, that doesn't mean I will never take them, or have not for a brief period, it means that I'm going to do whatever it takes to figure out things and then try to make the best decision for me, just like you have to.
                By the end of the weekend, I realized I was depressed. Really depressed. It was the " I can't even think about smiling, can't hardly move, if I had enough energy I'd give up (like that's a choice), I have no joy, I'm a lump on a log, if I have to take one more pill, yada yada " kind of depression. I usually go about problems in life like a science experiment or math equation: there are certain variables that come together to make a product or the results. Sometimes, you are able to change only one variable at a time and then it's easy to figure out what changed. That's why I feel it is important to only make one medication change at a time, if possible. This is not a medication buffet and everything has side effects. I also think it is wise to not make too many life changing decisions at once, I've learned from those mistakes. Othertimes, you don't have any control over those variables and then you have the perfect storm and you just have to wait and see. I think that is what happened this weekend.
                For starters, after you are on steroids during chemo, your body crashes. My aunt Sharon warned me about feeling a little depressed after the steroids. Then, you are discharged from the hospital and your whole body crashes at home, where you feel like you should be able to get up and do things that you have been missing. In my case, I couldn't take care of myself, Jonathan, let alone Evalyn. It was easier not seeing her than seeing her and not being able to take care of her. The next variable was that I had been on pain medication for about 5 days straight due to the LP headaches, back pain, and migraines, your body gets used to the medication and when you stop, it is another let down. I was also on anti anxiety meds due to the side effects of the steroides.... another let down. I'm also on hormonal birth control which in the past, has always lead to some depression. It took me about 3 years of a first marriage to figure that one out.  Then, I was dealing with bad headaches and generally feeling horrible. Well, geez, who wouldn't feel depressed?
Don't be down mommy!
            It was important for me to think all that through, talk to Jonathan about it, and then decide that hopefully it wouldn't last forever and that there is a lot of shit going on and I'm not alone. This was my first time being discharge from the hospital to recover at home and I didn't really know what to expect. I thought I would be like I was Thanksgiving week, loving life, happy, and feeling good. Boy, was I disappointed. Luckily, I feel a lot better today and even managed to find some joy in life such as making sweet potatoes for Evalyn. In the future, at least if I know I'm going to feel like crap for a few days, I can prepare myself. My expectations will not be as high this next go around. Maybe I will be surprised instead of disappointed. Ah.... expectations... that's a book in itself.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Dec 4th Medical MJ and 2nd discharge

         2nd discharge.....  For those that come behind me.....otherwise, skip down to medical MJ..First, I want to tell you about the 2nd discharge and what to expect, what not to expect, and hopefully save you some headaches, not literally :(, with medications. First, always, always make sure that your name is the name on what ever sheets of paper are being given to you. For real. Also, it is very important to stay organized and have someone check behind you.
        With discharge, any appointment, and when ever you ask for one, a list of medications that are ordered for you will be printed out. I dated the top of this sheet of paper from my first discharge, 11/22, to 2nd admission, 11/27. I then put beside the medications which ones are PRN, the common names for some of the meds I didn't know or are referenced differently often then written, and high light any must remembers such as only take for the next 4 days, etc. For the PRN meds, especially the anxiety meds and pain meds, I put a date down of when I took the PRN meds to be able to map out side effects. It is hard to remember with chemo brain so in doing a little documentation, I can see now that my migraines start about a week after being on the oral chemo again at 100 mg. I can also see that the pain medication didn't help much today and that there may also be something else going on as well. During my first week at home, I had 3 medications discontinued and 2 new ones start. I made notes on the same list and added the new medications to the bottom. Of course, then you have to come home and go through your fancy pill box and take meds out and put new ones in..... party.
             So when I was discharged yesterday, I got a new med sheet. Most of the meds were the same, some of the doses were different, and I had a new one for PRN nausea. It would be very easy to get confused and then purchase medications that you do not need, or do not need yet, and have tons of bottles of extra medication laying around. The discharge coordinator and I went through my previous list of medications and compared it to the new list. I decided not to get the prescription for the PRN nausea because I already had one and have not used it yet. I was only home for a week so I knew I had plenty of the other medications and would be back for the 3rd admission in 3 weeks. Out of all the medications, I ended up only having to get 1 refill. Again, I put needed info on the sheet and will start documenting the things that I want to remember. It's great to be able to give the docs clear info so they can make the best decision, well, so you both can make it. It's ok to ask why, how, when, and what the heck is this for?

           Medical MJ........Well, coming home, I'm sorry, recovering at home from chemo, has been a little harder than I thought it would be. This whole week has been harder than I was told or could image that it could be. I'm starting to have the migraines again from the oral chemo, just about the same time after starting it the first time, and I think I'm still having headaches from the LP's. It is killing me that I can't take care of myself or my daughter.
        See the first go around, they have to recover in the hospital, after that, they shoot you up and then ship you out. Luckily, I'm able to follow up with GA cancer in Athens for my lab work 2x this week, 1x the next, and then see Dr. K at Emory the 17th. We will decide then, what day I'm coming back, probably the Monday after Christmas. At the appointments this week, it is more likely that I will need to get platelets or a transfusion because this is the week that my counts will be super low. If that happens, I'll have to go to Athens regional and spend goodness knows how long, you wouldn't believe what it takes to just get blood. I thought they match your type and hook you up, nope. Note to self Heather, bring something to do and tell the person that takes you to bring something to do. Chit chat when you do not feel well is not fun and neither is staring at each other. I go on Monday at 10 am to GA cancer and hope that it is quick and easy!
         Not sure what I'm going to do tomorrow about the headaches. I may call in to see if I can stop the oral chemo, or reduce it, or just give up, just kidding, we will see how it goes tomorrow.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dec 2nd Looking back further…. Thankful, People, and Obedience Part 2

FYI I’m probably going to keep adding to this over the next couple of months…

My sister, Jenna Boo
                When faced with a disease that could cut your life short and you have a lot of time on your hands, it is very easy to take a long hard look at your life: What you are thankful for doing and regret not doing. I’m not trying to be morbid, but this is real stuff here, real feelings.  I think it is a normal part of coping with mortality, whether you are 30 or 100. I’ve always had a kind of “bucket list” anyway. Then, when you get finished hashing that out, if you allow God to pull you out of the hole of self pity,  you start to think of new hopes and dreams… and of taking a trip to Europe a little sooner than 5 years. Don’t worry; I confident that God had told me that this is his plan and that everything is going to be ok.  Sometimes, God’s ok and our ok, doesn’t match up. Either way, his will be done.  I hope to write about these stories more specifically in the near future… they all had some life lessons for me.
A coke bottle and batman sign

                Thankfulness: First and foremost that we have a God that loves us enough not keep us the way we are..... for my dear husband and the sweetest baby in the world! I have always been willing to take a trip at the word “go”. I have some wanderlust and have always enjoyed seeing new places and meeting new people. I have been very lucky to experience some of the things that I have….. some people on my caseload have never seen the ocean and they live 4 hours away. My parents have always been willing to let me go, ha ha. I have the ability to say no to other, except I will say no. I'll have to write on just the word no. I have been able to go to Camp Rock Eagle for 4 H, both space centers, Ossabaw Island 7x’s,Little river canyon, hiking on the Appilation Trail, countless camping trips, a road trip out to Arizona and Colorado, seen the Grand Canyon,going on a road trip with just me and Chloe to Memphis, to see my father, and to visit friends in Ohio,  seeing New York in ’98, 2 mission trips to Haiti that has forever changed me, repaired houses in Birmingham, been on cruises, hiked around an island that no one lived on, going on trips by myself to the Hostel, spending time in Rockport Texas with my aunt before she passed away, trying new and different food such as bear, raccoon, pig ears, weird soup in Haiti, sushi, etc,  I glad I can sing in front of anyone now and that I like to dance, anywhere! Kayaked on rivers and through a mangrove forest, rode through the desert to find hyrogifics, hot springs, and see the sunset over the sea of cacti, swam with a dolphin, taking kickboxing, learning the guitar, singing in public, learning to crochet, painting, finishing paintings, learning to fish and learning to clean my own fish, working in restaurants, with the elderly, children, and people with developmental disabilities. I have won races, costume contests, dance contest, and a limo battle :).
I'm lucky to know the Lane's. I love you Tasha! 

                People: I am so lucky to have met some of the best people in my life and to be able to have the friends and family that I do. I used to believe that I needed this big group of friends that all knew each other and went around in packs… think high school. I’m glad that I got over that later because you really get to know people in small group setting better. A lot of my friends don’t know each other, it’s ok.  I’m thankful that I made the effort, for the most part, to stay close to my family and that they have always open their doors to me to stay the night and visit. I’m thankful for taking my brother, Daniel, to play games for his birthday so many times and trying to beat the Jurassic park game, going rock climbing with Daniel finding out that I love it, for taking my sister, Jennifer, and her friends on a secret trip out….shhhhhh, for enjoying the treasure hunt my Dad set up for me, for telling my mom the dream and insisting she stay home that day, protecting my sister on a couple occasions, climbing stone mountain on Easter morning with my cuz Andy, going to Atlanta fest music festival in ’98 where I first met Jonathan, seeing all my grandparents on a regular basis as soon as I could drive, going to Conyers to see my Nan, Pop, Laurie, and Jeff then seeing my aunt Judy and Mike. Thank goodness I went to the store and fishing with my Poppa Jack that day even though I had a really good feeling nothing lived in that pond. We didn’t catch anything but time together, perfect. I’m thankful that my step family accepted me as their own (well all but one), loving animals, saving turtles from the middle of the street and finding home for stray dogs, going on a cruise with just my mom, loving my step-daughters as my own, being friends with my ex-husband, learning from my wise neighbors, my college boyfriend Camilo taught me a lot about myself and continues to inspire me, moving to Athens, seeing my sister Anna, and brother, Scott, even when it would have been easy just not to “deal with it” due to it falling on me .
My brother, Scott!

                 I’m not going to rehash all that happen because you don’t really need to know and Michael and I are friends now. I want to be clear. Michael is a good man, I’m glad to know him and I like him. Were we right for each other, I don’t think so, at least not where I was as a person then. Did we break up and immediately become friends, ummm no….  That’s what is great about forgiveness about choosing to forgive.  Who I am now and where I am now, is partly because of him and those wonderful girls and Michael. I’m thankful for my relationship with Corynne, Rileigh, and Shannen  and I wouldn’t change it for anything. Michael and Jonathan are on great terms, we have a good time, Michael helps out with Chloe and the turtles because he loves them too, he helped us get a dead squirrel out the ceiling this past year, and has been very supportive with this diagnosis. He told me once while we were dating “I’ll be your huckleberry”. Well, he partly still is. I know that I can count on him… Jonathan and I know that we can count on him. Evalyn will know him as Mr. Michael.  I hope that he knows that he can count on us. So, please, no more comments about Michael unless it is to comment on who he is, not who I mirrored him to be through a painful divorce. Water under the bridge: a bridge built by love and forgiveness by God that cannot be torn down.
              Doing what God Says:  I’m not a very obedient person sometimes. So none of this deserves a pat on the back, it wasn’t even my idea. There have been times when God had told me to do something and I actually did it, when he said to do it. Imagine that. Sometimes it was a clear, “Do this now”, and sometimes it was a very quiet push that it was the right thing to do. It’s called a conscience and for some reason some people don’t have one. If you feel like you don’t, you may be able to purchase on e bay, someone sold their soul on there once. Dark Humor again. There was a time where I asked God a question and there as an earthquake, first one felt in GA that I ever remembered, and I didn’t listen. Stupid girl. That a garbage song. Garbage was a band.
We love to be silly!

             I glad that at a high school dance, when a boy from the special education program asked me to dance, I said yes. Was I embarrassed, uh huh, there was a group of students making fun of us the whole time and into the next day, but I’m glad I did it. I was driving down the road once and saw this elderly lady mowing her lawn. For some reason, God told me to stop and help her for a while, and she said ok and watched me mess up her lines.  I decided I didn’t want grass to mow when I grew up and we don’t have grass… we have leaves, mountains of leaves. I glad that I told people my dreams when God said that I should, even when they looked at me crazy,and  following my intuition about people and places with what I call a demonic presence, staying with someone all night as they went through heroin withdrawals, stopping to listen to people’s stories when I was in a hurry because I have something written on my forehead that say “talk to me, I’m friendly” Maybe I have an invisible tail that wags. I have been told to stand up for people that can't stand up for themselves. That is always a little scary. My step daughter Shannen did that took didn’t you girl? For choosing, at times, to sit with or talk to people that were sitting by themselves, new to a school, and obviously lonely. There have been many more anti authority issues then obeying going on in my life.  I’m lucky that God sees me for who he knows I am and not who I made myself to be. I’m obeying more now, maybe I needed this to happen to me to have a crash molding course and all or any of you changing because of it, it just a pleasant surprise in the ripples.

No regrets with these silly puppies, I miss you! Chloe knew that it was bath time now. 

        Next up Regrets… not self loathing… but I do hope someone for Pete’s sake, learns something from my mistakes, besides me. Ahem…. I think a few of you know I’m talking about you!  Maybe it was good I have not been able to get the rest of this blog completed since Tuesday, I might be easier on myself. Don’t worry, I’m going to keep it short because after that are my hopes and dreams for next stage of life. Way more exciting!

My sister Anna, and a very preggo Hather