Month: December 2015
Facebook started a thing where it reminds you of what you posted a year ago. Originally I thought this was cool. You could look back at what you posted last year or even several years ago. It was neat to see my boys as little guys instead of the young men they are becoming.
But then summer came and it reminded me of my brother in law, Jeff’s farm accident. It was tough to think back to that time. It was scary and all seemed like a dream. For those of you who are not close to me, he was driven over by a tractor and miraculously lived. He is even walking again. We referred to him as “the miracle man” or “Superman”. As tough as it was to be reminded of that time, there were many good things to follow… recovery, walking, a wedding and an announcement of a new baby on the way (first grandchild for him and my sister). Wheew, made it through that.
Then December came and after Dec 9th, my diagnosis date, I kept getting reminders of my cancer. A year ago, I announced my diagnosis. A year ago, I had an MRI. A year ago, I was meeting with several doctors, trying to figure out a plan. All reminders of what seems like a dream. A year ago, I was scared. But, a year ago, I was hopeful and positive that I would beat this. A year ago, I was thankful for the support of my family & friends and even strangers.
Life throws us curve balls every now and then. We just need to know how to react. If we have faith and stay positive, great things will come. I make it no secret that my faith in God helped to get me through my cancer journey. I learned to talk to him like another friend. I learned to ask for help when I didn’t feel strong. I asked him to watch over my family, and I thanked him. There was still so much to be thankful for. I wouldn’t wish cancer on anyone, but it did change me. I like to think I’m slower, more patient, and more trusting of his plan.
So, today I share with you my memory from a year ago. We all stood together, mom, my two sisters & I ready to “fight like a girl”…. And we did!
Let’s not take life so seriously. Yesterday, my husband, Cameron, dressed up like a real live Elf on the Shelf and had pictures & video taken all around our school. He works at the school as a para, and when they asked if he’d dress up like the famous red Elf, he cheerfully agreed. Most people would say “that’s nuts”, or would be embarrassed that someone might see them.
He was excited to do it. He knew that it would make people laugh & smile and maybe not take life so seriously for a moment. There comes a point in most people’s lives where they quit doing stuff like this… goofy, fun stuff just to make someone smile.
I’m thankful that he’s still a big kid. Without his humor & positive attitude, the last year would have been more difficult. If I hadn’t had him by my side through my “cancer journey”, the path might not have looked the same. I would have laughed less, cried more & likely wouldn’t have recovered as quickly. But he WAS with me. He held my hand, made me laugh & kept me moving. Was he scared & worried? I’m sure he was. But he knows I’m a tough chick & he believed in me. He wore funny shirts to my Dr appointments & surgeries. He made the Dr laugh on many occasions.
We may be an unlikely couple, but we balance each other out. He makes life fun & I make sure he doesn’t go too far. Let’s take some time to make sure that our family feels like they are “enough” too. Merry Christmas!
Confessions of a “busy mom”
This last weekend flew by. Don’t they all? Time seems to speed up this time of year. Even though it was busy, I couldn’t shake the feeling of not doing “enough”.
We finally got our tree up on Saturday. We decorated the tree, went to work the concession stand at school & then went to a holiday party for work. Sunday morning we opted to skip the church kindergarten program and instead, we went skiing. It’s easy to feel guilty for not going to church. Especially now that our oldest son is in confirmation. But my views on attendance has shifted in the last several years. Does he get more out of being forced to go, or does he get more out of enjoying God’s handiwork? Instead of sitting in a pew, he was skiing down a hill. He was enjoying the beautiful weather, getting a feel of his skiis against the snow cone like snow. He was testing out his skills (mini jumps), and gaining confidence with a dose of humility (falling). I doubt he felt very guilty. Instead he was thankful. My “almost 13” year old thanked us, without prompting, for taking them skiing. In my mind, that kind of makes God smile.
Instead of cleaning my house Sunday, I spent the day skiing too. My cluttered counter & piles of clothes would need to wait. If you come to my house on any random day, it will be a mess. It just is. It’s hard for me to accept that most days, but spending time with my kids trumps cleaning. And yet, it can make me feel like I’m not “enough”. In whose opinion though? My kids don’t care. Their friends don’t seem to. It’s just something that I feel like I should do more of. But then I look at my boys and get teary at the idea that they won’t be living here forever. And my counters stay messy and we go ski instead.
Please take the time to enjoy the Christmas season. Let Thanksgiving flow over from November and remind you to still be thankful. Even if it’s hard to be thankful, think of one thing a day that you are thankful for. It will start to shift your mindset and will likely make God smile. Your messy counters will wait. And, in case nobody told you, You ARE enough! Peace be with you on your journey.
Source: Happy Anniversary?
It’s usually not a statement that ends in a question mark, but this is a different kind of anniversary. A year ago today, I heard those words “I don’t know how to tell you over the phone, but it came back positive for breast cancer”. I’m not very good with remembering dates, but I have a feeling I will always remember that day, one year ago. I was teaching a class at work when I got the call. I remember talking to the Dr on the phone in the hall, hanging up & going back to teaching. Then there was another interruption from the nurse navigator who helped to set up a string of appointments to help determine my path. Back to teaching & back to work. I remember those things but I don’t remember how I told my husband, mom & dad or sisters. I had already gone into fight mode & was overwhelmed at the info coming at me. I do remember that I had to go to Dallas’ Christmas program that night & try to be “ok” for my kids. We would wait until we knew more before telling them. We wanted to give them info and not scare them with the unknown… although there would still be plenty of unknowns.
I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary today. This past weekend though, my husband Cameron and I snuck away to Vegas. It was a celebration of our 20 year wedding anniversary. 20 yrs ago, we honeymooned in Vegas and it only seemed fitting that we return. This time we went to the National Finals Rodeo “Tough enough to wear pink” night. We saw a show, had meals together & had some drinks. We walked about 30 miles in 3 days. We laughed so much that if laughter is the best medicine, then we cured a year’s worth of struggles. I realize we were just gone, but that was different… that was our whole family. Vegas was just us. We haven’t been there in 4 years & given the timing of the “new anniversary” it was great to get away together. The last year has been harder on Cameron than it might seem. This was my thank you to him. I wouldn’t be where I am without him.
Elf is our favorite movie. Especially Cameron. He knows almost every line to the movie. It’s a feel good movie and it’s a classic. He’s wanted to get an Elf costume and walk Vegas ever since we were there last. He had gotten the costume last year and wore it for Black Friday shopping. We took it to Vegas this past weekend. Although he didn’t stand still long enough to get tips or photos, he made a bunch of people smile. And isn’t that part of the Christmas season? Sharing smiles & making people feel good? We think so. We didn’t care how silly we looked because, one year ago, we had no idea where our journey would take us. The fact that we could walk around Vegas together is amazing & we are thankful for our journey. So, happy anniversary of two life changing events. I’m thankful & blessed. Peace be with you this Christmas season. May you make someone else smile.
One year – 365 days. Sometimes they feel like the movie “Groundhog’s Day” (where Bill Murray repeats the same day until he gets it right). Other times it feels like they just fly by & we wonder where the time went. I think of that when I look at my son, almost 13 & now taller than me with much more facial hair. One year ago today, I had the mammogram that would change my life. One that seemed to be routine. Quick in and out, minimal pain… No big deal, right? Nope, not that time. But one year ago today, I had no idea of what was ahead of me. No clue as to how much my life would change. The thought of being a cancer survivor hadn’t yet crossed my mind. This was just routine.
Last week, we traveled to CA to see my sister & her 2 girls. We celebrated life, Thanksgiving & called it “mom survived cancer” trip. I struggled with the guilt of going… The expense, the time off & not being able to give myself credit for the last year. My sister helped with some of the expense, my employer allowed me to go in PTO debt, and a fellow cancer survivor made me think about how tough it is to go through cancer – and how coming through it SHOULD be celebrated.
The thing about cancer is, you “just do it “. There is a plaque at my desk that says “you never know how strong you are until being strong is the only thing you can do”. It’s true. I treated my diagnosis like a project. A task to finish (survive)… Complete with flow charts, spreadsheets and progress tracking. When people told me I was strong, I didn’t believe them. It’s still hard to. When you’re faced with something like that, you just do what you need to in order to get through it. So to me, my “accomplishment” was no big deal, because I did what I thought anyone else would do. Yet I feel like I didn’t do enough. Didn’t handle certain things like I wanted to. Didn’t address my youngest son’s anxiety about my diagnosis soon enough. The list goes on.
I feel less than inspirational most days. It goes back to being enough and talking to yourself how you would talk to others. It’s a process. A slow one. But with Thanksgiving in the rear view mirror, another birthday in the books, some new kinds of “anniversaries” & Christmas just around the corner, there is a lot to be thankful for. What are you thankful for? List yours out, say them out loud, think about it in your car ride or while you are waiting in line. What have you done with your last 365 and what will you do with the next 365? Peace be with you on your journey of “enough”.