Monday, July 18, 2011

An quick update

So, Friday night I started to have some stomach pain. I was in a lot of pain through the night. I've had it once before and I thought it was gas. Well, Saturday and Sunday the pain was still there but was subsiding some and coming and going. I had a feeling I needed to get it checked out. So, we headed to the ER late Sunday.

As I lay here in my triage room, they just informed me that my gallbladder was inflamed and had a slight infection from a gallstone that got hung up. (this explains quite a bit of issues I've had for a while). So, they will be removing my gallbladder in a matter of a few hours.

One more organ marked off my list!! At this rate, I'll be skinny in no time as there will be nothing left. Why do we have all these organs that we actually don't need anyways??

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

One Year Later....

One year ago today was the phone call that changed my life. When Dr. Norton called to confirm pathology reports and said "the biopsy results are in....It's cancer."

I remember crying almost all day. Being in that state of shock, not knowing how bad it is, not knowing if you're going to live or die. Chris had come home from work as soon as I called him. Our life as we knew it was forever changed. But, not for the bad.....

Once the initial shock wore off, and I got further testing done and got the "staging" done, my outlook changed. Yes, I was stage 3 (ironically, the new Mustang is a stage 3.....) and they wouldn't give me my "odds" or "percentages", but my life was in MY hands. I found an awesome quote that really helped me;

"If children have the ability to ignore all odds and percentages, then maybe we can all learn from them. When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up, or Fight Like Hell." ~ Lance Armstrong

I could choose to give up, or I could fight like Hell! I decided, as always, that I was in charge of my body! Then, I gave that responsibility over to God. He was in control now! I knew there was a reason for this journey, but I couldn't for the life of me figure out what it was.

Now, I know.....
I see myself totally different now. I am strong. I am beautiful because of what's on the inside of me. I am less shy and more talkative. I am an awesome friend. But most importantly, I am many. I used to just think God, my family, my husband, and my kids were the only ones who "truly" loved me. I have seen some love the past year, that's for sure! I had an awesome group of friends who banned together to help me out when I needed it. I had an awesome group of girls who took me out once a week to take my mind off of things. I had friends come in to clean or pay for a cleaning service when I was tired and run down. I had friends who made me laugh. I had friends who brought me coffee, or scheduled a lunch date to keep me occupied. I had friends who drove me to my chemo appointments and kept me company during my drippings. I had friends who drove my kids to their activities, kept them for sleepovers, and had play dates with them so I could rest. I had friends cook hot meals for us and some who brought frozen meals. I had friends who watched Grayson for me during radiation when I had to go every day. I had friends flooding the heavens with prayers for me.....and I never asked for a single thing. They just did it, because they love me. They wouldn't let me say "no".

Yep, I am loved.

Of course, the journey has also brought to light some ugliness, but...again, I have changed. I am a fighter. I removed that negativity from my life and from my family and felt so RELIEVED! Before, I would have caved and felt guilty, somewhat at fault, but knowing that I didn't need that negative energy in my life was so refreshing! I felt the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders, and I never looked back.

I learned that there are more important things in life and I don't sweat the small stuff.

I learned that I can say "no" and not feel guilty about it.

I learned that I love to write, and I'm told I'm pretty inspiring, although I still have a hard time seeing that trait in myself.

I learned that there are "Good friends" and there are "Good-time friends" and I love them all the same.

I learned that people aren't always who you expect them to be.

I learned that there are some people with a really compassionate soul, and there are some without.

I learned that the body is a wonderful thing, and has the ability to heal itself, against all odds.

I learned that when you are vulnerable, with no hair, you have the ability to see people for who they really are, and look past the outer layer of beauty, and inside their soul. People are more transparent than they would like to think they are.

I learned that I can rock a bald head with the best of them.

I learned that my body is just a container for my soul.

"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. " ~Eleanor Roosevelt

That's just what I decided to do....look fear in the face and WIN. I gained strength, courage and confidence!

So, today, on my 1 year Survivor birthday, I am celebrating! I am celebrating with my family, I am celebrating with my friends, and I am celebrating LIFE!

My gift to myself....personalized license plates....

And this sign, made by my friend Tiffanie. She makes custom tin signs, and this is the quote I picked that best represented my journey! "Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death"

I thought I would end this post with a special thank you to the special people in my no particular order...
Christopher- my awesome husband, lover, best friend, and the most caring, compassionate man I've ever met. You have been my rock through this journey, and I am so thankful that God brought us together 11 years ago. You are my Ace of Hearts in this poker hand I was dealt. I fought for you, I fought with you by my side, and I fought because of you. I wish everyone was as blessed as I am to have a husband like you. I love what our marriage has become, and I love every part of you, every single day.

My 3 kids, Kaylee (my Ace of Diamonds), Brayden (my Ace of Spades), and Grayson, (my Ace of Clubs) for making me laugh every day and for giving me a reason to fight. I love each of you more and more every day, and you make me so proud! I am so thankful that you have been able to talk about this ugly battle and show your true feelings about it. You saw your Mommy at her worst, and you were always there to make me smile and lift me back up.

God- (my King High in this poker hand I was dealt) my strength, the ultimate healer, and the Almighty.

My Family- Mom, Dad, Jimmy, Karan, Shawn, Kay, Kristy, Steve, Alyssa, Dolly, Luke, Chris and Shawna, and all my beautiful nieces and nephews- thank you for believing in me, supporting me, encouraging me, helping with our kids, feeding us, taking me to appointments, and for all the monetary help you've given us. A Special thank you to Shawn, who decided to revamp one of his companies and donate 50% of the profit to breast cancer research and patient care, and for all of your beautiful pictures you and Kay took during my journey.

My twin cousin Teresa- thank you for coming to Texas to take care of me, my house, my kids, and Chris during my surgery. I loved every minute that you were here, and I wish you would've stayed longer....or for good. I miss you.

My awesome friends- Merci, Renee, Stefanie, Sarah, Crystal, Joyce, Krissy, Mary, Cassandra, Diana, Megin, Lisa, Stephanie, Eva, Shannon, Maria Eugenia, Sarah, Sandra, Crystal, Lisa, Stephanie, Angela, Ann, Becky, Becca, Tiffany, Tiffany, Sandi, Chandel, Dianna, Tarah, Tiffany, Heather, Helen, Jennifer, Kellie, Denise, Kelley, Kristin, Lori, Candy, Tammy, Whitney, Rebecca, Tammie, Molly, and anyone else I may have forgotten- thank you for driving me to appointments, cooking meals for us, cleaning our house, getting me out of the house, taking my kids to places, bringing them home from school, keeping them during my surgery, for giving me massages, pedicures, photo shoots, family haircuts, and watching our kids, for my lunch dates and coffee dates to get me out of the house, for running errands for me, and for the monetary help you gave us. But most importantly, thank you for all of your encouragement, kind uplifting words, and for all the laughs.

My husbands Awesome workplace: Wyman Gordon- thank you so much for all the support you've given to Chris. Financial support, the time off work for my appointments, the ability to let him work from home when needed, and for promoting him and seeing how truly awesome he really is.

To all my friends/family who don't live that close or work full-time, but supported me in spirit, with prayers, emails, and/or monetary donations; Amber, Jodie, Vivian, all my BBC "JuneBug" friends, my BBC "pregnancy & fertility friends", Wendy, Amy, Kelly, Cathy, Bubba, Juanita, Christine, Rodney, Amy, Chuck and Melissa S, Bobby and Mary S, Dana-Susan, Dawna, Chris, Debbie, Heather, Amy, Mary, Anne, Colleen, Deane, Jennifer, Kelsea, Kevin, Linda, Kim, Lesa, Margie, Stacia, Mercy, Michelle, Jesse, Jessa, Rebecca, Sara, Shawna, Stacy, Stephanie, Gina, Molly, Rachel, JoAnn, Alese, Rhonda, and Becky.
Finally- to my "new PINK big sisters" I've met on this journey- you've been such an inspiration to me and helped calm some of my anxiety, and told me how "normal" I am. I am so grateful that we got to meet and share this journey together. Faith, Hope and Joy are just "happy" words to some people, but to us, it means something totally different! I'm so thankful for Moni, Deana, Helen and Mary who gave me such awesome advice and in turn I get to pass it on to my "PINK li'l sisters" Stephanie, Melanie, and whoever else God sends my way.
I hope I got everyone covered. I still have lingering Chemo brain sometimes.
Again, thank you for following and supporting my journey, inspiring me, praying for me, keeping me writing, and keeping my spirits lifted.
Go check your boobies.......

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Replacement.....

Chris' truck was stolen on the 13th of June. They found it on June 22. It had some body damage and they took everything out of it. So, they went ahead and totalled it and he began his search for his mustang. He has been DYING for a Mustang Shelby GT 500 for about 6 years now. It was one of those things that we talked about doing when the kids were older. We were going to keep his truck and get the Mustang as a weekend, cruising, date car. Why??? Because it only holds 4 people and we are a family of FIVE! But, we talked about it and the only other thing he would want is a truck. Well, trucks are REALLY hard to find used in good condition, so we would have probably had to buy a new one. We didn't get very much from insurance because it was a 12 year old truck that was stolen. So, a truck the way he wants them runs about $50,000 brand new. He didn't want a new Mustang because they changed the body style in 2010 (I think) and he says the back tail-lights look like they are smiling at you. So, a used Mustang was WAY more affordable than a new truck. Besides, we have the Suburban as our family car, so the Mustang would just be a date car, drive to work car, and if he went somewhere with only 1 or 2 kids.

I was freaking out about having a second car note. We have only had one car note since before I quit working to be a stay-at-home-mom, 6 years ago. The truck has been paid off since then. Well, as God always has our backs.....Chris got a promotion at work about a month ago. He is now the manager of the 35K press at his company. So, we were looking forward to using the extra income every month to re-plenish our savings account, which has become VERY empty with all of our medical expenses. But, God had other plans and at least he got the promotion before his truck got stolen. His raise was almost the same amount as what the new car note is. Thank you Jesus!!!

So, as we are discussing what to get, if the Mustang was going to be practical, and how we would handle certain drop-off and pick-up situations with the kids, I was, at first, really hesitant of him getting a 4 seater. But, he does deserve his dream car, right? He's been SO absolutely wonderful during this past year especially. I mean, he's great all the time, but this year, he has definitely won the "Husband of the Year" award. How can I say no??? He is the one who works for our income, AND....he has had that truck since before we met. I've had 3 cars in that time because we decided that since I primarily tote the kids around, I need the newer, most dependable car. So, I got on board with his Mustang search.

He found one he LOVED and it was a GREAT price. We were going to drive to San Antonio last Saturday to pick it up. Well, the dealership there sold the car the day before we were supposed to leave. Chris was PISSED!!!!! It was the only Black one we could find within 200 miles and he had his heart set on a black Shelby GT 500. We had told the dealership we were coming to pick it up Saturday, and they said they tried to call us when the other guy (who flew in from California to buy it) showed up. Well, the idiot sales guy (Abel) called Chris' work number 3 times after 5 o'clock, and didn't call our cell phones. I called last Friday and gave the used car manager a piece of my mind. He said "I would've held the car for you if we had just talked to you and you said you were for sure going to buy it. Abel said he called all 3 numbers we had for you"........"I DID TELL YOU WE WERE FOR SURE, AND HE DIDN'T CALL ALL 3 NUMBERS....HE CALLED THE SAME NUMBER 3 TIMES!!!!" I told him my 8 year old could call people better than the idiot who called the same number THREE times.... Told him how bad that reflected on his dealership and that we would NEVER do business with them again. All he did was apologize over and over. Really, what else could he do? You can't just produce a used mustang in black that quickly. But, at least I felt better after chewing his ass out.

So, we began the search all over again. Chris found one he liked at a local dealership (Texas Auto Online) in dark smoke grey. He called about it, and in talking to our salesman, Don Staples, he mentioned that they had just gotten in a Roush Mustang in black. He texted pictures to us and we fell in love with it. I actually like it better than the Shelby because it has shinier wheels, (typical girl response, right?) and it had a lot of modifications done on it. For all you people like me who don't know the difference between a Roush and a Shelby, here is what I've learned.... Shelby is produced by Caroll Shelby exclusively for Ford Mustangs. Jack Roush is a different motor maker who takes a GT and drops his engine in it, signs it, and adds a bunch of other stuff. This one is a Stage 3, which means something with Roush engines that means it costs more money, but to me, stage 3 is my original stage of cancer I was diagnosed with, so it was almost as if this was our "sign" that it was our car. The Roush vs the Shelby is a long time running argument. Each one says they are better, and whichever one you have is the one you argue is better. It's kind of like the argument between a Droid and an iPhone. (iPhone kicks the Droid's ass in my opinion...because I have an iPhone)

I read somewhere that they only produce 100 Roush Mustangs per year. Not sure exactly, but that's what I read somewhere. Anyways, it's really pretty, it's really fast, and he LOVES it. I think he looks super HOTT and SEXY driving it.

So, last Friday, we went and bought the 2007 Roush Mustang GT and drove it home. Don was awesome, we got a great price, and we were in and out of the dealership in about an hour, because they did almost everything over the phone for us. We even worked out the price before we got down there, since we would be getting there so late, and I wanted them to hold it for me so he wouldn't lose another Mustang to someone else.

So, if anyone is ever in the market for a Used higher end car, that is definitely the dealership I would recommend! Go see Don Staples! He Rocks!

Here are some pictures:

There is the car....the replacement. Now I have to find me a trailer to haul my booth setup around in for my craft shows. We always used the truck and my Suburban for that. Gosh, so many memories in the truck.... We will have to make new ones in the Mustang now.