My Journey pt. 2

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This is the next excerpt, taken from my Caring Bridge blog.  

 

 

Life is funny that way

Written June 28, 2011 12:12pm

It’s amazing what will shake our faith in God.  Debt, relationships, work, etc.  The funny thing is, since I received this devastating news, my faith has grown.  I have my moments of melancholy, but I am truly not afraid.  I am not afraid of what is to come, be it procedures or the end.  Don’t get me wrong, I have my worries. I worry about my husband and children.  I worry about my family and friends.  I worry about the women who have not gotten checked up, so don’t have any knowledge of the beast that may be lurking within.  

I was not brought up in a faith based household, and I am still learning, but I do know that He wants me to give my worries to Him, and that is what I am trying to do.
 
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13
 

Holy Cow!

Written June 30, 2011 2:27pm

So, tomorrow is the big day!  I will find out all(hopefully) of the things that I have been fretting about.  What stage am I?  Has it spread?  What is my outlook?  These 3 things have become sort of a mantra, as they are what I hear repeatedly in my head. I know that these are not the positive messages I should be thinking, but when you are in the dark about the seriousness of an illness, it’s hard to stay positive.  I am hoping for the best, but am anticipating the worst.  For those that don’t know me, this is my normal way of thinking.  I like to call myself a cynical optimist. 

I keep telling everyone that I am prepared for whatever happens.  I guess I feel like if I say it often enough, I’ll start to believe it.  I feel at a loss, and I hate that feeling. I am used to feeling in control, and it is hard for me to let God take the pilot seat.  I’ve always been sort of a moment to moment type of person, but this has definitely made me not want to look too far into the future.  The few times that I have, I broke down because of all the things that I would like to see.  Nobody is guaranteed tomorrow, but we all wish that we were…
 

Not quite, but almost as confused as I was before

Written July 1, 2011 2:04pm

I met my gyn-onc today, and he seems like a really nice guy(is it sick that I noticed how handsome he is?).  I had a full pelvic exam(not for the weak hearted), and had him answer some questions. 

As of right now, it is still a waiting game.  I will have a pt/ct scan next week, to make sure the cancer has not metastasized. Once he has those results, and the results from the blood they drew today, we can discuss which will be done first, the surgery or the chemo/radiation.  Yes, folks, I will have to have the whole enchilada.  If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well, right?
He did say that from the pathology report, and what he viewed today, it looks like I have Stage 1B1 or 1B2.  In layman’s terms, these are cancers that can be seen without a microscope, but have not reached the lymph nodes.  This is very reassuring to me, and other than them telling me “Hey! We made a mistake! There’s no cancer here!!”, this was the worst that I was hoping it would be. 
So, my friends and family, this is the update for now.  As soon as I get more info, I will let you all know.  Keep the prayers coming, and don’t write me off, yet.  I am strong.  I am a fighter.  I will get through this!
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Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!!

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Tomorrow is the first day of school. Tomorrow. Is. The. First. Day. Of. School!!!!!  I just keep saying it over and over in my head. I am so excited! After a summer full of whining, bickering, backbiting, and crying the children will be able to get rid of me….at least for a few hours 😉

Don’t get me wrong, I love my children. They fill my life with joy, and they are my greatest accomplishments. That being said, they can annoy the crap out of me in 5 seconds flat.  The fact that I was an only child (for the most part) only makes their fighting more confusing to me. I just don’t get it. Why are you arguing about who gets to watch which movie at what time?!? Take turns, already!! Geez! Oh, I’m sorry. The prince said something hurtful to you, princess?  Didn’t I JUST hear you tell him that he stinks like poop?  Summer time is a never ending slug fest, interrupted every now and then by a friend wanting the prince to come out and play.  He’s 9, so I have decided to give him a little more freedom, as long as he doesn’t abuse it. I pretty much know the neighborhood, since we’ve lived here for 8 years now, and he only gets to go down two streets so far.  The princess is 6, and she doesn’t get to leave my sight.  Which usually leads to more bickering, but this is a point I won’t budge on.

Last year, I was the room mom for my daughter’s kindergarten class, and I didn’t think I would have the fortitude to do it, again. At open house last week, the sign up sheet was staring at me with great anticipation, so I found myself putting that star by my name.  I am sure that this year won’t be as hectic. I have some experience under my belt, and hopefully know what NOT to do this year. I’ve already printed out my welcome letter with an option to return contact information to me (big problem with communication last year), and hopefully I will get a good response.  The princess found out that two of the girls from her class last year will be in her class this year, so that is a plus, but I think she only likes one of them, so whomp, whomp, whomp.

I won’t sign up to help with the prince’s class, because he is getting to the age where everything I do is embarrassing.  Advantage for me, as I can use this against him in a disciplinary capacity (maniacal laugh, maniacal laugh).  We did find out that he knows his teacher. She is in the classroom right next to his former class. Hopefully, she will be stern and not fall for his big, brown doe eyes. This has been the fate of all of his former teachers, even the male.  On the downside, he only recognizes one student’s name, and he hasn’t been in a classroom with him since kindergarten. Hopefully they get along as well as they did back then, because I thought this boy was a great influence on the prince.

I will miss them dreadfully. They were my running buddies throughout the summer. They went thrifting with me with very little complaint, and we went to the pool quite often. With them at school, I will have no excuses to not workout or clean the house. I will not miss the fighting, but I will definitely miss all of the hilarious things they would say.  The most innocent of comments could be turned into a full blown laugh fest with just their tone of voice or look on their faces.  They are definitely too smart for my own good.  They have my sarcasm and comedic timing and their father’s deadpan delivery of the pottiest of jokes.  I will miss the carefree days of no homework, and no filling out of forms.  The days of dreaded phone calls are nigh upon me. The nurse, the assistant principal, the teacher…they will all know me intimately by the end of the first 3 weeks, I’m sure. Well, the assistant principal already knows me quite well.  My son doesn’t have what they call “da social skills”.  Just kidding, but not really, but sort of.  I’ll save that for another post, I think.

So, onward we go. Through the halls of academia for another year.  We’ll weather the storms like we have in the past. I will probably cry. I may even blubber a little. At the end of the day, I know that my children are in good hands. I will rejoice in the fact that they will grow up to be good little citizens, and I will have a delicious, healthy snack waiting for them when they get home. Or Goldfish. I may have Goldfish waiting for them….

Parent of the year up for grabs?

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We have cut off our cable and internet for a while due to the children’s propensity to repeat everything they see/hear ad nauseum. We have two huge cd folders full of movies, with most being age appropriate for all of us, but not all of them.  With that in mind, here is something that happened the other night:

The mister starts watching Superbad (cue award music) with the children.  The kiddos are equal parts fascinated and horrified by the first 10 minutes of the movie. **If you haven’t seen this movie, the two main characters are discussing which porn site to subscribe to when they go to college the following year**  

The mister glances my way, and asks if I think he should turn the movie off.  For anyone who knows me, if you ask a stupid question, you will get a thoroughly sarcastic answer.  I tell him to do what he thinks is best (see, I held back. I DO have self control).  He decides that what is best is to keep it on for a few more minutes….self control backfires.

Cut to the scene in the convenience store. Jonah Hill, one of the main characters, picks up a magazine from the rack.  Lucky day! It’s a skin mag, and it doesn’t have the protective cover with the big, black bar across the model’s breasticles!!  The prince yells, “AWW YEAH!”, the mister says, “I’m turning this off”, and the princess mutters, “THANK YOU! Now I don’t have to hear about pa-chinas anymore!”

A day in my life, ladies and gents…

Full disclosure

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I feel like I need to be completely honest right now. The journal posts from my Caring Bridge site will have references to God. They will also have scripture. I am letting you all know this because they will seem to be in opposition with some of my posts.

I am not “religious” by any definition of the word, I am more spiritual, if you will. That being said, a near death experience will usually make the most hard-hearted Atheists seek comfort and solace in a being that is purported to be all healing.

I curse, I use the Lord’s name in vain, I drink to excess, and occasionally I make really, really bad decisions that probably make God/Allah/Buddha/Ganesha cringe in disbelief. In other words, I am human. I am not writing this blog for judgement, but I do hope that my stories will reach people in one way or another. Whether as a kindred spirit or a public service announcement, it’s your call.

buddy christ

My journey(as promised)

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A funny thing happened on my way to the beach….

Written June 27, 2011 8:35am

I wouldn’t say that I am a completely private person, but I don’t usually broadcast myself, either.  I don’t want to get preachy, nor want to become a poster child for a cause.  I am writing this note for 3 reasons: 1) To get some information out there; 2) To help you learn from my mistakes; and 3) To get as much positive energy, and prayers coming my way.

About 2 months ago, I noticed something very disturbing.  I will not go into detail(for all of my squeamish, male friends on here), suffice it to say, Shanna knew something was wrong.  I went to the doctor, and after several tests, and many weeks of knowing nothing, my doctor(who has excellent timing, btw), called me last Tuesday while I was on my way to the beach.  Now, don’t get indignant on my behalf. He knew I was on vacation, but I had asked(begged) him to call me with any results.  After a short warming up, he told me “Shanna, I am sorry. The pathologist found small cell cancer cells.”  After getting out of the wind tunnel that my mind had become, I asked him what this meant.  Apparently(and according to my best girlfriend), I can’t even get illnesses that anyone else has.  I have to be unique, and not follow the trends.  You see, it is very rare for small cell cancer to develop on one’s “lady parts”, it is usually reserved for lungs.  My doctor had not heard of it, and I believe I heard him say(over the screaming in my head) the pathologist had never seen anything like it.

A little background, to let you know what I meant earlier about learning from my mistakes.  I don’t know how long this has been developing. I haven’t had health insurance for 3 years, and since I passed my last exam, I thought everything was o.k. Am I scared?  Hell yes!  Will I get through this?  As best as I can. Have I learned something? You bet. Things aren’t always what they seem.  Ladies and gentlemen(yes, you too) please go to your regular doctor’s visits. You never know what is lurking about.

The information part of the first paragraph?? Believe me, as soon as I get information, I will be getting it out there.  It is very difficult to find something about this particular type of cancer because it is so uncommon.  I hope that while I am going through this, I will be able to impart some knowledge, so anyone else who gets this prognosis won’t be as in the dark as I am right now.

For any of you who don’t know me well, I have a very dark sense of humor.  If at any time, I make a joke about this that offends you, delete me(because believe me, if you offend me, you will be deleted).  I am not making fun of my disease, I am trying to cope the best way I know how.  I am not asking for any of you to pray that I get well, or even that I beat this. What I would like for you to pray for(to whatever God you worship), is that I have the strength to get through everything that will be coming my way.  I am a fighter, and I am tough, I  just need to be reminded every now and then.  Pray for my children, who are 7 and 4. They will have a hard time trying to figure out what is happening to mommy.  Pray for my husband, who holds his feelings inside, so you never know if he is o.k. or not. Pray for my mom, who is the strongest woman I know, but I am her only child, so this really tests that strength. Also, pray for the friends that are closest to me, who make up my solid support base: *edit: names removed for privacy*. They have promised to go through this Hell with me, and they will need the strength to deal with my whiny butt.

I have my first consultation with an oncologist this Friday, and as soon as I get an update, I will update you all.  Take care of yourselves, and remember, if you think something is wrong…it probably is.

This is the story of a girl…

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My first attempt at a blog was actually a means to communicate my fear of cancer and all that it entailed. It was fairly decent. I had some good feedback. Then I was “cured”.  I am currently a year and a half cancer free, and still fearful every day. Hopefully, this blog will prove to be as therapeutic as my Caring Bridge posts were. (I will post those periodically for those who don’t know my journey).

Along the way, I will be documenting all of the funny, crazy, ridiculous, and torturous things my children/husband do and say on a daily basis.  My children are my world, and they have my sense of humor, so when they aren’t making me pull my newly grown hair out, they are making me crack up. I can say that you will have the same reaction, dear reader, but unless you have a very dark sense of humor with a twist of sarcasm and a pinch of saltiness, I might be lying.

All names will be changed to protect the “innocent”, but I assure my friends there will be enough clues for you to figure out when I am talking about you.  A little background on my little family: my husband and I have been married since April 2002; our son was born December 2003; and our daughter was born April 2007.  For reference purposes, my husband will be referred to as “the mister” (or jerkface when he is being mean), my son is “the prince”, and my daughter is “the princess”.  I used to call them the boy and the girl until a friend called me on it, lol.  We are a slightly mixed family, as my husband is Hispanic and I am half. Neither of us know conversational Spanish, but we do know the bad words.  You will see some of these words peppered throughout this blog, and I will try to translate to the best of my ability.  If I don’t, remember, Google is your friend.