Tag Archives: children

I feel…..normal

Today (Tuesday) should have been my fourth AC chemo, but due to the Thanksgiving scheduling at the clinic, and my insurance requiring a certain number of days between treatments, I had to push the treatment to next week. I can’t say that I’m upset. I don’t want to do this chemo again. I hate the way I feel for the days after, but I know that it is necessary and that I only have ONE MORE!

The past few days have been great. Sunday marked the first day I felt “normal”. I am not sure what normal is, but I felt the best I have felt since diagnosis in mid-August. We attended church in-person and then had lunch with friends. I had placed a grocery order and we swung by the dreaded big blue store to pick that up. We were gone from about 9:00 to 2:00. I haven’t been away from the home that long without having a doctor’s appointment in a very long time. I felt good. I was ready for a nap, but that is just what you do on Sunday afternoons, right? I was then able to fix dinner for my family and just enjoy being with everyone. Jordan came home from College Sunday evening so we spend the night all five of us talking and laughing and filling my heart with joy.

Eli has an infectious laugh and smile!

Monday was much the same. I woke up at a normal time and for the first time in what feels like forever I felt like doing some housework. I cleaned a corner of my room that has become the catch-all for paperwork, cards, gifts, and all things cancer. I cleaned up and organized that and it felt so good to be productive. I have layed around here wanting to do things, but have never been able to get up and do them. Before dinner we went out to a few stores looking at a few things and, again, being out of the house was refreshing. The last stop we made was to Dollar Tree. I have been seeing lots of crafts that people make from Dollar Tree items and I wanted to try my hand at it. $5 later we had the supplies needed and headed home. The boys and I made a box to fit around the Christmas tree stand and pole to cover it up and make it look prettier. Doing a craft with my two older boys was so fun. We all had different ideas of the best way to make it happen, but we worked together and got it done. If you had asked me a month ago if I would feel like crafting I would have laughed at you and said are you kidding, I can’t even stay awake to eat.

Foam board, tape, wrapping paper, and bows and our tree stand and pole are covered!

I know some of you are probably thinking, wait, why would she be going out in a global pandemic? We kept our distance and didn’t touch anything that wasn’t necessary. We sanitized our hands and wore our masks. We have taken the notion to not live in fear. My oncologist told us to “live our life”. If I contract something we will deal with it. She encouraged me to get out and have dinner with friends. She understands the importance of social interaction in maintaining a positive outlook.

Today, I have again been productive. We finished decorating the inside of the house for Christmas and Chris and I snuck away for a quick breakfast with one of our favorite couples.

The last few days have filled my heart with love and joy. It has helped me remember what I am fighting this cancer battle for. I continue to fight for my family and friends. I continue to fight to regain my “normal”. It may not ever look like it once did, but that’s okay. We will adjust to whatever the new normal is!

Our tree!
We have no fireplace so we had to get creative in displaying the stockings.

Happy Halloween!

This post is going to be a fun one!

2020 has been a year of cancelations and disappointments, but yesterday, Halloween, was the most normal it has felt in a while.

I woke up feeling decent. My major complaint over the past week has been fatigue. I have always loved sleep, but I have slept so much it’s not really enjoyable anymore. I am sleeping a good 16 or more hours a day. Most of this at night where I will sleep from 8:30 pm to noon or after only waking long enough to take Eli to daycare in the morning. Chris has been awesome through it all picking up the slack and allowing me to sleep all I need, but I can tell fatigue is taking a toll on him as well.

Thankfully, I was able to enjoy the Halloween festivities with my family. I got worn out and headed back to the car before Chris and Isaac, but I managed to get about 3,000 steps beforehand. The exercise felt great and the weather was close to perfect.

Enough about cancer, let’s talk about our fun Halloween! Our Saturday was uneventful up until time to go trick or treating. There was a lot of uncertainty as to how the community would react to COVID restrictions. Whether anyone would be doing the traditional handing out of candy.

Our fabulous church had a drive-through trunk or treat that started the evening off with a lot of laughs, waves from great friends, and tons of candy!

From the church, we headed to Sonic for dinner. It’s hard to pass up fifty cent corn dogs. We then went to a parking lot to wait for some friends and eat our dinner in a COVID picnic fashion.

Some great friends met up with us and we decided to go to a new spot to trick or treat that had a great reputation for good participation and tons of candy. This is where things felt normal. There were so many houses decorated and people walking the streets laughing and having a great time. Of course, everyone was trying to follow the rules. Candy was being given in creative ways to allow distance from the candy giver and the trick or treaters. Families were waiting for their turns to approach and moving aside to allow passing on sidewalks. Everyone had a wonderful time and the kids came home with millions of candy calories in their bags.

I am sure you are wondering about the costumes! Isaac had his mindset months ago that he wanted to be T-Rex. You know the one. The six-foot inflatable one. He had to hang his head out of the car at the church and gave us a ton of laughs trying to get candy with his little T-Rex arms. Here are a few of our favorite pictures of him

Hanging out of the car!
T-Rex wanted a bite of the full moon!

Eli was our “Baby Clown”. He wasn’t sure what all of the excitement was. Our first stop every year is across the street at one of our favorite neighbor’s house. In the picture below Eli was trying to figure it all out.

That is one of my favorite pictures of the night! This specific costume carries great memories and emotions for me. This costume came into our home 16 years ago when Jordan was about 17 months. He wore this costume. We attended Boo at the Zoo in Little Rock, Arkansas where Jordan won the cutest costume.

I kept this costume in my dresser for years. Not really knowing why I just couldn’t get rid of it. Then Isaac came along. When he was roughly the same age, 23 months, he wore it for Halloween. Again I kept it. Two kids had now worn it. It would be something I kept forever. We had no idea another baby would get to wear it. When we found out about baby number three and that it was a boy, I knew he too would wear this costume. So at 22 months, Eli became “Baby Clown” number three!

What I didn’t realize during all those years was that when I was roughly the same age my parents had dressed me up as a clown! Mom posted a picture a while back showing me as the original “Baby Clown”.

For your viewing pleasure, here is a collage showing all four of us! If you look closely at my picture, you see my hat had the same kind of hair. How cool! Also, this picture shows how much my boys look like me.

I hope your Halloween was nice and that the upcoming holidays bring much love and joy to your families! Halloween starts my absolute favorite two months of the year!

From Left to Right- Top: Me and Jordan. Bottom: Isaac and Eli


How Important is Family History

We have all been to appointments and been asked hundreds of questions about family history. It is annoying and something that I didn’t pay much attention to until recently. History is used to know if you are at a greater likelihood of certain diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and even some cancers. I want to talk specifically about knowing your family history of cancer.

At the very beginning of the IDC journey, I was asked about family history relating to cancer. I had to have conversations with both my parents to learn that, as it turns out, every one of my biological grandparents had cancer. All different types and all at different stages in their lives. Are they related? Does that make me more prone to getting it myself? I had so many questions.

The most recent bought with cancer my family faced was my maternal grandmother. Though she was never officially diagnosed, that I am aware of, we believe that she had and most likely died from breast cancer. I was upset for a long time that she had hit a lump and opted to never tell anyone because she didn’t want treatment forced on her. I battled internally with anger and thinking how selfish that was for those down the line genetically. I was able to let go of the anger and hurt, but it took time. Even sometime after she had passed. It is not something I have openly discussed, even with my mom. I have mentioned it at times and told her if she ever did that to me I would slap her. I hope that we have an understanding now!

Anyway, I get the reason she kept it a secret. Treatment is hard. She was ready to go home. She didn’t want the brutal fight. I respect that. What I didn’t respect at the time were the potential implications that would have on her daughters, grand-daughters, and great-grand-daughters. Had there been a definite known history of breast cancer I might have been screened at an earlier age. I did unofficially know and I could have said something to my doctors, but I didn’t. I do not blame her for my cancer. I do not blame her for me not getting a mammogram until now. That I somewhat blame on science. They said I was too young for cancer and didn’t need routine mammograms until 40.

I say all that to share what I have learned in the past two months about family history and genetics. The first appointment I had with my oncologist we discussed genetic testing. She agreed that due to my “young” age and a family history of cancers in the reproductive system it would be wise to be tested. The testing was simple. We worked with a genetic counselor to do a family tree. In that, we outlined everyone in my immediate family going back to my grandparents. This would include my grandparents, my parents, aunts and uncles, my siblings, and all our kids. She asked about known cancer for each person and we put that in their box on the tree. We then went and had a simple blood draw done. The test was looking at, I believe, 95 different genetic markers known to be associated with cancer. 95!

The results took a few weeks to come back. At that time we discussed with the counselor how very few come back positive. I may have my numbers all wrong, but I believe she said that only 19 percent of cancers are genetic. The rest are caused by environment or unknown reasons.

When the results came back they showed that I was negative for all genetic cancer markets. My cancer was not genetic. I was relieved. There are a lot of important people in my life and I was happy to know that I and, most likely, my siblings, did not carry genetic cancer genes. We cannot say whether my nieces and nephews do or do not because they will have very different DNA. We cannot even be 100 percent sure my brothers do not, because even though we share the same parents, their DNA is unique. But the likelihood they do is very small.

To sum it all up, my cancer is not genetic. All the family history of cancer is more than likely just a coincidence. We have no way of knowing for sure. All I can advise you to do is ask your family about the history of cancer in your family. If you feel there is a lot, or even if there is just one case, ask your doctor about genetic testing. It can be tricky to get insurance to cover the cost, but it might be worth an out-of-pocket expense to piece of mind.

The genetic counselor did say that people who are adopted or do not know their family history are actually easier to test because the leg work done before in gathering all the information is not needed. If you have no idea what your history is, go be tested. It may help provide answers.