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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

We've been out of town so this Happy Thanksgiving greeting comes a tad late. We spent the holiday in east Tennessee with Brian's family and woke up to snow on Thanksgiving Day. There was lots of food and coffee, some laughs, just a few tears, plenty of family, and many things for which to be thankful. I did not take as many pictures as I would have liked simply because it was busy and we spent most of our time indoors (which is never my favorite for pictures - I'm sure you can tell I took all pictures from one specific spot in front of the window). There were cousins for Camden and Rory to play with, a new sister-in-law to meet, and deer to be hunted (that would be the boys + the new sister-in-law's area of interest).

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Brian requested a picture as they got ready for their first hunt. You know, long johns and all that. Apparently, this is a big step in the hunting world.
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Slumber party
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A little pre-Thanksiving wrestling . . .
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. . . and tickling
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Miss Rory was a bit sassy since I let her wear my earrings and lipgloss for the big day.
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You'll notice I not in the hunting party.
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No, we stayed home and played dress-up with the girls. Notice the glitter tattoo. We all had them, even Gram.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Moving Forward

Yesterday felt like a bit of a disaster from start to finish. I woke up with a feeling of dread that has not been present in recent weeks. It certainly didn’t go away when I realized my oncologist and nurse had not really communicated about why I was visiting them at 8:00 on a Monday. They called this meeting; not me.

(Did I even mention that I had an unexpected meeting with my oncologist? They called me late Thursday and asked me to come in and discuss treatment/clinical trial options.)

Dr. C’s approach is to present the facts and then the patient makes the decision as to what treatment option to go with. And it’s not what I’m used to. I’m accustomed to visiting my primary care doctor with a cold, high blood pressure, stiff knee, etc. and he tells me how we’ll fix it. I take Camden and Rory to their pediatrician because they’re running a fever and Dr. H makes them all better.

Cancer is different. You don’t get “all better.” You try to make an informed choice and hope it’s the right one. When I asked Dr. C for her recommendation yesterday, she wouldn’t give me a recommendation . . . just presented the facts again and waited for me to make a choice. I’m not really a fan of that. I'm not really a fan of cancer.

For now we’ve decided to proceed with the already-scheduled course of action and to ignore (for now) some of the riskier drugs. I am having an echocardiogram this afternoon to make sure my heart is healthy enough for chemo and then I will receive my first infusion Tuesday, December 2. Dr. C is also going to refer me to local hospitals who have clinical trials that might be helpful.

I may have had my first crying fit and ungrateful feelings yesterday, but this morning I woke up in a much better frame of mind and am able to remember a few things.
  • The valet at the cancer clinic who whispered “may Christ be with you today” as he handed me my keys.
  • The receptionist who always says, “Well, hello, Gorgeous!”
  • That even though Brian wasn’t able to attend the appointment, Becky was able to video conference and be present.
  • I might have taken a major fall at work yesterday, but NO ONE SAW!
  • The kids had a great day with a family from our church yesterday.
  • I got to snuggle with a newborn for an hour after work. There’s not much better therapy than that.
  • The phone call with Becky last night to debrief the doctor’s appointment. While I felt very discouraged, she saw things differently and that’s always good.
  • I was the weak one last night while Brian was strong. Funny how that always happens – we’re never weak at the same time.

    Today I’m trying to fit in 6.5 hours of work into 4 from home (with 2 very hyped up kids I might add), and then I’ll head to Nashville for another doctor’s appointment. Getting back into cancer mode feels hard, like an uphill battle. But I think I can do it if I can just remember to take it one step at a time.

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    Friday, November 21, 2014

    Balance

    You know what's good for a case of the blah's? The Pentatonix Holiday Pandora station.

    Also, scrapping.
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    And pretty pictures.
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    Lunch with friends (coming later today) also helps. Plus just a tad bit of Christmas shopping.

    And then a photo shoot this afternoon with a group of very cute siblings.

    Today is one of the days that I'm needing to keep the good things right in front of me in order to not worry about the hard things.

    "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." John 1:5


    Thursday, November 20, 2014

    Our Saturday

    Saturday was the first day in about 9 weeks that our family did not have plans. I would go over how busy we’ve been, but that could be seen as complaining, and I just cannot complain about how much fun I’ve had over the last 1-2 months. The fact still remains that I am an introvert and even though there have been lots of fun times, my homebody self was craving a day just to stay home.

    That day was Saturday. I still had laundry to do, meals to prepare, etc., but I stayed in my comfy clothes, pulled out my warm slippers, caught up on some TV, and generally had a fabulous day.

    Addison came over to spend part of the day with us, and I pulled out the camera briefly for a snapshot of what life looks like when she visits. It is loud. The kids are crazy. But there's a lot of joy!

    Waving goodbye to Uncle Michael and Aunt Liz
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    She's wearing a pair of Rory's old sunglasses. Upside down.
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    Taking a reading break in the midst of the chaos. My house seems to get trashed immediately.
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    Showing the world her belly.
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    You'll notice I didn't bother getting up from my spot to give you some variety - all taken from my seat. :)

    Wednesday, November 19, 2014

    My New Favorite Toy

    So. The camera story. I've had lots of people emailing me asking about my new camera so I guess I should just spill it.

    Ironically enough, the decision to purchase this full-frame camera (it's the Nikon D610, by the way) came from a place of feeling content in this new phase of our life. You know, the one in which I've been out of treatment for 2 years, working a job, starting to have a little extra money, etc. etc. etc. So I saved my pennies (thank you, job!) and 4 days before my CT scan that would reveal my cancer is active again, I pressed "buy" on a very expensive toy.

    Hello, irony.

    Anyway, I'm not sorry I bought it. This camera helps me take beautiful pictures and will bring me much joy. These photos are from the first little outing with the camera (and before I really had it all figured out). It was the Monday after my appointment/scan. Over the years, we've started picking the kids up from school after those appointments and heading to a local park for a hike. It keeps us distracted from waiting on the phone to ring.

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    Completely out of focus, but the only evidence I was on this trip. And I like Brian's photobomb.
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    Check out this shoe/sock combo.
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    Why, yes, they *are* in a difficult stage when it comes to taking their picture. Maybe that's why I still haven't taken Christmas card photos. I didn't do it last year either, so I feel big pressure to actually do it this year.
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    More evidence as to why there has been no official photo shoot.
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    Tuesday, November 18, 2014

    Tuesday Tidbits

    Camden is trying out for a solo part in the Christmas program at school today, and he could not be more excited. It's been at the top of his "best part of the day" list for WEEKS.

    Rory climbed into the van yesterday after school and asked if she could clean up after supper. With no help. Well, of course! She took a solid 45 minutes doing it all, but she told me she "had the best time ever" when she was finished.
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    Snow? In November? Yes, it happened. Brian even had a 2 hour delay at his school, although in this county teachers are still expected to show up. And it was 19 degrees this morning - this is sooooooo not typical for Tennessee!
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    They've been studying Asian countries in Camden's class and his teacher offered him the option of teaching the section about Korea. Camden jumped right on it and made up this display (he wrote all his classmate's names in Korean) along with some facts. He also took everything Korean that we own and left it set up at school for a week.
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    I took senior portraits for the first time ever a couple of weeks ago.
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    We had some great pumpkins this year.
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    This girl is too much.
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    Oh, look - I scrapped it!
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    Because I don't want to forget it, my friend Andrea stopped by this past Wednesday on my birthday. She brought me coffee, but her real purpose was to pray with me. When people ask what they can do to help? That's it. Pray with me. Coffee isn't necessary, but it doesn't hurt either. :)

    I'm working from home the rest of this week, and I'm going to enjoy it.