Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The latest battle

Some battles I can see coming. Others are a surprise. My latest surprise came at the end of January in the form of a pain in my upper abdomen. I showed my lifelong friend, (and RN,) Maggie where it hurt and she suggested going to have my gallbladder checked. I did and the surgeon scheduled a sonogram for the following week so he could see what we were dealing with. The sonogram was painless and the lady doing it was really pleasant and time passed quickly. Nothing alarming, nothing different from past sonograms except she wasn't checking on a baby. (Whew)

The next day my doctor called to say my gallbladder was fine but there was a pretty big tumor attached to my liver. He suspected it was a heptacellular adenoma, a benign liver tumor that is fairly common. Well. Let's stop there and all agree that I'm not normal and stuff that goes on around here isn't common. I laughed and told the doctor I'm glad I'm not crazy and that something was weird in my stomach. He scheduled a CTA and MRI for that week and I prepped for surgery. Surgery was February 1st and most of the details are foggy thanks to the miracle of drugs.

One detail is clear as can be. My surgeon came into the room and said we needed to talk. The tumor, (I'd show a picture of it but don't want to gross anybody out,) tested positive for melanoma. He went on to say lots of other things but that's pretty much all any of us heard.

That day I decided that I wasn't going to read about what it all meant or let myself "go there," to that place that nobody chooses to go. I nearly caved at one point to read about it until my new oncologist came in the next day. Everything shifted when I met him. He is very positive, very hopeful and likely smarter than everybody I know. (No offense.) He told me the game plan and it's already in motion. Immunotherapy is what I'm doing to give my immune system a big boost to fight melanoma. It is different from chemo or radiation, fewer side effects and there is lots of really good data about treating melanoma and increasing life span. My outlook is hopeful. I've had a brain MRI and PET scan and both were clear.

I'm still processing everything and for the most part have felt very peaceful. Yesterday I told mom that if everybody could hear my doctor talk about my treatment nobody would worry too much about me. So I'm asking you to pray with me, absolutely! I've been so busy working on my house and getting the kids settled that I've been MIA...but writing and staying in touch this way has always been therapeutic so I think it'll be a natural part of this process. It may be a fight but I believe that it's one I can win. Plus I believe that even though I wonder what in the world God is thinking in the midst of this that He is aware and sees me. That is where any of my true peace comes from.

I'm sitting in the room having my first treatment right now and I feel totally normal. There are people all around me that are receiving treatments in bright bags labeled CHEMO and my bag is clear. I'm thankful.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Unwrapping Legos

Tonight I helped Ty unpack his Lego sets from the old house. They've sat in boxes in storage because there wasn't enough room for them to stay (safely) for the last 9 months in our apartment.

We're spreading out now, filling up our new house slowly but surely. It's been so fun, so exhausting, and so exhilarating all at once. We had a great night exploring the new hood and playing on the playground where the kids will go to school this Fall.

Back to the Legos...

We unwrapped this set--it is pieces of an airplane and an airport. It was once put together perfectly but a few months before we moved I remember him tearing it apart. He'd had a bad day that day and he went into his room after school and I heard him throwing Lego pieces into his big bin of leftover pieces. I'm pretty sure I yelled for him to come downstairs to try to figure out what was going on but I got distracted and we never talked about it. Until tonight when I pulled the biggest piece out of its wrapper, (bubble wrap carefully put around it by Trish,) and he burst into tears.

"I hate Legos," he said.
"Huh? Honey we've been having fun opening these back up and looking at them! What do you mean you hate Legos?"

"I mean I hate that I'm remembering when I destroyed this one I remember the reason I got so mad the day I did it."


"Because it's an airplane and my daddy flew airplanes and he died. If he could fly airplanes and he was smart and still didn't go get help when he knew he was sick it just makes me so mad! And I was mad the day I broke this set because I don't know why he had to die if he could fly an airplane."

He was sobbing by this point and so was I. I hate this. I hate nights like this that come out of the blue and wreck the whole day. I hate that my son has pain and confusion in his little 8 year-old heart that I can't fix. And I'll go ahead and say it--I didn't sign up for this. I didn't walk into a life with his daddy expecting to have to face what I now face. It's too hard. Too much. Good Lord if it's too hard for me how in the world will they ever survive this?

I don't have a good positive thing to say tonight. I usually do but I just can't find it in me tonight. I hate this. The counselor in me knows this is helpful for Ty, to finally get those words out. The momma in me wants to make every sadness go away for him. The girl in me wants to punch Sean in the stomach as hard as I can for leaving such a mess behind. I don't have an answer for Ty. I've said that only God understands and that's the truth. I hope that it's enough for Ty to cling to.

Lord help me. Hear me. Show me how to do this. I feel like there are mountains ahead of me that I can't possibly climb. I'm out of answers today but please give me what I need to face tomorrow. I have been this sad before and seen You and Your heart more clearly because of it. I have hope that You can meet me here and I don't have to have an answer on my own because You'll show me.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Here's looking at you, 36

My birthday was Saturday. Since my family was together it was a great day even though it rained most of the day.

36, what will you have in store? Here are some ideas.

My newest passion is furniture. Not just painting, redoing it completely. I'm learning how to build too!

This was an unfinished wood dresser from IKEA that I kept in the girls' closet. Now that it's fancy it'll be in my room, at least for a while.

The coffee table that has been 1,000 colors

Mom's happy place=all of her kids together again

It's gonna be a great year 😊

Friday, March 20, 2015

That was fast

December to March, that was fast. To get back in the groove of writing consistently ice got to give up on the illusion that I'll ever catch up. So...

I took this two nights ago at my parents house. I know, right. Wow.

Graham and his family are here so we've stuffed 3 weeks of fun into 4 days. Giddy up.

Spring break was last week...and rather than flooding you with pictures too soon, (pacing myself since I've got 3 months worth to show you,) I'll leave it at this.

Oh yes we did. I'm still tired.

Sunday, November 30, 2014


If you'll permit me to just jump right in and start fresh that would be great y'all. It's been so long...

First, Charlie just turned 7 Saturday. She hasn't had her party yet so she said she doesn't feel older yet, (typical Charlie,) but we had a fun weekend doing things to help celebrate her. She's just so easy to love, that girl. 

I sold a ton of stuff at my first ever go-round at junk in the trunk, a sale in my hometown that happy every few months. I got rid of so much stuff and it was my first time to sell anything I've painted or made. I had a blast. This picture was taken that morning but to clarify: I didn't sell any of my children. After a week off from school, though, I may have thought about it. Ahhh routine I've missed you. Who ever thought you'd hear me say that? 

Today was a beautiful warm day here so it was perfect to try an outdoor shooting range. We came. We saw. We tore it up. Such a fun thing to do with somebody you don't mind acting and looking like an idiot around...I may have loaded the magazine for the gun I was using, (one of my dads .22 pistols,) with the bullets facing the wrong way and then when it didn't work I insisted the gun was messed up. It was Mary. It was indeed. 

A fun weekend to end a fun Thanksgiving break. I'm happy to be back here, where I can tell funny stories and I don't have to worry about being better or more on top of things than I am. December, it's good to be here. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

First day of school

Not a tear was shed. They all walked into the same building for the first time on the first day of school and I was so glad there were no tears.

They were excited and I think only Ty was a little nervous. Joy got all of her tears out during meet the teacher night I guess. I gotta be honest I was worried about her doing a repeat performance this morning but nothing but smiles!

"Mom you can go now I'm gonna color."

Bless her heart this was my only picture of her first day of first grade.

Here he is...big man on campus compared to his sisters. He was nervous but assured me he wasn't. He got in the car after school and said he loves second grade because they do science in second grade and he's awesome at it. Well that's a relief.

I had a wonderful day on my own and didn't get sad about them going to school. I think that one of the blessings of coming back from a dark place like where I've been is that things don't hinge on events like they used to. Will I cry during this school year about the kids being there? Probably. Will I miss them? Yes. Will I have anxiety about their safety there and as issues creep up will I worry? I'm sure I will. But today, I just enjoyed the fact that they were happy to go into school together. For the first time in almost 8 years I was able to decide what I wanted and needed to do without factoring in another person. For like a lot of hours.

The last 2 1/2 years the weight I carry has been very heavy. Even though life has gone on and we have great joy and fun, the weight has been there, resting solely on my shoulders. I've answered so many questions, thought through so many responses about why their dad isn't here anymore. It still gets too heavy sometimes, there I said it. I don't tell everybody or cry necessarily on bad days anymore because, well, it is what it is. Messy, hard, confusing, raw. It's not easy. It's really good and really worth it, this job I have, but it's not easy.

I've thought a lot about why my main emotion today was gratitude. Relief even. Yikes. We aren't supposed to say that out loud, huh. Well, I've come up with something. Maybe today marked the beginning of me being able to rest a few hours each day from carrying that weight. Maybe I felt relief because I didn't have to hold it together for anybody for those hours today. Maybe I could relax and take a deep breath by myself and see what I wanted to do...then go do it. Call it selfish, maybe it is. I loved it though. I was so refreshed after today that I was genuinely excited to see the kids at pick-up. I played more with them tonight than I have in weeks. I felt lighter, like I could take care of me today and that helped me take better care of them. Am I making any sense?

Tonight when I said goodnight to the kids I kept thinking, "Lord thank You that we made it this far, this long without Sean. I wasn't sure I'd ever see this day and I wasn't sure I'd feel whole again enough to engage with the kids and do life. You never left me or made me feel like I carried the weight of this thing alone. Just keep these kids in Your hands Lord. Keep me there too."

I'm going to bed full of peace tonight. It was a great first day.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


The circus goes the the circus