Sunday, November 18, 2012

Leaving A Legacy

A week ago today, I received a phone call from my mom telling me that my grandmother had been put in the hospital for pneumonia, but upon further testing the doctors had found stage 4 cancer. Unsure of where it started (although it is now assumed to have been either breast or ovarian) it had spread to her lung, liver, bones, and pelvis. She was not in good shape and I decided right then that I was going to make the trip back to NC so I could see her and be with her for a few days. David booked my flight for me while I started making arrangements for my trip home by figuring out the game plan for here.
The next morning, I received another phone call. My grandmother...Nannie, had passed away  in the middle of the night. Emotions ran the whole gamut. Devastated was my first reaction. Devastated that I wasn't going to get to see her again and tell her what I wanted to. Sad for my mom and her siblings that they had lost their mother. Then my feelings turned to relief. Relief that Nannie hadn't had to suffer a horrible bout with chemo, radiation, worry, anxiety and all the other sickness that comes with cancer treatments. Relief that God, in His infinite mercy spared her from all of that extra suffering. Happiness that she is now sitting at the feet of Jesus and reunited with my grandfather and her baby who had died at birth almost 60 years ago. Jealousy...jealous that she is in heaven rejoicing with the angels and our Lord God while we are still living in this sinful and fallen world. Pride was another emotion I felt. I am so so so proud to have a grandmother who loved Jesus, lived her life in such a way that glorified Him and showed her faithfulness to Him.
So, what I would have told my Nannie had I been able to talk to her one last time before she died is this:
I would have thanked her for living her life as a Christ follower and raising her three children in such a way that they too chose Christ. Without her influence on my own mom, I know without  a doubt that I would not have the level of trust in Jesus that I do today. I would not have the relationship with Him that I do. Because of my Nannie my mom became a believer and because of my mom I did. Hopefully because of me, Chloe will... and the legacy my grandmother left will continue.
I would have told her how much I LOVED coming to her house to spend the night every single Friday for years. I would have thanked her for investing time in me. I never doubted her love or affection for me. I spent some wonderful Fridays with her and her girlfriends...we were "The Golden Girls" yet I was by far the youngest one. Ha!! Usually on the weekends we would go out to eat and then go to the mall. Then we would go back to her house and play board games. However, I remember so vividly these pair of beautiful red shoes she bought me one weekend and how much she wanted to get them for me. I remember telling her I really liked them but didn't think I should get them but she INSISTED. She really wanted me to have them. I wore those shoes out!
And finally I would have told her that I love her one last time.

Several scriptures are ingrained in my memory that will forever make me think of her...
2 Corinthians 5:8 - Yes we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.
Philippians 1:21 - For to me, living is living for Christ, but dying is far better.
2 Timothy 4:7 - I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pathology Surprises

Sorry I am just now updating with the results from my thyroid removal. Life has become full speed ahead since the healing has kicked in and I have been busy busy busy. So, with that being said, here is what I found out at my post-op appointment with my thyroid surgeon.
NO CANCER!!!! Woo-Hoo. I never really thought there would be given how much chemotherapy I have had coursing through my veins for the past 3 years, however, there was always that little "what if" in the very very back of my mind. I also found out something very interesting...I have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis (HT for the rest of this post), and apparently have had it for quite some time as my thyroid had actually begun to disintegrate.

Let me back up for a minute though. For years, and I mean years, I have been telling my primary doctors that something is not right with my thyroid. I have 9 out of 10 hypothyroid symptoms that are listed on every medical website you can imagine, yet because my labs were always borderline normal they always chose not to treat me. Now don't get me wrong, I understand in this day and age that most doctors go strictly by what the paperwork tell them and for decent reason...our society has become sue-happy. However, I did ask my primary doctor one time why she was choosing to treat the paperwork and not the patient. She then referred me out to endocrinology who blamed all of my symptoms on my cancer. But my oncologist blamed it all on my thyroid. UGH!!! So frustrating for YEARS!!! Thankfully though, God placed me in the path of an amazing thyroid surgeon in Nashville who knew something was wrong immediately. He was amazing, thoughtful, brilliant, compassionate, and most importantly let me be in charge of the decisions made...until he was not comfortable with me keeping my thyroid in anymore (yeah, I put it off for a year because I didn't want to jump the gun on anything).

Anyways, so here I am present day and have researched a lot about this autoimmune disease and have made the following discoveries:
1. even though the thyroid is gone, I will always have this autoimmune problem
2. dietary change is NECESSARY
3. without the change in the diet, I will continue to have symptoms of hypothyroid or even hyperthyroid because my medication acts exactly like the thyroid does and that will result in dosage changes frequently without ever really fixing the issue
4. this autoimmune disease is related to estrogen was my breast cancer - I have some questions for my oncologist when I see her on the 20th of this month.

Now, for the dietary changes, it's pretty drastic...but I'm willing and able to do this. Basically, it's no flour, no refined sugars, no cauliflower, kale or spinach (bummer because I make my smoothies with kale and spinach).
So what am I eating? Well, lots of broccoli, salads, chicken, little bit of red meat, egg beaters and cheese sticks. I can have fruit but for the first 30 days I am restricting it because of all of the sugars that are in fruit. I just want to kind of reset my body before I start adding any back.
How am I feeling? BETTER THAN I HAVE IN YEARS!!!! No kidding. I have spunk. I feel feisty. I'm happy. I'm joking around again. I am wanting to go and do and be with my friends. I'm feeling like the Kelly I was 5 years ago. No joke! It's amazing how much this surgery has changed my life. I've even started making lists again and checking off every task accomplished. Heck, last week I did 8 loads of laundry, deep cleaned the kitchen and bathrooms, switched out summer to winter clothes in both kids' closets, rearranged Chloe's room, washed baseboards throughout the upstairs, and managed to cook dinner 3 nights. Oh, I also took Chloe to cheerleading practice, tumbling, and went to her soccer game. I got some Christmas shopping done, helped in Chloe's class at school twice, went to a PTO planning meeting, took Brody to an appointment, took both kids to Nashville for the day and then to a movie, etc...  There are some things on this list that I do every week, but believe me when I say they would drain me of every ounce of energy that I had and I wouldn't be able to do the other things on this list.

So that's the update...sorry it was a bit wordy. I just am so thrilled with the difference that this has made in my life. To God be the glory great things He has done!!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day Thoughts...

Here it is. Finally. Election Day 2012. President Obama vs. Gov. Romney. All day long I have had this nervous excitement in my soul. I have teared up at various times throughout the day (my husband said I was a dork because of it) thinking about what a blessing it is that I live in America.

I actually voted last week during early voting because I knew today I would have the children with me since schools are out and I had a doctor's appointment scheduled. As I walked into the polling place last week I actually did shed a few tears. I know, it sounds dumb, but I couldn't help but think about how blessed and privileged I am to live in a country where I can go cast my vote for President and not worry about getting killed on the way in or out. There are so many countries where that happens. Where people can vote, but have to fear for their lives for doing so. And there are many more countries where the citizens have no say at all. My brother happens to be in one of those now. And maybe that is why I'm a little more emotional over this election. Because my little brother puts his life on the line every single day and night to protect and defend our freedoms. He doesn't do it for a "thank you" or for any other reason than the fact that God placed a great desire in his heart to serve this wonderful country that we live in and to serve the citizens. He placed a desire in his heart to fight for what is good, and pure, and just, and honest. He placed courage above and beyond anything I could ever imagine in his innermost being which allows him to be able to go to where the bombs are and take them apart so that another soldier or civilian doesn't get injured. My brother chose to be the bravest of the brave so that he could keep our country as safe as possible and to keep our rights and privileges just that...ours.

For those of you who voted, thank you! Thank you for taking the time to let your voice be heard. Thank you for casting that ballot and not taking our rights as American citizens lightly. And for those of you who consciously chose not to...well, there are no words. None.
Based on the map at the bottom of my blog, I have many readers from around the world and I just want to say that if you are in a country where you are not given the freedoms that Americans are, or you live in fear of death or punishment if you voice your opinion, know that there are people here in the United States who pray for you and care about you deeply. I know that I actually pray for each and every person who reads my two blogs and there are many of my friends that do as well. Hugs to every single one of you and many many prayers of blessings, safety, and happiness to you all.