Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I can't get RADIATION off my brain!!!

I started radiation in February...and finished in March. Here I am two months later, and it's still on my mind!!! Going through radiation was the single hardest thing I've ever done. I was completely fear-stricken, and I just can't shake the feeling...and the anxieties of the potential radiation-induced effects.

When I walked in there the first night, Ron was watching the kids, so I went alone. I was vomitting like crazy and literally shaking while trying to walk in the hospital. They had to coax me down the hall into the dressing room and practically drag me to the treatment room. After two very long hours, they came in to tell me that the treatment had failed - they couldn't get the radiation to go in at the angle they hoped without compromising my spinal cord. I was devastated. I had worked myself up and gotten myself to believe that if I could just get through ONE treatment, I could do it. And then there I was, half naked in a room with ten doctors, and I hadn't gotten through one. I cried - I sobbed, actually. The Director of Oncology thought I was a nutcase (and he's probably right), but my oncologist tried to calm me down. It didn't work, but at least he tried! LOL. I called Brynn, still sobbing uncontrollably, and she could hardly understand me. I was so grateful that she listened, though.

So, the next morning I went back in to make my second mold, and they scheduled my radiation for the following week. I was petrified. I wasn't sure if I could do that again. But Tiffany stepped up and went with me - she went to my first three, as a matter of fact! It was such a huge relief. I felt guilty that she was missing time with her family to be with me...yet I felt so calmed by her presence. Anyone whose met her can understand why. She's amazing. And she didn't just touch me...she touched others there waiting, too. One woman even asked me where "my friendly companion" was when I went on my birthday. Tiffany was a Godsend, and I will never, ever forget that.

Tiffany also graciously agreed to take pictures for me. I don't know why, but I felt compelled to have this documented. I guess I wanted proof that I could get through anything. I didn't feel that way at the time, but deep down somewhere inside me, I knew I'd get through this ordeal. I don't know why I'm rehasing all this again--I already blogged about this. I'm hoping getting it off my chest will help me move forward. I need to let go my fear and anxiety about this, because it's ruining my life. But I just can't get it off my here it is. Here are a couple of the pictures Tiffany took for me that night.

This is the view from the parking garage coming into the oncology area:
This is the dreaded radiation machine. I was scared to death when I first saw it - it absolutely stopped me in my tracks.

This was me as they were preparing me for my treatment. As you can see from my face, I was flushed like crazy - a combination of my nausea and fear, I think. My body was HOT, despite how cold it was in there. (I can't believe I'm posting this!) And this is after they slid me into the machine, and they were getting ready to walk out to start the radiation. I was crying in there, and the nice gal to the right wiped my tears before she walked out. (I really can't believe I'm posting THIS one!!)
I really hope this will help me get this off my brain and let things go. I need to move on with my life. But everytime my back hurts (which unfortunately is all the time), I start thinking about my tumor and then radiation and then you get the idea.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

SS Blog Challenge 19

Courtesy of Beth: If you had to make your ultimate MIX TAPE (er, mix CD) what would be the top 10 songs on it, and why would you choose those songs?

Somebody's Baby - Jackson Browne
Running on Empty - Jackson Browne
These Days - Jackson Browne
Feels Like Tonight - Daughtry
What About Now - Daughtry
It's not Over - Daughtry
I Can't Stop Loving You - Keith Urban
Raining on Sunday - Keith Urban
Stupid Boy - Keith Urban
Faithfully - Journey

During my radiation, I listened to anything Jackson Browne, Daughtry, Keith Urban, Journey, REO Speedwagon, Carly Simon, Michael W. Smith and a variety of Christian music - but the above are the songs I picked out most often. I don't know *why* these are my top 10 songs, but they are. I can't explain it - but they really helped zone me out a little during my treatments.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Proud Mama

Clare had her preschool graduation at the church last night. Beforehand, we took some pictures, and I just love this one of the kids. I'm disappointed that there was a fingerprint on my camera lens (toward the bottom of her dress)...but I still love it.

Here she is performing on stage before the graduation. She did fantastic, as usual!

And here she is after she RAN across the stage. All the other kids walked across, gave the director a high five and walked over to the line. Not CJ. Nope. She RAN across the stage, yelled "GIMME" and grabbed her certificate. Everyone laughed...except my MIL. She was so embarrassed, and she told Clare so at the reception after graduation. And Clare said "So, I embarrass my mom all the time." That's my girl. LOL.

On to kindergarten in the fall!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

It's been a while...

since I've posted here. I've actually been staying off the computer a lot lately because of some issues with my eyes. I've been having headache issues for months and months...but they have really gotten worse the last few months. Naturally, I thought my eye glass prescription needed updated, so I went to the eye doctor. I went in expecting a new prescription and came out a wreck.

I came home with a prescription for another MRI. Yeah, I just love those. NOT!!! I also got a new prescription for glasses, but the MRI prescription has me freaked out. The doctor told me that I have swelling in my optic nerve, and combined with the headaches and flashes of light I've been experiencing, I need to get it checked out. I don't want to get it checked out because one of the causes for optic nerve swelling is something I don't want to talk about. I can deal with it if it's Glaucoma or if it's a side effect of the tumor on my spine. But if I have MS, I don't want to know.

So for now, I'm in space just wondering how I can get my headaches to go away. I cannot have an MRI of my head - I just can't handle it. I can't handle the thought of my quarterly MRIs of my spine...and I have anxiety attacks when I think of being in there that much longer for a head MRI. For now, I'll deal with the pain and try to cope while I work out my anxiety.

And for now, I have to keep limiting my screen makes my eyes go bonkers!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I've Been Tagged...

I've been tagged with Husband Tag... keep reading to see if YOU have been tagged!

What is his name? Ron

How long have you been married? 10½ years

How long did you date? Met in July 1996, engaged November 1996, married July 1997

How old is he? 35 until December.

Who eats more? He does!

Who said I love you first? He did...and it was so romantic.

Who is taller? He's taller than I am.

Who sings better? We're tied for worst singers. LOL!!

Who's temper is worse? His.

Who does the laundry? I do mine and the kids and he does his own

Who does the dishes? Me during the week...him on the weekends.

Who sleeps on the right side of the bed (when you are facing it)?'s by the door. I never sleep by the door.

Who pays the bills? I do. That way he doesn't know how much $$ I spend on scrapbooking! LOL.

Who cooks dinner? Usually me...though he does cook sometimes and is a decent cook.

Who mows the lawn? Ron - all the outside work is his.

Who drives when you are together? Around town - him. Any substantial distance - me. I get too car sick to be a passenger.

Who has more friends? Thanks to :)

Who has more siblings? I do. I have three older brothers. He has one older sister.

Who wears the pants in the family? I do...because he doesn't want to.

Ok, I'm tagging... Marcy, Sherry, Joan - This was hard because the person who tagged me is one of the few that read my blog!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

SS Blog Challenge #16: PICTURE PERFECT

The challenge this week is to post a picture of someone you love. It can't be just any picture, it should be one of those pictures that you look at and you really see something about that person.Once you find that special picture, post it in your blog and tell us what it is that makes it special.

This picture is of my husband, my son and our dog while we were on vacation in August 2006. We had rented a cottage on a small non-sports lake in Indiana, and it was the most amazing week. Everyone had a great time, and everyone wanted to go back!

I don't know what it is about this picture, but I have always LOVED it. I printed a 5x7 of this shot, framed it and put it in my office. It's just "The boys" as Clarissa and I were up on the deck playing with bubbles, but this picture is very special to me.

I think maybe I like it so much because it shows what a relaxed, serene week we had. Ron is ALWAYS on the go. He absolutely never just sits and we were worried how he'd do at a cottage in a remote area for an entire week. We spent a lot of time swimming, fishing, walking and playing games with the kids. He LOVED it...which is probably why I love this photo so much. It really shows how relaxed he was, which is something we don't see a lot.

The best part of this photo...we're going backto that same cottage this August!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!! I cannot wait. And the kids can't wait either. And neither can Ron. :)
And I know this is cheating because Joanie said to pick one picture, but I had to include one of Clare, too. This is the same vacation...and it also shows how relaxed she was!

Yeah, this was BEFORE I gained all the weight back from my surgery, restrictions, steroids and radiation from my tumor.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Where do you draw your strength?

Yesterday, I was talking with a co-worker, and I mentioned the thread Cathy started on Scrap Share about whether people were having a good, bad or neutral 2008. I told him that quite a few said it was neutral and some said it was bad, accounting for almost 56% of the voters. He assumed that I thought it was bad, too, but I told him that I voted it was good. He was stunned because of all I've been through, and he asked me "Where do you draw your strength?"

The simple answer: Faith. I draw my strength from my faith, and I rely on that to get me through every single day. Now don't get me wrong - I'm not perfect in any way and neither is my faith. I've had times of complete despair, where I questioned what path God was leading me on. I'm a little ashamed to admit that I've even questioned the Lord and my personal faith. But I'm happy to say that the journey I've taken has landed me right here where I am today. I am a Christian. I am a believer. I am aware that I cannot do this alone. I talk to God every single day. As a matter of fact, I talk to him just like I'd talk with a friend over lunch.

I know it's hard to believe that I'd say this has been a good year with all the whining I've done, huh?! Hopefully the whining will stop - because I really don't want to be viewed as a whiner. Yes, it sucks that my DH lives in another state. Yes, it sucks that I had to go through radiation. And yes it sucks that I'm in almost constant of pain with my back. But, honestly, my life could be so much worse. Rather than dwell on the tough times, I choose to be thankful for all I have. I believe all that I've been through has only made me stronger, and I hope I can continue to rely on my faith to get me through one day at a time. I say that all the time, especially when my pain is really unbearable. I have to take one day at a time. And I will continue to do that with my faith leading me.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Monday, May 5, 2008

SS Biggest Loser Contest

I entered a contest for the biggest loser on ScrapShare. Pathetically, I have 95 lbs. to lose before I hit my goal weight. I'm pissed because before all my back stuff happened, I was only 30 lbs. from my goal weight!!!!!!!

Anyways, wish me luck. I have no aspirations to lose weight really quickly or anything. I just want a steady stream DOWN on the scale. I went grocery shopping yesterday, and I'm ready for this challenge. I have teammates that are counting on me here...that's GREAT motivation. The challenge starts today and lasts for 6 weeks. I'm excited, yet nervous at the same time.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A Silly Questionaire

Who is your best guy friend? Ron

Do you have trust issues? Not really. I mean, I don't trust just anyone, but once I know someone well enough, I trust them until they give me a reason not to.

Are you a cuddler? I LOVE hugs...but I don't know that I'd classify myself as a cuddler

What's your favorite type of flower? Lillies

Where did you last walk other than your house? I walked to the community center for the kids' swim lessons.

Kiss with your eyes open or closed? Closed if it's a good one. :)

Do you have a best friend? No :(

Would you live with someone without marrying them? Not unless my kids were grown and out of my house. Then...just MAYBE.

Do you remember what you were doing like a year ago? Still trying to adjust to this "single" mom role I'm in.

Last person you cried in front of: Ron

Where are you right now, and how do you feel about where you are? I'm at home on my couch...and I feel like I need to buy a new one! LOL.

Can you vote next election? Yes. I'm voting Tuesday, actually.

What are you listening to? The tv.

Do you miss someone? Yes - my DH lives in another state!!!!!!!!

Where do you keep your money? I don't have any! Ha!

Are you a jealous person? Not really.

Do you love someone right now? Of family.

Have you ever played Twister? Yep...but I couldn't play it now. LOL!!!

Where did your last hug take place? Clarissa hugged me before she went to sleep.

Where were you at 2:02 this morning? Sleeping in my bed.

Did you lose a friend this year? Yes, I had a friend die in January. :(

What are you doing for your next birthday? I have no clue.

Last place you took a plane to? Kentucky, probably.

How do you feel about the person who texted you last? I don't text.

Do you use smiley faces on the computer a lot? Yes.

Do you tend to rip the paper off water bottles? No, but my kids do...and it drives me nuts!!

Have you changed clothes in a vehicle? Yes, I have.

Who did you last go out to eat with? Ron and the kids

Do you cry easily? Lately...YES!

Do you have unlimited texting? I don't think so...but work pays for my cell, so I don't know.

Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? Ron

Do you talk about your feelings or hide them? It definitely depends on who, what, when, where and why!

Do you wear glasses? No...but I'm *supposed* to! LOL.

What are you thinking about? How nice it would be to live tumor-free with my husband.

What's bothering you? That I can't sell this house so that I can at least live with my husband.

Last restaurant you went to? Texas Roadhouse

What did you do yesterday? Got my hair cut, took Jacob to the mall, went out to eat with Ron and the kids and went to bed early.

What would you do with 5 million dollars? MOVE, go back to college, take a FANTASTIC vacation

Exciting weekend? Nope...but it was GREAT not to have anything going on.

Have you ever crawled through a window? Yes

Are you wearing a shirt? Yes - A Cleveland Indians shirt

Whats your myspace song? I have a playlist that rotates. I think it's Jackson Browne, Daughtry and maybe something else.

Where was your default picture taken? In my living room

Last time you went out of town? I'm sure it was to my parents' house

How often do you give high fives? A lot with my two kids!

Friday, May 2, 2008

PSA: Debit Cards are Dangerous!!!

My checking account has always had a debit card attached to it. I never thought much of it, really, until a co-worker told me about a friend whose account was hacked into a few weeks back. Apparently, a group in China was randomly putting in credit card numbers for a charge of $1 into their machine. When one hit, they started charging money out until it was rejected, meaning all the money was gone. It freaked me out a little, but I didn't think of it too much.

Until Wendesday...when my debit card was rejected at the gas station. HUH???? I just got paid, so I know there is money in there. So, I called my bank when I got home that night, and they told me that the account was frozen and I needed to go to a branch. So yesterday I went to a branch - to find out that someone used my number to make several charges! AAAACKKKKK!!! Luckily for me, it was flagged within my bank, so they froze the acct before the creeps took everything. Unluckily for me, I had to sign affidavits to start the process to get my money back. It could be days, weeks or months, according to the guy at my bank.

What a pain. Makes me wish I didn't have a debit card. At least using a credit card, you have the guaranteed fraud protection and can get your money back almost immediately. AND, that money just comes off your balance...not directly out of your checking acct.

So, my PSA of the day is be careful having a debit card attached to your bank acct!!!!