Thursday, May 21, 2009

Another Summer

This week has been full of award ceremonies and Honor Awards and I just can't help but glow from my children's accomplishments! The same kids that have moved so many times, changed schools so often (mainly Lillie Barnes) and has survived breast cancer with me. I am amazed at their tolerance of life in general and their ease at getting through the tough times and making every opportunity to be their best and have great attitudes.

Lillie Barnes in particular. She has always been very independent and has never liked much attention. I have tried in the past to put her in dance or some other type of "southern mom" activity but listened to her when she said no. She has changed schools 5 times and still she was honored today for A Honor Roll, Great Artist Award, Math Connections and last but not least the title of Young Georgia Authors Award for all of Troup County. This means that out of @ 1200 Second Graders, SHE was the best writer! I was just beaming and did an extra "WOO HOO" when they announced her name. She is solid. I couldn't be prouder. The funny thing is that the class judged everyone on a class award and she won "best storyteller"! Kind of goes with the writing thing but when I went to Trip's Pre-K Program they awarded him the same thing!

I guess in their young lives they have had the experiences of meeting many new people, watching their parents pack like crazy (which may have helped with organizational skills), and have had a lifetime full of love and support...I can only pray that moving forward in a stable environment that they can continue to excel. I am so proud of both of them, and as they already know...I am their biggest fan!

Friday, May 8, 2009

It's all good.

It is hard to believe that it was 4 years ago to the day that I started this blog when I found out I had breast cancer, it feels like moons ago on some days and others make it feel like it just happened. Tuesday was the ladder. I had some pains under my left arm where my lymph nodes were removed, I knew it was probably nothing more than just push-ups at pilates class causing the pain, but after such trauma, you find any excuse to get your insurance to pay for a scan. Anyone who knows my story knows that sometimes the cancer "bugs" like to hang out places that mammograms just won't see. So when the pain was there I talked to my doctor about having a CAT Scan just to "ease my mind". I should behave as a veteran for these tests, after all I have had 2 PET scans and a CAT before this one, but just the smell of the nasty drink and the hospital itself is enough to make me want to run, screaming the other direction. While Clay and I drove up to Atlanta I began to alternate the drink like swig nasty, one swig Starbucks. It helped. When we arrived it was time to insert an IV so that they could run the dye through my body to get the pictures that they needed to investigate my "innards". This took time...I began to sweat and take extra deep breaths before the nurse could even get me to flex my hands! Because I did have my lymph nodes removed from my left side, the doctors insist that I get blood drawn from my right...with that said, I have a lot of scar tissue, so on this particular day she had to call Clay in the room, lie me down and go into my hand, which is a terrible feeling!

Once the IV was in place - the rest was a piece of cake...lie on the table, and it will take you inside the donut, there you simply "breathe in and hold", and "continue breathing". While lying there for the next ten minutes all I could do was thank God for bringing me through all of that sickness in the first place and how I knew these test would be fine. I also began wondering if the guy who invented the CAT scanner was actually on a Disney World ride when he did so...

In 2005 I was so chemo stoned when I made those radical decisions to have everything (that produced estrogen) removed from my body, although I knew it was the right decision it is much easier to say "ok" when you have just been though hell and back with 8 treatments. There have been many times that I have regretted the decision. Who wouldn't? The instant hot flashes, the rage of hormonal imbalance, the feeling that I would never be normal all unbearable sometimes. However, Clay always reminds me that I was never "normal" in the first place!

Through it all I know that it was God and the surgeries that saved my life and with each test/scan that I take I am reassured that I made the right choice to live, maybe not to the fullest everyday, but everyday indeed.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Director of Operations.

The past few weeks have been pretty stressful, OK - the past 20 years have been - that's why I have a blog. But the most recent craziness has been Spring Breaks 2009. The first week we had Lillie Barnes and Trip at home and they were fine. It was raining pitchforks and devils so we decided to go to a movies, rent a movie and chill around the house. It was great because Clay took a day off and we sorted out some closets that were used to "hide" things when we first moved into our new home last August. I finally had everything looking good on Thursday and was relaxing when Clay gets a last minute text from Kelsey (my stepdaughter, who lives outside of Charlotte) saying that she wanted to see us for her Spring Break the following week.

Those who know me know that I am a planner, I have a "list" and it is planned to the time my kids are in bed. I think I would go slap crazy without a plan, in fact, I did for a while and ended up on Cymbalta! Plans are my thing, so when Kelsey sent this text - which I know was really her Mom's idea, I had to shift and think....We do want to see her, but it is a 7 hour round trip for Clay...we promised we would get her anytime, but I TOLD her that we needed a months notice to PLAN. Clay ended up having to be in Charlotte on business that Friday, so she was coming home for a week. Once it was in my calendar, I went back to relaxing.

Kelsey will be 15 in May. She and I have been very close since she was 4 years old. Don't dare tell her Mom this because she thinks that I am a horrible, jealous and bitter stepmom. I think she has her mind set on it, so I learned years ago to just let it go. Kelsey is great, so funny and dramatic! We are two peas in a pod except for one thing...girlfriend is l-a-z-y! Especially when it comes to cleaning the house, or just after herself. Anytime we get Kelsey we always grab my niece Rachel Foster to stay too. She is also 15 and they have been sharing summers together since they were 6, it's a great friendship and I love it for them. Now that they are teenagers there is a lot more hanging out in the basement, playing video games and long dog walks where they take goofy pictures of themselves to post on facebook, or myspace. They keep it clean, trust me - I check!

I had almost survived two whole weeks of Spring Break with everyone here when on the last day I made a list of things for Kelsey and Rachel to do, even added some things for Lillie Barnes and Trip - age appropriate, of course! The teens had this: Make up bed, pack up clothes, clean the bathrooms, swiffer and vacuum everywhere. This is NOT a bad list, yet when I got home I could barely tell anything was done. Rachel had swiffered, clothes were still everywhere and the bathroom was scary! I started yelling and had to park it outside until I thought of this new family business plan...which I think is brilliant.

I brought the kids (including mine) into the den and sat them down. I explained to them that our house is a business, A business of living. Clay (Dad) is the CFO of this business, which means he pays for it all. I am the Director of Operations, which means I am in charge of it all. They are all my employees, which means that if they don't do what I ask them to do they will not get paid. I explained to them that their payment was not always toys or money. That was simply bonus for when they go above and beyond the list! I said they need to work in the house to pay for having hot running water, clean clothes and towels, food to eat and games to play, etc. I am not sure that they like the new business agreement. But they will definitely learn that in this home and ultimately in this life, nothing comes for free. Don't get me wrong, I adore my children and they get love, support and spoiling...but they will also get a lot more with these new rules. Respect!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Here I am, posting again. I tried doing this once before... after I signed off of the CaringBridge site in 2006, but life got too busy and I was trying to pick up where I left off before breast cancer. I soon realized that there is no going back, you can only move forward after such an experience.

After many years of people still telling me how much they enjoyed the Cancer Journal, and my writing, I was asked by several people to start another blog. This is all new to me since I had never really written anything but thank-you notes and term papers before 2005! I was always pleasantly surprised that people followed my "journey" like they did.

So here I go...not sure what I will write about or if anyone but my Mother will follow, but I will do it for her - and for my children who will now have a written legacy of how crazy their Momma truly is!!