Thursday, August 27, 2015

How CANCER became part of who I am!

Cancer has been in my world longer than I have ever imagined. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly before my 21st birthday. She went through a mastectomy  and numerous reconstructions due to infections. But she survived.

Later on in August 2014 she was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer that ended up taking her life in June 2015.

Aside from my own mother and various friends and family members experiencing cancer, I myself have been through the long road of cancer.

My cancer journey began in 2012. In April I broke off my relationship with a boyfriend to focus on just being me and dating me for awhile. I thought I was doing really well. I had been between 190 and 200 pounds at the point and had started to lose weight. I got down to about 140 pounds. I thought it was awesome that I was finally at my goal weight that the doctor has told me I should be at for a long time.

There was also one night where upon getting out of the shower I noticed a large lump near my collarbone. I went downstairs and showed my mom and asked her what she thought it could be. She told me not to worry about it and ignore it. I went back upstairs and ignored it. Two weeks later at family gathering I was sitting on a chair talking with one of my aunts when my mom stared down at my collarbone. She came over and began poking the lump that was still there. I could see her doing the math in her head and she urged me to go see the doctor. This is what the lump originally looked like:

I made an appointment and got sent for a biopsy. The biopsy procedure was done in office and only suppose to take about an hour or two at most. Mine took FOUR HOURS. The lymph node they pulled out was 3 centimeters by 2 centimeters and 2 centimeters high. NOT something that a normal lymph node near your collar bone should look like. It left me with a pretty cool scar that looked this:

I waited a few weeks and things really got strange. At the time this lump was discovered I was in the process of physical therapy to prove that my back aches are from my breasts, as I was perusing a breast reduction. August 22 I was at the physical therapy office when the doctors office called me on the phone at the PT office. Strange for them to do. They urged me to come in right away.

My parents and I drove from the hospital where I was having PT to the doctors office. We got there around 12:20 and had to wait until 1 when they opened after lunch. At this point I was on edge. I folded my hands, bowed my head and I prayed. I asked God to be with me and protect me in whatever they told me when I went into that office. I walked in and that was when I got the news that I had Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

I was SHOCKED. I never imagined that was the reason for my weight loss or all the symptoms like my tiredness and other things.

We went on to learn I also had a tumor down behind my heart which made me Stage 2 on the cancer level.

We opted to do a round of six chemo treatments and then 5 weeks of radiation.

I will say, the BEST invention to the cancer market, is the power port. Years back chemo was given directly through an IV. We have a family friend who went through chemo and burned his arms BADLY during chemo treatments. The ports allow them to administer chemo and draw blood. They are also scary because they connect directly into the veins to your heart. Here you can see my port in action at chemo:

In February 6, 2013 I finished Chemo and in April 2013 I finished radiation. One of the scariest things to be told during cancer was that chemo would likely kill any chances I had at conceiving a child. God works in mysterious ways because TWO WEEKS after finishing all treatments I was greeted by this:

It was amazing to tell the nurses a year later when I had my son on 2/4/14 that a year ago I was down in the same hospital receiving my last chemo treatment. My son is my miracle and has proved so much to me in my life. I so happy to have him in his life and my now husband who met me at a time when I was just diagnosed with cancer. In those first few months I was THE WORST girlfriend. I had no hair, I slept all the time, I was sick to my stomach because of treatments and medication.

The one memory I have during chemo is waking up from a nap during treatment and seeing him right there in the chair by my side. He would sit with me, even though all I did was sleep. I always dreamed my whole life of having someone who would be there through good and bad, and he has showed me just how much of a dream come true he is.

If you find yourself battling cancer whether you are the one getting treatment or the one in the chair beside the person, remember YOU ARE A WARRIOR.

One of my friends gave me the gift of this picture he made when treatment was over and I love the message in it:

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

History-My Own Guilty Pleasure

Recently I have found myself reflect on past family vacations and day trips. Years back we would take summer vacations with family friends or day trips back before my mom got sick and passed away.

When I was young I found myself wandering sometimes in museums or the places we were at and some of it was very interesting, and other parts I felt like someone had placed a shackle on my leg and I was being dragged around hell. I can remember sitting at the table with all the adults at family parties and they were talking about geneology and all this history about relatives. When I was kid I listened but never truly paid attention to the details.

I find now that my mom is gone I often want to know the answers. I of course have family members I can ask and get the answers, but it makes me take for granted all those times when I was young and had a chance to really learn something when I was in the museums or on whatever trip we were on.

My favorite memory from recently is when I inherited the locket of my mothers that was my great grandmothers. I knew my mom had told me over the years who it belonged to and I love this locket so much that it was the one thing I told my mom I wanted when she passed away. I thankfully found the courage to ask my mom before she passed who it belonged to and learned. I am so happy I did, because now I have the memory of my mother telling me.

I don't know if it's because I am 26 and "old" now that I like these things. But, I really have taken a longing to learning about history. I watched the Brian Boitano Project on Netflix. He goes in and restores and decorates an old family villa in Italy. It was short, but so amazing to see the old fixtures they found in the basement or the history he showed when furniture shopping. I have also gotten joy in watching my Aunt redo her home. Her house was built in 1784. She has updated things by making the bathroom a built in laundry room, converting one of the bedrooms into a walk in closet( old houses do not come with much storage) and is currently redoing the kitchen.

Its fantastic to walk in her house because the floors are old and uneven. In her dining room there is a door to the outside which is actual a Victorian Death Door. In history as we have found out, there have been superstitions against taking the deceased out the front door or main door of the home. It was also convenient when back in the old times the wake and funeral would often happen at the deceased's home instead of traditionally a funeral home as it is done today.

Earlier today I finished reading a very interesting e-book that was a mix of time travel, history, and story. The first book was free on Amazon and I want very much to continue with the series. Very interesting read. The book is called Time and Again by Deborah Heal. The first book as I mentioned as of 8-26-15 is free on Amazon Kindle. Book 1 is about a tutor spending the summer in a run-down old house. On the computer she and her student find a program called Beautiful Houses that is too amazing to be real. The program can rewind and fast forward the lives of all the people who ever lived in the house. The house in 1858, was a train stop on the Alton & Chicago line. It also happened to be a stop on the Underground Railroad.

I really enjoyed how the book has a good mix of history and story line. As this post says I enjoy history, but sometimes I feel with documentaries and books, too much information can be overwhelming. This was a perfect balance. Check it our for yourself at:

For now I am off to enjoy some history!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Little Paris Bookshop (Book Review)

Life is sad right now with most of our belongings packed in boxes. I can't access my craft supplies or most of all my books. But thanks to the wonderful creators of e-books, I have still been able to get some reading in.

With a move coming up very soon, I wanted to hold off on getting a physical book from Blogging For Books, because I don't know how much longer we are going to be at our current address or the full details of what the new address will be.

The book that I chose to try was:

I thought this was going to be a fabulous read. The description:
Monsieur Perdu can prescribe the perfect book for a broken heart. But can he fix his own?
Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can’t seem to heal through literature is himself; he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

This sounded PERFECT. Surely with the loss of my mom in June and the loss of my dog this past weekend a book that could be perfect for healing the heart would be a good choice. 

At first start the story was quite good. I loved how it explained that books are often read at the right times for our lives. 

As I got to the part where Perdu and his companion started on their mission, I just started to get dis interested in the book. I scrolled through the pages not really reading at all. I tried to go back and try again, but I just didn't have a connection to it.

Maybe this book is for you. For me it wasn't. Maybe this was just the wrong time to read it. 

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Red Eyed Baby

Yesterday I posted that I want to start writing again. Right now at this moment, my husband is off at work and Lucas is still napping. I thought "what better time to write then now?"

I started brainstorming about possible topics and some right now that come to mind are still fresh wounds that I am not yet ready to elaborate on. So I turned to the good old internet resource GOOGLE for some writing prompts. I found a Sub Reddit that looks promising:

The prompt of this reddit is:

So, lets journey together into the year 2035 and meet this new life.

History class. The most boring class of the day. Who really cares about the stuff that happened back in 2015. That was 20 years ago. Words like Obama, Ashley Madison, those are the words our grandparents chattered about on and on, but no one pays attention to anymore. Nowadays its all about who has the best virtual reality scores or who downloaded their homework from their parents memory files. 

Well until today anyway, history was the most boring class. Our first day back at school, August 24, 2035 and we walk in to a webpage open on the classroom screen. The teacher seemed so excited, like they were about to be told they won the virtual lottery. 

"Class, today we have the most wonderful news. History is happening right before our hours. Just moments before you entered into this classroom, the newest generation of the world was born. This baby is very different from any the world has ever seen." It was at this moment that the old quack pulled up a picture of what looked like any other baby. Until he scrolled down to a photo of the eyes. THE BRIGHTEST CRIMSON color anyone had ever seen. I knew from history last year about how eyes can be all different colors and something about DNA and how it makes you have a certain color. But never had we heard of red eyes. At least outside of cosplay that is. People began whispering "contacts?" "messed up parental DNA?" I don't know what it was, but I was determined to make history. I wanted to be the first one to experience first hand if this was a truth or a mystery.

When I got home there were tons of news stories all over the place talking about this baby. I almost felt bad for the kid. To be hours old and already becoming a celebrity just because you look different from the rest of the world. Who really cares what a person looks like anyway. Isn't it whats on the inside that counts? 

I threw my school bag down and turned on my virtual reality system. I wanted to dive first hand into the virtual world to determine if this was a hoax or not. I figure a little research would not only get me famous for proving it true or false, but also give me some extra credit with the history teacher. Nothing like an essay you aren't expecting from a student on the second day of school to them on your good side. 


Amazing what just 15 minutes of typing can turn out. I know this story only starts to answer the prompt. But I feel like its a good accomplishment for now. 

What do you think, should I follow through and write more of this story in the future? 
Let me know in the comments below!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Finding the GIRL I use to be

I want to write again!

Over the course of my life I have always loved writing and English class. It was my favorite subject in school and one that brought me a lot of memories.

My middle school English teacher, George Cornelius, passed away during February vacation of seventh grade. I had always vowed to do well in English to honor his memory. In high school we had a project where we wrote an essay about our life up until that point. I still have that scrapbook essay to this day.

Over the past few years I have noticed my writing and reading declining. My life has changed in that I have a toddler now, so not as much free time, but also I have struggled with a concussion. I noticed my moods changing.

But recently I sat down and just started looking at my life and I am not happy with how I have been using my blog lately. I love doing the book reviews because its an awesome way to experience free books. But, I want to do more.

I want to take the written word and my creativity and put it out there for the world to see. I want to maybe turn this into a job, that will allow me to support my family, while still spending time with them. My therapist is pushing and pushing for me to go back to work after things brought up my anxiety and depression, but for our family that just is not really possible.

We have one car, myself, my husband, and our son, Lucas. For me to work outside the home we have to schedule daycare, which my in laws are willing to do and I have a sister who is more than happy to watch Lucas. However, those options are not always on the table. Paying for daycare would mean that after I bring home my paycheck and give daycare it's share of the money, I essentially only bring in pennies. Not very beneficial to us.

Having only one car is also a problem. Yes, there are modes of public transportation, but most those make me travel sick and in a way make me very uncomfortable. I have memories from early years about situations that have happened on buses and seeing them brings back flash backs.

That being said, I also get to a point where I love being at home. I love to be there for my family when they need it and to do the tasks like cooking, meal planning, the cleaning and organizing. My dream in life has always been to be a stay at home mom.

At the same time, I know our family could really use my bringing in some kind of money. Which is why I want to find a way to be able to stay at home and still support my family.

So starting today I am hopefully going to challenge myself to write on this blog at least twice a week. Small number to start out.

I hope you enjoy following my journey with me. I look forward to sharing it with you

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Messy Grace

With the recent "Love Wins" movement going on, I am very excited with that way Gay Lifestyle is becoming accepted. Gay pride and LGBTQ issues have always been a passion of mine. Many years ago when I started my first ever YouTube channel, I was really into gay pride videos.

In high school for our senior year we had to complete a Social Justice project. The topic was of our choosing and the project consisted of a 15 page research paper and presentation. I chose Homelessness of LGBTQ Youth. I no longer have a copy of the paper, but the memories from that project have lasted with me in many ways. I remember going to the True Colors event and having my own panel in which I talked about my research. It was at that event that I had the courage to come out as Bisexual to the world.

When I saw the book Messy Grace by Caleb Kaltenbach avaliable on Blogging for Books, I figured, WHY NOT?

Caleb Kaltenbach was raised by LGBT parents, marched in gay pride parades as a youngster, and experienced firsthand the hatred and bitterness of some Christians toward his family.
But then Caleb surprised everyone, including himself, by becoming a Christian…and a pastor.
Very few issues in Christianity are as divisive as the acceptance of the LGBT community in the church. As a pastor and as a person with beloved family members living a gay lifestyle, Caleb had to face this issue with courage and grace. 
Messy Grace shows us that Jesus’s command to “love your neighbor as yourself” doesn’t have an exception clause for a gay “neighbor”—or for that matter, any other “neighbor” we might find it hard to relate to. Jesus was able to love these people and yet still hold on to his beliefs. So can you. Even when it’s messy. - See more at:

The book really hit home for me. Being Christian myself, our church has just become open and accepting. Many years ago when I was in middle school, there was a trans-gendered member of the congregation. I never said things directly to the person, but when talking with friends I often was unsure what pronoun to use-he or she. So many friends and I being young and confused, said "It". We only used it among each other and never directly toward the person. 

As I read the book this moment was brought back up to me. At the time I didn't know what trans-gendered meant. I had heard my mom talk about it, but it never really clicked for me. Reading this book I was brought to a point where I sat down one night to just have a talk with God as I usually do to wind down before bed, and this time I mentioned seeking forgiveness for the wrong doing. 

I especially enjoyed this book because I often find with gay pride books that bring religion into play they often get very preachy and just throw bible quote after bible quote out there. This book had a good balance of looking at the bible story and what it means, as a oppose to just the quote, and a dose of real life experiences from people who shared their story.

It was an AWESOME read and I am happy to have choosen it. Check it out if you too are into Gay Pride and Religion.

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Let's Pretend We're Normal

I am horrible lately at blogging and vlogging. Honestly we have had so much going in our lives. Today is the 5th of August. I can't believe we have reached AUGUST already of 2015. This date is also said because two months ago I said goodbye to my biggest fan, best-est mother. She was diagnosed a year ago this month with Stage 4 Lung Cancer. We thought she would be with us much longer, but in May 2015 she entered the hospital for dehydration. It was then we sat down and evaluated how things were going and determined there wasn't much hope.

Hospice was entered into and I will say that was the BEST experience of my life. Having the nurses to rely on to help with whatever we needed, really made the process easier. The aides were wonderful and I will never forget the morning that my mother passed away how our nurse immediately came to start the process and help dispose of medications, call the numbers that needed to be called.

We are also in the process of moving. Currently we are in limbo because of a holdup with some paperwork.

But anyway, onto the real reason I sat down to write.

Shortly before my mom died I recieved my latest Blogging For Books, read. The book was Let's Pretend Were Normal by Tricia Lott Willford. The book is about a family who has lost their father/husband. I figured this book would be a wonderful choice given the news that we were losing my mom and then the fact that we had lost her when it arrived.

I tried my hardest to read the book, but it just did not go well. There was a night that I was taking a bath and having a panic attack. My husband tried to coach me through and I ended up throwing the book out of the bathtub only to have it bounce back in and get completely soaking wet.

Another day in a fit of rage I tore each and every page out of the book in frustration because it was the closet thing to me.

So this book did not go well. In terms of physical experience.

Every review really loves this book and I do believe it has some good points and is a heart felt story. I applaud any writer who is able to sit down and write their story because each story is unique and really deserves to be shared with the world.

For me however this book was just a 1 star.