*I wish I could lay down beside you when the day is done And wake up to your face against the morning sun. But like everything I've ever known, It'd disappear someday... So I spend my whole life hiding my heart away.*
I joke around a lot with my friends and family about how I'll probably never get married because I don't have time to even think about meeting someone, or how I'll never have kids because the little ones at work drive me crazy... but the truth is that's really just a defense mechanism. When I look at pictures like this of a couple walking along the beach at a storm rolls by in the distance I see everything that I want and hope to have someday... and I wonder if I'll ever get the chance.
I've always said I think it's harder to find love the older you get. I remember being 20 and thinking it would be so easy... and having boyfriends and always thinking that would be 'the one' I would marry someday. But none of them were ever the one and I'm not the kind of girl to settle so when I realized this, I let them go... and sometimes they let me go. And now, the older I get the more I realize it IS harder to find love in your late 20's and early 30's. Probably because at my age you aren't looking to just fool around.
But the truth is,
I just want to meet that guy who loves to take walks on the beach and understands the beauty of a sunset or a sunrise or just a blue sky on a clear day. I want to meet that guy who will pull the car over so I can take a picture of an awesome storm coming in. I wanna find someone who likes staying up late on Fridays but knows that you don't have to go out drinking to enjoy it. That sometimes just being at home curled up by the fire with a good book is enough.
I want to meet the man who stays in bed late on Saturday mornings because that's what Saturday mornings are for.
But most of all I want to meet the guy who loves me... and who I love back.
I don't know... sometimes I guess it just seems like it'll never happen.
Taking pictures of the moon is no easy task. You have to have the right type of camera, zoom lense, and no how to use the manual settings. I do not have an extreme zoom lense on my camera so I just used what I did have. Didn't do too badly though. Seeing the Super Moon last night was a really neat thing though and it looked so cool just hanging out there in the sky :)
Back from vacation and I have many photos to share of our wonderful trip. This first one is of sunset over our beach house on our first night. I had an amazing time with my family and definitely did not want to come home! I love our annual Outer Banks trips :)
It's been a crazy week of getting back to work and making money... YAY! But it's been amazingly wonderful. I'm thrilled to be back in the swing of things and back to working with 'my' kiddos and co-workers again. This Calvin and Hobbes quote caught my eye today and it is so true... my life is better than I could have imagined even if it's not quite how I imagined it would be, and I truly do believe that from here things will only get better :)
*One Hundred Years from now it won't matter What kind of car I drove,
What kind of house I lived in, How much money I had in the bank, Nor what my clothes looked like. But, The world may be a little better because I was important in the life of a child.*
Today marked the end of a long journey as I finally finished my student teaching and turned in all of my paperwork. On Saturday I will 'graduate' (though I'm not participating in the ceremony since this is my second degree) and I will officially have my teaching degree.
There is nothing more fulfilling in life then getting to watch dreams come true, and being a teacher gives me the opportuity to be a part of helping others discover their dreams every single day. I have worked with children for 15 years beginning when I was 13 and started babysitting for my neighbors. I have been a Lead Head Start teacher for 3 years now and before that I worked in a day care in infant, toddler and preschool classrooms. I've worked with every age group from birth-5 and I love it!
Nothing, absolutely nothing compares to working with children who come from at risk and low income populations. Getting to be a constant in their lives, to show them that people do care about them, that education is a good thing and that they are LOVED beyond measure makes all of the hard stuff completely worth it.
And it's because of this experience that I look forward to the next chapter of my life and can't wait to get back to working with my kiddos!
Awareness. Warning... some of these images are not for the faint of heart.
On March 7th 2011 I was sitting in my bedroom working on sewing a quilt for my nephew and my back itched... that simple itch led to me discovering this;
This funky looking mole on my back that immediately
left me thinking something wasn't right.
Long story short, the next day I called a dermatologist office in town, a day later they saw me and less than a week after that my back looked like this;
A five inch incision for the .35 mm Stage I Malignant Melanoma I was incredibly lucky to have caught myself. Especially considering it was on my back, a place I rarely look.
I am lucky.
Stage I Melanoma comes along with a 99% cure rate, though deligence is key since many melanoma survivors have experienced multiple melanomas. Beyond stage I the survival and cure rates drop dramatically.
Since my diagnosis I have had 14 other moles removed. Only 3 of those moles have been considered 'benign' and 6 of those were considered atypical enough to require additional surgery. The rest will be monitored for any changes.
I've had people tell me that melanoma really isn't as bad as people make it out to be.
Tell me, does this look "not that bad"...
Melanoma isn't something to joke around about.
I'm not a person who spent her teens or young adult years vegging in the tanning bed.
In fact, I probably spent a total of less than 45 minutes of my life in a tanning bed.
I have no family history.
One bad burn in your childhood can lead to melanoma.
Know the facts that I had no clue about.
Melanoma is the leading cancer in young adults.
It is the leading killer of women aged 25-30.
It is also HIGHLY CURABLE when caught in its earliest stages.
And then... sometimes even the simplest prayers go unanswered.
But maybe it's not a bad thing.
I don't know.
I've got another dermatologist appointment under my belt which means I've lived another 6 months cancer free and it also means simply that I've been alive another 6 months. 6 months I might not have had if I hadn't found the melanoma when I did.
So yeah, I had to have another biopsy today, and yeah it sucks. And yeah I'm back to bandages and vaseline and a nice sized hole in my back for the next few weeks.
The good news is the doctor doesn't think it's melanoma this time. And she did the first time apparently right away (though she told me she didn't think it was anything that time too...).
So now a week or so to wait for any news... which is not the news I was hoping for, but it could be worse.
*I know what I gotta do. I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring.*
-- Castaway --
Tomorrow is a day I dread. It's a day I've dreaded too many times since my diagnosis a little over 2 years ago now. At first it was a follow-up every few weeks to take out stitches and remove other funky moles, and then every 3 months and now it's every 6 months unless something changes. Tomorrow is my first 6 month follow-up, my 2-year (a little late) post-cancer appointment.
And I dread it.
Because I have yet to go to the dermatologist for a full check since being diagnosed with melanoma and NOT end up having to go back in for surgery. So yeah... bad track record on that.
I've got faith this time, that it will be different from every single other time... but I still have that sense of dread to go along with it.
One of my absolute favorite parts of living in Kentucky is and always has been the horse farms. There is nothing more calming and beautiful than driving through the country on a warm spring day and seeing horses out in the pastures grazing, especially with their babies. Reminds me how much I really do love this place even on the days I wish I could move to the beach!
Some of you may remember this little meme from a few years back on facebook -- thought I'd share my "20 Things About Me" here on my blog;
1) I was born in Lexington, Kentucky on October 27th, 1982 and I've lived here all my life. Maybe someday I'll escape ;)
2) I love, love being outside - whether it's lying in my hammock, walking on the beach or taking a hike at Natural Bridge, I always feel best when I'm out in the fresh air!
3) I'm a firm believer that there's no day that can't be made better with a nap!
4) I have suffered from classic migraines (aka; migraines with aura) since I was 12-years-old. I hate them. I love Topamax.
5) I'm addicted to Mountain Dew and Graeter's Bourbon Ball ice cream - both are amazing.
6) I make a mean lasagna.
7) I have never smoked a cigarette in my life, and I don't feel the need to ever try.
8) I still love the Backstreet Boys and New Kids... in fact I just saw them in concert when they toured together, and I loved it :)
9) I am terrified of heights.
10) I absolutely must take at least one shower per day, usually two.
11) I was diagnosed with Stage I Malignant Melanoma in March 2011 and have since had 7 surgeries... hopefully that's it!
12) I love reading!
13) If I weren't a teacher I think I would want to be a photographer.
14) I absolutely hated country music until I started college... at which point I started listening to country music and now, it's about all I listen to.
15) I have never been drunk in my life.
16) I am a huge fan of the Kentucky Wildcats.
17) My favorite season is spring because it reminds me that life begins again every single year.
18) I have never traveled outside of the US, nor have I gone west of Illinois... I can't wait to take a trip across the country.
19) I love shows like Ghost Hunters, Paranormal State and A Haunting... but I absolutely cannot watch the movie 6th Sense. It terrifies me.
20) I've been blessed to hold a newborn baby in the very beginning of his life... and blessed to hold the hand of a dying loved one at the very end of hers. And though both expriences made me cry - one tears of joy, the other of sorrow - I wouldn't have traded either one for the world. Because those are the experiences that make you realize how wonderful life really is... and how fleeting. And how much we should cherish every moment because every moment is something special.
*My mom told me once that when you're afraid of something, what you want more than anything else is to make it go away. You want your life back to the way it was before you found out there was something to be afraid of. You want to build a high wall and live your old life behind it. But nothing ever stays the same. That's not our old life at all; that's your new life with a wall around it. Your choice is not about going back to the way things were, your choice is about hiding... or about going right to the heart of the thing that scares you.*
*Ain't no rhyme or reason, no complicated meaning,
Ain't no need to overthink it, let go laughing...
Life don't go quite like you planned it, we try so hard to understand,
Irrefutable, indisputable fact is,
If there is one truly positive thing I've taken away from my experience with cancer it's that every so often I open my eyes, take a deep breath of the fresh air, watch the seasons changing and realize how much I really, really appreciate my life. I will confess that most of the time I forget. I forget that I had the type of cancer that kills more young people every year than any other. I forget that I have scars on my back that will remain with me forever. I forget the pain of those seven surgeries and the devastation of hearing the words "you have cancer". And I'm lucky that I'm able to forget...
But then there are days like today when I'm given these tiny moments, driving down the Bluegrass Parkway on the way home from work, listening to the radio and singing Keith Urban at the top of my lungs. I glanced out the windows through the sunshine and noticed how much things have changed in just a week's time. I saw how beautiful the newly green trees looked and the pinks and whites of the flowers and the sweet new foals out in the pastures - all tucked beneath the bright blue skies overhead - and in that moment I took a deep breath and thanked God for my life. It's amazing how a few hours of not knowing what will be... how bad the cancer is, if it's spread, if you'll have to have major surgery to remove lymph nodes, or go through chemo or worse... how literally a few hours can change your entire life. And now, because of those hours and the days and weeks that followed, the time it took to recover and really believe I would be 'okay', all it takes is one simple moment of everyday living to give me such clarity and make me realize how blessed I truly am. Life is never perfect, it's messy and it's filled with ups and downs. Yes, I did have cancer, but now I'm okay, even though it will take years to recover from the financial burden and the scars will never completely fade and even with that part of me that fears every mole on my body, I know that I am alive and I am so incredibly thankful for that.