Tuesday, April 30, 2013

365 Days of Memories Take FOUR -- Day 119

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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.

Could always be worse.

Monday, April 29, 2013

365 Days of Memories Take FOUR! -- Day 118

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*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.

So here's to fingers crossed.
Here's to hoping.
There's always a first time for everything right?
I think tomorrow should be that day!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

365 Days of Memories Take FOUR! -- Day 117

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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!

Friday, April 26, 2013

365 Days of Memories Take FOUR -- Day 115

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I've had this song (that I LOVE) stuck in my head all day long... and you know what they say;  If you've got a song stuck in your head, go on and sing it!

*I'd love to know just what you're thinking
Every little river running through your mind.
You give and you take, you come and you go,
You leave me here wondering if I'll ever know,
How much you care, or how much you don't
Whatever you need, whatever you want...

If you're gonna be somebody's heartbreak,
If you're gonna be somebody's mistake,
If you're gonna be somebody's first time, 
somebody's last time,
Baby be mine.

If you're looking to be somebody's 'just friend'
A little life, a little laughin',
never calling again,
that's just fine.
If you're gonna be somebody's heartbreak,
Be mine.*

-- Hunter Hayes --

Thursday, April 25, 2013

365 Days Of Memories Take FOUR -- Day 114

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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.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

365 Days of Memories Take FOUR -- Day 113

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*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.*
-- Taken

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

365 Days of Memories take FOUR -- Day 112

Cancer and Clarity

*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,
It happens.*
--Sugarland --

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.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

365 Days of Memories Take Four! -- Day 109

Like so many I have been at a complete loss for words this week...
This song speaks volumes to what this world has become though;
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*Hey this is God,
could I please have your attention?
There's a need for intervention,
man I'm disappointed in what I'm seeing.
Yeah this is God,
You fight each other in my name,
treat life like it's a foolish game,
Well I say, you've got the wrong idea.
This is God,
I've given everything to you,
Oh but look at what you do to the world that I created.

This is God,
What's with this attitude and hate,
you've grown more ignorant with age.
You had it made, now look at all you've wasted...
Oh all I'm asking for is love
I've seen you hurt yourselves enough.
Oh I've been waiting on a change in you.
I know your every thought,
your heart and soul, your every move.
There are so many consequences to the things you do.
Oh all I'm asking for is love,
haven't you hurt yourselves enough?
Oh I've been waiting on a change in you...
This is God.*
-- Phil Vassar --

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

365 Days Of Memories Take FOUR - Day 98

April is Aspergers and Autism Awareness Month
I'm amazed every day that this little baby (my godson) has grown up to become...
This amazing 8-year-old young man...

- He's funny, sensitive and loves his little sister infinitely.
- He loves to read and can read outloud using more inflection and voices than most storytellers who've practiced for years.
- He draws awesome pictures and tells elaborate stories.
- He helps make pancakes when he stays over at our house and refuses to tell me the secret ingredient that goes in the batter (even though I know it's whipped cream!).
- He loves geography and can tell you more about most countries in the world than I can.
- He's good at math and spelling and history.
- He loves to ride his scooter and play basketball.
Oh... and he has aspergers.
 But you wouldn't know it...
Not really.
Children aren't defined by their disabilities,
they are defined by their ABILITIES.
Let us not forget this.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

365 Days of Memories Take FOUR - Day 97

2 Years...
*The scars are souvenirs you never lose,
the past is never far...*
2 years, 13 moles removed, seven surgeries and many scars later.
Melanoma has changed my life, even at Stage I with a cure rate of 99%.  I'm lucky and I won't ever, ever forget that.
It doesn't have to be luck though...
- Everyone should do their own skin checks every few months at least.
- Everyone should see a dermatologist once per year.
- Everyone should know the moles on their body at least enough to be able to recognize if one has rapidly changed.
- Everyone should know the ABCD's of melanoma (Asymmetry, Border, Color and Diameter).
- Everyone should know what melanoma is and what it can do... because before I was diagnosed with melanoma myself, I had no clue just how bad it really is.
Be aware folks - it really does save lives.
I should know, it saved my own.