These precious moments

This morning the alarm clock went off and I turned to see little man snuggled next to me. His eyes were closed, dreaming away while the sun was still considering its rise.  His blonde hair was sticking out all around his head and I smiled at how much he wiggles about at night. His lips were parted slightly and I could hear his breath; in and out it went rhymically.  His chubby legs were tucked partly under the covers and his arms laid over his head.

I stared at him for a while, taking in the sight of this sweet boy that I am blessed to call my son. A few short weeks and we will celebrate his second birthday. It is moments like this that remind me how quickly time passes and how precious these moments are.

Hug your loved ones and enjoy these moments for how wonderful they are.  💚

There are no words.

The tragedy that occurred last night in Pulse Nightclub is terrifying, heart wrenching and so utterly horrible. These people went out on a Saturday night to have a good time and enjoy themselves, like so many of us do on any given night. Fifty of those people lost their lives way too early and 53 of them have experienced a life altering trauma and are now fighting for their lives.  The victims, the families and the friends of those affected will never be the same.

This could have happened anywhere but it’s a little too close to home.  This senseless violence is not ok. It breaks my heart. The world is becoming a scary place and I fear for the future that our children face.

I cannot wrap my head around the amount of hate this man had in his heart.

Please pray. Pray for these victims, these families, the entire LGBT community, the emergency response teams, the law enforcement, the doctors, the nurses and staff at local hospitals, all of Orlando and our country. Spread love, friends.  Love always.

The music of his heart

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When I was 6 months pregnant, I attended church with my big sister. The first portion of service was filled with music that you could feel in your heart. The musicians up front sang from a place deep in their soul and it was like the instruments were an extension of their hands.  Jacob heard the music in my belly and danced like crazy. He was often wiggling about when music came on but never quite like this. He danced all around in my belly and I couldn’t help but smile, laugh and cry along with the music and him. It was like the music spoke directly to him.

Since he was born, Jacob continues to love music. He always dances when he hears a beat, wiggling his little tush or his shoulders to the music. The other day when he was bathing, he grabbed all of the containers in the tub and drummed away, the sound of drums mixing with the sound of running water.

Music captures him in a way that few other things do. It always makes me smile, seeing him react and interact with the music he hears. There is a song in his heart and his head, always.  He recently found an older guitar that has been collecting dust in our home. Previously owned by Joe’s brother, it sits in the corner of a room, alone in the world.  Jacob found it and immediately began playing. Never wanting to put ir down, he taps and strums and sings. He brings it with him across the house, singing loud with an array of words that often include “Momma”, “Daddad” and all of the other things he loves in this world.

Maybe it’s a phase.  Maybe it’s ingrained. Either way, it makes my heart smile.  My sweet boy is learning what he loves and the possibilities of what he can do with his future are endless.

3 weeks post radiation!

Today I headed back to the place that was like a second home for 6 weeks straight. I had my (almost) 3 week post radiation checkup and it went quite well!

The radiation oncologist was beyond excited about how well my skin has healed. She couldn’t stress enough how nice it looks in such a short amount of time. It is so awesome to hear that!!  I have instructions to continue moisturizing twice a day until well after reconstruction but that is a small task after radiation so I don’t mind.

And the next exciting update? My follow up appointment is in January! That’s right, I don’t need to see her again until after reconstruction. As much as I love her as a doctor, I am in no hurry to head back there.  😄

This is a small win but a wonderful one nonetheless! Happy Tuesday, friends!

National Cancer Survivors Day

Last week at work, I learned that it was National Donut Day. Despite the conversation, the laughs and the chatter about our favorite donut types, I resisted the urge to eat one. This was hard because….well, despite their sugar-overload and messiness, donuts are awesome. Yet, I couldn’t tell you the last time I ate one. After the conversation ended, I forgot all about this national day.

Today, thanks to social media, I learned it is National Cancer Survivors Day. Thinking back, I don’t recall knowing that there was a national day for this. Perhaps, like National Donut Day, I took part in conversation around it the day of and then forgot about it. Perhaps I didn’t read too much into it because the thought of cancer sucks and it was often hard to talk about. Perhaps I didn’t check social media that day to learn about what day it was. Regardless, today I know. And today it hits home.

It’s been a rough few days. I have been fighting a wicked cold for a while (finally on antibiotics!), I hurt my knee running and have been limping for a week (sigh, I’ve moved on to the elliptical instead) and I had expansion on Friday. Expansion, to put it nicely, sucks. I did another 80 cc and have 2 more expansions of 80 cc each in the next few weeks. I spent Friday and Saturday uncomfortable with muscle spasms and pressure from the expansion (the pressure is there but better today). My plastic surgeon offered to do less over a longer period of time but I’m anxious to be done and move on from this stage.

All of that being said, I’ve been a little grumpy the last few days. I try to remind myself that this phase is almost over. I try to tell myself to enjoy the day despite the discomfort. I try to relax. I try to sleep it off. But it has been getting the better of me. And I hate that. I hate cancer. I hate what it forces people to go through. I hate what it does to our minds and our bodies. I hate the way it makes us feel. I hate the way it questions our mortality. I hate that every decision that is made in life, cancer has a say. I hate that I let my mind wander to these dark places. I hate that it is getting the best of my mind.

So today, as I learned about this National Day, I took a step back. I stopped thinking about the discomfort and the pain and the sickness and I reminded myself of how far I have come. This day last year, I was two months away from learning that I had cancer. This time last year, cancer was winning because I had no idea it was inside of me, secretly growing and prospering. This time last year I was going about life as if tomorrow, the next year and the next decade were all guaranteed to me. This time last year I hadn’t taken ahold of my own future – not just my health but my hopes and dreams, my aspirations, my goals. This time last year I was not a survivor.

Today, I am.

I am a survivor who has both bad days and good.

I am a survivor that tries to see the positive in all aspects of life.

I am a survivor who will not be defined by cancer.

I am a survivor who enjoys the small moments in life.

I am a survivor who does not take time for granted.

I am a survivor that shows herself how strong she is every day.

I am a survivor who has taken hold of her life and the life she wants to live.

I am a survivor who will continue to fight and live and love.

I am a survivor who will not take life for granted.

I am a survivor who beat cancer.

I am a survivor.

So today, on National Cancer Survivors Day, I will say with pride: I am a survivor.

Because I am blessed to be here. I am blessed to have beaten this horrible disease. I am blessed to be a survivor.