Category Archives: Thanks

Day 80: Harding University p. 1

Let me preface this by saying this post will be a long one. I could write about Harding enough to fill a book, but I’ll leave that for another time. For now, this will just be a lengthy post about my love-hate relationship with my private Christian school. Harding has been on my mind lately – I’ve been missing it and everything about it, as well as all the people.

Where to begin? When I applied to Harding, as a wee little senior in high school, at the tender age of 17, it was the only place I applied, I was following a boy, and I was not very excited about it — I had wanted to go to Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas because that’s where my boyfriend at the time wanted to go. Mom and dad wouldn’t allow that. If I was going to go to a state school, I was going to an Illinois state school because out of state taxes will bleed you dry lol. 

I visited a few times and was even part of that creepy U-Peers thing so I knew some other incoming freshman when I got there. I was luckier than ever, and obviously being looked out for by Marcus Thomas and God, to have gotten an amazing pot-luck roommate – Meryl Wetton ( who is newly engaged! WooHoo!!!) and even further blessed to have been put into Sears dorm (the newest renovated dorm at that time – only like one year old – on the third floor so I didn’t have to hear noisy girls all above me.

Yet another blessing I’ve been afforded was going on a design-specific trip to HUF (Harding University Florence). I was in Italy, Paris, and London for 6,8ish weeks during the summer of 2012, and while during the trip I hated it more than anything, in retrospect it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I’m not someone who has many regrets … I have very very few. But one of them is being such a downer on the trip and not taking advantage of the opportunity to its fullest. Because if this, I’ve made Brandon promise to take me back there as well as London at some point. 

That fall, for the fall semester of 2012, my roommate, Meryl, went to HIZ (Harding In Zambia). That is the semester I struggled the most. Meryl was the biggest Christian influence in my life at that time and without her constantly by my side, i let my spiritual life and faith crumble. I got involved in things I shouldn’t have, with people I shouldn’t have. I’m happy to say that by 2013 I was generally back on track. Meryl was kind enough to include me with herself and her Zambia friends when they returned.

(I LIVED in the blue house all the way in the back on the left 😍) 

Spring of 2013 I was still nursing an obsession / crush with a guy at Harding I had met just before freshman year started. Thankfully, at that time, I was surrounded by people who set me straight (pretty much). And in the fall of 2013, I met the amazing man that would become my husband, as well as my best guy friend, Patrick White, all thanks to Courtney Davis. In fact, I’ve met most of my closest and dearest friends while in the bubble of Harding.

Let’s talk about Harding CT & L. I got my job as lab attendant the spring of 2012 and started in fall of 2012. I couldn’t have gotten a better job and I still recommend working in the lab to my hard working friends. It’s a very easy job that requires a lot of responsibility and self-starting / motivation. I had three bosses: Nathan, Scott, and Dave. Three very intimidating and Godly men! I respect them and like them so much. I have only good things to say about them and CT&L. I miss that job. In fact, I’d love to eventually hold one of my bosses positions. I love the labs, especially my dear Ezell lab -102 or 209. 

For now, this will be the end of this post, otherwise it would go on indefinitely. I’ll continue later. 

ğŸŽ§ Always love, hate will get you every time ğŸŽ§   – Nada Surf

Romans 12:12 – rejoice in hope, endure in suffering, persist in prayer.

Evening 61: July 15th.

Today is Friday and on Monday, dad, Brandon and I will make the arduous trek to  Littke Rock, Arkansas. I’m hoping to convince Nathanael to come with us because he somehow just makes things better and keeps me positive and laughing — he’s an angel. That being said, I’m not sure I trust Hardy to care for the dogs without Nathanael, so I guess we’ll see. 

I think we’re going to get dinner at Wings To Go in Jonesboro (where bran is from) after the appointments and then drive back home. I’m trying to cut this ‘journey’ as short as possible. I just want to be back home, secure, around my mom and family and brothers and puppies. 

I’m also really embarrassed and nervous to eat at Wings to Go because that’s where I worked last summer and so much has changed about me since then. I don’t even look the same. People are going to look at me so weird or ask how I am and I’m not ok. People asking me how Iam just makes me burst into tears. 

Actually, a friend asked me yesterday if she thought this whole “c experience” has changed me and how I look at life…  and I can’t even begin to explain, describe, or fully understand how much everything has changed. I’m barely the same person and I don’t know if that’s good or not or if I like it or not. 

The main changes Ill Share with you are that my core values are honed in now — they were muddied before but they are crystal clear now. 

Additionally, another major change is that I’ve always been an easy crier but I’m an even bigger crier now. The pure kindness of strangers… The waitress topping off my coffee with a big smile, or getting a card from a stranger (like a HU faculty member) just makes me break down completely. I can’t even sing a full song in church without choking up. I just hum instead. Even seeing my brother smile at me or getting a sweet text message makes me bawl. 

Mom is in the rehab facility until July 29th and I’m missing her like crazy. I just want to hug my mom and cry and cry and cry. I miss her so much. I want us both to be better. 

I see my psychologist on July 25th. She’s an amazing woman and she already knows me well — she’s who I saw during high school and such. So I’m glad to have that background there. An established relationship.

So we leave on Monday, I have the MRI on Tuesday at 10am and then I meet with Dr. Krisht 12pm that same day. I’m not sure what we’re looking for… In fact, I think we want to just find nothing at all. That would be the hope. SO I’m going to ask a lot of all of you, anyone who reads this… 

Please please please be praying hard that this appointment shows no regrowth, that I’m still responsive to treatments and that cancer is out of me. Share this and get everyone praying. God listens to prayers, petitions. Please please please. Get anyone and everyone you can to pray. I’ve truly never been more scared about anything in my life, but I know God is going to take care of me. I just have to keep my faith in Him, even if I’m angry at him. Just pray for this MRI to be clean and clear. I am begging God for a clean bill of health. 

Day 57: Monday blues

It’s only noon and Today is not off to a good start. I guess that means it can only go up ? I took all my pills this morning and took them too quickly on an empty stomach with s bunch of water and ended up becoming a human water fountain a few minutes later… So there’s s waste of those pills. Lol I’m joking about it now, but I am utterly disgusted with myself. 

Then Brandon and I drove to Davenport to meet Anna Gambucci’s mom, Mary, to get hair for the wig she’s making me. We picked some out and that was great! Thank you Gambucci’s!

This next part gets graphic, so please proceed with caution or skip this paragraph. Shortly after we left the hair shop we were headed to see mom at the hospital and something bad happened…. All those pills, only water on my empty stomach, and WARNING GROSS: I’ve been really congested with s lot of drainage and I guess it all drained to my stomach… I threw up bile, mucous, and all my pills from this morning. All in the car. Yay. Brandon made sure I missed my MK bag, but I got it all over my seat and the floorboard.

 Idk why he loves me, especially when I’m so disgusting now, I wish I could make him stop loving me, make him divorce me. It  hurts me more than anything else that he’s seeing me like this, that he’s taking care of me so perfectly and patiently and I can’t give him anything back right now. I just have to pray for more years to give back to him. Dear God let me get better and get to enjoy what’s left of my life with Brandon and my family while giving glory to God. 

Please take this from me. God, I petition you to please stop pushing me to get stronger, more patient. Take this from me. Let me have my life back. I’m so impatient and I’m so exhausted and I’m so depressed. 

Make my faith stronger, because no matter what I’m going through, it is nothing compared to sacrificing your Son for every sinner. Thank you for the promise I have that even if I die, if I don’t get what I want in this situation, I have eternal life and relief and no more sadness or depression, in Heaven. That promise is the most precious thing in this world, thank you Lord. 

Please take this suffering from me. Take this cancer all away. Give me my hair and confidence and skin back. Please. I am begging you. 

Day 52: pretty chill, and a little bleak

It seems that evenings are my worst time. Late at night is ok, earlier in the day is ok, morning is ish, but 7-9ish is the hardest – not sure why. That seems to be when the creeping thoughts emerge and depression tries to settle in. I have to try to fight it off and that is exhausting. So I’m not really physically exhausted just mentally and emotionally, which is why I’m so anti-social and aloof. 

Today I tried to sleep in, but I’m not sleeping well. Like I’m sleeping long enough technically, but I can feel it’s not restful. I think it’s also difficult for me to get to the right level of relaxation because I can’t suck my pinky. Yes, judge me. I’ve sucked my pinky finger my entire life, but since being in the hospital and my face being numb, it feels too weird.


You may be thinking that’s it’s a good thing that that habit is relatively broken, and maybe you’re right, but it’s affecting my sleep and relaxation and it’s a self-soothing exercise I’ve done forever. Let’s get this out there: I’m so past being ashamed of it hsha. I was all growing up and mortified when I let it be known to Brandon, but I’m past that. It’s me. Lol When my face isn’t numb anymore, I’m sure I’ll revert back lol. But Brandon has told me he wishes I could do I now because he can tell it’s something that calms me and would help me when I start getting too in my head and upset.

Today was all laundry stuff and Brandon setting me up on WoW. Yeah, you read that right; I went and saw the World of Warcraft movie with Brandon and Zech last weekend and really liked it, and I know Brandon likes it, and it intrigued me enough i thought I’d give it a try. I can’t play effectively right now because of my arm having tremors from the steroid (it’s much better when I’m not on such a high dose of steroid). But Brandon can help me learn generals because it is an involved game, and I like getting to bond with Brandon over something he likes and that can distract me from the icky thoughts in me.

The boys and I were supposed to go see mom in the rehab facility today, but since Nathanael and I can’t drive, dad was at work as well as Brandon, it was supposed to be Hardy who took us… Well good luck trying to get him to do anything he doesn’t want to lol. So I went with dad after he got off work to see mom. And Brandon, grandma and I will go tomorrow. Mom seemed in much better spirits this evening, just more ‘zen’ and less anxious. I am thankful and glad for that for her. She’s still needing to get back into moving more, but they’re doing a fair amount of motivating with her, and it’s clear mom is determined to not sit still lol. She wants to recover. I am proud of my mom and her determination and I’m so thankful were both away from Iowa City for a while. I could have both of us never go back and be completely ok with that lol, wouldn’t miss a single thing if it was wiped off the map. I digress. Lol

Aunt Teresa came over today to help me begin writing some thank you cards and I really appreciated it and the time I got to spend with my aunt 🙂 

Other than that, it was just a calm, get things done, avoid and ignore insidious thoughts, rest day. 

Brandon just got home, and I’m really tired. So I’m gunna turn in for tonight. Please just pray for my mom for speedy recovery and endurance and pray for me as I can feel my attitude slipping and becoming bitter. I can feel the depression spider at my edges trying to creep in. Pray that God give me the strength to keep it at bay. It’s a struggle minute by minute… Anyways, thanks for reading and praying !  goodnight   

Day 51: part 2, but for real, read this one

Finished radiation. Finished chemo (for the next 28 days). I’m deficient in vitamin D and need to take a bigger supplement. Got Outback Steakhouse with Brandon to celebrate. Yes blooming’ onion. Caesar salad (to convince myself I was being healthy after eating fried onion smothered in ranch) with shrimp. Someone made our family a gigantic beautiful red velvet cake with chocolate frosting and I’m about to catch ‘da ‘betes eating all of it. And mom was discharged today and is doing well, besides the pain. 

So I’m gunna stay positive right now, eat cake,  and post this pic of a chubby bald goblin so you can see roughly what I look like lol. Today is a good day.

Day 49: God’s Day, and the weekend is almost over

Today I’ll finally be back in church and I sure need it. I’m embarrassed to go because everything makes me cry and I don’t want people to come over and pat me on the back or anything because that makes it worse. I’d rather people just ignore it. But I understand the desire to comfort and show compassion so I shouldn’t get annoyed. 

UPDATE 9am: I don’t think I’m going to be going to church this morning – I’m feeling really sick. My vision is icky and I feel really nauseous.

The whole point of Sunday morning worship is to worship. It is not about me, it is about Him. We often forget that fact. It doesn’t matter how I feel, or how I think, but what God has commanded me to do. And I have many things to worship him for. I pray that I can keep that at the forefront of my mind. Maybe I’m completely wrong.

 1Corinthians 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, “He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness.”

I don’t want to seem haughty or anything in like ‘quoting Scripture’ and seeming ‘holier than thou’ . I don’t want to appear a fraud. I’m completely open. I don’t want people to think I’m trying to push my faith on anyone or make it appear I have so much knowledge or anything. That being said, this is my blog so  I’ll say what I want lol. I have been raised in a very faithful family, went to a private Christian school, and attended Harding University. So, …. 

I won’t deny my faith by any means, I just want to clarify my motives and everything, even though I know I dont have to. Does that make any sense? My faith is between myself and God. We have a relationship all our own. But i don’t want people to think I’m faking it.Maybe That is vanity? I need to ask someone about these things. 

As you’ve read before, I see Brandon as truly my biggest blessing from God. Brandon gives me a feeling of such comfort that washes over me when I’m hurting, scared, or anything that nothing else can compare to. God gives comfort in different ways to different people, but I believe He gives me comfort through Brandon. Even when we first started dating, through engagement, and now.

Because of this belief and the comfort Brandon provides, I don’t like to be away from him for very long. Not now. While dating and engagement, we really only saw each other on the weekends or long weekends, because of my schooling and his work. 

So I don’t want anyone thinking I’m a needy girl. In fact, i enjoy my space and time spent alone. That being said, in my current situation (I don’t like saying the word) I don’t like to be left alone or not have tv on in the background. I need a distraction. I just want one other person around. Brandon, dad, mom, Hardy, Jeanie, Nathanael…. No one else I really feel okay falling apart in from of. 

This post seems very all over the place and confused. I seem very all over the place and confused. I guess these posts really do reflect how I am currently because they babble and meander as I do….  I wake up each morning in a dazed horror as i realize that this isn’t just a nightmare but reality. same thing this morning, it’s like a shock when I wake up, this isn’t just a bad dream. This is happening and I can’t escape it. I feel caught firmly in death’s grip. 

This next week should be better as things slow down. Mom will be discharged Tuesday, she’ll be in a rehab facility and that should help her. I’ll be done with radiation and can try to pick up life again without daily appointments. It’ll change from daily appointments to monthly appointments. I’ll be going to OT to help me get my hand back to coordination. 

Please pray that this all goes away, that I can be healthy again. Please. 

Day 48: the long weekend

This could arguably the worst weekend of my life. I have never felt suffering like this before and hope to never again. I’ve never felt anxiety, stress, or fear like this. Never. It is Crumbling and crushing agony.

Mom will not be discharged until Tuesday as it is a long weekend. Dad is up with mom there and from everything dad has relayed to me, mom is improving greatly. On a scale 1-10, she is only describing her pain at a 3. I don’t want to raise hopes too high, as it will most likely be a back and forth thing for a while, but this is such a great thing. They no longer have her on the medicine that was making her so loopy and she apparently is doing very well in that sense. 

I am so relieved as I type this that I am crying. Never in my life have I cried from pure relief, but now is that time. 

I was having some worrisome symptoms earlier: nausea this morning, weird vision, and my head was hurting, along with my face swelling a lot and my incision was kind of throbbing. Brandon, Jeanie and I were watching a movie earlier and I got so tired I moved to the EZ  chair and literally fell asleep minutes after. As in my dad texted me 5 times and I could dreamily feel that my phone was in my hand and had vibrated but I could not open my eyes. When I finally woke up a few hours later, I had the good update about mom and could hear the lift in dads voice, the boys had headed to Iowa city to give dad a little break, and wonderful Pat Adams from our church family had brought over some delicious food. I feel much better and don’t seem to have any of those symptoms really. But let me tell you, I really worried Brandon. I worried myself too, really with the vision thing. But I think I’ve been so worried and upset and tired this past week that I’m exhausted and at my wits (of sorts) end and that has been causing these symptoms. Because those symptoms are typical of stress, but they’re also symptoms I had with my tumor so Brandon and I were very worried. 

Waking up and feeling nothing, okay has never been such a relief, and then all the other good news was a relief I didn’t know I could feel. Truly it felt like a “victory in Jesus”! It’s a relief and a tease. 

 I keep randomly having crying outbursts and breakdowns from relief, worry, and fear. I imagine this is his how my life will be for the foreseeable future. Future? What does that even mean? I have to push that awful thought away. Again, I’m feeling trapped on my island. I can’t handle ‘staying in the now’ at this point, but to say ‘tomorrow will be better’ is a sick thought riddled with fear. 

The bible says not to worry about tomorrow because it has its own worries, but that is a difficult thing. 

I realize that I’ve almost teased myself with the thought of this small joy that has made me feel so relieved, would be exponentially better if I could just be healed, if I could just not have cancer. That feels so selfish to want that, to crave it. 

Dear Lord, if I am wrong for wanting, petitioning or praying for this, pay me no mind, but Lord, heal me. Let mehave years  with my husband, my family. Use my life not my death for your glory. Please please please I beg of You.

Day 47: the end of the bad week

My dad and mom have always told me to 

Not wish my life away

And one would think given my current situation, that I would do just that. I’d work on living in the moment, enjoying each day for what it is, and to a certain extent I do. But I dont think I’m wishing my time away per se. 

Let me explain: I have always been one to look to the future, plan ahead, plan, schedule, plan some more, and that is something I love. I love structure. But, while I’m not “wishing my life away” in fact, I want to live more than absolutely anything, my Christian Chronicle interview was perfectly titled ‘I want years’….. I find myself going from distraction to distraction, on cruise control, tired. I suppose this is one of the ways cancer changes you. I don’t really want, desire anything but for this to go away, for the symptoms to stop, for God to take it away. But to actively do anything, nope. I just want things done, and there is a huge difference in that. 

I want this fight to be fought for me. I cannot do that. 

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4

 I find myself reciting that in my head, obsessively. I guess if im going to be obsessive regarding anything, it should be that. 

I pray to God constantly that He give me patience, that He take this from me, that He give me strength, all these great and precious gifts, when I should know by now that God typically doesn’t just hand those qualities and blessings out, but rather gives a situation in which to acquire it. This is that situation for me, or at least, that is how I see it. Now maybe I’m all messed up doctrine-wise, so if it sounds like I’m misconstruing please correct me or come speak to me about it. 

I’m not enjoying life right now, I’m in the middle of the hardest thing I’ve ever been faced with, no I’m not enjoying,I’m enduring my life right now. I’d give away everything I have if it would take this cancer away. 

That’s enough depression leaking before bed. Night!

Day 47: round two

Waiting and waiting, this is a patient’s game. I have no patience. I’m going and going and I must endure but this game has gotten old.

I have one more radiation left, Tuesday July 5th. I cannot wait for it to be over with!!!! Victory in Jesus! I had my appointment for Dr. Day today with Dr. Smith. Unfortunately, I’m going to be bald for quite some time, months. He said he thinks by a year out that it will all be normal-ish. I don’t even know what that means anymore…

3:30pm: Currently, Nathanael, Jeanie and I are waiting in Mom’s hospital room with her. She’s really out of it. They have her on an extended release morphine and she’s very odd right now. But I prefer this for her than all that pain. Jeanie and Nathanael just left for a few minutes to go get a quick little snack (I’m not hungry), we’re gunna leave here soon and let her get some rest. The nurse had paged the doctor twice while we were there and he never came, so he’s a butt. And I’m guessing he’ll just end up coming around at rounds this evening. Bro is lucky I won’t be there because you’re messing with my mom and I don’t like it and would give him an earful. But I digress, he’s the doctor. 

4:34: we left mom just a little bit ago so that she could get some rest, Nathanael could get some food and sleep, and honestly, I’m feeling really drained, so I couldn’t stay too much longer anyways. Jeanie is such a gem: driving me to Iowa city and back and even coming to see me at all, helping around the house, enduring my silly doggies… I couldn’t ask for better friends. I’m truly blessed. Glory to God! 

We’re on our way back home now and Nathanael is fully conked out. God bless him, sweet little 14 year old. He’s doing and living through as much as a 14 year old should ever have to.

 We’re going to pick up some Chinese for dinner for all of us (minus Brandon  who is at work) and head on home. Today has been a loooong day. Dad isn’t off work until about 8 – 9pm and then he will come by the house and head to Iowa city to be with mom.  

Everyday this week has been too long. I’m definitely at my emotional and mental breaking point. Thank God I have God and the people around me that I do, because they’re holding me up through this when I can’t. 

When we get home, dinner, and chill. Maybe a movie, but we are definitely going to watch the Olympic Trials!  

Dear Lord, keep me positive, keep me strong, help me be patient, help me in general. I am breaking. I am so broken. I need You. Please heal me. Let me feel like me again. Make me whole again. Lord I petition, I beg all this in your Precious Son’s holy name, Amen. 

Day 47: July 1st, Jeanie’s Here, and Rest

Good Morning! I feel pretty good this morning, now that I’ve gotten some sleep. Last night, after the Warcraft Movie, which was surprisingly good,  I had a full-on breakdown in the car while Brandon and I went out to Burlington, Iowa to pick up Jeanie, and she’s here til Sunday! Yay! So blessed to have this beautiful friend here. It felt really good to just break down; this is going to be a long war, but there are little battles along the way, and I’m a cryer. I need to cry in between battles. 

So we all drove back home, had some pizza and carrots and celery (healthy-ish), watched some of the trials for the Summer Olympics and headed to sleep. I pretty well enjoyed the first night! Good food, good friend, good sleep lol. 

Today, Jeanie is taking me to Iowa City for my second-to-last radiation. Y’all, I cannot explain how impatient I am right now for this dumb radiation to be over lol. And then I believe I have Dr. Day with Dr. Smith, but I’m not completely sure since my last radiation is Tuesday and I’ll see him then anyways? I don’t know. Either way, they’re short quick little appointments. 

While Jeanie is in the QC, I figured she needs to try the distinct cuisine we offer (hungry hobo, whiteys, Shanghai) the first two, I’ve never had lol. So we’ll probably hit up one if those places this evening for dinner, and I have a final from this past spring semester I need to finish tonight to complete the course (Harding has been so amazing while I’ve been going through this; since I couldn’t take the final at the scheduled time) and then just chill!  I’m so ready for some rest because this week has been crazy hectic. 

So Nathanael stayed with mom last night, Hardy went to work and is now upstairs sleeping like a baby, and dad got home last night and Jeanie and I made him get some rest lol. This is just another reason I love Jeanie, she is a lot more convincing and persuasive than myself, when i just comes across as a bossy nag. 

daddy is upstairs sleeping, and then he has another long day at work. I think the plan is for Hardy to come to radiation with Jeanie and me, and then Hardy and Nathanael kind of ‘switch shifts’ and we take Nathanael back home so he can rest?  But don’t take my word for it, I’m so beyond trying to plan things out at this point it is literally laughable. Things happen so suddenly and quickly in this house, you’ll drive yourself mad trying to keep up lol. 

Brandon works 3-close tonight and then opens tomorrow at 6am. So not only did he weather an Annemarie-Tornado-Breakdown yesterday, but he also gets to work icky hours this weekend. But I digress, a job is a job. 

There was some discussion that my mom might be discharged today, and as for that, I’m completely clueless. That being said, she won’t be coming home home, but to a rehab facility here in the QC. Given the extent of her surgery, she needs to be monitored closely and cannot move independently very well. The only thing I do know is that when I asked mom yesterday if she wanted to be discharged yet, if she felt ready, she said she felt she needed one more day. I don’t want people pushing her out of the hospital.

To wrap today’s log up, Jeanie is here safe and sound, dad is finally getting at least a little rest, the boys are doing shifts with mama, Brandon is resting and working hard, mom may or may not be discharged today, that is yet to be determined, and I’m just (trying to) eat healthy and  battle cancer like a boss over here.