Category Archives: Thanks

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. 

Day 46: graduation from pt, thursday

This morning was weird lol. I slept until about 4 and then couldn’t go back to sleep until about 6am and then slept until 9am. I guess sometimes that just happens? But I am still tired, so this weekend is going to be for visiting with Jeanie and resting lol.

Brandon and Nathanael went with me to pt and ot this morning, 10-11:30am where I graduated! Yay! Lol so I’m done with PT and I met almost all of my goals. One goal I didn’t reach was being able to stand with my eyes closed, and have the floor move under me and maintain my balance through my hips and ankles. I don’t know how to fully explain, but I could show you? Anyways, I don’t think I could do that before all of this mess lol. I’m going to keep working on it on my own because apparently this is a basic skill I need to be able to perform. 


Brandon then headed back home to get the house picked up, watch the puppies, and rest some because he’s been going non-stop. Everyone has been, everyone around me is going non-stop. Everyone needs a massage, a Popsicle, and a nap. Let’s go back to Pre-K, guys lol. 


Zech, my sweet cousin, is driving myself and Nathanael to Iowa city where I’m getting radiation and we’re currently up seeing mom. Her nurse right now is kind of a butt, but whatever. Zechie and I will heading back in a little bit and Hardy will be heading home. Nathanael is staying with mama tonight. I ordered her an ensure drink and that way she can get some of those carbs she’s needing. The nurse could tell I wanted to take charge lol. If I get through this, I’ve definitely overcome my fear of hospitals and I could volunteer or something maybe. 


I’m so proud of Hardy for how great he’s been, because I know he hadn’t planned to stay with mom and get no sleep or anything, but he did it, and he did it graciously. Same with Nathanael. I’m so proud of my brothers. 

Zech, Brandon and I are going to see the movie, Warcraft, (our family does a lot of movies – it’s kind of our thing lol) the dorky movie based on WOW. I didn’t have any interest in seeing it or not, but Zech and Brandon did, so that’s why we’re going at three – hit up that matinee pricing. 😁 


After the movie, Brandon and I will head to Burlington, Iowa, to pick up Jeanie Linton from the airport:) she’s staying with us until Sunday.

So today is a big long day and I will sleep really well tonight I hope. Then only one more radiation before the weekend. I just want to rest. 

Lord, Today I’m thankful for this great day, for Zech, Brandon, Hardy, Nathanael, Jeanie, Dad, Grandma, and getting to see Mom in a little less pain. Thank you so much for the doctors who are helping me and helping my family. I ask that You take this from me please. Just take it away. Let me live my life for You, I’ll do whatever You want, but please don’t let me die. Give mom quick healing please, give her relief, give dad peace, give him strength and calm, give rest to the boys and Brandon. All of this I offer up to You through your Son, in Jesus name, Amen.

Day 45: another little update from today 

I’m writing this entry this evening rather than in the morning, because today was a lot of information, so it’s best for me to get it down quickly afterwards and my phone has been dead for most of today.


I had radiation today and Hardy took me so that he could also come see mom. Shes in so much pain and it’s hard to see her like that. I wish I could take it from her so badly. I can’t stand to see my mother like that. I won’t ever be able to unsee my beautiful mother literally shaking from the pain.

 

Last night her blood pressure dropped dangerously low so they’re watching her closely and since she’s a diabetic, carb monitoring is crucial. Well, because in this surgery, they cut through her neck muscles, even just chewing, swallowing, eating mechanisms are hard. So getting her nutrition is difficult. She’s on fluids and everything, and we ordered her some food, but she didn’t want it. It hurt her to try. Please pray earnestly for her. Pray for my mom!

Sooo…. I asked her nurse if they could order her some Ensure drinks. They gave them to me in the hospital when I had no appetite (funny huh?) because they have full nutrition and it’s just a like creamy chocolate milk, and she can easily pull it through a straw. I didn’t get to see her try it, but I pray to God that she liked it and that that gave her some relief and nourishment.

 

On the positive side, her incision looks great. It looks healed already if you could believe it. Coming from someone who can’t handle looking at needles, I saw her incision:  It’s a big mean incision, but it’s pink and looks like a scar with some staples/stitches on it. 

Additionally, because mom does and was working on before, her little exercises for her neck and shoulders, those muscles were strong so it made the surgery more painful, it hurts her more now, but her nurse, Tiffany, said that will make them heal faster. So there is a positive in this!

Hardy is staying with mom tonight because dad really has to go to work tomorrow and honestly, he needs a break. He’s worn out from everything but he won’t stop going, he’s still exhausted from everything with me, constantly researching ways to help me or keep me alive. And then he’s wearing himself ragged with his job and being such a great husband to my mother. I couldn’t ask for a better example for marriage. 


I’ve never seen someone research as hard and thoroughly as my father, and a researcher is all I wanted to be before all of this. He’s not sleeping well, he’s worried sick about mom, me, money, the business, and the boys, and on top of that, my father is 63 and has had a heart attack. He has to slow down. If something happens to him because of what’s happening to me, i truly don’t know how I will live, how I could try to be strong through this.


So, coming back to my point and to stop thinking so sadly, Hardy and Nathanael are on their way to Iowa City so Nathanael can see mom, and dad can come home to rest and eat some of the homemade chicken and dumplings grandma made for us. Along with fried okra. Oh and her famous sweet tea! Thank you grandma, you’re the best! And chicken and dumplings is my favorite. 

This post has been super long, so I’m going to end it here, and I’ll pick up with the information from Dr. Nisely (she’s from Brazil and she’s wonderful!)

Day 45: Wednesday we meet again

So today marks my 4th to last radiation and the day before Jeanie gets here. Mom is still in recovery and they haven’t given us a set date for her discharge. I got to see her yesterday and I’m going to see her again today. 

I’m just so proud of her and know Omi & Opa are too, it’s like I could feel it when I saw her today. She was glowing with that German-born strength and grit right through the pain. Let’s all just keep praying for quick healing and relief from her pain. 


Yesterday I “called-in” to PT and OT because I’ve just been feeling exhausted and drained. I’m running on very little sleep and, cmon, we should all know by now how much Annemarie needs a good 9-12 hours a night. 💤💤💤🤕🤒😠😱

I also saw Dr. Monga for a check up –  I see him every 2 weeks and I’m about to only have to see him every month (small victory; he’s an amazing doctor, I just hate what he represents to me – cancer, so seeing him or Dr. Smith makes me uncomfortable lol; its me, not them!) the day I stop radiation is the day I stop taking chemo for a month and then I start again monthly, so I won’t have to do blood draws except once a month! Yet another small victory! 


While speaking with Doctor Monga, we discussed the steroid and how it’s affected my weight and everything, unfortunately, he said that it is usually a very slow process, that coupled with the fact that I can’t work out hard because I’m completely lacking in endurance and stamina, and have lost a lot of my muscle from being in the hospital, means it will mostly mean diet. I’m fighting a dumb uphill battle…. On a slip and slide 😑 


But you know what, praise God I’m alive! I will do this, I am doing this, even though its is miserable!! I’m going to walk and do strengthening yoga as much as I can (moderately) and not binge eat when I feel sad, weak, ugly.

We also discussed how the medicine I use to help me sleep right now (my brain is way too alert even though I’m physically exhausted) could interact negatively with one of the other medicines I’m on, so I just went ahead and decided to stop the sleeping one and will just do Benadryl. They do the same thing for me and Benadryl doesn’t possibly give me a heart attack. Yay Benadryl! lol 

I’ve pretty well decided to just shave my head because I want it to all grow in again evenly, and this seems the best way. After I shave it, it will take a few weeks to a month for it to start to re-grow and then once I get about 1-2″ of regrowth I can have extensions put in, which is what I want to do to make sure my hair looks perfect for holiday time and the wedding of 2016: mine! Nothing is going to mess this wedding up, not even stupid cancer. 


So we’re looking at me being Ms. Baldy for about a month or 2. I can handle that. I’m going to feel ashamed and embarrassed and not really like me, but I don’t really feel like me that much anyways, and those type of emotions aren’t really helpful to me in this fight. Plus I know it’s odd for people to see a bald girl my age, but I’m assuming people have enough deductive reasoning to put 2 and 2 together lol.

I can feel my right arm and hand getting better, even though it’s slow. It’s going to take a long time before I can sketch or write properly, but I can type again very slowly and I can navigate the mouse slowly. And that progress means a lot to me. I was a Lab Supervisor at Harding and it was the best job imaginable. But I had to be quick and capable on a computer, it hurts me to know I wouldn’t be good at my job right now, I’d be hurting my job😔 

Progress is great and I’m thankful to God for everything he gives me. The ability to keep trying, situations to push me even when I don’t want to be pushed. My favorite Christian song is, “From the Inside Out”. And that songs message is what I truly feel that this is happening with me. That song brings me to tears. And I’ve prayed that I change while singing it, and while I don’t think God caused my cancer, I know he can use it for good and for his glory. 


So please look that song up… Especially the version by ZOE Group, their version is beautiful. Please continue praying for myself and my family, especially mamas healing! 

   

Day 43: Mama’s Surgery

You may know that today was mom’s surgery. This is coming from my dad at 6:30pm, so if you speak to him after this or directly take what he says over me!!!

 She’s finally out of surgery, she’s ok and stable, she’s not in ICU, she’s in a normal room, she’s in a lot of pain, has thrown up once, but it’s a reaction to her coming down from the anesthesia. They’re figuring out how to Manage her pain, she’s got a whole pain management team. Daddy is with her. And dad is very tired.

So, I’ve updated you on mom and dad, Brandon is at work until close tonight, the boys are out on a mowing job, the puppies are clearly anxious and confused as to why mom isn’t here (she’s their favorite) and I’m home alone watching Netflix. I’d love to say I feel relieved and in some ways I do, but I feel lonely and I want Brandon here. 

I can tell I’m feeling upset somehow because I’m wanting cheesecake, and doughnuts, and Diet Coke, and gravy and cake. These are my addiction foods and when I’m feeling overwhelmed they are my go to. 

I like that I’m having time by myself today, right now, and at the same time I feel too alone with my own headspace. I can feel depression creeping down my back like a creeping little spider, literally making my skin crawl from the icky thoughts that it brings. In a trigger warning way, I feel really tempted to self-harm (something I’ve struggled with in the past) but I know I shouldn’t, I know that, I’m alone, and logically because I’m on chemo pills that make it harder for my blood to coagulate and no one home here, I might as well just save sometime and kill myself lol. Don’t worry, I’m not going to!!!! Just thinking logically, that is what would happen. I’m tempted but I know I can’t, that would hurt Brandon and I won’t do that. 

Like, i would be shopping with my friends right now if I could, my hair would be so healthy and long and blonde right now, my skin would be so tan and without all these stretchmarks, I’d be graduated and working my dream job at Allsteel, coming home to my perfect husband and fur-babies, I’d be helping improve my parents house so that it was better for them, using my ID degree to help them first, I’d be applying to Cornell’s DEA program for January 2017, I’d be so much further ahead in wedding planning, I’d be working out harder for the wedding, and re-reading my annual summer reading list and going to Genesius Guild productions… my life was supposed to be so different and it’s not what I want it to be right now. I keep thinking that hopefully, God-willing, next summer will be more like what I was hoping.

Pray for my mom and my family please.