Saturday, December 1, 2012

This is an MRI image of my brain exactly nine months ago.  Shortly thereafter, it was removed and I was sent on my way.   Yesterday I had another series of images and a meeting with my amazing neurosurgeon.  I am thankful to report that the beast is still gone.  

There is a small area that we are keeping an eye on, but my surgeon is confident that it is scar tissue.  The other concern is recurrence.  Apparently meningiomas like to come back.  They grow from the lining of the brain, and even though that area was removed and replaced with artificial parts, there's always the chance of stray cells and recurrence.  For that reason I'll have regular imaging and follow up.

For now, we will be thankful for this gift.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hope in a desert.

Sometimes you find hope in the most unexpected places.  I'm 'used to' searching out hope.  I've read books and articles on finding and identifying your hopes.  I've hoped in the darkest of times.  I never expected to find hope in a desert.  I did.

I recently took a trip to sunny Arizona.  It wasn't a vacation.  I was going to try and heal my very broken spirit.  I was going to confront a boy that had broken my heart, again.  I didn't want to go.  Confrontation is not one of my strong suits.  When I'm hurt deeply I'm much more comfortable bandaging my wounds securely and walking away.  This hurt was so deep, though, that I needed help even identifying where I was injured.  I was so broken I couldn't bandage myself this time.  Simply put, I went on this trip for my kids.  Period.  End of story.  I wasn't their mom in the weeks that followed my separation from Brandon.  I wasn't anything I usually am.  I was a broken heap of a human.  I knew I needed to heal and do better.  So, I went.

I spent five very full, very exhausting days at Family Week in the rehab Brandon has been at for the past 35 days.  I learned a lot about myself.  I learned a lot about what it's like to be human.  Not super human, not perfect...just human.  I learned about emotions and what it's like to actually experience them and the effects of NOT experiencing them...and how much damage that actually does.  I learned tools to begin to heal.  I felt empowered.  I was making progress toward my goals.

I never did have the opportunity to confront the boy that hurt me, though.  Believe me, I was looking for him the whole time I was there.  He just wasn't to be found.  I did have opportunities to confront a man.  A responsible man.  A caring and vulnerable man.  A man whose heart is broken, but open.  This man, though I call him my husband, is not a man I recognized but, by the end of the week I had grown to love him.

This new man left rehab today.  He is out in the real world to continue his healing process and to build a life for himself and his family.  I ask you to join me in praying for him.  The road ahead will not be easy.  Possible, there's always HOPE, but not easy.

For the time being, I am not filing for divorce.  The boys and I will remain in Oregon.  I will be on a healing journey of my own.  We will take this time to build ourselves up and heal.  This spring/summer we will reevaluate where we are and decide if marriage counseling and reconciliation is right for us.  For now, we are focusing on being a good parenting team for the boys and supporting each other in our individual growth and healing processes.

We will likely have a few visits between now and summer.  The first will be next weekend for Liam's birthday.  We also have plans to spend Christmas together as a family.  Please be prayerful for all of us but, especially for our sweet, tender-hearted boys. They've had to endure more than any child should and are still thriving.  Please pray for them to continue to grow and learn and for us, as their parents, to make the right choices for them and ourselves.  

Thank you.

*In the spirit of full disclosure, this is not the first time I have written this post.  I've had a few drafts and wasn't satisfied with any of them.  It took me a while to figure out what was wrong.  I realized this morning that I wasn't blogging or sharing myself.  I was writing a persuasive essay on my life and choices.  I'm an adult.  It's not my job to convince anyone that I am or am not making good choices.  What I'm trying to say is that while I appreciate and respect people's opinions and concerns they are theirs (yours) not mine.  This is not to say that I can't handle or don't want to hear them.  I am working on more open honest communication.  Any explaining I do, however, is simply to help those I love to not worry (as much) about  the boys and I.  I am not asking for approval.  I don't expect you to understand.  I know how messy this is.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Growing Up.

The boys are growing up so fast.  They are both doing really well in school.  I'm so proud of them. 

Liam Oliver
Grade 3
8 years
Keegan James
Grade 5
10 years

Monday, October 8, 2012

Moving Right Along...

It's been so long since I've updated here. So many changes. It would take me a month to catch up from my last I'll just kind of hit the major bullet points.

Brandon's career with the Coast Guard ended in mid August. It was unexpected and happened very quickly...but that's not my story to tell, I guess. He was immediately offered a job with The Idaho Dept of Corrections, so we were on the move once again. Thankfully, we're old hats at the whole moving gig.

Just as we were really beginning to settle in, I found out that Brandon has been deceiving me in some pretty major ways for the past few years. I'll not go in to details here but, believe me when I say, this is not something that 'we' will heal from. It will take me quite some time to heal on my own, but I will. I am committed to it. He moved out the same day all hell broke loose. The boys are confused and miss their dad. It kills me that Brandon's choices are hurting my boys...hurting me. We've already lost so much...and now they're losing more. I know we'll be fine. I know they'll have a good life. I know that I can do this...but as certain as I am of that I am just as angry that I have to. I'm angry that my kids are hurting. I'm angry that such a major decision in my life was made for me...without my consent. I'm just angry. I'm taking the advice of those closest to me and using that anger to get me through these hard days.

Having said that...I have this really weird feeling. Maybe some of my fellow cancer/angel parents can validate this, but as big of a loss as this is/would be to's...well, it's hard to put in to words without sounding calloused and jaded. Maybe I am those things, but this loss is not earth shattering. It's just something that is. My marriage is over. My house is broken. My heart is hurt. This will not destroy me, though. Not even close. I lost my girl and have survived it. I have laughed and dared to love following the biggest heart break of my this, certainly, will not break me. I will thrive. I will do the work I need to do to heal and my life will go on. I will smile. I will find joy. I've got this.

The first order of business is moving back home. My family is in Oregon...and Brandon has decided against the job he was offered here and moved the boys and I decided together that it is best for us to go home. My mom is, graciously, letting us stay with her while I find a job, figure out schooling etc. I'm so thankful for this gift. The boys are so Grammy has a little farm and property that they love to explore. So...this weekend we head back to Oregon.

I know there is a beautiful life waiting for us. I know it'll take work and a lot of determination, but I'm committed to it. The boys deserve it. I deserve it.

Please pray for us as we find a new normal...redefine family...learn how to navigate this new life of ours.
Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Friday, February 10, 2012


Since ending chemotherapy in March 2011 I have been waiting and waiting for my body to feel 'back to normal'. Even a LITTLE better would have been great. Instead it feels like my health just continues to decline. I did have a brief honeymoon period where I didn't feel like I wanted to die there was that. I felt like a survivor, in a bad way. I was ONLY surviving...and waiting. Any work I did to try and help my body backfired on me and I'd wind up feeling even worse. Then, several weeks ago I got a headache. It hasn't gone away since. Not for a single minute. Well, if I take vicodin I can't feel it but that only lasts about 3 and a half hours...then it starts creeping back up on me. I wake up every morning with a pounding headache, no energy, and feeling like I've been hit by a truck. My joints hurt, my head hurts...mostly my heart hurts. I'm not the mom I want to be when I feel this way. I'm not the anything I want to be right now. I've had a head CT, I've whined to every one of my many specialists...and nothing. They just look at me like "Hey, we saved your life....Yay me!" I don't want it to sound like I'm not grateful. I am. I am SO would just be such a waste to spend this reclaimed life on the couch or in bed in pain and dysfunctional. Right? For the first time in a looooong time I had no hope. None. On Wednesday I did what every slightly sane, totally desperate person would do. I listened to a friend who'd been asking me to try her Chiropractor/Applied Kinesiology Practitioner. I made a same day appointment, went, endured the quite calming (almost soothing, really) testing and was amazed at what this person could tell me about my body in such a short amount of time. The appointment length was limited though, so I had to go back today for a follow up. This is what I learned (in a nutshell). Here is the brief run down of today's appointment. I started 3 supplements and a topical wheat germ oil for all my scars. Her belief is that my thyroid is in an auto-immune shut down (Hashimoto's Disease). We're going to try and help it heal and kick start it. I have an appointment with my regular primary care doc on Monday. My hope is to have him follow my care and work WITH my Applied Kinesiologist. I'm hopeful that I'll be feeling better soon! My list of 'stressed' organs are: Cerebellum, Thyroid, Adrenals, Ascending Colon and...yeah I know there's one more but can't remember now. Woops. We're starting with the Thyroid anyway. Th etheory is that you fix/help support the issues in the order of 'importance', instead of trying to fix everything at once. The idea is that as your body gets healthier and stronger some of the systems will begin correcting themselves. Let's hope anyway. Here are the supplements she sent me home with (all are made by Standard Process): I was also asked to avoid processed foods, Wheat, Corn, Dairy (except butter), and the biggie...SUGAR! ACK. She seems pretty down to earth about it and knows it'll be a challenge and a process to wean off...especially the sugar. I know I can do it...especially if it'll help me feel better...but DANG! No cheese AND no sugar? *POUT* My next appointment with her is on Wednesday afternoon. If I have any late breaking news before then I'll update, if not, you can expect an update Wednesday night or Thursday. I need some wine. I wonder how that'll mix with my whole food supplements?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Day One.
Happy New Year!  My biggest resolution this year is to make the effort to form a better connection with my friends and family.  I really need to invest in the people I love and who love me.  Part of that will be keeping this blog up to date.  The boys are growing quickly and while our life feels pretty mundane most of the time...well, time keeps ticking away and before we know it this chapter of our lives will close.  I plan to participate in Project 365.  You take and post a photo a day.  From what I understand it can be of long as you take and post one.

The biggest part of this resolution, though, is to spend more face or phone time with all of you.  While I love keeping up with my people on FB, blogger, text etc. I'm not loving that it's taken the place of real life relationship.  The people I love are important to me.  Important enough that I will MAKE the time for you.  At some point people stopped calling/checking in/visiting etc.  Most people had good intentions...not wanting to bother us during really hard times of our lives.  Regardless, I feel disconnected and lonely.  I'm done wondering why, feeling neglected and/or blaming.  I'm making the time and effort to change a part of my life I don't like.  I need my people.  Period.

Why am I sharing this instead of just doing it?  Good question.  Accountability and help.  I need you to hold me accountable.  I also may need help getting back in to the habit of being connected.  At the risk of sounding pathetic, I'm pretty self conscious and don't want to 'bug' people or force a relationship that they don't desire.  So, help me out and call me, invite me to coffee, or even our family to a BBQ/gathering/etc.

Last, but never least, I feel like I need to thank all of you again for loving our family through these last several years.  If you're still around, you've seen us through a lot.  We've spent most of the past 10 years in survival mode.  It's hard to invest in anything when you're struggling to keep your head above water.  If you're still here, loving us, thank you.

Let's make this year beautiful.  Mmmm'kay?