Monday, December 5, 2011

A Little Update...

Ok...this is crazy.  I haven't blogged in month to be exact.  I clicked on here just now, and the whole posting platform looks totally different!  Something happened while I was MIA from blogland.  I have posted a few You Tubes though.  So fun.

The reason I haven't blogged is because I haven't had time to READ blogs, and I feel funny sending stuff out there into space, when I'm not responding much to any of you.  I do read when I can, but usually I'm on my iPad, and when I try to comment, sometimes it gives me fits, and I just skip it.  

Not much has been going on.  On the one hand, Scott is doing so much better.  We have decked out the house and yard, we fried turkeys and hosted Thanksgiving here at our house.  

We strung new lights in the pool room in preparation for New Years Eve.  We haven't had a party here in years, but Scott goes off of 8 of his 10 Rx's on Dec. we are celebrating with family and friends.  Actually, I don't think I've even let my family know yet :).  I will tell you more about the menu we planned on another fun!

On the other hand, every 10 days or so, Scott has a minor setback.  We are out of the woods with the cancer, but the side effects of the radiation are slowly taking effect.  The first year is the we are hopeful.  His energy is returning though, and that's a huge bonus!  We put on some Christmas music yesterday, made some fresh iced tea, opened all the sliding doors, and wrapped presents together for 2 1/2 hours.  Tiring, but feels so good to have all that done.  I would say I'm 75% finished with shopping.  

The weather has been to die for the past month.  Everyday is an absolute beauty.  The next 7 months are what make living in Florida so desirable.  We spent the day after Thanksgiving at the nice for a change of scenery.  We are so blessed to live near one of the top ten beaches in the country...Siesta Key in Sarasota.  If you're ever in our neck of the woods, it's a must do :)

So...let's grandkids continue to grow...

We had a ridiculous party for Twilight-Breaking Dawn and I went to the midnight showing with my daughters and friends.  Don't ask me anything about it, I hid my eyes through most of it :). 

Through some weird twist of fate, I am the party giver for each time a new Twilight movie premiers, and also when a new DVD comes out.  I told the girls it was almost over, and they told me I have to do the Hunger Games Trilogy parties too!!!  Seriously???

So that's my update!  I will check back again before Christmas.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Temporarily Going Backwards...

Thought I'd write a quick post.  Scott and I had an experience two weeks ago that was so awful, I thought I would share...LOL.

Cancer's gone...happy dance.  It's taken weeks for this news to really, really sink in.  I can't tell you why, but it didn't seem real.  I felt so guilty.  
Why was I not happier?  I think I had my happiness in reserve...secretly waiting for the other shoe to drop. 

Well, last weekend it did.

Without going into ANY detail...I ended up rushing Scott to the emergency room on a Saturday night.  It was your typical Saturday night ER scene...not pretty.  It took FOREVER to be seen, and Scott was in excruciating pain!  They finally did one procedure to help him, and immediately, a different pain (worse) set in.  The morphine was ordered, but it took forever to show up. 
 It was the worst.

The ER doctor came in to tell us it was not at all what we thought (the thing he had been diagnosed with twice at the walk-in clinic).  He started talking about the effects of the radiation, the long term possibilities, etc.  I'm telling you, the entire room literally began to spin out of control in my mind, and a migraine simultaneously set in as well.  Just the word cancer took my breath away, and my peace.  The doctor was not in any way saying the cancer was back, but it was the main subject of our discussion.

We came home late that night...problem totally unresolved.  Pain, pain, pain.  We couldn't get into another doctor until 3 days later.  He couldn't even go to work.  FINALLY, we saw the doctor, (no help) and FINALLY I talked Scott into calling the cancer doctor (I think he was reluctant to open that can of worms back up).  He did... they had the remedy... they had a protocol  for this exact thing!  Within 48 hours...huge improvement!  He's fine now.  Back to work.

What's my reason for sharing this story?  Because after this experience (which felt like a huge flashback to last summer) our whole attitude has changed.  We are finally SO HAPPY, SO THANKFUL, to have a clean bill of health.  Seeing how quickly it was snatched away, made us realize once again to count each and every day as a huge gift. It's been a matter of readjusting our brain to normalcy.  Normal is good...boring is wonderful.  We ran errands last weekend, enjoying each and every moment.  We spontaneously decided up jump up and go to the movies Saturday night.  After church Sunday, we lounged around reading and napping. 

We feel like we got a new lease on life...and we LOVE it :)

So enjoy your day...enjoy your health... enjoy the world around you...and never, ever knock boring.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

French Market Bag/Paris Flea Market

Hi everyone!  I told you in my last post that I would put up a few of my latest YouTubes on here for those of you that asked to see them, that don't have a YT account.  Some of this is repetitive, but different people watch my YouTubes  than read my blog.

I posted three of them.  It's just a mixed bag.  Hope you enjoy!


Fall is Here! Candle Haul

Travel Tip Extraordinaire!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Starting Over

So..... it's been 5 weeks today since we found out Scott is healed.  It's amazing and unexpected, but we are starting to feel "normal" again.  I had my doubts, but life does feel a little lighter.  I will say Scott's energy is back some.  A few Saturdays we had our first 'cool' front.  It was absolutely beautiful around here, so we spontaneously jumped in the car and drove to one of our favorite beach restaurants with our 2 daughters and 2 grandkids and ate a nice lunch.  

Here is the view from our pretty :)

Anywho... I told you I would update you on my summer goals I listed on May 24.  I think I did okay.  Accountability is everything in my world.  Knowing I had listed these goals on my blog, made me think about them much more.  I've never kept a New Year's resolution for more than a few weeks, so I usually fail at things like this, but here goes.  I'm just going to give a brief description of how I did on each one...

Soul Restoration II online class/Do Art... I loved taking this class, however, I still have a bit to do on it.  Here is one thing I did in the class.  It won't make sense to you, but it does to me...this board is actually covered in glitter and quite sparkly.

One great part of the class was setting goals, and writing a plan of how you were going to accomplish that goal.  One I wrote down, was to clean my closet.  As I was thinking how to accomplish this, guess what???  I went directly into my closet, and cleaned it out!  It only took about 30 minutes and it was all done!  So much procrastination had been going on about that, and it was so quick and easy. That same scenario happened a few times with my goals as long as they were small. 
 I have yet to set the BIG ONES.

Writing Class...I took the writing class.  It was a 6 week beginner course, and I learned so much.  I still have my final exam to write.  Here I go again, procrastinating! 

Fun with grandkids/Time with youngest daughter Lexi... I didn't do this as much as I would've liked, but we did have some special moments...
A project my granddaughter and I made... so fun.

  We also took some impromptu trips to the beach and did lots of shopping at Lexi's favorite hang out...The Mall!

Scott and I also had some fun on our 30th anniversary.
This is titled, The Way We Were.

Meet with the Lord daily... I failed at this in the way I was imagining.  Of course there was daily prayer, but not daily devotions. Still working on the 'daily' aspect of that goal.

Homemaking...I am so sorry to say, I did not get my Book Nook done yet.  We are in the process of gathering what we want for it, so when we get in there and do it, it will be a simple day's project.  Can't wait to show you.

Eat better...For the most part, we are eating much better, but I will admit we got into a bad habit of eating out over the summer...a lot.  I did lose 4 of the 5 pounds.  That last pound is here to stay unless I starve myself...not doing it.  I also said I wanted to get a menu plan of 15 go-to meals.  Ten down, five to go.

I also said I was breaking away from blogging and Facebook.  Breaking away from blogging was fine, but I replaced it with making YouTubes.  That is really fun.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with that, or my blog.  We'll see.  YouTubes are so quick and easy, although I've quit posting them here on my blog... maybe I'll pop a few of them on here over the weekend.
As far as Facebook, I only joined in the first place, because Lexi wanted to join.  Getting off Facebook cold turkey was the BEST thing I ever did.  For me, it is SO fun, but a huge time sucker.  I started back recently. I 'dislike' the new format, and I hate the way every company and product wants you to go through facebook to join or like them or get coupons or whatever.  This is SO forced.  I hope companies figure out how annoying this is to some people.  Do I want everyone to know I 'like' certain things?  The whole thing has gotten WAY out of control.  I went to join Pinterest, and it wanted me to go through Facebook or Twitter.  
Ok, enough of my rant.  I am trying to decide what to do about this... I fear Facebook is going to really, truly becoming one of those things you almost can't live a computer is now. I see so many potential problems for the blows the mind, especially for my kids...did I say enough of my rant???  So that's it folks, it's an optional, free, service, yes, but don't be so sure it's as harmless as it seems.  I'm still on it and I love it, but...

So that's it.  I had to tweak this post a bit because it was written 2 weeks ago.  My new goal is to clean up our diet around here, even more than we have... this is phase 2. Phase 1 wasn't that bad, so onto the next!
 Scott is able to go off all his prescriptions (except one) in January (happy dance).  We got them all out last night, and counted out each pill, so we would know if he had enough to finish out Dec, so we could cancel all refills.  As we went through each Rx one by one, I would google it to remind us what it was for, and the side effects.  I was once again overwhelmed by what's been going into his body (you know they say if the cancer doesn't kill you, the treatment will).  No less than 4 of the pills cause weight gain and insomnia... I was wondering why he doesn't sleep!  All this to say, we are going even further into healthy eating.  I watched a few documentaries on Netflix the other day on the American diet... scared me to death!  So as he goes off each pill, and replaces it with tons of fruits and veggies, we hope his body heals itself the rest of the way.  Cancer was NOT fun, and we hope to never go down this road again... and I believe 100% what we put in our mouths can help/hurt your chances of disease.  As we incorporate/eliminate different things from our diet, I'll let you know how it goes.  Years of eating habits are hard to break, but not impossible :) We are doing this in's the only way.  A few steps at a time I think works better than full-on overnight change.  

So that's it for today.  Watch for a couple of fun YouTubes over the weekend, if you are interested.


P.S.  Thank you a zillion times for all the wonderful, heartfelt comments from my last post! It meant a lot.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hello Out There!!!

Good morning!  I doubt anyone is checking my blog anymore, but for the few that do, here goes...

This post is long, so grab a cup of coffee or tea.

It's been a long, long, time since I blogged... May 24 to be exact.  To refresh your memory, I explained that I wouldn't be blogging again until sometime in September.  I had decided to take a break.  Today's post will be about Scott, and my next post will be about the list of goals I set for myself to accomplish over the summer...we'll see how I did!  If you are new to this blog, my husband has been fighting prostate cancer.  The first time we got wind that there might be a problem was Sept. 10, 2007.  We had it treated, and the treatment didn't work.  The cancer returned, or actually, never fully went away.  We changed doctors, and had it retreated last spring. 

So here's the latest... last time I posted, we had just finished 50 radiation treatments.  While we were in the middle of all that, it was just go, go, go.  It was a little over an hour drive to get to the clinic, and at first, we actually had a good time, but as time wore on, it was extremely hard.   I'm not going to try and be all brave and upbeat... towards the end, we were down for the count.  I felt a cloud of depression cover me like nothing else.  Luckily, we still had a teenager in the house, so that made me snap myself out of it, and I've learned that even faking being upbeat, makes you feel a bit better.  I know this whole thing was hard on her.  For her entire life I've always been the one to pick her up from school and she would talk ninety miles an hour about her day.  Now suddenly, she came home to an empty house, and we didn't get home most nights until 6pm.  Now before you tell me most kids today have moms that work and they always come home to an empty house, it's all in what you're used to.  She did admit to me once it was all over, that she loved it.  She loved coming in and doing whatever she wanted for 2½ hours.  I wish she had told me that earlier :).

So Monday-Friday, Scott would go to work at 6am,  leave work around 1:30 and come home.  We would eat a quick lunch, be out the door by 2:15, at the clinic by 3:30, and back home by 6:00.  Scott was usually in bed by 6:30, and asleep by 7:00.  Crazy, huh?  We kept telling everyone he was working half days, until one day I looked at him and said, "You are actually working about 7 hours...that is NOT a half day!".  No wonder he was tired.  The radiation and the drugs (he was up to 20 pills a day) took a big toll.  I wanted to crawl into bed too, but I had to stay up and try to maintain some sense of normalcy for our daughter.

During all this, our daughter went on a mission trip to Brazil, and Scott took that week off.  It was an extremely difficult week.  We tried to do some fun things, but nothing was fun because we were too tired.  We did manage to get up and watch the entire Royal Wedding from start to finish... that was great!  We finished treatments in late May, and they told us they'd see us in September! Wow, three months off sounded great.

We had an uneventful summer.  Scott was, and continues to be really tired all the time.  There are also side effects from the drugs to contend with, but overall he got better and better over the summer.  We had to hire our yard mowed. I think we were the only ones left in the neighborhood that did it ourselves.  Scott tried, but if he got hot, which he always did, (it's summer in Florida after-all) he would be down and sick for a day or two.  As September approached, it was like a big, black, cloud on the horizon.  I hate to sound over dramatic, but that's how it felt.  We tried not to tell anyone which day the appointment was scheduled, because we wanted to deal with whatever news we got on our own terms.  This treatment really, really needed to work.  If your initial treatment fails (his did) the next round must, must work.  Scott's cancer had spread too, which made it worse, the odds of a cure had dropped.  As the doctor told us, "We are going to throw everything we've got at this, plus the kitchen sink."   

So, we went to the appointment 2 weeks ago Friday.  I won't go into the nitty gritty of how it felt, but it was really tough waiting for the doctor.  I was almost in a panic mode.  I thought I would have an anxiety attack, but luckily I didn't.  The doctor seemed nonchalant as he delivered the news we had been waiting on... NO EVIDENCE OF CANCER.  None, nada, zip. Scott's PSA levels are undetectable (that's a good thing, something we've been waiting to hear for four years).  The doctor said the scans could not have looked better!  We both just stared at him.  We didn't really react.  It was too good to be true.  Then he said the magic words...We'll see you in a year!!!!!! It was like being released from a weird prison. 

We met the doctor in the hallway for more prescriptions, and I knew I had to say something, but words seemed so, I wasn't even sure I could talk.  I weakly shook his hand and said, "Thank you, we really appreciate it."  How lame! (I do plan to send him a card).  This particular doctor is on the cutting edge of treatment.  Men come from all over the U.S. and the world to see him.  He is so sweet and confident, with just the right amount of seriousness to keep you from all out panic in the beginning.  He did not give Scott a reprieve from the meds, but that will come after Christmas, hopefully.

So the ride home was almost silent.  It was too much to take in.  It was hard to wrap our minds around it.  We did make a couple quick phone calls, and that was it.  I don't really know what I expected, but I thought I would feel happier, excited, elated.  But instead I just felt shell-shocked.  We've lived with this a long time, and to think you can let go of it in a few minutes is unrealistic... it has become a part of us, changed us.  I really hate that.  I looked at Scott a week later and said, "Will we ever be those people we used to be?"  He said he had no idea, but probably  not.

Cell phone picture taken the night after we found out.

Don't get me wrong, we are SO happy, but it's a cautious happy.  If he had been cured the first time, I think we would have gone on, unchanged, never looked back.  But this was different.  We have learned to depend on God in a different way than before...that's a good thing.  Not that our life was all peaches and cream before, but this experience was on a different level.   I wish I could tell you we threw a big party to celebrate, but again, too tired.  I'm thinking maybe Halloween :).

This post sounds so depressing... I do not mean it to!  I would like once again to thank all of you for your well wishes and prayers over the past year.  It meant a lot to have complete strangers praying, and it's something we will never, ever, forget.  We felt it... for sure!

We will not be going to Paris this fall.  It feels weird, Paris has become a habit.  We hope to return next fall, and get our mojo back:  
mojo Self-confidence, Self-assurednessability to bounce back from a debilitating trauma and negative attitude)

In fact, Scott found $850 round-trip tickets, and our old apartment is available in Oct, but alas, no vacation time left...too much time taken off for cancer...darn that cancer!

But we will return, it's as much a part of us as the cancer is... a much better part :).

If you're still with me, leave a comment, so I'll know someone read this post.

P.S.  As I wrote this, I looked at my blogroll, and oh how I've missed reading all your blogs!  I smiled as I saw all of the names I've come to know and love so much.  I hope to read and comment on each and every one this week!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Purses, Purses, Purses

Hi Blog Friends!
I realize a lot of these videos have stuff in them I've already written about on my blog. This is one of those. Sorry for the repeat, but I have totally different subscribers on my YouTube than my blog.

Still working on my list from my last real blog post (here). I will be updating in September. Can't wait to tell you about my successes and failures of my long list of summer goals.

Scott is doing well. More on that later.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

Louis Vuitton Purse Video-2

Hi friends!

I've already told this story in a previous blog, but I thought I would share anyway.

Hope everyone is having a great summer. I am :)


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summer Besties Tag

These are some favorite summer products...enjoy!

Lip Product...ELF Baby Lips Lipgloss
Blush...Happy Booster in Rose...Physician's Formula
Nail Polish...Revlon Scene Stealer
Liquid Face Product...Almay Smart Shade Makeup
Powder Face Product... n/a
Hair Product...CHI Silk Infusion
Eye Product...Jordana Eyeliner Pencil in Onyx
Self Tanner...Jergen's Natural Glow Foaming Daily Moisturizer
Fashon Accessory... Purses
Clothing Piece... Jeans/Jean Shorts

Monday, June 6, 2011

What's In My Purse/ Louis Vuitton

This is a popular YouTube video to do... crazy... I know!

You have already seen some of this in the past on my blog.

Below is the info that I posted with this video.

Thanks for watching...

Louis Vuitton...Batignolles Horizontal.

Kwiki Purse Insert...medium/$19.99...Amazon
Pink calendar...$8 /set of pencils...$1 both from Target
The black flat wallet came from Stein Mart 2 yrs. ago but I do not know the price. Someone said they just saw them again, so there you go :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Birthday Haul! Sephora & Lush

All products from Sephora and Lush.
Lush Products:
The Scared Truth... $5.95 (face mask)
Mange Too... $9.95 (massage bar)
Aqua Mirablis Butter... $12.95 (shower bar)
Think Pink...$3.95 (bath bomb)
Square Body Butter Tin...$3.95
Benefit Ten...$28.00 (bronzer/highlighter)
Philosophy Happy Birthday Beautiful (vanilla birthday cake) 6 oz...FREE on my birthday (shampoo/bath gel/bubble bath)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sonia Kashuk Product Reviews

I've decided to share my You Tubes here during the summer for those of you that don't want to subscribe to You Tube, but still want to watch my videos.

Thanks...and I am SO enjoying my break...especially from Facebook!!!

By the way, when I say I remove makeup with a sponge, I meant to say cotton ball :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Crossing the Finish Line!

So I've been in the weird holding pattern for months now...on some level for three years, since Scott was first diagnosed with cancer.  How many times have I put something off "until Scott gets better"...a lot!  Not my chores, my day to day parenting, travel, or having a good laugh.  It's my inner self... I have so many things I want to do... so many dreams tugging at my heart.  It's like they've been in incubation...and it's time they came out.  

We all know we can fill our day with nonsense.  My brain has indeed felt foggy and groggy, and I've found it increasingly easy to waste time.  Don't get me wrong...I think I've been doing exactly what I've been called to do...stand by Scott's side during the past 9 months or so.  It's been great and very fulfilling.  But I've come to recognize that I've begun to look to him for my affirmation, my self-worth, my "okayness."  No one needs that kind of pressure!  No human being can give you those things anyway.  They should come from the inside, from our creator.  If Scott was having an 'off' day, I had an 'off' day.  If he was happy, I was happy.  If he was sad, I was sad. This was a strange phenomenon, one I've never experienced before.  I find I can't just let him "be" which is exactly what he needs to "do".  He shouldn't feel like he has to perform for me, or do anything specific because I'm acting so needy, so weird.  We have always been 2 really separate people.  Our day to day lives couldn't be more different.  There is no criss-cross from 6am-6pm, other than a quick phone call or text.  Now we are criss-crossing all the time.  

As I'm typing this I realize it's making NO SENSE, but maybe you can glean some sort of understanding of what I'm trying to say.

Today is Scott's last radiation even 50.  He is very worn out, and dealing with some side-effects, but overall doing well.  Throughout the summer, he will have blood-work done, but no more trips to the clinic.  We go back in September for scans, x-rays, tests, and drumroll...results.  In December he can go off all the medicine...that will be the best present of all!

So here's the deal... I have chosen this summer to really get back in touch with 'me'... trust me when I tell you Scott will be relived when I quit trying to read his every thought, feeling, and emotion.  I am going to try and get some results with the hours in my day... take some action steps to achieve some of my goals and stop wasting time.  So in the spirit of accountability, I'm going to put out there some of the things I will do, hope to do, and dream to do.  I feel like if one person reads these things, I am honor bound to achieve them... that's just how I am...
so here's the list:

I am taking Soul Restoration II online (Brave Girls Club) in June.  It's a class about moving forward and getting in touch with your dreams and goals.  Not in a weird new-age way but in a personal "listening to your heart" kind of way.

I am taking an online writing class.  I really want to write, but I am not motivated.  If someone gives me an assignment though, I will complete it or die trying.  Some of you remember I wrote a novel in November, 2009.  I accomplished the 50,000 word requirement, but the novel is so poorly written, even I can't read it through.  For this reason, the online class I have chosen is Beginning Writing.  I want to start at the beginning and get a good foundation and see where it takes me.

I am not artistic, but I want to "do" art.  Don't ask me what this means.  I'm not sure yet.  

I want to have fun times with my grandkids swimming, beaching, and having Leila over for sleepovers so we can cook and do crafts and snuggle down for Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty.  My daughter is jumping for joy right now... I've been so busy lately!  

I want to hang with my youngest that's still home.  Lexi and I have a blast together.  We will also beach it, lay out by the pool, and Lexi's favorite... go shopping.

I want to start homemaking again. I want to update my home, and create some special areas.  One of the first will be my sitting room, a tiny room connected to my bedroom.  Right now it has an UNUSED treadmill, an armoire full of junk, a huge dresser, and a Barbie tent.  I am going to clean it out, get some comfy chairs and ottomans, a cute sidetable, a chandelier, a tabletop fountain, and some bookshelves.  It's going to be our new Book Nook.  Scott is super excited.  He loves to sit in the quiet and read.  

I want to meet with the Lord (not the computer) everyday...  

I want to eat better, lose 5 pounds, and get about 15 simple, healthy go-to meals under my belt that we all like.  Right now our favorite word is "takeout"... that has got to stop.

As you can see... this is quite an ambitious list.  I will be hard pressed to achieve it all.  Once I take SR II, I might tweak some of these.  But did you notice something???  Three things are missing.  Blogging, Facebooking, and YouTubing.  I LOVE all three of these things, but I'm considering a summer break.  I will not take down or delete my blog.  I might, however, have to delete my Facebook... the temptation will be too great to sit and veg reading all the fabulous things others are doing rather than do them myself.  But if my oldest calls and says something awesome is online, I want the ability to go check.  Obviously I haven't thought this through.  It's a fluid decision!  FB has become my biggest time 
waster... that, I know for sure.  I will still be visiting some of your blogs. There are certain ones I need to read because they've come to mean so much to me.. and if you are interested, I will most definitely do a post in September with Scott's results...good or not so good.  As far as YouTube, I haven't decided.  It is really fun, but I'm not sure what my goals are there.  Do I need a goal?  Not sure...still thinking on that one.

Before I sign out for awhile, I wanted to once again thank you all so, so much for your good wishes, thoughts, comments, and prayers.  They really made a huge difference in our lives during this trying time.  Some of you email me occasionally and I look forward to continuing that....

So... since this blog is called GirlMeetsParis, I have to leave you with a little bit of France.  Here's a slideshow I made Scott...just to let him know how much I love him.  These photos are from Paris and Marseilles, over the past five years.  Hope you enjoy.

Love you all,

Saturday, May 21, 2011


My youngest daughter recently went on a mission trip to Brazil.  She had a blast, and has changed her life's goal from moving to Laguna Beach to moving to's always changing because she loves an adventure, and rarely backs down from a challenge. 

She went with a large group of high school students from our church.  She made a lot of new friends...the Brazilian team they were working with along with some translators.  What is so cool, is that they are all friends now on Facebook.  I think Facebook will allow some friendships to last a lifetime, that would otherwise have been forgotten.  

Here are just a few snapshots of her trip.  The bonus was she personally prayed with a Brazilian woman, who came to know Christ as her personal savior!  That's an experience Lexi will never forget!

 Some of the group at the airport.

 I think this is in Miami...pretending to be Harry Potter. (going through the wall to catch the train to Hogwarts)

 Her team

 Lexi and Lucas, one of the translators.

 Precious child

Doing a skit for the children in a school.

School children.

It's photos like these that remind a mom that her prayers for safety were not wasted! 

Near the camp where they stayed.

A few days after getting home, she got her braces off, got her hair highlighted, and came home from Walmart with a fish and named him Frank.  It never gets dull at our house.

Update soon...
Love as always!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

...and on a lighter note...

Having a little fun on YouTube.

Hope you enjoy~

P.S.  We are in single digits...only NINE more treatments.  By the time we are finished, we will have made the drive 61 times since Dec.  When we are finsihed, we will celebrate by... SLEEPING!  

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hello out There...

I haven't officially blogged in awhile, so I thought today I'd write about something a few people asked about, and a very important subject I think in general.  I mentioned a few posts ago, that I would give my personal thoughts on how to deal with cancer in a family member, a close friend, or an acquaintance.  Take this for what it's's only one person's opinion.  I am certainly not an expert, although I have been going through it for a few years. I have talked to a few other cancer victims, and spouses of cancer victims just to make sure my feelings aren't completely weird or unusual.  
I have been assured I'm normal...sorta!

This is all from my perspective as an outsider...I have not experienced cancer myself, but I am about as close as one can get (unless it's your me, that would be a whole different ballgame. I can't even begin to speak to that, and wouldn't even try.)

When we very first found out, we took time to digest the news before we called and told anyone.  This is needed.  We were so shell shocked, and in hindsight, I don't think we waited near long enough to tell people.  I ended up being the spokesman for the two of us, which was fine. I gave a general amount of details, but again in hindsight, this was not necessary, and details probably got on people's nerves.  I tend to chatter when I'm not sure what to say or do.  
Details, I've decided, are only for a few, select people close to you.

If you hear someones been diagnosed with cancer, you might be tempted to Google it.  That is fine, and no one can stop you, but do not repeat or believe everything you read.  Each type of cancer is so specific to the individual.  What might be true for one person, may not be anywhere near the facts for another person with the "same" type of cancer.  I know a lot of people assume they know exactly what Scott and I have gone through... they do not.  I know for certain that some people think we made the wrong choice of treatment.  What they don't understand, is a ton of thought, research, and prayer went into our decision, and it was made in conjunction with specific information and diagnosis that they are not privy to.  Just because a treatment worked or failed for one person doesn't mean the exact same treatment will work or fail in another person.  

Ultimately, God is in control.

Do not assume the doctor is telling you everything good, or bad.  It has been our experience at two totally different clinics, that sometimes they tend to trickle out information.  I don't think they do this on purpose.  I think they talk to people all day long, and forget whether they told you something or not.  When it's someone really close to you, and you will be accompanying them to appointments, then I do suggest you Google reputable sites, in order to get a working knowledge of the vocabulary so you can ask pertinent questions.  Write questions down as you read, and have them in front of you when you call or go to the doctor.  Do not let the information panic you.  When Scott was diagnosed a second time, we read on the Internet on many different sites, that his cancer was now considered Stage IV.  That was a horrible couple of days, until we finally called the doctor and asked.  He totally disagreed with that assessment.  Again, each person is an individual, and even if you can check every box on the checklist, it still doesn't necessarily make it true. 

When you ask someone about their treatment, or appointments, only ask if you are really interested and paying attention.  I can't tell you how many times friends act annoyed at ME when they find out we had been to the doctor, or had an important appointment or a hospital stay, and they didn't know.  In most cases, I had told them specifically, they just weren't listening, they didn't write it down or make a mental note...and even if I hadn't told them, they should not act annoyed.  It is almost impossible to remember who you've told what, and to have to apologize, well, it's just silly. Always, always, always cut the person with cancer and those close to them,
 major slack.  

Do not ask children of the cancer victim questions all the time.  My 16 yr. old does NOT want to talk about it... neither does my 23 yr. old, or my 26 yr. old for that matter.  It's perfectly acceptable to say, "How's your dad doing?"  If they say fine, leave it at that. If they want to talk, they will continue the conversation. Let it be their choice.

So what's been one of the hardest things about going through cancer together? Somedays Scott and I are going along fine, happy, content.  We will walk in church, a party, a wedding, or otherwise happy event, and we are BOMBARDED with questions.  It's like we've become "the couple with cancer"... that is not a title I want to carry.  People tend to do this to me, not Scott, which is understandable.  Sometimes I'm cornered, and I have to answer the exact same questions from 10 different people in a matter of 15 minutes... I am in tears by the time it's over.  I feel sometimes like going underground, and reemerging at a later date.  I do not want to talk about it all the time. What bothers me most about this, is I THINK I'VE DONE IT TOO!  Well, no more.  In the future, when I hear someone's been diagnosed with cancer or some other sickness, I will send a card, stating how sorry I am, that I care about them, and I am thinking and praying for them.  Then I will tell them that I'm not going to ask about it every single time I see them.  A smile or a hug conveys the same message, without putting the person on the spot.  Emails and private inbox messages on Facebook work as well.  Sometimes I get text messages while we are at an appointment or whatever.  Those are shows the person really knows what's going on, and they are thinking about you, without you having the burden of having to answer your phone.

  Trust me, if someone needs or wants to talk, it's better over lunch or in private, NOT at a party or public gathering. 

So what does help, in my humble opinion?  Cards do mean a lot.  They are a breath of fresh air.  For years people have sincerely asked what they can do... number one, prayer.  Number two, if you think of something that you think would be nice, just do it!  Most people feel silly asking for help.  We have not really needed 'help' so to speak, but one afternoon a friend called, and told me she had dinner ready, and could she drop it off at the door in 15 minutes (she did this again the following week).  She said she would not need to come in, and that the dinner could be eaten tonight, tomorrow, or frozen for later.  It meant SO MUCH.  Not long after that, we started accepting meals (or restaurant giftcards) twice a week from friends from church, while we are traveling daily for radiation.  It has been a great help, more than I ever realized.  Without that first person doing it though, without asking, I would have never realized what a burden lifter that would be.  Another tremendous help are friends and family offering to bring my daughter home from school.  We are gone everyday when she gets out, so having a ride for her, has allowed me to accompany Scott.

There are probably other things I could say, but I've rambled long enough.  I hope this is read in the spirit intended...just sharing my heart.  I know at the heart of it, people mean well, and I'm not angry or upset with anyone.  I hope this post helps if you, or someone close to you, ever goes through this.  I know this experience has helped me, and has caused me to rethink how I will react to people in future if they get sick.  I am not saying everyone feels this way, but I bet a lot of people do.  Everyone is different, that's for sure.  Some are talkers, some are not, some are private, some are not... no matter how someone reacts, absolutely forgive them, understand them, and try and not take it personally on any level. 
 They are in a really tough spot :).

Thanks for reading... and if you have any personal insight, or suggestions, please leave a comment.  I'm sure we could all learn from each other.

Love, Teri

P.S. On a side note, one evening Scott and I happened on a documentary called Crazy Sexy Cancer.  It was the story of one woman's journey.  Although totally irreverent, and not for children, we learned a lot from it.  I also checked out her Crazy Sexy Cancer book. Her name is Kris Carr, and her website is here if you are interested. 
It is not for the faint of heart :)

Two new You Tubes up over the past week.  Sunless tanning and Brow & Lash Enhancer.
Check it out here.

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