Thursday, May 24, 2012

This past weekend I received some news that I'm not sure how to respond to. My emotions were conflicting constantly and I had no idea what was the right way to feel. I'm not going to lie, yesterday I was a blubbering mess. While I started the day crying for one reason, I ended it crying for another. Ruth gave me a bag full of cards that I decided to read. Each one was moving and inspiring. They left me with renewed confidence and vigor. Thank you everyone for giving me the will to stay strong and not drown in my situation. I would also like to thank Walker and Katelyn for telling me its ok to feel what I'm feeling and to let people know. I don't have to keep on acting like a super human. Although I've acted optimistic around people, I'm scared. I cry..ALOT. Sometimes I don't even know why. I yearn to have my old life back. My faith has wavered and I was beginning to crumble. I felt like a sham. Everyone was telling me how inspirational I was because of my unwavering faith and constant strength during my battle with cancer. But secretly I was breaking under this pressure that was being put on me. I thought that it was wrong for me to feel the way I do, but I'm only human. I can only be strong for so long. But because of the cards you sent me, I realize just how much support I have behind me. As much as I complain about the physical town of Lufkin, I really do love the people. I am so thankful for everyone in and around Lufkin and I have no idea what I would do without y'all. Here are some excerpts from some of the wonderful cards.

"Tough Cookie- A fighter that who's too busy kicking butt to sit down and cry, but know's its ok to do both."

"Your fight has reminded me that all of my burdens can be made light if I only set them on Him."

"So I have always loved butterflies. They're so pretty and happy and free. But who would've thought this ugly caterpillar could transform into something beautiful. I sorta see cancer this way. At first it seems like this awful, ugly, unfortunate illness, but something beautiful can come out of it."

"Your situation made me realize what is important, and now I try so hard to always be grateful and handle things like you did."

"I know we believe in different religions but... honestly I don't think that God gives a challenge w/o giving us the adequate strength to get through it."

"I haven't been very "in-touch" with God lately. In fact it wasn't until last night that I realized- I haven't prayed in a very very long time...years!.. It made me realize a lot. I haven't been living my life like I should. Things are going to change. I promise to get closer to God, for you Lizzie! Because of you!"

"My kind friend Lizzie, you are the poop to my toilet...If I still had a Myspace, you would be in my top friends!"

One of the most eye opening cards was from my dear friend Nisha. Since my diagnosis, everyone has been throwing bible versus at me. Which, don't get me wrong, is totally ok. But sometimes I'm just like "Thanks but what does that have to do with my situation?" Nisha included in her card a scripture that most accurately affects my life.
"Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. Since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal"
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a retreat for children with cancer. The Faust's opened their beautiful home, Squirrel Creek Ranch, to us so that we could have one weekend that was not focused on cancer.  I have never been more distracted from my illness while still being fully aware that I'm sick (if that even makes sense). I mean you had to have cancer to get invited. The weekend was packed full of  fun activities that kept me from concentrating on my cancer like seeing exotic animals, fishing, water balloon toss (Alex and I won that competition thanks to the teachings of Mr. Willis!). Even though my weekend ended in two visits to the ER and a short stay in the hospital because I caught the stomach virus, it was the most relaxing time I have had since my diagnosis. Not only did I meet the love of my life (too bad he's 28 and I'll never see him again and it was a completely one sided secret crush), I caught fish with my bare hands! I mean they were minnows in a barrel, but it's still legit. I loved spending the weekend surrounded by people with cancer, because there I was normal. Everyone there has been affected by cancer and they were fighting their own battles. Here are some highlights from my weekend.
 My first limo ride!

 As you can tell, I REALLY LOVE butterflies.

At an antique farm house!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

I just wanted to share a small part of the story of my surgery day.I think it might provide some comic relief. When I got to the hospital at 5:45 Tuesday morning, the stuff I had to take the night before to clear my bowels was still very very much working. So my first ten minutes at the hospital were spent running around the first floor ( which is like a maze), frantically looking for a restroom so I wouldn't pull a Bridesmaids' move and poop on myself. When I got to my room, I had to put on a hospital gown ( you know the typical ones that do not cover your butt AT ALL). Except mine was even worse, it was missing a strap so it wouldn't close at all. NOT ONE BIT. Then they had to move me to a different room because my surgery was postponed, but instead of getting me a different gown, they put another on my back like a robe. So instead of having one gown that swallowed me up, I had two that completely engulfed my entire body. Later they had me take another pregnancy test, even though I assured them there was no possible way that I could be pregnant. But no one ever came to take my urine sample back, and when they wheeled me out of the room I asked if they wanted me to bring it with me, but they told me no. When I got down to the surgery waiting area, they asked me if I had taken a pregnancy test, to which I replied yes, it was still sitting up in the room. So they sent someone up to find it, but it was gone! They had lost my pee, how irresponsible! They asked if I could take another one, which I replied I might be able to, but I hadn't had anything to eat or drink past ten o'clock the night before, and it was now two in the afternoon. To my surprise, I was able to pee easily...too easily. I had almost filled up the cup when I felt one of my gowns drop into the toilette. In my attempt to get the gown out, I leaned my pee cup too far over and proceeded to spill most of it all over me. At that stage I was annoyed, I had just done all that work for nothing! There was barely anything left in the cup, and there was no way I was going to be able to pee anymore. The hospital was just going to have to deal! So I stormed out of the bathroom with a scowl on my face and placed my cup firmly on the counter. About an hour later a nurse came by to inform me that my pregnancy test was, in fact, negative. To which my mother and I replied OH! THANK GOD! WHAT A MIRACLE.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

This is the goodbye letter I wrote to my tumors before surgery. Dearest Tupac, Mary Kate, and Ashley  It's been fun....NOT. I hope you have a nice trip and never return. Seriously, you're not welcome here. I don't like you. Forever yours (just kidding), Lizzie