Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I just wanted to thank everyone for the love and support you have provided. It has been so nice to have such a large group rooting for me. If you would still like to help, here's a way that you can change millions of people's lives. Just donate a small amount to the American Cancer Society in support of cancer research. If everyone donates just a small amount, there would be so much money being fueled to stopping or curing cancer! Imagine one day without cancer; you can be responsible for such a beautiful future just by donating a dollar or two! If you would like to donate, just follow this link!
There's a link right above this. It's just black so it's hard to see. Move your mouse over it and it will light up!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sometimes life can be cruel. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. Some people are put in our lives for only a short period of time and are taken away almost as soon as they appear. Some people only live a short life and some live to be a hundred years old. Some suffer from disease, abuse, or poverty. It can be hard to find your way and discover your purpose in a world like this. One that is filled with hatred and suffering. It can be so easy to see what goes on around us and choose to focus on ourselves. Focus on our own suffering and remain unconcerned by the pain of others. It is SO EASY to become lost. To drown in what the world is throwing at us. To lose purpose, to just live life like a machine. Without feelings, hopes, or dreams. Only focused on survival. Like the song says "What good am I? Heaven only knows." Just remember that God gives everyone purpose. He does not just put you on Earth to suffer through it alone. He strategically places people in our lives to make an impact on us and we are meant to make an impact on others. We are meant to LIVE and discover our purpose. I believe that God only puts us on Earth for a purpose, and once we have done that, we don't have to live here anymore. So even if you are young, find your purpose. Make sure you live life and don't get caught up in the chase of monetary values. Our lives are like dust, here one minute, and gone the next with something so small as a gust of wind.So make the most of your life, you may not have that long. I don't mean to sound so morbid, but it's true.

Also, this Monday is really important. As I've said before, my case is so rare that treatment is always different and my doctors weren't even sure that chemotherapy would work. I have tests this Monday to see if the chemo has made any impact on my tumors. So please keep me in your prayers.From what the doctors told me, it sounded like if my chemo doesn't work, there's nothing else they can do for me.
Change. Change is something that has become a constant in my life. I knew things would be different once I was diagnosed. That day, I moved forward with my new life and never looked back. I thought I had completely accepted that my life was now different. Instead of waking up at 6 every day to get ready for school, I wake up and take oral chemotherapy and nausea pills. Instead of eating lunch with my friends, I sit at home alone with my dog. Every Monday, I have to drive to Houston for a check up. And unlike my sister, who has a cold and just has to suck it up and deal with it, if I get a cold I have to be hospitalized. I had even accepted that I no longer look like a normal teenage girl. I embraced my baldness, and I am slowly learning to shrug off all the strangers that stare at me when I venture out into public. Although I thought I was totally ok with my new life, I was wrong. I still yearned to be a normal teenager like all of my friends. I wanted to do the normal teenagery things that I was no longer allowed to do. I didn't realize that though until the day before prom. I finally cried. It was the first time I had cried since my diagnosis.
My second round of chemotherapy was definitely harsher than my first. My body was weaker than the first time, so it could not handle the chemo very well. While I was in the hospital, I puked every day, sometimes more than once. Because my medicine has delayed nausea, it only got worse when I got home. For two weeks I puked three, four, maybe five times a day. It definitely took a toll on my body. My throat was so raw, I started to puke up blood. I stopped eating because I knew I would get sick later. I even stopped drinking because it hurt too much to swallow. Thursday was odd, I had started to feel better. I even told my mom and texted my dad that it was the first day I hadn't puked in two weeks. I had celebrated too soon though. When I tried to go to bed, I kept getting sick. The next day I got sick again and noticed that more and more blood was showing up when I got sick. I finally told my stepdad to call the doctor and they told me to come into the E.R. I was so sad! I thought for one night, I would get to be like all the other people at my school and do the normal senior thing, go to prom. I would have to miss the one thing I was looking forward to for weeks! When we got to the Children's Hospital, they rushed us into a room and tons of people were running in and out. It turns out that my heart rate was 140 (people have that heart rate when they run marathons). My body was so weak and dehydrated that it was working super hard just to function normally. They stuck these things on my chest to monitor my heartbeat and also started an IV of liquids. The doctors were determined to get me to prom though, and if they couldn't get me out of the hospital then they would find some guy to come dance with me. Saturday would be the weirdest prom preparation day ever. At three in the morning I had to have a platelet transfusion to stop the bleeding in my throat. That day they continued to pump me full of liquids as fast as they could. When they finally disconnected me from my IV and told me I was ok to leave, I jumped in the shower and headed to the Galleria to get my head shaved. I had already lost most of my hair, but I still had patches, like a balding man. Then I went to Mac to get my makeup done quickly so I could head home and finish getting ready. I ended up making it home an hour before my prom pre-party. My grandmother showed up just in time with a new pair of toms to wear with my dress so I could finally leave. (I had to wear toms instead of the heels I had planned on because my oral chemo makes my feet feel like I stepped on a fire). I ended up having a great time at prom and it was so nice to see all of my friends and classmates! Although I had planned on going to an after party, I was just too tired to function anymore. I ended up going to bed at 12, perfectly satisfied with my day. I realized that it's ok to miss being a teenager sometimes. I have to accept that my life has changed, but that doesn't mean I can't still be a teenage girl sometimes.

The wind was blowing so hard. I was freaking out because it was messing up my hair.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

 Today is the best day of the year. Jesus CONQUERED DEATH so that we can have a relationship with him. I have to admit that I sometimes forget the importance of this day, especially this morning. Some days cancer really really sucks, and today was one of them. I woke up feeling sick and once I got to church my nausea only got worse. I know this is scary to hear, but this morning I was perfectly ok with dying, in fact I would have considered it a blessing. After lunch I started to feel better, so I decided to listen to a little christian music as I napped. As I was listening to the lyrics, I had a much needed "AH HA!" moment with God. I was thinking about my cancer and Easter and I had an epiphany which left me thinking "I see what you did there". Since my diagnoses, my faith had started to confuse me. Although I knew that I was safe in God's hands and that whatever happens is part of his greater plan for me, I found myself drifting from him. I had stopped reading my Bible and was praying less and less everyday. I can even remember laying in the hospital this past week telling God that I just needed a break from him. Just a little time to myself without having to try, I was tired of putting in the effort to make the relationship work. But God has a funny way of not letting that happen, he never lets go. Even though I was tired of him, he was still working in my life and drawing me closer without my realizing it. Easter and/or my cancer could not have come at a better time. Both are working together to make this day even more awesome. Katelyn McWilliams mentioned to me one day that the greater our suffering becomes, the more God's grace can grow. I really do understand that now. God wants a relationship with us, even if we are running from him. That's why he sent his only son to suffer on the cross for us.
Just a few words of wisdom
"We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through our suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies."
2 Corinthians 4:8-10

Sunday, April 1, 2012

 As you know, my hair started to fall out this past Tuesday. I was going to wait till the last minute to shave my head, but I was getting really annoyed by all the stray hairs flying everywhere. Each night when I took a bath, it was like brushing out a golden retriever. Hair everywhere! So against my Grandmother's will, I had a small shaving party. I had originally planned on inviting lots of friends, but I felt that this needed to be an intimate event because my family was having a hard time. So here are the pictures of me and my family during the head shaving process! It's a good thing I got my eyebrows waxed that day, I would have been bald headed with a unibrow!
The before picture
My "family"

Me and my Mom

The first cut!
Alex's turn

Kyle's turn

The moment they convinced me to get a mohawk

Almost there!

The hawk!

all gone!

I was excited to use my head scarf
I can't stop touching my head! It feels like a puppy. Who would have thought that shaving my head would make me more confident than ever! BALD IS BEAUTIFUL.

Too Funny! This video is so true, it describes my stay at the hospital to a T. Just a little background information, he keeps making those weird faces when the nurse is injecting stuff into his port because the medicine makes your mouth taste metallic.