I’m a Bad Blogger

I’ve been a bad blogger. I’ve been so busy, I forgot to blog. But today is your lucky day! I’m sick, so here you go!

It has, as usual, been a busy (almost) two months. During October I found out I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) which has finally explained some of the stomach problems that have plaqued me since I was in high school. We have begun the process of figuring out what foods trigger these symptoms as well as trying to mitigate the stress factors. However, October finished itself off nicely. As someone who works with children, I got Halloween off. Being new to the area, there wasn’t really anyone to see, so we stayed home, ate dinner, and watched a movie.

November was a bit more exciting! November 16th was Drew’s 25th birthday! We went out for dinner at a local Korean restaurant called Cho Wan Garden. It was delicious and very authentic. Anyone who knows me, knows I have a sensitive stomach (as mentioned in the previous paragraph). As I looked at the menu and the appetizers they set out before us, I was thinking, there is nothing I can eat here. The waitress was incredibly helpful, though, and we figured out something that sounded good. It sounded better than it tasted in my opinion. But Drew’s pick was so GOOD. We traded about three-quarters of the way through and I’m up for going there anytime now that I know what to order. 🙂 The week after was Thanksgiving. We spent Thanksgiving day at my family’s. For lunch we went to Grandma and Grandpa’s and spent time with the Murphy side and my dad. For dinner, we went with my mom’s side to Cracker Barrel. Normally, we do a huge lunch together, but this year Grammy wanted a change since it was our first holiday without Mom. Last year, Mom was in the hospital on Thanksgiving after dealing with an awful fall she had that morning. I think it was better than I expected this year, considering the circumstances. Our last major thing of the month was my best friend’s wedding shower-birthday-combo party. We did snack foods, drinks, and party games (The Game of Things and Apples to Apples). Josh Thompson won Things even though he left less than halfway through the game! And I won Apples to Apples. It was a fun night.

Now that its December we’re ticking off the days until Christmas. We have a sad, naked tree. We got it from Dad but our cat has pretty much killed the poor thing. She keeps climbing it and chewing on it. The needles have fallen out and the bottom branches are broken. The top was sad and squishy until yesterday. Drew made it look a lot better but its still sad. We’ve decided if we’re going to be cleaning up needles and having broken branches, then we might as well get a real tree since we’d at least be throwing it out anyways. So next year, real tree! Our cat is still freaking adorable, even as she breaks our tree. We’re getting her spayed December 20th, which I’m sure she’ll be thrilled with. Pictures of our cat in a cone coming soon! Right now, I have a severe viral sinus infection and three of my four clients are sick, so I’ve had pretty much the whole week off. Kind of nice, but my paycheck will feel the hit! And tomorrow, bye bye wisdom teeth. I think my doctors are tired of seeing me. 🙂 As for Drew, he’s finishing up his first semester at CPCC this week and he’s doing well. A quarter of his degree is done!

Pink

This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and tomorrow my mom will have been dead for three months because of this terrible disease.

She was diagnosed the week before Christmas in 2005. I didn’t know at the time, but she had Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer. She had her first surgery because of breast cancer on Christmas Eve. That week I got into a small accident because I couldn’t think straight. We spent Christmas day in NSICU, Mom flat on her back because the surgery had put steel and plastic in her lower back. She couldn’t bend, sit, or walk until much later. I spent Christmas Eve with family, Dad was with Mom. Christmas dinner, to my memory, was cancelled. She went through a mastectomy and radiation, then hormone therapy. For years, until I was over halfway through college, she was stable. Things were “stable or shrinking.” Until my third year, spring semester. The first time we found out it had spread from the original four locations. Chemo. She felt sick, she was tired. No effect. More chemo. She felt great after but her body couldn’t handle the second round. It depleted her blood cell count. They stopped mid-cycle. She went to the cancer treatment center and they made a plan that they never got to carry out. She went downhill, more tired, more worn out, upset at her lack of usual independence. She went in and out of the hospital during that last year for infections. The last time was when we found out her kidney function was around ten percent. All she wanted was to go home but she couldn’t and never did. She was transferred to hospice and died there a little bit before 8am on Saturday, July 21st.

We were later told that the doctors had initially given her two years but she lived six and a half. I believe that was a combination of the very strong willpower my mother possessed and a lot of prayers. Everywhere I went, I asked for prayer for her. I covered two countries and numerous states with prayer requests, and I firmly believe prayer works. If she had lived two, she’d never have seen me graduate high school. Instead she saw me finish high school, college, and she was at our wedding. In fact, our wedding was the last time I got with her where she seemed mostly herself. After that, she was in the hospital and hospice.

Breast cancer, all cancer really, is ravaging to not just the one living with cancer but the family. Every person in this country is somehow touched by breast cancer, whether they have it, their sister, mother, daughter, aunt, grandmother. And if you have somehow managed to avoid that link, then you’re touched by another kind. Please, ladies, do what you can to stay healthy. Self-breast exams, mammograms by forty if you don’t have a family history of breast cancer. If you do, start mammograms earlier, especially if, like me, you have family history and that family was diagnosed before menopause. Another option, if you have the insurance to cover it, is BRCA analysis also called BRAC analysis. Its a test for genetic predispositions to breast and ovarian cancers. I don’t have the right insurance but when I do, that’s my plan. Be aware of your own health. Take care of your bodies.

Let’s work for a cure. Donate to the people searching for a cure, walk for a cure, heck, buy merchandise that donates money to Susan G. Komen or the American Cancer Society. (I know, I know, pinkwashing and all that, but hey, if you want a new Tervis, get one that says fight like a girl, why not?)

And until there’s a cure, I wear pink for my mom. Because even though she’s in a better place, I’d give more than you can imagine to have her here on this earth with me and my family, to have one more phone call, one more Christmas. I love her too much to ask her to be here in that kind of pain but I don’t think it’s too much to ask for better treatment and a cure so someone else can be here without it.

Quite the Summer

It has been quite the summer, a roller coaster of good things and bad things.

First, I graduated from college. After four years of the incredibly tedious process of getting a Bible college degree, I have a Bachelor of Science in Bible, Psychology, and Youth Ministry. Well, technically speaking, I have a BS in Bible and Psychology with a minor in Youth Ministry, Family, and Culture. Now I get the wonderful opportunity to pay back my student loans. 🙂 Not that I’m being sarcastic or anything. I do have to say it feels good to be done with it even though I intend on going back to school in a couple of years.

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Second, Drew and I got married. It was a beautiful, hectic, life-changing day. There is so much about that day I want to tell those of you who couldn’t come. I’ll start with this: the truth of the matter is, for something described as the biggest day of your life, it feels like any other day. You’re just in a big white dress kissing your best friend in front of an audience. I cannot deny that day was life changing, amazing, and beautiful. There are many things that flew by and I cannot remember, but there are moments that I will never forget. My dad walking me down the aisle. Drew’s hands shaking as he held mine during our first look. Him saying his vows. Hugging my mom after the ceremony. Driving away from the church and it finally hitting me we were married. But that is a story for another day.

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Third, work has been taking forever to get me scheduled. Drew, however, got on schedule the week we got back from our honeymoon (in New York, by the way, also another whole story). So he has been working a lot and I have been trying to occupy a lot of open time. Thankfully, I will be starting next week. Thank goodness. They’ve been doing their best to get me on schedule.

Fourth, and besides the wedding, most important, my mother died a little over a week ago. It has been the hardest thing I have ever dealt with and I am not sure anything else will ever top it. In fact, I pray nothing does. Living in another town, it can be easy to forget she’s gone. Then I remember that if she were still here I would owe her a phone call. It’s those moments that are the hardest, the ones she was always involved in. The holidays are going to be very hard. Drew has been such a comfort and a strength for me, and I can’t imagine how I could have gotten through this week, especially her funeral, without him and without my dad. She was the best mother I could have asked for, better than I could have come up with on my own. Some people make a list of what qualities they want in a spouse. Well, I never could have imagined Drew into a list. If we could choose our parents, I couldn’t have quantified her into a list either. God gives us far better than our human minds can conceive.

Other than all this, all the other moments of the summer so far seem inconsequential. They weren’t at the moment but in the scheme of things, they are very small. But it is the small moments that sometimes mean the most. Keep us in your prayers as we move on in life, as we try to find a church to attend, and as we navigate new marriage. We have been so blessed.

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