Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Then And Now

Today marks two years to the date that Emma stopped breathing.  I was suddenly very thankful for all those CPR classes I'd had for work!

 Looking back, I can see many blessings that have come into our lives that started with this event.  I don't care about any of them.  What matters to me is Emma.  What's she going to get out of it?  This is my biggest concern, and something I pray about every day.  Dear God, please let Emma get something good out of this horrific experience.

I've had a lot of emotions running through me over the weekend.  Lots of memories, some good and some bad.  I remember all of the horrible things we went through, but I also remember all the people who stood with us and prayed with us.  I've remembered the fear, and then the peace.  The anger, and then finally the acceptence.  Emotions are normal, and I guess they have to run their course.

I hope you had a safe and happy Mermorial Day weekend.  I know we did :)  Here are a couple of pictures of then and now...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Have You Hugged Someone Today?

This weekend I took special care to play with my girls.  We went "swimming" in the kiddie pool in our backyard, we went to a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese, we read books, and we spent time playing good old-fahioned toys.

Life can be short--too short.  Have you hugged your kids today?  You should.  And if you don't have kids, you should find someone else to hug. Then tell them they have to pass the hug along.  What do we have if not love, and what good are we if we don't show that love?

Image Detail
Rest in the arms of Jesus, sweet Noah. You won't be forgotten.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Signs

Today marks the two year anniversary from the first day we noticed something was "wrong" with Emma.  Funny breathing.  A whistling, wheezing sound with every breath she took.  We took her to her pediatrician, where she was placed on a three day round of Prednisone.  It took care of the wheezing ASAP.  Know why?  Prednisone is used as a chemotherapy.  I believe from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet that this Prednisone helped save Emma's life.  It shrank her cancer for an extra couple of days, getting us to the place we needed to be for God to take her the rest of the way.

Looking back, I see other clear signs of a problem (unexplained fevers that came and went, constant complaints of feeling tired).  I have kicked myself time and again for not recognizing these signs of something bigger going on.

Last week at the clinic, I talked to our nurse practicioner about these things.  I told her I wasn't sorry for the way things turned out, even though if Emma's cancer had been found earlier then things certainly would have been at least a fraction easier (no ICU and comas and ventilators).  But God knew exactly where we needed to be--St. Jude--and if we would have found her cancer earlier, she most certainly wouldn't have ended up there.  I am so thankful to be a part of my St. Jude family.  Not because other hospitals aren't as good, but because St. Jude really is like a great big family.  God blessed us immensely in leading us to a place where we would be so taken care of.

If you are going throught a storm, a hard time, a rough patch--consider it, and look for the good in it.  Even if it's only a tiny good in a midst of thorns.  The good attitude will get you through.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Spend little...Give lots!

I am super excited to combine two things I love to pay it forward to those in need.  That's right, I'm talking about couponing and the Ronald McDonald House.  We recently made the decision to start buying items to donate to the RMH on our next trip to Memphis.  We wanted to help those families who were struggling, whether new, old, or just there. 

Image DetailI remember all the months I spent there, and how my head wasn't quite screwed on straight.  I remember my skin getting so dry it peeled.  Looking back I think, why didn't I just go buy some lotion at WalMart?  The answer is because simple things like that didn't enter my mind--it was too full with life and death, medication schedules, and doctor's visits.  Occasionally very kind people would bring in loads of donations.  The donations varied, but usually consisted of things like body wash, deodorant, kid's pajamas, coloring books and crayons, baby diapers and wipes, shampoo, etc.

Along with my couponing sister, I decided to use stores' sales and coupons to stock up on items that will help other families who have the lights on but no one home.  This week I scored six large bottles of men's bodywash for $.46 a piece!  I spent $2.76 and will help up to six families. 

I encourage you all to do the same...spend a little, but give a lot.  You many not live near a RMH, but there are other charities that would gladly take your donations. Think of local children's hospitals, churches, food banks, or homeless shelters.  With that in mind, here are a few tips for couponing!

*Use the internet to look for sales, and then look for coupons on those items (this is how I scored the $.46 body wash).

*Use sites like The Krazy Coupon Lady to do all the hard work for you.  They list the store, what's on sale that week, and what coupons are available for those items.  Another site like this is Coupon Diva.

*Some of the best stores to get great deals (at least where I live) are Publix, CVS, and Walgreens.  They all have their sales ads online.

*Buy a Sunday paper.  They have the BEST coupons.

Happy couponing!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I Never Want To Forget

Enjoy the natureRecently on a cancer mom's Facebook page there was a discussion about getting pregnant and/or having little babies while your child is on chemo treatment.

Ashlyn, my youngest of two children, was 4 months old when Emma was diagnosed.  It was very hard.  There were long weeks I had to spend apart from my growing baby.  In fact, when she turned 1, I remember crying because I felt I had missed her whole infancy.  We were apart on her first birthday, by the way.

There was another family in Memphis while we were there in the beginning.  The mother had been pregnant when her child was diagnosed.  She gave birth while in Memphis, and a family member had to come get the baby and take it home to care for it.  The mother said she hadn't seen her new baby since it was something like three days old.

There is so much pain and hardship in pediatric cancer (and all cancer of course).  It would be easy to forget.  To push the pain aside, and forget about all the hard and scary things a cancer-kid parent goes through.  But I don't want to forget.  I want to remember, and to keep the memories and feelings fresh so that I can best know how to help others who are hurting.

So if I overburden some with my talk of hardship; of cancer; of pain, I'm truly sorry.  But I hope I never forget.  Please say a prayer for the families of those with cancer today, and I hope you will use your own pain in life to help someone else who is hurting.