Goodbye hair!

This above says it all!  No hair is on my head and what a wonderful feeling it is, I must say.  More about that in a few... 

This will be a short post but it's been awhile since I've posted.  The 48 hours after my second chemo was truly yucky, but once again I felt better on Sunday and have made it this far at school this week without collapsing on my 23 kiddos.  Exhausted doesn't even describe the feeling after school, but my Mom and Dad, J, and several parents at school,  have been a huge help.  

Jett continues to be such a trooper and he thinks his mommy is extra cool right now.  You see on Wednesday I came home with this little grey box on my arm (NEULASTA meds) that blinked and clicked, and made me like a robot in his eyes and the whole hair thing... bald one minute, BeyoncΓ© hair the next??!  Whoa!  I'm even confused!!  And he hasn't missed a beat.  Thanks be to God for allowing this angel boy to love me through all of this.  We were in the car the other night and he said out of the blue..."praise the Lord, mommy!"  I immediately asked him for what, and he said "cause you have hair!"  I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.  It's when we get home and lay down when he reaches for it, that the tears begin to fall.  Gosh I love that boy and I know it will grow back! 

So what's to come...I have two more big rounds of Adriamycin (the red devil) and Cytoxan on September 6 and 20.  Then on October 6, I'll start 12 rounds of Taxol every Friday.  Surgery will follow in probably February, with radiation, and then reconstruction probably in the summer.  It's going to be a long year but God has this.  He has given me EVERY single little thing that I've needed to be able to sustain, along with your prayers.  He truly takes the fear away and has brought so many new people into my life that I've been able to help through this trying time.  Two precious women right here in Greenville that I've been in contact with are battling the "little c" and I just cannot wait to hug them when we meet.  Our time together will be precious as survivor meets survivor on this journey that we are on.  

Yesterday I had to have a head shot taken for the upcoming Pumps and Pearls Fashion Show in October. 

 How fun is it going to be to walk the runway (and try not to fall) with other precious survivor friends??!! Who doesn't love to be pampered and have a personal shopper pick out some fun clothes for ya!!??  Thanks to my friend Rachel who took the head shot pictures and Erica who always comes to my make up rescue!  And the wig!  Y'all!  I love it so much and may have to just wear it forevah!!!  Nah!  Hoping my hair will grow back and be somewhat fixable.  But thankful for something that makes me feel normal.  

But then today it got real again as I had to have my head completely shaved.  Most of my hair was gone but I had these crazy straggles in the weirdest places on my scalp that were driving me insane under my wig.  J was going to shave it for me but I happened to venture to the wig store to get a much needed"gripper".  You see... Jett almost pulled my wig off in church on Sunday.  Yeah that was hilarious!  So the precious lady at the wig store said she'd do it for me and that's what happened and I'm loving it.  Free!  That's a good word to describe the feeling!    

Now that I'm completely bald I can't help but think of this hilarious book I always read to my class each year.  If you've never read Stephanie's Ponytail by Robert Munsch, please do!  

This whole bald head thing just cracks me up as I think of the main character in the story.  She gets frustrated and wants to be unique at school so she tries all different types of hair styles and the kids copy her and then she threatens to shave her head.  She ends up not following through with that but her friends and teacher do.  This picture just makes me laugh until I could cry!  

So I don't want my wig falling off at school and traumatizing my little friends.  Hoping the gripper will be the answer!  

Again, thanks for all of your love and prayers.  Keep them coming as each week is an obstacle.  Please continue to pray for my immune system to stay strong.  I love my job and my students and just want to keep doing what I love.  

"Our heart has not turned back, nor have our steps departed from your way."  Psalm 44:18



I need thee....

Yesterday morning I just couldn't get the words from one of my favorite hymns to leave my brain as I was preparing for round #2. " I need thee, oh I need thee, every hour I need thee, oh bless me now my Savior, I come to thee." I was super anxious.  The first round experience seemed so easy and painless that I just couldn't help to worry about the second one...especially since on Friday this HUGE new lump appeared under my arm.  Nervous.  Nah!  Scared to death was more like it.  I talked to my nurse to see if they thought I should come in on Monday, but we decided Wednesday morning was close enough.  Turns out it that it was some type of infection in the form a boil.  After two rounds of antibiotic, I'm on the mend.  Thank you Jesus!

Yesterday began with my port accesss which was painless because I followed directions.  The directions say that an hour before you go, place a dollop size of Litacain on the portsite for numbing and cover with Saran Wrap.  So last time I listened only partially, placed the dollop on the site and then rubbed it in like I was rubbing lotion on a baby, until J came in and yelled "stop".  See I was supposed to just leave the big blob alone and not rub it in, so only that site would be numb.  This time I did it correctly and it worked.  My best friend Erica met us at the cancer center and went with me for this step.  I know she loves me because the girl doesn't do hospitals and she did great ALL day long!!!!  Next up was to see the doc. He looked at my lump that had me so worried and didn't seemed concerned at all.  And already antibiotics are seeming to do the trick.  Counts were good!πŸ™πŸ»πŸ™πŸ»πŸ™πŸ» So off we went for round #2 of the hard stuff.  I am on Adriamycin and Cytoxan for these first four rounds.  My sweet nurse yesterday was as calm and patient as my first one, taking all the jitters away.  She was a twin and her sister worked on the very same floor so that was neat to hear their story.  

They were both born with crooked pinkies and said that they made pinky promises the whole time they were in the womb!  Once again, God had a hand in placing these girls in my puzzle.  

During the chemo we enjoyed donuts that Erica brought for the whole oncology floor, Karen's coconut cake for J's birthday, and my favorite, Chicken Salad Chick, for lunch.  

Our precious friends Rob and Sandy White came and prayed with us, leaving us all so comforted.  His voice and words are straight from the heart and as my precious family circled closely around me during this time of prayer, I knew God was present during this huge time of need, just like in the words of that song, "I need thee every hour, most gracious Lord, No tender voice like Thine can peace afford." 

My favorite rendition of this song is by Joey and Rory Feek. Occasionally I'll catch a special on tv with her story of ovarian cancer and hearing her testimony and the her beautiful voice sing, stops me in my tracks and leaves me in tears, every time.  Big crocodile tears.  I often think to myself how terribly sad that God took her so young from her little girl,  husband, and family.   I don't question his plan EVER but wow, to see her strength through it all, praising His name the whole way through, is exactly how he wants us to be.  She is such an inspiration to many and my prayer is to be that encouraging, always choosing joy.  I want to fight for my life, even when it's hard to fight for and lastly I want to be real.  This whole road I'm on stinks!  It's not fun. It's scary as heck.  But in the end, I hopefully want to look back and know that I've helped others get through trials and that's it doable.  

So choosing joy is what we did yesterday.  J's 41st birthday was yesterday and we celebrated big. 

 Pancake breakfast, donuts, coconut cake in the hospital and a visit from his mom and dad, lunch, presents, dinner with family.  I didn't schedule my chemo on his birthday and honestly wanted to change it when I knew it was on his day but I didn't, and he wouldn't let me.  So we took the party to pod 5 and rocked it out.  Nurses enjoyed cake and donuts and hopefully Jeremy felt tons of love on his day.  

The sweetest girl, Lauren, came and interviewed me for the Spirit of the Tiger program.  We had tons of mutual friends and when she left I just couldn't help but think that she was yet another one of the people I've met on this road that has been pure blessings to us.

The last step of the process for the day was the Neulasta patch.  The last time I had to go back to the hospital 27 hours after chemo, but not this time!  Jett truly thinks I'm magical now.... hair changes and a box on my arm like a robot!  It's the little things, right!!??  

So, another great day all around, ending with the most relaxing foot massage ever before walking out of the center, finishing round #2.   Talk about once more feeling like a princess again.

As I lay here in the bed typing this now, with my precious little guy sleeping beside me, I am thinking of my own mommy.  Today is her special day, her birthday.  The love I have for Jett is all consuming like all mothers have for their children, and I know that it must be so hard for my mom to see her baby girl fighting for her life.  So pray for her today.  Pray that we can have a good day, even if it is laying beside each other watching tv, as I take on the yucky side effects.  She's an angel to me and I am so grateful for her love.  So wish her a big day, cause she's something wonderful!  

Again, I'm grateful for you all as y'all have rallied around us so with prayers, cards, visits, meals, gifts, and more.   Love to all!  



Hair drama!

On the morning after I cut my hair, J woke me up singing this sweet song by Steve Holy.  This single came out when I was in college and I still love hearing it on the radio every now and then.  Shaking with tears that morning as he was singing the words, he simply held me and told me that it would be just fine. He always seems to be able to make everything ok.  I constantly think about how different I must look to him now, but am reminded by his words over and over again... he still loves me and sees the girl he fell in love with over 20 years ago. 

So hair is hair.  You cut it. Dye it. Curl it. Straighten it.  I've done all of the above but the hardest thing yet happened today.  Running my hands through it and hair falling out everywhere hit hard. That was tougher than the big cut last Monday night, I think.  Thankfully when this happened my friend Jamie was visiting when I took my hat off to show her my amazing hair.  Ha!  Hair that had beeen shoved in a ball cap all day, itching and driving me absolutely crazy.  I literally ran my hands through it and came out with handfuls of short hair.  I lost it.  She lost it.  But thankfully God  allowed her to be at my house to comfort me while I cried like a little girl.  Gosh!  That's a sweet friend.

So when Jeremy got home and I showed him, he just smiled that sweet smile.  That was all I needed

It's been 12 days since my first treatment and the doctor said it would happen on day 14-22.  Wow!  A little early, but spot on.  Those doctors are smart people!  

So now for the wig story to go along with this crazy hair post.  We wasted no time and the Saturday after I was diagnosed, my best friend Erica and my mom took me to the wig store.  We walked in, and immediately I was drawn to one particular wig.  Long hair, swoop in the front, and one that I could pull back in a ponytail.   Perfect, right!!??   After trying it on I fell in love until I saw the price tag.  $1500 was not ok!  What!!??  Come to find out, it was half real hair/half synthetic!  

The lady immediately found one comparible and I tried it on and loved it too.   We matched my natural color to a sample. They ordered my very own, and within a week I had a beautiful wig waiting for me!  Half the price, and completely synthetic, which doesn't take on the humidity so I'll never have a bad hair day!  Yippee!!!  

I wore my wig to school for the first time last week and so many people commented and said they didn't even know it wasn't my real hair.  WowZers!  That made me feel good.  But then as I looked at pictures from meet the teacher night,  I realized that over the course of the evening, the wig kept inching its way up which made me look like Fran Drescher from The Nanny.  Y'all!  My hair was so big!  

I know this may seem so silly to some of you but I have to make light of this situation.  So the hair that I still have on my head is really thick, really coarse, and really big even thought it is only an inch thick.  That must be the cause of my wig issues lately.  

But now that my hair is officially on the loose and falling out, hopefully the wig will fit nicely to my scalp, not itch me to death, and we can move on.  And have good hair days!  

My friend Beth gave me two of hers that she used when she had Leukemia and I love them.  Especially the one that fits under a ball cap and has nightgown material for the scalp.  It is so much more comfortable than my long hair one.  I'll be sporting that one tons!

So that's the story of the hair.  I know it's temporary but it is a big deal.  I want to look normal for Jett, especially.  He thinks it magical now that I can go from short hair like daddy to long beautiful curly hair like mommy.  He's just in awe and I love it!  A friend shared this with me the other day and it's perfect right now in my hair drama stage that I'm living in!  

The next step is probably to let J shave it completely.  Did I just say that?  Whew!  I just keep reminding myself that this is just a season of my life and that it'll grow back.  It's just hard.  Really hard.  I am constantly praising God for all he's done so far in this journey.  I stop a lot now and just stand still.  Still in his presence. Asking for his embrace during this troublesome time.  As busy as my life is and chaotic at times, being still allows me to feel God's love just a little more.  

Standing still and seeing the eclipse today proved how mighty He is.  

That awesome moment when the moon covered the sun reminded me of His power and all that He created.  It also reassured me that He's got this all under control.  There's no need to worry or be afraid.  His word tells us to trust in him. I am.  Trusting that this whole hair thing will work itself out too.  He knows every hair on my head and will know me bald too.  I trust that.  

"God is my salvation:  I will trust; And will not be afraid."  Isaiah 12.2



Meet the Teacher night!!!

Yesterday afternoon, I got to meet 20 out of 22 of my precious new Giddy-Ups.  This is one of my favorite nights of the year because I love seeing the excitement about a new year and the faces of MANY former students and their families.

  My friend Katherine, who will be subbing for me a lot this year, came and welcomed them as well.  It is such a great feeling to know that when I cannot physically be in the classroom this year, someone who loves children like I do will take my place.  Tuesday will be a big day for us all but I have no doubt that we will have a wonderful day in room 202.  This is my prayer daily.  

I teach with the best grade level of teachers.  Yesterday before the children came, we gathered in a circle and prayed for each other and our upcoming year.  That sweet moment left me in tears.  Tears of pride and happiness because how wonderful is it to have these Godly women in my life, down the hall, and by my side each day.  

So here we go!  One more day of planning on Monday for this year and then Tuesday we will welcome these children into our classrooms and begin teaching them.  Science, math, kindness to others, reading, responsibility, and more.  Our job is important.  

As for Jett and his first week back to school, he's done amazing!  He's walked into his class with no tears every single day and just made me so proud.  The pictures I get throughout the day reaffirm that he's just where he needs to be and we love his school and teachers.  

On a side note...after a busy week, I completely crashed last night.  Like 5 o' bed!  Whoa!  Now for a fun weekend with my guys.  

And one more thing....Thank you to my sweet Molly for ordering the prayer cactus for all of my prayer friend warriors!  Message her about pick up or check your email if you ordered one!  And how about it taking an 18 wheeler to deliver these??!!  Y'all!  Your prayers are big!  And they mean the world to us.  

So here are some prayer requests for this week:
Pray for Jett to continue loving school
Pray for my first day with my kiddos on Tuesday 
Pray for my counts and 2nd chemo treatment on Wednesday (J's bday) 
Pray that I can stay healthy while teaching 
Pray for all of our family during this time

Love you all!  

"He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge."  Psalm 91:4



Oh what a night!

"A sweet friendship refreshes the soul." Proverbs 27:9. 

That very verse sums up last night.  To be surrounded by 30 of the closest women in my life was a complete honor as I took the plunge and cut my hair.  Their precious voices sang and lifted me up by singing some of my favorite songs.  I'll never hear Matt Maher's "Lord, I Need You" and "Because He Lives" again and not think of this night. Chills ran all over my body.  There were times when I couldn't catch my breath, times when I couldn't look at my momma, and times when I knew I was wrapped in God's arms the entire time.   I cannot even begin to tell you how present God was in that room.  I cried, they cried, I laughed, they laughed.  

And hair fell to the floor all around me.  
Goodness it was a night full of emotions. 
 My sweet friend Emma who has been our family hairdresser for years did such a great job of calming my fears while taking on this job. 
 Y'all know I had a head full of thick hair so the cut took awhile to get it to this final style. But the wig had to come out immediately.  I'm a side-pony girl...have been and probably will be 70 (Lord willing) and still rocking it. 

The hugs and love after this big step let me know that even though I may look a little different, my friends and family would still stand by my side.  

My sweet Aunt Maria made this sad event a joyous one that made everyone more hopeful.  Delicious food, cactus cupcakes, and more! Who doesn't love a fun party??!!

So that was our night!  Seeing these wonderful faces of every facet of my life helped me to see more of the puzzle God gave me.  

When I got home, both J and Jett were asleep, thankfully.  I just wasn't ready to face them yet.  But around 4 am, Jett became restless.  (Yes, he sleeps with us). He immediately grabbed my hair, and said "Mommy, I like your hair long."  So I lost it, cried myself back to sleep and prayed.  Prayers for understanding, peace, comfort, resilience.  

And talk about resilience, I woke him up this morning, wearing my wig and he never said a word about it.  It must just look that much like my hair to him.  That made my heart so happy and made this morning perfect for our first day back to school.  Drop off was as easy as could be with no tears for him or mommy.  I have prayed for this day for over a week and God answered my prayers.  

So next up is staying healthy and well.  I meet my new little class on Friday and I am super excited about that but also about seeing my former Giddy-Ups.  

Keep the prayers coming folks!  Somebody asked me today how I felt and honestly, I feel healthy and like my normal self but now with a new hair do.  That's a praise in itself, right?!!  

" Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. " Psalm 62:8

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