Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My Poppy Plate

85 days ago I met my daughter for the first time. I kissed her chubby cheeks, brushed her fine hair, and touched her perfect lips. We were finally able to hold her precious hands and giggle at the long toes she got from her daddy. 

But unlike most moms and dads, that day was also the day we said goodbye.

That day was the last day to make our memories with Olivia. Each hour and minute was so precious, a day that I will replay in my mind for the rest of my life.

Luckily, there are people and organizations that help make those memories last a lifetime. One of these organizations is Mamie's Poppy Plates. This wonderful non-profit provides families with keep-sake plates, customized with their baby's foot prints. All at no charge to the family.

Their mission states that they "exist not to fill the impossible void of loss but to serve as a timeless reminder of their baby's brief yet profound life."

Last week we received Olivia's plate and when I saw the package at our door I couldn't rip it open fast enough.

While it is nothing compared to actually touching her hands and feet, it is something. Something to hold on to. Something to prove she is real. 

And to parents with empty arms, we'll take anything. 

On Saturday, June 14 at the Race to Remember we will be remembering Olivia and other tiny angels who have gone on before us. Who are patiently waiting for us to come home to heaven. I ask that you join along side me to support this amazing and wonderful organization. 

You can register to run/walk for the Olivia Mary Team HERE or even donate. 

My sweet friend Jessi designed T-shirts for the race as well. Of course you don't have to participate in the race to order a T-shirt, and part of your purchase will go directly to Mamie's Poppy's Plates.  You can order your shirt here. It's only $15!

A $30 donation provides one plate to a family. And that one plate means everything. Give what you can, but most importantly, remember me, Josh, and our sweet Olivia.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Results Are In

On April 10 I had a body scan to see where the radioactive iodine was absorbed. Since thyroid cells (normal and cancerous) are the only things that would take in the radiation, this test would show if the cancer had spread to any other parts of my body, the first places being in my lungs and bones.

Well, after a very long weekend of waiting, the doctor finally said that the cancer has not spread!

Praise the Lord!!

The scan did show three "spots" in my neck that could be cancer, but they absorbed the radiation which will hopefully kill it. Nothing in my bones and lungs "lit up", which means the radiation didn't go there, which means there is no cancer. I couldn't be happier!

I've always been an optimistic person, but these past couple of months have taken it out of me. The Worst Case Scenario seems to keep happening so it has been hard to hope for the best. I literally feared to pray for good things because I didn't want to set myself up for disappointment. It has been really hard to ask God for things lately because I know what it is like when he says no.

Yes, I know that is a distorted way to look at things- a wrong way to look at God, who loves to give us good gifts. Let's just say, I'm working on it... But luckily, I have friends who have taken it upon themselves to stand in my place and pray those things for me.

And God listened. Praise him!

The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He takes great delight in you. Zephaniah 3:17

Monday, April 7, 2014

My Writing Process: A blog tour

A couple of weeks ago, this funny and witty gal named Alex asked to tag me in a "blog tour" (No, I'm not talking about myself in third person. There is actually another cool and awesome female named Alex who has a blog. Such a strange, small world).

I had no idea what a "blog tour" was, so of course I said yes. Apparently I'm supposed to share my "writing process," so here we go:

1. What am I working on?
Besides my weekly grocery list and personal journal that I refuse to let anyone read, this little 'ole blog is the only time I write. In the past, my posts were random exerts about my life, mainly focusing on fitness endeavors, traveling, and daily happenings. Right now this is a place for me to work through my grieving, share my battle with thyroid cancer, and encourage people along the way. I would love for this to reach more and more people, but that takes effort and regular blog posts, both of which seem to be lacking these days. I'm just happy to take a shower and get out of my house.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My writing is different from others in the sense that I, as a person, am different. I am unique. My thoughts are my own. I don't know anyone who has a life like mine. Thank goodness.

3. Why do I write what I do?
Currently, writing helps me work through my grief. It helps me organize my thoughts and make sense of my emotions. While I am selective with what I write, I love that this blog allows me to share my joys and struggles with thousands of people. If anything, I hope my words will help and encourage someone going through their own journey too.
In general, I love to blog so I can have a journal to refer to months and years down the line. I have the worst memory ever and, because of this blog, I don't have to remember past race times or the specifics of our Europe Adventure.

4. How does your writing process work? 
Nothing too genius here. If something big is happening in my life, I write. If I'm inspired by something or someone, I write. However, I hate to post just words; for some reason a post seems empty without a picture. I prefer to write in complete silence and I hate when someone reads my work before it is finished (aka: my husband leaning over my shoulder. Ugh, I can't stand it!)

On that note, here is a completely random picture of me and Josh.
Year: 2008.

And to complete the tour, next week you should visit these completely awesome and amazing women. I would call these ladies actual writers, people who's job is to sound good on paper. They most definitely have a lot more to say than I do. Seriously, go check them out. 

Jennifer from

 Jessi from

Hannah from

Friday, April 4, 2014

Radioactive Iodine Treatment: Day 2 update

Hey guys! Im currently in day 2 of my radiation treatment and so far everything has gone fairly smooth. Let me back up for a minute to update you on the past week.

On Monday and Tuesday, March 31st and April 1, I had Thyrogen shots to prepare my body for radiation. One in each butt cheek. Nice. Before Thyrogen shots were available, one would have to stop taking their thyroid medication, causing them to go super hypothyroid. Like, "I can barely get out of bed or focus on what you're saying"-hypo.  I had no significant side effects from the shots besides slight fatigue at the end of Tuesday. So if insurance with pay for them, Thyrogen shots are the way to go!

I didn't sleep well Tuesday night, as I was anxious for the next day. I had to be at the hospital at 9:00 Wednesday morning to run the standard pregnancy tests. You cannot have this treatment if you are pregnant. I of course, was not pregnant. I knew this, but it was sad and weird to hear.

The next several hours consisted of a lot of waiting. I talked to the doctors who explained in science-terms what the radiation will do to my body, the risks, the precautions, and so forth. At noon they called me back to take the pill, which was in a heavy lead encasing. It looked like any other normal capsule, almost like a vitamin. Nothing too crazy. I didn't feel any different, but once I swallowed the pill I was instantly radioactive. Unfortunately, I was still unable to control objects with my mind or shoot spider webs from my wrists.

I immediately left the hospital, got in my car, and drove home to Fayetteville. (Josh did not come with me to Little Rock for this reason alone, as it was best not to be in the same car for the drive home.)

Now today is Friday and I'm practically 48 hours out. "Isolation" hasn't been too terrible so far; I can't share the bed with Josh or the dogs and they have to stay at least 6 feet away at all times. To pass the time I've watched the last season of Game of Thrones (the new season comes out on Sunday!), episodes of Friday Night Lights, and I've completed a lot of Sudoku puzzles. The radiation leaves my body through body fluids, namely bathroom activities, so I'm drinking water like it is my job and taking at least two showers a day. My neck/throat area is painful; sometimes it just feels sore and other times it feels like my throat is burning from the inside. This is to be expected, as this is the area the radiation is being absorbed the most. Also, I feel overall tired and achey, but that is common as well.

I'm overall pleased with the way things are going and I am SO thankful the past few days have been relatively easy. I've heard some horror stories and was preparing myself for the worst. The doctor also gave me the "okay" to resume a normal diet today, so I've already chowed down on a kolache and cinnamon roll and drank a big cup of milk. Delightful.

I go back to UAMS for a whole body scan on April 10th to see where in my body the radiation was absorbed, aka: where the cancer has spread. Please pray and plead with me that the cancer hasn't spread anywhere else and that we get a great and healthy report next week.

Now I'm off to order me a pizza. Yum!