What do you do when the devil attacks? Today, I feel like the devil attacked us… again… We could have crawled into bed and cried all night but we went swimming instead.
After my “probably cancer” diagnosis
I had this brief feeling of mourning. You know that deep sadness you get when you hear that someone died? I felt like that. It was like I was mourning my own inevitable death, but then that feeling just pissed me off. I wasn’t dead yet and I wasn’t going to go without a fight. I was preparing for this battle that was happening between my mind and my body. It’s like mentally preparing for war. I knew the odds were against me but I couldn’t just lay down and die. It would be painful and it would be ugly but I had no choice. This is the Truth About Cancer: Part 3.
My dad was standing in the driveway as we pulled up. I couldn’t look him in the eye. I couldn’t look anyone in the eye. We sat everyone down and I opened my mouth to deliver the news but nothing came out. I physically could not say the word “cancer”. I didn’t want my kids to think their mommy was dying so I tried my best to protect them from that thought. In fact, they never really knew the seriousness of the situation. I didn’t know the right way to tell them. There is no manual on how to tell your children you have cancer and I didn’t have time to Google it! Maybe I should have prepared them for the worst and hoped for the best. Who knows what strategy would have been best but I didn’t have the heart to even mention the “C” word. I just held them and cried as these words kept playing in my mind:
“My babies need a mom. Why is this happening to them? God, please save their mother.”
Two days later, I went into the hospital for a biopsy.
I’ve never had a biopsy and I didn’t know what to expect. I assumed that I would go into surgery under General Anesthesia and wake up after it was all over. Instead, I was taken into an imaging room where more images of the mass were taken and markings were being strategically placed on my back. I was completely unaware of what was to happen next. They gave me IV medications that were (according to them) supposed to sedate me. One nurse held my hand as they took these long needles and started to jab them through my back and into the tumor. It felt like they were hammering a knife into my body. One apparatus wasn’t working sufficiently so they repeated the procedure again. It was so incredibly painful as I felt every single hammering stab. I wanted to kick and scream but I couldn’t move or they would have stabbed my liver or lung or whatever organs were nearby. So, I held my breath, I moaned and I squeezed that nurses hand as hard as I could until the brief torture was over.
I was quickly referred to the Mayo Clinic in Arizona where the real work began. There was a lot of blood work and then there was more blood work. Imaging was done from my head to my feet and everything in between. I felt like I was literally a lab rat. By the end of all these tests we discovered that I not only had the one giant tumor in my pancreas but I had one small tumor in my brain above my eyebrow, one in my neck inside the spinal cord and several smaller tumors further down my spinal cord. These are tumors that are different from the Neuroendocrine tumor in my pancreas.
So basically, I have two different types of cancer. Awesome…
as if having one type of cancer isn’t enough. Our obvious decision was to deal with one thing at a time. My abdominal surgery would be primary concern as the tumor was taking over my entire body, restricting and distorting all of my organs. The plan was to perform a Whipple Procedure to remove the tumor. This procedure would remove the tumor and the part of my pancreas that it was attached to along with removing my spleen and gallbladder. They would also remove part of my stomach and intestines, reconstruct the bile duct and portal vein which is the main vein that feeds blood to the liver. Our main goal was to leave part of my pancreas intact so I wouldn’t become an insulin-dependent diabetic from one day to the next. The surgery was was planned to take around 8 to 10 hours.
At 5 AM on October 20, 2015
I kissed my babies and their chubby cheeks as they slept so cozy in their bed. I had no idea what life had in store for me or if I would even survive the surgery so I softly touched their sweet faces and whispered into each of their ears, “Mommy loves you so much. I’m so proud of you and I will always be with you.”
I didn’t want to leave them. They were so peaceful. I wished time could have stood still forever but I wiped the tears off my face and I walked away not knowing if they would ever see me again.
Thank you for reading The Truth About Cancer: Part 3
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The Truth About Cancer: Part 3
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I’m going to backtrack a little bit here
I hadn’t been feeling myself for a very long time. In fact, I had been suffering from migraine headaches almost every single day for over a year. I had avoided doctors for as long as I possibly could. Of course, moms are always too busy to take care of themselves and I always seemed to have an excuse. Truthfully, I was afraid to know. Of course, it was always in the back of my mind but I didn’t want to know the truth about cancer.
Feeling tired and fatigued more than usual, I would see all my friends posting on social media accounts about working out, running, healthy living and having so much energy while I’m over here struggling to get out of my pajamas and feed the kids. I remember thinking “is this what thirty-something feels like? This can’t be right.”
At this point, I even sarcastically told a friend, “I feel like I’m dying”
It’s not so funny now, but at the time I looked completely healthy on the outside and even the doctor mentioned that I was probably just feeling “motherhood stress.” It was hard for me to explain my symptoms but I knew I just didn’t feel right. He suggested that I start with routine blood work and go from there.
Dr. F is quite a different character
You know, the type of doctor that is always in a rush and starts talking to you before he even walks through the door. He’s quite the “textbook” doctor who tells it like it is and walks out of the room. Dr. F always left me wondering if he actually answered my questions or if I forgot to even ask. I didn’t care for him much, but he was available and I needed a Doctor so I made that shoe fit. He said my liver levels were ridiculously high and that I needed further testing to rule out Liver Disease and walked out of the room. (Insert WTF moment here!) Naturally, I Googled…What is Liver Disease? Then I freaked out and thought I was dying of Liver Disease.
An ultrasound of my liver was ordered STAT
As I was laying on the bed, the tech turned her computer screen away from me and seemed to be attending to a certain area of my abdomen. She then started taking a lot of pictures and measurements. I curiously asked if she saw anything. She hesitated and stuttered, “your doctor will have to give you the results.” After the ultrasound was complete, I received a phone call from the clinic while I was leaving the parking lot. They said that Dr. F wanted me to go straight to the imaging center for a CT Scan of my abdomen. I went back inside for the orders. The orders read, CT Scan on abdominal mass. So much for, “your doctor will have to give you the results.”
After the CT Scan, the tech came out of the computer room with her eyes fixated on my abdomen. Her eyebrows were squinted with concern and her face looked like she was in utter disgust or in disbelief of whatever she was seeing on her computer screen. She asked, “does it hurt?” At that point, her eyes were even more fixated as she was trying to figure out how it was even possible to have such a huge mass inside my body. (Remember, I still haven’t been given any “results” yet from Dr. F.) Obviously, at that moment I knew… The Truth About Cancer.
Wait! Let’s back up, again…
I went in with symptoms of headaches and fatigue. What does this have to do with headaches?
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Okay, so here’s the Truth About Cancer blog
I wasn’t going to do it, but I realize this blog is sarcastically named after my “amazing life” and this is definitely a part of my life. Lately, I’ve had many friends tell me that I should blog about my journey through Cancer. I always smile in agreement that maybe one day I would but it’s taken me a long time to talk about what really happened. It’s taken me a long time to even understand what happened. In fact, no one really knows the horror that went on behind the scenes. Cancer is sad, gross and painful. It’s not funny or sarcastic. Cancer is an asshole and the truth is ugly. No one really wants to hear the truth about cancer. This is The Truth About Cancer: Part 1.
The Truth About Cancer: Part 1
When someone asks, “how are you doing?”
The automatic general response is to always say, “I’m good! How are you?” I know that most people ask how I’m feeling with complete sincerity in their hearts but to this day, I’ve never given an honest answer. No one expects for you to say, “oh I feel like I’m literally dying and the pain, vomiting and diarrhea are unbearable.” It’s really hard to be honest when the truth is so ugly. Most people knew I wasn’t okay just by looking at my 90 pound body, but to get through the small talk I had to come up with my own honest truth. So, if you’ve ever asked me how I’m doing I probably said, “I’m getting stronger everyday.” That was quite truthful and probably the only thing that I could say that was not horrifying and awkward. I wasn’t good or fine but I was getting a little bit stronger with each day past. Plus, that’s what people want to hear anyway… No one wants to hear the truth about cancer.
On September 11, 2015 I was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer.
My exact diagnosis at that time was, “you have a giant tumor in your abdomen. I don’t know what kind and I don’t how long it’s been there but it’s big and it’s probably cancer.” Then he started to choke up and walked out of the room before he lost his composure. I sat there staring at the wall in disbelief. Disbelief that this was happening. Disbelief that my family would have to go through this and disbelief that there could even be a tumor of such a magnificent size inside my tiny body.
How do I tell my parents? Am I going to die and leave my 7 and 2 year old without a mom? I wasn’t done mothering them. I wasn’t done with life. There was so much more I needed to do… I wasn’t done… And, what about my husband who was sitting next to me in complete terror?
My eyes welled up with tears but I wouldn’t let them fall.
I couldn’t talk or move. My heart was beating through what felt like an empty chest but I couldn’t let him see my emotions. I didn’t want him to think I was weak. If I held back my tears then maybe it wouldn’t be so hard for him. On the way home, he told me it was okay to scream and cry if I wanted, but I refused.
At that moment, I decided that I wasn’t going to fight this battle through pity. I knew I wasn’t the first person to have cancer and I wouldn’t be the last. I wasn’t going to feel sorry for myself and I didn’t want anyone else to either. On the other hand, I did feel sorry. I felt sorry for my family and my friends. It’s not fair to them. It’s not fair that they have to see this and feel this. My heart hurt so bad for them. This is just not fair…
This is the The Truth About Cancer: Part 1…Click here for Part 2!
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So, is your kid entitled? What does this mean? This means that we are raising kids that have a “sense of entitlement”. They think they have the “right” to anything and everything they want without having to earn it. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself that go along with the article: Am I Raising An Asshole?
Do your kids have way too much shit?
Toys, toys and more toys! Do they have every single action figure and all the princess dolls ever made? (yet, they only play with the ONE favorite.) 37 pairs of shoes, 13 sippy cups, tablets, cell phones, video games, Netflix, Amazon Prime, all the apps, hundreds of books they never read because they’re always playing on their tablets and watching TV…. All this for two kids?! (I’m talking from personal experience here.) I always ask myself, why do two little people need so much shit? Is your kid entitled?
You feel like you are jumping through hoops to entertain your kids at all hours of the day! Stop it. They always have to be going places! They want to to be at the movies, restaurants, bowling allies, shopping malls, the farmers market, festivals and every local event happening in town (Damn those pop-up carnivals on the side of the highway!!) and when they see things they want; they have to have it! (and, you get it but you’re still complaining that they have too much shit in the first place!) So, is your kid entitled?
Life doesn’t have to be this difficult.
Get rid of shit! I promise you, they won’t even know its gone. Limit time on devices or use them as a reward for doing their chores. (Chore Chart) Chores should be rewarded and not paid for because when they grow up no one is going to pay them for doing their own dishes or cutting their own lawn. My kid tells me all the time, “I should get paid for this.” My response is, “We do. We feed you.”
Don’t be afraid to make them work for things they want. Teach them what business is and have them earn their own spending money. They will quickly learn the value of a dollar and it will give them something else to do rather than play video games. It will also give them a sense of accomplishment and pride in themselves. You can also use it as a learning tool to teach them about reading, math, accounting, people skills and so much more.
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Dear Perfect Parents,
You are raising an asshole. I know it’s hard to hear and none of your friends will tell you but it’s true. Is your kid always throwing a raging fit until they get what they want? Are they running your life? Have you ever stopped and asked yourself, “am I raising an asshole?”
I know that discipline is a touchy subject for a lot of people but lets talk about it anyway. Most people who get offended by this are probably the people raising assholes anyway. People today are terrified to discipline their children. Kids don’t know what consequences are anymore, they are entitled to everything and there are absolutely no boundaries between right and wrong. (Is Your Kid Entitled?) I understand that kids will throw a tantrum every now and then. They push their limits to see how far they can get. They get cranky and emotional when they are hungry or need a nap and that is totally understandable but kids shouldn’t be assholes all day long! How can you even enjoy your kids when they are demanding, bitching and complaining all the time?
Now I know a lot of parents will be offended by my words but the bottom line and my main objective is to remind you that you are raising a human being. That human being will one day be an adult human being and if you allow them to be asshole kids; you’ll have raised an asshole adult.
My mom said it best one day when I told her I was terrified of her when I was a kid. We never wanted to make mom angry! She said, “It wasn’t fear, it’s respect. Kids don’t know the difference but they figure it out. Are you afraid of me now?” The truth is, I completely respect her and yes I am still a little bit frightened by my mother. Her point is this, you have to teach them the difference between right and wrong which they don’t understand yet. However, they do know what they like and don’t like and if a little bit of fear is the vehicle you need to use in order to teach them consequences; then by all means use it. Absolutely and by no means am I encouraging any kind of abuse here whatsoever! Get that straight!
But seriously, continuously saying, “No, honey. Don’t do that. That’s not nice, sweetheart.” in that soft-mono-toned-non-aggressive voice is quite ineffective, annoying to the general public and your empty threats are a joke. If you threaten to do something, do it. Otherwise, you’re wasting your own time. These kids are running the show and we need to take back the reins! Can you imagine the next generation of a bunch of assholes? People always ask, “What is this world coming to?!” The answer is: A bunch of assholes. The world is coming to a bunch of assholes. Stop it. Seriously, ask yourself, “am I raising an asshole?”
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An open letter to my beautiful children,
I hope that when you read this letter you will have had children of your own to fully relate to what I’m about to say. Being a parent is the most liberating experience you will ever have in your life. You will discover feelings that you’ve never felt before and there will be no words to ever explain them. It will be the happiest and possibly the most difficult time of your life. If and when that time comes, you will quickly learn that you now possess some kind of anxiety disorder. There’s no doubt about it; parenting is a bipolar disorder. Period.
Parenting Is a Bipolar Disorder
We all see these amazing (and beautiful, I might add) family photos on social media all the time! These photos and posts about our wonderful kids are absolutely beautiful! They make us smile and get a lot of “likes” and “comments” on our pages. We enjoy seeing these highlight posts from our friends everyday and we enjoy posting them ourselves. It’s a way for us to preserve these beautiful moments so we can look back on them in the future. However, can you imagine what our Facebook pages would look like if we posted every single event that happened throughout our entire day? (I know some people who actually do that. Stop it.) However, life is real and not even close to being the perfect picture we paint on Facebook or any other social media. Truthfully, mommy’s tired! I’m tired of picking up your shit off the floor and then picking it up again! I’m tired of doing the dishes just to make a dinner that you probably won’t eat to make more dishes that will need to be done again. I’m tired of folding laundry, wiping butts in the middle of dinner time, finding the other shoe just so you can kick them off as soon as you get into the car. I’m tired of you fighting your nap time when you are clearly tired and hearing you bitch and complain about everything. I’m tired of watching nothing but kid shows on TV, having an audience in the bathroom and having absolutely no personal space. In fact, Mommy Needs a Drink right about now but I wholeheartedly promise you that every cute moment and all the adorable things you do will be shared proudly on all social media outlets because you are the best thing that has ever happened to me. You give me a reason to live and I love you more than you will ever know.
There will be a day when I look back at all the things you did and laugh at the anxiety you gave me. I will miss these days. I actually cherish them. Even now, as you are sitting in time out at this very moment (while I’m writing this blog post) because you cut up our family photos with safety scissors. This time will pass and mommy loves you like a psychopath. So if you’ve ever wondered what drove mommy to insanity; just remember it’s all your fault because parenting is a bipolar disorder.
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If you are looking for 7 secrets to wedded bliss; you’ve come to the right place! First, lets get this straight… On the day you say “I do,” you are promising someone that you will love them unconditionally for the rest of your life… Like, forever… That’s so beautiful….
So really, by definition of “unconditional love” you are promising that (no matter the circumstances) you will deal with someone else’s bullshit for the rest of your life. Like, forever… Let that soak in for a minute… Your almost ready for the (sarcastic) 7 secrets to wedded bliss!
This means you are going to have to wait for her to get ready. And then she’ll get ready again. She’ll change her outfit three times and then she’ll change back into the original outfit she had on an hour ago. Just shut up and deal with it. Then you’ll head out to the same restaurant you’ve gone to every week for the last 10 years and order the same steak and beer, because you both can’t ever agree on a different place to eat. She’ll spend too much money, she’ll forget to pay a bill every now and then and her cooking will probably never be like your mother’s. She’ll get pissed off at you because you’re so damn annoying but just shut up and deal with it.
You’re going to have to pick up his shit, wash his underwear, ask him what he wants to eat 80 times a day because he says, “I don’t care.” You’ll make a suggestion and then he really doesn’t feel like eating that. But he said, “I don’t care” when in fact, he really does care! You’ll watch hunting, fishing, zombie and viking shit on TV every day for the rest of your life…
BUT at the end of the day, you love each other unconditionally and that’s all that matters!
7 Secrets To Wedded Bliss
- Don’t be an asshole.
- Communication is NOT always the key: Sometimes, knowing when to shut the hell up is way more valuable than dragging out an argument. (Of course, communication is important too!)
- Pick your battles: Seriously. Not everything has to be a drawn out argument. When you start picking your battles, you realize you kinda don’t give a shit as much as you thought you did. Nagging is so annoying that you should be totally annoyed with yourself if you can’t shut the hell up over the little things.
- Get over it: If it’s not something that will define the rest of your life together; just get over it. You will piss each other off but no one is perfect. Don’t expect an apology every time. No one needs to be sorry for their genuine feelings. Just get over it!
- Put up with each other’s bullshit: Like, all of it. You married it. You deal with it.
- Don’t ask me where I want to eat if you are not willing to eat there!
- Remember why you love each other: There’s obviously a reason why you wanted to spend the rest of your life together. Always remember what that reason was and go back to that. Always go back to that.