Saturday, May 21, 2011

I'm a mommy...kinda :)

Meet my babies...I mean birdies ;)

I was a little nervous because 3/4 eggs hatched during the night, but around 7:00 pm, the last one hatched...I can't wait to watch them grow, I love seeing signs of spring besides RAIN!

So God must have heard my maternal desires, because Andrew found this nest in our bushes outside my window and I was filled with so much joy when I saw these 4 little eggs! I've checked in on them every day, and then when I woke up this morning to check on the eggs, I saw these 3 little beauties :) It was great timing because after babysitting my 5 year old niece over night, I needed a reminder of the cute baby stages in life ;) Parenting wasn't meant to start at 5 years old I have discovered. When you go from not having any kids to a 5 year old, I was exhausted as I was thinking of anything and everything to keep her entertained! I was just thinking 'This is why parents have babies that sleep 21/24 hours a day in the beginning days of being a parent...' Luckily, she is the easiest little girl to please and I loved spending time with her. Love ya Chlo-bear :)

Oprah - 'Everybody is acting at the level they know, and when they know better, they act better.' So this phrase popped into my head last Friday after physical therapy. I went away Friday with my head held a little higher. There is this one exercise in the pool that is really hard to do, but on Friday, I conquered it and my therapist said its because I am building up my strength. I was discouraged in the beginning of therapy because I wanted to be able to do this exercise because it seemed so simple, but really, how could I be good at it if I'd never done it before? The fact that I didn't give up and really worked at it, gave me a peak at a confidence that has been hiding for a long time. I am really hard on myself. I don't like failing, yet I don't ask for help either. How am I supposed to learn in life if I don't ask for help on the things I can't do or don't know? I mean, we all make mistakes, I know I'm not the only do we learn if we don't make mistakes? This experience on Friday has shown me that I have to start taking chances and asking questions so that I can succeed at so many more things in life. Also, knowing that I am loved by God just the way I am because of grace gives me the freedom to keep moving forward and learning from my mistakes, while not feeling guilty for not being 'good enough' at the things I do in life that are challenging. So even if I don't get relief from all this physical therapy and all I get out of this experience was a confidence restored, I'll take it.

Proverbs 12:15 'The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice' Gotta love the book of Proverbs...gets me everytime! ;)

P.S. My hair is growing SUPER FAST and I'm not putting up a recent picture of me because I look like Mike Seaver from Growing Pains...I need a hair cut :)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

PT time and Hannah's story!

Hey all!

This past week I started physical therapy, FINALLY! After I went to the neurologist, I wanted to wait until after most of my ETR/IEPs were done because I wasn't sure how my body would react to the therapy and wanted to make sure I had the energy to complete these long reports. So I went on Tuesday to my consult appointment at the Lima Memorial Wellness Center. I've done everything through St.Rita's Medical Center for my cancer, but when I had therapy on my knee at the wellness center, I really liked the equipment and pool. So at my consult appointment on Tuesday, my physical therapist seemed really knowledgeable. After I gave her my medical history, she said 'You're a complicated case aren't you?' Like I haven't heard THAT before! There were 4 different kind of therapies my neurologist advised, and the PT let me know that she didn't want to use one because it increases blood flow and could cause the cancer to come back...glad she was knowledgeable! She then wanted to refer me to her colleague because of the syrinx (At this point, I'm tired of being referred to someone else. Since the beginning of this in March, the radiologist referred me to my cancer doctor, who referred me to my family doctor, who referred me to my neurologist (who's also consulting with a neurosurgeon), who referred me to a physical therapist, who then referred me to her colleague who specializes in micro-something therapy, they are afraid to touch/hurt me because of the syrinx I think. Which is good I guess...but I'm kinda ready for someone to just take the plunge and fix me!
So I went back on Thursday prepared for a therapy session, but we just talked more and tried to figure out a plan of attack. We decided that for now, we will only do the aqua therapy and stretches that only I do without them touching me. We will try this for a few weeks, evaluate my pain, and then try other therapies that involve heat/cold, ultrasound, and message therapy. So early on Friday (I have therapy 2 times a week at 7 am....yawn...) I started in the pool. I actually enjoy the therapy, I love my baths because it relaxes those muscles, and the pool is 90 degrees, so it feels really good as I do the therapy. Then I moved on with the other PT and did stretches for my back. I went back to work having all this done and I was sore...then had a headache the rest of the day. Today, I'm not too sore, and really don't have relief yet from the pressure on my back. But we will keep this up for a few weeks and hopefully I will start feeling better.

On a brighter note, in just 2 more weeks I have my CT scan to see if the cancer is still gone! If it is I will hear remission! They best part is I meet with my oncologist on June 9 to go over the results and hear that golden word, and the next day is the Relay for Life event! What a way to celebrate (hopefully!)!!! Please come and celebrate with me!

Meanwhile in my life that doesn't involve doctors, I have been so happy to see the sun and 80 degree weather! We opened up the pool, went to a mother daughter banquet with all the girls in my family, and celebrated mothers day in Ft.Wayne with Andrew's mom and bro/sis. Then went to the lake and took the boat out for the first time this was THE BEST! But I really learned something on Mother's Day. Unlike any other Mother's Day, my heart felt empty. We went to church on Mother's day, and the sermon was about Mothers...especially Hannah in the bible. I was teary eyed as we read her story. But I learned a lesson from Hannah (1 Samuel 1-2) about commitment and faith- her story in the bible is remarkable to me.
She was married to a man with two wives, one wife could have children, but Hannah could not (the Lord had closed her womb) and she was mocked and called a failure. The thought of having a child consumed her life, but instead of letting her bitterness drive her away from God, her desperation led her to rise above her circumstances, take courage and pray strongly for a child. She prayed and vowed to give the child back to God if He blessed her with her own child. God remembered her and she had a child, Samuel (who later became a great prophet in Israel). Hannah praised God and remembered her promise...she gave her son back to God when he was three. Hannah is such an example for me. In our bitterness and anguish in life and its circumstances thrown our way, we should take it all -all the tears-and take it to God in prayer, because prayer is our direct line to Him. We can cry and be bitter about the crap life throws at us all we want, but I choose now to go to God in prayer first because God is the only one who can truly satisfy us in this life. Hannah is a remarkable woman, listen to her prayer she says after giving Samuel back to God...
"My heart rejoices in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord.
I smile at my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation.
No one is holy like the Lord, for there is none besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God." (I Samuel 2:1-2)
Now there is a woman of God. A life filled with pain and persecution, who goes to God for help, He blesses her and she still remained faithful and gave her prized possession back to the Lord. Wow...that is commitment and knowing that God really is the only thing that satisfies. And the story gets better, God did not forget her faithfulness and He blessed Hannah with five more children.

Remember that each person recorded in the Bible is a living example to us, not a dusty old cardboard character long dead. There are Hannah's in the world today and there are purposes of God yet unfulfilled. Maybe he has "closed the womb" for a purpose. Maybe he is looking for desperate ones. Maybe he is longing to release another Samuel on the earth. Barrenness may yet produce fruitfulness in any one of our lives. If we are as "ordinary" as Hannah we can partner with God to produce results that are extraordinary for our own times.
-Hannah's Cupboard

Dear God,
Thank you for Hannah and her story of brokenness turned to fulfillment because of You and prayer. I want a child someday, I'm not as desperate as Hannah at this point, but when the time comes when I do start to feel bitterness inside me, I will remember to pray. I know that You search this earth to support those who's heart is completely Yours (II Chronicles 16:9), so when the time comes, please remember me and bless me with a child that I can raise to teach others about this God I know. Lord, I've learned that when I pursue You, that's when I will find contentment. Just like I did when I was in my battle with cancer, I pursued You, God, and was more content than I had ever been in my entire life. So I will do that again, Lord...I will keep pursuing You in prayer and keep finding that You are good no matter the outcome. Amen

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Surprise


(Notice the purple and lime green for Lymphoma awareness ;)

Yes, I may just have the best family and friends a girl could ask for :) Not only did I get my new cowboy boots for my birthday...I got my 'I beat cancer' celebration party too!

Here's the story...
I knew when I heard 'disease free' I wanted to celebrate and what better day to celebrate than on my birthday! So as I was planning my party, it just seemed like nothing was going my way...It fell right in the two busiest weeks of work, it was cold and basically rained everyday for a month straight, our house wasn't finished, and people were going to be out of town (yes, excuses they all gave me knowing I had a surprise party awaiting me). So I cancelled my party...knowing I'd be around because I kicked cancer's butt, I postponed it until the warm days of summer and knowing the Relay for Life event would be a great celebration day as well (yes, you should all come to the fairgrounds on June 10 at 6pm - June 11 til noon to celebrate Life!). So I was really pumped up as my parents said 'Lets go to Japan West for sushi' on Saturday, the day before my birthday. So as we were headed out, my parents needed to drop off something at my sisters house and all the dad pulled into her drive way and started beeping the horn. I was like 'Dad! Don't beep the horn that many times...this is Lima!' But before I knew it, I heard SURPRISE!!!

That's when I saw all these legs underneath the garage door! I was really shocked...then even more shocked when the first person I saw was my friend Amy who was wearing a bright yellow shirt because she lives in Texas! Then I looked around and saw some of my very best friends, closest family, and coworkers, I was just stunned. Over 40 people were there to wish me a happy birthday and give me my 'I'm cancer free' celebration party. I have the best friends and family.

Here's me finally figuring it out that I'm not going to Japan West for sushi, and that it was actually a party for me! Now if any of you know me, I am all about a party, but I hate being center of attention. At my wedding, I was about sick the entire time until we got to the Porter Pub and it was just my immediate family and a few others. But this was great, I knew everyone, the food was fabulous, and the LAUGHS we had was just icing on the cake! We had champagne for a toast and I wanted to say a great speech, but my mind went blank for an here is my toast now....

'You guys are some of the most important people in my life. This year wouldn't have been as successful as it was if I didn't have the support of the people there that day. From my grandparents who's prayers for me were unending, to my sister's support through jokes and wine, to my 'girls night out' with my girls in town, to friendships so old you are like sisters, to caring so much you'll fly in from Texas, to my coworkers who took on the stress so I didn't have to, to my brother and his friends for always bringing a party (even when I was all chemo'd up and making me laugh), to the most awesome of extended family that you are like immediate, to my parents for a love that is unconditional, to my husband of almost 2 years, you took on more than any man should...I am so proud to be your wife. I am proud of you for everything you've accomplished and the things that are to come for us. I am so honored to one day have a family with you and that my children will call YOU daddy. I love you with every piece of me AJ. And to God...for being my rock, my confidant forever, my forgiver, my saving grace. I would not be where I am today without you God and these amazing people you put in my life.

So here is to you, the people who care so much about me to have kept this all a secret, who took time out of your day to celebrate life, MY life...that I will never take for granted again. If I can repay you, here is my advice to you...Live everyday to the fullest because it could be taken away in a second. Live that life here on earth with the Lord as your wingman, guiding you in all you do, because there is simply no other way to do it. This year has shown me that I am not afraid to die anymore, because this is not my home, it's in heaven with the Lord Jesus because of His grace. See you there.'

Now, there were some people who weren't at the know who you are and you are still loved :)

(Sorry for the lack of pictures, I'm the photographer of the family and since it was for me, I didn't take the pictures. But lets just say there were some memories that were made that will be in our minds forever...'hang the rock' mom :)

The original Hochstetler we are Hefts, Gromans, and Nances :)

The love of my life, my best friend, the person God put here just for me to love and admire... my AJ :)

So once again, a sincere THANK YOU... and CHEERS to many many many more birthdays to come because I beat cancer and am living 'disease free' (man, I'm ready to hear remission soon :)