Monday, June 11, 2012

Celebrating my year of Remission

It's been a whole year that this girl has been in REMISSION!

At the 2012 Relay for Life
One year down, four more to go and I'll be cured from cancer :)
I really can't find a better way to celebrate my year free of cancer than going to Relay for Life.  How crazy is it that literally a year ago to the day I found out I was in remission and now I get to celebrate it at an event like this?!?!
Last year I had an awesome team and supporters that brought some tears to my eyes as I walked that survivor's lap this year and remembered how they gave so much to help me give back.  I then remembered how the tornado pretty much leveled our site and how we were all huddled in the agriculture building praying it wouldn't be ripped apart. :)  But it was still my very first Relay I ever attended and will now be a wonderful tradition that I hope I can continue to attend.  It was a big part of my cancer story.  Sometimes I wonder if my cancer story really matters, why I put a year of my life in such detailed writing and continue updates every now and then.  But after I read this from someone else's cancer story, it made me understand why I did it...

You must realize that just as virtually every person in the world is a unique individual, no two people given the same diagnosis will have exactly the same treatment, even from the same doctor.  Nor will their outcomes be the same.  So if your aunt or your sister, your mom or your neighbor had breast cancer, her story will be far different from mine....So why should another story be told? Because each one is unique and when the battle is won against the odds, the telling of it may give one other person the courage to face their own battle.'

So my story, my survival story, was told through a blog called The Pursuit and continued on to show that I'm not taking this life for granted.  I feel like I am able to wrap up this first year in remission and head forward with new goals.  I did a lot this past year...I tested my leadership abilities, traveled the country and beyond like crazy, encouraged my inner fine arts, unleashed my healthy beast within, tackled my health challenges head on, and challenged myself in ways I wouldn't think were possible...but like it says is true, God will never give you what you can't handle.  I've found that through different struggles this past year that time heals all wounds, prayers works in ways we might not see in the moment, and making a vow 'in sickness and in health' still holds true in health.  I'm glad that through the significant times in my life, like those with cancer, the first thing I leaned on way my faith...and that I am still leaning on that through the 'typical days'.  Through everything, I continue to try to deepen my understanding of God's unconditional love for me and continue to actively listen for what it is God has planned for me :)
Another little thing that puts this year into perspective (and hopefully the years ahead!) is a short conversation I had with my parents at my nephew's t-ball game.  I told them that I have a pretty amazing opportunity that could be coming up next summer, and when I explained it to my dad he said 'Why? The person over there isn't going to come up and ask you if you've ever done this, so why?' (side note: my Dad is completely supportive as you all know, he just likes to see the whole picture and this question was perfect :)  And my answer to his question was this simple...'It's not for them dad, it's for me.'  I've learned this last year that when you start living your life for you, you will find so much more satisfaction and contentment in this crazy world.  Cancer helped me to be more of that person.  So I look forward to this next year...may it be filled with challenges that will teach me new insights, happiness like I've never experienced before, and those quiet moments at the end of the day to thank God for another day to LIVE.

Monday, June 4, 2012

I'm a Warrior Chick...who just completed the Warrior Dash!

Remember how during cancer I was a Warrior Chick?? Well, now I completed the Warrior Dash...and it was an absolute blast! Ask me a year ago and I probably would not have said that.  But since I have been on this healthy eating/work out kick, I have had more energy and strength than I have ever had in my entire life! So why NOT do the Warrior Dash with some of the other strongest women/men I know?!  I mean if you are married to a firefighter, you have to be pretty tough yourself, right? So that's what we did.  Andrew and some of the other firefighters did the Tough Mudder (a 13 mile course where you run through mud and other insanely ridiculous obstacles) in April, so some of us wives did the Warrior Dash (with the great accompaniment of our handsome firefighter husbands too :).  Warrior dash is a 3.5 mile course that has lots of different obstacles, like climbing up walls, crawling under barbed wire, running through fire, and army crawling through mud, just to name a few.  It was a test of strength and mental toughness and we had an absolute blast doing this as a group.  The weather was great, the mud was gross, and I even have some warrior wounds from going through the creek and sliding off a rock.  Nothing too major though dad. ;) But I tell you what, after all of my health crap this past was powerful to overcome something like this.  I had some family members in a tizzy for sure, but I didn't care.  You live once, and now I have a memory (bib tag and medal too!) to look back on and see how much I have over come. Despite my fear of getting cancer and my neck and spine getting worse as I age, I won't let that get in my way of Living. You can not let limitations stand in your way.  You have to work to fight through them and keep going.  Maybe one day I will be in my wheelchair, but until then, at least I can say I had fun in the mean time!  You know this whole blog has been about a Pursuit...I'm finally living the Life that I was always meant to live.  And I couldn't be happier to take risks, succeed or fail, and then keep on God be the glory for this life after cancer.
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 4:20
My partner in Life and I before the Dash

These five ladies are a force to be reckoned with!

After the Warrior Dash, a bit dirty :)

Another one of us after the race

The ladies and the gents'


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Just another day in paradise...

 Today is National Cancer Survivor's Day and I am so glad I am a survivor because I just came back from paradise!

Dreams Palm Beach Resort - Punta Cana

A palm tree that was right outside our balcony
Over Memorial Day weekend, one of my very first friends I ever had got married in the Caribbean!  I can honestly remember Mandy at my 2nd grade birthday party and us getting into trouble because of our blue mascara in Mrs. Cornwell's class, then in Mrs. Lane's class, and again in Mr.Renner's stories with Mandy go on and on throughout middle school and high school.  She then went to college in Missouri and our emails/calls and holiday Fat Jack's dates kept us in touch throughout the years.  I was so glad to be able to celebrate her big day as she married her love, Vince Chamov, in the Dominican Republic at Punta Cana.  Here's our vacation through some pictures...

The airport we flew into at Punta Cana.  The weather was perfect there, even cooler than it was in Ohio!
Oh yes, my adventure began when I found out there was a monkey on the my last day I finally found him!

Our tropical room in paradise
Our building where all the guests stayed

One of the MANY gorgeous views at the resort
Ocean front resort lead straight to the Caribbean!   The hours that we weren't on an adventure or doing wedding things, we were at the beach and pool!  I got some good sun, a little burned the first day...but I call it my base tan ;) 

My travel adventure buddy Kayla and I on the white sandy beaches!  

On our snorkeling excursion with like 35 others that were there for the wedding! This boat was a blast!

The view as we headed out on our Deep Sea Fishing adventure!


It's not a marlin like we had hoped for, but a Mahi Mahi will do!

Good Job AJ!  We named him Bo after a beer that's in the Caribbean

And then we ate him!  Josh and Andrew took Bo back to the resort's Seaside Grill restaurant and they cooked him and served us.  It was SOOO good!
Just another day at the pool with the ladies

The Conner/Chamov wedding on the beach
Where the wedding and reception took place...The Jellyfish Restaurant

A beautiful wedding!
Mr. And Mrs. Chamov!
The Lima boys chilling before the reception
A little cocktail hour before the reception

He thought he could crack a coconut I guess :)
My hubby and me of almost 3 years :)

In Bulgaria where Vince in from, they have a tradition of breaking bread at the reception, whoever gets the bigger piece is supposed to be the leader of the house.  I think it was a tie :)
Lots of dancing, lots of laughs, was a perfect night to end our vacation.
 We have this tradition among the 4 of us...we always get a picture of us as our weddings...

Here we are in 2008 at Tara and Josh's wedding

Here we are in 2009 at my wedding

And here we are in 2012 at Mandy and Vince's wedding...our last picture will be taken this fall at Kayla's wedding!
I can't wait!  :)
Everything went perfect for this trip - the whole itinerary was just filled with fun wedding activities and lots of relaxation.  I even forgot my camera so I thank Tara for loaning me some pictures and I'm glad I moved up to the age of smart phones...I got one for my 28th birthday :)  The only bump in the road was our trip back...without going into details (cause I'm over it now ;) our flight got cancelled and after one hour of sleep and many tears, I made it back to Ohio the next day in time to say good bye to my PM class on their last day of school.  I missed both of my classes End of The Year programs and was devastated.  But there wasn't anything I could do.  Well, the summer is finally here now and it's time for some more adventures to begin...Warrior Dash is tomorrow!