Sunday, August 26, 2012

All things must come to an end...even summer :(

Summer has come and gone once again and before I knew it, I hadn't updated this Pursuit in two months! I wasn't so busy that I couldn't write, but I was simply Living day to day, remembering what it was like to have a kind of life again that didn't surround cancer. And what I have come to find out is that Life is as good as YOU make what are you waiting for?! :) Ok, let me catch you up on the highlights of my summer...
June was filled with many days by our pool (before it turned on us! It's a long story that still doesn't have an ending...) with the kids and bonfires and many trips to Ft.Wayne to see my new nephew! Wow is Zeke getting super cute and so big already! Lots of precious time was spent with my nieces and nephews and my new honorary niece from my bestie! Andrew and I celebrated our 3 year anniversary by going tent camping by ourselves for the first time together too. I wanted to do the Smoky mountains, but 'someone' said tent camping and bears didn't go together very well. And since I REALLY wanted to tent camp with him, we went back to Hocking Hills. It was still a great trip with lots of nature and down time...I did learn a few things though...1) you can't have two leaders putting up a tent 2) If you hike in the evening, you better know where you are going 3) Canoeing works much better when there isn't a drought going on and 4) no camping trip is complete without pudgy pies! Andrew also spent a lot of time updating our house this summer.  He trenched the yard so that he could put in city water, he framed in the windows in the whole house but two rooms, we painted the spare bedroom which is now the 'kid's room' and den, he is currently putting up new soffit and this winter he is tackling the remodeling of the basement...I'm tired just thinking about it! 
Lets see what else this summer...oh, right before we went to Marblehead for our annual family trip we got hit by a really bad wind storm, 90 mph winds for about 30 minutes did some real damage around here.  We had a tree fall that took out our pole and we were without power for about 4 days and it leveled our garden (but I actually liked the simplicity life had again when we were without power).  But the garden still did pretty good this year despite the drought we had out here.  We were able to get corn, green beans, sugar snap peas, squash, zucchini, and tomatoes.  We had to transplant the peppers and they are finally taking off now!  The annual family trip to Marblehead was fun as always (the kids even went tubing for the first time!) and this year I actually went out on the boat with Andrew and the guys for some 'serious' fishing.  Go figure there would be a heat advisory that day and I wouldn't take any Dramamine...but we did catch 100 fish before we went in...well, I caught a couple before the heat started messing with me! There was also lots of tball games to go to, family baseballs games that got very competitive, dinner dates with friends, going to the Reds game to see Andrew and the other LFD present the colors on the field, and lots of time to relax by the pool, read books, and try out new recipes...still working on trying to get a souffle to turn out right :(  But as soon as August came, it seemed like August went.

Pool days with the kids at Aunt Laura's house! This is before the pool started giving us fits :(
Chloe inherited my grandma's vanity since we transitioned our spare bedroom into the 'kids room'.  She had one condition...we had to play dress up :)

Me and my niece MaciMase - she was born the day I found out I had cancer and she signifies so much to me! I hope one day I get the chance to tell her about all my adventures that started the day she was born :)
And she just turned two and has finally started saying my name so of course, she gets anything she wants with her smile and hugs!
I can never have too many nieces ;) Me and Alaina's baby, Kendall
Zeksters at 3 months! Loved spending time with him this summer!

Andrew and Scotty digging the trench for the new water line

Our corn after the big storm

Hiking in Hocking Hills

Our canoeing trip! Notice the pink canoe...if you rented this one the money went to breast cancer research :)

Zip lining from 85 ft up!
Andrew and I on our last day at the Lake House
Our last family picture where everyone lives in sister Julie (in pink) and her family are moving to Mississippi this week.  This is the first time our family has lived more than 10 minutes apart from each other, so I can't talk about it yet because I'll start crying, so maybe later I will :)

Andrew and the Lima Fire Dept presenting the flags at the Great American Ball Park!  Andrew is the one holding the American flag!

Looking good out there! Go REDS!

And this picture makes me tear up...we had a little accident at Aunt Laura's house a few weeks ago.  We were outside having a 'carnival' and Cooper was running with his frisbee beside the house and Liam ran out of the garage to look for him.  Well, they collided at just the right moment when Liam stepped out of the garage and Cooper ran into his legs, knocking him off his feet and his head hit the concrete.  No blood (thank God, I'm not good with blood) but lots of tears. I took him right home to my sister who is a nurse and after two days in the hospital for observation and CT scan, he has a skull fracture and concussion.  It will heal on its own with time, but the poor kid can't play soccer this fall. Talk about a sick feeling in Aunt Laura's stomach.  Luckily they are still friends :)

I felt like the first few weeks of August reminded me way too much of my time with cancer than any other time since I've heard remission.  I was at the hospital in the month of August about as much as I was there when I had cancer.  I count my many blessings that my visits were only routine ones, but the sickness still sits in my stomach for the ones I care about who were there for days at a time. Throughout those days at the hospital, my chest was heavy as I knew my 6 month check up was near.  For some reason this check up scared me.  My chest had been heavy for weeks and the weight I lost last spring just hasn't come back (and it should at least a little because I'm not watching what I eat as much as back then).  So when I was in the office waiting for results, I told Andrew that this would be a turning point for me.  I knew that if I heard that the cancer had returned, that God still had a story left to be told.  But if I heard Remission, it meant that it was time to keep moving on and leaving the cancer world a little further behind me so that I could continue on my next adventures.  The doctor confirmed from the CT results and bloodwork that I am still in Remission and am able to continue with my normal life :) The pain in my chest is a mix of things he said- I still have a tumor in there about the size of a golf ball, but it is inactive (no cancer cells).  Also the B chemo meds did a number on my lungs and this summer hasn't been exactly an easy summer for people who have lung problems with the heavy air and allergies.  And I already know that when I worry, I hold all my stress in my chest, so much that it can be suffocating at times! That's why I need to keep my stress level at a minimum too...easy to say, a lot harder to do (side note: keep reading at the bottom about an experience I had that helps me move forward after failures and stress :)  The only negative part about my 6 month check up was that my bloodwork came back to show that my white cell count was at a 2, that's pretty low so I just can't be getting sick or I will have nothing to fight it off!  That was really nothing new to me because my white and red cell count is always all over the place.  So I feel like it is back to the good eating I go to help balance out this crazy unbalanced body.  I go back in another 6 months for another check up so until then, my story continues as the Laura in Remission :)

But the best part of the visit, is that I left there feeling different this time.  Like cancer really was becoming even more of a memory than a part of my life.  Which just means that it is time to move on with the values that the cancer pursuit taught me into a new season of life.  Fall is coming soon and it holds a lot of new adventures for me and Andrew.  I'm starting a new position at the ESC this year and after 8 years, Andrew has no more commitments to the Army and in no way will deploy.  Which just makes planning for a baby that much easier than the last 3 years and goes to show that it's not always our plan, it's His. He knew what He was doing because having a baby and cancer would have really tested us.  I love being able to look back now and reflect on how and why things happened at a certain time because of how life is turning out now.  God will once again show us His perfect timing in our next adventures of Life. :)

But I want to leave you on this eye opening experience I had in June...
I learned something while I was at the Franklin B. Walter teacher's award banquet in Columbus.  An older lady with disabilities sang the national anthem, and she messed up the words a little.  Yet after she was done, she still asked the director of the banquet if she could come back and sing again the next year.  If that were me, I would have crawled into a hole from embarrassment.  But we could all learn something from her...I wish I had that kind of courage that when I make mistakes I am that eager to confess it and try again.  I continue to search for who this Laura after cancer is and if it can be anything like her, I'll be proud.  I want to take risks and put good things out there, even though it means that I'm not a perfect person.  But no one is.  I'm human and I make mistakes, but I'm a work in progress just like everyone else.  So here's my challenge to you...don't be held back by your mistakes in Life. Confront it, learn from it, and overcome it.  That way you can continue to live the life we were meant to live...and share your story too.  Jonny Diaz sings it best for me...
There once was a King who so burdened with grief
Walked into death so that we could find peace
He rose up with scars on his hands and his feet
By them we are healed, by them we are healed.

So praise God we don't have to hide scars
Yeah we know his are covering ours
Praise God we don't have to hide scars
They just strengthen our wounds and they soften our hearts
They remind us of who we have been, but not who we are
So Praise God we don't have to hide scars.

So with being a little over a year in remission now, I am still marking things off my Bucket List each time I hear Remission...and this time, it's Encore.  I'm hoping to make my theatre debut since high school in December :)