Happy New Year!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, we certainly did. A few weeks before Christmas Kobie came home from school with a letter he wrote to Santa asking for a real little puppy. He showed us and kept asking for a “real little puppy” over and over and over. He even had to buy a carrier for it when him and my mom were out shopping. SO for some unknown reason Santa caved and we now have a 9 week old Miniature Schnauzer named Sadie. I’m not sure who loves Sadie more Josh or Kobie! She is already extremely spoiled by Josh since they are home together all day.

We have all enjoyed spending the holidays together. Kobie went back to school this past Monday and I start back to school on Monday. I should graduate this year!!

I read a book today, “Five Lessons I Didn’t Learn From Breast Cancer (And One Big One I Did)” The author said in the book that she didn’t consider herself a survivor even though she was diagnosed, treated, and had been in remission for years. She said she didn’t consider herself a survivor because she didn’t have a serious brush with death. She said the term “cancer survivor” came from the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship and was overused. She said at what point do we term ourselves survivors, some people call themselves survivors as soon as they are diagnosed, some when they finish treatment, some when they do in remission. She said death had just sent her a “Thinking of You” card.

After finishing the book I asked Josh if he considered himself a survivor and he quickly said no. I asked him why and he said because he still had cancer. He asked me what I thought and I said heck yeah, I do consider him a survivor! He has survived cancer for over a year and 7 months, he has survived harsh chemotherapy, radiation, two brain surgeries one of which he had so much brain inflammation he lost his vision and ability to move his body before the surgery. For Josh I think that death had pulled into our driveway and parked the car. He has survived a lot that at times neither I or his oncologist thought he would!

Saturday will mark the one year point from the big seizure and second brain tumor, probably the scariest night of my life. If you go back and read our blogs from last year, on January 3rd I blogged about how thankful I was that our live was calming down and starting to be normal again and then just 6 days later it was turned upside down again, which is exactly why you should live each day as if it was your last!

The next update should be in a couple of weeks since Josh has a CT scan coming up in a couple of weeks along with a doctors appointment the week after that!!



Merry Christmas

santa-claus-clothing1 I just wanted to take a moment to tell everyone that I hope you have a very Merry Christmas, and a very safe holiday. The weather forecast is still early but so far, it looks like there’s a good chance to have a white Christmas here in the Rocky Mount/ Roanoke area. You know how the weather changes though! I know most of you will be traveling so please be careful. Also this Christmas, take a minute to sit back, and realize what the season is all about. It’s fun to shop, open presents, decorate, all of that fun stuff. Sometimes we get so carried away in all of the holiday hustle and bustle, that we forget the true meaning of Christmas. Embrace your family every chance you can, hug your kids, spend time with them, spend time with your family, love them and make them know that you love them. Be thankful that they are in your life, and be thankful for the non-materialistic things that you have in your life. Your health, and your family and friends. That’s what means the most. Possessions can be repossessed but love and true friendship can’t. Also be thankful if you have a house, food, transportation, a job, etc. There’s a lot of people who don’t.

Everything is still going good for me. I have been trying to keep myself busy by keeping the house clean, getting things ready for Christmas, etc. I went yesterday and seen one of my buddies, Sysy. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen her and it was great to see her. Anyway I just wanted to tell everyone Merry Christmas and have a safe holiday season!!



Thanksgiving

This post is a few days late, and I apologize for it. With the holiday, things just got kinda hectic and time passed me. This is my favorite holiday of the year, because Black Friday is the one day I look forward too all year round. It’s something about the thrill of getting up at 2am and heading to Roanoke to do shopping and be in the crowds. I love doing it and wouldn’t miss it for anything. Last year in 2008, I was actually trying to delay my first brain surgery for Black Friday. I told Dr. Harron that I wanted to postpone my surgery a week so I could go shopping. He said I didn’t have a week to wait, my brain tumor was growing too fast. So Friday morning comes around, and I went in for brain surgery. He kept me in the hospital until Monday morning, and let me out of the hospital. Friday morning, I was up at 2am and in Roanoke Black Friday shopping! I had ace bandages and all sorts of gauze wrapped around my head, just so I could be out in the crowd shopping. Talk about dedication! This year, Amanda had to work so things were a bit different. We did the normal Thanksgiving dinner just her, Kobie, and I here at home and had lots of food. I really enjoyed that since we didn’t have to go anywhere. I think it’s the first year we actually got to spend it as a family without having to go places. Then we went to bed around 8pm to get up early. We were done by 9am, and came home for Amanda to go to bed for work. We finally got the tree up tonight! 🙂

I just want everyone to sit back a minute, and think about the things in your life. Think about what surrounds you, what makes you smile each morning, what keeps you going. Think about what you’re really thankful for. I am thankful to be alive today. I am thankful that I have been able to kick cancers sorry ass this far, and be a husband and a daddy. I can’t let it take me yet. Too much is depending on me. 🙂 I am thankful that I found and met the woman of my dreams and was able to marry her. I am thankful that next week I can say we’ve been together 7 years (happy anniversary baby ;)), I am thankful that we have the most perfect little angel in the world, and that he’s smart, healthy, happy, and he is probably the best 5 year old kid you’ll ever meet. I am thankful to have some of the best friends in the whole wide world who have stood by me and cared about me. I am thankful for my family, I am thankful for YOU reading this, because you took time out of your day, to read my blog and check on me. Thank you. Thank you to everyone, and I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!



Latest CT results

It’s that time again, time for another CT scan! I went last week to get my CT scan, and for some reason this time I’ve been really scared of the results. I am always scared when it comes time for the results. This time, they didn’t do a scan of my head, which I am very unhappy about. With 2 2″ brain tumors developing in a matter of a couple of weeks of one another, I want a CT done and I want to know the results. I hate waiting. I’ve never liked to wait. Not on something this serious, but whatever.
I went and saw Dr. Shertz today to talk about my CT results. Everything still looks good according to imaging, the tumors are still stable, no new growth and no new tumors. My shoulder and side is hurting, I don’t know why but Dr. Shertz wasn’t really concerned with it, being that imaging was fine. I go back in January for my next set of scans, lab work, and office visit. At least I don’t have to worry about it between now and until after Christmas. I hope everyone is doing good, and gearing up for Halloween. If you know me, you know my favorite holiday of the year, is Black Friday. Even if I can’t get anything, I still like being out in all of the rush. It’s just fun. Ads are already out for Black Friday and I am excited about it. Hmm, let’s see, what else is new.. Amanda has the H1N1 flu right now, and hasn’t been feeling great. Dr. Sadaat at Smith Mountain Lake Family Practice (our family doctor) has given all of us Tamiflu to help us from getting it. I did discuss this with Dr. Shertz today, and he said that since I’ve been of chemo for a year that my bodys immune system is back to normal and if I get sick, I’ll be as sick as the rest of the general population.

I went to the UNC vs. Florida State game last week. It was a great game, and we were kicking butt up until the second half, when FSU came back and won 30-27. Oh well. We come to Blacksburg Thursday to take on the Hokies. I highly doubt we’ll be able to pull it off but who knows. As bad as we get beat sometimes, we do have one of the best defenses in the country! For all of you people who like to pick on me for being a Tar Heel, that’s okay. Basketball season is about to begin so guess what, it’s MY turn! My Tar Heels always make me proud in basketball. After all, we ARE the 2009 National Champions!.. Let’s just hope we can keep our strength this year. 🙂 That’s about all I have to say, but I am going to end this post with something from one of my very good friends, Brooke. These are her words of wisdom and I always looked up to her. Brooke, I love you and I miss you so much. I’m so thankful you’re out of your pain

BROOKE – Star City Roller Derby terror called GRRRR now skates in heaven 🙂

“Well Life’s always been crazy for me, but recently “shat” has definitely hit the fan…I believe God wants the best for me…I believe life’s not always fair and I certainly believe you can always make the best out of what’s handed to you and you create your situations..

This is my story and things you most likely didn’t know about me…I want everyone in my life to know…beware this is a long one.

My life’s always been pretty dang good…growing up I had two awesome parents I looked up to and always were there for me and did everything for me. A big family that were all hero’s to me and I loved very much…I played sports, went to a small Christian school had good friends growing up and went to church every weekend since I could remember…I was always a little dorky and never that smart, but hell I loved life!!! Everything was brilliant and innocent…I felt like I could do anything I put my mind to! EVEN FLY (when I was a youngin)!!

As I got older things got more confusing…I learned my parents weren’t perfect…the church had more problems than I thought was allowed…I wasn’t good enough for my friends I grew up with they eventually disappeared…I learned my “magic cape” would never make me fly…and I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin anymore…sure as hell couldn’t ever win a spelling bee much less get an A on my tests :op…I was lost…hurt, confused, frustrated wanting things to be back how they were…”perfect”.

As I grew into a blossoming young teenage lady I then figured I’d take control of what I didn’t understand and make my own reality…I thought I was so flippin smart!!!! GOD was I mistaken. Now, I am not gonna go totally into it, but I did some dumb a$$ ish …I am surprised I came out ok haha! I thought the dumbest people were cool…I thought smoking pot, and drinking made me an independent adult…Sex was this new cool toy I could play with and no consequences would ever come from it…I was a not so good person to say the least. I disobeyed everything I had learned and fought with my parents everyday it seemed…nothing was good!

I hated who I had become and thought my life was OVER! I wasted a lot of time and hurt a lot of people…honestly, I was searching so hard for the answers of life, I forgot what life was all about………simply just loving myself and life for what it is…relying on God to do what was best for me.
I had life going how I wanted it to for the past year…I started working towards a career I was loving…I was in love…I had good friends…roller derby…a nice car…healthy…I felt pretty and smart…I must admit I didn’t put trust in God…I didn’t have faith he’d do what was best for me…so I made all my own decisions and put faith in only myself…seeing a pattern yet? Yea…I am a stubborn hard head! If ya didn’t know that already ;o) I made some stupid decisions…I started trying to find God again when I realized I was lost and sad without him.

My life has now come to a screeching halt…I was diagnosed with cancer this past year and they can’t cure it. I have hundreds of little tumors in each one of my lungs…..one in my back and breast.. It’s the rarest of the rare. Only .6% percent of cancer patients have had it meaning there haven’t been enough studies on it for a cure and no treatments they have will stop it…so where does that leave me. Where does this leave my heart? Broken…my brain is full of questions, and my body wants to give up. Should I ever get married? Should I even think about children? Should I stop working as much and just enjoy life?

BUT the real question I got to ask is to God…what DO you want me to do? Will God heal me and show Himself to people through his power?…Will He use my life to do His work…is that why he put a time limit, so I would take him seriously? I am not sure, but I do know this…even though I have a time limit…everyone does…I was just lucky enough to find mine out so I can act now and stop wasting life like it’s always gonna be there…it’s not. Who knows I might die in a car accident tomorrow…but my point is not to think about death, but to celebrate life everyday that’s one thing I never did. I complained and cried about what I couldn’t understand and why God did this or didn’t do that…be positive ask God for peace and strength and live life the best to your ability…remember no one’s perfect ask for forgiveness and the ability to do better. You never know when you will loose a chance…only thing you can do is count on God even if you think he’s not there for you or done you wrong…open your heart and trust …Pray he’ll heal you and take away your pain.

Give your life to Him before you figure out you have none left. Don’t be like me and have to get a huge kick in the butt before you start to believe or do something to change your life. DO IT NOW!!!

Stop being so self centered and selfish… I believe that God could heal me, but honestly I think I know now why God has said no to me. He has let me learn how to be tough and to have the knowledge, so I can spread the word. Hopefully people will be wise and not make foolish mistakes like me…no matter how hard it gets the only thing that ever saved me was God….the only thing that gives me real peace is his love…I believe I am supposed to use this “tragedy” to spread his word.

God’s always been a mystery and put down a lot by most people these days…but the truth is we all have tried to take control, lost sight of God, and created our own “demons” within us that could really be anything… Doubt, fear, anger, sickness, “bad luck lives”, alcohol, drugs, sex…anything.

Do not fear the unknown…accept it and love and live…love everyone with a Godly understanding and heart……..read His book to find out who he really is for yourself not from you’ve heard all your life…believe he can do the impossible and hold tight to your faith!

I love everyone and I am sorry to anyone I have ever hurt…this was not intention…all I ever want is to show you the real me….who is stronger than I have let myself be!

Who knows…..I could be healed…watch my niece grow into a beautiful young lady (btw she is the best thing ever she’s definitely a gift from God), get married, have kids of my own, and grow old to have those “cool old lady hair dues”, and crazy grandkids 🙂 …but in the mean time I want to praise God and let everyone in the world know it…hopefully my disasters will bring others eternal life…and I’ll be just as happy…”



An update on life

It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update, and I know it’s overdue. I went to see Dr. Buck about 3 weeks ago, and he’s scheduled me for a head MRI in April. Dr. Harron wants to see me again in January. I go next week for another CT scan then the following week, to see Dr. Shertz to discuss the results. Thus far tho, my results have been good. No new tumors, and they’re not growing. That’s good.

I hope that everyone had a good summer, and had lots of fun. It’s fall again and time to wind down and get ready for Christmas, yay!

When I was diagnosed with cancer last year, I didn’t have anyone I could talk to about my disease that was my age. Sure, I could talk to Amanda or any of my friends, but nobody that could really relate to me. Right when I was diagnosed, there was a story on Roanoke.com about Brooke Smith and her diagnosis. I found Brooke on MySpace, and her and I started chatting. We had a lot in common. She grew up on the street behind the street that I grew up on in Roanoke City. We both also loved skating. We talked to each other about our cancer, how to cope, and all of the good things in life. Brooke really opened my eyes and made me see things the way they SHOULD be seen. She was the biggest inspiration that I had while I was at my roughest spots in my battle. SHE of all people, could relate to how I was feeling. New Years Eve 2008, Brooke, her friend Seth, and her sister Ashley met Amanda and I at Roanoke Civic Center and we all hung out and had a good time. Brooke was on crutches but she still got out there and danced, and had a blast with everyone. She made us have a real good night. Brooke went to Boston to do clinical trials to try and help her beat her rare form of cancer, but it was unsuccessful. She remained strong, remained having a strong faith and remained very close to God during her whole journey. Brooke was a real special friend to me, more than most people could imagine. Brooke passed away Friday, September 25th 2009.

Brooke, you’re with your daddy now, and you’re with God. You are in no more pain, and can be free of the disease once again. I love you Brooke, and will miss you dearly. I’ll catch you on the flip-side.



Just your average update

Hey everyone, it’s been a while since we’ve updated. That’s because frankly, there hasn’t been any updates. Last week, I went for a CT scan of my neck, chest, and pelvis. I saw Dr. Harron the same day that I had my CT scans done, and he said I was looking good, and he wanted to see me again in the middle of January. So I am done with him until 2010. I went yesterday for my follow-up with Dr. Shertz and for him to go over my CT results. Everything was good. The enlarged lymph nodes in my neck are gone, which is a big relief. We were scared they were new tumors but now we know they’re not. The nodules are still in my lungs, but they can’t tell if they’re tumors, or scar-tissue. Dr. Shertz said they looked like scar-tissue though because they were oblong rather than circular. That’s good! I can handle scar-tissue. The tumors in my spleen and liver continue to shrink. They haven’t shrunk much, but a little is better than nothing. There were also no new signs of any new tumors or regrowth of the existing ones. They did not do a CT of my head for whatever reason. I am having an MRI done of it in September though, from Dr. Buck. That’s my 6mo checkup with him. Dr. Shertz wants to space out my scans from every 2mo to every 3mo. So I go back again in October for my next CT and visit. Finally, everything is starting to look good for us health wise.

This has been a great summer for my family. We have got to do so much stuff with Kobie and had so much fun with him. We’re making up for lost time last summer when I didn’t even get to see him. We’ve taken him camping at Natural Bridge, taken him to the zoo at Natural Bridge and Mill Mountain, to the caverns and to the bridge. We have also done picnics in the park and I take him to the park and the school every few days so he can play. He loves it. This week, we drove up to Dublin to Randolph Park. If you have kids, I HIGHLY recommend going here. It’s an awesome park for both adults and kids. It’s a water park and it has tons of water stuff for kids, as well as a large water slide for adults.

Next week, we’re going camping at Jellystone in Arcadia. It looks like he’ll enjoy that also. He’s had a very good and exciting summer. Unfortunately, it’s going to come to an end soon, as the beginning of school is right around the corner.

This week, Amandas great grandpa, Henry Johnson passed away. Please keep the family in your prayers. The funeral is tomorrow, and if you wish to read the obituary, please click here.

Now, I will leave you with a smile. Despite what this post REALLY means, if you look at it lightly, you can get a good chuckle out of it. This was Amandas Facebook update yesterday.

I busted out laughing when she posted it, not realizing how it can be interpreted. 🙂 I hope everyone has a great weekend and be safe.

funny



Excitement

Tomorrow is the Relay for Life in Rocky Mount. Josh and I are very excited. Unfortunately Josh won 2 tickets to see Sugarland and he wants to go. However, we will be there for the survivor lap and will return after the concert is over! Josh will proudly be walking in the survivor lap. There have been a few times this year that we were not sure if he would be here for this so it makes this lap so much more special. I was asked the other day if he was allowed to walk since he was not truly because he was not cancer free, my response…why not? Has he not survived this past year? Absolutely! So he will be walking with or without cancer…he has survived the toughest year of his life, he deserves this lap and many, many more!

I am also excited to announce that I am in the process of being put on the bone marrow registry to become a donor! I have wanted to do this since we found out that Josh might need a bone marrow transplant in the future (before finding out that he would most likely be able to use his own bone marrow) but it costs $40 to get on the registry and I was never willing to pay for it since we already have lots of medical bills that need to be taken care of first but I recently found out that they were offering a special so I got to sign up for FREE!!!!! I know there are lots of people that need donors, if Josh was to ever need one and could not use his own bone marrow he would have to get a donor since his family is small and who knows if they would be willing or able to do it. Hopefully I can help someone out in the future!

I will leave with a saying I read on a card recently,

Don’t give up on hope because it never gives up on you!



Thank you to everyone at the benefit..

Hey there! I want to thank everybody for coming out to my benefit on Saturday. It was so much fun. On Saturday morning, I woke up and my best friend Stan and I went to the survivor luncheon at the Legions Club here in Rocky Mount. After that, we headed over to the country club to start setting up for the benefit. Then everyone started coming in. We had so much fun, and we got to see so many people, so many faces who have been keeping up with me that I have never met, some people I have not seen in ages as well, then of course my friends who I see quite often. There was a very good turnout. I didn’t know so many people knew me, or of my situation. Thank you for everyone who helped out! There was lots of great prizes given away at the silent auction, and some great food cooked up by the country club. I hope everyone enjoyed it! I want to say thank you to everyone who donated the auction items as well. It was a long, action packed day! Thank you again. One thought I want to leave with everyone, is on Mondays you always say “I wish it was Friday” or something along those lines. You always wish for a certain day. Don’t. Never wish your life away. Cherish every moment you have, with the people that are around you. Realize what you have in your life and hang onto it. I am very blessed to have the people that I do in my life. I am very happy and couldn’t ask for more. You all are the greatest people ever and I love each and every one of you. Several people have asked me for pictures so I posted them, you can check them out at
http://www.dreamscapetech.net/livestrong/benefit



CT results

Josh went to the doctor last week for a checkup.  The cancer center was really busy that day and Dr. Schertz seemed rushed.  He did a thorough exam on Josh but then didn’t really discuss the CT results other than saying everything looking “okay” which was okay since I always ask for the CT report anyway.  He drew labs, tumor markers and dilantin level which I still need to call and get the results of. 

We got the CT report in the mail on Friday since they were having computer issues on Wednesday when we were there.  The tumors have not grown any and there are no new tumors which is good.  However, several lymph nodes in his neck are enlarged which is bad.  This could either be caused by an infection or something more serious like the cancer beginning to spread again.  Josh is scheduled to have another CT in 1 month.

The benefit is this Saturday from 3-8 at Westlake Golf and Country Club, we hope everyone can come.  The pool will be open so everyone bring your bathing suit.  There will be a 50/50, silent auction, live music, and of course good food!



Our Disney vacation!

It’s a lot to post here in a single post, so you need to click the link on the side that says “Disney World Trip 2009” and it has pictures, videos, and other stuffs. Enjoy!!



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