Monday, October 11, 2010

One Inspiring Boy

Here is some inspiration for those of you who may need some today. I came across this story of a young boy who won "China's Got Talent" show. He was involved in an electical accident when he was 10 where he lost both arms and what you will see I hope will show you no matter what your situation God can use you and he has a plan for you. :) I know some of the video is in chinese but if you can just wait till he starts playing the piano and singing I promise you will not be un-impressed or un-inspired. Hope you enjoy this and it adds a little sunshine to your day.
Grateful for Each New Days He Gives,
Sarah :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"What Love Really Means"

Just a little video I felt led to share...hope it encourages you today as it did me :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

From Treatment to Therapy......

So here's a little update on my actual condition: 
I still receive my Herceptin treatment via IV every 3 weeks.  Its not bad at all....I'm tired afterwards but my hair is coming back and it doesn't mess with my stomach like the chemotherapy did and for that I'm every so thankful.  Here's a pic from my last treatment....I got bored and Jenny found a mask which I used for my latest character......CHEMO BANDIT!!! lol I also included pictures of me and my nurse Jenny acting Goofy at treatment.  And me and my friend Kat who was nice enough to go with me to my radiation and treatment one day.  We realized the best thing about treatment is.....the FREE FOOOD!!! :)

On another note I've been dealing with a slight case of lymphodema that developed in my arm a while back.  I was able to purchase a compression sleeve and luckily it removed the little bit of fluid that had accumulated in my arm.  However, the real problem began about a month ago after returning from my trip to Colorado.  I noticed that my right side was no longer fitting into my bras and had become red, inflammed, and painful.  I let Dr. Briggs look at it and he told me that it wasn't a  blood clot (great....not really what I was thinking but I'm glad its not one lol) and he didn't think it was infected.  He said it looked like the fluid from my arm had not accumulated into my right side and that was the reason for the swelling.  2 days later I went back to Marino Therapy Center for a few manual drainage sessions.  You see when you have lymphedema its kind of like a sewer system that back up where ever your lymph nodes used to be.  You dont' have that drainage system to help your body empty out the bad stuff like it once did.  The fluid goes into your capillaries which makes it impossible to remove the fluid with a needle.  You have to do different massage techniques to actually move the fluid back into the lymph capillaries that you still have in other parts of your body.  It's actually quite impressive how your body adjusts when you take part of it away.  Once you have been cut on as many people know you form scare tissue and for me it means that my arm is contracted every morning when I wake up....almost like I've been lifting weights.  This just means I have to do regular stretching everyday to keep it stretched out and I do drainage techniques I have been taught that will help keep the fluid moving. 
So about 1 week after my first few appointments with the therapy center I woke up to even more swelling and pain on my right now it was pretty obvious I had an infection.  I started on antibiotics and 48 hours after beginning them I awoke with alot of difficulty swallowing.  Breathing was not a problem but swallowing was very difficult to do.  After calling the doctor they determined I was having a reaction to the antibiotic and within an hour of getting the steroid pack I could feel the swelling in my throat go down. that wasn't so much fun but the good news is the infection is gone but the swelling is another story.  I am going about 2 times a week for therapy and wearing a sports bra and tank top made of almost 50 percent spandex.  You see the more pressure is applied to the area the better it helps remove the swelling.  So we will see if this removes the swelling in a few weeks.  If not there are other options but right now I'm praying this works....I'm just feeling a little lop-sided these days lol.  Here the best pic I have of what my sleeve looks like....even though I have my eyes closed you can see my pink arm ha ha. 
Thanking God for Each New Day,
Sarah :)

Just two little stories

Well I wanted to share two stories with everyone the first is a funny story from class. The other day the teacher came in and announced that we would be taking our school picture Ids that after noon. Of course all the girls started freaking out because their hair wasn't done. I mean I usually wear hats to class and a few people know that its b/c I've had I didn't really make any comments when every one started complaining about their hair. Then without thinking I let myself slip.......a girl sitting next to me takes her hair out of her pony tail and says "I haven't even had time to brush my hair this morning...its a mess" to which I said "Me with either.....dang my hair is messed up". Everyone burst out laughing and then there was an awkward silence. "Sorry didn't mean to make anybody feel bad I said...I"m just sayin...its just hair". In fear that I had just committed social suicide lol I did make sure the girls knew I was just making a joke and wasn't made of tryin to make anyone feel bad.And really my whole point in saying that was not for was just for girls to realize that hair is just that....HAIR!! And I hate that I've had to loose my to see that but even now that its coming back I can be honest and admit its still hard not to want to wear hats still cause my hair isn't long and flowing like all the other girls...but I'm slowly adjusting. :)

My second story is rather a hard one to tell but one I think I need to share. This week at work I got some devastating news from a customer and friend of mine. The woman I speak of we'll call "Jo" and she has been coming to the pharmacy almost as long as I've been there. We really got to know each other when I took a special interest in helping making sure her mother got the cheapest medications possible cause she was on medicare and couldn't afford many of her meds. Then right after I got diagnosed Jo was also diagnosed with brain cancer. She had tried many different chemo treatments and I was aware of the fact the doctors did not have much more they said they could do if these next chemo treatments she was getting did not shrink her tumors. So tuesday when I went into work and saw her sitting on the bench waiting on a script I went out to talk to her. She told me about her recent surgery and how they scrapeed some of the tumor off and relieved the pressure on her brain. She looked really great for having that kind of surgery and so I asked what they were gonna do now. She revealed to me an answer no one wants to hear. The surgery was all she had left and all they were doing now was keeping her comfortable.......the cancer had moved into spinal cord and was also on her brain stem...they told her she has only 6 to 8 months to live. And with those words my eyes filled up with tears as I reached out to hug her. Our embrace was not that of two strangers who only talked across the counter but now of two women who understood each other.....all I wanted to do was fix it and it was very apparent nothing I said or did was gonna change her prognosis and so all I had to give at that moment was a hug of love and of compassion. I dont' know if you've ever experienced talking to someone who has no more options.... There are simply no there were for me...only tears because I knew there was nothing at that moment I could say. Jo looked at me and told me (the one who was gonna make it and be okay) that I didnt' need to cry she was too mean to die anyways lol. In her time of need she was thinking of me and of course that made me cry more.

So here we are middle of walmart on the bench with two lines of people waiting to get perscriptions and I am boo hooing like a baby. I got myself together and told her I would do whatever I could to help her. She takes care of her ailing mother and expressed concern over what would happen to her once she's gone......and of course I cried again at the thought of how I would feel if I were dying and there was no one to take care of my mother.

How do u talk to someone whose dying....I struggle to find the words. I know you can't put God in a box...but I would be lying to you if I told you it didn't make me mad that Jo's time here on earth may be done soon and that I haven't prayed and questioned God as to why some people who are mean and dont' care about anyone but them selves get to live and others who only think about others have to die too soon. I trust in God but my flesh makes me want to rely on myself instead of him. It makes me want things my way...instead of trusting in his good and perfect timing. And it makes me want to know "Why?" right now......not later but makes me want it in my time...not his.

For Jo I want more time for her and want no suffering for her in whatever time she has left. I am making steps to help make this happen. People complain about the most trivial things in life and I know I'm just as guilty.....they don't feel good today....they feel fat.... their stressed over their wedding, job, pregnancy, etc......their hair looks bad.....they feel tired. I dont' say those things to call anyone out but to really put it all down on a level that will make you think.

I challenge you as I have myself to really think next time before you complain or get mad about anything. Think about whether what your mad about is really gonna matter when its all said and done. Think about how much you have to be thankful for...particularly the fact that you get to live another day. Life is so short and I feel like we all take it for granted and I hate that we have to see others struggle before we realize the blessings we have.   Here's a little video that really speaks to me in times like these when I don't understand things and it helps me remember God's still with us :)

School and Such

I've debated for a while whether to try and tell the story of what happened with me and school on my blog.  And I've gone back and forth with it about whether it really comes into play with my cancer but after alot of thought and after it has continued to play out into the treatment I have decided to share the story.  My hope is that everyone reads this and 1.)Never treats anyone one the way I was treated and 2.)  Learns what I learned all too late:  there are many people in the world who don't care about anyone but themselves and sometimes especially in programs like nursing you have to watch out for you and you alone because when it comes down to it the teachers really dont' care how much you care about the patients or how great of a nurse you are.....its all about numbers and the bottom line.  But don't mistake the fact that while you do need to watch out for yourself it should never get in the way of helping others.
So here goes
Last Year as many know on May 25, 2009 my father passed away from leukemia.  What you may not know is that I was enrolled at the time at Lincoln Memorial University here in knoxville and I was taking the OB class that summer and was scheduled to gratuate the following december.  3 weeks into the class was when I got the call that the hospital that dad was in major organ failure and the hospital had done all they could for my father and they were releasing him into hospice that day.  He last about 72 hours before passing away. After wards we had to plan the whole funeral and deal with everything that comes along with loosing a parent all while trying to pass my OB class.  By the time the class was over I was struggling with my dad's death and was having hard time studying and missed the 80 I needed in the class by 0.6 points.  I had re-taken a class when I first started the program but was taking one class at a time to make sure I wasn't putting too much on myself while trying to do school and work and to assure my success in the program.  I met with my teacher who initially acted like she wanted to help me only to say in the end "Maybe you need to do some soul searching" response was "I dont' need to search any where my father died....that's what happened".
I then met with the Dean of LMU's  nursing program,  Mary Ann Modercin, who told me that "Sometimes things happen to people like they get cancer and they don't pass our program and I really hate it for them but there's nothing I can do" and when I told her that the only reason I didn't pass was because my father suddenly died she responded with "Well also sometimes things happen to people that they consider important like their dog dies and they don't make it either.....and once again there's nothing I can do".  Now don't think I didn't respond and question the woman on the fact that she just compared my father's death to a dog dying and it was at that point she tried  to take back what she said and told me I misunderstood her. 
   My next step was the president of the school who was a very nice man and obviously wanted to help me.  However, I knew the problem would arise once he met with the dean.  It ended up I had send him a copy of my father's obituary to prove that my father actually died after the class began because the dean told him that he died before the class began.  After weeks of giving him all the information he requested I was told that he met with the dean and my teacher and they were not willing to help me because they were afraid I wouldn't pass the class if I tried to retake it, which I knew was just an excuse they were making because it was pretty clear from their words and actions before they could care less what happened to me.  The whole reason all this happened was because I was blind-sided by the death of my father.....if I had known that things were gonna go so down hill for him I never would have taken that class.  Well needless to say I was depressed and awstruck about the whole situation.  One semester from getting my RN and now I am forced to begin again.
Here I am tryin to finish my fight with cancer and I"m faced with a few heartless women and a program who is supposed to teach students to care for patients but have no compassion for the students they are trying to teach this too.  I knew I only had a few options because once your in one nursing other program in the state will look at you, though I should add the dean did tell me I could pack my things and go to another state and try there.  So after much prayer I decided to step down a notch and enter a 12 month LPN program. When I graduate in August I will be allowed to redo my last year in the nursing program and get my BSN.  Depressing, heartbreaking, failure are just a few words I can use to describe how I've felt.  Having to re-explain multiple times the heartbreak and pain of my father's death tore me down to my very core. And I wondered what God's plan could potentially be for me in all of this.  I can honestly say I hope no one ever treats these women like they have done me if they ever experience anything like what I have.
A good friend told me to remember that God puts us where he needs us to work and that I needed to remember to not look at this program as just LPN but to look around my class and look for those people who are interested in knowing my story and what I have been through and in that process I can share my faith with them and they can hear how God is working in my life and how amazing he truly is.  That really moved me and has helped me not to feel sorry for myself and to see the good that can come out of all of this.  He told me that his old coach used to tell him "God honors hard work" and I believe that too. I know what your thinking that guy's got some pretty good I of course had to share it on here...sometimes it takes another person's point of view to really help you see the other side of things.   I know other people have worse situations but people's feelings of failure are something that is universal and something we have all felt.
I chose to go back to school even though I'm still in active treatment with Herceptin because I wanna live while I"m here.  I wanna be able to say I did more with my life than survive cancer and if your a survivor you can understand what I mean.  Many times it seems like everything in my life revolves around cancer and it can be so depressing at times.

I started back school on September 1st and I work 4 nights a week and go to school 8 to 3 everyday. I can honestly say I'm exhausted but I feel better now than every because I feel like I'm taking some of my life back.  Another friend of mine had a quote that I just love
 " I'm reaping the harvest God promised me, taking back what the devil stole from me." 
 That's what I'm trying to do.  I dont' want sympathy for my situation I just want people who are in worse situations or feel depressed like they are in a rut that  they feel like they can't get out of....there is hope.  People are always going to disappoint you and many times as I have seen shock you with their lack of compassion.  Its only human nature to think only of ourselves and not of others.  But I'm reminded how God is the perfect example of how we should be...he thought only of US when he came down to die and suffer for us and our sins. 
Many times I sit and class and I can feel satan's hand come over me and tell me what a failure I am as I sit and re-do eveyrthing I've already stupid I must be for not passing one simple class by 0.6. One semester from graduating and here I sit starting at the beginning. I do not know everyone's problems that may read this blog but I do know that there are many stuggling with the pain of feeling like a failure like I do.  But I want to tell you....dont' listen to that voice.  God has a plan for you even though you might not be able to see it right now.  I'll keep you up to date on how this new journey God has me on is going....I know he wouldn't give me more than I can handle and he wouldn't lead me down a road that he wasn't walking with me on.  I also found a video that I found went right along with this post.  It's about a young woman who is an abortion's an amazing story......and it made me realize that God really does have a plan for everyone....even the tinny little babies.  Watch the amazing story and consider the things in your life where your not sure how God can use you or what your purpose in life is.  After watching this I hope you'll see that everyone including yourself has a plan for their lives.....God's always had a great plan for your life.