A few weekends ago I was in pure relaxation mode. Matt and I were able to steal away for a few days and head down to Kiawah Island. He had some business stuff to do for a few days, but don’t worry we got plenty of time to snuggle and frolick! We stayed at The Santuary, ate delicious meals and played some golf (err... I drove the cart). And I even saw Brooke Shields! She was dining in Charleston at the same restaurant. I was starstruck and completely awkward. But alas, here are some photos from our final babymoon…
Friday, May 17, 2013
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Last week I got an email from a woman. A brave and inspiring woman. A woman that has been through many mountains and valleys in her life. But a woman that has come out on top. After hearing her story she asked if it was something that I would want to share with my readers and my immediate response was yes. Her exact words were, "I'd like to turn my pain into purpose and become someone that other people can look to for guidance, inspiration, and hope in situations like my own." She's exceptional my friends. So today, I give you Heather. Her words speak for themselves but I encourage you to share her story with friends or family going through mesothelioma. For more information or encouragement on mesothelioma go HERE.
Battling Cancer As a New Mommy
When you're welcoming a child into your life for the first time, that's a major life event and a big change. For me, however, it came bundled with a shattering diagnosis of mesothelioma within just a three and a half month span. It was nothing I could have ever imagined. Still, I am grateful that the two came together because, as my precious little daughter Lily likes to say, she saved my life. It's because of her that I found strength within myself that I never knew I had, allowing me to defeat a disease that has devastated so many people.
I married my husband Cameron seven years before we decided to have children. Once we finally made the decision that we were ready to welcome a baby into our little world, it didn't take me long at all to become pregnant. Not only that, my pregnancy was surprisingly uneventful considering I was in my later thirties. The only issue that arose was during the delivery. Lily was breech and therefore I had an emergency C-section.
Like all new moms, I imagine, I spent a lot of time thinking about the child I would be bringing up and how I would fare as her mother. What would our dynamic be? Would I be able to give her everything she needed? Would I be cool enough or enough of a disciplinarian? All of these questions swirled around in my head throughout my pregnancy, but when I finally was able to see her and hold her for the first time, none of my doubts seemed to matter anymore. I was in the presence of a tiny miracle, and my capacity to love suddenly seemed to expand beyond my wildest imagination. I knew that I still had a lot to learn about being a mom, but I knew with equal certainty that I would do absolutely anything for my daughter.
As it turned out, what I had to do was live for her. Roughly three months after her birth, I heard my diagnosis. I was shocked and numb. I thought of all the milestones I was going to miss out on. I would not be able to be there to dry Lily's tears and celebrate her triumphs. Despair overwhelmed me briefly as Cameron stepped up to the plate and discussed my options with the doctor. It wasn't impossible, but it was imperative that we act immediately. Otherwise, I would have only about 15 months left. Once I could think clearly, I rallied myself and decided that I needed to take every chance that was presented to me, no matter how painful it might be. I had to take my best shot at seeing Lily through her childhood.
The weeks and months that followed were a challenge, especially when I was going through surgery and recuperation in hospitals far from home and had to miss out on a month of Lily's infancy. It seemed an almost unbearable sacrifice, but I thought about what I might gain and soldiered on, bolstered by Cameron's constant presence. I was also helped by the many friends and relatives who offered their support and kindness, particularly in looking after Lily when I could not. My parents also were a huge blessing to me during this time, as they put me up in their home so I would have time to recover from the surgery before my chemotherapy and radiation treatments began. I'm not used to relying on people, and it was unsettling at first, but I learned to accept their help graciously. I don't know where I would be without them.
Getting through this incredibly dangerous form of cancer was no easy task, and there were times when I wanted to give up. However, whenever I thought about Lily, I just couldn't bring myself to stop trying. She needed me, and it was a wonderful thing to be so needed. My cancer journey took me from Minnesota to Boston to South Dakota and finally back home, where I was surrounded by more love than I have ever known. It truly was both the best and the worst of times. Now, seven years later, I am healthy and happy, and my precious daughter is in no doubt as to her role in my well-being. She tells everyone that she saved my life, and I happily agree with her. Because of that love, I found the courage to continue my fight against the cancer that tried to claim me. Whatever your challenge, find your motivation and you can strive for success just like I did.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
I’m joining Jenni again for the Blog Every Day in May Challenge! No, I'm not blogging every day in May. But she said you can pop in when you want to and that is what I'm doing :)
10 Things That Make Me Really Happy
Feeling my baby wiggle inside my belly
Mint chocolate chip ice cream
Long talks with my mommy
Being by myself to reflect and recharge
Kenny Chesney’s music
My handsome husband’s smile
My pup's excitement when I come home
Saltwater on my skin
What about you?
Monday, May 13, 2013
|pretty soon that camera will replaced with baby georgia!|
Sweet sweet girl you are almost here. You are 29 weeks old today which blows my mind. And so many of my friends are busy making friends for you! How exciting! Your friends Ruby and Laney were born in the past 2 months, your cousin Griffin was born in February, and your friend Lawson will be born in 2 weeks! Not to mention that you have 2 more friends coming in October and one more in January! Your mommy and daddy have been so blessed with great friends and it’s so exciting to think you will be friends with their little ones. Because honestly, friends are a huge part of your life. Choose wisely. Choose carefully. Be picky and love them unconditionally.
Your nursery is really coming along too! And I finished your bathroom yesterday! It’s pink and green, with a Lilly Pullitzer shower curtain. I can’t wait to suds up your hair and give you tickles and mohawks in the bath in there. Ah – excitement overload. Your nanny has worked hard on it all too. Me and Nanny try to do breakfast or something to spend a little bit of time together every Saturday morning that we can. It makes me all the more excited to think about adding you to our girl-time. We eat and laugh and shop. You’re gonna love it. LOVE YOU!
Kisses from mommy.
|you big sis likes to have her hand (err... paw) on you at all times|
Saturday, May 11, 2013
|27 weeks in Kiawah Island|
So here goes:
What are your 10 words?
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Today I'm joining Jenni in her challenge to Blog Every Day in May. I'm joining a little late - yes. And I am going to be sporadic in when I join this month. But hey, I'm jumping on the bandwagon for this topic. So here goes:
Day 8 Challenge: Advice for anyone.
My advice for anyone and everyone is something that is extremely hard for me to do sometimes. Something that hurts my pride. Something that goes against what the world tells us at times. But it is something that can truly set you free – forgiveness. Forgive those who have hurt you, lied to you or stolen from you. Forgive those who’ve taken advantage of you or judged you. Forgive those who have repeatedly done you wrong because in the end, forgiveness isn’t about the person who needs it. It’s about the person that gives it. And it will set you free. It will free your heart for better things to take shape – like love and happiness. So that is my advice. Give forgiveness freely. And now I’ll leave you with a quote from one of my favorite songs by Matthew West, aptly named “Forgiveness.”
"So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you… Forgiveness."
Monday, May 6, 2013
On the first day of my last trimester I had lots of blog posts in mind – nursery updates, a letter to our baby girl and babymoon pictures. But I felt that all those could wait because today all I wanted to do was say thank you. Thank you for being my rock these past 6 months (and long before). Thank you for picking up the slack when it comes to laundry and dishes around the house when I’m too tired or emotional to deal with it. Thank you for making my lunch after I go to bed so I can have a worry-free morning the next day. Thank you for walking our puppy when we get home late and we both know there’s no way I’m gonna do it. Thank you for being so enthusiastic about all of my dinners even when they don’t turn out exactly like they were supposed to. Thank you for telling me I’m beautiful, especially when I feel like a roly-poly. Thank you for jumping at the chance to touch my belly when our baby girl starts wiggling. Thank you for always encouraging me to relax. That is so hard for me and I’m so thankful that you know me well-enough to know that look in my eyes. That look that comes when I’m running through my to-do lists in my head and when slowly anxiety and stress starts to creep into my brain. It’s like you know what’s happening and you know exactly when to grab me and hold me. I feel like a crazy person sometimes yes, but it’s a fact that without you I would have been officially diagnosed loony by now. I love you so much Matt. Georgia is one lucky lady to have a daddy like you.
Thank you for loving us fiercely and unconditionally.
Love, your baby mama