Friday, June 2, 2017


As you know, I am a very emotional person.  Some might say I wear my emotions on my sleeve.  Others might say I wear my emotions on my sleeve, collar, hem, pant legs, and everywhere else.  But whatever.  I didn't earn the title of runner up in the "Most Likely to Cry" competition at work for nothing.

Well, the last 10 days have brought a lot of emotions with them.  This blog post will be dedicated to a few of them:

Amazement, Joy, Sadness, Pride, Awe, and Excitement:  Hannah had her last day of middle school yesterday.  That's right, folks.  Kevin and I are the parents of a High Schooler!  All of the cliches are true:  time flies, they grow in the blink of an eye, it'll be over before you know it, it just gets better, etc.  She has grown and changed so much.  But she is still our sweet, sassy, funny, spit-fire of a girl.  She work so hard in school and had another year on the A/B Honor Roll.  She got a commended score on the Math STAAR test for the first time, and earned an achievement award in math class.  She published a novel, is one of only 4 freshman to make the "varsity" choir, and is going to work diligently to try to earn herself a spot on the high school volleyball team.  I am so sad that the years are going by so fast, but I am so excited to see what her future holds!

First Grade

 Third Grade

Uncertainty, Relief, Fear, Hope, Peace, Guilt, and Excitement:  I have been having some shortness of breath for a while.  It had gradually gotten worse.  So I was breathing hard when I walked up the stairs (big deal...I know I'm terribly out of shape).  But I now huff and puff going from the parking lot into a building, bending over to pick things up 5 or 6 times, walking at a normal pace in the grocery store, talking for long periods of time (pretty awesome as a teacher), etc.  I had a CT scan done a couple of weeks ago, followed by an echo-cardiogram which showed the right side of my heart to be enlarged.  I went to the ER to have another CT scan and an ultrasound of my legs done to look for fluid on the lungs and clots, and they didn't find any.  Meanwhile, the wonderful ladies I work with were taking care of things for my sub the next day.  After the persistence of my oncologist, the ER doctor called the on-call pulmonologist who said it was pulmonary hypertension.  The ER doctor couldn't really tell me much about it, so while I was waiting to be discharged I started googling.  Yep, my symptoms match.  But holy smokes this thing sounds like a beast.  The life expectancy isn't great.  So on my drive home, all I do is worry about what 7 years would get me and how much of the kids' lives I would miss.  I worry about the stress and anxiety I am bringing on Kevin.  I worry about how worried my parents are.  And as I am crying myself to sleep, I pray.  I pray for peace and to be here for my kids.  I do just a little more googling and see that there is a connection between pulmonary hypertension and the medication I take for my CML...that it could all just be a side effect.  And just like that I have some hope.  God is good.  When I wake up in the morning with a slew of phone calls, emails, and appointments to make, I get a phone call from my oncologist who tells me how likely he thinks it is that this is all just a rare side effect, and that I am to stop taking my CML meds right away.  More hope and peace of mind.  However, after an appointment with the local pulmonologist who is referring me to the experts at UT Southwestern, the only way to know for sure if it is a side effect that will reverse over time, is to give it time.  It could take weeks to months before I notice any improvement.  Weeks to months that I will be closely monitored by pulmonologists, cardiologists, and my oncologist to make sure that my CML doesn't rare back up while we wait.  And hopefully, it will reverse, and I will start a new CML medication.

I am surrounded by the most caring and generous people at work who have supported me not once, not twice, but 3 times now when my health has gone wonky.  I have the most amazing husband who loves me, cares for me, and makes me laugh.  I have the most wonderful kids who help me out, keep me on my toes, and make me laugh.  I have the most loving, thoughtful, and supportive parents, siblings, and in-laws.  And while I am SO incredibly grateful and beyond appreciative for these things I hate being the cause of their pain, stress, and worry.  I can't stand being a burden and having to ask for help.  I feel so incredibly guilty for all of it.

So, while things remain a bit scary and uncertain, I have hope and some peace of mind.  At least for now.  And I am going to go on a road trip vacation to Florida with Kevin and the kids.  I am going to huff and puff my way through the beach at Pensacola and walk slowly & breathlessly through Harry Potter World at Universal.  We are going to have an amazing fun, rain, and laugh-filled week, and I just can't wait!

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