My eyelids are heavy, but my thoughts are heavier.

my eyes are heavy

I haven’t slept in over 24 hrs. The end is near and it came at lightning speed. The heartbreaking part is that my son is aware of it. He’s in the final stage of this dreaded, awful disease. Without getting into gory details, this Cancer is doing a number on him. My oldest daughter & I have been bearing witness to it all. He’s withering away right before our eyes. He’s clearly suffering. He pleaded with me & told me he’s tired of it all; almost as if I could do something about it. I can only hope and pray that God will spare him any additional suffering and take him peacefully. No one should have to go out like this.

“A little sparkle of kindness can put a colossal burst of sunshine into someone’s day.”

Random Acts

Has anyone ever done something nice for you for absolutely no reason? How did it feel? Did it put a smile on your face and make your heart feel a little warmer?

I’m a big advocate for Random Acts of Kindness. I think doing something nice for someone “just because” is a good enough reason. It makes me feel really good inside to see the look of surprise on the other persons face and to know that I possibly made that persons day that much better. I’m not talking about running out and spending your life savings but just doing something nice. It could be as simple as paying someone a compliment, having a friendly chat with the cashier, holding the elevator door for someone who would’ve definitely missed it or yeah maybe buying someone a meal who doesn’t have the money for it. Any random act of kindness from the simplest to the extreme can make a huge impact on someone’s day. It can even change someone’s outlook on life in general.

My youngest daughter experienced a random act of kindness. Yesterday was her birthday. She’s a low key person & doesn’t normally make a big deal out of her birthday. Usually a birthday cake & dinner with the family is all she ever asks for. She came home from school and made mention that none of her friends wished her a Happy Birthday. We could tell she was a little sad about it but she went about her day. She got dressed & went to dance class as usual. Later that evening, she came home with a tray of cookies. She told us that one of the girls from her dance class baked cookies for her birthday. She had the biggest smile on her face and was really happy about it.  That sweet gesture overshadowed what happened earlier in school. That young lady made my daughters day that much brighter.

So just remember before you step out your front door, any random act of kindness can make all the difference in someone’s day.

“That breath that you just took… that’s a gift.”

breathe 2Everyone has something to be grateful for. No matter how bad you think things are going in your life right at this moment there’s got to be something you have to be grateful for. You know the old saying “There’s someone out there that’s got it worse” ….ummm yeah! Whenever I get down on a situation in my life I always take a moment to re-evaluate and feel gratitude in my heart for the good things I do have in my life.  I thank God for them cause you know what? I know things could be a whole lot worse and I don’t want to find out how.

When you are born you don’t come with a satisfaction guarantee on life. There are no absolutes and you have to take what you are given and make the best of it. Is life fair? No! Can life suck sometimes? Hell yeah! But that’s life and you have to roll with it. I do believe that’s what builds our character and prepares us for the road ahead. Each day is a journey and every single day that goes well (with no pitfalls) I am absolutely grateful for.

The moral of my story today is: if you’re having a good day savor every last moment of it. Cherish every good day because you don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

“Everybody has a chapter they don’t read out loud”

Unread Chapter

Today makes exactly 1 week that my son has been hospitalized (again) and I have told less than a handful of people. I just don’t have the energy anymore to update people on every single thing that goes wrong cause it gets exhausting. To be honest, I don’t want to talk about Cancer 24hrs a day. I don’t mind updating any one who asks but I won’t volunteer the information because I don’t want to be a “Debbie Downer” so I just keep it to myself & go about my daily life like nothing’s wrong.

I remember when my youngest was first diagnosed with Autism. That was an incredibly difficult journey for my family. Before he was diagnosed we didn’t know what was wrong with him. We didn’t know if he was deaf or just had a learning disability. The daily high pitch screaming, violent meltdowns, sleepless nights drove me into the deepest depression of my life and at that point I had to seek profession help for myself.  After my son was properly diagnosed & began receiving therapy, I started coming to terms with our new life. I delved into my inner creative self and began writing randomly in a notebook. I would observe my son, wonder what he was thinking and just write endlessly. Years later, I decided to write a book written in his viewpoint. My book was published 6 years ago and that’s a part of me I don’t talk about. I did it for myself. It was therapeutic & I wasn’t looking for glory amongst my friends.

Everyone has a hidden self they don’t disclose just because. I throw myself into writing cause that’s where I bury my pain and Yoga lets it slowly come out. My pain is something I try to work through. Keeping extremely busy is therapeutic. I try to remain optimistic but I’m aware of my truths. Everyone has a chapter they don’t read out loud are you aware of yours?

“Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, & dealing with fears you didn’t know existed”.

strengths & fears

It seems that we’re coming full circle with my sons Cancer diagnosis. I remember this time a year ago he was at his worst physically. He lost an unbelievable amount of weight, couldn’t eat, in pain all the time and could barely walk. About a month after treatment he seemed to make a full recovery. The pain was gone, he was walking…even hiking & biking at one point and gained so much weight he was talking about diets, lol.    I vividly remember our appointment after his first Pet-Scan, nervously awaiting the news about his treatment progress. The Oncologist came in and the first thing she did was hug him and said the scan showed there was no trace of Cancer in his body. I cried from happiness. She said we would continue treatment “as is” because it was working.

It seems now the Cancer has slowly crept back into his body… maybe it was never gone and just hiding. The Oncologist did say at the first appointment that the type of Cancer he has is very sneaky & aggressive. That’s why he had to continue treatment even though the scan showed no trace of it. She said his type of Cancer “hides” and waits to come out. Well she was right. My sons health has slowly declined over the last few months.

He’s back to the same physical shape he was in when he first got diagnosed, even worse. He’s losing weight at a rapid pace and could barely walk. It seems this sneaky Cancer has resurfaced and attached itself to his Lungs and Spleen. This time the chemotherapy is not working and they recently started him on Immunotherapy. He’s become depressed and is starting to push all family members away. This is the most fear I’ve ever felt as a mother. I can’t make this better! This is the one thing I can’t fix! It’s getting harder & harder to put on my “game face” but I still do.

He now has a mini portable Oxygen tank cause he’s having trouble breathing. How do you lift someone’s spirits when everything seems to be falling apart all at once? I continue to keep calm in my heart because if I fall apart now I’m not helping anyone. I have been praying daily for God to give me strength so I can help see him through this terrifying journey.

As a mom, my kids have always come to me for solutions. I always “fixed” everything or made it better. My heart is shattered because this is the one time that I feel like I’ve failed him.

“Do not judge my story by the chapter you walked in on”

DO NOT JUDGE

How do you deal with grief? Everyone deals with grief differently. It all depends on the individual, the situation, the culture, so on and so forth. There is no one right way. I say whatever helps get you through it is the right way. But everyone has to find their own way there.

I remember when my son was first diagnosed with Stage 4 Stomach Cancer. I was devastated, I cried (daily) for weeks.  Months later, after I accepted the reality of his diagnosis, I became emotionally numb.  I no longer had a reaction to anything, good or bad, the doctors told me. Of course, in front of my son & my other kids I would put on my game face and crack jokes with them but inside my heart was crushed to pieces & still is.

Now here we are (a year later) after several hospital admissions, half a dozen Pet-Scans, good news, bad news & everything in between;  I am stronger emotionally than I was a year ago. I’ve learned what helps keep me sane is staying busy. I occupy my time a lot by doing different small activities. But what really helps me emotionally is my daily Yoga practice. That keeps my mind occupied and keeps me motivated and that seems to be the general consensus in my household. My son keeps himself occupied daily by chatting with his 2.5 million viewers on his gaming site. My oldest daughter keeps busy by working overtime & most recently picked up a 2nd job and my youngest daughter is quite busy with her multiple dance classes 6 days a week. My husband always has a new project fixing something around the house. That’s what works for us.

On occasion, we’ve discussed my sons diagnosis as a family and I keep the conversation truthful but positive. I remind them that we have to remain strong for him & for each other.  I believe he feeds off of our energy & if we show positivity that’s what will help him deal with his illness.  I know it doesn’t change his diagnosis but it doesn’t help him if we all sit around the house crying. So I choose to be a strong role model and continue to be pro-active. Every day that I wake up I do my best to keep a smile on my face despite what we have going on in our life.

So the moral of this story is, don’t be so quick to judge anyone regardless whether they have a smile or a frown on their face. You never know what kind of a private battle they are fighting.

“I wonder how much of what weighs me down is not mine to carry”

What Weighs you down

How do you handle stress? I usually work well under pressure but today I crumbled cause everything hit me all at once and I got flustered. I eventually took care of everything but once I was alone I broke down & cried cause I let the pressure get to me. I’m human, it happens.

Stress is not what happens to you it’s your response to what is happening. So what do we do about that? What if we’re carrying too much weight on our shoulders and half of it isn’t ours to carry? You have to re-examine the stressors in your life. There are some things that are out of our control like a loved one being sick, traffic, rude people, lines at stores… you get the picture. You have no control over other people’s actions or situations.

How about things that are a little more in your control like bills? You see, I’m a believer in lists. I say re-evaluate your spending. If you’re on a tight budget then you should have 2 lists: Needs and Wants period! Relationships? If the bad list outweighs the good then you know what you have to do. I know, easier said than done but no one ever said making the right decision was easy. If it was that easy then no one would have struggles in life. The point I’m trying to get at is that only YOU have control over your own actions.

Sometimes we put more weight on our shoulders than necessary. After a stressful day, it’s important to re-evaluate what it was that caused the stress and CHOOSE an internal calm. It’s all about how you handle a situation. Taking a quiet moment each day to self-reflect is important for yourself. It doesn’t make a stressful situation better but will help you respond differently next time & sometimes that makes all the difference.