10 years a Momma

So I just turned 32 years old last week, although some of my peers might be freaking out as we are edging closer to the mid-30’s mark – I am good. Age has never been a scary thing for me. Of course, I am one to want to live forever lol. I want to see my kiddos with their kids and their grandkids. I want to grow super old with my husband. I want to see things – but from the comfort of my home, not much for traveling unless it’s to the beach lol. But I think my biggest and most important accomplishment has been my kiddos.

I haven’t always taken the easiest path in life. I have always wanted to do things my way or no way because I, of course, know the best way to handle things – or that’s at least what I told myself. Obviously, with that being said, I wasn’t the easiest kid to raise and my parents remind me of that every day. I wanted to go to college and get my teaching degree but also wanted to hang out with my friends and have a good time. I also wasn’t very good with the whole “work hard, play harder” situation. Either way, I’m glad we can laugh about it now but I was reeeeeeally good at the playing part.

Let’s fast forward to the time that I thought I was ready for a family. I don’t know about y’all, but this still makes me laugh. Who is ever truly ready for a baby? I mean, I was the furthest thing from being ready but even those that think they are, probably aren’t. I was a hot mess: 19 or 20 years old, dropped out of college to move back to Richmond, VA, jumped from job to job but really “peaked” as a manager at Food Lion haha. I was married to my first “love” but still living with my in-laws at the time. I thought I could rule the world – lol it’s a good thing I wasn’t full of myself. I mean, I know how it happens but still wasn’t fully prepared when I found out I was pregnant. I was still a baby myself but the thought of having my own baby was awesome. Unfortunately, I had 3 miscarriages the first 3 times I became pregnant. If that wasn’t reason enough to change what I was doing I don’t know what is. At that point I was devastated and wanted nothing more than I carry a baby in my belly and be a Mom.

At the age of 21, I was pregnant with my little Mileigh Ann. She became my whole stinkin’ world y’all! She came into the world just 11 days after my 22nd birthday. I might not have made the best decisions as we were growing up together but I knew she was meant to be my little Goober. Being that I only had one kiddo, she went everywhere with me. In hindsight, maybe places that she shouldn’t have been but I was her Momma and I wanted to show her to the world. Eventually I had her brother, Conor Mathew, 2 years later and things just got crazy from there. In the last 10 years, I have since been divorced and left from a not so great situation, ended up reconnecting with one of my best friends from high school and remarrying him years later. We made a life together. We both have great jobs, we have a beautiful house, and now have added to our family. We fought my cancer together. We handled more miscarriages together (have had a total of 6 now). We’ve been through a lot but I wouldn’t want to do life with anyone else. Needless to say, I am happy.

I am the proudest Momma to three happy, respectful, adorable kiddos. As I write this, my oldest will be turning 10 years old on Sunday and I struggling. She made me a Momma. She and I grew up together. She showed me what true love is. She pushed me to be the best person I could be, in ways that she will never understand. It’s amazing the impact one little girl can be on your life – especially when she’s only been around for 1/3 of it but it’s by far the best part!

So this is just a quick reminder to hug your babies tight. It feels like it was just yesterday that I was watching that sweet baby sleep in her crib. Now she gets on the bus without a hug or kiss. She wants to run the neighborhood with her friends. She is my social butterfly that doesn’t want to be held back, and in so many ways a spitting image of her Momma. I love you Mileigh Ann and thank you for being the start of my biggest trophy! I am grateful for each of my kiddos – Mileigh, Conor and Spence – and blessed I was picked to be their Momma! ❤️

Relay for Life Team: All Night for the Fight

Ok yall, it’s time for Relay for Life!!! I couldn’t be more thrilled to have our own team this year and it’s going to be AWESOME!

An introduction to Relay for Life:

I’m going to be completely honest, prior to being diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer, I had remembered hearing about it Relay for Life but had never participated in one. I was asked by my dear friend and neighbor last year to join her team, not truly understanding what it was all about. I can tell you, this experience was life changing. To see so many people coming together to help bring awareness, raise money, and support each other was just an incredible thing – and of course, it was FUN! Please, please, please come and hang out with us! 🙂

What is Relay for Life:

  • It’s an organized, overnight community fundraising walk for ALL cancers
  • Teams of people camp out around a track
  • Members of each team take turns walking around the track
  • Food, games, and activities provide entertainment and build camaraderie
  • Family-friendly environment for the entire community

What makes Relay for Life more awesome?

  • In more than 5,200 communities and 20 countries, Relay for Life events comprise the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, raising more than $400 million dollars.
  • Survivors Lap: All cancer survivors at the event take the first lap around the track, celebrating their victory over cancer while cheered on by other participants who line the track.
  • Luminaria Ceremony: Takes place after dark, so we can remember people we have lost to cancer, honor people who have fought cancer in the past, and support those whose fight continues. Candles are lit inside of personalized bags and are placed around the Relay track as glowing tributes to those who’ve been affected by cancer.
  • Fight Back Ceremony: This emotionally powerful ceremony inspires Relay participants to take action. The Fight Back Ceremony symbolizes the emotional commitment each of us can make in the fight against cancer. The action taken represents what we are willing to do for ourselves, for our loved ones, and for our community to fight cancer year-round and to commit to saving lives.

What to expect at a Relay Event?

  1. Relayers are welcomed in the Opening Ceremony.
  2. Relay starts with the Survivor Lap, when survivors walk to celebrate their victory over cancer.
  3. The Caregiver Lap recognizes those who have given care to cancer patients.
  4. All of the Relay teams are invited to walk together during the Opening Lap.
  5. Luminaria bags and candles are lit during the Luminaria Ceremony to honor loved ones who have passed or are fighting the disease.
  6. Individual Walking is observed throughout the night with Family Games, Activities, and Entertainment.
  7. The Fight Back Ceremony helps close the event. Relayers take a final lap and pledge to take action and spread awareness of cancer research, treatments, and prevention.

How can YOU help?

  • Join our team!! Seriously, it’s going to be a BLAST! Whether you can come for an hour or all night – come hang out, walk a couple laps with us and celebrate those that are fighting and honor those that we have lost.
  • Help raise money – share our team link (see below) to your Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media. It doesn’t matter if you can give back $5 or raise $50, anything helps!!
  • Donate a Luminaria Bag/Torch – You can choose to decorate a bag (see me for details) or you can purchase online and the event will have a bag for you lining the track, including “In Honor Of”, “In Memory Of”, or “In Support Of”.
    • White Luminaria Bag – $10 (or 3 for $25)
    • Blue Luminaria Bag – 3 for $25
    • Tiki Torch of Hope – $30 (or $35 includes a keepsake)
  • Come support us!! Even if you aren’t interested in walking with our team, just come be apart of this fantatic opportunity – come watch the opening ceremony, have a few laughs, etc. Just come, but I’m going to warn you, the energy is contagious and you might not want to leave! 🙂

Event Day Logistics

  • When: Saturday, June 11, 2016 from 6pm to 7am
  • Where: Fauquier High School (702 Waterloo Road, Warrenton, VA)
  • What should I pack? folding chair, a change of clothes, a blanket/pillow, warm clothes (in case it gets chilly), bug spray, and snacks.
  • Where to meet? we have a tent set up – you just have to look for our sign with team name: All Night for the Fight!
  • Are you a Survivor? Make sure you sign up online as one so you can receive the t-shirt. And please come early to receive your complimentary food in the Survivor tent.
  • Food/Drinks? Yes there will be vendors/other teams selling food/drinks and of course, there will be water provided for participants.
  • Bathrooms? There are bathrooms on site – duh! 😉
  • Kids? Of course! You are never too young to Relay! Just make sure you bring all the necessities! And if your child under 18 years of and will be walking, be sure to bring your signed Youth Participant Agreement to the Registration table.
  • Do I have to walk the whole time?? NO! In order to represent the fact that “Cancer never sleeps”, we ask that each team has a representative walking the track at all times. This should not be just one person – team members can take shifts!
  • Want to sleep? You are more than welcome to take a nap in the tent, OR go home, take a name and come back! Participants are not required to stay up all night.

Relay for LIfe

Thank yall for taking the time to read this. I just wanted to answer any questions that you might have about this amazing event and hope to see YOU there! 🙂

Our Team Link: 

http://main.acsevents.org/goto/FauquierAllNightfortheFight 

The Worry Wart in me will never stop….

So as you can imagine, I have had a hard time getting the whole cancer stuff off my brain as it’s definitely affected my life in a big way over the last 8 months. I went for a follow appointment to see my Primary doctor just last week to discuss my anxiety medications (which had to be upped…again…ugh). And the last few weeks I have been discussing my breathing issues with my Hubby – ever since my surgery (in December 2014) I haven’t been able to do a whole lot of physical activity without becoming what started off as heavily winded then turning into wheezing/hyperventilating/unable to breathe. My surgeon said that because the surgery was pretty invasive and extensive, it was going to take a while for the inflammation to go down, so it could be 2 months or it could be 6 months for things to settle down. Just give your body time to rest! Well he doesn’t know me, haha.

As time has gone on, I think I just became more aware of this happening as I wasn’t even able to go up the stairs with a heavy basket of clothes or cleaning my van or vacuum the house without this happening. So after my Hubby brought up the fact that it had been so many months, it was time to say something. With my grandmother, my dad, and my son all having asthma, that was the first conclusion. He gave me a rescue inhaler and told me to keep him in the loop as to how often its being used, as I might end up needing a preventative. He also wanted to eliminate any other sources to the problem so he ordered blood work, a lung capacity test, and a x-ray to be sure that there wasn’t any fluid in my lungs. My blood work came back all normal – they were worried that I may have been anemic or something along these lines. My lung capacity test came back normal for someone that has asthma. They were concerned that because I was known to have lesions in my lungs that I wasn’t able to get a full breath or that the radiation may have caused damage to my lungs when trying to shrink the lesions. Finally the x-ray was done and that came back with no fluid, only showing whatever is going on in my lungs, whether that being scar tissue, or the same lesions, or whatever the case.

With that being said, I felt my heart sink in my chest – in the CAT scan of my chest, they said that the lesions had shrunk so small that it couldn’t be seen or it was now microscopic. So I was really confused why they would now show up on a x-ray which isn’t as detailed as a CAT scan. I called and left a frantic message for my Endo prior to my appointment yesterday and once again…..wait…..

Getting to my appointment yesterday, I had to force myself to eat prior just so I could take my medications and was just exhausted from the anxiety of everything going on in my head. I swore every time they said that I didn’t need to worry about something, I ended up having to deal with that one thing – doesn’t matter what the ratios are. 1 of 10, 2 of 3, or 1 of 100. I’ve heard them all and I’ve been that 1% or 33% each time. Yes, I am a worry wart but I need to know – it’s so much better than NOT knowing. But once I got into the office, I knew I was finally going to get some answers. They took resting heart rate – 118 – yep that’s not good and I couldn’t stop shaking from my anxiety but that’s becoming my new normal. After the pleasant 30 minute wait in the room, my Endo finally came in and the first thing she noticed how tired I looked – yep, sure am, exhausted. She explained that it’s one of the things that I will feel when they have to suppress my Thyroid so much to keep my cancer from spreading, this is what they have to do. We talked about my breathing and what is going on and found out that I might also have asthma but it’s another side effect of a suppressed Thyroid is a rapid heart rate, which causes rapid breathing and the rest follows. I knew the anxiety is caused by all of this but I had no clue it would be this bad – I honestly have been a basket case and have no clue what to do with my self. She also explained that my dizziness and the one time I passed out came from that as well. So all those times that I felt so out of control and “crazy” and hypochondriac – I’m not. This is just my new normal and she basically said she knows it sucks – and maybe after a few years we can pull back on my meds once my cancer gets under control which will help how I’m feeling.

After my doctor finished telling me all of this, she just looked at me and knew I was just done. It’s been a very, very long few months emotionally and mentally more than anything. She said I need to de-stress my life as much as I can. I need to spend time with my kids and family. Enjoy my life and know that we are doing everything we can for my health and there is nothing we can do at this point. We are waiting for my 6 month mark after radiation and then we will know more. And at that point we will make sure we do everything we can and she will send me anywhere in the US to make sure I have the best medical care I need. She will make sure that I am taken care of from the medical side, so she said I need to make sure I take care of me and get my anxiety/stress down. She recommended that I see a counselor (which I’ve already started doing).

Overall, I needed to hear that from my doctor and it’s still going to be VERY hard for me to let things go and to de-stress my life but I have to. For my family’s sake, I need to make sure I am healthy enough to be there for them.

Thanks, Kat

P.S. I want everyone to know the following: I KNOW that I have sooooo much support and love from all of my family and friends. I am writing this blog for other Thyroid Cancer patients, awareness and for myself. I don’t want this to be misconstrued as anything else. Thanks! 🙂

No Baby For Me….

I have to say this might be a difficult post for me for many reasons but I know it’s on the mind of any people in the same situation….

To start off: I am so very, very grateful for the two beautiful kiddos that I have – Mileigh Ann and Conor! They made me a Mommy and that’s all I could ask for, for a long time. At this point in time I’ve had 6 miscarriages…yes, six. Most of them may have been early, the pregnancies may not have been at the right times BUT it’s never, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER easy.

I first got pregnant at the early age of 19 but boy was I excited because I just recently got engaged to my “first boyfriend/love.” After 14 very long weeks pregnant, I miscarried and needed a D&C. I was devastated and it didn’t take long for me to get pregnant again (4 months to be exact) and miscarried at 8 weeks pregnant. I had another one (about 6 months later) at 6 weeks pregnant. Full disclosure: I finally got married to my then husband – we both were very immature and didn’t take care of ourselves. We both drank heavily (when I wasn’t pregnant) but he was always drinking and doing drunks – obviously with the miscarriages I became stressed and none of this helped with the pregnancies.

I had Mileigh Ann (she is now 6 1/2) and finally made me grow up. I had another miscarriage about a year later (I was 11 weeks pregnant). Then about a year later I had my baby boy Conor (he is now 4 1/2). I decided it was finally time to end things with my (now ex) husband. He was both verbally and physically abusive and I didn’t want my babies growing up in that – even though he never hurt them, it was always directed towards me and I didn’t want that to escalate.

I always kept in touch with one of my best friends, Spencer, from high school, but made sure to reach out that much more when he started going through his divorce. We both started to lean on each other through that time and ended up sparking an interest in each other. Next thing I know, I moved to NOVA (Northern Virginia) to make a better life for me and my kids and to see what was next for Spencer and me. I ended up having a miscarriage about a year into our relationship – but I was on the Mirena (a type of birth control) and somehow got pregnant and miscarried all within 4-5 weeks. Obviously it made us both very sad but we were not trying nor were we ready to start a new life.

Finally after 3 1/2 years of dating we got married, with more than enough family and friends present. We decided very early on that we wanted to get pregnant fairly quickly so the kids were somewhat close in age and so we weren’t 60 years old with middle schoolers lol. It was exactly 6 months after we said our “I do’s” that we started trying to conceive. Haha it didn’t take long, as we were pregnant within the same month that I had the Mirena removed. We obviously wanted to wait to announce but with early complications and a close family, we told all family that we saw on a regular basis. In the matter of a few more days, I miscarried at 7 weeks – having my 6th miscarriage.

Now with the whole Cancer thing – I was told I needed surgery and Radioactive Iodine Therapy, which will all set me back a few years. Depends on the day and who you ask, but my Endo said anywhere from 2-4 years break from conceiving. I know to most people that doesn’t sound like a big deal – especially when you are thinking of surgeries and treatments that need to be done for cancer, but it’s a big deal to me and my husband and our family. For the first time in our lives, we were ready to expand. We were taking that leap. And it’s not fair. Yes I know I should be, and I WANT to be, healthy for our family, both current and future. But that’s no one else’s business…I know that we still have a great chance of getting pregnant again (even after RAI) but it doesn’t make it any easier now. The doctors don’t realize that when they talk to you.

My Endo tried to compare her “being a doctor and unable to take extended time away from work to me having to wait 3-4 years to try again – PLUS I have two kids already?!?!” Are you kidding me???? Once again, none of your business that they came from a previous marriage and we aren’t done at 2.

I just wish doctors had to be directly impacted before they are able to specialize in one thing in particular – or maybe they have been but don’t necessarily sympathize. This isn’t mine or my husband’s fault. There are days that I feel at fault because he has waited so long for this day to happen but then I do understand that there is nothing I can do to change this. Just when I think I’ve “mourned” the loss of an opportunity to have another baby at the moment, I have another moment. Another baby shower comes up. My period shows it’s self again. Or just a rough day – it happens. And it’s ok to have these days – as long as we get back up the next day and push for another healthy day – another day closer to having that opportunity.

To all of you going through the same thing, I truly sympathize. I understand. And I pray that it happens when you are ready – sooner, rather than later!