Cheers to Unpredictability – Happy New Year!

So many times in the first 6 days of the New Year, I have mumbled to myself that I can’t believe it is already 2017 – as I am sure many of you have done as well. Time sure does fly, and what a difference a year makes. As I think about the past year, I also find myself wondering what will be different as I go into 2018 – and the funny thing is, you really don’t know. None of us can predict what will happen in the future or even the path that life will take us on. As someone who is a planner, this unpredictability can be unsettling. I am a person that likes to be five steps ahead, plan my every move and have alternative paths laid out for various circumstances depending on the outcome. It seems just when I think I have it figured out, this thing called ‘life’ happens and can totally throw you off-course.

We first learned of this unpredictability eight years ago when Bryce was born. As I went into 2008, I had our whole life planned. We designed the baby room (because of course we knew we were having a boy – I mean I am a planner after all!), I had outfits picked out, bottles washed, car-seat in the car – things were planned – perfectly. After he was born, we were all going to come home together as a perfect little family. Then life happened. Two days after he was born, he was rushed to the NICU in another hospital and was soon diagnosed with Hirschsprung’s disease. All the dreams and plans I had felt crushed when I saw the little guy go through surgery at a few days old to correct his bowel disease. The first year of his life was hard on many people and so heartbreaking as a first time parent. That definitely wasn’t what I planned.

However, I think my most unpredictable moment came five years ago when Eric was diagnosed with grade 4 glioblastoma brain cancer. When we started 2011, never in my wildest dreams could I have thought someone I love was going to be diagnosed with cancer – let alone, brain cancer. For the first few months after his diagnosis, there wasn’t planning, it was just living in the moment, because every moment mattered.

Eric and I always say, we truly believe cancer has given us more than what it has taken away. Because of our unpredictability we live life differently. Recently at work I was asked to put together a presentation, and part of it had to include a little bit about myself and what my ‘beliefs’ are. Being in HR, some of the obvious ones came to mind with having empathy, having a purpose/goal, strengthen people around you, however, the most important belief I have is to LIVE LIFE. If not been for what our family has experienced these past 8 years, I am not sure I would have included that as a belief, but it is so important for every single one of us to do, because you never know when circumstances are going to change. It is important to not sweat the small stuff, because in reality – it is all small stuff.

It is hard to think that you are only given things in life that you can handle, but it is true. And while I am not someone, and probably never will be someone who can just ‘wing-it’, there is a portion of me that has to trust in the path that life will take me on.

There definitely is a power to positive thinking and envisioning what you want to happen, but if that isn’t what occurs you need to go with it and course-correct, as likely that wasn’t the intended path to take in the first place… who knows, maybe your ‘misstep’  is the path to becoming an author, or a jewelry designer or a motivational speaker…no one really knows…

If someone would have told me 10 years ago that I would have a child born with medical complications, a husband that was diagnosed with brain cancer or that I would be able to add, blogger, author, or jewelry designer to my resume, I would have told them they were crazy. That wasn’t what I planned!

While many of you have already set your New Year’s resolution, I ask for you to consider one more:  Embrace the Unpredictable…

-Anna xoxo

Dear John…

We’ve said it before in previous blog posts, but it really is amazing when you realize how many people this disease is actually affecting.  Last month, we learned that the Red Sox Manager, John Farrell has been diagnosed with a type of blood cancer called lymphoma and will be away from the team as he completes his treatments.

As a cancer survivor, and of course a long time Red Sox fan, I am sharing with you, what I shared with him, hoping that the letter actually reaches Mr. Farrell.

Here is what I sent…

John Farrell Letter- 08.24.2015John Farrell Letter- 08.24.2015 Pg2#RedSox

A Tough Pill To Swallow

I was cleaning up a few things recently and came across something that immediately brought back a lot of memories.

IMG_6447

A few short years ago, this was my life.  Pill bottle after pill bottle, day after day in order to help save my life.  I still remember taking the Temodar and almost instantly feeling sick to my stomach.  I had anti-seizure medication, narcotics for the pain after surgery and pills to help me sleep. I even had pills to help settle my stomach from all the pills I was taking.

The pills were bad, but the blood thinner may have been the worst.  It was a shot that I had to give myself everyday in the stomach, alternating sides as the scar tissue built up and made it hard to puncture the skin without resistance and a strong burning sensation.

This was my life for more than a year… a year that taught me a lot about myself and has made me a better person.

In the end, every pill and needle did its job… and it was worth every poke and tough pill to swallow.

 

 

Support of a Spouse

coupleRight before Eric was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2011, I just knew something wasn’t right. Now, I have a tendency to be a little bit of a hypochondriac, but the excruciating headaches, vomiting and not being able to bend down to tie a shoe should be an indication to anyone that something wasn’t right. After much begging and pleading, I finally got him to see a doctor – to which they recommended that he get a CAT scan.

I will never forget the moment that Eric walked out of the exam room at the hospital and said “they don’t want me to go anywhere, I think they found something.” My heart sunk deep into my stomach and from that moment on, our lives would change forever. We were then brought back to a consultation room where the Radiologist proceeded to tell us that Eric had a large mass in his brain, about the size of a baseball. My first question to the doctor was “it is CANCER?” On December 20, 2011 -about 10 days after we got the news Eric had a mass in his brain, and one brain surgery later, our greatest fear was confirmed – Eric had grade 4 glioblastoma brain cancer. I dreaded asking what the prognosis was, but I did anyway; six to twelve months is the typical prognosis for this type of brain cancer. Continue reading “Support of a Spouse”