When I used to blog a lot more, once a week I would link up with other bloggers in a weekly, 7 Quick Takes. They could be anything from little updates to new finds, or just silly kid quotes. It may still be in existence. I'm not sure, but it is here today!
She has a new smile. A nose-scrunching, eye-squinting smile. And, I LOVE it. She is doing so, so well. We had a well-check at the beginning of this week, and after a long physical examination, her pediatrician said the following things: her legs are the same size and length (which they weren't at first), she is bearing weight on both, there is no evidence of calf thinning, and she has better bladder control (she didn't in the first few months). All of these things are music to our ears and such huge blessings.
She is such a happy baby, and she loves her family. She might be a little spoiled, haha. But, we expected that. We are still working on helping her learn to sit up and praying she builds the strength to do so on her own soon. She has a big trip to Houston soon to have a follow-up with her neurosurgeon as well as to establish a vascular anomalies care team there. We are moving her medical care to Houston simply since I'll be there off and on more than I'm in Denver for the foreseeable future.
Lots has happened in the cancer realm recently. I finished my last rounds of AC chemo during Lent. The last round was supposed to be the worst, but thank God, for me it wasn't. I still have a few lingering side effects (painful and purple nail beds, a few mouth sores, fatigue from time to time, etc). But, things are getting better!
I have oncologists in Houston and Amarillo and they disagreed on my treatment plan. There were also some miscommunications or lack of communication. So, one thought I needed to go straight to surgery after the last round of AC. The other felt I needed more chemo before surgery. Lots of back and forth with me being the go-between led to a new oncologist (who I'll meet with after surgery) and a moved-up surgery date.
I will have surgery April 13th which will include a bilateral mastectomy, an axillary node dissection (taking all of the lymph nodes under my arm) on the right, and a sentinel node dissection (taking just a few of the lymph nodes under my arm) on the left. Because of the risk of lymphedema after node removal, I won't be able to fly for a few weeks, so I'll be in Houston a bit, recovering and waiting on my follow-up appointment.
I know God will take care of it all, yet sometimes I worry about surgery...maybe more so about the after effects than the actual surgery...the lifting restrictions afterwards, the possible need for more chemo, the risk of lymphedema, the risk of cording/webbing, being away from my kiddos, and building a new "normal" again. But, it has to be done, and there again, I know it's in much bigger hands than mine, thank goodness.
3. John Paul
I mentioned on Instagram for a brief second that John Paul has been struggling with vomiting. We are in the process of trying to figure all of that out. It started about a year ago and has just gotten worse. The periods between sessions has gone from months to weeks. I know he is so very anxious about Agnes and me. But, we also think he must have some food sensitivities and possibly an esophageal condition. So, we are keeping a detailed food journal, adding some daily meds for a bit and waiting on follow-up bloodwork. Plus we've found a wonderful person he can visit with weekly that has been such a huge blessing.
I feel like the other kids are doing as well as can be expected. They all handle things so differently and I need to be better at drawing things out of them. For now, we are all being as open as possible and praying for the grace to get through each day...and I'm praying that God will show me how to best help each and every one in their own way.
5. Ranch Life
We are entering a very busy season on the ranch. Cows are having calves, and branding will soon begin. This week we were able to save a calf that its momma couldn't quite deliver on her own. All of the kids got to help/watch, and while watching a birth isn't for everyone, I've got a video if anyone does want to see it. It's a beautiful way to see just how God meticulously created everything for a purpose, and it's also rewarding to be able to help our animals when they need just a bit of assistance.
6. Bell Road Beef
All is well with the operation thanks so much to those who have stepped in to help since this fall. Our shipping days are a huge extended family affair. We are processing more beef than ever. Our customers are as wonderful as they come, and we just got in a new product that I'm very much a fan off, especially with no hair, hehe.
7. New "Normal"
Since January and the addition of our lovely nanny, Grace, we've made some life changes. Each of which in the long run will be wonderful things even though in the short time, it's been a bit of an adjustment, ha!
We've transitioned to a much more whole-foods diet. I thought we ate fairly healthy before, but I think I was kidding myself. So far, it's been good, and the kids have taken to it much easier than I expected. We have a lot of smoothies these days for breakfast, more fish in our diet, lots of veggies and fewer inflammatory foods.
I, however, didn't realize how much I attached food to comfort, memories, experiences, etc. And, it's been somewhat of a death to all of that - needless to say, I've had my moments of resistance...or should I say meltdowns?! Ha!
I've been told I need to exercise more and reduce stress. If I'm honest with myself, I've always put an extreme amount of pressure on myself. It's all internal and a drive to just be my best, although there were numerous times my teachers would tell me I needed to tone it done before I killed myself, and sometimes I wonder how much that inability to "let go" played into this cancer. I'll never know but I do know I am slowly learning to do that more. Slowly.
You would think that a cancer diagnosis would make me a much better, more patient mom. I think because of all the things swirling around in my mind, I haven't quite gotten there yet. In fact, I've been moodier than I want to be. But, I'm trying hard to create a more peaceful home, environment, etc. And, like I said, they said exercising will be key to helping prevent reoccurrence, so I have to make that part of my routine, too. That will only help us, I know.
I think I need to adopt the whole "less is more" mentality. Pray for me ;)
In all areas we are trying to go "cleaner" so I even became a BeautyCounter consultant. I know, I know. Never say never.
And, above all, instead of trying to "fix" it all myself and then go to God, our new normal is a place of surrender...a place of what it should have been all along, because to think that I can fix anything alone is such a falsehood. It's always Him. And, I can get in His way, or I can move one foot in front of the other only after giving Him the reins. And, gosh, it's so much better that way.
A fun vest I've bought to stay warm. Gosh I need my hair back, haha.
A dress option for Easter (I think I'll take the opening together a bit).
A great, sweet little snack.