Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Crisp air means Fall is here!

FINALLY fall is here to stay for a while! I have a love for all the seasons, but the in between seasons are my favorite because it's not too hot or not too cold outside! Both in between seasons are full of color as well! I love me some color! Colorful flowers in spring and colorful leaves in the fall!

Here in SC the last few weekends have been perfect weather! [despite this past week full of rain] Mid to Low 70's with clear skies! Ahhhh, yesssss! We, I mean I, had planned to stay home two weekends ago and hang around the house. My intentions were to get some cleaning done and not have much of anything to do. Well, with my family that doesn't go over well because we are always on the go. We ended up going four wheeling! Go figure! haha

We went with a friend that the hubs works with and his wife. We had a lot of fun! I had never been there before so it was a new experience for me. For Zane's birthday this passed year we got him his own side by side. He loves it! Well so does his Mama and Daddy too! I got to drive for a little while because Zane gets bored. Go figure! It's not a huge place like I am used to going. The places I go you never see the same spot more than twice unless you are going back to the parking lot.

There's also a good bit of red mud! I was glad it wasn't dusty though. I would rather do mud than dust! My lungs can't handle the dust cloud.
As we were riding around the trails having a good time: hubs in front, me and Zane in the middle, our friends in the back. Going up and down 'round each turn there was fun. I got into it and show out. I tried to throw up a little dirt and spin the rear end around. It all started with those famous words "Watch this Zane!"
Yep. That's what happens when you don't realize you have a shorter wheelbase and turn too sharp too fast! We both were safe. We had helmets and seat belts on. Once I checked on Zane and made sure he was okay, I hollered "STEVE!" He was not within 'hollering' distance. Luckily his friends were behind us and helped us get out. Zane unbuckled and got out easily. Me, not so much. My friend had to reach in and unbuckle me because my seat belt was locked in place holding me in. I was literally dangling by it. I finally crawled my big tail out and analyzed the situation. LAWD have mercy Steve is gonna kill me! He still hasn't come back at this point. A guy on a four wheeler stopped and checked on us and we told him if he saw a camo Teryx4 to come back. Ha!
We got the Rzr turned back over on all 4 before the hubs came back to us. He said "What the hell did you do?" I laughed and said I was sorry! I also realized that I was going to be so sore then next day! I hurt my knee and my stomach where the seat belt was pulled super tight! It was fun and I am glad that no one got hurt! Safety first y'all!
We have also been enjoying the fall weather by getting out and hitting the dirt roads and hiking trails. I won't go too far on a hike. Just a mile or two, maybe 4 if the hubs is lucky! haha! It just depends on the terrain too! Recently we went to Spoonauger Falls. It was pretty! We took our new beagle pup Ruger with us too!
Last weekend we went hammock camping with friends! Now that was an adventure! Sleeping in a hammock ALL. NIGHT. LONG.
We played UNO, walked our dogs and played with them, played in the fire, ate awesome steaks, and had a great breakfast the next morning! I was glad we only did it for one night though! haha!
Here's to more adventures this Fall!
Happy Fall Y'all!

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Battles of Hair

I never let my hair define me. I embraced it.

Since shaving my head last Spring it has been a constant battle with not only what I look like but my self confidence.

From April to December in the above photos my hair started growing back before I even finished treatment. Everyday, everywhere I went, I felt like someone was looking at me like "Whoa! What happened to her hair?" Then I would tell myself  "Anna, you are battling the biggest fight of your life. Cancer. Rock that bald head like a badge of honor." And I DID! I somehow managed to keep most of my confidence and had no desire to wear a wig or cover my head. Unless I knew I was going to be in the sun for a while, I would wear a hat.

Once it was grown out enough to start looking out of control I would use wax or gel and tousle it or spike it up a little. I did the best with what I had. What hair I had. Ha! As my hair grew I hated what I looked like. I told myself as soon as it grew long enough for some hair extensions that I would get some. I have never had anything like that before but I felt like it would help me feel better about what I looked like.

So with that "big idea" for hair extensions, I went for it. I had a consultation and the stylist had to order what I would need. Then I went back for the installation. I say that like I am getting an engine upgrade or something! Yeah right! So I walked out of there not sure what just happened. Not sure if I liked it or not.

I think I was in shock for the next week. It was shorter than I thought it would have been. I felt like an old lady with a wig. That is because it was sort of like a wig. This is what we used on my short hair. It worked but I hated it. At first I thought it was too light and then it was getting loose. You can see it lifting from my scalp here:
So I called the stylist that did it and told her and asked her if she could tone it down a bit. She was fine with it and worked me in her schedule. I was greatly appreciated by that because I know she was giving up her time to help me out. I was a stylist once so I know what that is like. I went in and she helped me like it and feel better about having these extensions. I liked the darker much better!
I wore it for a few months and dealt with it but it was more work than I really wanted to do. I couldn't wash it everyday like I was used to and I knew this going into it. It was also hard to style. It was more work that I wanted to put the effort into. I guess because I am not a high maintenance kind of girl! After going four wheeling and felt like it was going to fall out at a moments notice, I was done. I made an appointment and had it removed. It was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders! I was relieved that I didn't have to deal with that mess any more! The stylist also offered to color my hair and gave me the suggestion to go with a reddish brown color. I was iffy at first but I LOVED it!

Left- after extensions removed. Right- Red hair don't care!

Now I have finally found a style and color that I like! I don't have to do much to it if I don't want to and I can wash it everyday! I know the professionals say not to do that but if my hair isn't washed everyday it gets greasy and no one wants to see that! And no, dry shampoo is not my friend with short hair. Am I going to keep short hair? I still plan to grow it out so that I can have a ponytail again. But I have embraced this style that I have now and actually enjoyed fixing my hair again!
Mama Mandolin said it best when she said "Even in 2015, long hair is still the standard for feminine beauty. The majority of women we see in movies and media have long hair, if they have short hair, they're usually cute little petite women. The number one thing I hear from people is that they could never cut their hair short, "I just don't have the face". So let me put this out there: IF YOU HAVE A FACE, YOU CAN HAVE SHORT HAIR. I can tell you, and I know many women who can attest to this, they never regret cutting their hair. They learned so much about themselves and how they view themselves, and it resulted in a more positive body image. Now, I'm not advocating for you to just go out and chop all of your hair off (unless you've been wanting to, then by all means get to chopping!) but what I'm trying to get across here is that beauty is what we make it. Whether your hair is long or short, whether you're curvy or stick straight, you're beautiful. You're beautiful if you have freckles, or if you're on the pale side. You're beautiful if your skin is always red, if you have birthmarks." 

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Friday, September 04, 2015

Ringing the Bell Was the Easy Part

Little did I know that  a little over a year ago would be my last 'normal' Valentine's day! I was having a CT Scan done that would open up the possibility to me having cancer. Ugh! One month later it was official. No one realizes how much it will effect the rest of your life.

On that day one year and seven months ago, I was nervous and I was pissed. Nervous that I was having to have this done on Valentine's day. I had never had anything like this done before and knowing that I wouldn't get the results back for over a week.

Once we went back to find out, it was all down hill from there. On April 8, 2014 I had my first treatment of AVBD.  

First treatment selfie.
Last treatment selfie.
This was me on the last day of my last chemotherapy treatment. September 9, 2014. #12 of 12! Six months later!

In that first picture so many things were going on. I was terrified. I didn't know what to expect. I had no clue what life as a cancer patient would be like. It was hell, I won't lie about that one bit. I was in a lot of pain from the cancer. My doctors and nurses were absolutely AMAZING! I could not have asked for any better people to be taking care of me, along with my husband, mother, grandmother and lots of friends. From accepting that it is ok to be taken care of and not be able to do things that I wanted to do sucked. It sucked some of the life right out of me. I like to do stuff for myself and not be dependent on others. Well God had other plans. It’s okay to ask for help sometimes and accept help when offered. I had some pride that needed to be swallowed. It was a BIG GULP for me, but I did it.

I was sick more than I was my normal self for the whole entire time during treatments. When I did have a good day I tried to take full advantage of it. I would get the hubs to take me out just to get out of the house because that is where I stayed most of the time, in the bed or on the couch. Nausea was my new normal. I hated EVERY.SINGLE.MOMENT. of the nausea. That was the worst part for me. No amount of drugs or medicine other than being completely out of it made it go away. If I was out of it once I came to the nausea would kick me right in the face saying “I’m here bitch”! It was no joke. 

That 6+ months was one of the hardest times that I have ever had to endure. I put on my big girl panties and dealt with it. With God on my side I pushed through. I can remember lying the bed crying my eyes out into my pillow hoping that the hubs wouldn't noticed. I would pray that I am thankful I am going through this and not my husband or my child. I would pray that it would soon go away. More thankful than not I was happy to just be breathing. 

Don't get me wrong, I still had my own personal pity parties. A LOT! No one really saw that side. I hid it pretty well or I seem to think I did. Less than 5 people may have got to see that side. I didn't want people to feel sorry for me. Yeah it sucks to have to go through something so awful but I want you to empower me not help me pity myself. 

To keep from sitting around thinking about all the crappy, sad, and emotional stuff that went along with having cancer: I worked as much as I could handle it. It kept me feeling somewhat normal. To still have a little bit of schedule and normalcy. I jumped at any chance to have some part of what I thought was normal.
Is there a such a thing called normal?

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Battles in my Brain

No one will ever realize the interior battles that come along with cancer. During cancer and after cancer. From what I have heard it could last the rest of my life. Let's hope not. I want to overcome these issues.

I constantly battle different issues in my head. One, confusion. I can get confused so easily. Not just the normal- 'I am not paying attention and didn't hear all that you said' confusion. I can hear you clearly, paying full attention, but after you walk away I am more confused than at the beginning of our conversation. The hubs and I battle this one out frequently. It doesn't happen all the time but you  can bet your tail I will let you know I am confused! Laugh it up! I know I do!

Two, forgetfulness. If I don't write it down, I WILL FORGET! If I don't write it down and then do it within 5 minutes- IT WONT GET DONE. Because I will forget about it and won't remember it either! So sticky notes are more of my best friend than they ever have been! Maybe I should invest in some 3M stock! I mean gah!

Three, I always want to be doing something. This probably goes along with feeling like I missed out on so much last year while I was kicking cancer's ass! I feel like I need to make up for lost time. That's a good and a bad thing. Good because I am able to go and do. Bad because I not only will wear myself out, I wear out my family, and our bank account. I have good intentions but sometimes it gets the best of me and then I just pitch a fit like a toddler or a 7 year old that I know! (spoiled brats we are!)

Four. When I talk I might say one word out of a whole sentence twice. Almost like a stutter. It's like my brain processed it twice and so I say it twice. I have learned to deal with it. Like the confusion it doesn't happen all the time. Just depends on how much is going on in my head!

These may seem normal to you once you read them, but these things didn't occur before or maybe they occurred just changed or intensified after treatment. I notice that I get frustrated and can't explain myself right then. I have to chill out a minute and then explain. I always use the "Chemo Brain" card. Chemo brain can be a frustrating and debilitating but I deal with it. My favorite motto in the last 2 years has been "It is what it is." That is how I try to be an overcomer!

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Wednesday, September 02, 2015

It's Time for an Update Y'all!

Today I am thankful! Very Thankful! Thankful that I am able to do the things I want and enjoy life! I have always said I will live life to its fullest. That rings true more and more today now than it ever has! As I set new goals in life, I have to make time for those new things and sacrifice other things. My family and I have always been on the go and do all kinds of things. We have been very fortunate to do so!

The last time I posted was Jan. 26, 2015. I suppose it's time to get back up to speed! Well, I've been doing so much and not letting anything get in my way! We all know I love to go 4 wheeling and that is what I have done! (and then some!)

From four wheeling to getting a bad hair extension job, I've done it and seen so much and I will share about it all! (even that bad hair extension job!)

With all this coming and going that I have been doing I have lost touch with my blog, but that is all about to change. I know I have said that over and over but I miss it! I also miss the ones that I used to read. I plan to make time to blog and read blogs!
Stay tuned and be ready to have your socks knocked off! haha!
*not really, it just sounded good! So get ready y'all!


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