A boy and a dream…….

This one is too good not to share and I don’t think that my good friend would mind me posting this on my site. An 8-year old boy named Andrew had a dream to do something in which he could help his dad, Rob Bohning who is fighting a rare and incurable Stage 4 Medullary Thyroid Cancer. His idea was to participate in a kid’s triathlon in order to raise funds to help those with this type of thyroid cancer. There is very little funding for research because there is such a small population of those who have it and those pharmaceutical companies don’t have much to gain to fund research for this. So it is up to non-profits and patients themselves to raise funds to research this cancer. It started out as a small dream, but something which turned out bigger than you would imagine. In just a short few weeks’ time, this little boy’s dream was brought to reality and was able to raise nearly $7,000 to research Medullary Thyroid Cancer.

I would have to say that the apple surely doesn’t fall too far from the tree as Andrew has learned well from his dad what it means to persevere and to give everything all you got. Rob Bohning has been such an inspiration for me as well as many others, and who has the drive and determination to keep fighting a disease that thinks it will override him, but time after time he has proven to cancer that it WILL NOT WIN! Here is the Facebook link which chronicles this boy’s wonderful dream that has been brought to light:

https://www.facebook.com/AndrewsTriathlon4Daddy?ref=br_tf

As I am writing this, Rob is back at MD Anderson with yet another operation so that doctors can do what is necessary to slow the progression of the cancer. Nevertheless, I am sure that Rob’s Marine training has paid off in helping him to fight yet another war. I pray that God continues to watch over Rob and the many other true cancer warriors who continuously teach us what it means to conquer and overcome and to NEVER surrender!

No Regrets

Every journey is one that is full of many different discoveries. What I am finding and learning as I continue along this path is that there have been people in my life that I have lost and some of those even recently in which I missed out on opportunities to tell them everything that I wanted to. You know there are those times when life gets away from you because our lives can get so busy and you think to yourself, Oh I’ll have time to do that later; however, that later sometimes gets swept out from under you before you know it.

What I want to place my focus on right now is to ensure that the important people in my life and those who have had an effect on my life in one way or another know how I feel as I don’t want to live my life with regrets. So if you feel compelled to call that friend or those important people in your life, don’t ever hesitate or think that you will have time tomorrow or the next day because that precious commodity that we call time can often be gone before we know it. Listen to and follow up on those inner promptings. Sometimes even a simple gesture such as a smile or laugh from a friend can be that very thing that uplifts their day! Don’t let yourself lose out on those missed opportunities to let people know how you feel as no one wants to have a life full of regrets!

Regrets2

It’s Not the Destination but the Journey

destination but the journey

In life it’s not so much about where our final destination is, but about the journey itself and how we arrive there, and by being able to find that joy and peace as we travel along that path. There will always be bumps along the road that we may feel at times are impossible to navigate through, but we have to reach deep down within ourselves and realize that we are much stronger than we give ourselves credit for and that we can overcome these difficult challenges. Although I have had my share of those bumps in this journey, I am extremely grateful for this experience and the many lessons I have learned along the way. This journey has helped me to truly understand what hope really means; this experience has helped me to be more optimistic and to always look for the good in every situation, no matter how difficult or unpleasant it can be.

Throughout this journey I have learned that any circumstance that happens in your life, the way in which you react to it can play a major role in your overall health and well-being. When I had a poor attitude about my situation, I really believe it did have an effect on my physical health as well. We can choose our own happiness and where we are headed in life by the attitude that we carry even when we are faced with difficult situations and circumstances.

Positive minds

When we have a positive mindset, we are able to turn those challenges into successes and accomplish things we never thought would be possible. I believe that body, mind and spirit are truly all interconnected; when we can find and maintain that balance it can only lead us on a road to a happy and successful life.

Cancer has truly changed my life. I am loving life and happier than I have been in such a long time. I now have the courage to embrace my fears and to always keep walking forward with my head held high with the confidence that I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to. I know that the sky is the limit and if I can survive cancer NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE!

Faith & Hope

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This cancer experience has been such a faith-building journey that has had many ups and downs, but one that I hold dear to me as I have learned so many valuable life lessons because of what I have had to go through. I have had to learn how to trust and by the grace of God I have come to know that we all have challenges or hiccups in life; it is by exercising that faith that we are able to endure those trials and challenges we are faced with, no matter how difficult.

There is a song by the band, Kutless, which is entitled, “Even if” which is a song about praising God even if we are experiencing difficult times in our life. Sometimes in life the answers to our most heartfelt prayers are simply NO. We just have to put our trust in God and accept what he has planned for our life, even if it is difficult for us to understand at the time. I would like to share the music video for this song which is something that really applies to me:

 

 

There is another song that resonates so much with me with what I have been through and experienced throughout this journey. I believe it has an important message that God is with us during the good as well as the difficult times in our lives and I’m including that music video for this song as well:

 

 

There are some that may even question the existence of God and we are all entitled to our own personal beliefs, but I don’t need tangible evidence to know that there is a higher presence, because I know it in my heart. It really is a freaking miracle that I am here and have a voice to even speak and I firmly believe that God truly guided my surgeon’s hands for them to accomplish what they did. God is the One who is bigger than you or bigger than me and is all knowing.

Although that complete healing just never quite came for me, the lyrics to these songs have spoke volumes to me and have been such a great reminder that God is with me always as I walk in these shoes that have been put before me.  He placed this trial in my life for a reason and is something which has helped me to grow as a person. Even during the darkest moments in our lives, the one thing we can look toward is hope. When we think that we just can’t possibly keep going during a difficult circumstance we can find that hope that can get us through those difficult times. There is another song that I want to share that helps me understand that I can always rely on hope:

 

 

God knows our fears, pains and struggles that we go through. Although at times it may feel as though it is hard to feel his presence, we have to put our trust and faith in Him that he will get us through these difficult challenges and dark days in our lives. Even though it may be difficult to see that light at the end of the tunnel, we can rely on the fact that there will always be better days ahead of us. God led me to this challenge and has been walking me through every step. He is really the true healer and will never forsake us no matter what trials and challenges we face in this life.

 

Twists and Turns

In life we may experience some unexpected twists and turns and this journey has been no different. There have been circumstances that I never expected and I’m sure neither did my doctors. I never expected that I would ever get cancer let alone such an advanced stage, never thought that my doctors would not be able to completely contain it, never thought I would have a recurrence especially in such a short amount of time, and yet my docs still couldn’t contain it, and I never thought that the standard treatment options with RAI therapy would not work either. Although my case has been anything but the norm, what I have learned throughout all of these turns of events is that you have to continuously keep rolling with the punches. No matter what downright nasty blows that cancer or any difficult circumstance or challenge can give you, if you allow it to control your life or continue to live in fear that is truly not living, because that can steal so much of your inner peace.

As it has been said by many survivors, “I have cancer, but it doesn’t have me!” This disease may have invaded my body but that does not mean it has to invade every aspect of my life. It is about making the choice to learn from this experience rather than having those negative thoughts overtake you. When I finally came to terms with my situation I made the decision to turn this into something positive, by showing others that they can conquer and overcome and to not let this monster we call cancer to defeat you.

This has been my own personal triumph in overcoming impossible things and I hope that it provides encouragement and inspiration for others that anything is possible with the right frame of mind and attitude. There truly is life after cancer and even an advanced stage. I have bounced back and I am finally back doing what I love working with special needs children again, which is something that truly makes me happy and fulfilled. I hope one day to be among the living when cancer will be eradicated so that no one has to face this monster ever again! I think it rings true as the saying goes:

Strongest soldiers
– Unknown.

This is a battle that I intend on winning as I will NOT allow it to defeat me and I will fight until the finish! I will continue pushing forward and live my life to the fullest extent possible, no matter what is thrown my way.

It’s That Time Again!

Well here we go again it is that time for testing once again. I’ve been at this thing for over three years and it still gets hard not to worry about what will be found. They scanned my neck even more thoroughly than they have before, scanning the same area multiple times and with more than one tech. I have been a bit anxious this week waiting for the results as they have never scanned me like that before and maybe they were just being very thorough which is good. I would rather them be thorough than not scan me enough, as I have seen that happen to others where techs barely graze their neck and miss something that was there. I had my follow-up with Dr. Song and the results of the ultrasound show a slight increase in the nodule size and my lab work is showing that my tumor markers are up slightly as well. Although it’s not a big jump where we would actually have to do something about it; however, it is essential that we continuously monitor this. Moreover, my T4 levels are too high once again so now we’re back at the drawing board again, trying to get my levels right and having to adjust the dosage of my thyroid meds. Back in April my levels were just perfect and I thought after three years we finally achieved the perfect match with the right drug and correct dosage as I had never felt better. However, lately I’ve not been feeling that great and have had more fatigue again and now the high T4 explains why. I am surprised that this hasn’t yet pushed my heart back into overdrive again. I really don’t like the thought of having to add that tiny little pill back into my med regimen and hoping that never happens ever again! After this next adjustment, we’ll check my levels again in two months and hopefully I can get back on track; it will then be another recheck of my tumor markers along with another neck ultrasound in six more months. This game sure never gets any easier!