Sunday, September 9, 2012

THANK YOU ~ The Magic of Facebook

We just wanted to take a moment to say THANK our Facebook fans, Twitter followers, friends and customers.  You truly are the BEST fans and you motivate us to keep doing what we do every day. 

This last week we posted the story of Jen Roper, a young wife and mom of five beautiful children, who was undergoing surgery to remove a cancerous brain tumor.  We asked you to help us by sending her good thoughts and prayers and "liking" and "sharing" our Facebook post to rally even more thoughts, prayers, and loving comments from all over the country via Facebook.   When we post things like this we always keep our fingers crossed because we know in order for a post to have a chance of going "viral" our core Facebook fans must "like" and "share" it and  BOY DID YOU EVER!!!!  Here is the current status of this post:

The "likes" and comments keep coming in!!!!  Go to our FACEBOOK page now and you will see that there will be even more "likes" and comments.  In addition...this facebook post was shared by 129 people which also continues to grow.  The blog post we did about Jen has had thousands of views by people in over 10 countries!

This makes us so happy because anyone who has gone through a difficult time knows that having a tremendous amount of support, even from strangers, makes a big difference.  Jen has already expressed thanks for your support and as she recovers from this surgery and gears up for chemotherapy and radiation, to get rid of the small amount of her brain tumor that is left, we would love if you keep the thoughts and prayers coming her way.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.  You have helped make a family feel loved and supported.....and that means a lot:-)  You can follow Jen's journey via her blog - The Roper's.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mother of Five Undergoes Brain Surgery Today - Please Share & Help Us Surround Her With Good Thoughts

Today, on this early September morning, we need your help.

Meet Jen Roper. 

Gorgeous, right?!!!!

Mother of FIVE…four boys and one princess!





and as of this afternoon… 

Jen will be a brain tumor survivor. 

photo courtesy of Maggie Holmes Design

Here is an excerpt from her blog  The Roper's  from August 13th and a little background that brought her to surgery today - 

"A tumor on my brain?

I immediately began to cry.  The lady doing my EEG began to cry.  Matt and the Neurologist barely held it together.  The questions began to flow....

What do you mean a tumor?

Do you mean cancer?

"We believe the tumor to be malignant."  

THIS could not be happening to me.  I am 33 years old.  I have 5 babies.  I run.  I exercise.  I eat right. I lost my mom when I was 16.  I do not deserve anymore big trials, my worst fear is to leave my babies behind.


In comes the neurosurgeon.

"The tumor is malignant, it is on your motor strip which means it is on the portion of your brain that controls the movement of your face, arms and legs.  It is on the right side of your brain.  If we are to surgically remove this tumor, there is a good chance you will lose function of the entire left side of your body and this could be permanent."


That was all I could handle.  I lost it.  I screamed.  I cried.  I sobbed.  I held on to Matt for dear life.  This was the worst news ever.  My life would never be the same.

I called Jess.  I cried.  She cried.  Hard.  We sobbed, we screamed.  I did the same thing again with Julie and again with my dad and again with Matt.


Why is this happening to me?  I cannot leave my babies.  My babies have to have a mom.  They HAVE to have a mom.

Matt and I decided almost immediately that I would have to get the tumor removed regardless of the risk involved.  A mom is still a mom even if she is in a wheelchair.  

I'm strong.  I'm a fighter.  I do not do anything half way.  If there is a chance I could walk again, I will do it.  


Today, Jen is going into surgery at 7:30 am to have the tumor removed. 

Here is where we need your help

We know the power of our amazing Annie & Isabel army. 

We are asking you to surround Jen with LOVE today. We want Jen to wake up to hundreds of comments on our Facebook page. We asked Jen's permission to share her incredible journey and she said the more healing thoughts and prayers sent her way, the better!  

Last time we asked you for this, we had thousands of likes on FB, shares, stories, and messages for 16 year old Carly when she woke up from open heart surgery. It was so special for Carly to wake up to so many encouraging messages. She felt so loved and we thank you for making that happen. 

So, let's do this like we know how! LIKE this post on our Facebook page and leave some words of encouragement to show Jen, her husband, and their beautiful children that there are many people thinking and praying for her today.

Thank you to Jen's friends Drew and Stephanie, who bought her our Susan gown. This is Jen Pre-Op in her Susan gown this morning and she looks pretty stylish!! You can tell she has a great spirit with that beautiful smile!!

Hugs to you Jen.  Thinking good thoughts for you today!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Answer Is.....Thyroid Cancer + An Update on My Journey with Cancer

Did you know that the month of September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month?  I'm guessing you probably don't know this, unless, like I, you have had thyroid cancer.  There is reason to give thyroid cancer some thought.  Did you know that thyroid cancer is the fastest increasing cancer in both men and women?  Since my diagnosis, I have met so many people that have had thyroid cancer and I find that alarming!!  The good news is that most types of thyroid cancer, while not an easy cancer to deal with, are very curable when found early, and especially when found in people under the age of 45 years.  I want to encourage you all to do your own "neck check" to look for unusual bumps or swelling in the area of your thyroid (which is just below your adams apple).  Here is a good process for doing your own neck check:

I feel lucky that one of my doctors noticed that my thyroid was enlarged over four years ago. At the time, I would have never thought to check my neck.  While it took four years to determine I had cancer, it appears that the cancer didn't spread anywhere and, since I am under the age of 45, I was considered to have stage one cancer. That brings me to how I am doing today.......

The last time I blogged about my thyroid cancer, I had just finished treatment and proclaimed that I had kicked cancer's butt.  Now, almost six months later, I still believe that I have kicked cancer's butt, however, it has not been the easiest of roads.  Like most thyroid cancer patients, I was initially told by my endocrinologist and surgeon that thyroid cancer is very curable and that I was lucky because it was caught early.  Those things were very true and wonderful but I translated that into thinking that I would get through my surgeries and treatment, be started on hormone replacement medication, start to feel normal again, and move on with my life with the exception of a lot more doctors appointments and tests in my future.  Over the last few months, I have realized that this is not the case.  The thing my doctors did not prepare me for was the tremendous impact that losing my thyroid would take on my body.  I did not realize that by taking synthetic thyroid hormones I would feel nothing like how I had felt when my own precious thyroid was working.  The thyroid gland controls our metabolism and is responsible for giving us the energy we need to function each day.....among a lot of other things.  The end result is that I am left with an increased amount of fatigue on an almost daily basis.  I am doing so much better than I was just a few months ago and, occasionally, I forget that I ever had cancer.  I still have a ways to go before I feel close to "normal".  I am learning to accept the "new" me and I still hope to feel even better in the next few months.  Sometimes, however, it is just hard and I find myself missing my "old" energetic self.

I would never choose to have cancer in a million years but I continue to be grateful for the lessons cancer has taught me:

Be Thankful For Each New Day 
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday......there is not a bad day of the week.  Each new day we have is a blessing and we should live it to the fullest.

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
When I finished my cancer treatment and began to gain some energy, I could feel myself getting sucked right back into the daily grind of life.  It's kind of unavoidable when you have four boys to cart all over the place.  Cancer has kept me in check, though, because I say, "hey....I had cancer....this is not worth stressing over."Sometimes a little timeout in life can really help too:-)

My youngest experiencing timeout at OfficeMax:-)

Give to Others
I had so much support when I was going through treatment for my thyroid cancer and it reminded me of the importance of giving to others.  I feel blessed that I get to work in an Emergency Department because it gives me the opportunity to give to others every day that I work.  I don't take my role as a nurse for granted and I look for ways that I can make a difference in other's lives both inside and outside of work.  Cancer has given me a refreshed energy to be more compassionate and sympathetic to others.

Don't Take Anything for Granted
After realizing how much I took my healthy self for granted and the energy I used to have, I now see the importance of slowing down, enjoying my life, my family, my precious boys, and the beauty of the world around me.......and having a little fun while I'm at it!

Be a Good Friend to Someone
I have always valued my friendships but having cancer made me realize the importance of friendships.  I am blessed with some amazing friends and I want to remember to cherish these relationships.  A true friend is someone who is by your side in good times and bad.

True friends help even when it requires a little dirty work
Family is Important
Cancer didn't teach me this lesson because I've always known this and have been blessed to have an amazing family my whole life.  Cancer did make me realize, however, that having a close, loving family makes getting through tough times a whole lot easier.

I am still healing from this cancer and it has forever changed me, but in the long run.....I am going to be a better person for it.  At the end of this month,  I will have my first big tests to determine if this cancer is gone and then more tests will be done at the one year mark.  I would love it if you could send some good thoughts my way as I am a little anxious about this since thyroid cancer has a high recurrence rate but I'm thinking positive thoughts and looking forward to a healthy future!!!

So, for me........please check your necks!!