Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Year Ago I Was Diagnosed With Cancer And Today....I'm A Survivor!!

Today I am a one year cancer survivor! One year ago, to the day, I received some pretty bad news from my doctor. I was told I had thyroid cancer. It is a day I remember quite vividly....kind of like how those of us that have had children can so vividly remember the birth of each of our children...only this memory is not a happy one. I remember the exact time my surgeon called me to deliver the news.....6:30 pm. I remember the shock I felt inside as he delivered the news over the phone and hearing those words "You have cancer." I remember hearing my surgeon tell me that I would need a second surgery and then treatment to rid my body of this cancer and the helpless feeling of not knowing what that would feel like.

I remember not being able to control my emotions and completely losing it in front of my sweet boys and husband the second I hung up the phone. Lastly, I remember the calls I made to  my parents, sister and brother, who were all out of town, and listening to the shock in their voices as they discovered their daughter and sister would have to fight cancer.  I cried a lot that day...more than I had ever cried in my adult life! It's a day I would love to forget, but, I can't, because it changed my life forever. It also changed the lives of those in my family forever. Some of these changes have been hard to accept but many of the changes have been gifts, and that is what I hold onto and celebrate.

While I was crying one year ago, I am jumping up for joy and celebrating today!! I am FINALLY feeling pretty good and, so far, all tests I've had show no evidence of cancer. My biggest tests are coming up in March but I'm optimistic!! Cancer has taught me many things and the aftermath of cancer and the treatment to keep it away continues to challenge me. I will never let it get the best of me, though, because I am a fighter. I AM A SURVIVOR!

My talented friend, Lara Kiniris, who has an amazing company called The Calligraphy Girl, made the cancer ribbon at the top of this post in honor of my one year survivor anniversary. The ribbon contains words that describe my journey with thyroid cancer over this past year. Some of these words include: Faith, Hope, Love, Fight, Live, Breathe, Kick Cancer's Butt, Support, Livestrong, Overcome, Stand Up 2 Cancer, Struggle, Radioactive, Isolation, Family, I Am Blessed, and Survivor, among many other words. I feel so lucky to have this beautiful ribbon because it will remind me of the journey I've had with cancer and how blessed I am to live each day of my life....a true gift!

Some people might think it is strange to celebrate the anniversary of being diagnosed with cancer. For me, however, it is not a celebration of a diagnosis but rather a celebration of life. I am celebrating making it through a tough journey. I am celebrating feeling good. I am celebrating a new appreciation for my family, friends and my health. I am celebrating being a SURVIVOR!!

"The Free Dictionary" defines "survivor" as follows: "to carry on despite hardships or trauma; persevere. To live, persist." I prefer my personal definition of "survivor" which is: "A person who has looked cancer in the eye, has kicked it's butt with the love and support of family and friends, and has learned to enjoy every second, minute, and day of her life to the fullest!!" You are looking at one happy woman who is ready to celebrate many more years of being a survivor! Happy One Year Cancer Survivor Anniversary to Me:-)


Monday, January 14, 2013

::UPDATE:: After A Near Death Motor Vehicle Accident A Year Ago, Julie McClure Has Come A Long Way

Many of you may remember one of our "Feel Better Campaign" recipients from last year, Julie McClure. She survived a life threatening motor vehicle accident on December 17, 2011, which came very close to taking her life. You can read more about her story HERE. We were very excited to receive an update from Julie recently and wanted to share it with all of you. This last year has been a long road for Julie and she has undergone too many surgeries to count but she is finally walking again and just beginning to continue with her goal of becoming a nurse practitioner. She is an amazing woman with great strength and determination.

Julie with her husband, Michael, last year

We donated our "Annie" gown to Julie as a part of our "Feel Better Campaign" and many of you also helped Julie by sending good thoughts and prayers and some made donations which allowed us to give Julie a second gown!!! She has loved her gowns and she recently wore them again for more surgeries to her arm and leg. Please continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers as she continues to heal from her injuries.  We hope you enjoy this little update from Julie as much as we did!! Keep up the great work Julie. You are an inspiration to us all!!

"Thank you for taking the time to follow up on my progress! I have thoroughly enjoyed your gowns! I got to use them again just a few weeks ago when I had another surgery on my left leg! I know I was the best dressed patient in that hospital!!! 

As far as my progress... In the last month I have had two more major surgeries. One on my leg and one on my elbow. I had been having trouble walking so they decided my leg had healed wrong and they needed to break it and reset it. Well when they got in there during the surgery they discovered the fracture just hadn't healed! They put in a rod and ever since then I have been gradually able to put more weight on it! I am almost to where I can walk some without my cane!"

Julie with her sweet niece to cheer her up!

"During my elbow surgery they had to free my impinged ulnar nerve and take out all the metal in my elbow because I couldn't move it at all! The surgery, although painful, was relatively successful. The doctor was pleased and expects a decent recovery of motion. I am diligently working to get my elbow moving!"

Julie holding up all the metal that was removed from her elbow!!
"It is a slow process but it is starting to move! I am currently working hard at physical therapy and elbow therapy three times a week to get stronger and stronger! I start back to work part time in January and hopefully I will also begin back to grad school to finish up my Nurse Practitioner schooling! Still praying that will work out!

Thanks for all your prayers they have meant so much!"

~ Julie McClure

You can continue to follow Julie's progress on a Facebook page that was set up for her last year here: Praying for the McClures and their families

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Beautiful Baby Daughter and Beautiful New Mom In Her "Annie" Designer Hospital Gown

We received this testimonial from Andrea, who recently gave birth to the most beautiful little girl! Just look at those cheeks! Thank you Andrea for taking the time to tell us how much you loved your "Annie" designer hospital gown! It always means the world to us, especially coming from a fellow RN! 

"I had my daughter, Caroline, almost three weeks ago, and I really loved my Annie & Isabel gown. I ended up having a C-section and had to stay in the hospital for four days, so it got a lot of use :) The gown was much more functional than a regular hospital gown and I absolutely loved it. I got many compliments as well!"