It is so easy to be scared - actually, to feel terrified by my diagnosis. Although I avoid statistics as much as I possibly can, I have read them. I know what the typical prognosis is for someone with my type and stage of cancer. To say it's "not good" would be a huge understatement. I know what I am up against and I am fully aware that I need to do all I can to be in that small group - that tiny percentage - of women that make it - and make it for a long time! However, I am no stranger to fitting into these unlikely groups. I am now part of the 10% of women that are diagnosed with breast cancer to have the Invasive Lobular form, the 6% of women that are diagnosed as stage IV right from the start, and the mere 5% of women that are diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 40. If I can be part of these rare groups, who is to say I can't be part of the small percentage of young women with stage IV cancer that go into remission and lead a long, healthy, happy life! This is my ultimate goal and driving force behind everything I do!
Lately, when I become scared, I have started to read the most current research in the area of metastatic breast cancer (aka stage IV). Sadly, this is an area that has been very underserved regarding research and clinical trials. In the past, the common medical opinion regarding treatment of women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer was to begin palliative care and tell them to enjoy their life while they can - for the next year or so- and that was it. No aggressive treatment, no clinical trials, no cure = no hope. Thankfully, the approach and mindset of the oncology community in regards to metastatic breast cancer is finally evolving. More conversations have been initiated, more treatment is being attempted, and slowly but surely, more research is being conducted. The statistics regarding survival rates of those of us with "incurable", metastatic breast cancer are improving 1-2% each year - I know this doesn't sound like much, but it's a statistic that's moving in the right direction and I will take it! Oncologists aren't just shipping us off to hospice at diagnosis - we are being treated aggressively with the goal of remission. Even if we don't technically have a "cure" for metastatic breast cancer, there are many amazing stories out there of women (and men) living many years with this as a chronic illness - similar to managing other chronic illnesses such as diabetes.
In addition to research for metastatic breast cancer, Susan G. Komen For a Cure is also invested in research regarding better diagnostic tools to allow for early detection of breast cancer. This is also an area close to my heart because Invasive Lobular Breast Cancer in particular is very difficult to pick up on imaging tests. It is often missed on mammograms and goes undiagnosed until it has become very advanced. It is so imperative that we find a way to diagnose this earlier and avoid the onset of metastases. And finally, research regarding young women diagnosed with breast cancer is another area which is often overlooked. I have already met way too many women under the ago of 40 diagnosed with breast cancer - there are too many of us! Yet, so much of the focus and research is geared towards older women. Young women like me are often overlooked, blown off, and misdiagnosed because we don't fit the typical profile of a woman at risk. Unfortunately, survival rates of young women with breast cancer haven't improved that much over the years - and this needs to be changed! We need more research in regards to genetic mutations, early detection and treatment of young women. My doctors are confident I have a genetic mutation that has caused this, but despite numerous genetic tests I have had so far, we cannot determine the mutation responsible. Although great strides have been made, we have a long way to go in order to get control of this devastating disease.
This is why fundraising is so important to me. I am confident that we are on the brink of great discoveries, particularly regarding managing and possibly curing metastatic breast cancer. With each dollar we raise for the Susan G. Komen For the Cure, we are funding research that will help prevent, treat, and cure this awful disease. It is your generous donations that will allow this work to be continued for many years - and your amazing contributions that give me hope that a cure for metastatic breast cancer will eventually be found. I just need to fight hard enough to stick around to see that day.
If you would like to read more about the research efforts being made through your donations to Susan G. Komen For a Cure, please click here. I also wanted to share two areas of research reported on Komen's website that I am especially pleased about:
Research Highlight: EARLY DETECTION
We have provided more than $50M to support research to identify new screening tools, enhance the efficacy of existing screening tests such as mammography, and to improve screening delivery to find breast cancer early when it is most treatable.
Impacts: Komen research explored the characteristics of MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) as a screening tool and today MRI in addition to mammography is recommended for women at high risk for breast cancer – those with a family history or gene mutation. These women are at greater risk of developing breast cancer before age 40 and are more likely to have dense breasts, which can reduce the sensitivity of mammography. Komen research also led to development of new technologies like molecular breast imaging (MBI) which can detect three times as many cancers as film mammography among women with dense breasts.
Exciting research: Our research continues to address important new challenges, such as:
We have provided nearly than $28M since 2006 to support research seeking to understand the processes by which tumor cells migrate to other parts of the body and to identify therapeutic targets for stopping this process.
Impacts: Komen research supported early work by Judah Folkman, Nancy Davidson and others to understand angiogenesis, a process critical in metastasis by which tumors stimulate a blood supply for their continued growth. The first anti-angiogenic drug, Avastin, was approved for use by the FDA in 2004. Komen research also recently led to the discovery of a gene, metadherin, that promotes metastasis in 30 to 40 percent of breast tumors, providing an exciting potential target for therapy.
Exciting research: Our research continues to advance our understanding of the types and sources of signals tumor cells receive that trigger cell migration, and how the area around cells, called the extracellular matrix (EMC), changes to allow cells to start migrating. Examples of important new challenges in metastasis being addressed through our research include:
My incredible friends that have devoted their summer to fundraising and training for the 60 mile, 3 Day walk have two additional events planned to raise as much money as possible - our goal is to hit the $30,000 mark! This Sunday is the spa day at Aretee Day Spa in Grosse Pointe Woods from 3-9pm. Don't worry if you haven't RSVP'd, please just come by and get pampered for a great cause! You are welcome to come by at any time - no need for an appointment.
A week from Friday, please head over to Royal Oak High School to join us for a fun night of Zumba and yoga as we participate in our last fundraiser for the 3 Day For A Cure walk! We would love to see you there to help us reach our goal!
If you are unable to make it to one of these events, but would still like to make a donation to the Meghan Malley Rally team, please click here.
Another great event that I would like to share with you is the Susan G. Komen Ride For A Cure. My amazing friend Kyle is participating in this event on Saturday, August 6. She will be riding her bike for 30 miles throughout the Ann Arbor area in order to raise money for the Susan G. Komen organization. For more general information on this event, including the course map, please click here. If you would like to make a contribution to Kyle's fundraising efforts, please click here. Kyle, I am so proud of you and so grateful that you are doing this. I can't wait to come cheer you on!
I can't thank you all enough for your donations and support of all of our fundraising efforts. I promise that once I am able to get my own health stabilized, I will focus a great deal of my time and attention to spreading the word regarding early detection for high risk young women, and to further promote research towards metastatic disease!
I am looking forward to these next two fundraising efforts and I'm especially excited for the 3 Day event which starts on August 12! It will be incredible. More details soon to come on all the festivities of that weekend.
Have a fabulous weekend guys - I know I will! Can't beat spending time up north with some of my very best friends from high school. My girlfriends are seriously sunshine for my soul! We'll miss you Chels, Jen & Kel. ♥
Throughout the many years we have been together, I have tried quite a few times to plan surprises for Mike. I have always wanted to plan an incredible trip or great party without him knowing, but I can never pull it off. I believe this is partially due to the fact that I tell him everything and when I am excited about something, he is the one I want to share every detail with. I always ruin the surprise by spilling my plans to him prematurely because I get so excited - just like how every Christmas Eve I get so giddy about the gifts I have for him that I constantly ask, "Are you sure you don't want to open your presents tonight instead of Christmas morning?!" The other reason that pulling off a surprise is nearly impossible is because Mike has always taught and coached nearly year round and there is no way he would ever miss a day of work or willingly skip a practice or game to go on a trip.
Mike made the decision not to teach summer school or coach summer ball this year in order to be with me as much as possible. It has been the best decision he could have possibly made and it's been an absolute blessing to me. I love having him home more, and I am so grateful that he is able to attend every single doctors appointment and every round of chemo with me. I have a really hard time attempting to put into words how incredible Mike has been throughout these past 4 months. I know that will come as no surprise to those of you that know him, because that is just the core of who he is - a selfless, caring and compassionate person that would do anything for the people he loves. Everyone acknowledges how difficult this time has been for me, but what about for him? This has been a devastating and heart breaking time for him as he watches me go through this - he sees me in pain, watches me spend hours on the couch battling fatigue, and dries my tears as I worry about our future. He has been here for me every step of the way - never complaining about the impact this has had on his life too. Sure, he voices his fears and frustrations, but he never makes me feel guilty when he misses fun times with his friends to stay home with me, or when he gave up coaching his Varsity team this spring - just a few of the many sacrifices that he has made for me. He knows how to pick me up and make me smile when I am feeling sad, or when to just let me have a good cry because that is important too. He knows what I need before I even say it, or before I even realize it myself sometimes. Mike is my very best friend and there is no one else I would rather have by my side throughout this journey. Planning a short surprise getaway for him is the least I can do to thank him for everything he has done for me!
So, when my co-worker and friend, Stephanie and her husband Ray offered to let us spend some time at their place up north, I jumped at the chance to finally surprise Mike. He has commented a few times about wanting to get away for a few days and I knew this would be the perfect opportunity. Since he isn't working right now, I didn't have to worry about that or his coaching schedule. I secretly packed our bags and hid them in the trunk, and as we were pulling out of the driveway on Monday morning (headed to a fake doctor's appointment -sorry, a few white lies were told in order to pull this one off), I told Mike I forgot something in the house and I would be right back. Well, I grabbed the pup and a few last minute items and jumped back in the car to reveal that we were actually headed up north instead! Mike was so surprised and thrilled to be avoiding another doctors office and heading up north for some fresh air, sandy beaches and sunsets over the lake. There was one other passenger that might have been more excited than Mike actually was....
Aside from going on a run with his Dad, there isn't much Wrigley loves more than a long car ride. He rode this way with his head out the window for hours. :) Steph & Ray's place up at Canadian Lakes was gorgeous! It was so incredibly peaceful, quiet, and relaxing. We spent time going on walks with the pup along the woods, reading our books out on the deck, marveling at the gorgeous sunsets and enjoying the beautiful nature that surrounded us.
On Tuesday we decided to head to Ludington for the day. We have heard great things about Ludington and have always wanted to visit. It was a quick ride over from Steph & Ray's place and it was totally worth it! The clean sandy beaches were beautiful, the lighthouses were incredible, and the sand dunes were amazing. We had the perfect day there and enjoyed every minute of it.
We made the 2 mile hike to the Big Sable Point Lighthouse, north of downtown Ludington. It is a beautiful and historic lighthouse that still operates today. Once we were there, we couldn't chicken out and not climb to the top. So, although I am totally terrified of heights, we climbed the narrow, winding staircase to the top! It was spectacular up there and totally worth the climb, and the 2 mile walk back. I was pretty proud of myself since that is the biggest workout I have had in awhile! ha!
A snapshot taken by a volunteer at the top of the lighthouse. She even gave me a yellow sticker saying, "I made the climb to the top", since I was a big scaredy cat. :)
Wrig had the time of his life swimming in the lake at Steph & Ray's. I don't know how he can even see the way he wraps that toy around his face. :)
My favorites ♥
We were driving down the road headed to dinner one night and I just happened to have my camera sitting on my lap, ready to shoot. This deer was beautiful and just stared at us from the side of the road. There were deer everywhere!
Quick snapshot of my boys while watching the gorgeous sunset over Canadian Lakes!
Steph & Ray - We cannot thank you enough for allowing us to spend three perfect days at your lovely home up north. It was exactly what we needed and it couldn't have been better. We had the best time and we are so grateful that you thought of us. Thank you for allowing us to have these memories together with our little family - it truly meant the world to us!
We headed to back to Chemo-Land yesterday for round #9 out of 16 total. Getting closer to that finish line! As soon as we got back into the car to head home, Tom Petty's "Won't Back Down" was playing on the radio. It just seemed so fitting and I couldn't help but belt it out as we drove - much to the dismay of Mike's ears since I have never claimed to be a decent singer. :)
Well, I won't back down
No, I won't back down
You could stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won't back down
No I'll stand my ground, won't be turned around
And I'll keep this world from draggin' me down
Gonna stand my ground
...And I won't back down
Hey baby, there ain't no easy way out
Hey I will stand my ground
And I won't back down
Well I know what's right, I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin' me around
But I'll stand my ground
...And I won't back down
Have a great weekend everyone! I am hoping to mix in some time with friends as well as some relaxation this weekend. Gotta rest up for my big trip back up north next weekend with all of my Beauts - our group of 10 best buds from high school. I cannot wait!!! Hope to see some of you when I get back from that trip on Sunday, July 31 over at the spa day fundraiser!
One of the many new things I have noticed since not being at work is that I often have no clue what the date is. I now completely relate to my retired geriatric patients that always need help with the date while filling out their paperwork at the clinic. When you no longer write the date out each day while filling out documentation at work, it's easy to lose track. All of a sudden it has totally hit me that we are over half way through July! Where is the summer going?! I know I say it year after year...but man, it seems like time flies quicker and quicker the older I get. I consider "time" to be one of my best friends these days and I definitely want as much of it as I can possibly get! Although I would never wish it to fly by, there are certain circumstances that make me grateful that the passage of time is moving along fairly quick.
This past week marked the half way point of my chemotherapy treatments. Hallelujah! I now have 8 treatments behind me, and 8 more to go. Although I have voiced my frustrations about the intense fatigue chemo brings, I have never complained about going through these past 8 rounds- partially because I will go through anything that will help me beat this, and also because I know that things could always be worse. The first round of chemo was pretty rough for me, but I now look at that as a blessing in disguise. Feeling as awful as I did then, has allowed me to feel grateful for the mercy that has been shown to me during the seven rounds since. I have discovered that there is always something we can be thankful for in every circumstance, if we make the choice to see it. Although I am thankful for getting through this time as well as I have, I am not gonna lie - I am ready to make it to the chemo finish line! I am truly looking forward to tackling these next 8 rounds and giving my body a bit of a break that it definitely deserves.
This week was a busy one and filled with lots of time with friends - which is always a good thing. :) I am gradually getting better at slowing down, fitting in time to rest, and learning my new limitations - but when I am feeling pretty good, I like to take advantage of it! Last Monday, I drove for the first time in a long while and headed out to Ann Arbor to spend some time with one of my best friends, Julie & her sweet son Will. What's better than spending the day shopping, eating lunch at Zingerman's and playing with this adorable guy?!
The rest of the week was wonderfully busy and consisted of visits from Denise & her girls, Nikki, Aunt Bev and Uncle Herm. As well as dinner with Andrea, Julie C and Nichole, catching a movie with Andrea, hitting up the Royal Oak Antique & Garage Sale with Julie, dinner with Katie & Justin, and topping the weekend off by going to the Tiger's game with some of my best friends from PT school! Whew, busy bee!
I have also been working on plans for the weekend of the incredible 3 Day For A Cure walk. I am so excited and can't believe it's only 4 weeks away! I will post lots of details soon, but mark your calendars in advance for the weekend of August 12-14...if you are in town, it would be amazing to have as many of our friends and family there as possible to help us cheer on the walkers and celebrate this incredible cause. There will be opportunities to come out and join us each day of the weekend, and will culminate with a big party on Sunday night to celebrate and to allow us to show our thanks and appreciation to each and every one of you that has supported us along the way. I know it will be a very emotional and memorable weekend!
There are two great fundraisers remaining for the 3 Day team, and you don't want to miss them! Please see the flyer below for full details on the amazing spa day that Diana has put together. How can you pass up an excuse to get pampered while raising money for such a fabulous cause?! Check out the flyer to see all of the great services your donation will get you. Please do not forget to RSVP to Diana as soon as possible!
Our last fundraiser will be a super fun Zumba & Yoga class on Friday, August 5 at Royal Oak High School. It sounds like a great time! And don't worry...I can't handle a 90 minute workout anymore - so if you don't think you are up for it but want to come support us, you can hang out with me as I watch everyone else sweat. :)
As always, thank you for the continued prayers and support. Each week, without fail, something happens that amazes us due to the kindness and generosity of our friends, family, and even complete strangers. So many people have reached out to us, and there is no way we can ever truly thank you all enough for it. We just hope you know how much it means to us to hear from you and know you care.
I spent some time photographing my mom's beautiful garden this week. I have memories from as far back as I can remember of my mom spending hours upon hours in her flower beds all summer long, just like she still does today. My love and appreciation of flowers and gardening clearly comes from her and the gorgeous gardens she creates.
If you know me well, you know that I love lists. I don't just love lists, I L-O-V-E lists! Ever since I can remember, I have been writing myself "to-do lists." I find them all over the place - in my planner, on my nightstand, desk drawers, purses, car, work. Whenever I see cute notepads of paper, I buy them up in bulk and get excited at the thought of filling them up with lists. It's a sickness, I know. I have always had lists for everything - grocery shopping, house projects, reports to do at work, phone calls and emails to return...it goes on and on. I love staying organized and more than that, I love the satisfaction of striking that big, bold line through an item on my list once I have accomplished it!
A few weeks before my 29th birthday, I started a list on the first page of a blank, pink covered journal entitled, "30 Before 30." I then spent some time thinking of all the things I wanted to accomplish this year before I turned thirty years old. I started compiling my list, eventually taking a break at #13 to further think through what was important enough to include. Well, you all know what happened next. I purposely waited until the day after my birthday to have a biopsy, and the day after that I was diagnosed with "the big C" - two days after my 29th birthday, which was March 21.
That very same pink journal quickly become my right hand man on this new journey my life has taken. The pages are now filled with doctor's names, appointment times, family history information, logs of my weight and vital signs, blood test reports, questions for my doctors...all sorts of words and verbiage that I never dreamed would become part of my daily conversations. Once in awhile, I flip back to that first page of the journal and I get a quick reminder of the vastly different life I led just a few short months ago. I had no clue then how quickly my life, and that list, would change forever. How my priorities, my wishes, my hopes and dreams would immediately take on an entirely new meaning.
I have experienced a lot of dark moments over the past 3 1/2 months - but I have come through each one of them with a renewed sense of how wonderful and precious life is. It has made me realize that there is no reason why I can't continue to set goals that I would like to accomplish throughout this year - and the many years to come! I don't need to always focus 100% of my attention on this disease. I want to live my life, and enjoy my life like I always did. So, I have revisited that first page in the pink journal and decided to pick up where I left off. I am hoping that by putting this out there in cyberspace for all of you to read, it will help me hold myself accountable to complete each of my goals! Feel free to ask me on March 21, 2012 how I did! :)
My first list initiated in early March 2011, was entitled, "30 Before 30- Wishes, hopes, dreams, desires, goals for the next year...in no particular order." Well, here goes...
"The New & Improved 30 before 30"
Starting with my previous list from early March...
1. Get Pregnant! Start a family with my amazing husband!
This is a really tough one for us...we don't know what God has in store for us in regards to the family we so desperately want. We continue to pray that we may have a family one day, but until then, we will have to leave it in His hands.
2. Run another 10K
I have to revise this one, as I am no longer allowed to run due to risk of compression fractures in my spine. Revised goal: Return to exercising at least 3 times per week, including yoga, biking, walking and swimming.
3. Participate in at least 4 fundraisers
Shouldn't have a problem meeting this goal now, huh?! Go Team Malley Rally!
4. Perfect Mom's homemade chex mix, all by myself!
5. Master my off-camera flash
6. Visit at least 3 new cities
7. Photograph my first newborn session
8. Try tempeh
Completed! Thanks to the Waterford Kettering staff member that made us some yummy tempeh a month or so ago!
9. Finally order wedding album (yes, I am ashamed to admit that I still haven't done this - 3 1/2 years later! eek!)
So embarrassed to admit this one! Mom, I PROMISE I will get it done
10. Send a hand written letter to one friend each month
Can I count thank you notes? If so, I am set! :)
11. Complete my Ireland/London scrapbook
Another long overdue project!
12. Post to the Meg Malley Photography blog at least every other week
I have had to put Meg Malley Photography on the back burner for right now. So, I have revised this goal to make sure I post at least one blog entry per week on this very blog you are reading. :)
13.....update as of 3.23.2011...One and only goal...BEAT CANCER THIS YEAR!!!
Now that I have a greater understanding of the exact enemy I am fighting, I realize that although I may not officially "beat" cancer by my 30th birthday, I will take any and all necessary steps to hear my doctors tell me, "There is no current evidence of disease". That's the medical lingo that I am most praying to hear one day! ....this is where my list stopped and has remained unfinished since the day of my diagnosis. Time to pick up where I left off.....
14. Reach out to at least 5 other young women diagnosed with cancer...especially those
with advanced stage disease, such as myself.
So far I have met (either in person or through email), three other women under the age of 35 with advanced stage breast cancer, and I have another friend with a different type of cancer that is also stage IV. It has been a wonderful experience to get to know other women in a similar position to me! I am grateful to have them to turn to for support throughout the journey down this difficult road.
15. Try to attend at least one conference uniting young cancer survivors, such as the
"Annual Conference for Young Women Affected by Breast Cancer" or the "OMG!
Cancer Summit for Young Adults."
Depending on my treatment schedule, I am not sure if I will be able to travel to these conferences, but I would love to opportunity to do so one day!
16. Read at least 2 non-cancer related books each month
17. Continue to learn and grow as a photographer - attend at least one workshop
18. Begin a daily gratitude journal
I think about this in my head each day, but would like to put it in writing to help me remember all of my blessings when I may be having a hard time seeing them
19. Take extra time to tell others "thank you" - especially family, friends, doctors,
nurses, medical assistants & receptionists
20. Plan a vacation with my family
21. Buy one of the vintage cameras I have been eyeing for months on Etsy
22. Volunteer my time with a local charity
23. Learn more about my Adobe Lightroom photo editing program that I purchased
over a year ago and have barely touched
24. Finally print, matte, and hang some of my own photography in my home It's sort of ridiculous that aside from a couple 4x6 prints in my kitchen, I don't have any of my own photography displayed in my home. I can't wait to put up some images from our trip to Ireland!
25. Plant peonies, my favorite flower, in my garden this fall
26. Finally print some of my favorite personal photos from the past few years and organize them in albums
I used to take great pride in all of my chronologically ordered photo albums filled with pictures. I think the digital age has gotten the best of all of us and now our images reside on our computers. I have lots of cute albums to fill up!
27. Reach out to the metro Detroit chapter of the Young Survivor Coalition and attend one of their meetings - a nationwide organization dedicated to young women facing breast cancer
28. Walk the first mile of the Susan G. Komen 3 Day For a Cure with my awesome friends of "Team Meghan Malley Rally"...and attempt to find them to cross the finish line together at mile 60!
I will be out there all weekend to cheer you guys on - but sadly, I don't want to commit to attempting more than 1 mile increments of walking. This ole' body poops out pretty quickly these days! ;)
29. Treat my incredible, selfless husband to a long overdue massage at an amazing spa in order to thank him for the near nightly back massages he never complains about giving me when my back hurts
30. Have a wonderful celebration for my 30th birthday and one year anniversary as a cancer survivor!
There you have it, ladies and gents! I can't wait to start tackling all this fun stuff and crossing things off my list. I'll save some other goodies such as, "travel to Italy", or "buy our dream house", for next years list. :)
Although I will have a "few" other obstacles to tackle before my 30th birthday (another 9 rounds of chemo, start hormone therapy, make it through a double mastectomy, begin the reconstruction process, and complete 30 radiation treatments!), I think it's important to remember to mix in some time for the things that truly make me happy, and that make me feel a little bit more like myself through all of this. I know that the words "breast cancer" will forever be a part of me, but just that - a "part" of me. Those words do not define who I am or how I have to live my life. I am grateful for the amazing community of survivors that I have now joined, but I will not let my entire life revolve around this disease.
Well, gotta run...I have 30 things I need to get done in the next few months - better get started! :) As always, thank you for being such an amazing support group for Mike and I. Thanks for the blog comments, cards, calls and meals! We are so grateful to have all of you in our lives.
ps. A huge thank you to Kara for putting together a wonderful "Girls Night Out" fundraiser Friday night at her home. Thank you to all of the great friends and family that came out to shop and support the 3 Day team - and to the awesome vendors that donated a portion of their earnings. It was a great success and lots of fun - so much fun that I sadly forgot to bust out the camera and take come pics! If anyone couldn't make it but would like to check out products or place an order from Tastefully Simple, Lia Sophia, Mary Kay, Miche, Premier Designs, Thirty-One or Mio Dio Collection, please feel free to email Kara at firstname.lastname@example.org - all orders will need to be placed by Wednesday, June 13.
I am so thankful my Aunt Carol captured this great image of GG and me from 4th of July weekend. The one problem with being the family photographer is that you never end up in any of the pictures. :) I'm grateful to have this picture of us - I love it!
Happy 4th of July everyone! I hope you have all had a fabulous weekend of celebration! Although I had a much more relaxed holiday weekend than in the past, I am so grateful that I could spend it with my family and escape from my house for a bit.
First thing Friday morning, Mike and I busted out of here and headed to breakfast at one of our favorite local diners. It's amazing how nice going out to a simple breakfast can feel. It is something that Mike and I used to do all the time together but never get to really do anymore. We spent the rest of the day running errands, being outside, and just enjoying being together! On Saturday morning, I had another yummy breakfast with one of my very best girls, Meagan and then headed off with Mike to a family party at my Aunt Lori's. We spent the entire day at her house with tons of my family members, including GG (my grandma), my cousin Becca and her family from Denver, and my cousin Angie and her family from Cleveland. Thank goodness for the pool since it was a scorcher outside and super humid! I had such a great day spending time with my family and I am more grateful than ever for these times that we get to spend together. The heat wore me out a bit more than usual so I didn't get a ton of pics, but below are some that I did catch. I didn't get many of the adults (which they probably don't mind), because it was hard to take my lens off of these kiddos. My cousins have the cutest kids on the planet!
Check out these baby blues! Layla has the most gorgeous eyes-just like her momma!
Layla & Teagan giving each other a big squeeze...cutest thing ever!
It was such a great day with my family and I enjoyed it so much! But, I've noticed a funny pattern whenever I have something fun to do like this. It's almost as if I am on some sort of adrenaline rush the second I see friends or family and I can just "turn it on" and forget about the fatigue. I always end up having a great time and not feeling too tired while I am there. Then, without fail, every time I leave something like this, I end up feeling like I was hit by a Mack truck. I know it will happen, but I can't help myself. I have never been the type to be the first to leave a party, and it's nearly impossible for me to leave when I am still feeling good and having fun - even though I know I should learn to "quit while I'm ahead." I felt completely exhausted by the time we got home Saturday night and ended up spending all of Sunday on the couch - but, it was worth EVERY second I was able to spend with my family!
Luckily, I have some great friends that stopped by on Sunday, and today was spent hanging out at Jeff's pool with the fam. It was a perfect, relaxing day in the sun, floating around on a raft, and laughing as Jeff played hilarious pranks on my mom. :) So, although this 4th of July wasn't as action packed as normal, and even though I have felt pretty wiped out the past few days, this dreaded disease has given me at least one gift...the ability to have a greater perspective and greater appreciation of all things, big and small.
"We can only be said to be alive in those moments
when our hearts are conscious of our treasures."
- Thornton Wilder
I hope you have all had a wonderful weekend and have taken a minute to appreciate not only our freedom, but all of the many blessings we have in our lives!
ps. Don't forget about the "Girls Night Out" fundraiser, this upcoming Friday night, July 8th at Kara's house. See the flyer in last weeks post for further details. I hope to see a lot of you there for some shopping for a great cause!
My blog to keep you all