May 17, 2012

The Last Thing Thursdays {#11} Special Edition

THIS IS A LONG ONE, YOU GUYS...I HOPE YOU'LL STICK WITH ME.....

{The Last Thing I Lost Sleep Over}
I couldn't sleep last night. I tried writing this post yesterday, but the "right words" just wouldn't come out. Usually, my "Last Things" are pretty fun/easy/relaxed.

But today, we interrupt your regularly scheduled program to bring you something that has been on my mind as of late....

My Mom.
{The Last Thing I Wanted to Say but Couldn't}
On Mother's Day, I had every intention of writing a post about her. But the words wouldn't come (again). In fact, I have tried to write a post about my Mom NUMEROUS times, but then decided against it.

Actually, I still don't have the words. The full story/post about my Mom is in the works (so think of this as the Cliffs Notes version). Just not today.

Ok, I'm making this sound REALLY serious. Sorry. But it kind of is. But kind of not.

{See? I think I'm still procrastinating talking about this.}

Let me just start at the beginning. 
In February of last year, we found out that my Mom had a brain tumor (an Oliogodendroglioma to be exact--you can read about it HERE if you are curious). The original tumor we THOUGHT she was MUCH worse than the one she actually had--so that was a blessing (she would have had to have radiation)!! For this tumor, she would need to have brain surgery to try and remove most of it. Her surgery was on March 17 (St. Patty's Day) of last year.

My cute Mom, Baby D, and awesome Papa 
(after her surgery--ain't she purrrrty?)


{The Last Thing I Wished Was a Lie}
Jump back two months prior, and my life was going along pretty smoothly. I was 5 months pregnant with D, we had just moved into our new house, and my family was pretty solid.

Then out of the blue, I got a call from my Mom. She was eerily calm, and began to tell me that she had been to the doctor, and they had discovered a large, baseball sized tumor in her brain. Pause. What just happened? Had I heard her right? Not MY mom. Not MY healthy mom. Not MY non-smoking, non-drinking Mom.

My next thought? She's lying. She's joking. She MUST be kidding. But she wasn't. She told me they were going to remove it and they were hopeful that they could get ALL of it. I think I was honestly in shock. It became a blur of words and I literally had to sit down to keep from fainting. I tried to stay strong for her (and for myself I think) on the phone, but after I hung up I LOST IT. I could NOT control what was coming out of me. Tears, anger, pain, hurt, shock, awe, but most of all---

FEAR.  Gut-wrenching, cry-your-eyes-out, Earth-shattering FEAR.

A four letter word that has not been that common in my life. I am not fearful of much (snakes, yes)..CANCER? NO. Maybe I should have been, but it had never happened in my family on such a GRAND SCALE. I mean BRAIN CANCER? Absolutely not.

{The Last Thing I Feared I Was Going to Lose}
I worried constantly about losing My Mom (and still do). Worry, worry, worry. 
That was the theme of  last year for me. 
Worry about her. 
Worry about my family and the toll it was taking on everyone. 
Worry about my unborn baby and the stress I was causing him. 
Worry about EVERYTHING. 
I couldn't stop it. It completely TOOK over my life. As much as I tried to control it, I couldn't. 

{The Last Thing I Did for Someone Else}
The only thing I COULD control was how I handled the situation at hand. So, after lots and lots of deep discussions, praying and crying, I made a decision. I quit my job teaching at an elementary school, to take care of my Mom after her surgery. 

For about 3 months, I stayed with her while she recovered. I can't even tell you the mental and physical toll it took on me whilst being pregnant--but I didn't LET those thoughts enter my head. Because my exhaustion/pain was nothing compared to what my Mom was going through. 

They cut open her head, removed most of her tumor, and she was definitely different. The only way I can explain it is to say that when they mess with your brain, things tend to change a bit personality wise. She was still my Mom though. She knew who we were (I was seriously worried about that for some reason--that she would forget her family), she still had her sense of humor (told my Dad his windbreaker was SO LOUD, after she got out of surgery), and still wanted to fight for her life. 

It was NOT an easy road, and she still has a long way to go. She goes in every 3 months for a MRI to make sure the tumor/cancer isn't growing back. As of right now, she's good. HAPPY DANCE!!!!!!


We are really stronger as a family, I think, because of it. We love each other more. We appreciate EACH & EVERY moment we get to share with our Mom & our whole family. Life is funny that way. 
Sisters & Mama

{The Last Thing I Flaunted}
Ok that's all I can write about that today (it still takes a toll on me when I talk about it). You got the jist of it, I hope.

Now ONE of the MAIN reasons I decided to tell you about this whole thing, was because of a conversation I had with my two amazing-sauce friends, Em & Lindsay. We talked about their "Flaunt Your Cause" link-up (along with faith, Sarcastic Saturdays, the middle finger, and being real--yup, we pretty much covered a lot) and it got me thinking about what cause was near & dear to my heart. 

{The Last Thing I Wanted to Share}
Enter MILES FOR HOPE. I started learning/researching/being crazy about ANYTHING to do with Brain Cancer after my Mom was diagnosed. Then I found Miles For Hope. And it really DID give me just that -- HOPE. Hope that there was people that cared about this type of cancer just as much as I did. And hope that maybe someday, there will be a cure!!

They raise awareness (because lets be honest, you hardly EVER hear about Brain Cancer--at least, I hadn't) for brain cancer, raise money by holding walks, etc...to fund brain cancer research and cutting-edge clinical trials. If you want to donate, get involved, be a part of, support, or just learn MORE about MILES FOR HOPE, click here

My hope is to hold/host a Brain Cancer Walk here in the next year or so. It would be AMAZING. When it's happening, you better BELIEVE I'm going to be chatting your ears off about it. Sorry..but it's happening! :) I can't TELL you how big of a deal this is for me!

I will ALSO be making some Grey (the chosen color for Brain Cancer--get it? Like Grey Matter--hehe) & Gold bracelets in the coming months for my upcoming shop NEON & NUDE, and a portion of the proceeds will go to Miles for Hope. More about that later!! 

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Ok...I hope you're still with me. Now it's YOUR TURN to link up to your "LAST THINGS". 
Make sure to GRAB A BUTTON from the sidebar over there, and put it somewhere in your post! 

AND NO, it doesn't have to be as SERIOUS as mine was :) But I just had to get this out there!! 

HAPPY THURSDAY, PEEPS! LUV YA!



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34 comments:

  1. wow. i am so glad you shared all of that about your mom. i hate that you and your family has had to endure all that. i hope your mom continues to be cancer free. my aunt has a very aggressive leukemia right now and it is scary and unsettling (i was never afraid of cancer either) but i'm praying for the best outcome and i know it will work out the way its supposed to. stupid cancer.

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  2. I'm so happy you shared what has been on your heart, proud of you!!! Can't wait to see you this afternoon over the interweb- {that's from a movie, right?}!!! :)

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  3. You did it! You shared your heart, and it turned out wonderfully (albeit incredibly abridged, I'm sure)! I know how taxing that can be on a family, but if photos and your blog are any indication of your current situation, everyone is feeling and looking fantastic, especially your mom!

    And guess what? You just helped me decide which bracelet I want to purchase from your shop when it opens. :-)

    I love you so much, Jenna dear! Thank you for linking up with Em and I today!

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  4. You're mom sounds like an amazing, brave & very strong woman! Just like her daughter!! Sending lots of positive thoughts & live your way <3

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  5. Wow, I can't imagine goiing through something like this!

    So happy for you and your family that things are going well.

    Very touching post!

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  6. Wow. That must be extremely difficult to share but, I'm really glad that you did. We are and have experienced the same thing on my in-law side of the family and it is such a difficult time. My heart and prayers are with you and your family. Love you girl.

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  7. I am so glad that things are going well for y'all. This post was such a beautiful statement of faith - lots of prayers for your family!

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  8. You family is absolutely gorgeous. loved this post jenna!

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  9. Great post, very real! Loved the picture of your family. Also, you're normal. I remember when I learned my "non smoking, non drinking) father had cancer and it consumed me. I'm glad things are going well for your Mom!

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  10. This is a beautiful post. It really moved me. Also, Your mother is just stunning as is your whole family {including you girl}

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  11. My uncle had a very agressive form of brain cancer. He had surgery but going in we knew there wasn't much hope. He made it about 10 months after his diagnosis. During his last year he crossed items off his bucket list. He was 56. My mom has worn a grey brain cancer bracelet since he was first diagnosed. She's never taken it off. I have one too. Looking forward to making that purchase in your shop :)

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful mother's story.

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  12. I hate that your mom (and your family) had to go through this. Your mom is lucky to have a daughter like you!

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  13. I'm sorry that your family is going through such a hard time. I'll be praying for your mom and your family! I was reminded today that the Lord is so faithful to give us the grace we need and to show His faithful, loving self when we endure a crisis. Blessings to you and your family today!

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  14. Your mom (well your whole family) is gorgeous! So glad to hear your mom is doing better now.

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  15. I can't imagine what it must have been like for your family to go through such a scary time! How amazing though that you mom has come through strong and that it brought you all closer together now! I loved hearing more about what weighs on your heart, Jenna.

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  16. WOW.
    My heart aches for you and your family for going through this, but I'm also happy for you guys since she is doing well right now. I hope the Lord continues to heal her and to bring you all peace and comfort.

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  17. Awesome post. Thank you for your sincerity and being so transparent for your readers. :)

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  18. Yeah, um...how do you follow that? Your family is beautiful. That is amazing what you did for your Mom and she will forever be grateful to you. Thanks for sharing such an important part of your life.

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  19. stumbled onto your blog and just wanted to leave you a little blog luv! Def enjoyed this post!! New Follower via email :-)

    http://infinitelifefitness.com
    http://mscomposure.blogspot.com

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  20. Jenna you are amazing, beautiful inside and out, and so very selfless. I am so glad to hear that your mom is tumor/cancer free! I cannot even begin to imagine going through what you did. You have a beautiful family :)

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  21. Sending hugs your way. My Mum went through a pretty big health scare last year and it terrified me. I hope your Mum is going well.

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  22. Glad you shared sugar pie! You're going to do wonderful things with all the learning you have and I can't wait to see what becomes of your walk! So inspiring to see when people take something so traumatic and try to do some good. Hugs to you and your momma! xox

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  23. I am so, so sorry to read about all of this but so thankful to God that she's going well and cancer free. Praise God! Wow, I can't imagine going through all of that while pregnant. You are amazing! (can you bust a move for me, just like at SNAP? Oh wait, I'll just pull up the picture - love ya!)

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  24. Utterly speechless, Jenna. Thanks for sharing this week, I hadn't known and am so thankful for you and your family that she has made it through and that you all can enjoy many more long and healthy years together. What a beautiful woman she is, and she has obviously shared some of this with and through you as well. I couldn't imagine life without my mother, nor could I imagine how that experience must have felt. Have a great weekend, kudos for your mom kicking cancer's butt :) Happy evening!

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  25. You did it.
    I'm so glad you found the courage to share this message on your blog, Jenna.
    I know it wasn't easy to write--but it came out so beautifully and with so much honesty.
    It's amazing that you quit your job to help your mom recover...such a courageous and selfless thing to do.
    I'm so so SO glad that her prognosis is looking good.
    I'll absolutely be supporting you in your walk & through your shop.

    Thanks for deciding to share this through the link-up :)
    Love ya,
    Em

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  26. I just got so emotional reading this! You guys are such a great family. I am glad you have such a strong family to help get eachother through this. We've chatted via email about it, and I am just so happy she is better now!

    By the way, I want to help with the gray bracelets ! I am passionate about brain tumors, since the hubs will be doing research on them. So tell me if you need anything, because that's an amazing thing for you to do !

    Love ya Jenna !

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  27. so sorry to hear all that! uhh i feel for you!!!! gosh so many things happen in life its crazy.. but ill keep yall in my prayers!

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  28. Oh my! I can't imaging how hard it must have been for you and your family. But so happy that your mum is ok--she sounds like such a brave and inspirational person.

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  29. You know, I know a very amazing woman who had a brain tumor as well. She had to have surgery so she decided to go into it in the best possible mental state she could. It's been year and years and years later and she has never had a problem again! I hope this encouraged you ;)

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  30. What an amazing story and a beautiful family! I hope your mother continues to do well. I just stopped by from SITS to say hello.

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  31. just stumbled on your blog. love your open heart. thank you for sharing your mom's story. praying for all those affected by the dreaded C.

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  32. So proud of you for sharing this. You have such a beautiful mama, and she has such a lovely daughter (YOU). Thanks for being real xo

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  33. thanks for sharing this sister. I can't imagine how shocking that must have been. Praise God for her current good health! yay! Love ya girl! I'll have to buy one of the grey and gold bracelets when the store opens!

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I seriously A D O R E each of your comments!! Your feedback & love make my heart happy!

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