6 years ago my mom was diagnosed with stage 3 gastric cancer. Within 3 weeks of her receiving her last treatment, my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer: terminal. Within 10 months of his diagnosis, they would sell their house, move in with my family of 3, with one on the way. A week after they moved, a day when my dad was sick from his treatments, I went into labor.
Within one week, I went from a house with 3 people to 6. A toddler, a recovering cancer patient, a terminal cancer patient, and a husband with high blood pressure- 3-6 people, overnight, all of who were looking to me to take care of them. 4 days in, I developed toxemia, pneumonia and a sinus infection…so off to the hospital I went and stayed where I had to give up breastfeeding, so more changes. I was floundering, struggling, stressed and lost after all of this. 6 months later my pops would pass and the world would continue spinning while I struggled to keep a household minus one, but full of grief, running, working, loving, happy.
Flash forward…4.5 years after my father’s death…
For the first time since that summer, I am starting to get back into the hang of who I am, who I used to be. I am not as lost, moody, unsure. I have my confidence and some optimism back. I am finally re-engaged in my own life and not going through the motions. I am not afraid to say what I need to say or what I think. I am still terrified and have anxiety about dying and my own death, but that’s something I have lived with for a long time.
I don’t know that my luck has changed, but I do know that I am okay with whatever happens and can handle it because I have survived and conquered a storm. I have awakened from the fog I found myself and will continue to fight!
Whew, summer came to an end rather abruptly and I have been slammed. I apologize for the delay in posting.
School supplies, new teachers, new grades, uniforms, clothes, shoes, and for mommy 5 brand new preps...holy smokes, the end of July and beginning of August were gone before I could blink.
We survived shopping for all that we needed; we survived our first respective weeks back at school; we are currently still adjusting to the new routine.
My favorite part of this year, besides the supplies and fall on the horizon, is that my children still love, love, LOVE school. They love to learn, they love to go, they love their teachers and they love their friends.
I hope everyone is having a great start to the school year!!
Wow! Our August event came and went quickly! We had such a great, quaint little venue, Crafted. Crafted. was featured on Spike tv's "Bar Rescue" and let me tell you, they reduced a fantastic place! Great food, great service, fabulous drinks, and a wonderful little hang out spot. We had an intimate gathering of vendors and businesses. We featured Lula Roe (and they had some UNICORNS); Wine Shop at Home (what a novel idea and fabulous ladies); and Rodan and Fields (a premium skin care line). If you would like to reach any of our lovely vendors:
Nicole Jorgensen: Rodan and Fields
Mollie Eise: Lula Roe
Jessica Jeanes: Wine Shop at Home
September 8th, we are heading to Howl at the Moon, located at Ball Park Village in Downtown STL. A Friday night, some rocking drink specials and some sweet swag! You don't want to miss out!!
July was a hot one for sure! This month, we had the honor to be at Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood. What an awesome venue, for sure!! With beer brewed right there, it was a perfect evening to come out and have drinks!
We had several wonderful businesses and vendors. Mary Ann Becker was there with Thrive: The THRIVE 8 Week Experience is 3 premium made core products formulated to compound & circulate through your body for 12- 24 hrs. www.mabecker.le-vel.com.
Mina Charepoo was there with a HUGE selection of Lula Roe. She was full of knowledge and smiles! email@example.com.
Jamie Matney joined us with her awesome lipstick, Lipsense, which is waterproof and kiss proof!! firstname.lastname@example.org.
Colleen was shocking us all night with a wide variety of women's safety items via Pro Damsel. email@example.com.
Stacy Luter also joined us with a wide variety of skin care from Rodan and Fields. (314) 704-6297.
Round out a fantastic group of women, Amanda Bluestein joined us from the Maplewood Beauty Bar and was giving people beautiful curls with the Beachwaver only found locally in her salon. www.maplewoodbeautybar.com/. You name it, this lady can do it. From fantastic cuts, to color, and extensions and spray tans!
We had a rocking good time! Hope to see you all there next month, August 10 at Crafted. Crafted was also featured on Spike Tv's Bar Rescue!
Wednesday was a day unlike any other day I have ever experienced. I figure, maybe if I write about it, the sick feeling will ease and I will be able to take a full breath again.
I shattered. Completely and totally, I went to a dark place, so dark that I cannot even recall some of the moments. My son is surgically attached to his bike. He's four, almost five and doesn't need training wheels. He's the epitome of pure joy when riding his bike. He's allowed to ride his bike two houses down and back, as long as someone is outside with him.
Wednesday riding was like any other. He was riding, I called him home from our yard, he was two houses down. I cut around the side of the house to meet him...except he never came. I ran through the yards to find him, he was gone. I jumped in my car and drove to find him, same result, he was gone. I ran to the garage where he ALWAYS parks his bike, nothing. I tore through the house...nothing. He was gone. In the 8 seconds I walked to meet him, POOF, he was gone. It was then, no more than 8 minutes after I had last seen him that I called 911.
Frantically, I keep running around the block. One of the neighbors came out, saw my distress, got a description and jumped in his truck. I don't even know his name. I just know in that moment, he was there. A lady stopped as I was screaming, yes screaming at the 911 operator (not my proudest moment) and took over the phone call. The call went out, the sirens sounded, the officers came. I am not sure how many, 5 or more. They slowly started cruising the blocks, looking for the little boy on the orange bike in the red shirt and green shirt (he's started to dress himself and I am loathe to argue). Everyone was coming up empty. I had to call my husband, a phone call I never thought I would make. His response was "Oh god, oh god, oh god..." I couldn't handle it and the phone was taken by the kind woman who was helping look after my little girl.
Somewhere, I had missed something. How does your child go missing in 8 seconds, POOF, vanished? How did my son just disappear? Who had him? Would I see him again? Were they just going to find a bike? Would they find a body? Who had him? Why? Why? Why? Why? I watch the news, I know the statistics. Now I know the fear, the pain, the loss. I know what it feels like to have your whole world ripped apart and shredded. To have your mind broken, to fall to the ground because all of sudden you can't stand, you can't breath and the tears just keep falling. I know that all first hand, because I was there, because he was lost, he was gone, my big beautiful eyed baby boy, gone.
In a frantic rush, I started pounding on the neighbor's doors. Both teenage boys from the houses next to us rushed out to join the search. As I was crossing the lawn, I heard a shout, a white truck pulling up to the house, someone said something about inside. On bare and slightly bloodied feet, I ran inside and there he was, my beautiful boy.
He followed a truck and rode further than he was allowed and cruised. Somehow, he kept missing the officers out looking for him until the Chief of Police followed him home as he parked his bike in the garage, came in the back door, like normal, because he had no idea.
This is a happy ending, not a lot of those out there. I am forever grateful to everyone who was there, who was out looking, who check in on me, who stopped to help for a stranger, for a bright eyed boy. I cannot tell you the course of emotions I experienced that day. Thank you to all of you who stopped to help, who came by for a hug, to check on us, who got into their cars and looked, who answered the frantic call, who let me yell at them, THANK YOU.
1. I was born in Illinois, but consider myself a native to North Carolina, after spending most of my school years there! Go DUKE!!!
2. It's odd that I have this particular job because I have an extreme anxiety disorder...I get anxious around crowds and loud noise.
3. I still have the same dog that I had when I was 19. She's old, but in pretty good shape.
4. If I could, I would live on a beach somewhere and never, ever, ever leave.
5. 11 years ago, when I started working for the school district I still work in, I drove past a house and thought to myself, I will live there one day. I have been living in THAT house for almost 8 years.
6. I am not scared of worms, but refuse to bait my own hooks if I ever go fishing. Why? My brother made me bait a hook when I was little, that same night I had a nightmare that worms were chasing me trying to put me on their hooks!
7. When I hear a song that I like, it becomes my go to work song and I listen to it on repeat, for MONTHS!
8. My favorite color is....PURPLE!! I can't wear it because a. I look terrible in purple and b. because it's just not a color I would wear.
9. I wear only 4 colors 98% of the time. Black, white, gray, and navy. That's it.
10. My son is named after both of his grandad's...Dennis and David= Davis (Liam Davis); my daughter is named after both grandma's K. Ann and D. Ann= Anne (Mia Anne). I am just creative that way! ;)
11. The day before my 22nd birthday party, me and a huge group of friends went out together (my best friend flew in from NC), my parents and some of my friends parents were out a bar, doing bar things, when I saw a guy and told my mom he was going to be my boyfriend- I literally only knew his name. I have been married to him for 9 years.
12. I only have two places that I wish to travel- Ireland and Scotland. That's it. Maybe someone should email Ellen for me! ;) I love her!
13. 13 is my favorite number besides 21 and 22. Those are the only numbers I would wear while I was playing sports.
Our June event kicked off the summer season with a fantastic GNO at The Budweiser Brewhouse at Ball Park Village in STL. What a totally amazing space. With a picture perfect view out onto the ballfield, our ladies were entertained by our lovely vendors and businesses.
The Brewhouse itself offers a variety of beer on tap and some of the best prepared food I have had downtown in a LONG time! The staff is so friendly and helpful- it truly is a gem in our city.
We kicked off our evening handing out some awesome swag bags from our vendors. I had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful women- who came and stayed the entire evening.
For the first event across the river, I would say it was a success! A special thank you to everyone who came out, all of our vendors, and The Bud Brewhouse staff!
If you missed out or wanted to connect with a vendor from the event, all information please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the in between? The in between is where I go sometimes...not by choice. The in between is the gray area in which I reside, mentally. It's not a choice, it's a happenstance. Since around the age of 16, I knew my mind didn't process things the right way. Even further back when I was little and put paper by my bed because I thought I would be sick in the middle of the night because...well, just because.
Anxiety and depression are words that have been thrown around in my world from the age of 16. A severe anxiety disorder. Depressed. How? Why? Cope? My first panic attack happened when I was 11 and I had to be taken to the hospital. All I remember is panic. Then...nothing. Since then, I can count the number of severe panic attacks I have had and 2 of them have landed me in the ER to get reassurance that I am not dying and that I am not having a heart attack. Not fun.
The night before I got married I had a panic attack and was frozen in fear all night on the couch, with a pounding heart, the chills, and sweating up a storm.
My second year teaching, I spent 3 days in bed, sobbing and unable to function. My darling fiancee, laid on the floor on a futon mattress and watched cartoons with me until I was able to get up two days later and shower. Not my proudest or sexiest moments.
Flash forward through to my life and all that has transpired in the last few years and it's a wonder the gray film didn't come back down, until about two weeks ago. Now, I am sitting in the in between, wondering where I am going to fall this time. Everyday that I have been on summer break has been a struggle to get out of bed, play with my kids, take care of my house, connect with my friends and just live. I am going through the motions, hoping, begging, praying that it's almost over and I can just breathe again...soon.
I don't know how to explain the in between to you. Because of the last 4 years, I constantly struggle with the idea that I am dying, right now. Every weird feeling, every cold, everything to me, to my brain, is cancer. I can't escape it and I don't take it lightly. I call it post traumatic cancer stress. My nearest and dearest friends--they make jokes to help take my mind off of it, but it's always there, lurking. My husband refuses to talk about it with me anymore and I can't really blame him. It's madness, it's exhausting, it's in my brain all the time. The fear, the panic, the worry, is real. The need for constant reassurance from someone is constant. With that being said...I am alone in this area, the in between. I am tired. My brain is exhausted. My heart.
Never being alone, because I am a mom, doesn't mean I am not lonely. Just because I am there does not mean that I am actually there. Right now, I have a loose grip and I am hanging on, going through the motions until the panic, the fear, the worry, the pain, the exhaustion goes away and I can breathe again.
He loved me for 30 years and I will love him my entire life. He loved me from the moment I took my first breath and I held his hand as he took his last.
Father’s Day…Father’s Day is hard for me. The strongest, bravest man I ever knew left this earth and when he did, my heart broke. It broke for me, my children, my mother, my brother, it just shattered. After four years, I still haven’t been able to pick up all the pieces and I am not sure that I want to.
My dad was my best friend. He was brutally honest, he loved me beyond measure, he was the hardest working man I know and I lost him. I lost the tickle of his mustache on my cheek when he kissed me hello or goodbye, I lost him shaking his hips licking his fingers when something was tasty, I lost the person that I called to chat with daily.
Around the time my daughter was 1, we learned my mom had stage 3 gastric cancer. It was a brutal, unexpected blow. 9 months of treatment, surgery, and continuous monitoring, we took a deep breath, because we were one of the rare cases, the survivors. We lived, we laughed, we loved, until a month later when we would get the news…stage 4 lung, terminal, 18 months.
I don’t know how to explain to you the roller coaster ride. That one month, that glorious month when we were free from the burden is a dream that even when I close my eyes I cannot draw up, because that life is gone, that world doesn’t exist. With one phone call, my whole world went spinning off its axis and try as I might, I barely held on. I cannot tell you what some of those conversations I had with my pop were like, because those are mine, locked deep down inside. We laughed, we cried, we raged, we loved...together, because that's who we were.
In those last 16-17 months of his life a lot changed. I had a son—I went into 1-minute contractions out of nowhere sitting on my front porch with my dad, the day he had a treatment, while my husband mowed our yard. I brought a beautiful baby boy into this world just six months before my hero would die and a week before my parents moved in with my family. I learned how to take care of a toddler, a newborn, a terminal cancer patient and my mom. It was hard. It hurt. It broke me in ways that I cannot be fixed because I never had time to process, deal, or grieve. Up until the last 3-4 weeks of his life, I took care of him, I cooked for him, made sure he had his medicine, checked on him, went to chemo when I could. I worked, I had a baby, a husband, a toddler, but that feeling of doing it all on my own, all alone is still there. It's on this week, every year, I am reminded of all that I lost. The person who could help me figure it out all and take whatever emotion I had and help me deal with it.
Death is final. So very final. There are only so many pictures, so many videos and without those, the memories fade so very fast. Lucky for me, some homemade cards, a home cooked breakfast, and an afternoon spent with his wife and kids makes my husband happy. Easy peasy. Lucky, because on this day, like his birthday the week before, I have a hard time just going through the motions, but I do, go through the motions.
So on this day, whoever it is, make it special however you can- a homemade card, a visit, a phone call. Love the ones your with.
Happy Father’s Day.
Summertime...one of my most favorite times of the year. Home to spend times with my babies; relax in the sun; sleep in; just be.
I read something the other day that has really resonated with me and that is...we only have our children for 18 summers. That's how long they are ours before they go out and take on the world. I have 11 left with one and 14 left with the other. When I really think about that, it scares the absolute crap out of me. 11 years. It sounds like a long time, but she's already wanting to be gone away from home, hanging out with her friends more than she is interested in me.
Except today. Boo, hiss...even in the beginning of summer we have caught some sort of bug. Lots of icky and sicky going on in this house. She only wants me to be near her...Melt my heart, but gross because sickies. I won't lie to you and tell you that her being sick in the summer doesn't freak me out because anytime they are sick, I feel like I am getting ready to flip off the edge of a cliff with hot lava at the bottom. More on that another day.
So, today has been a pj and bed day. Let me tell you, I am a okay with that. The less I have to do some days, the better. I like to have the occasional chill day where everyone is just as they are. So we are still in bed--no shame in my game and hoping whatever bug she has passes quick and passes everyone else.