Hope

I have backspaced the first sentence of this post at least ten times. Struggling to find the perfect  right way to begin…

My Mom was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer about a year ago. Those of you who have been following me along, know that she also battles Multiple Sclerosis. I will never forget when she called me to tell me the news, that they had found a lump, and it was cancer. My first reaction: “Are you f****** kidding me?!” As if she hadn’t been through enough… What stage? How bad is this? Is it curable? Will you need a mastectomy? Will  you need chemotherapy? What is the prognosis? All questions we didn’t have answers to.

I remember going to her first appointment to meet with the surgeon and watching my Mom process the information. Trying to hold myself together to be strong for her, but falling apart as I watched her fall apart. Helpless. That’s how I felt.

Everything moved fairly quickly, and she was scheduled for a lumpectomy in June. Ultimately it was her decision as to whether she wanted a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, and the surgeon was confident that her prognosis would be the same if she chose to have the lumpectomy.

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She was such a trooper and my sisters and I were so proud of her.

Soon after, we received the results from the lumpectomy and the news wasn’t what we were hoping for. They had found a second lump during the surgery and the samples taken from nearby lymph nodes revealed the cancer had spread. This meant she would require both chemotherapy and radiation. This was sort of a worst case scenario in a sense. The doctors ,including the oncologist didn’t know how chemotherapy would affect her MS or how her MS would impact the chemotherapy. The oncologist actually said she had never come across a patient requiring chemotherapy who also had active MS. My reaction to this, yet again, “Are you f****** kidding me?!” So we just wing it, cross our fingers and hope for the best? This is what I wanted to shout at the oncologist as she told my Mom this, but I bit my tongue and listened to what she DID know.

My Mom started chemotherapy in September. Over the course of six months, she would receive two different types of chemotherapy. The first: AC (doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide), would be once every three weeks and the second: Paclitaxel, once a week. She lost her hair almost immediately. I think that was harder than she thought it would be. She told me she wanted to shave it, she didn’t want to see it fall out in clumps anymore. That night I went and bought a buzzer and went and shaved her head myself. To this day I am glad I did this for her.

The chemo was hard on her. She was quite ill, extremely exhausted, and her immune system was severely compromised. She didn’t leave the house for six months, unless it was to go to the hospital. Even something as simple as me bringing the kids by for a visit was limited, as the winter months brought many illnesses our way. Even the common cold could pose a real danger to her.

After six long months, she finally rang the bell at the cancer centre, signifying she had received her last chemotherapy treatment. I will never forget that sound…

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She started her radiation almost immediately and we knew she was in the home stretch. All scans came back clear indicating the cancer was gone and she was in remission. We all breathed a HUGE sigh of relief.

Last Friday, my Mom completed her last session of radiation (the treatment lasted 6 weeks, 5 days a week). I cannot begin to imagine the relief she felt walking out of the hospital that day. A fight that lasted almost a year, and a fight that will last a lifetime.

A hero is defined as “a person admired for courage”. My Mom is my hero. There is no stronger person than her, and I have never been more proud of her, than I am today.

To all of those out there fighting the battle, stay strong and never give up hope, you’re not alone.

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H. xo

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Fourteen Months of Everly

On October 1st I went back to work. Back. To. Work. Of course by back to work I mean to my employer, we all know being a Mom is a full-time job in itself – the best job. I had been feeling anxious and stressed for the week leading up to it for a few reasons: leaving my babies, wondering how Everly would adjust to being in daycare, would Everly nap at daycare, how would she do without nursing the whole day, how will get dinner on the table, the kids bathed and in bed, all while spending some time with them. The list seemed to be endless. It will take time, and it will become the new routine, and we will all just…adjust.

[Well there was no need to worry because she did amazing. She napped better there last week then she ever does at home, and not a single tear when I dropped her off. However, when I picked her up she was signing “milk” like there was no tomorrow, and trying really hard to be upset about it.]

I decided to do an update on little Miss because she is just such a little person now! It’s amazing how much she has changed and grown since her first birthday!

– She is actually sleeping pretty well! (FINALLY!) It took a few different sleep training techniques, and she still wakes the odd time in the night crying, but she will fall back to sleep on her own. She usually wakes between 4:30-5:30 and I will nurse her, and she will normally go back to sleep until anywhere between 6:30 and 7:30. (I have to wake her before 7 now for daycare.) It took almost 14 months to get her to sleep 10+ hours straight – CRAZY!

– On September 6 she took her first steps.  The record was tonight: She walked from her crib, out the door into the hallway – probably about 15 steps! Any day now, she will be running around the house chasing her big brother…

– She is the BIGGEST chatterbox! I cannot believe how much she is talking! At 18 months, Maxton was only saying approximately six words, and would never repeat you. Everly, says close to 50 words and will repeat ANYTHING you ask her to. She understands everything you say (for the most part) and if she isn’t trying to say actual words, she is babbling her own language non stop (her favourites are “Babowtee” & “Erati” – I have no idea…). Here is a breakdown of a few of our favourite “Everly” words:

Mama, Dada, Ma or Makin (Maxton), Goggee (Doggy), Fa-wah (Flower), Pehn (Fan), Ba (Ball), Ca (Car), Duba-do (Potato – she sounds hilarious when she says it), Mo (More), Meh (Milk), Nana (Banana), Chee (Cheese), Peese (Please), NO!, Izzat! (I want that), Wah (Water), Ow (Ow), Uh-uh (Uh-Oh), Ca-cuh (Cracker), Bye, Done, Beebee (Baby), Again/Gen (Again, if she is lazy she just says “gen”, but she knows how to put the “a” in front of it), Teddy, Ha (Hot), Go, Bup (Up)…the list goes on

– She signs: Milk, more (she puts her pointer finger of one hand into the middle of her other hand) & all done. She also says the word as she signs it.

– She loves to push her stroller around with her baby in it. She will take her baby out and kiss it and hug it and then put it back in and continue on. She melts my heart.

– She thinks every animal is a Doggy, ha-ha.

– She is a big time food thrower. Drives me nuts.

– She says no ALL THE TIME. She knows how to use the word too which is shocking to me. If Maxton tries to “hug” her, she starts frowning and shouting “NOOOOO” which pushing him away. She will also nod “yes” but it’s definitely not as often

– She LOVES pushing her baby around in the stroller. She will take it out, give her a kiss, put her back in the stroller and continue on her way. So cute.

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Happy 14 Months, baby girl. xo

Cruisin’ to END MS

Today, August 21st, visit any A&W across Canada and purchase a Teen Burger, and $1 of the purchase will go to the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

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In 2013, Cruisin’ to END MS raised over $1.5 million for the MS Society of Canada. This was the largest single fundraising event for MS in Canada. Amazing!

As you know, my Mom has MS, and any fundraising event to help find a cure for this disease means a lot to me. So my Canadian friends, head out to A&W today and purchase a Teen Burger or two. Every $1 counts!

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(Images courtesy of A&W and the MS Society of Canada)

One Year of Miss Everly

July 30, 2013 | 7:10am | 9lbs 1oz | 21 inches long

One year ago today, I became a Mommy of two. I will never forgot putting Maxton to bed, the night before my C-section. Overcome with tears as I closed his bedroom door, knowing the next time I saw him, our lives would be so much different, in an incredible way. Wondering if I would be bringing him home a little brother, or a little sister. Wondering if my heart would be able to love another child the same way I loved Maxton, and how there would be room in my heart for this to happen.

Let me tell you, as I lay on the operating table, listening to my OB walk me through the surgery, listening to her every word waiting to meet that little person “I see big shoulders and big cheeks. Here we go…It’s a…girl!” As she held her up for me to see, my heart swelled and I was overcome with love for my daughter.

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That beautiful little chubby face. I couldn’t wait for Maxton to meet her. Even though he had no idea what it would really mean to have a baby sister, I knew he would love her just as much.

In the past year…

– You have made us a family of four

– You have given your big brother a forever-friend

– You have put a strain on our bank account with all of the cute clothing and accessories out there :p

– You have made us laugh every day

– You have shown me that it is possible to survive an entire year, without sleeping through the night once

One Month

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Two Months

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Three Months

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Four Months

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Five Months

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Six Months

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Seven Months

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Eight Months

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Nine Months

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Ten Months

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Eleven Months

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Twelve Months

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It’s amazing how much a child grows and changes before your eyes in their first year…Here’s a couple more from today.

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I have so much more to share with you. We had her Birthday Party, or should I say, “Tea Party” this past weekend, and we did her cake smash today. Stay tuned for those!

At twelve months…

– She is just shy of 24 pounds, and is 30 inches tall

– She is crawling, cruising along furniture, and can stand on her own. Just waiting for her to take her first few steps!

– She can say Mama, Dada, Bah (ball), Beebee (baby), Na-na (banana), no-no (obviously no, no), fan & isat (what’s that). She also babbles a lot in between!

– She loves to get into whatever her big brother is doing, she loves bubble guppies, all of her dolls, and the little kitchen

– She still does not sleep through the night

– She loves scrambled eggs, mortadella and raspberries

– She has eight teeth, and it wouldn’t surprise me if I saw a molar any day now

– She likes to wave, play peek-a-boo, dance, blow kisses, clap and point

– She loves animals and goes crazy when a commercial with a dog or cat comes on

– I am squeezing her into the few size four diapers we have left

Oh sweet girl, where did the time go…You are growing up so quickly, if only I could slow time.

We love you so much!

Happy 1st Birthday, Everly! xo

Eleven Months of Everly

Here we are, one month away from her first birthday (July 30). I have no idea how that happened – but I am very emotional these days when thinking about it. It feels like I was just changing this tiny little baby, and now I have to pin her down to change her diaper and dress her…

It feels as though she has grown and changed the most in the past month. She is becoming a little person with her voice, actions, movements and everything in between.

– She walks around the ottoman or table, and has even let go for a few seconds before falling on her bum.

– She has eight teeth and is working on a couple of molars. I haven’t checked in the last few days, so one may have already broken gum.

– She says Mama and Dada, “ma” for Maxton, “bah” for ball, “fan” obviously for fan, and will say “beebee” for her new baby doll. There is also a lot of babbling in between. “Dobi dobi”, “dis”, “da” “gah” (that was Maxton’s favourite for a LONG time. You can read about that here), etc. Sometimes she needs to shout to make sure she is heard over her ever-so-vocal big brother.

– She loves to climb the stairs

– She can wave and clap on demand, and when we say “How big is Everly?”, she reaches her arms up over her head “soooo big”, we say.

– She loves to crawl around and get into whatever Maxton is doing – which often results in a lot of “No Ethovey, that’s mine!” *push*

– She dances from side to side and shakes her head when you ask her to dance – it’s very cute.

– She LOVES her baby, lamb (lambie) and any stuffed animal. She squeezes them tight until she starts to shake. So adorable.

– The whole sleep training thing was a disaster – the technique we used for Maxton didn’t work on her because 1. She is a human firecracker 2. He was only six months, and therefore not as wise at that age.  She is slightly better – a good night I’m only up twice in a 11-12 hour period; last night was four times. She has never once in her entire life slept 10 + hours straight (fun fact for all of you who think getting up once a night is a pain in the butt). She still naps twice a day.

– She is quite the little chubster, and I am trying to use up the size four diapers I have left

– She is obsessed with the movie Frozen, and the TV show Bubble Guppies – she LOVES both (thanks to Maxton’s obsession with them). She will even take the convertor (remote) and point it to the TV. I imagine she is asking for us to put one of the two on. How quickly they pick up on things, and at such a young age…

– She loves other babies and animals. She starts chirping and yelling whenever she sees either

So here is my little cupcake at eleven months…

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I could just eat her up.

I am in the middle of planning her first birthday party, and will be posting along the way.

Happy 11 Months, Everly. xo