Tag Archives: support

A New Beginning

Hi to all who continue to follow! Although it has been a busy 6 months for me, I’m happy to announce that I will now have more time to dedicate to this blog.  After 2 years of constant classes and homework assignments, I have recently completed my Bachelor’s degree.  It’s long over due, but I now hold a BS in Healthcare Administration.  This would have never been possible without the love and continuous support of my husband and children.  Working full-time, being a mom and going to school can be challenging, but if I can do it, anyone can!  I highly recommend online learning as a way to complete any degree program to advance your education.

I went to New England College, which has a traditional campus in Henniker, New Hampshire.  This allowed me to actually walk across the stage at graduation.  It was an experience that I will never forget and an experience that I’m glad my daughter was able to witness.  At 12 years old, she is very impressionable and I want her to understand how a college education can be – and I selfishly want her to be proud of me.

Screenshot_2015-05-16-19-35-41_resizedFor more inforamtion about online degree completion, visit http://www.universityalliance.com/

Of course, while all of this was happening, I continued to be a Survivor’s Wife.  My husband had a second spinal laminectomy as a result of chemotherapy-related vertebrae compression.  We have now been told that he will be permanently disabled and will never return to work.  This has definitely been a blow to his ego, as he has always done his part to financially support our family.  Until this final determination, a part of him had held onto the hope that some day our life would return to normal.  Well, it may not be our old normal, but, as survivors, we know that this will become our new normal.  To be honest, I’m a little bit jealous.  He will get to continue to stay home with our children while I am at work, something I have never had the opportunity to do.  This is just another change in a constantly evolving life.

Until next time, I hope you all are well.

The Jouney Continues…

Hi all!  Thank you for continuing to follow my blog.  I know I don’t post as often as most bloggers, but I promise I’m working on it.  This post is all about transition.  Whether or not you are a survivor’s spouse, you all experience transitions every day.

One of the hardest things about being a Survivor’s Wife is the transition into this role from being the Patient’s Wife.  All of a sudden, you’re no longer juggling single parenthood with work and countless doctor appointments. You’re not nursing a patient through night sweats and living on 2 hours of sleep a night.  You have 5 minutes to sit back and reflect (or nap, depending on your priorities).

Our son was born 4 days after my husband completed his last radiation treatment.  The whirlwind that was our life didn’t really settle into a new normal for about 6 months post-cancer.   When I look back now, it took me a long time to be able to finally appreciate our healthy family.  I had to force myself not to worry every time someone had a fever.  I had to stop making myself crazy over every PET scan.  One of the most rewarding things I have learned through this whole process is that I can’t control everything.  Bad things are going to happen no matter how much effort you put into trying to stop them.  We all need to make the best out of the time we have because nothing is a guarantee.

Last fall, when my husband saw the oncologist for his final 6 month check and was given a clean bill of health, I found myself getting restless.  Patient who have been treated for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma are considered “cured” after 2 consecutive years in remission.  We were no longer living our lives in 6 month increments.  Now we get to go a whole year without seeing our “guardian angel” oncologist.  This transition left me with time on my hands to reflect and re-evaluate.

What I saw was a thriving 2 ½ year old, a well-adjusted 11 year old and a happy healthy husband.  What I couldn’t seem to find was me.  I had been so busy taking care of everyone else, that I just wasn’t a priority.  That needed to change.  I had 20 lbs. of baby weight that my 39 year old body just couldn’t shed.  I hadn’t had a hair cut in a year.  I was working 60 hours a week and raising a young family.  It was finally time for a change.  It was time for me.  My last post talked about getting my family healthy.  This one is all about me and my journey.

I hate to sound corny and I promise, no one is paying me for this, but Advocare has changed my life.  I purchased their 24 Day Challenge through a friend and was instantly hooked.  I’ve tried every diet out there, with little to temporary success.  Diets that achieve quick results are impossible to maintain.  The restrictions just aren’t realistic for daily living.   Advocare isn’t a diet – it’s a lifestyle change.  The program teaches you how to eat healthy, lose weight and how to maintain it.  It’s not a weight loss gimmick. Not only have I lost all 20 of my post-baby pounds, I’ve lost an additional 5 and been able to keep it off.

The 24 Day Challenge was the hardest part for me. I had to commit to learning how to make better nutritional choices and I had to convince my family to get on board.  No more fried chicken parmesan.  No more nightly desserts.  This plan is all about clean eating.  We now eat grilled chicken with tomato slices and melted fresh mozzarella.  We substitute spaghetti squash for pasta.  We eat fresh fruit daily.  I have never felt better.  My family has never felt better.  We are so committed to this lifestyle that I have become an Advocare life coach.

I’m sure my next few posts will continue to be a chronicle of my family’s journey post-cancer.  Now, that journey will be a healthier one.  In the meantime, if you would like more information about Advocare, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me via email at thesurvivorswife@yahoo.com.

See you soon!

Cameron

A Survivor’s Loss

One of the first experiences I had after my husband became a survivor was of loss. In the traditional sense, we very rarely associate surviving with loss.  As a survivor’s wife I did not experience the same loss as I would have had my husband lost his life, but I did lose something nonetheless.

In 2012, when remission was confirmed and life started to go back to “normal”, I realized that what we both had lost was our optimism. Gone were the days of long-term future planning.  I saw us living our lives from PET scan to PET scan.  It was as if we were afraid to believe that he was healthy. Our lives had become so consumed by cancer; we didn’t remember how to live without it.  His initial diagnosis was so unexpected and so sudden that we were sure that the next time he went for testing, it would be back.

We have come to realize that our children not only deserve, but thrive off of our optimism. We owe it to them to give them a positive childhood.  Although our son is only 2 ½, he is visibly responding to the change in our behavior.  Our daughter, who was 9 when her dad was diagnosed, is becoming a much less serious young lady.  We hate that she had to grow up so fast at such a young age.  This is the time for her to have fun.  We need to lead by optimistic example.

It has been 2 ½ years since my husband went into remission and we are finally starting to come out of the fog. We have already made plans for our summer vacation next year.  We talk about the future.  We are still very aware that life is full of uncertainty, but understand that it cannot control our lives.  Now, we take the time to appreciate the things in life that too often go unappreciated – the colors of the fall leaves, a spontaneous hug or a chance encounter.  Whatever those little things are to you, enjoy them in the moment.