Living Outside the Stacks

Navigating through life away from the library


You Have Cancer {Repost}

September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month. Here’s my story:

You Have Cancer {Living Outside the Stack

A friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer today. I listened to her cry on the phone. Wishing I could reach across the miles and hold her hand. Hug her. Physically be there with her. Let her know that I understand. I’ve been there. She’s a wife and a mother. My heart aches for them. My heart aches for her. But her story is not mine to tell, so here’s my story:

Am I going to die? Will my kids remember me? Does Tony know how much I love him? How long do I have left? Will I go peacefully? 

Why me?

Those were just some of the thoughts that tumbled through my head as I stood there holding the phone. Did she really just tell me that I have cancer? Over the phone? To read about how I was diagnosed, click here. I couldn’t deal with that right then. At that moment, I had to start preparing for the possibility that I might die. That I’d leave my husband to raise 4 small children alone.

My husband stood there looking at me. I told him what the doctor said: “I have ‘a little bit of cancer’.” Her words: “You have a little bit of cancer…” What does that even mean? Don’t deal with that right now. You’re going to die. He grabbed me in his arms and held me tight. So tight that it hurt to breathe. But I wanted him to hold me tighter. Squeeze the tumor out of me. Smash it. Squish it. Just don’t let it kill me…

I went into “Mom Mode”. I grabbed a floppy disk {a bright orange floppy disk, the color of the sun, the color of life, something I was going to lose} and wrote letters to my kids, I made a list of songs I wanted them to hear, movies I wanted them to watch, books they needed to read. The pens they should use. The only pen they should ever use: Pilot Precise V~5. I wrote stories about my life. I wanted them to know me. To see me as more than a picture or a vague memory.

I organized their closets. I washed everything and hung them on color coded hangers so the hubs would know which clothes belonged to whom. I arranged their drawers in birth order. I didn’t think about what he’d do when their clothes got dirty and were washed. He’d have to hang them on his own.

I bought their favorite shampoos and foods in bulk. I made sure he was fully stocked with laundry detergent. I made lists of everything. I, the woman who hates lists, became obsessed with lists. All of this in less than a week’s time.

I cried.

I stared at my babies and cried.

I held my husband and cried.

The hubs saw the desperation in my eyes. “You’re going to live.” He talked to his aunt, a Surgical Head Nurse, and she was able to get me in to see an oncologist at her hospital. They calmed my nerves. They told me I was going to live. I was going to live. I had to have surgery and radiation therapy. I was going to live.

It’s been nearly 13 years since I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a total thyroidectomy {removal of the entire thyroid}. My parathyroid and lymph nodes: gone. “Diseased” tissue was removed from both breasts. Cancer gone.

In that time, I’ve watched my children grow into adults. I’ve become a grandmother, completed two Master’s degrees, run several 5Ks, and started training for a 10K.

I lived.

I continue to live.

I’m not sharing my story because I want sympathy for what I went through or praise for surviving. I’m sharing my story because I want you to understand that there is no “normal” reaction to a cancer diagnosis. Some people fall apart. Some people go into fight mode. Some go into denial. Everything that you feel is real and it’s normal. But don’t wallow. Find a reason to fight. Hold the people you love close to you.


Last week, I met with my endocrinologist and for the first time in 13 years my hormone levels are exactly where they need to be. After my next 6 month checkup {in March ~ my birth month}, if all looks well, I’ll be able to switch to once a year visits. I attribute my good report to faith in God and a change in lifestyle: HEALTHY EATING AND EXERCISING RULE!

If you’ve never received that diagnosis, be aware of your body. You know when something is “off” or doesn’t feel right. And even if nothing feels wrong, do your breast examines every month. Go to your doctor for yearly check ups. Do what you can to stay healthy.

You have to take care of you in order to be able to take care of everyone else.


Daenel T {Living Outside the Stacks}



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Instagram Week in Review

So it seems that I took an unplanned break from blogging. Not exactly sure what I was doing during that time, but let’s just all agree that I enjoyed it.

Instagram Week in Review {Living Outside the Stacks}

The students have returned to campus so that means the games have begun… I found this little guy on the mezzanine in the library. We’ll find them every where as the semester progresses.

Instagram Week in Review {Living Outside the Stacks}

Met with my endocrinologist and for the first time since having my thyroid removed {thirteen year Thyroid Cancer survivor}, my hormone levels are exactly where they should be. I’ll be checked again in 6 months and then I can go to once a year visits.

Instagram Week in Review {Living Outside the Stacks}

I’m a #SweatPink Ambassador! This has me all kinds of excited. For me, this journey isn’t just about losing weight, it’s about taking care of this temple that God gave me. I’ll be sharing my fitness tips, workout plans, etc. on Facebook and Instagram with a weekly wrap~up here on the blog.

Instagram Week in Review {Living Outside the Stacks}

One of the few things that makes grocery shopping bearable is wearing really cute shoes, like these sandals from Sseko Designs. The Sangria Ribbon is probably my favorite pattern because of the colors. They’re so intense with the pops of color.

Instagram Week in Review {Living Outside the Stacks}

Squeekerz being uncharacteristically nice. For the last 10 years he’s basically treated the kids as if they’re a necessary evil {they provide food and water}, now that they’re gone, he cries… I think he may be part cat.

Instagram Week in Review {Living Outside the Stacks}

I joined Jess Connolly and The Tiny Twig for Friday Introductions on Instagram. It’s an opportunity to reintroduce yourself to your current Instagram friends and meet new people. They also ask a fun little “get to know you” question each week. If you’re on Instagram, give me a yell {I’m 4daenelt}.

Instagram Week in Review {Living Outside the Stacks}

Sometimes I take pictures of random things. Like my hand in water…

Instagram Week in Review {Living Outside the Stacks}

Miss 21 came home and took Miss 17 to dinner. I love that my kids enjoy hanging out together. I hope and pray this closeness remains always.

Instagram Week in Review {Living Outside the Stacks}

My favorite coffee picture of the week. Sometimes black and white says it all…

How was your week?

Daenel T {Living Outside the Stacks}



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I’m a #SweatPink Ambassador

Most of you know that I’ve been struggling with my weight for years. It goes up. It comes down for about a day or so and then it goes up again. Fighting my weight made me miserable. Getting healthy made me happy. It took awhile, but I had to learn the difference.

Right now, my current form of exercise is running with occasional stints on the treadmill. I enjoy running. It’s 30 minutes where I can listen to my Christian music, focus on just being in the moment, and tune out all of the stresses of the day. Running has given me muscles in my legs for the first time since I got out of the Army. My thighs have stopped jiggling quite so much and my bum feels a little bit, ummm, tighter.

I'm a #SweatPink Ambassador {Living Outside the Stacks}

My midsection and upper body need to catch up…

I’d like to add some new exercises to my routine. I’ve been seriously thinking about working out with Kettlebells. From the research that I’ve done, it looks like they not only work the arms and shoulders but they strengthen the core as well. I have really bad posture, so anything that helps my core will be a great help.

I also need to adjust my eating habits. What’s the saying? “You can’t out run a bad diet.” Yeah, that’s me. I thought because I was running three or four times a week that I could eat pastries every day. Not so. That’s not to say I can’t eat the good stuff, I just have to do it in moderation.

I'm a #SweatPink Ambassador {Living Outside the Stacks}

As always, there will be a faith~based component to my workouts. 1 Corinthians 6:19~20 says:

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Therefore, I firmly believe that it’s my duty as a child of God to care for this temple and to keep it as healthy as I can for His use.

My plan is to write weekly updates to keep you and myself motivated.

I am a #SweatPink Ambassador

About #SweatPink

#SweatPink Ambassadors are a group of healthy people who support each other in reaching their fitness goals. Some are professional trainers, some are competitive athletes, some are college students, and some are every day people trying to get themselves healthy.

I’d like to thank the founders of #SweatPink and Fit Approach for the opportunity to work with them to help others get fit. I can’t wait to get my pink laces!

I invite you to follow along and get healthy with me as I focus not so much on changing the number on the scale but creating a healthy lifestyle that I can maintain.

Daenel T {Living Outside the Stacks}



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