Living Outside the Stacks

Navigating through life away from the library

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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.

Update:

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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Happy Fist Bump Friday

Happy Fist Bump Friday {Living Outside the Stacks}

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you know that I like to do a little something called “Fist Bump Friday”, where I encourage my friends to share something that made them happy during the week. Sometimes we get so bogged down with life and the crazy that comes with it that we forget to acknowledge the good things. So I thought it’d be fun if we all shared and celebrated together.

This week, I’m happy that The Hubs and I were able to get Twins A and B settled into their dorms. I’m also sad that The Hubs and I were able to get Twins A and B settled into their dorms.

Twin B and A Go to College {Living Outside the Stacks}

Twin B and Twin A: A week after birth

You can read their birth story here

Twin B and A Go to College {Living Outside the Stacks}

Twin B and Me: Not ready to let go

Twin B and A Go to College {Living Outside the Stacks}

Twin A and The Hubs: Holding on tight

Twin B and A Go to College {Living Outside the Stacks}

Twin B and Twin A: Ready to take on the world

I’m excited to see what the future hold for my kids and for The Hubs and I to begin this new phase in our lives…

So please, share your good news in the comments below. Remember, it doesn’t have to be big or earth shattering. If it’s important to you, it’s important to me.

Daenel T {Living Outside the Stacks}

 

 

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By

Happy Fist Bump Friday

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you know that I like to do a little something called “Fist Bump Friday”, where I encourage my friends to share something that made them happy during the week. Sometimes we get so bogged down with life and the crazy that comes with it that we forget to acknowledge the good things. So I thought it’d be fun if we all shared and celebrated together.

Happy Fist Bump Friday {Living Outside the Stacks}

I don’t know what we were all laughing at but I guess it was pretty funny.

Happy Fist Bump Friday {Living Outside the Stacks}

I love you guys. Peace, blessings, and God’s protection as you go out into the world.

This week I’m happy that my family humored me and allowed me to take a picture of us all together. This week marks the close of an old chapter in our lives and the beginning of a new one:

  • Miss 20 soon to be 21 is moving back to campus, where she’ll begin her Senior year
  • Miss 19 is moving on campus to begin her Freshmen year
  • Mr. 19 is moving on campus to begin his Freshmen year
  • Miss 17 began her Senior year of high school yesterday
  • The Hubs is looking for an RV so we can see the U.S. from the comfort of our mobile living room

So please, share your good news in the comments below. Remember, it doesn’t have to be big or earth shattering. If it’s important to you, it’s important to me.

Daenel T {Living Outside the Stacks}

 

 

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