• Adenocarcinoma,  Alcensa,  ALK,  ALK-Inhibitors,  Anxiety,  Cancer,  Corey,  Dan,  Honestly,  Leah,  Lung Cancer,  Nick,  NSCLC,  Radiation,  Scanxiety,  Surgery,  Surgxiety,  Targeted Radiation,  Tumors

    Medical Update – Shoulder Surgery & Radiation Results

    We spent a Saturday evening in Chicago celebrating the 40th birthday of our bestie, Corey. (Shout out to Corey! He is the reason we ended up dating and getting married.) Dan had just enough energy to live it up and enjoy being with friends. So this guy likes to keep me on my toes. Wednesday Dan will have surgery for a complete shoulder replacement. First thing I know is that his shoulder hurt while golfing, and then all of the sudden we are in for a matrix bionic shoulder. Ok, that might be extreme, but I have seen the sling he will need to use and it kind of makes…

  • Adenocarcinoma,  Anxiety,  Cancer,  Coping,  Dan,  Gamma Knife,  Lung Cancer,  Metastasis,  Parenting,  Radiation,  Raine,  Targeted Radiation,  Tumors

    Talking to Raine About Daddy’s Radiation

    It was a quiet Monday night. We finished dinner and Raine was anxious to watch the tv show The Voice, his latest obsession (he is rooting for Noah). Rather than head for the living room, I asked him to stay at the table for a talk. I was flying by the seat of my pants in an attempt to tell him about Dan’s radiation appointment the following morning. Dan didn’t even know it was coming. *** First, I busted out his creepy puzzle that reveals all of the anatomy of our bodies. It lets Raine place puzzle pieces in layers–skeleton, organs, muscle, and skin, as well as the clothing worn on…

  • Adenocarcinoma,  ALK,  Anxiety,  Beer,  Bipolar Disorder,  Cancer,  Coping,  Crappy News,  Dan,  Flowers,  Grieving,  Leah,  Lung Cancer,  Metastasis,  NSCLC,  Radiation,  Scanxiety,  Tumors

    After MRI Results

    Dan is super chill. There just isn’t much that can ruffle him. He gets scanxiety (scan anxiety) just like the best of us, but he never really worries or freaks out. The only way I know how to describe him to people is that he is “zen.” There’s not much that can ruffle his feathers. He keeps an even temper, always maintains his sense of humor, and is focused on the simple things each day. I know this sounds super amazing–and I get that. However, I just have to share a caveat that I am MARRIED to him and have loved him for nearly 15 years and that which is the…

  • Anxiety,  Caregiving,  Fibromyalgia,  Hospital Stays,  Leah

    Can a 36 Year Old Female Have a Heart Attack?

    It isn’t common but the answer is yes. Did I think I was having a heart attack? Maybe. Did I actually have one? No. This woman, at age 37, actually had a heart attack. Her symptoms were similar to mine. However, after I woke up in the middle of the night nauseous and with pressure in my chest, that feeling of discomfort remained for another 48 hours and worked its way into my neck and jaw. I tried to treat it like heartburn, and it occured to me that maybe I was developing GERD. I would have suspected a prolonged panic/anxiety attack, but in my previous experience they are accompanied by…

  • Announcement,  Anxiety,  Art,  Cancer,  Chicago,  Dan,  Doug,  Food,  Hospital Stays,  Lung Cancer,  Lung Cancer Community,  NSCLC,  PTSD,  Scanxiety

    Medical Update – Spring 2017

    The prelude to winter began with Dan’s hospitalization November 1st. I spent the day wrestling with my intuition that I needed a significant break–things were getting to be too much and I felt super fragile. I talked to the HR manager at work and decided to take a leave of absence for the month of November. I came home and told Dan, only to discover he was developing a fever. I needed to take him to the ER so my abrupt decision suddenly seemed genius. Honestly, I felt like I really couldn’t put a price on the relief I felt to not have to call in and get a shift…

  • 2016,  Advice,  Anxiety,  Awesomeness,  Beer,  Chicago,  Dan,  Grateful,  Leah,  Memories,  Music,  Optimism

    2016 Put Me in the Same Room as Robert Plant

      On a whim, as I sometimes do when it comes to concerts, I bought tickets for myself and a friend to see The Milk Carton Kids at the Vic in Chicago. The exciting news was that it was a performance as part of a concert to raise funds for refugees and would also feature Emmylou Harris and friends. I could check Emmy off of my concert bucket list! Guests included Patti Griffin, Steve Earle, and Buddy Miller as well as Emmylou’s special guest, Ruby Amanfu. As with anything I plan ahead, and especially if it involves travel, I commit myself while completely thrilled about the idea of it, and then the week of…

  • Anxiety,  Cards,  Christmas,  Flowers,  Grieving,  Holidays,  Life Lately,  New Years Eve

    Why I’m Writing Holiday Cards Now

    Our culture loves itself a holiday card! There seems to be a mad dash in the month of December to get. those. cards. out! I have always been caught up in that race, but not because I felt pressured to participate. I genuinely loved the act and the intention. Just maybe not the deadline. I have always had a very old-fashioned sensibility that values practiced penmanship and all types of stationary as well as fonts, typewriters, and printmaking. If you know me well, you know that you are going to get a birthday card in the mail, every year of your life, even if you are turning a very boring age…

  • Anxiety,  Awesomeness,  Bipolar Disorder II,  Dan,  Depression,  Fibromyalgia,  Friends,  Grateful,  Gratitude,  Joy,  Leah,  Memories,  Raine,  Travel

    Disneyland!

    We did it! We went to Disneyland! Thank you to all of our amazing donors who helped make the trip possible! Thank you to Allyson Patterson, Aileen Fontana, Charlene Herzing, Doug Herzing, Patricia O’Brien, Javeed Shah, Frank Sierawski, Terrah Barkley, Bronwen Thiebes, Andrea Barry, Melissa Ritchie, April Catlett, Mark Nicklas, Linda Buchanan, Sarah Christensen, and the Lemont Township High School Class of 1995! It was a quick trip–two travel days and two days in the parks–but the difference it made in our lives was incredible. I have told a few friends who have asked how it was, “I think it was so absolutely amazing because we went into it with very low…

  • Anniversary,  Anxiety,  Bipolar Disorder,  Dan,  Depression,  Leah,  Raine

    One Year Later: Bipolar Disorder and Chocolate Chip Cookies

    As the one year anniversary of Dan’s diagnosis came and passed, I had nothing to say. My world that I created to survive his diagnosis was not stable; it was darkly fracturing. Pins of pressure were poking at me from every angle–The anxiety about Dan’s condition and prognosis, trying to be a good mother, trying to be a strong and capable wife, starting a new graphic design business, and the revolving anxiety about my mother’s condition. To everyone who has asked me, Leah, How do you do it? I could no longer provide an answer. I can’t do it. I had to explain to Dan how I had self-medicated and…

  • Anxiety,  Art,  Dan,  Depression,  Hattie,  Home,  Honestly,  Leah,  Life Lately,  Memories,  Nature,  Optimism,  Photos,  Raine,  Therapy,  Travel,  Vineyard

    Summer Recap

    I believe what I would remember most about this summer (and the quickly approaching end of it) was 1.) Trying to come to terms with the demands of my own health, and 2.) A fierce nesting phase as I tried to both prepare to launch my new graphic design business and transform our house into a rather lovely home. Before Dan was diagnosed last year, I was so busy working full-time managing the shop in McMinnville and operating my LuLaRoe business, our house was pretty empty and neglected, save a lot of toys. I also spent little time focusing on my health other than occasional diets and taking meds without stopping to consider…