Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Just Call Me Spaghetti...

It really is amazing how much has happened in the past year... but the last few weeks in particular have been exceptionally full.

I have been diagnosed with Stage II Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. It has spread to my lymph nodes. I have started chemo. I will go every 3 weeks for 5 months.

There, I just blog-vomited.

Yesterday was my first round of treatment. My first treatment consisted of a drug called Avastin. I just sat for what seemed like forever while the drug was pumped through my veins. Thank goodness for the company of Linda and Ellie, some chickas from my support group. Linda painted my toenails a rockin' pink. I got home safely with relatively little side effects which is a blessing. I slept most of the afternoon and felt numb on the left side of my body.

This morning I managed to make it to school. (Thanks to my driver! ;) ) While walking the kids back from the restroom my legs semi-gave out. Basically, they feel like spaghetti. We got back to the classroom and I taught for a little while from my chair. When the kiddos went to related arts, I went home. This really seems ridiculous, but I cannot walk. Brad, Justin, and Amy have taken turns walking me from one room to another and each time I swear I am not moving again. Really praying this is a one day side effect and that I can go back to school tomorrow.

I wish I could say that I was doing well, but I am a mess. I cannot cry which has always been my outlet for things. I seriously cry for like 2 seconds and then I am done. I don't feel any better. I find myself getting so frustrated because I am tired, feel sore, etc. I feel like I am being a burden (don't correct me now... maybe I am not, but I feel like I am) I am scared of losing my hair. I am scared of something happening at school. I am scared of people feeling like I can't do my job.

I am grateful for the huge outpouring of love people have shown. I have gotten some beautiful flowers (thanks Lindsey and Joe!), great phone calls (David and Katie...) and masses of emails. My family has been amazing and now I get to hear almost all of their voices daily. ;) And you know the House of Awesome has been exceptionally awesome... So yeah, I have quite the support system and I feel loved.

Looks like I am in for some ups and downs, but in the midst of it all, there is hope. Someone is carrying me and will see me through. You can just call me spaghetti...

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Other Beth

I just love my friends!! Seriously, they are the most fabulous people on earth. This weekend I got lots of Beth Neese time. ;)

Beth and I met in college while preparing to go on our first trip to Scotland. We became instead friends due to our "Southerness", love for Auburn (Beth turned out to be a traitor though and pulls for the Vols now!), scrapbooking obsession, and just our plain goofiness. Beth has always had a faith in the Lord that I admire. Over time we began going our separate ways, but always made time to catch up. When moving back to the States last year, I was hired at the same school as Beth. We literally were separated by just a sidewalk, yet we did not really make much effort to spend time together. That has changed!

On Saturday, Amy, Brad and I met Beth for lunch and then we all wig shopping. (More on that later...) Beth and I spent the afternoon by going to a new children's bookstore, trying a new yogurt dessert place, getting makeovers and makeup at Bare Escentuals, and going out for sushi. It really was the perfect kind of day.

Sunday morning, Beth and Amanda met Justin and me for church at Fellowship. Finding a church home has been a real struggle since being Stateside. Beth and our friend Maggie have decided to find a new church home too. It is nice having friends to visit churches with you and then discuss with later.

Just seeing Beth brings a smile to my face. :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

First Day of School

I survived the first day of school!

As of Friday, I have 16 precious kiddos. They all are cute as a button. Quite chatty. ;) I am quite sure that I will have some good stories this year.

Come take a tour of my classroom...

From the front of the classroom

From the door
The teacher's area
The reading corner
I love it! It is much more organized than last year. I cannot take much of the credit though. Justin really came through and did much of the organization, lifting, and anything else I asked of him. It gave me time to go to meetings and do the "fun stuff" like making things. Amy also gave up an evening to clean and sharpen pencils. Thanks friends!

I am truly excited about the school year. My goal is to not just survive, but teach.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

keeping afloat

feeling a tad overwhelmed these days...

have so much to do.

kiddos come tomorrow and i could not be more excited about that.

picking up my sister hannah tonight from airport. dad just called to say he is flying back tonight too. will get to see both of them. that makes my heart happy.

have had some good quiet time studies this week. (will share some soon.)

good things are keeping me afloat these days.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Faculty Retreat

This weekend I went on my school's faculty retreat. For 2 days, we discussed Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), went through team building exercises, and just spent time catching up.

I was excited to get to spend time with the beauties, Maggie and Beth N. Funny how even though we see each other almost everyday, we don't really get to talk. These girls really are a joy to be around!

The retreat took place at the YMCA's Camp Widji. Talk about a nice place! It is situated right on Percy Priest lake. They have ropes courses, a resort style pool, amazing dining hall and just lots of fun stuff to do. I really would have enjoyed spending more time there. The cabins were great and my bed was so nice I fell asleep before campfire and woke up just in time for breakfast. I did not hear a sound. Strong.

I am going to enjoy my final day before school at my parents' pool and relaxing. I am really excited about the school year! The retreat was a nice way to get even more geared up.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Brad's Birthday

On Monday, J. Bradley turned 25!

Sadly due to exams a big celebration could not take place, but much fun was to be had anyways.

For dinner, we all met up at a Gyro place in Brentwood. After grabbing food, we headed to Granny White Park for a picnic and to play on the swings. We headed back to the house for some front porch living. Grasshopper pie, candlelight, and some good tunes made for the perfect chill atmosphere. It got even better when Josh and Roan showed up! Nothing beats good friends on a good front porch...

That is, unless you get a new bicycle! Brad has been stuck in the house and library for the entire summer. I do not kid. I have never met anybody so diligent in their studies. For his birthday, we all decided a bike was prime factor in freedom for the Captain. His face was priceless. Everybody was happy.

If you happen to see a young buck riding around East Nashville on a black Giant bicycle (Black Pearl Dos!), wave because that is just a good man seeking out a little freedom. ;)

Happy Birthday Brad. Love you much.

"We Are All Awesome"

It is always good to see "awesome" faces!

On Sunday night Kim and Katie arrived in Nashville. There was a lot of excitement at the Stockell house. Brad and Amy hadn't seen the girls since last October and it had been over a year since I had last seen them. We enjoyed a dinner on the porch and catching up.

Poor Brad had final exams this week so his time was limited. Poor Amy had to work. It did give me lots of quality time with K&K though.

On Monday, the girls went with me to work in my classroom. Classroom library looks great, thanks to these two! We came home to have lunch with Brad before heading to my parents to swim. Nothing like a good summer afternoon of sunshine with dear friends! We caught up with my parents over a nice snack spread Mama had prepared. In the evening, everyone was able to go out to celebrate Brad's birthday.

Tuesday was a little more laid back. We spent the morning watching YouTube videos. We met up with Amy for a Chik-Fil-A (or Chik-A-Fil as Kim calls it) meal. I napped in the afternoon and the girls were able to spend some more time with Brad. For dinner, we had delicious Tacos-In-A-Bag... a good Yichang favorite. And what trip would be complete without a trip to Pied Piper? Of course, we made an ice cream run. Blueberry Cheesecake. Yum! We had to book it through the rain to get back to our car. The girls had to leave, but not before snagging this picture. (Note: We look a little rough because we ran in the rain!)

Another great trip for the Yichang 5!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

At Least It Was A Friday Night Out....

Last night, Justin and I went to see the Kaiser Chiefs and Green Day. We only snagged a couple of songs by the Kaiser Chiefs, but I wasn't crushed. Green Day was also pretty disappointing.

Green Day is a generational icon. When I got a call for the tickets, I was excited. Now, I am so thankful I did not have to pay for the tickets. The showmanship, the music, just everything was not impressive. I will be sticking with older albums.

The only saving graces for the evening were the people watching (seriously thought the guy a few seats down was going to fall over the rail!), the song "Basket Case", the fact that it was a free night out, and the Vespa ride afterwards. ;)