In the last few days I have seen everyone’s best nine photo collages being posted on Instagram from 2017. These rubbed me in a strange way, to say this year has been difficult is the understatement of the century. I began to look at all the photos from the last year…if you were to scroll through my phone you would think the start to 2017 was pretty great. You’d see photos of Halen and I with warm hats on in the chilly January weather, you would see Halen playing dress up, new hairstyles, Henley learning to stand, nursing baby Henley, a simple homemade Valentine’s Day at home with our girlies, playing at the park, crafts, date nights out, Henley’s toothless grin (covered in homemade baby food), exploring Austin, visiting friends, celebrating hubby’s 34th birthday, Henley’s first pig tails, Henley’s first steps, pictures of the girls in the bluebonnets, Easter with family, Halen turning three, Henley’s dedication, Henley turning one…and then our world unraveled around us.
2017, I gotta say you bulldozed me off my feet. The year started off decently…and then May rolled around. We were struck with the devastating news of my stage three breast cancer diagnosis. At first, I would have said that 2017 was the worst year of my life. If you chose to continue scrolling through my phone you would see I cut my hair off, I got a port placed in my chest, I started chemotherapy, I buzzed my head, I spent a month on the couch, I was nauseas, I lost my appetite, I was sad, I was in shock, more pictures of me receiving chemotherapy, hot flashes, unbearable Texas heat, my hair officially falling out, trying to keep up with my girls while hardly able to care for myself, more chemo, unable to receive chemo due to a low white blood cell count, tears, anticipation, ending chemo, no eyelashes, no eyebrows, my mastectomy, a drain attached to my side, stitches, a mangled chest, starting radiation.
Now that cancer has been our new “normal” for seven months, saying that this past year was the worst would not be entirely true. Yes, there were a lot of dark, frustrating, incredibly sad nights and days…but as I have mentioned before incredible good has come out of the worst.
In between all the cancer, you would see a Memorial Day celebration with our best friends on the lake, amazing photos of my family (while I still had hair) by Laura Morsman, a lot of cuddles with my girls, my cousin visiting from Colorado, Nene days, Yaya days, celebrating our 6th anniversary, enjoying the 4th of July with our blue eyed babes, neighborhood gatherings, swimming at the Curby's pool, visiting with Papa & Gigi, potty training, cuddles with the girls in bed, walks, gymnastics, swim, our fundraising event (where we were absolutely blown away by all the love and support), Halen starting her second year of pre-school, more family photos by Laura Morsman, family birthdays, celebrating my 33rd birthday, showing off all the amazing oils I use, celebrating Gram’s life, three of my most treasured friends from different walks of my life coming into town to support me at the Race for the Cure, my hair growing back, pumpkin patch pictures, meeting our neighbor’s new baby boy, #nomochemo celebration, Halloween as Goldilocks and the Three Bears, flying to Ann Arbor, Michigan and going to a Michigan Wolverine football game in the Big House with my hubby to celebrate being done with chemo, going to Lost Pines as a family to celebrate being done with chemo, visiting the Silos at Magnolia Market in Waco with my mom, Halen’s Thanksgiving Feast at school, my Michigan family visiting for Thanksgiving, couch cuddles, Christmas lights, meeting Santa, snowing in Austin, family dance parties, enjoying all things Christmas with family and friends, dancing in the kitchen with my husband. You would see love.
Most days are not overcome with cancer. This life could have been very different but, I decided to own my diagnosis and make the best of my life. Keeping Christ at my center, I am confident moving forward into 2018 that the best is truly yet to come.
2017 has transformed my life… relationships have flourished, our marriage has grown closer than ever, my faith is stronger than ever, our zest for life has grown tenfold.
2017 completely changed the entire course of our life, it stopped us in our tracks and we changed the way we lived from that point forward.
I could seriously make 100 of these collages.
2018 holds another pretty solid year of treatment and surgery for me, and although I don’t particularly look forward to all of that, it is what is necessary. I plan to continue choosing joy, seeking peace and spreading love wherever I go. I know that what I can control is how I treat myself, how I treat others, and my relationship with Christ. Time to eat clean, stay focused, exercise and kick stress to the curb. Time to build my confidence, release people with negative energy, invest in true relationships, love where we live and explore where we don’t. I hope to continue to inspire with my blog, pursue other opportunities for my writing, grow my business with health & wellness, get back to my love of cooking, and travel more.
2018… let’s do this. 2019…I have my eyes on you.