Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What happens in Vegas...

Last weekend I got to experience one of the most amazing trips of my entire life. I traveled to Las Vegas to go to OMG 2013, which is a cancer summit for young adult survivors put on by Stupid Cancer. It was absolutely incredible... I don't even know where to begin. There were over 400 cancer survivors there who attended various classes, exhibits, and ceremonies throughout the entire weekend. We all stayed at Palms Casino, which became a gathering place for baldies and girls with pixie cuts.... It. Was. Awesome.

I met soooo many people with amazing stories, including a few people who had the same cancer as I did. I felt like the people that I just met understood me better than people I've known my entire life. Cancer is a very hard thing to understand and relate to unless you've been through it yourself. Young adults are the "overlooked" group of cancer patients. It seems all of the focus is on childhood cancer and adult cancer, which is great, but teenagers and young adults are so often forgotten about. That's why we were all so grateful to have a place where we could all go and share stories about treatment. Usually when you tell someone you had cancer, they say something like "Oh my god I am so sorry." but here when you tell someone you had cancer, the response was "ME TOO WHAT KIND?!"... it was such a welcoming atmosphere.

I learned a lot in the two short days I was there... (had to leave a little early for prom!). I learned about healthy living and developments in research and everything in between, but my favorite part was forming friendships that will definitely last a lifetime. The people I met have been through everything you could ever imagine, but they are all still thriving. It was so inspiring and I will no doubt be attending OMG every year!

Oh, and I'm sorry I've been neglecting this blog lately. Trying to finish out my busy junior year! We have over 11,000 blog views!

xoxox



Saturday, February 9, 2013

All clear!

Lots of good news this weekend. I went to Duke for my follow up scans, and received the phone call last that that I remain cancer free! I love going back to Duke because I get to visit the doctors and nurses who became my family while I was sick. My absolute favorite thing about Duke is that I never felt like I was going to the doctor. I felt like I was just going to hang out and catch up with my friends. I love telling my doctors and nurses about all the new and exciting things going on in my life, and I also love hearing about what's new in their lives! Going back to see my Duke family is always a good time.

I also went on my first college tour today. And of course... I toured Duke (: I fell in love with the campus. I learned so much more about the place that I basically lived for an entire year of my life! As of now it is most definitely my top choice school. Every day I get more and more excited for my future as a doctor. (Surgeon, to be specific...thanks Grey's Anatomy.) I have an internship coming up next month at MedWest. I'm not sure which department yet, but I requested the ICU. I want to work somewhere other than a cancer ward since, well... I already know way more than I want to about cancer (for now.)

That's about it for me. Oh! I'm going to a cancer survivor summit in Las Vegas for young adults.... so I'll tell you guys all about that! Maybe... I mean, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right?

Thanks for reading! This blog officially has over 10,000 views in many different country! You all are the best.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Alice

Sad news tonight. The girl whose blog inspired me to start mine, Alice Pyne, has passed away today after a lengthy and heroic fight against cancer. She was sixteen. She was one of my biggest inspirations throughout my fight. Her blog, "Alice's Bucket List", received attention worldwide. She created a bucket list when she found out she was terminal. She encouraged countless people to sign up to be bone marrow donors. She raised tons of money for research. Her bucket list was completely selfless. Even though she didn't live a long life, she lived a very meaningful one and definitely made a huge different in the cancer world and the real world. Now she has her wings and is resting in paradise for eternity!



On a brighter note, I got baptized this morning and became an official member of my church. I am so g;ad that I made the choice to do so. I feel God changing my heart and working in my life every single day. I made a promise to Him, myself, my church, and the world that I will live my life for him and run away from my sins. Such a great feeling!

Hope everyone has a great week.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Truth 365

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, NOTHINGS going to get better...it's not"


Hey guys. I'm sorry I haven't updated in a while. I want to encourage everyone to watch the Youtube video I'm going to attach to this. It's long, but if you can find the time to watch it, it would mean a lot. It is a short film about pediatric cancer, and how underfunded it is. The US government gives about $5 billion dollars to the National Cancer Institute each year, but only about 4% of that goes to pediatric cancer.... 4%!!! Since 1980, only ONE new drug has been developed for pediatric cancer, so obviously without more funding, we will now make progress anytime soon.

This film shows you every aspect of childhood cancer. From the view of the parents, the patients, the siblings, and the doctors. It doesn't sugar coat anything- this is what is happening inside every hospital, and most of the country isn't even aware that it's going on.

"When your child is diagnosed with cancer, you only have two options: let them die, or let the doctors poison, burn them, and cut them open in hopes of it possibly going away"

The Truth 365
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oljTL1iuMmY

Friday, November 23, 2012

Gobble till ya wobble

I hope that all of you had a fantastic Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving had a whole new meaning for me this year. Before I was diagnosed with cancer, Thanksgiving was just a day to eat (way too much). I never took the time to appreciate what I had, or be thankful for it. I took everything for granted, including my health. Throughout the last 11 months, that has all changed. 

During my chemo treatments, I witnessed the most heartbreaking things you could ever imagine. I was woken up by a mother who was screaming for help in the hallway, because her daughter was unresponsive. I have been in a room next to a baby with a blood disease who had been in the hospital for over three months, and who's parents had been there only one day out of the three months. I've seen an elderly couple find out that their loved one had passed away, and watched them breakdown in each others arms. I've seen patients that had much, much worse diseases than I had, that were younger than me. I lost one of my best friends to cancer. All of this opened my eyes to how blessed I actually am.

I am thankful for my cancer, and for remission. I'm thankful for everything I've learned. I'm thankful that I'm not the same person that I was last year. I'm thankful that I have the best family anyone could ever ask for, and I'm thankful for all of the friends I have made who have been through the same thing as me. I'm thankful to live in such a supportive community, I'm thankful for Duke University hospital, my doctors, the nurses on 5100, and for Dr. Brigman, who took care of Henry and saved my life. I'm thankful for my primary doctor who ordered the MRI that detected Henry early, before it had spread anywhere, and I am thankful for my life.

The thing that I was most thankful for this Thanksgiving, however, is my new relationship with God. Before this, I didn't have a strong relationship with him. I would pray every now and then, go to church a few times a year, & open up a Bible maybe twice a year. I was selfish and never gave Him the glory he deserved. Now, however, I have a very strong relationship with him. He kept me safe while they pumped poison through me twenty seven times. He deserves all the glory for my remission. We serve an AWESOME God, and ever since I really let him enter my heart, my life has been so much easier. When I worry, I give it to God. When I'm scared, He wraps his arms around me. When I'm sick, He heals me. When I pray, He so graciously answers all of my prayers. I have a much better outlook on my life now, and I know He will be with me through every trial, and through every celebration. If you're walking with God, what do you have to worry about? Nothing, because "God's got this." (Right, Corey?)

Right.



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"Tell everyone that there is a God"

When I was in seventh grade, I was sitting alone at a smoky mountain basketball game. A guy named Corey Fish came and sat by me, introduced himself, and talked to me for the rest of the game. Little did we know that we would need each other a few years later, when we were both diagnosed with cancer.

Corey and his parents were the first people to visit me in the hospital when I was diagnosed. They brought me a chemo survival kit, equipped with everything I would need to entertain myself during my treatments.

Whenever I was having a tough day, I would text Corey and he would say the same thing every time. "Gods got this." His faith was the strongest I have ever seen, and he helped me strengthen my faith as well.

Tonight, as we mourn the loss or our precious Corey, we should also remember to celebrate the fact that he is no longer hurting. He never has to lay in a hospital bed ever again. No
More needle pokes, or doctors, or chemo, or frustration. He is in paradise now with our sweet Karla (probably chatting away about what a pain cancer was!) we sure will miss him... But it's not goodbye. It's never goodbye, it's "see ya later" :)

Corey's last words were "Tell everything that there is a God." Doesn't that give you chills? Corey was sent here to strengthen the faith of hundreds of other people tonight. And when you have your doubts about God, which I know most people do sometimes, remember these words Corey said. There is a God. Thank you Corey Fish, for the constant reminder.. Thank you for being the biggest inspiration of my life. Thank you for helping me fight for my life while you were also fighting for your own. I love you.

Please send up prayers for Corey's family and friends tonight. Please also pray for the Foxx family as they deal with the unexpected loss of an amazing woman.

"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. when life throws toy a curve ball you hit a home run. but what do
You do when life throws you a grenade? you pray" - corey fish

Everyone, there IS a God.




Sunday, November 4, 2012

What a blessed day

I am feeling so very blessed tonight as I reflect on my day today.

As a lot of you reading this already know, our community lost an amazing angel named Karla Allred a few years ago to Rhabdomyosarcoma. I knew her through church and basketball, and watching her strength and her faith grow during her treatments is what made me so strong when I went through mine. Knowing that she has been watching over me this entire time has been my strength throughout my journey, and I couldn't have done it without her. I always feel her presence with me. Even though she wasn't physically with me, I know that her spirit is what got me through my toughest days. This morning at church, I received an amazing gift from her family. Now, not only do I wear my cross around my neck, but I also wear Karla's. Talk about a good luck charm! I'm so glad I have an angel watching over me that knows exactly what I have been through. Karla and I had very similar cancers, which is so ironic because I live in such a small community, and sarcomas are so rare. I love you so much Karla Allred. You and your family have been the light and inspiration for my family and I. 

After church, I had more blessings to come. I got to have lunch with my friend Riley Schwalm, who is in 6th grade and is battling leukemia (and kicking butt!). I have never smiled so much while talking to one person in my life! She is so full of energy and life, and her happiness just reminded me that I have so much to be thankful for, even when I think I have it bad. The people that I have met that have battled the same thing as I have are the most amazing people I've ever met in my life. It's very hard to talk to people that don't understand what you have gone through, and haven't gained the wisdom that you have. I am so lucky to know the Schwalm family and be able to vent to people that know what it's like.

I ask that you please say a very special prayer for Corey Fish tonight. He has Graft vs Host disease from his stem cell transplant, and he and his mother Rene have been at Chapel Hill for several months now. They need all of the prayers they can get. God has a very special plan for Corey, and we all know the miracles God can perform. Corey's faith throughout his cancer has been absolutely mind blowing. It's amazing that the people that have gone through the most miserable times seem to have the strongest faith. Prayers for the Fish family, we love you guys so very much,

I also ask that you please pray for me. I am going back to Duke friday for scans to make sure there are no signs of cancer anywhere in my body. I am very nervous, but I have a good feeling about it. I am also excited though, because I miss all of my wonderful doctors and nurses!

Please pray for my dog, Zeke, who cut his foot open today. My dogs tend to be very accident prone.

Thanks so much for reading my blog. You guys are what makes it truly special. God bless.

Jackie