I'm sorry it has been awhile since I have written.  I guess I have just let everyday activities and stresses take over lately.  I am full of mixed emotions right now.  I don't know what the deal is, but I feel overwhelmed a lot.  I thought maybe after all my cancer treatments and doctor's appointments slowed down I would just get back into the groove of everyday life, but it hasn't really worked out that way.  I think it is a lot of things around me that have gotten me down.  I just know way too many close friends and family members who are going through cancer and health problems.  I think I have mentioned in the past that I have a close friend named Darcie Milsow.  She has stage 4 colon cancer and has been in and out of the hospital a lot lately.  I think my emotions get the best of me when she is not feeling well or in the hospital again because my heart aches for her.  She has a sweet husband that cares so much for her and 3 wonderful young children who just want to spend time with their mom.  I know it kills her to be away from them, and I know her husband, Brent, is having to take on a lot more roles when she is not able to.  I know how stressful it can be when you can't get out of bed because you feel terrible and you just want to feel good enough to carry on with everyday life.  The hard part is that I want to try to help them however I can, but I don't always know how.  I would do anything to take her pain and heartaches away from her.  It kills me to see her hurting.  I guess one thing I can do is to pray for her and I'm begging each of you to add her to your prayer lists at church and in your daily prayers.  I know there are ongoing financial needs with this family as well.  Darcie has been bravely fighting for over a year and a half with tons of medical bills and travel expenses.  She was unable to work last year, and she has tried to go back this year.  She is a school teacher.  The hard part is that she has already been hospitalized 3 times since school started.  She is already out of sick leave, so now her paychecks are getting docked.  We try to help them as often as we can financially and I know friends and family do too because we know they have enough stresses already on them.  To make matters worse, her refrigerator just went out (for good) a few days ago and they lost a bunch of groceries.  They ended up having to spend money on a new one.  When it rains it pours unfortunately.  I've been thinking lately about a fundraiser that I can do for them.  If anyone has any good ideas please call or text me because I would love to do as much as I can to ease their load.  I know what a blessing the fundraisers were to Chris and I as we faced lots of medical bills and time off of work.  I know some of you do not know her or her family but if anyone wants to donate grocery giftcards, restaurant gift cards, or money to this sweet Christian family that would be such a blessing to them.  I can give you their address or you can send it to me, and I will make sure they get each gift.  I realize that sometimes people just can't give, so even a card of encouragement or telling them you are praying for them would be awesome.  I think as Christians God puts these things on our hearts for a reason, and I know we are called to love and care for others especially in times of need.  I've decided that there are a lot of things I would like to buy or do, but sometimes I have to ask myself if my money would be better used to bless others.  This family would never ask for any help themselves, but this has been on my heart lately.  More than money though, I pray to God for Darcie for pain relief and for precious time with her kiddos and husband.  You don't know how blessed you are if you are in good health because when you feel bad most of the time it can be so emotionally draining and depressing.  I know, however, that God is faithful and and bigger than her cancer and medical problems, and he will give her the strength to keep up the good fight.  I love you Darcie and your wonderful family.  I'm so glad God brought you into my life when he did.  You are a blessing to me and always will be.

Well, I guess I should update everyone on my medical status.  As you can see in the pic of Bren and I, my hair is growing like a weed.  It is thick and curly for sure.  Believe me when I say that I am not complaining, but I think some crazy cow licked the back left side of my head (which I did not have before) and now my hair does not go the way I want.  I used to part my hair on the right side and now it wants to go the opposite direction.  If you know me very well, you know I am a creature of habit.  I do not deal with change very well.  I just can't get used to brushing my hair the other way, but I guess I should just be glad that I don't have the 6-8 cowlicks that my husband has.  The cow really liked his head!  I'm excited to report that I have my first haircut next Friday to clean up this mop.  It is all different lengths and getting to the point where I don't really know what to do with it.  I am very excited to have this problem versus a bald head though.  At this point, my hair is easy to do and I can get ready really fast.  Chris likes this but I know he misses my long dark hair.  I know many of you have said that you think I should keep my hair this length awhile, but I cannot.  I must have my long hair back.  It's just me.  I can't believe that on Monday I have my 3 month follow-up with my oncologist.  I'm feeling pretty good these days minus the the continued tension in my neck.  I had been worried for a little while because I was losing weight.  I have lost 20 pounds since I stopped chemo in April.  I have been eating much better and limiting things like sugar and meats, but I continued to lose even when I wasn't trying.  I have been working out a lot too, but I've always done that.  I think some stress at work and some of the things I mentioned earlier about friends and family having difficulties added to this.  I think it really hit home when my oncologist told me at my last follow-up that even a 10 pound weight gain can increase my chances of recurrence of cancer.  I'm trying everything in my power to not let this happen and to stay healthy.  I am currently taking anastrozole everyday for 5 years to also help reduce my risk.  I didn't tell a whole lot of people, but I had to have another surgery on October 11th.  It was part of my breast reconstruction process.  Most of you know that I had severe scoliosis and had surgery when I was 14 yrs old.  Because of this I have a rib hump that sticks out on my right side of my back.  Basically, my ribs push out on that side which pushes my scapula out.  This makes me a more difficult case for my doctors when it comes to certain things.  When I had my implants placed in July, I did well, but I noticed that my right breast appeared smaller than the left.  This was due to my scoliosis issues.  My plastic surgeon offered to change out that implant to make both sides match, so I took him up on the offer.  Shoot, if I'm going to have new boobies they may as well be perfect my friends!  Right before the surgery that morning, I told my doctor that I have two places on that left breast that wouldn't close up and were draining.  Because of this, he decided to open that side up too.  He used the implant from the right that he removed and put it in my left side to get a fresh start.  It all went really well and I'm healing great.  I have a wonderful plastic surgeon that has done amazing work on me and my sister.  By the way, Tiffany had surgery 4 days after mine to get her implants placed and she had a hysterectomy too.  She has recovered well from this, and went back to work this week.  She's a tough cookie, and I'm so blessed to have her by my side through all this so we can support each other.  I love that girl!  She's my best friend!

I'll admit that in my struggles to get my life back to a more "normal" state, I have disappointed myself at times.  I feel like my spiritual life is always on a stinking rollercoaster that I want to get off of.  I did really well with praying and reading my Bible for awhile and then lately I've let life get the best of me.  I want God to have the best of me.  Why is it such a struggle to balance everything in life like working, taking care of your family, financial worries, and many other things?  I have to remind myself that God never promised that our lives would be easy or that we wouldn't struggle at times.  I miss the good old days when I was younger and let my parents worry about these things!!!  I know I'm blessed and don't have near the amount of worries that a lot of people may have, but I can't help but feel overwhelmed at times.  Life kicks into high gear, and I find myself bouncing off the walls of the course just hoping and praying that I don't crash.  The problem lies in the fact that most times I try to drive the car alone and forget that it's ok to let go of the wheel and let God get the car back on the right path.  He is our seatbelt and our safety net to keep us from killing ourselves.  Life truly is a highway, and I want to drive it all day and all night long but not without my guide-God.  It would be pointless without him.  Don't forget he is always there with you no matter what you are doing.  Whether it is driving to work, at the grocery store, working out, in the bath, or sleeping, he is always watching and waiting for you to include him in all the details.  He loves everything about each of you, and he desires for us to need him and call out to him.  When life gets you down, remember we always have an open line with someone on the other end waiting to help us.  What a relief!  God is so good.  God bless.  Love ya - Shay