In the Air!

In the Air!
400 feet above the ground in Orlando.

Florida

Florida
Taking my first step towards a new life.

Virginia

Virginia
Spending an afternoon at Marymount during my internship!

My rocks!

My rocks!
Wouldn't be where I am without my parents!

Graduation

Graduation
Walking for my Masters. An interesting book end as this all started when I graduated from undergrad!

Awesome Nurses!

Awesome Nurses!
After my port removal and saying goodbye to my chemo nurses before moving away from Michigan. Wouldn't be doing that without them!

Hair again!

Hair again!
Growing longer each day

Last Chemo

Last Chemo

Google+ Followers

Silliness

Silliness
Something to remember and return to. A good day!

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 264. Amazing Role Models!

Today I went by the V.A. to get my last time sheet signed and say goodbye to the wonderful people who have been so great to learn under!  They weren't all there but I wanted to say something about them because they will forever be the role models I look back to throughout my career!  They were the ones I first saw in action in the field and will always hold a special place in my heart as they helped me build my love for the work I will be doing!

My supervisor Joanna who first agreed to take me on for my low vision hours!  She taught me so much on how to teach low vision devices and how to listen and respond in a way that shows true empathy and understanding to the patients.  She became such a dear and loving friend that I honestly don't know what I would have done without her!!

Kimberly, who's strength and happiness is something I wish to be able to show myself!  Her willingness to answer all my questions and encourage me in the field is keeping me going as I nervously but excitedly walk into my O&M internship!!

Angela, who makes me smile as soon as she smiles!  She just has one of those infectious smiles you can't help yourself!!!  And who introduced me to new low vision gadgets and encouraged me to learn them and keep learning new ones whenever I come across them!

And Kim!  Who's beautiful hair I will be forever jealous of and who's ability to not only teach Assistive technology is pretty amazing but also her calmness in the face of the inevitable bugs that pop up in technology is enviable!

And of course Dr. J!  Over a year of observing and working with him has not only taught me so much in my field but also taught me so much more about being a good person with compassion and care for each individual I work with!!  If I am good in this field, I credit a large amount of that to his guidance, understanding and education.  A role model that I will always remember and return to with questions and share all the big moments with!

Thank you to all of you for everything you have given me!!!  I wouldn't be where I am right now without your guidance, support and encouragement!!!!  Love you all!!!!





365 Things to Smile About Day 263. Progress!!! Kinda.

Well, I spent all day working on organizing, sorting and packing.  I am now maybe 1/4 of the way there and am packing the truck Friday.  Yeah, I am going to go a little crazy that day!  Lol!  Slowly but surely though I am getting there!  My family room is starting to fill up with packed boxes...although I should probably finish packing up my book shelves before they are covered by boxes!

There is a part of me that still is finding it hard to believe that this day is just about here.  Moving day!!  Moving on from Kalamazoo and all the difficult memories here.  Putting the past where it belongs.  Moving on from letting all the cancer get me down.  I know I will still have bad days,  And I doubt I will ever move beyond scan anxiety.

But as I am packing up these boxes...I think it is taking so long because I am packing up a part of my life that I am happy to be done with!  It's hard!  Packing up and leaving the place where terrifying memories seemed to always be around every corner!

Now I am moving on to make new, happy and exciting memories!!!



365 Things to Smile About Day 262. Flowers!!!

Today was my last day at the V.A. !  An exciting but also a little sad day.  Like the low vision clinic, I loved going to the VA and observing and working with the patients and the low vision devices!  What was really sweet was they had gotten me a card and a beautiful bouquet of flowers!  They are brightening up my apartment as I slowly finish packing!  Lol!!


Monday, April 25, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 261. Last Day at the Clinic

For over a year now I have been doing observations and work at the low vision clinic.  I have really loved every part of this experience and have come to love low vision therapy as much as O and M!  Every night I had clinic (once to twice a week) I felt a surge of energy and excitement!!!

I never knew if that night I would be able to make a small difference in someone's life!  I always knew I would be laughing about something because the people who work there are some of the best people who are always ready to share a laugh!  I started to think of the clinic as my Happy Place:).  When the clinic coordinator heard me call it that once he caught on and would often tease me about the clinic being my happy place:).  I think he was glad it was such a positive place to me:).  And it really was!  I learned so much there.  Not just in being able to help others but also about me.  It's hard to really describe but being there helped me become more calm and focused.  I walked in there and could relax and put things in perspective.

I am going to greatly miss all my friends there!  I was so touched that they got me a card and everyone signed it for me!  I couldn't stop giving hugs to everyone who has been so kind and loving and supportive and just plain wonderful!!  They were my first real foray into the field of blindness and low vision outside of my classes and they made me love this field even more!  I only hope I am able to make them proud!!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 260. It's Getting Green!

Spring is slowly coming to Michigan and this morning I saw some serious indications!  I woke up at my parent's farm and looked outside and noticed just how green the grass in the yard was!  Put it next to the red of the barn and the blue of the sky and it was a beautiful, pastoral scene!

Sometimes spring can be a rough time because it is that in-between time of the snow covered grounds of winter and the fully green of the summer.  But right now it is still cooler but the green is showing up:).

365 Things to Smile About. Day 259. 50 Years!

Today was a good day:).  It was my parent's 50th Wedding Anniversary!  50 years, 10 kids, 12 grandkids and 2 great grandkids!  Over half the family was able to make it back and we went to a special mass for mom and dad and then had a catered dinner and wedding cake!

It was pretty wonderful to see two people stay together that long.  It seems it happens less and less these days/  I know just by my age right now I won't ever reach 50 years with the man I marry.  But regardless, I am so happy that I can say my parents and grandparents both made that anniversary.:).

It was a long but wonderful day visiting with family, laughing over ridiculous things and just enjoying being together.  It doesn't happen often so it was a time to really appreciate and remember:).  Family is so very important, one of the many things my parents have taught me.  To keep family close and love them always.  Thank you mom and dad for your example to all of us!




365 Things to Smile About Day 258. Interview!!

I have been on many interviews over the years but have never been more nervous than the interview today!  Maybe because it means a lot to me...I don't know.  It was a first interview for a job down in Virginia where I love living!

It was intense!  10 very detailed and in depth questions concerning how I would handle different situations on the job.  I did the best I could with my answers.  With my minimal experience I was hoping I could give answers that told them I am learning quickly and am willing to keep learning.  That I am someone they would like to have work for them.

So here is hoping that I was able to make a favorable impression!!

365 Things to Smile About 257. Last Class

Today I managed to get moving in the morning and somehow make it to my 8 am class.  I was glad I was able to.  It was my last class of my program.  I didn't want to miss that because of this insane cold.  I wanted the semester to end on a good note:).

I am glad I made it too.  It was a good class.  Learning how to work with different physical disabilities and the white cane:).  It has been my most difficult class and I still have the final to take but I was happy to be up and moving...if a little slowly!  Lol!

And thus the end of my last semester at Western is coming to a close!  I have been looking forward to it for a while now and also can't believe it is finally here.  In just a short time I will be moving on and starting a new job and career.  And today was the end of one chapter and I'm turning the page to the next.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 256. Taking a Moment.

As mentioned previously, I have been down with a nasty cold this week.  Today I had to pull myself up and go to a meeting with my academic supervisor.  As I walked out of my apartment into the sunshine, I stopped and took a second to just enjoy the warm sun and fresh air.  I had been outside a couple times this week but each time I was so focused on doing what I had to and getting back to bed I didn't appreciate the warmer weather!  But today, I happily stopped and let the breeze blow on my face.  I can't say I took a deep breath or even smelt anything, not that much better yet, but I did appreciate the moment.

That is something I am starting to do more and more over the past few years.  And with so much happening and changing in my life right now, I am having to remind myself to stop and take those moments.  Even if it is just standing for a few seconds outside my apartment, closing my eyes, and feeling the breeze on my face:).  Try it...it really can help everything start to feel better:).

365 Things to Smile About Days 253, 254 & 255. Rough Week But Something Good:)

Ok, I am really stretching the whole blog per day with this catch up but I have an explanation!  I caught a cold that decided to knock my feet out from under me and hold me down this week!  Seriously!  Baritones would have killed to have the depths my voice plunged!  I had that sexy, scratchy voice thing perfect...interrupted by coughing spasms!  And so I was not only having a hard time finding something to smile about but also writing about them to.

But there was one good thing this week.  Every day I have been sick, a friend / classmate of mine has called me every day to check up on me and see how I was doing.  And another friend / classmate was so kind and went to get me some water from the store when I was just about out!  So while the past four days have been pretty nasty...I was able to smile over the fact that I have such kind and good people around me!  Fortunately, while I am still congested and coughing, my voice has almost returned to a normal register and I am slowly able to sleep a little more each night.  So this cold is slowly on it's way out and I can jump into my last week here hopefully with some renewed energy!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 252. Really Looking for Something

Today has been a not so good day.  My sinuses decided to open up the flood gates and it's all going down the back of my throat.  I'm trying a few things but so far I'm still hacking up a lung.  So I really had to look to find something to make me smile.

I was sitting on the couch trying to sit up and sleep at the same time and looked outside.  The sky was a beautiful blue and the ground is greening up and it was so nice and warm.  I was wishing I could be out there but found myself enjoying just looking outside and appreciating that winter was finally over!  That did bring a small smile to my face:).

Friday, April 15, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 251. A Hilarious Video!

It's a little thing today but it made me laugh pretty hard!  A video from Facebook!  Everyone has a hard time waking up some days but I loved the reaction in this video!  Lol!  It is the reaction that I have felt a few times when my alarm woke me up out of a short sleep finally attained after most of the night of tossing and turning!  Watch and enjoy!  Lol!!

https://www.facebook.com/ownagepranks/videos/10153778620613929/

Thursday, April 14, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 250. Warming Up Outside!!

Michigan is not known for it's warm, balmy, spring weather.  But this year has been particularly chilly for a little longer!  So today when the sun came out and the weather warmed up...I couldn't help but just stand outside my car in the middle of a busy day and lift my face up (eyes closed) and just bask in the warm sunshine and breath in the fresh air!  I love weather in the 60's and 70's and that is what we are getting!!!!  The grass is getting greater and fingers crossed we have seen the last of the snow!  Lol!  Now it's finally spring!  I'll enjoy two more weeks of it before I jump down south and just about strait into summer!  Lol!!!

365 Things to Smile About Day 249. An Evening Out

Last night I went out with some friends to help one of them have a little comfort because of a very difficult time she is going through.  It was a sad reason to go out but the evening itself was a really fun night!  I am not a heavy drinker and only had one (rather strong!) drink but stayed with the girls all evening talking, laughing and jumping from one bar to another:).  My first official bar hop!  Lol! It only tok 36 years!  Lol!  What was so great about last night was being able to be there for my friend with a hug or a laugh or a listening ear with her other friends as well.  Being able to give even a small amount of comfort and be around some pretty hilarious and wonderful people:).  It can't help but bring a smile to my face to know that I am friends with some really kind and generous and loving individuals. :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 248. HAPPY DAY!!!

If someone had told me three years ago I would be heading into the tail end of my Master's degree I would have laughed pretty hard!  I was finishing my undergrad after a long time and was looking forward to a probable teaching job in California.  I had no clue how my life was about to change.  Cancer was a detour that wasn't in my plans.  But then again, without it, I wouldn't be where I am today...excited beyond words and entering a field that I love!!!  Doing something that is so much more than just a job!

And today, as the heading says, was a happy day!  Lol!  I not only got the email confirming I can walk in the spring ceremony!!! (I technically don't get my diploma until the fall because of my internship and probably wouldn't make it back to the ceremony for that in December so I really wanted to walk this month).  I also went and bought my cap and gown and hood and tassel!!  I haven't been able to stop smiling all day!!!

The pictures below aren't the best...I'll definitely be posting more on the actual graduation day...but they are my first pictures of the goal that I never saw as a possibility three years ago!  And I can honestly say that while going through cancer the thought of graduate school never crossed my mind.  I was too afraid to think of the future too specifically.  I wanted to be better and I lost count of the times I said I wanted my life back but I was honestly so terrified of failing any plans I tried to set.  Everything was so uncertain and up in the air I didn't know how to take control of it again after treatment.  I started that path with graduate school but even with all the promise that held, I was still very scared of the future.  In fact, it wasn't until I met someone a little over a year ago who helped me start to see beyond the fear that I found myself thinking of more than just a year or two in advance.  I found myself not just wanting to but actually planning out a life.  And part of that life included this lovely outfit I am sporting below and everything it enables me to do now!  Lol!

I can plan a life!  I can look beyond just the immediate future!  I'm not afraid to do that anymore!  And I'm not just planning it, I am living it!  Lol!!






365 Things to Smile About Day 247. Lovely Workout Effect!!

I made it to the gym again yesterday and while I had to cut my cardio down by ten minutes (I had to make it to class) I still did another full workout and it felt so good!  I was on a bit of a workout high for most of the rest of the day!  Lol!!

What is also pretty great about getting back to a normal workout is what comes with it....SLEEP!!!  I have struggled with bouts of insomnia off and on for the past couple years and it has been very frustrating.  So far, the days I have been able to get a full work out in, I have knocked out cold early!  Lol!  Sometimes I wake up late at night for a couple hours but then I am back out again until morning:).  And I have noticed getting up when the alarm goes off is easier too.  I know this is all normal for exorcising but I haven't seen it quite like this in a long time because of the limit on what I could do.  Now, with no limits but my own strength, it is pretty great to reap some of the rewards:).

Sunday, April 10, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 246. YUMMY!!!

I am so excited!  I managed to make another good tasting meal!!  Venison meatloaf!!  I don't want to jinx it but I think that maybe, just maybe, my taste buds are starting to settle down!  Lol!  It is so bizarre!  I am eating foods I have hated my whole life and don't eat foods I use to love!  And it changes daily it seems!  I went to warm up some chicken and as I smelt it warm up I had to make the smell go away as fast as possible!!  Lol!

But tonights dinner smells so good and is permitting the apartment!  Lol!  I am going to have left over meatloaf for a couple days and I'm ok with that!  Lol!  So here is hoping I can continue to make good dinners and my taste buds behave!!  Lol!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 245. Post Port Removal Workout!

I have really struggled with having my port taken out.  It was absolutely the right thing to do.  It was time and also necessary.  But it has also scared me a lot.  My port was like my security blanket.  If I kept it in, my cancer wouldn't come back.  Irrational, maybe, but there it is.

Last night before I fell asleep I realized I have really been slacking off on walking and doing my small, daily workout routine.  I told myself I had no reason to be slacking at all anymore since I no longer had to worry about tugging on my port with different weights and machines.  I decided that I would get back into the gym first thing in the morning.

Well, Saturday being Saturday I admit I slept in!  But right after breakfast I got dressed and headed out, intending to only do my hand hour on the treadmill.  I do like seeing the steps on my pedometer app go up!  As I was walking I found myself continuously reaching up and touching where my port had been and looking at all the machines that had been taboo for over two years.  I'll admit, I was scared of trying them.  There was no medical reason why I couldn't but lets face it, a lot of times fear is difficult to explain.

So I just kinda wandered over to that side of the room after my walk time (which I was able to put a few short, gentle sprints into without falling down!).  I literally stalled by getting on the machine where you put your feet up on a "wall" in front of you pushed it to straiten your legs.  I did several reps on that before I could bring myself to go to the other machines.  But I finally made it over there, set my weights to I think 10 lbs (it's been a while) and did the forbidden push ups that I had been told in no uncertain terms I was NOT allowed to do with a port in!  Nothing feels worse and freaks you out more than to feel your port tugged!!  But this time there was no tugging!!!  LOL!  And so I moved on to another machine I haven't touched in a while and worked on that too!!.

In the end I managed to get a good, FULL, upper body workout!!  First time in almost 3 years!!  It felt pretty great!!!!  So once more, working on one fear at a time and slowly moving past them!!!

365 Things to Smile About Day 244. Stargate Atlantis Fan Fiction!

I normally don't read fan fiction.  Just hasn't ever been my thing.  However, yesterday I made an acceptation and clicked on a Facebook link to some Stargate fan fiction.  I thought it couldn't possibly be as good as the series but I was proved wrong!  It is two seasons of book format story telling taking the Stargate Atlantis series further and with a great, new twist!  I won't go into the details but here is the link:

http://aerkijyr.com/rota/

It's a great blend of old and new characters and new twists and turns to the characters and the plot.  For the first time in a long time I was so engrossed in reading that before I knew it half the afternoon and the whole evening had flown by!  I had a hard time putting it down to go to sleep!  Now the struggle is going to be not to pick it up again until I get my chores and home work done!  lol!!  Check it out!!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 243. Hello Taste Buds!

During chemo my taste buds were so erratic and crazy that I stopped trusting them beyond the moment.  The only thing I knew for sure was that any food with any kind of metal that even touched it would taste like I was chewing tinfoil!  Afterwards, they slowly started to even out.  Or so I thought.  I have noticed since being back on my own and cooking for myself that my taste buds working properly are rather hit and miss.  I never know when something I am cooking is going to taste right!  It can make dinner...interesting.

Tonight was a good night though.  I had some steak that I cut up into strips and marinaded then covered with flour and threw into a pan on the stove.  And my random gamble of cooking paid off!!  Lol!  Or at least it tasted that way to me!  Lol!  Then I added a hand full of baby carrots and settled in to watch some Enterprise on Netflix.  :)  It doesn't happen too often but once in a while my cooking comes out ok!   Here's hoping it only gets better!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 242. My Royalty Fix!

I am sure I am not alone in this but I am fascinated with the British royalty and every once in a while I indulge in buying a magazine when they do a spread on the royal family.  For the past week or so I have seen that People put out a special edition on Princess Kate.  Tonight I broke down and bought a copy.  :)

This evening, between reading for class tomorrow and studying for a quiz in the morning, I curled up on my couch, pulled my blanket up to my chin and settled in for a good read!  It was full of photos and the paragraphs introducing the photo stories were short but I still enjoyed seeing how that side of the world lives:).  The cuteness of Prince George and Princess Charlotte and the elegance and kindness of Kate.  She really does look happy!

I don't often buy magazines but when I do, I get excited to read them and enjoy a half an hour of drifting off into another world that is so far outside my life that it is almost like something from a book:).  I got my royalty fix and that always puts me in a good mood:).

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 241. INTERVIEW!!!!!

I applied for an O and M position a few months ago in Virginia.  This morning I received a voicemail asking me if they could schedule an interview over the phone with me later this month!!!  After I finished dancing around the family room in total joy I called back and left a voice mail that I would be happy to have the interview!!

It took everything I had to keep my voice steady and professional but I managed it!  Lol!  I am going to be doing my usual research for this interview but I feel like more is hanging on how this goes because this is a place I would like to be for a while.  Settle down for a minute and have a life!  Close to friends and yet starting over too.  

So in my head I am jumping up and down and doing cartwheels and hoping and praying it goes well!!  But on the outside I will be professional and calm and show the proper amount of interest. :) But for right now...I'm fighting the urge to be up and dancing around the family room again because I got an interview!!!  Lol!!

Monday, April 4, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 240. Snow in April

This isn't exactly something I'm happy about but it is making me smile in disbelief!  Michigan is one of those crazy places where one day it is sunny and 64 and the next snowing and in the 30's!  Nothing entirely surprising given Michigan's crazy weather patterns but something that you can't help but laugh over!  It's crazy enough to make me smile:).  Here's hoping it doesn't last too long!

365 Things to Smile About Day 239. A Family Visit :)

Yesterday I got a chance to visit with two of my closest and dearest friends, Jen and Jeremiah!!  Even though we only live an hour and a half apart we don't get many chances to visit and so I was very happy to be able to stop by yesterday and just sit and visit!  What I love about their family is their kids are always a part of the visit!

It was so great to sit in the family room and be able to talk to them and be surrounded by their kids who would jump into the conversation and add their cute 2 cents to everything!  Lol!  I also loved it when two of their three little girls would just come up and curl up next to me, leaning against me and just chilling!  I often have a very difficult time being around kids because it makes me think about how I can't have any kids of my own and that just sets off a whole slew of sad thoughts and difficult emotions.  But with these kids, I never feel sad!  I just feel my heart over flowing with love!  Especially when one of them leans their head against me and just listens to the conversation going on.

Sending hugs out to Jen and Jeremiah!  Love you guys and love your family!!!  Hoping to see you at least one more time before I have to leave!!!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Days 237 & 238. Good Friends

Yesterday and today have been...difficult. Without going into detail there has just been a lot on my mind. What's great is having a good friend to talk to in times like that. 

Having a friend who won't hold back but at the same time will let you just talk. A friend who you have known long enough they will be honest and know you well enough to call BS when they hear it.  A friend who is there for you no matter what. I love having friends like that. 🤗

Friday, April 1, 2016

365 Things to SmileAbout Day 235 & 236. Just the Little Things.

There are days where nothing exciting and big happens and that's ok. It makes me look at the small things that I enjoy on a regular basis. 

For these two days I'm looking at being able to relax in a quiet apartment. Between homework and packing and errands these days I like to be able to curl up on my new pillows and watch Netflix or snuggle on my couch and geek out on HGTV!  Lol!  Nothing amazing but very enjoyable!!