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The past few days have been a little rougher than I think i thought rough could be, so i haven’t been able to keep y’all post as much Id like to of. I should be back in action by tomorrow though so be ready! No promises

-XO Kara

every day is one day closer to being CANCER FREE
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D + 3

Hey everyone, its me again! Sorry it has taken so long to leave an update, its been a little crazy in 1111.  As most of you know, Im not the kind to complain about all the little things health wise, but after this weekend that has officially change.

“what would you rate your pain and where is it located?”  That has got the be worst question ever.

“10. and it hurts EVERYWHERE”

Since Friday September 23, things have been really rough. I have held a temp higher than 101 since Friday night, sever body aches, and no sleep. They recently just put me on oxygen, which has help but just another thing to be hooked up to. Ugh.  Multiple scans for all sorts of different reason and and grateful they have all came back great!

Here is for the exciting day!  I start chemo today.. Im one  step closer to being  cancer free!.

A Trophy of His Grace

WARNING: this post is not written by Kara – it is Kristin! And also … another warning … this might be a tad long (sorry in advance!).

As we are sitting here with about 30 more minutes to go with Kara’s transplant, it is hard to believe this moment has finally come … in fact, it is hard to believe this moment even had to come …

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It’s Transplant Day!
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Donuts and balloons for the birthday girl!
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About to start the transplant!

I will never forget the day Kara was born.  I was in first grade, and was already so proud to be a big sister to Kadi.  That day to school I wore a pink “I’m A Big Sister” shirt, and I knew that day, I would become a big sister to either a boy or a girl.  My first grade teacher, Mrs. Hilding, came and asked me to come into her office because my parents were on the phone … they were calling to tell me my sibling was here!  I anxiously asked if I had a brother or another sister, dad said “it’s a girl” … I am not going to lie, I was slightly disappointed, I wanted a baby brother so terribly bad … I responded with slight disappointment “… another girl?!”.  If only I knew then, what I know now … at that moment I became the big sister of a fighter, an inspiration to more people than she knows, and one of the most beautiful human-beings – inside and out!

I asked Kara if I could write a blog post because going through this process is one thing for her … but for our family … it is a completely different process, and I wanted to share!

When you read the positivity in Kara’s posts, she is not embellishing her feeling at all … she is really just THAT positive about this whole process.  A few weeks ago, our family was on a high … Kara was reacting perfectly to the treatments, and we got the news that she had a 100% match!  This was the “hill climb” of the rollercoaster … we are going up the mountain and are almost there … until we aren’t.  Mom sent an email to Kadi and I one morning letting us know that, unfortunately, Kara’s 100% match was taken off the registry ………… I started crying. I was so mad, I was confused, Kadi and I had 1,000 questions … but I was also at work.  People saw me crying – I got up and walked to the bathroom so I could continue my sobbing alone.  On my short walk to the restroom, my sadness quickly turned into something completely different – why am I crying, I thought … why am I sitting here feeling sorry for MYSELF? Because that is truly what it was … I was feeling sorry for myself … my sister has cancer, she doesn’t have a 100% match, I am in Houston, she is in Dallas, I am not with my family (I could go on, but you get the picture).  I was SO mad at myself.  How selfish of me.  Why am I feeling sorry for myself, Kara is the one going through all of this … she is fighting this head on and has had nothing but a positive outlook and attitude every day – it is not fair for me to EVER feel sorry for myself, when she is the one doing the actual fighting.

I thought it was important to share the above, because that is true example of the emotions we have all been going through.  Not that what I felt was wrong … I think it is natural for us to go through these emotions – selfish or not.

Speaking of not being selfish … my parents.  I want to give a massive shout out to my parents!  How in the world do they do this?!  Shit … Waylon gets one scrape on his knee and I freak out … he pees in the potty and I celebrate like it’s 1999!  Could I ever do what they are doing?! I think about this ALL the time.

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New stem cells!

My mother … she is a saint.  Several friends and family have been up to visit Kara … the couches you sit on while you are here … did you know my mom “sleeps” on that couch almost every night Kara is up here?  Last week mom got several rounds of shots to prepare her for her harvest.  She got these shots … went to work … and slept at the hospital … the WHOLE TIME! … How in the WORLD do these two do this?! Like, I seriously just do not get it.  My ass would be complaining the whole time, and they just do the damn thing.

My dad … he’s here for the entertainment.  The best way to describe my dad through this process is “go with the flow”.  His comments throughout this whole thing keep everyone laughing, he doesn’t know what each day is going to bring, but he will surprise you with what he does know about Kara’s process.  The smallest details he will remember, whether he is snoring in the corner or not … he will remember.  Having him in the room, and around in general, gives all of us girls a strong peace of mind – it is almost like as long as dad is here everything will be ok. Shoot, even the nurses love him!

Last night was Kara’s last night before she goes neutropenic – I stayed the night with her and we were fully prepared to throw it down in the hospital room.  I went and grabbed us some queso and chicken fajitas for her “last supper” … we played trouble, a few games of yahtzee … we got real wild, y’all.

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The Last Supper!

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This morning as we were slowly waking up, the nurses were doing a little “debriefing”, and I couldn’t help but wonder what Kara was thinking at that moment … was she scared? was she excited? did she just want to get this over with? WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?!?!!! ……… I asked her.  I asked “are you nervous?” … you know what her answer was? “no”. How in the hell is this girl not nervous?  I just do not understand … she isn’t worried about one thing. In fact, she sat there and did her nails and make-up …….. I mean, I guess it is her birthday …

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I went on her morning walk around the floor (half a mile, I might add), and we we’re just shootin’ the bull … and then I got a text message from a childhood friend saying how she was praying for Kara and our family – we were talking about how incredibly nice that was and then Kara said something I will never forget.  She said: that is the thing, all you hear about in this world is all the bad, there are SO many good people in this world and so many acts of kindness and you don’t hear enough about them … and she is right.

This whole experience has been such an eye opener, not only for our family, but for our friends, and friends of friends, and people we don’t even know!  I tried telling Kara how much of an inspiration she is, but I honestly don’t know if she truly knows.

Today the Chaplain came in and said a prayer for Kara before her transplant … he said something I thought was the PERFECT way to describe Kara … he called her a trophy of His  grace.  That is exactly what Kara is.

Ok, is anyone still reading this novel?  I swear I am almost done … Kara is done with her transplant!!! Happy Birthday to her!  Her new horoscope today is perfect: Take advantage of energy and confidence to lead community causes near to our heart this year.  Take on new work and fitness practices.  By next spring, new directions develop with a group effort and your health.

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She’s done!!!

Keep on keepin’ on, Kara! You were put here to do great things, and I’ve said it before, but I will say it again … this world is a better place because you are in it!

Love you more than yesterday and less than tomorrow – Kristin

One step closer!

So I officially made it through my last day of radiation today! What an experience that was.. I got this special little certificate just like you do in kindergarten, except this one WILL be framed.

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Today was collection day for my mom. She did AMAZING but I wouldn’t expect anything different from her. 8,043 days ago she gave birth to me. Tomorrow she will give me the chance to live a life cancer free and there are absolutely  no words to describe the feeling. My momma  is my hero.

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My special visitor today

Y’all, this picture makes me SO happy. I woke up after radiation to the best surprise ever. They were able to collect 6,900,000 stem cells from my mom (plenty for transplant) AND somehow sneak my baby girl Lex, into the hospital to see me before my big day. Basically my doctors rock..my mom rocks.. and so does my pup.  Someone pulled a lot of strings to make this happen!

Anyways, September 23, 2016 is officially the big day. Transplant Day. My new Birthday. Transplant will start around 10:30 and last between 2-7 hours.

Tomorrow is a fresh start for me. A new beginning.  A life to be lived full of happiness, love, and joy. God has an amazing plan for me, and I will continue to lean on him and praise him for all he has given me. Remembering all the friends and family who have helped me get to this day, you’re all a blessing and will continue to be. I still have a long road ahead but its only up from here!

Tomorrow is a celebration of life in room 1111, because God is so good!

-XO Kara

Overcomer

So every morning I have to set goals for myself.. most days they are pretty much the same such as walk more than the day before or rest better. Since I’ve been having a lot of trouble with this radiation thing I made it a goal to try to have a better experience with it… just not happening though. Ugh! It’s the craziest thing and I will admit I truly think I know what its like to be a crazy lady.. Being a crazy lady is NOT fun either lol. Good thing is, I’m more than halfway done with the treatments and the doctors have been doing everything to try to make the experience better.

Radiation Shenanigans

Yep that is me, not a little boy in my whatever you want to call it “Box from hell”. A grown woman with a swollen face just trying to smile off the crazy.

After I shared my update yesterday a family member shared a song with me that she happened to be listening to while reading my blog.  Overcomer by Mandisa. I AM an overcomer and I will stay in the fight ’till the final round. I have overcome many obstacles this past year, and I’m not stoping now. I am going to come back better than ever, just wait and see! 🙂

So for the exciting news of the day. My momma finished her final shots in preparation for the stem cell collection tomorrow. Please keep this amazing woman in your prayers.  If all goes well, transplant day will be Friday possibly Saturday! Wahoo!

-XO Kara

1 Peter 5:7

I made it through my first day of radiation today.. I don’t really know exactly how to explain the way I feel about it but this verse has been on my mind all day and that’s what has helped me pull through.

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“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” 1 Peter 5:7

Today was about not letting my fears and anxiety take over as I laid on that bed and received radiation. Deep breaths to remind me that I am stronger than where my mind would wonder too.  The only thing in that room to comfort me was knowing that He continues to give me the strength I need because He cares. Every day is a new day but every day isn’t planned to be easier. It’s a new day to grow and become stronger without fear and worry of the future.

I have three more days of radiation, two times a day.  I got this!

Hopefully tomorrows experience will go a little smoother?  Today I tried two different medicines and I still thought I was going to have to escape this crazy thing they put me in if I had to lay there much longer. The box they built around my little cocoon kept collapsing.. which would make me jump (obviously?)  because I’m trying to be “as relaxed as possible”.. So then they would have to reposition everything.. I was loosing it. I felt like a little kid on a road trip every time I asked “How much longer?!” But it was necessary. I made it through and that’s what matters!

-XO Kara

Warrior Wall

Over the past couple of months family and friends have been decorating 4×4 canvuses for me to hang in my hospital room. Today we were able to get some of them hung up! It was so fun go through them and see all the love and creativity y’all have put into these. They are all so unique, that is what I love about them.  This whole journey truly wouldn’t be nearly as easy without my support system being so amazing.  God has blessed with the best and I mean that with all my heart.  I thank him every day for the people who never stop encouraging me and believing in me because I wouldn’t be where I am today without y’all!

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I still have plenty of wall space if you would like to add something to my ‘Warrior Wall’, I would love it.  The best way to get it to me would probably be to ship it (the address is on my contact page).

The rest of the evening I will be cheering on my Razorbacks! Lets get another Win! #WPS

Overall, I felt great today. Second day of chemo in the books!  Had a rough night last night with pain, but finally was able to get it under control after a few hours. I think the chemo hits me harder at night for whatever reason, not sure.  Oh, and for all of you girls who are worried about you hair and weight every day … Well I still have no hair and managed to gain 10 pounds in 1 day? #GOALS. Thankfully they took me off a lot of my fluids today so this will change hopefully.. Hopefully I said lol. I only pee three times an hour and its still not enough apparently.

Tomorrow my mom starts prepping for the transplant. She will be getting shots daily for 5 days to help her bone marrow engraft for collection day Thursday! Please keep her in your prayers the next few days.

-XO Kara

 

Day One in the Books

Survived day one! You know it wouldn’t be true if i said everything went perfectly.. That statement does’t exist in my life, but it keeps everything “fun and interesting”, I guess.

Yesterday was just my central line placement. For those of you that don’t know, its a catheter inserted in a neck artery that ends close to my heart used to give me medicine, blood products, and chemotherapy.  For this I was put under slight sedation (aka nothing, and really I mean everything they could give me but felt like absolutely nothing). They began by giving me and IV. Everything was going great, they got me back to the procedure room and started prepping me for everything. I have to say, the music in the room was on point. I felt like I was back on Dickson for a second.. just for a second lol. They hook me up to fluids and oxygen as we wait for the Doctor to come in and start. Right when he walks in they realize my IV stopped working… OF COURSE. But whatever, I wasn’t a big deal they just moved it to another spot and I was good to go.

“Alright Kara, this is your sleepy medicine. It works really fast, you should be asleep soon.”- they said.

A minute goes by and I’m peeking out of the little tinny hole they left for my face and I’m making eye contact with this nurse. I can tell he’s watching out of the corner of his eye expecting me to be nocked out but I’m feeling completely normal still. So he gives me more. Still nothing. So he gives me more as I’m STILL making eye contact with him… At this point they had to just start, I had received the max amount and it just wasn’t doing the trick.  It was a very uncomfortable procedure but definitely could of been worse for being awake the whole time.

I can still hear them saying, “alright we are done, just cleaning you up.” It was the best thing i’d heard all day. The nurse confirmed as he wheeled me out that I need to request general anesthesia for any procedure from now on because the sedation simply just doesn’t work for me.

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Y’all, all I can say is I just like to keep it interesting I guess. After all that craziness I finally got settled in my room, 1111 (make a wish?) I was in a quite a bit of pain from the procedure but was able to get that under control and some sleep! Wahoo.

Received my first round of chemo today and everything went well! A little bit of bone/body aches but nothing to bad. Ready for the second round tomorrow. I keep reminding myself, everyday is a day closer to being cancer free.. I will get there!

-XO Kara

Today is the day!

You know what…? The Lord has prepared me far beyond I ever thought was possible for today. He has given me strength, courage, patience, love, comfort, and the most amazing support system I could ever imagine to go through this journey with me! He has blessed me with the best donor a girl could ask for, my Momma and I can’t wait to rock this experience together.

As for me, I truly felt like this day would never come… But it is here and I am so excited and ready! Everyone said “it will come sooner than you think”.. blah. blah. blah. No. It actually took so long I even had time to turn 22! (Ugh so old.) So yeah, I had the most amazing birthday this week. It was full of so much love and surprises , I couldn’t of asked for more. Except there is more. Today is admission day! Wahoo.

These next few weeks are going to be full of challenging battles but nothing I can’t defeat with love and prayer. I pray our long nights are up laughing together, tears are full of joy, smiles are bright from all the good news, hugs are tight full of love, and our hearts never give up through this journey. 

Ready to make this last round better than ever! I plan to post updates as much as possible. If it’s been a few days, this girl is probably just trying to get her beauty sleep in (Dr has prepared me for a lot of sleep but I don’t ever follow the “norm” so maybe not). We will see! 

Thank you for all the prayers as I begin this journey. They continue to be answered daily and I appreciate them more than you know.

-Xo Kara

Ps. For those of you that have asked, I will update my Contact Page later today when I know my room number! 

Gods Perfect Timing

I have struggled more than anyone will ever know with trusting Gods timing.  I have been just so ready to get this whole transplant thing over with, the whole waiting game has killed me. Patience is something i’m working on, and will continue to because its never something I have considered myself great at.

When I found out everything was getting pushed back because of the donor issues, nothing made since to me. I was disappointed, frustrated, and just so confused on why I had to wait any longer.  Well God always pulls through for me in just the right timing,  He always reminds me that the “why” doesn’t matter… just ALWAYS trust his way is the best way and it ALWAYS will be.  This past weekend was a perfect reminder for me.

I was able to attend the Razorback football game this past weekend because of my transplant date change! WOO PIG (With my original transplant date, I would not of been able to attend any football games this season and that was such a bummer for me. I live for those games!). Not only was it the best game to be at, I got to meet someone very special afterwords.  After our big win, I was introduced to the wife of one of the coaches. She was a survivor of the SAME THING I HAVE! AML. What are the chances?! Y’all this cancer is most common in older men… I had so much comfort seeing how young and beautiful she was. I felt like we immediately connected (we were both one of those one and a million chances girls lol).  We got to talk a little and exchange numbers and have kept in touch since.  I can tell you I walked away with the biggest smile on my face because everything made so much since to me.

God wanted her to be apart of my life before I began my journey this week. This has been one of the biggest blessings for me. God is perfect and always trust is perfect timing!

ADMISSION IS THIS THURSDAY WAHOO!

-XO Kara