The Chirp Wheel

I saw an ad for a chirp wheel on my Facebook today and I had to chuckle a bit…

Then I realized, I hadn’t updated my blog post in sometime.

In fact, I completely forgot to update you all on my new birthday party! We decided that going forward, on the weekend of my one year cancer anniversary, we would have a “pink party”. Everyone was requested to come decked out in pink, we had all pink foods, only pink floatation devices in the pool, and.. the most important piece…a margarita machine.

The party turned out FABULOUS! We had so much fun, and a group of us even spent so much time in our hot tub that our swimsuits bled dye into the water… which colored it PINK! And then subsequently had to be drained the next day because I wasn’t sure if maybe I had just spilled a marg in there a few too many times. 🙄

1st annual all pink pool party!

July 26th will forever be a terrible day in my book. 2021 came the diagnosis with cancer and 2022, my sweet Grandma passed away. How ironic that both terrible things happened on the same day. Note to self: if July 26th falls on a Saturday, the Pink Party will need to be rescheduled for a new date.

At the end of August, I finished my very last Keytruda treatment! It was a bittersweet moment leaving the infusion room knowing that these nurses that I saw so incredibly often and who took such great care of me, I wasn’t going to see on a regular basis anymore. Even though that part was sad, I was incredibly happy to say adios to them in hopes that I would only be back to say a quick hello, or deliver Christmas presents in the future.

It was a very odd feeling when the Oncologist said… “Okay, see you in 3 months!” 3 months!? I’ve practically lived with you guys for the last year and you guys are kicking me out for 3 months!? What do I do now!? Do I still call you guys if I get a fever? It felt so unnatural. I was instructed to call if anything “new changed”.

Flash forward a couple weeks into my 3 month hiatus… and I decided to go get a massage. The masseuse had some very heavy hands. It actually really hurt! Upon massaging my back, I realized that her pressure hurt really REALLY bad. According to the masseuse that was “not normal.”

Of course my mind started racing and I thought.. maybe it would be a good idea to get a chirp wheel to help stretch my back muscles to see if that helped before I took any additional steps towards medical testing. So.. the chirp wheel was purchased.

Mind you.. I had zero back pain when some lady wasn’t putting all of her body weight on my back.

I began using the chirp wheel every day for a week or so… and then my back started to hurt all the time. Sitting, standing, with or without heat, with or without exercise and of course, I’m now stressed.

I called my oncologist and told them my symptoms and they sent me to get a CT scan of my lower spine and pelvis.

The CT scan was pretty minimal, except the contrast makes you feel like you are peeing your wants. A few days later, the test results came back all clear.

So.. lesson learned here.. 1. Evaluate what in the world you are doing to your body before you freak out. And 2. If anyone wants a chirp wheel, I have a set for sale that are elves on the shelves are currently using.

I made it to my first 3 months checkup! I got to make fun of my chirp wheel situation with my oncologist and chit chat with my favorite nurse! I see them again in 3 more months pending I don’t do anything else radically dumb to myself.

Since that appointment, we’ve had Halloween, Thanksgiving, and.. our done with cancer treatment/early celebration of our 10 year wedding anniversary in Saint Lucia.

Saint Lucia, was a dream! We stayed at an all-inclusive called Serenity at Coconut Bay that came with a private villa and a butler! JR and I didn’t know what to do with ourselves!

I had this crazy and radical idea that we should rent a car, drive on the opposite side of the road, on the right hand of a vehicle, through twisty and turning roads to go explore Saint Lucia but I think that gave JR a lot of anxiety… and even more anxiety when I offered to drive. We ended up opting to just stay on the resort because the place was incredibly magical by itself and we really didn’t have a reason to leave!

We spent our entire time reading, soaking in the sun, and slurping down frozen cocktails. We spent one day in a beach cabana and even got to go snorkeling right off the beach! The water was warm and clear and the the weather was perfect the entire time! The food at the resort was also amazing even though they only had one restaurant! The restaurant was 5-star! They even served you sorbet in between courses to “cleanse your palate”.

All in all- vacation was wonderful! We got back and celebrated Beau boy’s second birthday and now are resting up to spend a few days down south with friends and family between Christmas and New Years!

He’s Still in Your Boat

I’ve thought for awhile about sharing this story and every time I begin writing and get it wrapped up, I for some reason don’t have the courage to share. I don’t know if I was just concerned with people reading this and just thinking I’m just over here trying to be a bible thumper or maybe I just wasn’t ready to share some of the most vulnerable pieces of my journey.. but… first, I don’t care if you think I am being a bible thumper because.. hey, this girl loves Jesus but also I feel like this world has been full of so much negativity and so many people are going through hardships whether it be personal health issues, deaths in the family, health issues of someone they love, financial struggles, friendship struggles, pregnancy struggles or something different that I feel that this lesson learned through cancer is worth it to someone somewhere.

When I was laying in the exam room getting the breast biopsy that would eventually change my life forever, the Doctor and I struck up a conversation. I remember asking if he saw many young people getting biopsies and him saying that while having young patients for breast biopsies wasn’t the norm, it wasn’t uncommon. He made a comment that he sees kind people, young and full of life walk through the doors, and he hopes that their biopsies come out to be benign. When the results came back that it was cancer, the phrase I heard time and time again was something like “it’s not fair that you have to go through this” or “we don’t know why god lets bad things happen to good people”. The other day I was outside speaking with a neighbor who also had breast cancer and we were having this conversation about why god lets bad things happen to good people and we both said the same thing… why NOT me?

I have learned an incredible amount going through cancer. I’ve learned so much about myself, about friendships, about family, and more importantly, I’ve learned so much about my faith. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that god does not promise to keep bad things from happening to you. What he does promise though, is that while you are going through turbulent times, you are not walking it alone.

That certainly is an interesting concept and I would be lying if I said that I didn’t feel completely lost and alone throughout MANY times in my cancer journey and really just everyday life. There were days during this cancer journey where I felt like I could clearly feel god’s presence and other times where I was wondering how much longer god was going to let the dumpster fire burn.

During the winter, I was in the thick of my chemotherapy treatments and my body was on the struggle bus when it came to producing white blood cells. Of the entire cancer journey, this was hands down the scariest time. My white blood cells would be tanked and my risk of infection was incredibly high. Every time this happened, which unfortunately seemed like a lot, my family and I went into deep hibernation mode. We were extra diligent about cleaning and keeping me away from my petri-dish kiddos if they had even one inkling of the slightest cold…. and just like every other family with children during this crazy time, my children got hit HARD with what seemed like every single sickness introduced to mankind.

There was one month there that I had zero infection fighting abilities and one kid came home with the stomach bug. The puke was happening, the poo was happening, and we were all a hot mess. As soon as one kid got better the other got it. Then some little cold viruses came with some ear infections and then the dreaded covid hit the house. I don’t remember exactly the sequence of events but I can clearly remember a day where it felt like we had been living in a constant state of cleaning vomit laundry and wearing masks in the house and then one of the kids came down with yet another illness. (Might have even been the positive covid test.) I can vividly remember both kids crying as they were both sick and looking over and seeing JR taking a moment to gather himself hunched over the kitchen sink, head in his hands seemingly crying or getting ready to scream. At that point, I remember thinking “Ayo Jesus, are you just going to let us all suffer over here or do you think that maybe we’ve had enough bullshit to deal with by now?” If there was ever a time where I felt completely lost, deserted, and alone by God.. it was this exact moment. Now, things eventually turned around. My white blood cells eventually came back up. The kids inevitably stopped puking and the Rams even won the Super Bowl… big deal at the Lauer household.

Not long after this hot mess express of a month, my auntie sent me a link to a sermon she had heard at church one Sunday and told me it made her think of me. It quite frankly was one of the best sermons I have ever heard. To this day, I have listened to it over and over again… and every single time I hear it, I think back to this day where I saw JR in complete defeat leaning over the kitchen sink.

The main point of this sermon, is that god is always in your boat. (Second lesson learned from cancer.) When life’s waves are throwing you every which way God is still in your boat. He may be silently basking in the sunlight in the bow of the boat while you’re trying to navigate the rough waves (kind of like how I used to do when we had our boat.. me soaking up sun in the bow of the boat, JR strategically navigating the waves), but he is still there, by your side, helping you navigate and figure out how to extinguish the dumpster fire you’re going through.

Looking back on the situation now… I can see how God was working in our lives even though it felt like he was completely absent. He was driving our family closer together. He was teaching us about faith and about patience. He was teaching us to be thankful and to appreciate one another and he was silently helping us get through the rough waves to the calmness on the other side.

With so many terrible things happening in this world and so many people questioning why god would let such bad things happen, I felt compelled to share. Below is the link the sermon that I have continued to listen to when I feel like god is going silent on me. Not only is the message great, the preacher is really hilarious.

Prayer Requests:

  1. Everyone knows someone that is going through a difficult time right now, pray that they know that they are not alone.

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