Wednesday, September 24, 2014

10th Annual Mesothelioma Awareness Day~September 26, 2014

Cancer. It's a word that you probably hear every single day. I know I do. Whether it be on social media, the news, or in your own family, chances are you hear it. Chances are you know someone who is battling cancer, survived cancer, or sadly, lost their battle with cancer.

Cancer is not something I had ever really thought much about, until the age of 15 when my sisters best friend was diagnosed with it, and sadly lost her battle only 9 short months later, at the age of 17, mere weeks before graduating from high school. Cancer knows no ages, it knows no ethnicity,it  knows no social class. It doesn't care if you're a child, a mother, or a father. There are so many different types of cancers out there, it's pretty overwhelming. Each one, is equally as terrifying, but some have greater odds to beat it than others. Some get substantially more research than others. I understand why the more common diseases get more search, it only makes sense BUT I pray that one day ALL cancers will be researched equally and cured. No one should EVER have to lose their battle with cancer in this day and age when we have so much medical knowledge and advancements at our finger tips.

I'm sure you've heard of the common cancers like leukemia, breast cancer, and colon cancer, but chances are you may not know about the less talked about ones, like mesothelioma. To be honest, I didn't know much about mesothelioma...other than commercials I've seen on TV for law offices representing people exposed to asbestos, which causes this form of cancer, and an episode of NY Med where a patient was diagnosed with mesothelioma, but that was the extent of my knowledge. Until I was approached by Heather Von St. James, an 8 year mesothelioma survivor, inquiring if I would write up a blog post, to bring awareness to this relatively unknown cancer. Social media (blogging, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) can be SO negative sometimes, that I jumped at the opportunity to post something that could put a face, a name, a family to something you might not otherwise know about!

First things first...what is a asbestos? It is a natural occurring mineral that was often used as a building material in homes, schools and commercial/industrial buildings. From the 1930's to the 1970's asbestos was at its highest production and usage. In 1989 the EPA banned most asbestos containing products but this decision was overturned in 1991 leaving only a few asbestos containing products banned. What!?!??! How is something that is known to cause 100,000 cases per year (in America) of asbestos related diseases still allowed to be used!??!? Awareness is key friends! If you don't know about it, you can't be angry about it, and you can't fight for it to be stopped! For more alarming facts about asbestos click here.

As a mother, there are two things I fear in this world the most....losing one of my children and leaving this Earth, leaving my children motherless. I just truly can't imagine (and I pray everyday I'll never know either of those feelings!) But for Heather, she had just given birth to her daughter Lily when she was diagnosed, and given 15 months to live! 15 months...think about that for just one second...you have a newborn baby at home, a husband, family, and you are told that in less than 2 years, you won't be here. It's unimaginable. But that's what Heather was told. She knew, as a mother and a wife, that prognosis wasn't acceptable so she took drastic measures to improve her odds of living. She had life safe surgery that included the removal of her entire left lung, a rib and half of a diaphragm. With her 2nd chance at life, she has chosen to bring awareness to this cancer!

Displaying Heather And Family.pngHeather and her beautiful family!


Mesothelioma is still considered a rare cancer in America as "only" 2500 to 3000 cases are diagnosed each year, but behind that "rare" number is a mother, wife, father, husband, grandfather, grandmother, well, you get the picture! Cases are expected to increase as incidences of exposure to asbestos become more known. We must spread awareness for this horrible disease!

Although there is no known cure for this disease, there are treatment options available but awareness and detection are key!
href
="http://www.mesothelioma.com/mesothelioma/prognosis/" target="_blank" title="Mesothelioma Prognosis By Stage" style="background: url('http://www.mesothelioma.com/images/mesothelioma-prognosis.jpg') top left no-repeat; display: block; height: 410px; text-indent: -9000px; width: 508px;">Mesothelioma Prognosis By Stage , Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px; margin: 4px 4px 12px 4px;">Image courtesy of the href="http://www.mesothelioma.com/">Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.

Take time to become informed. Take time to read about Heathers journey. Don't sit back and think, "Oh well, this will never happen to me!" because friends, we have no idea what today holds, and knowledge is key!

Monday, September 15, 2014

365 days old!

**I began to write this post on 9/9, edited/forgot to post it on 9/10 and then couldn't bring myself to post it on 9/11/14 because to me, 9/11 is sacred, and I choose not to do anything (social media related) that doesn't honor the lives of those lost.**

Well, I certainly remember this day like it was yesterday because that's certainly what it feels like! How did an entire year pass already!?!??! Maci Louise turns ONE today! It really is surreal, but I love this age (minus the getting into EVERYTHING) and I can't wait to see my baby girl turn into a toddler (but for the record...I need that to happen VERY slowly! She's my last one! ;))

Maci Lou,
  It's crazy to think that 365 days ago I was up at the crack of dawn, preparing for your scheduled c-section. We drove your brother and sister to Nonna and Poppys (I bawled my eyes out! SHOCKER! ;)) and headed to the hospital. At 9:16am you entered the world, screaming your head off, and goodness knows you didn't stop screaming your head off for almost SEVEN MONTHS! You had colic, and that was a tough, tough time, but boy oh boy did I love you no matter what! Your first two weeks were perfect! You slept in 4 hour stretches, in your bassinet, and it was absolutely insane to me. Then, I'll never forget it...one day we went to visit some of my Mommy's co-workers, and as I put you in your carrier, you started crying and didn't stop (or so it seemed! ;)) until you were almost seven months old! :) Girlfriend, you threw Mommy for a loop, but I think that's what made us REALLY close! I had to "wear" you most of the time, so we spent A LOT of time together. Not to mention I worked from home for 4 weeks (after my maternity leave was up), so you got 4 weeks of extra lovings, and we are still pretty inseparable to this day! :) You are cute, sweet, sassy, hilarious, wild, loud and absolutely everything I hoped you'd be! I can't wait to see what this life has in store for you sweet girl! I love you with all of my heart and soul!


What are you up to these days...

*Developmental milestones: as of the week of 8/23/14...you are a pro at going up the steps (goodness you LOVE to climb steps!), when I say, "Maci rest" you lay your head down wherever you are, and you have taken a few consecutive steps, several different times. On 8/26/14 you had your last bottle of formula. On 9/6/14 you started throwing both arms up in the air when Mommy says, "Touchdown!"On 9/9/14 you had your last bottle (of milk). You are completely off the bottle as of your 1st birthday! :)

*Your stats: You don't have your year check-up until October 7th, but I'd guess you're around 25 lbs, and still tall as ever! I'm sure you'll continue to remain off the charts until you start walking, then you'll slim down some. As for height, I'd venture to say you'll always be off the charts!

*You are in size 5 diapers

*You wear mostly 18 month clothing, but sometimes 24 months! :)

*You continue to be SUCH a good girl at Linnie's. Everyday when I pick you up Linnie always brags about how good you are! :)

*You love Manuel, Mia and Daddy. You do this super adorable "shy" face when you're around new people. You actually even do it when you're around people you know, and you just feel shy!

*You're a momma's girl, through and through! 

*You're officially in your crib as of the night of September 3rd! Mommy is holding strong and you are doing well. It's not the easiest thing to do with you teething, and I've ALMOST given in a few times, but thankfully I changed my mind. There is NOTHING wrong with co-sleeping and I love every single second of doing, but it was time...we made it almost a year my baby girl! :)

*You do a lot of babbling...still clearly know that Mommy is "Mama" and Daddy is "Dada". Linnie and I both swore you said, "Ninny" (meaning Linnie) yesterday, but we'll have to see if that keeps up to call it an actual "word" :)

And for good measure:

As with the 11 previous months, on Maci's birthday I did a monthly photo shoot. I have AWESOME pics on my camera but this is Maci in her "party outfit" (from my Iphone). I haven't posted this pic on FB yet (and I won't until after her party on Saturday) but I felt no harm in sharing it here because no one I know (in real life) reads this (at least not that I'm aware of! :))

 I know, I'll give you a second to breathe...you can't handle all the cuteness! ;)
You only turn one, once! ;) 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Motherhood

A week ago today, Mia started preschool and as I expressed in my last post, it was a hard, hard, HARD ;) day for both of us. The days after it, at drop off, were "easier" but still hard. There was still tears, there was still "Mommy, please take me to the bathroom before you leave" requests and I was really starting to wonder if she'd ever be okay with this new place. (I for one HATE change, so I couldn't blame her if she wanted to stay at Linnie's until she moved out of her house! ;)) I know she was fine once I left, but drop off was breaking my heart. Today was a pivotal moment for us, I wanted to post it here because I do look at this blog as a journal/baby book (although I do fill out their baby books as well! :)) Here is my FB status (excuse the Ray Rice reference, clearly, living in Maryland, that's ALL that in my newsfeed these days!!!) :

"I was hesitant to post this for fear of being annoying and then I realized it can't possibly be more annoying than all the Ray Rice posts! I am sooooo proud of Mia...today there were NO tears, NO requests to take her to the bathroom, etc. The director met us at the door, I signed her in and she walked away WITH A SMILE! I said, "Bye Mia! Mommy is SO proud of you!" She turned back with a huge smile and we (Maci and I) walked out! A week ago she walked in those doors holding her Daddy's hand and I caught (accidentally) the saddest picture of her, as tears streamed down her face. Today, that smile made everything worth it"

The level I love my children is beyond words, but with the daily living of life ;), that sometimes gets forgotten or pushed aside because of a meltdown, lack of sleep, misbehavior, work, school, lack of patience, life in general, and I read this line on another blog a few moments ago, and it sums it up perfectly...


"My love for my children is profound, but because we spend our days living, working, surviving we don't stop much to feel how deep we love."-CJane Kendrick

I love my children SO deeply! I hope they always know that and feel that!

I can only pray that Mia continues to enjoy preschool. I pray that Manuel continues to "enjoy" 3rd grade (he's 8.5, unless it's gym, he's not ENJOYING it, but he does well! ;)) I pray that my baby, who turns one TOMORROW continues to enjoy life and being a baby! :))

And for good measure:

 Manuel's after his 1st soccer game (the real feel temp was 105 degrees that day and those boys still played their hearts out and won! ;))
Mia thoroughly enjoying the 105 degree soccer game! ;)

This girl keeps me on my toes!
But is SO darn adorable, it makes up for it! ;)
My loves on our 1st "Purple Friday" of the NFL season

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

1st Day of Pre-K

My, my, my...so many milestones in the last few weeks and in the coming weeks for the Gomez family! It's a bag full of mixed emotions! :) I don't do well with change, and my babies growing up, but I also know how blessed I am to have healthy children that are well enough to experience all of these things, so it's just a lot for this Momma heart to take in! :) And let's be honest, I can't help myself so there is A LOT of tears! ;)

On August 27, Manuel started 3rd grade (worst mother, for not doing a post about it, but clearly I'm not a regular blogger! :)) He got on the bus without issue or incident (I cried, even though this is the FOURTH time I've done this with him! ;)) and so far, his year is going well!

My sweet Mia Grace started preschool yesterday, September 2nd. She attends a preschool/daycare at a church by our house. Our neighbors daughter goes there and it came highly recommended. The hardest part of it all, was Mia saying "see ya later" to Linnie last Friday. Linnie has been Mia's primary care taker (besides Manny and I) since she was EIGHT WEEKS OLD! That's 4.5 years! It was a VERY hard goodbye for all of us (probably the worst for Linnie and I! ;)) So Mia and I did great all weekend. No tears shed in anticipation of her starting school UNTIL it was time for Manny to walk her in (I knew he had to do it. I knew I was going to lose it, and I didn't want to lose it in front of her.) As I got her out of the car, and Manny grabbed her hand to walk her in, she started bawling! :( (I got in the car, and did as well. Maci probably thinks I'm crazy! ;)) After about 10 minutes Manny walked out and said that she was "okay". By the time he called at noon to check on her, she was fine. Once they moved from the group setting (with all the kids) to her pre-K classroom, she was okay. I was SUPER excited to pick her up at the end of the day and see how she was...she was fine. She survived! We survived! ;)

Today was day #2, and she teared up, but no major breakdown! I hope each day gets easier, because this Mommas heart can't handle tears (from either of us! :)) everyday!

Here are a few (cell phone) pics from her 1st day. I overslept (UGH!!) so we were rushed, but at least I got some good shots!

And for good measure...

 Getting ready to walk Manuel up to the bus stop before her big day! :)
 Looking up at Daddy (this wasn't staged! and I LOVE this shot!)
When I picked her up at the end of the day...crazy hair and all, she's still SO beautiful! :)