Life Update?! 2020

Hey guys! I realized a few weeks ago that I haven’t made a blog post since 2019?! Which, as we all are very aware, 2020 has been an emotional rollercoaster and just one thing after another.

February 1st, exactly a week before my 21st birthday, and during a stressful time in the semester, my great grandmother passed away. She had been unresponsive for a week prior to passing and hadn’t spoken in days when, 3 days before she went to be with Jesus, I walked in her room to hold her hand and tell her that I love her and she opened her eyes just a little bit and said “I love you too, Hannah.” As far as I know, I’m the last person she spoke a whole sentence to and that was a beautiful thing. I think she knew that I needed to hear her say it one last time, and honestly I would give anything to hear it again right now.

I haven’t really had time to grieve, even now and we’re in July already. She was so proud of me and I know she’d be proud of me right now. Anyway, Covid-19 came soon after and school was shut down which created the most difficult semester I’ve experienced yet. Then the semester ended, and I started online classes for the summer. Last week, I lost my grandpa on my mom’s side and while I didn’t know him a lot of my life, we became close during the last several years and I miss him a lot. I’ve lost 2 very important people in the last five months and that’s hard.

Then I had the unfortunate luck of stumbling across an email in our work email (that I have access to, I was NOT snooping!) and found out that my coworkers and I may lose our jobs in August (something I’m not even supposed to know, so many of you are hearing this for the first time too). So I just put an application in for a PCT position at the hospital near me… so wish me luck on that!

With the news of my job, I decided to try to make a little extra income on the side, crafting! I started an Etsy shop, where I sell t-shirts (and soon I’ll be selling cups, decals, and stickers as well so stay tuned)! The link below will open a new window and take you to my Etsy page so feel free to go check it out and purchase something fun! Every purchase goes directly towards my textbooks and tuition. I do custom stuff as well if you reach out to me personally! It’s fun trying to turn my love of vinyl goodies into a little side hustle.

backporchvinylco.etsy.com

So we are only in July and life has been crazy. I’m nervous to see what the rest of the year has in store but I couldn’t be more excited about it at the same time. And yes, I do plan on posting more often on here again. Thank you to everyone who supports me and is sharing my posts and purchasing my stuff. Even a share really does a lot of good and gets the word out, and it means the world to me. I am truly a blessed woman and God is still good, y’all. Don’t forget to look for the good in the world because if you’re not looking, you won’t see it… and I promise there is still more light than darkness.

Enjoy this picture of me enjoying my second legal margarita, lol! 😉

August 14

Last summer, my family’s world was flipped upside down. I’m going to give you a little bit of a backstory before I really get into it. I was in shambles, my emotional stability was shaken because I had just went through a very bad breakup. My mom had been taking care of my great grandmama with Alzheimers for over a year. My sister was starting a new job. My dad had been craving ice and losing his strength.

Daddy had been sick for a few months. He was getting tired easily, craving ice like you wouldn’t believe, and losing his strength. He couldn’t even work out in the yard for more than a few minutes at a time. He’s stubborn as a bull and didn’t want to go to the doctor but he had been having some digestive and bathroom problems and we were all a little bit worried about him. Doctors had been telling him for a few years that he had hemorrhoids, but we were certain it was something else.

A little over a week before we were supposed to go to Pigeon Forge for the weekend, Daddy went to the doctor to see a physician assistant that he hadn’t seen before. The PA was concerned when he realized that my dad had been craving ice as that is a sure sign of anemia. He scheduled a colonoscopy for August 14th.

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018 is the day that would change our lives forever. They found two masses. One was a polyp that was creating a blockage in his bowel, that bad boy was causing his bathroom problems. That polyp was the main reason he had gone to the doctor in the first place. Above that polyp, in his colon, was another mass. The doctors had their suspicions about that one. It was darker than a harmless mass would have been. Over the next couple of days, it was confirmed. Daddy had colon cancer.

We had a trip to the mountains planned for that same weekend and we went. We ate good food. We enjoyed each other’s company. We drove around and looked at God’s handiwork in the Great Smoky Mountains. We laughed, we cried, we sang. Mama and Daddy scheduled appointments over the phone. Friends, family, strangers reached out to us to tell us we were in their prayers and that everything would be okay. More than anything, we prayed. We prayed harder that weekend than any of us probably ever had because when your dad has cancer, all you can think to do is pray.

The next couple of days and weeks were a freaking whirlwind. Everything happened so fast. Surgery to remove the cancer, along with 14 inches of his colon, was scheduled for August 31st. We got to the hospital around 4 in the morning, because my PawPaw wanted to meet us there before the surgery so we could pray together. Surgery lasted a few hours, it went well, and he stayed in the hospital until September 4th. We found out that his cancer was stage 3A. A week after that, he was back at work.

October 8th was his first day of chemotherapy. He would have to get 12 rounds of chemo over six months. Every other week he spent Monday at the cancer center, sitting in this room (that he described as the most humbling room you could walk into) with other people sitting around the room getting chemo.

Over the course of the next six months, he made friends in this room with some incredibly strong people. Chemo is poison, people. It destroys your cancerous cells but unfortunately, chemo (like cancer) doesn’t discriminate and it destroys your good cells as well. It attacks the hair cells, mouth cells, the feet and hand cells, among others obviously. Daddy spent the next months struggling to figure out what he could eat and drink because food tasted wrong and drinks were thick, not to mention the cold felt like needles piercing into his lips and tongue. His feet hurt and he could hardly feel anything in his hands. The tips of his fingertips were numb. That man worked the whole time though. He may have called out sick three times… maybe.

Monday, March 11th was his last chemo. He actually still has neuropathy in his hands and feet. It’s manageable but dang, that sucks. April 10th, he had CT scans and on April 12th, we heard the best words we’d heard in months.

No Evidence of Disease. NED. Cancer free. It was as if the biggest weight had been lifted off our shoulders, because even though it was him going through it, we all went through it too. We lived with him, we watched him sick and in pain, we changed dinners up to accommodate. My mother was amazing during the time period. We had people praying for us in different states. The most amazing support system came out of this.

He is healed and our faith already told us that, but the scans confirmed it. I never imagined I would come home and have to hear my daddy tell us that he had cancer, but I knew from the moment it happened that God would bring us through and that he would be healed. The amazing thing is that through this journey, there were more good times than bad ones. It was scary and devestating, but it brought our family together and it created a deep-rooted faith in God that we all thought we had before but by the time it was over, we knew.

Listen. I believe God told my father to go to the doctor. I believe God told that PA that something was terribly wrong. And I believe God placed that polyp there so the cancer could be found, because let me tell you something. We later learned that had Daddy not gone to the doctor, had the cancer not been found when it was, had he waited just six more months… they would have given him two years. Just let that sink in for a moment.

In the Bible, the book of Job tells a story of a man who was tested. He didn’t deserve what he went through, but Job said that even if God did “slay” him, he would still trust Him. Job loved God more than all else in the world and he still faced challenges. Sometimes good people go through bad things.

Job 13:15 says “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face.”

When terrible news is delivered, you can choose to listen to the devil and you can get sad and you can give up. Or you can stand up and look the devil in the face and tell him to get lost because God is right beside you. God is holding your hand and He will prevail. I’m posting this because a year ago, our lives changed. This is my dad’s story but it’s also mine. And my mom’s. And my sister’s. This is our testimony and it needs to be told and heard. Life can change in the blink of an eye and you never know what tomorrow holds, so love hard. Love your enemies, love your friends. Forgive the people who never apologized to you and be thankful for the ones praying for you. God is good, even in dark moments.

Queens

I am incredibly lucky right now to be able to say that I have many friends, some I’ve known for a long time and some I’ve know for a month, but I have people that support and love me. And I feel so so lucky. This post is dedicated to y’all.

I haven’t always been this lucky though. When my ex and I broke up, my family had my back but I had no friends. Absolutely none. So I started reaching out to people and rebuilding my life.

I take that back. My sister, my lifelong best friend, has never left me to suffer alone. She has been there through some of my toughest times, for my entire life. When I was 16 and got stood up for the first time, she made me take her and her boyfriend out since I was dressed and didn’t need to waste a decent outfit. Even tonight, she took the nail polish off my toes for me because I was too lazy to do it. I don’t know what I would do without her and I will always be grateful that God chose us for each other.

Thank goodness also for a coworker of mine who I truly think of as a best friend. She doesn’t judge me and I’m thankful that I can come to work and talk her ears off OR say nothing at all, and she still supports me.

I messaged his ex from before me. We couldn’t stand each other for years but we’re so much alike and our friendship works so well. We found out that he treated us the same. That he talked us out of doing things to improve our lives because he wants the girl he’s with to be below him. We found out that our shared experience with this boy was something that we could bond over for the time being but now we have so much to talk about. She’s smart, bold, and successful. I consider her to be one of my best friends. I’m even going to her wedding, and if that’s not a friendship turn around, I don’t know what is.

Then I reached out to a sweet girl from high school. We went to eat Mexican food for lunch and ended up sitting in that booth, laughing and talking until almost 5 in the afternoon. That lunch was the most I had laughed in months, and I will always be grateful to her for making me realize that I was still in there. She’s funny, nice as all get out, and has such a sweet soul. Another best friend.

I worked with a kid at Subway years ago who had a girlfriend (at the time) that I looked up to so much. She was working as a CNA at the time and working on getting her pre-requisites done. I was thiiiinking about pursuing nursing but little does she know, she is the one who really inspired me to do that. Fast forward to the summer my life felt like it was falling apart, and there she was in my anatomy class! She’s intelligent, hard working, and so caring. We became close again and we still keep in touch because our journeys are so alike in so many ways.

And tomorrow, I’m meeting a friend of mine who I went through CNA school with for dinner. We wiped butts together y’all and now we’re both going to nursing school… she’s almost done actually and she’s going to do so well. She was my clinical partner for a semester, but a friend for life. And I am thankful to still be able to reach out to her and know that she would still be here for me if I needed her.

I have had people who I trusted that broke my heart. I have had best friends who told lies about me, turned our mutual friends away from me. Some of these people have reached out to me since, so we’re rebuilding our friendships and are closer than ever! Sometimes our friends hurt us without the intentions of hurting us, and I get that. Some of these people, though, pretend like I don’t exist and that’s fine too because I am not for everybody.

I am honest, and loud, and boy once I start on something, there’s no stopping me. I’m opinionated without being judgey… but I’ve been shushed for a long time so now I’m out here making my presence known. I have my share of flaws, I’ve done things I’m not proud of but I will own up to it. I am so thankful that I have a few close friends who accept my personality, and love me even more for just being myself. I am so warmed by the people I have around me and for the first time in a long time, I am happy to say that I am 100% okay if you want to judge me by who I surround myself with because I am surrounded by strong, wonderful people.

Real queens fix each other’s crowns.