|Night time swim at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, TN|
|digging for dinosaur bones|
|Livi and I on the Dino Trek. Little dino's hatching in the back.|
|Yes, even at a Greek restaurant Livi orders Pancakes|
|Andrew eating a Pickle at Athens|
While traveling down the Interstate my family usually likes to listen to music and dance....well me and Livi dance.. and my hubby and Andrew just laugh at us. The big Hit on our play list right now is "call me maybe" as I'm sure it's on the top of most teanie bopper's play list right now. It's such a fun song and we love the simple choreographed moves by the Harvard Baseball Team. Anyways while doing my cool moves my husband says, "Alicia this truck driver is gonna think your crazy." My thoughts "Let him think" cause me and my girl was having fun and thats all that mattered, so Yes Mr. Truck Driver there is a dance party in our car haha. I love clean music with a good beat that you can dance to but I also love to listen to music that has a positive message and is uplifting to my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. As we were getting closer to Vandy I was listening to one of my favorite christian songs "God gave me you" and we were praying for no biopsies since I am just now healing up from my last surgery which was literally a huge pain in my butt! As we pulled into Vandy I looked up to the sky and saw this beautiful White cross over top of the Medical Center. I was immediately filled with emotion...I cried and smiled all at the same time. I knew this was a sign from God and from my dear friend Joe.
|Joe Smiling Down on Me At Vandy June 7, 2012|
For those of you that don't know... My friend Joe recently passed away from stage 4 Metastatic Melanoma that spread to his lungs, liver, spleen, bones, and brain. We were friends and co-workers before either of us was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma but it was through the battle that our friendship grew. We kind of balanced each other out. Joe was very aware of the seriousness of the disease and I always thought everything would just be ok. I mean I knew this cancer was serious and I knew people could die from it but I never truly thought me or Joe would die from it. Yes, we both were initially diagnosed with stage 3 (spread to lymph nodes) but I thought it would never come back. It was quite a shock when he called to say the cancer had spread to his lung and he was going to have half of his right lung removed. Immediately I told him about my Dr's at Vandy. Me being MRS. FIX IT, I thought I could just Fix this problem and it would go away. The Dr's at Vandy recommended the same surgery our local Dr's recommended so Joe had half of his lung removed. Since there isn't good treatment options for surgically resected Stage 4 Melanoma Joe was unable to start any type of treatment. Now being medical, we both knew this was scary because the cancer had already spread via lymph nodes to his lung and we were thinking it was just a matter of time before it showed up somewhere else unless he could do some form of treatment. But the Dr. said since the lung tumor was focal and localized there's a possibility it hasn't spread anywhere else...we hoped and we prayed. Now that's another thing.... Joe would share this with you today if he could cause up until he wasn't able to speak he was preaching to those around him. When I first met Joe, he was a self proclaimed atheist. but not the typical atheist or what would come to mind when you think of atheist. Joe was the most kind and giving soul I've ever met. He had this child like pureness to him that is so gentle and so sweet. when Joe was first diagnosed he would ask me "How do you get through this? How do you deal with this? How do you not let this consume you?" I would simply tell him "I pray" "God helps me get through each day." "and by the grace of God it doesn't consume me and some days it does." A few months later Joe began to feel really sick and came in to the ER. After being admitted and having scans He found out the cancer had progressed and was now widespread throughout his body. In the midst of such turmoil, Joe gave his life to the LORD and began reading his bible every day. He enjoyed talking about the scriptures he would read each day and he loved to share what God had spoke to his heart. Even on day's when he was so sick in hospice, he would call to ask how I was feeling after my surgeries (which was so minor in the light of what he was facing). Joe inspired and encouraged us all. He is our Hero. After undergoing several rounds of radiation and a chemo drug that was just FDA approved in August 2011 called Zelboraf the Dr's told Joe there wasn't anything else they could do for him and He was admitted to Hospice. A few days before Joe passed away we had one of the most difficult conversations. He told me and his mom, "If I could die and keep Alicia safe from going through this and dying from this disease I would do it." That's the kind of friend I have in Joe. He's always got my back. Then he went on to say, "after I'm gone just look up to the sky and you'll know I'm smiling down on you." This is a picture of the cross I saw in the sky Just moments after leaving him after he passed away.
|2-13-2012 Joe smiling down on Me|
Friends, I know some may think I'm completely crazy to make much of seeing these crosses in the sky, but it was no coincidence. It's the timing and location of these crosses that mean so much. If I had seen the cross in the sky on any given day I might not of thought much about it but seeing it standing tall over Vandy as I pulled in to the medical center I knew it was a sign from God and I knew it was Joe smiling down on me. As I went into my appointment I had this feeling that everything was going to be ok. This was the first time in the past year since being referred to Vandy that I haven't had to get a biopsy. And even though I have to go back July 5 to see my oncologist (cause he was out of town) to get my scan results. Based on what I could see (I'm a registered ultrasound tech--not one of those crazy patients that thinks I know everything lol) My lymph nodes were still enlarged but they looked stable. It was as if God was telling me Everything is going to be ok. The entire trip was so fun and such a blessing that it almost made me forget the reason we go to Nashville every three months. As christians the cross stands for many things but to me personally it means Endurance, Faith, Hope, and Love. I will continue to pick up my cross, endure the battle, Keeping the Faith, and know that with God there is always Hope and nothing can separate me from His love. Thanks for keeping me in your prayers. Please remember to do your monthly skin exam and take a good look at yourself. Look for moles or new skin lesions that have the A,B,C,D,E's of melanoma. A-Asymmetric, B-Border irregular, C-color variation, D-Diameter larger than pencil eraser, and E-Evolving or changing over time. Early detection is so vital to having a good prognosis and such a simple excision if caught early. It's gonna be a hot one so seek shade if possible, wear a cool hat, and put on some sexy sun glasses. As always Don't forget to share the love and spread the lotion to all those around you this summer Do it in Remembrance of Joe.
|Me and Joe at Hospice|