Drum Roll, Please…

Well, hello there!  Can you even believe that October is upon us?  Like, wasn’t it just spring a few days ago?  Before we know it, we’ll be digging out shovels and mittens!

Things are great here!  Busy, between work, soccer, projects, and settling back into “normal”.  Breast Cancer is in the rear view mirror and up ahead are some exciting things.

Like what, you ask?  Well, let me introduce you to my new “project”:  

 
Eeek!!  You may already know that I’ve had an embroidery machine for a while and I’ve spent the last year or so learning, practicing, researching, and coming up with ideas.  I contemplated setting up a business a few months ago but until this week, I didn’t really know if I could handle a “business” of my own.

And then late last week a friend asked if I would be able to embroider some blankets for her. (Thank you, Christy!)  And by Monday I felt like I needed to get the ball rolling.  And, boy, did the ball start rolling!  On Tuesday I completed and filed paperwork (thank you, Mary!), Wednesday I got my business license and by Thursday I had a business bank account and was, literally, in business!  You know, because we aren’t busy enough already! 

As I’ve been sitting back and watching some of the embroidery groups I follow, I’ve learned as much about what to do as I have about what not to do when it comes to having a small embroidery business.

I have written out a business plan/rules of the road of sorts; I believe that having a set of guidelines will keep me from becoming overwhelmed and resentful of something that I really do enjoy.  So here is what I’ve come up with so far:

  1. My embroidery business is not my full time job.  I have been with my employer for 20-1/2 years and have no intention of leaving my full time job (willingly anyway!).  Soccer season will wrap up in the next few weeks, which will free up some time. But this business will be less than part time for the near future.  
  2. I feel comfortable embroidering some items while less so with other items. For example, I feel confident in hand towels, placemats, kitchen towels, garden flags, blankets, bags, napkins, and headbands.  This is because I’ve practiced, made mistakes, and learned from my mistakes over the last year.  I haven’t embroidered a lot on clothing but I will be practicing on different types of fabric in the near future.  Bear with me as I work through this initial set up. 
  3. Non-negotiable:  I will not and cannot sell any licensed design.  While I do have some licensed designs, they are for my own personal use; I don’t want to run the risk of being sued for copywrite infringement.
  4. Schedules & Deadlines:  I have a calendar above my embroidery machine with my planned deadlines for the rest of 2015.  If you know me at all, you know I love a good schedule!  That being said, I expect that the last day to complete orders in 2015 will be 12/6/15.  Last December I couldn’t believe the number of people who were posting that they were embroidering the last of their customer orders ON Christmas Eve.  I am taking some personal time off of work between now and the end of the year and I plan to put together some ready-to-go items that would make cute Christmas gifts. 
  5. I will be ordering materials in the next few days, so if there is something you’re interested in, give me a shout.  I’m estimating turn around times to be 7-14 days (7-10 days if I have the blank item on hand 10-14 if I have to order).

I’ve set up a Facebook page and will be updating it over the next few days.  There isn’t a lot posted yet, but I invite you to check it out and like it:  www.facebook.com/SouthpawEmbroidery

Here goes nothing!  

Jennifer/Southpaw Embroidery

Deportation

Well, guys, I haven’t told many people about this, but I am being deported today. Yes, it’s true!

 

Ok, so maybe not the “deportation” you might be thinking of, but my port is coming out today at 3:30!

🙏🏼 Can we all just stop for a minute and say “Amen” and “Praise God”?
I’m so grateful and my healing is all thanks to God.  I went through it, but He got me/us through it.

The port was the first step, inserted on 8/13/2014.  And today, 8/26/2015, is the last step of my treatment plan.

My plastic surgeon gave me the option of having my port removed at the hospital as outpatient surgery or he said he would be willing to do it in his office.

Yeah, that face you’re making right now is pretty close to the one I made when he suggested it.  I was not sure it was a good idea.  I mean, I knew it would be less hassle since I wouldn’t have to fit into the hospital schedule, plus I wouldn’t be able to eat after midnight.

Dr. Noel told me to think about so I did. And then I Googled “Power Port Removal” and wouldn’t ya know it, there are YouTube videos that show the port removal in a doctor’s office! (Warning…do NOT Google this if you can’t handle blood, cutting, etc)

I’ll be honest, it was kind of fascinating to watch the videos.  And  after watching a couple, I decided I could handle having my port removed in my plastic surgeon’s office (which is connected to the hospital, just in case). 

So, one last look at the port before it is evicted – top pics are from late last year with my port accessed and bottom pics are from last night.

 
So that’s pretty much it from this end!  After my port is removed this afternoon, Tony’s going to drive me home and then head to Justin’s soccer game in Bardstown.  I hate to miss another game but I’m not sure I’ll be up to being on a soccer field tonight.

Thanks for your prayers – God is good

💗

Jennifer

51/357

Well, can you believe it?

51 weeks

357 days

since my first chemo

And today, 8/14/2015, I saw my fabulous oncologist, Dr. Geetha Joseph, and then received my LAST Herceptin chemo infusion.

My husband, Tony, bFf, Jaime and my mom joined me for my last chemo infusion.  We celebrated with cake from Adrienne’s in Jeffersonville (so so yummy!) and a “special performance” by some of my chemo nurses.

Here are some pics from today:







Once the last drop of Herceptin had been delivered, we bolted and once we got to the elevator, we took a “getting the heck out of here” selfie:



I’m so blessed and thankful and praise God, I had a “complete response”.  Thank you all for every prayer, call, scarf, card, hug, text, hat, email, gift, meal…all of it, thank you!

When Tony & I got home, there was one more surprise…my mom had come to our house after we’d left this morning and set this up for us:





Oh my goodness, what a sweet surprise!  My mom is the absolute best and I love her so very much!

The funny part of mom’s surprise to us is that Facebook almost gave it away!  Before she got to the chemo office, she posted a picture on Facebook of one of the pillows and I noticed that the picture said she was in Shelbyville.  She had told me that she was at a doctor appointment so I just assumed that Facebook had messed up. But turns out she was “doctoring” up our back deck!

Love you all and I appreciate all of you!  But all glory to God for the miracle He’s done for me.

💗🙏

Jennifer

p.s. have you scheduled your physical, check up, etc? 😘

7/21/2014

One year ago today, on July 21, 2014 at 2:14 pm, I got the call that no one wants to receive.  In some ways it seems like the year has flown by and in others it seems like it’s been the longest.

I am so grateful to be here and I want to thank God for all of everything.  It is all Him!

Happy 1st Cancerversary!

💗

Jennifer

7/18/2014…

  

 One year ago today, on 7/18/2014, I had the biopsy that would lead me on a journey that I didn’t plan for or expect.  On one hand, it seems like the last year has flown by and on the other it seems like it’s been the longest year ever.  Weird, I know.   We had just returned from a 2 week vacation in my most favorite place in Florida.  The Monday after we returned (7/14/2014) I had a mammogram and ultrasound and then met with the radiologist to discuss the tests.

The radiologist wanted to do a biopsy and she wanted me to come back the next day.  Since I’d been off work for 2-1/2 weeks I knew the next day would be crazy so I told her I couldn’t come back until Friday.  

As my head started to swirl with the “what ifs” I headed to the appointment desk.  When I got to the desk, I saw the radiologist, who said she was just making sure I didn’t leave without scheduling the biopsy.  It was then that I had the first inkling that my lump was not normal. 

I scheduled the biopsy for Friday morning, 7/18.  That Friday morning I chit-chatted with the ultrasound tech; she also had a daughter who was getting ready to leave for college too. The radiologist came in and got started with the biopsy.  When she was finished she said “I’ll call you on Monday with the next steps”.  (It never crossed my mind until after I’d left to even ask what she thought it was. I don’t know if she would have even said one way or the other if I had asked.)

But I remember thinking “there wouldn’t be next steps if this were normal”.  I also remember not being spastic-crazy over the possible result. I really do think that I knew before I “knew”.  This is unlike me as I tend to apply the worst case scenario to most situations.

I can’t explain how I felt that weekend except to say that it was a calmness that could only be from God. Otherwise I would have spent the entire weekend Googling every possible thing it could have been.

I just knew the biopsy would be malignant.  I also knew that at that exact moment, there was nothing I could do to change what the lump was or wasn’t and spending the weekend stressing over it would be pointless.

Deep down I was being prepared for the battle that would begin 72 hours later. 


Emma – Part 1

Hey, there, friends!  I want to tell you a story about a sweet girl who changed my life.  When my daughter, Taylor, was in 6th grade she met Emma and they became instant friends.  Emma also had another friend named Alex but Alex didn’t know Taylor.  In fact, Taylor will tell you that Alex really didn’t even like Taylor when she first met her.  Alex thought Taylor was just too much and didn’t grow to like Taylor until they were in 8th grade.

Here is a picture from Emma’s birthday sleepover (I think this is from September 2009).  Emma is sitting and from left: Taylor J., Mary G., Taylor C. (my girl), Alex S. And Sarah (Emma’s sister) in a chokehold by Alex. 



Emma would invite Taylor and Alex and their other girlfriends over for sleepovers and fun days.  Emma was so funny and was always smiling.  She would come up with these funny songs. I have one of her “original” songs.  It’s called “I Am Cow” and only 30 seconds long.  Somehow I managed to get it saved on Taylor’s old iPhone.  I am trying to figure out how to attach it to this post so you can hear it.  I promise, it will make you smile!!

In early 2010, Emma was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer that primarily affects children.  Oh, what a shock to hear that news.  She began treatment and in true Emma fashion, she smiled through it all.  I don’t think I have a single picture of her without a smile on her face.  



As Emma endured tests, chemo treatments, and procedures, people around the world lifted Emma up in prayer that God would heal her.

In April, 2012, Emma and her mom, Robin, invited Taylor, Alex, Alex’s mom, Cyndi, and me to the movie theater to see “The Lucky One”.  As the movie ended, the girls headed out of their seats and Robin held Cyndi and me back and it was there that Robin told us that doctors could do no more for Emma.  Emma would be healed by God Himself, as she entered His arms in Heaven.  



Oh, such hard news to hear and to share with your child.  As Emma’s time on earth grew shorter, all of Emma’s friends tried to spend as much time as they could with her.  On our last visit with Emma in late June 2012, I could tell Jesus was preparing to receive her so she could be free from cancer.  As Taylor and I left Emma’s house , we stood in her driveway and held each other as the tears fell.  We both just knew. 

We were about to leave for a 2 week vacation to Florida that we had booked the year before.  Honestly, if we hadn’t already bought the plane tickets, I think I would have canceled the trip and stayed home. 

On June 30, 2012, we boarded the plane in Louisville early in the morning and landed in the Tallahassee airport.  As we got off the plane and headed to Baggage Claim, my cell phone rang.  It was my friend Kita telling me that Emma had left this world and was with Jesus.  I felt my shoulders sink and tears pooling.

We were not able to get back to Kentucky for Emma’s services but we celebrated her life on the beach.

Remember when Alex didn’t really like Taylor so much when they first met?  By 8th grade they started to click.  If I had to guess I would say their shared love for Emma bonded them.  Today, they are the best of friends and I truly believe that God placed them together because they would need each other when He took Emma to Heaven.

Today, on the 3rd anniversary of Emma’s heavenly birth, Alex and Taylor drove to Corbin, Kentucky, to spend some time with their Emma, just the 3 of them.



They stopped by The Root Beer Stand, a place Emma talked a lot about:

They stopped to get some flowers for Emma. It had been raining but the sun came out so they spread a blanket and sat with Emma. 

I will share more of Emma’s story in the next few days.  Everything happens for a reason; I believe this with everything that is within me.  Today, even with moments of tears, I celebrate Emma’s 3rd Heavenly birthday.  We miss her but I know someday she’ll greet me with that smile.

“Don’t forget to smile”

Howdy, Stranger!

Well, it has been quite some time since I’ve written anything on the ol’ blog. Well, actually, it’s been quite some time since I’ve posted to the blog. I’ve had thoughts that I saved as drafts but hadn’t felt like it was time to hit the “publish” button.

So I owe you a little recap over the last few months!  Praise God, life is good!

I had my bilateral mastectomy on February 10, 2015, and I healed really well from it. My plastic surgeon would always tell me he was so happy with the way my skin recovered “especially with diabetes”.

I got back into the groove of working like a crazy woman (or was I just a crazy woman working? The world may never know!”) and before I knew it, Taylor turns 19, Tony & I celebrated our 20th anniversary (Taylor was born 2 days before our first anniversary), Taylor finished her first year of college, Justin finished his sophomore year of high school and then turned 16! 

I saw my plastic surgeon ever few weeks to have my tissue expanders filled until the end of May when they reached their capacity and surgery was scheduled to replace them with implants.  Let me tell ya, fully-filled tissue expanders are NOT comfortable.  Imagine big cantaloupe-sized rocks strapped onto your chest 24/7. They don’t move at all and are just huge.  They have to be filled bigger than the implant size so the surgeon has room to place them perfectly.  So I felt a little like Dolly Parton for a few weeks.

But on Monday, June 22nd, I checked into Baptist Hospital to trade out my expanders for implants!  It feels SO great to no have those huge expanders weighing me down!  Surgey went very well and I am recovering nicely.  I have 2 drains that I’m hoping to have removed tomorrow.

Today marks the 1 year anniversary of me going to my gyn’s office to ask about having my bladder repaired (thank you to my big ol’ babies for that gift!) and casually mentioned that I’d had this little lump for several weeks.  

As we were about to leave for a 2 week vacation, my gyn scheduled me to have a mammogram and ultrasound the Monday after we returned from vacation.  Well that was the beginning of my journey to where I am today!  I did get my bladder repair surgery (and I wish I had done it years ago!)

More blogs to come as I approach my 1 year diagnosis anniversary and the completion of my treatment.  I hope you all are taking care of your health and treating your body well!

Call your doc if you need a tune up!

Much love,

Jennifer