Friday, May 30, 2014

PTS and Childhood Cancer

**Note: I wanted to add that because these 2 things aren't researched or TALKED About much, even to us, the stages of trauma with any chronic illness is probably different along the way. I'm only writing from our perspective now.

First off, I just want to say that if you've never gone through cancer treatment (or another chronic illness) with your child AND have never had a true anxiety attack, you just can't know how they both impact daily life. 

I've been through traumatic stuff in my life before and I've struggled with a little anxiety off and on. 

I've learned how to cope with it and found what works best for me: 

*working out
*surrounding myself with positive, uplifting people
*scheduling time alone
*careful planning of my day
*not a lot of noise and crowds

When we first started on this journey I began doing my own research about links between Post Traumatic Stress and Childhood Cancer. There's not a lot out there, but everything I found revealed that it is real. 

I've blogged before (here and here) about anxiety and how we are seeing it present itself more and more in our lives so many days after the initial panic-cancer-is-here-why-did-this-happen phase. 

However, nothing



prepared me for what I experienced earlier this week. 

I've noted before that after long periods away from the clinic we've seen anxieties in both Jace and the girls. We've also felt them ourselves. 

We knew that Wednesday was going to be long and we'd have to get into our "zone" to get through it. 

About a day before treatment, there is always a mist of anxiety blanketed over all of us. 

The thing is everyone (almost everyone) thinks all is pretty much back to normal or at least routine now that we only go in once a month. 

Maddie has said her friends struggle with understanding why it's all still even a deal at all. 

Avery usually wears her heart on her sleeve so anyone around her knows this topic makes her sensitivity heightened. 

Jace seems to cry more easily about small things. He is more clingy. His appetite is almost zero ( some par for the course). 

Jason and I usually cope in our own ways. Extra workouts, extra prayers.....

Yesterday started off normal enough. Nothing big happened. Looking back and reflecting, I know I didn't make enough time to read my daily devotional, didn't play Air1 while getting ready, didn't arm myself like I typically do. These are small intentional things I do, and now I know they really DO help! 

I got to my meeting and tried to balance myself. (note: Didn't stop at my office to breathe, check email, or acclimate myself like normal.) 

I started reading email and realized sweet Avery was getting an award and because it was Wednesday we wouldn't be able to see that. 

This Wednesday meant a lumbar puncture, ivig infusion, benadryl, tylenol, and a pentam breathing treatment. 

That triggered how much I hate cancer and chemo and how many moments it has tried to steal in 485 days. 

Then, the words "Maybe one of you can go with Jace and the other can stay here with Avery." (no. just no. both of us like being there when we can because we know it will be a long day and the toll on us will be less if we are together)

All of that happened in a 2 minute time span as my heart was racing, I couldn't breathe, I started sweating, and feeling like I was going to pass out. 

I needed to run! 

I gathered my things and barely made it back to my office before I just lost it. 

There was no warning. No insight that there would even be a trigger.

You can't plan that. I can pray and pray for those attacks to be alleviated or completely gone, but in that moment all I could do was breathe and escape. 

Everyone is full of advice about anxiety, but it's not as easy as being grateful, relaxing,  breathing or praying. You KNOW I'm already doing all of that. Anyone who has experienced a true attack, then you know if it were that easy you'd not be having them. 

Here's the article I posted (thanks, Candi!) on the last blog about PTS and #childhoodcancer: (

Be aware that those you know fighting an already difficult battle are also dealing with this. Are they dealing with ALL of that? Probably not. But PTS is REAL. 

*Note: This video is only to show the daily struggles of simple things we took for granted before. Taking off his band aids can sometimes take at least 30 minutes because he doesn't want us to touch them and he doesn't like the sound they make coming off. 

We've noticed changes in Jace's fears and his need for a sense of constant security and consistency. Any small change triggers immediate fear and anxiety for him and I've learned how to read his cues. 

For me, here are some things that have changed: 

I find that I want to avoid crowds more than before. 
I find more comfort in one-on-one situations instead. 
I would rather stay home than go out. 
Trusting people is harder than before. 

All of that is not gonna help me grow and I KNOW this. I'm growing through it and super in-tune with what helps. 

After sharing about my anxiety attack on FB, my sweet friend, 

Sherry said "It's refreshing to know you're human." 

I am HUMAN. You just don't know how human I am. 

*Pull up a chair and pour some coffee*

I'll keep sharing my journey with all of it's struggles, victories, laughter and tears because I know someone else out there needs to hear they are not alone and it's ok to be vulnerable. 

I'll keep doing the thing I know works for me: praying and writing. 

I should be doing all of that anyway. :) 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Reckless, Fearless, Courageous


It's one of my favorite words. I even used it to name the sweet middle child. And her faith - it's like she was drenched in deep, genuine faith. 

Since I can remember I've always had faith. Some of my darkest days were lit up by a twinkle of faith, hope. . . .

These days faith is a decision we have to make over and over and over daily. 

On day 1 of this cancer journey, we started off strong. We believed. We prayed prayers of victory. Then, the journey got longer and looking back we know that our foundation of faith was the only thing getting us through. We did a lot of work in turning over the small things to God so we knew that turning over the bigger things would work out, too. 

We are in the middle of this long marathon. Day 485 to be exact. The longer you are in a storm the harder it is to stay on course even when you know your consistency is what will help you prevail. 

Today, on day 485, I can tell you that post traumatic stress is real. (

Today, on day 485, I can tell you that  I have had many more valleys than I expected. 

Today, on day 485, I can tell you that I have to decide daily to lean on faith and not sight. 

Today, on day 485, I can tell you that our walk in faith is not easy. 

Today, on day 485, I can tell you that we are grateful still. 

Today, on day 485, I can tell you that I'm vowing to myself to have a reckless, fearless, courageous faith every single day that I wake up - no matter what tries to knock me down. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014


I'm not enough. 
I'm not worthy. 
I'm not pretty enough.
I'm not skinny enough. 
I'm not rich enough. 
I'm not valuable. 
I'm not significant. 
I'm not good enough. 
I'm not polished enough. 

Last week, I had to do something that re-opened a wound that I still have difficulty letting go of after many, many, many years. This wound has a way of taking me to the root of all of my pain and rehashing it all out over and over. By the time the week was over, I was unsure of everything I knew.  

Because Sunday started my week off in pain, I had difficulty just getting through the week. 

Getting up and getting motivated was hard. Wednesday was especially hard. This leukemia journey with Jace is long. There's not much else to say. To everyone he looks great. He has his hair back and runs with boundless energy. This IS a victory. 

As we drove home Sunday afternoon, we listened to a sermon that spoke directly to me. 

Everyone knows the story of David and Goliath. Everyone knows it ends in Victory. But not everyone knows about "the grind" behind the story. 

David is hands-down my favorite character in the Bible. He wasn't perfect, but he was raw, honest, deep and faithful. I love his acute awareness for God and his need for God in his life. 

Monday, I started the week feeling tired of the grind and ready to just give up. 

The week didn't get easier, but by Thursday my sweet husband had paid for me to go to our church's women's conference. I, truthfully, had to force myself to go. I was not in the mood for much of anything, but I sat as a woman talked to me about patience as God places us in an environment to receive what God will give us. 


OK, God. I'm listening. 

The next night I sat as a women repeated me to me all of the things I had been telling myself. All of the first things you read when you first opened this entry. 

She immediately pointed us to Galatians 6:3. 

Boom. In your face, Tisha. 

"If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves."

For weeks, I've been discouraged and tired of sharing my/our story. I'm out of words. I don't feel worthy enough to share. I don't feel polished enough to speak to people about it. I'm tired of "being inspiring." I've been on my knees begging for a break from "the grind." 

And then I heard an angel (who is also named Natalie) speak directly to me: "Share your story. Speak your truth. You were saved to save. You were blessed to bless. You were loved to love. There are people only you can reach." 

Boom. Again. 

Ok, God. I'm willing. I will stop deceiving myself. I will look past myself in order to go out in the world and grab what you have for me. I hear You.

The grind is tiring. The grind isn't easy. It's always harder when you get deep into the middle of it all. It never looks that hard when you start out and it always looks easier to those watching you.  I'm not trying to be inspiring most days. I'm just trying to get up and be sure the kids are taken care of and that we all eat and get enough sleep. My faith is solid, but just because of that doesn't mean I'm signed up for an easy life. 

Seven days ago I was in a much different place than I am in today. 

I'm listening. I'm stepping aside to let God in my boat because even if it's sinking, HE is there to carry me above the waves. 

I'm leaning into willingness. 
I'm leaning into prayer. 
I'm leaning into the word. 
I'm leaning into gratitude. 
I'm leaning into forgiveness. 
I'm leaning into praise. 
I'm leaning into His grace. 
I'm leaning into His love. 

I'm dropping all of the deceiving things I've been telling myself right at the feet of Jesus. He doesn't want me carrying those things around anyway. He didn't create me to be those things. He wants me just as I am. He wants me to embrace me so that I can fly the way He always intended. 


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Monday, May 5, 2014

Yellow Wednesdays, Operation Love, Pudge Rodriguez & FI8HT

A little bit of everything today: 

Find a Yellow shirt to wear for #yellowWednesdays and #childhoodcancerawareness! Help us and join us in bringing as much as awareness for children as #pink for #breastcancerawareness! Be ready to use the hashtags so we can see your photos of YELLOW! 

Operation Love has a new drive going! May 5-9 drop off your small items at Celina HS! Many students are helping with this drive so we can take more care bags to caregivers at Children's Hospital and Cook's Children's! For more info visit our page: Operation Love 

Jace and Pudge Rodriguez
Jace had a busy day yesterday! He was able to go to the Frisco Roughrider's game and hang out with Pudge Rodriguez! Pudge and the RR were awesome! A big thanks to Sherry Hale for getting us out there and to Pudge, the RR's and Dawn Nuefeld for being amazing during Jace's time as honorary hero for Silver Dollar at the Ranch. The event is May 17th! Please visit their website to purchase tickets and join us for a night of fun and giving! 

Jace, Pudge, Rough Riders, Dawn
Jace, Tisha, Dawn

Lastly, Jace is the weekly warrior of FI8HT, an amazing company bringing awareness to those around them! We happened to find Fi8HT on Etsy and ordered Jace a "Little Fighter" shirt. He loved it so much and it reflected how we felt about his journey. Now they are featuring a weekly warrior and that warrior gets to pick a charity of their choice! For every order that comes in this week, $7 will go to our favorite organization, Peach's Neet Feet. Please visit their website and order for those little fighters you know (cancer, autism, diabetes):

Big love and thanks for ALL of your support out there! Together we will find a cure and create awareness so that no one can look away!