Tuesday, May 27, 2014

...My Dad's Journey with GBM...

...as Brain Cancer Awareness month starts to wind down, it doesn't make me think of my dad any less, in fact it's the opposite...I wanted to share a little more about his journey with GBM...he was so strong and brave through it all even though he knew with a GBM diagnosis he would die in only a short while...in fact the treatment he would receive would only prolong his life NOT cure him and his quality of life would diminish greatly. All of his decisions only allowed him more time with us. He loved us all so much and I know his bravery to go through this hell was really something many will never understand unless they have walked that same path...again that's why it's SO IMPORTANT to give and even pennies will do!
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
This free picture slideshow generated with Smilebox

Become a part of this cause...you can help...and then maybe one day there will be a cure. Help support the American Brain Tumor Association...please check out my link below to see what you can do to help.


Monday, May 26, 2014

Poppy Sketch #5 {oops...I forgot your birthday...}

Poppy Sketch day is one of my favorite days!!! Today is already release day for Sketch #5!!! ...here it is...using some fabulous files from The Cutting Café. If you aren't familiar with The Cutting Café, it's an affordable one stop shopping HEAVEN for printable stamps & digital files.
Here's Poppy Sketch #5...
...and my take on it...
 Be sure to check out what all the Poppy Girls created for you today...check out their cards over at the Poppy Sketches Blog!
If you are playing along with this sketch don't forget to link up over at the Poppy Sketches Blog once you complete your card.
 Happy Monday!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

...amazing cause...

...so incredibly proud of my children...
...for the last 21 days there has been a lot of talk at my house about Brain Cancer Awareness, they've heard all the talk about gearing up for my run in Ohio...they've heard me talking about how much I hate fundraising but I'm doing it because it's for such a great cause...it is important for so many people...those still suffering...those who have already lost their battle and then it dawned on me...fundraising is SO important for the family members of the brave, brave loved ones going through this journey. Family members, like my children who went through this journey right beside their Papa. He was someone they looked up to, someone they loved so much and also continue to miss greatly. Here are a some of my favorite photos of the kids and my dad during his journey with GBM, I have lots, but these are pretty special ones.
Mason and my Dad...right before he had his tumor removed...just one more hug!

Whispering sweet nothings in her ear...it must have been pretty good...she's smiling ear to ear! 
My Dad attended as many of Ben's football games as he could, this was after the game, he was showing him how to do a proper tackle! Gotta love it!!!

Like I mentioned before, I am so proud of these three, they are so selfless...they all gave me some money for the American Brain Tumor Association. It's not much, but it doesn't have to be...a little bit really goes a long way.  You all can help with this amazing cause too! Just check out this link {HERE}
When we all work together amazing things can happen!


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

{ABSOLUTELY unforgettable}

..we are already 13 days into Brain Cancer Awareness Month...this month is just going to fly by!!!
With that...we always loved spending time with my dad on Memorial Day. This morning I wanted to make a LO honoring my dad...for Brain Cancer Awareness Month...and Memorial Day...well this kinda summed it all up in one! My dad loved his flag and he took great pride in teaching the kids how to raise it and fold it back up after taking it down...he's missed more and more each day...

Credits...Liv.eDESIGNS:  TMini 11 Story Circles & Swirly WordArt Vol 1

This picture looks like it was taken ages ago. This was taken in June of 2010, at Relay for Life. My dad is just 3 months into his journey with Brain Cancer (GBM). Here's what cancer and complete sadness can do to a person...I don't even recognize myself in this photo. I have already shared with many of you...my plans to run the Columbus 1/2 Marathon in memory of my dad. If you are just hearing about this for the 1st time...please take a moment and read this link. {HERE}

...I will continue to ask...friends and strangers...if you haven't made a donation please consider making a donation today. If you are like me...you probably think...every time I turn around someone is asking for a donation or there is a fundraiser...yep...that's exactly how I feel too! I know we are all feeling the financial burdens these days, but every little bit helps!  Trust me...making a difference in some one's life has such a positive impact. Even if it's just $5 or $10 that little donation helps!

Please consider donating today...


Monday, May 12, 2014

Poppy Sketch #4 {You totally made my day}

...it's time for Poppy Sketch #4 already...and they just keep getting better and better! This week our amazing sponsor is CAS-UAL FRIDAYS STAMPS...
I was given the opportunity to work with the set: {Wonderful Words}.
...ok are you ready for Sketch #4...
...here...is what I came up with...I love not only the challenge of the sketch...but I also love the pop of color...and how it pushes me to use colors I normally wouldn't use...sometimes, you have to jump outside of your comfort zone...and these challenges are perfect for that!
...all of the Poppy Girls created some amazing cards this week using this sketch. Be sure to check  them out over at the Poppy Sketches Blog!
Don't forget to link up over at the Poppy Sketches Blog once you complete your card.
Happy Monday!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Jane's Doodles **NEW RELEASE** Blog Hop...

Welcome to the **NEW RELEASE** Blog Hop for Jane's Doodles!!! Today I've got some fun cards to share with you! These new stamp sets are great! You will LOVE them just as much as I did...
...for this first card I used the new TEArrific stamp set.  All of the images are just darling!!! 

TEArrific stamp set
...everyone knows I just LOVE making tags! When I first saw the NEW Spring stamp set, I knew immediately I would be making a tag! LOVE LOVE LOVE how it turned out!

Spring stamp set

Now it's time to hop through the blogs and see what we've all made for you! Be sure to leave a comment on each blog as you go...for a chance to win the new releases. {both are featured above} ONE LUCKY WINNER will receive BOTH stamp sets.

Miriam (Guest Designer) http://mprantner.blogspot.com/
Evgenia http://evgeniapetzer.blogspot.com/ {Welcome Evgenia! Our new Design Team member!}
Jane's Doodles blog http://janesdoodles.blogspot.com
...these stamp sets are already in the shop: TEArrific and Spring
Winner will be announced on Monday :) ...Good Luck everyone! Now hop on over to *****'s blog to see what she has created.  The beginning of the hop starts {HERE} if you need to go back to the beginning.
{Happy Stamping}

Friday, May 2, 2014

"lead me with strong hands"

I wish I never heard the words Glioblastoma Multiforme Stage 4 Brain Cancer…I will live rest of my life building awareness and doing my part raising money to help advance brain cancer research…hoping and praying one day a cure will be found…for the last few years I have driven to Spokane, WA, {because sadly we do not have anything in our community supporting Brain Tumors or Brain Cancer Awareness} and participated in Joggin’ for the Noggin’...  
& Break Through for Brain Tumors 5K runs.
This year I have challenged myself…or better yet set a goal! I will be getting on a plane and flying to Columbus Ohio and participating in the America Brain Tumor Association (ABTA)  Break Through for Brain Tumors Half Marathon in October. It will benefit Nationwide Children’s Hospital along with many others who are dedicated in this fight against Brain Tumors. I will be honoring my dad and running in his memory.

My dad taught me to set goals…and boy have I set one…I would like to raise $3000.00 by the time I leave for Ohio and I know I can do this with your help.

...about 4 months before my dad passed away I did something that I thought I would NEVER do...I got a tattoo...I wanted to make sure it was something that I wouldn't regret later on...it needed to be something that was meaningful...I decided to get the lyrics, "lead me with strong hands" with the grey ribbon. These lyrics were and still are so powerful...this song holds a very special place in my heart...with that being said, I knew exactly what I needed to do when I was brainstorming ideas for my fundraising goal for the 1/2 marathon. My tattoo was my {inspiration}.

I have had a good friend working with me on the design...she worked with me until we felt like it was just perfect.Heather Rolin THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for all your help with this project...for making it just right!

Now here is how you can help me reach my $3000.00 fundraising goal for the American Brain Tumor Association.

You can make a one time donation. {by clicking HERE ...it will take you to my Team Breakthrough fundraising page over at the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA) site.

You can order one of these AMAZING $20.00 T-shirts for yourself. (A portion of all sales will go to ABTA).
These are white T-shirts…100% cotton (pre-shrunk) Youth Sizes (XS-XL), S-XL, 2X, 3X, 4X . 
I plan on taking preorders until August 31, 2014. If you would like to place an order...please  email me at ReneeDezember@charter.net. I am asking that you pay 1/2 now and then the remaining balance on or before August, 31, 2014. If I need to mail out a T-shirt I will be mailing them via priority mail and you will need add in that $$$ in also.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

...I can’t even begin to describe the pain my heart still feels every day…

...already another year has passed, and with that...May 1st brings {Brain Cancer Awareness Month} ...I'm going to start the month off with my family's story...my dad's story...

A cancer diagnosis must be the worst news you can receive…but a brain cancer diagnosis truly has to be the most devastating kind of cancer one can get.  You truly lose yourself…your personality changes little by little, you are unable to care for yourself or even do basic tasks that a child could perform. Eventually you begin to feel hopeless and before long you know what is going to happen…and the thought is frightening for everyone around you…I can speak to this…because this happened to my family…this happened to my dad…
I will never forget , March 15th, 2010…it was the day that my life changed forever…it was the day that my dad told me as we stood in his driveway that he had a brain tumor. I stood there as I looked up at him and felt like I had just been punched in the stomach. He just looked at me with a brave face…a brave face that he carried with him for the next 21 months...8 days later we were in the hospital in Spokane, WA . He was having brain surgery.
We were all with my dad, before his surgery, we weren't sure what the outcome would be, we were told very casually that he might not recognize us or know our names once the surgery was complete, I don’t think that really registered. From that moment on I never left my dad’s side…he had always been there for me…all my life…for everything…there was no doubt I’d be there for him during this journey.

When my dad was coming out of surgery…this was the first thing that proved he was going to fight…he was able to tell my twin sister and I apart…we smiled and knew that Glioblastoma Multiforme Stage 4 Brain Cancer was in for a tough fight with my dad!
My dad just got out of surgery...greeted by his mom, my mom and my twin sister and myself.
My dad chose to do is treatments in Spokane, which meant A LOT of driving…2 ½ hours one-way…5 days a week…for 6 and ½ weeks. So on April 12, 2010, his treatments of radiation and oral chemo started. We were very blessed that my dad had such great friends at work and they did a lot of the driving on most of those days. So unless he was seeing a doctor…he went with them. On doctor days we went.
My dad would wear this mask each time he received his radiation treatments. It was extremely tight.
We started making some plans to make sure my dad was doing the things he loved…he played golf nearly every day…once he was diagnosed he was not allowed back to work since he used a gun. That was hard for him because he was already in the process of making plans to retire…needless to say, my dad never did retire. My dad loved the game of golf and some family member’s got together to put on a fundraiser at the golf course that my dad was at nearly every day to make sure one of his dreams would come true: to play at Pebble Beach. Just before this was to happen we got devastating news , my dad’s MRI showed recurrent tumor growth and within a few days his first GammaKnife was scheduled.

After a few weeks to recover all the plans had been made and my dad was on a plane and ready to play at Pebble Beach…and he had the time of his life!

My dad golfing at Pebble Beach. He said it was amazing!

In August 2010, my dad’s MRI showed that the GammaKnife procedure was successful and the tumor was shrinking. However, our smiles turned to tears in October, when his MRI showed there was more recurrent growth. The doctors decided to do another Gammaknife treatment. So many ups and downs. In December, we stayed in town and went to our local hospital for the MRI, we were so thankful that the results showed positive results to the last GammaKnife treatment…the doctors exact words, “the inner core is dying and the outer core is frazzled.” Thank you Lord!
…but just like that things start to change…Dad’s February 2011, MRI showed that there was aggressive tumor growth. He doctor was very worried. They didn’t feel GammaKnife would be a safe option any longer as it could cause more damage to his brain. They decided Avastin would be best at this point along with his chemo. So my dad had a Port placed and started infusions.

In April 2011, his MRI showed that the Avastin was working even better than expected! The Radiologist was SHOCKED...as well as my dad's team of doctors...my dad continued with these Infusions every other week along with his Chemo...because it was working......my dad was the meaning of the word FIGHTER...during that last year I saw him at many stages…where he was both physically and mentally exhausted...I hated seeing what Brain Cancer was doing to him...I hate what it was taking away from him...but I was so proud of him...his courage...his will to fight a disease that is said to be the deadliest form of Brain Cancer...he has always been my HERO...when I was younger he taught me to fight for what I believed in...and what I wanted ...and he was showing me how to fight for your life {literally}...and this fight we had no control over...but it was a fight that you couldn't give up on...I loved him so much…I still love him so much…
In July 2011, his MRI showed a new tumor in his right ventricle...so Gammaknife #3 was scheduled. But with cancer you’ve always got to be ready for surprises…right before my dad’s procedure we were told the MRI results showed there were actually two new tumors not one. Now his September, MRI showed continued tumor growth along with another new tumor in his left temporal lobe.

We all were devastated but my dad said I’m still going to fight!
By mid October, dad wasn’t doing well at all. At this point the chemo was no longer working and the doctors wanted to stop it. They said they could do one more GammaKnife on the new tumor only. They could try some new medications. My dad wanted to push forward. I admired his will and determination so much…as I know he was only fighting for all of us at this point…my mom, Mona, Gina and myself.

The same day I returned home from my trip to Indiana, I drove Dad back to Spokane for is 4th and final GammaKnife treatment.  At this point dad was sick a lot, feeling awful most days and sleeping more and more and now not eating much at all. He has been fighting for 19 months.
Right before my 37th birthday we were told his treatments were no longer helping him…I can say at that moment I might have had some sort of a breakdown. I felt like I needed to be the fighter for my dad and fight for him…he wasn’t in that meeting room with a huge table full of chairs where the doctor is saying I won’t treat him any longer...I was going into shock, I was like you don’t get to make that decision for my dad…no one was saying anything…my mom just sat there, my sisters just sat there, I started to cry, I think I even yelled…they couldn’t just give up on him…but they did…and I knew what that meant…I knew what was going to happen…my dad was going to die…

There is NO CURE for this horrible disease…our miracle never happened…I still pray every day that another person…another family will NEVER have to go through this…my dad’s 21 month battle with GBM taught me so much…yet also stole so much from me! ...yes I know how extremely selfish that sounds...

On December 10th, 2011, was the last day I ever spoke to my dad. It was the last day I ever said, “I love you.” It was the day that Glioblastoma Multiforme took the most important man from our family. Cancer doesn't care who it chooses to destroy...cancer doesn't care! We need to care and build as much awareness in our neighborhoods, towns and communities, because it's happening everywhere! Know the signs and what you can do to help the doctors if it happens to you or someone you love because believe it or not you can help them in the VERY BEGINNING if you get this diagnosis. You just have to be informed and proactive.

I can’t even begin to describe the pain my heart still feels every day…