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Meet Hazel…She’s a Survivor!

I’d love for you to meet Hazel. This little girl is ADORABLE and so sweet. Just like Jonny and Kylie, I don’t know Hazel, but I’m just sure she’s super sweet. I mean, look at her smile! Her parents call her their Hazelnut. Hazel lives in California with her parents and 4 siblings. She has battled and BEAT Cancer twice! I pray she doesn’t have to go through that again.

Hazel’s story:

On April 17th, 2013, 2 year old Hazel began complaining about “owies” she had. Since she was only 2 years old, she couldn’t communicate exactly what hurt or where, but over the next few days, her mom noticed she was in pain on and off, more tired than usual and she lost her once ravenous appetite. Lauren, Hazel’s mom, says at that point she told her husband that her “mommy instincts are going crazy”.

A few days later, when the symptoms didn’t subside, Lauren took Hazel to the pediatrician. After many tests, doctors discovered a sold mass growing inside her abdomen. It was the sizeof a lime, which on a tiny 2 year old body is big! Her doctors couldn’t tell them what the mass was, so they were sent to Children’s Hospital where she had a CT scan. The CT scan and urine test confirmed the worst. Not only was the size of the mass more like a MELON but it was cancer. The pain she was in was from the tumor pushing on Hazel’s kidney and encroaching on her liver.

Hazel was diagnosed with Stage 3 neuroblastoma at just 2 years old. She endured 6 cycles of grueling chemotherapy, a 7 hour tumor resection surgery, a stem cell transplant that nearly took her life and landed her in the ICU for three weeks, weeks in rehab doing physical, occupational and speech therapy, 20 doses of radiation, and 6 months of Immunotherapy. Once that was all completed, Hazel was declared NED, or No Evidence of Disease! As you can imagine, this was celebrated news! They were all thrilled, but as with most childhood cancers, the chances of relapse are high.

Devastatingly, just as Hazel was going to start Kindergarten in August 2016, she relapsed. Doctors found three new neuroblastoma tumors- in her abdomen and neck. She began new treatment in November and has thankfully been diagnosed NED again! We can only pray that she continues to have clear scans and beat this beast called cancer for good!

As you can imagine, being a parent of a child who has cancer is very emotional. Lauren has blogged a lot about the deep depression and anxiety she has felt during these very trying times. I have to believe that if your child has relapsed once, relapse again isn’t too far from one’s mind. It’s hard for me to imagine dealing with all of this, and still having to parent your other children, meet other commitments, make dinner, and keep a clean house and all the other things that adults have to do. Lauren said a few months back, “We are tired. We are weary. Our faith is shaken. Our brains are depleted. And cancer just doesn’t let up. IT JUST NEVER GETS EASIER.”

This has been a really long road for Hazel and her family but I hope the waters calm down for her family soon. They all need a break.

Please keep Hazel and her family in your prayers. If you want to follow her journey, here is the link to her blog.

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Just Not Feeling It..

You may have noticed that I haven’t been showing up in your email lately. And that my most recent blog post is probably 2 weeks old. And that my social media is pretty much asleep. Or maybe you haven’t noticed.

I’m just not feeling it lately. I will try to explain why I’m not feeling it, and how it all happened so quickly.

For months, I was ALL IN on this blog. I was excited by it every day. I was constantly looking to learn new things, finding out how to grow it, advertising it ALL over social media and pretty much begging for followers. I was consistently writing at least 2 times a week, plus sending a newsletter. I had joined SO MANY Facebook and Pinterest blog sites. These are usually “follow for follow” type sites. You “like” my Facebook page and I’ll “like” yours. It’s a good way to get followers- but I’m not sure they are real followers.

Quickly, my personal Facebook wall was full of ONLY stranger’s blog posts. And I wasn’t interested in reading them. I also didn’t have time, because all of these groups require that you “like” a certain number of other Facebook sites so that was taking all of my time. I got very tired of opening Facebook and seeing 30+ notifications from people I didn’t know. I was missing my friends on Facebook. They were there, but they were not near the top of my feed. My email also became FULL of other blog posts, advertisements for blogging apps, and someone trying to sell me another class on blogging. It was literally ALL I WAS SEEING.

One day, a few weeks ago, I just decided I needed a break. I was worn out. Honestly I got sick of thinking about what to write, how to promote, trying to get more followers and having to keep up. I again began thinking “do people actually care what I’m writing about”? Friends and family stopped asking about it so frequently (which I understand), and my hope that I’d someday make a living blogging waned.

We all go through ups and downs in life and currently I’m feeling a bit stuck. I know things will change and I’ll become unstuck, but for now, I need a break. It has been a rough couple of weeks and I’m just emotionally drained. Thanks for sticking around. More to come.

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Quick Quote(s)! Judgement

Let’s be honest here. We all judge others even when we try our best not to. Her clothes, her hair, his car, his job, their child’s school or 1,000 other things. But why?! Why do we feel like it’s ok to judge someone when we don’t know the whole story? And why do we think we deserve the whole story? Do we ever stop and think, “I wonder what that person is going through today?” I’m not here to say I am perfect. I’m far from it. But the older I get the more I realize that I certainly don’t like being judged nor does it make me feel good to judge someone else! I realize we’re all doing the best we can.


 

 

 

So, the next time we decide we know that persons story and we think we could have done better or differently, maybe we should take a step back and look into ourselves. Life isn’t about living up to someone else’s standards (easier said than done) or living for someone else. As I said last week, life is meant to be enjoyed!

 

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