Tuesday, August 12, 2014

1 year since surgery!

I cannot believe how long ago it feels, but today 8-12-14 is one year since my surgery! I don't even know where to begin with everything I want to say, but first I'm going to start by updating everyone. 

I successfully completed my spring semester with a 3.5 and I could not be happier. I will be going back for the fall semester on the 23rd. I will graduate in December! I recently took the GREs and I will be applying to graduate school shortly and can't wait to see where it will take me.

This summer has been great to me. I've been relaxing at home with Gilly and my parents with occasional trips to West Chester and State College- because I have my license back finalllyyyy. I went on vacation to both California and Sea Isle City with the Tecce's and I had a blast with them in both places! Also took two online classes in order to lighten up my load in the fall. The classes were a lot of work, but in the end they were worth the work.

No blog post would be complete without me telling you about my ups AND my downs. My chemotherapy had dropped my platelet levels significantly and took almost 6 weeks for my body to start making the platelets. The numerous platelet transfusions I had never brought them back up. This is when they decided that I would have to wait for my body to make them on its own. Now, I'm on a new chemo drug. 14 days on, 7 days off and it's a pill I take in the morning and at night. As of my last MRI scan I was still considered No Evidence of Disease!!! Yayyy!

Other things that have happened since my last post (not in any order just as I think of them):
- we went to THON in February and it was of course amazing! I was so honored to be there. It was an experience I will never forget.

- Gilly turned ONE! And that was a great celebration :)

- I spoke at Penn State's Relay for Life

- I was granted the Diamond of Strength through the THON directors. Nothing will ever compare to the love I have for THON, The Four Diamonds Fund, and all the amazing people involved from the past to the future. I find so much support and hope because I have THON in my life and the people it has introduced me too. 

- My amazing roommates and friends all graduated and are off doing real world things! I am so excited to see the amazing things I know they will do. I couldn't of asked to live with and meet better people while all of this chaos continued throughout the year. They all mean the world to me.

- Family and friends had Team Kayla in the Broad Street Run! It was awesome to see them all run by in their purple T-shirts. Next time, maybe they'll train before it.. Maybe not since they all got through it ;)

Also, and most importantly, I was painted on the inspiration mural in State College. It is such an honor and I could not thank my friends that were involved and the artist, Michael Pilato, enough. It was the most amazing surprise. It makes me tear up with joy knowing I get to be on there with so many amazing people. Also, thank you to the people that stopped by and took a picture with the painted version of me. It puts the biggest smile on my face when I see that. I am still in awe of being on the mural- it gets me excited every time is see it. I don't think I will ever get over that.

Now that I covered all the things going on, I wanted to finish this post with some things I learned and thought about a ton over the past year. 

When I was diagnosed (about a week after having surgery) I had some many things running through my head, but the only way I knew how to get through it was through strength. The strength I had in me and the strength I found in others. Friends and family and people I didn't even know helped me get through this from the strength I gathered from them, their prayers, and all the well wishes. You all helped me in my battle.

I go through the year and I can remember everything someone did for me. The calls,the texts, the cards, the gifts, even just their company. It was one of the most amazing thing to me- it formed Team Kayla. There was more good from this battle than I would have ever imagined. I reconnected with so many people I lost touch with. Relationships I already had were strengthened, some were weakened when they distanced themselves from the diagnosis. I found so much good in a time when some may only think of the bad.

I met an older women that said "She just wanted to forget she ever had it." I would never want to forget. It has changed things in my life but it also reassured me of certain things too. Faith, hope, friendship, strength, and above all love will get you through anything. You just can't lose sight of that or lose sight of who you are. Cancer is a battle that so many fight... But my thought is that it makes you appreciate things more in life. Makes you thankful. I even forget some times, but their is always something that reminds me. Usually it's the quote on my phone background.." I want to inspire people, I want someone to look at me and say, because of you I didn't give up" 

Thank you to everyone that still checks in with me. I love hearing from you all. The simplest check ins make me smile- even just hellos! Thank you for always asking about me to my parents and John- they always pass on the message. Also, thank you for understanding that I've been really slow to sending my thank you's.... I got more love through this than I can ever give back. 

I hope I included everything I should of! As usual I feel like I forgot something. 

I'm still fighting the good fight, but I'm enjoying everyday while doing it! I'm sending positive thoughts to all who need them as I always have other fighters in my thoughts throughout the day. I'll keep posting on this just less frequent (clearly). Team Kayla on Facebook has some minor updates in between my posts (thanks to John!!!)

Life is tough, but I'm tougher.
Love you all,

P.S here's some more random photos from spring/summer!