Curve Balls


Eleven months ago, I learned that I was not invincible. I learned that life was precious and delicate and should never be taken for granted. I learned that at any moment, everything you thought you knew could come crashing down.

When you are a kid, you fail to imagine the tragedy and ugliness that will undoubtedly make its way into your life. You have hopes and dreams and an unfaltering idea of how your fairytale ending is going to work out. You don't think that you will get your heart shattered countless times. That you will be disappointed by those whom you love the most. That you will make mistakes and have regrets. That you will be diagnosed with cancer at twenty-three. 

Life throws you these curve balls, and you just learn to go with it. You adapt. You get tougher skin. You move on. Or if you are like me, and you decide to move halfway across the country to chase after love while everybody stares in disbelief and thinks you are certifiably crazy.

I have not openly discussed my relationship with Ryan nor my decision to move from Kansas to Washington. It is hard to describe why I have chosen to be more private about my life, since I have basically been laying my soul to bare on the Internet since I had a computer and dial-up. But people are just so damn judgmental. They think they know what you are capable of feeling or not feeling. They think they have the right to an opinion on the choices you make. They see the world in black and white and believe that one must follow a certain set of rules.

I guess I have chosen to keep my mouth shut because I am fully aware that people do not understand. And I don't think I am capable of finding the words to explain myself. And better yet, I do not feel the need to explain myself.

I know how I feel. I may not have all the answers nor am I able to predict the future without a shadow of a doubt. But I am simply attempting to live my life to the fullest possible extent. This fleeting, beautiful, precious life is the only one that I have, and I refuse to pass up happiness and adventure just because people are going to talk about me. 

Almost Everything I Wish I'd Said The Last Time I Saw You


I remember the first time I ever saw you, through the peep-hole of my hotel room waiting for me to let you in. I leaned against the door, smiling, so scared to open it up and disappoint you. But you walked right in, took my face in both your hands and said, "You are even more beautiful in person".
And we kissed for the very first time.
That's when I felt it. Your lips pressed against mine, your hands on my face, pulling me into you. That's when I felt something I never thought I would feel again. I guess people describe it as love or connection or sparks. But I like to think there is not a word in the English language to accurately describe what I felt in that moment between you and I. 
It was as if every single moment in my life was leading up to this. Was leading me to you. To your lips. And in an instant, it felt as if I had known you all my life. Like we had met and loved before in all our previous lifetimes. There was something so safe, so natural about being in your arms. I knew that I belonged there.
People look at me like I am crazy, like there is no possible way I could feel the way that I feel about you. Society tries to put limitations on human emotions, but I feel the way that I feel. I loved you deeply, in a way that I had never loved another human being. I know this because I had never let my walls down before. I had never allowed somebody inside my heart, they were always kept at a safe, invulnerable distance. Behind the cold, stone walls that I had built so high.
There was just something about you that I never could quite put my finger on. When other people talk about love, they always mention these vague, general statements like, "He is funny" or "He has a big heart". Things that I could easily say about you, but that was never what made me fall in love with you. The big things that people usually focus on, things that could be found in a million other guys out there, are not what drew me to you.
It was the little things. The small things that you did without even realizing that you were doing them. The things that I miss with every single fiber of my being. The way you told a story (with a beginning, a middle, and an end, because you "read a book about telling stories") or how you spouted off random facts at random times. The way you laughed and told terrible jokes that made me laugh despite their obvious terribleness. The way that you really saw me and I really saw you, like nobody else could quite get it.
You made me ache to be a better person. To not repeat the mistakes that I had in the past. I strived to be the woman who deserved you, who was good enough for you. Who was worthy of your affection and attention. I put every ounce of my heart and soul into loving you the way nobody ever had. The way that I felt you deserved to be loved. Selflessly. Wholly. Unconditionally. Faithfully
I am grasping to remember the last thing I said to you, the last moments we had feeding each other pie and watching the final episode of Friends. Holding on to them like they are all that I have left in this world. It never occurred to me that these would be the last times you held me in your arms or our lips would touch. It never occurred to me that I would have to live my life without you.
No matter how hard I try, you will forever occupy a place in my heart, a space that had been empty for so very long. You will mean more to me than words will ever be capable of describing, and I will always, always love you. And your mistakes. And your shortcomings. And I hope that one day my unrelenting, reckless love shows you what I have always known: You. Are. Extraordinary

I Survived Cancer: What Now?


Eight months ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. I went through surgery, radiation, and finally got the "all clear" status in January. And I thought that would be the end of it. I assumed that my life would go back to how it was before. Everything was going to be normal now that the cancer had been expelled from my body.

That is something they don't prepare you for: the realization that your life is never going back to how it was before cancer. Sure, it might resemble your previous life, but cancer alters you in a way that is deep and unexplainable.

While I adopted a YOLO attitude, I have also experienced debilitating fear. The fear that the cancer might come back, stronger, more determined to kill me. The fear that the radiation treatment could cause a secondary cancer. The fear that I might not have the long, happy life that I once imagined. The fear that comes with scans and blood tests and doctor appointments. The fear that can send me into a spiraling depression with one swollen lymph node.

Most days I can brush it under the rug. I can put my fears aside and only feel the absolute gratitude of being alive. But there are other days, days like today, when the fear and hopelessness sinks in. Days when I have flashbacks of passing out on a bed pan, waking up in excruciating pain, and realize that this could all happen to me again. While there is "no evidence" of disease, it is still inside me. Still in my body just waiting to sneak back when I least expect it. 

And I find myself unable to move on with my life. Unable to fully grasp what all of this means. Unable to understand how cancer has changed me: physically, emotionally, mentally. The past eight months have been an absolute roller coaster ride, to say the least. And I used to look at it like there would eventually be an ending...

But I am slowly learning, no matter how hard I fight it, cancer has become a part of me. It is essential to who I am, who I want to be. I need to stop fighting it; and I need to start embracing it.

Because you only live once.

Ollie Says


"I sent an email to Santa today. But I can't tell you what I asked'll have to email Santa yourself."

"I really don't like your attitude, mom."

"Um, mom. We need to do this pattern: I sleep with you, then I don't sleep with you. That is the pattern that I like. So I need to sleep with you tonight, okay?"  

Why are you so cute?
"Because you got me that way."

"You are only 23 and grandma is 50. So she is in charge."

(That one caught me by surprise. First time cursing...preparing me for teenage years)

"I want to keep you with me forever, mom."

"I am a kid, so I can use whatever bathroom I want."

Why didn't you put a rug down before you got in the bath?
"Because I am not an adult."

Songs to Listen to When You're Diagnosed with Cancer


 Words cannot begin to describe my relationship with music. Throughout the years, it has played a key role in the person who I have become. It has shaped me, transformed me. In my moments of weakness, it has given me strength. I could not live in a world without music.

I have been wanting to bring more music related posts to Your Mom since it is such an important part of who I am. Mostly, I enjoy putting together a collection of songs with a main theme. A playlist, perhaps one might call it. I have created and posted them before on the blog.

However, this playlist has a much deeper meaning to me. It gives a glimpse of the emotions and feelings that I have had in the months since my cancer diagnosis. It is me. Raw. Told in notes and lyrics written by strangers.

But that is what I love about music.

Don't Let Them See You Cry

Manchester Orchestra


Imagine Dragons


Mumford & Sons

Sleeping Sickness

City and Color

Comes and Goes (In Waves)

Greg Laswell

Jesus Christ

Brand New

Everything'll Be Alright

Joshua Radin

Life is Beautiful

The Icarus Account

Remember to Breathe

Dashboard Confessional

Shoot Out the Lights

Ron Pope