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This is Weird

Posted in Uncategorized on December 16, 2013 by briannadiehl

So, it’s about 1:30 in the morning and I can’t sleep.  Next thing you know, here I am on my blog site, reading all of my old posts and of course reflecting.  It’s kind of weird, rereading and reliving in my mind everything that happened and where I was in my life almost two years ago.  So much has changed, and for anyone going through a rough time in their life, I just want to say that time really does heal.

After I finished writing my last blog  post, I had every intention of never visiting my blog again.  It had served it’s purpose in my healing process and I believed that I was done with it.  After going through my posts I found myself entertaining thoughts that I wanted to write down, and it became apparent that maybe I’m not done with this blog just yet.  I have yet to decide if this is just because of my insomnia, or if maybe I’ll bring it back for a while longer.  But, again, this is kind of weird, but it’s happening sooooo here we go….

Alright, well, I guess I’m just going to start off with what made me itch to write again.  I initially started with my first few posts in January of 2012 to read.  The first was about when my Mom first told me that she had leukemia, and then the second one I read was about the weather  we had had and I was basically warning people going to visit my Mom to be careful driving in the snow.  It was really kind of random and out of place compared to all of my other posts, but (SPOILER) sometimes the things you find to be most random end up having meaning in some way.

Seeing as how it is the start to the holidays, I am going to rewind for a second to Christmas of 2011…

This was right after my first semester of college was over, I had missed my family and it was so great to be home for the holidays.  Christmas was nice, nothing out of the ordinary, just your average family Christmas.  Then, New Years rolls around and it had just lightly snowed, but enough that the roads were slick.  I was driving on bridge street and hit ice going over a bridge and ended up in a ditch.  It was the first accident I had ever had and I was scared to death.

Now back to the random post I was referring to… Like I said, I warned people about the snow because of that wreck I was just in before my Mom found out about her cancer.  The whole big point I’m about to make here is that in the moment, you see a situation at face value.  It’s not until you revisit that situation that you really see it for what it really is.

After my wreck, I called the police and then called my Mom.  In that moment I was traumatized, I was mad at myself for driving in the snow, and I didn’t want my car totaled.  After the cop came, and my Dad and Mom got there I just broke down, and I will never forget that moment of just standing there crying in my Mom’s arms.

So here we are, this was my major revelation I just had at 1:30 in the morning while I can’t sleep…

That was the last day I really hugged my Mom, I mean really hugged her.  As children, it’s not an uncommon thing to just hang on your parents,  need them, want them to hold you.  But as you get older you hug goodbye or maybe a kiss on the head but you never really hug someone like it’s your last embrace, just because.  The day that I wrecked I was scared, it brought out in me that childlike emotion where I was afraid and needed to hold on to someone.

A few days after my wreck I went back to school.  A few days after that, my Mom had cancer.  At the time, I was angry that I was carless and my Mom was going to be hospitalized.  But that was just me looking at my situation from the surface.  I would total my car 10x over if I could keep hugging my Mom like that and I am so beyond happy that I have that memory.

After writing all of that I am actually feeling tired, so I’ll leave you with this, hold on to your family a few extra seconds over the Holiday.  Hug them like you mean it, don’t just go through the motion… I know we are all guilty of this at times.  I know that if it weren’t for my wreck, I wouldn’t remember the last time I embraced my Mom, my beautifully healthy Mother.  But I do, and it was the best Christmas present I never knew I had received that year.

cook

 

Home

Posted in Uncategorized on July 22, 2012 by briannadiehl

As most of you have already inferred, my Mom never made it home for Hospice care.  The GVHD progressed even more quickly once she was disconnected from her IV bags, in preparation of moving her home.  They kept her at the James in her last days, and our main focus was keeping her comfortable.  My Mom passed away on July 16, 2012, the day she was supposed to come home.

I say “supposed” to come home very lightly, because in my eyes, she did come home.  She went home to be with the Lord.  I am so proud to be Amy Diehl’s daughter.  She fought the ultimate fight, and in the end, she gained the ultimate prize.  I could write pages, and pages, on why my Mom was such an awesome person, and I could list an infinite amount of reasons why I will miss her.

It’s comforting to know that we were prepared for my Mom’s passing in the best way that we could be.  Most people don’t get the chance to say goodbye to their loved ones, but we were given that, and I am so grateful.  It’s hard to process that at 19, I’ve lost my Mom, but whatever she was put on this earth to accomplish, she has done it, and God has rewarded her for that.

I think the hardest part is over though.  It was hard watching my Mom suffer in the hospital.  It was hard getting the news that she was terminal.  It was hard getting the call that she had passed away.  It was hard making arrangements for my Mothers funeral.  It was hard seeing my Mom in the casket I picked out, in the her final (stylish) outfit Timyka and I picked out for her.  It was hard going to Grandview to lay my Mom to rest.

But, now we can start moving on with our lives, and work on getting things back to normal, whatever normal is.  I’m not saying that it will be easy, because it won’t be.  There will be times when I miss her terribly, I know this.  I’ve never wanted to imagine what it would be like graduating college, getting married, and having kids, without my Mom being there to hold my hand.  BUT THAT”S OKAY, because I can only think that way for a second; I know that my Mom will be there in spirit, and I will always have my friends and family here to hold my hand in her place.  My Mom would not have it any other way.

Living life to the fullest has never meant so much to me.  I’ve been witness to two great women, who have fought for their lives, and have been taken from me at the young ages of 18 and 48.  I can safely say that neither of them would want me to sit around and mope on the couch blogging.  They would want me to live. Live every day like it’s my last.  It’s so cliché, but it’s never been more relevant.

So to all of you who have been following my Mom’s story, don’t be looking for another post soon, because I’ll be too busy living.  It’s what my Mom and Emilee were set out to show me, so I will honor that.  Hopefully the next post I write will be much more lighthearted than How to Diehl with a friend or a Mother’s passing.

Thank you to all of you who have helped me, and my family, along the way. You have all been a part of helping us “Diehl” during such a difficult time.  This would have been unbearable without you.  All you really need in life are friends and family, they will get you through, don’t let anyone tell you anything different!

http://www.hallerfuneralhome.com/fh/obituaries/obituary.cfm?o_id=1535011&fh_id=12580

http://www.chillicothegazette.com/article/20120718/NEWS01/207180310/Teacher-cheer-adviser-Amy-Diehl-succumbs-leukemia

 

 

Coming Home…

Posted in Uncategorized on July 14, 2012 by briannadiehl

My Mom’s doctors have tried very hard to get the Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD) under control, but it is not reacting to any medications.  For those of you who don’t know what that is, it basically means that my Mom’s body is fighting the cord blood because it is not her DNA.  Unfortunately, we have run out of options and are bringing my Mom home.  We are in the process of arranging for a hospice to help us out and keep her comfortable.

This WILL be the hardest thing we’ve ever been through as a family, but we are a strong.  The most important thing for us to do right now, is to spend time with our Mom, and keep her out of pain.  We love her so much, and wish more than anything that for a different prognosis.   Right now, we have to learn to accept it, and focus on making the very best of our time with her.

I will let people know when she gets settled in and will continue to post if I feel up to it.  I ask that when she would like to have visitors, that it is limited to close friends and family, and that we are contacted and can prepare for visits.  We appreciate all the prayers, keep them coming, we all can benefit from them more than ever ❤

-Bri

Full Circle

Posted in Uncategorized on June 27, 2012 by briannadiehl

Where to begin?

So much has happened between my last post, and the present.  For starters, I would like to wish a big “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” to my little sister, Timyka, who has been making my life interesting for a whopping 17 years!  To honor her birthday, and the wonderful woman who birthed her of course, we traveled up to the James.  It seems as though we have come full circle, as my mom seemed as exhausted today as I can imagine a woman who has just given birth might feel.

My mom is VERY tired.  She is very medicated right now, and very weak.  She did say “Hi” to me, but that’s about all she could muster before dozing off.  But, most importantly, her counts are still rising.  It’s very hard to comprehend that my mom needs to sleep, I just want to wake her up and talk to her, but that is not what will help her right now, sleep will.  So as for now, we are just on stand-by and going up when we know my mom will be more alert.  We knew this procedure was not going to be easy for her, but it also isn’t too peachy from a daughter’s standpoint either, but I’m being selfish.

On a more personal level, I have had a very productive couple of weeks.  I had a week of training for my job at Americheer, it was a blast, and I made some awesome new friends! After a week of cheering non-stop, I was in need of a vacation, and that is exactly what I got.  After leaving work week, I stopped at the James to see Mom, and then the next day I was headed for NC!

I went to Holden Beach NC with the Davises and had a blast!  While everyone was sweating their butts off in Ohio, I was basking in glorious, 80 degree, North Carolina sunshine!  I had an amazing time, and vacation was just what I needed to recharge my batteries.  I even got to witness Hunter (my boyfriend’s older brother) propose to his lovely girlfriend (and my friend) Charli!  Talk about romantic… Way to go Hunter! Hehe.  But now it’s back to reality, and 100 degree weather…joy.

Luckily, I have a lot more to look forward to this summer.  With work, friends, trips to the James and to visit Emilee, I am going to be having fun while keeping busy, which is fine with me.  I can’t believe June is almost over, it has truly flown by!  Hopefully it slows down a bit, so I can stop and take a breather before it is time to go back to Otterbein.  But hold up, I’m going to stop myself right there, because I am by no means ready to think about school yet!

Yours Truly,

Learning How To Diehl

Summer Challenge

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on May 23, 2012 by briannadiehl

Freshman year of college is DONE.  I’m home.

Home, sweet home!  It would be much sweeter if Mom was here, but I guess we don’t always get what we want now, do we?  But, that’s okay, because it won’t be long.  She has had her transplant, and so far, we are doing well!  My Mom looks great!  She doesn’t always feel the greatest, but we were told what to expect.  We hope that after this week, the stem cells will graft, and my Mom will start feeling stronger each day.  For those of you needing a laugh, check out the lovely outfit they made me wear the other day when I went to visit…

Speaking of laughs, me and Timyka made a video for my Mom to lift her spirits: http://youtu.be/L0PUO7dlsEE <—-I never said we were good singers…lol.

Even though I’m home, and it’s summer, the fact that my mom isn’t here sucks.  A lot of the time, it’s just me and my sister, because my dad wants to stay at the James with my Mom.  Him and my grandma, along with my aunt and some of my mom’s close friends, keep her company and stay the night with her so that she doesn’t have to be alone.  Sometimes I feel sad that my mom is stuck there, but I know she is always in good company, and that is the most I could ever ask for.  It makes me sad that so many cancer patients feel alone in their battles, and I thank God every day for placing such special people in our lives that have stuck with us during this rough patch. People have gone above and beyond for my Mom and our family, and that keeps us going.

Emilee has been on my mind a lot lately.  It’s been over a month since her passing, and there hasn’t been a single day that I haven’t once thought of her.  Summer was our favorite time.  We used to lay out by the pool like it was our job!  Some of my favorite memories of Emilee we’re during one of our many summer adventures.  It breaks my heart every time I want to dial her number and hangout, she was always around, and ALWAYS wanted to spend time with her friends.  On the other hand, I will smile each time I think of camping, Elizabeth’s grave, or even when I lay out in her bikini that she let me borrow, and I never returned… haha sorry, Em.

Each summer, I’ve been bound determined to make it the best one yet.  This summer will be different, for sure, with my mom recovering and my best friend gone, you might say it’ll be a quite a challenge. But you know, so what?…  challenge accepted.

BELIEVE

Posted in Uncategorized on May 1, 2012 by briannadiehl

And… nothing.

I have tried to write this post for a few days now, but each time I sit down to do it, I come up with nothing short of a blank screen.  So here I am rambling aimlessly, trying to form the words of what it means to lose a best friend.  Not only to lose a best friend, but losing a best friend to the horrible disease I am becoming all too familiar with.  Cancer.

Even as I type the word I wince a little bit.  A word should never have that strong of an effect on anyone.  But let’s get real, it’s not the word that makes me wince, it’s what I associate with the word.  I associate words like pain, tears, chemo, surgery, sickness, and fear.

It’s easy to think of cancer that way, but then I think of my best friend Emilee, and I remember Strength, Courage, Hope, Faith, and BELIEVE.  When I think of Emilee, I don’t think of her sickness, pain, or the fear that she might have felt.  Being diagnosed with a terminal illness at 16 years old, she was THE strongest person I knew.  She never flinched at the word cancer, she looked it straight in the eye, and laughed.

The amount of courage and hope that my best friend had for the last three years never faltered.  She never once gave up, & she never once asked, “Why me?”.  If I had to pick the one thing I admired most about my BFF, it was that no matter how much pain, how much hurt, or how scared she might have been, you would’ve never known.  To this day, I can honestly say I have absolutely NO IDEA what she went through.  I mean, my other BFF’s and I knew the logistics of what was happening, or what treatments she was receiving, but to Emilee, it didn’t matter.  If she was hurting we never knew.

As a best friend, you know when your girlfriend needs a pick me up.  And whether Emilee would say she needed it or not, that’s what we were there for, to just know when one was needed.  Having a party in the hospital on her last day of chemo, doing nails, watching movies, and eating endless amounts of food, we were on it.  Over this past week, Johna, Caitlin, Morgan, and I, have been told a thousand times how lucky Emilee was to have such great friends.  That means so much to hear that, but in response to that, I just want to say that our job was easy…  We were just having fun with each other.  Cancer or no cancer, it wouldn’t have changed a single thing.

One thing that really comforted me this week, was learning so many things about Emilee that I had not known.  At her service, one thing that particularly stuck with me was when her Doctor spoke about her.  He had mentioned how while she was in the hospital receiving her treatments, she would go around serving the other patients, over 3x her age, snacks.  It was also nice to hear her youth pastor speak about how Emilee wasn’t afraid, even in her last moments, because she was much stronger in her faith than I ever knew.  She didn’t have to be afraid because she knew she’d be with God, and cancer free.

As most of you know, the 5 of us friends all had our own words that we clung to, especially during this past year when things started getting rough.  I chose STRENGTH, and for me, that is what I saw in Emilee, it is what I see in my mom, and it is also something I strive to be for them both.  As for my other friends, they each have their own reasons why they chose their words, but I’m going to tell you why I think they are perfect for them.

Caitlin, your word is courage.  And, let’s be honest, it took a whole lot of courage to be the first to get that tatted on your body, girl! Haha, it’s funny, because it all started out as a joke when we all first started talking about it, but then somewhere along the way it became serious.  On that serious note, I think you are absolutely courageous.  The way you’ve held it together for Emilee over the past three years was awesome.  We all knew how hard it was to see your very best friend have to fight for her life, and you were always there for her.  You two were a blast in a glass, and I can honestly say that you were her perfect medicine.  Keep your head up beautiful, it will get better with time, and many, many, GNO’s this summer.

Morgan, Hope really is the perfect word for you.  Always optimistic, and ready to chime in with some quirky remark at any moment to brighten our day.  Just always staying positive is really what hope is about, because even in a world of darkness, you found that sliver of light and held onto it.  And FYI, I am so glad that you shared Emilee and I’s love for the Grand Buffet, because we all know we’d have to break off Caitlin and Johna’s legs to even get them into that restaurant. LOL. We need to continue that tradition, even though it will never be the same.

Johna, you embody Faith.  When all else fails, you are the first one to remind us that it is in God’s hands.  And at the end of the day, that’s all you can do, is trust that God has a plan.  You have kept me grounded, and when I call on someone, you know I’ll always call on you… Even if it is to tell you that I just heard baby got back on the radio.

And Emilee, your word was, and will always be, BELIEVE.  You believed in God, you believed in love, you believed in friendship, and you believed in living your life to the fullest.  Ohhh the silly situations we always found ourselves in… Getting completely lost- everywhere.  Camping in a broken tent at Great Seal with Caitlin and the boys- was that even legal?  Our many trips to Hook’s for just a scoop, or three, of ice cream.  Sledding down our hill- every year.  Climbing trees- why did we do that again?  Drawing on cars- I still remember what you drew ;).  Forcing Caitlin to wear a flamingo hat and walking around walmart with her, Johna and I looking equally ridiculous. I could go on, and on, and on.

I could write a novel on what Emilee meant to me, to my friends, and to everyone she met.  But what I can’t do, is write about the emptiness that I feel because she isn’t here anymore.  There are no words to describe loss.  There are no words to make it any easier either.  But what we do have, is all of the amazing, crazy, and absolutely perfect memories.  I know that Emilee is now cancer free, she has won her battle, and she is without a doubt living it up just as big in Heaven as she did here on Earth.  I know it’s kinda long distance… but we can make it work, Best Friends Forever ❤

I love you so, so, much Emilee. You will never be forgotten.

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How to Save a Life

Posted in Uncategorized on March 29, 2012 by briannadiehl

Step one: Find a blood drive.

Step two: Go to the blood drive.

Step three: Give blood & save a life.

Never realized just how easy it could be.  I never had any desire to give blood, ever.  But now that my mom has Leukemia, I not only felt the desire, but an obligation to do so.  I’ve been there firsthand when she’s received platelets from someone who so generously did just as I have, and many others did today at Otterbein.  I was so surprised to see how many students give blood, it’s such a great thing.

The Red Cross is always in need of blood, 5 million patients need blood every year in the U.S. alone.  It can save a person’s life in so many situations, just one pint of blood could potentially save three lives.  Every 2 seconds a person is in need of a blood transfusion.  A fact I found to be extremely ironic, is that blood platelets, extremely important for cancer patients, only have a shelf life of 5 days.  So who knows?!  My mom might even receive some of my platelets, regardless, I’ll be helping someone very soon.

The Red Cross hosts over 200,000 blood drives every year, and I strongly encourage people to go out and donate.  All I know, is that the people who need the blood, have gone through much worse than a little needle prick.    I’m so glad that I was able to give blood, and I can’t wait to donate again.

P.S. An update on my mom for those of you who do not have her on facebook:  She is doing pretty well, just tired and ready to come home!  Still unsure about the date of the cord blood transplant.  Keep praying ❤