Spiritual Spring Break

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on March 13, 2012 by briannadiehl

Twins? Having a great time on my spring break!

It’s funny, and sad at the same time, how events like my mom’s leukemia, can make a person more spiritual.  After learning that I’d only get to spend just three short days with my mom, before she went back up to the James, I was devastated.  Most college students have plans to spend their spring break in a different place, be it a beach, a big city, a warmer climate, whatever.  I was just excited to come home and see my family.  Even though I only got to see my mom for three days, it was the longest I had got to see her in a long time.

On Friday, I rushed home so that Mear’s Photography could take our family portrait for an art show they are having at the pump house in June.  It showcases Cancer patients and their loved ones.  It was fun, and I can’t wait to see the finished product.  On Saturday I got up extra early and made breakfast for my mom and sister, and I must say, it was pretty delicious!  Later that evening, my mom and her friend Melissa went for a walk and I went running and walked with them some.  Then we watched Marley & Me, which really makes me want a puppy (LOL) and did our nails.

Sunday was fun too.  I got to spend some extra time with my sister and we went to Easton to get her an outfit for her upcoming senior pictures.  We even stopped at Yagoot for some fro-yo. YUM!  Then, Sunday evening we went over to Karen Leeth’s house, one of my mom’s long time friends, and had a prayer circle.  My mom brought me and my sister up Catholic and I’ve always been very thankful of that.  Over the years we got really busy and made less and less time for God.  It was never something either of us meant to do, it just sort of happened, though whenever I am having a rough time, I’ve always turned to God.

Especially now, I know that God has a hand in all of this; He has a plan for my mom, and sooner or later it will be made clear.  Untill then, we have to trust that he will continue guiding us and keeping our faith in his decisions strong.  We should not be afraid.

That’s what our prayer circle comes into play.  As Catholics, we did the rosary.  I’d have to do a whole other post to explain the significance of the rosary but if you’d like to see what I’m talking about you can refer to this article on wikipedia to get an idea: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosary But, long story short, the rosary helps us concentrate on what we are trying to pray for, and to help get our prayers heard.  I was very moved on Sunday, and I feel like our prayers were being heard.  There is just something about a strong circle of faithful women deep in prayer that stirs a part of your soul that you forgot was there.

And, I say faithful, not Catholic, for a reason.  Not all of my mom’s friends are Catholic, which is great.  We had some women there that prayed the rosary with us, that were accepting of it just because it was a form of praying, and in the words of Michon Ekvall, “Prayer is prayer!” and I couldn’t agree more.  I found a really cool blog that addresses this subject and I tend to agree with most of the points it brings up: http://thinkingreed.wordpress.com/2006/02/15/can-protestants-pray-the-rosary/

Prayer is so important.  It comes in so many different forms and they all are beautiful in their own way.  On Sunday we had normal prayer, song, and the rosary.  It was a great experience and really made me a more spiritual person.  I have grown closer to my family in just three days, than I have in three years, and that is a miracle in and of itself.  Yes, I knew this spring break was not going to be a normal one, but I’m okay with that.  It’s been full of surprises, and I’ve come to expect the unexpected.

The first prayer circle, so glad I was able to come this weekend!

I hope everyone continues praying, mom is back in the hospital now, me and my BFF Johna took her up to the James yesterday.  She’ll be doing another round of chemo, and then in about 8 weeks, they will really blast it out of her system and give her the cord blood transplant.  Thank you to everyone who is praying and encouraging my mom, it helps so much.

When You’re Weak, I’ll Be Strong

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on March 7, 2012 by briannadiehl

Well, I knew this week was gonna be a long one, especially since spring break starts Friday.  I knew I’d need a LOT of energy and motivation to get through these last tests I have, before I can come home.  I’ve been eating super healthy (and even taking my vitamins!) and for the first time in forever, I actually ran 3 miles- which I haven’t done since my cross country days…

All in all, staying on top of my work, and being extra healthy really has given me tons of energy and strength.  Unfortunately, I had no idea just how much this energy and strength was going to come in handy and just how soon.

Mom had her doctor’s appointment today and they found out that the leukemia is back.

Now, I just want to point out that there are many ways you can take news like this.  Obviously, it’s upsetting, we all want it to be over.  But, at the same time, we’ve all known that cancer is never an easy battle.  The way I choose to look at it, is that we got lucky the first time, most AML patients (2/3’s to be exact) don’t even go into remission after the first round of chemo, which my mom did.  So, now that it is back, we just take it one day at a time, like we did before.

Mom will be back in the hospital soon and the doctors have a plan ready for her when she gets there.  We all know she can beat this, so keep sending her encouraging comments/notes/etc because we’ve got to keep her spirits high!  And keep the prayers coming, God has a plan for her too, and we need all the strength we can get.

“When you’re weak, I’ll be strong When you let go, I’ll hold on When you need to cry, I swear that I’ll be there to dry your eyes When you feel lost and scared to death, Like you can’t take one more step Just take my hand, together we can do it I’m gonna love you through it. “

http://youtu.be/WxIt70j_SPk

P.S. Check out Martina McBride’s song (it’s the link above), it’s super inspiring and just puts into 4 minutes and thirty seconds how important love and faith is in a time like this. 

Wish I’d Never Grown Up, It Could Still Be Simple

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on March 1, 2012 by briannadiehl

Wow, It’s been quite some time since I’ve written a post on here!  What can I say, school is in full swing, and I am definitely living up to being BZ BRI… (Lol)

Part of the reason I haven’t blogged much lately, is due to the fact that I really haven’t had much to blog about.  Most of you already know that my mom was released to my grandparents house to recover, and now she is back to recovering at home.  It’s been a slower process than we have expected, but slow and steady wins the race, at least that’s what I’ve been told!  We don’t really know what the future holds for us right now and my parents have some tough decisions to make, regarding the route of treatment my mom will get, once her counts have gone up.

Everyone’s prayers have definitely made a world of difference.  We have a long road ahead of us, but so far, everything has went better than expected.  My mom is an inspiration to everyone, even if she has had a rough day, no one would even notice because her spirit shines, and she has such a positive attitude.  Please continue praying for strength and guidance as my family has to make these decisions in the upcoming weeks.

Also, I’d like to thank everyone, especially my mom’s close friends, who have visited her in the hospital and at home.  You guys have really helped maintain such an optimistic and positive atmosphere.  I can only imagine how difficult it must be, to have your daily routine restricted due to your health.  Not being able to work or go out in public really puts a damper on your social life!  But, because of friends and family, you have all kept her life interesting!  It’s great hearing from my mom after she has spent time with all of you, I can just tell that after these visits keep her spirit uplifted.

Keeping that in mind, I’d just like to remind anyone that does venture to see her, as much as this helps her spirit, you must be aware of your personal health as well.  This time of year is especially bad, but even if you suspect you may be getting ill, or even if you think you just have the sniffles, or allergies, this could potentially put my mom back in the hospital, and we don’t want that!

Trust me, even I could not stay home when I came back to visit, all because of a darn cold!  It really stinks, but we all just have to be germaphobic for a while, and if that’s what will help my mom stay healthy, then I say BRING ON THE VITAMIN C AND HAND SANITIZER.

O.K, so… completely switching gears.  On a positive note, I just recently got a job!  I’m nervous and excited at the same time.  I started last week at the Westerville Grill and I’m being trained as a waitress.  It’s pretty fun so far, and last night I actually got to serve a couple of people, and even got a few tips!$!$! This is really going to be a test of my time management, considering all my schoolwork and sorority activities, but I’m confident I can handle it.  I guess we’ll see!

2012 may not be the end of the world(teehee, see what I did there ;P), but I’m definitely getting a glimpse of what it means to be an adult in the real world.  Mom’s leukemia, living in a new city, college, getting a job; all are challenging, but I’ve tried to face each one with a positive attitude an open mind, and a smile on my face.  I’ve grown up so much in the past year, I hardly recognize myself anymore.  Not that I’m a different person, but I’ve become a stronger more independent woman.  That’s life for you though, they say God won’t put you through anything that God knows you can’t handle, and they couldn’t have said it any better.

Great News All Around

Posted in Uncategorized on February 12, 2012 by briannadiehl

This post is going to be a bit short, but I wanted to share the Gazette article about my mom and all of the support we’ve received from Unioto and our community.

http://www.chillicothegazette.com/article/20120212/NEWS01/202120302/Unioto-pulling-another-team?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Frontpage

Click the link above to read the Gazette article!  ^^^

In all honesty, this only begins to describe the overwhelming support we have received over the past couple of months.  I probably sound like a broken record when I keep saying we are so blessed and can hardly believe all the support coming our way. But, It just goes to show that it really does help.

GREAT NEWS! They released my mom yesterday to be able to stay with my grandparents who live in Columbus, while her counts continue to climb.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with leukemia, it is basically cancer of the blood.  So, my mom underwent chemo to kill the leukemia “blasts” that were present in her blood.  Chemo did a great job killing all of the “blasts” in her blood, but obviously it kills your immune system as well.  Even though she’s been done with the chemo for some time now, she can’t come home until her white blood cell count and neutrophils come up.  She went into remission really fast, but getting her counts to come up has been rather slow.

Even though her counts are still really too low, they let her go to my grandparents, since it’s not too far away from the hospital.  I know my mom is so happy just to be out of the hospital, so this is really great news!  Now, we just need to keep praying for her counts to go up, so she can come home!!!!  With everyone pulling for her, I know it will not be long!

Thanks to everyone who has been pulling for my mom, and my family, it is truly a blessing.

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

Posted in Uncategorized on February 10, 2012 by briannadiehl

Do I enjoy doing my hair?  Yes. Do I like wearing make up? Of course. Does that make me superficial? No.

Is there something wrong with wanting to look and feel pretty?  I don’t know.  I guess it depends on your reasoning for wanting to do so.  I think beauty is both biological and cultural.  We are programmed into finding the opposite sex attractive for obvious reasons, but has society taken it to an extreme?

What is beauty?…

. the combination of all the qualities of a person or thing that delight the senses and please the mind

Like I said, beauty is biological and cultural.  In different cultures, beauty is perceived in many different ways.  A culture in Africa finds large lips attractive, to such an extreme that they will place large wooden plates in their lips in order to stretch them.  In South East Asia, women wear many stacked metal rings around their neck to make it longer, all in the name of beauty.  To us, that seems crazy, oh but wait- I heard that many women in the U.S. were undergoing surgery to put implants in their breasts, just to make them larger…  Obviously we are a crazy culture as well!

Now biologically speaking, there are certain aspects of men and women both that make them physically attractive.  I read an article that was all about this, for example, a woman is perceived to be “attractive” if she has a waist to hips ratio of .7.  Why?  Because men are more attracted to women with small waists and broader hips. This is biological because a woman with broader hips will be better equipped to bear children.  This theory has held true across all cultures.  It’s instinct, you are attracted to a healthy mate, after all, we are only human.

One of the main standards of beauty, in women at least, is long healthy hair.  Long hair signifies youth, health, and beauty.  But why?  A man can be bald, and you don’t look twice.  But a bald woman? Taboo.  If it is a woman’s choice to shave her head, it’s just assumed that she is a radical feminist, extremist, or lesbian.  It’s insane.  When a woman loses her hair to an illness, people view it differently, but still…why is she expected to wear a wig, or cover her bald head?  Bald IS beautiful.  In fact, what I’ve decided, is that nobody even knows what beauty is!

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  My dad thinks my mom is beautiful.  I think my mom is beautiful.  My sister thinks my mom is beautiful.  In fact, I’m sure anyone that ever sees my mom with or without hair, will agree that she is beautiful.  She is an all around beautiful person, and just because she lost her hair doesn’t mean she’s really lost anything at all.

***Miss Tanzania in the Miss Universe Pageant ’07, looking stunning***

TEAM AMY

Posted in Uncategorized on February 4, 2012 by briannadiehl

Wow…. Amazing!

That basically sums up the UHS v. HHS Game last night.  Sooo many people were wearing their team Amy shirts!  It is insane the amount of people who are supporting my mom, and cheering for her fast recovery!  Even Huntington joined in with their coaches repping Team Amy shirts as well! (still awesome, even though we’re related!) haha.

One of the most inspiring moments was when the Huntsmen players and cheerleaders shook hands with my Dad and gave him some donations for my Mom, it was incredible.  My mom taught at Huntington before coming to Unioto, and my Dad is a proud alum, so it was just awesome seeing everyone come together for them.  I was told, that in total, they sold around 800 team Amy shirts! Mom, you should feel so loved!

Her UHS cheerleaders showed their love by making a cheer for my mom, it was adorable, you can see it by clicking the link I’ve posted below.  I was lucky enough to skype her for a few seconds at the game.  The cell service was not good enough to last very long, but I truly believe God let me call her (even if it only worked for a couple of minutes) so that she could see the crowd in all their orange glory!

When we had the game for Emilee, It was such an inspiring feeling to be a part of helping someone when they are in need of support, and being on the other side of that is just as incredible and more.  It is so hard to put into words how thankful I am to every single person who has given us  support.  Yes, receiving donations is unbelievable, but more than anything, it’s the moral support of all our friends, family, and all of you in the community that has shown us that we can get through this.

It is more clear than ever, that my mom is not alone, and neither is our family.  We have such a strong support system, and with all of you, I know my mom will be home soon.

P.S. Great game! Go TANKS!

http://youtu.be/qh5sw8AudOk <—TEAM AMY CHEER

All kinds of weather, we stick together

Posted in Uncategorized on January 30, 2012 by briannadiehl

I just wanted to write a short post about how excited I am for the benefit game for my mom this Friday.  I have about five specific reasons for why I am so excited:

1. Spending time with my sister

2. Seeing ALL of my friends

3. Bringing my roommate Anne to my hometown

4. Watching an epic basketball game

5. Raising awareness for leukemia & some funds for my mom

I want to specifically talk about reasons #1 & #5.  I think this benefit game will be so great for my mom, my family, and our community.  Unfortunately, cancer treatment isn’t cheap.  In fact, I just recently realized that even wigs are expensive, a nice human hair wig can be around 1500 dollars! It’s insane…  You never really think about those types of things untill it affects you, or someone close to you personally.  People have shown us so much support, and gone out of their way to help my family during this rough time.  Family friends, and even acquaintances have donated gift cards and things to my family.  I am SO thankful for the people who have donated the gas cards and food gift cards.  My dad would’ve spent so much money on gas if it weren’t for all of these people.  And when your mom isn’t around, it sure is nice for Timyka to be able to just grab a gift card and run through somewhere to get food.

Oh, Timyka.  I absolutely love my little sister.  She is the most genuinely nice, and caring person I know.  She has been there for me since age two, and I am so glad she is MY sister.  It’s really hard not being home, and not being able to know how she is, or what she is doing all the time.  But, even though I don’t get to see her as much as I used to, I truly believe it has made us closer.  On the bright side of our situation, my mom’s diagnosis has made our family stronger.  I’d also like to mention that I am incredibly happy to see her happy with her boyfriend Tim, I am so glad that he is able to physically be there for her when I am not.  But emotionally, I know she knows that if she ever needs me, I’m only a call away.  I am very excited to watch her cheer, and spend some time with her!

I hope that everyone at this game will get something positive out of it.  As a community, the people I’ve met at Unioto, will always be close to my heart.  I have never seen such a strong display of generosity and love, than on the night of my best friend Emilee’s benefit game.  The people of Unioto are absolutely amazing, and the amount of support we have already received has just blown my mind. I can’t wait to see everyone, and be a part of something that I will never forget.

P.S. …GO TANKS!