Tag Archives: cancer

A Busy Year It Has Been

It has been a year since I had made my last blog post and what a busy year it has been. The last few semesters of college was quite tough, rough, and stressful, but I had survived them, receiving my Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology. I had also moved my work status from intern to full-time Assistant Curator at one of the museums located in Little Rock.

This past November my grandmother was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, to which she had succumbed from this past August. Those several months was hard to endure, not only watching her suffer through this disease and the chemo treatments, but the family drama I had to suffer through during this time was really rough.

My daughter and I had also moved and I was quite happy that her transition to her new school was not as bad as it was when she transitioned from Pre-K to Kindergarten. Not only did we move into a new house, but she moved into a whole new school; this one being much, much smaller than her previous school, so that helped. There were a few rough days, and I know there are more rough days for her in the future, but all-in-all, she is doing well and has quite a support team to help her along the way.

During all that, I had finished up the last rough draft, the last edits of my young adult fantasy fiction and hope to have it published within the next month or so. I have found an awesome illustrator to work on the cover, to which I have seen and even though it isn’t entirely finished, I love the work she has done. (I plan on post a picture of the cover art once it is completed)

I had also written a few short stories and a novella, some of them were published and some of them are in the works of being published. All of my work can be found on this website: www.twistedcrowpress.com

To keep posted on when my young adult fantasy fiction novel will be published, or to keep posted on all future works, go to my Facebook page and click ‘like’:    www.facebook.com/AuthorJenniferNAdams

There were some few road blocks, but I had managed through each one and am starting to get everything back on track.


First mammogram

A few weeks ago I had gotten my first mammogram done. All the old wives tales the older generations of women tell us younger generations of women can be really hard on oneself. I was already feeling stressed out as I had felt a few knots in my left breast and one painful knot in my right. I made an appointment to see my doctor, who then made an appointment for me to get a mammogram to check everything out. Though I’m only 34, I’m not that young to start getting these exams done regularly.

From the stories I’ve heard from those who have gotten a mammogram done, I began to have nightmares. I picture an old dinosaur aged machine that was going to smash the life out of my tatas. I was also worried about my results after having the mammogram done as cancer runs heavily in my family on both sides.

I was led into a small room with this huge machine that didn’t appear to look anything I imagined it to be. Oddly I felt more comfortable. Maybe it was due to the welcoming conversation I was having with my nurse. She adjusted the machine to my level of height and had me place one of my girls on this cold metal slab. She then started turning some knobs on the machine, bring this plastic tray looking thing down on top of my girl, which squeezed it just slightly. I had to move my head out of the view of the xray camera, which had me standing a little awkward and had me pressing my ribs into the machine slightly which was the only uncomfortable feeling I had during the entire exam.

After about a half hour of waiting on my results the doctor came in to say she couldn’t find anything, but she was going to have me go get an ultrasound. It seems that the knots I have are too small to read on the mammogram xrays. Another ten minutes and I was walking with another nurse into the ultrasound room. Being a mom I was already familiar with this device and started to relax more. Though as I was laying there, watching the screen as she moved the wand over my breasts, she hit the knot, causing me to jump. She then slowed the movement and pressed in, trying to find it the knot on the screen. Now this was the most painful part of the whole procedure.

I held my breath and tried hard not to jump as she kept running the wand over the already inflamed area. Finally she found it on the screen, but wasn’t done with me yet. She had to hold the wand over the knot and take pictures of it, documenting where it was located and how big it was. She told me that it was a cyst and that was a good thing. The cyst however can grow or reduce.

After several uncomfortable minutes later she moved to the other breast. She didn’t have me jumping as badly as she had before as this side wasn’t nearly as sensitive as the other. Though I had two knots on this breast, she couldn’t find them. She had to get the doctor to come in and have a look to see if she would be successful. After another few minutes of the doctor searching she told me that it wasn’t anything to worry about, that it could just be breast pain and inflamed ducts and that’s the reason why it isn’t showing up on the ultrasound. What a relief. Then she had to take a look at the cyst. Oh joy! Just when I thought that part was over. She was more generous to me then the nurse and didn’t use as much pressure when going over the knot.

Once she found it, they took more pictures, then told me that it is too small to do anything with and that she wants me to come back in another six months to have another look at it. She said cyst can be quite painful, but if it gets worse or get any bigger to come in earlier.

It was an interesting exam, not what I had expected from hearing my Gram’s and her sisters tell me about their experiences in having a mammogram done. I’m still curious, why isn’t there a better method of having these exams done? We as a whole have bettered our technology by way of phone and computers, but haven’t found better methods in bettering women’s exams than the already outdated techniques.

Update on Firefighter Gavin Wright

Not too long ago I wrote a blog post on a particular firefighter, Gavin Wright: https://jennnadams.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/firefighter-down/ A few days ago I learned that he had lost his battle with cancer, he was only 33 years old. My continued thoughts and prayers are going out to his family.

The Wright family needs help in paying medical expenses. If you would like to help out you can contact the Little Rock Fire Department where Gavin worked: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Little-Rock-Fire-Department/219704218055955 The family has also set up an account at First Security back in Arkansas to receive donations in Gavin’s name.

You may also make a donation in Gavin Wright’s name to the Fire Fighters Memorial Fund or American Cancer Society.

Surviving cancer

I want to share with you a story of a strong woman, a survivor. She wishes to spread hope to those who are battling cancer, especially Mesothelioma. She was given fifteen months to live when she was diagnosed. It has been seven years now that she has won her battle with Mesothelioma. Please click on the link and watch a video as she shares her story: http://www.mesothelioma.com/heather/#.Ua-959Lqlsg

You can also find her blog here: http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/heather


Firefighter Down

My Grandma always reads the newspaper from front to back, every article, so nothing slips her attention. If she sees something that she knows I’m interested in, she’ll either sit it in front of my chair at the kitchen table, which is next to the high chair of course, or if I’m already in the kitchen she’ll tell me about it.

There was an article in the paper the other day about a firefighter that is fighting a battle of a different kind. A battle she and I are quite familiar with in our family. He has stage 4 colon cancer and has been fighting it for over a year now. The newspaper went on to say what a year he’s had with this cancer. The doctors have removed 75% of the tumors and he has been on chemo. He says that he plans to go back to work for the Fire Department at the end of the year.

His church had a silent auction yesterday and all the proceeds went to him. Grandma and I decided to go see what all they had. There were many craft items that caught her attention, especially this one quilt. She got to talking to the lady who handmade it herself. She had sewn bible scriptures in it and it was adorned in fall colors (my favorite colors). It was beautiful to see in person as it was the first item you would see when you walked in the room.

I pushed my daughter around the room, looking at the other items. There were several jewelry pieces, a few wreaths, a vase, photo frames with gift certificates, there was a gift certificate to a cake decorating place, many paintings, and a few other gift certificates. I bid on a Mary Kay basket I saw.  The thing about a silent auction is, you write your name and number down on a piece of paper and how much you bid. You never know who will come behind you and write their name down and place a higher bid, outbidding you.

I was surprised though when I was called the next day and told that I won my item. Not only that, but I had won the quilt my grandmother was looking at thoroughly all night. She and I had both put our names in the raffle. I’m really proud of that quilt and so is she. The lady who made the quilt was the one who dropped it off. Both Grandma and I had to tell her we loved the quilt.

She asked us if we knew the firefighter, Gavin Wright, and if that was why we were at the silent auction. Grandma said no, neither of us knew him. Both, she and I, have a place in our hearts for firefighters and always will. Grandma’s husband, my grandpa was a firefighter. He and a few others started the Bryant Fire Department. He retired from the Fire Department in 1997. I had a little hand in firefighting when I was in the Navy. I also have friends and relatives on the Fire Department. Every year around the holidays my Grandma and I make a huge container of homemade baked goodies and take over to the Fire Department. She has really appreciated their help during the time my Grandpa was sick. It makes their day to get homemade goodies when they’re at work, instead of spending the holidays with their family.

Still Missing Grandpa

Today would be my Grandfather’s 77th birthday. Two days ago, marked two years that he had passed away from cancer. Yesterday, my Grandmother placed flowers on his grave, something that she’s been doing for awhile now. He’s still missed by quite a few people in our family.

I was going through my computer, looking for some things for class and found a eulogy that I wrote and read at his funeral. I thought I would share. Wishing you all a blessed day.

My Grandpa

Icons, heroes, idols, someone you look up to. It starts in early childhood and with most it follows into adulthood. Almost everyone has that special person in their life and mine is my grandfather. He has many titles; my teacher – taught me how to ride a bike then later how to drive a car. My parent – he helped raise me. My sidekick – grandma named us double trouble from the things we would get ourselves into.

He was a husband to my wonderful grandmother for fifty three years. A father to three daughters. A grandfather to five granddaughters and one grandson. A great grandpa to two girls and one boy. He was a milkman, a baker, a firefighter, a mason, a Shriner, an eastern star, a preacher, and a truck driver.

But most of all he was your best friend. He was a God fearing man. Could put a smile on everybody’s face. Was quick with a joke and could always tell you a story. Enjoyed playing practical jokes or pulling pranks for fun. I’m proud to say that I had the chance to have him in my life and that I have many great stories and memories with him and many memories that I’m frequently reminded of, like the time I licked his stamp collection to his floor. I wasn’t even two yet. He use to take me to the post office, sit me on the counter, had me stick my tongue out, dab the stamp on my tongue and place it on the envelope. I had enjoyed licking stamps so much that when we got home I licked his entire stamp collection to his office floor. That was the only time he ever spanked me, which was a light tap on the bum, that hurt him more than it hurt me. He got mad for a few minutes but then laughed about it later.

He had such a sweet tooth. Grandma had sent us to the store with the check book to pick up meat and eggs, wecame home with several bags of sweet goodies. Grandma said ‘man, that’s a lot of burger meat and eggs.’ The next time she sent us to the store with $5. I had my checkbook that time. Walked in the door and grandma says, you sure bought a lot of stuff with $5. It was all on sale, I replied.

After he came home from the hospital from his accident in North Carolina he was doing such a good job walking, we needed a few things from the store and he asked me if he could drive. Of course I wasn’t going to say no. He had done perfectly well that when we got home I told grandma what a good job he had done. ‘You did what?’ She yelled. I did not know that he wasn’t suppose to drive.

I had the chance to go over the road with him for three weeks when I was nineteen. That was an experience I’ll always remember. We were in upstate New York and it was getting dark, then it started to snow and the bottom fell. Grandpa was sitting close to the steering wheel and I was leaning close to the dash on the passenger side and said ‘Grandpa, you’re driving in the middle of the road.’ He replied, ‘I can’t see the road.’ ‘Grandpa there’s a car coming.’ ‘I know honey, I can see that.’ The car had turned off onto another road before we got to it. He then said ‘I’ll pull off onto a rest area.’ We went a few miles down the road before we found a rest area. We couldn’t see the road from the ditch so he decided to continue on to his drop off.

We went to North Carolina, which was dripping sweat hot. Then to Houston, Texas. For those who have been there the Interstate goes around in a circle and I noticed and pointed out to grandpa that he passed that sign twice, he said ‘I know. I can’t get over to the outside lane to exit off.’ We went to Beaumont, Texas/ Louisiana. It was night time when we pulled into the place he needed to be. He stopped and got out of the truck, walked to a little building, then came back, put the truck in gear and began driving towards a larger building. I began to notice the surrounds, we were getting closer to the ship and then I looked down and notice we were on a dock, a wooden dock. ‘Grandpa, where are you going?’ ‘Down this way.’ ‘But you’re driving on a wooden dock.’ ‘That’s where they said I had to go.’ ‘Not with me in the truck, on a wooden dock, stop and let me out, I’ll walk.’ I saw the ship was marked, showing the water line was at 60′ deep.

Grandpa was always quite the prankster, always playing a practical joke on somebody. Everybody always came to him to decorate a cake for them no matter the occasion. I had the chance to be an icing tester many times. On one occasion I had asked if I could taste the icing and as always he said yes. As he was putting the finally touches on one side of the cake, I had cleared the other side of the cake entirely of its icing. He had turned the cake to look at it and noticed what I did. He had to clear the entire cake of icing and start over again. I believe I was three.

He was a very handsome man and was never ever selfish. He was always kind and would help others in anything the need. Always talked to everyone, where ever he went. And had a contagious smile. He had a love for life, friends, family and adventure and never complained once about anything. He was the rock of this family. We may have lost a wonderful man here on earth but heaven received an angel. I will miss our adventures, his pranks, jokes and stories but I know I will get to be with him again and continue on with our memories.