Wednesday, February 17, 2016

How Someone's Random Act of Kindness Saved My Life

Did you know it’s Random Act of Kindness Week (RAK)?
#rakweek #randomactsofkindness #randomactsofkindnessweek

Oddly enough, it even has a special day which is on Thursday. 

It’s really kind of awful a foundation created a holiday or event to remind us to be kind. But The Random Act of Kindness Foundation was created We should be like that every day! But if it helps encourage people and spread kindness and awareness that can make this world a better place—I’m all for it. 

Let me just say it was the RAK idea that saved my life.   
I’ve never been a resolution-maker or someone who has posted about random acts of kindness before, but I feel like I do little things for people I don’t know a lot just everyday. 

But right now because of this particular week, all I can think about is one thing—how a stranger saved my life through a RAK.

Ya’ll, I have a confession to make.   
I received a letter from my donor… April of last year.

My transplant coordinator brought it to me when I was in the hospital post-transplant. I was shocked when she showed it to me, but surprised because I figured I’d be the first to send one.

Her letter totally brightened my day.

It was short, sweet and to the point. She's a very good writer and I was very impressed with her words. It was like she knew exactly what to write to me.

BAD NEWS: I have yet to write her back—gasp!

"Get on it Cass!"

I know there is really no excuse that could bail me out of this one. I’ve had a lot going on in my life from being diagnosed while pregnant to having a preemie to going through the transplant and all of the other medical crap that has happened, even in the past few months. But I have to write her. I’m going to write her.

If you recall,  I "wrote" her on my blog, but I feel like I need to add more to it. I don't even know what I should say… or what I can legally say because we have to stay anonymous.

cricket, cricket.

See? And I can't say that. She'd think I'm some crazy person or something. I know... I am (kinda cray) but you know what I mean! I mean this woman sounded incredible in her letter. I honestly can't believe it's taken me so long write her back. I feel terrible about it. She probably thinks I'm a bitch.

She told me that her new year’s resolution was to complete a RAK.

My stem cell donor new year’s resolution idea was to sign up the Be The Match Registry at Who knows? You could be the cure for someone too.

Little did she know, I'd just switched to my AML Oncologist/Specialist and had my first talk with him Christmas Eve. That first day he was already talking about looking for a preliminary matches following the holidays.

Meanwhile, my donor signs up in December or January and orders her cheek swab kit, sending it back in January, and then all of sudden she gets a phone call to come in for more testing.

People have signed up for 10+ years and have never received a phone call. She signed up and a matter or days or weeks later she received a phone call—about me. If she wouldn't have followed through with her random act of kindness that winter, I may of had to go with a 50% match which is much tougher on your body, especially when you aren't related.

Related Post: I Am Having A Stem Cell Transplant

She was a 100% match and agreed to go through the process to donated millions of stem cells, taking off work, staying at the hospital, for me—a complete stranger.

Related Post: The Match

I was in the hospital this year when the ball dropped and I was in the mood to celebrate. Plus, I’ve never been much of a “resolution-maker,” though now, thanks to my donor I definitely will become an avid resolution-maker and celebrate #rakweek by taking a pledge to do something special, random and to hopefully inspire others to do the same.

Thinking about how my donors random act of kindness saved my life and gave me a fighting chance, made me want to write down my resolutions and RAK ideas.
So I made a list of some of my resolutions this year, as you can see below.

How A Random Act Of Kindness Saved My Life

So my reader challenge to you is to come up with your own random act of kindness, write it down to make yourself accountable for it, … and follow through with it.

Have you already stopped your original New Year’s Resolutions? Well, here’s a kick in the rear! Create your random act of kindness story! Read other random acts of kindness stories!

I want to hear about your resolutions and RAK’s!
Make sure to comment, like, share, tweet, and be happy and tell me your RAK!.

Pay IT Forward. You never know you could save someone’s life, make a dream come true, or just put a smile on someone’s face for being kind.

 Random Acts of Kindness Week | #RAK  RAKWeek | Random Acts of Kindness Idea

Don't forget you can also join


Monday, February 08, 2016

Life On Cass Lane gets a Newsletter!

Exciting news!

So I’ve been working on creating a newsletter, but I do need some help from my readers—you guys. I need you to sign up so I can send out my awesome newsletter!

This newsletter is going to be loaded with exclusive content, more frequent updates, tips and advice. But that’s not all! I’m launching some new, fun ways to get to know my readers, fellow cancer survivors, patients, and caregivers. 

In the newsletter, you’ll get info about:
  • Host FREE webinar support groups for cancer patients, survivors and caregivers
  • Host FREE LIVE Q+A’s with my followers
  • Announce the launch of my products I’m working on
  • Share funny and embarrassing stories that have yet to make it to post-worthy
  • Tips & Advice
  • Updates on me Medically
  • And even some giveaways!

So let’s start your week off right with some fun, exclusive news from my newsletter!
Get a dose of Cass bi-weekly, maybe even more times a week, if readers want more!

Let me light up your inbox and sign up here! 

You can also help me out by filling out the quick survey below!

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Health, Hospital & Hell

To say 2015 wouldn't allow me to end the year on a good note is the understatement of the century.

As much as I want to blog everyday, something in my life pops up and ruins this writer's plans.

Just a few weeks (now months) back I was back in the hospital for three days with a virus in Nov... #onemorehospitalstayforthebooks

Then post-Christmas, on the 27th, I was admitted again for GI issues.
This hit me like a ton of bricks, ya'll, and I'm still currently having issues--two months later.

Needless to say November and December were insane months for us and January decided to follow suit.

I've literally been in the hospital this entire time I've been not blogging. I've had maybe 10 days or so since December 27 that I've been home; it's February 2.

It all started when we had to cancel Bex's first birthday because of my sinus surgery and then Thanksgiving came--a joyous time of year where we are supposed to give thanks and list all we are thankful for--unfortunately, that wasn't the case this year.

We had family members have strokes, my grandpa had a triple bypass surgery, I got sick, Bex had hand foot and mouth again, then Brody got sick, and even Klay managed to get a bout of what was going around the "White House" this time. It was terrible.

Between the family illnesses and deaths, every time I've wanted to write some other issue would already add to our fully-loaded plate.

It's honestly just been really really tough.

I'm doing as much as I can to try to stay healthy, but I can't help but notice all of the people around me are falling apart too.

I was actually the last one to get sick and had been rather healthy early December. My energy level was the best it had been since my diagnosis and I was hopeful I was on the mend.

And then WHAM! Like a Holly Holm KO kick to the head, all of my excitement about the holidays flew out of my mind and was replaced with worry and fear.

Sickness. Family illness. Deaths. All of them during the holidays this year.

I'm knocked back down again emotionally and physically as I sit here in a hospital bed typing away about how bad 2015 was for us.

And it so far looks like 2016 isn't off to the greatest start, but I'm determined it will be better than 2015! This is going to be a good year. It has to be. We so desperately need it to be.

It's been more than three weeks and people aren't really sure why I'm having GI problems. I have ulcers in my stomach, but tested negative for CDIFF. It was absolutely terrible.

We do know I have an inflamed colon, but we don't know what is causing it so we can treat it.

This lengthy hospitalization was not planned and it's been a struggle to find people to help out. I feel like I'm such a burden when I ask people to do stuff for me. And I know people say I'm not, it's just everyone has their own lives to tend to and don't need the complications of my life sitting on their doorstep with the little bubble that says "help me" next to it.

And this was my first hospital stay from Dec. 27-Jan.14.

Then, I was admitted again less than a week later and finally went home on the Jan. 30th. This time I tested positive for CDIFF, and I fell at the hospital fracturing my sacrum (buttbone, which was already fractured by the way).

Then to top all that off--I started to swell like a balloon and we learned there was a blood clot in my neck connected with my power port or central line, so I had to have surgery to have that removed (the port). Now, I'm on blood thinners, but I still have a lot of fluid in my face.

I mean it was so bad that I didn't even recognize myself.

I just feel bad for everyone around me. Everyone whose life this impacts everyday that's not mine.

I hate that I'm away from the boys. It kills me not to see them everyday.

I honestly feel like the last three months were just a blur. I don't know what to say when people ask how I feel, I'm tired of talking. I feel terrible. I look terrible.

It's made us have to shuffle the boys around, which we hate. I just want to go back to a normal routine again. My mom and Klay have been amazing. I literally don't know what I would do without them. Their lives are the most affected by my illness (along with the kids, of course). If Klay's with me, mom's watching the boys, and if mom is with me, Klay's with the boys. Mom is at my house every day taking care of me and three kids (Swayze, too) and she's done a hell of a job keeping it together. I honestly feel so much more at ease when she is around. There is nothing like being taken care of by your mama. NOTHING. I love you, mom.

Plus, Klay's working and trying to balance this crazy life we're living right now. He's trying to grocery shop, cook dinner, play with the kids, bathe the kids, get them to bed, and work and go to the Reserves and work there. Plus, visit me and stay with me at the hospital, driving back and forth from Dallas to our house everyday. There is just so much he's doing. I feel terrible for him. I just wish I could do something to make everyone's lives a little easier.

I love him so much. And he's been through this all with me (skinny, fat, bald, rashes, broken tailbones, dealing with me shitting myself, bathing me, helping me get dressed--you name it, he's done it.)

Then the poor guy dropped a cage on his foot at work and had to go to the ER last week. It was only a bone bruise, but it just seems like none of us can catch a break.

Right now I'm at the doctor. Yes, I'm out of the hospital, but I'm still swollen, having GI problems, my stomach is killing me, and I'm wearing Depends, which should tell you a lot about how "well" I am right now.

This is my life right now.

I'm 28 and married with two beautiful boys who I don't get to see because of my "recovery" from my stem cell transplant. I'm wearing Depends--so yes, I'm pooping on myself--I'm skinny, my skin is disgustingly dry, my face is blown up because of a damn blood clot in my neck. Oh, and it hurts any time I move my bum because I had to fall and break something while I already feel like shit. I'm going through menopause and I can't have any more kids. My life is quite possibly at the lowest point it's ever been--physically, emotionally, etc. I'm just trying to shake things off, but it's so hard because I keep getting bad news all the time.

I just don't even want to answer questions about anything. I don't want to engage with anyone right now. I know I don't need to shut people out at a time like this. All of these health problems have turned my life and those I love most [their lives] upside down.

Having these GI problems for two months with no resolve is frustrating.

Every day I've been sick with diarrhea, blood in my stool, going to the bathroom every few minutes...

I'm weak, I'm losing weight. I lost eight pounds since December. I'm in the 125s with clothes on. All my clothes are 4x too big for me. I need to get rid of the old and buy some new clothes asap, but don't feel like it cause I'm sick and weak.

I'm way too skinny. It's scary. Though it may not look like it in these photos I'm going to show you. They are gross, but I want people to know what this is like for me and what I've had to experience.

My face is still swollen and swells up really bad in the morning. My right eye is constantly blurry because of the fluid. Hopefully these blood thinners I'm on will help the swelling go down soon. I'm not as big as the last photo. My whole body was full of fluid then.

The only upside to swelling up like a balloon last week was that my jugs were pretty huge for a week. It was like size B to F in 24 hours. Holy Moly they were the biggest they've ever been. It was honestly insane.

But feeling this way about yourself isn't healthy.

I look in the mirror and look at my butt, that's really just skin now. There is no fat to it whatsoever. It's gross. I need my Kim K. curves back with a lot of junk from her trunk while I'm at it.

I was actually happier with my body when I was bigger (pre-AML). At least then I had something to grab. Now, its just skin. There is nothing there and it's pretty depressing.

There is probably a lot of stuff I've left out that's happened since I last wrote, but my brain just isn't all here today or ever, any more.

I just want to apologize to everyone for my lack of posting. We've literally had something happen to us everyday (or just me being sick and tired). And sometimes it's too hard to think about. I just can't even wrap my mind around all of this sometimes. It's a lot to take in.

I know I'm a bucket full of mixed emotions. I literally don't even know what to think or how to feel any more. I just know that I do want to do this--share with you guys. Sharing and knowing that people out there care and want to help does make me feel better.

My goal this year is to grow this blog. I'm working on getting it redesigned and some new things up and going, so I'm hoping that this will help me feel like I'm doing something with my life. I need something to do besides doctor appointments, hospital stays and feeling like poo all the time.

Please continue to pray for us during this very, very difficult time. We need all the prayers we can get!

Also, let's toast (& pray) for a great 2016!