Happy Birthday and Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Last updated: November 2022

Another milestone was reached. I turned 43 in November...for the first time people! I was diagnosed shortly after I turned 33 on November 27, 2012. Sometimes I feel like life came to a halt a decade ago. But wow, I've learned so much about myself and the resilience I have and plan to hang onto.

So, now I've got a working agenda this year and it is packed! I want to do more for Lung Cancer Awareness Month, but this is our last year in our house, the last year Karley will live with me before venturing out to college. In other words; this month will always be important to me, but not as important as our God or my daughter or the memories we've made living here the past 8 years. When I see her bubbly smile it makes me appreciate every second. Morning is a totally separate topic.

This year has been amazing so far

This school year has been amazing and crazy so far. It began with a losing season for volleyball at Glynn Academy. Karley has been playing the sport religiously for years. In fact, she played travel ball with a bunch of the girls on her high school team for a while. She's loved and grown up with these girls.

It seemed like midway through the season they turned fire. They began firing on other teams and winning by landslides. One county said, "I know this can't be the same group of girls we played before. It was tough, it was like watching a spark light up."

My daughter's best friend has committed to Tulane University on a volleyball scholarship. And although Karley worked on her jumps and practiced so much, she doesn't want to play in college. She's had a lot of offers and has been in the paper so many times for her kill shots. I think so many coaches underestimated her.

The "Elite Eight" game

This pure joy of watching her play the game she loves the most just ended. It was a sad way to go out. Patient zero got influenza type A when they were heading to the sweet 16 game. Volleyball is like basketball and is played in brackets.  They were amazing when they won against Tift County and upset the number 1 seed, Woodward Academy to clench a spot in the "Elite Eight".

Well, Karley started coughing the weekend before the game. It was an awful deep-in-your-lungs cough. I was feeding her probiotics and vitamin C. The night before the "Elite Eight" game we were finishing dinner when our Varsity group text started. So many parents one by one were letting the others know their children were sick. I knew Karley would play volleyball on her deathbed, but still worried.

Powering through illness

A bunch of us parents took the girls to get IV infusions to clear the colds out quicker.  My own daughter started off the day with a 99.3 slight fever. All of us parents knew this was their dream and they were not going to back down. After Karley's infusion, she seemed to be doing much better.  But when I got to the games at sunset, they all looked like walking zombies.  The flu was in full force with our girls and it showed.

They were rugged and all seemed worn down.  The setter was sick, so sick in fact, the volleyball hit her and she fell.  She didn't hit it back and I wasn't sure she was getting back up.  Karley usually has many kills each game because she's a very powerful outside hitter.  This game was different.  I could see tell by how pale her face was.

However, they all powered through it.  We had to bring up some JV players but they rose to the occasion.  In the midst of a packed-out gym, our girls played their hearts out.  It just wasn't enough though, they played a really good team from North Forsyth.

Last game of the season and my daughter's career

It was difficult for me when I came home to her huge senior volleyball poster, and she just looked so happy.  They ended up losing which in turn ended the season and her career playing volleyball.  She doesn't want the pressure of volleyball to interfere with her academics.  I was so proud of that decision.  She reached it on her own.  I'm so confident in her.  She may do things last minute like her dad, but she's also a fighter like her dad and me.  We always seem to come through hard situations as better and more understanding people.  Karley is exhibiting that now, giving up the love of the game to ensure her future is solid.

I feel incredibly proud of my daughter

This cancer journey has been a lot.  But, I feel like we've raised a well-rounded, thoughtful, and seriously intelligent child.  Thank you, God, for letting me witness this and still be here for her as her mother when she needs me. 

My song to Karley has always been "My Wish" by Rascal Flatts. I do want this played at my memorial.  If you really listen to the words, you'll get it.  That will always be our song.  It is exactly how I feel about her kind heart.

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