Crossfit : Another Blessing in my Life

From the moment I had my stroke to my current journey of conquering a full marathon, I am amazed and blown away by the community’s support and encouragement to help build a stronger, healthier me : Early Childhood Intervention (my job),Waxahachie Bible Church,  Baylorworx- Cardiac Rehab, Sports Orthopedic Clinic- Dr. Perrot, Waxahachie Running Club, and now Waxahachie Crossfit!

I started classes at Crossfit not too long ago – April 2012. And, I had no clue what to expect. All I knew was that crossfit supposedly prepared my body for better fitness so that I could improve in any activity and/or sport – such as RUNNING. But, I’ll be honest – I had my doubts at first.  I was extremely scared of the WOD’s (workout of the day), all of my muscles were sore, and my weekly running mileage was decreasing.  How were squats, push-ups, pull-ups,and  power cleans going to improve my endurance? How was Crossfit going to improve my running? After only 2 weeks, I almost quit.

Then two things happened: 1- I started feeling the benefits of crossfit and   2- my run/ race times started improving!!  How amazing. Almost every race I ran since starting crossfit, I have PR’d! The most recent race I ran was the Wounded Warrior and I ran it under 2 hrs 10min. Getting closer and closer to that sub 2!

The benefits of Crossfit Rock : improved cardiovascular endurance, an amazing sense of accomplishment in reaching new goals day after day, increased energy throughout the day, increased sleep quality, decreased stress levels, and a better mood and positive outlook on life. I am loving life and am feeling awesome!

If you want the same benefits, want to improve your fitness level, are bored with your current gym routine, then Crossfit is for you. Coach – Chris Biles, is amazing. And, the crossfitters who go there are absolutely fabulous! They are the most kind, energetic, supportive, goal oriented people I have ever met. They have a passion for fitness and work together as a team to help one another reach his / her goals. I love going to the box and look forward to each WOD. I have learned that feeling scared is a good thing. The more scared I am, the harder the WOD is.  But, as soon as I crush it, I feel such a sense of accomplishment…. a feeling of success! I can’t wait to see where I am at a year from now! Check out Waxahachie crossfit at the following website: www.crossfitwaxahachie.com .

WRC (Waxahachie Running Club) and Crossfit Waxahachie working together to improve fitness! Group Runs at the Park!

It is only 19 weeks until my full marathon in San Antonio. Training will start in a few weeks and I am WAY Excited! I will be running with the American Cancer Society Team in honor of my survivor – My husband – Daniel. Please help me raise money by clicking on the link below. Thank YOu!!

I am on Arturo Torres’ Team. He is the team captain for ACS and this is his page.

http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR/DetermiNation/DNFY11PL?px=17110550&pg=personal&fr_id=45940

What a Great Weekend!

Was not quite sure how the Memorial weekend was going to turn out. Daniel and I both had important doctor appointments on Friday. Depending on the results was going to determine how the weekend was going to go.

I had the first doctor appointment for the day. Early Friday morning, I went to see my cardiologist – Dr. Johnston. A year ago, I had heart surgery to close a PFO, hole in my heart that had been present since birth. This was my annual visit and I was Nervous yet Excited! Nervous – of the unknown. Excited – because I feel AWESOME! Since the surgery, I have started running and doing crossfit and am in the best shape I have been in years. I couldn’t wait for Dr Johnston to see how healthy I was.

Once Dr. Johnston checked me out – blood preasure, EKG, etc, – he said the words I have been waiting to hear. ” You look great. You are completely fixed. Stop taking the aspirin.  Go Home. I don’t want to see you again. Go be a marathoner! ”  I was THRILLED! ……..Of course, we chatted about running, cycling, and crossfit before I left the office. Dr. Johnston is an amazing doctor and I am forever thankful that the good Lord sent me to him. If it weren’t for him, I may never have had the surgery.

Thank You Dr. Johnston!!

Daniel’s appointment with his Oncologist – Dr. Nadler – was next. We found out that Daniel had cancer in January of 2009. He had surgery to remove the cancer and finished up with chemo in November of that year. He has been cancer free for 3 years now! The magic number to get to is 5 years. They say that if the cancer is going to come back, it is most likely to come back within the first 5 years. So, for 5 years, Daniel is to get scanned and see Dr. Nadler every 3-4 months.Only two more years to go.

I am EXTREMELY nervous every visit Daniel goes to. His quarterly visit always ends up being a day’s worth of appointments – scans, bloodwork, and ends with Dr. Nadler’s appointment where he receives all the results for the day. Thankfully, this visit was no different than the others….. Daniel was once again CANCER FREE!

Dr. Nadler is absolutely TERRIFIC!  Daniel and I met with two other Oncologists before we found him. I was terrified and did not know how we were going to trust any doctor. Then, we met Dr. Nadler. He took all my worries away and I had no doubt in my mind that he was the oncologist for Daniel. Thankfully – Daniel felt the same way. lol.  Cancer is a family disease, the entire family goes thru it. WE both trust Dr. Nadler with Daniel’s life and WE know that Daniel is gettig the best care possible.

Thank You Dr. Nadler!

What a day! That night we celebrated with the kids – watched Hannah play tball, then had burgers and ice cream to end the night. Am so glad that the kids were too young to understand what was going on these last few years…….. One day we will tell them all about it.

It’s a good thing Friday went so well because I had two races to run the next few days. Saturday, I ran the Polka Fest 10K and Monday was the Patriot Half marathon. I had never ran so many miles so close together so this was going to be a challenge! Knowing that this past weekend was going to be HOT, I decided that I would run the 10K hard and just try to finish and survive the Half.

Things did not go as expected. At the 10K, I started out running WAY too fast and thought I was going to die at mile 3. I was only half way done. My pace started out at 8:30 per mile and ended at 11/12 per mile. I even walked part of the race and it was only 6 miles long…… I was dehydrated and felt like I was going to pass out when I crossed the finish line. I did however manage to finish under 1 hour – my goal!

I had only one day to rest until the Patriot Half Marathon. I rested all day Sunday and drank lots and lots and lots of water. I was sooooo worried about running in the heat and getting dehydrated…. especially since I was running 13.1 miles. So on Monday, I started the race slower, ran according to how I felt and not according to my watch and actually ended up getting a new PR!!! Knocked 5 minutes off of my time – 2 hrs 12 min 42 seconds!  One of these days I will get a sub 2!

I had a blast at both races even if it was HOT! Love running with my WRC family!

I still have no idea how I am going to run a marathon in November. Right now I can’t imagine running more than 13.1 miles. But, I love a challenge. If Daniel can handle chemo for 6 LONG months and I survived heart surgery, I know I can do it! Only a few more months till I start training!

Big D Half – Almost a PR!

I recently signed up for the Mellew Four Seasons Half Marathon Challenge (http://www.mellew.com/four_seasons.php#content ), which challenges runners to run one half marathon in all four seasons. The Big D Half was my first race of the Challenge! Several members of the Waxahachie Running Club (WRC) also signed up for the Challenge and were running the Big D as their first race while others were finishing the challenge with Big D. WRC also had one member run the Big D full marathon- her first marathon – Go Kaylee! We had a good turnout – about 17 members present.  Awesome group! Great Support!

Big D started out a very hot and humid race. Storms and a cool front were expected to come in while running the race……. but I had my doubts. For a second, I thought the storms had cleared and I was going to be facing yet another challenging race. However, around mile 6 or 7, the clouds and cool air rolled in and rain started falling. What a difference the weather made! The weather was great! Rain was not pouring yet just an off and on drizzle / light rain and the cool breeze was perfect. I could run all spring and summer in weather like this!

It was such an enjoyable race. I felt great the entire race. I am not sure whether it was due to the weather change  or what. But, out of all 3 races, this was by far the easiest. By mile 10, my legs felt good instead of feeling like they were gonna fall. LOL.

Changes made this race:    –  new orthotic inserts for my shoes,     – started the race at a slower, more steady pace     – stopped at only a few water stops instead of all of them      – picked out one runner who ran my pace and stayed up with her; never fell behind     – ran without music or any electronic devise; concentrated on the run (would’ve ran with music but didn’t want to chance ruining my phone in the rain)

All the above could have helped or I just got lucky and had a good race. What I’ve learned from other experienced runners is that not all of the races will go well…. some races will be great and others might be terrible. It just depends. I am hoping that as I  become a more experienced runner, I will become used to being on my feet and my time will only get better. If not, oh well.  I am very pleased with my progress.  I ended up running the Big D in 2 hrs 17 min 55 seconds – Almost a PR! My time at Cowtown was 2 hrs 17min 05 seconds. So Close – Maybe next time.

After crossing the finish line, I headed inside to refuel and get dry and  meet up with the running group to chat about the race and congratulate everyon on their achievements!

My proudest moment after the race –  Being able to walk normally to the car.  For the first time, my legs weren’t sore and I was not walking funny! I was actually able to go home and chase my kids around the house. I even started planning a few short runs over the next few days. Improvement!

Susan G. Komen – Greater Fort Worth

Today I ran the Susan G. Komen 5K with two friends dear to me – Shaun and Megan Sanders.  They had ran the race last year and were running it again in memory of Shaun’s mom.            

It is easy to see that this is a very emotional race. People everywhere had pink papers pinned to them of loved ones they were running in memory of or those who were breast cancer survivors or those currently fighting this horrible illness. I even saw a group of firemen dressed in their bunker gear running the 5K for a fellow fireman’s mom. It was amazing! There were also lots of funny costumes worn – several shirts talking about Tatas, Boobies, and so on. And even a man running in shorts and a decorated bra! Lol

This is the first weekend that I am running both saturday (5K) and Sunday (half). So, I was unsure how I should run the 5K. I was even contemplating walking it so that I would save more of my energy for Big D Half tomorrow. However, I decided to run it the best I could. My reasoning behind my decision was this: I am in no shape to beat my last Half. But, I can definitely PR my last 5K. So…….. why not go for the PR!

Before starting the race, Shaun and Megan warned me about the first hill of mile one. However, they forgot to tell me about the last hill at mile 3 that was killer! ( Course had changed. They didn’t know either. LOL) I am GLAD that course is 3.2 miles and not more. Way too hilly. So, my game plan was to run at a 8 min 50 sec mile pace since it was only a 5K. It was a pretty good judgement this time because by the time I crossed finish line, I don’t think I could’ve gone any further. My energy was depleted! New 5K PR of 27 min 32 sec. My last 5K was 30 min and a few seconds. So, I am pleased with my progress. Not sure how much faster this injury proned lady can get!

The after party was great! The crowd was not too big and the free food / drinks were excellent. It included: ice cream, strawberry milk, pink pancakes, bananas, oranges, apples, pears, donuts ( chocolate, white powder, and cinnamon), smoothies, water, sodas, etc.

Enjoyed this run – the distance, the course, the music, the food……. But, most of all, loved running with good friends for a good cause! Running to honor Brenda Sanders ….. her memory……her legacy lives on!

Now I must try to rest and refuel….Got a big day coming up — BIG D Half Marathon in the morning! Wish me Luck!

 

 

Rock N Roll – Dallas Half Marathon

Well, I did it! I finished my SECOND half marathon – the Dallas Rock n’ Roll on March 25th! No – running one half marathon was not enough for me. It only made me LOVE running more and had me searching for more races to enter.

The Dallas Rock n’ Roll was a huge race – big crowd of spectators and corralls and corralls of runners. It started downtown Dallas at City Hall and ended at Dallas Fair Park. I had a good feeling about this race and was counting on running a  new PR for  several reasons : 1 – the course was not hilly like Cowtown,  2- I had not had any knee or other running injuries AND  3- I had more training prior to the race!  In my head, there was no reason why I couldn’t beat my Cowtown half race time. I just knew I was going to run my personal best this time.

I was running the Rock n’ Roll with a few running friends. Before the race, we were discussing the course and talking about how fast we had to run in order to break a new PR. In February,  I ran the Cowtown in 2 hrs 17 min. I began the discussion talking about how fast of a pace I needed to run to finish in 2 hrs 15 min. By the end of our discussion, I was thinking how awesome it would be to finish even faster. I was feeling so great. Why couldn’t I run this race in less than 2 hrs?  A few of the other Waxahachie Club runners could do it, so why couldn’t I? LOL……

I begain the race in the same corrall as other runners who could run -sub 2 Half. So, All I had to do was keep up with their pace and I would be fine…….or so I thought. At the beginning of the race, I was able to keep up with the pace for a good 3 miles. However, by mile 6, I thought I was gonna die! Never had running been so hard. Eventually, I began running slower and slower and taking more and more water/ walking breaks as the race went on.  What was happening?

The Cowtown Half seemed so much easier for me. Running a sub 2hr race was no longer in my thoughts. My goal now was only to FINISH the race! At this time, I had  passed mile 11 a while ago and new the finish line was close. I had not seen a sign reading mile 12 and just new that it had been a mistake and someone forgot to put it up or I had missed it. So, I would soon be approaching the finish line!……or woudl I?  Then, I saw the sign – mile 12! What ?#%^&!   I had never been so angry in my life. Lol….. I thought I passed this mile already. It took everything in me to run that last mile. Yes, I stopped for water, some ice, and even took some time cooling off in the water mister, but I finished!

I was exhausted! I walked thru the line grabbing all the post race food/ drinks and kept walking past the crowd and straight to my car. All I wanted to do was sit down in my car, turn the air on, rest, and enjoy my snacks.There was no post race partying for me.

I finished the Rock n’ Roll Half in 2 hrs 23 min – about 6 min longer than my first race. The competitive side of me sat in the car pouting for a few min. Then, the realistic side, said “are you crazy? you ran ANOTHER half marathon and FINISHED! You cannot beat your time every race.  Just be happy with the fact that you are running and LIVING a healthy life!”

And….. as I drove home, I began planning all the next races I will be running!

April 14th – 5K Susan G. Komen Greater Ft Worth , April 15th – Big D,  Heels and Hills – May 6th Irving, May 5th – Crime Prevention 5K – Waxahachie, May 19th – REACH 5K  Waxahachie, June 10th – Wounded Warrior Half, June 16th – Hero Rush 5 K Obstacle Course – Irving, July – Elscorcho, August 12 – Hottest Half, October – Tyler Rose Half Marathon, November – Rock n Roll MARATHON San Antonio!, December – Dallas White Rock Half Marathon………… there are so many races I am leaving out. How will I decide what to choose?

I do know one thing for sure….at  my next half, I will NOT be starting out at a faster than normal pace for myself! LOL. I have learned my lesson!

Running is Addicting!

Most runners describe running to be “addictive”.   Why is that so? I don’t think there is one correct answer and I think that all runners have a different answer to why they love running.  I have heard several answers: ” I run to stay fit and healthy”,  ” I run to escape unpleasant painful things in life”, “I run to win”, “I run to enjoy the scenery, to be alone and collect my thoughts”. “I run to finish a marathon”, “I run to honor a loved one”, “I run to raise money”,……. the list can go on and on.

I run for several reasons: 1- I run to stay healthy and fit,   2- I run because I have a sweet tooth and love dessert,  3- I run because I love the way it makes me feel — so stong and in control,     4- I run because it is a stress reliever,  5- I run because I am competitive and love to accomplish new goals, 6- I run because I am alive and want to celebrate my life. 7- I run because I can…….. the list can go on and on….. The benefits of running are that awesome!

Running can be as simple as you want to make it or it can be a little more difficult and include so many different factors to think about. As I began running long distance races/runs, I figured out how important these factors were. Here are just a few of them:

SHOES                                                                                                                         Am I wearing the correct shoes? I never knew that having the appropriate foot gear would be so complicating. I thought I could go buy a pair of running shoes and be fine. Who knew I needed to get a foot evaluation?  Do I overpronate? Do I underpronate? Do I have a neurtral arch? I wish I had gotten a foot eval when I first started running. I think part of my injury was caused by wearing the wrong shoes. I am very flat footed and do not have much of an arch. And, I overpronate and need a specific running shoe with more support.. I also discovered that most runners buy shoes a whole size bigger than what you normally wear. Your toes need room to move around! Boy, what a difference having the appropriate shoe makes!

Fuel /Hydration                                                                                                      In order to have the energy to run long distances, you have to fuel appropriately before, during, and after each run and you must stay hydrated. Otherwise, you will not be able to finish you race/run. After a few runs when I could not find the energy to finish the mileage, I decided to pay more attention to what I drank and ate. Carbohydrates is your body’s main fuel source for energy. So, a low carb diet was not a good  option. I wasn’t eating enough carbs before my runs nor was I eating anything during my long runs. Once I increased my carbs and was introduced to the fuel on the run – gu and cliff shot bloks, my long runs became so much easier. I was also drinking more water, cutting out my diet cokes, and staying hydrated. Drinking enough before, during, and after. Timing what I eat and drink before, during, and after a run is everything!

TRAINING                                                                                                                       How you train each week is key to staying injury free. Most runners run 3 x during the week (usually includes some speedwork) and a long run on the weekend. It does not mean that every run is ran at a fast pace. While training for the Cowtown Half, I never give my body a break. I would run each run at race pace and kept trying to increase my time. I also kept increasing my long runs by too much mileage on the weekends. I was doing too much too fast. No wonder I injured myself. I was overworking my body! I was not listening to my body. Every training guide is not perfect for everyone. You make your training work for you!

TAPERING                                                                                                                             Why is it important to taper? To Rest! In order to obtain  a peak performance, you need to cut back on training a few weeks before the race. This means to cut back on total mileage. To cut distance but not intensity. It also means cutting out lifting weights or other cross fit activities. Your body must rest. And, since your body is resting, you also need to cut back on calories. You are not running the same mileage that you normally do and you do not want to pack on the pounds! But it can be very hard for a runner to make themselves slow down and rest. Lol.

PACE                                                                                                                                  Every runner seeks the perfect race, in which he/she achieves the perfect pace crossing the finish line with no energy left and fully aware he/she could not have ran one second longer or gone one step farther. This is not easy to accomplish. Start out running too hard and you will struggle to finish the race. Start out too slowly and you will find yourself at the finish line with too much energy and a slower time than you had wanted. Finding your perfect pace takes time and experience. However, since I do not have much experience, I think underestimating my fitness is better than not having the energy to finish the race!

GOALS                                                                                                                             Every runner has a goal in mind when running a race. It may be to win the race, or set a new PR, or just to finish the race. That’s what I love about each race. The race is not about competing against everyone else who is running. It is about racing against yourself and accomplishing your goal.

Running is much more difficult than I have ever thought it would be…… but I LOVE it! Each race is a challenge. Each race is a lesson. With each race,I learn a little more and more about what I can do to improve. Running is addicting!  Because every race can be an accomplishment!

                                            

COWTOWN – HALF MARATHON

I am extremely proud to say that I completed my very first half marathon Sunday, February 26th —- the FT Worth Cowtown! And, it was awesome!

I was extrememly nervous before the race for several reasons:   1-  I had injured both my achilles and knee 3-4 weeks ago      2 – the most I had ran in the last few weeks was 6 miles at one time and        3- this was my First Half Marathon!

I have no clue why I worried so much. There was no way that I was not going to finish this race…… especially with the encouragement and support from all my family, friends, and run mates — The Waxahachie Running Group.

Almost all of the Waxahachie Running Group started the race together in corral #2.  Of course, we have people running all different paces and most of us separated and paired up for the run as the race started. I paired up with Denise Wright. She stayed by my side the entire race. I think she knew I might need an extra push to keep me going. By mile 11, I had told her to go ahead and take off without me. I was starting to fall behind and was not keep up with her pace. She ran slightly ahead of me, yet kept me in eye sight. By mile 12, she had turned around and ran back by my side for the finish. I will never forget her words ” We started together and we will finish together.” Such an amazing person! She could’ve finished the race at least 10 minutes earlier.

Mile 12 was extremely hard for me. I think I might have walked it if Denise wasn’t by my side. As we kept moving along, I saw the finish line in the distance…… That’s when it all changed. It is amazing how much more energy I got from seeing that finish line. And, I knew my family was waiting there for me and I couldn’t wait to celebrate with them! Denise and I gave it all we had left and finished strong. Final Chip time was 2 hrs 17 min.

During the race, I posted the start of the run on facebook. If my friends “liked” the post, I could hear cheering in my headphones everytime someone “liked” it. I received So Many cheers throughout the race. Everytime I wanted to slow down or walk, I got a cheer. What encouragement! I knew that people were watching me on facebook and knew I had to give it my all. As I was running, I saw a sign in the crowd that read ” Pain is temporary. Pride is Forever!” How true those words are!

Denise and I re-united with the rest of the Waxahahcie Running Group after the race. Congrats, hugs, and hi-fives were given. We had several runners with new PR’s and others like me who had just completed his / her first Half!

To everyone who loves to run……I recommend joining a  local running group. I have not been a member for very long, but have already learned a LOT from them! These experienced runners are full of great advice, they are fun to run with, and provide great support (and will wear a tutu along side with you. lol).  I am looking forward to years and years of races with these guys and gals! If you live in the Waxahachie Area, look us up on facebook!

So, I ask myself, what race is next? Maybe The Dallas Rock N Roll Half or the The Big D Half. Or maybe both!

San Antonio – Rock N Roll Marathon – November 11th 2012. I will be running with the American Cancer Society. Donations can be made at the following link :   http://main.acsevents.org/goto/kelly.rozier

If anyone would like to join my team for the marathon, please do. Would love to have company!

THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT!

Once Weak Now Strong

As you can expect, after just having a baby and having heart surgery, I was extremely weak and tired. My body had just gone thru a LOT. A few days after I was released from the hospital, I received a phone call from Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation at Baylorworx in Waxahachie. They wanted me to set up an appointment for an evaluation for the Cardiac Rehab program. At that time, I really thought that I could get back to normal on my own. I was young and could do anything right? And, wasn’t rehab for older people?

I was So Wrong! What was I thinking?  Once I stopped taking pain pills, got out of bed and started moving around a little more, I realized that I had a LONG way to get back to feeling normal. I couldn’t walk but a few feet without becoming out of breath and feeling dizzy. My doctor had me on medication that kept my blood pressure low so that my heart would rest and not work too hard. As a result, the low blood pressure made me feel terrible.  I think the hardest thing after surgery was not being able to take care of my kids nor myself. I was slightly depressed and hopeless. Yes, I was VERY Thankful for the surgery being a success and my heart being fixed. But at the same time, I did not know how to get back to my normal life. So, I gave in and made that appoinment with Cardiac Rehab at Baylorworx.

Making that appointment was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It was at my first appointment that I learned why I needed Cardiac Rehab. The goal of Cardiac Rehab is to provide education and counseling services to help heart patients increase physical fitness, reduce cardiac symptoms, improve health, and reduce the risk of future heart problems. It is a prefessionally supervised program that helps heart patients recover from heart attacks and / or heart surgery. Cardiac Rehab was exactly what I needed! At Baylorworx, my wonderful, awesome team consisted of John Shelton – Physical Therapist and Gaybrielle Lee- Registered Nurse. I  also received help from other Trainers – Lucy and Bonnie, but my main team was John and Gaybrielle (pictured below).

I cannot say enough about them. They are wonderful! Three days a week I was at cardiac rehab. Every day,  Gaybrielle took my blood pressure, hooked me up to the Heart monitor, and watched over me while John got me moving. I started out only being able to walk on the treadmill at a slow 2-3 miles per hour pace for 10 min. to jogging on and off for 30 min at a 5.5 miles per hour pace. John even had me lifting weights and doing all types of endurance exercises. By the end of the program John and Bonnie had me exercising for 45-60 minutes long while keep my heart rate at a good healthy range – without medicine!

When I started the program, my only goal was to get my energy back and be able to do daily life activities at home and at work. However; by the end of the program, I had mastered my first goal and had made a new goal – to run a 5K!

Three to four weeks after completing cardiac rehab, I ran my first 5K – the 9/11 Fallen Heroes Run in Dallas. I ran the entire race and never once stopped to walk. What a feeling of accomplishment! Not only was I Proud of myself. But, I was so THANKFUL for God’s grace…… for him sending me angels – all my wonderful doctors at Baylor and everyone at Baylorworx – who saved my life and helped me become a much stronger person!

Emotional yet Wonderul Night

 As I was looking thru all of my pictures and keepsakes, I found this letter. When Daniel was done with his chemotherapy, we had a party to celebrate and thank everyone for helping us so much. I wrote the following letter thanking everyone at the party. Since I had just had a stroke, my speach was very slow and pronunctiation was off so I had Richard, my father in law, read the letter for me.

I would like to Thank everyone for coming tonight. Yes, we are here to celebrate the end of Daniel’s chemo, but we are also here to Thank each and every one of you for helping us get though   this past year. This year has been extremely tough for both of us. I have had   to put on a tough face this year in order to be strong for Daniel and to just get by. To some of you, this year of chemo might seem like it was fairly easy   for us, but, it has been nothing but challenging to us. It is such a relief   to know that it is finally over.

All of you have helped us out in   many ways. Both of our parents have been so helpful with taking care of   the kids and cooking us meals when needed or helping take care of regular   daily life routines. Our parents, Richard and Karen Rozier and Shirley and   William Trull are by far the best parents in the world!  

We are also thankful for several   family members who have helped bring food to the hospital for Daniel   and I, have visited with us, and have even offered a place for me to stay   instead of sleeping on those hospital pull out chairs. Many friends have also   visited us in the hospital or provided snack baskets so Daniel   wouldn’t have to eat the hospital food. Here is a short list of other   things friends and family have done: one friend has mowed our yard every week   of the summer, friends have sent positive emails every week and others   have sent emails of prayer, one friend gave me money to use on the kids   only –to take them to the movies and spend a special day with   them, and to my best friend who has been there for me from the very beginning   to the end.. She has listened to my fears over and over and has been there   for me when I couldn’t be strong anymore and needed a shoulder to cry on. She   is the true meaning of a FRIEND. I am so thankful.  The list can go on and on. We had so   many people do so many wonderful things for us during this time.   All of you have made a huge impact on our lives this year. I’m sorry if I   miss or leave anyone out.

At this time, I would like to   acknowledge a few special people. I would like to first thank my job and   my bosses at ECI which is Rebecca Armbrust and Veshia Bowen. (Please   stand)  They have worked with me thru all of this and have   made it possible for me to not only work but to still be able to   concentrate on my husband and his treatments. It has been so great to not   have any pressure from my job. Thank you very much!  You both   deserve a round of applause.

I also would like to   acknowledge the Irving Fire Dept!! Stand up guys…… I am so extremely   proud to be apart of the Irving Fire Dept. Family. You guys   are sooooo awesome! The firemen of the Irving Fire Dept. have been   working for 6 months in Daniel’s place at work. He has not missed a day at   work nor has he missed a paycheck. When we found out that Daniel needed   6 months of chemo, Daniel was not going to go thru with it because he   thought he might lose his job or we would go   bankrupt. Daniel instantly received so many   phone calls from the guys at the fire dept.  telling him not   to worry about money or his job. They said that they would take care of him   no matter what. You guys made his decision to have chemo so much easier   for him.  Yall also made me   not have to beg my husband to do the chemo. Not only did yall work for   him for 6 months, but yall also stopped by the hospital, called, visited at   home, and even took him out to eat a time or two. I don’t know of many jobs   like this. Yall are like our second family. You all are so wonderful and   I cannot thank you enough!  (Applause)

I also must acknowledge Dan’s   doctor — Dr. Nadler.. (stand up). I must be honest and say that before I met   Dr. Nadler I had my mind made up and we were going to go to MD Anderson to   get nothing but the best treatment for my husband. Then, I met Dr. Nadler and   I learned that he is the best chemo doctor I know and that my husband was   completely safe in his hands. Dr. Nadler was the best treatment for my   husband. Whatever he said, we trusted and have had complete faith in him. I   thank Dr. Nadler for taking such good care of my husband and putting my   nerves at ease..

Last but not least, I thank my   husband for agreeing to go thru 6 months of chemo. It has been extremely hard   to watch him be poisoned every 3 weeks and then to see him feel horrible day   after day.  I thank my husband for being such a great patient   and being so strong. There is no one else that holds a candle to you. You are   the bravest and strongest man I know and I look forward to growing   old with you! This is only the beginning of our life together. You   have to put up with me for at least another 50 more years. I love You!

 This Celebration party was a very emotional night. Dan and I are so grateful for God’s grace and the outpouring support we received from family, friends, and co-workers. We are very, very blessed to have so many people love us and be a part of our life!

My brother and sister-in-law live in colorado. They were not planning on coming to the party since they were so far away. However, when my mom called my brother Friday afternoon, the night before the party, and told him I was in the hospital because I had a stroke. He and Katy jumped on a flight that night and was at my bedside saturday morning in the hospital. Thankfully, I was released Saturday afternoon and with their help and my parent’s help, we all made it to the party. They are awesome!

I know I mentioned this in my letter above, but I must mention it again. My parents and Daniel’s parents are absolutely wonderful. They are always, always there for us and willing to help out however we need them to. We are very lucky to have parents like them. They are very appreciated and loved very much.

God will Test Your Faith

As Dan and I are walking into church this morning, we run into Pastor Bruce. We shake hands and express greetings to one another. He then says to us ” Today’s sermon is going to speak right to both of you.”

The message from today’s sermon at Waxahachie Bible Church was very awesome! Just because you believe in God does not mean that you are going to have an easy life. God is going to test you. You might lose a job, have problems with your marriage, problems with your health, etc. These problems, these tests, are challenging your faith. God does not test you because He hates you. He tests you because He LOVES you and wants to bring you closer to Him. He wants to strengthen your soul, your faith in Him.

Pastor Bruce was right. I felt like he was talking straight to Dan and I. Having Cancer and Heart issues were definitely tests to our faith. Daniel already had a very strong Faith in God and would always tell me that everything was going to be ok and that it was out of our hands. I on the other hand, had a strong faith in God, but I still couldn’t understand the part about not being able to control what happens. When I became pregnant with Caleb and couldn’t have surgery, I was so crushed and SCARED. How was I going to survive 9 months of pregnancy, plus giving birth with such a large hole in my heart. I tried to control the situation and tried as hard as I could to persuade the doctors to do the heart surgery while pregnant.

I turned to Daniel, my family, friends, to Terry at Waxahachie Bible Church for answers. Then, one day, it finally dawned on me that I was going to be ok. I knew that this was a test of my faith and I gave up all my worries and put my life in His hands. Oh, how powerful our test was to us! I know that God LOVES Dand and I. I know that He will take care of us. He has a plan for us that we have no power over. We just have to BELIEVE!

The Waxahahcie Bible Church has been wonderful to us. During Dan’s cancer, the birth of Caleb, and my recovery after surgery, they were there for us. Whether it was to listen to our fears, pray for us, or even bring food to the home to help feed us. They were always there.

Once things had quieted down and both Dan and I were in good health, we had Pastor Bruce renew our wedding vows. Dan and I had a strong marriage to begin with – before we both got sick. However, God’s test not only brought us closer to Him but it brought us closer to each other. After going thru what we went to, I know that Dan and I can get through anything together.

www.waxahachiebible.org