• Posted on May 10, 2017 12:49 pm
    McCall Dempsey
    4

    Last night, I posted a picture of my children enjoying ice cream sandwiches following dinner with a caption that said: "Years ago, I would spend nearly an hour in the grocery store's ice cream section. Opening and closing every glass door, pulling every carton out and quickly putting it back in. My mind raced as I carefully analyzed every black and white nutrition label. Too many calories in this one, too much sugar in that one. I would ultimately walk out with the lowest fat/cal/sugar ice cream-ish substance I could find. I would also leave in the throws of a massive panic attack. Because of my eating disorder, a task as simple as grocery shopping left me crippled by anxiety. When the ice cream made it to my freezer, it haunted me. I wanted throw it away. I wanted to eat it all and purge it. But all I really wanted was to stop the monster in my brain. I wanted ice cream to be just that - ice cream. I wanted freedom from my eating disorder. [Seven years later] Today, I quickly push my cart up and down each aisle, tossing in items on my list: avocados, black beans, chips, crackers, milk. I strolled down the freezer section and caught a glimpse of ice cream sandwiches. "That sounds good!" I thought and tossed them in. I kept my quick pace to the check out so I would make it home to unload the groceries before it was time to pick up the kids. I often hear from parents they limit sweets or do not keep them in the house at all. It is SO important that we offer our children a variety of foods and do not label food good or bad. Food is food - no moral value. All foods fit! When we deny our children certain foods, it creates a hierarchy of food and can possibly shame them from eating it in the future, associating the food with feelings of guilt. Above all else, it is so important for our children to see us enjoying a variety of foods. This evening, my kids and I enjoyed the delicious ice cream sandwiches. I never take a single moment of recovery for granted and the ability to share it with my children. I am so thankful for my recovery and the freedom that comes with - both in and out of the freezer aisle! "ūüíúūüíúūüć¶ The post was shared widely across social media¬†with many 'YES!' comments and women in recovery posting about their own journey with ice cream. ¬†However, I knew it was a matter of time before someone questioned my 'All Foods Fit' approach to food. ‚áí"I disagree in one respect. Junk food is junk. Chemical filled and not healthy. Once in a while a Twinkie or something junky is fine. But children should learn about healthy foods." ‚áí "Moderation is so key. As long as my dd eats a balanced meal that covers most of the food groups, I don't mind sharing my ice cream with her. She's such a fruit & veggie eater, she'd rather have fresh picked strawberries most days over processed sugars. The biggest thing I want her to take away from childhood & food, is that she try new things when they are offered (she nearly always has a different meal than me & hubby) and she get a little protein in. (Like I said, she's a fruit & veggies kid, but getting her to eat a little chicken or pork is tough some days.)" I began to respond, but soon decided my response warranted a longer reply than a simple social media comment. So... Thank¬†you all for your comments. I understand your thought around moderation and labeling food as 'junk' because that is certainly what society and many 'experts' tell us. "Don't eat junk. Childhood obesity is at an all time high! Limit processed sugars. Moderation is KEY!" I get the 'Moderation is key' a lot. And to that, I completely agree 100%. Is it healthy to eat ice cream and pizza all day long every day? No way. And on the other side of the coin, is it healthy to eat kale and apples all day long? Nope. So yes, moderation IS key. I cringe when I see people talk about 'chemical-filled' food. This has little to do with my eating disorder history and more to do with my daughter's cancer. Two years ago, when my daughter was in the hospital fighting neuroblastoma, I posted a picture of her with cupcakes sent by my sweet sorority sisters. I was shocked when I received an anonymous email warning me to keep ALL sugar away from my daughter. First of all, my daughter was 8-months and had just spent a week in the PICU, she wasn't even close to starting solid food yet. Secondly, sugar does not cause cancer. I realize I might be opening Pandora's box here, but my daughter was diagnosed at 7-months old. All she ever had in her body was breast milk. Cancer just happens sometimes. Sure, smoking causing cancer, but there is very little to connect sugar/processed foods to cancer. Trust me, I have tackled every doctor and nurse on our oncology floor and beyond, asking them what caused Marjorie's cancer. I asked them what I can feed my children to prevent it from coming back or to keep my son from developing cancer. Unfortunately, there is very little I can do. Cancer just happens sometimes. My dear friend/earth angel and beloved oncology nurse 'Two Knock', once told me, "McCall, I have had two kids on the unit before, both with the exact same cancer. One of the patients came from a family that was vegetarian and ate everything organic. The other child was of a lower socioeconomic level,¬†with two working parents. His diet consisted of a lot of fast food. Extremely different diets and home life - exact same cancer. You can't keep Marjorie or Manning from getting cancer based on what they eat." Again, is it good for us to eat processed foods and lots of sugar all day, no. MODERATION. Kale and cupcakes. Hell, kale and chemicals if that is what you label cupcakes and ice cream sandwiches. And to be completely honest, I do buy organic meats, dairy, etc. That is just my personal preference. You will also find non-organic bananas and oreos in my pantry too. At the end of the day, we can't deny our children and ourselves what our bodies want. You can't tell me that at the end of a hot summer day, an ice cream sandwich didn't sound amazing! I don't think I've met anyone who craved frozen kale after a hot day on the beach. Food is food. Sure, some foods pack more nutrient punch than others, but it is SO critical not to create a hierarchy. When we limit or deny our children (or ourselves) certain food or food groups, that is all we will crave. When we can truly listen to our bodies, it will tell us what we need. Our bodies might signal us to want leafy greens or they might crave a burger because¬†our iron is low. My children are small, but they understand that food is food. My son sometimes turns down cake for bananas and sometimes it is vice versa. The bottom line is we are born with an amazing hunger/fullness system that gets distorted with every diet or food denial. Often times we unknowingly pass that guilt on to our children. We love our children and want to see them healthy and happy, so we limit sweets or fast food. I can't tell you how many young people I meet who feel like they have to sneak McDonald's because they feel so ashamed about it. What if we drove through McDonald's with them? No, seriously. I recently gave a parent presentation with Oliver-Pyatt's amazing director of nutrition, Mary Dye. A mom challenged¬†the All Foods Fit theory, saying that if she allowed her daughter to eat whatever she wanted, her daughter would go through McDonald's every day. "Let her," I said. "She will kill herself with it," the mother responded. "No she won't. I promise," I said. "She will get tired of it. It will lose it's novelty. She won't eat it forever and it will not kill her." Mary then elaborated with a story that gave me chills: "I once had a patient who struggled with Binge Eating Disorder," Mary said. "Her father was a cardiologist and she grew up in a house that shamed and labeled food bad, especially fast food. My work with her was to normalize food and to eliminate the shame factor. In fact, as a therapeutic exercise, we drove to McDonald's. Fast food was something she would binge in secret and shame, alone in her car. I wanted to normalize the fast food experience for her. So we drove through, ordered, parked and mindfully enjoyed our meal. The more we deny, the more we want." I have told that story countless times. And what I would give to one day meet the brave patient who did the hard work of recovery, changing not only her life, but maybe her family's as well. I know the thought of keeping a variety of foods in the house or even you yourself driving through McDonald's is outlandish, but try it. You might even surprise yourself. I never thought I could have ice cream in my house. Today, I have ice cream, candy, cookies, bananas, kale, crackers, chips, cheese, apples...you name it. And guess what? I don't think about what I have in my pantry or freezer - unless, of course, I'm heading to the grocery store and need a list! My motivation to recover was to not only be a mom, but be a mom who led by example. I wanted to be a mom who could eat ice cream¬†and kale and everything in between. I am proud to say that I AM that mom today. There is also no doubt¬†I am screwing up motherhood in a thousand other ways, but I¬†make a conscious effort every day to do my best to live and lead by example. My hope and prayer is not to raise healthy kids, but kind kids who love and live life, kids who forget there are cookies in the house unless their bellies tell them they want one. I want my kids to listen to the amazing bodies God gave them. Moving their bodies when they have bursts of energy or when the sun is shining just right, eating when they are hungry, stopping when they are full and if they eat too much, well, then they know next time to stop.Food is not the focus of our lives - it is important, but our day does not revolve around it. Our daily focus is on loving and living - playing outside, building towers, chasing lizards and avoiding shoes flying through the air when Marjorie throws them in her daily tantrum! Raising healthy kids isn't as important to me as raising kids who love themselves. At the end of the day, if we love ourselves, like truly love ourselves, we will honor our body. We will nourish, move and rest it as it desires and needs. When we love our bodies, we take the time to take care of it in all aspects: mind, body and spirit. So ahead, eat the McDonald's, the kale shakes, the daffodil sprouts and yes, even the 'chemicals'. Because in the wise words of our Ole Miss SMASH Ambassador: "Life is too short to count calories...enjoy the cupcake!" For parents wanting more information on childhood nutrition, download my list of resources:¬†Body Awesome Parent Resources. (Highly recommend Ellyn Satter and Katja Rowell!)

    Eating Disorder, Family, Food
  • Posted on April 2, 2017 3:31 pm
    McCall Dempsey
    No comments

    Lorelei splashed in the tub as I gently washed the shampoo from her curly hair. She is the first born of one of my dearest and oldest friends, Katherine. I¬†spent the week with them during my Chattanooga speaking tour. "My curls are tiny!" Five-year old Lorelei exclaimed. "Some people have bigger curls and some people don't have curls." "You are absolutely right," I said. "I used to have tiny curls like you, Lorelei! They are so beautiful and they make you so special." She nodded in agreement and we went on to talk about other things that make us different. "My friend has dark skin and doesn't need sunscreen, but my skin is really white and needs lots of sunscreen," she said proudly. We talked about tall/short, curly/straight, dark/light, large/small...all things that make us each uniquely different and beautiful. After bath, Lorelei, her mom and I snuggled in bed watching a quick cartoon before bedtime. Lorelei happily chomped away at her night snack before her mom turned off the TV. She kissed me goodnight and headed upstairs for her final bedtime routine. I went into the living room and began thinking about my night with Lorelei. Suddenly, my heart sank. In a few years, Lorelei will start questioning all of those wonderful things that make her uniquely beautiful.¬†The¬†world is going to tell her that her hair should be straighter, longer. Her skin should be tanner. Her body taller, smaller. While we can't rid the world of these messages, I know we can and will do everything to protect Lorelei's ears from these unwanted messages. Luckily, Lorelei was born into an extraordinary tribe of women. First off, her mama is one of the most ferocious, compassionate, sensitive and bright women I have ever met. Her aunt, Charlotte, is always there, along with her tribe of Green Cove aunts - ready to remind Lorelei that what she hears from the outside world is noise and we don't listen to it. We measure our worth by what is inside and how we treat others. My time in Chattanooga was closely followed by my annual camp reunion weekend. A weekend filled with yoga pants (no yoga, just the pants), wine, cheese and mountain sunsets. It is a weekend where my tribe comes together to laugh and refuel our tired spirits. We are all so very different, living in every corner of the US. We love different partners, we believe in different faiths, we are tall, short, big, small, dark, light, curly and straight. No matter how different we are, we stand together, lift each other up and support each other through life's trials. I'm fairly confident I would not be alive today without these women. Established in the 1980s, our bond runs deep. In a few years, our children will run and hike the same paths we did as children. Marjorie, Lorelei, Cecilia, Kate, Harper, Woods, Ramsay and many others will find their tribe. Marjorie and Lorelei will remind each other that their curly hair rocks and they can be girly AND strong. So while my heart momentarily broke for Lorelei, I quickly realized my heart should rejoice. Because Lorelei will be forming her tribe soon that will help her tune out that outside noise. Lorelei will forever know and be reminded that tiny curls are amazing and porcelain skin is beautiful. We are all beautiful, in every way, every color, every body. So to my sweet Lorelei, never listen to the haters - find your tribe and know you are beautiful and amazing just as you are. It is never too early to start talking to your little ones about what makes us different. Knowing that we come in all different colors, faiths, bodies is a wonderful thing. Start embracing these differences before they hear the world tell them otherwise! Who knows, you might learn something! Sometimes our biggest lessons come from the tiniest messengers.  

    Body Image, Motherhood
  • Posted on December 28, 2016 2:03 pm
    McCall Dempsey
    4

    When I was in middle school my sister and I fought like cats and dogs. Actually, that's not true. We were worse. Way worse. We fought like two bridezillas at a Vera Wang sample sale. We were vicious. One afternoon my sister and I were verbally abusing each other as we climbed into my mother's suburban, likely headed to piano, volleyball or another extracurricular activity my mom constantly chauffeured us to. There's no doubt in my mind we had probably been fighting for hours on end. Suddenly, our mom had enough and said, "Sometimes I wonder why I even had children!" My sister and I stopped dead in our tracks, our claws retracted and our jaws dropped. Did our mother just say that? Wasn't she supposed to love us unconditionally? How could she say something like that? A few¬†minutes later my mom profusely apologized to us, telling us over and over how much she loved us. She explained how tired she was of hearing us yell and fight. The guilt of her snap statement¬†was written all over her face. Nearly 23-years later I look back at this memory with a much different viewpoint.¬†Now being a mother of two myself, I would've high-fived my frazzled mother, poured her a glass of wine and said, "ME TOO!" Because good LAWD, mothering is hard y'all. I have that same thought daily during holiday/summer breaks. Yesterday I found myself sitting in the middle of Marjorie's room in tears. The house was a wreck (despite my scrubbing it yesterday), my phone kept binging with emails, the kids were loud and I had just received my fifth knee to the face that day. Why do children think their moms are automatic jungle gyms when we sit on the floor? And where can I teach my giant son about spatial reasoning? He is like a great dane that thinks he is a yorkie, always wanting in your lap or on your back. It was¬†one of those parenting days where I threw my kids in the car and went to the car wash even though it was raining. Yes, I looked crazy to the car wash people, but little did they know this is my favorite parenting hack. The car wash guarantees¬†me with at least¬†20-minutes of personal space and partial silence (thank you to ear phones). I wanted to push the opt out button of motherhood yesterday and knowing we still had a week of Christmas break left made my chest spill over with anxiety. This inevitably caused my Bad Mom Gremlins to creep into my brain and belittle me: You aren't cut out to be a mom. You should be crafting or baking cookies with the kids. You should be enjoying these precious moments they go by so fast. How do those moms do it? They craft and take their kids to cute activities in town while looking blissful all the while. Hell, I always find out about community activities the day after and every outing with my wild spirited two and four year old inevitably result in some type of meltdown (parental meltdown included). Take them to the park, you say? Nope. No matter how long we stay or how long we swing, Marjorie insists it isn't long enough. She screams and arches her back while I attempt to buckle her in her carseat. I can feel the stares from¬†onlookers' judging eyes, knowing it's a matter of time before someone calls CPS based on Marjorie's guttural tantrum cry. I once heard my best friend say, "I love my children...but I don't like them every day." A-freaking-men. Can I get a HELL YES. Part of me feels guilty for admitting out loud that some days I don't like my kids. I can't stand the constant whine or ninja moves that inevitably result in a foot to my face or the dog's face, poor Lilly.¬†Then guilt comes over me as I think about mothers who would give anything to hold their babies again. Or I remember those friends who would give anything to just have a baby and the chaos that follows. I think about how this was the normalcy I prayed for during times of heartache. And then I remember that this is motherhood and life. I can feel empathy for others while also feeling frustrated (and exhausted) at the chaos of my own life - it doesn't have to be either/or. Motherhood isn't always blissful or filled with gratitude for my tiny humans. It's messy, annoying and a constant juggling act. Most days I'm terrible at the juggling act. My mind spilling over with work and emails that I forget the nuggets are in the oven (side note: it is literally impossible to burn frozen nuggets and for that I give a massive shout out to the powers that be at the nugget factory.) Yesterday I found myself fighting tears and saying, "I wasn't meant to do this. I don't have what it takes to be a mom." Then I remembered something I once said in defense of another mom: "The only requirement to be a good mom is to love your children. Fiercely." Parenting is a crazy thing. One minute you want to freeze time so your babies never grow and the next minute you are praying for the day they can regulate their emotions and intellectually understand that chicken is chicken, no matter if it is in the shape of a dinosaur, circle or God forbid an actual chicken breast. You find yourself checking out from whining and bickering only to glance over minutes later and see your babies cuddled up watching a movie. In those moments, life suddenly makes sense again. On those days¬†when my nerves are gone and all I want to do is cry, I pour my glass of wine and call on my tribe. Where would I be without my tribe of imperfect moms? They remind me every day that I don't have to have color coordinated kid cubbies and daily activity charts to be a good mom. And if you are the Pinterest wielding-cubby mom then I bow down to you. And if you are a stay-at-home mom, you are like a unicorn to me and I totally bow down. Thankfully, my own mother is one of my go to tribe members. She laughs and empathizes with my messy tales of motherhood, never judging and rarely giving advice because that's not what I need. She gives me a good, "Yep. Been there. Survived that...and so will you." And above all else she reminds me that I am doing a great job and that I¬†AM a good mom - actually a great mom. Being able to give myself a little extra grace on the not-so-graceful days¬†is my best tool. Calling my tribe to¬†say, "Motherhood is hard" and reminding myself that I'm not alone helps ease the¬†mom-anxiety. The fact that my two munchkins are so irresistibly damn cute helps too. So yes, it is true. I do not like my kids every day, but, oh my goodness, I love them so much it hurts. No matter how tough the days are I will never stop loving them. My love for my munchkins is bigger than they will ever know. And no matter how many ninja kicks I take to the face or how many boogers end up on my shirt, I would throw myself in front of a hundred buses for them. Every. Damn. Day. Because isn't that motherhood? Messy, loud and unconditional love. So to my fellow imperfect mommas out there, who are counting the seconds until schools reopen (and possibly considering dropping the kids at school tomorrow and pretending like you thought school had started), take a minute and read this parenting manifesto written by¬†Bren√© Brown, my best friend (okay, so we actually haven't met yet, but know we'd be besties). It is a perfect reminder of what parenting really is all about: loving unconditionally, worthiness and truly, deeply seeing our precious, snotty, lovable tiny humans. Deep breaths mommas, take care of yourselves...we are in this together.  

    Family, Imperfection, Motherhood
  • Posted on December 29, 2015 8:09 pm
    McCall Dempsey
    No comments

    shitting rainbows It's my favorite saying. If you've ever heard me speak about my journey to recovery and life thereafter then you've heard me say it plenty. Unless there were teachers in the room, then I try to clean up my act for school kiddies. So what does it mean? Exactly what you think. My recovery and life is about being authentic and real. It is not about candy coating my story to be anything but what it really is. I strive to never¬†shit rainbows, paint a smile on my face and pretend like everything is fantastic. I am conscious in my writing and my work to be real and authentic - whatever it may be. So as 2015 comes to a close, what do I think about this year? Ugh. Poetic, I know, but it is all I've got right now. It has been a hell of a year to say the least and tonight finds me in a pretty bitter mood. There is no doubt each of you know how absolutely grateful my heart is for the love and prayers this year, but let's call a spade a spade - cancer sucks...and pediatric cancer, well, you can insert your own four letter word here. And truth is, we were lucky when it came to cancer and our prognosis. But when people tell me that we got a 'good' cancer diagnosis, I want to punch them in the face and ask: Do you want your child to be 'lucky' with cancer or would you rather your child not have cancer at all? And then I open Facebook to see another life lost to cancer, taken too soon. I see another mother posting a picture of her child, a child she had to bury. I look at Marjorie and count my blessings. Life is so unfair and so confusing. But I know one thing to be true: Comparison is the thief of joy - and emotions. I can't let another person's story or sadness take away from the hurt in my heart. And I don't. I have even had these honest conversations with mothers who have lost their children. I deserve to feel it all, no matter what the prognosis. Cancer sucks. And 2015 sucked too. AND (because life doesn't have to be one or the other) it was a great year in so many ways - a new house to finally call our own, Manning's milestones, Marjorie turning one and too many giggles, big laughs and family hugs to count. When I brought Manning to the doctor today, I knew it might be emotional. But he kept me laughing because he insisted to bring his "Lilly" aka stuffed puppy into the doctor. He was happy as a clam and I thought we were on the mend from a little bad cold.   Wrong again. RSV. Seriously? Thankfully, we are on the downswing of it so their isn't much worry for him, but then there is Marjorie. Oh my Marjorie. Let's stay away from this diagnosis shall we? We left the doctor with our shiny new 'puppy' nebulizer. Yes, it is in the shape of a puppy with a dinosaur mask to boot. It is as random as our lives so the puppy/dinosaur mask combo fits in perfectly. Have you ever tried giving an almost four year old a nebulizer that jacks him up and an antibiotic? I'm sure so many of you have and can empathize that it is the equivalent of putting¬†a button up sweater vest on a lizard going through a crack withdrawal...who is also chasing a bug. Jordan and I begged, pleaded, bribed and threatened Manning to take his medicine. Pretty sure we offered him the deed to the house, but he still wouldn't take the antibiotic. Thankfully, the nebulizer went a tiny bit better and we eventually got the meds in him - God bless 'chocolate nilk' with A LOT of chocolate. My nerves were fried after today's medical escapades as I went to rock Marjorie to bed. I do it every night because it is my favorite thing. It calms me and puts me at ease. Tonight I needed it. What I didn't know is that tonight would be a tearful rock. As I hummed our song and listened to the whir of her sound machine, my medical-mom-mode cracked and the tears fell...and fell. I will never be able to wrap my mind around what the last year and a half has been. It is my job to protect my babies and some days it feels like the hits keep coming. Yes, I know Manning will be just fine, but it is another day, another diagnosis. Another medical device to learn and administer. Another reminder that no matter what I do, I can't put my babies in a bubble. But maybe that's not the goal? Maybe we aren't suppose to protect them, rather we are to teach them how to take care of themselves - even if that means wrestling a lizard to the ground to give him medicine. Yes, maybe that is what it is all about. Maybe the mommas who have children with chronic illness and special needs are meant to teach their babies and others what it is like to not just take care, but really love unconditionally. Maybe cancer happens to show us what good there is in the world and how amazing the human spirit is. Maybe children die so that we can hug our own babies tighter and inspire others to live more fully in honor of those who have been taken too soon. A few weeks ago, Kim Bowman posted about the fourth anniversary of her daughter, Bella, passing. I was blown away with her words: Today is the day the Lord received Bella back into His arms. At 6:22am 4 years ago Trey and I held Bella while she took her last breath. ¬†I can still remember the feel of her warm body in my arms. We are not going to be sad today because we are going to think of all the wonderful things God has given us the past 4 years. He has allowed us to be the messenger to help¬†so many families in honor of our sweet Bella. She is guiding us and showing our purpose here on Earth. Our prayers go out to all the families who have recently lost their children and pray that they have the strength to get through their first Christmas without their children. As I always say, hold your children tight, enjoy their presence and don't lose sight of how precious they are because these children are gifts from God and you never know what life has in store for you and your family. Kim's words sum it up beautifully. There is nothing left for me to say except to encourage you to embrace the storm clouds and¬†whatever you feel in your heart. Don't compare your hurt to others. There is enough empathy and compassion to go around. And for goodness sake don't shit rainbows. Don't pretend - ¬†own it, feel it, talk about it. Sending you¬†lots of love and real rainbows... McCall

    Cancer, Eating Disorder, Faith
  • Posted on December 28, 2015 8:36 pm
    McCall Dempsey
    No comments

    Today I earned a new piece of flare to pin on my Mom Vest. The "My Son Projectile Vomited All Over Me" is now proudly sewn on my vest. Awesome. Poor little guy is sick. Thankfully, not with a stomach bug, but with a horrendous cough that led to the previously mentioned situation. I did what every mother does in these predicaments: I cleaned up the vomit and threw away all towels and items associated with it. Then I called the doctor. Unfortunately, they cannot see us until tomorrow. Enter: ghosts of the past. The last time I went to our pediatrician's office, I left in an ambulance with my daughter. The memories, still vivid in my mind, are painful. Tuesday, May 26, 2015, that pediatrician's visit was the beginning of a mother's worst nightmare. Since that day, Jordan has taken Manning to the doctor when needed. Marjorie's vaccines are delayed because of her chemo so there hasn't been a need to bring her, thank goodness. Jordan has to work tomorrow, therefore, I can no longer run from the ghosts. I have to face them head on. Thankfully, I am no stranger to facing ghosts. Recovery has forced me to stare down some pretty painful ghosts and memories. When I came home from treatment, ghosts seem to lurk in every corner of my house and every corner outside of it too. The ghosts were almost too much too bear at times, but as I faced them, I grieved them and knocked them out one by one. Ghosts are always a hot topic when I speak at treatment centers. But eating disorder or not, we all have them. Ghosts are those memories of a person, place, activity or event that led you to feel some pretty hard emotions. They are hard to face. We avoid situations, people and places - just like my avoidance of the pediatrician's office. Every time I thought of walking through those doors my eyes filled with tears and my hands started to sweat. So how am I to go back to the place where the nightmare began? The place where I knew in my momma gut that something was wrong - really wrong. How am I to casually sit in the brightly colored room with a rocket ship painted on the wall? The same rocket ship I stared at and prayed over and over: let this be nothing, let this be nothing, please God, let this be nothing. But I knew it was not. Tears fell down my face as the PA went to get the doctor and the doctor said we needed to be admitted for testing. I tried to act casual and okay, but I was anything from it. I tried to put on a brave face, only to collapse into my husband's arms when he walked into our isolated hospital room. It was there we waited...and waited...and waited. Only to be told hours later, five little words: "We think it's a mass." I bellowed a cry and a yell that can only come from the belly of a mother. If I didn't have Marjorie in my arms, I would have collapsed to the floor. But I cradled her tightly rocking her back and forth, back and forth. Yes, tomorrow I return. And I am finding peace with it. So how do we conquer our ghosts? For me, I give myself time. I am gentle with myself and do not brush the painful emotions off with a "Get over it" saying. I embrace the sadness, the anger and the hurt. I feel it. I grieve the ghosts. I talk about them. And then I face them. Head on. There may be tears tomorrow and I am totally okay if there is. And there might not be. At the end of the day, my son is sick and nothing is going to stop this momma from getting him well and back to truck building and tractor riding. But the ghosts that we knew will flicker from view We'll live a long life So give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light 'Cause oh that gave me such a fright But I will hold as long as you like Just promise me we'll be alright - Mumford & Sons       

    Cancer, Eating Disorder, Family