Welcome, my name is Autumn.

IMG_0037Hello there,

Somehow you have stumbled upon my blog and I welcome you to take on this adventure with me.I wanted to try to break out of my shell a little and learn to have a new hobby.

A little about myself; I am a graduate student at the University of West Georgia studying Biology. I will gratefully be graduating this fall semester! I am  married to my High School sweetheart, Daniel. I could not have asked for a better man to spend my life with. God really out did himself with putting Daniel into my life! With that being said, I am a Christian and have full faith in God’s timing and in Him in general.

October of 2016 I started to get really sick. I began to hardly be able to get out of bed from pure exhaustion and lost my appetite. In December all the testing began. I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in February 2017. I had my TT on March 22, 2017 and I am currently going through RAI treatment to get rid of the rest of the cancer in me.

With this blog I hope to be able to take my readers on my (almost) day-to-day adventures of beating cancer, my thoughts, trials, obstacles, and hopefully travels. We shall see where this blog goes!

Thank you for stopping by and beginning this journey with me!

Autumn

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Heroin.

Heroin. That one word ripped our family apart just like it has ripped many others to their cores. Heroin, the substance that calls the users back to it time and time again. Heroin, the demon that latches on and never lets go. Heroin, the silent killer that haunts people’s dreams. Heroin, the reason why Michael is no longer here. October 16, 2016 our family got a phone call that we never wanted to receive. A phone call that makes the whole world stop turning and go silent. Michael. Michael.Michael.Michael.Michael…Daniel and I talked to him the night before. Michael asked him how to hook his phone up to the tv. He was doing amazing. Michael was sober. He was working a steady job. He had his ambitions back. He had a relationship with Jesus. He was our Mikey again. That night he used for his last time. Heroin does not care who you are. Heroin does not care what color you are, where you are from, your social class, or anything. When you pick Heroin, it stays with you for life. Michael fought until the end. He was so strong. He wanted to quit using. He really really did. Today marks one year since Michael was taken from us. My husband, Daniel, and I talked about all our favorite memories of Michael. We also talked about how many things we wish he could be here for. So many people think that heroin will never creep it’s way into their family. Michael played baseball, he graduated from high school, and he started college. He had an amazing group of friends who loved him dearly and a family who would have done anything for him. Heroin does not care. All you can do is listen to your friends and your family when they need to talk. Be there for them when they ask for help. Above all else, never give up on them.If you are struggling with substance abuse please do not be afraid to reach out for help. We love you, Michael.

Learning from Falling.

A vicious cycle starts in middle school. For some, it’s a little younger… for me it was middle school.

You learn to fit in by doing what others do. You start to gossip about your friends. You learn how to control that frizzy mess on your head. You get your eyebrows waxed or threaded. You get your eyelashes dyed. You convince your mom you need to wear a certain type of underwear because of panty lines. You start to morph into the group of girls that you hang out with.

Your friends from the time period of kindergarten to sixth grade are no longer your friends. You push everyone away if they don’t fit into that well planned agenda of becoming who you think you need to be.

Adult life, I am finding is very much the same. Not in the sense that you have to beg your parents for underclothes anymore but in the sense that you morph into those who you are around. You become those who you invest in. Ultimately forgetting to invest in yourself.

You still fall into the same habits of getting caught up into gossip about people that you care about. Only to realize that in this stage of life you shouldn’t be doing that at all.

I’ve been going to bible study on Wednesday nights for a few weeks now. One of my friends invited me to go and I am so happy that I did. At first I was very scared too. I wanted to learn more about Christ but I felt like I wants good enough or that people would judge me for not really knowing very much.

Each Wednesday I sit in a room with people that I do not know. I listen to other’s read from the Bible. I listen to each of us share a part of our story and I started to learn not only about Christ but about myself.

I learned how much I wanted to be a better person in this world rather than bringing others down. Bringing my friends down.

Then I come to this “you can’t expect other people to like you if you aren’t a good person to them”.

This isn’t middle school anymore… this isn’t high school.

We are all adults now. We shouldn’t be treating each other the way that a lot of us women do. We need to help each other and lift each other up.

This world is difficult enough; we don’t need to be making it more difficult. Especially for those that we love and care for.

Living in Your Head

In the midst of all the chaos going around because of hurricane Irma I figured it was a good time to finally write something.A huge chunk of my family lives in South Florida and the majority of all my friends that I grew up with live there. To say I’m beyond worried about them is an understatement. Some of my close friends and family couldn’t leave because of their husband’s being first responders. They are all I can think about. Match that up with anxiety and it forms into a Hell in your mind. I haven’t updated at all because I’ve been heavily struggling with getting out of my head lately. When something happens to you people deal with it in different ways. To the world I showed you guys how I tried to be positive about everything. I really really try to be positive. I wake up each morning and tell myself that today I am going to make this a good day. I constantly tell myself throughout the day that “you made it through. You can do this too”.Then everything just hits like a brick wall and there you are again. Second guessing yourself… not feeling strong. Not feeling good enough. Not feeling like things should be where you are.I think the hardest part about all of this for me is that everything in our life got put on hold so that I COULD GET BETTER. My family, the people I work with at UWG, my professors, and my friends… they all made sure I was going to get through this. Now here I am… stuck in my own head filled with a whole new set of insecurities, a massive amount of anxiety, and learning to understand the bouts of depression. That’s the thing that gets me the most… I survived. I am alive. I am here and present but why does my brain not understand that this life that I have is a good one. I got to the point where I stopped answering text messages, phone calls, Facebook messages, I’ve lied to get out of doing things with people because I would have a mental breakdown thinking about actually going. You feel safer in your house than the idea of the world seeing you. I pushed people away just because it is easier than trying to explain to them what is going on in your head. I went on my first outing since I’ve been learning to manage my anxiety on Wednesday with a good friend from work. I cannot tell you how many times I wanted to back out. Not because I didn’t want to go but because of the fear of being around people. The fear of something new. The fear of not feeling accepted. I went. I forced myself to go because I didn’t want to disappoint her and you know what? I had a great time. Your friends, those who are truly your friends, are patient with you. Especially when you open up and tell them what’s going on. Before you guys ask… I’m okay. I got to therapy three times a week. I have learned the signs of when I get into these loops in my head and I’m learning ways of dealing with them and getting out of them.I’m just sharing because sometimes no matter how hard you try your brain puts you somewhere else. I’m sharing because I don’t want you to be ashamed if you feel this way too. I’m sharing because it’s okay to be open with how you feel. I’m sharing because getting help is not something that you should be embarrassed about. When life hands you lemons you make lemonade and when you don’t know how to you ask for help. It’s okay to ask for help. Never ever forget that. Things are moving forward. I have good days and I have bad days but I’m learning that just because I have bad days that doesn’t mean that my world is crashing down. I’m alive, I have a great family, amazing friends, and I am (almost) healthy. Life is beautiful.

Becoming More Aware: A Lifestyle Change

I am going to start this post out with a disclaimer; I by no means, have any experience in sustainability. With that being said, I’ll move on.

Over the last three semesters in my grad program our grad seminars have been heavily filled with discussions on critical topics. Everything that you see on your newsfeed nonstop is what we talk about but from a scientific perspective. As a group we discuss how we would like to change things to better help the world and the people in it. 

Over my summer semester, I was given the opportunity to replace one of my graduate seminars by joining in on a senior seminar. Here in this class with a bunch of undergrads is where one concept finally hit and stuck with me. 

We spent the whole summer in groups creating artsy picnic tables with a message. My group did The Sneeze, all about the spread of bacteria and viruses. 

All through undergrad I studied microbiology. This table was right up my alley. I stayed within my comfort zone… I cannot stress enough how debilitating that can be.

A group that worked next to us did their table on conservation. Here is where everything clicked. The main center piece of their table has just stayed with me. It made me want to do better for our planet, for the people on it, and the people that come after me. Sometimes it only takes one little thing to make you understand and this was it for me.

Picture Belongs to Dr. Tabit

The quote reads “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children” just think about it… 

As the weeks went by I started thinking more and more about how careless I’ve been with the things I do. Now is the time to change my habits to reduce my footprint. 

My voice may be small and I may only be one person but that is one less person destroying borrowed land. 

In the weeks to come we will be making small changes in our household. Of course, I’ll be sharing the adventure with our successes and our failures. 

It’s definitely going to be interesting! 

Getting Your Feathers Back

In that moment you feel like you’re so happy that you could fly! Only to find that you are only human and look like you’re drowning in the air around you. 

That is me today. 


I may not have wings but I’ve got my feathers back and I’m learning how to fly again. 


This morning I found out that I have to get shots for the next four weeks to help with my body’s uptake of my thyroid medication. I was really upset because I thought this meant that I was not moving forward. That I was once again staying stagnant and potentially having to go through treatment again. 

It’s been a long weekend waiting on my results from my last scan. The scan that told us whether or not I’d be sleeping on a blow up matteress again. 

Needless to say the matteress is officially deflated!

I got the call just after 4. I am officially CANCER FREE. 

I still have to get shots for a month and be on some medications (moonface needs to hurry up and go away) but I’m free! I can spread my wings again. 

The hardest journey of my life thus far is officially a chapter in my book that I can now move away from. 

Now here are some bloopers for your entertainment of trying to get a jump shot. 

It’s a lot harder than you’d think it would be. Have a blessed day everyone. 

The Problems with Fighting. 

Getting sick has definitely shifted my mindset on a bunch of things. One in practical is how much it costs to be able to live. To be able to be healthy, and to be able to not feel like your body is failing you.
It’s no surprise to all of you that my body decided it wanted to fail me. Hey, I got cancer after all! Immediately after the crying was all over and I calmed down for the most that I could; Daniel looked at me and said “we will get through this and you will be okay.” Every day since then he asks me “how is my little trooper doing?”. Some days, I’m not doing so well. Other days I feel like me again.  (Picture below from March 8th; spending our two year wedding anniversary in the hospital because well you know).


Today is one of those days where I just want to SCREAM at the pharmaceutical companies because of things like THIS.


Each one of these bills is for ONLY one shot. One infusion on a Tuesday and a Wednesday. They each took 20 minutes. That’s just over $153 a minute.
These shots were not an option for me. These shots were prepping me to ingest radiation. These shots were a part of saving my life.
Don’t you find it funny that it costs so much money to just ensure that you can live? There is something wrong with this picture. Something very very wrong.

Adventures in Budgeting Part 1

Over the last few weeks I’ve decided that our little family was going to go on a pretty strict budget. When I first had my surgery I got into a bad habit of seeing something that I wanted and then just buying it. No reasons other than “I want it.” I was talking to my husband about this and I told him that I think it was because I was so anxious about my own life that I had a void and just tried to fill it with things.

I can honestly tell you that “things” do not make you happy. I tried. Trust me… it doesn’t work. Each week I would have package after package sent to the house but it was never enough.

While recovering from my radiation treatment, I was in a room in our house that literally had a blow up mattress, my old tv from when I was in undergrad, and a package of water bottles. For an entire week I sat in this empty room. I was miserable because I felt horrible. I wasn’t miserable because I didn’t have anything in that room with me. My life felt uncluttered at the moment and that’s how I liked it. It felt less chaotic.

So over the weekend Daniel and I went through a mass purge. I cleaned out our pantry and donated a bunch of food that we would never eat. We cleaned out our closests and donated a whole CX 5 with the back seats folded down TRUNK FULL of clothes (winter jackets, business wear, casual clothes, shoes purses, and bags) to A Better Way. As well as a bunch of books, DVDs, and kitchen stuff. It felt good to lessen the load.

I can’t help thinking of how I got into the mindset of things over experiences. Things over enjoying life. Things to create happiness.

This begins our journey into budgeting so we can experience LIFE rather than having a closet full of things.

One of my friends added me into a Dave Ramsey group and I’ve already been learning a lot and I’ve realized new ways to cut costs.
We have started a $50 dollar a week amount for grocery shopping which we managed to go UNDER this week. If you haven’t tried Click List out by Kroger then you really should. It makes it super easy to stay within your limits as you see the amount you’re spending in your cart.
Last week was also the first week that we didn’t have any food waste! Before I was buying so much that every Saturday we would clean the fridge out and just throw away food that went bad. Talk about a complete waste of money…
I had two gym memberships? I made sure the cancel the one that I never use because I hate the gym. Like, seriously… you have a membership that you’re not even using!
I buy $70 worth of contacts EVERY month because I wear dailies (yay for calcium build up). I invested in a pair of frames that are lightweight and don’t bother the bridge of my nose so that I can extend the one pack out for two months. This saves $35! 
I’ve also started packing my breakfast AND my lunch. I was spending about $8 for breakfast and the same for lunch which is around $20 a day on something that you could have brought from home.
It’s amazing how much you spend when you don’t pay attention to what you’re spending. It’s almost fusterating in a sense that you want to just shake yourself for spending $8 on a smoothie! To see what I was spending, I printed out all my transaction history and highlighted in different colors to what I was spending. Pink for food, green for clothes, yellow for gas, etc etc. You’ll be completely amazed at how much money you just waste!

What are some tips you’ve been doing?