• tonya@tonyapeat.com


"Just keep smiling" became somewhat of a mantra for me during my cancer fight. I remember when I had complications from a surgery that was just supposed to be a little speed bump in the road but turned into an emergency room situation and 3 days in the hospital. After my 3rd chemo I thought it was a good idea to have a hamburger. I thought the protein would be good for me but turns out when you have a gallbladder full of stones, hamburgers are the worst thing you can eat. Needless to say I had such a bad reaction I almost didn't make it into the oncologist office for my Nulasta shot the next day. I had my gallbladder out after I finished my last chemo and had no idea that this "simple" surgery would land me back in the emergency room and the hospital for 3 days. I was in so much pain I was shaking uncontrollably. When my surgeon came to see me the next day after I was admitted he asked me how I was feeling. Before I could answer he said, "Your smiling, but your always smiling." 9 months later when I had my next complication from a hematoma after my exchange surgery, resulting in me back in the ER and losing a liter of blood, I told the nurse that I was in so much pain, the pressure of the blood build up was unbelievable. I looked like half of Dolly Parton and to not take me smiling as me not being in pain, that is just how I am. 

I was finally able to move forward after all my surgeries, treatments and PTSD but sometimes the overwhelming creeps back in when I least expect it. Like last Saturday when my 3 year old decided to try to swim without her floats. She has been swimming with the floats that are a ring around her waist and have the arm parts as well. I took it off her so she could dry off and I only looked away for a couple of seconds and she had walked into the pool and swam like 10 feet, I looked over and she was in water that was over my head. I jumped in with my shoes on and prayed she wouldn't go under. The next 2 days I had so much anxiety I finally burst into tears after getting the girls to sleep. I kept telling myself that one of our guardian angels helped her keep her head above the  waters surface but in the back of my mind I kept thinking "Why is the universe trying to steal her from me?" Back in March we were in San Diego and she had snuck a piece of candy her sisters had gotten at lunch and as we were leaving the hotel room I heard Scott say "Are you choking?!" No sound was coming from her. Without hesitation I grabbed her and tilted her downward and patted her back, nothing, I did the Heimlich maneuver and after the 3rd or 4th try the candy popped out along with some ice cream she had eaten earlier. That was the most terrifying moment ever. Until I looked over and saw her treading water in that deep pool and saw her tiny legs and arms moving as fast as they could to keep herself from slipping below the surface. Some would think, "but she swam all on her own!" I don't know but I am thankful that she is ok and know that my life could have taken a dramatic turn in that moment. People praised me for jumping into action but I also think why did I take her vest off? I should have just put a towel around her with it on. Now I have to find a way to Just Keep Smiling. I still have Hope and "Hope Moves Mountains".

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