I've tried not to talk about it

I've been trying to stay away form the subject of cancer.
But it seems as though ALOT of people come here for their updates about Evan, so I am going to give a brief update so that no one calls me bad names for letting them down.
So here goes-
We are waiting. That's it. We were supposed to hear from Emory on Monday about scheduling Evan's ultrasound guided needle biopsy and we haven't. Evan called to check on Wednesday and basically it sounded like either someone has not done their job or there is some kind of backup.
But I have "encouraged" him to call the surgeon's nurse to get her to PUSH the scheduling people.
So hopefully we'll have a schedule early next week.
But frankly I think we have enjoyed having a week where cancer was not staring us in the face during every conversation. It's felt kinda normal.
So don't stop praying by any means. We still need your cancer-free biopsy prayers!

And the winner is...

With only one entry in the competition, the winner is Jamie Stovall!
She was the first to enter, and I guess random.org liked her number.
Congratulations Jamie! Maybe you and Adam can have a date night?
And thanks for the great questions. I'll hopefully be answering them all soon.
It might take me a while since some of them are pretty in-depth.

Featured Question #2- What Keight wants to know

So in this post, I asked for my readers to give me subjects to blog about.
And the all too fabulous Keight had a question that I think will make for some extra good blogging. In her words, here is the question:
"how did your two pregnancies/deliveries differ? did you know their sexes beforehand? did you predict your own delivery dates? i would just plain love to hear your birth stories"

Dear Keight,
Brace yourself. It's not a pretty story to tell. But I got two beautiful kids out of the deal. And I said I would answer anything. So here goes with "Revenge of the Pregnancy Part I" and it's sequel "Wow, really, I thought 2nd pregnancies were supposed to be easier".
And to go ahead and answer the easy parts of your question- No I did not predict my own delivery dates and yes I knew the sex of my kids at 20 weeks gestation each time (I can't handle surprises!)
Love, Lori

The Story of Haley (now 9)-
For this one I will take you back to 1996. I was told by a gynocologist that there was a good chance I would never have kids. At this point, I was in high school and frankly the idea of never having kids thrilled me. I mean who would wanted to have to birth and take care of another human being- duh. And the medical part of this is that I had fibroids and endometriosis. They made for the worst cramps and junk ever. So that fact that little growths already in my uterus sucked, I certainly didn't want to have a child growing in there ever.
And then I went to college and met the man of my dreams. The fabulous Evan. And we dated and got married in a total of two years. And he knew all along that he was getting himself into what could be a kidless marriage. But we were in love and kids weren't really at the forefront of our thoughts at that point.

So flash foward to 1999. Evan had been out of school for about a year. I was a junior. And being that I was married, I had gone on birth control pills just in case. So I marched myself to the Student Health Center and saw the very cool and hip gyno because I needed some refills and the dreaded "annual checkup" was needed. So I went through the hellish exam. And at the end of hell, the gyno told me that everything looked pretty good (that's odd to me that someone can say that about that part of a woman) and that she thought birth control had made a difference in my uterus. And we kept talking for a while and she said she felt comfortable that I would be able to have a baby. But she said it might take a while- likes years maybe.

So like any good wife, I went home and told the hubs the news. And somehow, in our minds, this all meant it was time to start the baby making. And so I stopped taking the pill and well- I was pregnant. After one month of trying. And I should mention that at this point in our lives, we were living with Evan's parents-waiting for our tiny little first house in Senoia to be built.

And now to the pregnancy part- with the exception of having the flu at 12 weeks, my pregnancy was great until 30 weeks. And then the bottom fell out- literally!

My body decided it didn't want to be pregnant anymore and I went into labor. It happened in the middle of birthing classes at Southern Regional. We were sitting there in a room full of pregnant women and their spouses. All of the sudden, my body tightened up and I became very uncomfortable. So I waddled to the front of the class, looked at the nurse who was teaching the class and said, "I don't feel good". She put her hand on my belly, said I was having intense contractions and admitted me to Southern Regional.
And the next 7 days are a blur. I was placed on Magnesium Sulfate and kept sedated with Stadol. I have little to no recollection of the next several days. That's where Evan would have to fill you in. But I know it was hell.

So then I was sent home on complete bedrest. And I sat and I sat and I sat. And throw in there the occasional run to the hospital for more drugs to keep the baby in.
I did manage to attend a wedding during bedrest that was a bad idea as I'm pretty sure I contracted the whole time and I freaked a bunch of people out.
And at 36 weeks, I was taken off bedrest. And the contractions stopped coming so regularly. And at 37 weeks I was still pregnant.

Until July 2nd at about 12:30 in the morning when I knew Haley was ready to be here. So we drove 45 minutes to the hospital. Walked the halls for 2 hours and were told that we probably should just go home because I wasn't progressing. I was 2 cm. and they could not admit me into L/D until I was showing progression.
SO the sweet nurse that had to give me the bad news gave me a prescription sleep pill and told me to go home and drink some wine and go to bed. Wuh?? Drink wine during pregnancy? She said yep- it would relax my body. And as much as I love wine, I did not take her advice for fear that I would have a baby with three legs.
But I did take the sleeping pill and boy was it a good one. As soon as we got home after 3 hours at the hospital and 45 minutes in the car, I was out.
So Evan and I got into bed to have a nice long sleep at around 6am. Me because of a sleeping pill and him out of pure exhaustion.

And as soon as we were both dead to the world, a raging gush of fluid came from my you-know-where. That's right- my water broke. And I don't mean it felt like I had peed on myself. It was so violent that Evan got wet across the bed. Craziest thing ever- I swear.
And we entered panic mode. Which meant we got into the car exactly as we were. Me in a pair of Evan's boxers, a t-shirt and no bra. And I had not bothered to pack a bag. So I looked super cute. And once my water broke, I have never and will never feel as much pain as I did. I pretty much screamed all the way to the hospital. And I screamed at all of the people at the hospital. And I was just downright unpleasant.

Until the epidural. Which was the best thing ever. Mine worked so well that I could not feel anything from my neck down. And I did not feel a thing for 2 days as a matter of fact.

And then she was born at 12:15 in the afternoon. A beautiful, perfect 7 pound big-headed baby. And my life was changed forever. Because at 22 years old, I was now Mommy.
So yeah, it was not the easiest time getting Haley into this world. But so worth every moment of pain. And I love that girl dearly. More than I could ever imagine I would.
The End

So if you think this story is kinda crazy, stany tuned for Part 2- Britton. Shuh! That will be a good read!

You have less than 4 hours...

To win a $25 Chili's gift card!
Deadline is 4/30 at noon.
See the rules here.
Good luck!


"When am I gonna have this baby??"

This is a question I get asked ALOT!

Why you ask?

Well, I've been given a strange gift.

I can predict the birthday of babies (SOMETIMES).

Until recently I would not have had to include the word "sometimes" in the sentence above as I was almost always right.

But lately, my "gift" has been a little off. It seems as though some babies don't want to conform to my time line! And that's ok- I still love them anyway.

And plus, I always preface every prediction with "There are no guarantees". Because ultimately I know it is all in God's hands.

But it is not unusual to see a pregnant woman chasing me down at church to ask me when I think her baby might make it's debut into this world. I have even gotten a few emails to make sure that I would be at a certain place at a certain time so that I could give my prediction.

It's very funny actually. It's something I have become famous for.

Here are a few tidbits about my "gift":

-Evan calls me the "voo-doo" lady because he thinks it's just weird

-I have the greatest rate of success with first babies.

-Second babies I am usually wrong about by a few days it seems.

-I recently predicted the birth of a 7th child right on the head. That's a great accomplishment!

-I once predicted a birth within 15 minutes. And I gave that mom a date and time weeks in advance.

-I seem to have greater success with my predictions if I can sit and look at the mom for a few minutes. There is something about their face.

-And there is no secret to what I do- I'll tell you how I get my predictions. I look at the mom. If she has "the look" that I have grown to love, it's time soon- Like 24hrs! If the due date is several weeks off, a number will always pop into my head. Sometimes I ponder the number and turn it into a date. That's it. It's no secret.

It's just a weird talent.

Something that I think has made me closer to at least a few women because I have been able to spend time with them and get to know them better.


I need a Blogging Defibrillator

I have started 2 blog posts today.
Both of them sucked.
One because I would have gotten fired if my boss ever read it (not sure if that is good or bad?).
And the other because it was just down right boring.
So if you want to help me out- that would be great!
Is there something you would like to know?
Something you'd like my opinion on?
Do you need my help solving a problem?

Just leave your every desire in a comment and I will publicly make your life better.
And by doing so, you will be rewarded. Not only will I answer your question/ issue/ dilemma, but I will also enter you in a drawing for a $25 Chili's gift card.
And there is no limit to the number of times you can enter.
Each entry will give you a number in the drawing and I will pick the winner using random.org.
Questions will be taken until April 30th at noon EST.
So keep the questions coming. I need something to do at work (don't tell my boss!).


Cleaning off the camera

Here are some pictures that I cleaned off of my camera today.
Each with there own story.

This picture was taken 4/22/2010. Yes, they are poinsettias. Yes, they are mostly found during Christmas time. But every year, I can't make myself throw them away after Christmas. So I keep them way too long. And them one by one, I put them to death in a trash bag. And the only reason I got rid of them was because I was tired of being asked why I had 6 poinsettias in my laundry room. Answer: because I treat plants like children.

This is the rose bush out in our back yard. I planted it the spring after we moved into our house. And every book and website about roses says to make sure and cut your rose bushes back so that they thrive. Well I have never cut this one back and it is just stunning. I so enjoy watching it bloom every year. It makes my heart smile. And the number of blooms it produces each year is unbelievable.

This is an orchid I have had for 3 years. I bought it in a clearance buggy at the Kroger. It was sad and needed a home. And I think it really likes it at our house. Every 6 months, like clock work, it blooms to most beautiful white flowers.

This is a picture of a collection of mixing glasses on the top of a hutch in my Mom's kitchen. She collects all things antique. I love to look around when I go home. I love to see all that she has found to add to her collections.
FYI- her house serves as a clear explanation for why I throw away everything. I'm afraid of having collections. Because I am afraid of clutter.
But my mom really does love it. And I'm ok with that.
This is our cat Abby. I took this picture on a day when our whole family was stressed out. I could tell she too felt like she had had enough. She was ready to be left alone to sleep and not be bothered. I love how she covers her eyes with her paws.
And finally, this is a picture of a road sign in the town that my dad's family is from: Mountain City, GA. Will Zoellner was my Great Grandfather. He passed away when I was 2, so I have no memories of him. But I do have alot of knowledge about him since a book was written about his life: Foxfire 5. I think many people enjoyed being friends with my G-grandfather. So much so that he has a road named in his honor. I think this is so neat.


A much anticipated update

I apologize that it took me 18 hours to get this update posted.
We have been quietly celebrating! Just me and Evan.
My in-laws were nice enough to take our kids last night and we have been spending that time together- taking in the news we learned yesterday.
And hoping that it is all true.
Here's the scoop:
We went to Emory for a 3:30 appointment. We finally saw the surgeon at 5:05. A little frustrating, but so worth it in the end.
The surgeon seems to think that the cancer is in fact on it's way out. He agrees that the blood work numbers are good. And that the most recent scan Evan had is showing improvement.
And instead of the MRI or CT scan that we were anticipating, Evan will be having a Fine Needle Biopsy instead at Emory. The surgeon wants to stop guessing about what is showing up on scans and wants to actually see what it is (makes sense right?). And whatever the biopsy says will determine surgery or not.
So Monday we are hoping for a call from the appointment folks to get the ultrasound scheduled. Pray that the appointment will be sooner than later please.
And it will be about a week after the biopsy before an official report will be ready.
And at that point, we are hoping that the lymph nodes that are glowing are somehow just playing tricks on us. We are praying they contain no cancer.
So you have much to pray for on our behalf this next few weeks. But I also ask that you praise God with us as things are starting to look like Evan is on the road to restored health.
Thank you God!
For the first time in several weeks, we are smiling.
Thank you for your prayers. We have the best friends ever.


It's Prayer Time Folks!

Today (Friday) at 3:30. We will be back at Emory meeting with Evan's new surgeon.
Please pray this guy is ready to help us get this cancer done with.
And pray we have all the right questions to ask and he has all the right answers.



I met 4 people yesterday that were in some sort of pain.

One of them wasn't old enough to explain her true pain to me.
But I knew exactly what it was- she wanted he Mommy. She needed comfort and I was not her remedy. In her eyes, there was nothing I could do. And I totally understood where she was coming from. I have the same feeling sometimes too. Not necessary "I want my Mommy" but the feeling that I just need to be comforted.

The next person I encountered was truly in pain. Has been for months now. And all sorts of treatments are being used to try and make her feel better. And all I could do for her was promise that I will pray for her to feel better soon. That's all I've got I can do. I hope God hears me so that she can feel better.

The third lady I interacted with yesterday had a mental anguish that only she can truly understand. In ways, I felt like I really did understand what she was going through. But I wonder if I really do. I know I have been through alot emotionally lately, but to hear her speak broke my heart. And so I gave her a hug and told her to forget all of the people that are causing her doubt and grief. And for her I will also pray. I will pray that God will give her an easy path to follow. And that those who have turned away for her will stop being so selfish. Because only she and God know what she needs.

And finally I saw someone that left a permanent picture in my brain. A man whose wife had recently passed away. And the pain I saw was so deep. I felt like I could see right to his soul when I looked into his eyes. They were hollow and tired. Fresh with grief. And I will forever carry that memory with me. And I will say extra prayers of comfort that only God can bring to someone that has lost their love.

So yeah, I have felt pain. I remember like it was yesterday the physical pain of bringing my babies into the world. I remember the pain of losing loved ones. I remember the heartbreak I felt seeing Evan laying in a hospital bed in pain after surgery.
But after yesterday, I learned an important lesson about pain.
You can never assume that you understand the true pain that some one is feeling.
As each of these people showed me that I have no clue what they are feeling.
I was merely a bystander for a few moments in each of their lives.
And I promise not to try and understand how it feels.
And I hope people also don't try and understand my pain.
But I do hope that I will be the greatest comfort I can be.
Not judging or acting like I know.
But doing whatever it may be that will show them I care.
Even if it's a simple prayer or just being quiet and listening.


A Science Project

A few weeks ago, we visited the Butterfly house at Callaway Gardens. And in all honesty, I wasn't that excited about going. But I wanted the kids to see what it was all about. And as it turns out, I loved seeing the butterflies! They were beautiful and surreal. And their life cycle is fascinating.
So fascinating that I made it my personal mission to make my kids learn all about it firsthand. So I did a little internet search and found out that you can grow your own butterflies! That is correct. You can raise butterflies from tiny caterpillars to full grown butterflies. What a great activity for my kids!
Our caterpillars came from insectlore.com. We ordered the Butterfly Garden kit, complete with caterpillars and a habitat for our new pets. It's $19.95 plus shipping which is totally reasonable for what you get.
We have 2 sets of caterpillars because of a little shipping issue. One set we have had for 7 days and they are about to form their cocoons. The second set we have only had for 1 day and they are tiny little caterpillars.
I can't wait to see the next stage as the kids have LOVED watching our first set of caterpillars grow and form. An the thought of having our very own butterflies (to release of course) makes me feel like a little kid.

When the Saints go marching in

I'll just go ahead and tell you that this blog post will have no flow to it. I'm simply writing down what goes on in my head. It's what I do here on this blog. So if you are looking for a good read- no guarantees. But you will certainly know that my head is full of junk right now. Crazy junk. And I am getting it out in front of you. So bless you if you read this post to the end.
Here's where all of this craziness started:
About 3 years ago, Evan and I took Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey at our church. It was awesome and life changing. It totally made sense and got us on a path toward becoming debt free (which I hope will happen by the end of this year). But something happened during that class that is currently making me ponder my existence on Earth (3 years later). In one of the lessons and on his radio show, Dave Ramsey mentions getting a Will. Well ok, Dave said we need one so why not I thought. So I went to the website he suggested, picked the plan he suggested and paid around $70 for a DIY Will kit.
The Will documents came electronically to my email. I opened the email just like I would have opened any other email. I opened the basic Will document, filled out our names at the top and stopped. And I have not touched that email or document since then. Because I have not been ready to put down on a piece of paper that there might be a chance that one or both of us would die. We are in our early thirties. We made it past the crazy high school and college years. We don't smoke and only occasionally drink. And other than a few minor health issues, we have been pretty healthy as a whole. So why do we need a will?
We need it because life can be gone in a second. You might be reading this thinking that I am talking about Evan having cancer. Yes, my husband having cancer does make things like having a Will and life insurance more of a bigger thought. But several other events have made impressions on me lately that have me thinking about "the end".
I'm sure I have exhausted most of you with my story about the guy I watched die from a motorcycle accident on the interstate one morning. There was a rumor that he lived, but I later found out that he did in fact die. Honestly, I was hoping he did. Because his quality of life was going to be nothing had he lived. His head was split completely open and he had little brain activity when they life-flighted him away. I was the first to say that this guy set himself up for the wreck. He was driving way too fast on a "crotch-rocket" motorcycle and was weaving in and out of traffic like a crazy person. But did he leave his house that morning knowing it was his last day on Earth. I think not. I think he thought, like me, that he was young and dying was a long way off.
And then it happened again. Last week, a 30 year old man was riding a motorcycle about a half mile from our house when he died. A car did not see him, pulled out in front of him and that was it. He laid the bike down trying to avoid the collision and as a result got run over. I'm certain he did not plan on dying that day since he tried avoiding it at the last minute and couldn't.
Of course there is also the blog I read about a woman who is 31 whose husband went to the hospital with the Swine Flu and died. Completely out of the blue. Leaving her with 4 kids and a life to conduct on her own.
And there are the countless stories that I have heard that prove that life is not predictable. It doesn't matter what age we are or what kind of health we have. We could be gone at any moment.
And I don't say all of this to be morbid or depressing. I say it because I want to try my best not to take my life for granted. I want to stop being mad about crazy crap. I want to take my kids to a baseball game even when I know that they should not stay out that late on a school night. I want to have fun and enjoy life and spend money (responsibly of course) and do things with my family as much as we can. And I want to get a Will done so that my kids don't have to deal with any extra drama if something were to happen to their parents. It's the right thing to do.
Finally, I want to leave you with the understanding that I don't fear death at all. In fact, what better place to be than Heaven- which is where I know I'll be because I have given it all to God.
I'll leave you with a fun fact about me. You'll probably laugh because it fits my crazy personality. That even at my life's end, I plan on being a little different.
When I die, I want a green burial. There are only a few places in Georgia that allow for this, so I know that it might be a pain. But I really don't want to be in a fancy casket with crazy satin lining. I think a pine box would be nice. And I really only want minimal embalming- like none if possible. And I do not want to be "viewed" after I die. I will be dead and there is no reason to look at me. As a matter of fact, I would come back and haunt anyone that looked at me and said "Oh doesn't she look good!" after I am dead. And when the pine box is put in the ground, I do not want a tent over my grave site. For I want nothing between me and God. I want his sun to shine down upon my grave.
So there. Crazy huh. Life and death by Lori Bryant. It's ok to scratch your head now. And I'd be disappointed if there is not at least one comment, even if it is from Evan, about how this blog is very random.
PS- Don't ride a crotch-rocket.


Catiously Optimistic

In a surprising turn of events, Evan's bloodwork is starting to show signs of improvement. And by improvement I mean that the numbers indicate that his cancer might be reacting to his previous treatments and is reducing or going away. What? really? How could that be?
It's God folks. He hears our prayers. He hears your prayers. And He is treating this cancer himself. And I put all of my faith in believing that He is ready to heal Evan.
But it is not without fear.
Fear that these numbers are somehow off. Because we have heard from multiple doctors that there are many factors that can cause the numbers to be off. Were they all tested at the same lab? Was the same method of testing used each time? Was Evan's body producing an anti-body that causes the test to not be valid?
We are praying that the numbers are in fact correct. We are praying that God is giving us a clear reading. That He is ready to close this chapter of our lives.
So I ask that you continue to pray with us. Pray specifically at 3:30 on Friday (23th). As that is when we go back to Emory to meet with the surgeon. The surgeon that has been picked to perform the lymph node surgery that we hope will not have to happen. We are going in knowing that there is a good possibility surgery will happen. But maybe these new numbers and an upcoming MRI or CAT scan will make surgery unnecessary.
Wouldn't that be awesome?
To witness first hand that God does heal. God is bigger than cancer.


Recipe #1- Crock Pot Bar-B-Q Chicken

Dear Tiffany, This is such a Lori Bryant recipe! Put 2 items in a crock pot and turn it on. Amen!
And so that every one else can share in the fun, here is the recipe:

Easy Squeezy Bar-B-Q Chicken
Chicken breasts (I used giant bone-in ones b/c they were on sale at Publix) You can use boneless, skinless ones for ease
2-3 bottles of Bar-B-Q sauce (Purchased BOGO free at Publix)

Pour 1 bottle of sauce in the bottom of the crock pot.
Put the chicken in (I put mine in frozen!)
Pour the other bottle of sauce on top
Turn the crock pot on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours (I used the high for 4 hrs)
Take the chicken out and serve as-is or shred for sandwiches.

This is fabulous and so easy I feel guilty for not making it before. And this recipe can be used with pork chops as well. And I have heard rumors that you can make the same recipe with salsa instead of bar-b-q sauce for a Mexican dish-yum!
Thanks again Tiffany!!

The Rest of the Story

If you want to read the rest of the story or if you want a different prospective, click here.
He's a much better writer than I am.


No Technology Week (My kids will never forgive me)

Last Monday I had had enough. I came home from work, picked the kids up and they were not behaving like I would expect. And for the better part of 2 hours they were awful. They were on each others nerves as much as possible and I got really tired of hearing them bicker. They could not settle on anything without fussing and fighting. And they were not only on each others case, but they also had not been too respectful of me either. So I was fed up. The final straw was when I told Britton to come downstairs and put his baseball uniform. He looked at me, told me "no" and said he didn't want to go to baseball, he wanted to watch TV. Bad Move.
Welcome to "No Technology Week" at the Bryant House. An idea that was born from my kids acting like little turds. Here are the rules: No TV or Internet from Monday through Thursday. Instead, you will be forced to play and use your imagination. That's right- let the suffering begin. What a hard life. You must enjoy the beautiful weather. You must ride a bike or enjoy a book. Poor kids, you should feel sorry for them. Because they are having to learn how life was back in the day. Back when online games and crappy Disney TV were non-existent.

And guess what? The kids survived the first week! And they are actually acting like humans again. And they have been playing so hard that by the time bedtime rolls around, they are wore out.
And "No Technology Week" went so well, it has been extended for 6 weeks!!! That's right kids- we enjoyed you playing in the yard so much that we want to see you play until summer break!
And who knows, maybe we will make this a permanent change in our family.


There is a group of 5 people who serve as my therapy group.
They have for the past 6 years.
I can be who I wanted to be in front of them.
I can say what I want to say.
I can feel how I want to feel.
They make me laugh.
They will cry with me.
We have been through alot together.
And they will never know how much they mean to me.
Words cannot express how beautiful it is to have friends who truly care.
I am such a better person because of Super Six.
I love you Connie, Jorge, Chad, Bee and Evan.


Most recent update

The tumor board has met. It sounds like they agree with Evan's oncologist about how to proceed. We should hear from the surgeon either today or Monday about an appointment with them. There will be a few more tests and depending on what those show, it's looking like surgery. There is a slight chance that things could change as tests could come back negative for cancerous growth (you can pray for that please). But as of right now, please redirect your prayers from the tumor board to an Emory surgeon who we haven't met yet.
Thanks for following along and for your continued prayers. Every prayer has been felt.


Caution: Person does not include filter!

I keep running into the wrong people.

I guess I should blame it on myself for being so popular (ha) but for some reason I feel as though I am wearing a sign that says "Tell me everything that comes to your mind". And as proven yesterday, Evan apparently has the same sign. I'll tell my story first.

I had an encounter with a person who managed to tell me that they had heard that couples who experience cancer together are twice as likely to get a divorce. And you thought I needed to know that why?? Are you thinking that by telling me that I will either throw my hands in the air and file for divorce or all of the sudden start working harder than I already am to make sure my marriage works? Frankly I don't give a (fill in the blank) about what history shows. I have never been one to be a statistic and I don't plan on starting now. And if anything I can tell you that I think all aspects of my relationship with Evan have grown stronger because of his cancer. So please take your comment and stick it where it belongs. And I apologize if I upset anyone with my above ranting, it's simply how I feel.

I also had someone yesterday ask me how it felt to be the wife of a man with cancer. This question is not inappropriate really, it just took me off guard. And this is really not a question to be answered immediately as there endless feelings that I go through. But just in case that person happens to be reading this- which I doubt, here is my real answer:

It sucks. Not like anything else has ever sucked before.

It consumes my thoughts.

It makes my fears reality.

It causes anguish, pain and frustration that I have never known before.

It makes me mean.

It makes me weak.

I wish I was the one with cancer. It would be so much easier for me to deal with me being sick than with the one I love.

It is the hardest thing emotionally that I have ever dealt with.

I am mad.

So there you go. A short but well thought out answer.

And then there is what happened to Evan yesterday that I wish would not have happened.

Someone called him and they meant well. They wanted to be supportive. They wanted to let him know that he is not alone. But they had to tell their story. And it's not what he needed to hear.

Evan's attitude changed yesterday. Someone pointed out reality and they will never know the impact they had. By sharing a story of their wife's reoccurring thyroid cancer and now other cancers, they somehow managed to take a man with a strong face and make him doubt. And for the first time in a while, he didn't feel like talking. Which I understand. But he knows I'm here to help make it better. So I was ok with not talking. But my heart hurts none the less.

So I've come to realize that things like this are going to happen. I understand that people are human and they just want to talk. And I know that most people aren't out to say things that are hurtful. But I also know that too many times people don't think before they say.

But I trust that there is a reason why these things happen. Maybe it is to toughen our skin or to make us more aware. I don't know. But I do know that I will move forward knowing that I will watch how I speak and listen more closely to others- in hopes that I will not cause harm that might make them blog about me to the world.


Thanks recipe people!

Thank you to everyone who has sent me a recipe in the last 24 hours.
I now have about 2 weeks worth of yummy goodness to cook.
If you haven't sent me a recipe yet, it's not too late.
And to those of you that have already submitted yours, check back often for pictures of me making your recipes. I'm looking forward to learning how to turn on my crock pot. And I'm afraid I can't use my oven to store pans anymore. I'm gonna be using it to cook!


I need YOUR help! No really

If you are reading this post, I need your help.

Actually, my kids need your help.

They need you to give me some recipes that are both kid-friendly, nutritious and can be prepared by someone who thinks that preparing dinner is worse than cleaning a toilet.

No joke- I hate making dinner.

If it were up to me, we'd eat out every night. And some weeks we do (yikes!).

So be a good friend. Imagine my kids little faces and give me your favorite recipe.

You can email it to me (evanandlori@bellsouth.net), message me of FB, or you can even leave it as a comment on this here blog.

As a reward for your kindness, I will take pictures of myself preparing your recipes and post them so that all of the masses will know that you are the reason my kids might eat at home again.


Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

Yesterday (Sunday) took me completely be surprise.
I didn't prepare myself to be emotionally bombarded.
But it happened. And I was overwhelmed. But it was good.
Kinda like a cleansing of my soul.

Our Sunday School message was about the impact you make as a Christian outside of church.
I had to think about what I do. I like to give to others. I like to sponsor events. I love to host people at our house. I go all out when I know people are coming over. I like to give gifts and flowers.
But I can do more. I can always do more. And I have my eyes wide open to opportunity.

The sermon yesterday was about wanting to give up. I wish I could say that I haven't had that feeling. But too many times I find myself with my hands in the arms saying "I'm done" or "I'm over it". The problem is I don't have the option of being done. I've got 2 kids and a husband who depend on me to be a part of the team even when it's not fun to play anymore. And it is only through God that I continue to play the game and not just quit. Which strikes cords close to my heart because I have known so many people in my life who have chosen to quit. Relationships have been broken, lives forever changed. And all of these situations have one thing in common- God was not put first. And I will put Him first, and I will not quit. No cancer and no burden will be too much. I will not quit.

The worship music before and after the sermon was beautiful. But my heart chose that time to break down. The tears flowed and I was sitting on the front row in front of hundreds of people. But there was not a thing I could do. I was completely broken. Emotionally spent. But thankful to God for all He has done. And as I held the hand of the man I so love, I realized that my tears were not the only one's flowing yesterday. We are both broken and thankful. Suffering but rejoicing in a time of worship. We have pure love because we let God be in control.

And finally, yesterday I was reminded that I am a miracle. Someone that was completely lost. I should have amounted to nothing. But I was found. I was shown love and I was taught to love. And in return I have 2 beautiful kids and a husband who is amazing. I am a miracle.


What are you doing Friday?

I remember in high school spending all week at school trying to figure out what I was doing on Friday night. What a carefree time in life. When the biggest worry I had was what to wear and whether or not I had plans.
Life has changed. I've already started to worry about Friday. Not what I'll be doing on Friday, but what will be decided by Evan's team of doctors that day.
I know I'm not supposed to worry. But I will not be at ease until we get the call that the Tumor Board has met and has a recommendation. A recommendation as to how to get rid of Evan's cancer forever.
So I am anxious. I know we won't know anything Friday. It will likely be next week before we get a call. But my every thought and prayer will be about what happens Friday.
And I invite you to stop and pour all of your energy into a prayer for Evan and the Tumor Board at Emory. We need God to lead these men and women into a direction that will make us one step closer to done with cancer.
If anybody asks you what your plans are for Friday, make sure and tell them that at least part of the day you will be praying for a really cool guy.
Thanks in advance!

Spring Break- I'm tired!

Here's a recap of our week of Spring Break. Evan and I both had to work, so we did as much as we could in the evenings to have fun with the kids. Overall, it was a success. Be we are all tired!

Monday- T-Ball practice. Britton and Evan practiced with their team and Haley and I went to the store to prepare a special dinner- FONDUE! Hello 1975! The kids loved it, and the house still smells like hot oil. We had beef and chicken to cook in the fondue pot and I made a Swiss cheese fondue in a seperate pot. We had chocolate dip and fruit for dessert. Delicious!

Tuesday night, Aunt Bee came for a visit and played with the kids while we went out for dinner. Dinner was a treat for us, but I am thinking the kids thought they were in heaven. I hear there was Play-Doh and all kinds of fun while we were gone. Evan and I ate Thai food and enjoyed each others company without someone going, "Daddy, Mama, Daddy, Mama" every five seconds! Thanks Bee!
Wednesday we went out to dinner at our kid's favorite place to eat, Chick-fil-A. I have to say that I am Sooooooo over CFA (I am really sorry to the tons of people that I know who work there!) but we wanted to take the kids since they love it. After dinner, we took a few loaves of leftover bread and went to Lake Kedron to feed the ducks and fish. We spent over an hour on the docks there feeding all of the animals. It was a great, no-cost adventure that the kids really enjoyed.
Thursday Evan went to the Masters and I took the kids to see "How to Train a Dragon". It was the best movie I have seen in a long time! Loved it. I think the kids both enjoyed it. Britt was a little scared at times. But he really enjoyed getting to eat popcorn and Coke for dinner (only during Spring Break), so he was happy.
Friday we had our very favorite, Mexican food, and then we went to Home Depot and bought a new John Deere lawn tractor. Not much of a planned activity for Spring Break, but the kids were excited about getting to see daddy's new toy. It was quite the fiasco and took almost 3 hours, but we got home around 10 that night with a shiny new green tractor. And the kids got to stay up late- that's a treat in itself for them!
Saturday we had a few quick errands to run and then all of the Bryant family came to our house for a gathering and dinner. It was great to see everyone since we have not all been together since Christmas. The weather was beautiful, so we all sat out in the yard and enjoyed each others company.
Finally, there was Sunday. Church, lunch and then burning a bunch of yard debris. Followed by laundry and watching the Masters. A lot of laundry!
And now we are all exhausted. And it's time for a normal school week. I'm hoping it will be a good one! Only 7 more weeks of school- that's hard to believe!


Welcome to Six Flags-Sharpsburg

At 2:01 yesterday, I found myself in the parking deck at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (I had to park in the deck there to walk to Evan's appointment at the oncologist). I remember saying twice yesterday that I had never been to Children's and I hope it's a place I never have to be. But then wait, I never in a million years imagined that I would find myself at the Winship Cancer Center at Emory University Hospital. Because I never in a million years imaged that the man I love more than life itself would be a patient at a cancer center. And I certainly never imagined that not only would he have cancer, but he would have cancer that makes even the smartest of oncologists wonder what they are looking at.
Going into the appointment yesterday at Winship, I was cruising right along on the roller coaster that this cancer battle has become. I would say that I was probably going up the giant hill at the beginning of the Scream Machine, the one that is supposed to give you all of the momentum you need to get through the rest of the ride. I imagine that it's me and Evan in the front seat, hands in the air, ready to go.
And then we went to the appointment. And I feel like our roller coaster car thing stalled out right before we got to the top of the hill. And we are being told that a rescue crew will be up in a little while to lead us down.
I know all that sounds crazy and depressing. Trust me I know. And trust me it is.
I am so hurt by the fact that I have to see Evan sit and explain that he is tired of the ride.
And no matter how hard I try, there is not alot I can say to ease the pain of what he goes through and that breaks my heart. I would take a million hours of physical pain to ease him of the emotion that goes along with having cancer. But I know that somehow we will get through all
of this and I know that this is a part of a bigger plan.

So enough with the roller coaster- where are we really with all of the medical stuff?
Here's a summary:
Evan had an ultrasound and some blood work done in the past week. The ultrasound needs to be signed off on by his Endocrinologist and forwarded to Emory. We're waiting on the blood work results.
The Emory Tumor Board is going to meet next Friday and Evan's case will be reviewed by them for recommendations regarding further treatment.
The recommendation from Dr. O (new oncologist) is surgery to remove the neck lymph nodes followed by radiation. He pretty much said that as long as blood work shows any thyroglobulin in Evan's system (which it does right now), cancer is present (not exactly what our first opinion doctor said).
So right now we are in a new phase of the waiting game. Waiting on the top of hill. Waiting on good news that our roller coaster car will be fixed soon or that we will have a rescue team to get us down soon.
A few prayer requests:
Physical healing for Evan
Emotional well-being for us both- this seems to be the hardest part so far
Clear direction for the Tumor Board next Friday

And in all of this- we give glory to God, the Great Physician.


You're smart, figure it out dude

We are meeting a new oncologist at Emory today. Evan was referred to him by the first oncologist we saw. This guy specializes in thyroid stuff. And he's into research and teaching so I'm hoping this this guy is the one that will lead us to an answer about getting rid of this cancer forever. If not, we will move on. But it sure would be nice if this is our guy and he happens to be in Atlanta.
I'll try and update tonight so that everyone on here who follows our story can keep up. As for now, say a prayer for us. Specifically at 2:30 today (Wednesday April 7th). Pray that the answers will be obvious. That this doctor is led by God.


Where I come from

This is the house I grew up in. It was finished 30 years ago this week (in 1980) and my parents have lived there the entire 30 years.
A little history about this house:
-My dad was a Master Sergeant in the Army until 1989. Up until about 1980, my parent's lived all over the place. Mostly my mom lived in the metro Atlanta area and my dad lived overseas. Except for the 3 or 4 years that they packed the whole family up to live in Germany.
They were finally able to settle down when my Dad got a permanent assignment at Fort McPherson. Which is why they built this house in Fayette County.
-When my parents moved into this house, there was one house about 30 acres to their left and that was it. There are now 10 more house on their street, mostly on 3-5 acres each.
-The road to my parent's house was gravel until the 90's. It is now asphalt and measures roughly 4/10 of a mile.
-The house plan is a John Wieland plan with 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a bonus room over the garage. It is about 1800 sq. ft. and it was very crowded with 5 kids.
-Everything about the interior of the house is dark. Dark wood, dark paneling, dark brick.
-The trees around the house are huge and beautiful. The entire yard is draped in a canopy of old oak trees.
-Not a single baby was brought home to this house, as my parent's didn't finish and move into the house until my youngest sister was a few weeks old.
-My mom oversaw the building of the house by herself. My dad was stationed in Korea while it was being built.
-There was a house fire in the house in the late 1980's but the damage was minimal since my brother drug a water hose up the stairs and fought the fire until the trucks got there.

And there are a million more tidbits of info I could share, but I would hate to bore you. I do however plan on writing another post about the inside of the house. I just have to upload the pictures, which takes forever.
So there it is, my original home. Where I come from. The place that made me who I am.
I'd love to know where you came from.

Video Church

Easter Sunday was a little different for our family. Evan and I decided to attend church with my brother and his wife and son. We made this decision because our family plans for Easter made it impossible to get to our church and back and get to see family on the schedule we had set.
So I'm sure that some of you will gasp and want to be upset with us for not making it to our church, but we went to church, which is important to us.
My brother attends Southside Church which is a satellite location for Northpoint Community Church, led by Andy Stanley. As most people know, Andy Stanley preaches on videos at the satellite locations. The thought of that freaked me out. I mean really? Why go to church to watch a video?
Well I have to say that I have changed my way of thinking about video church. It is phenomenal at Southside. I'm not sure that it would work at many other places, mainly because I feel like Andy Stanley is the reason it works. And before you go and judge me for being some kind of Andy Stanley cult follower. I am not. But I have NEVER heard the man preach a message that was not profound. He honestly knows how to speak to the common human being. Those of us who find ourselves screwing up on a daily basis.
And then there is the worship experience. The music is flawless (yes I know they pay the band). But I WANT to worship God when I am there. The energy is amazing. The dynamic of the people there is insane. I can't say enough about the worship.
And finally, I give props to Southside for nurturing my brother. Those people have held his hand and led him on a walk with Jesus. They are what he needed. They love him. And I am so thrilled he found Southside to be a part of. It's hard to believe that 3 years ago he was in jail and now he is serving others on Sunday morning as an usher. God is good.


Buffalo Chicken Dip

For Keight, Because I like your spunk and I'm hoping that this will cure your morning sick. Probably not since it's hot sauce and cheese- but one can hope!

And for everyone else, you should try this at least once because it is heavenly.

The Best Ever Must have Buffalo Chicken Dip

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 lbs.)
1 (12oz) bottle of Frank's hot sauce
1 (8oz) pkg. cream cheese
1 (16oz) bottle bleu cheese salad dressing (you can use ranch if you must)
(8oz) shredded Sharp cheddar

In a saucepan, boil the chicken until cooked through (about 15 mins), drain and then shred with two forks. (Don't try and cut it up- it's not the same!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 13x9 baking pan, combine the chicken meat with the hot sauce, spreading to form an even layer.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream cheese and the bleu cheese dressing, stirring until smooth and hot. Pour the mixture evenly over the chicken mixture (already in the pan). Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, then sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top and bake uncovered for another 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes to avoid causing molten lava harm to your mouth.

Serve with tortilla chips, Scoops, celery or lick it off your fingers.

Warning- it's very good and highly addictive

And now to your questions...

1. What was your most favorite vacation? (submitted by Sarah)
The best vacation I think I have ever been on was to Alaska with Evan. We left Seattle on a cruise and went to Sitka, Ketchakan, Juneau, Glacier Bay and Victoria BC. We found out that the weather there the week we went was the best it had been in years. And the scenery was beyond beautiful. The air is clean and you just feel like you might be as close to Heaven as God will let us be on Earth. I highly recommend Alaska!
2. What is your favorite Super Six moment? (submitted by Bee)
Let me start by saying that there are so many. Most of them have been on our annual winter trips. Going to Cherokee was a blast, the Biltmore House was crazy cold but so fun and our cabin trips also make for a great time. My most recent fun memory involves the puzzle with the missing pieces. And then I have memories of times when the 5 of you have been there for me in the darkest of hours. And for those I am thankful.
3. In your very first post you said that you were 'returning' to blogging...when did you used to blog? and why did you stop? (submitted by Tiffany)
I started blogging June 2008 and ended in March 2009. Basically I just got bored with it and didn't totally understand how to make a blof interesting. So I quit. And it was easy to quit since I had 1 reader. And I have been using my new blog as a means of keeping me out of therapy. I love to sit down, write how I feel and get stuff off of my chest. It has been very theraputic during Evan's health stuff and I have even convinced him to blog for therapy. Good question!
4. Who is your hero/greatest life role model and how has (or what are some ways) that person (either directly or indirectly from observation) shaped who you are today? (sbmitted by Lauren)
Hands down- Rick Harper. I know that is a CCF answer, but he showed me that it is ok to be a common, flawed, beer drinking SOB and still love Jesus. I was completely lost when I got to Tech and God used Rick to show me that I am a Kingdom child, capable of being loved and capable of loving. And because of God and Rick, I now love others like never before.
5. Why did you pick that particular verse for your tattoo?
Philipians 4:13 is one of two verses that I know by heart. I am a simple Christian, and I have a terrible memory. So most of the time when I need to quote scripture, I have to look it up. And the other verse I know is john 3:16 and that is reserved for signs at the Braves game and not tattoos :). In all seriousness, I have to tell myself daily that "I CAN do all things through Christ who gives me strength", cause when life gets rough, that's all I have that is certain. And it took going through everything with Evan to finally make me make time to just go get the tattoo. And I don't regret it one bit.
6. If you still worked at Southern Mills in Senoia would you have already had your teeth pulled by now and would you be addicted to Mountain Dew and Hot Fries?
Honey, You know how much I would love to have dentures. So yes, I would have done like all good Southern Mills employees do and I would have had my teeth all pulled. Why go on brushing and flossing when you can just not worry about it? Of course, I would have to actually go through with ordering dentures to wear unlike all of my fellow employees. To me, a couple hundred dollars was worth having teeth. But they did not think so. And plus, dentures were just another thing to take care of. And as for the Hot Fries and Mountain Dew, over MY DEAD BODY would I consume either one of those food groups. But I know first hand that you do in fact not need teeth to make those a tasty treat. Gross.
7. From one hypo to another, how goes life with hypothyroidism?
Good question. I am at the best place I have been in a while with my hypothyroidism. But I know that that is short lived. About every 6 months I have to change medication dosage in order to keep myself happy and healthy. Maybe that will change, but it sounds like my thyroid has decided it just gives up. Which is funny since Evan ended up with thyroid cancer.
I am not happy with my weight but I think if I took charge of my health, I could make that better. Sometimes I am tired, but not as much as I used to be. I have managed to grow eyebrows which is a huge deal! And I have taken almost complete control of the psychological part of being hypo. Which is a good thing since Evan did not need a crazy unbalanced woman trying to help him through cancer. So I am thankful to God for getting my thyroid in check while Evan's went nuts.

Thanks for all of the thought prevoking questions. This was alot of fun. And thanks for keeping up with my life as I like knowing that people find my thoughts worth reading.

And the winner is....

Usually those that come in last don't win, but in this case it was the 7th and final entry in this here competition that proved to be the winner.
The more amazing fact is that I got 7 people to enter my little competition. And yes that counts the people that cheated and the man I sleep with. Because I was hoping to get to see him eat 12 McRibs.
But in the end, the winner followed all of the directions and look at what it got her- $25 to Carraba's. So enjoy the Mezzaluna Brei ! (Really you can have whatever you'd like but that's my favorite!)

OK- So I'm the weird one!

Every Wednesday night Evan and I go down to the nursery at our church and help out with the little ones. Mostly we have every child that is not yet 2. So there is alot of baby holding and floor playing time. Evan is a big help with the toddlers as he sits in the floor and lets them crawl all over him. I on the other hand and the worst person ever to work a nursery. I hate vomit, pee, poop, snot and any smells that are not rosy. So I am more of a last resort as far as being helpful. But I have found my role in the nursery- I'm the entertainment for the adults that are down there helping. That's right. I provide the story telling and entertaining facts and drama for the nursery workers. Most of them know me REALLY well, so it does not surprise them when I have a plethora of stories to share- most of which are off-the-wall or help prove that I am in fact "crazy".
So last night, we were in the nursery. And a really sweet, very pregnant friend of mine got alarmed when I pointed out that I do not like the smell of syrup. One of the kids in the nursery smelled like syrup and it was just not working for me. And T (aforementioned friend) said that it was weird not liking syrup smells. I have to agree. Most people would love the smell of syrup. But I'm not one of those normal people. In fact, I have "issues" with many smells and anything that has weird texture. So we spent the better part of 30 minutes discussing why me, Lori Bryant, is weird. Here is a smidgen of some of the facts about me that came up:
-I have pretty much stopped eating all meat besides beef. I will eat chicken dishes, but I do not care for a piece of chicken on my plate by itself. I also do not like pot roast, beef roast or any meat that is stringy. Nightmare meats for me are corned beef and those rotisserie chickens from the grocery store.
-I would prefer my beef medium rare if not almost raw as opposed to cooked. I don't even mind if it's not warm in the center. I enjoy rare beef. Specifically filet mignon or other good cuts.
-I enjoy eating weird foods like sauerkraut and stewed tomatoes. I also enjoy eating raw potatoes which really caused an uproar. I love them with salt. To me it is no different than eating carrots or celery.
-I don't eat seafood at all. I don't really care that shrimp isn't fishy or that salmon and grouper don't smell at all. I'm NEVER going to eat fish or seafood. Much to my 9 year olds dismay.
-And on that note, most people eat carrots or celery with ranch or bleu cheese. Vomit. I would not eat ranch or bleu cheese dressing if my life depended on it.
-I can not stomach the thought of anything that includes wet bread or has bread as an ingredient. I can eat bread (only white) if it is just bread. But if you make it into a pudding or dip it in some concoction or mess with it at all, I'm done.
-Which leads to texture. Nice and smooth is the way I like food and drinks to be. You can keep your grits and oatmeal and V8 juice. If it has texture and should be smooth, I am not eating it.
-Off the subject of food. Most of you know I am a clean freak. It was also pointed out to me that not only am I clean, but I also am neat and clutter-free. Which makes for a pretty boring existence for those around me. As you are not going to find any reading material or anything sitting around to "play with" at my house. But you can ask where I keep it and I'll allow you to take it out for a little while as long as you put it right back!

-I am also a news junkie. I mean all things news. Both "real" news and gossip news. Ask me, I have seen that story already. And if I haven't, it happened while I was asleep. I read the local paper cover-to-cover every day (ok- I actually read it internet cover-to-cover!). This includes obituaries, restaurant reviews, job postings and arrest logs. You never know what you might need to know. And I love sharing all of the useless knowledge I obtain from the paper with others around me (I'm sure they hate it!). I also enjoy People magazine, tmz.com, anything Martha Stewart (did you know she gives her horse acupuncture?), the AJC and many other news or gossip outlets.
-I drive fast. Always have. Even in my mom car. Which you can see to the left. And I'm also the only person I know that owns a Pontiac Torrent. A what? Yes, I know.
And trust me, I could go on and on about my quirks. This is just a sampling of what makes me weird. Or maybe it is unique? But I am guessing that if you get to really know me, you will find that I'm really not all that bad to be around. Hopefully I'll at least make you laugh and make you thankful that you don't have as many quirks as I do!

Only 2 1/2 more hours!

If you are one of my blog stalkers, you have approxiamtely 2 1/2 hours to make yourself legit by entering my blogging giveaway. I know there are more of you out there because I had 41 visits to my blog yesterday and my husband loves me, but I'm sure he didn't visit 41 times!
So enter now! And who knows, you might win free dinner!http://tattooonmytoe.blogspot.com/2010/03/blogging-giveaway.html