It's Been Five Years

It's Been Five Years

And cancer is still a b*tch.
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Dear Mother,

Five years ago today was the single worst day of both of our lives. You lost your best friend. I watched you lose your best friend. I lost my Godmother. You watched me lose my Godmother. We both watched a family being destroyed. We watched a mother cry over losing her daughter. A husband cry over losing his wife. Kids cry over losing their mother. We just watched this all happen and there was nothing either of us could do about it. So many tears were shed and all she could ask was “why were we all crying?” Why were we crying?

I finally understand why it hurt so badly to lose her. It wasn’t just because she was the perfect friend, an excellent role model, a beautiful daughter, a loving wife or the mother to three children. It wasn’t just because she was such a great person and she would be missed by everyone whose life she touched. It wasn’t just because God wasn’t being fair that day. Or even because cancer ruins lives. It hurt so badly because she was ours.

She made everything feel like it would be okay. For you, she was your best friend, your “go-to”, your “crazy drunken story” that you thought you’d still laugh about when you’re 90, your lifeline, your rock. She was your person. For me, she was my support system, my “go-to” when everyone else seemed like they were against me, my Godmother, my guardian angel. She was my person, too.

All of us have spent the last five years trying to replace the irreplaceable. You’ve looked for a new best friend. I’ve looked for a new role model. Her husband looked for, and found a new wife. The kids searched for a new “mother” figure. But there’s one person who didn’t try replacing her. Her mother. I could promise you that not even for a single moment in time, her mother thought, “She's gone, what am I going to do, I need someone else.” That should tell us something.

There’s nothing stronger than a mother’s love for her daughter. It’s the irreplaceable love that doesn’t search for a replacement. Although the pain of losing her never goes away, we both know that she must be pretty proud of everything we've accomplished over the past five years. She shines above us and supports our decisions, and trust me, we'd sure know it if she didn't. She's our angel now and you're stuck here with me.

You are my mother. I am your daughter. We have this irreplaceable love that will never be lost. I may not be able to share the same stories, give you the same support, or be the perfect friend as she was. But we’ve been looking so hard for a replacement when our replacements were here all along. You’re my person. I’m your person.

And I love you.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.clipartkid.com/teal-cancer-ribbon-cliparts/

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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I Stopped Taking My ADHD Medication And It Made Me 10 Times Happier

Many people with ADHD choose to medicate to manage their symptoms, but that choice is not without any negative side effects.

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When I was 7 years old, I was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder.

I was in the third grade and falling behind in nearly every subject and my teachers were losing hope. I endured several weeks of testing before being diagnosed, but even more weeks of medication testing after I was diagnosed. Once it had been determined that I responded positively to medication, I began taking Concerta.

I took Concerta every day from fourth grade on to my freshman year of college.

About every three years, I would start taking a stronger dosage and every time my dosage increased, I experienced more and more negative side effects of the drug.

Common side effects people experience when they take ADHD medications are altered personalities. The meds make you feel more reserved and uncomfortable. You are constantly on alert and this makes one feel very self-conscious. Another side effect of ADHD meds is suppression of identifying personality traits and strong emotions. Many people, including myself, report feeling robot or zombie-like. All of these side effects disappeared when I stopped taking Concerta.

Around the beginning of my first year of college, I considered stopping medicating.

College is a fresh start and I was beginning to wonder what not medicating would feel like. I had become so used to the way Concerta made me feel, I did not know what it felt like to truly be myself. So, after being medicated from 2008-2017, I stopped taking my ADHD pills.

At first, I didn't feel much of a difference, but as time went on I began feeling happier. I found myself to be more outgoing and social. I have always been considered a warm, approachable person, but this was different. People began commenting on how often I was smiling, my friend group was expanding, I began feeling more confident in myself and speaking in public.

During the fall semester of my sophomore year, I began experiencing the symptoms of my ADHD on a whole new level. I was having extreme difficulty paying attention in class, trouble completing all my assignments in a timely fashion, forgetting simple things, and more.

I felt like my grades were suffering and I was worried not medicating was compromising the quality of my education because I no longer had pills to help me manage my symptoms, so I started medicating once again.

At the start of my sophomore winter semester, I began taking Concerta again in hopes my educational experience would improve. While school was easier to manage, I could not stand the way the meds were making me feel. I experienced intense migraines, loss of interest in any/all activities I once enjoyed, I stopped eating, and my friends often commented on how dull I seemed. Due to all the negative side-effects of starting my medication again, I got rid of them for good.

Over a year has gone by since I first made the choice to give up my medication.

School is a lot harder and paying attention takes significantly more energy, but I would not trade any of my ADHD struggles for the feeling of finally being free from the methylphenidate based drug used to treat my disorder. For the first time since third grade, I feel like myself and I am proud of who I am and who I am becoming.

Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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