So much has happened! I can happily report, that lately it’s been several days of GOOD! Of course, as I’ve been thinking about writing an entry these past few days, on the day that I planned to update, my good days slowly turned south. Today was a not-so-good one. But first, let me share the great moments I’ve had. God is creating miracles in my life. Every good day is a miraculous gift from Him. Keep in mind, I have been told to expect the worst (vomiting, exhaustion, neuropathy, etc). And although I am fairly tired every day, the other symptoms have not shown themselves. Praise God! In the time that I have not updated y’all, many things have happened. Let me begin:
1. My incredibly hilarious, kind-hearted, and funtastic aunt came to visit. Our time together was a blast, filled with much laughter and conversation. She’s truly someone I can spill my guts to. Thank God for cool aunts! In addition, she helped immensely with our fundraiser, and was there making sure I was drinking enough water and constantly had sunscreen on my baldalicous dome.
2. We had our Baldalicious Bandwagon fundraiser, and the turn out was jaw-dropping! I still can not believe how many of you came to be a part of that fun day with us. And not only how many people came to support us, but how many guys shaved (and I mean with shaving cream) their heads. Seriously, it was over 20 guys from ages 4 to 57. Amazing. For those who chose to support me by rocking the same invisible hairstyle, my deepest and most heartfelt thanks. Without going into a long rant, I will try to explain how it touched my heart. Before I lost all my hair, I didn’t expect to feel alone once my hair was gone. However, it was indeed the case once the locks disappeared. Fact is, you don’t see many bald people in public. As a stylist, I do notice wigs, but women rarely rock the shiny dome. I quickly felt like the only one. Luckily, my husband went bald before me, which made my transition a lot easier. And now to see the amount of other people willing to shave their hair off, to stand next to me in this battle, was a huge visual reminder that I am not alone. I’m not the only bald person walking around. If you ever get the opportunity to show support to someone going through cancer, shaving your head is an enormous gift to give.
Not only was there immense support via head-shaving, but so many of you made generous donations. And when I say “generous”, I mean, “gargantuan generosity”. Generosity that I had no concept of, prior to this event. Generosity that continues to bring tears to my eyes. Generosity that has filled our lives with hope and has taken away some of the fears we had financially. With your help, we raised a great amount of money. Let me assure you, we have put aside this money and all of your future donations, into a special account. Your donations will help us pay our never-ending large medical bills. Yesterday, we received a huge medical bill in the mail, and initially the number brought immediate stress. However, now, because of so many of you, my stress has dissipated. Because of you, we can more easily pay these medical bills. A humongous “thank you” to all who so graciously and generously donated. You have touched us dramatically.
Overall, our Baldalicious Bandwagon fundraiser was a huge hit! I enjoyed it so much. Thankfully, I had energy, was feeling really good that day and was able to participate. I was able to meet so many new people, spend time with old friends whom I hadn’t seen in years, and see the amount of love you all have for me. The love and support were visual and apparent. I can’t express my gratitude in words.
3. We officially moved into my mom and step-dad’s basement. Although we both prided ourselves on and promised each other we would never move in with our parents after marriage…things change. We have to continually remind ourselves that it’s not because we were financially irresponsible or moochers. Yes, we do pay rent. Let’s just consider them, “room mates”. Cancer became a part of our lives. And with cancer, all of our plans have changed. This transition will allow us to save some money, and when Matt is at work, my mom will be able to help me when need be.
4. One of my awesome sisters came to visit! She was here this past Monday through yesterday, and we had a great time. Like I mentioned before, I have been having really good days, and because of this, her and I were able to spend quality time together. We had time to catch up and share about the current events in our lives. In addition, we enjoyed a day of shopping, and another day at the zoo. Both typically great activities, but with your sister, they are even better. Having out-of-town family here, makes this journey a lot easier.
5. I celebrated the completion of my 3rd round of chemotherapy! Hallelujah! I am now officially about 1/3 of the way through my treatment plan. Although a seemingly small step, if I view it correctly, it’s a big deal. Any progress is good progress! And progress, this is indeed. Until today, my days during this cycle have been really great. My days were full of energy, no nausea, and a strong body. I continue to pray that God releases his miracles upon me, and that I continue to experience his supernatural healing powers. Feel free to pray with me on that!
Now, I’ll update you to the current day. Like I mentioned in the above statements, I have felt really good in this cycle until now. Well, that’s a partial truth. Really, I’ve experienced a headache for the last 4 days non-stop, but, hey… that’s not too bad. This morning I woke up with extreme body aches and soreness, and symptoms of a bad head cold. However, I don’t believe these words fully encompass the way my body is reacting. I’ll try my best at making it a little more realistic and understandable for you. My muscles and bones ache as though someone has beaten my entire body with an aluminum bat. OR- You know when you whack your knee into something very hard, and it leaves a gigantic sore bruise for days? Imagine that sore bruise (minus the color) covering every inch of your being. Even the muscles behind my eyes hurt. Yes, that makes even looking around painful. My bones feel brittle, and my ankles actually feel as though they may break when I walk up and down the stairs. That’s what I’m experiencing today. So much so, that my husband had to literally help me out of bed this morning. Helped me out of bed to the couch, to lay right back down. And until 6:30pm, there I lay. The Rockies are playing tonight, so my husband and I came upstairs to watch the game with my step-dad, one of our “roomies”. Fingers crossed they’ll pull it out and win one. (I am so looking forward to making it to a game this season!)
Physically bad days aren’t just a physical battle… my emotions love to join in on the fun. Those two go hand in hand and, as I’m learning more and more, are very dependent on the other. For example, if I’m having a great day physically and my emotions are a wreck, so is my day. And, likewise, if I’m physically hurting, but in a good mood, my days aren’t very cheery either. So when I say I had a “good day”, you can almost guarantee my physical body and emotional spirit are hypothetically holding hands and frolicking through a field of wildflowers. Oh, how I enjoy those days. Today, not only did my body hurt, but my emotions took a dive. Not in the deep end of the pool, but deeper than I like. I found myself crying. Crying because I hate feeling like this. Crying because I have such an immense love/hate relationship for chemo. Crying because I sometimes feel like a burden on those I love, specifically my husband. Crying because I hate not being able to control my body. Crying because, dammit, this whole thing sucks. It’s okay for me to cry, though. In fact, it’s good for me to cry. Because I don’t do it very often, when I do it’s a good release. I feel cleansed after a good cry. And, God gave us tear ducts for a reason, right? Might as well put them to good use.
Some of you may think that when I have bummer days like today, that I may lose faith. But it’s actually in fact the opposite. I trust my God so much, that I know these “bad days” are just another part of His story. Yes, they suck. Yes, I wish I didn’t have to experience pain behind my eyeballs and in every inch of my body. But you know what? God is still the same God. He is still good, and always will be. He wants the best for me, and knows that I must endure this in order to learn what He is teaching me. His hands are on me. He is fighting this fight with me. Battles are hard, gritty, difficult, and engulfing. And, you know what? He didn’t place this cancer in my life, He allowed it. I fully believe that the devil went to Jesus and asked Him if he could place this speed bump in our lives. My savior said, “Yes, because I know she can do this. You can’t take her down.” God’s bets are on me. And that’s awesome to think about. God is for me. Not against me. And, when I get down, that’s all I need to think about. Although my body and emotions may fail me, my heart, spirit, and faith remain strong.
Psalm 112: 6-8 (ESV)
“For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.”