When I first walked in to the chemotherapy room I cried. The sad, slow, tears streaming down my face, and trembling…I was scared. But toward the end of that infusion I saw someone celebrate her bell ringing. I was so inspired, I cried and it gave me hope. And from that point forward I decided I wanted to be that for someone…be an inspiration, be a ray of hope.
In this five months, I have learned enough to alter my way of living. I learned that I have an amazing support system around me…that I can fall asleep on the couch for a month straight, and they’ll take care of my girls, the house, and meals.
I have learned that I can bounce back quick and truly put mind over matter. My girls deserve a big thank you to this achievement as they are pretty darn cute and busy. So, mama doesn’t have a whole lot of time to be anything, but positive.
I have learned so much about people…nurses, doctors, family, friends, distant relatives…
I have learned a lot about how the body needs to live healthfully. And how that will help the quality of life you lead.
I have learned about gratitude. How many reasons there are to feel grateful…grateful for the cooler weather, grateful for cozy pants, grateful for my warm bed, grateful for hot coffee on the couch cuddling with Halen, grateful for sitting on the front porch, grateful for my husband and his absolute dedication to me and holding my hand through each scary, emotional, dumbounding, frustrating, obstacle and every joyous, apprehensive, exciting, relieving small victory. My mom… I am so grateful for her opening her home to us, for then helping immediately on call for the last five months…treating my girls like her own babies, being the person (other than Evan) that I call about everything, she consoles my worries and hugs my fear away. Grateful for my happy, silly baby Henley who I adore rocking to sleep every night. I am grateful to my knowledgeable nurses and oncologist. Grateful for progress. Grateful for my friends who have shown up. Grateful for cards and letters. Grateful for fresh cut flowers and delicious meals. I am grateful for the prayers from near and far. I am grateful for my faith which is on fire. I am grateful to my God for showing up, carrying me and for His ultimate sacrifices which saves me.
Chemo was a lot.
In five months, my husband saw me go from a wife with long blonde hair, to a shocking diagnosis, short haircut and a port placed, to bi-monthly treatments, to an exhausted wife, who slept through quite a few days of mothering, vomiting in the restroom due to extreme nausea, to my hair falling out completely, to being isolated at home a lot to avoid germs, to extra hand washing and eating only certain foods. He’s seen my emotional state go all over the place, my mental state rise and fall without much warning. He’s held my hand, had after chemo date lunches, cuddled me at night, refused to miss an infusion, has made every appointment, involved in every conversation, has encouraged me to find what I want to do, to pursue what my purpose drives me to be after this challenging year is over.
The beginning of this chemo started to be a physical challenge, then trickled into a mental challenge. In the last few months that has been what has eaten at me. The medicine’s effects, the time being in treatment, the bald head, the disappearing eyebrows, the being isolated at home, the stress about finances, searching for purpose, oh and the fear of the unknown in this future.
But then one day I was done. Just like that. You start and then you finish. Today was a great day…I got to end chemotherapy during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I got to stand up, thank my tribe around me and ring that bell. That bell that signifies hope, inspiration, grit, the natural adrenaline you need to propel your body through the finish line. I wanted to give everyone in the room hope and that grit. Then I was surrounded by love and support. We went to a celebration lunch with more friends and family, letting that weight off my shoulders for just a little while…and a Mexican martini.
This is only phase 1 of 4 that I have complete. I have a long way to go. I have three weeks to say yes…say yes to outings, trips, coffee dates, walks, family dinners, friend dinners, going to church and road trips without a plan. Then I have surgery. Then I have radiation. Then I have another surgery. So we have more obstacles in front of us, but we’ve made
pretty awesome strides in the right direction and every bit of me was ready to CELEBRATE the last five months today.