We had an incredible weekend. Kiddo overnighters, dinner with friends (and kids) an afternoon of baking cookies and so much… normal. Oh, how I have wanted to breathe. Just breathe. Without worry.

This past week there was a dinner for me at my church. Beckham and I arrived early enough to help where we could. When we got there, we took the kitchen entrance which Beckham thought was soooo cool. Upon opening the door, we were greeted with at least 10 people who were all there for me. All selfless in their acts, all serving without even a word. They radiated with love and kindness and were there for me. Some of them I’ve known, and some were only familiar because we’ve crossed paths at church, but all of them were there without payment or anything in return. For that, I am so thankful.

Through the dinner, we were blessed with so many friends who came to support me and show me love. My parents came and were able to witness all of the love this community brought forward on that day.

I am so thankful. For my community, my church, my family, my friends…. Thank you. Every single one of you. You’ve carried me through. You’ve given me hope. You’ve shown me the good.

He Giveth

This weekend I did something that I hadn’t done in awhile. Mostly because I was either exhausted from treatment or sick. I was also a bit afraid of the germs for my medically compromised self. We did bring the kiddos to Sunday School, but I really just couldn’t bring myself to actually go to church.

This last weekend, Beckham looked at me when I was bringing him to Sunday School and he asked me if we could go to church. I hesitated, knowing It would be difficult for me to be in THAT public of a situation, but who am I to deny my son?!

So, we did.

Let me tell you. It was a struggle. I was scared. A little ashamed. A little worried that they (A and B) would misbehave the entire time…. (I’m pretty sure both were bribed with candy and coloring books) but, then I remembered the people that I had been missing and how awesome they were.

When I walked into the narthex (is this still what they are called?), I looked around the room and saw love overflowing. On every table was a picture of my family! There was a banner above the kitchen with my family’s name on it! I looked around the room and there were so many friendly faces and hugs abound.

The reason there was so many photos and announcements with my name on it is because my church family has put together a spaghetti supper fundraiser for me and my family for this Wednesday. I am so incredibly humbled. And thankful.

At the end of the service, I hugged pastor and couldn’t help but cry tears of gratefulness. I’m sure I held up the line, but I really don’t think it mattered.

I felt like I was back at home. I felt loved and supported. I felt like I am FINALLY feeling normal.

I have never doubted my faith in this journey. My pastor visited me a few times throughout my fight, and I really wasn’t ever afraid to die. I’ve really only been afraid of what I would be leaving for my family to have to take care of and the heartache it would cause.

My journey is worthwhile because of the people I have with me.

❤️

Pay it Forward ❤️

Today I met another warrior. She is young and amazing and recently diagnosed. I’m not about to tell her story, as that’s for her to tell, but I realized I have something to offer her that was offered to me way back in the beginning of my journey.

She came to my home and we chatted away like old friends. Mostly about cancer and much of what we talked about would have been uncomfortable for outsiders to hear. I remember having so many questions at that time. I remember feeling alone and like the people I was closest to didn’t have the understanding necessary to help me through those times.

I remember being absolutely terrified of the unknown. I wanted answers that the people I normally would rely on for answers couldn’t give.

I remember feeling so very sad.

I hope my friend is able to feel the love that I was given. I’m on this side, now. It’s my turn to give back.

The Very Okayest Mom

Early on in my journey, I met a woman who had already gone through much of what I was going to go through. She was introduced to me by B’s pediatrician (rewind back to episode one where I explained my absolute public meltdown upon learning of my metastatic diagnosis. Reminder- I was at B’s well-child and his pediatrician was the person in front of me just as I received the news that my whole life was to change). This person has become my mentor, the wise peer that knew the ropes and could answer ALL of my crazy questions. She has helped me through this more than I can even explain. She is the only one who knew what I was also going through. I would have never met her if I hadn’t been diagnosed with cancer.

If I hadn’t been diagnosed with cancer, I would have totally missed the feelings that my children’s teachers, leaders and helpers brought out. The absolutely overwhelming feeling of support and love that I have felt from my neighbors, community members and also complete strangers. I wonder every day if I remembered to send a thank you or if I showed my gratitude enough.

I’ve become closer to people that I’ve wanted to get to know better (MEL!), I’ve learned what it feels like to face my own mortality and plan for that (holy shit is all I can say about that! Plan for the worst so your loved ones don’t have to.).

I know what it feels like to be completely stripped of femininity, and feel my very lowest low, only to realize that beauty is fleeting anyway and the things that matter have nothing to do with breast or hair.

I’ve managed to become ok with hugs (I don’t do well with touches), because I don’t know when I will be able to say “I love you” next.

I’m still crazy exhausted from radiation, but should start to feel more normal in about a month or so. My skin is still a rainbow of colors that range from bright red to very, very brown, peeling and hot. That should also get better soon.

I’ve been able to ramp-up some of my workouts at the gym depending on how I’m feeling. I absolutely feel the effects of radiation to my right lung with the lack of stamina though. At least that’s my excuse .

All-in-all, I’d say I’m doing better than expected.

I have realized that I can face Cancer head-on and come out standing in the end.

Now I know what I look like with short hair and what the actual color of my hair is.

I’ve been forced to forgive myself for all the wrongs I’ve done in my life. All of those hours spent laying in bed after work during chemo gave me plenty of time to reflect upon my sins.

I may only have this one body, but I know now what she is capable of.

A Summer Without Breasts

I’m not sure if I am ready for summer, but I sure am ready for winter to be OVER!

So many changes have happened since last summer. It was just days after graduation that we found out about C, my first born moved out, I lost my hair and started chemotherapy. But! Through it all, I still had my breasts.

I look through my summer wardrobe and have no idea what I’m going to do. I can’t have reconstruction yet, as my surgeon requires me to be 6 months post radiation therapy before entertaining the thought of another surgery. So, until then, I’ll keep looking back at last summer’s pictures and wonder what this summer is going to bring…

Fighting the Cowlick

How do I dress when I don’t have breasts?

What the hell do I wear? Am I supposed to wear my “puffs” or prosthetic breasts? Should I be okay with not having them? I kind of am.

Something I’ve thought from the day that they were removed is that I feel like I’m some sort of a weird android, where part of my. anatomy was erased or removed. Maybe through evolution?

I miss having clothes fit and feeling feminine. I miss my ponytail and long eyelashes.

A few weeks ago, Brad and I went to see my most favorite band in the universe, the Gear Daddies. Prior to the show, we went out for a nice, slow, delicious dinner that I could TASTE and didn’t have to cook/clean. When we were being seated, a grown-ass man with his children, wife and parents said, “looks like we’re rocking the short hair tonight!” I wanted to both crawl into a hole and punch this guy in the throat. This was a small restaurant, and I was seated less than 10 feet from this jackass. This moment brought me back to Wonder and how difficult Auggie’s young life was. I took a moment to reflect and realize that I no longer look sick. Now I just look like I chose this haircut.

My brain is starting to be clear. After chemo, I’ve had this fog that has been haunting me. Im feeling so much more normal everyday. Sleeping is less than easy, and I’m always tired, but I’m hoping I get used to the new drugs soon.