Something that initially caught me off-guard during cancer were thoughts of suicide. I’ve mentioned before that I had talked at length about end-of-life plans such as processing my body when I die and what I wanted my memorial service to look like. I remember thinking to myself, “is anybody going to show up to my funeral? Will it be just a big bust? Can I serve beer there? How will my parents handle this? My kids? Will I be recognizable while I die or will I slowly lose all of my faculties while withering away?” I knew one thing was for sure, I wanted to be able to choose when I leave, like after a really great day…. after saying goodbye. I didn’t want my kids or Brad to find me dead or have to deal with my body by surprise. God forbid I should shit myself when it happens. How embarrassing 🤦‍♀️.

I didn’t want to end my life with violence, just peace, but in Minnesota, I’m not allowed that decision.

My whole life I’d wanted to be an organ and tissue donor, but I knew that not much is salvageable while undergoing many of the cancer treatments. A few years ago, one of my very best friends died. She had been a heart recipient TWICE, and if she hadn’t, I’d have never met her. She made a huge difference in my life. I used to wonder if she had all the wisdom from the donor hearts and hers all combined. I knew in death I wanted to give back and give another person a chance at living.

Just last week, I got clearance to give blood for the first time since before cancer. I was so excited and proud to donate and probably had a tear or two of anxiety mixed with anticipation while I was waiting my turn. My veins are terribly scarred and I only have one arm to use (because, well, cancer), but I was going to give it a shot (😂👌). After about 10 minutes of being stabbed and essentially bleeding to death, she got it. We started the process and I did my best to fill up that bag with my cancer-free blood. I rotated a ball in my hand the entire time. About 5 minutes in, my veins wanted a rest, so we had to “fish around” for another vein to pierce. Low and behold, she found one. This one bled for another 15 minutes or so, but very, very slowly. With .40 grams left to go, my veins completely gave up. Done. Essentially a full bag of blood but unusable without that .40 grams. I sat on the damn table and I lost my shit. All the way. I wanted this, and I had no control. There was nothing else I could do.

Most days I’m very thankful to be alive. I still have a ton of struggles as well as new troubles to worry about, but I will do my best to give love and bring bursts of happiness into other lives. I have no thoughts of suicide, but it doesn’t mean I haven’t.

Please save this telephone number. It’s for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Who knows? You may be able to use it one day yourself. Even if you’re already dying of cancer.

Good Hearted Woman

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting over the last few weeks. Pictures are popping up in social media “memories” and I can’t help but compare last year’s model to this year’s…. what a trip.

It’s only natural to wonder how I’ll look a year from now. Will my hair finally be long enough to choose a hairstyle? Will my scars fade any more? Will my lungs be back to as normal as they can be?

So much can change over a year. Life and death, bald or not bald, fat or thin, healthy or ill…. the list goes on.

Some days I feel like I’m waiting in purgatory (otherwise known as the polar vortex). Like it’s only a matter of time before I’m diagnosed again. Statistically speaking, it’ll happen someday, it’s just a matter of whether it’s today or 30 years from now.

Until then, I’ll continue to live, help others and be the best I can be.