I have said that phrase countless times in my life so automatically and sometimes without the attitude that goes along with that sentiment, but today I most definitely mean it because it is a good morning, in fact… it’s a Great Morning!
I changed my bitmoji (it’s a snapchat digital version of myself) to reflect my new look and enthusiasm for life. It’s actually kind of sad how excited I was to change my digital self’s hairstyle to this “slightly bald” look. Each day I am feeling a little stronger and more like my pre-cancer self, but the most exciting thing is to wake up each day no longer plagued with the looming schedule of chemotherapy. In fact, I am hopeful for a future in complete remission after a diagnosis that at one point looked quite dismal. And while I don’t yet know if that is my fate, I am living in a mindset that believes that I am healed and I believe that can make all the difference.
A few weeks ago before I came to California, I walked up to the alter during church at the time during the service when they asked people to come forward to be prayed over. The woman assigned to pray over me had such confidence and strength in her words that while I felt tears streaming down my face, I could literally feel a wave of “healing” come over me. I think she really did believe that I would be healed and at one point she had me stomping my feet and clapping my hands while saying. “I AM HEALED! I AM HEALED!” over and over again. Now I wouldn’t be totally honest if I didn’t mention that in the back of my mind I was feeling a little silly and thought to myself, “Is this hooey??” But I walked away from the alter feeling more confident prior to my trip to Stanford and more conscious of how connected the mind, body, and spirit truly are.
Fast forward to today where I am finding my body still in recovery mode, but thrilled that the last two weeks were far more tolerable than I ever expected especially the hospital food. Stanford offers an impressive option -Food on Demand – which was considerably better than Mayo Clinic. So it was quite nice that I could order from a fairly varied menu and my food would show up within 45 minutes any time of the day vs. having the 2 options to choose from and the meal shows up at it’s officially time to eat. Way to go Stanford!!
I couldn’t have been more pleased the day they unhooked me from the “trans-pal” and I pray that I will never have to be hooked up to one of these things again, at least not for a long long time. Having to wheel this buddy with me to the bathroom at night is one of the most biggest pains of my hospital experience. It made me fall in love with the bedside commode, which I won’t go there to paint the visual for you, but I’m just sayin’ I am very happy to be free of both of those things now.
Bye Bye Trans-Pal.
Poor Brandon even got closely acquainted with the Trans-Pal…talk about a good sport. My sweet husband insisted on sleeping on a cot in this tiny hospital room to keep me company. The location of the cot was nestled between the wall and the 24” foot opening of the bathroom door, and guess what the diameter of the trans-pal base was… yep, 24”!! So add those dimensions with the fact that they were pumping me full of about 4 liters of fluid each day = many trips to the bathroom and banging the trans-pal against the base of the cot Brandon was resting on all throughout the night. I don’t know how Brandon kept his sanity… along with the fact that he’s working like a mad man taking calls all day from the hospital and going non-stop. This picture pretty much says it all…
I have the best husband in the world and this is what true love looks like.
Being a cancer patient already has it’s special badge, but being a Bone Marrow Transplant patient deserves a separate one altogether. Allogeneic BMT patients go into the hospital and have to stay for 4 weeks minimum, I was so lucky to get out in 1 week, but as I was treated in the BMT unit and thus was given this adorable mask to wear whenever I left my room. Talk about throwing vanity out the window… cancer humbles you in ways you cannot even imagine. Perhaps I will somehow incorporate it into my Halloween costume… Brandon says I sound like Darth Vadar when I wear it.
In addition to saying bye-bye to the trans-pal, I also said bye-bye to my central line today. I have either had a port, a central line (tunneled catheter) or both in my body at one point or another for the last 11 months. Today I will be able to take a shower without having to wrap my chest in press ‘n seal and tape… another milestone today that is getting me closer to “normal” again. There are so many “little things” I am thankful for, but there are big things too. My doctor told me today that the “tumor” I thought I was feeling in my abdomen, was actually my spine and that everything I was feeling in there was all supposed to be there. If the tumor is still in there… it’s too small to feel this point. From an eggplant to being too small to feel… it truly is a miracle.
And this is why prayer matters.
HOPE 4 Kay was a campaign that my dear friend Shari started to get people rallied behind me during this fight, and I will tell you that the reach of her effort extended beyond my imagination. I am certain there are people praying for me that I may never get the opportunity to meet, but I am grateful just the same for all those who have followed my journey. And I hope that people will realize the power in prayer when they are faced with bad news, a devastating diagnosis, or situation that requires a miracle. My heart was overjoyed last week when received these pictures of Trinity and Addison and their teachers, Mrs. Wilson and Mrs. Franklin, along with all their classmates making this banner, even Mr. Johnson the principal was there… how cool is that?
But by far the highlight of my week was seeing my Dad here in Palo Alto for a few days to hang out with me and my mom. I can sense that my illness has had a profound impact on my dad and I am so thankful that he came to see me. We really don’t know how long we have, and time with them was precious. We even went out to Fisherman’s Wharf and ate ourselves silly on seafood!
I was also delighted yesterday when Shari sent me a picture of my friend Bridget Greene on the cover of a magazine in Idaho Falls. She battled breast cancer privately, but is bravely now sharing her story.
I deeply respect people who openly share their illnesses with the intent to give others with disease some hope and of making those who don’t more aware about their own health. If you are female over 35, there is absolutely no reason that you cannot be going in for a yearly mammogram and annual exam. And if you are a mother, you have even less reason to take care of yourself to make sure that if you have something… you find out early enough to do something about it.
I have been away from my children for 3 weeks now, and I am so thankful for FaceTime. I miss those girls like crazy and Ozzy too of course. Mama B and Papa B are just two of the most amazing people in this world ever. They are running here and there, taking care of everyone’s schedules, making sure everyone is fed, homework is completed, and devices are monitored… oh how these two need a vacation.
It’s been 2 weeks since my last post, so I apologize for the long post. So much is happening and all of it good. It’s so nice to finally be on a wave of good news. I thank you all for your prayers, texts, Snapchats, emails, calls, and Facebook comments. I was honored this week to see this post from my friend Steve Ko who painted my portrait this summer.
It feels amazing to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and I hope that his portrait will give hope to other cancer fighters out there. Please pray for my Oct 12 PET scan as well as my other cancer fighting friends (Karen, Debbie, Sherrie, Larry, Jamie, Liz, and Colleen) who are all fighting the good fight.
“Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you.” Psalms 55:22
And so I said many goodbyes this week, to the hospital, to the trans-pal, and to the central line. I pray that soon I will also be saying goodbye to Cancer forever.
Onward and Upward.