Since my chemo has been officially over (forever) I have been desperately trying to get caught up on all the workload that fell behind while I was concentrating on getting better. So, I haven’t had a lot of time to write on this blog.
But I definitely need to take some time out to showcase some of the heroes that have helped me through this time in my life and talk about some people who have been inspired to turn my lemons into even more lemonade.
Bikers Who Love Boobs
First, I want to draw your attention to a couple who is doing something right this minute to raise funds to fight breast cancer. And they have such a unique twist that I couldn’t resist talking about it. See, Clayton and Wendy Makepeace are auctioning a very special tshirt on eBay to raise money for breast cancer. Well, I’m just going to have to let you see it for yourself. It’s too funny! Click here to bid on this one-of-a-kind item.
Thank you, Wendy and Clayton, and Julie too! You are my heroes!
Then, there’s Michelle Galvin, Mike Filsaime’s assistant and a good friend of mine, who was inspired by my Shaveathon event to cut off her very long hair and donate it to Locks of Love as well. Here are her before and after pictures…
Thank you Michelle! You don’t know how much this meant to me.
Then there are all the wonderful people who have sent me surprise gifts. You can check out the list of gift givers and benefactors here.
And there are all the people who participated in my Shaveathon event, before I started my chemo treatments. Click here to check out that list of amazing people.
You guys have amazed me with your generous spirit and caring for those who needed you the most, including me.
But there are other people who have been quietly making a huge difference in my life, and have made this entire experience completely worth going through.
Because of them, I never felt alone.
I never felt overwhelmed by it all. They kept my spirits up. They kept me laughing, even when I felt like crying. They inspired me to keep my chin up and keep a positive attitude.
They helped me with the every day necessities and helped me with handling things so I wouldn’t have to worry about the little things.
They are my own personal heroes, and without them, I don’t know if I could have stayed sane.
Hero Number One: My husband
Michel has been my rock throughout it all. He’s been my emotional support system. He made me laugh every single day. There hasn’t been a day that went by without him telling me how beautiful I am. And he says it in such a way that he makes me believe it…even on days when I have felt the most unattractive.
It’s hard to feel beautiful on some days. There were times when I would look in the mirror and see nothing but a patchy-head, bald eyebrows and eyelashes, pale sickly skin, dark circles under my eyes, bruises from the needles, the ten extra flabby pounds I gained because of chemo (which really sucks since I was certain I was going to lose weight), and the ghastly red scar on my chest. My eyes would mist up in the mirror and, wouldn’t you know it, that was the moment he would walk in the room. He always seemed to know when I felt most like an ugly duckling, and he would be right there to kiss me, wrap his arms around me, and tell me over and over again how beautiful I was. And I knew he meant it.
He’s been there to help me laugh and help me cry. He’s never missed a chemotherapy treatment or a doctor’s appointment. This wasn’t my breast cancer. It was OUR breast cancer.
Thank you baby. I love you. You are so beautiful to me!
Hero Number Two: My brother
My brother set aside his life to help me through all this. And I will never forget it. He basically moved in with us these last few months.
He has been my physical support system, helping me with the everyday things around the house, the groceries, helping with cleaning, cooking, taking care of everything so I wouldn’t have to worry about it.
My brother is not a man who talks about his feelings. He isn’t the type of man who wants to spend time talking about anyone else’s feelings either. He’s a DOer. He expresses himself in actions, not words.
And his feelings were made clear to me throughout all of this.
When he learned that chemotherapy would drop my white blood cell count down to dangerously low levels, leaving me susceptible to infections, my brother went on a mad rampage around the house, and Lysol spray became his constant companion. He scrubbed walls and doorknobs. He bought toothbrush holders for everyone, to make sure my toothbrush never came in contact with anyone else’s. He wiped, cleaned, scrubbed, and disinfected every surface of this house. And he did it without drawing attention to himself.
My brother was never a “give the ladies flowers” kind of guy. He’s just not the type. But he bought me flowers when I came home from having my mastectomy, and he has bought me roses every single time I went for chemo treatments, every two weeks, without fail. He even dried the roses and saved them for me in a beautiful vase, knowing I would cherish that memory for the rest of my life.
His love and concern for me has showed through in everything he did, and he will always be my hero, not just because he is my big brother, but because he stuck with me through one of the darkest times in my life.
Thank you Lou! I love you so much and I will never forget it.
Hero Number Three: My children
This has been tough on my kids. The fear of knowing that mom was facing a life-threatening illness is something I wish no children ever had to experience.
But through it all, they have been there for me, and I for them. They have managed to still be teenagers and they listened to me when I told them not to treat me like I was dying. They knew I would pull through, and I was so glad they were the same as they always were before…wonderful, fabulous, frustrating teenagers. As much as living with teenagers can be trying on any parent, I was always so happy to see them being their own normal selves. It meant that life continued, and that they KNEW I was going to be fine.
It would have been heart-wrenching for me if they behaved less than normal, because that would have meant that they were living in fear.
So, thank you to my kids, my wonderfully aggravating and fabulous kids. Thank you for not tippy-toeing around me like I was old and feeble. Thank you for driving me crazy. Thank you for having faith in me to pull through. Thank you for helping out whenever you could. And most of all, thank you for listening to everything. It meant the world to me to know you wanted to hear it all and you faced it with me bravely. I love you.
My Medical Heroes
Before I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I had a nearly spotless medical record. I rarely got sick, and even when I did, it was not often serious. So, years would go by between doctor’s visits and the last time I was in a hospital was when my babies were born.
But once I was diagnosed with breast cancer, suddenly I had an entire medical team who worked feverishly to help me get better. I suddenly had teams of doctors and nurses, and a host of contact numbers for people who were available to me, day or night, who I could call to ask any inane question that might cross my mind.
I had doctors and nurses at a variety of hospitals in the area. I even had housecall nurses who would come to my house every two weeks during chemo.
And I have been absolutely amazed at the genuine kindness they each brought to my life.
These people have a tough job. Cancer is a scary illness, and it strikes people of all ages. I can’t imagine what it must be like to see so many depressed and terrified people every single day.
I don’t know how they do it, but they are amazing. They were friendly, they laughed at all my dumb jokes, they even talked about my blog to other patients, encouraging them to come read it!
They answered all my questions and took so much time to explain everything I needed to know about what to expect from the illness, and my treatments.
They don’t want me to mention their names, so I will respect that wish, but if you’re reading this, you know who you are. You saved my life, and I will never forget what you’ve done, and continue to do, for me and for all the other patients that you help through a very difficult time in their lives as well.
Thank you, to all my heroes! You mean the world to me.