Wow. What a year.
My greatest achievement in 2013 is standing up to cancer and not allowing it to defeat me physically or mentally. Sure, I didn’t ask for it.. no one ever does, but once I dealt with the blows I made a very conscious and deliberate choice to fight like hell. And that’s exactly what I did for 4 daunting months of appointments, surgery, infusions, reading, listening to my body, relearning my body.. and almost tangibly feeling the poison running through my veins destroy every cell in my soul.
It seems like, since the day I was diagnosed… nothing else prior to it, even existed. Obviously, not true.. but in an instant, your collective thoughts turn into what is happening at. this. very. moment.
I haven’t blogged about my treatment in awhile. Since the last post.. I completed the chemo portion of my plan. As good as it felt to walk out of the infusion center for the last time, the progressive effects challenged me. Even though I would climb back up to what felt like 100% before each infusion, I never really fully recovered. So, I definitely felt like I was at my weakest.. and it took a bit longer to feel human again. I caught a cold before I left for Florida… and luckily, that came.. post the last infusion. Otherwise, as you know, it would have delayed treatment until I was better. That little taste of what could have been was more than enough.
In continuing to gain strength, energy and my health I had my appointment with the radiologist last week to learn what my plan was going to be. I have to admit, I thought I would be on the low end.. possibly 3wks, but unfortunately.. I am candidate for the 6wk plan. I was a little bummed, but at the end of the day I know why. So I’ll grind this out for another 6 wks.
If I can get through chemo.. I can get through anything.
Radiation will take place every-day. (Mon-Fri) I’ve already gone in for my pre-treatment where they place tattoo’d dots on me to ensure the exact location is hit with radiation at each session. It’s pretty quick, but none the less another part of the process.
Btw: radiation and playoff football doesn’t mix but.. I have an awesome team at the Cancer Treatment Center that said they’ll work with me to make sure I can get to where I need to go! =)
Recently, I was the recipient of a Random Act of Kindness. Actually, I’m not sure it was so random.. but it was certainly an act of extreme kindness that I never would have expected & won’t ever forget.
Last Monday, the 49ers hosted their final game of the season, which also happened to be the last game.. ever.. at Candlestick. I’ve been out there for 7yrs and you become familiar with many of the people that work on Sundays. I see them, they see me. We smile, greet, small talk.. and do our jobs. Most ,I don’t see again until the next football season. My point is, I know them… but I don’t know-know them.
A few of them came up to me prior to the craziness of MNF and said they had something for me.. it was from a bunch of the security guards, and they hugged me and told me to have a Merry Christmas. He handed me something but I didn’t pay too much attention to it at the time. I thanked them and we all went our separate ways. Awhile later, I looked at what I was given.. and it was a handmade card, signed by a number of the guys, wrapped around some money they had all donated.
I was overwhelmed by their thoughtfullness. Never in a million years.. did I expect anything like this, from them.. let alone anyone. I’m so uncomfortable with being on this side of the fence. I didn’t need money.. I am soo blessed to have good insurance, and I’m not sure if people realize that more than money… the love, prayers, support and thoughts sent my way are worth more than anything you can buy. I talked to a few of them shortly after I collected my thoughts and explained how grateful I was but they didn’t have to do that.. and they simply said.. Treat yourself. We’re proud of you… and you deserve it. You inspire all of us by coming out here and continuing to work through it all.
Whew.. that was a heartfelt moment. I guess it’s true that you never really know what impact you have on people.. even in silence or during your own battle.
As touched as I was by every one of those guys.. I’m also saddened to have lost 2 people recently that inspired me. The first, is Mariyah who at 4 yrs old had he biggest, brightest smile I’ve ever seen. I photographed her for her 1st birthday.. and recently her 4th birthday. Mariyah earned her wings after fighting fearless since the day she was born. Maryiah was brave, beautiful and strong. She will be missed.
I met JR Harlan in Sept. He came to visit the 49ers with the Dream Foundation. I had not yet started chemo, and in conversation he overheard with someone else.. he asked me what I was diagnosed with. JR was diagnosed with colon cancer 11 yrs ago.. and has been a warrior fighting it ever since. He gave me great advice about chemo and tips & trick to get through it. Mostly, he said to be strong minded and not let it defeat me. A loving husband and father of twin girls he didn’t let cancer steal his joy… He lived life to the fullest, and eventually lost his battle the morning of that MNF game.
My heart broke twice in less than 2 weeks. It’s very difficult for me process it all, as I fight my own battle. Sometimes, life is just unfair.
As 2013 comes to a close.. I’ve never been a new year-new me kinda person. However, I adopted the New Normal motto a few months ago when my life changed forever. I’ll continue with that into 2k14, with a new sense of appreciation for people, life & my health as a whole.
I read something recently that summed up my thoughts perfectly…
Love is when such a tragic event has shown how many people out there care about me deeply and hold me in their hearts, showing concern through visits, phone calls, texts, emails, messages through family, and heartfelt gifts.
I could not have said it better myself. This journey has opened my eyes & my heart in so many ways. I’m looking forward to claiming a cancer-free 2014 when all of this is over. As per usual.. thank you ALL for your support, love & prayers that had a part in keeping my spirits high from day one.
Eff cancer, still.
#WarriorUp for life.