Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Get My Euphoria Back!

The Birthday Week is finally here, those that know my best friend and I, know that it is really a "Season". Kim's birthday is the first week in May and we start celebrating then, until the end of May- that is when we celebrate Memorial Day and then switch over to my birthday. We celebrate my birthday, usually till the weekend before July 4th.  That is how it has been since we have known each other.
I can't speak for Kim, but I know I think of my birthday as my New Year's Day- I don't remember things in "years", such as 1999- I remember them in "birthday years", that happened when I was 23, as an example. New Years Eve or Day, don't matter a whole lot to me, it is my birthday that switches the calendar into the next year.
Last year, I celebrated my birthday with only a few worries- paying for Kristi's wedding, losing some lb's, and wondering whether my shoulder would ever be pain free, so I could go back to work. Life was good!
47'th Birthday Lunch
 Well, in a matter of a couple of weeks, things changed- that is when I found the lump. I knew immediately it was cancer. I didn't need to wait on the Dr to tell me, that 47 would be the year of cancer........
So, moving on from 47 and waiting on this Birthday Eve to occur, why am I not my usual "happy birthday self"? I feel incredible blessed right now- I spoke about that in my last post. I really think the reason is that I know how quickly life can change and how much this birthday REALLY should matter!! I remember waiting on the results of the test in August and wondering if I would make it to this birthday! But somehow, I think it is the everyday that should matter. This birthday I am remembering where I was (carefree) last year and this year is totally different- I am totally different! I wish I could time travel back to the above picture, when my hair was brown and long, when I was on the road to another shoulder surgery, so I could get back to flying......I wish, but that is one wish that can't be granted by blowing out this year's candles!
I hope I get my euphoria over my birthday back, but it just seems so anti-climatic, since I have been feeling that same euphoria since February 14th, when I finished chemo and felt like I was given a new lease on life.
So Happy DAY to everyone!! Check your boobs, love your family and friends, and live like there is no tomorrow- don't wait for your Birthday or New Years!!!

Cheers- to you all!!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Old Friends, New Friends and Breast Friends

My birthday is coming up and it is always a time for me to reflect. This year has me reflecting on friends, and all those long ago birthdays, that I had as a kid. My elementary school friends coming over for cake and to play outside. The picture below is a picture of my best friends from Kindergarten, Elementary School and 8th Grade. These are friends I am proud of, they make me happy that my life never took me away from my hometown. These friends know me, know where I came from and we will always have each other! Even though life takes us in different directions, when we get together it's like we never missed a beat.
In addition to this group of girls, thanks to facebook, there are other "old" friends who have been there through this whole journey. Friends I knew in elementary school and high school, but never really "knew". They have been a huge support through all of this, also! They took the time out of their busy schedules to let me know they were thinking about me, to let me know if I needed anything, I could call them. That touched me beyond words. Thanks, Kelly Kennedy, Salliegh Grubbs, Mary Ansley Meaders, Mike Gambo, Charles Wilhelm and his wonderful wife Colleen, Paige Raines, oh and many more......(chemo brain affects quick thinking) Y'all were good cheerleaders and it helped so much when I felt like the goalpost was a million miles away!

Then there were the new friends, people that I have met recently, but who through this whole ordeal, became part of my Army! Tim and Vickie Hunt, Pat Becker (who sends me little random gifts, that brighten my day), Jere Brownlow (one of Lloyds friends, who was unbelievably thoughtful with his gift), Jeff and Toni, Diane Shelton, Nancy Michelson, Flay and Al, Kim Newell, The Germaines, Suzanne Payne, Marjorie Wilson, Patsy Bennett, Rachel, Nessa, My Airtran Family, Lisa Thompson, Team Traci. I know I am also going to forget some of these friends, too! Thanks for all you did!

Just know whatever category you fall in, even if you aren't mentioned here, you are in my heart. Knowing that somehow I made an impression on a friend's life, enough that you were here for me in my time of darkness, meant the world to me! I asked my friend Ann Weider right before she died, if there was anything I could do for her. She told me,"no, you've already done it, you were there for me." Just being there for someone is tremendous, and I can't thank all of you enough.

Then I have my "Breast Friends", you gals were HUGE!! Just looking at your lives and your accomplishments would be enough, but you gave me so much more! Jan and Joan- all you have been through and being able to ask you questions, see the glow you two have, teaching me that laughter is the best medicine, and surrounding yourself with people who are positive, you two are truely inspirations for me! Irene, the survivor- I look at you and see it is beatable, plus you were always quick to answer my questions, thanks! Susan Chewning and the letter she mailed to me, that gave me such comfort. Marsha Durham- you rock girl! Raising the awarness and the money you do for breast cancer research, answering my questions, another inspiration! Dawn Ford, as much as I hate cancer for taking one moment of your life and your joy with your new babies, I am so glad I had you to travel down this journey with. You are truely SuperWoman!
My "surprise warrior" Mary, my next door neighbor. She and my husband didn't hit it off when he moved in the neighborhood and it was never a secret. But when she found out I was diagnosed, she came through as one of my biggest supporters. I was overwhelmed by Mary's concern. She brought me a card or gift, after EVERY chemo. She came by and checked on me often! She was unbelievable! Her advocacity for BC is remarkable and she had a no nosense approach to "it will be better". I loved that from her.

At one of my chemo support groups, I think it was Cookie that said, "don't be surprised at the friends who will leave you or not show up, in this time of need. You need to be prepared for that." I told her about all of you and that I was only disappointed in a couple of people. The people that came out in support FAR outweighed the negative. Just FYI, if you ever are given the opportunity to reach out to someone with cancer, even if you are mad at them or have had problems with them in the past- reach out anyway! Your problems should be put away during cancer and no problem is ever too big not to be overcome during cancer. Cancer patients realize that, and no matter what issues we have had......they don't matter to us anymore. We just want all our "problems" fixed and our house in order, because we know how short and precious life is! I just read a book, "One More Mountain", it was about a lady diagnosed with cancer and she tried to "fix" things she regretted about her past. It was a great book! Anyway, fix things while you can. Cancer may invade your body, but when it does, it eliminates anger, grudges, or any other negativity present in your life.  There will be people who disappoint you when you don't hear from them or you feel like they don't care, but realize, that is their problem!
Last but not least, I have my BEST FRIEND- my husband beside me! Without him here, I could not have made it through the past year! I love you honey!

You all made my life worth fighting for, so I it wouldn't be fair not to also mention my family in this post- cause they too are my "friends" as well as the reason for me to fight so damn hard and be so strong! My girls (and B-rad), Cindi, The boys (and KK), my Mom, Jim and Janet and that precious, precious grandbaby! Smooches forever to you all!!!

My life has been fulfilled to no end because of the wonderful friends and family in it! You are all a blessing and I thank God he put so many wonderful people in my life! Having Facebook and sharing my story through this blog kept me in touch and uplifted by you, even at my lowest points.

I don't need any birthday gifts this year, cause I have the greatest gift of all....love and friendship!

**Disclaimer, I know this blog is usually written for people who don't really know me and wouldn't know these people listed above, but I had to write this personal note. The thing you can take away from it, if you are diagnosed with cancer......Surrounding yourself with friends is the MOST important thing during this journey. Do that by sharing your story, and let them know what you are going through. They can't help, if they don't know! Knowing you have a gazillion prayer warriors out there helps to get through the day. Don't try to kick cancer's ass alone!