Jumanji: Real Life

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Today is the day!
The last day I have to dread how sick I will feel.
The last morning I have to remind myself I cannot call in sick to treatment and just not go.
The last morning I have to think about how the energy I felt when I woke up will plummet to the extreme opposite in less than 6 hours.
The last morning I wake up hating the thought of today.
Today is my last day of Chemo…

But wait! Then there are the 24 rounds of radiation I still have remaining in my treatment plan…

And that’s when it hit me, I’m playing Jumanji in real life!
I play one round and am met with a challenge. I am victorious in that challenge. I get excited, maybe even celebrate. Then I progress to the next roll of the dice, where I am only met by the next challenge in the game.

For those who don’t remember, the rules of Jumanji started out something like this;
Jumanji: a game for those who wish to find a way to leave their world behind. You roll the dice to move your token, doubles get another turn, and the first one to reach the end wins.”

The last line on the game board reads;
Adventurers beware: do not start until you intend to finish. The exciting consequences of the game will vanish only when a player has reached Jumanji and called out its name.”

Now that this analogy has hit me, I have all intentions of advising my clan of doctors they really take the wrong approach when preparing a patient for the fight of their life. I have never been afraid to tell someone they’re doing it wrong, so why stop now?

Here is my advice to the doctors:
-When you walk into the room, and you are about to tell a patient they have cancer, bring a set of dice with you.
-look at your patient, shaking the dice in your hand and ask, “are you ready to play a game?”
-When they say “do I have a choice?”, you tell them, “no” and give them the rules.

THE RULES:
Cancer: a game for happy people who were chosen to be warriors/fighters. For those who are now expected to face a challenge everyday while keeping a smile plastered on their face. You roll the dice to get beat up, but know you cannot be knocked down; that will mean you’re giving up. You must roll to keep moving forward. Doubles gets you another round in the boxing ring. Objective: LIVE, and achieve the title of Survivor.

Patients beware: When you start, you best be damn sure you intend to finish. The “exciting” consequences of each play in the game of Cancer will vanish only when a player has been stripped of all control, hit a level of exhaustion beyond explanation, endured sickness beyond ones belief, and finally achieve Survivor status. To conclude one must own and shout their new title from the roof tops.

I have seen many not finish this game; their journey is my drive. I currently know many battling from a few spaces back on the game board than where I stand; They are the reason I fight. I am honored to share in their courage and be their hope. I know so many standing at the finish line waiting for me and my fellow warriors to join them in sharing their title; they are my strength and my hope. I have learned no matter how much life resembles a board game, it is important to celebrate the victories along the way, no matter how big or how small they may be. I celebrate the smiles, the laughs, and every time I feel peace, love, and happiness. I celebrate anger, and that I allow myself to feel angry. I am allowed to do that. I celebrate admitting I am allowed to do that.  Today is my last and final round of Chemo, and I will celebrate. I do not think I have, or will ever again, be so excited for a day/weekend of vomiting. The feeling I get when I say, “today is my last day of chemo,” is happiness I have never felt before. I cannot wait to know what it feels like to leave chemo for the last time. Such joy deserves celebration.

To celebrate today, I will roll into treatment sporting my superhero gear proudly. I will have a smile from here to Timbuktu on my face. I will puke at least a handful of times, and I will leave looking like death. Come Sunday, my Mom and Dad will be by my side to join in celebration. At 29 years old, I have all intentions of being able to still master stealing a back rub from my Dad, if not two! My Mom and I will be girly girls and get manicures and pedicures (Shhh…I think with such a reason to celebrate, I can convince my Dad to even get a Pedicure!) We will have drinks and cheers with some of the greatest supporters I am surrounded by. Head to the beach, relax together, and enjoy! Most importantly; I just get to be my parents kid for a few days. After a year like this, even at age 29; nothing sounds better.

In two and a half weeks (once my break concludes) I will roll the dice again and saddle up for my final 8 weeks in the game, 24 rounds of radiation. I will meet each day’s challenges, battle the exhaustion, and continue to focus on the hope and strength guiding me to the finish-line.  It’s just one last roll of the dice…in this crazy game…with some crazy rules…

NOTE FROM PATIENT TO CANCER:

Cancer beware: When I started your little game, you’d be damned to think I wouldn’t finish. The “exciting” consequences of each play in your game absolutely will vanish…in 10 weeks! This warrior is coming for you! This warrior is 10 weeks from claiming, owning, and rocking her title; SURVIVOR!

Home stretch…I can feel it!

Laughter is the good stuff…

cropped-imagesca4016pv.jpgHello “Heidistrong” enthusiasts,

In the last week I have written up more than a few employees, gone off on a women who is the spitting image of someone who just walked off the set of “Real House Wives…(pick whatever richville county you choose)”, was fully prepared to call a speaker out on his non-factual presentation, and felt the urge to punch the people whose comments months ago were entertaining, but now seeing them in person just makes my blood boil. I believe I have officially entered the “anger” stage of the grieving process. I hear this is a phase that gets repeated multiple times throughout this journey. For many, this will be beneficial for pure entertainment purposes, for those who get the other side of it, well…consider it a very blunt and quick learning experience.

I have been pacing back and forth the past couple days feeling stressed and angry. When I moved out to D.C. It was my priority to find a balance between work and home. I have successfully done that; however, now I have to find a way to balance work (because I refuse to stop that), home, and Cancer life. Unfortunately, Cancer life obviously has to take precedent over the other priorities in my life. After a stressful day or frustrating encounter, my typical distractions in the past have been jogs around the D.C. monuments, multiple mile swims, bike rides, or some ridiculous workout that would make me sore for days. Well, my doctor has taken working out off the table for now.  With open water swim season beginning, I find myself more frustrated my routine is being interrupted. However; right now, I fully understand following my doctor’s order is my best option. Therefore, I have been trying to come up with alternative ways to relieve stress and frustration.

My Dad says I should go fly a kite…but seriously, he means get a nylon kite with a string and go outside on a windy day and fly an actual kite. My Dad is the most amazing man alive, however, there is nothing about flying a kite that sounds remotely relaxing. There is string, that would clearly get tangled. Trees, that would shred my $5.99 kite. Wind, which would try to be helpful, but ultimately cause the string to tangle and the kite to head directly into the trees. It would clearly be an inevitable debacle.

The girls in my house suggested I just go outside and paint. Sure! Let me go outside in the grass, fling paint all over the place as to resemble some spatter painted war zone, in the middle of a severe thunderstorm warning and just pray people think this is normal behavior. The goal is to avoid the madhouse, not surrender with my white flag…or paint…waving with arms wide open saying, “here I am!”

Yoga was suggested. Truth, yoga is NOT for the multitasking, million mile per hour thoughts going through her mind, Aquatic Director, preparing for summer madness to strike in less than three weeks. I would lay their making a to-do list in my mind and then get frustrated following class, when I can’t remember everything on my mental to-do list. Ultimately, making me regret taking up an entire hour that could have been spent being productive.

Lego building and cross-stitching were also recommended. For anyone who needs to be reminded, I liked the Lego castles that were the plastic buildings and the only “building” that was required was the assembly of the little Lego people. For those who lived with me in Australia…we all know my friend, Beth did my senior project after I failed miserably at centering the first square of my cross stitch.

You may think my responses above are pessimistic, but let’s be real for a minute; those who know me, have I ever been the kite flying, Lego building, painting, sit at home and knit kind of person?? Allow me to help, that would be a very big, NO.

With that being said, It has been my goal through all of this to maintain a positive and comical attitude. After all, being serious has never really worked out for me. In keeping with that theme, I do want to reassure everyone I have found some ways of coping with the pent-up stress and frustration I am feeling. Blogging/writing is definitely one outlet I enjoy.  I typically just need to stick out a few days of anger before trusting myself to not take my aggression out on my keyboard and computer. To be clear, tonight, I have had no troubles with my computer, so I feel my level of abuse towards this machine has been no more than usual. As of now, no computers have ever been harmed in the typing of a “Heidistrong” blog entry.

Laughter is another coping mechanism for me. I have made it a priority, long before this anger phase kicked in, to ensure I laugh at least once a day. The past few days/week have been difficult, so when I find it tough, I try to focus on some of the encounters I have had with people since my diagnosis that I find highly entertaining. The encounters and dialogs below have occurred over the past couple months. Some of you have heard them. Some have not; but the four stories below have helped my laughter sound, smile shine, and the feeling of anger subside; even if it has only been for moments at a time.

1.) The Antonym for Tact

Back in October, as reported in my first post, “Let’s blog about it;” I had a head shaving party. A couple of days following, I walked into a building where I know most of the people who work there. Like any other day, I went in to pick up some friends for lunch. I walked in, rocking my bald head. The secretary looks at me, with five other people around; customers and employees, and says, “umm why would you cut your hair like that? I mean…I hope you don’t have cancer, but why would you do that?” I simply turned, looked at her, and said,
“but I do have cancer.” As this individual proceeded to move both her hands from the side of her hips up to cover her month, I added, “I bet you feel awesome, don’t you?” I proceeded to continue on my way.
In this situation, I was highly entertained. I am still not sure what was more entertaining, the facial expressions of everyone surrounding the situation, the awkward sudden quiet that filled the lobby, or that I am still baffled how someone in their mid-twenties has such little tact. Either way, statements like this I live for.

2.)Date Night

I was on a date with a guy who knew I had cancer, and knew the extent of my treatment. As a background, this guy is your typical D.C. employee working in politics. He has never served in the military, had a major surgery or illness, no experience with cancer, and I’m pretty sure his major dilemma that week was the stress of planning out where each days post work happy hour location would be.
We had been talking for a few days over the phone and he had mentioned multiple times how he liked the “intelectual conversations” we were able to have. Therefore, we went on a date. We began discussing how I was doing with my treatments. I informed him I was doing, “ok, staying positive, but struggling from time to time.” As always, I concluded my statement with, “…but, it can always be worse.”

My date’s “intelectual” response:
“Well true, you could have had to deploy to Afghanistan or be an amputee; something crazy like that.”

While none, including cancer, sound appealing; I find it entertaining when people try to relate topics that are situationally not comparable to one another. I also am entertained when the indivudual has never experienced any of the above being discussed. I am pretty sure I could have had a more intelectual conversation with a guy on the street corner holding a sign, “trying to get from Washington D.C. to The District of Columbia, please help!” , than trying to engage in the response I  heard from my date.
No need to worry, there was not a second date.

3.) Why you always take the recommendations of your Manicurist

This winter, I decided it was important to get my nails done regularly. I am an habitual nail biter (sorry, Grandma, all those lectures and it’s still a problem), and with fear of infection, I needed to find a way to tame my habit. Therefore, I decided to go with manicures…Plus, I’m a girl…who doesn’t have hair. I get out of the shower, towel off, and throw on a baseball cap. I need to maintain some sort of feminine routine in my life.
For anyone who has gone into a salon, half way through your manicure, the manicurist will quickly glance at you and without processing what they saw, will try to up-sale another treatment as if something is hideously wrong with you.
I was getting a typical manicure, manicurist looks up at me and quickly back at my nails and says, in the (your face just looks awful tone,) “eyebrow wax today?”
Knowing she was paying no attention, I said “sure! I’d love one.”
Well, after my manicure, as she sent me to wash my hands; I was sent into the other room for a quick brow wax.
I opened the door, laid down on the table, given a hot towel for my face, and I waited.
The manicurist walks in, gets her heated wax, and goes to apply it to my…oh wait…SURPRISE!
Manicurist, “you don’t have any eyebrows?”
Me: “I know, but I was going on your recommendation, you seemed to think I needed to have this treatment done.”
Needless to say, my free manicure looked great!

4.) The insults that actually make your day the best days ever…

This spring I decided to coach a five-year old soccer team. Yes, we were the Mighty Minions. Yes, we shouted Bee-dooh multiple times after our team would score. Yes, we had the proper colored uniforms. We weren’t just winners, we owned the league. Ok…alright…there was only one other team in the league, but we rocked it no matter how you look at it.
ANNNYWHOooo…
First day of practice, one of the girls walks up to me, “are you a boy or a girl?”
Me: “I am a girl”
Minion: “Well why is your hair so short (I had on a hat, so she didn’t fully see I was bald)”Me: “I decided to try a new hair style.”
Minion: “Well, good thing hair grows back.”
This girl, is my kind of girl! I just love the truthful thoughts and feelings of the young and innocent.

Well, friends and family, I feel relaxed tonight. A feeling I have been looking for a lot the past couple days. I will be sharing more stories in the near future. For now, with lots of love, hugs, and smiles, I wish everyone a great night and a happy Friday!

Lots of love…

-Heidi

 

 

 

 

Letting You In…

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“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have.”

 This post is dedicated to my Mom and Dad:

It’s been a while since my last post. For many reasons, it’s time I update you all on what’s been going on. I’m going to lower my walls a bit.  I am simply throwing my raw emotions out there. Please note, I still have a lot of good going on. Sure I can’t exercise, but it hasn’t kept me from visiting my favorite gym, The Monuments of Washington DC. While I am not currently running around The Reflection Pool, or running the stairs at the Lincoln Memorial. I am trying to embrace the great weather and leisurely walk around my favorite spots. How lucky I am to live in such a cool place still amazes me. I still have awesome friends, near and far. The minute I feel down, I can count on one of them to pick me up with a random drop by, a good story, or a hilarious text. I have not lost my positive outlook and I do have hope that one day soon I will be staring in the mirror running a brush through my long hair, running and swimming after a long day at work, planning my days around me and not my doctors appointments. If after reading the remainder of this blog, you feel I am spiraling into a black hole of depression, scroll back up to the top and re-read the under credited (in this post) “GOOD” that is going on. Thanks for reading and enjoy.

I am someone who is easily persuaded by the message, “it can always be worse.” I think some days, I am even fooled by my own wall of smiles I plaster at the gates leading to my reality. How can I not be? My friends and I love cancer jokes. Laughter is a great coping mechanism. However, when the laughter settles, the sun sets, and the pain creeps in; worry and fear begin to linger.

Following my amazing trip to Hawaii, I got pretty sick. My immune system has grown a bit weaker, my spleen a bit larger, and they have gone to a more aggressive approach in my treatment plan. What does that all mean: I’m not losing (I would never admit to that), but I’m also not winning. I’m almost tied. We all know you do not get a trophy for a tie and we all know you do not take on a challenge unless you intend to seek out a victory. I am still confident my victory will arrive, however, the road is becoming a much longer and difficult ride than expected.

The term “Cancer Sucks” is no joke. I have had a great outlook through this entire journey. It has kept me strong. However, is there such a thing as being “too positive?” Have I hidden behind my positivity to try and avoid coming to terms with everything? I feel the physical battle of cancer daily. On a sunny day: I puke four to six days a week, my body hurts non-stop, my head always has a dull ache at the base of my skull and between my eyes, my bones feel like they have no muscle supporting them, and something simple as a paper cut makes me fear infection.  I am constantly hungry, but have absolutely no appetite. Not to mention, everything I eat just tastes like I’m gnawing on a sheet of metal.

I have recently gone to bed many nights extremely frustrated. I find myself thinking of all the texts I haven’t returned, the personal emails I haven’t responded to, and the phone calls I simply just ignore. I find myself pushing away those who love and care about me the most. Why am I trying to hide? Why do I not want to talk to my parents every night? Why do I just ignore texts from people who’s only purpose is to check in because they care and love me so much? How is it I am on Facebook frequently, yet I rarely reply to messages? To the other view; why am I working and pushing myself as if I just have a common cold? Pushing through exhaustion, only to be more exhausted? Why do I feel I’m letting the world down if I shed a tear?  The answers are simple, but the simplest answers are hard to admit.

Truth is, I hide because I’m scared. I attended Relay For Life a few weeks ago and I got a little dose of reality. I had an amazing time. Some of my closest friends were by side. We walked, laughed, and joked just like we always do. However, later into the night, I noticed a family with shirts on that read, “In memory of.” The song, “Remember me” was blaring through the speakers. Something clicked, and I realized the person who was fighting strong and if not harder than I, is no longer alive and lost the same battle I’m fighting. I leaned over to my friends with tears in my eyes and said, “I don’t want to be on a shirt in the future. I don’t want to be “remembered” until I am much, much older.” The words “In memory of” and “Remember me” had never caused such a jolt of painful panic before. People say, that won’t be me; and believe me, I don’t want to let it be me. However, reality is that outcome is simply not off the table.

Scared is just one more emotion cancer burdens one with. It’s been said before, “Cancer Sucks.” Lets be real, this bitch came into my life, but has redefined my entire world. It has taken physical and mental abilities from me. It has ended relationships and strained others. Cancer hasn’t just effected me. It has effected everyone around me. When I was told by many they wouldn’t let me fight this alone, I never really understood what that meant. However, I’ve come to realize, this isn’t just my fight.

My friends and family are fighting for me. They want to continue to support, build memories, relationships, and join me on many more journeys. That has to be just as difficult of a fight as the one fighting the disease themselves. I apologize to anyone who has felt victim to getting pushed away or shut out. It has truly never been my intention. I really do appreciate all the soldiers I have in my army. I haven’t achieved the status of acceptance in the stages of grief, but I’m getting there. Breaking down my walls and letting others in will help me get one step closer. Acceptance will probably come long after I am in remission, but it will be a victory I could never achieve without all those fighting right along with me.

I love you, Mom and Dad.

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Team Heidi

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So I’m laying here in bed, watching The American President, of course! I’m scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; you know, all the important news updates one has to check before dosing off. Today was not the easiest of days for me emotionally. However, I began looking at the “Team Heidi” page on Facebook. Reading the stories posted, looking at the embarrassing photos, and seeing my name on all the bright orange bracelets being worn on so many wrists around the world. It made me smile and remember I am not alone. It got me thinking about how I started this epic adventure with support I knew I had, but I never knew I needed…until recently…

Many of you know, or know of my friend, Matt Mowery. he showed up on most of your Facebook accounts in the past couple weeks like “Tom” from Myspace nagging you about joining a group titled, “Team Heidi” (I apologize to those who are not old enough or young enough to understand the reference…just laugh like your supposed to and keep reading).

Matt is someone who hates getting praise and applause (unless it’s a case of Miller Lite or Mountain Dew Throwback), but he will go to any length to make sure his friends and family are supported and taken care of.  Matt is currently deployed in Egypt with the U.S. Army. No matter how far away he really is, it feels like he’s always just right around the corner.

Matt contacted me shortly after my diagnosis and said he had ordered “bracelets” and was going to send them all over to get people to show their support. He was asking if I would be comfortable with this and if I would approve of it. I was also well informed that whether I approved it or not, he would still be wearing HIS “Team Heidi” band and since he was on the other side of the world, I would just have to deal with it. Long story short, I approved this “idea”… Little did I know the extent of the positive unity and support it would create.

The first day I saw the “Team Heidi” wrist band photos pop up all over Facebook and Instagram, it gave me an uneasy feeling. I think mostly because I have yet, even to this day, to truly accept or understand what my body is going through. The pain is real, the exhaustion is real, but the reasoning for why I am in pain and why I am exhausted, is still very surreal. It only took a few minutes to go from feeling uneasy, to truly welcoming and appreciating the support. I am ridiculously blessed by all the love and support I have! Yes, I just said “ridiculously,” I blame it on living with 35 female college sophomores.

Every time I refresh my Facebook newsfeed or have been sent a picture of “Team Heidi” bands being worn in various locations/States/Countries, I smile on the inside and out. I can never truly express the appreciation I have for the realizations and positive energy “Team Heidi” has created.

What started out as this “little idea” has spread to so much more…

I finally admit, I need that support. It’s crazy how much of a help it really is. It motivates me to want to be strong and get stronger everyday. I don’t know the exact count of wrist bands out there, but from my calculations, it’s climbed into the hundreds. Groups and individuals of all ages from varying Cities, States, Countries, and Continents are sporting this highly fashionable accessory…
Can I just say how cool it is to have 50 eighth graders back in Huber Heights, Ohio wearing these things?! (I’m a sucker for kids, what can I say?) My Instagram is predominately followed by 11-14 year olds! To clarify, they follow me, I do not follow back. Not out of disrespect, simply because it would be creepy if the majority of people an almost thirty year old followed on a social media site were mostly pre-teens. They understand and know I love and appreciate all their support.

The point is; your support means the world to me. Thank you, Matt Mowery!! Thank you for giving others an opportunity to seek a way to show their support. Thank you, to everyone who has joined “Team Heidi” and is sporting an orange bracelet with my name on it! Thank you, for giving me a visual tool that truly is helping to guide my strength!

Keep posting those pics!! ….Ok, even the embarrassing ones, if you must. 🙂

xoxo

-Heidi

 

 

 

 

Let’s Blog about it…

To clarify, “Heidistrong” is not on any required reading lists and you will not be graded on your reading ability. This blog is for me and you. For me, to vent and or share silly little thoughts, experiences, laughs, struggles, good times, epic times, completely epic times, some adventures, and downer moments I have throughout my fight against Leukemia. Sit back, relax, laugh, cry, enjoy, hit the next button, or simply ignore all together. I will not be offended, as reading is not my favorite activity to do either.

I am going to start the first couple blog posts from the start of this epic adventure, beginning with the diagnosis. Please know, it is your unconditional support that has lead me to realize the importance of keeping those I am loved by informed and/or entertained with what is happening. Your love and support is completely unwarranted, but truly and undoubtedly appreciated! With that being said; future posts will be about YOU! You have now been warned, you will probably be mentioned in my posts by name, and probably more than once. Hey, you all know how much I just LOOOOVE being in the spot light, so I have no problem returning such a kind gesture.

As most who are reading this know, I was diagnosed with Leukemia back in October 2013.
I had this weird bruising pattern develop, so I decided on a whim to visit the doctor. I figured any blood test was just going to say I probably needed to go home and have a steak for dinner and take some iron supplements. Well, I went home and I think I actually had chicken. At 8am the next day, I got a phone call saying I needed to return to the doctors for a blood re-test, as there were some abnormalities. Well, following the re-test, it turns out chicken was a fine choice. Steak and iron pills would not have made a difference. I was quickly scheduled for a bone marrow biopsy. Soon to follow, the results…

They try and convey on TV and film what that exact moment feels like for both a doctor and a patient. Nothing is ever like the movies. It’s a lot less dramatic, and the sappy music isn’t there to cause immediate tears. In fact, The Beatles were playing when my doctor walked in.

Here’s this relatively healthy looking 28 year old female with leggings (No judging), a hooded sweatshirt, and Ugg boots looking up at the doctor as he walks in. She is waiting in anticipation, as she assumes the results he’s about to translate are not the best news, but definitely not anything life threatening. The doctor swallows, and pushes the thought that this girl he is about to tell has cancer is the same age as his own daughter off to the side. “Did anyone come with you today?” The doctor asks.
“No, but hit me, what’s up?…I’m kind of a give it to me straight kinda girl, so go for it!”
“Well, ok…you have Leukemia.” The doctor says.
As I look up and kind of think for a minute, I reply, “Interesting…you know, a month and a half ago I swam a 5K in the Potomac. A month before that, I swam in the Hudson. A month before that, I swam the Chesapeake Bay. The day after I swam in the Potomac, On September 15th I posted on Facebook, “Swam a 5k this morning in the Potomac. I still have the scent of dead fish and pollution lingering. Had a blast! Dropped some time! Annnnd as far as I can tell, no signs of disease…yet.” ….Well, I guess that post kinda just came back to bite me in the ass, didn’t it?….Just tell me what I need to do.” It was that exact moment that was the beginning of a really awesome relationship between my doctor and I. It was a good thing too…I was about to see a lot of him!

My biggest fear was telling my family. I had the hardest time saying the diagnosis out loud to myself, let alone the ability to say it to anyone else. I remember driving home from the doctors and coming up with every scenario in my head as to how I was going to start telling people. As many of you know, I’m an extrovert when it comes to planning and leading, but a complete introvert when out and about in the world. I will hide behind my iPhone any chance I get! Thank God for constant reasons to check the darn thing. It’s a lot better than carrying an actual “Linus blanket” around though. If only the invisibility cloak really did exist!

The weekend following my diagnosis I was headed to Cleveland for my grandma’s 90th Birthday party. The entire family was going to be there. Well, that was no place for such splendid news. I decided to fib a little and tell my immediate family I had one more blood test to do and would see the doctor the next week. Anything to delay what was really happening. Driving to Cleveland I told my cousin all about what was going on. Looking back, I can’t imagine how that news came across?! Although, there was still hope, as I didn’t reveal my actual diagnosis. I think that’s when I realized I was clinging to false hope as well.

I really had no desire to be around anyone that weekend. I really just wanted to curl up in my bed, watch the American President (favorite movie, for those unaware) a few million times, and have some wine. Being around relatives, as much as I love all of them, was the last thing I felt like doing. The night I got home, my Dad and I went on a date while everyone else went to a family dinner. Him and I hadn’t gone to a high school football game in years together. We went to go see one of the high school players I used to babysit, play in the division finals. After the game, my Dad wanted our date to continue, so he recommended going to Starbucks. Clearly, he had not been out past 9pm for a long time. Nor was he aware the town he lives in completely shuts down at 9pm no matter what day of the week it is. We went to Starbucks, it closed at 9pm (on a Friday); We went to Dunkin Donuts, it also closed at 9pm. Well, it’s a good thing my Mom keeps an endless supply of hot cocoa at the house. My Dad and I decided to continue our date in the basement.

I have told my Dad everything ever since I was little. I’ve told him the good, the bad, the ugly, and the indifferent. He knows every party I’ve attended, hangover I experienced, every tear I shed over friendly drama, he simply knows everything. I realized at that moment, I couldn’t keep it from him. I told him, and I realized, fear starts to naturally subside. I had my Parents tell my Aunts and Uncles, but asked to keep it quiet until after the weekend of festivities. When I got back to D.C. my sister asked what I was most scared about, and it was honestly losing the one thing that had no medical threat at all; hair loss. She immediately started planning a head shaving party to embrace what was about to be. It was a party to allow me to have control of at least one thing in this process. We decided to plan it for that Thursday. Well, social media does not keep quiet…So I had to start telling people, as I didn’t want the news to first be seen on Facebook.

The most awkward conversation for an introvert to have is when you call someone to tell them you have cancer. After a few of those conversations, I decided to tell certain people in pockets of my life and asked them to convey the message. I knew once the party happened, the world was going to know based on photos. I think this was the best thing I ever did. It prepared everyone for what they were about to visually see, but it also gave me the opportunity to start this adventure with the support I knew I had, but never knew I needed, from the start.

From hair ties to hats....

From hair ties to hats….

My party had people from all parts of my life attend. I had, family, former employees/friends, college friends, current co-workers, and many who Skype’d and Facetime’d in from various devices.

That night, I made it, oh yes…that term we all love… “Facebook official”…It was time to face the world, my new world. It’s crazy how in one day your world can completely be turned upside down. The really cool thing about my world; I am one lucky girl who can spin a globe 180 degrees, over and over again and where my finger lands, I still have friends and family there to support me. America, Canada, Australia, Europe, The Middle East, South America, Asia; I have learned my world can be turned upside down as may times as it wants, at the end of the day, I  have friends and family all over this globe to help guide me through. You are my world and every one of you, as close or distant as you may be, are what will get me through this. You are valuable and irreplaceable!

Thanks for riding along on this journey with me. It has been twelve weeks since my diagnosis and I’m still fighting strong. The next few posts will be back logging a bit, but what is currently going on will also be intermixed.

Lots of love!

Stay tuned…I’ll be back…. 🙂