I am sitting on my hospital bed, 6 hours post infusion and while I expected some big “TA DA!” moment, the infusion process was pretty uneventful, though I did receive a lot of congratulations today. They say that I may see some side effects within the next few days as the T-Cells get down to business inside my body and go nuts when they see how much cancer there is to take care of. What I wouldn’t give to be miniaturized and injected into my body like Dennis Quaid was in that movie with Martin Short … back in like 1987… Innerspace?
I am dating myself, but it would be fascinating to see the battle that is about to ensue. Those cancer cells might look something Martin Short when they realize that their in deep doo doo.
The past couple of days I have been trying to identify how I was feeling about today. Many friends and family members asking me, “so, how are you feeling?” and I was at somewhat of a loss for a day or so because I couldn’t quite put my finger it. But as I sat down to journal this morning, it hit me that what I was feeling was essentially a lack of fear or rather…
I would never describe myself as a fearless person, but rather more likely to call myself brave or courageous. But even when one is brave, there is the possibility for fear to exist. And as I look back over the last 11 months, there have been such extreme moments of fear, I am just so incredibly thankful that coming into today I have felt complete peace knowing that God is going to heal me and we will witness a miracle.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear?” Psalm 27:1
However I was quite emotional getting to share my “last” days of chemo EVER with two of my oldest friends who live nearby. Leslie Gunn, who I met at orientation for our summer rec center jobs at the University of Texas in Austin came out on Sunday to spend the day with me. We talked about jobs, kids, and millenials… ha ha. I look back at those days and wish we had spent more time hanging out together, but I guess even back then I was busy. Those are the days when I was getting up at 3 a.m. to run my Frito-Lay route and I would get back at 6 p.m. exhausted from a long day. I am often very thankful for such a rigorous job opportunity straight out of college, one that came with lessons that developed grit, that I would have otherwise not have learned. In fact, I could go on a whole other sidebar with stories from that chapter in my life, but I’ll perhaps put that into a book someday.
On Monday, my Frito-Lay buddy Debbie Koteskey came out at O’ dark thirty, to drive me to the clinic. She was chuckling about those days long ago when we got up that early every day. Debbie was packing two full bags going into the infusion treatment area and after we got settled and visited a bit, she started pulling out the tablecloth, and plates! My last day of chemo was made special with a picnic of hummus, crackers and cucumbers and we toasted each other with a glass of bubbly (sparkling water)! We even had time to meditate … my new thing 🙂
I was in tears at the thought of not ever having to poison my body ever again and Deb was there to cry the happy tears with me. My life has been centered around my treatments for almost a year now, and after 43 days of chemo I was completely emotional at the thought that I could be free of the chemotherapy shackles forever. I was so happy to share that last drop of Fludarabine with a good friend. I have been constantly reminded of just how blessed I am to be surrounded by people who love me from all stages of my life. It was a huge treat to have that time with Leslie and Debbie, two of the most awesome people in my world, whom I have been friends with for decades, see each other so seldom, yet still never run out of things to talk about.
So today I am good, I am very very good. I will wait to see how my body reacts and pray for a CR (Complete Remission) and as for the side effects, I know that God will give me the strength to handle those.
And so my day was topped off with my team here at Stanford bringing in cake and singing Happy Birthday to me. My new birthday, for my second chance at life. Today is a big deal and I hope not to waste the beautiful life God has given me.
This morning, I randomly opened my bible to Psalm 139:16 and read this familiar verse, “…all the days ordained for me were written in your book…” and I was reminded that the days I have on this earth are already predetermined. We were never promised a certain number of days nor an easy life, but I believe we are called to live a life of purpose with gratitude and humility.
I feel we all have a purpose to serve on this earth we just have to sift through the triumphs and trials to find it sometimes. I have seen time and again how my past trials have given me opportunities to help others and I imagine that there is a purpose to be served through this cancer experience as well.
Thank you for pulling for me and being in my corner!
Onward and Upward,