I guess once I had a taste of the sweet freedom after surgery, there was no keeping me down any longer. Ever since the nausea and soreness settled down, it seems like life has returned to it's usual hectic pace. No complaints here though - that's the kind of life that feels most 'normal' to me anyway. And I will always be grateful to be busy since that is a true indication that I am feeling good!
A belated Happy Mother's Day to all of you amazing mommas out there! I was able to spend that day hosting brunch for the fam over at our house and then heading out to GG's to celebrate with her, my aunts, uncles, and cousins. There aren't many things I can say about my incredible Momma that I haven't already gushed about in previous posts. All I know is that I would be lost without her, and Mike and I are beyond grateful to have her in our lives and help support us through all of the ups and downs of the past year, in particular. She deserves much more recognition than one special day allows! We love you Momma! ♥
I am also so grateful to have some other pretty amazing women in my life too...especially my grandma GG, and my Godmother, my Aunt Carol. Happy Mother's Day to you both, too! Love you!
Last Monday, I had my first follow up appointment with Dr. M since surgery on May 4th. He was pleased with how everything looks and how I have been feeling. Of course, I had to badger him and ask if I can please get back to working out and doing everything around the house that I want to do. He gave me the green light to go back to the gym but I am not able to do anything with my arms for another 4 weeks - no lifting weights, no pushing, no pulling, no picking up friends babies....oops, might have cheated on that last one a few times! ;) It is driving me nuts to not be able to do what I want, but I am trying my best to be a good little patient and make sure that everything heals just as it is intended to.
Last Wednesday, I had the privilege of being invited onto the field at Comerica Park during the national anthem and first pitch at the Tigers Game. It was such a neat experience to join other breast cancer survivors as the Tigers honored us with their "Going To Bat Against Breast Cancer" game. I met up with some of my YSC friends there as well. We wore the shirts that the YSC team is wearing for the Race for the Cure - it's pretty astounding to see the ages of our diagnoses on our shirts!
I was able to capture a picture of myself on the scoreboard of me taking a picture of the scoreboard! ha-sounds confusing, I know. Can you see where I circled myself in the pic below?
Wednesday night at Comerica was a blast! Then first thing Thursday morning, I headed to Karmanos for my monthly injections into my abdomen. In addition to that, I was asked to participate in an interview with our local ABC news affiliate, WXYZ Channel 7. The super sweet and lovely anchor, Alicia Smith, interviewed me. She wanted to know my story and what I have been through, about why I wanted to help start a young women's support group, and why I participate in the Race for the Cure and what it means to me to have others support me there as well. It was a fun morning and one more way that I am trying to help raise awareness for young adults faced with cancer. I haven't heard when it will air but it's going to be sometime this week before the race on Saturday morning. Channel 7 will be interviewing me again live at the race with my entire team there with me!
Here I am with Alicia Smith, who couldn't have been any nicer and made me feel much more relaxed on camera.
The rest of the week and weekend was filled with many Kettering baseball games, a trip to Eastern Market for flower day, and spending time with two of my favorite munchkins - Emma and Alice. Luckily for me, I have some pretty cute models to practice my photography skills with. :)
I also wanted to mention that a group of my wonderful friends are at it again this year and have formed their "Meghan Malley Rally" team for the 3 Day For A Cure event in August. I am so proud of them and honored that they want to dedicate their time and energy to this cause in my name. They are not only focused on supporting me, but on helping to generate more awareness for metastatic breast cancer and the importance for further research to help find a CURE!
Their fundraising efforts are underway and if you like to bowl, and love to support a great cause, we have an event for you! Check out the flyer for more details and click here to visit their team page to either join our team or donate! I am not an official participant, but I will be out there attempting 10 miles each day, so come join us August 17-19!
Keep your eyes out for me on Channel 7 news this week and come join us Saturday morning at the Detroit Race for the Cure! It is a wonderful event! Hope everyone is having a great week and have a fun Memorial Day weekend!
ps. - I would like to give a very special thank you to Dr. Schenden and his staff at Schenden's Medical Day Spa. Last week I was completely blown away by a letter that Dr. Schenden wrote me. He told me that some of his staff have been following the blog and have been touched by my story. Dr. Schenden mentioned that they knew one of the "30 before 30" items I wasn't able to cross off my list yet was to get a massage for Mike. Well, Dr. Schenden so graciously sent us two gift certificates for spa services at his medical day spa! One for Mike, and one gift certificate for me too! It was so unexpected and I am so grateful. People often do not realize the impact that one little note, or one kind gesture can have. I was brought to tears by this act of kindness and I am truly so thankful that such compassionate and thoughtful people are out there in the world doing things to help brighten someone else's day. Thank you so much to Dr. Schenden and his staff - It truly meant so much to us!
This has been one hell of a week - literally. It's actually been even longer than that. I have been feeling awful nearly every day since the Friday after my surgery, ten days ago. I felt like a million bucks the week following surgery compared to how I have felt this past week. I have experienced everything from pain, soreness, fever, vomiting, body aches, migraines, nausea, and numerous GI issues that I will spare you the details of. I have only left the house twice in ten days (once to the doctor, and once to my support group), and I even spent three straight days completely in bed. This is by far the worst I have felt since that first round of chemo when my blood pressure plummeted for days.
The week after surgery, I was so surprised at how well I was doing. My first trip out of the house was to see Dr. F, my oncologist, for my routine follow-up that Thursday, which was six days post-op. Dr. F was very pleased with how well I was healing and how I was feeling in general. To be honest, I don't even remember everything we discussed because that day now seems like a lifetime ago. What I do remember is that after some discussion back and forth, I decided to get the flu shot. I have never been a fan of the flu shot because I never would get one and I would never get the flu - so I figured, why bother. Well now that I am still a bit "immunosuppressed", I wondered if I should get one. I still said, "watch, if I get a flu shot - I will get the flu", but I figured that I should be on the safe side and get it. Dr. F left it up to me but said that it wouldn't be a bad idea. My blood counts were in the safe range to get it if I wanted to. So, I went ahead and got the flu shot. This is what unfolded in the days to follow.....
So, I apologize for the delayed post, for not responding to emails or phone calls. I just haven't had the energy to do it. I am beyond grateful to my mom, Mike, and Doug in particular for being here with me day in and day out and doing anything they could to make me comfortable. Thank you to my brother for spending the day with me today and for my friends and family that have been checking on me.
I am praying that I feel much better this week. I have doctors appointments on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and on top of that my mom and Doug are out of town for the week so I am on my own during the day. I am so thankful for our army of supporters that will still be here to drive me to appointments and check on me when Mike is at work. Please keep the prayers coming because I know I am not in the clear yet. Once this tummy settles down and I can get these other drains removed, I am sure I will feel like a brand new woman - I cannot wait!
As a side note...My amazing Momma's birthday is this Tuesday, November 1. Mom- I am so sad that I won't be with you on your birthday this year. But please know how much I love you and how grateful I am for you. In the past two weeks alone you have held my hand as I went into surgery, kissed my forehead as I woke up from the anesthesia, bandaged my incisions, administered my medicine, helped me get out of bed, bathed and dressed me, rubbed my back as I vomited, massaged my legs when they ached, and dried my tears as I cried out in frustration and sadness. And yet that is nothing compared to all you have done for me throughout the past 29 years. I love you so much and hope this birthday is the start of a happier year because you deserve it! I hope you have a wonderful day and are reminded of all of us that love you very much.
Thankfully, the Thursday after surgery before the flu set in, Mike and I were able to meet our adorable little Goddaughter. Sweet baby Alice was welcomed into this world on Tuesday, October 18 and we couldn't be more honored that our friends, Mike and Katie asked us to play such an important role in Alice's life. ♥
Sometimes there are just no words to accurately describe your feelings and emotions. Over the last few days, I have gone to three different stores and read what seemed like hundreds of cards, and yet not a single one was able to capture what I want to say to my amazing mother on this Mother's Day. How do you say thank you to someone that has devoted her entire life to you....to provide for you, to teach you, to support you, to guide you, to celebrate you, and now to care for you during your darkest hours. My mom has loved me 100% completely unconditionally since the day I was born 29 years ago. She has shown me through her actions and told me through her words, how much she loves me, each and every single day of my life.
When I was a senior in undergraduate school, I gave a speech in front of nearly 200 women to honor my mom during my sorority's Mom's Weekend. Although, my mom wasn't the most comfortable to have me get up to the podium and talk about her, it was a huge honor for me to publicly profess my love and admiration for her on that day. If I gave this speech today, there would be a million more things I would like to add because it seems like a lifetime has taken place over the last 7 years since then. I still hold that speech close to me and would like to share an excerpt from it in honor of my mom today....
"To know her, is truly to love her. Whenever I run into a friend that I haven’t seen for awhile, they always seem to end up asking, “Oh how is your mom doing?” with a large smile on their face. When she remarried this past fall, I truly believe the excitement felt from my friends matched my very own. She is the mom that everyone loves to hang out with—the perfect balance of a responsible mother and a compassionate friend. But don’t let her cute little 5’ 2’’ tall package deceive you. Within that frame, is one tough cookie. She is a very independent , strong lady. But one tough cookie with a heart of gold.
I want to take this time as an opportunity to say, “Thank You” to my amazing mom. I want to thank you for teaching me the value of laughter, friendship, forgiveness, and responsibility. I want to thank you for allowing me to set so many goals, and then becoming my greatest cheerleader while I strived to achieve them….such as, when I was accepted to graduate school last semester and I listened to you cry on the phone as I told you. I am still not sure if those were tears of joy…or because it meant I was moving back home with the newlyweds for awhile. I want to thank you for being a phenomenal example of strength, intelligence, and determination...without that, I surely would have given up on many of the challenges I have faced these past 22 years. I want to thank you for having enough love, patience, and time to take on the role of not only a mother, but also that of a father…who else would have taught me how to mow the lawn, drive a car, or fix a broken toilet.
But most importantly, I just want to thank you for being you. You are the most incredible person I have ever had the privilege to know. You are always giving yourself to others around you…rarely taking time do things for yourself. But you never mind or complain. Which is yet another tribute to your endless generosity and selflessness. I have never felt so loved, appreciated and supported by another person in all my life. My greatest aspiration in life, is that I may one day become the type of mother that you have always been to me. I love you more than I could ever express in words…you are my very best friend...and I don’t know what I would ever do without you."
Mom, I cannot even imagine how difficult the past 6 weeks have been for you. I am not a mother, but I know that all you want as a mom is to make sure your babies are happy and healthy and have all the opportunities life has to offer. Although my future is uncertain, as it truly is for all of us, I know that we will both be okay no matter what! Through the lessons you have taught me my entire life, I will stay strong and brave and treasure each day. YOU are the one that has taught me how to deal with life's hardships, how to pick your chin up, dust yourself off, and carry on. I wish more than anything in this world that this wasn't happening - that I didn't have to see the pain and suffering in your eyes and sense the helplessness that you feel because you can't fix this and make it all better this time. But please know, although you can't take this awful disease away from me, the unconditional love and support you show me each and every day, is what will get me through this! I couldn't do it without you, Mom and I truly thank God for you every day!
On this day, and all days from here on out, I want you to know how much I love you. I owe everything I have in this life to you and how you have raised me. You have provided me with an amazing life and for that I am eternally grateful. Happy Mother's Day to my beautiful, selfless mom....I love you always!
Happy Mother's Day to all of you incredible mothers! Especially, my wonderful grandma GG, and my loving aunt and Godmother, Aunt Carol. I love you both so much! Also, to all of my amazing aunts, cousins, and friends that have been blessed with the joys of motherhood. I think the world of all of you and your children are so fortunate to have you as their mommas!
My blog to keep you all