There always seems to be so much on my mind when I sit down to prepare my next update. I can assure you that there is never a shortage of topics or things I want to share. Sometimes the hard part is narrowing down all the things that are running through my mind to figure out exactly what I want to focus my energy on. I guess that is what I do everyday - I choose what to focus my energy on that day and try to tune out the rest. So when people say, "you are so positive" or "you have such a great attitude", I really do appreciate it but it's simply about making the conscious choice to do your best to block out the negative, focus on the positive, and enjoy each moment.
But, I also feel that it's important to say that it's not all positive, happy thoughts, 100% of the time. There is a part of me that is sad - every day. There is a part of me that is grieving - every day. There is a part of me that is scared - every day. And there is a part of me that feels lost - each and every single day. But, I go to bed each night watching Mike as he falls asleep, quietly reaching out to hold his hand without waking him, and thanking God for another wonderful day with my husband...because that is all I ever truly want.
My hair began to slowly grow back about a month or so ago (while still on Taxol) and within the last couple of weeks it has really started to get longer and thicker. So, last week when we went to the cider mill, I decided to be brave and venture out without my scarf. It might not sound like a very big deal to most, but until you are forced to lose your hair, you have no idea what it feels like to go through these types of transitions. Losing my hair wasn't as devastating as it is to many people, but I became very used to my wig and scarves and aside from when I was inside my house, I had something on my head 24/7. I remember stepping out onto my porch once to get the mail and realized that I didn't have a scarf on and all of a sudden I stood paralyzed, looking around to see if any neighbors saw me. I felt like I was just caught naked by the entire community! So now that my hair is growing back, I have found that it was hard to part with the security blanket that my scarves and wig had become.
It feels like another crossroads - the start of a new path. It's a little hard for me to put into words but with my hair growing back it sometimes feels like people will think that means I am all better, or the cancer is gone because chemo is over, and that I can just go ahead and return to my "normal" life. And unfortunately, none of those things are true. Yes, I will now have hair and I won't be as readily identified as a cancer patient without my scarves -but it doesn't mean I am okay. I am reminded of this cancer inside me each and every day when my back aches and throbs, when I am fatigued after lunch with a friend, and when I think of the long road ahead. I am a little nervous that because people say I look good and I will now look even less like a patient, that I will be expected to just put the pieces back together and move on - but please realize this is far from over and I am still fighting.
I felt very self-conscious at the cider mill last Sunday, and not to mention cold from the breeze on my head that I hadn't felt in a long time! :) Although my wonderful husband reassured me a million times that I looked beautiful, and that he loved my new "edgy" look, I didn't feel like myself anymore without my scarves. But, I realized that I needed to step outside of my comfort zone once again and take this step forward. I haven't put a scarf back on since. Each day last week I ventured out to different places, all while sporting my new pixie cut. I have become a little more confident and feel a little bit more myself each day - although I am still caught off guard when I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror or store window. I did wear my wig to our friend Matt's wedding last Saturday because I just didn't feel right without it once I was all dressed up - but that might be the last time I wear it for long while...maybe ever!
So what do ya think?!.....
And if you are wondering...yes, it is starting to curl in the back, and yes, it is starting to look more and more red each day. I have heard all sorts of stories of women having their hair come back in all kinds of new ways after chemo but something tells me that this little ginger is going to get her red curls back...and I never thought I would say it, but I really hope I do. Through this experience, I have come to really appreciate what I had and the uniqueness that was my hair - getting that back will help me feel a little bit more like myself again...and I miss that.
Things are still super busy around here. I continue to struggle to find a balance between social activities with friends, household responsibilities, photography, and doctors appointments. In my mind, I continue to think that I can go, go, go like I used to-but increased back pain has been a reminder lately that I am doing too much and need to rest more. Before surgery, I have four more doctors appointments, four photography sessions, a fundraiser luncheon for The Pink Fund, a family reunion, starting a young adult cancer survivor support group at Karmanos, a few get togethers with friends, the charity fashion show benefiting the YSC, and the amazing benefit concert on Sunday that Patty is planning for us! Just to name a few! ;) Don't worry Mom, I am going to make sure to get plenty of rest in there too.
Tomorrow is the fashion show benefiting the Young Survival Coalition - it should be a fun time and if you would like to attend, you can still buy tickets at the door.
This Sunday is the wonderful benefit concert that Patty has been tirelessly planning for us. It is going to be such a fun time with fabulous music, and the silent auction items are incredible! I can't believe how generous everyone is! These are just a few of the great items available on Sunday....2 acoustic guitars, Red Wings tickets, two autographed hockey sticks from the Red Wings, an incredible gift bag from Martha Stewart Living including an autographed book and tickets to a live taping in NYC (a package valued at over $400!), an autographed football from Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, local restaurant gift cards and much more! Patty and Eric from Berkley Music - we are so thankful and truly excited for Sunday!
Hope to see you Sunday if you are in our neck of the woods. Thanks again for the continued prayers, love and support for not only myself but for my family too! We truly appreciate each and every one of you!
ps. Mike would like me to mention that he took the colored pic of me posted above. He's finally learning how to work the camera - maybe that means I'll finally get to be in more pics now! :)
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