It seems like an eternity since I sat down to update my blogs. I know, I'd promised to do so regularly over the course of my treatment but it didn't happen as planned.
I sat down at the keyboard a few times during chemotherapy planning to write something to update everyone, but everything I wrote seemed to come out part sick of the med zone part hopeful fortune cookie and I would abandon the post in mid-stream and move onto something else.
Once I hit radiation, we were staying at the Maurice Grimes Lodge in Ottawa and for some odd reason, I could not get the Blogger site to cooperate with me for anything. I was using my husband's laptop and I might as well have been trying to crack the Caramilk Secret.
I finished my radiation at the beginning of March, and hair hard just starting coming in. I will laugh about it for some time to come because the hair was coming in dark and black and I was pretty sure the black shadow was dirt and tried for some time to scrub it off. It had been just one spot on the front of my head. It would be a few more days before more would appear and I would realize my mistake. I had 5 O'clock shadow on my head! Ah well, you have to laugh, right?
I'm a couple of months into the anti-hormone treatment and feeling a lot more like me these days. Working hard to get everything caught up and back to where it needs to be. Some days are better than others, but giving myself permission to be human helps.
I am forever grateful for a handful of close friends and family who stood by and made sure I never got to feel like I was wandering alone. I am also very grateful for a number of folks that I talk to often but have never met -- not a day went by where at least one of them (and often more) texted to see how things were going, or just check for a pulse. I'd forgotten how y'all panic when I'm not online for a few days.
This last year has been BEYOND crazy. I never imagined that I'd be celebrating 23 years post ovarian cancer by getting breast cancer. Only me, I swear.
We had no idea that the night after my first chemo treatment that we'd be sitting in the ER and saying goodbye to one of the greatest men I have ever had the pleasure to know. My father-in-law had been ill for some time, but we had no idea we'd lose him so soon. I can only hope he knew how much we all love him.
I keep thinking about the last conversations we had. Even as he lay in his hospital bed, he mustered the strength to ask me how I'd made out. I told him better than expected. He'd smiled and said good! before drifting back off to sleep. That's so Walter. Always thinking about someone other than himself.
He had a knack for making people feel loved and important. I was blessed to be welcomed into his crazy tribe.
Barely a hiccup later it seemed, we were all gathered once again to say goodbye to our nephew Mikey. He was only 24. His smile was one of the brightest smiles I've ever known. He gave awesome hugs. One of the youngest of the nieces and nephews, everyone took this news hard.
He leaves behind the most beautiful little girl. Too young to understand the weight of the loss she has suffered. She was so very proud of the necklace that Nana picked for her that has Daddy's thumbprint on the back. Addiction robbed her of her Daddy. Addiction robbed his whole family of a lifetime of memories. He was more than his addiction. He was loved and cherished. If only that were enough to keep him here and safe.
I am grateful she has so many strong role models in her corner. She'll be OK. Her circle of love will #DoItForMikey.
I can't help but think of my sister and her struggles and wonder what we might have done to change the outcome. Maybe something, maybe nothing but in hindsight, the stigma surrounding the situation is often worse than the situation itself. Maybe if we'd been allowed to talk about it more things would be different today. I often wander down that garden path and wonder. So many dreams and plans we made as kids that will never come to be. It's sad, but here we are.
So many tragic things happening lately, these are the things you always hear about happening to some far-away family, not us, not our friends, our family, our neighbors. It's a Small World, never seemed so close. None of us are safe, no one is immune. I guess the bottom line is that all of us are dying, nobody is getting out of here alive.
Tragedy and hard times bring us all a little closer together and really make us look at what's important. Don't forget to hug those that hold you up a little more closely whenever you can. Life's too short to forget to let people know they matter.
Smile often, laugh when you can. Hug as many people as possible while you're here. <3 - TJW.