I had every intention of writing on the plane about my time at home but I forgot to charge my computer so I was left with my notebook and a borrowed pen from the flight attendant.
Handwritten and now typed below:
I ordered a water just now from the flight attendant for my packet of EmergenC. I drink one a day, along with a Kombucha to make sure I am getting vitamins, antioxidants and nutrients for healing. Now that my week at home is done, I will be moving back into strict vegan eating. Avoiding all chemically processed, artificial flavored and hormone induced food. It is amazing what you get used too.
I wish I could write and tell you that my ten days in Louisville with family and friends went without tears, and only joy, but that would not be true.
Most of my visit I spent at my parents home. I set aside some time to visit friends but quickly found myself gravitating back to be with my mom and dad. No particular reason why but I suppose it felt safe. That if my emotions caught up to me, that it was OK to breakdown at their house. I could escape to my room there and take a few breaths. My parents, while they have spent a great deal of time with me the past few months have only been around a handful of occasions when I have a complete breakdown. Part of that, is trying to stay strong for them……
I was doing quite well with this, until Christmas day. It was as though someone told me I had cancer for the very first time.
Opening gifts in our living room I watched as my sister opened maternity clothes, things for “junior” (the new baby’s already nickname) and her husband a new wardrobe. My dad unpacked the usual slew of outdoor gear, while my mom received new cooking items and a special bracelet saying “grandma”.
Two particular gifts I opened from my mom and dad were two new beanie hats. Both fitting perfectly and adorable…. left me silent. I held the hats in my hand and hung my head low. Trying to disguise my anguish I said thank you and that I loved them. My mom knowing me often better than myself looked deep into my eyes and knew my words although true, were apart of a larger narrative.
Once we finished exchanging gifts, I retreated to my bedroom. Looking into the mirror at myself I watched as a pool of tears filled my eyes. My stomach ached and I began to weep. Afraid someone would walk in I made sure to shut my door. Angry for being upset, I tried to tell myself that my parents meant well. That the hats are something I need. Besides I love wearing hats.
I could not muster the courage to put them on my head.
My fear of the future, met me that Christmas morning like a tidal wave. I crawled into bed and cried. Christmas, I thought, a day of joy. A day to look back at the year, all that one has accomplished, and celebrated. It is also a day to look forward to the new year coming ahead. What will the new year bring? What new things will one strive for?
This Christmas day found me looking back overwhelmed for all that has been. Two giant scars across my chest are evidence of the cancer they found. And then I look forward and weep knowing what is ahead. The unknown, the fear, the pain that awaits with chemotherapy.
My mom knowing something was not OK, found me in my bed with my tears. She sat next to me and listened as I explained how I wish I had not been here today. That maybe if I was not here for Christmas then I would not have ruined it. My tears, my sadness ruined the day I told myself. She assured me this was not true and that the greatest gift of all was that we were all home together. She sat with me as she has so many times before, and wiped my tears.
I landed back in Colorado this morning. Tomorrow I go back to work, and the doctor. I will be scheduling acupuncture, physical therapy and the cleaning service tomorrow morning. My stitches are being removed Tuesday. My much anticipated stack of bills at home was not here yet, so I suppose they may arrive tomorrow. Wednesday, my medical deductible restarts all over again.
I am taking one foot in front of the other as best I can but the truth is I am still fighting to seek gratitude and joy.
All of you preparing your new years resolutions. Boasting about the change you will make, the pounds you will loose, the body fat percentage you will achieve, take it from a cancer patient…. those pounds you gained over the holidays from meals shared with family and friends, I pray I have many meals and time spent with friends that perhaps cause a few pounds to be gained. Those wrinkles that so many of you are applying creams and paying to have erased, I pray by gods grace I live to see lines, evidence of laughter, of a life lived. I pray that the meals I have in the coming weeks still taste good when my mouth is covered in toxins from chemo.
I long for a new year that meets me with more joy, more gratefulness and more of learning about how good God is even when things seem so hard.
Do me a favor and this next year do life well. Live the next year so much so that you immerse yourself in the very things that you delight. The things that bring you joy. Seek forgiveness and never ever stop seeking joy.
My heart feels like it has been broken into a million pieces, but slowly I pick one piece up at a time, even when it is as though they are scattered about the room again. Today I find myself anxious, scared and tired, but smiling about the last week I spent in Kentucky. I do have much to look forward too. I will be an aunt to a little boy this coming May and two dear friends are getting married this summer (Chelsea and Kylie)!
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and if your Christmas found you in tears, may you still find thanks and know that I am very grateful for you. I am certain God loves you very much too.
Happy New Year Everyone
*** The hats, I will post sometime, I warmed up to and like them a lot. I love them so and will be worn so much in the coming months.
Here are some pictures from my time at home. Enjoy!