Friday, November 29, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013Treatment #5

Last Tuesday, Abby was able to accompany me to the cCare treatment center at 4S Ranch. She had all her bags ready to distribute and was really excited. 
After signing in, we waited for my name to be called. She was such a good girl, sitting with daddy, waiting. 
My amazing and incredible nurse, Marti, came out to the waiting room to meet this special girl. Marti is inspired by Abby's project and is going to try to start something like it in her son's kindergarten class. Once Marti cleared it with her boss, Abby was actually able to escort me to the treatment room and see some other patients. Although she was a little shy about handing out the bags to the patients, together we made over 10 people smile on Tuesday when they received bags from Abby. 
With nurse Marti and the bags in the treatment room

  Last Tuesday was treatment #5. One more to go. One more yucky treatment to go. One more booster shot to go. There is still radiation for a month, and the herceptin antibody regimen for a year. But, all the yucky chemo will be behind me by Christmas. 
In addition to Abby's bags, Brook and Chloe Banks came for a quick visit and dropped off bags of goodies as well. It could not have been easy for Brook to be in that room, but she was as strong as her mom was, and made the best of it. Brook and Chloe made people smile on Tuesday as well by bringing bags full of goodies and put many smiles on faces that day. 
It's all in the perspective too. My good pal, Lane, is up at City of Hope getting through the toughest part of his bone marrow transplant; there was a man in the treatment room Tuesday getting chemo #22; there was a woman who came in and was dehydrated-having not eaten for 5 days, and had to be taken to the emergency room; my friend Joann is still recovering from having a rod inserted into her leg; and my dear friend Maureen is still recovering from a second mastectomy. In retrospect, I have it pretty good. 

Erin Pinney-Duran & Ashlynn
Erin Pinney-Duran and Ashlynn in Hollywood, FL Joe DiMaggio Cancer Center

Abby's project perpetuates in the form of support from my colleagues who I am also blessed to count as friends. Erin Duran and her daughter, Ashlynn, delivered bags in Florida (yet another state for Abby to color in on her map!). The fact that it is also the Joe DiMaggio Cancer Center was a bonus as you all know how much I love baseball! Thanks Erin and Ashlynn! You rock!

Yellow roses are my favorite! Almost 20 years ago, we bought this house because the yellow rose bush out front was blooming when we came to see it. 
Well, this little charm made quite the trek to sit next to this yellow rose. It arrived on Thanksgiving day having traveled from Athens, Greece to New Rochelle, NY to Chula Vista, CA to Escondido and my doorstep. The short version of the long story is one of reconnection with someone from high school. Liz Schiffman was an all around amazing athlete and person in hs. She was well-known and well-liked by everyone. She was a star on the field for field hockey and lacrosse. She was a basketball manager and part of student government. I was the drama geek who blended into the background :)
Although Facebook has its detractors, there is some good that can come from it. 
I happened to see an AVON ad on FB with Liz in it. She was walking in the NY AVON Breast Cancer walk. After Jenn did that in SF, it was just on my radar I guess. Come to find out that Liz is a breast cancer survivor. Her story is so similar to mine, and others, and I reached out to her to let her know how much it meant to me that she is a 'survivor". And she reached right back. 
We all know what a small world this is. The weekend of the Tough Mudder, when Art had 3 of his 5 kids here, Liz and her husband Tom were in Greece, running a marathon. Not just any marathon, the original route of the first Olympic marathon. Pretty cool.
Then on Thanksgiving day, I get a FB message from Liz. She is at her brother's house in Chula Vista. Yes, the city of my youth! She and Tom drive to Escondido that afternoon, flowers in hand, big smiles, and this token of solidarity. She wore this charm on her shoelace during the race in Athens, and ran the race with me on her mind. And, then, she traveled all this way to place it in my palm and make a difference in my life. Wow. 
I am continually overwhelmed by the power and strength of the people who have reached out to support, encourage, sustain, and assist me. I am humbled and grateful for the good that is in this world and in people who just want to help. I am uplifted by little girls like Abby who retain that innocence of selflessness, doing for others because it is the right thing to do. I am going to get better and I am going to pay it forward as a survivor myself. Because I can. Because I must. Because I will. Last but not least, I am in awe of my husband's strength. This is not easy on him by any means, watching me in pain, or sleeping for 14 hours at a time. It is a helpless, hopeless feeling when the person you vowed to protect is hurting. He has been right by my side, every minute, every step (even when I couldn't walk), and he has made it known that this time next year, it will all be behind us; that we will travel, and laugh, and be together. He is my reason for living and surviving. He is a GOOD man. 


1 comment:

  1. Love you Lala! This post made me cry, but also made me continue to be proud of my Bestie for fighting the good fight and thinking of ways to help others get through the same battle you are fighting! Your strength during this journey amazes me! I SO wish I was in SoCal, not Texas, so I could help you out! And, of course keep you in line! LOL!
    Hugs to you and your sweet hubby!