welcome to the danger zone

Counting Blessings (because in the end, it matters most)

It’s Sunday morning, and I woke up to a gentle breeze and just the sound of the occasional car passing outside my bedroom window. (then I realized it was 10:09 and I was missing Meet the Press) I realized how blessed I was that despite the struggle I had last night trying to fall asleep, there was none of the usual ruckus out on White St in the wee hours that required me to shut said window. I was grateful for these rare spring days that let me keep the window open (and don’t require the air conditioner yet). Then I realized I am at the start of two whole weeks with no treatments! Woo hoo!!! And I have my car back, at least until Saturday, when it has to go back for that wheel bearing that has been bad for weeks, and still needs replacing.

But really, the last few months, I’ve been rained down on with blessings. Now those of you who know me, know that I’m not really a very mushy or churchy person. You know I’m not a big fan of people invading my personal space (physical, that is, if it was emotional, I wouldn’t be blogging), not a hugger, and have some secrets that no one will ever know. (that is unless you are still alive to read my memoirs in 50+ years). Yet, I’ve been graced with the most amazing people in my life who have been kind, generous, caring and compassionate…it has been overwhelming. I know I’ve thanked people on my facebook page, but it’s been so incredible and humbling, that that just doesn’t seem like enough. So I thought it being Sunday, and waking up so grateful for so many things, that I wanted to blog about it. So without further delay:

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

To my son  Andy – things worked out the way they did for a reason – you have been a great help and have managed to keep me laughing through many tough days. I know none of this has been easy for you but you manage to take it all in stride. By the way, the sink is full of dishes, tomorrow is garbage night, and I need another case of water. And clean your room.

To my family, including my aunts, uncles, cousins – your care, prayers, support and encouragement are very much appreciated. Your letters, cards, messages, and pierogies mean a lot to me, and I thank you. Thanks especially to Alan, Leo and Stanley for helping us through the transportation issues too.

To my coworkers, especially my supervisor Heidi, Addy, Heather, Ashley, Karessa, Jamie – thank you more than I could ever possibly express. You have been incredible – from just being there to listen, to giving me rides, making me food, the gift cards and the support, and covering for me while I am out. I couldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for you all. And thank you to everyone who contributed the collection and the gift cards, and to Marcia, Bridget, KY, Debbie and Steve who made me yummy food too. Michelle who made sure I got to work for two weeks, and treated us to some great hoagies. Andy thanks you all for the food too, because I’m not doing much cooking. Okay, I lie, ANY cooking. Even more than the material things is the support I’ve gotten at work – everyone has just been amazing – and caring, and I am so grateful for that. That said, who is gonna volunteer to finish my dictation? Just kidding, just kidding, but I haven’t forgotten that someone brought up soda bread the other day, and I still haven’t seen it.  You have all been so amazing.

My friends…this goes without saying that my friends have been awesome as well. Lisa and her family are always there when I need something, even before this whole ordeal started. They are one of the reasons I have stayed in this house as long as I have – you can’t beat having one of your lifelong friends living next door. I also am so grateful for my surrogate family in California, that little f-in hummingbird Debbie and her wonderful family, who sent me those great signs of support when I needed it most. And Jeanne, who reminds me everyday she is in my corner. It means so very very much. I truly am blessed to have such fantastic people in my life. I am also grateful for all my other east coast and west coast friends, who have done things great and small to make me smile, help me out, or just put up with me as well as Patty sending me hats for the upcoming hair loss, and Anne giving me a great calendar with my babies on it to encourage me to keep going to work. Oh and Anna, who gave me that delightful treat that was waiting for me when I was done radiation. You have all made such a difference to me. And my Milt kids who ask after my health, let me get hugs from their babies, and spin prayer wheels for me in Nepal…I always knew you kids were special.

I can’t let this post end without thanking my treatment team – because they are incredible. My doctors, Dr. Kesterson, and Dr. Juliano, and their ever-changing posses, Alex, Mike and Amy, my radiation therapists, Debbie, Dr. Juliano’s nurse, Sue, Dr. Kesterson’s nurse, and Anne Gelder, my treatment/study coordinator who refuses to let me say no to her hugs. There are many other staff/nurses/physicians who have been involved in my treatment and everyone at Hershey Med Center have been fantastic. I’ve been treated with respect, genuine compassion, humor, and kept well informed by everyone. I can’t imagine receiving treatment anywhere else…the level of professionalism paired genuine concern for my well-being, and being treated like a human and not a number makes treatment bearable.

As you can see, I have so very much to be grateful for. It’s like all this kindness and compassion came into my life to fill up the space where my uterus once was…ha ha. So I have 3 months to go. Then I am expecting to be given the all clear and get back to my regularly scheduled life. One thing this experience has taught me is that it’s much easier to deal with all of this when I am laughing. Even when laughing physically hurts. The world doesn’t stop when you have cancer. It just changes how you look at things. I still feel like crap today, but reading through this and realizing how much good is in my life, make that yucky feeling less so.

I am sure I missed someone in this post that I should be thanking…and I am sorry for that – it is not from lack of appreciation, but rather because my brain is not as razor sharp as it was when all of this started. I am trying hard to do some brain exercises to bring things back to normal, but I believe my brain has been turning to mush directly as a result of Lifetime movies. I really need to start reading more. So my lovelies, I am going to end here before I get way more mushy than I am comfortable with. Thank you again to all of you, you are all special and amazing and have made a difference for me. And I am grateful.

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