Since my last blog post, many things have happened both in this world and in my life. All of these things make me desperately cling to the fact that I need a Savior. Sometimes life just feels so hard! I, like you, am deeply saddened by the recent school shooting in Parkland, FL. To know that seventeen innocent lives were shed for no good reason shakes me to my core. And yesterday, we lost arguably the most respected Christian evangelist in the world, Billy Graham. On a group text with Jen’s friends & family, we talked about how she must have greeted Rev. Graham in heaven (with a booming, “BILLY!” through a loud megaphone). I can’t even imagine the questions she had for him. My bestie, Kim, lost her mother in late January and I got to be there for & with her (as she has been there for me). And my dear friend, Amy (who has also been there every step of the way), had surgery this week and is doing great thank the Lord. My niece and nephew lost their grandfather a few days ago, and will lay him to rest this Saturday. We celebrated Jennifer’s 2nd heavenly birthday this week. And on top of all of that, I am raising three teenage boys. Dare I say again how much I need a Savior?
Thankfully, the hard times are usually counterbalanced by some good times. And one of those was a quick lake trip with some friends in January. I have to take a moment to brag on my friends because they know how to do a lake trip. If it were up to me, I would literally bring some bagels and bottled water for food and beverage. But not these girls. THESE girls brought appetizers that looked like this:
How are these people friends with me?! And then when we sat down for dinner, look what beautiful flowers appeared…
I guess opposites attract when it comes to friends because my centerpiece usually looks more like this…
Fancy or not, I love each and every one of these gals (the ones pictured and the ones not pictured) and am so thankful for the way my friends have loved me through cancer!!
Today, I went for my 4 month follow up to Dr. O’ Shaughnessey with my mom. I didn’t expect to feel so many emotions walking into Baylor as it literally has been like a second home for the past few years. But something today got me. Memories of being there with Jen plus memories of me waiting for chemo and bloodwork flooded in. I did what I could to keep my tears at bay, but it was difficult. I would be happy if I NEVER had to walk in that place again. Thankfully, however, my appointment went well and my bloodwork was good (despite them having to take it twice 😫 due to using the wrong vials…um, excuse me?!).
All I need to do now is keep taking my tamoxifen and come back in June. Yes, that’s it. I am so incredibly grateful. Thank you for your faithfulness in praying for my continued good health. It truly is something I do not take for granted! I did ask about some bone pain I was experiencing, some stiffness and a foggy brain, but apparently that is just par for the course with all that I’ve been through. So basically I feel like an 80 year old without all of the wisdom. It’s awesome.
Speaking of feeling “old”, my friend Stephanie and I have a running joke that every conversation we have these days feels a lot like playing a game of Pictionary (without the drawing board). It’s a lot of “you know, the thing we did last year” or “I can’t think of the name of it but it sounds like…”. Pathetic. I started wondering if something was wrong with me, but the more I’m around my friends the more I realize we are ALL just suffering from “age”. 👵🏻
Age is a funny thing. Lots of things can age. Cheese can age. Wine can age. Even music can age. Which reminds me of something that happened the other day. Trevor’s taste in music is quite, how shall I put it, “old school”. He is stuck in the 80’s & 90’s and makes no apologies for it. In addition, he never gets tired of a song. Like EVER. The boys and I tease him that no one can kill a song quite like he can (and I think he takes it as a compliment). Lastly, God bless, he is always about 2 years behind with “new” music. He gets so excited to introduce a new song to us and doesn’t understand how we already know every single word. Anyway, I seriously digress.
The other day I got in the passenger’s seat of his car and immediately changed the station. Did anyone just cringe? I realize there is some sort of unspoken rule that whomever drives the car gets to be the deejay, and me changing the station without asking permission was literally like breaking the law. NO MATTER that a Billy Ray Cyrus song was playing (and it wasn’t even Achy Breaky Heart).
Yes, he sings songs other than just Achy Breaky Heart. Who knew?
Since Trevor was trying to mark his musical territory, he quickly switched it back from my decade appropriate channel. Then we both laughed because NO ONE, not even him, wanted to keep listening to Billy Ray. But…STUBBORN. Thankfully, after Billy Ray’s tune was over, Randy Travis came on the air.
And before we knew it, “I’m Gonna Love You Forever” was being sung by us both. And out of all the times that I have sung this song, the line “Well, honey I don’t care, I ain’t in love with your hair. And if it all fell out, well I’d love you anyway.” has never seemed so relevant. In that moment, I had to relent about my husband’s favorite station being PRIME COUNTRY. And without getting too sappy, I am so thankful to have a husband that, when put to the actual test, loves me anyway.
As you know, my hair has been quite the issue throughout this journey.
If it were a teenage girl, it would be the drama queen of its grade. I’ve been asked by several people, knowing what I know now, if I would do the cold cap again. And to that question, I still have no answer. My hair continues to fall out daily (which is still traumatic for me), but new growth is very evident at the same time. So it’s confusing. I never went fully bald (pro), but I also still feel the need to wear caps during this transition (con). Essentially, I have just enough long hairs left to do my version of the combover.
I did finally bust out at the end of January and left my hat at home for the first time. I was with Stephanie (we went to a joint doctor’s appointment at Dr. Potter’s office), and she was sweet to reassure me that no one would even know any different just by looking at me (that’s what friends are for, right Dionne Warwick?). And since then, if the weather cooperates, I’ve been sporting my new look.
(Me & My sweet dad 2/3/18)
But at home, in the privacy of my bathroom, I look at myself in the mirror and wonder if I will ever truly feel like myself again. There’s so much of this journey that strips away the familiar. So much that changes you both inside and out. And if your journey is long enough, I guess you are never the same again. Don’t get me wrong. That’s not all bad. I have genuinely learned to give up control of almost everything in my life. Once you are put in a situation that punctuates that fact, you tend to pay attention. The Lord has really shown me that He’s boss, and in that I find the greatest peace and comfort. Does it mean I don’t care about my hair? NO. Does it mean I enjoy having 3 huge scars on my left leg? NO. Does it mean I don’t consider if the cancer will return? NO. Does it mean I won’t lose people that I love? NO. But what it does mean is that I’ve been faced with the ultimate truth that this life is not ours to control. Rather, this life is a gift. And to truly get the most out of this amazing gift, we need to turn it back over to the Giver. Even (especially) in the midst of our sadness or hard times. He knows what’s best for us. He loves us. And He doesn’t make mistakes. All we need to do is to surrender to Him. And ironically enough, I have cancer to thank for that very important lesson.
Forever and Ever, Amen.
Until next time…much love to you all & make every day count,