Nope…it isn’t x-rated. Not my style. This is a post of gratitude. I already mentioned in my earlier post that things really turned around at the cancer center today and I felt the compassion. I always feel it from my infusion nurses, whom I love. They are a HUGE reason why I have stayed under less than ideal circumstances with my oncologist. Every time I have chemo, I shoot a photo of myself getting my chemo and with the ASL sign of “I love you”. I mean that to those that see it. Each time I post these photos on Facebook, I get a flood of responses. It is 12 hours past the time I posted that picture on Facebook and I have nearly 150 reactions and dozens of loving posts cheering me on. It overwhelms me every time. Thank you. You love and support and prayers and good wishes mean the world to me.
I also mentioned in former posts that my goal #2 was to make it to my 50th birthday. That is Monday….and it will be a bitterly cold day in Nebraska that day…most likely breaking records on Valentines Day and President’s Day, both. I keep joking that Hell will freeze over when I turn 50 and it appears it is going to try its best. Ha! My bigger kids are all coming home to spend Valentines Day and my birthday with me. They all came last year to celebrate. I was totally bald at that point and very very sick from the chemo combination I was on. It was literally killing me. I couldn’t carry on a long conversation with my family or blow out the 3 candles on my cake. I was super winded walking into the restaurant for my birthday dinner, even though I had been dropped off at the door and was holding on to Tim’s arm for support. It was awful…but it was the turning point in my care and I am now so much better. My cancer may not be a lot better but my quality of life sure is. Hard to believe that was the last time I went out to a restaurant to eat until the weekend of Joe and Michelle’s wedding in mid October. Haven’t been in a restaurant since. Pesky pandemic.
I have started getting cards in the mail…and I have to be honest. I am not opening most of them. I am saving them for my birthday. I surely won’t be going for a walk outside that day, so I will need something to do! Thank you so much for the packages and cards. I am already overwhelmed by the outpouring of love. Truly, saying thank you just doesn’t seem enough….but it is all I have right now, so I thank you. I normally don’t like to be spoiled or the center of attention, but I am going to allow it on Monday, as it is Goal #2. A special thank you for the flowers from the Banchors I got last week…they are gorgeous and just keep going! I also got a beautiful bouquet from Fiona today….I LOVED what the card said : “This arrangement is called ‘Floral Crush’ – appropriate because you have just CRUSHED 12 cycles of chemo!! You are totally awesome!” I received this about 30 minutes after I got home after spending the morning at the cancer center. It was totally heartfelt from one cancer patient to another….it meant the world to me! Thank you! Actually Todd Banchor is also a cancer survivor….both he and Fiona know the blow-by-blow of the chemo treatments, the side effects, the roller coaster ride of physical, mental, and spiritual ups and downs. They have been by my side in a special way because they know intimately what I am going through as they have done it as well. They ask me the tough questions I don’t always want to answer but feel better later for talking out. I am going to put Hollie Hogie, Maria in London, Liz, and Kathy Trudell in this group as well. Yep…some of my cancer support group folks I have never met because they don’t near me. Some live in other countries….yet we are there for one another.
Today I got a very special blessing. I told you about my experience with the VA. When I was told I didn’t qualify to my face at an empty vaccination clinic, discharge papers in hand, and 20 workers smiling at me ready to poke my arm, I was crushed. I mean for a couple of days. That day was bad though. I was furious. Then I was heartbroken. I literally sobbed the whole way home in the car as Rich drove us. Well, he left me alone once at home to cry it out. I didn’t realize how much it hurt him as well. They say ‘Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus’….women like to be able to talk things out and be heard. Men like to get things done. Over the past few weeks, Rich has been stopping by every pharmacy he drove by…..making phone calls to higher ups, putting me on a waiting list after waiting list across the county. (fun fact – not only is every state different in how they disperse the vaccine, but so it every county within Nebraska. Makes life fun.) Anyhow, Rich was talking to one of our baseball customers today who has a wife we both used to go to boot camp with. She is one of THOSE people…in crazy great shape…lifts more than the boys…runs to class for an extra workout and has 4 kids. Yep, the person you love to hate. She also happens to be a pharmacist. Rich asked her husband if she would be getting vaccines at her pharmacy location. He told Rich she now worked for his best friend in a suburb of Omaha and he would reach out to him to see if he had any available. This customer’s best friend, when hearing about me, called Rich and we were in his place 40 minutes later, filling out paperwork for me to get vaccinated. So, ladies and gentlemen, I received my 1st vaccine for COVID 19 earlier this evening. I received the Pfizer vaccine. So in three weeks, I get to go back and get another vaccine. By mid March, I will not only be on another cancer treatment regimen, but I will be vaccinated and have the 2 weeks for it to take effect. Praise God, maybe I can carefully go back to Church in a mask, a lesser attended Mass time, and keeping my distance. That would mean the world to me. Rich received a call as we were about 10 minutes out from the location I was vaccinated at and it was a pharmacist friend of his from an Omaha metro business group he attends. These men meet every week via zoom and/or in person. They all know what I am going through and they often call or email Rich to see how I am doing…especially if he has missing a few meetings, as he is quite a regular attendee. His pharmacist friend called and said he was willing to come to my house to vaccinate me tomorrow night. We were able to thank him profusely and tell him we wouldn’t need him to do that. I have to admit I was thinking of a cancer friend…the only one I know who hasn’t gotten his vaccine yet. I felt guilt about him. I also felt guilt about all the teachers who are waiting for their vaccine. One of the workers came up to us as we were leaving and said that her boss had told them (the staff) about me and my situation and they were adamant they get me in ASAP. I turned to her and told her that I had been pretty much in my house since Nov 2019. No family in the area, no one when the pandemic hit a year ago. I told her it was just me and my dog. I was in tears…and so was she as I told her how I was having such a hard time knowing my time was significantly shortened by cancer and having to spend it alone. I hate getting emotional in front of others. If she would have hugged me, I would have started bawling I think…but alas, this hugger is suffering during the pandemic. (actually, my good friends, Todd and Deb, have come in masks with a clean blanket and wrapped it around me and hugged me briefly. It is the most wonderful thing!)
This morning I literally cried out to God on the drive to the hospital for treatment. I was running a little later than I wanted. I went to leave and thought I should put the laundry hamper in the hall where I would see it immediately when I got home so I would remember to do the laundry straight away. Then I noticed Tallinn didn’t have enough water in his bowl….and so it goes. This is my life…always seeing things to do. At any rate, I have the inane ability to hit every red light. It is a family joke (that Rich doesn’t think is so funny). I don’t even have to be driving….just in the car. So, true to form, I was hitting every red light on Center St. After the fourth one, I literally shouted out loud in my car, “God! Why are you doing this to me? Why does everything have to come so hard for me right now? Why can’t I just get a break?!” Lo and behold, the next two lights were green. I thanked God out loud. Things went swimmingly at the cancer center….I left 90 minutes earlier than I ever have. It was the warmest day of the week….I took the dog for a short walk. And the miracle of the vaccine happened. God was listening and I lift up this day to Him.