Saturday, July 18, 2009

It's Here

It's here. The 2nd anniversary of my being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Cannot believe it. Seems like yesterday. Seems like a life time ago. I believe I am still in disbelief of what my life has been like for the past two years - it is nothing that I would have imagined for myself. Ever. It NEVER happens to you, right? Right? My friend S says Cancer Vacuums. She's right.

I have been dealing with such dark days the past couple of months and I really wanted to "celebrate" my way this year. Alone. Ate junk food, watched hours and hours of HGTV and The Food Network (I don't get those channels) and cooked out. All by myself with my weiner dog Henry as my companion. P loaned me her home while she was on vacation. I am so thankful.

Last year S and I celebrated by doing random acts of kindness on the 1st anniversary. It was so much fun!!!! I made up little cards that said "You have just received a random act of kindness. Please pay it forward when you are able. Thank you for celebrating my one year of survival from ovarian cancer." We went thru drive throughs and paid for the cars behind us and the cashier would give them the note, we went to the zoo and paid for a family of 5's entrance fee, we went to a restaurant and paid for someone's meal, we went to the local photo developing place and pulled a name out of the box waiting to be paid and paid it for them, we stopped by a bus stop and gave $20 to some young boys who looked like they were hungry, we gave money to two families on the pediatric cancer floor who needed assistance, left a $20 tip for the waitress, paid for a family to go to the swim park, and paid for somebody's gas (it's was $3.50 something a gallon last year, remember?). It was the BEST DAY and most fun I've had in many, many years.

Lest, you think I have money. Please. I barely make $25,000 a year, am single, had just gone through a year of hell on earth, etc. But you see, I have the most amazing support system that you could ask for - and the previous March my friends had got together and had a benefit for me and raised almost $9,000. I used some of that money to celebrate random acts of kindness - because there was no better way for me to give back - and it felt as if every single person who had bought a raffle ticket, or came by to have lunch, or bought a dollar ticket to win a prize was with us that day and paying it forward again.

When my beloved cousin Heidi was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma she eventually lost her job because she was hospital bound for 13 straight weeks the first go around - which meant COBRA insurance until they could get her on disability. I had friends, who had NEVER before met Heidi pay for that insurance for the 5 months it took for her to get disability. And they said pay it forward when you can. These are the same people who paid for my cell phone bill so that I would not go over on minutes and could talk any time of the day without fear of how much it cost, because I was home for 6 months and I needed a connection to the world.

I've always been a volunteer. I love helping others. I love to "fix" the problems. I love to research ailments. I love to organize get togethers so that our friends stay in touch in this oft-fast paced world. But it is hard to receive. To reach out. To ask for help. To let others know that you are scared. Afraid. Hurting. Yet, still they came. Food brought over. Checked on daily. Rides to the doctors. Days off from work to accompany me to chemo. There to pack my wound sites when I had infections. Listening. Assisting. Even when I didn't know what I needed. Even my beautiful boy - 20 at the time - staying near, checking on me, sleeping on the couch while I dozed in the chair, taking me to the ER in the middle of the night - loving me like a son loves his mom and realizes I might be gone sooner then later. We are so close. Always have been.

I am grateful. I am grateful. I am grateful.

And I am terrified.

Every single day.

That "IT" will come back and this time it'll be too much.

But today I am still here. I celebrated the way I wished too. I am loved. I am lucky to be alive.


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