It has been a week of highs and lows but mostly highs.
I had such a wonderful time on Monday speaking at the American Airlines Women in Aviation Conference about Living Fearlessly. As soon as I get videos and pictures I will make sure to post.
I also got to see Priscilla Queen of the Desert on Broadway with my two good friends, Alicia and Kat, who I traveled with to Australia 20 years ago (I can not believe it has been that long!) The show was fantastic and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves great music, over-the-top costumes and drag queens!
It’s been a long time since I’ve written about some of the amazing people I’ve met along this crazy, cancer journey. Well, today I couldn’t resist because I have a truly beautiful story to share.
Dean Baer is an extremely talented artist who combines Abstract and Impressionism styles and describes his artwork as “Expressionist”. Although I think his artwork is truly beautiful, I had no idea who Dean was until about 6 months ago.
Dear tumorous cells that continue to make a comfortable home within my abdominal cavity:
We’ve known each other a long time now…It’s been almost 7 years since you first made yourself known during a game of tennis at our friend’s wedding in Scottsdale, Arizona. You’ve been more or less a big part of my life since then.
You might leave for a few months at a time but you always seem to return. I admit that I’m probably a pretty fun place to hang out…I have a great life, tons of friends, a great family, I laugh a lot and I feed you well.
This past week had to be one of the longest of my life (and I assume Dave would agree). Since I last wrote, we have spent about 90% of our waking hours meeting with, consulting or emailing with doctors and labs across the country (and world) to try to formulate a plan that we can be comfortable with. There have been lots of hiccups and bumps along the way (like for the few hours we thought I had Hepatitis not realizing that when you test “positive” it just means you have had the vaccine before). Good times!
As many of you know, not having a plan in place can be very stressful so although our plan is a bit “out of the box” because we’ve already tried so many of the more typical drugs, I was thrilled that we committed to it this past Thursday and started.
I’m not sure if I believe in God but I do believe that most things happen for a reason. For instance, I always think that it makes sense that I got really sick in the fall right after my family was able to enjoy a lovely week at our rented beach house in Long Beach Island. It was as if some greater power wanted to give me that wonderful experience knowing that I would look back and cherish it often in the dark times ahead.
While I was in Arizona the last two weeks I couldn’t help but feel like that chain of events was about to happen again; that I was given this wonderful two weeks of R&R, healthy eating and exercise to prepare me for the tough battle ahead.
I knew that I had my six-week CT scan the day I returned and I tried to convince myself that the bloated feeling in my belly and my slight potbelly was just because I was getting strong again and gaining weight (I am back to 112 lbs…a full 15 lbs heaver than when I was at my low point which is great!)
As you all know, I am a real ocean girl. However, the one thing I love more than the ocean is the sun…and you can never have too much of it in the desert. I have always loved Arizona and view it as a place of real healing. The dry air always makes me feel so much better.
It’s ironic that right after I had the privilege of celebrating the gift of life and turning 40, my dear friend lost her battle at the way-too-young age of 25.
Alyssa and I met through my doctor at 2010’s Cycle for Survival. My doctor who rarely gets effusive about anything said to me, “You must meet an extremely special person.” That was the understatement of the year.
I am the happiest person in the world to be turning 40!
A few months ago, I wouldn’t have believed you if you said I would be alive for this milestone (neither would my doctors!). I am extremely blessed and grateful to be alive for this momentous occasion!
When I was very ill a few months ago I spent a lot of time engaged in visualization exercises. For those of you who aren’t familiar with visualization, it is a practice that encourages you to form mental images that relax and motivate you.
Research has shown that the same neuro-pathways in the brain are as activated when you vividly imagine experiencing something as when you actually do it. Using your mind to create an image of what you want creates a strong impression on the brain and helps improve performance and get results.
Dave and I decided to take a spur of the moment trip for a few days to Turks and Caicos to celebrate the success of Cycle for Survival, my 40th birthday and my improved health status. I am so excited for this trip given that there were a few months in late 2010 that I really thought I wouldn't live to see the beach again. I have no doubt that seeing the beautiful waters of the Caribbean will be very cathartic and healing for both of us. I am beyond grateful for all that I have been given. I will write when we return.