I AM SOOO THANKFUL TO BE HERE, AND TO BE ALIVE.
I CAN COUNT MY MANY BLESSINGS, RUNNING AROUND AND PUTTING UP WITH ME, RIGHT HERE IN MY HOME THAT GIVE ME MORE THAN ENOUGH “PURPOSE”…
… And if that ain’t “purpose enough”, then mind you, my brain is on overdrive with the many ideas to get out there and make a difference (from the little things to the very BIG things)!
Yes sirree, I have plans. Big plans!
Most days, I’m ready to take the world by storm. Others, I want to close all the doors and pull down the blinds and just snuggle with my kids and kiss ’em all day long (If they’d stay still long enough, that is). And then there are other days…
I keep saying, “I’ll write more about that later”… and I know there’s more to come as I now bridge the gap from BDC and BAC (Buna During Cancer… and Buna After Cancer). Although, I still feel I’m somewhere in the middle of both worlds.
I’ve got my hands in the air like I just don’t care, waving them around like the SURVIVOR that I am!
Although, I still wave them from my new place on the top of a fence, where I can still see so vividly the journey I just came from on one side, and the hopeful and promising life before me. Yet, I’m still not sure which side I’m supposed to be on.
Here, upon my fence, I have been told I am “CANCER FREE!”,
yet, here I also:
*have scheduled check ups to make sure I remain that way
*feel the lymphedema in my arm that doesn’t want to go away, really.
*feel the itchy-scratchies of my scars covering my whole body as the nerve endings reconnect and the skin continues to heal
*feel new scar tissue lumps that toy with my brain with their similarities to the lump that once changed my life forever.
*Get excitedly happy and confused and frustrated when answering the simple question of, “SO, YOU LOOK GREAT. YOU MUST FEEL GREAT, TOO, RIGHT?”
WHY IS THAT QUESTION SO HARD TO ANSWER? … I’m quite sure it’s because of the previous list that still mills in my brain and body each morning.
Cancer in a person’s life doesn’t END when they pull that last infusion line. Like most anyone who has been through anything tragic or life changing in their life… there’s a bit of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) involved. More than I’ve been willing to admit.
However, like G.I. JOE always reminded us,
Pay attention to the above model…. “Knowing is half the battle” This is true.
However, the other half involves putting up your best dang fight for full blown BATTLE! “Go, Joe!”
I get this. I totally get this. Don’t we all?!?
During each phase of my treatment, I had a new motivation, a new t-shirt/wig/costume, whatever … to keep me going for each leg of the race. However, when they pulled that IV at my last infusion, I cried. What’s my next theme? Is it over?
It’s all still so fresh and new, but I feel myself slipping whenever I’m not ready for BATTLE. I get blindsided when I randomly cry at the sight of a pink ribbon this month and have to go to the restroom to compose myself. On the other hand, I feel totally empowered the next minute when I see people running along the side of the road, all dressed in pink. I know they’re just trying to find some way to show their support and love, pushing themselves into the uncomfortable (just like so many of us over at the various cancer centers around the world have had no choice but to do)… in true G.I. Joe style.
I thought I might be crazy at first to find myself muttering under my breath, fighting back tears, downstairs, as the kids ran up to their rooms to get ready for bed after a very LOUD family dinner…
ME: “I was so much better at laying on surgical tables, in radiation machines, and sitting in that infusion chair. I rocked that infusion chair. But this, the every day after… is hard today. I kicked cancer’s
ass butt, yet I’m losing battles over here as a Mommy at the dinner table. “
Wouldn’t you know that when I picked my head up from my hands, I wasn’t alone. Who did I see? My lil’ 4 year old “FIRECRACKER” looking right at me. My little twin staring back at me as if I was looking in a mirror. What’s worse, I saw the sadness and concern in her eyes.
Firecracker: “You liked that chair, huh, Mommy? It was a good chair?
Me: (Snapping back to reality and overwhelmed by her big blue eyes) “That chair was good to me, Baby. But this chair is waaaaay better.”
Firecracker: “So you don’t want to go back to that chair, right? You like this one better because YOU’RE all better. Right?”
Me: “Right. You are soooo soooo right. This chair means I’m home with YOU.”
(Then she very casually walked over, gave me the hug of a lifetime, -complete with spaghetti sauce all over my shirt and cheeks- and skipped along up the stairs to get ready for bed with the rest of the crew.)
Me: “Thank you, God. I needed that. “
**I needed this big crazy family of mine then, and I need them now. I was just having “a day”. I’m sure there will be more. I know there will be. A moment, a few hours, a whole day. We’ve all got em. But this too shall pass….
Truth. I fought hard for this precious life. And, truly,
IT IS GOOD.
So, the answer to “How are you, ‘cuz you look great?”..
I’m up, I’m down, I’m all around. But ya know what? Just like any other phase of treatment, I realize (just like so many should realize after any traumatic or life changing situation)… patience is a virtue that we need to pray for. Not only for situations, or with others…
BUT WITH OURSELVES.
I’m working on it. I’m facing this 2nd phase of Cancer : “LIFE AFTER CANCER”, just as I did my life during my treatment of …
“the Big C”:
ONE STEP AT A TIME.
DON’T LOOK FORWARD, DON’T LOOK BACK. LIVE IN THE MOMENT.
…. AND EVERY LITTLE THING WILL TRULY BE ALRIGHT!
And that, I will.
No matter what, I will get up, I will dress up, and before the days over, I might add..
I WILL DANCE!
‘Cuz that’s what I do. That’s ME! Cancer did not and will not take it away from me.
And this Thursday, I will STRUT!
Thursday, October 22nd, is the day that I will walk the catwalk with 21 other cancer survivors:
**If you’re not there, then be there through the wonderful web cast:
1- Download the free Periscope App:
2- Create a FREE account:
3- Search and “Follow”:
“YOU NIGHT” or @younightnola
*live streaming from our photographers and videographers will be streaming both on the runway and behind the scenes backstage. Please TUNE IN ! And come back after the event to see the videos and pics that were posted.
I’LL BE THERE, HAVING A VERY, VERY GOOD DAY, I JUST KNOW IT!!!
BECAUSE OF ALL OF YOU THAT GOT ME HERE THUS FAR. YOUR PRAYERS, YOUR SUPPORT, EVERYTHING… IT PUSHED ME TO FIND THE GUTS TO GET OUT THERE AND GET ON THAT RUNWAY WITH CONFIDENCE LIKE I NEVER HAD BEFORE!
….I’LL BE THERE IN HONOR OF ALL OF YOU. IN HONOR OF THOSE SURVIVORS AND CURRENT FIGHTERS. IN HONOR OF ALL OF THE FAMILIES OF SURVIVORS AROUND THE WORLD WHO,
whether during the fight or after, they have been faced with a choice to
Sink? Or Swim?
Back in August 2014, we chose to swim. And every day since, I still find myself waking up and needing to make the choice again and again. I’ll never stop SWIMMING. (Like Dory...”Just keep swimming!”)
But on THURSDAY, I’ll jump down from my previously mentioned “fence”…
AND BUNA’S GONNA STRUT!