So WONDER WOMAN has been my life long idol, and remains just the same right now.
I’ve chosen her costume during childhood and even pregnancies in order to jump into her invisible jet, make aluminum foil bracelet guards, and red duct tape some go-go boots for plenty occasions. She’s often been my muse!
I aways have gone back and forth as to which superpower I’d want if I could be given any. Inivisibility to get through a store without being seen when my kids are out of control, I’m a hot mess… or frankly, the extroverted introvert in me just doesn’t want to talk even though my social fire can’t help but chat it up and run late for my next thing. Inivsibilty could also let me be a fly on the wall at any time? Hmmmmm……
But what about flying? To be free as a bird and soar anywhere I want, no buckles, no gravity, just me and the wind? I man that’s a tough one. Poor wonder woman didn’t choose right to fly and still choose an invisible jet? Really think ya need the flight PLUS total invisibility (not someone seeing you soaring in some weird unseen carrier in the sky? Sorry, girlfriend, you botched that one. Wasn’t feeling it. I need BOTH.But… after all these years of wanting superhero status, it’s kinda hitting me.
I am a superhero!
But, when appointed, I didn’t get to pick my power. It’s a sneaky one bc it’s disguised in really ugly armor that looks like a big ol’ cross with cancer cells all over it. But “NO!” I actually have something more like Thor’s fantastic hammer, shaped like a cross (even looks and smells like one.) But it’s actually a HUGE FREAKIN’ TOOL of untapped graces upon graces, that… IF YOU GRAB ON WITH ME… is the ultimate source of POWER, straight from GOD! Cancer is actually my ticket to hold THOR’s HAMMER of GODLY GRACES THAT ONLY CAN BE TAPPED THROUGH THAT CROSS THAT JESUS DIED ON. God would have NEVER put his only son up on something so horrible and hideous looking if there wasn’t a bigger picture . The cross is not just a bloody massacre that ends there. Nope. It was a gateway to the greatest GOOD of everlasting life. And if we can all grab onto our crosses as if reaching for THOR’s HAMMER (For real, please grab onto mine), we are no longer under the heavy splintery weight of them. In fact, we’re all holding onto this radiating source of power that can connect us all on a whole new level with one another in Redemptive Suffering and now SUPER HERO PRAYER INTENTION AVENGING!!!! When you grab onto mine each time that you ask me to pray for someone, I PROMISE you, I feel so connected while I sit in my radiation treatments. I can feel us all holding onto it together.
I HAVE A PURPOSE IN ALL OF THIS! AND, IT KINDA FEELS LIKE AMAZING!
So, please send me your intentions. Click on my PRAYER WALL TAB, comment, and give them up to me. We have an opportunity here, not a vice. We’re gonna turn this villainous cancer looking flying object around and make it our source of power, tapping into the CROSS. The cross is not a symbol of death; moreover, it’s the greatest source of LIFE we could ever encounter .
Can you tell I’m fired up???
Maybe they’re actually giving me GAMMA RADIATION in those daily morning whole head radiation treatments. Maybe I am actually the hulk?! Start looking our for the green aura on my face?? Maybe I can also glow in the dark? Maybe my kids should start being a little more gentle with me in case SHE-HULK comes out.
(And trust me, just like anybody else.. this “3 Little Birds” lady can totally turn she-hulk at anytime. Yikes! Maybe I’m not a superhero and am actually more like Smeigel/Gollum of Lord of the Rings and I just need Frodo’s ring and cloak of invisibility? … Or maybe I just rambled out loud and gave you a little insight to the random spaghetti-like thoughts of my brain TMI?
All that being said, I can’t possibly thank you all enough for the outstanding level of prayers, support, and generosity that is coming from the army, the navy and marines of all of you out there. We can truly FEEL the love and prayers My kids feel it, my hubbie feels it, my family, you name it. My gratitude could never be put in words. It’s limitless. Thank you!
So… allow me to update you a bit on what’s exactly going on:
- My LAST DAY OF OUR FIRST LINE OF ATTACK… DAILY WHOLE HEAD RADIATION will conclude THIS WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 27TH!!!! I’m gonna ring the hell out of that BELL!!!! We did it before, with all the kiddos (Yes, with all of us, the bell just keeps ringing for a good 15 minutes. Sorry, Covington, i think the whole town may here us. (So, you can be with me in spirit that day, WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27th @ 8:30. My kids/family will be there Set your alarms! PRAY WITH US AND GIVE A BIG HOOT AND HOLLER (will probably actually begin the ringing at 8:45/9, once treatment’s done. But 8:30am would be a good time to, to shout a big ol’ prayer and thank God in advance for my last whole head radiation treatment happening right then at that time.
Elise’s Medical/Plan Update:
- So what now? As much as I’d love to have another brain MRI immediately after my last treatment, radiation doesn’t work that way. Radiation, much like a star in space has a delayed effect. We do the radiation now, let it settle and do it’s thing, and we’ll see the results in our own mini-light years In 2 months, I will have a follow-up brain MRI, once it’s had it’s time to do all the shrinking and disappearing that it possibly can. In 2 months, we’d have an accurate account of what we were able to rid of in this first level of treatment We’ll know, if any, tumors are left at that point. As of now, they say we’re possibly in the low 40s of lesions/tumors (like shattered glass shimmered on a little halo over my whole head) that we have to deal with, along with about 3 medium-large, countable tumors on my cerebellum. That’s what we’re working with Now, it sounds like the worst news ever, but…
- WE ARE IN THE BEST POSSIBLE SITUATION THAT WE COULD BE, CONSIDEREING THIS DIAGNOSIS. I’m not sure how well I clarified what a HUUUUUUUUUUGE WIN it was to have a clear PET scan for the rest of my body My maintenance infusions each month are doing the hard work of eradicating and stopping cell/ tumor growth in all of my bodily areas that this beast of a disease has so aggressively tried to attack. We’ve been kicking ’em out and the reponse in those areas has been amazingly effective!!! BIG WIN! Mark that battle with a flag. We owned that one! BOOM.
- If, in 2 months we find residual or rogue tumors that are still here post treatment, we have the ultimate secret weapon right at our finger tips: THE GAMMA KNIFE MACHINE. Sounds crazy, but this technology is my game changer that says to all docs at any clinical trial hospital, etc. that they would send me right back here to be in the presence of this machine This machine will allow non-invasive brain surgery (RADIATION TOOLS ONLY NO CUTS) to zap and pick off those boogers in the cleanest, most precise way known to the medical field From my understanding, there are 4 in this world and 2 in our country … and we just so happen to live within an hour of this one. Aaaaand, my radiologist (Dr.Charles WOODS) , who was my first radiatiologist 2 1/2 years ago, was only moved from my local Mary Bird Perkins to Baton Rouge as their “director of Radiology for Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center of Baton Rouge through Our Lady of the Lake hospital. *Although we meet him for clinical follow ups each week in his Gonzales, LA office. Still.. an easy drive to get the best!
- IF WE NEED THE GAMMA KNIFE: My doctor would work side by side with one of the top Neuro Surgeons of the medical field for the procedure (or more, as they see this may be something we could have to do on an annual basis now that the cells have moved into that whole Central Nervous System space. They could want to do this again. However, with bi-monthly brains scans, we’ll be constantly vigilant, of their whereabouts and catching them earlier enough on. It could be my future, and that’s a big pill to swallow. But I’m in awe of the technology and know that I truly have been placed in the best situation for my diagnosis. God is my divine physician, but I know he’s working through my doctors I trust in my medical protocol and our plans (A – Z) if needed. We’re ready. Dr.Woods reminds me that, although my diagnosis is incredibly dire, the brain is his “wheelhouse”. If it’s all contained right here in the brain, although the conversation is so foreign to the rest of us. This is what he does and this is why he has pushed so hard to get this technology here. He believes in it. He believes that we’re going to get this (This is after he also very clearly let me know that if I did not begin this protocol and now.. I WOULD DIE. My case is very grave, but if we do ALL THAT WE ARE DOING, IN FACT, RIGHT NOW… I CAN AND WILL BEAT THIS. IT’S ENTIRELY POSSIBLE. If he was a betting man, I asked him if he would put all his chips in on me because I’m a fighter or because medically, it makes sense. He said, “BOTH. BUT STATISTICALLY, THE ODDS ARE IN MY FAVOR!!!!” In the words of Madea, “HALLELUJER. PRAISE THE LORT!!!”
- Meanwhile, I can do ALL THAT IS IN MY POWER TO KEEP A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE AND TOXIC FREE LIFE FOR MY KIDS. We care about our diet (We are clean eaters around here. Gluten free options are one thing that seem to help with my inflammation. I do that as much as possible to carry on for my children as well It’s not just about me and my heath. As a mother, I want us vigilant on ALL THAT WE DO, THE ENVIRONMENT I LIVE IN, AND TEACHING MY CHIDREN HOW TO LIVE THEIR BEST, HEALTHIEST LIFE WITH NO REGRETS TO TELL SOMEONE, “Yes, my parents gave us a toxic free lifestyle (cleaners, suppplements, snacks, soaps, and diets” the way I feel confidence in knowing I’ve grown up this way. Cancer still happened, but I knew I gave it may all and I did it for my kids. It’s one of the few “controls” that I still have as a mother with cancer. I can still fight for my family (Soon enough, you’ll see a “Wellness Tab” on my blog, I’ll bet ya that I will give some insights as to what we do and why. For instance, we’re saving our funds to switch ALL of our water filters and faucets to bring ALL of us high-alkaline water, as I have been drinking it and allowed myself to be the “guinea pig” for the past 2 years And boy has it helped my side effects Thank you to my mom and Margaret Early (with side coaching to us from Jason Finley) to encourage us, supply us and make sure I’ve had the chance to try this step in my wellness. (Each diagnosis, I’ve added a new layer: 1st Time: *continue Clean Eating and add essential oils to the program; 2nd Time: Incorporate Kaengan High-alkaline water; 3rd Time: * Encourage any meal train to help me stick with my dietary protocol to give me AND my kids the best fighting chance at all of this. Can’t thank my friends, Brooke Dugger Paulin and Molly Dugger Koenig for spearheading that aspect and helping me to continue on this wellness path that I want to build for my family. “A LEGACY OF HEALTH AND WELLNESS FROM YOUR MAMA”. I’m determined to leave a call to honoring and protecting their bodies as BEST as they possibly can And I want it for more than just us👍
- WHEN WILL SIDE EFFECTS SET IN?? My kids keep waiting for the “ball to drop”, so to speak. But, like all the other aspects of radiation, they will take note and slowly begin to reveal themselves as time goes on. Today, as I write this, I still have a full head of hair on my head and the where-with-all to complete a stream of thoughts for my blog. (Stay tuned as the weeks go on and these thoughts may start looking a little jumbled. I’m making a sticky note now to remind me that I have this bloody blog thingy and will need notes on how to use and access it! Mary Jones Collins (YOU started this bloggity blog for me, I’m holding you accountable to help me remember to keep it going, (FYI: she’s the ultimate blogger officianado Gotta check her out at https://sometimesmarthaalwaysmary.com. You can thank me later. I thank her daily for our friendship as she texts me the absolute BEST awkward selfies with a reminder for my memory loss: “HI! THIS IS MARY!” (Feel free to follow suit.👍) Awkward selfie with introduction would be a great way for me to keep you all in my memory. In fact, go ahead and do so in the “comments” part of this very blog post! It can go on twitter: #AwkwardBUNAselfie Let’s make that the twitter topper this week! My handle: #TeamBunaELT Let’s do it! (You can also click on the side bar here and follow me on TWITTER or TEAM BUNA FACEBOOK PAGE to stay part of the team with updates, etc. As my world is both very large and small right now, I ask that people please only send friend requests to my TEAM BUNA public FB page vs. my private account. Thanks for understanding.
- WHAT kind of MEMORY LOSS ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?? I will lose no intelligence or forget who I AM. I will begin, soon, feeling the effects of “permanent short term memory loss” I will know myself, my children, my close friends and family that I see regularly. However, my ability to recall that name of that couple we just met at a party or do the right name recall for important people in my life that I just haven’t seen in years will be unable to be obtained. No name recall. I kinda can already get that. Regularly, I often forget why I’m in a room, and although I can recognize people, why and how I know them, etc…. I’m the WORST with names. I often know names and faces, but can’t match ’em up. Does that make sense? I feel pretty much like I already know this side effect. Sheesh! That was “Elise brain” already, then mommy-brain (5 times over), then “chrmo brain” (2x over), and now… permananent Radiation brain. Oy!! I’ll take all the excuses they keep giving me. 😉 Just thought I ougtta own it and let y’all know ahead of time. If I don’t get your name, it’s not cuz you haven’t made an impression on me or that I haven’t loved or cared about you enough. I just don’t have name recall. *As my dear best life-long friend (and distant cousin!), Cecile Charbonnet Kerber, described it so clear and exciting (nonetheless)… Imagine the movie, “50 First Dates” with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. I’m Drew’s character. Every time you meet me, I have no short term memory. So you’ll have to recreate our first meeting or win me over overtime you see me! 😘 This could be fun! Remind me how we love to joke, we’re epic on the dance floor, you’ve made me laugh till I peed before, we have kids on the same football teams, we both have mutual interests and kids that march to their own beat. I’m excited to keep making all new friends again and again! Oh boy!😂 I’ve told my hubbie many times that if I ever forget who I am: Dress me in a different costume/accessory every day and tell me that I’m “Retired Wonder Woman, your lasso of truth just isn’t working today.” Or, slap a pair of fairy wings on me and tell me I’m the real Tinkerbell. We just ran out of pixie dust.. so don’t jump off of anything high! 😱… Or, maybe even give me a cape or a tiara and tell me the honor that I am the queen of the day. Why not? I wanna be happy. I wanna be me. And, actually, all of those scenarios are in me. You won’t be lying.✨ I’ll be all the more happy for you reminding me! Thanks in advance! 😉
- SLEEPINESS/FATIGUE: This is the part I can’t wrap my brain around. Supposedly, for a good 2-3 months post radiation, I’m gonna want to sleep for anywhere between 10-12 hours a day!!! I can’t imagine. In my most tired chemo or pregnancy-sick moment, I’ve still bucked nap time. I rather power through the day and turn in early. But apparently, when they zap your central computer (my brain) , I won’t be able to mind-over-matter this one. My brain will need to “reset” each day and hibernate to replenish all that’s healing. This means it needs to recharge for everything from my voluntary to involuntary muscles I gotta do it. Like a chore, I’m gonna set my alarm to begin my daily naps as soon as the kids walk out the door for school so that I can (hopefully) get it all out of the way while all are at work and school and be back in the game for my family by the afternoon/evening. That’s how I plan to handle that one, and eventually, that won’t be a permanent thing. It’s just a season. We can do this.
- HAIR LOSS: Yes, I’m going to lose my hair for a 3rd time. But, I know people who have indeed lost and regrown their hair 3 times!!! It is possible. You can add that to your specific prayer requests for me. AND … YES! I’m totally gonna have fun with it in the meantime. TONIGHT, my dear friend who has shaved and dyed my hair before, Shanna Latino, is coming over to indulge all of our wildest artistic dreams for things I woulda never had the guts to do before and dye my hair shades of silver, platinum, and BLUE with artistic shaves on the side and back of my head. ❤️💛💚💜💙Why the heck not? I mean, how many kids can say their mom has had rainbow hair and mohawks as many times as me. Kinda makes me feel like a bad ass. Nice. Cancer isn’t happening to me. with each shave and hair dye… I HAPPEN TO CANCER. I’m sure I’ll be posting cool pics of our peacock masterpiece on my head tonight or tomorrow!!!
- SETTING THOSE ALARMS TO PRAY!!! I’m so unspeakably thankful for everyone to answer to our #callofdutytopray response from my Instagram and TEAM BUNA FB post. I’ve been flooded with texts and pics of people screenshotting me their daily phone alarm set to pray. Some have decided to set it daily for 3:00 (with kids in carpool) with the ringtone/alarm to play “Bob Marley: 3 Little Birds”! Gotta love that!!!!!! (Ya know, they play that song for me on repeat though my whole treatment every morning. That song totally just transports me to a “cast it all over to God” feeling and reiterates PHILIPPIANS 4:6-7 “Cast your cares upon the Lord and He will give you a PEACE AND GRACE BEYOND UNDERSTANDING”!!! (In other words, “Every little thing is gonna be alright!!!” Thanks for praying with us and rallying all of your troops I feel it. Like.. I really do. And so do my kids. It’s giving us strength and hope beyond all reason and shadow of any doubt.
So there you have it. That’s where we are, that’s where we will be, and that’s all the nitty gritties I can give ya to wrap your brain around my big picture.
SO… THAT’S ALL SHE WROTE, FOLKS. TIME TO TURN IN AND START IN THOSE NAPS.
STAY TUNED FOR:
- Updates on links to purchase TEAM BUNA SHIRTS. *As the weather cools, we’ll make long sleeve shirts and sweatshirts available again (You may be good, but since our first t-shirt campaigns, my kids have aged and grown and want new ones all around. All shirt proceeds will go to BUNA’s HOPE. Click, join and support this legacy that I have every intention of laying down. FAITH, HOPE, LOVE, LAUGHTER… FAMILY. #BunasHope #ByFamiliesForFamilies #LaughteristheGreatestMedicine #TeamBUNA
- Updates on TBA packing days/dates/times to get the whole community, families coming together side by side, to pack our care packages (Buna Boxes) and rally the troops/raise the funds so that we can keep sending more families on our “BUNA’S HOPE VACAY GETAWAYS” and, much like St.Jude’s “Make A Wish” grant wishes and blessings on whole families who need time together, away from whatever their crisis may be (No. Our mission covers ALL CRISIS and CROSSES. This is my “cancer” , but everyone has theres. Some of us need to recognize it and the lift each other up to get us through it. There’s always hope. Help us spread it!!!
- Any further medical results or updates will be posted through my blog and my TEAM BUNA FACEBOOK page. Click and follow to stay updated.
Until then.. please please PLEASE!!!!! Grab onto my thor hammer/my cross/my cancer/my diagnosis/ my SUPER POWER.
Currently, it’s my purpose and my shield . And with this imagery and this chance to pray fro all who comment here or on my PRAYER WALL with their prayer intentions… I feel like, in my sickness, I can totally yield the most powerful opportunity of crazy talents that I never had before, when so many of my gifts from my life feel like they’re being stripped away. Not this one. This is new. And I’m kinda feeling psyched about what God’s doing with it. I mean, look at the miracle that’s already happening….. I’VE WANTED PEOPLE TO PRAY WTIH ME AND JUST PICK UP THE PHONE TO GOD FOR MY WHOLE LIFE Now, I’m blown away by the amount of people that are suddenly talking to the Big Guy upastairs. That.. is……. AWESOME!!!!! Best gift you could ever give me.🙏✨💕 The best way that you could lift me up or get involved. Knock on that guy’s door and keep talking to HIM We can be specific We can annoy the mess out of him with our prayers and petitions. He likes it. It does’t ever grow old or tired for Him. Pick up the phone.
While I wait for your intentions so I can power up my “psst…. super POWER of prayer warrior ness” I’ll be right here thinking of all the other SUPERPOWERS I may ask for if God asks for special requests. Hmmmmm… here’s a few that could be helpful:
Again, my never-ending thanks. With every comment, text, msg, email, call or gift. I assure you I thank you with a prayer. No thank you note could ever be written or sent that could bless you the way that you’ve blessed me than that. So rest assured, I feel the prayers, I see the love, and I thank each and every person (our TEAM BUNA) with a prayer and blessing on you and your family.
Now.. for my next appointment of the day… where are my keys?? So it begins…
God bless ya! God’s GOT THIS. Thanks for believing. Every little thing’s gonna be alright!
Much love, faith and prayers…
-Elise / aka: “BUNA”