I don't often take the time to post a personal blog in the midst of my Scrap and Stamping Life.. but sometimes you just have to TOOT when you have the chance..
Today is a huge milestone in the world of ME. Hard to believe that 16 years ago today, I was lying in a hospital bed being told that I had cancer, and that I'd almost died during surgery. In some ways that seems like lifetimes ago and in others it was only yesterday.
Even now when all is said and done, I consider that time period in my life somewhat of a mixed blessing. As crazy as it sounds, I can still think of many good things that came from my having had cancer. To say that it was a real eye opener is an understatement. It really is those times of utter chaos in crisis that you truly realize your own strength, and who your friends really are. This was no exception.
The last 16 years have been a whirlwind of medical drama and chaos at different times, and though there were many times when I have questioned the phrase "God never gives us any more than we can handle" wondering just what the hell I was being trained for. Though when all is said and done. I'm still standing and more importantly I have earned the honor of standing up to proudly say that I am one of the fortunate ones who came face to face with the evil C, and won. I am all too aware of how easily it could have turned out differently. If not then, then one of the many trials and tribulations of my life as a guinea pig since. I am painfully aware of how precious so many basic things are that most take for granted and I'm thankful for how far I have come.
Someone asked me this week what it was like having gone through chemo and cancer, and to be honest those weren't the memories I reflect on when I think about it. Chemo wasn't fun, the chemo after-effect drugs were nasty.. but the parts I tend to remember are the nurses on the 5th floor of the BC Cancer agency who somehow could make you smile even when you felt like death warmed over and reheated.
I'm also reminded of a few special friends who made some extra effort to remind a sad, bald friend that she was still valued and loved. I keep thinking of how Jim and Matt brought in a Happy Meal pumpkin with a cheeseburger happy meal inside that I hung on my IV pole for the rest of my chemo treatment. How Jim, Lisa and Paul came to kidnap me from the hospital to go out for a late night coffee for some much needed time with friends and of John, who left a cute stuffed bull dog in my room on the TV when they'd taken me for tests and he'd popped into visit. I still have that Bulldog and after all these years I can't help but smile when I look at it. From the first time I saw it I used to tease that I was going to steal it, then the day he'd come to visit he decided he would leave it in my room because I would know without a doubt that he'd stopped by. It worked.
Last (but not least) I am so very thankful for my Dad who was often my biggest critic - so many mornings that I didn't feel like getting up during chemo and he'd rally to get me up and motivated to get on with the day. He always said that any day that you get to wake up is a good day. Many of them didn't feel so great, but you just didn't argue with Dad.. LOL I have fond memories of Dad putting on my wig on a day when I didn't feel like wearing that scratchy itchy thing, and he put it on his head and said FINE if you won't wear it then I will! My sister and I laughed ourselves silly and took a picture of him wearing it. We almost got him a few dates that winter until people saw the cigar in his hand. LOL
These days I have my teddy-bear and I have a few good friends, and a pretty good support system. I've been fortunate that in amongst some of the medical nightmares I have survived that I've met some pretty awesome people, that have stuck out this crazy journey with me. I know I had a little bit to do with it, but I couldn't have gotten this far without acknowledging some of the awesome friends, family and other special people I've met along the way.
Here's to 16 more bonus rounds around the Sun.. and kicking Cancer's ass! :)