charlie's angels, buck and elizabeth
ok, I know I've been very slack lately, but our trip to Birmingham wore me out, both physically and mentally-- and then I came back to the Breast Cancer walk and then Fall Break with all the younguns out of school for a week!. Having four kids is such a blast; the constant chatter, the fun, the laughter, the mess, the food, the dirty clothes, the arguing, the fist fights, the homework, the shoebox projects (thanks Courtney!) , did I mention the dirty clothes? I love it all! No really. I do. But this entry will be sweet and short because I'm exhausted and I have pre-chemo brain fog. I have cancer you know?
Speaking of the beast, Charlie, my 9 year old, was sitting at the kitchen counter yesterday and out of nowhere asked, "Mom, what's it like to have cancer?" Totally caught off-guard, I thoughtfully responded, "huh?" "You know, what's it like, I mean, like, you know, to have cancer?" he asked again. (Charlie's not one to back down. Like his grandmother, what comes up, comes out.) And after standing there for a few seconds, and being mindful of our house guest, who is only 7 but listening to every word, I quietly said, "It's incredible." And I meant it. At least on this side of treatment and surgery, cancer has been incredible. But it's not because of anything that I've done or read or any doctor that I've been introduced to. It's because of the love of friends, family and complete strangers who have absolutely lifted me and my family up off the ground and carried us through this first stage of the battle. I've said this to several people over the past few days but it bears repeating: what a shame that this type of love and support is wasted on funerals. It means so much more while we're alive and able to respond. Who knows how many lives would be saved if they only knew how loved they were.
What I'm really trying to say is thank you. Thank you to the nearly 200 friends who bought a t-shirt for the Mmac team and the Champions of Hope race this past weekend. Thank you to Dona and Courtney who coordinated the entire thing, behind my back. To Dondee who designed the winning t-shirt with her love and God-given talent. Thank you to all of you who have cooked for my sweet and hungry family. Thank you for the hundreds, yes hundreds of phone calls, emails, cards, notes and flowers. But mostly, thank you for the thousands of prayers that have literally covered us in God's love and protection. Ted and I are truly humbled by the outpouring of sincere, genuine and heartfelt love and devotion that we have received during the past month.
I received an email from an acquaintance that said, "I have told lots of people before that I would pray for them and I never did. But for you, I'm really going to do it." I laughed when I read it then and I'm laughing now. That took guts to admit. But honestly, we're all guilty of that. Let me confess right here in black and white, I will never again underestimate the power of prayer, whether it's on the giving or receiving end of one. Some days I wonder if I'm stupid or naive or what because I have absolutely no fear of this trial and what it will bring. Then suddenly, I'm reminded by one of the many callers, letter writers, card senders, bloggers that I'm being prayed for and again, it all becomes clear. God is so awesome! I hope that you know him the way that I know him. I continue to think of all the people who received the same call that I did on that Wednesday afternoon; the ones who don't know him, or don't have friends who know him, or don't have a Church to worship him. My heart breaks for them because I feel like they're not going to battle with the same armor that I am. I have a unfair advantage.
I say all this because I want you to know that your battle is coming too, if you're not already in it. It may not be cancer, but like I've said all along, we all have a disease in us that is growing and will eventually take over unless we choose to have our own "ectomy." Whether it's depression, or addiction or hatred or jealousy or self-doubt, these all are diseases of the heart that will eventually rob us of our lives. In "The Noticer" Andy Andrews wrote a line that resonates with me still, "depression cannot enter a heart that is full of gratitude." Now that is a quote worth repeating. And a life worth living!
I'm rambling, but hopefully I'm connecting the dots. Know that I'm doing well and keeping the faith. How many people actually gain weight after they've been diagnosed with cancer? That should tell you something. I'm going back to Birmingham tomorrow (Thursday) for some simple tests that need to be done before my treatment can begin. If all goes well, I'll have my first chemo cocktail next Friday at Kirklin Clinic. I'll know more when I get back Friday and will report back to you all then. I know I didn't blog about my trip to B'ham last week, but boy howdy do they have giant brains up there. man. Ted and I listened to Kirby Bland (the MAN) and John Carpenter, my new best friend and Oncologist extraordinaire and about 8 other genius doctors off and on for about 5 hours. I understood all the pronouns and most of the adjectives they used, but found myself thinking, "Alex, I'd like to buy a vowel for two hundred....."
Clearly, these were the people who never skipped school to go to the covered bridge, or P.C. Beach or Lake Eufaula....or Jan Creel's house for that matter. Stay in school kids.
P.S. Have you ever googled "wigs?" there's like 2 millions sites. I'm likin' the Raquel Welch series. Who knew.....
My sweet sisters, Lexi and Karen, I promise I will call you back this weekend. It's been crazy.
Love to all,