Pay It Forward
You may have heard but my Chemo Cheerleaders came up with the most wonderful theme ever. Pay it Forward. I arrived at chemo and was given a bag with three bags inside filled with random stuff like toothpaste, tissue, granola bars and more. At first I didn’t quite get what it was for but then I read the note attached which explained that while I was receiving chemo my team would be paying it forward to those in need. The three bags were packed so that I could give them to someone in need. I can’t think of a better way to be honored than to have those around me doing random acts of kindness to help others. Imagine if everyone in the world did just one random act of kindness for someone in need everyday, it could be as little as someone needing a hug to skys the limit. Just think about the impact it would have on everyone, not to mention, you would be bursting with happiness and feeding your soul every time you paid it forward. I received one very touching email from Anne that I would like to share with you all:
When I think of you, I immediately think of all the people you are constantly helping and influencing. Even in the midst of your own fight with Cancer, you have turned it into an opportunity for everyone else to learn and benefit from your own experience. You are truly, always, thinking of others. So this is a very fitting theme.
As I was trying to think of what I could do, lots of little opportunities came up: letting people in front of me in line, stopping to pump gas for a man from my church with CP who I knew would have an extra effort to get out with his wheelchair and do it himself. At brunch on Father’s Day, the guy making omelets told me he was leaving there at 4:00 to go to second of three jobs, so he wouldn’t be home to see his kids. I slipped him a $20 and told him to take them to the movies or zodos on his day off. These were all things I could totally see you doing, but I really wanted to do something that was out of my comfort zone and would make a real difference.
I don’t have a huge list of things that truly terrify my, but toward the top of that list is anything involving needles. So, giving blood was something I have never had the courage to do. The more I thought about it and thought about you sitting for (now) ten chemo treatments, hooked up to the machines, never complaining, never even flinching, the more I knew it was what I needed to do. Beyond the chemo, I know you are constantly being stuck and jabbed with all kinds of needles, and it’s ridiculous when compared to donating a bag of blood for fifteen minutes. But thats what I did. I gathered my self together, made the appointment and went in on Tuesday. I cried the whole time. At first I cried because I was scared, then I cried because I was mad at myself for not being as brave as you. And then it was like a flood washing over me. All the real feelings I have had since the day I was standing outside Costco on a normal Saturday soccer day, and got your text and life was totally changed. I cried for the physical things you have gone through, for Jon and his own struggle as your partner and best friend watching this whole thing, and for all the emotions you have gone through that I cannot even begin to comprehend. And finally, I cried because I am so in awe and proud of you and impressed by your strength and just so grateful for our friendship. When I was in the interview room before they hooked me up, the guy told me that donating platelets was actually what cancer patients needed. He was totally upselling me! The platelets take two hours to donate, but gathered basically through the same process. Ginny, who shares my feelings about needles, has agreed to go with me next time and go for the platelets. This is something neither of us would EVER have done on our own, but once again, we are part of the ever growing crowd of people whose lives you have changed and inspired.
I encourage each of you to strive to pay it forward. Every day opportunities arise and we can either seize the opportunity or choose to look the other way. I choose to seize the opportunity whenever I can and I hope you do too. Think of the kindness and compassion it is teaching our children as we pay it forward and how much better we can make our community and world by showing random acts of kindness.
So you may be wondering how the trip to USC went and although it was a great trip to LA and even better face time with Dr. Lenz we really didn’t get any questions answers this go round. Why you ask? In the words of Dr. Lenz: “Where’s the CT scan, Where’s the CT scan, Where’s the CT scan.” My last scan was middle of April and before he will call in the surgeon to look at my case I need a fresh scan which is now scheduled for July 5th at 9:30 am. You might be thinking wow what a waste of time to drive down there just to be told “Where’s the CT scan?” but it really wasn’t. I got to spend the day with my dear friends Anda and Nikki and I got a huge hug from Dr. Lenz at the end of my appointment. A lot of doctors like to keep their distance and hugging isn’t part of the package but for me a hug creates more of a human connection, a bond, it says I believe in you and I’m on your team no matter where it takes us, it inspires confidence and gains trust, so for me the day was a complete success!
The plan now is to have the Pet/CT scan done on the 5th then send it down to Dr. Lenz for review by Dr. Genyk. Then, I wait to hear the next step which could be its time to meet with the surgeon or it’s not quite time to meet with the surgeon and we need to step up the chemo and be more aggressive which means back on the nasty drug but hell if it gets me to a point of surgery and the cancer can be completely removed then bring it on! Remind me I said that if I have to go back on that drug because I may forget. Or who knows maybe the scan will show I’m cancer free!
Currently, I’m on a week off of xeloda, the oral chemo, and I get an extra week off in prep for the scan on the 5th. I’m hoping that after these two weeks my hands and feet will be almost back to normal or at least not so painful because it really does suck to have red, itchy, dry and sometimes hot hands and feet. Tomorrow I will be soaking them in a tea that Dr. Han gave me. My hope is the tea will be the cure to the hand and foot syndrome. I’m also going to set up an appointment with an acupuncturist to see if they can help with the side effect.
This past week I met an amazing mom, Heidi, whose 7 year old son is battling a rare form of cancer. He is also the recipient of this years Keiki Paddle which is scheduled for July 20th. If you haven’t heard about the paddle you should check out the website at: http://keikipaddle.org/CurrentPaddle.htm. I look at what I have had to endure these past months and can’t imagine if it was one of my children having to go through the pain, the tests, the needles, the drugs, the sickness, and the emotions. Heidi is such an inspiration, open to looking outside the box and creating new ways for her son’s type of cancer to be studied. We shared ideas for alternative therapies and just talked about going through the crazy cancer journey. I am sending healing energy and prayers to Samuel as he endures his treatment and wins his battle against cancer! Never, Never, Never Give Up!
Hoping you are having a great summer!
Hugs and Kisses