Thursday, January 2, 2014

No Resolutions This Year.. Just Thanks.

2013 has been pretty crazy.  

I rang in the 2013 year shortly after flying back home after spending a wonderful Christmas with friends and family in the south. In January I enjoyed an annual girls' trip to NYC. In February I broke my big toe while stacking firewood thereby getting out of stacking wood for the rest of the season which was pretty cool, though the broken toe wasn't very much fun. 

I was able to go to a concert in March and also see one of our dearest friends get married in May and was also able to participate in all the festivities of the wedding including a wonderful trip for the bachelorette party.

In September we were able to go to Disney, Sea World and Discovery Cove.  We saw the fireworks at the Castle in Disney and we swam with the dolphins and went snorkeling at Discovery Cove which was by far, the best part of the trip.  They always say Disney is magical, but it truly was, and I'm so happy we were able to take the trip.  

Fashion Flowers and Food
Discovery Cove
Sept 2013

In October I turned the big 30. It's actually hard to believe. I really don't feel 30!   

What some of you might not know, something I've kept relatively quiet on this forum until now, is what has been happening since sometime in April when I took my mom to the hospital because of some severe abdominal pain she was having. 

Though not entirely certain at the time, the doctors said it was possible that she could have cancer.  She had two choices: go into surgery and find out, for sure, what was wrong, or wait three months to see what changes occurred - either for the better, or to see if the symptoms got worse.  She weighed all of her options and bravely decided to take it head on and go into surgery. They discovered at that time that she had fallopian tube cancer.  

She started aggressive chemotherapy right away. An extensive treatment that lasted six rounds with three weeks between each. I watched helplessly as she underwent the needles and the affects of the drugs that, for her, were simultaneously saving and risking her life.  I watched the gradual transformation of her physical appearance as she, first, cut her beautiful hair to prepare for the side affect of losing it. For me, as someone on the sidelines of the disease, and as her daughter, this was one of the hardest parts. It made it real. Tangible. It made it undeniable that my mother was sick.  She was still the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, but then she was different, changed forever in my mind by the affects of these medications.  Throughout the process I saw how brave she was. I admired her so much and have never been so proud to call her my mom. 

Fashion Flowers and Food

It was then that I started this blog. To be a distraction from the reality that was then, and the reason I kept it out of my posts.  It was hard, and I don't wish it upon anyone. It took everything I had to be strong for my mother. And I hope I made her proud during the process.  

I don't know if I could have done what she did.  I don't know if I could have been strong enough to get through the entire process of treatment, as I witnessed her suffer through the side affects.  She is the strongest person I have ever met and she blew me away by the way she conquered it.  

Fashion Flowers and Food
Wright Peak
April 2013

In the months leading up to the decision to have surgery and the surgery itself, she had a choice to make.  To sit and wait; to cancel her plans to climb on her 50th Birthday, which was coincidentally right around the corner, or to go on as normal and get moving.  With the uncertainty of her condition looming over her and her 50th birthday climb already planned, she decided...  

She decided to climb.  

Pain or no pain, cancer or no cancer, it didn't matter.  She did what she loved.  She climbed mountains.  MOUNTAINS!  Wright Peak was first on her list (pictured above) on April 27th, 2013 and then on her 50th Birthday, May 3rd 2013, the day after the decision to have surgery was made, she climbed Phelps.  Kind of a big "F You" to the sickness.  

She was like a fighter, bouncing on the mat eyeing her opponent over her gloves, gearing up for the fight that was about to happen.  That first part of the fight was hard and it knocked her down.  But though, woozy, she was determined and she staggered to her feet.  She endured hit after hit as the chemo just wailed on her at first.  

After each round, she sat in her corner with her doctor and he gave her everything she needed to gain the strength for the next round.  As she started to feel better and gain her strength back, the bell would sound to start the next round.  

At times she was against the ropes, arms up, defending herself from her opponent, taking hit after hit.  Every time she got knocked down, she'd get back up.  But as the fight went on, she got to know her opponent, bobbing and weaving against its swings, and getting her own jabs in.  

Those closest to her rallied around her in the crowd, cheering her on... to come fight.  Those far away, watched the fight from their homes, jumping off the couch, cheering for her to get up... to come to... to fight.  We were all there, cheering, jumping up and down, hands in the air, "You can do it!" For six grueling rounds we all watched helplessly; amazed each round by her strength and determination to keep going... to keep fighting.  When it got bad, she wouldn't throw in the towel.  She came to fight, and fight she did.  

And after that sixth round, she prevailed. 
Her hand lifted at the end as the Champion. 
Cancer free!!  
She kicked cancer's ass!  

During all of it she still came to work, rocked the new bald or "commando" look and the new wigs, interchanging different colors throughout a conference that she helped host, and kept a smile on her face and a sense of humor through all of it; even joking with the doctors and nurses during her treatments.   

In October she completed her last chemo treatment and in December she was declared cancer free!  

Fashion Flowers and Food
October 24, 2013
6th and Final Round of Chemo

2013 has been pretty crazy. 

I rang in the 2014 New Year by kissing my fiancé while sitting on our couch with our puppy watching the Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve and then received a text from my mom saying "Happy New Year!"  It was pretty perfect.  We had been at a party right before and we had a blast, but left around 11:30 and we were home just in time to see the ball drop and have a wonderful, low key celebration - just the two of us.

I made a list of resolutions before, but then deleted them.  There are no resolutions this year, just reflection and giving thanks for the happy ending I'm able to share here with you, and prayer for those that have a different story to tell, and prayer for those still in the ring, and the medical staff that are in their corners and the loved ones in the crowd.

I can't wait to see what 2014 has in store.  My mom should be getting back to normal, feeling better and climbing mountains again as the residual affects of the chemo should be wearing off, and I should be throwing a little party of some sorts, and ya know, getting married!  

I pray 2014 treats you all well and you are blessed with good health and happiness in your life.  I've taken to this little blog and enjoy sharing my story so I hope to continue that and post more often.  Thanks so much for listening. Till next time... 

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