Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Hair Growth and a Ridiculous Summary of a Tragic Few Months

It has been a crazy last few months, to say the least and I'm not even going to try to share all of the events that have taken place or my feelings, but my mom encouraged me to at least come on here and let everyone know the happy news--I finished chemo! Some friends spent the night in the hospital with me my last night there and after getting discharged, I walked next door to the cancer center and rang the bell loud and clear. Physically, I feel amazing. I have not used my cane in weeks, I don't feel sick anymore, I have some more color, I've put on a few pounds so I don't look as much like a freaky skeleton (though I probably went about putting on weight with a little too much gusto, let's be honest), and I can actually do chores and run errands throughout the day without feeling like I got the life sucked out of me.

One thing I thought would be fun is to document the changes in my appearance. Since that last week in the hospital I have been taking selfies every now and again without wearing make-up so you can see what I really look like. Here are those gems:

Nov. 13 2013 (Last week in
Nov. 19 2013
Dec. 11 2013


Dec. 16 2013
Dec. 26 2013
Dec. 29 2013

Dec. 31 2013
Jan. 7 2014
Jan. 16 2014

Jan. 28 2014

Feb. 10 2014

I am loving the way I look. Especially when I look at the stark contrast between that last week in the hospital and now. It doesn't even bother me that the hair in the center of my head sticks straight up. I just love that I have enough hair for it to do that. Here is a better angle of my funky hair that doesn't stay flat and a picture of the first day in a year I woke up with bed head.

Now, this is going to seem callous, and it's possible that later I will want to get into all the touchy feely details of how my life drastically changed after finishing chemo, but for now I will give you the whirlwind summary. A week and a half after finishing chemo, I spent an amazing Thanksgiving weekend with my entire family. Five of them (my dad, my brother Daniel, his wife Sheree, my sister Amber, and her fiance Jonathan) left in my dad's plane to go home after Thanksgiving and the plane went missing. They were missing for over a month, and in that time we suffered immensely. We felt pretty sure they had passed away, but hoped and prayed with all our hearts they were still alive. A huge blessing was that Michael and I went to Brazil with his family for two weeks, which was a nice almost-escape from the anxiety. We came back to Provo and the next day flew to San Jose to be with family on what would have been Amber and Jonathan's wedding day (January 4). Thousands of people helped in the search for the plane and on January 10 they found it. Everyone had died on impact on December 1. Michael and I were supposed to move to Wisconsin on January 15, but a week before moving we decided to move to San Jose instead. So Michael turned down his incredible job offer and we packed up and moved job-less into my mom's house in San Jose. Best decision ever. Anyway, there was a beautiful memorial held for all five of our family members that passed away on February 1 and I gave my baby sister's eulogy. Michael and I are now both applying for jobs.

Wow, talk about a loaded paragraph. Anyway, I just wanted to blurt that out and let you know what's been going on these past few months. For today I only have one comment on all that happened. Cancer seems like old news. Once my family disappeared I was like, "Whaaaat? I thought my life was hard because I had cancer? What a joke." I get the feeling that's how life is. Each trial puts the previous trial into perspective. Enjoy life now, regardless of your circumstances. I thought my life was hard, but it turns out that having cancer is one of the best things that ever happened to me because of the closeness I had with my family during that time, both physically and emotionally. Literally, knowing what I know now, if someone approached me a year ago and said "You can have $1 million or cancer" I would take the cancer. Ahh, the curve balls life throws us.
My family Thanksgiving weekend