Thursday, September 11, 2008

One year



On the way to the hospital in Arizona with Melanie, I yelped and then we hit a curb. She asked me why I knew to yelp before it happened and I said,"because I'm a precog." (Remember those psychics from Minority Report?) Little did I know that within a couple weeks I'd really look like one. And I had no idea what the real future held for me.

Last week I went to Arizona for the same "Creative Escape" weekend that I worked at last year when I found out I was sick. It was bittersweet. The first night we were there, I slept in the same bed that I had laid in the year before staring up at the fan wondering if the pain would go away or if I should go wake up Melanie. I was also wondering if the hit I could receive from Jeff (he's violent in his sleep and scary to wake up) would hurt more than the pain I was already in. I watched that ceiling for what seemed like forever. This time I went to bed in that room just about an hour after running my first 10k race (the Nike Human Race - why saturday night? long story.) I couldn't have done that last year.



Mel and I last year at Creative Escape


And this year at Creative Escape. Yes, that's my new hair. Dark, huh?

I feel better. I wake up every day grateful. I really do. I'm so happy to have energy and to be able to do everything for myself. I'm even happy when I have to shave my legs. Hooray for hair! I'm happy I get to be here for all the little monkey things my kids (including Jaymee) do. (Like when Preslie asked Sienna to open something for her and Sienna told her to go ask someone else so P went up to the cat and said,"Oscar? Open dis for me, peas?") I'm grateful to have more time to improve myself. More time to get better in the ways that really count.

So what else remains?

Physically, I have some weird scratch marks on my side, chest and back. From the chemo of all things. It looks like chemo has sharp nails and we got in a fight. I won, but the scars remain. I have a nice scar on my chest from my biopsy that has a dent under it. I can't help but stick my finger in it. As for my fingers, the feeling never came back to the tips. It feels like there is super glue stuck on the ends. Maybe my super power is being able to touch hot things and not feel it. Now that my nails have grown back, it doesn't really bother me because I don't touch as much with my fingertips. I wake up to my chest feeling like it's tight and can't expand. It's from the radiation. It takes about fifteen minutes and then I feel fine. As of this last week, I can't swallow breakfast anymore. My throat is too tight in the morning. Also from the radiation. But I just have a shake (which is what I want anyway) and by lunch I'm fine. Jaymee thinks that will heal itself. What else? I'm not sure if I can have any more kids and I have to wait another year and a half before I can even try. That's right. Can't even practice trying. Poor Jaym. Just kidding. I think that's all that's left. When I consider what my body went through, that's pretty awesome. Not bad at all. Hooray for modern medicine! (and blessings)

When I was looking through my pictures for that one of CE last year, I was able to see everything we had captured in the past twelve months. It truly was great. I wouldn't trade it for anything. (I don't want to do it again, but I'm glad for that one time) I'm kinda sad that I didn't capture more of everything. The people who came to help, all the stages of hair loss, etc. I was too embarrassed. By the end I didn't care, but I did at the beginning. Mel told me I'd want to see it later, but I didn't believe her. Here's some pics I didn't post while it was happening because I didn't want to freak my mom out.

Second chemo

My blistery feet (chemo side-effect)

While I don't have a lot of pictures, at least I have the blog. I'm so grateful to Mel for creating it and making me get on here. I wouldn't have documented it without her. It forced me to really contemplate what was going on and what it meant to me. All the comments and feedback got me though the tougher days. I felt so much support and like there was a bunch of people rooting for me. Thank you. I was talking to Jason Hall who was our motivational speaker at the conference. He's quadriplegic, funny and amazing. He interested me in making my blog into a book and I'm considering it. It'll be a short book, since I'm lucky enough to have only been sick for a short time, but I want to remember. I don't know. I was thinking of putting the blog and people's comments on one side and then kind of a bio of what was going on that I didn't say on the blog, i.e. doctors appointments, progress, side effects, etc. and pictures on the other. Would you guys care if I used your comments? I'm still tossing this around, but I think I might do it. If anything, I'd like to have a copy for myself and maybe a couple for Jaymeson's office. There really aren't a lot of things out there for Lymphoma. Breast cancer is the celebrity. I would have loved to have something that told me what I would go through and feel when I was sick.

ANYWAY. This one was really rambly. Sorry. It didn't really come together. I've been off my game for a couple weeks now. I've been wanting to post something about it being a year for a while now and all I got was a block. I've said everything all along though, haven't I? So what would be new? You still know that I love you, right? That's all I really want to say.

19 comments:

Engrained Emotions said...

I am a total blog stalker. I am not sure how I found your blog, but I am glad you did. Your story gave me strength and hope. It sometimes gave me a reason to say a prayer.

Thanks for your courage.

Jen said...

BTW - I love your new hair. It looks so great! If you had hair dye I'd hide it from you ;) Remember that? Anyways I wanted to say I'm proud of you and how you handled this trial with so much grace, humor, and fervitude. I wish someone had told me about it sooner so I could have supported you more along the way. I love you. You are someone that has left a huge imprint on my life in so many ways.

Melissa Cavanaugh said...

Shelby
Of course you should do this book!! Use the comments, esp the funny ones, like Lisa bugging you to get back to work, I feel like I know you reading your blog (even tho I really don't), so many people were touched by your story, we all love you
Melissa

Anonymous said...

I say, "do it". I have been so proud of you all along. Before your journey, during your journey, after your journey. There is so much information you can share with people. There is so much you can share about positive thoughts. There is so much you can share about having faith in God. There is so much you can share about your awesome family and friends. It almost seems selfish if you DON"T share. I will help anyway I can, just tell me what to do.... now get back to work!
Lisa B.

Rod and Kandace said...

You look GREAT Shelby. You have the face that could DO any length of hair "LUCKY". I would definitely make the book. Not only for all the others you will help, but for your posterity. They will all want to know what their funny granny went through as a young mamma! I am sure you are glad that year is behind you!

MH72 said...

I think you should do it - and I think you should put the picture of your feet on the cover :-)

And I don't even mean this as a joke - as I guess those blisters are one of the truths about cancer that for some reasone are hidden for all of us that are lucky not to have experienced this first hand.... and one of the truths I guess you wish you whould have known, when you are in the middle of the cancer fight???

I think you should do it. And I expect a copy to be sent to Denmark...

Anonymous said...

Shelby,
I follow your blog now and then. You are such a funny person and I admire your strength. I had breast cancer. Went through 8 treatments of chemo and 15 treatments of radiation. There is a reason why breast cancer is a "celebrity". A lot of women get it and a lot of women die from it. We have to stop these women from dying. If that were true for your type of cancer, then that would be the "popular" cancer.I am glad that you are doing well and you are regularly in my paryers. Cancer victims are cancer victims and we have to support each other in every way possible. No cancer deserves special treatment over another..it's all cancer.

Tracey M said...

Shelby, I didn't know anything of your struggle until Heidi Swapp dropped it on us at CE 08 (I was at CE 07 too). When I got back home I saw your blog link on Heidi-Lynn's blog...I read the whole blog in one sitting...just amazing. I think a book would be a wonderful idea.
Tracey M, Alberta Canada

Natalie said...

Shelby- your grace, gratitude, learning and positive disposition were and continue to be so uplifting! You are one amazing girl. You should write a book...After all that you have been through this year, I think writing a book might seem easy:)! I am happy for you Shelby. Happier than words can say...

go boo boo said...

That first comment was so sweet...I got even more teary eyed. I am glad you did this for all of us and more just like you said, so we could know what to expect when we or our sister or our best friend or our neighbor goes through this. For the nth time, you are amazing.

The Awesome Allens said...

SHELBY! You are my heroine! (it's the female version of hero :)). Just wanted to let you know we are thinking of you. Thanks for being such a great example. Do the book, there's so much hope you can give to people. MUCH LOVE! Muah

Rebecca said...

Were so happy you are doing well. Who would have thought up all the crazy things that would happen to us once we left Wisconsin. Man wish I could go back to those easy days. Congrats on a year, sorry about your finger tips.

Cheryl said...

Do the book. What a great thing to have from this last year. You have to print enough copies for each of your kids. It's something they will all treasure. I'm so glad that you made it through cancer with flying colors and a very little side effects. And your hair is beautiful right now, I love it.

MarySue said...

Hurray for Shelby. I'm so happy you have so much life and living. Continually wishing and praying for your best.

jello said...

Happy Birthday 2morrow Lil P.
- Big J, your Bday twin

stacia said...

shelby, you are amazing. how did i get so lucky to know you?? thanks for being such an inspiration...

JENNIFER said...

I AM JUST ANOTHER BLOG STALKER IN MELANIES WARD, BUT I HAVE BEEN READING YOUR BLOG, AND A BOOK WOULD BE AWSOME. LIKE YOU SAID, JUST TO HAVE SOME IDEA OF WHAT TO EXPECT. YOUR WORDS ARE TOUCHING AND UPLIFTING AND YOUR SPIRIT IS SO STRONG. WITH ALL YOU HAVE ENDURED YOU SHOULD SHARE IT MORE THAN YOU ALREADY HAVE,YOU WILL FOREVER BE ABLE TO BLESS OTHERS.

Stacy said...

I think your book is a great idea. I mean you did the journaling so you might as well get the credit for it.
I have loved "hearing" the positiveness in your words. I hope to be able to appreciate life as much as you do. I cry a lot when I read you blog but i think it is cause I am pregnant and I cry at everything, but from one mom to another... you really touch me.
Congrats on a year. better start keeping a tally cause there will be many many more.

Lexi said...

What an amazing year its been! I love you so much and I'm so grateful for your example.