Well…I lied to you. I said in the previous blog that that would be my last one before my stem cell transplant. But the thought of not writing just one more before going into the hospital tomorrow just didn’t feel right. So here we are.
I Learned that Courage was not the Absence of Fear, But the Triumph Over It – Nelson Mandela
I’d like to first start by saying a huge THANK YOU to Sivan Photography for recently doing a photo shoot with my family and I. I’m sad to say it was hard to get through due to how I was feeling at the time. I wished I could have enjoyed it a bit more but alas, stupid cancer is always successful with changing one’s plans. I mentioned briefly in my last blog about the worst side effect I’ve had thus far which is the skin rash
and swollen face. Even my eye lids were swollen making my eyes look a bit lopsided hence the large sunglasses! These were very prominent on the day of the shoot but I was bound and determined to not let cancer ruin this day. Plus, something I ended up actually loving was how real the pictures are. I have cancer. Bottom line. I dressed up as lovely as I could but no makeup was worn and I have a bald head. Thank you leukemia for humbling me greatly this year.
Sivan and her associate photographer, Whitney, did such an amazing job that day with the shoot. Even with the pain, it was so much fun just doing something different and fun with my family. And praise to both of these wonderful ladies for capturing my parents smiling and looking decent in pictures! I know you probably think that’s mean, but they both openly admit that they hate having their pictures taken and usually run from a camera. So excellent job to these two who didn’t allow that to happen. I’m going to share with you a few of my favorites throughout this blog.
Camp Mann is Blowing Up
All the World’s a Stage talked about the upcoming Fundraiser, Camp Mann, and how awesome of an event it is going to be. Unfortunately, I will not be able to be there physically in person. However, I will certainly be there in spirit. And if chemo allows me, I will be Facetimed throughout the whole event! One cool moment this week was when I did my on camera speech with Digital Brew who also is going to be the production company filming the entire event. You know…after having cancer, not much scares you. After taking my time getting ready that morning and reading over the speech a few times, I was ready to go. Few takes and we were done. Fingers crossed it looks as good as it felt. And it felt good. Mainly because it allowed me to thank people, something I feel like I can’t do enough of lately.
Another pretty awesome thing that happened this week was reading an article today done in the Orlando Sentinel on Camp Mann. Feel free to read the online article here: Sunday’s Camp Mann will be fun and games for a serious cause. It will be featured in the newspaper tomorrow, July 24th. This all in addition to 96.5 morning radio show talking about Camp Mann in the morning as well. Mind – Blown. I would like to take a moment to Thank a few people that have gone above and beyond. Big City Catering’s Tom, Tracy, & Kristina. Without this company, Camp Mann would not be happening. In addition, they have brought us food countless times to the hospital as well as my house so that we don’t need to worry about where our next meal is coming from. Also, Andrae Bailey, who has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I’ve ever met. I could do an entire Blog on continuing to thank people, but if you attend Camp Mann, be sure to watch my video! I’m sure we’ll be posting the video online as well once available.
I’m being admitted into the hospital tomorrow morning at 6:30am. I have a few days of chemo then radiation. On Thursday, July 31st, 2014 I will be having my stem cell transplant. A lot of people look at this day as a new birthday since it is almost like being reborn. My immune system and counts are going to be completed depleted and I will be getting brand new blood in my body. Interesting fact…did you know that my blood type could change after this?! The serious stuff? After everything I’ve been through this year, this is the start of the hardest part. My recovery is a year minimum. It could take as long as 2 years. The first 100 days are the most crucial and I will be monitored very closely. I will be in the hospital for 30-60 days after the transplant. There are many things that can happen during and after the transplant but my understanding is that complete exhaustion is the worst part. It’s so crippling that some patients sleep most of their days away, don’t feel like showering, eating, or walking. This is what has been on my mind the closer we’ve gotten to the inevitable. A transplant is the only hope I have for survival. The question I ask myself every day…”will I make it?”
So when you’re sitting in traffic that’s making you late to work; or you’re out to dinner and your food is taking longer than it should; or you’re feeling down about not having enough money to make a purchase you’ve been wanting to make; don’t sweat the small stuff. Know that there are people out there like me that just want a fighting chance. Small things don’t cross our minds anymore. We just want to live another day and continue to love those in our life that deserve our love. All of the “small things” that I mentioned are all things that past Michele has worried about. How stupid. Some may get upset when they read this because I find that honesty can make people uncomfortable. I’m just keepin’ it real.
Dear Husband, Parents, Brother, Close Friends, Acquaintances, & Strangers;
I am so sorry I got cancer. I sometimes think back to that day I went to the ER and wonder how my life would be right now if instead of a cancer diagnosis I had gotten different news. “Michele, we need to treat you for an infection. It’s nothing serious but we’ll need to keep you for just a few days and then you’ll be on your way.” I would be living life right now. I’d be running my company getting both excited and upset about the ups and downs that come along with that. I would have gone on that cruise back in February that ended up being cancelled due to my diagnosis. Exercising on a regular basis would still be a huge part of my life. Oh how I miss working out. I’d be going out with those closest to me on the weekends discovering new restaurants and cool bars. But I can’t think like this because that wasn’t in the cards for me. I have to stay strong though. I can’t lose faith or a positive attitude. The second I do is the second I could fail you. And failure is not an option. I have to make it through this. I’m not done…I have so much more to still do here and I refuse to believe this is it. Your love and support mean so much to me. Also, your prayers. And I must ask you to keep praying more now than ever. I pray that God agrees with me and allows me to stay here for as long as possible. Please know that you mean so much to me and I will never forget everything you have done to make me smile. All right guys…I’m flippin’ out of here (Scott’s oddball saying). I’ll be seeing you soon.
With all of my Love,
Deb Johns says
you have turned out to be such a huge surprise to me. so very much more than the little blonde beauty that my son went ga ga over. they say huge surprises can come in very small pretty packages. wow! i am truly humbled by your extraordinary capacity for true courage in the face of immutable odds, the huge heart that thinks of others when you are down the most and the soul that shines brighter than any ten suns even on the darkest days. you are my hero evermore…i love you!