MJ is Bald

“MJ is bald and he’s the greatest.” -Chris Conrad 

Seven words. Boom. He’s great and he’s bald, I’m bald, so I’m great? Totally, right?! Coach Conrad for the encouragement win! 

In all seriousness though, there are a million other words of encouragement you’ve sent since Wednesday that got me here today on top of those seven words. I am so appreciative of all of you!!  I write tonight with the sole purpose of making sure you know how much I needed your support this week & how I’m functioning today because of all of you. I’m not totally out of my funk yet but I’m feeling leaps and bounds better than I did Wednesday. Team Beef for the win! 

As for me and the hair, I did finally look in the mirror this morning. Truth be told I had the actual reveal via google hangouts with my bestie Kaela. She pushed me to take off my hat while also trying to convince me that I could in fact pull off a scarf. She and her husband are coming to visit in two weeks, we shall see if she’s right! I also washed my “hair” for the first time today. So weird. As for looking in the mirror? It’s not that bad. I haven’t taken my hat off yet though. The Hawks are getting a ton of support from me these days. πŸ˜‚ I haven’t found my courage to rock my bald head yet. As I’m sorting life out since Wednesday, the bald sucks but it really is the symbol of cancer that is getting me. The symbol of all I’ve lost. But. The hair part isn’t changing so I’ve got to change my attitude. I’m giving myself through noon tomorrow to be a baby about it and then onward & upward. You can’t start 2017 in a funk! I have said it to a few of you now but I am 100% convinced that cancer is just as much a mental game as it is a physical game, so a bald head can’t stand in the way of my mental game heading into a chemo week. I promise to be brave enough soon to post a pic. My awesome husband came home Wednesday with a shaved head. Granted, it was about a half of an inch of hair sacrifice (πŸ˜‚), but it meant the world. And now we are twins so as soon as I’m brave enough, I’ll share with you all. 

Thank you a million times for picking me up in one of my hardest weeks since this all started. You guys are doing more for me & Kevin than you will ever know! So much love for all of you!! 

I’m on a three day break from treatment thanks to the New Year, so very thankful for that. No plans yet for the weekend as we were planning on it being a “chemo weekend.” Stay tuned! 

Beef

So long, HairΒ 

It’s been an awful day, to say the least. I found myself wanting to write to organize my thoughts & to remember this moment some day when I look back on this journey. I also found myself not wanting to write though, to protect you all from what days like these feel like. It’s dark. But you’ve been with me this far, I’ll let you in! 

The rational side of my brain says it’s just hair. It’ll grow back. You’ve been through so much worse, just look at the scars on your body. It’s not who you are. It’s not what makes you, you. I know all of that and I conceptually get it. 

And yet I’d compare today to that of what that Monday when I was first diagnosed with all of this felt like. To what that day I had surgery and woke up to my new reality felt like. Maybe even worse really. When my hair hit that ground today, it’s as if the reality of all of this hit me at a million miles per hour. It’s as if the loss of my hair made the reality of cancer unavoidable any longer. I felt like I got punched in my gut to be honest. You’d think the daily hospital visits or the first round of chemo would’ve made it real, but it didn’t. This did. As I drove home, I was listening to that song Held that I wrote about. One of the lines is, “how it feels to have the sacred torn from your life, and you survive…” Pretty on par for my life right now, right? Cancer is no joke but cancer didn’t just take my hair, it took my daughter from me and I think that hit me more than anything today. I felt this new ache I haven’t felt before that I can’t explain. I think I’m processing for the first time that because of cancer, I will never hold my daughter. It’s so unfair. It is so wrong. It feels so extreme. It sucks. It makes me angry! And so, so sad. My hair is now the public sign to the world of all that I’ve lost. There’s no hiding from this anymore. But it just all seems so unbelievable still. How did this become my story?  

To all of you who texted today, thank you. I have had trouble finding the words to respond but your encouragement means everything. It is needed, it’s felt & I appreciate it so much. 

A huge thank you to our dear friend Mrs. King who had to shave my head today. Talk about the short end of the stick for her and yet she handled it all & me so gracefully. 10 minutes before my appointment at the cancer center, they called to tell me their lady ‘called in sick.’ How terrible is that? But it all worked out for the best. Mrs. King is the best. She knew to not even turn my chair to the mirror once. She gave me the biggest hug and said just the right things. I will always remember her compassion on this day!

I haven’t looked in the mirror yet. I will. I am thankful it’s over with. It became impossible to lift a brush to my head knowing what I’d look down at. My hair became so thin and patchy, it was gross. I slept in a winter hat last night to not have to wake up to a depressing pillow. Once I clean my bathroom floor, this will be a stage over. That’s a big win for me over cancer, even though the day as a whole feels like a loss. 

This too shall pass. My rational brain will kick in. My humor will find its way in dealing with this. Apple will release a bald emoji because it’s the least they can do. I will not let cancer win this battle (or the war). I know all of this to be true. But for today, cancer SUCKS. 

Beef

Buzzkill

The setting is such: a room in Dr. Potkul’s office, Mar Bear & Kevin with the mom-proclaimed-hockey-size-bag of chemo activities (the bag is that big, but 7 hours is a long time!) jammed under their tiny chairs. Me on the table, hydrating on that chemo water schedule. Doc walks in, casually drops a, “no treatment today, counts are too low.” Say what?! None of us even knew that could be a possibility! #buzzkill #mybodystrikesagain 

So, no chemo this week. Who knew! There goes my plan, yet again! But I was kind of proud because one of my questions was about my white blood count as it was showing a 1 something on my last test result when the normal range starts at 3. I’m a very curious human so I like trying to make sense of all the science of this stuff.  So yes, my white blood counts were too low for chemo. If I weren’t in radiation right now, they could have given me a med for it but since I am, we must hold off. It becomes a waiting game, I’m scheduled to try again a week from today. Such a buzz kill as I was mentally ready to go but I guess it is a nice week reprieve. Dr. Potkul is the renaissance man though, he took my stitches out for me today! He shook his head as he came in the room calling me the Frequent Flyer at Loyola. πŸ˜‚

After that I had radiation per usual & also met with my radiation oncologists. They too were giving me a hard time about my finger but were impressed with Dr. Potkul taking the stitches out. I love how much I laugh with these doctors. They are quite funny! The side effects of radiation are hitting my body harddddd right now (no exaggeration with all those d’s). It’s made for some rough days. 10 more to go & then likely 3 internal radiation sessions. Do you know what the ‘possible side effects’ of radiation are? Cancer. I laugh because it reminds me of the Friends episode when Phoebe has a headache and takes a pill only to read that the possible side effect of the medicine is a headache. Shaking my head but obviously the chances are quite small and the reward for my current cancer is necessary. I do hate hearing those things though. It’s unnecessary worry in a worry wart brain like mine. File that one away, Beef! Good news is my skin is holding up well. A lot of times with radiation you get what’s like a bad sun burn. I’ve managed to escape that so far. Keep the lotion flowing! 

I’ll tell you again that cancer is truly shattering everything about who I am, making me be ok with things so outside of my norm. A plan is always my best friend. And then cancer happens and you quite literally can’t plan a thing. I’m learning you have to learn to do three things really well: roll with the punches, make the most of the good days & know the bad moments will break in due time. So here I am today, one day better at that. I’m bummed that this is another week tacked onto the process but say that out loud again Beef, it’s one week. Own it as a gift of a week reprieve, and assuming I stay away from wine glasses, perhaps it was just meant to be a quiet week of recovery from the chemo perspective.

So here are the three things I could use your prayers for though! 

1.) My white blood count – let it rebound like Dennis Rodman on the 90’s Bulls. I asked my Doctor what I could do to help it today, it really is just time but he did also respond with, “eat.” Yes sir! Doctors orders. We are scheduled to try chemo again next Tuesday at 8am, my labs are at 7am. Radiation works better with chemo so we’d all love to get another round in! 

2.) My body & the radiation side effects. Just pray that I continue to battle. Pray for some reprieve. I appreciate so much how attentive my doctors are in trying everything to make this as manageable as possible. 

3.) Quite literally my head, and thus my heart. I woke up this morning to a pillow with what looked like a full head of hair on it. I got out of the shower and my bathroom floor looked like a salon floor. Thank God I have such thick hair! I have an appointment tomorrow at the cancer center at 9am to shave it all off. Cancer can play on its own terms in a lot of ways & it does, but this is the one we play on my terms with. I don’t know if I’ll laugh or cry during, probably both but I’m relieved to know there’s an end to the current emotional torment. There’s a reason I got stitches in my middle finger, it’s because I can flip off cancer and it be ok and you better believe I’m giving cancer a huge middle finger over this part. But tomorrow we move forward as bald Beef and I will own it! Bald Beef has a great ring to it, don’t ya think? Anyways, pray for my heart tomorrow and that I rebound fast to know cancer can take my hair but it can’t take my spirit or my smile! And send cute hat suggestions, I don’t think I can pull off scarves. πŸ™‚

For now, I’m off to nap. Low white blood counts make you sleepy so at least I feel better now for always being so tired! #medicallyexcused Have a great day and cheers to this never ending roller coaster that’s keeping us on our toes!

Beef

Merry Christmas!

Yawning as I start to type this, but it’s a well earned yawn. We had a heck of a Christmas hosting our families in our new home! I’ll start with all the good – pictures tell the story best, so here we go! 

We hosted both of our families for Christmas Eve – 15 humans! It was amazing having both families gathered at one table for dinner. You better believe I pulled an Aunt Bethany from Christmas Vacation and led our families with “grace,” aka the Pledge of Allegiance! Super funny. Don’t worry, we had a beautiful actual blessing too, thanks to Kevin’s Dad. Here’s an action shot:After the successful Conrad White Elephant last weekend, we decided to do it again with both families. It was so much fun again! And here’s a few more pics from the evening: 

Today we celebrated Christmas morning with a casserole feast before heading to Kev & Erica’s new home for Christmas dinner. We replicated our standard staircase photo in their home:And yes, we are laughing so hard because twice in a row I tripped UP the stairs while taking these photos. Can’t take me anywhere! 

Christmas has been about as abnormal as it could come this year with all that’s going on but we sure made the most of it. We have two incredible families willing to go the extra mile for us & Kevin and I loved every minute of having both our families together for Christmas Eve. Special things can truly happen even in the hardest of times. I wouldn’t trade anything about Christmas this year and I’d like to think Hallie had a heck of a first Christmas in Heaven, smiling down at all the fun we were able to have. 

This weekend has been bittersweet in terms of the cancer though. I tell ya, this beast knows no boundaries! Doesn’t cancer know Christmas is my jam, leave me alone?! Friday night I lost my first good chunk of hair in the shower. I sobbed. Like, really sobbed. God took care of me though, as this was before high tea with my Mama, Sheila, Mama Peyton & Erica. My tears were quickly replaced with laughter, memories & a good Christmas sing a long. Then last night on Christmas Eve while we were playing Catch Phrase after dinner, I scratched my head only to have another big chunk of hair come out. It fell on my pants and I had this moment where externally I was laughing at the game going on while fighting every urge internally to not start balling. God once again provided me an outlet in such a dark moment and it came in the form of watching my parents try to play catch phrase- it was comical! I started playing with my hair after that point though and it’d come out in chunks all too easily. I called my Mom over and she pulled it all away from me like the amazing Mama that she is. I woke up this morning to a pillow full of hair & had to stop blow drying my hair this afternoon because it was falling out so much. I cried again. I don’t know why it’s so hard but it is. It’s my last bit of normalcy. Once I lose my hair, I’m officially a cancer patient to the world. I will have to work extra hard to be Beef, not a cancer patient. I was so crushed, Christmas after all is my holiday! By then yet again, God delivered a great time at Kev & Erica’s for Christmas dinner. We spent the evening reliving childhood memories with the siblings, lots of laughter!! It was the perfect day. And I hoped and prayed to keep my hair through Christmas, so I’m thankful that happened. I will likely shave my head the first chance I can with chemo this week. I can’t explain the emotional toll every chunk takes on my heart. I don’t think I can or want to deal with this much longer. Best to do the thing that sucks, own it and move on. A shot at a cure sure as heck tops hair any day. Focus on that, Beef! 

I will take a moment to thank ALL of you for your support through all of this. As Kevin’s Dad prayed last night, he said a thanks for all the support we’ve gotten and my goodness is that the truth. I don’t know where we’d be without our families first & without all of you, our warriors. We are so thankful for every prayer, act of kindness, care package, text, call, etc. We hope you all had an amazing Christmas with your families!! 

As for this week, we thankfully have an off day tomorrow before chemo round #2 starts Tuesday. I’m nervous. I now know what to expect. I have a doctors appointment Tuesday morning before and I have a list of questions to ask to best prepare. The way I see it, it is 3 days of “ok” (Tuesday-Thursday) followed by 3ish really hard days (Friday-Sunday/Monday). Start praying now for no complications! Pray for smooth sailing considering. Pray for a calm heart, knowing that it’s going to be hard yes but we are halfway done after! And only 11 radiations to go.

For now though, spending our night counting the blessings we have as we close out Christmas 2016. We send all of our love & thanks for all that you have each done for us & all that you each mean to us. Merry Christmas!

All our love, 

Kevin & Bethany

Four Years Down!Β 

4 years since the legendary day/night of 12.21.12! Not sure how that’s possible, time flies when you’re having fun!! 

I look back on that day with so much love & happiness in my heart. Everything was perfect, the dream Christmas wedding come true. We even got the snow on our wedding eve, which made for the most beautiful pictures in front of that red barn, but it was freezing! Our wedding party were quite the troopers. Even the DJ getting into a car accident and arriving at our ceremony late couldn’t ruin the day! πŸ˜‚ At one point during the reception I vividly remember turning to Kevin, looking around together and saying how amazed we were at all the people that gathered for us & all the love in the room. I remember there being so much laughter everywhere! I said it in a previous post but I’m still convinced Anna & Sean had the best maid of honor & best man speeches. Cowboy swag, right Anna?! My Dad breaking out a Notre Dame shirt in solidarity was quite the hat tip. Moe shouting out, “he’s a punter!” when my Dad called Kevin an athlete in his speech. Our wedding party starting a ‘Beef & Hart’ chant as we were introduced into the reception. Our wedding party dance to Chicken Fried. Kevin stepping on my dress during our first dance and then my Dad doing the same thing. I almost went down twice! Kevin’s neighbor thankfully fixed my dress with a few safety pins. We have the most amazing memories from that day. Can’t forget Moe playing taps for Kevin right before the ceremony, jerk! πŸ˜‚ We were surrounded by so many incredible people that day. 

Weddings are just one day though (although I’d love for a party like that every so often!). Marriage is what it’s really about and I don’t think I knew anything about the true meaning of marriage until 10.20.16. Kevin and I have had our ups and downs and things to endure as everyone has before then, but what I’ve seen in Kevin since has changed my view on what marriage is forever. When we took that vow of in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, I could’ve never imagined this would be our time of sickness, our bad time. During our ceremony, part of Pastor Coffey’s message was being willing to have a love strong enough to persevere.He couldn’t even know how close I hold on to those words now. How perfect! Every day it’s a battle to persevere but even as I reflect on the past two months, the first memories that come to mind aren’t the moments of despair, they are the moments with Kevin where we’ve found laughter or a smile in the hardest moments. My favorite sadly being right after surgery, when I was still coming too and Kevin shared Hallie’s footprints and handprints with me, I’ll never forget that moment. I’ll never forget the strength and sadness in Kevin’s eyes but mostly the pride he had in sharing the sweet memory of our daughter with me. Kevin has been my rock, my provider, my source of laughter. He gave up being my medicine dispenser after taking an elbow to the forehead one 3am wake up call. He has been a husband forced to do things and go through things that no one should ever have too and yet he does it like a pro. It’s a whole new kind of love I have for Kevin, it’s an appreciation I can’t even describe. The fourth year of our marriage brought quite the roller coaster of emotions and while the loss of Hallie is a hole in our hearts we will never fully heal from, I know we will be better for all of this. I have no idea how or why but I continue to trust that even our 5th year will start to show us moments of hope. And knowing us, we will find a way to make the most of the year. You learn a whole new perspective on life with cancer, our goal this year is beat this first, than make the most of every opportunity. Life’s too short for anything less. And we will continue to try and make Hallie proud in all that we do. 

Love you Kevin, thank you for your love and your strength. I don’t know how you do it. Cheers to many, many more years of us against the world! 

We received an incredible anniversary gift from my parents – a photo shoot before I lose my hair. Assist goes to Maureen, a teacher from Benet that has been so generous to us, who hooked my parents up with this amazing photographer Jeremiah. The pictures are amazing. Snow, again! And Paisley steals the show in one, of course, while Toews is perfectly posed. Great memories to have. Aren’t these incredible?! Thank you Mom & Dad!! 

Can’t Even Make this Up!

I feel like the title of this post is the perfect tag line for my life right now, you truly can’t even make this up! Moe, Sheila & Hadley came by last night and while Hadley was busy entertaining us (she calls Anna ‘Princess,’ so Anna is in love!), there was one point where she started to cry but then it instantaneously turned into laughter. That I think is also the perfect representation of my emotions right now! Kids are the best. 

I’m writing this on Tuesday morning, take two. Bless my sisters heart for dealing with me on take one this morning. I woke up earlier than normal since I had labs before radiation with a very sore finger and right arm from the tentanus shot. I looked in the mirror to see super short hair, a cute cut dont get me wrong, but it’s just a strong reminder of what’s coming. I then walked into my room to find Paisley puking on the white carpet. It was either from the K Cups he destroyed on our new living room rug or the gift for my sister in law he chewed. We went on our way to radiation and as we were driving home I told my sister I needed an attitude adjustment, a crabby morning and a looming week of chemo got the best of me. She’s a great listener and great at helping me process what’s really stressing me out. Oh but it didn’t stop there. We walked into a house with garbage strewn everywhere from Paisley destroying the garbage – and that, that got the best of me. Anna quickly cleaned it all up and sent me to bed. Here I am for take two on the morning, thankful for a sister that takes such good care of me & probably spared the life of Paisley. I don’t think I have the authorization but I’m close to offering him for free to a good home! 

Forget the medical updates for today, lets back up to what you really can’t make up, everything that transpired to those three dang stitches in my middle finger. After radiation & my doctors appointment yesterday, Mrs. King, our great family friend cut my hair. Almost 4 years ago to the date, she was doing my hair for my wedding. This obviously wasn’t as fun, but I so appreciate her & the way she took care of me yesterday. Alex, my sisters best friend & my bonus little sister also came to support the cause! I don’t know how much time I’ll have left with my hair with round two next week. From what I hear, once it really starts, it goes fast. The shorter length will at least make the transition a bit easier. I hate that I’m losing my hair, I didn’t think I’d struggle with it so much. After everything I’ve been through so far it seems so trivial but it just sucks! Cancer sucks. But at least, yet again, my army carries me through a tough part. 

Anna and I had a lovely sister day downtown Downers Grove. The shops are adorable, such good stuff! We got home and started to unpack a few boxes into our new dining room hutch. One box had 8 wine glasses we received for our wedding that we’ve never had the space to use. They are long stemmed & beautiful! I figured Christmas would be the perfect time to use them. Anna started washing them before we put them away and despite her efforts to get me to just go sit down, I became the dish dryer. Well, sister knows best. A few minutes later I managed to break a stem so perfectly that it punctured my left middle finger. It was a bloody mess, quite literally. Historically Anna does not do well with blood so the fact that she championed the situation was big news! We web md’d how to know if stitches are needed – it said to apply firm pressure for 10 minutes and if it’s still bleeding, stitches are likely needed. Well, fast forward an hour and a half when we were at the immediate care and it was stillllll bleeding, so we made the right call in going! They did an X-ray to make sure no glass was in my finger, sewed me up with three stitches, gave me a tetanus shot & prescribed me an antibiotic since my white blood counts are a little low from chemo. This body can’t do infections so better safe than sorry! I’m wracking up quite the battle wounds on this body & I better be Loyola Patient #1 at this point! On a high note, my body fully cooperated this past weekend. Kevin & I had a great date day & night on Saturday, with lunch out, Monoply and Christmas movies. My family had our first annual White Elephant party that was a blast. And yes, my mom did steal from a cancer patient but was awarded $0 on those scratch offs. πŸ˜‚ Kev & Erica I think won overall. Brian has a talent for balloon animal making and the duck hunter game was a big hit with the boys. My mom bought Kevin the moose cups & moose punch bowl from Christmas Vacation for Christmas, she made homemade egg nog to serve in them! Here are a few pics the day:

I’m in this weird mix of emotions of wanting time to slow down to enjoy the holiday but desperately wanting time to speed up to be done with all this nonsense. Doing my best to live in the moment. Lord knows you can’t look past the moment because you literally don’t know what you’re going to get! In the meantime, bubble wrap it is for me. 

Update: I posted this and walked downstairs to find Paisley *standing* on our brand new ottoman coffee table my parents got us for Christmas. You literally can’t make this stuff up!! 

ThursdayΒ 

How to start today’s post. Let’s see, raise your hand if you feel like this week has been a roller coaster! πŸ™‹πŸΌ And on that note, why don’t they have redhead emojis?! Or bald emojis, I’ll rock those just as proudly soon enough.

Radiation went smoothly today. I met with Dr. Small & Angela again, I have a CT scan Tuesday for my abdomen. We think the pain is surgery + chemo/radiation related but they just want to make sure nothing else is going on. More barium for Beef, fa la la la la. 

I was instructed to start eating ASAP. Eating as in lots of calories, milkshakes to be exact. If you say so, Doc! Angela laughed and said let’s maybe start with some high protein things like eggs and avocados, ease our way back into it. Calories are very necessary when your body is battling through chemo & radiation. My mom asked if I was craving anything and I said funny you ask, during radiation all I could think about was a piece of pizza from Sams. Their pizza is amazing! So we got that. The crust is just so dang fluffy. And then she made me a broccoli, cheese & egg casserole. One of my faves. 

Today marks my six week surgi-versary. I’m proud of how far I’ve come physically in those six weeks. I’m only really reminded of it physically when I’m sitting up from laying down or getting out of bed. What makes my heart so heavy today is I should be 25 weeks pregnant. I’m well aware of how far I have to go emotionally from what we lost that day. I spent some time unpacking our curio box this afternoon. Before all this happened, the top shelf was filled with so many beautiful momentos from our wedding. Today I moved all of that down to the second and third shelf. The top shelf now displays everything we have of our sweet Hallie: the wreath and the flowers from our memorial service, (I tried one night with Kevin, Sean & Hilary to read the messages on the wreath and I read one, Brianna’s, before they took it away from me. It was just the sweetest note.), the slides of her footprints and hand prints & a few things people have sent us in her memory. It’s all so precious. It’s orange! But it’s all so impossibly sad. And hard. I keep trying to find hope in that this was the moment for which you were created sweet girl, but I hate that moment right now. I want so much more of Hallie than a shelf! 

While we were going through those impossible first 2-3 weeks of endless doctors appointments after I was diagnosed and before we knew the route we’d have to take, my mom sent me this song, Held, by Natalie Grant. (Listen to it here but grab tissues, fair warning!) I listened to it a lot in the worst of moments those first couple of weeks. I listened to it the morning of Hallie’s service & I think I’ve listened to it 100 times already this afternoon. It’s beautiful. It gets me through these kind of moments, the worst. 

One more day of radiation for the week and then a nice two day reprieve from the hospital. Body, I would love full cooperation on that! 

Stay warm tonight!! 

Beef

Two Thumbs Up!

πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ» I’m going to give the credit to you & the power of prayers & positive thoughts from #teambeef — my hemoglobin count went up enough today that I didn’t need a blood transfusion! Thanks for rallying around me! And on a side note, whoever told me a port would be my best friend, you were the most right person ever. It doesn’t even hurt to give blood anymore! 

Radiation went smoothly today. I was still having the stomach pain this morning in between pain med rounds but fortunately the pain meds do keep it under control. Sticking with the liquid diet through tomorrow’s appointment. I’ll take the win with the counts though! I’ve also reconnected with my dear friend Melissa from growing up who is a pediatric oncology nurse – she has made herself available to me to become an expert on this cancer learning curve. I’ve already learned that the two times I nearly passed out Sunday would totally have been from the low hemoglobin! I also know now you have to transfuse at 7-8. I was an 8 yesterday, an 11 today. It also explains why Sheila kept saying I looked so pale! Look at all the progress I’ve made on two of my three requests in just 24 short hours! I’m beginning to think this blog has some Christmas magic in it. πŸ™‚ 

My Christmas activity today included my mom finding a perfect pine bush in our backyard with the, according to her, “best pine comes ever!” to complete our dining room table setting for Christmas Eve. I’m obsessed with it. Hosting is my favorite thing in the world, I can’t wait to be healthy to have people over. There will be an epic housewarming party, I promise! 

That’s my quick update for you today. Thank you so much for the prayers yesterday. You all humble me so much, over & over again. Keep those prayers coming for my appt tomorrow and for more good days then bad days. We will get used to all of this, one step at a time! 

All my love,

Beef

Three Requests

I’m quickly realizing that this blog serves so many purposes. Sometimes it’s a therapeutic outlet for me (thanks for indulging), a lot of times it’s an easy tool to keep everyone in the loop, today it’s a pure medium of request for prayers. Three requests specifically. I know, I’m getting greedy but I promise they’re needed. 

It has been a really hard day.

First: my adventure to radiation with Sheila today ended up being radiation + a few hours at the hospital. Sorry Sheila!! There’s no shame in our friendship after today, but I will tell you how much I love having her by my side through this. Cheesy but she is the type of person that always makes you feel like everything is going to be ok. I started having pain in my stomach when we got there for radiation – it was what I’d imagine contractions to be – sharp pains that came and went. After radiation, I met with my amazing doctors and nurse and they quickly got the ball rolling on taking care of me. For as much progress as I made yesterday, I felt just as crappy today. They sent me off to X-rays first to make sure I didn’t have a bowel obstruction, which can happen with the surgery I had. X-rays thankfully came back negative. I then was sent for fluids and morphine. See ya later Beef. We are going to monitor for two days – the way it’s explained to me is chemo and radiation are very hard on your body and when you’re also recovering from a major surgery, some of those side effects all overlap to create some side effects that suck. Some side effect you learn to live with and others you don’t, abdominal pain you don’t. While we monitor, I’m on an all liquids diet + pain meds. If things don’t get better, we will do a CT scan. So, first request – pray that it’s just a side effect and “this too shall pass.” 

Second: my nurse just called and my hemoglobin counts are really low so I need to go back in tomorrow morning before radiation for another CBC. If they are still that low, a blood transfusion might be necessary. That’s just freaky. So second request: let those counts be where they need to be tomorrow morning! I guess if they aren’t and a blood transfusion is what makes you feel better, we will conquer it but doesn’t it sound freaky?! I asked my brother if we could get that Cutler blood! 

Third: I’m exhausted, I’m emotionally exhausted. I swear these tears today aren’t my fault, that’s the morphine. Cancer is not a battle, cancer is a freaking war. A war with 100 battles to win just in a day, it seems sometimes. I know I will get acclimated to this and I know this too shall pass, but for right now it’s hard getting used to this world of counts and side effects and everything else. I’m learning this requires you to pay attention to every signal your body is giving you and it’s a learning curve to what you act on and what you don’t. So my third request for today: pray that I catch on quick to this cancer learning curve and pray that we find peace in some weird way of all this nonsense. Aka we learn how to trust our “cancer instincts.” 

For now I’m home in bed. Home Alone is on tap for my next Christmas movie wise. Kevin is running to Walgreens for the 33rd time I think this week. Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking some time today to read this one and thank you in advance for all the prayers and positive thoughts. My army = true squad goals! 

So much love,

Beef

Well, that was Hard.

First quarter complete, but alright chemo, I see you. Plain and simple, those days were really hard. I escaped any actual vomiting but man oh man, did it knock me on my butt hard. Not knowing how it is going to affect you messes with you as much mentally as the physical symptoms do. Sunday was my worst day, followed by Saturday. Yesterday was very hard emotionally too for a variety of reasons and it was topped off with an unplanned visit to immediate care. The moments you always feel like you’re going to break are often the ones that dawn a new day, I’ve learned to trust that in whole new ways these days. It actually brings a ton of comfort in those dark moments. For all of you who texted, thank you so much. I was so out of it and didn’t respond much but please know how much the messages of encouragement meant to me in those moments. It literally makes me feel like I have so much to keep going for, so thank you!

As with everything, this too shall pass and here I am, rebounding from round 1. 1 round of chemo down, 3 to go. 5 days of radiation down, 20 to go.

I feel leaps and bounds better today than I did yesterday. I’m still quite exhausted and quite groggy but leaps and bounds better – physically, emotionally and mentally. My mental toughness is 100x stronger alone, thanks to a Jay Cutler-tackling-the-crap-out-of-a-guy gif I woke up too from my brother this morning as he encouraged me to tackle the week of radiation head on. Jay for the win, Chris for the win.

Schedule for the week is easy: 5 days of radiation. Kevin and I endured the blizzard fallout this morning to tackle day one, my bestie Sheila is taking me Tuesday & Thursday (she’s a saint!) and my Mom and sister are taking me Wednesday and Friday. I’m super excited for my sister to be in town come Thursday!

A special shout out to the girls basketball team at Charlotte Catholic, where my cousin coaches. They sent me an incredible pair of CC sweats and you better believe I rocked them today at radiation. They are amazing, thank you!! Have a great season and take it from me, shoot the ball!

My goal for the week is to enjoy every moment of Christmas. I have some serious time to make up and as I feel a bit better everyday from chemo, I want to make the most of the time we have left! I bought some wrapping paper today so there’s my task to go for perhaps tomorrow. For today, I’m posted up in our chair by our (fake) fire, listening to Christmas music, happy as a clam considering, hydrating this grogginess away.

I was standing at our window this morning watching the dogs play in the snow and I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed at how much good is going on in our lives amidst all this s*** (sorry Mom). I’m thankful I can have those moments and I trust y’all to keep challenging me to find those moments! Kevin and I had a really neat moment yesterday afternoon – the snow was blizzarding beautifully and there was this big cardinal sitting in our tree outside of our window – as if to say, everything is going to be ok when this passes. And Kevin? What a champ. We’ve been in this house for a week now and he has warriored through so much of it (and thank you to all our helping hands!!). I would come to at different moments this weekend to hear him shoveling the driveway, unpacking the master room, stuffing boxes into the crawl space, emptying out the garage. You all would be so impressed with how put together this home is already. And then to top it off? I wake up this morning to my favorite outfit laid out for treatment. He is literally doing it all for me! It brings tears to my eyes, I’m so thankful for him. And I’m so proud of our house! Our 4 year anniversary is coming up next week — how crazy is that? Still my favorite day ever, that wedding. The perfect snow the night before, those pictures at the red barn, the moment during our reception where Kevin and I stopped and just marveled at all the people who were there for us and how special that was. It’s funny because I feel that on a whole new level these days with the ways you’ve all shown up for us in this battle. I’ll save the sappy for our actual anniversary but trust me, I have a lot to share!

Alright well re-reading this one makes me realize how jumbled my brain really is still, but at least it’s an update & at least it is my brain getting some exercise. Radio silence is never a good thing around here, ha! Thank you a 100 times for your prayers and keep them coming. And go out today and celebrate Christmas in some sort of fun way, only what, 13 days to go?!

Beef