Monday, October 12, 2015


During my journey this year, my sister called me a warrior.  I'll be the first to admit that at the beginning, I didn't feel much like a warrior.  Let's be honest, the first couple of days after my diagnosis, I was tired, scared and overwhelmed.  I will say I was surrounded by warriors though.

My general practitioner Dr. Tina Blachut--she sent me to the emergency room so that I could get a confirming CT scan immediately rather than wait over a weekend for the grim diagnosis.  She also sat with me while I collected myself after hearing the first suggestion that what I had might be more than a simple stomach ailment.

My Mom--who in spite of battling the flu was a steadying voice on the drive from the doctor's office to the emergency room.  She also rounded up several more members of my army as I like to call them so I didn't have to sit in the ER alone.

My aunts Rita and Mary (aka ReeRee and Mar)--they sat with me in the ER while I cracked nervous jokes, harassed unsuspecting ER doctors and tried to keep my sister out of the trees via text.  They also helped with the beagle that first day and ReeRee was my afternoon companion at chemo who brought lunch and an extra pair of ears for visits with my oncologist.  Mar kept my email filled with encouragement though chemo.

My hubby Chris who got to deal with my diagnosis the same day he buried his best friend and did it with grace and strength and humor.  I also honestly think he spent the first few weeks watching me sleep.  He also worked full time and did everything around the house while I rested and then still did most things as my strength came back, encouraging me to save my strength for my battle.

My sister Carrie who blew up my phone that afternoon in the ER craving information that at first I didn't have and then didn't want to share and then buckled down to be my biggest cheerleader during chemo in spite of her fears and the memory of her mother in law's battle fresh in her mind.  Our chemo trips were fun if you can call a chemo trip fun.  We never did play cards but we fought the good fight in that tiny room at Res.  She also completely gets the rational v. irrational brain thing and kept the "smalls" healthy so Auntie could see them regularly during her journey.

My niece and nephew Joey and Juli; "the smalls"...reminding me to wear my contacts when out in public and keeping me supplied with beautiful artwork and strong hugs. 

My brother in law Joe who texted often and kept me laughing; although mostly at myself or the Narwhals; god help me. Some days I think I was reassuring him as much as he was reassuring me.

My oncologist Dr. Mark Karides...who rocks, whether he's wrenching tissue out of my hip for a biopsy, yelling at my insurance company or delivering those sweet words "cancer free".

My oncology nurse Sue who answered the 59302757293 questions I had at treatment and gave me lots of tips and tricks to ward off the lovely side effects and after effects of the poison we were pumping into my body.

My friends and family who prayed, cooked, sewed, sent cards, letters and emails, stopped in, sent hugs and blankets and treats and flowers.  Some friends I've never even met.  I was and continue to be humbled by your  love and support.

So you see, I wasn't a warrior fighting alone.  I had an army of warriors behind me, next to me, surrounding me.  I learned very quickly that on days when I didn't feel strong, I could lean on others.  On the days I felt strong, I could share my victories! 

One day not quite halfway through treatment I was practicing yoga in my family room...warrior is one of my favorite poses.  You can feel the strength coursing through your legs as you hold warrior.  My body was weak from the meds and from weeks of inactivity but as I held the pose and my legs started to tremble, I focused and held it a few seconds longer and at that moment, I knew I would win this battle and that my strength would return, my hair would grow back, my scars would heal because I was a WARRIOR; it's a mindset, not just a pose.

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