Is that picture not one of the most glorious rooms you have ever seen? As quintessentially Christmas as that looks, it is not as comforting as my home, which is not big, professionally decorated, shining, or luxurious. None of that matters, because it's full of family I love.
Today was our Christmas gathering, a tradition born when I became part of a blended family. I didn't want my stepchildren to be torn over going to mother's or dad's on Christmas Day, or have any worries during a time that should be special. So years ago, I decided to change our traditional Christmas morning to an appetizer party on Christmas Eve. I make a spread, we share news, exchange gifts, and enjoy each other's company. My family has grown over the years, with marriages and relationships, and my tiny living room is getting crowded - and more full of love.
Today was the best gathering ever. And happiness caused me to think of all the others who have been involved in my life during these three years with cancer, and who I also wish could be there to share my Christmas cheer.
The best I can do is thank people here.
First, to all my faithful blog readers, (and even those of you who cheat on me with other blogs), and to all who like my page on facebook (or are too lazy to unlike it), I thank you for your support, your love, your prayers, thoughts, loyalty, and kind words. I appreciate the regular readers who worry for me but never speak, and I thank all of you who leave me comments. I also thank my blogging sisters who repost things I say, who lend their support and allow me to voice my own opinion on their topics. This li'l ol' blog was born of laziness - so I could update my family on my condition without having to make dozens of phone calls, but it's turned into something quite different. You readers have helped me more than you can ever know.
My sister has been amazingly generous and has taken time off work to help my family post-surgery, and she contacts me at least monthly to check in, even when I'm bad at contacting her. My friend Jodie has put up with me for 25 years. Together we have been through bad times and good, and she knows me better than anybody. We were single mothers together, days I remember as joyous rather than hard, probably because of her. Like with my sister, distance keeps us from visiting often, but she is the one who helped redecorate my room. Twenty-five years ago, when I met her on the street and she invited a virtual stranger over to her house, saying yes was one of the best decisions I ever made.
To all my other friends who have brought me food, gift certificates, treats, chocolate, blankets, money, advice, comfort; who have checked up on me by text or email, and visited me and ignored the state of my house and especially those who have been gracious about the dog noses going where they should not go, I also thank you. I appreciate former coworkers who update me with gossip, although I am not working and not entitled. To all those who sent me Christmas cards (although I never send them back) - thank you. Each of you, in your own way, has enriched my life, which is more meaningful knowing that I've made yours scarier.
To my doctors, nurses, the entire staff at my chemo office, and the pharmacy employees; I'm grateful for your professionalism and good cheer. Having cancer sucks. I can only imagine how much worse it would be if I went to chemo and my nurses were grouchy, my doctor uncaring, my medical techs rude, or if I picked up my prescriptions and was treated like an addict or like they weren't important. Instead, I see smiling faces, kindness, understanding and respect from each and every one of you. It is amazing.
I also thank my son's teachers, who have not treated him differently because he's the son of a terminal cancer patient. I appreciate the gift of normality, and the belief that he can live up to high standards in spite of a more nerve-wracking home life. (Although, B Team in Science Bowl would be nice- just sayin'.)
For the organizations who are there for me and others like me: Capital Cleaning who does Cleaning for a Reason in my area and really gives me some relief, Mother's Grace who gave me gift certificates for travel, the American Cancer Society who helped with gas and wigs, and many other organizations who have provided small things such as hats or soaps - your generosity is not unnoticed. Making the life of a sick person a little easier is more important than you know.
For my nephew Cody and his wife Steen, who are about to give birth to the first child of the next generation of our family: you will do this generation proud and will build on the hard work of those who came before. I hope I can tell my new great-niece or great-nephew stories about Daddy and I making omelets and eating spicy food. And to Zack, Alex and Kayley. My thoughts and love are with you.
For those who will never know they have made my life easier - for the authors who have written books that have taken me away to different times and places, to the artists who have given me something new to think about, to radio hosts like Armstrong and Getty or Dennis Miller who make me laugh every day, and to the people who do TV (both well-respected and not, from Duck Dynasty, Hoarders and Intervention to the Walking Dead and Breaking Bad), thank you for giving me something to take my mind off myself.
I started this post by mentioning the people who celebrated Christmas with me today. Thank you for being the people I love most in this world and even more, thank you for being the kind of people who are worthy of that love. My children and step-children and someday new relatives: you are good, wonderful, kind people. You are my legacy. I'm so proud of you.
If you have enjoyed my blog and want to donate but are afraid that I'm going to spend the money on political campaigns or plastic surgery, let me assuage your fears. Any donation made will go towards my son's college education. Be warned, there is no tax deduction here, consider it like buying a book, a continually updated but unedited book. A small percentage of what I receive yearly will go to StandUp2Cancer. Consider it entirely voluntary, I love you whether you donate or not. Now click.
I live with metastatic breast cancer. .
I was diagnosed 2009 with Stage 2 Her2+ breast cancer. Mastectomy followed, 6 rounds of chemo and a year of herceptin. A few months after I finished, cancer was found in my liver-incurable. I've done chemo after chemo, has my liver partially removed and did cyber knife radiation. Like all metsters, I'll be on treatment until I die.
I'm a former High School Secretary, wife, and mother of two great sons.
To read my entire cancer story, go to www.butdoctorihatepink.com and find the post called "What the heck is that?" on September 2, 2009, or look at the top of the blog and click on "chronological posts". (Some issues with the feed on that but it will get you started). If you are a blogger who can give me a link, I'd appreciate it very much. To email me, click on my profile and you'll find a email addy. I answer every email from a cancer patient. Also like my Facebook page, www.facebook.com/Facebook. I'm butdoctorihatepink on Instagram and @butdocihatepink on Twitter. Like me while you can!