Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tiny Bad Guys

Last night, I laid down in bed while Ryan was brushing Katelyn's teeth. As any mother knows, it's extremely rare for the mom in a family to be the first in bed (Except in my case, during my ATRA rounds, I spend a lot of time in bed.). Katelyn (3 years old) came over to me with a concerned look on her face. The following conversation transpired:

Katelyn: Are you sick from your medicine?

Me: No, just tired.

Katelyn: Why do you take the medicine?

Me: Because some tiny bad guys got in my body when you were a baby, and I had to stay in the hospital while the doctors got rid of them. This medicine keeps the bad guys from coming back.

Katelyn: Are there bad guys in my body?

Me: No.

Katelyn: Are there bad guys in Daddy's body?

Me: No.

Katelyn: Why did the medicine make your hair fall out?

Me: It was so strong that it got rid of more than just the bad guys. It got rid of my hair too.

Ryan enters the room, and Katelyn flees down the hall to avoid being put to bed.

This conversation came two days after we watched the movie, UP, and I had to explain to her what had happened to Ellie, the old man's wife. The following exchange ensued:

Katelyn: Are you going to die, like the lady in UP?

Me: Some day, when I'm old, but not yet. I'll be an angel in heaven, like Grandma-With-the-Yellow-Hair

Katelyn: But you are old.

Me: Not too old. Ellie was a lot older.

Katelyn: I don't want you to die. I want you to stay with me forever.

Me: I will.

I'd hoped that her being so young when I was diagnosed would have spared us from the tough conversations. Hopefully I stay in remission so that as she continues to gain awareness, I can promise I'll be there for her. I fear letting her down more than I fear cancer itself.

Cancer Patient in the Workplace

My third post for Huffpost can be accessed via the following link: After Cancer, Returning to the Workplace

It's the first time I've ever written about what it was like to go back to work post my rounds of heavy chemo.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Team Life's a Beach's Final Fundraising Tally...

2012 Total Raised: $7,255!!!

Thank you to all who've become involved with Team Life's a Beach's efforts to raise funds and awareness via the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light the Night Walks. LLS funds blood cancer research and patient/family support.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Loaded Cancer Question: "Why Do We Get Sick?"

My second post for the Huffington Post's young adult cancer awareness project can be read at the following link: The Loaded Cancer Question: "Why Do We Get Sick?"

If you read the post, please share it and the Generation Why landing page with others. There are a lot of great (and unfortunately heart-wrenching) stories on the project's landing page.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Spreading Awareness

The Huffington Post is doing a project on young adult cancer survivors on its Generation Why page. My first post can be found at the link below. This first one is a little nontraditional (I cried while writing it), while the other three that will be posted over the next few weeks will be in a more typical essay format and will address some of the tough topics I've had to deal with. 

Also, as a way of repaying the kindness bestowed upon me by the First Descents organization this past summer, I wrote an essay about my experience participating in one of its young adult cancer survivor kayaking camps. When my kayak capsized at the base of a waterfall, I was more terrified than I'd ever been in my life, and that's saying a lot! As I reflected on those moments, once warm and dry again, I thought about how interesting it would be to slow down those 60 seconds, to make a reader really feel like she'd been there with me, in that kayak and a year earlier in the hospital.

The result is an essay entitled, Exit, which will appear in Adventum Literary Magazine's Winter/Spring 2013 Edition, available the first week of January at Adventum Magazine: Current Issue.

It's a pretty cool publication, which publishes only stories on outdoor adventures. Reading the last edition made me want to go rock-climbing (but then I came to my senses...)