Wednesday, April 17, 2013
The Rest I Didn't Know I Needed
I feel as though I have done nothing but rest since my surgery over a month ago. I was even starting to go stir crazy at home with all the resting I have been doing. But after spending the last few days in Arizona, I realize just how much I needed to rest. I've enjoyed feeling almost normal again and I try to make the most of each moment to make them last as long as they can and not think about what was waiting for me at home.
Our first day in Arizona we headed up to the Grand Canyon. Mountains, lakes, rivers, flowers......that is my kind of beauty. But the sheer ginormity of that place was breathtaking. We hiked down a trail, realized the farther down we hiked, the farther we'd have to hike back up, so we didn't get too far. We met a scraggly looking elk and then found a good spot to watch the sunset. It was beautiful, but there were lots of other people with the same idea, so it was a little crowded. We stayed in a cabin in the Grand Canyon so we would be able to wake up in time to go see the sunrise. Usually I research and plan vacations so well that we have all the information need to make spontaneous decisions. A combination of preoccupation with the chemo treatment and not knowing if I'd actually be able to go, left us with spontaneous decisions without the usual planning. So that's why we were up at 5:00 am waiting for the shuttle to take us to Hopi Point dressed in random layers of clothing, wrapped in a blanket borrowed from the bed in the cabin. If I had done my research, I would have known that early mornings in the Grand Canyons are cold. 26 degrees of cold. There were only a few of us there this time. I was so glad that we had braved the cold, seeing the colors shifting on the horizon and then give way to a brilliant, blinding light made it worth it. As the light spilled onto the canyon, my mind was busy coming up with analogies of light crowding out shadows and our calling to be salt and light. It was quite an experience, it just didn't last long enough. Later that day as were getting ready to leave the Canyon and stopped for one last look, the typical first look for most people that plan and research, I couldn't stop thinking "Wow. God you are BIG." A reply came. "You haven't seen anything yet. Just wait."
We headed back down to Phoenix to meet up with the rest of Rick's family and to get the wedding festivities underway. During a trip to the Phoenix Zoo, Ella got to feed a giraffe. She loved his purple tongue. I am still so thankful that I was able to make the trip. I would have missed out on so much had I not been able to go. I was able to meet Meghan's family. Todd married into a great family. Prior to a conversation with Meghan's Uncle Brian, I had not known that his wife was a breast cancer survivor. I enjoyed talking with him and getting the story from a husbands point of view. After the wedding I was able to talk with Nancy and was encouraged to see her cancer free and living a normal life 9 years later.
The wedding was so much fun. Ella did a great job as the flower girl and loved spending time with all the bridesmaids. Rick enjoyed being the best man for his brother and best friend. I enjoyed the cupcakes! Ella danced the night away and loved every minute. And I got to be there for it all.
After the answered prayer of being able to make the trip, I prayed that my hair would hang on until at least the wedding. It did. Then I prayed that it would hang on until I got back to Minnesota. It did. On the plane ride home I would comb my hair with my fingers and would have an abnormal amount of hair fall in my hands. I made it back to Minnesota with a head full of hair. But as I sit here and type, my scalp is aching mildly and tingly. Those poor follicles are trying so hard to hang on, but it's a losing battle. I have been planning on just shaving it off at this point, but I'm finding that I'm really struggling with each strand of hair that falls out. Breasts are a private thing and with each fill from the plastic surgeon, I become closer to be like a normal person. I never really was phased by that loss. Losing my hair is so public. It screams cancer. It just begs for pity. It's just hair. It will grow back eventually. It's still hard. Rick is being so supportive and attentive, trying to help me sift through the waves of emotions that keep coming. Ella was aware that I might have lost my hair while we were in Arizona and was so encouraging as she made sure that I still had my wig, just in case, as we moved from location to location. While driving in the car today after dropping Todd and Meghan off at the airport, she didn't look up at me, but stated very matter of factly, "Mom. I don't want you to lose your hair, but you will be just as beautiful with your wig."
The trip was great. I was able to rest. It came at a perfect time, but I'm glad to be home. Tomorrow I go for my second chemo treatment. Here's hoping everything goes as well as the first round!