Well it happened…I tried to stop it, but it came anyway… I tried to ignore it, but they would not let me…so I took a deep breath and celebrated 50!
I truly wanted the day to be quiet and fade into yesterday easily.
I did have hopes.
When I began this journey in March, I imagined and hoped I would have a new chest by my big birthday…that was not to be
I hoped to begin radiation on my birthday (I began Taxol on Kevin’s birthday)…that was not to be
I hoped to be done with all treatments by my birthday…now I’m just dreaming
None of these were to happen.. .I reflected on what my pastor said months ago…”don’t schedule anything through this cancer journey.” It still holds today…probably the best advice I was given. I realize my hope remains where it always has been; in my faith.
However my family and friends were not going to let this birthday slip into tomorrow.
The week after Columbus Day my daughter was home for fall break from her teaching position in AZ. That week was gift for me! Even though it was filled with medical appointments that I have written about already. I got to spend time in the waiting room with Jaclyn! She is my best friend and my strength on days I am week. Her positive energy and constant love is a life line some days.
Well, she and my husband talked to our dear friends Dan and Mistee on Monday. Mistee is the world’s ultimate party hostess. She said yes to having a celebration in their home that Friday…yes in FOUR DAYS!
I was not amazed that Mistee said yes, because that’s who she is. A giving, caring and loving friend…and has a welcoming home, she wanted to do something for me anyway (but I think she was expecting a little more planning time). I was resistant when they told me about the party, because I did not want to celebrate my birthday, but then I really wanted an opportunity to see friends that have done so much for me these past months. I penned out a list to include all my treatment angels and more. Then I could not believe it!
In four days, everyone made time in their schedule to join us! They made the trip south to Peotone, to Dan and Mistee’s beautiful home. It was a dark night and some friends got lost on the gravel roads to a home they have never been to, but they made it! Some asked why it was not a surprise party and I told them, there was no way they would be able to surprise me. Dan and Mistee live on 12 acres with a long driveway – no place to hide the cars!
Did I say everyone made it? They did! My heart was so filled with love and thankfulness! It was a celebration of love so much more than a celebration of my birthday. But when I arrived Mistee put a birthday crown on me and when I asked if I really needed to wear it, she smiled and said “a party in four days…yes” I laughed with her and was happy to honor her request. Then I proceeded to forget it was on my head, so it’s there for most of the pictures. Oh well!
Kevin was asked to say a few words before we prayed and ate. He was overwhelmed with the love in the room and said thanks, but did not know what to say. But I knew. I could not let this moment pass without me giving thanks to my heavenly Father for everyone in the room. “To Dan and Mistee for their eternal friendship and their willingness to open their hearts and home within the week to all these people. To Mindy for all the delicious weekly meals that have been continuous since May. To all the cards, emails, texts, and calls that everyone send, I felt the prayers and love every day. In a special way to my treatment angels; Don, Kathy J., Lori, Wendi, Colleen, Jaclyn, Zachary, Kathy, JeanneMarie, Kathy E. (who were all in the room) and to my sisters Diane, Teri and Toni and niece Brook, who took time from their lives to bring me to treatments. All of you have made this journey bearable because you have held me up when I needed to be carried. I love you all!”
Then as the night was winding down, they forced me to open gifts. I really did not want to, I told Jaclyn to say no gifts. I mean you were calling people on Monday for a party on Friday! And I don’t need for anything when your life is filled with hope, faith and love!
But just like the crown, I succumbed to the persistence of my daughter and hostess. The faith filled books, music, wine, collectibles were beautiful, each with special meaning from the giver. Then a theme began to unwrap. My family bought me a Pandora bracelet and many friends bought charms. As I opened them they shared why they chose the specific charm for me.
As they explained the charms my heart warmed and my eyes filled with joy: Journey, “from the journey with the Lord we have taken together”; Birthstone, from my mother; Wedding Cake, “because we stood up in each other’s weddings”; Angels Wings, “because you inspire me”; Snowflake, “for how much you love the snow and to remember your ski shop days”; Angel of Hope, “for the hope you have in God”; Pink ribbon and Family charm, my struggle and my strength (from my children); Purse, “for all the shopping we will be doing after recovery”; Bible, “for your faith”; Crown “because we serve the same King, Jesus”. As I opened the boxes, Jaclyn created a bracelet of love. I have worn to every treatment and radiation since then knowing that I am encircled with love.
I was exhausted, but made it until all the guests left…past midnight (and my bedtime!). Thank you all those near and far that show so much love to me!