I want to blog a huge HUG and THANK YOU to ALL of my family, friends and the others who have been so encouraging and gracious with their words and praise. It is perhaps used too often as a platitude, but I really could not have done any of this, or gone through with this if it wasn’t for the support of all of you.
I have received emails from so many lovely people expressing their thanks. I have had children at xdr’s school give me hugs and tell me how proud they are of me. Some of the kids even think my new hairdo looks “cool” (anyone who knows a teen near you, knows just how huge a compliment it is to have a teen say that…teehee). I had strangers offering me support in all sorts of ways … I am still trying to distinguish whether these were random acts of kindness, typical Greater Vancouver hospitality, or seeing a bald-headed lady as a person in need. For whatever reason, these people also made the after-run time very fulfilling.
I have to add, having met the children, I know who the real heroes are with this endeavour. I am so proud of those children. Although weakened by the cancer, they carry on just like any other child I have met. Their energy and ability to take what is happening as that moment’s “event” is amazing. The children I met aren’t questioning God with “why me?” (the parents I know are though), or dwelling on the sores on their head or arms. They weren’t talking about the latest news they heard from the doctors or excitedly commenting on treatments that are “miracle cures”. Instead, they are focusing all of their energy on living life as much as possible as they would if they had not become sick. One of the boys carried on a great conversation with my host Dr. Dan about how he had finally beat one of the other boys at their game of Nintendo. Another child sat at the Fisher Price kitchen and “played house” while negotiating around her i.v. pole. They are fighting for their lives. They are BEING kids. You have got to read these stories to understand a little bit what these kids are like. These are some of the true stories that Dr. Dan shared with me last week when I went to Vancouver's B.C. Children's Hospital. When I “grow up” I want to be just like them.
For the past hour, I have been sitting at my computer freezing!! Brrrrr. I finally got up and put on a sweater and socks. I sat back down at the computer realizing that I had become my father (no, we don't need the heat on yet in the house...put a sweater on). That was better but not quite enough. I made myself a wonderful hot tea (even the soy milk I warmed a bit first before adding). But there still was that nagging chill. Then, as I passed the bathroom mirror to see if I could find our heating pad I caught a glance of myself...Oh ya, I'm bald!!!
While in Vancouver this week I picked up a wonderful black cashmere hat (I haggled to get the price down...thank you Mexico experience). It doesn't do much when the wind blows outside, but it is lovely and warm inside. Just the thing I needed. Now I can sit here, do my work, drink my tea, hatted and warm...."Yes Johnny, heat rises"...outta ya head!!! ...teehee
Last night, around 1 a.m., I finally arrived safe and sound (gracias a Dios) back to Kelowna. This week marks the beginning of the closure to a very frenetic, emotionally charged, surreal time. In the past month I have seen despair and sadness in a way that was somehow extremely removed yet extremely internally involved. I have been brought into stories and missions that I never imagined I would be asked to take on. I have made many new acquaintances that remind me how especially special people are. I have been connected and re-connected with my family and friends (some new and some very old) on levels that I hadn’t experienced before.
Who knows if I will ever be able to recount and relinquish into understandable terms the breadth and depth of emotions and the experiences that I have been so blessed (and somewhat “cursed”, I think) to be able to fully imbue this past month or so?
This past while I have had such a longing to go to Vancouver. The experiences and the necessities of the past couple of weeks meant that a visit to Vancouver wasn’t just a wish any longer but a necessity. Thankfully, I was able to start my trip promptly. The trip there was filled with adventure. The arrival and subsequent experience at the British Columbia Children’s Hospital has begun a life-long journey. Then, with steadfastness and a great deal of humour, a trip to a federal facility that should have taken mere minutes moved into another interesting experience. Following the typical norms of a city trying to move many, many people past its ever-reaching expansive skyscrapers and to-be-forever-cherished older statures I was energized with a mere office experience. The company in Vancouver was wonderful and I was about to re-form old acquaintances through an amazing event with which my brother-in-law Ken was occupied. The next day I was brought back to the rush and flurry of an exam-like time period in my life that followed by a cleansing and culturally charged shopping (mostly window and shop browsing) event. The attempt to return home was delayed by a “humourous”…yes, humourous would be the word, observation of the Vancouver rush hours. Drained by the experiences, I napped a couple of hours before embarking on the astounding ride back to the valley. I arrived home having felt that the beginning of the end was near….”and that is a good thing”
Events need closure. With closure a chapter can be completed, not to be encased and forgotten, but to be bordered and defined within the larger text of life. How does one recount a month of memories that span one’s desire to share all of the highs, lows, news and olds in order to publish and somehow “cast”, yet not bore anyone who cares to participate in reading what I have to share. I’ll just have to try my best…and I will…. as time allows. (To be continued)
Today is the last night with my locks. For the first time, xdr brushed my hair regretting the look that I will start to fashion tomorrow at 5 p.m. (P.T.). In an amazing act of love, kindness and caring, several wonderful people have donated so much to my “Run for the Cure” + Wigs for KIDS program that the original goal has been surpassed by an equal amount. One thousand dollars as the goal has become over two thousand dollars in donations. It is truly incredible.
Over the next week, I will be busy with forms and figures as the last of the Run for the Cure, the submission of my hair to the oncologist in Vancouver, our desire to obtain our passports and the continued quest for my B.C. teacher evaluations.
Over the week I have published numerous entries here although none of you have been able to read them. I composed a wonderful essay on hair. I described an amazing mission that has been passed on to me. I have pondered my new rounded head with its bumps and dimples. Although none of this appeared. None of this was actually published as I have run around more in the fashion of a chicken with its head cut off. Many passages may appear over the next month as some form of normality returns to our lives.
I know I will feel different without my locks. It needs to happen. Sort of like a sinner needs to confess their sins to a listening ear or a passing spirit it is time for me to pass this on to the next. In its absence I hope to feel clean. In its presence I feel warm. In its absence the nuisance of pulling dead strands from my sweaters. In it presence it hides the many curves of my plump back. In its absence the logos, messages and art on the back of my shirts will be finally seen. In its absence the ever-folding tag will be seen as it flips up. In its presence the shampoo, conditioner and water expenses are high. In its absence the actual texture of my skin may confuse and bemuse me. In its presence its colour or sheen attracts attention. In its absence the stares may be less pleasant…we’ll see.