Saturday, July 10, 2010
Hard to believe it's been exactly one month since I found out about the cancer. A lot has happened in the past 30 days. I had two CT scans, over 20 xrays, two bronchoscopies, tons of bloodwork, breathing tests, urine tests, glucose tests, and of course, the surgery (a bilobectomy, taking 70% of my right lung), then 2 weeks in the hospital, 4 days at home recovering, and then the Fundraising Yard Sale this morning. When I lay it all out like that it seems quite overwhelming, but honestly, for me this past month has seemed to fly by. A month ago I felt like I had been thrown into a hurricane, but over the course of this month have remained mostly in the eye of the storm, feeling calm and at peace. I keep waiting to get spit back out, thrashed to the ground, but it seems like the storm is fading right before my eyes. The hurricane that once seemed so huge and ugly, is now nothing more than a whirlwind leaving as quickly as it came. I feel good. I really do. I'm not in much pain. I no longer cough and wheeze. I fall to sleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, something I have not been able to do in months because of my breathing problems. Yes, I get winded easily and my breathing is shallow, but I just have to remind myself it will take time to adjust to my new lung capacity. I have a small space above my lung which isn't exactly "normal" but I've been told it won't hurt me. I might feel "sloshy" on that side sometimes, so my doctor says, but for now I don't feel it. Instead, I feel "new" and "improved." I am strong. I am healthy. I am alive!
Jake and I are very independent people, it's just a fact. I would rather cut my arm off than ask for help. I love helping others. It's hard to describe the joy I get from delivering a meal to a family who just had a new baby, or helping a friend pack and move, or babysitting when a friend gets in a jam, or sending a card to someone special just because. I know I get blessings when I serve others and I love that warm feeling I get when I serve. I learned a long time ago that when you start feeling sorry for yourself, the best way to pull yourself out of that rut is to look beyond yourself and find others you can focus on. But you know something... I would rather fix a hundred meals for families in need, instead of being on the receiving end. I guess this is just one of my (many) weaknesses, and something I'm learning very quickly to deal with. When I found out that my sweet friends had this yard sale idea, I vetoed it from the start. The thought of me being the recipient of something like that was a little uncomfortable. I'm independent. I don't ask for help. But then I was reminded that others get blessings from serving and it was my time to have people serve me. What a concept. Something I have such a huge testimony of, had just done a 180 and was now staring me in the face. I think I ate not just one piece of humble pie, but the whole dang pie. ;) And you know... it did taste good. As hard as it was to choke down, I did feel that warm, beautiful feeling as I saw others serving me and my family today. As I opened the car door and saw friends and family, busily working, selling hundreds and hundreds of items for our family, I lost it. I could barely speak. Tears overflowed down my cheeks and at that moment I knew what it felt like to be the one on the other side. Not saying I was totally comfortable being there, knowing everything everyone was doing there was purely for ME, but it did feel good. Thankful and grateful don't even seem like words that can describe how Jake and I felt this morning. It seemed our entire city turned out for the event. The local fire station sent out a fire truck and firefighters, passing out hats to the kids and letting them climb all over the fire truck and get pictures taken. There was a man on his way to DI, dropping off a huge trailer full of stuff. When he saw the yard sale he stopped and asked if they would take donations, and then left all his stuff there to be sold. Many, many people were incredibly generous and bought quite a bit of yard sale items. Some handed the cashiers an extra $10, $20, even $100... just because. Someone brought brownies and cookies to be sold at .50 each. Friends and family were there before 6:30am, setting up, organizing, etc. Many of them stayed from 6:30am until it was over and everything was packed up and taken away, well over 7 hours. It was scorching hot, in the high 90s, and yet no one was complaining. Everyone had a huge smile on their faces. I was told that someone was having a fundraising yard sale next weekend for a family with a 9-month old who was diagnosed with leukemia. They all decided that the items that didn't sell would go to that family so hopefully they could make more money next weekend. And so, they pay it forward. My friends and family, who worked so hard for me, gathering, collecting, and organizing these wonderful items to sell, then passed it on to help benefit someone else. How did I get so lucky to have these amazing people in my life?! And the yard sale was a huge success! My friends said we made nearly 3x what they thought we would make, which is AMAZING! Thank you. As inadequate as that sounds, I really don't know what else to say. To all who contributed and supported us in any way this past month, (friends, family, and even those who don't even know me), I say Thank You. We are blessed by you. We are humbled by you. And we love you.
Now some pics from the yard sale (since I know you are all wanting to see them):