It’s time for a long overdue update, so bear with me if this entry gets long. I’m trying to keep the thread contiguous.
Since my last post, I’ve been moving and shaking. Last week, there were more pre-op appointments and lots of stuff to keep me busy at work. My clients and all work related folks have been incredibly supportive, helpful, concerned and accommodating. But more on that later. The support factor could and should be an entire blog entry.
Once I wrapped up several business related issues last week, it was time to switch to MOVE Jess to Boise mode. We promised her several months ago to move her from her apartment in Moscow to the new apartment she found in Boise. This was BC…Before Cancer…a reference you may here again. Anyhow, I am consumed by the cancer and all that goes with it right now, but I know it’s just one small chapter and it doesn’t define my whole life…well, it may define me, why wouldn’t it? We can get back to that later as well. For now, I’ve decided that it may slow me down occasionally, but it won’t stop me in my tracks. Jess tried to excuse me from the trip to Moscow, but I honestly knew she needed my help and we had Jack and his best friend, Jake. The man power was strong but they needed my organizational skills and mothering. So the four man team headed out on Friday afternoon, driving both a U-haul and Jack’s BIG truck. Even though Jess had reserved a U-Haul in Moscow, the day prior she was notified that they did not have one for us. Ugh! Back to the drawing board and several phone calls later, they allowed us to take one from Boise for the same price. It was an adventure, but we did it and we had a lot of help back on the Boise end when Jack’s posse showed up to help unload on Sunday night. Rod, was at work, he finished his 787 training, but has to complete two or three check rides. We are used to this because we have been an Air Force/Airline family for 27 years. It’s hard on him because he wants to help, but I told him to keep on working and we’ll do what we have to on this end.
Monday, I had a plane ticket to Las Vegas which my best friend, Diane had purchased for me. Here’s a little back story on that: When we were in Mexico three weeks ago, Diane presented me with a drawing of a tattoo that her fiancé, Danny, had designed for me. Photo attached to this blog. Jack wrote the word, COURAGE and Jess wrote the word, FAITH and, in their handwriting, those words were attached to my pink cancer ribbon. I was IN LOVE immediately and I knew that was my next tattoo (inside right wrist, so I can clearly see it every day!). Last week, when I kept getting more and more “bad” kinda news about my cancer and how far it spread, etc… I called Di and I just cried. She is my cry gal. Everyone needs one. I had spoken to my oncologist and she said I could get the tattoo as long as I got it prior to starting chemo because after that the risk factor is too great for infection. I asked Diane if there was anyway to fly Danny to Idaho to tattoo me before port surgery on Wednesday and Chemo Thursday. She said, I can’t send him to you because the shop is busy, but I can bring you to him and then I’ll just return with you to Idaho to be a surgery and chemo wing woman with Jess. Hallelujah! I think I actually heard the angels sing. My surgeon was not on board with this idea, but I KNEW in my heart of hearts that this is my talisman. I am superstitious that way. I knew I had to have my talisman and because it’s a tattoo, it stays with me in surgery and everywhere else that I go. So, I accepted Di’s generous offer and I hopped on a plane late Monday afternoon. Got my tattoo on Monday evening, we went wig shopping all day Tuesday…that’s hard. It’s not your hair, it reminds you that you are entering the reality of NO HAIR and it’s just a real “it is happening” moment. On the upside, I had my bestie by my side and she insisted on buying my first wig because, well…that’s what best friends do! Armed with talisman tattoo and new wig, we returned to Mountain Home late Tuesday night. Slept for three hours and then headed back into Boise early the next morning for my port surgery. Exhausted? Yes! Satisfied that I had done the right thing? Also, yes.
My husband, who is one the smartest and most educated, well read, men that I know asked me what a talisman is. He said, I’m embarrassed to admit I’m not sure what that term means. I said, let me define for you: A Talisman is an object that someone believes holds magical properties that bring good luck to the possessor, or that protect the possessor from evil or harm. He immediately said: By all means, go GET your talisman. I’ll see you when you get back. So that is what I did.
What I have discovered so far is that my tattoo is representative of a whole lot more. The Talisman, MY talisman, is alive and breathing and I see it everyday in the faces of my kids and my husband, in the support and absolute love shown to me by my best friend, Diane, the concern and love shown by my parents and my brother and his wife and by my husbands family, by the incredibly generous outpouring of love and support from my friends, co-workers, town, and cancer team at St. Luke’s Hospital. I have had people read my blog and follow my facebook who have been incredibly strong and kind and funny and uplifting beyond belief. If it takes a village to raise a child, then my growth into adulthood has just begun. My village has wrapped me warmly and tightly and they buoy me up and are carrying me through. I look at the Talisman on my wrist everyday and I am reminded and humbled by all the people in my life who are with me as the journey continues. What is a talisman? It’s one word that means so much.