I know it’s been a few days since my last post, but this is a slow time, a quiet time, a healing time. I’ve been at home with Jeff, baby Kai, and my mom, regaining strength and getting back to “normal.” Poor baby Kai has a rash all over his face and body, and hasn’t been his same smiley self for a past few days. We took him to the pediatrician who advised it to be eczema as an allergic reaction to something. He said to use cream for his skin and give him Benedryl for itching. It doesn’t seem to be getting better though, so we may go back to the doctor tomorrow for a second opinion. Otherwise, we’ve been enjoying our time at home and have had a couple of very fun visits. Yesterday, Jeff’s cousins’ family, who have a baby girl who is one day older than Kai (as well as just about the cutest 2-year old you’ll ever see), came for the day. We had a lot of fun with them, lots of excitement in the house, which baby Kai loves. Today, my friend, Dana, came for the day and we had a wonderful visit with her too. We have several visits lined up for this month, which is fabulous. It’s wonderful to get to use this time to see people we love, and fill the house with happiness and reconnection. But in general, it’s business as usual as usual can be. Jeff is going in to the office this coming week (he’s been working mainly from home recently), so it will be almost like it was at the end of maternity leave (which, instead of ending, just extended itself into cancer leave). Right now, my mom is planning to stay until the middle of the week. After that, Kai and I will be home alone when Jeff is at work. I think we are ready, but it’s so nice having my mom here as extra help. We’ve gotten so used to having extra hands here with us; it will be strange to be alone in the house again. Either my mom or Jeff’s parents have been staying with us since the end of January – we’re going to have to adjust to it being just the three of us again. But I’m sure we’ll find our groove quickly.
Two fabulous things have happened recently. First, friends from Wilson (high school) are organizing a team to walk at the Melanoma Walk at Villanova in April. The organizer, Karin, told me that they’ve already raised $500 for the Melanoma Research Foundation! That’s fantastic! Also, the health teacher from Wilson contacted Karin (who is a nurse) and asked her to come in and speak to the class about the importance of sun safety. This makes me so incredibly happy. People don’t understand what melanoma is. They don’t understand that a form of skin cancer can be deadly. Even the person processing my long-term disability claim asked me to clarify that I had melanoma and to explain to him how skin cancer could have gotten inside my body. And now Karin has the opportunity to tell kids just how important it is to use sunblock and practice conscientious safe sun behavior. I sincerely hope everyone who knows my story uses sunblock every day. I hope reading about my treatment at least provides some incentive to cover up and stay in the shade. And I hope nobody reading this will ever even consider using a tanning bed. Now we have the chance to educate others about the importance of sun safety. Karin gets to do it directly in front of a health class. But we can all do with the people we love. Using sunblock is such an easy thing to do, and it could save your life. Another great thing is that my nieces, Chloe and Jordan, had a hot chocolate stand and asked if they could donate the money to help me. They are going to donate it to research. It has been amazing to me how quickly and how fully people have embraced this cause. I am awed by the generous, giving nature of people and their immediate desire to help in any way possible. I am overcome by the goodness of people. I am humbled by the inane generosity of others. I am encased in a brother-and sisterhood, held tight by love and goodwill. I am so thankful for the opportunity to experience this raw, real, sincere humanity. Once we beat this cancer, the pain of the treatments will definitely be worth the love and beauty I’ve been shown. Every time I hurt, every time I feel sick, every time I am sad, I am met with pure love and support that is far stronger than cancer could ever be. It’s like people have banded together to beat this cancer with me, and not just for me, but in a greater sense through fundraising, awareness building, and education. And for this, I am truly thankful.
Today I am thankful for fabulous visits from our cousins and Dana; the continued support of MMG and the extremely generous care packages and gifts that we continue to receive regularly; everyone who is involved in or has donated to the Melanoma walk (safefromthesun.org); everyone who is spreading the word about the importance of sun safety; my amazing family and friends; and, as always, my fabulous husband Jeff and perfect baby Kai. I hope you feel better soon, my love, but in the meantime I will itch right along with you.