Friday, September 19, 2008

Hodge Anniversary

I did think of it on the day, September 12, my Mom's birthday, but just briefly. A year ago September 12 I got the news from the surgeon that my biopsy showed Reed-Sternberg cells indicative of Hodgkin's. It doesn't seem possible that a whole year's gone by. A day like that stays in your memories with so much detail you could swear it was just yesterday. Yet, other times I think about what we all went through last winter and that DOES seem like ages ago. In fact, I ask myself if that all really happened to me.

I think it's good to remember my treatments, surgeries, side effects, support from friends and family, my attitude, all the emotions. I have to say I must have been at my best then which is a good thing to remember. It certainly is empowering to have conquered cancer and I should use it as a tool more often. I don't talk about it enough. Is it because it can still get me? I'm in remission and I feel strong and healthier as a person now, but ... We don't like to think about it. I tend to downplay the whole ordeal because so many people have and had it worse, but it WAS a big deal.

The other day I was checking out at the grocery and the cashier noticed that my hair was growing back in nicely. People that don't know I had cancer will say "cute haircut". She specifically said growing back. I didn't remember her, but apparently she remembered me from this winter. I was caught off guard a bit that a stranger knew I had cancer. She knew something private about me. Then, I let that be alright (I was practically bald. I'm sure more strangers know than I think). It felt good to be connected to this stranger. I wanted to talk her more. Perhaps she was also a cancer survivor. But there was a line. That was a very nice thing she did for me. For a moment I felt vulnerable and exposed and then I was okay with it and we connected.

Life lesson #whatever: Embrace being vulnerable and exposed and you open yourself up to making connections and feeling exactly the opposite which is safe.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Bridal Shower and Family Time

Well, as I suspected, the bridal shower was a lot of fun and I did figure out its purpose. For someone not comfortable being the center of attention, it offered a test run for the "big day". Sort of. I know I can handle a group of 10, now multiply that by 10 and I'm in a totally new ball game. Actually, from what married folk tell me, it goes by way to fast for you to remember feeling one way or the other about being "it". That's what I'm hoping for along with a bit of attitude that this is my day and I plan on having fun.

The shower was held at the Maloneys' house in Falmouth. The Maloneys are my Mom's bosses and they have a beautiful, big house and the perfect stage for a party. They happened to be out of town Labor Day weekend, so we played at living the high life. Their backyard was well landscaped with a big deck, nice patio furniture, outdoor speakers, and a pool for ambiance - no one brought suits:( Mom did a marvelous job at catering, too marvelous, as usual. I'm sure they were eating leftovers all week. We ate, drank, played Bridal Bingo complete with prizes, opened gifts, and ate cake. Woo-hoo! Very traditional, I guess, but also very fun. Gifts included nighties, a bread machine, dishes, kitchen gadgets, an informative book for the female "O" (Thanks HIls!), and gift cards for more great stuff. Many thanks to my generous and thoughtful family, Mel and Mom, for throwing me an awesome bridal shower. I keep telling them they should team up and do this for a living. They are THAT good. See why I feel like the big day is in very competent hands and I have so few worries? I've got the best support possible.

Here are some photos of the party.

After the party, I got to spend some quality time with my family. I got proof that my city sister is still a little bit country. Mel and I bunked in the camper far away from the house, or at least that is what it feels like when you have to pee in the middle of the night. Half asleep and wanting to stay that way, neither one of us made the trek all the way up to the house when there was perfect pitch darkness right outside the camper. Gotta love camping!

Also over the weekend, we drove into North Conway, NH for some shopping and found a lot of the wedding decorations there. I was so pleased to get a lot of wedding stuff done and out of the way when Mel was there. She made it easier to make decisions, someone to corroborate yays or nays. One last pic of my lovely family taken that weekend.