Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Invaluable Gift

As I reflect on the last months since Mom's cancer diagnosis, I feel content and, dare I say...happy? I find myself filled with gratitude and joy on a daily basis. To have had all of this time with her is a gift. Instead of feeling unlucky  that she is afflicted with this horrible disease, I feel lucky she is here. This is an outlook and perspective that I never would have imagined I would come to just eight short months ago. 

When I was first told she had a brain tumor, I hoped it was benign. When I learned it was cancer, I hoped it hadn't spread from another source. When I learned it had spread from another source, I hoped it wouldn't at least be from multiple multiple sources. And then of course, it was. 

Back then, I couldn't think about, let alone talk about, Mom without crying. Now, I smile when someone asks me how she's doing, and happily update them. How did this happen?

I've identified two reasons: the love and support of my friends/husband and applying Mom's upbeat attitude to the situation. I learned this perspective from Mom, because it is how she is responding to the illness. She is still teaching me, all these years later, how to be a woman with grace. And the very best teacher leads by example.

Back then, I worried she wouldn't be able to enjoy our wedding. And here she is, all this time later, still going strong. Yes, she has side effects too numerous to list and has even lost the sight in one eye for unknown reasons but she is still...Mom. She is still the same happy, optimistic woman I have looked up to all my life. The fact that she has remained cheerful, gracious, sweet, kind and funny in the face of the monster that is cancer is a true testament to just how strong and unwavering her core personality is.

How can I feel sorry for myself when she's not sitting around feeling sorry for herself? Don't get me wrong, we all have our days and I'm sure Mom must too, though she protects me from it if she does. Living with this isn't easy for any of us, and it's something I would not wish on my worst enemy. But, it's here. And so now, it's about what we do with it; what we make of this time.


Bring you parents to work day!
































So, Mom's attitude has shaped me and then there's the friends. Just how much I rely on them was very apparent yesterday. My massage therapist Rebekah contacted me through facebook a few weeks ago, and wanted to pay it forward by donating six massages to my Mom. Dad brought Mom to my work after school got out, and I we drove to her massage. 

Dr. Dadivas and Rebekah
Newport Beach Wellness
Mom was greeted by these smiling faces when we arrived. They treated her like a queen, offering her coffee or tea, and commenting on what a warrior she was. Although Rebekah had never met my mother, she said that she felt like she knew her because of this blog. As she was working on her, I sat in the room and we all chatted and caught up. I realized then that Rebekah was not just helping Mom...she was helping me. It felt so good to be able to give Mom this treatment, because of an amazing connection I have in my life. And it warmed my heart to know that Mom was already experiencing some immediate relief from her symptoms. Her feet have felt like blocks of ice for months due to neuropathy, another side effect of the chemo. But for the first time, as Rebekah was massaging them, Mom said they almost felt warm. I smiled from ear to ear.


After the massage, Mom said she felt like a "new woman" and it was time for the annual dinner with my Birthday twin, Monet, and all the girls. We went to the same location last year, but Mom lived in Yucaipa back then and I didn't bring her. Not wanting to feel like a "fifth wheel" Mom asked if I was sure it was alright that she tagged along. "Mom, it's a girl's night! You're a part of the group now, and they want to see you!" I said this, because it's true. The ask how she is doing on a regular basis, and claim to also draw inspiration from her.

We drove home, smiling and happy. I thought about how tremendously lucky I am to have these women in my life. Really, I do not know how I would do it with "just" my husband. As amazing as he is, he's only one person. And for a monster as big as cancer, you need a treasure trove of supportive people. And on my birthday, this is the greatest gift of all.


2 comments:

  1. The best things in life are free: love and kindness. I am grateful for you, Birthday twin, for your friendship and for sharing your wonderful Mom with us. Here's to another year of greatness.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree. This was the greatest gift of all for your birthday. Thinking of all the tough experiences you’ve encountered the past few months, you both deserve a good massage. It certainly helped release all the stress in your body and get ready for the days ahead. I hope you have regular massage sessions from now on, even if it wasn't your birthday. You certainly deserve a day to unwind every once in a while! Cheers!

    Ervin Willis @ Main Street Massage Therapy

    ReplyDelete