It is time! And we are off! I met with my oncologist Thursday to make sure we are "on track" with everything that is coming up. My doctor was so optimistic. He told me I am his "poster child" and his "star patient". Greg laughed because he knows I am a perfectionist when it comes to all things related to rule following! The doctor told me that my faith and attitude coupled with the therapy will get me through. He told me that when he goes home at the end of the day, it is a patient like me that makes his job worth it. He said that this is what he lives for as a doctor--to be able to treat, cure, and save someone. He said that he has to go through so much "yuck" and sadness with other patients, and that he could go home and say, "I had a great day" after his appointment with me. So, with smiles on our faces and a few fist pumps-- Greg, Dr. Reid, and I all said, "Let's get this party started!"
My port placement is Friday (today, April 19) at noon--it takes about two-three hours total. My chemotherapy begins on Monday, April 22 at 7:30 am.
But I want to spend some time today reflecting on where and how I grew up--because growing up in my childhood neighborhood was one big PARTY. I grew up in the Bay Area--in Concord--in the outskirts of town out in the hills below Mount Diablo and near a smaller town called Clayton. When my parents bought our home in a little community called "Dana Farms" it was up and coming, and all the neighbors were young with small children. We all grew up together--going to the same elementary, middle, and high school. Our neighborhood had a swim team, and most of us kids were on it--so weekends were filled with swim meets and of course, parties. The parents met on Fridays for Friday "wine" which turned into Friday dinner and laughter and games. The kids all played together--usually outside, you know-- things before video games like "Kick the Can" and "Hide and Seek." We lived right below rolling hills and oak trees and we would take cardboard up the hill and slide down, we would make forts, and secret hiding places. Most of the neighbors went to the same community church, and we all went on big camping trips together where there was always lots of food, laughter, and of course, more wine. We grew up with celebrations--birthdays, Christmas Eve fondue, prom nights, and graduations.....and as the kids got older, we celebrated college graduations, weddings, and then baby showers. Unfortunately, in the last few years we have celebrated "memorials of a life remembered" as some of the adults have passed away. I had a group of "second moms"--I could literally walk into about five of the homes and just sit and talk with the family, hang out, and be with my "second mom." I am blessed that my parents showed me the value of friendship, community, and enjoying the fullness of life. I am blessed by the friendships made in that little neighborhood that still continue today. That is what Jesus wants for us--he wants us to enjoy the relationships he created for us. He wants us to live life and life it the fullest (John 10:10). He wants us to PARTY in the good times and the celebrations, and He wants us to celebrate and support each other in the hard times as well.
Growing up in my little neighborhood taught me the value of LIFETIME friendships. That even if you don't see someone in a LONG time, you have history and memories together. Over the years, I have been blessed with more pockets of community--from my church, my current neighborhood "family", my sports team moms and dads, my college friends, my teaching friends. I am blessed with a life that is abundant because I have Jesus, and I have friends.
Thanks to all of you who have partied through life with me, and who will party through this tougher season with me as I go through months of treatment. Let's get this party started!