Friday, December 2, 2011

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Wednesday was a momentous occasion for me. It was the first day I went to work without my wig and the beginning of my "Wig Free For Life" journey. The only way to describe the feeling is LIBERATING!! It wasn't the first time I had left the house without my wig but what made it such a big deal is that Tuesday was the last day I would EVER feel like I was in hair bondage.

Being a school teacher my big concern was How would my students react? I teach six and seven-year olds and we all know how brutally honest kids can be. Monday I struggled while getting ready for work. I really didn't want to wear it but I was still somewhat self-conscious about letting go. So I slapped it on my head...half cocked and went to work. I know I probably looked crazy but I didn't care at that point. This was a sure sign that the time had come to let go. My intention was to prep my students so there wouldn't be a shock and awe I would avoid some of that brutal honesty.

Well, the day got away from me and I forgot my intended prep session so shock and awe it would have to be. When I walked in Wednesday morning the reaction wasn't nearly as exaggerated as I thought it would be. For the most part they all just looked surprised, there were a few gasps, a couple of Why did you cut your hair Ms. Martin?, and one It wasn't her hair, it was a wig (A few of the kids already knew it was a wig). Unfortunately I didn't escape that brutal child-like honesty. There were a couple of very memorable comments.
  1.  "You mean to tell me that was a wig all along?!?! (student shakes head then places head in hands in disbelief). THIS IS CRAZY!!
  2. "You know Ms. Martin, you look kind of silly like that."
Despite looking silly, I left work feeling great. I was glad that I let go and learned even more about myself and my hang-ups through this cancer journey of mine. I was on my way to take the kids to bible study at church and I still had a million and one things going through my head. I had to go receive more cancer treatment the next day, I was having issues with my radiation area, my nephew was having some health and school issues, etc. etc. Just then I looked up and realized I was approaching a red light....and BAM!!!! I hit the brakes but was unable to stop before hitting a Cadillac Escalade. There was only a scratch on the rim of the Escalade but my Magnum was not as lucky. Thankfully the kids and I came out unscathed. God was truly watching over us.

So that leads me to today, Thursday, as I sit here in my treatment room receiving Herceptin at Louisville Oncology. I've been experiencing some skin irritations and severe itching in the areas where I received radiation. The nurse informed me that even though it may sound weird, the fact that I am experiencing the irritations lets them know the radiation is working. My skin is beginning to crack and possibly burn again. YaY me!! *heavy sigh* The nurse says that even though I finished radiation in October the effects could last for months. Between the falling out of my hair, to losing my taste buds, to 2nd and 3rd degree burns from my initial radiation, to the toenails that are STILL coming off.....Cancer seems to be the gift that keeps on giving!!!

Despite all of this I must tell you that right now my heart is HAPPY!! For this happiness I'd like to thank God for the gift of his son Jesus Christ. When you've been blessed in life the way I have, even the trials can't steal your joy. That's Jesus Joy!! My faith is unwavering and my gratefulness cannot be measured. My prayer is that you all experience that joy that gives you peace in the middle of your storms. It's a wonderful thing.