Pour Your Heart Out: Make A Wish

I'm linking up at Shell's place today for Pour Your Heart Out; A blog carnival started to encourage us all to let out whatever has been on our minds and in our hearts lately.

The Make A Wish Foundation is an amazing, wonderful organization that allows children with cancer to fulfill a wish they might not otherwise be able to fulfill. They have done everything from building space ships to sending kids to Disney World, you name it they've probably done it. Anyway, they have been gracious enough to grant my sister a wish, which after all she's been through you have to admit she totally deserves it.

Now that she has finished her treatment (!!!!!), it is time for her to cash in her wish. Problem is, she doesn't exactly know what to wish for. (Who can blame her, that is a tough decision!) So one night at dinner last week, we were trying to decide what she should wish for. Concert tickets to some amazing show? Backstage passes to a music festival? Access to Fashion Week in New York? So many amazing choices, so little time to decide. It really is a once in a lifetime kind of thing, to wish for anything you want and to have it happen. It has to be something truly amazing.

Obviously we came up with a lot of great options and ideas for her to consider. However, as I looked at my sister, her favorite hat covering up her bald head, her beautiful face sans eyelashes and eyebrows; all the physical results of what she's been through the last few months, all I could think was I wish that she could wish that the cancer will never come back. That is my wish for her, because like I've said, I can't imagine my life without my sister.

This is new territory we we are entering into. Now that she is done with treatment, we are all obviously thrilled that this stage in our lives is over. But, like the saying goes, when one door closes, another opens. We may be done for now with hospital visits and chemotherapy and blood transfusions, but now we enter the waiting game. We wait. Wait for her to get re-scanned. Wait for the results. Wait to see if the cancer is gone for good. And that is scary

Last night, we celebrated. Family and friends gathered and cheered for Anna as she arrived home from her last chemo treatment. It was a beautiful celebration, and definitely a great thing to be celebrating, but we can't help but wonder if it's over. Sure, the last scans were great. No one expected the kind of progress she made. But what will happen when her body is no longer pumped up with all kinds of medicine killing the cancer? What happens now? The truth is, we don't know. So, although we are ready for celebration of no more hospitalization, no more chemo, we wait. We wait to see what happens next. And the possibility of this journey not being over is in the back of our minds, no matter how hard we try not to think about it. Last night, Anna said to me "I don't want everyone to celebrate and jinx it". My heart almost broke because I wish for her that she didn't have to carry that worry around with her. I wish that we could really and truly celebrate without the fear and worry of a relapse.

The story of Ellie Potvin has been weighing heavily on my heart lately, not only because her story is heart breaking, but also because it reminds me of my sister and her story. They have a similar type of cancer; both forms of sarcoma. Both young, both were diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. Ellie beat cancer the first time around. Then, she relapsed and his since passed away. This breaks my heart and terrifies me all at the same time. I do my best not to go over the "what if's" in my head constantly, but it is hard not to. It is nearly impossible when you hear a story like Ellie's not to think of my sister and her own battle with cancer. I know that every story is different. And for every story that does not have a happy ending, there is one that does.

I believe in the power of prayer, and Anna definitely has that working in her favor. So, for now I am just going to continue praying. Continue to celebrate the fact that she is done with treatment. Continue loving my sister like I always have. Continue thanking God for healing her thus far, and trust that he will continue to do so. Continue to ask you all to do the same. To go to her site, 1 Million Prayers, and pledge to pray. I believe in the happy ending for her, I do. But if I had one wish, I would still wish for the cancer to stay away, just to make sure. I wish we had that guarantee.

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Boot Camp Blues

I have had a major case of the blues lately... the Boot Camp blues. See in an attempt to get skinny get healthy this summer, I did something stupid extreme. I signed up for a boot camp.

I'm not completely naive, I knew that this wasn't gonna be easy. It was, after all, called Boot Camp. Not sleep camp (although that sounds a lot better) and not sort-of-kind-of work out camp. This was boot camp. It is hardcore. Like do or die. Luckily, it is indoors or I really might die considering this Texas heat is out of control.

Let me just say I don't do mornings. Ever. Like, I schedule all my classes as late as possible and I have been known to skip breakfast in the morning just so I can sleep in an extra 20 minutes. I love my sleep. I strongly dislike mornings. So when the choices of when to take the class were 6 AM, 7 AM, or 8 AM, I nearly fainted from exhaustion right there. 6 AM that is way too early, 7 AM is still pretty early, and 8 AM still early but at least I'm not waking up before the sun. So, logically I wanted to take the 8 AM class except that I have this thing called a job. And if I didn't go to Boot Camp until 8, I wouldn't get home until 9:15, and then by the time I got ready it would be like 10:30 (ok, so I take a long time to get ready, whatever), and by the time I got to work it would be like 11 and that's just too late. So, I go to the 7 AM class. I get up at 6:20. That has got to be some sort of record for me.

So, never mind the early mornings. I am learning to deal with those (most days anyway). What is giving me the Boot Camp blues is the pain. Oh, the pain. My first day at boot camp the trainer warned me that I would be sore. "Take lots of Advil, drink lots of water and take a hot bath" she recommended to deal with the soreness. I thought she was being a little dramatic. Like, really, I don't think I need to take Advil every four hours or whatever it says on the bottle. I've been sore before after working out, and I get by okay. To further prove her point that I would be sore, she asked one of the other girls in the class a "regular" if she was sore when she first started. "OMG," she told me, "I couldn't even get off the toilet." At this point, I seriously considered running away. Ok, not really, but for real? You couldn't get off the toilet? What the !##%T!#@ did I get myself into!? 

At first the pain wasn't that bad, and I thought prayed that maybe that girl was exaggerating. Maybe she just has a really low pain tolerance or something. And then, I went back for the 2nd day. And oh my god. She was right. After that, not only could I not get off the toilet, I didn't want to get on the toilet in the first place. Or walk up or down any stairs. Or get up from sitting down. Really, all I wanted to do was lay down and not get up! Because, oh my god, my legs hurt. They hurt so bad! Suddenly, even simple daily activities like walking were super painful. I was seriously starting to wonder if my legs were ever going to go back to normal. I mean it was bad enough that I was walking slower than a snail and like I was 80 years old, but with every step I took I was in serious pain! After the 3rd day of Boot Camp, my legs were so sore that I literally slid down the stairs on my butt like you do when you're like 2 and can't walk up/down stairs yet. Yes, I slid down the stairs to avoid walking down them because I was in pain and even that hurt!

Because having my legs be in serious pain isn't enough, I also developed some kind of foot injury. After my first day, I was limping around because the bottom of my right foot was all of the sudden hurting like crazy every time I would walk around after sitting for awhile. Apparently, that meant I need new tennis shoes (and of course the only one's I liked were the most expensive. Sorry, mom!). So, after my second day of boot camp, there I laid in bed, icing my foot and saying "ouch" every time I got up because my legs hurt!

Fast forward a few days (to today) and finally my legs (and foot) are back to normal, no more excruciating pain. So when I went to Boot Camp this morning I was nervous. Was I going to have another week like last week, full of pain? Well, today the trainer announced we were working our butts. Ok, butt workout I can do that. At least my legs won't be in pain, right? Maybe not, except add this to list of things only I would do: I idiotically somehow managed to pull a muscle in my butt. Who does that!!? Apparently me. So, back to the Advil popping and being pathetic taking it easy for me.

So now I am wondering what can possibly happen next because I'm sure it will be equally as ridiculous entertaining. When all else fails, you have to laugh about it, right? All I can say, is at the end of this thing I better be a freaking toothpick. (Not likely, but a girl can dream!) So, you see, that is why I have been suffering from the Boot Camp Blues (or more like the boot camp pains, but it doesn't quite have the same ring to it!). I think it's pretty legit. And that was only week one...

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