Happy to be posting a blog post again. Living had kept me engaged leaving me little time to write.
Bubbles of Fun
I had great fun celebrating with the Colorado Eagles shortly after their back-to-back championship win of the Kelly Cup. My parents purchased season tickets for the Eagle’s first year in 2003. I remember the cold rink, aggressive game play, meeting up with family friends, and the entertaining half-time activities. From the age of five, I was a true Eagles fan.
Thanks to UCHealth and the Colorado Eagles, we celebrated with the coaches, players, nurses and family. Patients from the UCHealth system who recently reached a “medical milestone” were invited to the celebration hosted in the Eagles’ Locker Room. Nominated by some special nurses from the infusion center, my dad and Jacob attended this fun event with me. After running through a “fan tunnel” with fellow patients into the locker room, we watched the final minutes of the game from the previous week. Immediately after the Eagles scored the winning goal, we burst open the sparkling cider in our gray champion shirts and danced with the bubbles to the energy of the room. There were tears, giggles and sticky hugs.
I love the photo below, it captures the essence of the moment. Here we are in the Eagles Locker Room at the Budweiser Event Center in Loveland, Colorado. This photo features me, my dad, Tina (one of my lovely infusion nurses) and my boyfriend Jacob. Photo provided by UCHealth.
*Insert Corny Subtitle with the Word “Party” In It*
My party was everything I hoped for. With excessive planning I was successful in setting my desired theme: The Celebration of Life. There was color, sparkles, games, bubbly beverages, fun music, a photo booth, many loved ones all on the backdrop of a sunny day. It was great fun reading the notes, cards and looking through the fun photo booth pictures left behind! Kami is a great family-friend who made me a beautiful sash to wear during my party, I was honored to test out the photo booth with her:
Winging a speech, I addressed my friends and family. Here was my opportunity to share my blessings of life and relative health with an amazing community.
The funeral of my cancer radiated life.
Thank you to those who came to celebrate the beauty of the moment.
How silly to have such a party without the final “all clear” from my Oncologist. A week later I was strapped onto the table for a PET, staring at the smooth-porcelain looking sides of the machine. What an awful process and experience going in for a PET scan.
Anxious for my results, I was early to the Oncology Suite for the first time. Meanwhile, my doctor was late to my appointment for the first time. The office, nurses, atmosphere, timing- it felt ominous. I broke down.
The minute my doctor energetically entered the room, I knew I had nothing to worry about.
“These moments are when you must love your job-” I said with confidence.
“Yes,” he answered with a smile. The ride operator of this six-month roller coaster was elated to see me through.
My doctor designed the track of the roller coaster of my treatment. Based on research, multiple insights and expertise- my personal track was well developed. During the scariest parts, I lost faith and had my doubts in my ride engineer’s design.
There I was in his office, coming to a halt and unfastening my seat belt. He had seen me through and I felt the deepest appreciation for his kindness and work.
“Take good care of my aunt.”
I completed my first quilt with Pam VonPlutzner, I plan on writing a separate post elaborating on my newfound hobby.
On July 13th, I had my port removed. This is a very simple surgery and as much as I enjoyed the good news, the surgery still plagued me with anxiety.
My surgeon was a fellow survivor of Colon Cancer, he showed me his “battle scar.” The image of him bending over and pulling his scrubs back slightly to expose the jagged white line contrasted with his tan skin. It lay directly underneath his collar bone and created an unforgettable mental picture.
There was a medical assistant in training watching over the surgery. The current medical assistant at one point told the assistant she was allowed to leave the surgery, I empathize with the difficulty of watching the live surgery. My confidence took over, maybe it was from the Ativan I had taken before the surgery to calm my nerves but, I began to consul the older women. “I know this is not fun to watch but I am done! I should have never had to go through this but I am a survivor, this surgery marks the end of a journey no 19 year-old should have faced. Now is the time to celebrate.” She stuck around for several more minutes until she had other engagements to attend to. I was proud.
Than the final sutures on the port were cut and I watched through the reflection on the doctor’s glasses as he pulled out Sissy-B (my port).
Directly after surgery, the assistant was curious about my ringing the bell on the last day of treatment. She had been in the infusion center, seen the bell and heard of people ringing it but never the opportunity to see someone ring the bell. Quickly after surgery, I loaded the video from Facebook for her to watch while I changed out of my gown. In hindsight, this must have been strange.
Coming out of the bathroom, I saw a teary eyed human. The flat character of a medical professional she assumed during surgery had been wiped by emotion. Amongst all the collateral from war against cancer, she was watching my victory.
Collecting My Belongings
Take it easy after surgery they tell you… After a relaxing dinner at the Wette’s… Jacob and I finished packing the car and left for Ames, Iowa at 10 PM that night. And our road trip back East began!
Well this post is lengthy as it is- I promise to ketchup 😉 on the tales of our road adventure in the next post!