Sunday, June 30, 2013

the perks of being a cancer patient

Where to begin? The past week has been unreal. I have been smothered with love and am completely blown away by how generous people are. Let's start with my birthday. The big day consisted of waking up to the present I have been wanting for so long.. A NEW BIKE!! It is AWESOME. A sweet hybrid to get me around and it's gold! I took that baby out for a spin right away and have used it to get to work a couple times too. All she needs is a name. That night I had the most perfect evening with friends and family. My favorite restaurant in the whole world, Trifecta (Winnetka), had a birthday dinner outside on the patio for me. The O'Neil family is a gift that keeps on giving. I'm telling you guys, you gotta go there. The tater tots are insane, they always leave me speechless. Everything on the menu is perfect, it's simple food prepared in the best version of it possible. I don't know how those O'Neils do it but man, it's phenomenal every time. After dinner we played cornhole and just had a wonderful time enjoying the company of family. I am surrounded by amazing people. It was a perfect night.
The next big event was the shave. Mr. Kyle Sorensen of Kyle's Cuts gave my noggin a nice, clean shave without a single nick. I don't think I looked in the mirror once while he did it and maybe not for the rest of the day either. I liked how it felt but it was quite an adjustment looking in the mirror. It took me a solid 48 hours until I was comfortable with the bald. Thank you to everyone who made it seem like a casual change, I thought learning to be comfortable in your own skin ended in 8th grade. I'm happy that it feels "normal" now. 

On Tuesday night I got to drive the Odyssey cruise ship around Lake Michigan and enjoy my first time on the water this summer thanks to my friend Tim. It was so neat to see the different parts of the boat and we really enjoyed the upper deck. I love lake air. It had some swanky jazz tunes playing and perfect views. Spending time on the lake was just a great way to enjoy my last day before another round of chemo started. Chemo on Thursday was fun, I had some friends from California in and my old roommate Sam visited. Having people there make the time pass by quickly and it makes a should-be-bummer-activity a fun one. I'm fortunate to have never dreaded a treatment because of the friends I get to share the time with.
So how do you top a perfect birthday, a night cruise of Lake Michigan, and unbeatable company? Two words: Chicago Blackhawks. My beloved Hawks beat the Bruins for the Stanley Cup on Monday night and the city has been celebrating ever since. I went to the parade in 2010 when we had the Cup and I cannot remember a time where I felt more pride to be from Chicago than that event. As you can imagine, I was quite bummed when I was told no to the parade; it was the day after chemo and just too much excitement and people for me. Watching the parade from home sounded... awful.. and I was pretty down about missing the celebration. But did my friends let that happen? Of course not. My favorite Conklin kids took it upon themselves to make sure I would get to celebrate the Hawks win. Brittney and Scott arranged for me to get to attend the post parade event with all the players and support staff. It was a friggin' dream come true day. I thought the best thing that would happen to me all day was the man who gave me a copy of his art book and bought me lunch before the event (seriously, so nice.. little gestures can make your day). But I walk into the event with my long time friends and see Corey Crawford right off the bat and get a "love conquers all" bracelet on him. Patrick Sharp gives me his only autograph of the event even though he was with his wife and beautiful baby (Patrick Sharp = Man). And the rest of the day is a blur of my favorite guys rocking Kayla bracelets and taking time out of there crazy lives to spend a minute with a fan. I was floating. The highlight was probably tracking down Coach Q and getting him to sign his first head- MINE! Coach Q is a boss! I also loved that Corey Crawford stopped my friend later to say that he met me and they discussed the bracelets (see picture below). It was all unbelievable and words cannot do the day justice. So how could it have gotten even better? The people that hosted and attended the event were unforgettable. To have strangers want to support me and my fight along with others in my shoes.. I have never met such generous people in a mass quantity like that before. Anyone associated with the Wirtz organizations are among the kindest I have ever met. You guys made a dream come true day for me and I will never forget you guys and cannot wait to connect again soon. Thank you.

As for the boring medical stuff, I almost wanna say who cares. This has been the worst I've felt through chemo so far but man does smiling and feeling loved change things. Besides, I'm one more round away from being done with my first cycle of chemo. Progress.

To close I wanna give a special shout out to the strong women I work with. A bunch of Baker teachers ran the Dirty Girl 5K today for breast cancer. It was a blast to watch them and I am so touched by their support. What a bunch of cool chicks. GO TEAM STAYLA!!
So many there are some perks to this whole cancer thing.. 
The biggest? All the love.

1 comment:

  1. K La--It's Susie, your Aunt Marie's sister. You're right, your parents did give you a beautiful head. You look absolutely gorgeous. Love, prayers and peace to you, love Susie