I went to dinner last night (at trifecta, obviously) with a man I met on an airplane almost 3 years ago. Despite being a fan of a certain Detroit hockey team, he is a beautiful example of just how lovely people really are. The first time I met him we talked with such ease for hours like we were old friends and last night was no different. His fun sense of humor and the spark in his eyes made me forget about everything for awhile and just enjoy good company. Someone who has no reason to be a part of my life but has a kind heart and chooses to be.. It made me think about my ever growing list of people who have made this adventure manageable and even fun at times. I hope I let you all know just how thankful I am for what you're doing and have done for me and my family. For my next 25 reasons why I'm thankful cancer happened I want to focus on people. 25 slots isn't enough to thank everyone but it's a start!
26. Sarah: You have been such a solid support for me from the moment I got the phone call to needing naps at recess. I am so thankful every day that I learn from you. It's quite obvious how you change the lives of so many children every year but it's just as neat to see your impact on your peers and friends. I'm sorry you have to experience the chaos of the appointment schedules and everything else, but your patience and understanding means the world to me. I am so, so lucky to call you a friend. There is not enough chili in the world to repay you but that doesn't mean I can't try!
27. Suzanna: Another gift that Baker has given me. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have your classroom to walk over to anytime I needed anything. To whine, to laugh, to eat popcorn.. Anything. Knowing you're at work makes showing up on the days I don't want to get out of bed easier. I love that you constantly check in and get me out of the house. I love how involved you want to be in this fight. I love talking to you for hours and helping each other. I love having you as a friend. You have been such a key figure in my army and are a huge part of this upcoming victory! Now please get me back in the pool ASAP.
28. Brittany: You baboon-faced slob. I love you so much it hurts sometimes. I would fly across the country just to take a sweaty, urine soaked ride on a subway with you. How the heck would I do any of this without you? When you came to visit and I was feeling so darn awful it was great to be around someone who wanted to do a whole bunch of nothing with me. You would make such a good cancer patient, not everyone can take 5 hour naps after getting 12 hours of sleep ya know. I am also so thankful for the joy you bring to my parents, they need to laugh and feel loved through this too and that's exactly what you always give them. You're family. Regardless of how infrequently you shower, you're family and you're gonna be around forever. Thanks for the wigs and the dirty laundry and giving me a time out in the big apple. Thanks for being funny and constant and gross and just getting it.
29. Joe: Next to Bieber and my dad, I think you win the award for most appointments attended. I don't think you know how huge that is. There is something so special about the comfort I have knowing that you'll be in the lobby, every Thursday, ready for treatment. Seeing you there every secession is great but knowing you'll be there is even better. This stuff is scary and I don't want to go through any of it alone. Because of you, I know I'll never have to. Also the way you make me laugh and feel normal and aren't afraid to still call me a disgusting human being through this are all things I really appreciate because they keep me feeling Kayla through all of this. You are one of the best, Joe.
30. Kiah: My little cousin that I have always looked up to. Thank you so much for all you did this summer. You filled in for me every day, even when I was there, and just really ran the show whenever you were needed and you always did it with a smile on your face. I am always reminded of how special and rare our family is when I spend time with you. I'm sorry for any tiredness.. Or maybe just plain crabbiness :).. You had to endure. I'm sorry we didn't get to have fun adventures all summer and be attached at the hip. Next summer? I love you, Kiah. Cousins are such special gifts.
31. Nela: Dude. All it took was one night of not going to Bull and Bear and I knew I had to be best friends with you. What I didn't know then and I do now is what that means. Having you as a friend means never being alone no matter how crazy things get. You will only ever be a positive in my life. Thank you for letting me cry to you so many days and for introducing me to my new motto. You are a rare treat Nelagirl and you have made my every day better. Even my happily married father has a crush on you! I am so grateful for the support from your family too. I love having Serbia in my corner! I can't wait to tour Europe with my new boobies and you. Thank you for being there for me every minute of every day. And seriously, Dave sucks.
32. Owen: Getting 45 minutes with you 3 times a week got me to at the very least show up this summer. You can ask anyone in the pool, they all knew how much you coming would make my day.
I miss our recess time together but I'm thankful that it forces us to exist outside of work. I love having your coloring book to work through when I have to shut my brain off. Do you know what a treat it is to be able to turn my brain off until my hand hurts too much? And then continue that mental break with some good old fashioned zombie slaying? Laughing with you is great therapy and shooting stuff will be too. Spending time with you always makes me feel better about everything. Thank you, Owen.
33. Honey: Oh, Honey. I know your fam got a shout out in my last list but I had to give you one of your own. There is just something about being around you that makes everyone feel special. I remember one time you even said something as small as how I parked my car in the right spot and it made me feel really good about myself. Sounds goofy maybe but it's true! I have learned so much about how to live in the short time that I have known you and am excited to continue to learn from you. Honey, you will be an angel in my life forever and a friend for just as long too! You managed to change my life with one big hug and I will always try to impact others the way you have impacted me. You are one cool chick, Honey. Can't wait for Friday!
34. Karrie: Another Baker gift. I don't know what it is but there is something about the comfort and strength I feel from fellow cancer survivors so the fact that I have that a room over from me every day at work is HUGE! There have been so many times that something has been bothering me whether I have the tears to show it or not and walking over to you in the library makes me feel so much better. Sorry for always cutting through the library :) but I always feel at peace when I leave you. Even if it's just for a quick hello, knowing I have you at school makes me feel "safe". Thank you for all the gifts and support through this, Karrie. You are one of my heroes, I can't wait to survive this and be able to help others just like you have helped me.
35. Amber: Another strong lady cancer survivor! My very first leader at how the heck to navigate this journey. I was SO blessed to have you to explain everything to me and tell me firsthand what it was going to be like. I really appreciated you coming to my first treatment and always being there for me since. Thank God my dad knew you because so much of that initial fear or freak out never came because of how you prepared me. One day this is all going to be over and I will be a part of the unbelievable survivor club just like you! Thanks for getting me this far already and filling me with confidence to finish it out. I thank God all the time for you and the many blessings you give.
36. Robin: I showed up at your class expecting to get some free makeup and I walked out with so much more! I wasn't expecting to make a friend but I got lucky and found you. Thank you for introducing me to the world of eyeliner and bronzer. Thank you for the gift of eyebrow powder so I don't have to look sicker than I feel. Thanks for making me feel feminine and beautiful even with no hair and about 6 eyelashes left. I'm actually going to need a lesson in how to wear fake eyelashes because I have no clue how to do that. One of my favorite parts to my day is sitting in front of my mirror and adding color and eyebrows to my face. I don't take a lot of time for myself but this one chunk I always set aside to pamper myself. Feeling pretty makes me feel confident and feeling confident keeps me living my life. Robin, you are a fabulous artist and a beautiful lady. Thank you for being a part of my fight and my life.
37. Ry: The only person as sad as me about my boobs going considering they were your favorite thing to nap on. I hope my new ones are comfy enough for you. Thank you for coming out this summer and then letting me invade California. I have never been loved by anyone the way that you love me. It's a kind of love that makes me never feel alone. You are my best friend and there for me every second like no one else is. I miss you being a part of my everyday but it's so precious knowing that no matter the distance, nothing will ever change us. Love you forever.
38. Tim: The people who make me feel completely normal make a world of a difference. I am so thankful to have you around again. You make me laugh. You
make me remember what's important. You make me do dumb things. You make me harass aquatic animals. You have an ability to make me focus 100% on whatever stupid thing we're doing or talking about. Things can get so crazy in my head so the moments I am fully present are big. You've always been a great friend and someone who gets it. I need that. I'm thankful for that. Plus it's nice to know that if I ever wanted to runaway from all of this there's someone who would go with me. To club nowhere. Thanks for being there for me, Tim.
39. Sally: You know what I love about you? Sick or not, you never let me feel like anything short of a million bucks. You never let me think for one second that I deserve anything less than the best. Maybe you're only supposed to be friends with my aunt but Sally you will forever and always be a best friend of mine and a woman to look up to and try to grow up to be like. You are so darn cool and smart and everyone always has fun when they're around you. You're small but have a big presence and I have loved getting to know you over the years. Thank you for always pounding confidence and strength into my head. I always feel fierce after spending time with you! I just wish I lived closer so I always felt like that. I cannot wait to see you next time I'm out west AND at my party when all of this is over! Love you!
40. Christina: A blog shout out doesn't begin to cover the number of thank yous I owe you but you deserve to hear it in every form possible. Thank god we blacked out in a BART station or I would have never had my other half. I know we only yell-talk to each other and are constantly bringing the other up to any poor sucker who will listen, but hey everyone has been obsessed with something before and we just happen to be obsessed with each other. No shame in that. Your unemployment is a gift, without it I wouldn't have had so much fun at my first surgery or had someone to cry my face off with. I even let you hug me. Do you know how big that is? Seriously though, I know we're not in Cali anymore and you're wondering what to do with life but just trust 100% that you are exactly where you're meant to be. Here. With me. None of this could happen without you.
41. Dave: You swam across Lake Michigan to raise money and awareness for cancer. You're either insane or a total badass but regardless I am inspired and touched. Your family has been a large part of my life for so long so I shouldn't even be surprised by all the support you have shown us but I am still blown away by all the love and kindness from you, your beautiful wife, and your 4 outstanding kids. Thank you for making me feel like I can still call Downers Grove home. Thank you for all the hours of training and funding you put in this summer. Thank you for inspiring me to dust off my googles and get back to the one place that takes it all away. My fight is for you too!
42. Leigh Ann: Thank you Kyle for finally having an awesome girlfriend for me to be buddies with! Your little packages and CDs always make me smile. You are one of those lovely people that have no reason to go out of their way for me but you do and I am touched. Our snaps and texts always make my day. You are a perfect example of why I am thankful cancer happened. Because now I know you! Thank you for all of the love and gabbing and alway checking in. Kyle is a lucky dude :) Please come to Chicago soon.
43. Jojo: Even though we are far apart you still make me happy. I love seeing your cards and letters and pictures on my wall. I smile everytime I see them. It was great to see you a couple weeks ago and have sometime to play together! I miss seeing you every day and swimming together. When I think of you I remember reasons to be strong. You have an old soul and a loving heart that has always been able to change my bad days to good ones. Thanks for being my friend, Jojo.
44. Sam: Well thank god for you. How did we navigate life before each other? Honestly. At least we didn't waste anytime getting to be best friends once we finally met. You have been there for so many appointments, so many tears, so many smiles, and (hopefully) so many cinnabons. You never make me feel like I'm crazy when I probably am acting like it. You always listen and support. You know when to give advice and when to just let me vent. You let me be a friend to you still, you'd be surprised at how few let me do that! Thank you! It's actually terrifying to imagine this journey without you. I am fighting with you and for ya girl. Love you toooooo much! Can't wait to see you as catwoman on Thursday (don't act like you weren't going to be her).
45. Brooks: Your whole family deserves their own slots so if any of you guys are reading this too know that I love you all and couldn't fight without you! But Brooks.. You have always been someone who I have so much fun with and I'm happy that never changed with this. The best thing for me is all the people who has remained constant and didn't change how they acted with me and you never did. I love spending time with you and your brothers and I love the family I have gained through you guys. When you reached out the other day about bringing themeo to Ohio my heart got all warm and fuzzy. Sometimes I wonder it I'm the only person who is affected by the cancer and I feel like I'm the only person who deals with this every day. You reminded me that that is so far from the truth. It means the world to me that you're still apart of the fight even while you're away and that I'm not forgotten. Get your tights ready because theme one is superheroes! I love ya, Brooks!
46. Aunt Penny: Thank you for all of the daily quotes! I keep them all saved and post my favorites up on my wall. So far my favorite has been "sleep is the body's way of telling everyone to leave you alone." I really appreciate that you take time to send one every day. They're fun to have and it's nice to know I'm being thought of. Love you, hope to see you and Uncle Doug soon!
47. Andrea: Leading my 630 unit! It's funny how my life has lead me to all the activities we used to do in college instead of going out, like watching season after season of the oc and baking. I just wish we still lived together to do it all again with you! Thanks for always checking in and not hesitating to pick up all my slack in our friendship. I promise this is all temporary and I will be back to basement fashion shoots and lzr parties in no time! I love you so much and I am so thankful for all the times you've driven all the way up north for an appointment or met me for nachos. I am so happy the wedding of my life is going to be during my treatment break. Watching you walk down the aisle, wrapped up in beautiful ivory fabrics is going to be one of those mental snapshots I'll keep forever. I'm so honored to be a part of it. Thank you for constantly being one of the best friends I have ever had and will have for many years to come. I'm lucky to have you on my team!
48. Stacy: A badass cancer survivor I am lucky enough to become friends with. Your diagnosis was a huge bummer but I think you have seen some beauty in it and have reminded me to also. I wish we had had joined forces over something else but I'm so thankful we did. I keep your cancer free announcement in my room as inspiration for my own. You have been a rockstar through all of this and are handling your journey with such grace. Thanks for never letting me forget that surviving is the only option!
49. Patti P: I cannot keep up my thank yous with your constant flow of surprises in the mail but I hope you know how much I appreciate them. Nothing beats knowing that someone is thinking of you. I have missed your family and I love how often I have seen you guys recently. That makes me thankful all of this happened!
50. Mr. Taco: Anyone who makes tacos for a living automatically has a place in my heart. And when you start giving them to me for free you will stay there forever. Thank you for all of the post treatment tacos, saving my stool, and always giving me something to look forward to on days that I don't look forward to. Your chorizo heals.