You know…because my immune system is heading to the down low, and I don’t really know how to officially start a blog.  I’m actually going to pretend that I’m here alone because I probably am.

So yesterday was my first chemo session of six.  After a night of calmly watching a movie with my husband, I promptly freaked out as the credits began rolling.  I got dramatic.  He suggested a walk, which I thought was nuts because who takes a walk at 10 pm?  Oh yeah, people who don’t have kids, and our kids were at Nana’s.  Party time!  (As parents of two small children, a night walk counts as a party.)  It helped.

The next morning, I put on my make-up and earrings because in all of the good cancer movies, there are so many friends to be made around the chemotherapy bonfire.  (That didn’t happen.  I was the youngest person there, for sure.  And I didn’t get the feeling anybody really wanted to try my new eco nail polish.)  Right after my blood work and doctor appointment but right before entering the infusion room, I did find myself headed toward the bathroom, contemplating making a run for the exit, never to return.  I ultimately decided that living was my goal.  I know, so boring.

To be honest, it was all really uneventful.  At first my emotions were unstable (re: holding back the tears to a couple of good laughs with my husband).  Once things got going, it all leveled out and was, actually, pretty boring.  I even managed a cat nap.  Then, like the big spenders we are, we rolled into Red Lobster, where I fervently hoped that I wouldn’t ruin cheddar biscuits for myself forever.  Because that would be TRAGIC.  Spoiler alert, I didn’t.

It’s now day 2, and I feel 90%.  A smidge nauseous and a touch weak.  My fun days are to come later in the week.  It’s kind of like bracing for a punch.  Although I’ve never really been in a fight (brothers and little cousins that I punched in the eye don’t count).  I did show up at a girl’s house once with the plan of punching her right in the face for “stealing” my boyfriend, but we just ended up sitting on her couch talking it out.  I liked her so much better when I left.  So yeah, I’m not even sure how to brace for a punch.

34 comments on “Let’s pretend we’ve already shaken hands and said our formal introductions.”

  1. <3 If there's one thing I learned in the last three years of weeks upon weeks that added up to months upon months of being confined to my bed in shear agony and unlivable pain by my disease it's that the choices we make to save our lives often are the very ones that make us feel like we're being beaten down and having life taken from us. Remember the seed that fights its way through darkness and dirt to get to the light to grow. Brace yourself for the light, not the darkness. I'm rooting for you sweet lady!

    • Thanks for the advice, Alisha. I’m keeping my eyes on the light! And I’m rooting for you too.

  2. hang in there Heather – we’ll all be thinking of you & praying hard. So glad you are a believer in prayers because they have saved me & supported me my whole life. My Mom was a strong prayer warrior and I wish she were still here cause I would sic her on your cancer!!! It would be no match for her. I will follow along with your battle and keep you in my thoughts!

    • I definitely do believe in the power of prayer and count them as my greatest gifts from people. Thank you, Debbie. I hope to be back as your locker mate soon!

  3. Hi Heather! Just so you know, you’re not alone on the blog and I look forward to reading more! I think your first one was great so good job and I definitely love the title 🙂 You’re so witty. I think of you more than you will ever know and admire the strength you have expressed thus far. You have such a great attitude, I love it. We all do. The girls have great role models in you and Josh. And you know what?? That punch may suck but you’ll get back up and show it who is boss! You’re already doing a great job. <3 you

    • Thank you for all your support. This message and your random texts mean more than you know.

  4. Omg. I so remember when you marched to that girl’s door. That was a serious case of BBS (big ball syndrome)… that’s when I knew you were a force to be reckoned with. 😉 You got this. This isn’t anything compared to that! 🙂

    • I wouldn’t necessary say that. Ha. But I did muster up some courage then that I didn’t know I had. It’s funny/super embarrassing to remember. (19-year-old Heather, no one can ever really “steal” your boyfriend.) But yeah, this, I can totally do this.

  5. Wait, six treatments? That means one down, and five more to go?That means you can count your treatments on one hand? Hooray for counting down!
    You aren’t alone. I, too, look forward to reading your updates. Keep on keeping on.

    • Yes, six! I realize how lucky I am for only six but didn’t make the one hand count down connection! Liz, thanks your all your support. The card you sent early on really gave some good advice and has helped me not feel so alone. Also, thanks for the donation and choosing a ridiculous beard for Doug! Ahaha.

  6. You are not alone!! I can’t imagine the strength you have to just get up every day and then to blog about your experience. Heather your AMAZING!! I will be reading your blog. Always remember you will never be alone. My thought are with you and your family. I hope all goes well.

  7. The fact that you were brave enough to go to a girl’s door to punch her out says a lot about your courage and strength. The fact that you talked it out instead says a lot about your character. 🙂 Now, you are the one waiting for the punch and still your courage, strength and character are what we see over and above whatever fear is underlying. There is no question, a punch will not keep you down. Nor will six. Thank you for sharing your story. The funny and the fear. I hope you can feel how much support is behind you and I hope that helps just a little. Thinking of you and Josh and your girls often. XO

    • I love this. Thanks for the perspective. And the support helps so much more than a little. Thank you!

  8. Heather you are never alone… I pray to god that you never truly feel that way.. Like myself I’m sure sure you have many people you havnt seen or talked to since high school but would drop everything to be by your side if you need us, all you gotta do is ask.. Never be to proud to ask you are a strong woman and like all strong people we all need help with something or another at many times in our life’s. Stay strong and keep pushing forward we all love you and are here for you

    • Thanks, Tara. I guess I just meant alone on this blog. It’s much easier to write when I don’t think about everyone reading it. My family and friends (including your nice messages) have been amazing, and my husband is now super-dad.

  9. Awesome. I like this a lot, so I hope you decide to continue. It may keep you from answering the same questions repeatedly, and I’m sure it will help someone. It helps me. It may help you, and there’s no telling who else.

    Love, Dad

    • Thanks, Dad. Now that I have something to write about, I will continue. It made my day better yesterday, and I hope someone who needs it after me can draw something from it as well.

  10. Heather, you are a wonderful person and I’ve had this hit my family on multiple occasions, but positive thinking and prayers will pull you through. Whenever you’re feeling low just remember we all love you. Mmm-bop forever! <3

  11. Heather, you sweet sweet girl. You don’t realize how your blog is helping all of us on the outside. You are such a positive role model to us all, and showing us how very thankful we should be. I will be praying for you daily, and will be ready to celebrate when this is all over.
    Please keep us updated.
    I Love You,
    Cousin Mary Sue (Susie)

  12. Heather I truly enjoyed your blog! Admitting your fears and frustrations shows how strong a person you really are. You chose the right path and did so unselfishly; thinking of those who mean the most to you…your family. I am so proud of your courage and spunk. It didn’t surprise me; as you come from a family line with lots of spunk ready to take on whatever life brings. Even if you sported a black eye you’d wear it like a badge saying, “c’mon, that’s all you got?”. You’re a fighter! You and cancer may face it off in the ring of HOPE but the odds are in your favor. Your family, fans and supporters are there to back you up any way they can. And when the bell rings, YOU stand alone victorious! Cancer’s knocked out and lying motionless from a spunky gal named Heather with a mean ” right” hook. Love you!

    • Judi, I hardly know how to respond to this…ha. I love it, is all. I am a fighter, and I know you guys have my back. Thanks, and I love you.

  13. Heather,
    That was awesome! After reading this I am so proud of u . Just wanted u to know that I love u and I’m here if u need anything. U are the strongest woman I know and u will get through this! <3 You are a great mother, aunt, and sister! We all love u!

  14. Heather I am so proud of you ,always have been! You are a great mother always knowing what’s best for your kids, truly a wonderful role model for your beautiful little girls. I admire your courage and positive attitude and we are thinking about you every day and are wishing you a speedy recovery! You are like no other I have ever met and so glad to call you my cousin! We love you and can’t wait to see you ! Love ,Sue Underhill

    • You are also like no other that I have ever met! I love it. Thanks for all of your support now (even calling to distract me last weekend) and over the years. I am doing my best to meet you in Tennessee next year!

  15. Alone?………Nope. You are on our minds every minute of every day (with the exception of the two or three weeks when you were looking better). You are even in a couple of my dreams. Who am I to give YOU advise? Well I guess big brothers are supposed to at least try so here my attempt. I don’t think your supposed to brace for a punch. I think you loosen up so it doesn’t hurt as bad. This is the only time in my life that I had wished work was slim. Just so I could be with you.

    Your brother with love, Joshua

    • I’ll take whatever brotherly advice you have! Loosening up. I love you, and I know you are here with me.

  16. We were just talking the other day at work about when you had you’re first code and the confrontation that followed after. Remember that? We were all like I can’t believe Heather just stood up to her, it was awesome. You’re story about going to punch that boyfriend stealer in the face made me think of that story. You’re a brave chica and I love you’re humor as you go through these scary situations that are still surreal to me. My brain still can’t understand that it is actually you having to deal with all of this. I live you and miss you so much at work! Thank you for showing us what being strong actually is! I’m praying for you all the time!

  17. Hmmm…
    Punch?
    Nope,… I don’t think so.

    I’m thinkin’ waves.

    I remember watching Josh Jr. at the beach. There were some nice big rollers commin’ in from offshore and breaking in about 3-4 ft. of water. When the first wave came he proudly braced himself and smashed into it face first. After the knockdown, he promptly, and with a big smile, jumped up and braced for the next one. He tried turning sideways to lessen the effects, and it seemed to work pretty well. He tried diving under them, which was good, but he ended up in deeper water. On some of the rollers that weren’t breaking yet, he would tread water and gently float over them, but often he would have to swim against the undertoe to keep from moving seaward. Then, due to his astute powers of observation, and the presence of a few more experienced beach goers, he turned and body surfed towards shore. Big smile,even after being knocked around and skinned up a bit. Occasionally he could make it to shore on one wave, but it usually took several to reach the shore.

    Now, —- I know you’re a good swimmer. As a matter of fact, I remember being on a sailboat with you in the beautiful cobalt blue, 1000 ft. deep, water a couple miles off the coast of Grand Bahama Island. Your new hat blew off and you were immediately preparing to jump overboard to retrieve it, knowing that I would eventually get the boat turned around and come back for you. I requested that you remain on board. We got the boat turned. The hat floated, and we snagged it with a boat hook. Not many would have contemplated diving in.

    Ride the waves, and if there is any of those carcinoma cells still trying to hitch a ride, drown the little bast####. Kill ’em all, and when you reach the shore, dry off and enjoy the sun.

    Love, Dad

  18. Heather, You truly are an inspiration to so many. You are a beautiful person inside and out! I love your blog. It reminds me of the song children sing in bible school, “This Little Light of Mine ~ I’m Gonna Let It Shine”…You definitely have a beautiful light and it totally shines. You are always and forever in my daily prayers. I love and admire you. Love Your Cousin, Suzi

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