Thursday, March 22, 2012

Another Furry Angel, Rapunzel Revisited, and We're Sorry - No Boobs for You

Thank you so very much for all the prayers and support for our girl Cara, who continues her battle with leukemia.  Cara is half way through her chemo induction, which requires her to remain in the hospital the whole time.  She is a real trooper and a fighter, and has continued to show courage and cheerfulness throughout this difficult and unbelievable challenge. 

I have posted often about all the angels that came into my life after diagnosis, and especially during treatment.  Some of those are furry angels.  I don't know how I would have gotten through treatment without my at home nursing staff of Hallie, her sister Cassie, and Little Muffin.

Cassie and Talking Hallie

Five months of chemo and doggies never left my side

Little Miss Muffin, the cutest rascal poodle diva ever.
I thought you would enjoy these photos of Cara with a special Angel who comes to visit her in the hospital.  Her name is Nilani and she is a service dog who visits the pediatric oncology ward where Cara is residing and receiving treatment.  Oh how it brightens Cara's day and makes her so happy, content and relaxed when Lani Dog comes to call and cuddle.

She even has her own security badge!

I can't say enough how these furry creatures are God's angels, especially during challenging or heartbreaking times in our human life.

This was a difficult week for Cara, as her beautiful hair started coming out in clumps and covering her pillow.  This is such a hard hard side effect of treatment, and with every handful it is such a loss and a shock.  I wrote a blog post titled "Rapunzel" when I really started to lose my hair, I know many of you will remember it.

Here is an excerpt from that post from May 2010, and I refer to Cara as Baby Bear:

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair.

No problem.

I know what you're thinking. When is this girl gonna lose all that hair so we don't have to hear about it anymore?

Pretty quick here folks.

It is my new parlor trick. Some people have all kinds of stupid human tricks they can do. I finally have one. I can run my fingers through my hair and huge bundles of it come away in my hand. Then I curl it around my finger, and the little curled bundle stays. Unless I roll it into a meatball that is.

Remember that Oprah show "You get a car, and you get a car, and you get a car, and you get a car..."

I gave out all kinds of little bundles today. Raise your hand. Who didn't get one?

It is getting easier now. Not so hard as those first couple of days. I didn't cry this morning when the biggest skein of it came out. [For you non-knitters, when you look up skein, it is not the flock of geese in flight definition.] I had lunch plans for today. I decided after that first run through with the comb that I better stop combing unless I wanted to go to lunch bald. Not yet. There will be plenty of bald lunches.

I will miss the sparkly hair combs and barrettes and scrunchies and bobby pins with rhinestones. I will miss my blow dryer, hot rollers and flat iron. The shampoo and conditioner. The sprays and mousses and gels and waxes. The spray in glitter at Halloween.

I will miss braiding it, teasing it, and combing it. I will miss the pony tails, the up do's, the work do and the morning after do.

Lots of lovely things happened to me today. I will tell you about them maybe tomorrow. Not tonight.

Tonight I still need to talk to me about my hair. This is like the wake. I think the service will be on Sunday.

I showed my trick to this house full of boys I live with. They all seemed to have the same reaction. Kind of cool, kind of wicked Mom.

I waited for Baby Bear to come over. I knew she would understand. If you need a reminder, Baby Bear is Batman's girlfriend. She has a beautiful thick long head of hair and she wears it in all kinds of styles. Straight and curly and corn rowed and you name it.

I showed her my wicked trick.

"Aw" she said with just the right mixture of horror and sadness; her pouting lip punctuated her reaction. That's what I needed. From one big hair girl to another. My old sisterhood. Alpha Gamma Delta Diva of Big Hair.

I'm part of a new sorority now.

This is my wicked hazing.

One curly bundle of gold at a time.

Here I am, after my wicked hazing into cancer sorority was complete.

It's still so hard to believe that two years later, Cara faced this very challenge.  This is Cara now, wearing one of the hats lovingly made by Kimberly's gang!

Cutie patootie with or without hair!
For those of you starting chemo, and facing the loss of your hair, I highly recommend you get a cute short haircut the first week of chemo.  My hair started coming out ten days or so after that first infusion.  You can hold on to your hair as long as you feel comfortable, but I found that once it starting coming out in huge clumps it was just too depressing.  I needed it gone.  I reminded Cara of this, and that as difficult as it is to willingly buzz your own head, it's much easier to start dealing with once you do.  She made the decision for herself when she was ready, and with my son and her Mama present, an oncology nurse lovingly buzzed Cara's head on Tuesday evening.

Cara's Cure is a website where you can support Cara and her family with donations to help the exorbitant cost of her treatment and care.  Even the smallest donation is a blessing for this family.  

Those of us who have faced a major health crisis know that even with the best of insurance, the unanticipated debt and financial hardship of cancer treatment can be overwhelming.  This is a great way to chip in and show your support for Cara and her family.

I will keep you posted on her progress, we are hoping she will be home for Easter.  If not, her step Dad Brian has offered to dress in a bunny suit and deliver Easter eggs to her hospital room.  We all want Cara home, but we sure would enjoy that!


The bracelet says "Cara's Cure - Pray Believe Hope"
I've got my bracelet on.  When my oldest son got home from visiting his girl in the hospital, he had the bracelets for our family with him.  It was very late, and he went into his sleeping brother's room and placed the bracelet on his wrist.  He told his brother who woke slightly "You probably won't remember this..."  I had to laugh when the baby bro woke up the next morning, looked at his wrist and thought "hey, what's this?" until he remembered his brother placing it on him.  We all love Cara in this house.

In the meantime, my reconstruction journey continues to take harrowing twists and turns that often gets the best of me, but I'm trying to get back up on the pony.  The highlights?  After having to cancel my surgery in January, I've had three months off of work and all I have to show for it is a pinched nerve and a kidney stone.  No boobs for the foreseeable future.

Lord help me see your tender mercies new every morning, and give me the strength and sense of humor to live in this body altered by cancer treatment until you clear the way for



I'm trying Lord.  I'm trying to keep the faith, but I already had my whole new Victoria's Secret bra wardrobe picked out!



Anonymous said...

Your Uncle, Kimberly, Cara, No Boobs. I am so sorry for your rough rough road right now. Keep the faith, Deb, He has promised not to burden us with more than we can withstand. Keep the faith. Really thinking of you so much these days.

Beneath the Eaves said...

Keeping you all in my prayers. It is the "limbo" that plays with me most in life. When I can not fix it myself. It tests my faith until one day the fog lifts and I can see again to take the next step. Notice I did not say understand, just see-I found it is sometimes just acceptance is the key. I have found there is a freedom in letting go and letting GOD. Blessing to you all

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