Pink Ribbon Chronicles - Part 8

Love. Strength. Courage.

This has been my mantra over the past week, and boy, has it been a week.

As Brian alluded to in his update e-mail, I erroneously believed that after two drug-free deliveries and a double mastectomy, I had a pretty decent pain tolerance and had nothing to worry about with regards to chemo. Wow, was I wrong. Chemo was about 150 times harder than I ever thought it would be, physically and emotionally. From a "bad drug trip" kind of emotional experience to shaking vision to uncontrolled, unbearable neck, back and post-mastectomy pain and finally a blood transfusion; there were times when I thought I would never be pain-free again or have my personality and laughter back!

In that light (to my horror!) people were actually asking if the head-shaving party was cancelled - WHAT?!?! This is NOT the Amy we know and love!! As I lay on my couch struggling with how to cope with the pain, the thought that got me through was "chemo will NOT keep me from having a party!!!!" So, that question is answered. The party is ON, in a big way. One word of caution however - while I want every one of you here for the party, PLEASE do not come if you are currently or feel you are, getting sick. I'm told that my body is the most "immunocompromised" in the period 7-14 days following chemo - AKA today through next Thursday. Yeah, good time to have a huge party. Oh well, can't have chemo keeping me from living life - but can be smart about it. So please, love ya, but no sick people and also remember to wash your hands frequently and/or use hand sanitizer while at Casa de McDowell tomorrow evening. Also, if possible, please arrive promptly at 6 p.m. if you want to see the head-shaving festivities in full swing. We plan to keep all hair outside, and since it is getting dark/cold by 7:15 these days, we're hoping to get people shaved quickly! We'll move the shaving into the garage if necessary, but it will be more fun to do it on the patio... My incredible husband has volunteered to go first, followed by "the main event"!

Thank you all so much for your messages of strength, love and support. I am humbled by the fact that there will be nearly 50 people in attendance tomorrow at the party and more than 80 walking with us on Sunday who have raised a total of more than $4,500 that will help ensure that this disease will never haunt anyone else again. I feel so incredibly loved, and that is what gets me through when the pain and doubt take over. A special thank you also for your support of Brian through this process. The role of "breast cancer husband" is a truly crappy one to play - to watch the woman you love go through this is rough enough without having to shoulder the responsibility of staying positive, keeping the family running smoothly and working full-time, all while waking up every three hours throughout the night for feedings, thus doing it all on very little sleep. You continue to amaze and inspire, honey - you have always been and will always be my hero.

Two weeks from today, on Oct. 15, I will go back to battle the chemo dragon again (#2 out of 6). This time, I will be armed with knowledge of what is in store for me, coupled with some good pain meds (hopefully! my doctor seemed reluctant to give me pain meds despite the fact that I was begging for them - and for me that is a BIG deal!) and all your love and support. I know that next time will likely be just as hard, as will each time. I will continue to draw on your generous offers of help and love to carry our family through this journey safe and sound...

Love, Amy, Brian, Drew and Ty


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