My baby angel - Ty, my amazing little baby - because of you, choosing to come into my life at the time you did, my breast cancer was caught at a very early stage and treated immediately. You are my life saver, and truly my angel. Your huge grin, easy going personality and delight in everyone around you are so precious to me during this time in my life. You and your angel-brother Drew are the light of my life, and the reason I long for "life beyond cancer."
My milk angels - When it became apparent that a bilateral mastectomy would be necessary, and I would not be able to breastfeed my newborn son (something that was extremely important to me), 11+ "milk angels" came to my rescue, pumping their own breastmilk to share with Ty so that he would receive the immunities and nutrients to grow strong and be protected from winter's cold and flu season. From best friends to acquaintances, not one milk angel hesitated for a second when I asked if they would be willing to share any extra milk, taking time and energy out of their schedules to give Ty this incredibly unique, selfless gift. Everyone we talk to - including our pediatrician - has been blown away by the amount and number of angels who were willing to share this gift with us. And Ty is thriving and flourishing because of your milk - at his 2-month appointment, he weighed in at a whopping 13 lbs, 11 oz, in the 90th percentile for weight and 75th for height!! With milk still stockpiled in our freezer, we are overwhelmed and so incredibly blessed by your generosity and love.
My traveling angels - Charlotte and Jess, two of my best friends, travelled from the midwest to take care of me and my family when I needed them desperately - a week after surgery and a week after my first chemo treatment. Seeing their faces and having their hugs, kisses and extra special care made some really tough weeks more bearable. I wish you both were so much closer, but am so blessed to have incredible friends that will drop everything to fly to my rescue!
My "BC angels" - On this journey, I have met some incredible women who have blazed the trail ahead of me, giving me strength that this can be conquered, and that I can do it with the grace and style that they have. Gina, Brooke, Nic, Molly, Andrea, Lori - you are my heros for being my cheerleaders, hand holders and cancer SURVIVORS!!! Elaine - my partner in crime, together kicking this thing's ass in style, counting down the days until our treatments are over, our hair is back and we can laugh about this blip in the road with a martini in hand. And to all the other BC angels who have touched my life with their e-mails, blogs, cards, notes and books describing their own battle with this crappy disease, providing constant encouragement and sisterhood - you have provided me strength and knowledge that I can get through this, and will be forever changed - and not in a bad way - from this experience.
My friend angels - How do you know what to do to help a friend who has been diagnosed with breast cancer? I never knew the answer prior to my diagnosis, but apparently someone informed my friends. They have known just what to do, everyone contributing in their own unique ways - coming with me to every chemo treatment, drinking champagne with me while I buzzed my hair off, shaving their own heads with me!!, popping back into my life and driving across town to shave 15 people's heads, helping me name my wigs, organizing 90 walkers to Race for the Cure, then making them all "chemosabe" headbands, sending me card after card and e-mail after e-mail to let me know they were thinking about me constantly, watching my kids as they would their own while I attend endless doctor visits, racing with my name on their backs, celebrating with me after each round of chemo, sending me care packages from across the US and world, buying me PJ's to make me feel cozy and loved on my worst post-surgery and post-chemo days, letting me talk about awkward things like which wig to wear while working out and how I long for cleavage again, calling me before every chemo treatment, coordinating the mowing of our lawn, organizing meal service and breastmilk delivery, taking care of cleaning my house, handmaking super special gifts and food to put a smile on my face, not telling me how crazy I am to be planning triathlons for 2010, but instead telling me how STRONG I am and reminding me that I shouldn't feel guilty for not being able to take care of my kids during chemo and above all, how I'm kicking cancer's ass like a champ.
My family angels - I would never be able to get through any of this without my parent and parent-in-law angels. They have made countless trips to Colorado to take care of my kids when I can't, taken time off work, coordinated schedules to allow life to go on as normal as possible for our family. When I'm rendered useless for days on end after surgery and chemo, they give my kids what I can't - constant love and attention. They take care of night feedings, daytime entertainment and everything in between. They keep my kids' lives together when I can't, and that is a special gift. I am honored to have been chosen to be your daughter and daughter-in-law.
My trainer angel - Having been addicted to exercise-induced endorphins for most of my life, I knew that this cancer battle was going to need to be fought on the gym floor. I hired my angel trainer, Lisa, for her unfailingly kick-ass attitude, fabulously enviable body and confidence in my athletic ability despite this silly cancer diagnosis. People ask me "does Lisa take it easy on you
?" My answer - a resounding HELL NO! And I would not want it any other way! She believes in me and pushes me to my limits so that I can walk away from each day at the gym feeling strong in body and mind. She turns my day from "blech, I'm feeling sorry for myself because I have to go through this icky stuff" to "hell yeah, I can take on the world... and cancer too!" With each training session, I feel stronger and stronger, mentally and physically... and luckier and luckier to have Lisa come into my life.
My husband angel!! Oh honey - you are and have always been my most important angel. The one I longed for all my life, but never thought I'd be lucky enough to deserve. The one to help me through what I used to think were hard things - job frustrations, co-worker friction, the stress of parenting. Through this biggest life challenge you have loved me, held me, and told me how beautiful, special and loved I am every day. You call me your hero, but you will always be mine. Not many people get to have a relationship like ours in their lifetime, and I will never know how I got so lucky as to have you by my side every day of my life. My soulmate, my best friend, my reason for fighting... I love you more than anything. I'm so excited to spend the next 50 years together; there are so many adventures I can't wait to have with you...
To all my angels - thank you for blessing my life with your presence, but above all, thank you for holding my hand through this journey. I haven't figured out yet exactly why I was chosen to travel this road, and probably never will. But I know that at least part of the reason was to fully understand the capacity of the human heart to love, to give and to help heal. I know that I will be forever changed by your kindness, generosity and love, and for that I will always be thankful...
Love always, Amy