Just before my first pancreatisis attack, I met with a few girls from work for coffee. It was so great to see them and feel a part of the team again. They had asked to get together so they could give me something a whole group of people had put together for me. As many of you know (and working with me every day, you can imagine how much they heard about it!), Mike and I had a trip planned to the Dominican in March. Unfortunately, I was diagnosed just a week and a half before and we weren’t able to go. Really, really disappointing. So my coworkers, being the amazing and thoughtful people that they are, all chipped in to be able to send Mike and I on a little get-away weekend to Peaks Island, Maine to make up for it! Peaks Island is right off of Portland and Mike and I had discovered it last summer. It’s about 3 miles wide and the cutest, most quaint little island I’ve ever been to. We had had such a relaxing and special day there; biking around the island, laying on the beach, watching people ride horses along the water, drinking summer beers on an ocean deck restaurant as we let one more ferry come and go, not wanting to head home. It was a day that for some reason really meant something to me and I have often thought of it when I’m feeling down. It’s become kind of like a happy place for me when I need to think of something good. (I digress!) So when so many of my co-workers (some that don’t even work at TJX anymore!) came together to surprise me with this, I was floored. It was so over-the-top generous and thoughtful, I truly was touched. So Mike and I picked a weekend, made the reservations and started making plans for our little fall getaway to Peaks Island, Maine.
I did something stupid today. I clicked and clicked and clicked through old pictures on Facebook. One by one I went further and further back in time. It was like sinking into a hole. A hole of memories of fun times, times with my family and friends and even coworkers that I want back so bad. Looking back at these pictures make me smile because I’ve had such an amazing life but they bring me down as well because I miss that life so much. Mike and I used to always say we have such a “glorious life.” After fun weekends and things we’d do together, we’d always look at each other and say “ughh glorious life, glorious life!” Today when I was scrolling through the pictures, I realized we haven’t said that in a long time. And that, that made me sad.
It’s been over 8 months since I lost my hair and since then, I’ve said that I wanted to go out in public without a wig, without a headwrap, without a hat. But I hadn’t done it….I couldn’t get myself to go out in public without covering up. It felt scary and overwhelming; I didn’t want the extra attention or to feel like I’m getting stared at. I’ve taken my hat off a few times in public but never fully left the house without something to cover up!But my hair is actually starting to slowly grow back (wahooo) so today I thought, “today’s my day.” This was something I wanted to do to feel what it’s like to be “different” and to my happiness, I may only have a few weeks left to complete this goal. I’ve always been lucky that I don’t have anything that makes me feel uncomfortable or self conscious in public so I wanted to experience what that feeling feels like. And today I did. I went to Dana Farber wearing nothing and it felt fabulous. I felt free and empowered. I’m bald and a girl and I can’t wait until my hair grows back but until then, I’m going to try to go out in public bald and beautiful! Looks do matter but today taught me that if you feel confident within yourself, it doesn’t matter so much if you get a few extra stares.
Cheers to being different and embracing it!!
It’s my 25th day here at Brigham & Women’s Hospital. I’m about to tie my first stay, something I never thought I’d do. I’m so drained. I feel mentally and physically exhausted. I haven’t had a meal in almost a month and haven’t even had anything to eat in a week. How is that possible you ask! Because I’m hooked up to a feeding machine that will go home with me when that day comes. It’s been hard for me to put the way I’m feeling into words because it’s like what’s there to say? I’m still here. Still in pain. Still yearning to go home more than anything. Plus, I have been on so much pain medicine that it’s literally hard to put my thoughts into words. I notice this when I’m texting and it takes me 5 minutes to get out a 2 sentence text.
This stay feels different because it came on so unexpectedly. I was home alone on a Friday and I started getting the same stomach pains I had experienced with the pancreatitis a few weeks prior. I called Mike who then called my doctor who then called 911. In a matter of minutes the fire engines and ambulance was at my house and I was hopping into the ambulance. One perk I will say about taking the ambulance at 5 o’clock on a Friday are those sirens. You get there quite a bit faster than doing it yourself, it’s nice to have everyone move
for you. When I got to the emergency room and then ended up telling me the pancreatitis was back, I felt so overwhelmed. I’d already dealt with this. I was just in the hospital for pancreatitis. How could this be happening? I’ve listened to everything the doctors had told me to do. But it’s what happened and it wasn’t anything I had done wrong but simply bad luck. What was to come in the next three weeks would end up being three of the hardest weeks of my life. I gained 40 pounds again and I was unable to walk or get in or out of bed by myself. I felt like a tractor trailer had run me over…I was in so much pain. And to make it worse, I’ve been unable to keep even water down. All these things meshed together and all I could feel is frustration and anger.
I don’t know what else to say but I’m glad I got out everything that’s been going on and how I’ve felt in these past 3 1/2 weeks. It wasn’t a happy post, I know, but it’s real and it’s how I feel. Thank you for listening to me and letting me vent.
Ps since writing this post, I’ve found out that I am scheduled to go home tomorrow!!! Wahoooo! Looks like I should’ve written this post sooner!!!!
Here’s a pic of a highlight of my stay!