Thursday was Jillian’s birthday. She’s eight now. This was the first of four kid birthdays that will happen while I’m doing chemotherapy. I wanted to kick the day off right, so I headed to Baker’s Wife to get treats. Miles is always up early, so he joined me. I got each child a cinnamon roll. They are enormous (the rolls, not the children). Seeing as how I have cancer and can’t think clearly anymore, I thought that sounded reasonable. I now realize that four cinnamon rolls from Baker’s Wife is the equivalent to two loaves of bread. I had been up since 2:45am. Maybe that clouded my judgement. Our family of six could only eat three. And that’s with me sending half of one with Brent to work.
We headed to swim lessons with our friends. Phoebe actually participated which was amazing. She has been so resistant to, well, everything lately. After lessons, my friend Heather offered to bring the kids to her house so I could catch a nap.
That was the plan, but you know how it goes. I realized I hadn’t yet called our insurance provider to make sure the surgeon I’m meeting with next week is in network. (She is!) I had to figure out a birthday plan for my girl; something simple yet celebratory. I even found a groupon for our activity. Woot to the woot. Miraculously, I remembered that I needed to pick up the cherry pie I’d ordered at Baker’s Wife (two trips in one day!). And by the grace of God, I remembered something that she’s been begging for: a caboodle. Phew! I nearly forgot. A quick trip to Target to purchase what appeared to be the only caboodle in stock, saved the day. We had other gifts, but nothing she’d specifically asked for. (Pause: I really hate that I ended the sentence with a preposition, but ohmygosh, I have so much cancer right now, who even cares, right?!)
By the time I got home and wrapped her last-minute gifts, it was time to head out with a total of nine kids to Zero Gravity. Each of my kids brought a friend, except for Jillian who brought two. That’s special, right? I don’t really do parties.
My girl always asks for tacos on her birthday, but I am not really cooking these days. So we took the party to Taco Bell. Yep, you read that right. Yes, we are that classy. I’m going to admit right now it was delicious. I know I just lost any shred of respect you had for me. You hate me. You think I deserve cancer. You take back all the nice things you said about me because I did Taco Bell (and for a birthday party!). Or, you secretly love Taco Bell and we are closer than ever. Either way.
We came home and raced through some cherry pie and ice cream. Dang it, did we forget to sing to her? I can’t remember. Oh I love her so much, I hope she knows that.
I had book club at 7:15. I hadn’t been to book club since before the diagnosis. Last month, our family was in Florida. And while we were gone, the book club besties snuck into our home and cleaned it and left a big basket of food. The night before my first chemo, they brought me a huge Thirty-one bag filled with treasures and gave me cards. It was Jillian’s birthday, but I just couldn’t miss book club. We had to discuss The Middle Place. We needed to process this cancer thing together. I grabbed a quick shower. And that’s when I realized I’m losing it. I’m losing my hair. It was like spider webs clinging to my hands. Oh. I thought I had a few more days, a week even before it started. Huh.
Tears waited until book club when our little sisterhood could feel it together. What makes me cry more than anything is imagining it’s one of them instead of me. That kills me. But, the hair…I’m mourning that for me right now.
The next day, I felt compelled to throw on a bikini and hit the pool or a lake with the kids. That’s the power of seven hours of sleep, losing ten pounds and knowing that this might be your last full day with hair until December. I was relieved when my kids just wanted to stay home and chill and be cozy. Me too, kids. Hem me in and make me feel safe. Thank you, sweeties.
I know this is getting long, but I can imagine you’re wondering what my hair is like right now. Is it patchy? Thinning? Gone already?! It’s thinning. I’m most likely going to have it cut today. While I started with really thick hair, I can’t run my hands through my hair without pulling hair out. I’m shedding like the pet my children have always wanted (does this count?). My pig tails are getting skinny.
Also, you’re wondering if I’m going to wear a wig, go bald, scarf it or wear cute hats, and that’s valid. The answer is I’m undecided. What I do know is that I’m scared of all the options. And that’s about as honest as I can be right now.
People told me that I was brave when they found out I had cancer. All I could think was, Yeah, because I have hair. The good news is I don’t have to be brave. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'” (2 Cor 12:9)