Saturday, October 17, 2009
.... the month of pink continues with 'Braz for the Cause' on Friday night - a spectacle to be seen and one that leaves you in awe...
I wasn't really sure what to expect as I appeared at the front entrance to the Canada Building at the Western Fair Grounds with a hundred dollars and a kiss from my husband - absolutely no men allowed at this event as I turn to watch him pull away from the curb and head back home. The front entrance is starting to look crowded with small gatherings of women dressed in their group's unique dress and the telltale signs of their Braz concealed under jackets open to the cool autumn air. I am alone and wondering if I will run into anyone I know - this is such a joke between Max and I when you think about how many people I run into just doing errands.... I step into the makeshift hallway - black cloth covered tall barriers which hide the amazing amount of tables behind and keep the event private and away from any curious eyes. I am stunned by how many tables are arranged within the large room and how intimate it feels with the tablecloths and touches that looks remarkably like a wedding reception. I find my table and note that it is a table just one away from the stage in the front. On my way there I run into two women I have not seen in quite some time and spend a few minutes catching up. I am wearing a black tank top with my decorated bra worn on the outside of the top. At a quick glance, it looks as if I am exposing my girls to the world..... only my one girl no longer quite fits the cups that are decorated with a simple flower where a nipple should be and the cups outlined with a bright pink boa.
I take a walk about and find Sue working the raffle tables and hugs and kisses later I find myself in the bar line and order a wine. I have purchased a ticket for a hot tub draw and select a lovely bracelet attached to it. I look at all the silent auction items but do not put out a bid - the gifts are lovely but I am watching my pennies these days and settle on purchasing a pin that says 'believe' . Last year I was part of a large group of women that raised money for cancer and the bracelet that my soul friend Jilly had made for me - our group was called the Believers.... I smile and pin it to my purse to join the others there including one I received in the mail this morning. That pin is a pink heart which crosses over at the bottom forming the tails of a ribbon ..... its identical one is with the owner that sent it..... Sarah, you are the light in so many people's lives, an old soul that is compassionate and loving in everything you do. I have known you most of your life and we have evolved from me watching you, you watching my children and then growing into a wonderful young woman who is now my peer and my dear friend. We are all the better for having you in our lives and enriching us with your love, laughter and incredible kindness. I will love you always and forever, thank you so much for every thing!! As I look around the crowd that is now amassing in groups around their tables I feel incredibly blessed by these women and the women I know and love. I am joined at the table by women I do not know but converse and laugh with throughout the evening. Annarita, Mandi, Sue and Tara complete the table for the exception of one lone chair. Dinner is great and the conversations flow - the fashion show from the Fashion and Design class of Fanshawe college is fun and the bras they have made are creative and fun - so in keeping with their youth and exuberance. The groups of women that have formed themed 'boob' apparel are eliciting hysterical laughter and clapping as they pose and dance across the stage in hopes of being this year's winner. Our last chair gets filled with the beautiful Julie A. who has come to see me on her dinner hour from the station. I am thrilled and what a wonderful surprise - I am touched that she is there supporting me. Love you girl!! She has fans everywhere she goes and smiles politely when the lady behind us tells her that she falls asleep to her weather report every night. She is a fan and wants to tell Julie how much she likes her. Those of us lucky to know her can't find anything not to like :).
The evening is winding down for me... I am tired and find that my energy is not what it used to be - i look at the dance floor and wish I had it in me to dance. Teresa was sitting a few tables away with Mary M but I cannot see her any longer... she just had a chemo treatment on Tuesday and with just three days since then she is looking tired and probably left sometime during the show. There are some bald ladies in amongst the audience who feel free to walk about - they are not so self-conscious amongst the ladies here. I have gone to check out the displays after hugging Julie who heads back to work and find myself talking to the ladies from the look good, feel good program - I take their business card and know that I will call them in the next week to get in for a make-up and moisturizer lesson. Just Between Friends is there as well.... I was just there the day before looking at wigs..... and speaking of wigs....
I met with Thomas after Yoga on Thursday morning. We met for lunch at Cora's and chatted while we ate. Our mission is to go and look at wigs. I am balking at the whole notion of wearing one at all but he has convinced me that if anything, it couldn't hurt to look around. Thomas knows hair and he knows wigs - really the best person for the job. We check out the first place just south of the hospital on Wellington Rd. - one of the girls in my art therapy group thought it was a great place to start since she had purchased a few there a couple of weeks earlier. I was amazed at how many there were lining the wall well above our heads. I tried on a few wigs but found a long-haired one that kept catching my eye. The color reminded me of the under lights I get for the winter streaks in my blonde hair. Will miracles never cease... I actually liked it and it looked good...at least for now. I will not know what will look good on me when the hair falls out and my skin changes color but for now I am satisfied with what I see. We put it aside and let her know that we are looking at another store as well but will likely be back. 'Just Between Friends' is a store tucked into the strip mall just behind the Staple store and north of the hospital. We enter in to find two lovely older women who are both cheerful and helpful. They have a good selection of well-fitting wigs, hats, pins, pashminas and items for mastectomies... the list goes on. They also offer hair cutting for those of us about to lose our locks - they do this usually before your first chemo because the trauma of losing your hair in clumps is emotional enough but the tender scalp you will have makes it hard to clip without discomfort. It amounts to a brush cut. Thomas will be taking my long blonde locks off on Wednesday - the day before my first chemo. We leave the store with their business card and the model of the wig that looked great but paled in comparison to the long haired one at the other store. We went back and purchased it - great wig at a great price. I might just wear it more than once :). Thomas, you are so thoughtful to spend your time with me and such a fun guy to hang out with - I love you, my friend!! Thank you for your kindness and hugs!!
I am worn out and it is time to leave the 'Braz'. I have had an amazing time, hugged Julie S. for the umpteenth time and wait for Sue to finish up - she is my ride home. We laugh on the way to dropping off her long time friend Sue home and then it is my stop next. She pulls into the driveway and asks who is sitting with me at my first Chemo appointment? When I tell her that it is just me going she asks if I am sure that I don't need anyone with me. 'Aren't you scared?' she looks at me with a quizzical glance. I answer 'no' then ask her 'should I be?'. I have done most of my appointments alone for the exception of the first diagnostic tests with Max in the waiting room.
I am not afraid.... not sure why but perhaps being organized and reading all of the literature that the nurses have given me and asking questions has given me reason not to be afraid. I know that after the treatments begin, I will not be venturing out much as I am not able to get a flu shot and cannot endanger myself in public with the risk of already having a compromised immune system. My one dresser drawer is full of head gear, a wig, a night cap (to keep my head warm at night and to keep the hair loss contained), and a selection of pashminas (scarves). I have stocked up on my toiletries and have gone to the library to get a few more books to keep me going over the next 3 weeks. Our groceries are stocked up and the food certificates from my friends have filled our freezer with quick meals on days that I cannot cope or have enough energy to get through the day. My Wii fit plus is available to work out on everyday away from the public.... I do have a membership to Goodlife which I will go to during quiet times through the week day when I am able. I believe that I am as prepared as I can be.... time will tell how good a job I did. Max works two jobs and is so busy that I do not want him to have to run around for anything more than he needs to.
Thanks to Mom who has driven down with a chili lunch. She stays the afternoon and mentions that she would like some ivy from my plant above the sink. I must have known - weeks ago I cut the plant and the roots are now protruding from the leaf joints. I get some soil from the new bags Max just picked up a few days ago and the two of us gently put the rooted ends into the pot I have found in the garage. The ivy is from our wedding 8 years ago - it is a reminder that our marriage, like the plant, must be cared for. Ivy means vibrancy, it is a symbol of determination and of survival - how appropriate that we are doing this so close to my treatment.... it also means 'to stick with our friends, no matter what'.... I love all kinds of ivy and now I know why!!! I walk her out to the car and with lots of hugs and kisses later, she is off for the drive home. Love you Mom..... we really appreciate all that you and Dad do for us. Max is always grateful when his parents come and watches her from the window as she pulls away.
I wish to thank the staff at Dr. Spagnoulo's dental office for making sure that all of us were seen by the dental hygienists including myself in hopes that I would be taken care of before the chemo sessions. I understand that mouth sores are a real possibility and that they want me to have a great start. Thanks girls!! Sending you all tons of hugs and thanks to you all for looking after us and supporting us.
Thanks to all my lovely friends who are there - no matter what!! xoxoxoxoxo