Monday, May 18, 2009

it's not about the treadmill

it's still a shock to catch a glimpse of my reflection with this head of hair, or rather lack of. last week when i was getting my labs done, my favorite nurse, teresa, said to me "when you first shaved your head you looked like GI jane, but now you're just bald." thank God i appreciate honesty and she is totally right. my face is almost as white as my scalp which has never even seen the light of day. i fixed that problem yesterday. a friend will tell u that you still look great when you're pale as a ghost. a true friend will include bottle of spray tan with your birthday present. thank you, johanna. and when people notice a streak or two that i didn't rub in, they won't think that i'm an idiot who can't apply tanning spray, but rather look at my head and realize that i'm just a chemo patient who isn't allowed to go out in the sun and play like normal children.

don't get me wrong, i'm not looking for sympathy, but i did realize that i haven't used the "cancer card" enough to my advantage. so, the other day i was driving and this girl, around my age, refused to let me over into her lane. it was deliberate. i am not, however, one of those people who get road rage. instead, i like to smile or do something nice which usually just pisses them off even more. so, she pulls up next to me and i just give her this look that says, "really? i mean, seriously? you're not gonna let the cancer girl over?"

there's really nothing wrong with using the cancer card. i don't use it often, but i do keep it in my back pocket just so that it's close when i need it. and i only use it for good, not for my own selfish gain. this is my guide to killing cancer and the cancer card needs to be discussed. it is very powerful and should only be used for good...and maybe the occasional bump to first class.

the true key to killing cancer is the surrounding support. this must be achieved prior to the diagnosis. apparently, i must have done this because everyday i feel more blessed. i'll start with the company where i am employed. even strangers on the street will ask me if my work is "being cool" with everything. when i tell them how amazing they have been, they always respond in awe and ask who i work for. I tell them "Sport & Health" and then give them a pass so they can go try it out :)

friends and co-workers have blown my mind with the time and effort they have put into all this cancer killing. they are still recovering from all the hours clocked working out in april. the Team Rachel shirts look amazing and i'm even getting my own bracelet like lance armstrong. i promise not to go all hollywood like him, don't worry. if i write a book, however, this will be the title. and then there was the happy hour this past friday night. we had over 30 people come out and that didn't include the rest of the patrons who were there. the silent auction was a huge success and a good time was had by all.

it's definitely harder for the friends and family who don't live by us, but the support is still clearly evident. when your friend has a baby and 2 days later texts you "how are you feeling," you know you're loved. shoutout to little derek jr.

and then there's my joey. i didn't think it was possible to get any closer to him or love him anymore than i did. but i certainly do. he is my rock. when i'm lying on the couch wanting to die, he always asks "what can i do to make you feel better?" and when i say there is nothing, he goes and cleans the apartment because he says he knows that always makes me feel better. he is always putting me first no matter what and never complains or even show any signs of fatigue. last week we were laying in bed and the interview with farrah fawcett's boyfriend came on the tv. he was saying that he had never loved her more than he did now and that he didn't know what he was going to do without her when she dies. now, joey and i have talked about the type of cancer i have and that 85% of all those with it not only survive, but are cured. we both believe that in the end i will be cured. but, when he heard that interview, joey broke down and started sobbing. and then of course i started sobbing. he said that hearing those words just hit home with him and that he couldn't live without me. he then made me promise that i wouldn't die. i made that promise. i know that i am not going to die from this cancer. i cannot, however, promise that joey won't kill me for telling this story.

can i kill cancer on my own? absolutely. i can't imagine how hard that would be and i certainly wouldn't want to try it. i know there are days that i don't want to see or talk to anyone, but i also know that my support is still there. that is what makes the road on this journey more feasible for travel. i'm gonna be the most tan cancer patient on that road.

" 'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' " Jeremiah 29:11


  1. Well "hello" Rachel !! Glad to see you're still in good spirit. Since you were up early this morning, you should have come for coffee (decaf, of course). Maybe tomorrow ??

    By the way....tell Joe not to be upset with you for "spilling the beans" -- he's a better man who cries for a good reason. And remember, "a man who can't cry can't love".

    "Starbucks Rich"

  2. Rachel, I love reading your blog! Your strength and sense of humor through this are amazing.

    Tell Joe that only real men cry and wear pink! :) I don't know if he does the pink thing, but the crying thing gives him my vote! If he ever wants to chat with another spouse of a cancer patient, send him my way. We can share notes! I'm sure there is nothing he can say or think that I haven't thought of/said already.

    Thinking of you all the time!
    ps---keep playing the cancer card thing with your sister! :)

  3. Thanks for the update Rachel. Great writing by the way. I'm inspired.

    We're bummed you and Joe won't be making it out to the Bay this June but fingers crossed you can make the trip happen sooner rather than later.

    -Marlo & Steve

  4. Hey Rachel! First time in awhile I have come to your site...Derek Jr. is resting soundly right now:) I'm so glad that I did. Your humor and outlook is amazing and I'm so impressed how you are pushing through the pain and emotions of your diagnosis and treatments. I can't wait to see you next week! PS: It must be said again you are a beautiful bald woman!

  5. Hi Rachel,I am praying for you... God's love and faithfulness continue to shine through "your story". May He continue to be your refuge and strength, an ever -present help in trouble. Ps 46 Blessings, Lynne

  6. Rachel I love reading your blog... and I want you to know that I'm not one to usually read them... But this posting brought me to tears. I can't say that I have any idea what you are going through, but you seem to be doing it with such strength I am in awe!! Keep up the fight... oh, and I need to tell you that you look great even bald! Most of us could never pull it off like you can...