Thursday, September 1, 2011

The end of the story

In June, 2010, my doctor gravely told me, in his office a few days after my first colonoscopy, that I had colon cancer. Without a pause, I asked what the next step should be, who would do the surgery, etc., etc. He repeated the diagnosis a couple of times, wanting to make sure I understood what he had just told me, expecting me to be upset. What he didn't understand is that I had been there, done that. My daughter had already shown me the way.

My journey of the past year pales in comparison to the road she traveled in 2001. I will tell her story, our family's story, over several posts, but it's an easier story to tell when you already know the ending.

Graduation at UVa

25th Birthday

Here is what she wrote today (italics added by me.)

September 1, 2011

Ten years ago today is a day that I will never forget. As I prepared to leave (the hospital after the last chemo treatment) , getting ready upstairs in my room, I had no idea why my mom insisted that I wear cute clothes and makeup. It was just not that big of a deal. As far as I was concerned, it just meant that I could watch new movies (the teen movie channel only aired Bring it On, Remember the Titans, and Center Stage in the summer of ’01 on constant rotation). But a few minutes later, I was completely surprised to walk out of the elevator to see 10 (or so) of my best friends, half an hour away from home in the hospital lobby to celebrate with me, complete with signs, banners, painted car windows, and gifts.

So we had a little mini-party there at Cook Childrens (Hospital), and then we proceeded to a local pizza place, where I was astonished to see 30 to 40 more friends waiting to celebrate with me. It was an awesome day, one I didn’t see coming, and one I won’t forget.

What I have forgotten, though, is a lot of that summer. I kind of consider it a black hole in my memory. I don’t remember that many days in the hospital, the fatigue, the biweekly trips to the clinic for blood draws, or that much about the regular shots given to me post-chemo by my mom. I don’t remember much of loud nurses or lonely days while my friends were at school or hanging out at the pool or on mission trips.

What I do remember, is the people who surrounded me then. I remember that there were always tons of us hanging out at someone’s house. There were lots of movies and nights out at the pool, afternoons practicing the (marching band) fundamental block to the fight song, and a never-ending rotation of teenagers in the hospital. I remember the first summer of marching band at Bell (High School) and the support of my basketball coaches and teammates during the summer workout program and subsequent fall offseason. I remember wiping the stubble of hair from my sweaty head at a basketball game, and joking about not having hair ties. I remember the permanent hall pass at BJH and the 9th grade only hat day.

But most of all, 10 years later, I am grateful. Grateful for the good times then, and grateful for all I’ve been able to do since because of the support that I had at age 15. I am grateful for those of you who were there for me. I’m especially grateful for those of you who were there for my parents, siblings, grandparents, and other friends, because you held them up so that they could hold me up. I am grateful that people were willing to pretend that nothing was wrong, because that’s what I wanted. I am grateful for the 3 years in the Bell band, including the privilege of standing up on the podium near tears during the finals of Grand Nats. I am grateful for my basketball career, because I love the game and was given opportunities despite my height.

I am grateful for my education. I am so grateful for the incredible well-rounded collegiate experience I got while at Rice and all of the relationships I made, and the new experiences there that shaped more of who I am today – all of the powderpuff games, trips to cool places with the basketball team, all-nighters, late night TC runs, and cramming 15 of us into my super stylish Suburban. And I’m so lucky to have met my best friend and soulmate (husband) there, and we’ve been able to establish such a great life out here in Coppell, with fantastic new friends, close enough to home to be close, but not in Mom’s backyard (love you!!). I’m grateful for my job, my church, the opportunity to go to UVA for graduate school, and very importantly, grateful for my health. No issues in 10 years! Can you believe it’s been 10 years? Some days it seems like 2, other times it feels like 20, but either way, it’s crazy!

I’ve come a long way since that day as a freshman where I woke up and didn’t know what was wrong (March 1, 2001, not that I remember), and I know that it was because of the people in my life, and for that, I thank you.
DisneyWorld July 2001

Marching band rehearsal Fall, 2001

Wiley (age 6) wanting to be just like Lindsay

I love a happy ending, don't you?


Linda said...

Kerry, it is a happy ending.....she is blessed to have the family and friends she has!!!!!

Allyson said...

Once again, those of us that were there 10 years ago get to see what a wonderful, beautiful, talented, loving woman Lindsay has become. No surprise at all but a joy to share!

Sherry Organ said...

What a wonderful article she wrote; what a wonderful woman she is; what a wonderful family you all are. And I love you all.

Grace in my Heart said...

Beautiful post. Your daughter is so strong! :)