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Sweet T's Story

The Chronicles of a Survivor

Month

July 2013

3…2…1…AUGUST!

I recently downloaded a countdown app on my phone because I have some pretty big milestones slated for the next few months. Plus I really enjoy the constant nudge of anticipation that comes along with a good countdown. Think about it…most memorable, epic events in life are synonymous with some form of a countdown. And in my opinion…if they aren’t already, they should be. Image

The monster milestone, which is rapidly approaching, is…MY LAST CHEMO YAY! Tomorrow morning, Wednesday July 31st at 9:15am sharp you’ll find me at AGH, with bells on, ready to get this shiz over and done with. These last few chemo infusions haven’t been that bad, but it’s been a long, heavy haul…nearly 4 months of treatment. And frankly, I’m over it.

I’m over giving myself shots of blood thinner EVERY DAY…the blue tint of my skin, which started as separate bruises, but now is just one really big bruise covering my entire body below the neck. I’m over having sparse eyebrows and lashes and the “bad hair days” when my arm and finger muscles cramp up from trying and trying to get my scarf tied or put my false eyelashes on. Yesterday I counted and I literally have 16 eyelashes left. I’m over chemo and everything negative that goes along with it. For me, chemo has kind of been like that annoying, obnoxious lingerer you’d like to throat punch pretty much on a daily basis, but you just can’t. In real life, I simply choose to not be around people like that, but chemo is like obsessed with me! She won’t effing leave me alone! So, tomorrow, I’m going to punch chemo in the throat so hard and fast she won’t dare come back around my hood no mo. Like a ninja.

Although I’m not quite finished kicking cancers ass just yet (I still have radiation therapy) August 1, 2013 represents a new chapter for me in this life. Thursday morning, I will wake up feeling strong and accomplished and confident and ready. I will forget about all the annoying days I’ve had with chemo and remember that it’s what is making me healthy again…it’s what is giving me the opportunity to embark on this new chapter and appreciate life like I do.

But I will still throat punch that little biotch:) Cheers to this being my LAST chemo EVER. Peace and love, friends!

-Sweet T

“I want my soul to feel brand new…” -Avetts 

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Touch Your Tata’s! For the Cure!!

Over the past few months, in spite of, and mostly credited to my 2nd go round with the big C, I’ve had a ton of super special, memory box worthy moments. Last weekend was no different, possibly even more so than most…

 

I’m talking about the 5th Annual Touch Your Tata’s/Rally for the Cure Golf Outing, which, of course was a hit and the best outing yet AND keeps on getting better every year! This event is the love child of one of my oldest and most dear and compassionate and wonderful friends, Ashley. She started organizing this outing in 2008 in honor of her Aunt Char who battled and beat breast cancer with courage and grace. !!GO AC you’re my hero!! The following year, I was diagnosed the first time and Ash decided to continue hosting the outing, now in honor of me, AC and any and everyone else who has been touched by breast cancer.

This year, our 5th year (we took one year off for those of you who are counting) was by far our most successful outing. We had 146 golfers and raised around $13,000!! WOWZA! The event benefits the Susan G. Komen Foundation and proceeds are put to great use funding and supporting breast cancer research and lots of other great stuff like free mammograms. Great, right? It is. SO GREAT. But this event is about more than that to me.

It’s about friends and strangers coming together because they have been touched by this disease and they want to play a role in making a difference. It’s the notion that there are thousands and thousands of events just like this (although not nearly as rad) happening all over the nation and that together, we’re really having an impact and making a difference. That one day, breast cancer will be a distant memory and we’ll all be able to think back to this day and know that together, people can truly make a difference. I’d be amiss to say that Touch Your Tata’s isn’t about letting loose and having some fun too. It’s sunshine and jello-shots. It’s lots of hugs and belly laughs. It’s playing and prizes. It’s an escape, an inspiration…for me, it’s bottled up joy.


It’s hard for me to put into words the overwhelming sense of joy and inspiration that I feel when I see people rally together around a cause, especially one that is so near and dear to my heart. When I see the dedication and hard work of the volunteers who help make this event a success, all the men (and ladies!) showing their support rocking their pink from head to toe so graciously opening up their pocketbooks, the many, many warm embraces and kind words I was surrounded by, some from long time friends, some from complete strangers…I get the chills.

So THANK YOU, all of you, who golfed, donated, volunteered! I can only hope you had half as much fun as I did. Let’s get geared up for an even more awesome, successful next year!! MEG–thank you, as always, for capturing these beautiful memories for me with your camera! You’re so talented! AND ASH!! Your huge, compassionate heart never ceases to amaze me. I’m so lucky to have such a dear friend in you. Thank you for all of the hours of hard work and planning that went into making The 5th Annual Touch Your Tata’s Golf Outing the best eva. We couldn’t have done it without you. And thank you for being you, friend. Love you like woah:)

Summer Solstice With The Avetts

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Scott, Sweet T, Seth and Joe @ Firefly 2013

There’s something magical about music. Maybe it’s the artistry? The way carefully crafted lyrics and melodies make sense of emotions you weren’t quite able to make sense of yourself. Maybe it’s the sense of nostalgia? The way a song can take you back to a beautiful memory and let you relive those moments over and over. Maybe it’s the joyful feeling you get when you share laughter, happiness and a genuine connection with complete strangers because of your love of music? Maybe it’s all of that wrapped up together a bound tightly with guitar strings like a little present that you get to open and enjoy anytime you like?

It’s no secret that I have a deep love for music. It’s blatantly clear that my love for The Avetts is borderline cray/obsessive. Call it what you will, people. They make me feel happy, inspired, creative and warm…and in my book, there’s not a damn thing wrong with feeling like that.

What I’m trying to say, is that I had one of the best weekends of my life this past June. With lots of help from y’all my 30th bday wish came true…I rocked summer solstice 2013 at Firefly Music Fest with The Avett Brothers and it was just glorious!

Where do I even start? Ok…so there were months of anticipation that led up to this. I got word that the guys would love to meet me a few months ago, but didn’t really know what to expect when the day actually came. I had a dream one night that during the show Scott brought me up on stage and I played the harmonica part of “Backwards with Time” totally rocked it and wowed the crowd. In reality, I don’t really know how to play my harmonica all that well (what I mean by that is that I own a harmonica and sometimes act like the sounds that come out of it when I play sound good), and I probably would have just embarrassed myself when I peed my pants and then proceeded to pass out in front of 50,000+ people from shock…but it was quite the dream. Obviously that isn’t exactly what the day entailed, but it was a dream come true nonetheless.

So what really happened? I met the guys at the St. Jude tent a few hours before their set. We had a few minutes, just me and the guys, to chat, take pics, hug, doodle autographs on my new pair of Tom’s and basically become bfff’s. I don’t know if you can tell in the pic above, but I’m pretty sure I bruised both Scott and Seth from hugging them so tight. I wish I would have had some one taking video of the whole thing, because I barely remember the details of what we talked about. I do remember, however, walking up to Scott, him looking at me and his exact words in that sweet, deep, raspy southern drawl were, “Look at you and those beautiful blue eyes.” I melted. And I melt every time I relive that moment in my head. I also got a few minutes to talk to Bob, the bass player, one on one about his sweet daughter Hallie, who is battling brain cancer. It was my hope to bring him a little bit of peace and hope knowing that people with cancer can live full and magnificent lives. I know I told them that they inspire me and help get me through my tough days. All of the guys…Scott, Seth, Joe and Bob were gracious and beautiful inside and out…just as I had expected. It was a true honor and joy to get to spend a few minutes with them.

I thought that was the end of it…I stepped away and watched the guys waving as they were carted away and I felt a couple of tears coming down my face. They were tears of absolute and shear joy…and I couldn’t control it. The whole thing was a little overwhelming…in a good way. It was hard to believe what was happening to me…the events that had led up to all of it…everything that my family, friends and I have been through and experienced over the past 5 years, the sense of strength and accomplishment I felt…the happiness that engulfed me in that moment, the festival, my dear friends who experienced the weekend with me, the sunshine, the music, everything. All I could think was…wow…my life…what a long strange trip it’s been. That is a moment and feeling that I’m keeping locked up deep in my soul for safe keeping. My cup literally runneth over!

Anyone who has been to a music fest knows the dedication it takes to see your fav band up close and personal. It’s hours of missing out on other bands, standing like sardines with thousands of new friends, the sun beating down on you…all for the love of the band. I have to give my buddy, Noah a special shout out for setting up shop with me 4 rows back from the stage The Avetts were playing at and sticking it out for hours and hours in the heat waiting to see them. We had a great spot…it would have been a great place to watch the set. BUT! Instead of watching from our staked out spot 4 rows back, because the guys and their crew are so gracious and wonderful, I was able to get a backstage pass and watch the show from the mezzanine with the band’s friends and family. Again, I melted.

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I’m not sure what heaven will be like, but, for me, I’d like it to be something reminiscent of this. I’d have no problem spending 47 eternities or more surrounded by music, friendship, sunshine, peace and happiness. Thanks to everyone who shared my email and blog and liked my facebook page…you all played a part in this dream come true. Also, thanks to The Avetts, Bob, Joe and Dane for everything you have no idea how much this meant to me…yinz rock my world!

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Chemo #6: Take 2

chemo #6

Last Wednesday I wasn’t able to get chemo because it turns out I had a pretty massive blood clot in my left upper arm. I’m behind schedule and frankly I’m pretty pissed at cancer for messing with my flow and ruining my 4th of July plans and even an invite to see PJ in Ontario on the 16th. UGH. Take a hike, cancer, you’re just stupid!

They thought the clot might have been from Spike, my port, and even threatened to take him out and use my non-existent veins to administer the rest of my chemo infusions. Luckily, (or unluckily) a CT scan says that Spike has nothing to do with the blood clot and once again I’m a medical mystery. So, I’ve been shooting myself up with blood thinner for the past week. I have to give myself a shot in the stomach twice a day and it’s pretty much the worst thing ever. You’d think I’d be past my fear of needles/injections by now, but I’m just not. I have to listen to really loud music and pump myself up before each shot. It’s probably pretty funny to see. The shots do seem to be working, however. I no longer have elephantiasis of the arm. Which, although is a made up name, is very painful and quite embarrassing. So I’m winning!

So here I am, one week later, blood all thinned up, back on the chemo train, ready to beat the shit out of those cancer cells. Ok. The pre-meds are. kicking. innnnnn. I think I’ll take a nap in this comfy chemo chair and hopefully have lots of crazy,happy, music filled dreams. Those dreams are the best:)

Btw, my firefly/summer solstice with the avetts blog is on its way. Keep your eyes peeled but heed caution….it may be a long one because it was pretty much the best weekend eva.)

Signing off from chemo #6. Only 2 more to go. Over and out. 10-4,

Sweet T

scott and sweet T aka bfff's
scott and sweet T aka bfff’s

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