You guys are AMAZING!! Big day tomorrow!

Wow, you guys are so amazing! I want to start by just saying THANK YOU!! As you all know from the email that my best friend sent out several weeks ago, we have been extremely blessed to be working not only with a PhD clinical nutritionist who specializes in working with cancer patients, but have more recently added a wonderful and very talented chef to our medical team who has been preparing some of our meals thanks to your very generous donations.

I can’t begin to tell you how humbled Neil and I are by your generosity and we will both be forever changed by the unbelievable grace and kindness you all have and continue to show us. What I can’t quite put into words is the burden it has lifted off of us. To be honest, I was a bit overwhelmed at the magnitude of what I had to recreate in such a short time frame. EVERYTHING as I knew it was changed in an instant and suddenly there was no schedule, no default or autopilot to cling to. For awhile it seemed that everything I tried to do took 10 times as long and that things that had once been so easy were suddenly slipping through my hands like sand or simply just didn’t work anymore. I’ll tell ya, you don’t realize how much you depend on that “autopilot” until it’s not there anymore. But, as with anything new, it takes awhile to gather new information, assimilate it, fumble around a little and then finally start to see the foundation you have framed up to start building on. I consider myself a pretty “quick learn”, but I have to be honest and tell you it reached a tipping point…a couple times. Ahhhh, and there in lies the lesson. I had to (and still am…I can see Neil laughing as he reads this :)) learn to cut myself some slack. Yes, a novel idea, I know. But you guys have alleviated one of those areas and for that I and we are so, so grateful.

So last week I was speaking with the high dose chemo/stem cell group trying to get prepared for Phase II and got some more details. The very nice coordinator I have been working with was going over some of the details with me and “reminded” me that I would be on “house arrest” for 6 months…huh?! I think I audibly laughed out loud. As that sunk in, I started to think about all the books I’ve been anxious to read and all the new information I have wanted to “sit” with, well…here’s my chance! I mean, who gets 6 months in their life to “rest” and to learn and to grow. I quickly started to see this amazing space that has been created for me and the gift in it. And yes, this is not exactly how I would have chosen to attain this space, but none the less, I have it and am going to use it.

But as this path has continued to unfold, what has become more and more clear to me is what an amazing gift this body of ours really is. I have always been fascinated by the it and how seamlessly all of it works together. It is one of the reasons I went into nutrition and then medicine. But this experience has shown me a whole new perspective…how much we expect our bodies just to “do” and how little we tend to participate in trying to facilitate any of it. We have this assumption that it should all work perfectly, regardless of what we ask of it or what we put into it. We starve it, stuff it, abuse it, cheat it, push it and yet somehow act surprised when it doesn’t “work” right and only notice when something hurts or is “wrong”. We don’t typically just sit around thinking how great it is that we are breathing and that our eyes work to see and our legs work to walk, you get my drift.

Now certainly I am in a situation that create a heightened awareness of all of this and I have been extremely blessed to feel so wonderful. But I think where some of this stemmed from is that I can’t quite explain why I have had the reverse of what the doctors have told me to anticipate. I can’t explain why after each round of chemo I have felt better and stronger when they tell me that it has a cumulative effect and should get worse after each one. I can’t explain why I still have my eyebrows and eyelashes, and have to shave everyday and trim my little baby bird looking hair because it keeps growing when they prepared me to lose everything and fast. So it became clear to me in a big hurry that something else was going on. Mostly I just say thank you and yes, I have done my part. I have done the “work” on every level that I know of (and even some I’m not so sure of :)) to ensure the best possible outcome going forward. Yet there is something else. I’m not here to tell you what to believe or how to do it. Each person must decide and find that for themselves. But I will tell you this, you can try to explain away this situation to me with any number of reasons, statistics or theories but you can’t explain to me the “bigness” of it that I can feel or how all the beautiful pieces and people have just fallen into to place in perfect timing. I am in awe of it all and overwhelmed with gratitude. I found a wonderful quote that says it well; “Be at least as interested in what goes on inside you as what happens outside. If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.” – Eckhart Tolle

So, along those same lines..this Thursday, as in tomorrow 8/28, is a big day. I’m having my repeat PET scan at 9:15a and this is a big one. We need this one to show complete remission (as in clean liver) to have the best case moving forward…you know, no pressure. Actually, we feel really good about it. I just have to show them what we already know to be true, how lovely and clean my pretty little liver is! So funny, I’ve never thought about one organ so much! But I am going to be bold here and as ask for your help. I firmly believe in the power of prayer and am asking for you all to throw some my way. So if you can, tomorrow from about 9-10:30a or so, send me some good vibes, happy thoughts and lots of prayers. Even if you don’t normally pray, that’s OK, I’ll take it :).

I always had this idea in my head that the word “remission” meant you were done, get out of jail free, thanks for playing, so it’s funny that it’s just the minimum to get to the next step but also assures me of their thoroughness! And I can honestly rest assured that we have done EVERYTHING in our power to provide the best outcome and will release it from there. There is a lot of peace in that. Am I nervous? Sure. But in reality, they are just taking a picture of what already is. So I will have that nice healthy radiology glow for the Labor Day weekend and will wear it with pride :). Love to you all and many thanks for your generosity, kindness and prayers…you guys are truly amazing. Wish me luck!

Alyssa

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