Chemoversary, Art Bra, National Cancer Survivors Day, and Surgery

Can you believe it's been exactly one year since I finished my last chemotherapy treatment?

I had just gotten back from a trip to NYC with Julia, and my wonderful friends came to visit me to celebrate.  Remember trips?  And friends?  And hugs from friends?  Remember the Dirty Sanchez taco before Torchy's discontinued it?  (Why, Torchy's, why?!)  Man, life has really changed in a year.

In addition to my chemoversary, tonight was supposed to be Art Bra 2020.  If it weren't for COVID-19, I'd be getting ready to strut down this runway right about now.

(Throwback to last year's model fitting)

Don't worry, a virtual fundraising event is coming up on September 12th, and as a top fundraiser, I've been invited to participate in the '90s celebrity red carpet challenge.  We all know fashion is my area of expertise.  Mark your calendars! 

I also recently learned that the first Sunday in June is National Cancer Survivors Day.  "A celebration of life after cancer and an inspiration for the newly diagnosed."  In that spirit, here are a couple photos of me living my best life after cancer.

What can I say?  I'm quarantined in Texas.  It's hot.

This day feels monumental, so let's talk about something really important...

My hair regrowth!

It's been an interesting year of bedhead and cowlicks, but I've come a long way.

January 2019: Right after diagnosis

February 2019

May 2019: During chemo

July 2019: 1 month after chemo 

2 months after chemo 

3 months after chemo

4 months after chemo 

5 months after chemo 

6 months after chemo 

7 months after chemo 

8 months after chemo 

9 months after chemo 

10 months after chemo (first month in quarantine) 

 11 months after chemo

1 year after chemo!

I had a few pictures bookmarked of pixie cuts to give me something to look forward to, but as usual, reality falls short of expectations.

My current hairstyle bears a closer resemblance to my kindergarten bowl cut.

It doesn't help that because of COVID-19, I've had to rely on my husband for haircuts.  He's getting pretty good at the straight-across-the-back-to-avoid-a-mullet trim.  But I could really use some shaping or highlights or something.  And no, I didn't dye my hair before cancer!  It just changed color from beautiful golden blonde to ... Jeff's hair color.  His hair is also growing longer in quarantine, so we still look like twins.  

It doesn't really matter what my hair looks like for the next month because I'm finally having my DIEP flap surgery on Tuesday!  My bloodwork was perfect.  I'm waiting for the results of my COVID test (required for all surgical patients), but I expect it to be negative.  The Houston plastic surgeon finally sorted out his paperwork and will be the second surgeon on my team.   My parents drove 19 hours (again) to help out (again).  Before my parents arrived, I painted and redecorated their condo without asking them.  Hey, don't leave me the keys to your place during a quarantine!  I stress-decorate!  

I find that having projects is the key to staying sane.  After watching the Bohemian Rhapsody movie a couple weeks ago, I decided to relearn the entire song on the piano before my surgery.  Keep in mind that I haven't played on a regular basis in over 20 years.  If you listen to this video at 1.5 speed, it sounds more like the actual song.  See if you can hear me mumble profanity when I make a mistake!  And you get a special bonus if you can spot Jeff sneaking chocolate from the pantry!

But back to surgery preparations...

In case something happens to me, I backed up my photos, updated my mom journal, gave Jeff a list of important passwords, and printed a fresh copy of my medical power of attorney.  I've also been eating super clean and stretching every night.  I feel like I'm preparing for battle.  I might rub kale on my face like warpaint.       

Jeff and I will arrive at Seton Main Hospital at 5am on Tuesday.  Jeff is allowed in the waiting room with a mask, but my understanding is that I won't be allowed to have any visitors.  Claire and Julia drew pictures for me to take with me.  Jeff promised to call every few hours and complain about my absence and the growing pile of dirty dishes.    

Everyone please wish Jeff good luck while I am in the hospital.  

Oh, and me too.