I've written a little bit about things that friends or family have done for us to help us out. However, I've tried not to share a lot, because I feel that others should have a right to their own internet privacy (and because I keep meaning to take pictures of certain things and forget - chemo brain!). Having said that, I want to share a story with you. When I first got diagnosed, not only did I have to deal with my own feelings (anger, frustration, pain, fear) but also those of the people that loved me. It is kind of funny to think about now, but I did a LOT of reassuring others during the first couple of days after my diagnosis. In some ways, re-telling the details of what was going on or could happen, the prognosis percentages, and the fact that I was 100% ready to fight - helped me gather the courage I needed.
I did some funny things prior to chemo, like buying some nice earrings because I was determined that I would have cute earrings that I could later give to my daughter and let her know her Mama beat cancer wearing them. I bought a crazy bright hot pink lipstick (which you've all seen), because I wanted to be BOLD if I had to be bald (and eyeliner and eyebrow liner which I was told might come in handy as the eyelashes and brows fell off). I know many around me were trying to figure out with ways to cope themselves - not just with what I was going through, but with the reminder that life is precious, life is short, and life can throw one heck of a curveball at you when you least expect it.
As I was preparing for my battle, a good friend of mine, Becca, felt the need to do something herself - and she decided to start training for her first marathon while raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). LLS research is responsible for one of the game-changing chemo drugs that I am on (Rituxan), and they continue to invest resources for blood cancer research. Training for a marathon is no small feat, and we've shared comments back on forth on how we're both exhausted! The Puerto Rico chapter of LLS doesn't have any local marathons, so she will be flying to Miami for the run. Her fundraising page is #JoelleStrong Team Fundraising page (it is a little embarrassing to read all the nice things she says about me), and she has been documenting her training in her own blog if you'd like to take a look. I am humbled by what she is doing, and I hope to join in on cancer research fundraising efforts once I'm done with all my treatment and recovery!