For me Christmas started with being able to taste my famous Rachel Ray turkey this year on Thanksgiving. We have made this amazing drunken turkey three years in a row, and last year the chemo had temporarily taken out my taste buds. So on the first day of Christmas (I know it's not the literal "first day", but hey, I'm a poet so I have a license) I ate my turkey and tasted it too.
Usually the weekend after Thanksgiving we go to a tree farm, methodically pick out just the right Christmas tree. Amanda has a special system where she dances with the one we think has got the right look, to make sure it also has the right groove for The Evanshire. This year, we are taking our Christmas on the road, to my sister's in Charleston, SC, so we got a "portable tree" to deck The Evanshire AND our van. So on the second day of Christmas we decked the Evanshire.
On the third day of Christmas Mikey got his temps! Just in time to get his 50 hours in on our holiday road trip. The rest of us can kick back, relax and watch Christmas movies in the back. Maybe have a little egg nog to get in the Christmas spirit and stuff. We will not think about three teen drivers, three cars to maintain, or the three car insurances that entails because that would totally rain on my parade here.
On the fourth day of Christmas, we went to the Tiffany Foundation Breast Cancer Fundraiser at my tennis club, where this year, I wore hair and got to PLAY tennis! Also, most importantly, I got to give the Tiffany Award to this year's recipient, Mary Jo Cropper. It was humbling to give her the award. She has been battling breast cancer for 17 years. My oldest son, Matt, is 17. Talk about feeling the perspective. Not only has she battled it personally but she has fought for others as well, supporting other survivors and helping raise funds and awareness to fight breast cancer. The Breast Cancer Center at Bethesda North is named after her. Which happens to be where I had my mammogram and ultrasound. How grateful was I to be able to thank her personally?!
On the fifth day of Christmas, my Mum became my sister survivor, as she courageously went through a lumpectomy to have her damn spot removed. Thank God for The Little Red Door, who had a commercial my Mum "happened" to catch, which offered free mammograms (my Mum didn't have insurance at the time). Thank God my Mum responded to the ad. Thank God they found the damn spot. Thank God for mammograms, even if the government is dissing them a bit right now. Personally saving my Mum's life is worth it. Not to mention, I am a little sensitive on the subject since I probably wouldn't be sitting here typing this post if we had not found my cancer early. My oncologist's mantra is "early diagnosis, excellent prognosis". Ok, I'll get off my soapbox now. But go Mum! And please everybody continue to pray for her. She begins radiation in January, and maybe will take part in a cool trial with one of my heroes, Herceptin.
On the sixth day of Christmas, we visited The Outlaws. The Outlaws are really my In-laws; it's just a term of endearment, hehe. And I believe it was Dave's Mum who started it; I just let it stick because it is fun to think of them that way, even though they are not really "bad guys" at all. Anyway, we hadn't seen Dave's Dad since before I got sick. Lot's has obviously happened in the interim. For one, he eats pizza every week now (which you wouldn't believe in a million years if you used to hear him razzing us about our pizza consumption) and so we got to hang and eat pizza with the Outlaws.
On the seventh day of Christmas, we hid all the schoolbooks for the holiday. One more semester down...and only one more till I, I mean the boys, graduate from home school!
On the eighth day of Christmas, my singles team went to play-offs! We came in second for the season (out of 5) and in play-offs (out of 2). My personal record after play-offs, was 8-3.
On the ninth day of Christmas, my doubles team won play-offs! We came in first in our division but were the definite underdogs going into the play-offs. There were 17 teams in all; the top three from each division made it to play-offs, and then a 4th team with the next highest number of points got a wild card. Even the wild card team had more points than we did. The top team drew us for the first round match. I think they secretly breathed a sigh of relief when they did, because they beat us 8-1 during the season. I think the other finalist team also breathed a sigh of relief when they had to play us in the finals instead of the top seeded team, since they also beat us pretty badly during the season, 6-3. I think we surprised them both as much as we surprised ourselves by pulling off the wins. But what a pleasant surprise! Here is my team and our coaches. Yay 5 Seasons Ohio Green, GCITA Interclub 4.5 Champions!
And here is me taking a bite out of the trophy! Yum! I can't tell you how good it tasted, not only to get to play tennis again, and with such a delightful group of women, but to even win, after this past year of being on the sidelines cheering on my friends. What an exclamation point on my recovery (I feel like I am about 90% fitness/tennis-wise) and my comeback (my personal record after play-offs, was 10-6)! How blessed am I?! I can't even count that high.
On the tenth day of Christmas...well, that's still to come...but On Monday, December 21, God willing, I will down my last chemo cocktail. Thank You, GOD! I can't even believe I can sit here typing that. More to come on that once I've downed it.
Once I down said final chemo cocktail on Monday, we are heading south. First to Charleston, SC to spend Christmas with my sister, her hub, the cutest nephew EVER, and my Mum. Then we continue south-er because on the eleventh day of Christmas I'm going to walk my soggy bare feet in the sands of Marco Island, FL. Snow angels are cool, but sand ones are more my speed and temp. My little family is so looking forward to a little R&R after the past year and a half of having our lives revolve around a chemo calendar. My Redheads have been the most amazing troopers through it all. Boy do they deserve a break! Not to mention, Dave, who is practically a circus performer with all the plates he's been keeping spinning. Btw, Dave and I will be celebrating our 22nd anniversary while we are on holiday; we got married when we were 22 so we'll be married as long as we weren't, which is kind of mind blowing and cool.
I have also scheduled the surgery to have my port removed on January 6th, which, appropriately, is 12 days after Christmas, and also Epiphany, which is a good way to start the rest of my life. On the twelfth day of Christmas, I will say Bon Voyage to Port Rapha! There will be a non-chemo cocktail party at The Evanshire on Friday, January 8th that we'd like to invite all our friends and family to, to celebrate the END of this cancer with us. Game, Set, Match! More details to follow.