The music of his heart

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When I was 6 months pregnant, I attended church with my big sister. The first portion of service was filled with music that you could feel in your heart. The musicians up front sang from a place deep in their soul and it was like the instruments were an extension of their hands.  Jacob heard the music in my belly and danced like crazy. He was often wiggling about when music came on but never quite like this. He danced all around in my belly and I couldn’t help but smile, laugh and cry along with the music and him. It was like the music spoke directly to him.

Since he was born, Jacob continues to love music. He always dances when he hears a beat, wiggling his little tush or his shoulders to the music. The other day when he was bathing, he grabbed all of the containers in the tub and drummed away, the sound of drums mixing with the sound of running water.

Music captures him in a way that few other things do. It always makes me smile, seeing him react and interact with the music he hears. There is a song in his heart and his head, always.  He recently found an older guitar that has been collecting dust in our home. Previously owned by Joe’s brother, it sits in the corner of a room, alone in the world.  Jacob found it and immediately began playing. Never wanting to put ir down, he taps and strums and sings. He brings it with him across the house, singing loud with an array of words that often include “Momma”, “Daddad” and all of the other things he loves in this world.

Maybe it’s a phase.  Maybe it’s ingrained. Either way, it makes my heart smile.  My sweet boy is learning what he loves and the possibilities of what he can do with his future are endless.

3 weeks post radiation!

Today I headed back to the place that was like a second home for 6 weeks straight. I had my (almost) 3 week post radiation checkup and it went quite well!

The radiation oncologist was beyond excited about how well my skin has healed. She couldn’t stress enough how nice it looks in such a short amount of time. It is so awesome to hear that!!  I have instructions to continue moisturizing twice a day until well after reconstruction but that is a small task after radiation so I don’t mind.

And the next exciting update? My follow up appointment is in January! That’s right, I don’t need to see her again until after reconstruction. As much as I love her as a doctor, I am in no hurry to head back there.  😄

This is a small win but a wonderful one nonetheless! Happy Tuesday, friends!

National Cancer Survivors Day

Last week at work, I learned that it was National Donut Day. Despite the conversation, the laughs and the chatter about our favorite donut types, I resisted the urge to eat one. This was hard because….well, despite their sugar-overload and messiness, donuts are awesome. Yet, I couldn’t tell you the last time I ate one. After the conversation ended, I forgot all about this national day.

Today, thanks to social media, I learned it is National Cancer Survivors Day. Thinking back, I don’t recall knowing that there was a national day for this. Perhaps, like National Donut Day, I took part in conversation around it the day of and then forgot about it. Perhaps I didn’t read too much into it because the thought of cancer sucks and it was often hard to talk about. Perhaps I didn’t check social media that day to learn about what day it was. Regardless, today I know. And today it hits home.

It’s been a rough few days. I have been fighting a wicked cold for a while (finally on antibiotics!), I hurt my knee running and have been limping for a week (sigh, I’ve moved on to the elliptical instead) and I had expansion on Friday. Expansion, to put it nicely, sucks. I did another 80 cc and have 2 more expansions of 80 cc each in the next few weeks. I spent Friday and Saturday uncomfortable with muscle spasms and pressure from the expansion (the pressure is there but better today). My plastic surgeon offered to do less over a longer period of time but I’m anxious to be done and move on from this stage.

All of that being said, I’ve been a little grumpy the last few days. I try to remind myself that this phase is almost over. I try to tell myself to enjoy the day despite the discomfort. I try to relax. I try to sleep it off. But it has been getting the better of me. And I hate that. I hate cancer. I hate what it forces people to go through. I hate what it does to our minds and our bodies. I hate the way it makes us feel. I hate the way it questions our mortality. I hate that every decision that is made in life, cancer has a say. I hate that I let my mind wander to these dark places. I hate that it is getting the best of my mind.

So today, as I learned about this National Day, I took a step back. I stopped thinking about the discomfort and the pain and the sickness and I reminded myself of how far I have come. This day last year, I was two months away from learning that I had cancer. This time last year, cancer was winning because I had no idea it was inside of me, secretly growing and prospering. This time last year I was going about life as if tomorrow, the next year and the next decade were all guaranteed to me. This time last year I hadn’t taken ahold of my own future – not just my health but my hopes and dreams, my aspirations, my goals. This time last year I was not a survivor.

Today, I am.

I am a survivor who has both bad days and good.

I am a survivor that tries to see the positive in all aspects of life.

I am a survivor who will not be defined by cancer.

I am a survivor who enjoys the small moments in life.

I am a survivor who does not take time for granted.

I am a survivor that shows herself how strong she is every day.

I am a survivor who has taken hold of her life and the life she wants to live.

I am a survivor who will continue to fight and live and love.

I am a survivor who will not take life for granted.

I am a survivor who beat cancer.

I am a survivor.

So today, on National Cancer Survivors Day, I will say with pride: I am a survivor.

Because I am blessed to be here. I am blessed to have beaten this horrible disease. I am blessed to be a survivor.

Things just got real!

As you know from last month, I am registered for a writing workshop in June.  My manuscript was sent off to the coordinators a few weeks ago. Earlier this week I received my homework for how to prepare for the seminar and what to bring. And today I was given the name of the person who will be critiquing my story!  Eek!!

I have received writing critiques in the past through peers and teachers in college but nothing like this. My first thought was a ping of terror – what of he hates it?!

But my rational side followed suit…so what? And I don’t mean that in an I-don’t-care kind of way. I mean it in a positive, I-care-so-much kind of way. The purpose of attending this workshop is to learn and grow as a writer, to understand what publishers are looking for and to enhance my writing.  I am excited to have a professional author – yes, author! – review my writing and tell me what he thinks. I’m anxious to hear the feedback that he has for me and perfect my manuscript so that it will be loved by a publisher and kids some day.  I’m thrilled to meet new people – people who have a passion and love for writing and reading.  I can’t wait to take in the entire experience and grow as a person and as a writer.

So, things just got real.  I am venturing out of my comfort zone, exposing myself and my writing to criticism (on purpose!) and taking a BIG step towards accomplishing my goals as a writer. How awesome is that?!

Do you think he’ll sign a copy of his book for me?  :mrgreen:

Hello, June…

Can you believe it’s June already?! I sure can’t. The year is almost half over! My baby sister is getting married a month from today and I have a feeling this month is going to fly right by us!

I’m in the process of determining what my personal goals are for this month. I know it’s going to be a hectic one but I am excited for the fun events that are planned…so the unexpected ones can only make this month better.

What about you? What goals do you have set to accomplish this month and how are you going to make them happen?