Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hats, Hats and more Hats!

Yesterday, I received the an amazing gift from a complete stranger.  It contained the following letter:

Dear Sue,
In this box you will find a plethora of hats, all for you.  I have read your blog and admire the vitality and wisdom you have to internally heal yourself. You do not know me, nor do you know the dozens of people that helped to collect all these amazing hats.  Our "6 degrees of separation" connection is that we know someone who  loves you!  We don't want you to spend time thinking about who this box came from, no thank you is necessary.  Knowing you will have a big smile on your beautiful face when you open the box is "thank you" enough!  Cancer has touched us all in one way or another - survivors, family, friends, neighbors, co-workers.  The bad days, mornings, hours, minutes are vivid and the good ones too few and far between at this point.  We cannot just sit back and just strictly pray and wish for you, we wanted to physically do something (plus we're shoppers at heart and haven't met a hat that we don't like).  

Some of the hats you will love and want to wear all the time.  Some of the hats you'll take out of the box and say "that's not me."  Some of the hats are new.   Some of the hats are from cancer survivors collections from when they didn't have hair.  Some of the hats have been bought over lunch hour by someone who wants to make you smile.  Some of the hats will make you feel sassy and bouncy on a good day.  Some of the hats have big brims and will help you hide when you just feel rotten and lousy.  Some of the hats you can wear to bed and sleep in when the day is just too much to bear.  Some of the hats your girls will want to wear and were made by hand for the three of you.  Some of the hats are for spring and summer and some are for early fall. 
All of them are being given to you with love, hope, and excitement by very cute, stylish people.  We just wanted you to have a bunch to pick from to help you look even cuter than you already are for each and every day you don't have hair.  Don't try and figure out who sent all the hats to you, but instead know that there is a powerful force of love, guidance and mystery at work in this beautiful universe.  Soon you will look back on this horribly painful and exhausting time with a renewed outlook on life.  You have the strength to get through this and we are mentally helping you each and every day!  Love to you and your family.  You ALL can do this!
I was in complete shock when I opened the box as it contained 20 hats and scarves of all different shapes, sizes and colors.  But, more so I was overwhelmed by the love and kindness that these complete strangers chose to show me.   Why would anyone go to these lengths to show someone they don't even know and that they care about what I am going through?

This is only one example of how people have gone out of their way to show me love and kindness during my battle with cancer.  I want everyone to know how special you have made me feel.  I have never felt more loved in my entire life.  But most important, you have given me a new perspective on how important it is to go out of your way to be kind and to love others...an important lesson I think I needed to learn.

The other day, I went through all of the postings left by some of you following my blog.  I came across a posting that was left by one our babysitters who cared for Mackenzie and Kendall for the past few years.  In the posting she included a passage that explains perfectly all of the lessons learned when battling with cancer.  It is as follows:

Making Friends With Cancer by Dawn Nelson

You make friends with cancer by heeding its call to consciousness, but letting it change your life.  You slow down.  You pay attention.  You stop doing things you don't really want to or need to do.  You prioritize.  You pace yourself.  You respect your body.  You spend time with those whose presence is healing.

You make friends with cancer by noticing the small miracles that occur daily--the chorus of the bird songs in the morning air, the intoxicating fragrance of one pink rose, the melody of raindrops, the heart melting sweetness of your children's smiles, the eternality of an ocean wave, the exquisite beauty of a setting sun, the presence of your beloved--which, before cancer, you may overlooked or been to "busy" enjoy or appreciate.

You make friends with cancer by letting love in.  You open your heart.  You tell the truth.  You ask for help.  You accept the profound generosity of friends.  You let whatever you may given return itself to you.

You make friends with cancer by allowing it to remind you of what is actually important in life and what is less so by forging a relationship with it that fosters new insight, by seeing the uninvited guest as an opportunity for learning and growth.

You make friends with cancer by accepting the myriad gifts and joys which life offers.  You don't waste time complaining about the things you cannot change or which you wish were different. You dance when you can, you weep when you must.  You notice what you have instead of what you don't have.  You practice thankfulness, and forgiveness.

You make friends with cancer by not hiding from it or hating it, but by acknowledging it, accepting what it has to teach you and continuing  your journey, one step at a time.

I could not have said it any better.  I just wish it hadn't taken cancer for me to realize all of this. But one thing I do know, this is why I am going through cancer...to teach me to trust in God and to learn all of the lessons cancer teaches.  After this is all said and done, I will never hesitate to reach out to someone in need whether it is a family member, friend or stranger.  My heart is more open to showing others the same love and kindness each and everyone of you have shown me.

PS - The biopsy of my lymph node was negative.  Thanks be to God!  Also, chemo and round one of radiation went well yesterday.  Except for a minor panic attack at the start of radiation, I made it through.  Hoping today goes much better!  Thank you for your prayers!  They are working!


Anonymous said...

Hi, Sue -- That was a beautiful post. You and your girls look so cute in the hats! Thanks for teaching us all something through your experience. We look forward to seeing Kendall on Friday! Love, Tracy G.

Susan said...

The hats are awesome. What a neat gift. And ditto on praising God for the negative biospy.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sue, The hats are wonderful! You all look beautiful! I am so glad that they lymph node test came back negative we have been praying that it would! You now know what the radiation is going to entail so you will be prepared for the next one. It will make you stronger mentally to know what to expect so you can defeat this once and for all. We pray for you daily and wish you peace and comfort each day.

Love, Tracy Crumpton

Anonymous said...

Hi Sue!
I am so glad the lymph node came back negative. Huge praise!! Hope day 2 of radiation goes just as well today! This music is making me cry! Your words are making me cry! I'm very emotional today. Can't wait for the day when we can have our normal coffee/chat time together. Miss talking with you. Lots of hugs,love,& prayers, Michelle A.

Anonymous said...

"HATS from HEAVEN"....a beautiful gift to you & a beautiful gift for all of us to view. Thank you for your ministry in our lives.

A praying friend,

Nancy London

Anonymous said...

love the hats! love the girls!!!!!!
you look too cute!
;) lynn

Beth Raese said...

How awesome! I'm thinking of you and praying for you and the whole family every day. Thanks for all of the updates- your honesty makes me laugh and cry and love you all the more. Cousin Beth :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you again for making me cry and bring me back to what this life is really all about. You are such an inspiration to me and I admire your strength and determination.

I am so thankful the lymph node was cancer free, a very good sign.

We are here for you if you need us, just ask. We all want to help in any way we can. In the meantime, we will be sending you positive energy and loving, calming thoughts.

Susan Thomas

Anonymous said...

Sweet photos! Thanks for sharing that wonderful story of blessing! You all look great! I was also very touched by your post on Monday. Wow...that really pulled at my heart and gave me a clearer picture of how strong you really are and all that God has done in your life to prepare you for what is happening now. There is a finish line-just keep looking ahead and grasping encouragement from those of us who love you on the sidelines cheering for the finish! There are many beautiful gifts from this experience as Mackenzie was such a sweet gift after the struggles of your pregnancy. One day at a time...

Blessings and prayers,

Anonymous said...

We are all so proud of you, Sue! Tracy is so right, that now that you know what to expect, things will be easier. I am so happy about all of those hats! Just think, you almost have another week behind you! The greatest news is that you are truly making progress in fighting the cancer. I'm thinking of you all the time...

Anonymous said...

Sue, What an amazing gesture by people you don't even know. How touching! It is amazing what happens in this life! Thank you for sharing. I hope the birds are still keeping you company.

Thinking of you all the time, love,
Suzie, Jason, Hayden & Claire.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sue (and Jason), It is a privilege and inspiration to read your blog. Thank you for doing this to allow us to be part of your journey. I have to confess that I have been selfish in not sitting down to read your posts until this morning. I had only read one post before today after Cindi told me about your news, and while I have been praying for you and for your family, I was afraid of knowing the details and the outcomes. Maybe it has just been life being too busy for me and I didn't want to deal with the emotion, or maybe it was reminding me that my sister just went through her seven weeks of preventative radiation after having a rare type of malignant breast tumor successfully removed. Regardless of the reason, I was selfish. But I just sat and meditated and prayed for you as I read through all thirty of your posts from beginning to end. And I prayed for Jason and the girls. You and your family are an inspiration to so many of us in spite of and through the difficulties you have faced and continue to face. Cindi and I are praying for you and lifting you up each day, that you may receive the strength and comfort that you need to get through each step of this journey. We are praying that Jason, Mackenzie and Kendall receive the support that they need as well, and that they are able to bring love, joy and comfort to you each moment.

God bless you as you run this marathon, Sue. Our prayers are with you.

Jeff (and Cindi)