Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Milestone Birthday

I'd gotten out of the habit of celebrating my birthday. Not that I think birthdays are a bad thing, or that I regret getting older (it beats the alternative!). I actually loved birthdays growing up, even if I do have the misfortune of being a December baby -- meaning I received a lot of singular gifts to cover both birthday and Christmas. Ha! Any other December babies relate to that?! But life got busy... and then busier, with so much to do, and it just felt inconvenient to take time out to celebrate. 

This year, though, my family decided that between fighting cancer and turning 60, we needed to mark the milestone. So I just enjoyed the BEST birthday week EVER 😍 Jon, Natalie and the girls flew in from California and it was non-stop family time. I got to hug on ALL the grandkids -- when they'd stop long enough, that is. Four kids aged four and under equals perpetual motion and noise! 😂 We enjoyed so many great conversations, sharing memories and making new ones that my heart is overflowing.
The Bellagio Conservatory transformed for Christmas
Checking out the holiday light display at the Ethel M Chocolates Cactus Garden

And don't even get me started on my birthday dinner! Kyle made a shrimp scampi that was beyond delicious and Natalie created another of her masterpieces: an absolutely decadent chocolate cake with a surprise in the middle!  (Yes, everything was gluten free!)
Dove candies, edible gold glitter and chocolate chips in the middle!

One of the highlights was reading really sweet comments from friends and family that Tina collected. She printed them off, cut them up and clipped them to the window blinds, hidden behind the curtains so I didn't even notice them until she and Jon drew back the curtains. What fun!

Along with awesome gifts, homemade cards from the grandkids... seriously, everything combined made for the BEST birthday yet.     

Thankfully I was far enough past surgery, feeling good, able to fully engage and enjoy the experience. Recovering from surgery was more challenging than anticipated, especially the first month. I'm happy to say the pain has decreased significantly since then. Whew! 

The pain levels started going down the week of Thanksgiving, so I was also able to enjoy time with my sister and her family who drove out from Colorado. We only celebrated Thanksgiving once while living overseas, so I relished every bite of the very traditional feast we shared at Kyle and Tina's. And to make the holiday even more special, we received the good news that chemo had done what it was supposed to do, and between that and surgery I'd gone from stage 3B to stage 0! Woot, woot!

This week the surgeon cleared me to begin radiation. It had been delayed a bit because of fluid building up, which necessitated weekly needle drains. This coming Wednesday they'll do a CT scan and use that to map out the plan for therapy. No exact date yet, but we anticipate radiation will start the week after.

2018 certainly hasn't gone the way we expected, but it's been a gift in so many ways. We are grateful for God's direction and provision, and have been reminded in very tangible ways what an extraordinary blessing it is to be a part of His family. Certainly worth celebrating!


The Bug said...

I'm so glad you got to spend your birthday with your kids and grands - it sounds like a fabulous time! And that cake - yowza!

I'm also SO GLAD for your good medical news! Hopefully radiation will be a breeze after all you've been through.

Mari said...

Awww - I love this! Glad you had such a wonderful day. Family makes it the best. Glad to hear your medical update too.

rita said...

Mother read this yesterday.
It was fun to facetime with you!
So funny about the multiple Christmas greetings I've sent you! Checked my records later, and found all three, ha! You must be on my mind a lot!