One week down...but not out
It's so hard to believe it has only been one week! One week since I was literary fired from my life! God knows how fiercely independent I am, I have never been good at asking for help. Although I have been given plenty of opportunities to learn this lesson I stubbornly refused. So when the time came I was given no choice, all was taken away from me. But in all of His love and compassion it was made ever so clear that my PERFECT Support team had already been assembled. In every aspect of my life, especially in the care of my children, and my work, the perfect people were put into place. There has not been a single need that has not been met in the past week. So much service, love, sacrifice has been rendered by all of you on behalf of myself and my family!
While radiation is an effective treatment for having 13 tumors in your brain there are some not so fun side effects. For one your ability to recall words is extremely hampered making it difficult to formulate what you want to say, thankfully there are people that will take the time to help you get out the words that used to come so easily. This particular difficulty is the result of inflammation, which means my body is doing exactly what it needs to do to fight this disease, but it also means that I can't start my immunotherapy, Keytruda, because that would only increase the inflammation, so that will have wait a little while. Another side effect is the need to take lots of new medications morning, noon and night, so my husband has lovingly added alarms to his phone so he knows when to harass me like I'm 5. With the swelling has come loss of muscle strength, balance, and control. My speech has changed, (think Rain Man-ish) or as some have pointed out to me, I sound like a Disney Princess. The words don't come out right, but inside my Spirit is still 100% intact, my thoughts are the same as before. I have always been a big "Communicator" shall we say.... so I am having to learn to be patient with myself. There are other side effects but let me sum it up to say "It feels like when you are very first coming out of Anesthesia or sedation. Super loopy, tired, week, but happy! I am not in Pain, I am numb for the most part. The Lord is blessing me through all of your prayers like crazy! There has been so much Beauty and Happiness that the pain, hurt, or sadness are only small and fleeting!
I was blessed that my loving family and friends did not try to stop me from attending the last dance convention/competition of the season. I was able to talk with some of my Angel babies (A very magical group of 6-8 year olds I direct at the dance studio) they were sharing how their week had been, the times they had broken down in tears, stories of "Ms. Michelle" pictures being carried in backpacks to help them get through school, how Happy they felt that we were getting to have this special weekend together! When I shared how incredibly happy I was and that this had been the best day ever one girl asked 'What was the worst part this week?" Truth, absolute because there is no point in lying to 6 year olds! I turned to them and said, I had some sad moments this week, some times where I didn't feel good, and I really missed all of them but there were SOOOO many good and Happy things that happened this week that the good things just stood out more!
I want to list out some of the things that kept me from focusing on the 'Why Me" and "Not Fair " aspect of this situation.
The Dream team - a group made up of people that I trust my whole life and heart to that jumped in feet first no questions asked and got everything, and I do mean Everything, done this week. From shuttling me to Doctors appointments, getting children taken care of, fed, and happy, planning an entire Graduation Party, along with a whole slew of fundraisers, my Husbands Birthday, planning Epic surprises, I watched one of them spoon feed my child FroYo while we were out on a Mani Pedi date! One of them held my hand the entire time my hair was being lovingly shaved off my head. Another one dropped everything to help care for another child that managed to get coated in Poison oak this week,the list goes on and on.
The Flowers, the emails, texts, voicemails, the hundreds who have reached out with beautiful words, memories, love, support! Some of the most beautiful letters I received this week are from teenagers. These have been so raw, powerful and heartfelt! I feel so honored and privileged to have read their beautiful words!
It has been such a gift from hearing from so many wonderful people that have been in my life over the years. Please know that with each message my heart was overjoyed to hear from you. Time has never mattered to me in relationships, it was more about the connections. I place all of those special connections in my heart for an eternity so it doesn't matter if that moment happened when I was 5 or 35. You will always be important and loved by me. For those that may be concerned that there is hurt or pain between us, let me assure you that is not how my heart works. I have been through way too much in my life to know what judging and being unforgiving can do to you. It is a choice that I made long ago. Is it always easy, no. Are there times I have had to build some protective barriers yes, but the lessons I learned in how to take them back down have helped me to grow in so may ways! I have a strong testimony in how making mistakes, wrong choices, hurting others and then being given the opportunity to do better, make amends, and grow have been some of the most cherished experiences of my life.
*** It has been almost another week since I started this post....my body was not able to cooperate with me adding to the blog. I am still in awe every day of what God is doing in my life! Since I am able to get some words out tonight I am going to add some of what has happened this week.
Emotionally - Still on a Roller Coaster, but mostly a very big Spiritual High! I have been so blessed with some of the most amazing conversations this week. I have been off the Xanax all week as I realized it was only making me feel even more loopy. And that when and if the tears come I need to let them, it is healing for all.
Physically - Weak, numb, yada yada..... BUT I have realized what being a dancer has done for me....Muscle Memory! I tell my body to do something now and it just does it!!! It is so amazing to experience. I like my new short hair, it has already started to fall out so I will probably be working the easy breezy bald look soon enough.
Medically - 6 more rounds of full Brain radiation left.....I am definitely counting down! I had my PET Scan today to check to see if the cancer has invaded my other organs, for the most part great news! The only new cancer that showed up today is in my lungs (I had a feeling it was there anyways) So when I finish Brain radiation next week we will immediately start Lung radiation. The Doctor is Hopeful that I can start my Keytruda infusions in a week or 2!
Spiritually - Feeling like I am living in a very surreal state. The spirit is so strong! I don't feel I am in charge anymore, I will be sitting in a waiting room, or other public place and BAM I am suddenly talking to a complete stranger about things so incredibly bold! Any sense of awkwardness is gone. We are able to to talk about God so freely and strongly! And all day everyday the miracles are happening!
Thank you all so much for your Love and Support! Everything has touched us so deeply from notes, flowers, meals, Fundraisers, videos, hugs, smiles, and soo much love! We are so Blessed by all of you! I love you all so much!
For tonight's 30 sec. dance party make sure to grab a partner...take a twirl around the Kitchen or maybe head outside to feel the Beauty of Dancing in the Moonlight!
5/17/2018 02:59:41 am
Hey there, Michelle, Miss Beautiful. Mikayla and I were talking about you the other day. We remember the excitement learning that this amazing dance teacher was coming to Round Rock, TX. Although your tough ballet classes taught her much, one of our favorite pieces you choreographed was a lyrical/modern in those individually painted white t-shirts. So simple and yet said so much about you. It was like you were blessing each of the dancers.
5/17/2018 04:30:09 am
Michelle, I am in tears and so inspired by your words and bravery. I think and pray about you and your amazing family everyday. Please know, if you need me to do anything, I will be there! I LOVE THIS SONG! What is this rendition? My thoughts and prayer will continue each day for you, your family, your dancing Angel babies and everyone who has been there to help in the “in between moments”. Sending you my love
5/17/2018 05:00:50 am
My dear, dear girl, I'm been your Gramma of the Heart for more than so many years, but stayed in the background because I'm your Grampa's Second Wife! How I've bragged about your accomplishments, your gorgeous family9always dressed to perfection! at least in pictures), and since your illness, your stellar spirit! My church (Methodist) has been praying for you since the beginning and every time I run into a fellow member, he or she asks about you. Thank you for the example you've shown me of faith and strength. May The God of All bless you and keep you, in this life and the next.
5/17/2018 07:27:12 am
Love you so much sweetie! Can’t wait to see you tomorrow.
5/17/2018 09:36:55 am
You are an amazing person with an unbelievable spirit. I read this in awe and use it to help live a life worth living. Your smile and love beam from your every expression. Thank you for the motherly love, shoulder and prayers for us as you walk through your own storm, and the open arms, open heart, and fierceness you greeted me and my girls with.
5/17/2018 11:11:12 am
You are such an inspiration to me. Love you so much!!
5/17/2018 04:50:15 pm
You’re amazing! It was great to hug your neck last night & get updates on the your kids! I am praying for complete healing for you!
5/17/2018 05:28:11 pm
You're a rock star! Keep on rockin' it!!
5/17/2018 09:31:05 pm
Michelle, let me just say it’s been my pleasure to be there for you and your family, today, tomorrow and always. Our culdasac family is strong and I believe with all my heart God puts us right where we all need to be. It takes a village and you belong to a very strong one. I love you!
5/18/2018 08:46:54 am
Michelle, you are amazing!!! Love your tender spirit and insightful testimony amongst so many other things about you. You are near and dear to our hearts and always in our thoughts and prayers along with your wonderful family. I am so grateful we had a few minutes to go to dinner together with our daughters before all of this hit. You remind me of the joy our Father in Heaven brings to each of us even in the hardest of circumstances. Thank you for that. Love you dear friend!
5/20/2018 05:42:07 pm
Love you and thinking about you over here in Fort Collins! Sending you prayers friend
5/21/2018 09:54:53 pm
Ooh I just love reading your thoughts Michelle. I feel lifted and so inspired. Love love love you.
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My name is Michelle Kaley but I have many other names.....Daughter, Sister, Wife of 20 years to my High School Sweetheart, Mom to my 4 Beautiful Children, Ms. Michelle to my hundreds of Students, and as of 2016 Cancer Patient was added to the list.