I have always had a Deep and Strong connection to the ocean! I was born literally across the street from Huntington Beach in California! My happiest times almost always involve water. It speaks to my very soul. When I am near it I feel home. One of the things I admire and respect about the ocean is that it is always changing. I remember sitting on my surfboard just one year ago watching the waves roll in waiting for the perfect set to drop in on, There would be waves that I though were perfect, I would start my paddle wait to feel the power of the wave start to lift my board and just as soon as I popped up the wave was gone. While other times waves that seemed so small and trivial would hammer me into the surf and humble me in every way.
Life is like the ocean....sometimes we feel like we can't catch a break, there are no waves to be found, but if you wait, have patience those waves will come. Sometimes the waves sneak up on you and you feel thrust forward in life unprepared. But those are the times you are being taught, so take notes and be ready for the next time! Then there will be those waves where everything lines up just right...those are the times you open your heart and your mind and enjoy the ride!!
Finding out your dying definitely comes in waves. Times when you are at peace, a feeling of stillness and calm. Times when overwhelming waves of sadness and pain take over. Waves where you realize just how epic this is and you have had an amazing ride! Since Friday all of the many different waves in my life have been coming in faster then I could imagine. I know I started this blog out with the beginning of my cancer story and there are still many holes to fill in. I will do my best to fill some of those holes but for now let me catch you up....
Friday morning comes and I drive myself to my appointment. I laid on the table for my 1 hour of Brain Beats, if you've never experienced a brain MRI you can look it up on youtube, lets just say even that does not do the assaulting loud noises justice. But after a time I realized if I try to choreograph to them it goes by much better. But this time I felt I had reached Professional Cancer patient status because I fell asleep! It was glorious, they came in to wake me up when it was all over. When I got to me feet to go change out of those oh so sexy scrubs that's when I noticed the look. The technician gave me the "Oh this poor girl, this is really bad" look I noticed it on everyone's face, the other nurses, the tech taking out my IV. I suddenly had a room full of strangers all looking like they wanted to hug me, say something, but what?
Still pretty pleased with my self that I had fallen asleep I ignored their sad faces and headed home. I got home and relayed my proud cancer moment to my husband and then set straight to work on my giant May to do list (one of the busiest months of the year in the dance world) As I was typing out an email to my Dance company informing them what time to be in Dallas for our last convention my phone rings. I see it's my oncologist and my heart drops....it's too soon
she shouldn't have had time to read my results yet what is going on??? "Michelle, I have your results and I need you to come in right now, you are not to be behind the wheel of a car and your husband needs to be with you. Please leave now!" I hung up and with shaking hands tried to catch my breath to talk to my husband who was on a business call. All I could say was we have to go now, I can't drive, there's more tumors. When we arrived I was whisked right in but there was enough time for me to the see the red puffy eyes of some of my favorite nurses. My doctor came in and said I think you should see this before go over everything. She pulled up my scan on the screen and started to go through it. That couldn't be my scan! Dr. Ashworth there has to be a mix up this isn't my scan!!. That tiny dot that was my scan, not this, I couldn't even count how many there were. And how they could be that size!!! Where was the room for my brain?? My medical background helps me to immediately identify things such as some of the largest tumors on my Cerebellum the part that coordinate muscle activity was now covered in a tumor so large and inflamed that it had started to hemorrhage. The day before I was dancing, the day before I was at a PINK concert singing and dancing my brains out all the while balancing in heels! How is that possible!?! She continued on the scan to show that there were over 13 tumors multiple signs of hemorrhage that she could see and that it appears to also have moved into my bones and was showing up in my skull. I turned to her and said Dr. Ashworth you have always shot me straight I made you promise to tell me when its time to freak out. This is when she lost it my strong super hero of a Doctor had a human moment as she said through her tears "It's time to freak out" Followed by its time to put your affairs in order. "How much time do I have????" I know this a completely ridiculous question because only the Lord knows! But she responded with a couple months. Ok, now I'm pissed! That is not acceptable!!! I have some HUGE things coming up in my life that I do NOT want to miss out on ! I would be having some very strong conversations with God about this! We all hugged and cried and then I was whisked off to the Radiation department downstairs. I went to CT to have my new Spider Man mask made and immediately sent in to radiation for what would be my daily whole brain radiation treatments for the next 3 weeks. I was also put on a whole barrage of new medications. Including an Alzheimer med to help me retain as much memory as possible. I will find out Monday when my new Keytruda infusions will begin. I was so humbled by how amazing the staff is at Texas Oncology when I realized how late everyone stayed after hours to get everything done for me, when I realized they came in on a Saturday morning just for my treatment! They are a special kind of human! The kind that hide not only super hero capes but angel wings under those scrubs and lab coats! The truth is they wanted me to be hospitalized, the Doctors had no idea how I had not had a seizure, stroke, brain aneurysm, or how I was walking and talking but they took it as a good sign that I still have some fight left in me. It just so happens I live in the neighborhood of my doctors and hospital so I was granted the blessing of going home to be with my family, just another of one of the many tender Mercies the Lord has blessed me with!
So how am I doing??
Emotionally - I am a wreck I burst into tears about every 5 minutes but thank you to Xanax I will be ok!
Physically - I'm in a lot of pain. My head is on fire, and under major attack. I have found that my happy place is to wrap my whole head in ice packs and cover it with a beanie down to my chin - it is heavenly! I'm tired, dizzy, achy, nausea's, and weak. BUT I know I can endure this! The Lord has never left my side!!! In these past three days God has sent me angels to lift me up every step of the way!
Spiritually - I am currently under negotiations with the Lord about this whole timeline thing....We will have to wait and see how that goes. But in the mean time my Faith in God and His plan for me has not wavered in the slightest! I could write endless books on all the ways in which He makes His love for us and very presence in our lives known! I know that for some of you this does not make any sense...and if I know anything I know that I can not give you your relationship with God. That is something that only you alone can find. But what I can promise you is that in the mean time He is waiting for you, loving you perfectly just for who you are. He is not waiting for you to be "Good Enough" for him. You already are in His eyes! And when I leave here I promise to send you reminders of just how amazing and loved you are! I want you all to know Him how I know Him, to feel His Love, His Grace, His desire for all of us to come home to be with Him! This was the plan all along...we are given this beautiful gift to come to this earth to receive a body so that we could learn the things that our spirits needed to learn to become more like Him. He sent us His Son to be a Savior, our Example, and our Friend! He sent us the Holy Spirit to help us, guide us and comfort us in any way we need. And why?? So that when we are done on this earth we can have unimaginable blessings! We can be together with the people that we love forever! Death is not the end it is the beginning of the most beautiful Eternity our God has prepared for us! All of the hard times, the pain, the hurt, they were all to make everything else that much sweeter, that much more Love!
There are some waves that take you all the way to shore, they gently let you off onto the soft warm sand as if to say Welcome home, I hope you enjoyed ever second of this epic ride!
And now in Honor of one of the most amazing nights ever here is my girl P!Nk!! Dance it out my friends! This one's for you Cancer...
5/6/2018 11:03:39 pm
Michelle, our family loves you more than words could ever say. You need any single thing _ big or small, and I will drop everything to get it to you. We love and adore you endlessly. Sara, Ryan, Besher and Isaac
Patricia Hayes Workman
5/9/2018 05:44:55 pm
5/7/2018 12:09:56 am
5/7/2018 04:06:28 am
This timeline stinks!
5/7/2018 04:38:58 am
Beautifully written, you inspire us with your wisdom and grace.
5/7/2018 05:34:34 am
I love you! I'm broken hearted about this. You are an inspiration! I'll pray for you and your family always. 💗
5/7/2018 05:56:21 am
I was in the ocean last week multiple times - first time back in 40 years (grew up around the ocean). Your words flowed to me and taught me and uplifted me. How you do that as you are going through what you are, truly amazes me. I love you with all my heart and pray for you and your family. Continue to be strong, my friend.
5/7/2018 05:57:56 am
Michelle, I love you and thank you for sharing your heart, your message and your life. God has been shining His light through you ever since the first day I met you and even now, more brightly than ever, to give us all peace as we hear this devastating news from you. You are so brave and such an inspiration, always have been. Praying BIG for His peace to comfort you and your sweet family. 💗
5/7/2018 06:59:57 am
Michelle - you are truly one of the most beautiful people I have ever met. Your strength, devotion and heart are awe inspiring. I am praying for you and your family. Much Love and peace to you, my friend. 💗
5/7/2018 08:37:15 am
Michelle, praying for you. So inspired by your strength and passion. Continue thengoos fight. Praying for peace for you and for your family. I love how you are able to share your story and your love for the Lord through all of this. You’re an inspiration to others.
5/7/2018 08:54:00 am
Michelle, I love your warrior spirit. I’m so in awe of your dedication to the Lord and the legacy you are leaving your children and others. I cannot imagine what it’s like to be in your shoes, but I want you to know it’s been a privilege and an honor to know you and be your friend. I am so thankful to you for sharing your courageous battle with us all. As shitty as it is to say goodbye, I want to congratulate you on a life well-spent, blessing each person you’ve met and shining your light so brightly. You’ve done so remarkably well! I hope your remaining time will be filled with peace and love. You will be missed. ❤️
5/7/2018 09:23:53 am
Ms. Michelle, thank you for being the strong, kind and beautiful soul that you are. My girls are wrecked over this news so I can only imagine what your family is feeling. The timeline absolutely sucks and I hope that your negotiations with God extend it. This world needs angels like you. I want to say thank you for sharing your gifts, your words and your love with us. Our family is praying for you and yours.
5/7/2018 11:45:12 am
Our prayers are with you and your family during this time.
5/7/2018 01:46:11 pm
Ms. Michelle, Thank you for being such a great influence on my girls. I am certain that the things that you have taught them, they will carry on forever. I know that Tylee and Rylee want to send their love to you. Their hearts are broken and do not understand why this has to happen. Thank you , thank you, thank you for all the time, sweat and tears you put into teaching dance to my girls. Keep on shining.
5/7/2018 02:34:32 pm
Well this is completely lame! I am having a strong sense of denial at the moment! I can only imagine your stages of acceptance. Michelle!!! My sister just told me about this and I had to come and read it myself! You have such a way with words. I am sad this is happening to you. I am sad for so many reasons. But my goodness have you ever lived life out loud!!! You are such a warrior. And I am proud of you! You will never cease to inspire. EVER!!! I am so grateful to know you and am grateful to you for sharing your thoughts!!! Thank you for this gift of words and of your feisty spirit. I love you Michelle and always will! Till we meet again!
5/7/2018 04:59:24 pm
Michelle I know I should say something warm, spiritual, but I have to say that I can't stop crying, that I'm so mad, and I screamed several times so loud that life sometimes is not fear, that my neighbors probably thinks I'm crazy and i don't care. God how I hate cancer.
5/7/2018 07:47:37 pm
I have no words for what you are going through. I taught Alexa when she was in fifth grade and remember you all fondly. Alexa reaches out every once in awhile to this day. My prayers are with you and your family. Much love
5/7/2018 08:05:13 pm
Michelle, I had no idea when I saw you the other day. You are in my prayers. Don't give up the fight. You are surrounded by people who love you!!
5/7/2018 08:16:17 pm
We are praying for you. Keep fighting, you are amazing and we are on your team.
5/7/2018 08:34:01 pm
This is so perfectly written. If only I could be as talented, positive, funny, spunky, beautiful, spiritual, determined, hardworking and graceful as you. You my friend, are an inspiration! Love you and your family! 💗
5/7/2018 09:52:36 pm
5/8/2018 04:09:21 am
5/8/2018 05:19:36 am
I love that you're sharing your thoughts here. Grateful to know you and your resilient spirit. Grateful we had our chat recorded in the podcast, heartbroken as well. Thanks for sharing your strength and testimony with all of us.
5/8/2018 08:07:36 am
Your words are so well written and yet I can’t understand how you have the strength to show so much Grace, Love, and Pureness. Michelle you are an Amazing Human- and the legacy that you will leave speaks volumes of the impact you have had on earth in your humanly body. God will be waiting on you with the most beautiful dance shoes ever. I’m thankful to have met you. I’m more thankful to have read your blog and remind myself to do all things through His Grace. You my friend are the definition of a warrior with a gentle soul.
5/8/2018 01:30:23 pm
Praying for you and your dear friends and family. Thank you for being such an incredible example of faith! ❤️
5/9/2018 09:21:05 am
Michelle, it’s been over 20 years since we have been in touch, but Janet let me know what is going on. I loved reading your “love story” blog post... I knew you and Cam were married, but I never knew the story of how it came to be. It made me smile to think of two of you I knew in high school, to picture you and Debbie scheming to get a date, to imagine your first date with Cam at Starry Night, and to see what a beautiful family you have created now.
5/9/2018 09:56:11 am
Michelle, wow wow. Your story and message and so so beautiful and thank you for sharing. Thank you for being as strong and honest as you are. Your spirit is so beautiful. You are an incredible human, thank you for being the strong woman you are. Much love and strength to you and your family❤️
Dana Slade Linder
5/9/2018 11:10:04 am
Wait. What?!?! I saw you last summer and you were smiling???? You are incredible, Michelle! Reading your blog (through tears, btw) is like talking to you in person - I can see your smile and feel of your energy despite cancer ransacking your body and a crappy diagnosis on the horizon. If nothing else good comes out of this, please know that I am more sure than ever that God has a hand in our lives and is watching over us. I am more sure than ever that this is not the life God intended for us to be satisfied with - there is more waiting and he wants us to fight to get there! You are amazing. Love, Dana
5/14/2018 12:25:17 pm
Michelle, you are truly an inspiration to us. Thank you for sharing your heart and love with everyone around you. We are praying for you so much and sending lots of love.
Katie Chorak Sadovskis
5/14/2018 06:41:44 pm
Hi Michelle, I'm not sure if you remember me much running around with Katie in the 4th grade, but my sister Erin Chorak mentioned to me your inspiring post about what's going on with you I wanted to find it and here I am :) Thank you for your light. You showed me the right way to die - with faith and love of God in your heart. You are an inspiration to many people - I am sure of that, and make me want only more to share with people the knowledge of God and life after death so that more people do not have to face death with horrific fear. Lots of love to you and your family. I know you will be greeted by your dad. I've heard many accounts of people who died and were resuscitated and passing was the most beautiful thing they'd ever experienced - beyond words. I know you will continue to be an angel on the other side helping many with a special work for you to do. Thank you for your light <3
5/14/2018 08:28:10 pm
On behalf of Mary Megan, who you taught when she was 4-7 or 8, i want to say thank you. She has CP and never quite danced the same as anyone else but that never mattered. She loved it, you encouraged her and we always thought she was brilliant. There’s something known as the butterfly effect, I believe you might have started this in her life. She is now 18 and just finished a semester of internship working at Mission of Hope in Haiti. I hope you never doubt that the good work you began with so many children will continue on in a way you could only imagine. Thank you, Ms Michelle! 💕
5/16/2018 06:38:14 pm
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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.