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In my original post this was spread over 3 days, but I wanted to share it all at once for a friend here.

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This blog is kinda long so – I’ve spread it out over the next 3 days.  

 

This was also written as I was recovering from brain surgery at my parents home – in the wee hours of the morning on 08/08/2009.

 

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     I sit here writing – head shave of my own free will – thanks largely to my BFF, Amanda.  I enlisted her when I made the decision to enact my last fleeting effort to remain in control.  I told her what I wanted and asked her to look up “Locks of Love” on the internet to see what it too to be able to donate hair to them so they could use it to make a wig for someone else.  So she did and we found out how long, where to send, etc., and my mind was made up.  I was making one last statement – “I’m STILL in CONTROL!!!”

 

     She had gone with me for my pre-surgery blood work the week before surgery, and now we were down to the day before surgery.  We had already had the boys birthday parties early together to make sure they had a nice party to remember before my final – as I saw it – TRAGEDY hit.  BUT Amanda had decided to give them a party with two of their cousins at Chuck E. Cheese the day before surgery.  So the day before surgery was all scheduled out.

 

     First Amanda met mom and I at the Dr’s office, where I was getting the final MRI done to use as part of the computer technology they were going to use during surgery.  Mom and I arrive and the lady explained all that they were doing.  Dr. Boop had already explained so I didn’t mind the weirdness and understood (so I thought) what was going on.  The lady took me back and asked me to sin in a chair and hold my hair back.  She began sticking things on my forehead, near my ears, and on the nap of my neck that resembled corn pads the size of those stick-on hole reinforcements we used back in our school days.  When she was finished, she used a purplish color radiation marker to mark a circle around each.  

          As she was doing this, I asked, “Now how do I get these things off?”  They felt gross – extremely sticky, icky, gooey.

 

          She said, “You don’t.  These have to stay on for surgery tomorrow.”

 

          I’m thinking, “Whoa – WAIT A MINUTE – I’ve got things to do, places to go, people to see. . . I can’t go around with gummy, corn-pad-reinforcement thingies all over my head all day.  I have a birthday party to go to!!! What will the kids think?!?!?! – – – – I still need to shower again before morning!!!”  And the thoughts went on and on. . . My CONTROL was fleeting fast than a I cared to admit.  So I resolved then and there with an UNWAVERING DETERMINATION that this was IT – the absolute last act of my own was to be – to shave my head.  No more doubts – THE HAIR was COMING OFF . . . ASAP – ALL or NOTHING!!!  “If I’m gonna go around looking like an idiot with these ‘things’ stuck to my head, then I’m gonna look like I have a reason for it.”

 

     So they put me in the room to do the MRI.  The little nurse was praying all the time that she would hit the vein on the first try to put the dye in.  She did, which was rare; so we all did the happy praise God dance.  They did the scan, and as soon as it was over we waited on the copies of the discs we needed: one to take with us for surgery the next day and one for dad to put with my records that he was keeping.  We thanked the nurses and left.
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Continued tomorrow . . .

 

 

. . . Continued from yesterday

 

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     As we were leaving the Dr’s office, Amanda met us in the parking lot, and we made plans for breakfast.  We decided on Perkin’s.  I rode with Mom, and Amanda followed.  

 

     We had a pleasant breakfast.  The staff went out of their way to ask my name so they could pray for me during surgery the next morning.  I felt so blessed – never has a server asked to pray for me for anything, much less the whole staff.  (My hat’s off to Perkin’s in Memphis at Humphreys/Wolf River Blvd and Germantown Rd.  Thank you for your hospitality!)  I was soaking in the last fleeting glimpse of self control I had left.  On the way to the restaurant I had made a point to finally mention a few details of my funeral that I wanted mom to take car of – knowing the thought had crossed her mind too – but until these last views of hope that I could make out, I couldn’t muster the the courage to speak any of those words out loud until that point (I had done the same with my husband the night before).  So having said all I said in the van on the way to breakfast mom’s heart was very heavy and we were all a bit tearful, though very-matter-of-fact though out breakfast.  Holding together – on edge – when just a wispy wind would have sent us all three plummeting into the abyss below.  BUT GOD held us together.  We finished breakfast. And parted ways.

 

     Mom went to work so she could finish up some things, so she could be off for as long as necessary.  So Amanda and I headed off on My MISSION – that was yet to be fully divulged to my then 29-year BFF.  She knew I wanted to shave it.  However, she didn’t realize I wanted to do it immediately.  

 

     I had told her that I had made up my mind and wanted it shaved before we went to meet the kids.  I asked her could we find a beauty supply or something of the sort so I could get a wrap or a hat, as to not totally freak the kids out when we got to the party.  She immediately spotted a cute little beauty supply boutique.   As soon as we got out the first thing I saw was a metallic blue wig in the window display.  I said, “There! That’s what I want!  If I wear that Daddy won’t care that I shaved my head; he’ll just want me to get rid of the blue hair!”  So with light-hearted laughter we entered the store only to notice that the whole back of it was filled with wigs.  I was thinking, “WOW! I bet those are expensive.”  And some were, BUT surprisingly most were less than $50.  I could handle that.  

 

     I didn’t go in looking for a wig, but empowered with mom’s credit card in my pocketbook, I decided, for my dad’s sake to get one.  I’m not sure why he was so adamant that I not shave my head, but he did NOT like the idea at all.  My guess from hindsight is that it brings back too many painful memories of all the years of cancer treatment at St. Jude and the previous three times I’ve lost my hair – as well as the fact, that his mom (whom I’m about the spitting image of) died of breast cancer in our home, after she had also lost her hair with chemo and radiation – September 1, 2010, will be the 20th anniversary.

 

     Selfishness on my part I guess, I was determined to enact my LAST-FINAL-Tiny bit of CONTROL.  My thought was, “They have to shave the part near the front anyways.  I have a perm, so however it comes back it’s not going to match what ‘s left.  I know it’s cancer ’cause the dr. said that’s usually what he sees with what this one looks like, so I’m gonna lose my hair anyway with chemo and whatever else I have for treatment. It’s gotta go! AND it’s Gonna GO – MY WAY!”  – as if I was singing the Elvis classic, outta tune.

 

     So here we were at the beauty supply.  The little oriental lady spoke very broken English but was very polite.  She wanted to know my name, and why I was shopping for a wig.  I told her the short version of the story, she began to share about her sister who had cancer.  She promised to pray for me and ask us to do the same for her sister.  We told her we would.

 

     She helped me find wig I liked.  I chose a short one that I thought I could deal with.  She helped me match the color, then we proceeded toward the front.  I picked out a pink head wrap and a black one.  Then Amanda found a cute little brown hat that I “needed” – said it was “me” – all chocolate and coffee colored.

 

     Before we checked out, Amanda found a pair of of over-sided white sunglasses that matched her style. We paid for our things and then left on My MISSION.

 

     As soon as we arrived home with little time to spare.  I called my sister-in-law to give her a “heads up” about My MISSION.  She was keeping my kids while we went to the dr. appt. and was going to meet us Chuck E. Cheese at the appointed time.  I spoke with the boys on the phone and made a special point to give them a “heads up” as well.  So warnings in place – the MISSION began. 

 

     I pulled out the package of 500 black elastic “non-tangling” (NOT!) rubber bands I had bought for no occasion at all, but figure this would be the perfect one to use them.  I started the job, but Amanda took over quickly b/c I wasn’t doing so good since I couldn’t see what I was doing.  It all had to be in tiny pony tails, a minimum of 10″ long each when straightened to be able to be used by “Locks of Love”.  So Amanda sectioned, banded and tightened . . . over and over and over until every strand had a home.  

 

     Then the real MISSION began. . . to the bathroom to use the WAHL electric razor for the deed.  Each little pony tail, one by one, fell to the floor.  When all was done I gathered them all up and put them in a large manilla envelope to prepare for mailing.  There were however a couple of sections too short to send so Amanda asked to keep one, and I put a piece away for Andrew as well.

 

     The deed was done – MISSION accomplished.  Now on to the birthday party. . .

 

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Continued tomorrow . . .

 

 

. . . Continued from yesterday

 

To help with the confusion on the dates let me add this.  

This was written as I was recovering at my parents home 08/08/2009.  

However the date of the actual events of this and the previous 2 blogs 

was 07/28/2009 (the day before surgery)

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     We were off to Chuck E. Cheese.  I had put on my wig and a pink “Hannah Montana” wide headband to calm the shock of the children.  I had warned mine, but unless Margaret told her girls, they had no idea.  When we arrived, the kids looked at me and smiled, no worse for the experience.  I was just “hey mommy / hey Aunt Angie” – no difference.  

 

     You have to understand, as I may have already mentioned, this is surgery #8 in 10 years.  They’ve seen me at my worst more than once.  Micah – who will be 8 tomorrow (as of the original writing 08/08/2009) – was born by Classic C-Section after 36 hours of labor that would not budge him.  Then 2 years almost to the day his baby brother, Aaron – who turned 6 yesterday – arrived the same way – Classic C-Section.  After Aaron was born in August, we discovered on Christmas Eve that I had an incisional hernia. Ended up having 3 hernia surgeries, the last of which I thought was gonna kill me.

 

     Surgery after surgery, staples, stitches, complications, the kids were used to mommy being “sick”.  That was pretty well their “normal”.  Mommy gets sick, mommy goes to the dr., mommy can’t pick us up or carry us anymore.  So that day was just another normal “Mommy’s gotta go to the dr. again” for them, and I was relieved that they weren’t shocked.

 

     So there I was wearing the wig and headband with freshly cut hair and itching like crazy.  I took it as long as I could stand it, then I just took the dumb thing off.  “Who care! Not me!  And the kids are fine.  I can’t stand it any longer!”  So I took it off.  Now here comes the funny part.  My niece, Cassie, who is exactly 6 months younger than Aaron, spots me from her token-dropping-ticket-winnings half way across the restaurant.  She stops everything to come and stand at the end of the table and proceeded to tel me, “Aunt Angie, you need to put your hair back on.  You don’t look like ‘Aunt Angie’ with out it.”  She finished what she had to say then wen on about her business of token-dropping and ticket-winning without waiting for a response of any kind.

 

     I may have obliged her request except for the insistent itching that went along with the ordeal AND the fact that my LAST act of DEFIANCE & CONTROL was before me, & not my Daddy, & not my Abba Father, & definitely NOT a 5 year old was gonna make me do ANYTHING that I MYSELF did not decide on my own without anyone else’s suggestions having any input.

 

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     I can’t tell you that all my defiance and control tendencies are gone, but I can tell you that they are not as bad as they use to be.  I know that there’s no perfection on this side of HOME, but I can do my best to reach  for the standard Jesus set.  When I fall, I can get up, ask forgiveness, and begin again.  That’s all HE asks – obedience, and don’t quit.  I just heard the song, “Move” by Mercy Me on the radio.  That’s my motto right now.  Here’s the lyrics, maybe they’ll help you too.

 

I’m not about to give up

Because I heard you say

There’s gonna be brighter days

There’s gonna be brighter days

I wont stop, Ill keep my head up

No, I’m not here to stay

There’s gonna be brighter days

There’s gonna be brighter days

 

I just might bend but wont break

As long as I can see your face

 

When life wont play along

And right keeps going wrong

And I cant seem to find my way

I know where I am found

So I wont let it drag me down

Oh, I’ll keep dancing anyway

 

I’m gonna move (move)

I’m gonna move (move)

I’m gonna move

 

Ive got to hold ‘er steady

Keep my head in the cage

Everything is about to change

Everything is about to change

This hurt is getting heavy

But I’m not about to cave

Everything’s about to change

There’s gonna be brighter days

 

I just might bend but wont break

As long as I can see your face

 

[Chorus]

 

No matter what may come

Gotta move to a different drum

No matter what life brings

Gotta move gotta move to a different beat [x2]

 

I just might bend but wont break

As long as I can see your face

 

-Mercy Me

 

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