Penny received her last chemo treatment the Thursday before Christmas. The last one has not been easy. The side effects from months of chemo have built up. She is pushing through and working hard to get better every day. The hardest days of our journey will hopefully soon be behind us. Penny will continue trips to the Oncology clinic for the next six months to receive Herceptin drips every three weeks. But there are no side effects from Herceptin. We expect Penny to grow back hair and return to a more normal health and life. We look forward to spending many happy years ahead as a family.
As challenging as the past six months have been for Penny and our family, it has been a blessing. To be able to feel the power of love and caring from community, family and friends has been wonderfully overwhelming… and has been a very special experience that will forever change our lives.
We have been blessed to be encircled by good, thoughtful and caring people. I am happy to report that there are many angels in the army of goodness. I have seen them and felt their spirits first hand. It is good to know when times get tough, great people are there to support us.
Over the past six months… Various family members arrived from Maine, Massachusetts and Iowa to visit and help.
Numerous people sent and dropped by many meals, salads, sweets, cupcakes, cookies, donuts, breads and even a few editable fruit arrangements. Our freezer was filled with “Let’s Dish Meals.” Our home was even stocked with some beer and wine. There were more people wanting to provide a meal, then our calendar could allow.
We received many beautiful plants and flower arrangements that brightened Penny’s hospital room and our home.
We received a constant stream of good thoughts and prayers. We received hundreds and hundreds of thoughtful Facebook posts. On a daily basis the postman delivered thoughtful cards and notes cheering Penny and our family on towards better days. One of Penny’s closest childhood friends has sent a card every week filled with a message of support and cheer. I got a few from her as well.
Our kids received special gift boxes filled with activities, stickers and CDs. Another of Penny’s childhood friends sent each of our children special “build-a-bears” in nurse outfits, custom inscribed with their names.
We received numerous gift certificates for meals, spa pampering, and even house cleaning services. The folks at Distinctive Cleaning provided some free cleanings http://distinctivecleaning.com/. Friends and neighbors offered to babysit of our children, and went out of their way to arrange extra play dates to give Penny some quiet time to rest.
People sent books, magazines, and journals.
Penny received bandanas, shirts, and a very comfy cashmere robe. The Chair hair salon donated services to cut Penny’s hair short. A family member even bought Penny a beautiful wig. Fellow survivor friends lent the traveling breast cancer club reclining chair.
Friends walked and raced in Penny's honor during the Susan Komen Race For the Cure. Maine friends decorated tee-shirts for Penny. Performance Marketing decorated Converse Sneakers with messages of hope and strength.
As if all that was not enough… the generous human spirit noted above was heavily punctuated by a card we received last week from Richman’s Café in Bellevue Iowa. The card read…
“Everyone at Richman’s Café wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year. We didn’t do an exchange of gifts this year. We decided to give… not receive… and you came to mind… we want you to know we will continue to keep you in our thoughts and prayers daily. Keep your faith strong.” The card included a generous gift. The gesture and hearts of the people involved are bigger than the size of the gift. (Please do me a favor press the Facebook like button for Richman’s Cafe http://www.facebook.com/pages/Richmans-Cafe/113465712020727 and bless the staff at Richman’s Café back with a healthy business. When you are in Bellevue Iowa and deciding between some places to go, choose Richman’s Café.)
All of the outpouring has been overwhelming and at times hard to receive. Collectively everyone set a wonderful standard for us to live up to as we pay back by paying it forward in life. The healing power of everyone’s spirit has provided us everything medicine can’t provide. You have refortified our belief in the decency and goodness of people.
Thank you for being so wonderful. We sincerely appreciate all you have done for Penny and our family.
Happy New Year