Wow. So from the beginning I've been saying that I wanted to host a huge-ass thank-you-for-helping-me-survive-cancer party and I can't believe that it happened. And that it exceeded all of my expectations.
We hosted the aforementioned huge-ass thank-you-for-helping-me-survive-cancer party last Saturday and it felt so good to be celebrating something. It also felt so good to see in person all of the faces behind the cards, casseroles, flowers, and messages. It was a little overwhelming (in a good way) to see them all at once. I've certainly gotten used to being overwhelmed, but this was the complete opposite end of the overwhelmed spectrum.
Even though it was the first snow of the year, we had more than 100 people turn out to celebrate with us. From co-workers and former co-workers to high school friends, college friends and middle school friends to my parents, brother/sister-in-law and baby nephew, and T'Ville neighbors, they came out in full force and Craig and I couldn't have been happier to fill them with delicious bar bites, good music and fantastic drink specials. They came from Delaware, Jersey, upstate New York, New York City, Massachusetts, Washington D.C., and all points of Connecticut.
The tavern we hosted it at was amazing. They even worked with us to create drink specials based on my chemo cocktail of ABVD. But for this night, instead of Adriamycin, Bleomycin, Vinblastine and Decarbazine, it was $5 Alabama Slammers (A); $2 Bud and Bud Lights (B); $1 off vodka drinks (V); and "Doctor's Orders - take 2 and call me in the morning" - 2-for-1 house wines (D). Much more palatable and makes for a much better party. Everyone there for the party even got a signature ABVD hand stamp for the night. Who knew chemo drug names would make you part of the "in crowd?"
The music was perfect. One guy and his guitar crooning covers of all my favorite artists. We even filled the dance floor late night singing our hearts out to Counting Crows, David Gray, Verve Pipe and Neil Diamond. Then the juke box came alive and the party was really pumping.
I bounced from group to group all night thanking each person profusely and taking in their congratulations and compliments while doing my best to swallow the lump in my throat. All I kept thinking was that each of these people took the time out of their own busy lives to think of us on this night and on so many occasions throughout this roller coaster of an ordeal. Not one day went by that I didn't feel this tremendous force of support around me and I know without a doubt that that's what kept me from falling on my face even when I was down on my knees.
From literally 15 minutes after I sent the e-mail announcing my diagnosis in May, a flower shop truck rolled up the driveway with a huge, gorgeous bouquet from my former co-workers that I immediately blubbered into. I knew right then that I would never be alone.
Yes, I'm young and I had to deal with cancer and its harsh treatments. Yes, it's an awful thing to go through. But because of it, I have been given the clarity to see what an amazing life I have filled with a wealth of amazing people. And the best part? I have my entire lifetime to pay that forward.