1- Today, I completed my 13th treatment.  Only 20 to go!  I’ve actually enjoyed my daily drives to Columbia.  I grab my coffee every morning and crank up the iTunes.  (My 2001 Tahoe isn’t equipped with a fancy outlet to hear my iTunes through the speakers….like some Mayor I know, so I rock the ear buds.)

2-Mel finally got a “new-to-him” Tahoe last week.  I’m super happy for him.  He felt so guilty, but I finally convinced him that as long as we can still plan on the two new bathrooms and kitchen upgrade this summer, he should go ahead and get it.  He’s worked so hard.  It’s certainly well-deserved.  It’s a couple of years old, but still has every bell and whistle you can imagine.  The girls love to ride with Daddy now.

3-I’ve officially not worn a wig since our trip to Chicago.   I wore my newest blondish wig the entire trip-enough to convince me to never wear a wig again.

4-I just mailed McCanless’s summer camp forms off for this summer!  She’ll go for just a week again this year.  I’m not quite ready for her to go any longer just yet.

5-Mel and I went to the see a movie together last night.  I think it was the second movie we’ve ever been to, just the two of us.  Not kidding.  I’m not a movie girl and IF I go, it’s usually to see Rapunzel or Dolphin Tale or something of the sort with the girls-not typically a Mel kind of movie.  Since the girls were away, we took full advantage.  We even ate Mexican beforehand and snuck in M&Ms and Junior Mints.  Did you know a Hartsville Cinema Twin movie ticket is $2?  (I swear it’s a legit Regal Cinema, too.)  Funny, because our small popcorn and drinks were $15.  We saw The Hunger Games since I can’t seem to get middle school literature out of my system.  I read the trilogy last week just so I could see the movie while the girls were away.  As always, the books were far better than the movie.  Which is why I don’t like movies.

other stuff…

I have so much to think about on my morning drives to Columbia.  I need to take a tape-recorder to capture my thoughts.  They’d make great blogging material.  And speaking of, it seems my blog has taken a backseat lately with all that is going on.  Spring is filled with upcoming programs, dance, end-of-school excitement and cramming.  This week is Spring Break and the girls are at the beach with Nonnie, Kacy and Kate, soaking up the beach sun and sand until we can officially go uninterrupted by school. We are all so ready for summer.

Mel and I were asked to be the torch bearers at the opening ceremony of the Relay for Life Luminiara Ceremony next weekend.  Wow.  I’m so very humbled and honored and saddened and happy to have the privilege to do so.  We don’t have a team this year, as we got a really late start.  I think we’ll just invite friends and family to walk the opening lap with us.  (Maybe even get working on that “Half-a-Brain, Half-a Heart and Half-a-Boob” shirt Mel thought of so long ago.)

I’ve also been asked to write something to be read as we take our first lap.  I guess throughout all of this, it’s been hard to believe it was/is even happening to me.  Even now as I walk out of SCOA everyday strong and healthy, I feel sad for the not-so-healthy people I see.  I know I shouldn’t.  I’m on their team.  Technically, I’m not even considered “caner-free” yet.  But it’s one thing that I hated.  I never wanted anyone to feel sorry for me.  Cancer is a part of life.  Sad, but true.  Why shouldn’t I get cancer anyway?  Why should I be spared when so many others aren’t?  I knew I would fight the battle and move on.  Get on with life.

I’m learning everyday that it isn’t such an easy journey for others.

I think of one woman in particular. She’s probably not much older than me.  I don’t know her name, although I should.  I see her every morning.  Waiting.  She’s in a different waiting area and always has someone with her.  To drive, I imagine. Although she’s always on the radiation side of the building, I noticed the tell-tale signs of a chemo patient:  thin, whispy hair, yellow skin, deep circles around wide barren eyes, a frail walk.

After several mornings of casual waves and hellos, grasping onto her husband, she asked me what size guard I used on my clippers.  I laughed and explained that months ago after a trip to my hair stylist and getting 7 inches chopped, Mel used a #2, then #1, then nothing.  I told her that I, too, was going bald due to chemotherapy before I made the decision to shave it.  My current style was not by choice, it is what has resulted from what chemo took from me months ago.

“My chemo didn’t work, which is why I still have some hair left.  I’ve stopped chemo now.  I’m taking radiation as a last ditch effort.” she said with a smile.  Then continued on with how amazing my hair looked.

What I thought was self-confidence is merely arrogance.  How dumb of me to waltz through SCOA as if chemo, radiation and cancer is easy.

Which is why I’m having such a hard time finding words to write for the Luminiara Ceremony.  Cancer isn’t easy, but for some reason, I have been blessed with health.  Despite cancer, despite chemo, despite radiation.  I shouldn’t have the honor of carrying the torch.  So many others have fought this battle and have had to sacrifice so much more than I have.  Even Mary Clare has battled much longer and harder than I have.  She has overcome the odds and has learned to live life to the fullest every single day despite how difficult it can be for her.

I’m not deserving to carry the torch.  At this moment I can think of so many others who have been sick for years, or my friend Betsy who lost her mother, or my new friend who is desperately hanging onto hope that radiation will work.   These people have suffered because of cancer.  Their lives have forever changed because of cancer.

I can only hope that God gives me the courage to represent those of us who have fought the battle and won and the words to touch those who have not been so fortunate.

This morning, I noticed my new radiation friend has a short new hair cut.  Gone are her thin, brown, wispy locks.  She winked at me as I walked by her  in her waiting area.  She pointed to me and explained to her friend that I was her inspiration.

If only I had the nerve to stop and tell her that she is a true inspiration.  She has taught me so much more than she will ever realize.



Lee  on April 5th, 2012

My dear friend, you are an inspiration to more people than you know! Love you bunches!

Judy Brown  on April 5th, 2012

Dearest Kerri,
You must realize that you are bearing this torch and fighting this battle, not only for yourself and your family, but for so many others who are on the same journey with you. God is in control and he put you in this place for a reason that is His own. We are….still praying!

katie allred  on April 6th, 2012

Oh Kerry, how I love you. Your wisdom and heart are such an inspiration to us all. Thank you for sharing this story and don’t doubt that you haven’t been through “tough enough” times, because YOU HAVE! You have just handled it all with such grace and kept it all into perspective…

We are going through a tough diagnosis right now with Cancer in our family, there is no treatment available and only “months” have been given. Finding a new balance has been very challenging but we’re trying to stay upbeat and spend as much time as we can with Pa (Bryan’s dad). Yes, cancer sucks. It seems that we may not be able to escape this life without being affected by it somehow… lots of love and hugs to you. Have a wonderful Easter friend!

Betsy  on April 6th, 2012

I’ve been trying to think of something wise to say since I read this but am still left speechless at your thoughts and words…

I guess what I want to say is that even if you have not sacrificed your life to the big C, you have experienced it. You have had to think about things that you should not have to at the ripe age of 34. You have spent weeks on end feeling so sick that you couldn’t leave your couch. You lost your beautiful silky hair, a pillar of a woman’s self confidence.

But now, luckily for all of those before and after you, you are in a unique position to motivate others to fight their battle. You can use your story, determination, and beautiful words to raise funds to find an end to this terrible disease.

So you walk that lap with your head held high and that big smile on your face. I wish I could be there to see it!

Terri Woodham  on April 6th, 2012

Betsy, thank you…At times I don’t know what to say…and you said it BEST.
Kerri, you are a leader, a fighter, and a survivor! We will all be with you every step of the way. I will follow you to the end of the world and beyond. You have given hope to so many…cancer and parents of children with special needs. I am so proud of you, Mel, your friends and of course the girls, Mary Clare and McCanless who had to learn first hand what cancer is at an early age and see Mommie so sick.
I love you so much! MOM

court  on April 9th, 2012

I have enjoyed reading your blog. I am a counselor at Camp Seafarer and found your blog last year when I was searching up some stuff for camp. I saw in this post that your daughter is going back to camp again and I hope that she’s going back to Seafarer! Your blog is so encouraging and I enjoyed reading in this post that you will be participating in Relay For Life as well!!

Cathy  on April 9th, 2012

wow…. when I walk into SCOA I am always amazed at ALL THE PEOPLE THERE…. young and old…. men and women…. Cancer has become apart of our lives in so many ways. I worry EVERYDAY about my sweet Daddy…. I pray GOD lets me keep him forever….
I have prayed for you and your courage. You are a strong woman and mother….. I know you will beat this !!!!! no question!!!!
Some people are not as lucky….. God has a plan for us all, it would be nice to know it, but he does hold our hands when we are down and up… He makes us realize how lucky we are , until we realize we are not lucky- this is the plan for us- his plan! My prayers will continue for you, please continue to pray for my Daddy. I will always pray for the people at SCOA… I think GOD has a special cloud that building sits on.

Anne Marie  on April 18th, 2012

Hi Kerri,
I was led to your blog last year by the Snyders. What an amazing journey your family is on, and what an inspiring perspective you all have. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with everyone, so that we may see there are many ways to tackle a problem… and sometimes that way is with a big, optimistic smile on your face!
I wonder if your shirt might say…
Half a brain, Half a heart, Half a boob, and a Glass Half Full!
Anne Marie Rossiter

Amanda Bostick  on May 2nd, 2012

Hey there Kerri!

It’s been a while since I have had time to sit down and read your blog and finally took a minute. I was so humbled by your words of how your trips in and out of the cancer center are much like my own. We are the fortunate ones who are beating this and have many tomorrows to look forward to. When my mom and I went to MD Anderson last year, I was so very humbled as I looked around and saw so many of “us.” When I say “us,” I mean those battling for our lives and doing our best to keep a positive attitude, and get through another day, however hard or easy that day may be. There are so many who’s story will not have the same “ending” as ours. So many who hope for more time and a cure for their cancer. We are the ones that get to tell our story for those who come after us and those who are on the journey with us. The ones that can speak for those who can’t.

I am so thrilled that you were asked to carry the torch! You are MORE than WORTHY!!! You have are fighting the fight and beating it! Stand and walk with pride as you know many of “us” can’t. Do it for them and speak for them as we all want to find a cure for cancer!

I am so happy that you are almost done! The sun is on the horizon of many more beautiful tomorrows for us! And I love Anne Marie’s comment about the shirt-Glass 1/2 full is perfect!

God Bless!
Amanda Bostick