Monday, March 2, 2015


i'll start you off with a little fun. before treatments/surgery i like to create a bucket list of fun things to do that will help me through the tough stuff. this time included puppies, the ocean, pizza, playing and time with those i love. prep fun
so this is gonna be one of those where i start talking and we'll find out where i go when i get there.

the day before surgery i was gifted a spa day at an Aveda salon called Lux in fullerton. this is the place that dreams are made of. the massage was not of this planet and my hair has fun teal and purple streaks in it. thank you thank you thank you jordan :)
the night before surgery i had a big group of friends over for a wig themed pizza thursday- lots of good eating, games and just time with the really, really good friends that my life is full of. at one point i was standing around in the kitchen with a friend and he just looked at me, looked around us, and said "this is a good life, kayla." those words went straight to my heart. i feel like i do a decent job of appreciating the people in my life and the time we share, but sometimes i need to be reminded of that magic. another person made a comment about what a motley crew we are- 20-30 of us, some young, some old, some quiet, some crazy, no one really having a tie to more than one person there, but still all these people coming together to love on me. and eat pizza. this is a good life.

my surgery had a wig theme so at 6 am, me, my father, my roomies, and my friends in wigs strolled into Hoag Hospital. i was pretty exhausted and looking forward to anesthesia so waiting for go time felt like forever. not to sound like too much of a downer- but 2015 has been tiring. not really bad i guess, but tiring. the thought of a couple of days unconscious has sounded pretty great ever since surgery was scheduled. i've needed a break from myself even.
my dad and i had some beautiful little moments in my room before the doctors came. he commented on the community i'm surrounded with here and how much he loves to see it. we talked about our new favorite question, "what would you do if you knew that everything was going to be ok?" and my father ended it with saying God is not in the business of "ok" but things much greater. ultimately he reminded me that, as always in my life, one day we will look on these moments and see that beautiful things grew from them. maybe i won't see them as soon as i'd like to, but i know that i will.

normally i get very emotional with my pre op goodbyes, but my surgeon/oncologist was wearing a pink wig and my anesthesiologist was dance-pushing me down the hall to the OR in a green wig. i fell asleep laughing on my way to surgery. this is a good life.

a friend commented on my doctors saying that i seem to connect with the most wonderful people. i don't know if it's a "you get what you give" kind of deal (which another friend told me is a real thing because "otherwise there wouldn't be a super cool 90s jam about it") or what, but boy is she right. these two doctors were particularly exceptional. i wasn't their first surgery of the day and i wasn't their last either. the procedure was routine and simple. nothing special in room 2. but there we were laughing with colorful hair while i got prepped for surgery. i wasn't procedure #2- to them i was kayla and someone worth caring about and worth playing along with. i've heard hospital horror stories and desensitized doctors. the medical care i've received since day one has been perfect for me and only seems to get better. they've always accepted Kayla- the big love, big smiles, and big crowds. so friday morning, to throwback to Honey Skinner, everyone got the message to "get with the joy."
i like hearing about nurses laughing and people smiling because of my entourage. i love that gifts of love and joy my friends share with dozens, by showing up to support me. a ripple effect. this is a good life.

they took out the bad and kept the good. post op brought some more shenanigans- my docs put a wig on me while i slept in the recovery room, occasionally talking about harry potter bugs and how sad i felt for my cold feet. a very classic kayla wake up from anesthesia.

pathology reports will come in sometime this week and i'll see my oncologist next week for a post op check up and to talk about what's next. my dad reminded me how much of my stress and worries come from thinking about "what's next" and all of these unknowns. he said today has ten pounds of problems and i was given the strength to carry those ten. the bigger struggles come when i start to take on tomorrow's ten in addition to today's. my post op goal was to make a conscious effort to practice present thinking and stay focused on today. what 3 things do i have to think about today? unless an emergency happens, a few things today are enough, the others can wait till tomorrow or the next day. it's only been a day or two, but i see the positive impact of staying present already. i think health crises (among other bumps in life) cause our minds to wander so far into the future. i think of all of the times cancer has pushed my head into places that are months, years ahead of me. it's a weird limbo- knowing we don't have all the time we think we have but trying to stay in the now. making decisions for a future i don't know i have feels so much heavier than "what's one goal i can accomplish today?" mention of my post op appt really took me on a tangent there, but i think what i'm trying to say is resting, a little time outside and writing some letters were enough for today. i know you all have a lot of questions and wonderings, so do i, but i hope you guys can help me stay focused on today-that's what feels good for now.

my other little stand out moment happened when my dad was about to fly back to chicago. he got in bed next to me and was just lying next to me, holding me and telling me how much he loves me. it was one of those rare, precious moments where you can actually feel someone's love leave their body and come into your own. hug your loved ones-always share your love. when love is tangible, ahh. i am loved. this is a good life.

i am appreciating the clarity that has come with my life coming to halt. simple living has simple needs and simple dreams. i'm not sure of the source of the refueling that always comes with times like these for me, but i know it's coming. i'm looking forward to welcome whatever comes from this experience (but not too much(staying present is hard)).

thank you for all of the love and support i've been showered with and the patience with the process too. i love the ways my roommates are caring for me and keeping me safe. i love the ways that my family shares love. i love the texts and calls. and i LOVE doctors in drag.

"this is a good life, kayla." the more i see it and say it the more i remember it and feel it. "a good life" is a fun place to rest my head while i heal. slowing down is nice. i'm also kinda hopped up on pain meds so my apologies for bouncing around or not really having much to share- feeling thankful for auto correct <3

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