About this blog

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 11, 2010. As a result of my treatment, I have lymphedema in my left arm. I draw my strength from the Lord, as well as my family's Scots-Irish heritage. Our Graham's were a tough and scrappy bunch of fighters on the Scottish/English border. They came to America and continued to fight when necessary: in the American Revolution; the Civil War; and my brother is a Captain in the U.S. Army. My ancestors settled this country against all odds. My great-grandmothers on both sides of the family were pioneer women who settled the West. Along with that heritage, and the full armor of God, I am walking the walk and fighting the good fight.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Spa Day

One of the things I wanted to do before surgery was get a massage. Yesterday, I met my best friend Kelly at Glen Ivy for a spa day. I met Kelly at Alvarado Intermediate school in the 7th grade. We were in Mrs. King's social studies class. Kelly sat next to me and my earliest memories of Kelly were of me always borrowing paper from her. I wonder why I never had my own? Anyway, we became best friends quickly. I remember in Jr. High I would get teased for being short, and she would get teased for being from New Jersey. Aren't middle school aged kids great? In 8th grade, some would refer to us as "the Siamese twins" because we were always together. It was the same for much of high school as well.

As we got older, life took us in different directions. There have been some years where we never saw each other at all. But when we do, it is like time stood still and we are still the same silly teenage girls that we were in the 80's. No one can make me laugh with a look like Kelly does. It's fabulous!

Kelly lives up in Los Angeles, so its about an hour for each of us to get to Corona, where Glen Ivy is. She wasn't able to get there early in the morning, so I decided to book a massage for myself in that time before she could get there. I was hoping to get an 80 minute one, but they didn't have any available in the morning. So I went for the 50 minute and got "upgraded" with some Temescal stone therapy.

Going in, I knew they were going to give me a health questionnaire. There was one time years ago when I was only a few weeks pregnant that my masseuse said I couldn't get a massage that early in the pregnancy. I was so disappointed! I did NOT want to have that happen to me again. I really was looking forward to this massage. So I was a bit anxious to see if the health questionnaire would ask about cancer. When I glanced at it, my heart sank. Sure enough, on the list of conditions was cancer. If you checked any of the boxes on the list, there was space to "explain." I sat there staring at the box. Should I just not mention it? I know that lying is a sin. But I really wanted that massage. I filled out the rest of the form and then came back to that part. I decided to be honest. In the explanation box, I wrote, "breast cancer. Treatment not started. No medications." I turned it in and prayed that it wouldn't make it so I couldn't have the massage. I thought to myself....I'm a lawyer. I can ask for a supervisor. I can sign whatever release of liability they have. I asked my doctor last week if I could have a massage. She didn't say no. So who are they to say no? I was gearing up for a fight!

The masseuse came out and took me into a room. She looked at the form and didn't say anything. Thank you Jesus! She asked me if there were any areas to avoid. I told her to avoid the lymph nodes on the left side. She nodded sympathetically. Then she got on with the massage. It was great. It had been awhile since I had one. I asked her to push hard, and boy did she. Almost to the point of pain. But I kind of like that in a massage. It feels like things are being broken down, you know? The rocks were amazing. Totally worth the $15 upgrade!

After the massage, I had about an hour to kill. They announced a yoga class on the front lawn. What the heck, I thought. This is my day off of exercise, maybe I can get a little exercise as "extra credit?" It was a pretty mellow session. The instructor was a skinny guy with a beard. Looked like he was right out of Woodstock. As he walked out, one of the women said, "He looks like a yoga teacher." As we did some of the poses, he would talk about the physical benefits of each one. At one point, he had us lightly tapping our upper chest. He said a chiropractor friend of his taught him that. It stimulates some gland that deals with the immune system. He said if you do it for 5 minutes a day, it can help you get over sickness. He said it got him over strep throat. Something to file away for chemo time. It can't hurt. I may look a little silly. But it can't hurt!
Kelly got stuck in traffic, so she still wasn't there by the time the yoga was finished. But as luck would have it, they announced an aqua aerobics class in the lap pool. That pool just happens to be next to the check in, so I could do that while keeping an eye on the door for Kelly. It felt a little silly, but the guy was playing 80's tunes. Besides, the water felt good on such a hot day. It was around 100 degrees.

When Kelly got there, we got in line for lunch. We had to wait awhile because it was so busy. But that was no matter--we still could talk! Kelly asked from the beginning what I wanted our day together to be about. Did I want to talk about the cancer? Or not? Or whatever else. She was totally there for whatever I needed. I definitely don't mind talking about it. In fact, I think I need to. I might as well, since that is pretty much the only thing on my mind!

We had a wonderful time over the afternoon. Not only did we talk about cancer, but our families, her work, our lives, even recalling some of the funny stuff from our past. One funny thing happened when we went to do Club Mud. It is basically a shallow pool, about thigh deep with warm water. In the middle is a pedestal with a big mountain of mud clay. You get in and rub the clay all over yourself, get out and let it dry. When you rinse off your skin is really soft. We were in the pool, wading over right next to the pedestal when my foot nudged something squishy on the bottom. Ick! It felt like a, well...it felt like I stepped in a pile of poop! I gasped because I didn't make the connection that it was just a pile of mud that had fallen off the pedestal. It probably doesn't strike anyone else as funny. But the ridiculousness of it made me giggle. Kelly had no idea why I was giggling. When I tried to tell her why, it just made me laugh all the more. Goofy, huh? It was good.

Of course, it all ended way too soon. The spa closed at 6:30 p.m., and when I looked at my watch it was 5:30. We still had to shower, change, and with the 1 hour drive home, I would barely make it home for dinner. It was hard to say goodbye, but I am so glad that we were able to carve out the time to have a fun day before my treatment started.

Eric was an absolute prince to take care of the kids all day. He shuttled Isabelle to her riding lesson, picked up Olivier from his boy scout camp, and took Jean-Marc to a remote control airplane park in between. Took them to lunch at Rubio's, got Jean-Marc down for his nap, and had dinner ready when I got home. And he didn't complain or huff about any of it. When I called to tell him I was on my way, the main thing he wanted to know was: "Did you have a fun time?" It was a total act of love on his part, one that I will never forget.

1 comment:

  1. What a priceless friendship you and Kelly share. Having that connection even though years and miles may separate you is a real gift. There is an old saying, "laughter is the best medicine". I'm so glad that you could just let go and laugh with Kelly because laughter that is forced just isn't the same.

    I'm thankful that Eric rose to the occasion yesterday. He is a great daddy and truly demonstrated his love for you by his actions.

    God is faithful. He will give you the strength you need WHEN you need it.
    Love you.