Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010: Worst Year Ever?

I know, I know, I'm supposed to  be thinking how much better this year will be than last year. And I'm reading all the blogs I follow from other breast cancer fighters (beginning, in the middle of and all through with the battle) and they're all so eloquent and full of thanks and happy for the new year. But hear me out...

At the end of 2008, looking at 2009 (pre-BC, as will become apparent), Chris and I were feeling all smug about ourselves. I had spent all of 2008 working diligently getting my new solo law practice up and running and doing pretty well, especially considering the economy. Chris had finished his middle-grade fiction manuscript "Seamus the Famous" and sent it out to about 20 agents, getting a pretty good response and several requests for full manuscripts. Foolishly we said, more than once, "2009 is going to be our year. Things are really coming together."


In an effort to not jinx 2010, Chris and I have officially declared 2010 the worst, most horrible, terrible, disastrous, nasty year ever. Ever.

The good news is, that means 2009 was not, in fact, the worst, most horrible, terrible, disastrous, nasty year ever. And in large part that was due to all of you.

So thanks to those of you who sent cards and flowers, who stopped by, who dropped off wine (!!), who watched Seamus for us, who made me laugh, who saved my life, who continued to act normal around "cancer girl",  who fed me, who emailed, who read the blog (and particularly those of you who commented), who kept my office running, and most of all those of you who cared, however you showed it. Special thanks to the good and great Dr. Amer Karam, who quite literally saved my life, somehow managed to make cancer funny and delivered the "you have cancer" news as directly and kindly as it could possibly be done; to my dad who went to the initial surgery appointments with me, continued to learn more about breast cancer than I'm sure he ever wanted to, kept me supplied with anti-oxidants and supplements, and medical research and information, and worried tremendously while taking great efforts to hide that he was worried; and to his wife Nancy McElhannon, who followed the blog and printed it out or left it on the screen so he could follow too, commented on the blog regularly  and had an infectious happy attitude all year (and for as long as I've known her!); to my mom, who learned what a blog was and then read the blog (when she could stand it and after my nephew showed her how), sewed head scarves for me, sent me little surprises ("to help a girl get along"), hosted the Missouri Survivor party and worried so much she got shingles; to my step-dad Ted Terbeek who got me my first "pink t-shirt" (the fabulous "Pink Heals" stiletto shirt) and helped so much to keep the calm in the initial diagnosis days; to my brother Jay McElhannon who called constantly, but not too much, who wanted to fly out, but listened to me when I said I'd come out there when I could travel again and who ran interference with the parental units when necessary ;-) ; to Chris's folks Jim and Trudi Kern who I got to know better and who sent cards and great, soft cotton wraps (perfect for the chemo chair) and then sprung for our hotel on the big island; to Corby Rhodes and her mom Donna Montgomery for coming out to visit me post-surgery and making me laugh like a teenager again; to Valerie Zucker and Stacey Aldstadt for the world's funniest "day after chemo" wig party, and a fantastic POP-C birthday bash (and to Stacey in particular for getting me to Dr. Karam in the first place!); to Laureen Pittman and Michelle Pierce, for keeping my office running smoothly, for pretending my wigs and my scarves and my short, short hair looked perfectly fine, for not nagging me to "take it easy" and for being the best "support staff" a girl could have; to Brein and Roryann Clements for incredible food, friendship and outrageous humor, but mostly to Roryann for letting everyone know the proper response to the news "I have cancer"; to Becky Whatley for countless humorous cards, a few drinks, much humor and again, for treating me the same with or without cancer; to my writer's group gals Barb Abel, Kristin Tilquist, Michelle Ouellette, Barbara Shackelton, Susan Brennecke, Patti Pettis and Dulce Pena for your encouragement  throughout (and continuing as I try to tackle this memoir writing); to Trai Cartwright who stayed in touch long distance, made me laugh and kept me tough; to Tera Harden and Brian Pearcy, devoted blog readers, suppliers of great wine and champagne, and even some really great lotion potions during radiation and especially to Tera for getting my jury duty bumped back; to Michael Easley for his friendship and his brilliant Pop-C and Survivor party logos and invites and because he found it too hard to look at the bald photo; to Zee Beard and Sue Mitchell--Zee kept the wine coming (she was the secret Cakebread Chardonnay fairy) and Sue kept the cards coming, but they both kept the friendship and support coming; to Jane and Francis Carney who had Chris and I (and Seamus!) to dinner at several key points (including the very night I shaved my head!) and always made me feel not only normal but strong (Jane sounded perfectly sincere when she said my shaved head looked fantastic!); to Barbara Ryan who sent me cards and flowers regularly and also learned about blogs; to Michelle Ouellette who watched Seamus on several occasions and hosted the fabulous Survivor party in her beautiful yard--allowing me to share her birthday celebration at the same time; to Jane Gideon who I think I saw more during the cancer battle than in the years before then, for coming alll the way down from San Francisco to celebrate my survival and for staying close and making me laugh; to Lori Lacefield for making the trip all the way from Denver and for reminding me that Bitter really is Better ;-); to Rich Gold and Gary Berg who also made the trek down from the Bay Area and celebrated with me after staying in touch and supporting me throughout; to Laura Ballantine who got back in touch and I'm pretty sure was the first one to read the blog and comment each morning, who sent me a Save the Tatas shirt and spread the "tatas" word in Iraq!; and who was a staunch supporter and defender against all the many stupid things many stupid people say; and to Michael Wakefield, who supported and loved and hugged and emailed and worried and finally just flew down to celebrate the end of treatment and enjoy that bottle of wine we'd been saving; to the blog followers who actually figured out how to join as a "follower" and weren't embarrassed to do so--it's nice to see those faces and comments so I don't feel like I'm talking to myself (in an unhealthy way) and of course, to Chris for...well, for all the love and for all of the above.

Here's to a no good, horrible, really bad, truly awful, 2010.

P.S. Inevitably I will have forgotten someone I had no business forgetting. I therefore reserve the right to update!


  1. Love you and so happy you are with us and healthy. HAPPY 2010!!!! More? Well, I'll see you on Monday and think of something witty. Maybe.

  2. 2010 will suck. No doubt. Chris was awesome. And, I miss you.

  3. I'm happy you're with us, too! Can't imagine treating you different, cancer or no, because you are exactly the same. Which is weird. Or scary. Probably both. However I feel bad for the next "friend with cancer" person in my life because everything I learned about how to treat a person with cancer came from you and/or your blog and well, there's only one you. Not sure anyone else will ever go through this like you did. And, um, they might desire something more than Chinese food, wine, and sick humor. I will do my best. Honestly, for whatever I gave worth thanking, you gave so much more with your sharing, and this blog in particular. May 2010 suck as much as you want it to!


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