Thursday, November 26, 2009
Today is Thanksgiving in the United States and, with a year like I have had, on this day, I have much to be thankful for...
I am thankful that I am done with all of my treatments! The only thing left at this point is check-up appointments every 3 months or so. Yeehaw!
I am thankful that my hair is beginning to return; I missed it! It's still so short that I appear bald from a distance, but if you get up close, there actually is hair there - in a few more weeks it may actually look like hair!
I am thankful that my nails will return, even if it's hard to believe at the moment. To answer all of the comments after my last post, yes, they will come back! But, in the meantime, I have a pile of pistachios I can't crack open, and someone else is going to have to peel those clementines!
I am thankful for my rubber-boob-in-a-bra and my stick on boob. Yeah, it's the little things!
I am thankful for the hand-made hats that have covered my head for the last several months.
I am thankful for my dogs. It's impossible to cry when a dog is there to kiss your tears away, act silly, and do everything possible to be as cute as can be.
I am thankful for the Danish health care system. The entire process from start to finish has been made simple for me. Not once did I have to call an insurance company or make sure some treatment was covered. I cannot even imagine what it would be like to go through treatment worrying about what it costs or whether or not it was affordable. From head coverings to nail treatment packages to burn lotions to rubber boobs, everything that I could need to get through this process, has been handed to me. The nurses in this country are so sweet, caring and attentive - they have understood that I couldn't always understand them and they have done everything possible to help me along the way. Priceless.
I am thankful for my family. They are all far away but everyone is healthy and happy and in just a few weeks, my parents will be here in Denmark to celebrate their first Danish Christmas.
I am thankful for my co-workers. Every few weeks over the past year, a new card would arrive from the states with little notes from all of them. They have covered whatever work was mine whenever I wasn't able, and have been supportive and understanding through it all.
I am thankful for the generosity and kindness of friends, both old and new. I have received so many wonderful packages and notes from friends. I am incredibly touched that someone would go out of their way to make me something, or buy me something, and send it to me. Every single package, note and blog comment brightened my day and I am still overwhelmed by the kindness.
I am thankful for my friend Kelli. Yes, she is covered in the paragraph above; however, she also deserves to be singled out, even if it embarrasses her. When I was diagnosed, we had met just one time for a couple of hours and yet, when she learned of my diagnosis, she immediately jumped into action for someone she barely knew. Kelli arrived at the hospital on the day of my surgery with a basket full of American products, and she spent the entire day there with Ole, trying to keep him sane as the day went on and on. She visited me several times while I was in the patient hotel, driving from Herning to Viborg each time, and kept up my blog so that everyone else in my life could know how I was doing. As I went through chemo and radiation, she was always checking in on me - be it a text message, facebook message, Email or a phone call, I always knew that she was right there and that, had I needed anything, she would've made sure that she took care of it. She was there when it all began, she was there every step along the way, and she's still here now, when it is time to celebrate the end of treatment. And, this weekend, we are headed out for some relaxation, with our Danes in tow, to do just that.
Speaking of my Dane, I am thankful that I have the most kind, generous, funny, patient and understanding man with which to share my life. He has been by my side through everything and he is my rock. There are simply not words enough to say how much I love him, and how great he really is! Thank you Ole, for always making me feel loved and making me laugh even on the worst possible days.
And thank you to all of you.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
I lost my nails.
It's one of those things they tell you will happen, but you simply cannot comprehend that it actually does happen. Okay, I have one left and I'm protecting it for everything that it's worth. That the one remaining nail happens to be on my middle finger, is just a bonus.
It's not that I had extremely long nails or anything, but this is way different from simply keeping your nails short. There is a bit of nail, but it does not extend at all - so, if you look at your own nails, think of them without any of the white part.
The good news is that losing them didn't actually hurt. I feared it would be excruciatingly painful as it is when you have nails and one breaks too far down, but no, these just sort of snapped off.
Whoever said that 'nothing is impossible' never lost their fingernails. Trust me.
The last 3 weeks have been an endless string of frustrations and the list of things I am unable to 'do' just keeps growing. Allow me to share some of my list of impossibilities:
Scratch an itch
Peel an onion
Pick up a piece of paper
Hold onto anything
Remove a band-aid
Lift up the little wick on the tea light candle so it can be lit
Make screechy sounds on a chalkboard
Not that I actually own a chalkboard - it's the principle of it!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
As of November 8, 2009, I have been in Denmark for 3 years. My 'official' residency actually began on the day we applied for it, which means Denmark says I've been here since August 2006, but November is when I actually got here. But that's neither here nor there.
I had heard a rumor that said once I'd been a resident for 3 years I would be able to vote in local elections, but I figured I would have to go apply or register or something. Then suddenly, in today's mail, came this:
This is my voter's card and on November 17, I will get to vote in Denmark for the local elections. I get a voice in who will become the next 'borgmester' for our 'kommune' (county), which is kind of the equivalent of a mayor. Now I just have to figure out who's running, what they stand for, and all that good stuff. Unfortunately, they don't send a big voter's pamphlet like we get in the states!
Coincidentally, this is the same day as the writing portion of my Danish language exam so it's going to be a big day!