Matric dance dresses and sacrifices

Although Pete and I do not have 2-legged children of our own, we certainly are surrounded by some very special little 2-legged people whom we have watched grow up over the years and who we enjoy spending time with. One way we get to do that is by taking them shopping on their birthdays. We go clothes shopping and then out for either breakfast or lunch – just the 3 of us.

A week or two ago I picked up Ira from school a few days shy of her 12th birthday for an afternoon of shopping. Pete was in Joburg so it was just going to be a girl’s afternoon. So naturally the topic in the car turned to fashion…. Ira announced “My mom said that your Matric dance dress was really ugly”.

REEEEEEALLY Wendy???

And even though Wendy may have had a point – I have hidden my Matric dance photos so well that I can’t even find them – I still felt a sense of loyalty to that red, satiny ensemble circa 1990!

I replied with: “Well, Ira at the time I really thought it was gorgeous; I was going for a Spanish-inspired look to compliment my long curly hair”. I was hoping she would totally buy that story and maybe even defend my fashion choice to her mom….

Realistically speaking the picture I had in my head at that time of what the dress would actually look like was a little different to what arrived a day or two before the dance and far too late to do anything about it! Boy, do I sound defensive 🙂

But hey ho – it was the 90’s, and luckily anything went! Or so I had thought for all these years……

Steering the conversation away from my lack of fashion sense before Ira realised that perhaps I was NOT the person to take her clothes shopping, we moved on to the topic of hair.

Now Ira has the most gorgeous curly dark hair, and naturally she hates it…

I told her that I was never allowed to have my hair long when I was in junior school because it was so difficult to manage, but strangely once I started growing it, it was far easier to handle.  We both agreed unequivocally that having long curly hair was MUCH better than short curly hair as at least the curls could actually be tamed by gravity.

Now I consider myself quite a good shopper, but I think I have met my match in Ira, she certainly knows her own mind! We walked the entire length and breadth of the mall……….. twice.

But finally found a dress, shoes and a top which she simply could not live without and which all looked amazing with her long curly hair! We rewarded ourselves with milkshakes and pizza (sorry Megan – it was a VERY special occasion!), and I took her home in high (sugar induced) spirits.

So when a few days ago Wendy wrote on her Facebook page that Ira had cut her hair to donate it to cancer, I was truly speechless. I mean for once I was completely without words; I couldn’t even come up with a comment for the Fb post.

And when I heard earlier this week that some of the kids at school had teased Ira and her newly cut curly hair, it made me realise just exactly what that sacrifice meant for her.

So Ira, I want you to know just how proud I am of you and how brave I think you are.

I certainly would never have been courageous enough to do that when I was your age; who am I trying to kid, at any age!
And do me a favour, don’t listen to a thing anyone else says – you are awesome, and at 12, already an inspiration.

AND you certainly rock those short curls big time!

sacrifice

“Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you’re not really losing it. You’re just passing it on to someone else.” Mitch Albom

“She taught me all about real sacrifice. That it should be done from love… That it should be done from necessity, not without exhausting all other options. That it should be done for people who need your strength because they don’t have enough of their own.” Vernoica Roth

“When people see you’re happy doing what you’re doing, it sort of takes the power away from them to tease you about it.” Wendy Mass

“If you’re horrible to me, I’m going to write a song about it, and you won’t like it. That’s how I operate.” Taylor Swift

My Friend Fynn

Friendship

So this morning I woke up feeling a bit sad for myself and a bit fed up. My lymph drainage seems to have decided to take an early Christmas break leaving the swollen, spongy tissue feeling rather sore and pretty freaky looking.

The pec muscles on my right side are bunched really tightly and will not move an inch, despite my best massaging efforts. As a result my radiated bionic boob (a fantastic term stolen from a fellow blogger and breast cancer survivor) is once again sitting much higher than the non-radiated bionic boob. Making it extremely difficult to find clothes to mask this freakishness.  So a trip to Gillian will be required this week, I just hope she can see me!

Just to add to all the freakishness, my feet and hands are continually swollen at the moment. My knees, hips and fingers are aching, not sure what’s up with that! And all in all I feel at least 30years older than I am, and pretty fed up!

It probably didn’t help that I also went swimwear shopping last week where my options were somewhat limited by my continued expanding frame and trying to find something that wouldn’t show off the really attractive pocket of lymph running down my right side.

I also ended up visiting my GP for a pap smear, yip the fun just never stops! Not only did I have to have the pap done, but blood had to be taken to check ovarian tumour markers. So even without the tamoxifen, those will have to be closely monitored! *sigh* And even though I’m sure they will all be fine, there is still that annoying voice somewhere in the back of my mind whispering….but what if it’s not?

So yes, this morning I woke up just knowing it was going to be a special shade of a Blue Monday!

Well, that is until I switched on my Blackberry and saw that my very first Facebook update was post about my friend Fynn.

Now I know many would say that I cannot call a person who is less than a 3rd of my age, living thousands of kilometres away and someone whom I have never even met, my friend… Ok so technically speaking that may be true. But Fynn is the kind of person I really would like to call my friend, so that should count for something, right?

My friend Fynn lives on another continent with his mum, dad and little sister. He is 8 years old and earlier this year he was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Over eight months ago he had an 8 hour surgical procedure to remove enough of the tumour to give him (in the words of his doctor) “a fighting chance”. Unfortunately that same life preserving surgery changed his life drastically and he is having to learn to walk and talk again along with presenting other severe challenges. Fynn has already completed one full round of chemo and is currently on his 2nd. Today he completes his 4th chemo treatment of this cycle with another 5 to go.

My friend Fynn has a truly inspirational family and I read his Mom and Dad’s Facebook posts every week to keep myself updated with his progress. But it’s not just his medical progress which is documented; they also share in such a sincere and heartfelt way the realities of what they, as a family, deal with on a daily basis. The impossible choices, the frustrations the horrors, the tears and the triumphs.

Often just days after chemo his mom will write that he’s determined to go back to school when she would far rather him be resting. He’s a very determined young man, is my friend Fynn.

This morning’s update was that his bloods were high enough to give him chemo despite him not feeling very strong. His dosage has been halved as last week they picked up that he’s suffered hearing damage due to the chemo. Life sure has not been easy for my friend Fynn.

So as I and the rest of his family and friends wait to hear how he is doing after today’s chemo; I urge to you to think of my friend Fynn, and keep him in your hearts. And when like me, you wake on a Monday feeling fed up with how unfair life is. Whether you are worried about bills piling up, how you are going to afford to pay your kids tuition, what to cook for dinner, how you are ever going to get your boobs level or just grumpy with your boss/ wife/ husband/ mother/ dog/ cat – take a few minutes and think about my friend Fynn and his mum, dad and little sister. And instead of listing all the wrongs in your life, hug those PEOPLE you love and who you are fortunate enough to share your life with – they are really the only “things” that should matter – the rest…….the rest is just stuff.

OKAY: you don’t HAVE to hug your boss 🙂

So today, for my friend Fynn, I am not going to try and find quotes to express how I feel – I am going to share a song…

This is for you Fynn, my hero and my friend….

http://greatergood.me/1CvWZb1

Never Evers

So yesterday I headed up the hill to Kirsten to see what cure she had for my pink hair…

After all, my pink hair was SO last month daaarling….

She had previously warned me that trying to “lift” the colour i.e. to strip the pink out, may leave me with very yellow hair, and apparently not in a good Goldilocks kinda way….. So the only solution was to go darker, a WHOLE LOT darker and wait for the pink hair to grow out.

Oh the joys of having these kind of hair problems 🙂

While she was still grimacing and lamenting my previously lighter hair colour which she had been patiently cultivating ……..I even confessed to her that I sorta-kinda like my hair short! Something I never thought I would hear myself say…..ever……..like ………..never………..ever….

I guess when we lose something precious to us and even when we have the good fortune to get it back, we are forever changed in some way. We either learn to appreciate it a whole lot more and strive to never take it for granted again OR we realise that what actually has been lost, is the power it previously had over us.

I remember having a similar conversation with a survivor while I was still having chemo last year . She had been clear for a few years and had come for visit and to cheer me up! All I remember was how gorgeous she looked with the vivid blue streaks in her short hair; certainly NOT a colour I would EVER have expected her to have chosen. I remarked on how much I loved her streaks and she said “ you will see how less seriously you take your hair when it grows back”. I remember nodding and smiling but at the same time thinking that I would NEVER ever be able to be that brave! I so desperately wanted to look like everyone else with hair, I was already so tired of standing out from the crowd with my headscarves. Me and my newly grown hair would live happily ever after in complete anonymity, fading into the background of acceptable and predictable colour palettes!

But she was absolutely right…

What I have learned since my hair has grown back, and what I would really like to never ever forget – is that hair is just hair. And despite what we tell ourselves AND despite what society tells us – It’s actually not a security blanket, it’s not our identity, and horror of horrors – it’s not even necessary in order for us to carry on living our lives.

Now don’t get me wrong, I certainly am not trying to tempt any kind of fate here and I certainly have NO desire to be bald again…. ever…..like…….NEVER EVER!

I’m certainly going to look after it and strive to remember each day to be grateful for it…… but I’ve also decided to have some fun with my new head of hair………well as much fun as Kirsten will allow me to have with it 😉

“It’s your outlook on life that counts. If you take yourself lightly and don’t take yourself too seriously, pretty soon you can find the humor in our everyday lives. And sometimes it can be a lifesaver”. Betty White

“She was what we used to call a suicide blonde – dyed by her own hand”. Saul Bellow

“My real hair color is kind of a dark blonde. Now I just have mood hair”. Julia Roberts

“The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts”. Marcus Aurelius

“I dyed my hair about 42 different colours, and kids can be pretty judgmental about people who are different. But instead of breaking down and conforming, I stood firm. That is also probably why I was unhappy”. Christina Hendricks

“It doesn’t matter if you have new parts, old parts or spare parts. You can shine no matter what you’re made of”. – Bigwell Robots

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily”. – Zig Ziglar

likeaboss (2)