Monday, July 16, 2012

Chemo #6: The Final Frontier!

Drum roll please, aaaannnnd - YES, this is my last and final chemo treatment. The voyage has been long, it was an 18 week mission, I explored a strange new world, I am seeking a new life and civilization and indeed, I went boldly where I have never gone before.

So, in honor of this process and two of my aunts, I am dedicating this final chemo to them. Two ladies who fought their own wars and had their own encounter with breast cancer. No longer with us, I have thought of them numerous times throughout this journey. I've held them close to my heart as they've visited me in my dreams throughout my own cancer odyssey which is why, tomorrow I must continue the showdown on breast cancer on their behalf too.

Aunt Charlotte, a true-blue 'Barker' (AKA, stubborn, headstrong, persistent!) was tiny but unyielding during her battle - actually, her entire life! I recall that big smile, her beautiful blonde updo, and the long, weekly chats at her kitchen table after a day at community college. I also fondly remember those amazing cakes that she used to make with each perfectly dotted dab of frosting. And I'll forever recall my last visit with her in the hospital in Monterey just weeks before she left us way too early - still smiling, holding MY hand and looking at me with such sweet eyes. And before long, she became my 'Left Shouldered Angel.'

Aunt Henrietta (AKA, 'Hanky Panky') also took a stance with BC as we were diagnosed twice at the same time with her encounters of cancer in her home in Sweden and mine here in California; we had much in common to say the least. Bravely facing the Big C. with that determined 'Barker Temperament' I recall a lifetime of fun, laughter and wonderful conversations around both our American and Swedish tables. And visiting her a week before she took up residency as my 'Right Shouldered Angel' - her last words to me were simple yet profound as she channeled my dad - "Don't worry so much Yogi, just be happy. It's most important for you in this life to be happy."

So, these are the memories of my two lovely aunts that I will hold near and dear to my heart as I walk into that chemo room tomorrow. I'll give them both a nod and wink of love and gratitude as I take my place in that chemo chair for one last round. I will forge on with our 'Barker Spirit' and enough of a feisty attitude for the 3 of us! And although I will continue on in that chemo room for the next 10 months every 3 weeks for the final phase of my non-chemo treatment, I will self-assuredly, keep my aunts on my shoulders as this is where I have felt and seen them through every step along the way and throughout each and every surgery.

Love & Älskar dig! 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Ray of Light & Sunshine

Some might say this shot was a simple sunshine effect or a lighting bonus, I say poppycock!

Actually, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that this picture, recently taken just two days before my last chemo, was perfect timing. And without risking sounding too spiritual for some, I'd like to believe that this beam of light was a message from someone (ok dad, I got it!) letting me know that I can forge on with my treatment and all will be just fine.

I'd also like to think that I still have that beam around me as I head into my last chemo treatment next week. The past couple rounds have been rather gnarly and I'm hoping for a little light (pun intended) on this round because frankly, these treatments are starting to take a toll on this body. But, I'm doing my very best to keep my chin up and know that I am surrounded by goodness (and light!).

So, thank you to our friend Vanessa who took this picture and was amazed herself as none of the other pictures she captured that day showed the beam of light. Now that, I find inspiring.