When I was still doing chemo, some members of my family had mentioned it might be a nice idea to have a party when it was all over, to give me something to look forward to. I started researching some venues and thinking of who I might invite, but then I stopped. I felt sick and ugly and bald. I couldn’t imagine ever being healthy enough to attend a party. And I didn’t feel like celebrating. My future felt uncertain, a big question mark. Why celebrate when there might be more terrible news lurking around the corner? How would I really know when I was at the “end”?
So the party plans stopped and I told everyone I didn’t want to think about it for the time being and didn’t feel comfortable planning anything.
Then chemo ended, and radiation ended and I started to get better. And I had a scan that I was really scared about and felt some relief from the results. And then I decided, okay. Time to plan a party.
I knew this couldn’t really be a woohoo, I’m cured! themed party, because, well… I don’t know if I’m cured. And no one’s going to be saying those words to me any time soon. But I figured it didn’t really matter. Whether I’m cured or not, whether I live or die, right now I am feeling pretty good and I can stand up for multiple hours without fainting and I can climb several flights of stairs and I can lift a bag of groceries without needing a nap – and all of those things seemed worthy of celebrating. Just being healthy, for the moment, and alive, for the moment.
I also really wanted the chance to gather all the people who had been there for me this past year, in one room. It was my opportunity to say thank you to those people who had dropped meals at my door, sat with me while I moaned, mailed care packages to me, sent funny texts and emails to cheer me up, let me know they were always thinking of me.
We put together a huge candy bar. And we had cupcakes. And mini sandwiches with nutella and peanut butter. There was a music soundtrack provided by yours truly, and lots of laughs and hugs throughout the evening. I even made a quick impromptu speech at the coaxing of my grandfather.
It was so special to have all these people under one roof, and I admit, a bit overwhelming. I hadn’t seen some of these friends in a long time, and it’s very rare to have the opportunity to be surrounded by so many people who care about you, when there is not a wedding or any type of traditional milestone occasion involved. I had a friend fly in from New York to surprise me, and I also got to meet a very special lady for the first time after corresponding with her the whole time I was in treatment. It was an amazing night filled with amazing friends and family. And I am so lucky.
*All photographs taken by Lindsay Lauckner
16 thoughts on “A celebration”
You will be ok!
I have known your dad forever, known his journey and watching you has been amazing ..what courage and strength you both have….
You look healthy and beautiful and I hope that follows you from here on out!
Thank you 🙂
Bless you. Your story gives me hope.
I’m so hapy you’re at this stage Stephanie! Shira said the party was beautiful (as were you). I threw a party at home for all my girlfriends the weekend I finished radiation. It’s wonderful to be able to do something for everyone who provided support through the difficult days. i wish you all good things.
Thanks Fern, and same to you! xo
I love your blog. Your experiences echo mine exactly…except that I am older. I too was nervous about announcing that my treatment was over. It felt like temping fate. I was very anxious that first year after my Herceptin treatments ended. I now have scans only once a year and it is a killer waiting. I am now in my second year since treatment. Your hair looks fantastic! My hair never really grew back fully due to my current estrogen receptor positive medication.
You look fantastic and I think it is wonderful to celebrate with family and friends!!!!!! Keep celebrating!!!!
I love the photo of your grandpa as he’s just about to blow you a kiss 🙂 ❤
It was so nice to meet you and your family! Tell your mom she was right in that I should have taken more candy…Ian ate all but my three whoppers!
Thanks again for the invite, it was very thoughtful and I was beyond happy to be there 🙂
There is PLENTY more candy if you want us to send a shipment!
Your party makes me happy that your dad and your family are enjoying life to the fullest
Steph… those are some amazing photos. Looks like you had a great time:)
You continue to inspire me!
Date: Wed, 2 Oct 2013 01:04:25 +0000 To: email@example.com
party sandwiches and candy! Best party food ever! You look wonderful and every day we wake up to sunshine and love is a good enough reason to celebrate! Sending you love and virtual hugs XXOO