I have always loved a good celebration and any excuse to cheers for that matter, and we recently just got to do that for my 4 months done with chemo/dominated the big C. I love when the new month hits the 4th and I get to add another month of my “new normal” to the book. There are three days engrained in my brain (which I heard is quite normal after speaking to other survivors) and those are date of diagnosis (7/18), date of surgery (7/28), and date of chemo completion (12/4). I know those will be hard days but I also am the best version of myself today and I want to more look at them as milestones.
As you know from reading this blog, I am an open book and from the minute I decided to start writing, I wanted to stay committed to it. Writing was and still is therapeutic but it also allowed me to control the conversation and that was important to me (especially on how we were handling it with my kids; mama bear needs to protect!). Don’t get me wrong, I have been to places and saw people pointing/side chatting and I know they are discussing my health (gossiping some would say), or feeling bad for me, and moments like that made me question why I put it all out there, BUT I knew deep down inside I was doing the right thing and my purpose was very real.
I have always been someone that is looked at as a resource (restaurants, bars, networking, introducing people when moving to new towns; I guess its another word for yenta) and that is what I am more than ever. Since my last post alone (3 weeks ago), I have received SO many texts about friends/friends of friends getting genetically tested (all turned out negative, phew!) and have been introduced to over 4 females under the age of 35 who have just been diagnosed. Every single one of them were directed through their connection to me to my blog and told me how much it made them feel better and not alone. Being able to help guide them has been so helpful for them (and for me in the recovery process). Of course moving on is incredibly important but I also need a friendly reminder that I am one strong tough cookie and I went through a wild life experience that forever changed me.
Life has been fantastic and my energy level is BACK; I cannot believe how good I feel and I want to embrace it, hug it, and recognize how LUCKY I am. It is the small things like having jam packed weekends, running around the city like the best lunatic for work, and for being able to pull of this pixie cut. For real, I know that not everyone looks good with such short hair but somehow it is really working for me; I plan on growing it out still BUT so appreciate everyone being so complimentary and begging me to keep it. It is sexy but I look forward to the many phases of hair growth and just to having fun.
Lots of positive highlights from the last few weeks:
- Unveiled at last: Thank you Mom and Dad for rotating my head when I was a baby; my head shape is pretty incredible and I know I am lucky that I look fabulous with this hair. Taking the wig off April 1st was a HUGE moment and I have not looked back. It was my security blanket but I was so over it and love that I set a deadline/stayed committed. Cheers to all my new coworkers who made me feel so comfortable on my first day (you have no idea how much it meant to me) and to all my friends/husband/kids who gave me the boost of confidence to just DO IT. My hair is rapidly growing back and I am getting used to styling it, to rocking new headbands (Amazon has great ones), and to ordering Rogaine in surplus. I even saw some of Riley’s friends and it was just so natural- one even asked if I donated it (how sweet was she to think of that!).
- First AIRPLANE ride—you do not realize how much of a privilege traveling is until it is stripped from you. I am beyond OCD at this point and wiped down every seat multiple times with wipes but guess what, I flew to Miami and DID NOT GET SICK. My immune is back baby!!
- Marc and I had the most MAGICAL weekend ever in Miami; it was our first weekend away, his 37th birthday, and we went with two of my besties from college Elana and Traci (and their awesome hubs Andrew and Jon). Was so nice to sleep, catch up with my girls (how in the world we are here in life is so wild; from dancing on tables all day every day to having kids!), get Vitamin D, beach cocktails, shake our a**. have late dinners with no wake up call, and to own the style in the chicest city ever.
- My girl T-Rap’s 35th birthday- Axe Throwing is such an experience and is way more difficult than you could imagine! Such a great night and so glad we got celebrate what a fabulous human being you are.
- Dinner with my old Pepsi clients- my soul sisters! So grateful we met and our lives are still intertwined. Gabs, Julia, and Eve—you guys rock and I had the BEST night! Cannot wait to do this more regularly!! PS- try The Grille, so so so good and what an experience!!
- Verve Reunion: I struck gold with the family I met at Verve; a lot of us got together this week and catching up was amazing. There is something to say about us “location sharks”; we are hungry, fighters, driven, and all share a common bond that is unexplainable. Love each of you so much its not normal! Many more to come!
- Electrolysis: Thank g-d for you! Started doing this in the city before work and am already seeing the dynamic shift on my face. I am no longer the bearded lady. PHEW!!!!!
- Training: A major part of staying healthy and avoiding recurrence (my rate of it is basically the rate of any female at this point) is maintaining a good weight and exercising. I started a local personal trainer this week and our goal is to rebuild all my strength; I definitely lost a lot of upper body strength from the surgeries and am pumped to get that back. The hysterectomy causes menopause and menopause can cause an early onset of osteoporosis so weight training is KEY. Also sticking to a vitamin regiment so taking calcium (bones), vitamin D, vitamin B, zinc (hair growth), biosil, probiotics, and biotin. A healthier lifestyle is key and I am trying my hardest (yet still having fun!).
I am staying true to my mantra- keeping the spirit up, keeping the drive up personally/professionally, and not letting anything get in my way.
Interestingly enough in the last three weeks I was stopped by two individuals who are very spiritual and told me my aura was alarming in a positive way; one said she felt my presence the minute I walked into the room and that it took her breath away. The word described was “refreshed and rejuvenated”. I am a big believer in this type of stuff and I explained my entire story and how I truly am the best Gabby Stoller at the moment. Felt good that others feel it too!
We are off to California for the kids break (first real trip all together) and to meet Pierce’s surgeon (lots to process/digest but know in my heart it’s the best decision!).
When we get back, lots to look forward to—Cinco, kids activities, weddings, and almost beach season (Dana/Deb, ready to own this summer with my girls! Last one was taken from me and nothing stopping us now!).
Thanks for the continued love, support, checking in on me, and for loving the hair; feel free to send any and all headband recommendations (obsessed!).
Gab (one haircut in already!)