Holding Space

With Shelly Vaughn


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Thirty-Eight

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38… I made it to 38!! And I imagine that every year I grow older will be just as exciting. After facing mortality at a young age, I can appreciate how special each birthday is… and I don’t think I’ll ever be ashamed to shout my age from the rooftops. I’m cancer free and happy to say goodbye to 37, which was not my favorite year. I did not expect to spend this day in the hospital… I was actually looking forward to having a birthday feeling normal again. Guess that will have to be postponed until next year.

Though last night was peaceful for me, it wasn’t restful. (And the giant bags under my eyes are proof of that.) I woke up to my birthday morning accurately feeling like a girl who laid in bed most of the night without much sleep. But as soon as I finished breakfast and got a shower, visitors started arriving and it was amazing. Michael Clay Donnell, Keely A Smith-Jividen, Alli Herren, Becky Lockhart Kearns, Aubree Uhler, Barb Kline, Dorothy M Caldwell, Tina Heiberg, Susan Carpenter, Cinnamon Leonard… thank you for taking time out of your day to visit. Spending time with friends, especially having conversations that made me smile and laugh, was exactly what I needed to make the time pass quickly and make me forget how tired I was. I feel so much better than yesterday. My side is still painful, but I don’t feel “sick” today with fever and nausea like I felt the last two days. I know the antibiotics are working. When my sister asked what I got for my birthday, I jokingly replied “cellulitis”. But you know what Amy O’Shea reminded me of- I actually got the gift of healing. God is healing this infection today… and that’s really the best thing I could ask for.

A special shout out to thank my brother for sending a cookie cake and to everyone who sent messages and phone calls to wish me a happy birthday. The research nurse here brought me a cake, too. And when the woman in charge of cafeteria orders heard it was my birthday she brought me a piece of cake with a candle in it (though we couldn’t light it). My coworkers sent a beautiful bouquet of flowers and I got cool plants from Alli Herren, Susan Carpenter and Rob Vaughn. I have a windowsill and a heart full of love tonight. Though this isn’t where I would choose to be on a birthday, it turned out to be kind of wonderful.

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So much food… so much love

We have had many local friends show love to us by providing meals and gift cards. (Someday I will eventually get caught up on “thank you” cards for all of you.) The time and money that we saved is immeasurable. There were many days that I felt too sick or tired to even think of food for the family. And there were other days that I felt pretty good, but because meals were coming I could spend time enjoying other things (like time relaxing or going somewhere as a family) instead of worrying about what to make for dinner that night. We will forever be grateful for everyone’s help with this. Our dear friend Jeanine Muller organized the “Meal Train” and kept it going for us when we needed it. This Tuesday’s meal from Jen Wedo included a beautiful bouquet of roses to mark the end of treatment. And tonight’s meal (the last on the schedule probably until reconstruction in the summer) was brought by Katie Ruhl and was surprisingly celebratory! Thank you to Katie for recognizing that this was worth celebrating- with sparkling grape juice to toast with the girls, a full spread of snacks and dinner, and delicious food to eat together as a family. We feel very blessed to have been shown love and fed by everyone so well over the last 10 months- our bellys and hearts are full. 

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Thankful For Friends

Shout out to our amazing friend/neighbor/babysitter, Jessica Eckhart. She loves our girls so well and has always picked up where I slack in the area of arts and crafts. She has been tremendously helpful to us since January. And now that the weather has warmed up, she is also doing things like taking the girls to Brandywine Falls, the zoo, and other outdoor adventures. I love having friends that are able to do the things with my kids that I don’t have energy for these days.


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Another One Down & Thank You

Amber Pierce Norman hung out with me for today’s treatment. I wish it was at a different place and for a different reason, but at least we had some quiet time to chat. Still pushing through these treatments. (I’m so tired of them!!)
Thanks to everyone who has helped us recently with dinners, cleaning, carpooling, having the girls over, etc. This is a busy time of year, and I can’t just pause everyone’s life until I feel better. Boy, wouldn’t that be nice? So I appreciate the amazing support from local people. And of course, the cards and messages from everyone. 5 more left!!

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Thank You

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Today, I feel so loved and supported that it’s almost surreal. A group of amazing friends made these for me, and there are several more that didn’t fit in the picture. (Many of these girls were the same ones who planted the flowers at our house yesterday.) These words of encouragement and love will fill my soul every time I read them. I’m reminded that another blessing that comes through trials, is the realization that you’re surrounded by amazing friends every step of a difficult path. Thanks to everyone walking with me through this!!