So much love.

Tomorrow is THE DAY.

I have an appointment with the UCSF lymphoma specialist to learn exactly what it is I have. Finally, the day I've been waiting for. No more:

"Sorry, we're not sure."
"We'll know. Soon."
"It's probably _____."
"Yeah, it could be. But we won't know until ____."

So we'll have an end to all that. Woohoo! Before that and more substantial updates... here's a "catch-up" post. This one I wasn't sure I wanted to put up because I've gotten so much love from so many people...and I don't want to miss anything. BUT. I do want to thank people for the love/time/energy/thoughtfulness sent my way this last week.

A big point here: it doesn't take flowers + gifts to brighten up someone in my shoes. The messages and outpouring of support is more than enough - they've made me feel so much love. But...not gonna lie... getting that knock at the hospital room door with a surprise in hand... it really does pack a certain punch ;).

It took a couple days to get to the point where I could have visitors because I was so afraid of just bawling (like I did the first time I saw a familiar face who wasn't DMSF - refresher: dad mom sister fiancé). DMSF also said no to flowers because they were nervous about how I might react to the pollen, etc. They have been super duper protective (check out the variety of masks in the pic gallery)!

Whom I actually see is a matter of timing - am I stuck waiting for tests? Is my throat all good so I can chat? I often find myself really energetic during the visits... then super exhausted after. It comes as a surprise to me but then I can't see any more people.

So... a big thank you to EVERYONE who has sent me messages, emails, calls, voicemails, social media well wishes, care packages + visits. I've bunched them up together in chronological order to make it easier for me not to miss anything :].

Top + Bottom Left (TL + BL): A few girlfriends (my bridesmaids!) mixed between NY + Bay Area sent a very large care package for my first night in the hospital! Here's Michelle delivering it. I had burst into tears which is why I determined I wasn't ready to see others in the following days. I didn't know she was coming until she was right there in front of me (TY so much to Christine N., Josie, Sherry, Michelle). Those bags had a big blanket that was used by the person staying overnight with me, slippers, toiletries, entertainment via magazines and several games, everything.

Top Right (TR): Friends Christine Y. + Jason dropped by our house and left a lot of sweets and flowers that first night. Here's what Christine wrote me: "Just a small bouquet of flowers 🌺.... oh and some chocolate because no one likes to cry without something sweet (and I know you love sweets). 😘" Thanks, guys :]. 

Bottom Right (BR): My sister's dog, Pumbaa (cutest pug ever!). She texted this to me to say he missed me hehe.

BELOW: Cousin Nickie stopped by Day 2 of my hospital stay. I reached out to her because she had been close to someone who'd dealt with lymphoma. I needed to hear someone's experience firsthand. I am so blessed that she is also in San Francisco and that she's also just so awesome. She dropped everything to come by. (She and her significant other have also been amazing in helping to take off the rest of our home renovation planning. Amazing.)

BL: Flowers Nickie brought by!

TR + BR: Another super awesome care package from more high school friends :]. Thanks to Grace, Christine H. + Sherry for such thoughtfulness ❤. Check out that furry robe, slippers, toiletries, snacks, entertainment, etc. I am one super lucky gal.

BELOW: NBC co-worker turned super friend, Janelle W., sent me these super big and bright balloons. I was so surprised and I have to say... if flowers are disapproved by the moms and pops or sig' O, then balloons are such a great way to go haha. They lit up the room.

LEFT: Another high school gf (actually, from junior high!), Connie, dropped by to give me a big hug and some more goodies. More skincare, toiletries, entertainment, snacks...
TR: ...yummy multi-vitamins...
MR: ...reading from NatGeo to US Weekly... ;p
BR: ...and even that flower clip you see adorning Tim's  hair haha!

LEFT: Friend Val + her husband Craig + daughter Lily sent a super cute stuffed animal, flower + balloon arrangement. "BEE WELL!"

RIGHT: Connie + our other high school friend, Iru, gave me that white teddy bear that my sister immediately named "Jacques" (not sure about the French part) and that whale is from both my sis + fiance. He's named "Timon" - it hails from Lion King and accompanies the name of my sister's pug, Pumbaa.

BELOW: my cousins (Julia + husband Eddy, Emily + husband Carl) came up from the South Bay to bestow more gifts hehe. They bought and washed a robe, bright blanket that awoke the room, healthful snacks, toiletries and games! My niece, Kayla, made me a wand that packs magic so I'll be sure to use it to vanquish this damn cancer ;).

TR: David, the UCSF doc I mentioned in an earlier post who has walked me and my family through everything, was always stopping by! I am so thankful to have met him. While I wish it was under better circumstances, I have no doubt that he will be a lifetime friend :].

BL: Connie dropped off more goodies! Organic berries not pictured + healthful snacks/drinks!

BR: My sister "pretending" to not want to give me Jacques the Bear.

122016 Gifts 7.jpg

BELOW: My parents with Iru + Connie looking like a "crew" with their matching masks. Mom is obviously the leader because only the boss would rock PINK.
BELOW THAT: everyone researching something on their phone or sending me a picture of myself haha. So glad to be out of that room!

BELOW: This was the 2nd visit in the same day. It was so energizing but after talking so much, I fell flat and had to "cancel" later visits. They brought more goodies including one I'll show in a bit haha. TY to Tai, Ceron, Christine H., Sherry + Grace for not only coming to spend time with me, but for wearing those really overkill masks LOL. (You can thank Papa Chuang for that!)

LEFT: A really nice Christmas tree in the UCSF lobby. Is it home? No, but it helps.

TR: Ceron brought this by. A smart gift! He wasn't sure I had access to Netflix, Comcast etc. so he gave me this drive with what I'm sure are all paid-for programs ;) eheheheh.

BR: When I got to go home, I knew what I wanted to eat. Tim gifted me "The Gift that's Always Tasteful." 

TL: Lincy + Dana dropped this off at the hospital (but I didn't see them because I was passed out lol) - a encouragement card and a healing stone! I can't wear it yet because my neck is still healing, but Tim is keeping it warm for me :].

BL: Lincy + Dana sent me this a day later! Coloring pencils and more to come (coloring books, I'm guessing) to help me pass the time. The note reads in part:

"...use to tap into your creativity during your breaks from bitch-slapping cancer." 

Ah. Couldn't have said it better myself.

RIGHT: gifts ordered from Switzerland! My future sis-in-law + hubby, Kim + Phil, sent me a wonderful care package with my own mini Christmas tree + ornaments, as well as snowflakes to hang around the house. No excuse now not to get into HOLIDAY CHEER!

BELOW: Ahhh the gift of taking pills everyday!

BELOW THAT: Our friend Joy gave us homemade lavendar essential oil (so Tim can give me lots of great massages :D) and chicken/ginger/scallion broth. Yums!

Ok. This might've been just a rambling post. But the point is this: the love we have in our lives is simply invaluable. Feeling cared for and giving it back - that's honestly what life is all about.

I wouldn't wish cancer on anyone BUT... it has brought me love from so many people from all corners of my life. My immediate family has bonded so much more because we've spent every waking moment together. 

For this, I am grateful. 

Last thing: it's more of an exerise. My fiance, Tim, and I always tell each other one thing we're grateful for before we go to sleep. It can be with just yourself, saying something aloud. Try it - you might be surprised by how you feel day after day of doing it.

Good night!

Stephanie ChuangComment