First, HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I don't really even remember last year's Thanksgiving, but looking back at my blog I had just recently had surgery, had a neutropenic fever, and bad nausea, so I probably didn't have it in me to eat the dry turkey and cold, flavorless mashed potatoes I got in the hospital. Definitely not my best Thanksgiving memory. This year, though, I got to spend Thanksgiving with my family! We went over to my Uncle Tim and Aunt Patty's house and had dinner with them and Aunt Patty's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Piekarczyk, with my grandparents joining us for dessert. Everything was delicious, and we had a blast! Unfortunately my little brother Ben came down with a bug, so my mom stayed home with him. They had their own little Thanksgiving with all of the family favorites to eat, and Ben was more than content after renting NBA 2k13! :) Here are some pictures from Thanksgiving!
It was special to have Thanksgiving with my Aunt Patty as she is also a leukemia survivor! Here's a picture of us:
I have so, so much to be thankful for. I honestly still cannot believe that I am so healthy! I am still working on getting my strength back, but I am miles from where I used to be. I go to workout at the gym all the time now, doing the elliptical, running, lifting weights, doing abs, stretching. Just working as hard as I can to get my body where it needs to be! At the beginning of fall, I reached an exciting goal: I ran a whole mile! That doesn't sound like much, but for me, it was incredible and showed me that I was getting my strength back. Here's a picture I took to document the "historic moment" :)
Also, I expected that this year I would get sick a lot due to my brand new immune system. However, I have only gotten one small cold that I tolerated well. Otherwise...nothing! I feel so blessed to be where I am...it is truly a miracle.
I am extremely excited that in only 10 days, my sorority, Kappa Delta (KΔ) is having an event on campus...that I'll be visiting for!!! That's right, I will finally get to step foot on SLU's campus for the first time since before I was diagnosed. The event is absolutely amazing: in honor of my sorority sister Emily (who had bone cancer but is now cancer free like I am!) and me, my sisters have organized a hair donation event called Kuts for CΔnfidence where people are pledging to cut their hair to donate for free wigs for cancer patients.
This event is extremely personal to me. I've donated my hair many times growing up, even as recently as the spring of my freshman year of college! I received a free wig when I had cancer, which was an amazing gift. The kind of wigs I wanted, believe it or not, ranged from $500-1,000 and up. My cousin took charge of contacting the American Cancer Society, who works with Locks of Love and Pantene Beautiful Lengths, and I was invited to come and have a fitting for a free wig! I am happy to say that as time went on, I learned to be more comfortable with being bald, and adopted a phrase from my sorority sister Emily: “Bald is Beautiful”! However, that wig helped me to get back my confidence and femininity. Although over time I readopted those traits, hair or no hair, the wig was the security blanket I needed for a little while, and I owe that to all of the women who have selflessly donated hair so that women like me could receive an amazing gift free of cost. The fact that my sisters, many of whom have not even met me yet, would be willing to give away something so personal is absolutely moving. I cannot WAIT to see all of my sisters again and meet the 2 new classes that have joined my sisterhood! I am especially excited to meet my littles, Nicole and Jenna. When you join a sorority, you are paired up with a "Big," or a big sister. I desperately wanted to be a big, and I am SO excited to say that I now have a little family with not just one little, but twins!! (Not actual twins by birth, but if you are assigned two littles they call them twins :)) Here is a picture of me skyping in at the big-little reveal when they found out that I was their big!
The 3 of us text, Facebook, and Snapchat each other ALL the time, and they keep me posted on everything on campus. I cannot WAIT to finally meet them! We are 3 peas in a pod, and have so much in common. We were seriously meant to be. I love them so much already!
My last bit of news, which many of you already know, is that I am going BACK TO SLU NEXT SEMESTER!!! I will be jumping right back in to resume my nursing studies. I absolutely cannot wait to get back "home" on campus and be independent again. Less than two months now until I go back! YAY!!!
All my love to all my fantastic supporters who have never left my side! Thank you for your prayers, thoughts, gifts, and kind words throughout this crazy journey. You helped me through cancer and now I am healthy and going back to school! You are all AMAZING!