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heartland hero of mine…{littleton family photography}

my sweet 10 year old son just finished writing his “heartland hero” essay. in it he describes, with wisdom far beyond the typical insight of a 5th grader, a hero he met after being lost in a wave of runners while walking the “bolder boulder” race with me a few years ago. it’s a tender piece about how a simple gesture of kindness forever changed his life.

tonight i went to turn off the computer and there it was–his essay all typed up and lovely right in front of my eyes. reading it stirred up quite a few emotions in me. so here i sit way past midnight staring at the computer and thinking about the concept of a hero.

i click to minimize his lovely writing piece as i dry my eyes and gloat a bit about just how proud i am of him. i pull up Facebook to check in before i head to sleep. i see a reminder that today is a very special day. a birthday for someone who, in my life, has truly been a ‘heartland hero‘. a hero who truly deserves a shout out.

it’s emotional to think back to the beginning…when it began to sink in that i truly was battling ovarian cancer–back in the fall of 2012. actually it’s quite overwhelming looking back. not surprisingly, many of the details i’ve somehow blocked out…and honestly, most of them are completely gone. but i do remember getting my port put in and sitting in the waiting room of the oncology floor–hardly believing that i was there. i remember the amazing comfort of having my big sister and one of my best friends there (both also true heroes to me also–but that’s another blog post.) i remember having my long hair. {and i remember being self-conscious of said long hair as i was one of the few in the waiting room (aside from my loyal companions) with hair–let alone long black hair.} i remember my heart beating fast, sweat dripping from my forehead and complete fear overtaking my mind. then…the door opens from ‘the other side’….the chemo room, which was to be my home once per week for the next 18 weeks. i looked up and heared my name being called. and my eyes locked with the kindest blue eyes and the warmest smile i had seen in a long long time.

those eyes and that smile belonged to my chemo nurse shannon. she comforted me, made us all smile and made that first day more tolerable than i’d ever imagined it would be. in many ways she set the stage for me to begin the battle and reminded me that it would be ok.. and that i would be ok. {even though at that moment i wasn’t really sure what “ok” really meant anymore.} i was blessed to have her as my nurse many times during my journey and her care made a huge difference in my attitude, my fight, and my recovery. she, in many ways was my very own’heartland hero“.

i even wrote about her in my caring bridge journal:

“sunshine on a cloudy day”

well today is my heartland hero’s birthday. and recently i was able to document the love of her newly expanded family and to give back to her for a change. it was truly my honor.

shannon, thank you for making a difference in the lives of those of us struggling with all types of cancer and having to deal with chemotherapy. your aunt would be so proud of you. thank you for being such a special part of my journey.

cancer has forever changed me. and so have you.

happy birthday!

{oh–and thank you for the bottle of my favorite italian white wine and the sweet note!}

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Shelly - October 17, 2014 - 3:55 am

This whole post shows the beauty of people sharing their gifts and changing lives for the better. What a great read to start my day.

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