It's Rex Manning Day!

Ever since I saw Empire Records, whenever a day I've been looking forward to finally arrives, I run around all morning thinking, "It's Rex Manning Daaaaaay!"  

Incidentally, the scene in Empire Records where Robin Tunney shaves her head inspired my BFF, Sara, to shave her head when we were 20. I remember thinking she was so cool and brave, knowing I'd never have the guts to do something like that- at least not voluntarily. Looks like I'll be channeling my inner Robin and Sara soon. ALTHOUGH, I read that 10% of people don't lose their hair. Fingers crossed?

While we're on the subject, I'll just give a quick update on all that other stuff. I found out on Friday my bone and CT scans came back all clear so it hasn't spread past the lymph nodes under my arm. (yay!) They did find two more small tumors 1.1 centimeters each that are about 1 cm below the two big guys, but no one is concerned because if the chemo doesn't kill them, they're close enough to be scooped out when the surgeon gets all up in there in May. 

I think that means I'm either in stage IIB or IIIA. They hadn't yet determined the stage because they were waiting until the scans came back to rule out stage IV. A nurse called with the results, not a doctor, so she couldn't tell me. I'm not that worried about it because they said in my case the kind of cancer is more important than the stage (remember how I explained its subpar IQ?), but I still want to know. I did some googling and here's what I think: I have 4 tumors. Two are over 3 centimeters and two are just over 1 centimeter, and it's metastatic- in at least 2 lymph nodes. Stage IIB has three different sets of criteria. The one that could apply to me is "1-3 lymph nodes are involved with a tumor between 2-5 centimeters." The IIIA criteria that could apply to me is "lymph node involvement with a tumor over 5 centimeters." I don't know if it's stage II since they're all under 5cm, OR if 4 tumors at 3cm+3cm+1cm+1cm = more than 5cm, which would mean it's stage III. Did you follow that? Whatever. It doesn't matter. Either way it's getting murdered. 

Sunday was pretty hectic. I was too excited for eating, but stood in the kitchen and force fed myself an apple with almond butter. I was too excited to sit still, but forced myself to pray and meditate before I ran out (never leave home without it!) to pick up my flowers, and some bagels and cream cheese for all the awesome people helping us. The flowers were a bit bigger than I had asked for and filled with ferns and leaves and what looked like dill, which I hadn't asked for. ("...small, like this big."  <<holds hands about 6" apart>>  "...round shaped, no green. Just white or light colored flowers."  <<googles pictures online and shows florist>>) What I got was a somewhat large bouquet about 12", not round, with a whole lot of green shooting out the middle and spilling out of the sides. I didn't really have time to complain and in all fairness, I only gave the guy about 6 hours notice, so I took my giant bridal bouquet, got the bagels and ran home to meet Maddy, makeup artist extraordinaire, who was patiently waiting for me out on my front steps. 

Turns out, aside from being a great makeup artist, generous friend, and all around awesome lady, Maddy also used to work for a florist. She went to town on the monstrous green abomination (Okay, I'm exaggerating. It wasn't that bad.) and turned it into a beautiful, cute little bouquet. Then, she did my makeup. My hairstylist friend showed up right on time and did an amazing job. "After" pics are here and here. I felt like a supermodel. They left me with tips and tools for touch ups, hugs, and "good lucks." Next step was THE DRESS. I tried to put it on myself last week and quickly realized it is not a one person job. My friend H agreed to come over early to help me with it and to stay with us all day. She is an angel. I don't know what I would have done without her. To begin with, this never would have gotten done, but that was just the beginning of what she did for us. She helped me put on my shoes, fix my hair, make sure my fleece leggings were hidden from the camera (I had to wear them. It was SO cold out- 46 degrees and windy with a "real feel" of 34), carried all of our stuff, put on my veil, held onto our coats for the outside shots, ran our coats back to us in between shots so we wouldn't freeze to death, lent David her gloves, and helped me zipper my coat up because by the end- we called it after an hour- I was so cold my fingers were no longer working. She also took some pictures with her iPhone so we got some sneak peeks. I put a few up on the picture page. 

Sooooo if you're susceptible to eye-rolling, stop reading now and go look at pictures. If you're down for sappy stuff, please continue...

I have no words for how magical- really. I know it's a cheesy word, but it applies here, so I'm sticking to it- how magical Sunday was. So many people came together to help us. I cannot thank my friends enough, or all the shops that rushed things for us, or Tom at Mosaic, who was so, so accommodating; our photographer Denis Gostev, who spent way more time with us than the allotted two hours and wore 3 layers of clothing so we could shoot outside because he understood how important this day was to us; and of course, David, who also understood how important it was to me that our wedding pictures won't have to come with a disclaimer about why my chest is scarred, and why I look like Annie Lenox - that as vain as it may sound, having those pictures makes losing my hair almost bearable. I can't wait to see the final pictures. I can't wait until our actual wedding day. I can't wait until this is all over. I felt like a princess Sunday and went to bed feeling so filled with joy and gratitude that I briefly forgot about the monster growing in my breast and what I would be facing in the week ahead. It was a much needed respite from the dread and fear I've been feeling. It was a perfect day.