She’s a Survivor…

…she’s not gonna give up, she’s not gonna stop, keep on surviving! In this update, we will discuss: the observed increase in Gwen’s activity level, our attendance at the Lung Cancer Survivor’s Breakfast in honor of cancer survivor’s day, which was yesterday, and what’s coming next week. Can you hardly wait?

Item Number One: Callie’s Second Birthday Party

I know that this lovely party would not have been the huge success it was if not for the help of Justin’s parents, Don and Jeanne (I think this may be their first blog shout out – hey guys!). The party was a huge success. The decorations were fabulous, 20150530_155123 the two (2) cakes were amazingly decorated, 20150530_173844 there were funtivities, 20150530_164243 20150530_180612

Justin drew this pirate. Gwen painted it. So talented.
Justin drew this pirate. Gwen painted it. So talented.

20150530_180531 and thanks to Wishes and Wands, there was a guest appearance by a pirate! 20150530_171800 This company is the same one that donated characters the day of the 5K. Callie was all about partying. We have some nice video of her “maintaining the height of the roof” (this is like “raising the roof” but Callie style). 20150530_192644 For me, the best time was AFTER the party was essentially over. Callie had received a ball from who will likely be her favorite aunt, Hannah. I admit this. Callie and I will one day be cool with each other, but it will likely only happen when she is a teenager. Kari and Brooks can relate to this. They also seem to have the same indifference toward me. They will come around one day. Oh yes, they will come around. Anyway, Justin, Kevin, and Will started hitting the ball back and forth to each other in the lawn. Gwen joined in. It was kind of like volleyball, but with no rules. Well, there were rules but they were totally bogus and ever changing. I was the “net.” The game became called “SPORTS!” It was ludicrous, but funny. The point is this: Gwen was playing and being silly and having fun! 20150530_202114 It was awesome to see her like this – this is the Gwen we know and love. After about 30ish minutes of playing SPORTS however, she crashed hard. But she’d had a really long day! She really needed to crash.

Item Number Two: Lung Cancer Survivor’s Breakfast

I had the privilege of being Gwen’s “plus one” at this event sponsored by the Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina. I have mentioned these folks on the blog before. We had a lovely breakfast in a conference room at the Marriott. The ladies that run the organization stood up and explained how they raise money and where the money goes and their upcoming fundraising events – which are all free for survivors. We learned that the definition of a cancer survivor is pretty broad, actually. Anyone who is alive from the time of diagnosis on is considered a survivor. Any caretaker of someone with cancer is also considered a survivor. Next, the survivors were given the opportunity to share their story, starting with one of the women who helps run the Lung Cancer Initiative. She was diagnosed nearly 9 years ago! Some take-aways besides the “swag bag” Gwen and I had were:

  • Gwen was definitely the youngest one present.
  • She was also the only one with a diagnosed mutation.
  • 3/10 survivors there also had breast cancer – something to think about… keep up your check ups!
  • Everyone who worked for the Lung Cancer Initiative wanted to meet Gwen! They had heard about her. I have been telling people that she is something of a local celebrity in the lung cancer circuit.
  • One of the ladies said she saw a presentation about mutation testing, and she could tell that the case presented was Gwen’s (her name was obviously not revealed, but this is really that unique).
They're Survivors!
They’re Survivors!

I think it was a good experience to meet others – Gwen asked me when there was going to be a Dermatomyositis survivors breakfast – good question! I think it would be a nice experience for me to meet others like me, too, especially if we are well fed whilst meeting.

Item Number Three: Next Steps

Will informed me that I need to cut his hair to the same length as Aunt Gwen’s because they are going to have a hair growing contest. Hers is already longer than Justin’s now. See? 20150530_192844 She even had pirate-handkerchief-hathead at the birthday party! Gwen has an eye appointment and has her next round of scans next week. Please continue to pray for her and for things to still be lookin’ good! I will update again after those appointments.


One thought on “She’s a Survivor…

  1. Thinking of Gwen, Justin and Callie every day! Prayers are being sent daily. You are my role model. You can do this and prove medicine is headed in the right direction!


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