Show Your Stripes!
So, it’s not every day that you get an opportunity to thank all the people all at once who helped save your life. Well, let’s be honest, I hope NONE of you ever NEED that opportunity because we don’t need another “life saving” adventure in our community for a long while. Last Thursday was just that for me. I would have posted sooner, but when I’m wrapping up a chemo round all I want to do is sleep because I have the energy of a sloth. People often ask me how I feel when I’m on chemo, and sometimes I feel a little bit of nausea or achiness (is that even a word?!), but mainly I feel pure exhaustion. The idea of getting anything done seems like the biggest task ever. The fatigue is intense, and all I can do is just wait it out. Fortunately, I take my last chemo med on late Friday night, and I’m usually back to myself by Monday morning. So if getting off the couch becomes a task, then making a clever, fun-to-read post is out of the question.
So, to get me back to January 19th, which was last Thursday, the Gwinnett Fire Headquarters had their monthly (quarterly? monthly? not sure how often they have this meeting, if I’m being completely honest) meeting, and to start their meeting they do special recognitions. At this meeting they wanted to recognize all the men and women that have done extraordinarily good deeds and gone above and beyond at their workplace and in the community. It was held in 2 classrooms that were opened together and the place was full of men and women in uniform. There were several accolades given to firemen and EMTs who were called to an emergency situation and used CPR and AEDs to save lives. One particular story I found amazing was an elderly couple that had called 911 because the wife was having heart concerns (I believe), but she didn’t want to be taken away in the ambulance because her husband had dementia and she needed to care for him. The EMTs respected this woman’s concerns and made sure to take care of the husband as well as the wife, so she could be taken to the hospital to get the care that she needed. It was really cool to get to hear these amazing stories of the people that are doing their job, which is hugely important might I add, but they always go without recognition. What a shame! How amazing are they to go into situations and sometimes risk their lives to save ours? And when we’re saved, we’re too out of it to even know who these angels are! Sad. I know they don’t do it for the thank you, but I hope they know how appreciated and valued they are.
After we got to hear multiple amazing stories, it was time for ours. They asked me to come to the front and share a few words. I went up with my tissue in hand because my legs were shaky, and I was feeling emotional just sitting in the room; I knew tears were inevitable when I was in front of these men and women. I started saying how I never would have thought I would be 35 and saying I went into cardiac arrest. In 2012 when I had the Whipple procedure to remove a tumor in my pancreas, the pathology report came back that the tumor was cancerous and had spread to a lymph node. The surgeon felt confident that he had gotten it all, so conquering stage 2B cancer was behind me. Done. Check. I did it, God! I’m stronger! Take me off the list. I’m good! Then when I had a tough pregnancy and needed a heart ablation 6 months after delivery, again I thought, “Whew! Did it! Okay, I’m good!” When I had a reoccurrence of cancer in 2015 I was really defeated and didn’t quite understand why I was having to fight yet another battle…but I have 2 amazing boys and a great husband, so that was reason enough to fight again. I started chemo in March 2016, and again I felt like, “Okay! I’m doing it! Check! Take me off the list, God! I’m making it!” I never thought cardiac arrest was my next battle. I know that God wasn’t trying to take me out though because he put the amazing angel Candy Flemming right in front of me when it happened, and he had Mike near by. He had me in the best scenario possible for my life to be saved. All of these amazing people at Mill Creek went into action and saved my life! I often think how awful and terrible it must have been for my husband to get the call that a cheerleader had fallen out and to come help, and then for him to walk in and see that it was his wife. I just can’t imagine how awful and scary that must have been, but I wouldn’t have wanted him to not be there. So, thank you to all of you for all that you do! I am forever grateful to be standing here because I just want to be a mom to my 2 sweet boys; thank you for giving me that opportunity! (I hope you were inserting 800 sniffles and nose wipes throughout that because that was the reality of it.)
They then called up Candy Flemming (our strong and mighty school nurse), Jason Lane (our fabulous principal), Bill Navas and Ryan Vamplew (two of our assistant principals), Jim Mashburn and Kristen Bryant (our 2 school officers), Evan Wiley and Lt. Scott Coleman (2 of the men from the EMTs and fire department that were on the scene), and of course Mike Taube. I got to hug each one of these people and personally say thank you, and it was just perfect! I later found out one of the EMTs was one of my friend’s brother! He didn’t tell her what had happened because he wanted to respect my privacy, which AGAIN I think is amazing!
Good people are in this world! I live in an amazing community, and I will be forever grateful for this opportunity, and for the fact that I got to say thank you! I’m so glad my parents and our 2 boys were able to be there to witness such a special moment.