Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Cancer Catwalk

This week I'm jumpin WAY out of my comfort zone, y'all.  From my "comfort zone" to the "catwalk"....literally.

I have the honor of participating in the "Runway For a Cause" whereby proceeds benefit the Arkansas Affiliate of Susan G. Komen.  All of the models will be dressed in fashions by local boutiques and are breast cancer survivors.

You can read all about it here!  :)

It wasn't until I went to the "meet & greet" recently, which was an informational meeting over "wine and goodies" with the committee and the other models that I realized just how BIG this thing is.  They raised about $75,000 last year....and this year, when 850 tickets were sold out, they are scrambling to add more tables to sell more tickets.  Wow. That's a lot of folks.  The venue is HUGE and little ole' me is going to strut down the runway in what will inevitably be in front of about 1000 people????  For the last couple of weeks, thinking about it has made me sick and feel like this MUST be worse than cancer......

For you see?  I have never thought of myself as pretty by society's standards.  Shorter than most.....Heavier than I should be....Hair that never really does what I want it to....ya get the jist. However...there HAVE been times that I FELT pretty.  Don't get me wrong...I didn't wear a bag over my head and let it affect me or depress me. Vanity was never that big of a deal.  

But since cancer???  Not once. I can honestly say....that not one time have I felt pretty.  Again....I'm not really a vain person, but sometimes...it sorta does get to me.  Once I described my body as a place where Edward Scissorhands has played Connect-The-Dots.  I've been cut armpit to armpit....twice.  Distorted.  Ugly.  The steriods, the hormonal changes, and most likely age (and ok....since I always write from a place of honesty....the donuts) have packed the pounds on me,  I just can't get this weight off no matter how hard I try.  My hair.  EVERY single person I have ever known who lost their hair to chemo....it came back different from before.  I was like...YES!  Nope....I got the same ole thick..."just enough curl to cause problems" hair.  And, cancer caused it to be gray!!  (That's my story and I'm stickin to it!)  :)  Thank goodness for great colorists!  <3

A double mastectomy is brutal.  3 years later and I'm still not the same.  Physically or Emotionally.  Due to my insurance woes....Reconstruction was really never a viable option.  And by the time ya beat cancer AND the "Red Devil"???  Who really cared??  I didn't.  Nothin can make me look better nekkid.  :)  So I've got my fake boobies on a shelf in my closet should they ever matter.  I've had them on twice.  The day I got them and when I was a bridesmaid in a wedding.  I'm still undecided if they will accompany me down the runway on Thursday.  They are sorta like a statement of being something that I'm just not.  Weird....I know.

If I hear one more time...."Who cares?  You're alive!  You beat it!" I think I will punch someone.  While, I'm so happy to have beat it.  And SO happy to continue walking through the spider web and dodging the spider bite....it still succcckkkksssss... 
Forgive me...I don't really like using ugly words....but there really is no worthy equivalent. Yes, I'm healthy and alive.  But, it STILL took alot from me.  And from all who fight it.

As I was driving to work this morning....feeling fat and so UN-modelish, and counting down the days....not to this event....but to when this event was OVER...God spoke to me.  The message of the day on KLove was this, "If you are called to do something that is normally out of your character....then it is most likely GOD giving you a little nudge."  A lady called in to the show to say that she was in a public place with a woman obviously in the middle of a cancer fight.  She was pale, and weak and appeared to be exhausted.  She had a scarf on her head to hide her baldness.  The caller explained that....SO out of her character...she was given the urge to just walk over and hug her.  No matter how hard she tried....she couldn't resist and just hugged the lady tightly.  She explained that God was guiding her just then....to go out of her normal comfort zone, and extend love.

While this really isn't the same thing....it sorta is.  In two days....I get the opportunity to meet and be among 48 other women who have SURVIVED breast cancer.  Who have been through the surgeries and the chemos and the radiations and the fears and even the love.  These women have FOUGHT and WON!  Some are fighting and may just need MY story!  Bear with me a sec....but if each of these 48 women have at least 5 loved ones.  5 people who think that SHE is one of the most important women in their world....be it a spouse, partner, child, sister, parent, grandparent, friends.....That is 240 additional people that this disease reached.  And I get to celebrate WITH and AMONG them.  What a privilege!!!

It has already allowed me to spend some time catching up with my sweet friend, Dana....who was one of my greatest encouragers and heroes during my fight.  She will be the envy of everyone with her inward and outer beauty.  Cute as a button!  And, also Michelle...a friend from my childhood home and church home.  God made sure I wasn't alone.

These incredible fighters get it!  They understand the chemo brain.....and all the memories lost because of it.  That is why I blog and facebook so often.  I'm CONVINCED that Timehop was created by a "Chemo Survivor".....:)  My kiddos will forever have my words.  Forever.  And I will always have my life reminders of my posts.    

They understand the struggle with eyesight, and weight gain, and oncology checkups.  They realize the pain of simple things like a seatbelt and trying to scratch an itch in the middle of their back.  

They understand the personal kick in the stomach every single time they hear of someone around them with a new diagnosis.  If you could write a letter to a new Survivor Sister....This is what it would look like: Dear Terri...You have Cancer.

I've met with my vendors...and to be completely honest -- I left both places feeling inadequate.  Not necessarily because THEY made me feel this way....but because I don't feel worthy.  Both boutiques were beautiful and the clothes exquisite.  Price tags so out of my reach that this will be the only time I  can even DREAM of wearing these clothes.  I worry that I don't do them justice.  Or make anyone want to rush and purchase them.  In fact....the mere ticket to an event like this is out of my budget.

I have visions of the scene from Sex in the City where Carrie wore 6 inch heels to appear taller and after about 4 steps down the runway she took a flying fall and the models stepped over her like roadkill.  haha  As THIS 5'3" rolly polly steps into her mile high clog booties on Thursday....I just PRAY I can walk up there with the big girls without a casualty!  <3  While a part of me wishes I can lose 50 lbs and grow about 6 inches in 2 days....I know that is not a "realistic prayer."  :)

Then it hit me.  THIS isn't what it is about.  This is a celebration of Survivorhood.  This is a fun event for ladies who enjoy fashion.  This is a way to raise funds for a cure!  And for mammograms and for prevention.  For ladies JUST like me who didn't have insurance (or rather one that would pay.)  This is a way that I can give back.

I stand in a room once a week and I lead prayer for my children and their teams to simply do their best and honor Him.  I was instrumental in starting a ministry that's primary focus was to give it ALL to God, and let Him bless our efforts.  I was reminded this morning to do just that.  Time to do a little practicin' of what I've been preachin'....

So today?  I have a newfound joy in the events this week.  I splurged and got a mani/pedi.  I'm getting a spray tan and I had my hair did.  I will be wearing beautiful clothes specifically picked for me and I will have two of the best friends in the world there for ME.  I will meet new heros and inevitably be touched by bone-chilling inspiration.  I will be there early to sip mimosas and have my "hair and makeup did!"  For a few moments...I will strut my stuff, y'all.  

I think my mom would be so happy to see me on Thursday.  She would have been my biggest fan!
As always...I'm reminded what she used to say about anything that worried me...."Pray about it...and just put on some lipstick!"  I even wrote about that once....here.

You can bet...I won't be the prettiest.  I won't be the skinniest.  I may even stumble in those big ole shoes....But, rest assured.....I will be walking for my God.  For HE is always with me.  My God carried me through cancer...and all that entailed.  My God gave me Deb....who is STILL fighting for me...I still wonder how that lady got a ticket!  lol  My God gave me Kel....who never lets me down.  These girls are gonna have special jewels in their heavenly crowns for always being MY friend!  haha  There are others who are supporting me in spirit....and will no doubt lift me in prayer that day.
And...who knows??  For just a blip in time....I just might FEEL pretty. :)

I feel led to share the one and only picture I have of my "bald days"....a simple reminder of what cancer looks like....

It was during this time, that while I didn't feel "pretty"....I never felt more loved.

This Catwalk's for you, my Lord!  <3

"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." 
Philippians 4:6-7

In Him,