I wake at four this morning which is my usual time the day after chemo.
I love this time of day, and miss having the energy to get up this early more regularly. I love to see the daylight start to creep into the darkened sky, to watch the stars slowly disappear. I appreciate the shorter days for this, it is something I often miss in the hazy, long days of summer.
I wake up with chemo stink. something I haven't had to endure for the past few weeks, thanks in part to a cold, and to having a week off. I am not feeling as tingly this morning, when I wake up there is no buzziness or fizziness. The extra week has been good for my body, mind and soul.
Anna picks me up to go shopping, we missed last week, so it is nice to have this time together.
Allie picks me up shortly after my shopping trip, and we head out to Allie's Donuts in North Kingston. She has been craving a treat from here, and we decide it is a good destination to have to practice highway driving. Even though it is a Saturday morning in December, a time the roads could be crawling with holiday shoppers, the highway is not too crowded, and she does well. We each get a donut, Allie picks up a few extra for home. We agree that these freshly made donuts blow away thosen from Dunkin Donuts.
When I get home, my younger sister Jill calls to see if I can help transport balloons. She is throwing a surprise party for Sara tonight at the Filibuster Club in Cumberland. I am very nervous about this party, since my sister Sara has told me she does not want a surprise party. Jill and I disagree about what this means this, I am trying to be helpful anyway.
Steven and I meet Jill at the party store to pick up one hundred balloons she has ordered as the decoration for the space. When we go into the store, it is obvious that they are not done with the order yet, in fact they are only about half way though. Jill and I wait until they have enough strung and bundled for us to cram into the two cars we are using. I manage three bunches in my car, Jill fits two in hers. We drive to the club, unload and go back for the remaining bunches of balloons. Steven and I drop the balloons off and return home. I need to bake some brownies to bring with me to the party this evening.
Sara has been told that there is a pot luck celebration being held to celebrate my dad this evening. I need to make this look authentic, so I bake brownies that we don't really need. The event is being catered, complete with dessert, as well as a birthday cake. Sara is bringing bakery pizza and calzones to the party. I put the brownies in the oven late, so we won't show up at the party too early. We are supposed to be there at six thirty, but Sara is coming to my house at six. Steven and I timed how long it takes to get to the club from my house, and even though it is in Cumberland, it only takes a little more than ten minutes if we go through Central Falls. The brownies are done just as Sara gets to my house, so I ask her if we can let them cool for a few minutes before we leave. We arrive at the party, with a texted warning to those waiting that we are on our way, just as the clock in the car hits six thirty.
As we walk in the door, Sara spots the balloons and slows down. Everyone yells surprise as she makes her way through the second set of double doors. I believe she is! The biggest surprise comes when Jill sneaks up behind her with her son, and taps Sara in the shoulder. Sara didn't know that Jill was in town yet, she was expecting her later in the week.
The room is filled with family and friends. It is lit with icicle lights, and there is a Christmas tree. Each table has a white tablecloth on it with a balloon bouquet in the center. There are other balloons scattered around the club. It looks very festive. Jill has hired DJ's for the event, Phil and Dave, who were good friends with our Dad.
The night turns out to be a nice party for Sara, and a joyful celebration of my dad as well. We eat delicious food, mingle with family and friends and then the dancing and karaoke begins. Singers of all ages line up to karaoke.: young cousins, teens, twentysomethings and beyond. Since many of the people at this party knew my dad and spent time with him here, Phil and Dave play music from his personal playlist. My dads friends sang some of his favorite songs, and the DJ's played a compilation of songs he loved too. It was a touching tribute to our dad, and made it feel like he was with us, joining in the celebration for my sister.
Once the music a started, I quickly realized why Dr. Safran didn't think running would be the best exercise choice for me. Every step I danced sent a sudden intense fizziness through my feet and up my ankles into my calves. It probably would have been better if I had stayed on the sidelines and just enjoyed everyone else as they danced, but that was not what I chose to do. I got up with my children, Steve, and Filipa and danced. We were joined by other family and friends, and we had a blast. It was so much fun to let go and move to the music. We even tried the line dances that we didn't know. My nephew, Will decided to help with the music and chose some tunes just for us. We were all psyched when they played What Does the Fox Say?
By nine, it is late for this dancing chemo girl. As I go around the room to say my goodbyes, Filipa gets up to sing a karaoke song, Don't Stop Me Now. What a good way to end the evening.