First – a quick reminder – the second and final concert in the Healing Ana Concert Series is coming up! It’s next Sunday from 3:00 until…well it starts at 3:00! You can purchase tickets online at Brown Paper Tickets or at the door (tickets are $15). We put up a page with all the concert details – including a list of the amazing artists who have donated their time to perform that day – here.
This will be a joyful event – the culmination of nearly a year of support and fundraising efforts that have carried our family through the hardest of times. It brings up feelings of overwhelming gratitude and amazement that I’ve felt over and over again since those awful first days back in August when the donations came pouring into Ana’s Paypal fund (and from the yard sale fundraiser) which literally paid our bills for the months of September and October. I haven’t even begun to pay this forward – not remotely.
As Ana gets better and better, and life returns (somewhat) to normal, what remains are pills, medical bills, and the inevitable scars (both physical and emotional) that are the product of trying to survive this experience. Well, I guess that’s not true, we also have new friends and a new sense of connection to to our extended community that I am determined to nurture and grow.
Ana’s scars are real. She is starting to deal with the reality of this as summer approaches and the first pool party of the season has arrived (indoors). It’s been about eight weeks since her transplant and the incision is completely healed, but the scar is still dark pink and covers her midsection, just below her breastbone, from one side of her body to the other. This will fade, I’m sure, but it will always be somewhat noticeable. She’s at a point in her recovery right now where she just wants to be normal again. But you can’t rush healing. It happens at its own pace, whether it’s bikini season or not.
My scars are figurative. I wonder if the chemistry of my brain is completely different. I don’t feel like I’m the same person I was eight months ago. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed with sadness for no apparent reason. I feel like my response times to things are slower, but that might be because my brain was constantly being pushed the the absolute limit of its processing capacity in order to make what felt like daily life or death decisions. Regular day to day stuff feels slow in comparison.
Next Sunday’s concert is going to be a celebration of healing and a reminder that life’s journeys are easier when you don’t go it alone. It’s also humbling. I always thought I could do everything on my own, but cancer was too big even for me. My constant juggling of work, family, and my own needs was an illusion of control I never had. When I pay the medical bills that keep coming in, I’m reminded of this because I’m not paying them. You are. There’s no way I could’ve kept it going without you – and the endless support of the community for one child – my child – is as miraculous to me as Ana’s new liver. My family is now your family.
I hope we see you next Sunday so I can thank you in person.