Tuesday, November 19, 2013

If it weren't for cancer......

Tomorrow will be chemo #4, the halfway point! Hoping to get some more good news.  I'm gonna get a little sappy here today as I reflect back on the last two months. :)

Sometimes I think, "If it weren't for cancer, my life would be pretty perfect right now." But then I stop and think... "or maybe... this is just the way it should be." A lot of the reasons that I'm so happy these days are a result of things that have happened to me since being diagnosed.

This past weekend, nine of my best friends from college, my Chi Omega sisters, came to see me. It's very rare for everybody to have a free weekend where we can all get together, and for them to all fly to Dallas and come to me is just so super awesome! I got to host all my best friends at my house, take them to my favorite places in Dallas and just relax and have some fabulous girl time that I had really been craving. This was our life every day of college at Mizzou, and those were some of the best times of my life. This weekend felt just like we were back in college, we were all just snuggling, gossiping, laughing and even crying. It made me so happy and thankful for what I have. If I didn't have cancer, last weekend wouldn't have happened. 

If I didn't have cancer, I wouldn't have seen just how amazing people really can be. I was starting to doubt the goodness of people after this past year of tragedies across our nation. The shooting in Newtown really hit my boyfriend Kelly and I hard. I just don't understand how somebody could be such a monster. We cried for a few days after that. It's crazy to me that even after that horrible tragedy, shootings of this kind kept occurring in our country. I was really starting to doubt the good in humanity. Now- that's all changed and I'm just in awe of how amazing people really are. I've had so many people reach out to me that I can't even keep track, and feel horrible that I can't personally thank everybody. The website my best friend Jessie made (www.helpjuliebeatcancer.com) has had such an unbelievable response. Friends, family and even strangers have been reaching out, donating money to my medical fund, and leaving me kind words that really strengthen and inspire me. I check it often and it immediately lifts my spirits. I don't think I would feel so strong and inspired and loved if it weren't for cancer.

About 95% of the people I work with are dudes who love sports. Dudes who love sports and love fantasy football and making off color jokes. These dudes are not known for being sentimental.  Now, I come in to work and these dudes just give me hugs. They ask how I'm doing. They call and check on me, and have even donated to my website.  The outpouring of concern and care from my co-workers has been so incredible. I wouldn't get these hugs or know how amazing all my co-workers truly are if it weren't for cancer.

The Dallas Stars organization, wow, has just gone above and beyond to let me know that they care. From the players and their wives, to the front office, to the fans... they've made me feel so special. Dropping the puck at the Stars v Calgary game on Hockey Fights Cancer night was one of the most amazing nights of my life.  Seeing the arena stand up and cheer me on, like they would for a Jamie Benn game winning goal, was just such a surreal moment. I would not have experienced that moment if it weren't for cancer. 

My friends and family have really gone out of their way to show me support and let me know that they care. Almost every day I have a nice card in the mail or a friend calling to see if I need dinner or company, or just wanting to know how they can help. I got a dozen roses from a girl I haven't talked to in about a decade. I've received kind words and donations from so many friends and friends of friends. I received donations and hand written cards from co-workers of my stepdad whom I've never met. I've received inspirational notes and facebook messages from people I've met throughout my life, and even some other cancer survivors. I've received an outpouring of love from Kelly's family and his parent's friends in Canada, and it's all just so amazing. People are so kind. Most of my relationships I have with people in my life have become stronger.  I have treats and gifts and blankets and flowers and hats and cards all throughout my house that serve as constant reminders of just how much I am loved and how many people are pulling for me. It's hard to get sad in a house full of treats and gifts and blankets and flowers and hats and cards. I wouldn't have a house full of treats and gifts and blankets and flowers and hats and cards if it weren't for cancer.

A new Bible study group has been formed with some of my close friends and women of all ages. I love taking time each week to become closer to God and to be reminded of his love for me. I love the bond I now have with these amazing women. I wouldn't be so close to God right now or have this wonderful Bible study time to reflect if it weren't for cancer.

My spirits have been so high and I'm just so happy these days. I have an amazing boyfriend and the best friends and family that anybody could ask for. I love my job and all of my co-workers and feel so blessed to have landed in such a great spot surrounded by so many loved ones here in Dallas. It sounds so weird- but I don't know that I would be as happy as I am if it weren't for cancer. I'm not going to sit around and feel sorry for myself- I'm going to use this opportunity to garner strength from all of these amazing people around me, kick cancer's ass, and get on with my life with a whole new outlook. I've heard people who have fought cancer say it- and now I understand. Kelly's mom said it. She's a recent breast cancer survivor and one of the most positive and loving people I know, and she's such a role model for me. The wife of the Dallas Stars GM has become such a role model for me. She is fighting cancer and was given two months to live two years ago. She is one of the kindest people I know and has been such a blessing and inspiration for me. She said it best in this story that ran on NBC. http://www.nbcdfw.com/video/?_osource=SocialFlowTwt_DFWBrand#!/news/sports/Stars-GM-And-Wife-Battle-Against-Cancer/232299781 "I used to like people, now I love people."

It's not a fun hand that I've been dealt, but everything happens for a reason and I truly am so glad it's happened to me and not to any other friend or family member that I love.  I can handle this. It's already made me a stronger, kinder, happier person and taught me to not sweat the small stuff in life. It's already changed me for the better. And I wouldn't be this new me if it weren't for cancer.

 But....I do miss my hair ;) XOXO


  1. I'm sitting here at my computer with tears rolling down my cheeks :) I knew you were going to come to this conclusion but I didn't know you would be able to share it with us so beautifully. You are now MY role model. Thank you little girl...I love you with all my heart and so does all of your Canadian family. My sons have such good taste in women....I am truly blessed to have you in my life xoxoxo

  2. What a great post... Love you Julie! Whats crazy is I've started thinking the same way. -Chad

  3. You are AMAZING. Period. Amazing...

  4. Praying for you constantly! You are such an inspiration and a true gift from God to show everyone what strength and unconditional faith is.

  5. Julie,

    Kyle & I are reading this, tears streaming down our cheeks and want you to know how much we love you! You are such a radiating light of all thing positive and beautiful. Your strength amazes us! We pray for you every night!

    Britt & Kyle Rainwater

  6. Julie - Sending you a big hug from Kansas City. You're in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for sharing your story.

  7. Julie, Thank you for inspiring me today! Life has given you a big, ugly, scary "lemon," but with grace and grit you are turning it into lemonade.
    Keep fighting! Keep living! Keep loving!

  8. The hardest guys are the biggest sorties. Now a Rugger wipes his tears and wishes you more hugs. Love, Jeff and Debbie

  9. Julie, I was actually just reading through a few of your posts and had quick question about your blog. I was hoping you could email me back when you get the chance, thanks~


  10. So inspirational, Julie! You are constantly in my thoughts and prayers! Xo

  11. You're such an inspiration to us all! Praying for you.

  12. I'm very impressed with your outlook and strength. You are quite an inspiration. Praying for you.

  13. As I'm in the chemo portion treatment phase for my inflammatory breast cancer, so glad I found your blog. I totally agree with your last two paragraphs and have quoted them to my friends now. (Giving you full credit, of course!) Thanks for finding the words for me.

  14. Hi Julie, I just watched your video on youtube about your breast cancer journey so far and now reading your blog post. I am so much amazed how positive and brave you have s
    been through this, and you are really lucky to have a gem of boyfriend. I hope and pray to God that you stay safe and healthy all your life now. I am 35 and diagnosed with breast cancer, had my mastectomy done and chemo starting in a week. I am really scared of chemo and the thought of loosing my hair and eye lashes is so painful but then I saw you going through this and it gace me so much strength. Love you loads.