April 10, 2019

Burn, Cancer, Burn!!

The best night. Ever.

After chemo and radiation, I had this dream. A dream to burn all of my cancer crap and watch it all go up in flames. Because I hate cancer so much. It needed to burn. To a crisp.

And in that burning, I was desperate to find closure and peace. And let all my fears about cancer returning, turn to smoke.

I have a pretty great husband and friends who, in a few days time, put together the absolute greatest night of cancer burning. Greater than I ever could have imagined up. It was perfect.

Kyler and the kids helped us come up with ideas for snacks for the night of burning--fire cheetos, takkis, hot tamales, red and orange sodas, etc. A sweet friend even brought fruit kabobs to look like flames! We spread it all out.

And then we started the glittering!

You can probably tell from Layla's cheeks that she LOVED putting glitter on. And she reapplied and reapplied and covered her face and hair with sparkles all night long. If only I had a good end picture of the glittery fun she had!

Brinn didn't enjoy the glitter quite as much as her sister.

Perry resisted, too.

But the teenage boys and all the other cute kids running around were all for it.

BURN! As in burn, cancer, burn!

That week I had also worked on my "Burn Cancer" playlist. No doubt that playlist was on Fire! I had a couple of friends help me come up with ideas and so we blasted some of the hottest suggestions during my burn party!!

Burn, Cancer, Burn! Playlist:
Chariots of Fire
Burn It Down (Awolnation)---This is the song I made sure we played when we lit the bonfire!
Embers (Owl City)
Burn the House Down (AJR)
She's Kerosene (The Interrupters)
The Phoenix (Fall Out Boy)
Girl on Fire (Alicia Keys)
Burn (Ellie Goulding)
Things We Lost in the Fire (Bastille)
Fire Burning (Sean Kingston)
Burn it Down (Linkin Park)
Great Balls of Fire (Jerry Lee Lewis)
Just Like Fire (P!nk)
Ring Of Fire (Johnny Cash)
I See Fire (Peter Hollens version)
Firestone (Kygo)
Picture to Burn (Taylor Swift)
Set Fire to the Rain (Adele)
We didn't Start the Fire (Billy Joel)
Light My Fire (the Doors)
I Am the Fire (Halestorm)

So I totally cracked up when I saw this picture. It's both embarrassing yet accurate. A picture taken of the girls jumping on the trampoline, but clearly there I am flying in the background. I know I was literally running over to Eric and Jay to check out the fire area and had to jump over something in the yard. Apparently when I leap I hold my arms out to fly. Kind of funny and embarrassing, but I was so excited that night I think I felt like I could fly.

Everyone got glitter that night.

I love my baby girl. Who loved the red and orange dum dums that night. (Because Cancer is dum dum.)

It got dark and friends started gathering.

This was the fire for S'mores. And honestly this was all I was expecting from the night. But just wait for it...if we were going to burn cancer it was going to BURN.

These guys were my everything as I got through every day of the last year.

Like I said, I was just thinking I would throw the items from my cancer box into the little fire and watch them burn. But Jay had the most brilliant plan and I loved it so much more. We hung up all of my love (posters and cards), radiation schedules, surgery bracelets, cancer binders, surgery socks, cancer tote bags, etc.

My favorite part was hanging up each and every one of the 65 sticky notes that I've written on. Every time I have had to do something hard for me or do something I never ever wanted to do I wrote it on a sticky note and placed it on my wall. I guess to prove to myself that I could do hard things. And each of those hard things was building me and growing me and I was becoming stronger. or at least checking them off as being done. It was cathartic for me to place each one up and staple it in as I was surrounded by dear friends who have been there for me through every single one of those things.

Sometimes I wonder why anyone lets E and I take pictures together.

Me kicking Cancer. Awkwardly.

The best jumping picture we got. Ha!

I had some special moments with my kids before we burned it down.

I almost forgot to share what is draped at the top. I stole my pink radiation robe that I wore for all 33 days of radiation. And then I threw on one of the headscarves I wore. I am done with both of those things!

These ladies are just some of the angels that have been there for me this last year. I love each one of them more than they will ever know. They each provided me different acts of service and friendship and love and they are amazing human beings who inspire me. There are so many others who weren't there last night and my heart is full of love and gratitude for each one of the ladies pictured or not pictured.

I think these are the best group pictures we got.

A couple nights before this burning party, I told Eric my dream to shoot an arrow at cancer. Like Katnis Everdeen. Well, that dream was basically fulfilled when Jay had me unwrap this pink gun. His plan was brilliant and I was super excited!!

He doused the cancer structure with gasoline.

Then they had me attempt to shoot bottle rockets at cancer to light it.

Whether my poor aim, my distance, or whatever it was, I never got it to light. (Though I did burn my arm. A price I'd pay again for the experience.) After 5 tries, we went to plan two and lit a fuse to get the structure to burn. Which was pretty spectacular to watch, too.

I stood with Perry while the fire burned and was able to explain to him in a physical way that we were burning my cancer and I was done. Mommy's cancer was gone. And that made sense to him.

It was the happiest moment watching it all shoot up in flames. The biggest fire ever!! I was able to release so many of my fears and allow myself to feel closure and to move on in my life. It was a beautiful, healing experience for me.

All the kids around were pretty impressed with the fire, too.

It was a legit fire.

The wind that night caused a little bit of anxiety that a house or the trees might catch on fire, but the only thing that burned was CANCER. Buh-bye, Cancer!!!

My burn when a spark from the bottle rocket went up my sleeve.

The ashes!

Thank you, Ashley and Jay for hosting this amazing night!

I will love these guys forever for giving me the most perfect night.

j2nielsen said...

This made me cry. We are so happy for you and your family! We love you guys so much. I haven't seen a smile like that on your face in a long time my friend.

Audra Owens said...

You were glowing that night with such excitement. So happy for you and to watch cancer burn away into the past!