Thursday, June 16, 2016

Thank you.

In a week filled with sorrow and heartbreak at the news of the mass murder of LGBT people in Orlando, in our own little bubble of a world, we have felt much comfort from those around us.

Generosity has been the theme of the week for us.

Overwhelmed and grateful have been the feelings of the week.

On Sunday, we met my brother-in-law's cousin to pick up a donation of breast milk. It was enough to fill a large cooler, and it'll feed Baby B for a few weeks. We're also working with another of his cousins to get another donation of milk--the first month's worth, from colostrum to week four! I can't remember if I've posted about this already, and I'm too tired to go back and look for it, so I'll just say that these donations really help to take the sting out of not being able to breastfeed the baby myself.

Our wonderful friend Molly offered to set up a GoFundMe account for Kevin and me to help us with all of the medical expenses that we're facing through my treatment. In five days, 51 people have donated $3250 to us. It's enough to pay our co-pays for one of my A-C (the drugs I had for my first cycle of chemo) infusions, plus about five of my Taxol infusions. I have tried to compose this post for four days now, since the donations first started flooding in, and it's been so difficult. I just don't have the words to express how grateful I am to everyone. We have received donations from family members, friends, friends of friends, and people we have never heard of.

Kevin is a better writer than me, especially when it comes to things like this, where I am so completely and utterly overwhelmed with emotion and love that I often can't find any words at all and tears of thankfulness have to suffice. So I'll share his words (posted earlier this week on Facebook), and I'll pray that each of you knows how much it means to us.

"Sometimes I worry that I'm going to run out of ways to express my gratitude to everyone. Since Janet Anne's diagnosis back in March, our friends, family, coworkers, and community members have given so much: advice, companionship, sympathy, prayers, hope, time. Then there are the material gifts: baby clothes, toys, books, and care items, ready-to-heat meals (that's a biggie)...and of course we were blown away when you donated $3,700 to Janet's head shaving fundraiser for the St. Baldrick's Foundation.

It's precisely because of this generosity that we've hesitated in asking for more. But Molly Weeks Crumbley offered to set up a donation page to help defray our medical costs, and I don't mind telling you that the expenses associated with cancer treatment caught us off guard. Long story short - Blue Cross/Blue Shield Federal offers great maternity coverage, but their cancer coverage leaves a lot to be desired.

Our gofundme page has been up for less than 48 hours, and you've already contributed over a thousand dollars. Janet and I both are simply overcome with emotion. Some of you have boosted the signal by sharing our page with your own friends, resulting in donations from folks that we don't even know. What is there to say? Thank you. You've given us comfort, hope, and peace of mind. I hope we can repay you in kind."

I don't know how we'll ever be able to repay everyone for their support and generosity, but I promise you, we will do everything we can to pay it back or pay it forward. We thank you, and we love you.

Adding to this week of spoils, I picked up a mystery package from the post office this week. It was from an organization called Lisa's Army, and it was a comfort package that my mother-in-law nominated me for. The package has hand sanitizer, lotion, Chapstick, peppermints and Queasy Pops, Kleenex, super soft socks, an extra soft pre-tied head covering, a journal, two coloring books, crayons, colored pencils, a pen, a Sudoku puzzle book, a deck of cards, a water bottle, an inspirational banner, a card, a cozy fleece blanket, a bag to hold it all...and an iPad. It's full of all of the things that make those long hours in an infusion chair more tolerable, and it's such an amazing gift. Yes, I cried again.

Finally, here are some more pictures from our maternity shoot, from our photographer's blog. Doug Crowther is an amazing photographer, and we could not be happier with the pictures. If you are in the Baltimore area and looking for a photographer for maternity, newborn, or family photos, do yourself a favor and check him out.

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