January: Brian, Gavin, Cohen and I live in cramped condo. Pressure builders everyday to hurry and finish house. Spend majority of my time commuting 2 hours each way to work and wonder why I'm so tired. Maybe it's because I'm five months pregnant. February: Brian turns 36! First family vacation - ENTIRE family (minus BK): Mom, Dad, Meghan, Ed, Cindy, and us with two and a half boys in Orlando, FL. Visit Animal Kingdom, Sea World and pool time. Brian and boys spend eight hours driving to Cape Canaveral for shuttle launch. Cohen asks Brian if they are driving back to Grand Rapids. March: The world changes abruptly. We close on house March 4. We spend the week packing and moving. Movers come on March 11. Takes them hours to pack up the "few" things we thought were left in condo. Dr. VandenBosch calls - I have breast cancer. WTF? Two hours later, Retail Executive calls. I'm being transferred; former region is disassembled and I lose my favorite boss. Both sets of parents arrive, Meghan arrives, Lacey and Katie arrive. Lots and lots of tears. Nana Moni suggests the name Evan - it means "Little Warrior". Port placement surgery. Chemotherapy starts. Take two weeks off. April: Return to work. Tired from chemo. Tired from pregnancy. Pull together Gavin's 8th birthday party. Boys start new school at Ada Elementary. Meghan's birthday. Show up for Meghan's birthday with no hair. Brian shaves my head on Saturday, April 9. I shave Brian's head too. I don't feel any better. Weekly ultrasounds and non-stress test. May: Meet with neonatal team. Meet with oncologists. See OB-GYN twice a week. BK surprises us and comes home for Mother's Day/Dad's Birthday. Brian gets promotion at work - Market Manager - has 26 banking centers in Grand Rapids. Induced labor. Wonderful labor. Perfect reward. Evan Foster Murray, 6 pounds, 6 ounces. Healthy. Amazing. Beautiful. First night home - no sleep. Neurotic first time mom. Back at chemo May 26. Spend Memorial Day weekend in bed feeling terrible. Lots of tears - does Evan know I'm his mom? June: Big chemos are over. Start "easier" chemo. It's not easier. Big lie. Love my Evy Pie. Gavin and Cohen are awesome little brothers. Evan meets Aunt Alison. Brian, Nana and Meghan have to help with Evan because I'm struggling. Kidney stone. 4 days in hospital before they remove stone by surgery. Hurts more than labor. Brian plans birthday dinner at favorite restaurant with both sets of parents, Meghan and Gwen. Katie organizes dinner delivery -amazing friends and family make dinner for us every night - so grateful. Spend 30th birthday in chemo chair. Lots of pouting. July: Favorite holiday - 4th of July. I don't feel well. Lose eyelashes. Losing eyebrows. Look like I'm dying. Feel like I'm dying. Dickel weekend. Evan gets spoiled by all aunties, uncles and great grandma. Get new wig. Like new wig better. Get fake eyelashes. They look fake. Evan is amazing. Love being a mom. August: Run out of chemo drug. Have to take new one. Feel worse. Car breaks down in middle of highway. On a mission to sell car. Miller Party - meets Cousin Conner, Cousin Shelby, all Miller aunts and uncles and the twins. CT scan. Good news - no noticeable cancer in breast. Concerning news: two spots on lungs. Mom stays home for two weeks and I am on my own with Evan. Love our time together but feel like I'm doing a terrible job because I feel so sick. Vacation with Brian's family on Lake Michigan. Evan screams the entire time. Sell car. Buy new car. Love. Evan's baptized. Nana, Papa, Grandma Cindy, Grandpa Ed there. Auntie Megs and Uncle BK are godparents. Gavin wants to be on alter and baptized too :) September: Wrapping up chemo! Just getting Herceptin every three weeks. Katie and Bubba get married. Beautiful wedding, love time with friends. Climb sand dune at Sleeping Bears - feel strong! Return to work. Working, chemo, and baby are a lot. Evan is smiling and laughing and perfect. Has reflux but doctors won't diagnose properly. So mad at doctors. October: Getaway weekend to Florida before surgery. Rains a lot but so much fun with Rothschilds. Nervous for surgery. Evan finally on reflux meds. He is not screaming in pain. Change pediatricians. Hate the old one. Double mastectomy and reconstruction on October 11. So freaking sore. Unprepared for extreme pain. Can't hold Evan for four weeks. Follow-up with surgeon, plastic surgeon, oncologist. Tired of feeling sick. November: Measurements for radiation taken. Have tissue expander drained. Self-esteem is zero - two different sizes on my chest. Start radiation. Have Thanksgiving at our house. Feeling blessed for all of the help we've had this year. Evan is rolling and loves when you hold him to walk. No interest in tummy time or crawling. Hair starts coming back. Stop wearing scarf. Evan is confused - sometimes I have hair, sometimes not. Sometimes wear glasses, sometimes not. I hope he remembers how I smell. Enter "Kiss of a Lifetime" contest. Forget about entry until we hear from producers we are chosen. December: Call from work - my position is gone. Feel like things just aren't turning around. Lots of crying. Loss of job makes me network and reconnect with friends. I like that. Evan is so cute. He is happiest when Gavin and Cohen are home. Evan sleeps through the night for an entire week - 8pm - 8am. Brian is so busy at work. Wish I could do more than just lie around. Radiation is hard. Radiation is painful. Tissue expanders not cooperating with radiation. Meet Guiliana. I love her. I am beyond thrilled. We win contest. Humbled by all of the love and support - keeps me motivated to get out of bed and head to radiation everyday. Want a break. Love Kline Christmas. Love Murray Christmas. Love Christmas at home with three boys and Brian. New Years Eve in NYC. Unreal. Miss Evan! Dec 31 - first signs of skin peeling and burns from radiation. 11 more treatments to go. Could not have done this without the support of my family and friends. Have the most amazing husband in the world. Brian has stood by my side from Day 1. So smart, so handsome, so loving. I have the love of my life. Luckiest girl on earth with the best baby and wonderful stepchildren. I can do this. I have to do this. So happy it's 2012.
Thank you, Lisa, for letting me steal your blog idea. xoxo