Even if I didn’t know it

Pink Ink…

Editors Note: I wrote this on the plane ride back to AZ…tired, and in the arms of medication! So please excuse any and all spelling/grammatical errors!  But as they say, “it had to come out!” So here goes!

Did you miss me?  It’s been a rough ride recently.

But this weekend, I got a reprieve from my chemo prison!  What did I do?  I went to Disney World!  Just kidding!  But it was definitely a roller coaster ride! Lace up! Here’s what happens when a girl goes home.  (Imagine Diddy’s song playing…”I’m coming home, coming home…”)

I'm coming home

I’m coming home

FRIDAY:  I grab my bags and head to the airport.  Simple right?  For most, it would be.  But you know…I have a few issues.  First, there was the simple fact that this would be the 1st real flight I would be taking since my 2nd diagnosis, and 6 months of chemo.  Up until 24 hours before I left, I wasn’t even sure I would be able to get on that plane.  How would I feel?  Would my platelets be high enough?  How about my white blood count?  As it was, I was only able to use 2 or 3 fingers on either hand b/c of the chemo.  (Every time I wash my hands, it feels like my bones are breaking.  I’ve dubbed it ” broken bone syndrome”!)  But I was determined.  Did I mention Dad was getting an award in Philadelphia?  Or that Chuck was running a race in Philly…in my honor?  Yeah.  So I kind of had to go.  The catch?  No one really knew I was going. Dad & Chuck were clueless! I love surprises!

So armed with my lymphedema sleeve, compression socks, various warnings from my Head Nurse/breast whisperer…and some Valium, I hopped that plane and made my way cross country. No issues! (side note…the 1st thing I noticed while walking through the airport?  All the brown people!!  I was reminded how few of us there are in AZ!  But I digress!)  Soon, I was checked into the hotel, with the goal of resting briefly before having a late dinner with Lizzie. Like a true friend, she agreed to meet me for dinner with just a few hours warning.  But I’m jumping ahead.  As I am laying in bed, letting Big B know that I made it, my room door started rattling!  What the hell!!?  I mean, it is Philly after all! Murder capital! I was scared!  I told B to hold on, cause I may have to call security!  “WHO IS IT?  I’M CALLING SECURITY!”   Next, I hear a tiny voice say ” It’s your mother!”

PAUSE!  I had mentioned to Mom that I MAY come!  I knew that she was flying up, but I thought she was flying in with my dad…the next day!  But more important, why did she have a key to MY room?  Yeah, well the hotel folks know her and my dad, and evidently give them what they want! (STRAIGHT UP SIDE EYE)

The rest of the evening went smoothly after I picked my shocked face up off the floor.  I was glad to see my mom.  Also, my time with Lizzie is always a joy.  She’s a nurse, so we had no issues talking the “dirty words” of Life in the Cancer Lane.  When the conversation became too much for my dear mom, she excused herself and went upstairs.  Later that night…actually after midnight…I spoke with my bro who had just landed from Atl.  After about 20 minutes of shooting the breeze, I told him I was in town.  He totally missed it.  “Umm…SURPRISE!”  He finally got it.  “That changes everything”.  Yes.  Yes it did, because he still didn’t know Mom was in town.

“Ok, I will see you tomorrow.”  I said as I hung up as I laughed to myself…and fell immediately back to sleep!

SATURDAY:  My day started very early with breakfast with another close friend. “KT” was also a trooper because we were texting late the night before, making plans for breakfast.  I wasn’t sure I would make it. I was tired, and sore. But dammit, I would try.  KT was there early,  bright and bushy tailed.  Both of our lives have changed drastically in the last few years, and it was great to see her so happy,  Next up?  The Barnes.

I couldn’t come to Philly without checking out the BarnesFoundation Museum.  The museum project that dragged my Dad into court.  The museum, where he’s the Chair.  It has been my dad’s pet project for the last how many years.  The Museum Gala opening that I missed last year due to Radiation.  So I HAD to go.  I owed it to my dad to see his latest legacy.  So mom and I walked the beautiful galleries.  It is beautiful and well worth a visit the next time you’re in Philly.

The Barnes Foundation

The Barnes Foundation

After my visit, Chuck was going to pick me up so we could pick up his Race bib.  Or so he thought.

As he pulled up, I got in the car…and so did mom.


His response “WOW. Ok.  I see what kind of weekend this is going to be.” LOL.  Off to Race headquarters.

Mind you, Dad still didn’t know I was coming.  Then Mom got THE CALL.   His plane was delayed.  He wouldn’t get in until 7:30. (He was supposed to land @ 2) Did I mention that the Gala started at 6?  Chuck laughed.  After all, he was going to be hanging out with his buddies at their high school reunion.  After all, he was at the Barnes opening last year…the one I missed!  So he dropped us off at the hotel with a “good luck”.  At the same time, mom was starting to panic!  She doesn’t handle stress well really.  But I was good.  In my mind, I was already planning an acceptance speech.  I mean, I got this.  I speak at events all the time now! I got this!  Yeah….mom was not having it.  “Why should you accept it?” (Thats not your thing mom)  “He’ll make it” she tried to convince herself as the clock crept past 6, and we enjoyed the cocktail hour. ( I asked a few TV execs when I could expect PinkwellchickTV)  The clock passed 7:30.  Then 8:15.  I was good!  I was ready to give “Dad’s speech”!  But alas.  Dad walked in…as they were announcing the person who was going to introduce his award.  But 1st, he saw me.  You couldn’t script this!  Cheers all around, as folks in the audience watched him comprehend I was there.  The award was announced.  He brought us up on stage, said his thanks, and walked off.

But what about ME!?  Yeah, you know me.

Dad, where are you going?

Dad, where are you going?

“Good evening everyone!  We’re going to go a little off script right now…”

And so it began.

I used the opportunity to thank both my parents for teaching me from a young age, the value of helping others.  And to thank my parents for helping me as I fought cancer.

Then I dropped the mike! (FIGURATIVELY) I couldn’t let the opportunity to publicly thank my folks for all they have given Philadelphia, and me pass by!  Nothing is promised.  My work was now done! The look on my dad’s face? #priceless

SUNDAY: The final piece in this frenetic puzzle.  Chuck was running the Broad St Run.  The 1st time he has EVER run an organized event! But he and his best friend got a team together and raised close to 10k.  It was supposed to be a surprise to me.  But…let’s just say…someone…not Chuck…couldn’t keep the secret! (Ahem..mom) It was a beautiful day!  All the runners wore red in tribute to the Boston Tragedy.  It was a beautiful thing to see.  But the best part was when he handed his medal to me after the race!  Tears fall as I write those words, thousands of feet above the ground, as my plane races back towards AZ.  So you see it was a fast paced weekend, for which I will pay later.

I apologize to those of you I didn’t get a chance to see! I will be back and will see you! But this weekend, I had to focus.  I had to be present in the moment!

You see, It was  the 1st time my immediate family was all together since my 2nd diagnosis.  Back in my home town, celebrating…family!

It was also the 1 year anniversary of my completion of radiation.  You know, when I thought I was done!?  But alas, I am still in this fight.

It was also the weekend that I could FINALLY put fingers to keyboard and start blogging again.  I was feeling too heavy.  Many blogs have been floating in my mind, itching to explode out of my fingers!  Or at least the 3 fingers that work! Ha! But they just couldn’t come out! (more on that soon!)

But I feel “light” again. I feel “able” again.

For that,  I say thank you to Big and Lil B for freely sending me off to Philly at the last minute.  To Mom, Dad, and Chuck I thank you for  a weekend of family, love and support of each other.

I love you all.

I am back.

This weekend was just what I needed…even if I didn’t know it.


All together!

WE did it!

WE did it!

Broad Street Run

Broad Street Run

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lois Watson
    May 06, 2013 @ 17:31:08

    Love YOU.
    More than you’ll ever know.


  2. Joyce
    May 06, 2013 @ 18:07:15

    Just as I was about to ask your Mother how you’re doing you wrote this absolutely wonderful gem. So glad you were able to be with your family. It’s chicken soup for the soul.


  3. Dee Crews
    May 06, 2013 @ 18:22:15

    Happy Mother’s Day! I’ve been eagerly awaiting an update. It was a blessing for the four of you to spend the weekend together. It’s difficult to get everyone together when our lives are filled with responsibilities. We were able to spend some time with Anne in March and AC will be home for Mother’s Day.

    Yes, Lois…we all love Barb and our daughters…MORE than they will ever know. Dee Crews


  4. Bridget Eagy
    May 06, 2013 @ 19:12:47

    You are FABULOUS!!!


  5. CH
    May 07, 2013 @ 07:35:07

    Even if you didn’t know it, you are amazing. You fought through real-world (real-talk) health fears, crocodile tears, and then some to show up and quietly show out for your peeps. But once again, you powered through. Bravo, girlfriend.

    If only there were a saucy and sobering, well-written, three-act play to wrap all of your experiences up into a neat little funny/unfunny theater experience to educate and shake people to their core….oh, wait….[21 day and counting].

    ….to be continued 😉


  6. JC Ellis
    May 07, 2013 @ 15:25:33

    Love this post! You come from very good stock! I’m so glad you were able to surprise your dad! Priceless! And you look simply stunning & fabulous in that gown and tell your mom she gets more beautiful each year! smooches! :>)


  7. helen imes
    May 10, 2013 @ 04:41:36

    WOW….it’s so GOOD to know that you are back telling us all these exciting events in your great and unique editorial style. You never cease to amaze me…I pray each and every day for God to keep you in His care. You have such a wonderful family(that is a pat on my own back, too) and God loves you and so do we. Continue to take the best of care of your temple. Love, MONA


  8. Kimberly
    May 11, 2013 @ 01:45:49

    I must admit to feeling like a voyeur… an interloper. Barbra, we are not acquainted. We have never met. I was at the Urban League gala last week and was so struck by your speech that I came home, googled you and spent a fair amount of Sunday evening reading your story. Tonight is my second time reading your blog. I have thought much this week about you and your courage… and if well wishes and prayers matter at all, even a little bit, then please know that such good will is bountiful. You are an inspiration. Thank you.


  9. Mary C Washington
    May 12, 2013 @ 17:43:51

    Hi Barbra, I’m back again, Lois’ childhood friend from St. Louis–just to say WOW!
    congratulations, You are smart, sassy, very sexy in that gown….and you are
    tenacious …..”just keep on keeping on”……..there are so many of us praying for you and you are even a role model for some of us older people…
    Stay beautiful inside and out.
    Mary Washington


  10. Gina
    May 30, 2013 @ 02:24:51

    Hi Bobbi I have so many fond memories of spending time with you and your family in Philly. I am glad you had chance to go home.


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