//chemo: round one

Since finding out that I have breast cancer, I’ve often wondered when it would feel real. I thought it would be when I heard the results… Nope. I thought it would when I saw my oncologist… nuh uh. Maybe when I got my port? A little, but still no.

Finally I settled on chemo. That’s when this would feel officially real… but still it didn’t.

I’ve written and re-written this post so many times, but for some reason, it’s not coming out the way I want it to (and it’s still not close to how I want it)… it keeps coming out like some kind of clinical play-by-play, and that’s the last thing I want.

So, instead, here’s a quick rundown, then I’ll move on.

– They weren’t kidding when they said chemo would be an all-day thing (the first time around). I got there at 7:45 am and didn’t leave until about 4:45 pm.

– I had two types of chemo (Taxotere and Carboplatin) and one targeted therapy (Herceptin)

– I felt an unexpected calmness before it started and a small voice in my head kept repeating, “This is necessary. This is temporary.”

– There was a moment when I walked back to the infusion room, looked around, and had a moment of anger as I thought to myself, “I don’t belong here.” But now’s not the time to be angry. Life is not fair, and it never will be. I may never know or understand the reason for why my cells decided to get overexcited and multiply the way that they did, but I know that if I keep trying to figure it out, I’ll drive myself insane. So, instead I smile and I choose joy over of anger.

– I was fortunate enough to meet a new friend! A woman about my age who is also fighting her fight. She was incredibly sweet in telling me about a website and youtube videos for head scarf tutorials, as well as tell me about the instagram community of young women fighting cancer. I’m so thankful that I got to meet her.

– As for the rest of the day Monday, I felt totally normal.

My niece made me "get better" cards while I laid down in bed next to her.

My niece made me “get better” cards while I laid down in bed next to her.

I’m hesitant to write about my chemo side effects because if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that everyone experiences chemo a little differently. I don’t want anyone to think that my case is what everyone experiences. I mean, for all I know, chemo could effect me in a completely different way after my next round.

So, just keep that in mind.

Yesterday was one big sleep-induced blur. I was on some anti-nausea medicine that seriously made me sleep about 18 hours yesterday… so nothing exciting or note-worthy happened during that time.

Today, I woke up feeling a little better, but still sleepy. I decided that since I was feeling a little better, I would wait to take my medicine until after I took a shower.


While washing my hair, I started to feel super light-headed. I thought maybe it was just the hot water, so I cooled it down and continued on. Almost immediately, I started gagging (gross… sorry), and in of all my stark nakedness, I jumped out of the shower and over to the toilet just in time.

My mom found me in a puddle of water and tears a couple of minutes later, and helped me back into the shower so that she could finish washing my hair.

I know it’s my mom (and I’m thankful she was there), but I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so embarrassed, helpless, and weak.

I wanted to cry, but instead I mustered a laugh and said, “Well, I guess I’m officially part of the chemo club now.”

And just like that, the reality of everything hit me. This is real. I have cancer. I will become weaker. I will throw up. I will lose my hair.

This is real.

But, this is necessary, and it is only temporary.

5 thoughts on “//chemo: round one

  1. I love you so much, Mandi. You are strong, amazing, kind, and brilliant. And yes. You have cancer. But continue to remind yourself that that DOES NOT define you. You are so much more than you will feel on your hard days. You are more powerful and more courageous than the post-chemo sickness will make you believe. You are more radiant than anyone I’ve known, even when your hair falls out. And you have a huge community ready to rally around you. We love you!

  2. This is necessary. This is temporary. That is a great thing to keep saying. I just had my second treatment on April 10 at Tx Oncology in Austin, Tx. You’re not a lone and I believe you’re writing is a great way to help you and other fighters too.

  3. I too wander when it will feel real. When will I accept it. I shaved all my hair off but still I have moments when I’m still in shock. I was diagnosed two months ago.

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