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.
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.