happy thanksgiving / NOT cancer v3

happy thanksgiving! my sister-in-law shae is snoozing on the couch next to me, mike is reading, and lucas and bella and mia are sound asleep after a full day in the city (and chasing around whiz). and my dad had good news on his pet/ct too with no changes. all is well.

this post veers off my NOT cancer riffs a bit. but it’s a holiday, so consider a liberty taken.

i finished my 12th taxol this evening (and am just feeling confident enough that the pre-meds like benadryl have sufficiently worn off to pick up a computer, or any machinery for that matter)(sorry about the profane texts to some of you earlier). the past few weeks, i kept saying to friends, colleagues, family, the nurses, my young survivors support group, and anyone with a working ear, that i wasn’t ready to celebrate anything after these 12 weeks of taxol, given the many months and years left of treatments and uncertainty to come, and sentiment that “once a cancer patient, always a cancer patient.” and that while done with this drug, its side effects will linger with me and still have to be managed. so, i really felt like a curmudgeon about it, scrooging out and running low on propensity for ‘yays.’ but when the nurse announced 20 minutes left in my taxol, i had a good, private, and quiet cry. a celebratory cry, the kind that makes you feel better afterwards, releasing and flooding you with endorphins. who knew i needed to ceremonially mark this leg of the journey? mike knew, giving me a fist bump when my port needle came out at 502pm. together, we turned that mutha out. and by together, i mean we all did….all of you. you are amazing and give me fuel to keep going. i can’t tell you how many times since my diagnosis in august that i re-read your posts, emails, texts or cards. and when i meditate (work in progress, btw), i think about all of the love you are giving the world, my family, and me. my heart is full of joy.

while i’ve shared my love of and fascination with the infusion room, today it was a sad place. maybe it was the diminishing light as the winter solstice approaches or celebratory talk of the holiday. of the other patients and their company in my bay, many had long faces. no one was feeling well, could get back and forth to the restroom with their infusion-on-wheels easily, or could, very simply, get comfortable. when i looked in the restroom mirror, i was green with large bags under my eyes (the lighting is bad but it isn’t that bad). as chemo patients, we seemed to be mirror images of each other today. and caregivers looking as rough as i’ve seen. so to my fellow chemo patients, especially those and their families with longer and steeper hills to climb, i’m thinking of you. i hope that you can find that comfortable position, find something that brings you joy, and forget about it all, even for a small while.

many folks smiled or positively and supportively commented on the henna at the clinic and infusion center. until today, i hadn’t thought of that element of the head art. it’s amazing still to me how uncomfortable we as a culture are of sickness and dying. that’s for another post. but, my head has been a way to reframe the conversation, make people comfortable, focus on the amazingness of the human body, and share in a mutual admiration for someone’s craft (side note: it only took darcy, the artist, less than an hour to free-hand my entire head. she’s amazing!). and, to top if off (pun intended) my technician today, shreda, who is indian, told me that the henna on my arm is very dark, which means that my husband is full of love for me. as if you had any doubt…

ok, on to the (sort of) not cancer of the post and some humor for your tryptophan coma. i want to share some of the letters i received from the kindergarten class at st. michael’s in staunton last month. mrs. zuber is so awesome to do this – get the kids practicing their handwriting and brighten someone’s day who might be sick or going through a difficult time. the drawings that accompany the letters are pretty choice too, but i get to keep those for myself. here goes…

mrs. meaghan,
we went on a hay ride at my weewee’ an zio’s. get feeling good!

mrs. meaghan,
get your ouchy out. i don’t like to have ouchies. i’m gonna be spiderman.

mrs. meaghan,
i hope they’re taking good care of you. are you excited for halloween?

mrs. meaghan,
we said some prayers for you. i like my halloween costume.

mrs. meaghan,
we are having a halloween program. it’s funny! get better quick. surprise!

mrs. meaghan,
i like pumpkins. i hope you feel good.

mrs. meaghan,
get better for halloween! we say prayers for you and your dad. tell him hi!

mrs. meaghan,
we got to go see some elk. they were very big. i hope you feel good.

mrs. meaghan

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