“it is perfectly okay to lay face down and pissed at the world from time to time.” this message in a card to me (thank you, susan) was especially appropriate this week and is even more so today.
in light of the tragic mass shootings in Connecticut, this post feels narrow. i just can’t imagine what it’s like to lose a child, especially to guns and violence and in a supposed safe place where kids go every day to be enriched. no one should imagine it, yet alone live it.
i started writing yesterday so will continue to let you know how things are going, with some modifications.
have you ever had to give your pain or discomfort on a scale of 1-10? the only way i can describe the physical effects of chemotherapy is using this scale. before cancer, i was likely a 12, off the scale, active and heathily normal without aches and able to eat and drink whatever i wanted. under taxol, while each week was different and accumulating, i was a 6-7. under AC last week and into this week, i was a -2 and and am now holding steady at 4 since tuesday. the anti-nausea meds i had were not effective at fully eliminating the nausea roller coaster, and as one new friend described, they seemed to be generally holding back a ferocious lion. the nausea went away tuesday morning after i got more fluids and steroids monday afternoon at UCSF.
i now have chronic issues, like mouth sores, exhaustion, peeling skin, and digestion. while there are ways to ‘manage’ most of these things, it remains tricky to figure out how my body is faring on the inside–do i try and take something to speed things up? or slow things down? i’m being fairly general here because frankly, no one needs to hear the extent of someone else’s butt or stomach issues (except my favorite on call nurse, Robin, who keeps telling me daily that they are going to get me through this).
the other challenge is food. my go-to for health is food. eat well to feel good. now, i can’t digest raw foods (e.g., salads) or small grains (e.g., quinoa, flax seeds) at all. like, literally. so that adds in some emotional complications, as i feel paralyzed on what to eat that won’t backfire (thank you, angel, for this book. it’s both inspiring and helpful).
today, my boss and mentor barry and i had a good talk. (pictured here with shaved head–pretty nice, right? my awesome work team went bowling the week before i started AC. beyond barry’s surprise bowling shirt, we witnessed some other star moments, like someone unnamed bowling 2 gutterballs simulataneously). barry reminded me that i was, in fact, lucid when i made the decision to go with dr. rugo at UCSF and the most aggressive treatment. because i wanted the best chance at never having metastatic breast cancer, or getting the lowest reoccurence rate i could of ~16%. but over the weekend and especially monday morning, in between tears and snot and vomit, i was on my knees and fully decided that i was fine with only 1 AC. juuuust one. however, now that i’m more hydrated, not nauseous and can literally see straight, i’m back and happy to be reminded that i had a plan. i appreciated what barry said, that that’s what people do. we make plans and when they get hard–whether it’s training for a race, learning a new language, or going through chemo–we quickly yield to the difficulty and change plans. i was definitely there, feeling desperate, helpless and unhealthy, only able to fixate on the fact that i just ingested an amount of poison that was calculated so it wouldn’t kill me outright but come pretty close.
so there are the details.
i’m here, on the other side of something.
on tuesday night mike told me, “you got through the day.” like many of you, i couldn’t stop reading the news today. i keep thinking of all those families and hoping they too get through the day.
an article about how to talk to your kids about the shooting is sticking with me. no matter what age, it’s ultimately about making them feel safe and secure, addressing their fears. isn’t that what we all want too? and through this cancer business, it’s exactly what i want.
thinking of you all and families everywhere,
ps more on the BAYS holiday party later. mike drug me off the couch there, and i’m thankful for it. and was thankful to see so many shining beautiful women on the other side of something too or still bravely and proudly working through it.