I've reached the halfway point! Actually, I've past it. Tomorrow is my third chemo treatment (out of four). Today I am happy and feeling great. Today is the last day in what I've dubbed "the 10 days of awesome" -- the period when I feel normal again, before doing it all over again. I am grateful to have celebrated my birthday (40!) and my anniversary (15 years of love!) and Easter (with family!) while feeling absolutely great. It was just what I needed to get ready to do it all over again.
So, to kick off round 3, I'm going to let you in on the not so nice part of this experience. Here, friends, is the update I shared with the village following round 2. I'm happy to say things look and feel different two weeks later, but I know I'll be getting very familiar with the ugly again, this weekend.
And soon, friends, there will be the long overdue sewing update. Because incredibly, I have managed to do a fair amount.
The second treatment was harder than the first. Chemo is not for wimps! I’ll say upfront: I’m OK, I’ll be OK, but writing this while in the aftermath of chemo means you’re getting a glimpse at the ugly and not all rainbows and sunshine.
I've been thinking a lot about language. I had cancer, not I have cancer. It's a subtle distinction that means a lot at a time when I am desperate to feel normal.
Just a reminder: the doctors removed the cancer with surgery, and since the tests show no signs of cancer in my lymph nodes, they declared me cancer free. The chemo is purely extra credit. I'm not treating any cancer, and there won't be any tests to take at the end to tell me I’m cured. The chemo is only to decrease my risk of a recurrence.
My balding head and days in bed make it hard even for me to comprehend. When I had cancer, I looked healthy. Now that the cancer is gone, I look and feel sick.
Truthfully, no one can guarantee the cancer is gone. But I'm not willing to say "I might have cancer" until my 50th birthday (doctors use 10 year survival statistics). That's depressing!
What's also depressing: my itchy, patchy, balding head. My three year old asking why daddy threw my hair away. Spending an entire weekend in bed and not on the playground with my boys. The white film on my tongue that I scrub and scrub and won’t go away -- and that makes everything taste bad. Feeling so crummy you can't help your amazing husband (who does everything and sweetly tells you it’s so you don’t have to worry). Turning 40 in two weeks and not wanting to celebrate because you look and feel terrible.
It can't be all sunshine all the time. The good news is I will be feeling better in a few days. Food will taste good again. I’ll get a good night’s sleep, put on sparkly eye shadow, and go to the office. I'll regain my optimism and courage before I have to sit in the chair and do this all over again. Two more times. I can do it.