I’m meeting a new friend for the first time today. She is newly diagnosed with breast cancer and is at the beginning of the journey, having to make lots of scary decisions and facing so much unknown. It sounds like they caught it early, so hopefully no chemo for her, but the fear I know she is facing with a cancer diagnosis has caused me to walk down memory lane a bit.
I read back in the month of November during my battle, and this post brought on some memories and an overwhelming gratitude that I am here 3 years later, doing well. Thank you Lord, for life, and for many good days!!
I am so grateful it is the Friday after chemo! This is always the day where I breath a sigh of relief, knowing I am going to start feeling normal again.
Yesterday was actually a nice surprise for me. I woke up expecting it to be the typical, hardest day of my week (4th day after chemo) but, by golly, it wasn’t! (I never say “by golly” but it was kinda fun to type.)
Wednesday evening I was about to take my anti-nausea meds, and the label on the bottle caught my eye. It said “may cause extreme drowsiness and blurred vision.” I knew right away I would rather have nausea (as long as I could still eat) than to not be able to see or focus because of fog/fatigue. I skipped the meds, and it made for a much more “clear” Thursday. I felt somewhat productive since I didn’t have to lay in bed all day, although my stomach paid for it.
I have to pause and chuckle for a moment. It is funny what one considers a “good” day when going through chemo… here are some examples of what I mean…
~~I lost 2 toenails from chemo, but I still got 8 plus my fingernails, so its all good…
~~This film that forms on my tongue 2-4 days after chemo makes all food taste sicking-ly sweet, but I’ve learned if I scrape the heck out of my tongue, and gargle with a mouthwash that tastes like the deliciousness of Vicks Vapo Rub, my taste is normal again. Tasting food=great day.
~~I’m tired, achey and I feel like I have the stomach flu, but I’m vertical, so its a good day.
~~My skull, jaw bone and sternum are doing their deep ache dance, but that means the meds are working and my bones are producing lots of red/white cells– oh happy day!
~~My lips peel for at least 3 days after treatment, but they are so soft and pretty by day 6. Free lip peel? Makes for a good day..
~~My digestive system shuts down for 3 days after chemo, but I’ve figured out which foods get it going again, and when it happens… that, my friends, is a good day!
~~A crazy side effect of chemo is twitching. As I lay there to go to sleep, my pinky toe will come alive. Or, behind my rib, or my shoulder blade…it feels like popcorn popping right under my skin or bones. Does not make for a fun night, but during the day it keeps me company, so that’s good, right?
I say all these things in the spirit of staying real with you all.
I also say them, honestly, with a deep gratitude. I feel so thankful I have been able to figure out ways to get around or deal with most of these minor side effects, and that I have not dealt with anything too serious. God has been so very good!!
I now get why cancer patients are called “Fighters.” There are so many things, big and small, that come our way, so we fight.
I have felt sad as many of these side effects of chemo and cancer seem like they just strip femininity away (hair, nails, lips, breasts, brows, curves, sleep). But–I’ve chosen to see myself in a new light.
I AM a Fighter and I have the God of the Universe along side me. I have a new femininity, it is a fighter femininity. It makes me want to buy combat boots and wear car-gos (my favorite do-rag right now is a camouflage one:)) and kick this cancer outta here!
And for those days when I just can’t seem to find the good or the fight, you all step in with your words of encouragement, and He steps in with His Word of Truth, and reminds me that even in my weakness, I am strong.
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Aaa! It is such good perspective to look back and see how far God has brought me. I will write a health update soon on the Zoladex shot I got and how I am doing with the side effects and instant menopause. Bet you can’t wait…huh? 😉