My first chemo day, back on March 4, she sent me a long prayer via text. As in "Dear Lord, ....." - honestly, I was pretty impressed with the sheer length of it given my Mom's old-school phone. No flip out keyboard action even.
I sent my Mom a picture when I first got my hair short ... the magenta mohawk caused some initial confusion:
I thought my mother knew me better than to think I'd revisit the early 80's in THAT way. *shudder*
Every few days, I'd get another, "How r u feeling?" type text and a request that I type out what the doctor said for her. Seriously, Mom has the texting thing down.
My third chemo appointment brought another prayer text but just a tad shorter than the first:
So Mom headed up Thursday night for her first chemotherapy experience. One of my biggest worries was her in-person reaction to my bald head.
Actually, perhaps I'm not alone in this fear. Yes, I'm going through a tough year. My surgeries and treatment have not been fun. But - as I've told you all before - I'm lucky, extremely lucky, that my cancer was caught early. My tumor was relatively small, there's no indication that any got out into my lymph nodes, and I'm stage 1. If you're in the same boat with me, perhaps you will recognize this scenario:
You see a friend or acquaintance for the first time in a few months or more, for the first time since your cancer diagnosis and treatment began. They may or may not know about it yet. Regardless, they see you and you get that look. That look that says, "Oh, that's right. Oh, dear. Oh, you have the cancer. Oh, you're dying, aren't you? You could be dying, couldn't you? Oh dear. I pity you. Oh, but look how brave you're being. You be brave, little one. You be brave."That look ... although it comes from a place of caring ... that look just sucks, good people. That look makes me feel like I need to comfort YOU because of MY disease. Comfort that person, instead of being able to receive comfort. I hope I'm explaining this well. I truly don't mean to come across as offensive or unappreciative. I guess I'm wanting to share this so that when you come across that person who is going through or about to go through a serious medical fight, you can provide optimism instead of pity. Tell them that you're sorry that they are going through this - yes - but also tell them that you'll be there for whatever they need and that you KNOW that they will make it through. Sometimes, honestly, simply saying ... "Well .... THIS sucks!" is a beautiful thing. Providing you don't have the above-mentioned look on your face.
Things can suck, truly suck, yet not be fatal. I hoped not to see that look on my mother's face. And bless her, I didn't. She did fine. We had dinner at Panera, picked up muffins for the morning, and grabbed some excellent dessert at Spoonlickers.
I did don my extra special leggings and Princess Leia wig for Chemo #4 and Mom took it all in stride. In fact, she demanded a picture.
So Leia is going through a phase perhaps.
What was the title of this post?
Oh right .... this was also my last Neulasta shot. Yay! YAY!! I'm thankful for the higher white blood cell count, for sure, but DAMN, I'm glad to leave the bone aches behind. My aches are mostly in my skull and sternum. But given the lower dose of Taxol I'll be taking each week, I'll no longer need to get the Neulasta shot the day after. I was so happy to have my last AC treatment behind me that I nearly forgot to even get the last shot.
Can't imagine why I'd forget to have someone stick a needle in my stomach.
I was heading to my favorite Real Food Café when my stepmom reminded me of my Neulasta appointment. Dammit! Wait ... I can still do this. I can still get my breakfast and make it to the shot on time. I told my server my rush and she expedited things nicely. I ordered quickly, and paid early. I sipped on my cranberry juice and relaxed, reading while waiting on my omelet. My server was pleased to bring my breakfast quickly and as she said, "Here you go, you have plenty of time......." she promptly knocked my cranberry juice with my hot breakfast plate and dumped the juice into my lap.
Onto my light gray top. Yep.
"Oh NO! Oh NO! Oh you were going to be on time and I RUINED IT!!! I RUINED IT!! I'M SO SORRY!!"
At this point, the almighty perspective of cancer slowly looks over at the scene and smirks. Honestly. Cranberry juice? Who the hell cares about cranberry juice? Who the hell cares about one light gray cami that can be replaced for $8 at Kohl's (on a sale day obviously but ... aren't they ALL sale days)? Cancer gives perspective to everything else in my life.
"It's fine. Don't worry about it. Seriously .... don't worry about it. It's no problem." We talked over each other. Poor dear. She felt horrible and I really wish she didn't. It's just not that big of a deal.
It's cranberry juice. It's red but it's not burn your soul red like .... you know.
A little cranberry never hurt anyone.