One week down. 15 more to go, which means seven more chemo treatments (hopefully).
AND I MADE IT. Not without loads of help, of course. Shoutout to all the texts, messages, packages, cards, food, love, warmth, vibes, and all over positivity. You’re keeping my cancer-fighting jet pack fully loaded. I wouldn’t be able to get through the bad stuff without all the good stuff you’re sending my way. I feel it, I hear it, and I fully absorb it into every fiber of my being.
This week I learned that for a portion of time, my body is going to do whatever it wants. And I need to accept that. As someone who has a blueprint for every moment of the day, it’s been difficult to just accept that I can’t “plan” cancer. Well, that’s what my oncologist told me that I need to stop attempting. I’ve been known to have a problem with letting go of control, so we’ll see how that pans out.
I received my first treatment last Friday, and I spent most of the weekend resting and adjusting to jaw pain, toothaches and throat sores, which make it so that you have to chew your food down to baby bird levels in order to ingest anything. I wish I could chew water because even that hurt to swallow. My stomach was pretty angry, but the biggest whiners were my lungs. Those puppies would not allow me to take a full breath, I became winded from making my bed, and walking to the corner was an adventure. So, I guess this is 80. (HOT CHEMO TIP: Eucalyptus Oil, Therapeutic Grade is a great way to keep that lung-burning sensation at bay, and helps make breathing an actual possibility. Which is pretty important.)
The real doozy hit Monday night when I just couldn’t keep my eyeballs open. I felt like I had the flu. I knew I didn’t, but my body, much like the honey badger, didn’t care. So Tuesday I stayed home in what felt like a twilight coma. I went to work the remainder of the week, slowly getting better each day. And by Saturday – I WENT TO THE GROVE. WHERE THERE ARE GERM-INFESTED HUMANS. I felt indestructible. I pranced around that outdoor mall I once hated with pride. I wanted everyone that looked my way to know I was having a good day. A good day means I have my body back, free of aches and nerve flares, ready and able to do everything myself, without fear that it’ll hurt me tomorrow.
So I took that good day and decided it was time to organize a closet which had become a war zone. We bought some containers at three o’clock and by 9 pm the closet looked like the after shot of an HGTV show. Why am I even mentioning this? Because while I was healthy, I had so much on my to-do list that I kept putting off. I don’t have time for that now. I’m down for the count for about half of each month, so I can’t waste the other half. I need to live.
My mom was in town this week and like the only child that I very clearly am, I reverted back to the age of nine the instant she arrived. She went food shopping, she cooked, she did laundry, she reminded me to take my meds…she also made my lunches every day. Yikes – what a baby, huh?! I truly couldn’t fight it, though. I would get home from work in pain, barely able to drive over a speed bump. And every time I would crash on the couch for hours, waking up only to eat something before going back to a horizontal position.
Oh. I also went to a dispensary for the first time. It felt like what I imagine a hug from Oprah feels like: warm, emotional, and deeply satisfying. I had seen a doctor earlier in the week who practiced medicine at UCLA for over 25 years and in the past decade has done research on the benefits of medical marijuana. So while Zach, my trusty caregiver, was discussing different strands with a bud-tender, I was having my very own “The Hills are Alive” moment with the assortment of organic baked goods. I ended up getting CBD oil to help with my side effects along with a Lemon, Ginger & Turmeric CBD cookie. CBD doesn’t have much psycho-activity, but loads of medicinal benefits. And yes, my oncologist approves.
Just another reason to love being in California during this fight. Medicinal marijuana has helped me so much this week. My body had a break every time I ingested some. My nausea disappeared, I drank more water, had an appetite. And when my insurance limits how many anti-nausea pills I can get in a month because they’re so insanely expensive, I’ll need all the help I can get.
WE GOT THIS.