I never thought I’d do this on my blog, but here is Pollyana in the dumps….
I feel like a cancer patient. I suppose I am and have been since March, but now I really feel like it and look the part.
I have no intention of quitting chemotherapy, but I can see why people decide to and I barely have horrible side effects. The cancer does not make me sick right now, it is the medicine making me sick…..and some people become willing to take the chance with the cancer. Well, not I. I will endure, but it is a big pain (I am grateful at the same time!) I have minimal fatigue, no mouth sores, very little and quite manageable nausea , no skin issues. Yes, I lost my hair, but that does not phase me so much. For me it is mostly about how I feel, and if I can do the day to day with my family.
The main thing for me, is being a mom of young children and being susceptible to illness like a common head cold and not having the faculties to defend it within my body. My daughter has a fever hovering around 100 degrees and a head cold, and I have taken to wearing a mask in our home. I am extremely low energy and just trying to do the bare minimum. I have canceled most weekend plans (save a small birthday celebration for Taylor if we can!!) and feel sad to miss out on life with the healthy and vibrant. I have been tired since chemotherapy on Monday morning and have been fending off germs since. I went to Eureka Internal Medicine on Tuesday for my white blood cell booster–Nuelasta. Without that I am sure I would have succumbed.
As far as the mask-the most dramatic new addition to our family life…..Taylor is OK with it as long as I only wear it at home she has clearly stated. Her and Asher each decorated one with pens and a sticker while I was on a ride. Asher thinks it is a game and that I am pretending to be James, a friend and the man who mows lawns in our neighborhood. He loves it, but wants me to talk in a deep voice and push a basket around that he calls my mower. When we were reading tonight before bed he kept telling me to talk in James’ deep voice. It will either shift or he will become frustrated. We will see!
That is not to say that life has not been great in many ways. I had a great time with my sister’s family in Marin. I flew down on stand-by with a friend’s buddy pass. I played bananagrams with my niece Samantha during the infusion and had a Jin Shin Jyutsu session with Corliss at the Marin Cancer Institute. I spent the day laying around their house and went for a few nice bicycle rises through my sister’s neighborhood on my nieces bike.
My family picked me up at the airport on Tuesday morning and we’ve enjoyed time in the front yard and on the couch doing various projects from building with blocks, to making a scrapbook. We are reading Charlotte’s Web. Solstice was a beautiful day and we made it to a T ball picnic where Taylor received her first trophy. Taylor was in a ballet camp this week which was great fun, but she did need to miss the last two days due to her getting sick. We are hoping to celebrate her sixth birthday this weekend (to be determined Saturday) and made a cake today, but it may be one for the freezer and another time. It was tough for Taylor to not be able to lick the beater/spoon/bowl…a traditional treat when birthday cake making normally, but with a fever, cold and cold sore…..a no go today.
I enjoyed acupuncture with Jessica Baker at Jade Dragon Medical Spa on Tuesday and Qigong with Zena Bardelas of Misty Mountain Healing Arts Wednesday and Friday. Soon I hope to write a post on the amazing benefits these treatments bring my mind, body, and spirit during this time. It is life saving and I look forward to these sessions more than anything right now.
Some very lovely meals have come my family’s way Monday and Friday of this week. Due to our health status we did not get to see the cheery, beautiful family who brought food tonight, but when I opened the door to retrieve it I burst into tears (what a raw state I am in). Beautiful garden flowers tied with a ribbon, handmade signs from their family to ours, and a gorgeous meal obviously made with love. We really did a number on it. We were ravenous. Thanks everyone for the offers of help, the help, the forgiveness and understanding, the music CD, the hello in the bookstore, the money you slipped my husband, the well wishes. You are all paying it forward and I shall too someday!
My rides at home have been mellow. These past few days I have taken to riding very slowly sans trailer as to conserve energy. I mostly just zig zag through my own neighborhood, and am bundled up warm with scarves, gloves, and wool clothes. If you saw me, last night you would have seen me sipping Magic Mineral Broth throughout my ride, and the past few nights you may have seen my eyes fill with tears while I ride. It is not such a bad thing to let the emotions come. It is a lovely time of night for me to do some thinking and process the day. It is not easy having cancer and being on chemotherapy.
I maintain that my riding is one of the healthiest activities I engage in right now. Leaving my house with germs and a sick child feels so good and it is something I may not do daily if I had not made this commitment. Fresh air and a bit of body movement–I go so slow some days I don’t really call it exercise. There may come a day when I do not actually have the energy to do my daily ride, and that will be fine, but until then, you will see me out there riding at least that one mile through my neighborhood, albeit slowly, slowly and bundled in warm clothes with hot liquids in hand.
With Taylor about to turn six, we spent much of today reviewing the big fat book we splurged on making on our mac last year for her fifth which contains memories in pictures of her first five years. I can’t help but to look at the pictures of our family in which we look young, radiant, and healthy. And the thought that comes to mind is…..was I really thinking I was out of shape/hair looked funny/life was not good enough. Was I really wanting more? Geez. If only life were like that time again!! I am sure it will be soon enough, and I hope I will be more thankful for every minute.
Rejoice and live it up if you are reading this and have abundant health and a healthy family!
A blue heron on my ride two days ago reminded me of the blue heron I saw at the marsh a few days before my daughter’s birth. I really wanted to invoke the grace of this beautiful bird during my labor. Now it served to remind me of the ups and downs of life, the joys, the sorrows, the achievements and struggles. As I go to sleep tonight I will find the smells and sensations that were present in my home when my babies were born, the immense joy and great fortune I felt on my wedding day. It will bring me solace.