I start chemo one week from today and it’s really all I think about right now. I am nervous. Who wouldn’t be? I don’t know what it’s going to do to me, how it’s going to change me.
The fact that I actually am a cancer patient…holy shitballs…it’s taken me some time to digest and accept, but I have. So, yes, I am a cancer patient and other cancer patients are my peep . But it still feels surreal. For one, people keep telling me how great I look. It’s true, right now I look more healthy than I have in at least a year or so. It’s because they’ve cut the cancer tumours out of me. It’s no longer slowly and very secretly sucking the life out of me – literally. My colour is better, the circles under my eyes are gone, my eyes are brighter. Even my husband is regularly commenting on how healthy I look right now because he can’t even believe it and he sees me every day.
But yeah, I’m about to start chemo. So I have a feeling in a few weeks people might not be telling me how great I look. But maybe they will! But the word is, is that it’s going to take toll on my body and on my brain. I’m crossing my fingers that the side effects won’t hit me too badly. It’s weird because my doctors have said, “only a small percentage of people have the worst side effects” but at the same time tell me that “treatment is going to be very difficult – but it can be done” and they always add that I can get through it. They just always reiterate it will be a very hard journey for me. I saw my surgeon on Monday and he followed this statement with, “Well, you are up for a fight though, right?” Of course I am, but I’m hoping I’ll hit somewhere in the middle when it comes to side effects. Maybe it’s all mind over matter. maybe if I tell myself I am going to handle it GREAT, maybe I will. I imagine the chances are good that I’ll feel fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, dry/sensitive/fragile skin and depression. I’m really hoping I don’t get chemo brain, or at least that I don’t get it too badly. I’ve been doing lots of research on chemo effects and heard all of the stories of how chemo hardly effected some people at all. (Please, please, oh please let that be me) But I’ve also read accounts about how it was the worst thing people have ever experienced. Decca Aitkenhead wrote about her experience in the Guardian, which you can read here. It’s very informative, but in summary she says,
“chemotherapy strips away every last ounce of vitality or volition, until you are left only with the outward appearance of a living person. But you are a hollow husk, empty of all the essential constituents that make a person alive. It is a cruel irony that a drug designed to stop you from dying, makes you feel as if you already have.”
My doctors say I’ll know within the first two weeks (in my first cycle of treatment) what my side effects will be. But then, friends who’ve have had chemo said the side effects didn’t really hit them until the second cycle.
Anyway, it is what it is, right? Can’t stop what’s coming, nope. And yeah, I AM up for a fight. Cancer started this fight but I will be the one who will finish it.
My beautiful and super smart niece sent me a text yesterday and I keep reading it to drill her words into my brain. Part of what she said is, “…take comfort in the fact that this isn’t forever. They’ve already done way more than what could’ve been done had it been discovered later….chemo is just starting, but this is almost over. You’ll beat it and you have a whole slew of people to help you along”
She’s right – she’s right -she’s right. It’s not forever and it will be over soon. So, I am prepping for my chemo so that I don’t let it get the best of me. More on that later though.