Week six of Taxol is over and done – and was pretty ok. Just some pain with the vein chosen (won’t use THAT one again), but otherwise fairly decent. Liver appears to be back to normal this week (phew) so I will continue to try to stay off tylenol and ibuprofen as much as possible and no drinking. (How convenient my 20-year high school reunion is the weekend AFTER my last treatment?) And nice to ease off the steroids a bit. Was a dreadfully early morning, but also meant we were out earlier and able to go home and crash on the couch.
Halfway there – that is what everyone keeps reminding me, and what I find myself telling others when they ask about my treatment. Usually that is a reassuring phrase. In a way it is, as I know six weeks from now (as long as my liver doesn’t mess things up), I will be done with chemo. (WOO HOO!)
But what really lingers in my mind is how much harder the second six weeks will be than the first. It’s already starting, as I mentioned last week, and for the first time I had a couple of really rough days getting through work and had to give in and take a painkiller when I got home and just sleep. I know I need to slow down some and I will. As it gets worse, I will probably work from home a bit or take a day off if necessary. We’ll just have to see how bad it actually gets.
I am not going to dwell on it. I got a text from a loved one after my last post where I said I don’t want people to feel sorry for me: “I’ll tell you what. I won’t feel sorry for you. I don’t think I ever actually did (not that I wasn’t devestated to hear the news). We are all dealt a certain hand in the beginning. It’s how we play them that counts. So, stop giving people a reason to cry, no one needs to see your pain (no one sees mine and you’re stronger) and refocus on giving them a reason to cheer. Close that door! No one else is gonna tell you and I’m no one else. Now is the time to show your strength, so buck up and be strong. I know you can make it through, if you want to. You have the most bad ass ELITE special forces SOG-MACV blood in your veins. Tap into it! Your DNA doesn’t even know what defeat is!”
He is right – in a way. In many ways. I do need to be more positive. I am strong. I do have fighter DNA. I will make it through. Heck, I can make it through anything for just six weeks. And soon it will be five, then four… And my hair is starting to grow back, right, so it’s not all bad! (I may hurt all over but I will eventually look better… and the pain will go away.)
The one thing I said (in addition to how much I love him and thank him for the honesty) is that I do still need to show the bad side, too. I can’t only share the good on here. That would be fiction. Lying by omission. And yes, while this started out for family and friends (who I make it a point NOT to lie to – in fact I’m not a fan of lying to anyone), it’s grown quite a bit. Now there are several women going through similar cancer treatments and for them, more than anyone, I sometimes need to be brutally honest. I need them to know that they are not going through this alone. And that they are not the only ones whose nails are breaking off, they are not the only ones feeling aches and pains throughout their body, they are not the only ones gaining weight from the treatment. Yes, I want to – and most of the time do – keep smiling and being strong and try to be inspiring for others. But I refuse to be fake.
So I am sorry if some of the things you read here bring you down. But I can assure you, no matter how rough a week it is for me, I will get through this, and I will keep smiling most of the time. I know this is just a bump in the road. Not only will the next six weeks be over before I know it, so will 2013. And that will be a wonderful new start…