HI HEALTHY LADIES!!
Today, I would like to share with you a letter that my friend passed along to me from one of his friends, who is surviving cancer. Her letter touched me deeply and I thought of it all that day and for days after that. I know this person and she is a vibrant, joyous grand lady who does so much for so many. It stirred in me so many emotions – hope, sadness, inspiration, respect. So I asked if I could share it on my blog and she said yes but asked to remain anonymous. Here it is:
DONE! DONE! DONE!
I have limped across the finish line. The journey that started seven months came to a semi-conclusion the day after Easter with the last chemo. I feel like I have my own little resurrection miracle after every chemo crash, which was perfectly miserable this time, again. And then 2 weeks later, the tubes that have been dangling out of my arm and laced up to my heart were gently pulled out. It feels so good to be on the road to full recovery…I was becoming impatient with the whole thing.
When the final bell rang alerting the nurses of the last chemo drip, they all came into the room singing “zipeddy doo dah”, complete with tambourines, presented me with a medal and wished me well. I’m not quite sure why they chose that song, but it was beautiful. (this is my second medal, no less. The first was given after radiation….no song accompaniment. )
I was so happy to leave! The hamburger afterwards was just perfect. The only thing missing was champagne….or a scotch, neat. In due time.
But the last chemo was significant….both in meaning and in misery. The accumulation just really walloped me for about 5 days. So weak, so listless, so uncomfortable to sleep but there was nothing to do but sleep. I slept with the bottle of Pedialyte (yuck) so I wouldn’t get as dehydrated as last time. It took too much energy to talk, text, read….and every hour seemed like a day.
My walking is getting better and steadier, but I still often need someone’s arm or a wall to guide me. My mind is just fine, but I walk slow as molasses, like a decrepit old lady. So, while there’s improvement daily, I am impatient. I am determined to wear sexy, strappy sandals very soon.
Chemo was the next morning after Easter, and then the inevitable chemo crash, and then on Sunday, the American Cancer Society breast cancer walk. Alas, I was in no condition to walk. I was disappointed not being even able to help at the buffet table. Normal life is slowly coming back after the last two rounds. I save most of my energy for work because I like it down here. Still no social life, except for the daily cocktail party I host at work (a restaurant). Still sleeping a lot…but better and more restfully. Still practicing the piano….with such little progress it’s almost pathetic.
I had such an unexpected compliment from a total stranger yesterday in a parking lot ….I was feeling particularly energetic and was whooping it up and singing in the car (to rock and roll, no less!) , windows down, sans turban, and some young gangsta looking guy stared at me and said “ you look sexy, lady.” In which case I thanked him, told him I was done with chemo, he wished me well, I asked his name, etc etc. ….and as he got into his ridiculously too high pick -up truck, he again told me I looked sexy. I swelled with beauty. And so even though many of you have encouraged my bald look, when I do, I’ll have to give the credit to Kevin.
As far as the next few months go, I don’t have to be at the hospital for a whole entire month. Yahoo! Then I start up the infusions again until September with Herceptin, the miracle drug. It is nothing like chemo, and will be just fine. The spa treatments at Rancho La Puerta have finally been booked and I will head south of the border for much needed R & R on Wednesday. Ole, indeed! Then off to the East Coast Road Trip in June and Buenos Aires in October. I have been under house arrest for way too long….ready to live it up a bit.
I’ve come to the conclusion, now that I feel just fine and I’m done (mostly), that the whole experience was just fine, manageable and a lot of positive and interesting things happened along the way. I said from the get go that I trusted God on wherever this journey was going, and that I’d end up in a different mind -set.
The positive thing about chemo, for me, was that it allowed my mind to go completely dormant for 5 days or so, and then when I finally woke, my mind exploded with ideas of all shapes and sizes. These past months were still quite productive—did 3 house renovations (down to the studs), quasi learned a piano piece (still counting…), consulted on an inn/restaurant/retail for a new town in Mississippi (long story…but very interesting), did more upgrades at work, and am still taking the steps to make my turban company a reality.
I met such courageous patients who made me appreciate how many options I had/have when they had few. Perspective is a wonderful gift.
I hope this experience deepens my compassion and my understanding of friendship.
I still hold on to the idea of how lucky I am…lucky that the cancer was caught early and didn’t spread, that I didn’t have to run around for second opinions, that City of Hope and my doctor are close by, that I don’t have to worry about employment restrictions and consequences, that my staff stepped up to the plate, that customers still came, that I have a deeply caring support system of all of you, that God is with me, always, and that there is an end date in sight. Lucky, indeed! Thank you, thank you for your unflagging support during my journey. You have been instrumental in helping me heal. Now it’s time to live!
Ladies – for her and for you, I wish for:
Many sunrises and sunsets
Many amazing travels to wonderful places
Lots of good times with friends and families
A life filled with deep insight and meaning
Little time spent feeling like your body is failing you
Many many trips to the spa!