Okay. We did it.
We survived Round 1, eight hours in the chemo chair and 7 shots of immune boosting hell! It’s been a week and change and I feel like I’m finally coming out of the fog. That “chemo brain” symptom is a real thing because I have never felt more dumb in my entire life! (Thus the whole lack of updates here). So far, I’ve run the gauntlet of symptoms. An entire sheet of symptoms were there daily but each day one would pull ahead of the pack and make my life a little more confusing. The one constant… I can’t taste anything. My favorite foods now taste foul. The only thing I want to eat lately… Thai food. Weird. I know.
Bone pain hit me last Tuesday night and I can honestly say it is worse than labor pain. It comes in waves just like contractions and suddenly you are gripping the closest piece of furniture to keep from falling to the floor. I’m going today for labs to see if we can maybe ease up a bit on the white blood cell shots for the next rounds. But there is already good news. All my symptoms are manageable with medication and we hopefully have a game plan of what next time will look like and when to take them so that it doesn’t have to be quite as bad.
I’ve said it before but one of the biggest shocks of chemo was that… I’m sick. I’ve been sick all along but I didn’t feel it till now. Feeling and knowing are two very different things. I know he won’t mind me telling you this but, the other day the mister and I were arguing about mundane, boring, married people household things when suddenly I heard myself say “But, what happens if I die?” First off, holy way to fight dirty, Ashley! And trust me, he won the argument right after the words escaped me ( mostly because I realized the argument was coming from somewhere other than my conscious mind). But second, I figured out just how scared I actually am.
If you think I’m not scared, you haven’t been paying attention. My resolve comes out when I’m terrified. If it’s fight or flight, I’m a mean mother. Some of you think I’m positive, but honestly I’m just a scared girl literally fighting for her life. My battle plan has always been get FIGHTING mad, don’t dwell on it, live your life. But, in the back of my mind it’s there. I can say with 100% certainty I’m not scared to die. Something like this really cements your faith, one way or another. At the same time, I’m absolutely terrified of what happens if I’m not around for the people I love. In a way death isn’t about you, it’s about the people who love you. Every now and then you have to think about these things. We all do. We all die someday. For me, it felt better to acknowledge the fear. Once I know what I’m scared of, I can manage it, put it in its place, and not start stupid fights with an amazing person out of subconscious fear.
Cancer has already gifted me with a stronger marriage. The mister has always been my best friend but now he’s also my battle buddy. Watching the words “in sickness and in health” become a real life mission, changes your perspective on a person. If you think after ten years you know a person in every way, you’re wrong (or you stopped looking at them properly). We have evolved, changed, and come back different people. Getting to see his strength through this has given me just one more perspective on how perfectly I chose my other half.
Funny thing is, cancer should have taken a lot from me (and it’s still going to… umm, goodbye boobies much?). I honestly feel like it has given me a lot more. A new-found inner peace and strength. Time with my amazing family who I wish lived closer. The extreme kindness of strangers known only to those in the Cancer club. Strangely, an acceptance of my body that I have never known. And in the end…. brand new perky gals with some endless wardrobe possibilities. Adios, bra!