My Adventure With Herceptin

*Update June 2015: At the writing of this post, I was starting my third month of chemotherapy. In fact, this was my only my fifth infusion. I was still quite shocked and traumatized by the idea that I had breast cancer and I was trying really hard to keep up a public brave face. I was terrified. And I was exhausted from keeping up the facade that I was doing okay. I was pretty devastated but trying not to show anyone that fear.*

My adventure with Herceptin. 

Thursday was my first treatment with Herceptin. I will be taking this medication every week for an entire year (yay... more chemo!). My cancer is HER2 positive -- which has something to do with estrogen fueling my cancer. This medication is supposed to slow and/or stop that growth.

I went to the cancer center expecting to be in and out in about an hour... ended up being there for a few hours. The first dose is 3 times as long as the weekly dose. So, I had to take this IV for 90 minutes. My favorite oncology nurse, Theresa, warned me that Herceptin causes some random side effects -- not for everyone of course, but for some of us. I listened to everything she said and thought that I would probably be one of the folks who didn't have a reaction. I'm typically that girl. Guess my typical days are over because 60 minutes into my drip... I started reacting.

Let me put this in perspective for you.

I completely forgot about that this appointment was scheduled for 830 am. (I am really not a morning person) I remembered that I had to be at the cancer center at 1 am. I mentioned it to my mom -- wasn't sure that she heard me or if she was sleeping. I contacted my boyfriend, who was just ending his work night. He said that he would take me if I woke him up.

Interestingly enough, my mother did hear me and she got up in time for us to make it to the doctor. Worked out well because I couldn't get in touch with my boyfriend and by the time I did reach him, my mom was ready to go. Here's the thing... my mom was willing to battle rush hour traffic to get me there on time, but she couldn't bring herself to come into the hospital and upstairs to the cancer center.

When one hour becomes three... welcome to chemo!

So... when it seemed like I would only be upstairs for an hour, she was willing to sit in the car and wait. When I called to tell her it would be more like 2 hours, she still didn't want to come upstairs to the cancer center. I shrugged it off, I sort of knew that she had a problem with watching me take the chemo so I tried not to be upset that she would rather sit in her car (nice car that it is, mind you) than sit with me.

But I wasn't very happy about it. What can I say? I can't force someone (even my sweet loving mother) to deal with something this harsh if she's not capable of it. Its good enough that she was willing to get up so early, on such notice and take me down there. She didn't have to do that -- especially when you add in the misery of rush hour traffic.

Can you feel alone in a crowded room? Yes... you can. 

I sat in the cancer center like I said... getting yet another chemo drip, feeling really lonely and scared. I know all the nurses that work there (I see them all the time), I trust them, I know they will look out for me... and yet... I felt so absolutely alone. My mom was really only a phone call away -- she was just a few feet from my side when you think about it but I swear... I felt like I was alone on a deserted island.

Let me add... lots of folks go to the cancer center alone and take their chemo like a champ, all by themselves. I honestly don't get it. I don't know how they do it. Even if my boyfriend and I don't talk at all, his presence by my side comforts me in a way that I cannot put into words. But we do talk, and laugh and generally transport ourselves out of that dreary-trying-to-be-cheery place and the hours just fly by.

So... my mom didn't want to see me hooked up to the IV and she stayed in her car, listening to the radio and probably working on her puzzles. Meanwhile, I read my book and kept stealing glances at the chemo bag trying to wish it to go faster, so I could go back home and get some sleep. And then... an hour into the drip, I started feeling really cold.

Sometimes trying to be strong is not the right choice. 

One of the side effects was getting rigors (fancy medical term for the shakes you get when you're really cold). I was dressed warmly and I had one blanket... but I started to feel like the temperature around me was dropping.

I was determined to leave on time. I didn't want to keep my mom waiting and I wanted to go back to bed. I looked at the bag and guessed that I had only 30 more minutes... so I didn't say anything. But dammit if those doggone shakes didn't just fall on me hard within about 5 minutes of me deciding that I wasn't going to say anything. Theresa had also told me that if I did experience any side effects, they would have to slow down the drip and give my body a chance to adjust to it. Unlike with other medications, they weren't likely to stop giving me the medicine just because I reacted -- it was going down, regardless. So, like I said... I weighed my options and figured I could just hang in there for a few more minutes.

I'm always so wrong in my estimation of what works for me now. And I was wrong in this case too. Within 5 minutes I thought my teeth would fall out of my head from the chattering... I finally got the nurse's attention and told her that I needed another blanket.

So afraid, so alone... so many tears. I am terrified and tired of being strong.

It sounds silly to me now... but when she looked at me and saw how cold I was, I just started to cry. It defies reasonable explanation... but I was terrified and I was alone and I was actually too afraid of shouting out loud that I needed help, to even get her attention. I honestly sat there, shaking and shivering like a nut... waiting for someone to move near enough to me that I could catch their eye and let them know I needed help.

The area where we get chemo treatments is a big open area filled with lots of seats. There isn't any real privacy in there. I didn't want to disturb anyone else... especially when I felt that whatever I was going through just couldn't be that serious.

I cried. I was alone and if someone had been sitting there with me, I could have leaned over and asked them to get a nurse. But because I was alone, I could either struggle to get up and walk to their desk, shout out loud... or wait (I chose the latter)... until someone saw me.

I was afraid. Even in that safe space... I was absolutely afraid.

It doesn't make sense -- so if you're thinking to yourself that my actions didn't make sense, you're right. Keep in mind that I was really tired (didn't get much sleep the night before), I was hungry (it was too early to eat so I didn't), and I was disappointed (like a child) that nobody was there with me. So, I guess my reaction could be considered a tantrum. I don't know.

All I know is that without realizing just how scared I was... I was balling my eyes out while my nurse worked on my IV, adding this and that... stopping the other thing, trying to get me balanced out. And I was ashamed of my own tears and fears. That part really makes little to no sense as well. There wasn't one soul in that room who did not understand what I was going through or how I was feeling. But I felt like such a baby for not being able to deal with it alone.

This thing is hard on everyone. I'm not the only one suffering from my breast cancer experience.

I'm getting it together... even thinking about it makes me a little misty-eyed. On the ride home, my mom and I danced around the conversation (in our own way...) and she confessed that it was hard for her to go with me to chemotherapy. I knew that, even without her saying it... and it made me feel worse for having to ask her to take me. And before you even think it, I know she doesn't mind, she told me she doesn't mind... and I get it. But I also know that I don't like asking her to deal with this when I know it breaks her heart the way that it does.

She asked me to give her time to prepare herself mentally to go to the treatments. I will do that. And I might ... just might, mind you... have to ask a couple of you to come and hold my hand from time to time. Just to give her a break. My boyfriend has been such a soldier but it seems like he too just needs a break from my breast cancer. 

Consider this my lifeline to call a friend. 

If I call... and you can't do it, or you don't think you can handle it, just tell me that upfront. I won't be upset. I truly understand. I don't want to ask someone to do something that is too much for them, and they do it out of a sense of obligation and then have to deal with the emotional aftermath alone.

Just keep praying for me. It seems like it would get easier... but in some ways, its not.

I wanted to add... I'm a really private person. You probably can't tell that from all the personal things I've shared here on this blog. As much as I can't stand being alone in chemo, I know that its going to happen again and again... as I go through this process. It is simply something I'm going to have to get used to. I may have been hormonal, and that's why I cried. Or it could be just as simple as ... I missed my mom. I don't know. What I do know is that it is really hard for me to allow anyone to see me while I'm getting my chemo treatment and yet I absolutely hate going there alone.

Each time I think that I've got this under control, I realize that it is much harder than I thought

It is such a vulnerable position. I can't really explain it. I feel naked there, even though I'm fully dressed. All that to say... If I don't ask you (or take you up on your offer) to sit with me during chemo please don't take it as a personal affront. I don't think I can articulate this well... but what I'm trying to say is that I only feel comfortable with a few people seeing me in my total nakedness. And chemo (while fully dressed) feels really, really exposed.

I hope you understand. 

To learn more about Herceptin:

hot flashes are just mean....

I've been up all night... alternately sweating and shivering. I went to bed with just a t-shirt... hoping that I could make it through the night. Of course, that would have been too easy. So... I have a fan going -- directly on me. Somehow, the hot flashes laugh at that direct blast of air... so I find myself grasping for any piece of paper nearby to assist with the breeze.

I keep rotating my pillows because they too... are suffering from the hot flashes. When I raise my head up... so that I can fan the back of my neck... I realize that my pillow is soaking wet -- much like my t-shirt was before it got tossed to the floor.

What is this about? I mean... seriously? Is it not enough that my joints are aching... do I have to also suffer the indignity of sweating like a pig all night too?


If you talk to me today and I'm either cranky or quite silent... it is because I am tired. I don't imagine I'll get much sleep tonight. Considering its 4am and I'm still awake... I guess I can wrap that up.

.... a good night's sleep, that's all I want tonight.

3 days in the hospital... and the week after...

I'm going to try this again. Seems like the entire post I just typed... disappeared. Ugh! Now I have to try to remember what I wrote the first time. Bleah.

Sorry that I haven't posted since October 22nd. Long story short, I ended up in the hospital on the 24th. I was feeling lousy for a few days... and it didn't occur to me to take my temperature until Thursday of that week. I had a fever. When I spoke with the nurse on Friday and told her that I had had a fever for the past couple of days... she told me to go to the emergency room. I thought that maybe she was being extremist but... nah. She was way smarter than me.

Turns out... having a fever when you're in chemotherapy is a very very bad thing. It is a sign that your immune system is very weak and you're probably at risk for getting an infection or a virus or something awful. Now, in an ordinarily healthy adult, your body fights off infection with no problem and you're okay in no time. But... of course, since chemo tears down all your fast growing cells, you're susceptible to having an infection wreck havoc on your body.

Went to the emergency room on Friday afternoon... didn't leave the hospital until Monday evening... and practically had to beg then to be released. Spent 12 hours in emergency (so much fun) and then the next few days in a little room on the 5th floor. My white blood count was extremely low... according to one doctor, my blood work showed that my neutrophils were at .9 -- that's an issue when normal is like 4000. I was fortunate that I had not (that they could tell) gotten any infections but they pumped me full of antibiotics for days to make sure that I was okay. And they gave me lots of saline (seems like I was dehydrated too) and also 3 blood transfusions. I was rather anemic too.

All in all... I was a bit of a mess. But, I came out on Monday feeling much better. I actually felt about normal -- pre-cancer normal that is. I had chemo on Thursday... and this was the first of four cycles of Taxol (a different chemo drug). Actually, I ended up having chemo on Thursday and Friday -- a mix-up that the nurses made. However, today... I feel awful. I got through the weekend okay but now I feel so achy and sore that I'm hoping tomorrow when I go to the cancer center, they can tell me how to ease this feeling.

Since my neutropenic fever the other week, my doctor is taking extra precautions and I get to have 3 injections this week, instead of getting just one the day after chemo like I normally do. Also, this week, I start my hormone therapy (herceptin) which I will continue every week for the next year. (can you believe this??) Basically, I will spend one day each week for the next 52 weeks tethered to an IV being pumped full of medicine.


Anyhoo... my taste buds aren't as jacked up as they have been. I remain hopeful that they will come all the way back -- I swear I don't want to go through the rest of my life with food tasting this way. Even though today its better than it was -- its still not good enough. Not for a girl who likes food as much as I do.

My knees, my hips, my back, my ankles, my arms... all those joints... HURT LIKE HELL. But, what ya gonna do?? It came on slowly -- a little bit last night but today, it came down on me like hard rain. By the time I finished lunch today... I wanted to crawl, literally, back to bed.

Before the achiness came on me... I was worried that I wouldn't be able to stand for hours (if necessary) to vote. Now... I really don't know what's going to happen. I'm going to pray that God works it out that there isn't a line when I get to the polling place because I will literally sit on the ground if I have to stand for more than 2 minutes. And it will be hard work getting up -- believe that.

Since my immune system is so weak, its not likely that many of you will be seeing me over the next couple of months. I really can't risk any germs, infections, etc. In fact, I probably won't be able to see my family for Thanksgiving for the same reason -- and man, that really sucks. But I promise you -- I do not want to spend another 4 days in the hospital getting pumped full of medicine and getting blood transfusions. The food is just too horrible to risk it. lol...

All in all... achiness and hospital visits aside... I'm doing okay. I'm in reasonably good spirits. Though, you all know... I will cry from time to time. In fact, I made a friend with one of the nurses while I was in the hospital and I ended up crying on her shoulder for a long time on Sunday night. I was glad that she was there and understood (or empathized with) what I was feeling.

I wish I could explain to you how my mood will shift from upbeat and happy to sad and confused in a matter of moments. But I haven't identified any triggers that precipitate the change in outlook. All I know is that... every now and then... I get upset and sad that I'm going through this and that I'm taking my family and friends through all this emotional stuff.

I'm going to bed now... gotta get up and vote tomorrow. I love you and I thank you for sticking with me on this journey. Your prayers and your good wishes... are really keeping me going. You have no idea.


a post about writing...

Years ago, I used to (irregularly) write these irreverent, slice of life articles... based on nothing more than my casual observances of things around me. Primarily funny commentary about the weirdness of being young and single in DC.

After writing an article that I personally found witty and funny... and touching... I had a conversation with a male acquaintance about my dating habits and preferences. The subject matter of that article was based upon something that took place when I was out on a date. This particular gentleman brought up that article in response to a different article... one where I was (yet again) railing and questioning where my black love prospects lay.

To sum up his thoughts... he felt that I had put myself in a bad predicament by using my own life experiences as the subject matter of my articles. Especially, when these experiences included men that I dated. He felt that I was casting a spotlight on people who may not want to be that public. Though I didn't stop writing after that conversation, I did think more carefully about who I included in my articles from that point forward.

This conversation just popped into my head tonight as I was watching an episode of Sex and the City and wondered what on earth I was going to write about on my blog. I've shared so much of my very intimate thoughts and feelings here -- and now, as my thoughts turn a little darker from moment to moment -- I wonder whether or not I've gone too far in my sharing.

The past couple of weeks, I've been wondering whether I've shared too much of my intimate thoughts and feelings. Whether I've cast too harsh a glare on myself as I try to get through this process of dealing with having cancer.

Blogging, in the way that I have begun here, is helpful and scary. Its painful and healing at the same time. All of that to say... I'm scared to keep sharing so much of myself here. I don't know beforehand what I'm going to post, or how emotional it may be. I only know that there comes a moment when I feel like... its time to post something new. And then, I just let my fingers walk across the keyboard... in their own fashion.

I am fearful because I know that strangers read my blog -- though honestly, I can't understand why -- and I am fearful because I have no idea where I'm going, where I'll end up and how I'll weather the process. All I know... is that I want to be better. And I have to trust that what my doctors and nurses tell me to do... is what will get me there.

Today's post is really about being afraid. I am a classic procrastinator and when its possible, I will delay action and thoughts for a long time... I am often paralyzed by the "what if" thoughts. I can't procrastinate through this... so my fear is much more palatable than what I'm accustomed to dealing with. Everyday... I have to wake up and know... I have cancer. I can do this, this and this... and everything else, we have to let fall away. I'm having difficulty with the falling away part.

I have been angry (and hungry) lately. That's not new. My tongue hurts -- and it doesn't work so well either. I want to eat and drink but everything tastes like garbage really. So it feels like there's no point. I'm just... here. Sitting and stewing in my own funk about everything.

Someone said to me recently that my friends were afraid that dealing with cancer might send me back into a depression. I'm sure that its crossed the minds of some of my friends. Lord knows its wrapped itself around my neck more than one time. But the truth is that... getting depressed about my failing/ailing health... is probably part of the process as well. Depression is not a casual thing. It is not something easily dissipated like the blues... with a good banana split or something. It is a deep changing of your mental outlook on life. It takes time to start and time to stop -- if you can stop. It is different for everyone who deals with it.

I can say this. Today... I am not depressed. I am sad sometimes. I am frustrated a lot. I am achy and hungry and thirsty... man. But I am not depressed. I do not think of dying, or rather... of killing myself (or simply not existing anymore) the way that I did back then. But, I'd be a liar (and a bad one) if I didn't say that my thoughts get darker each day/week/month that goes by... and I still feel like crap. And I'm not so sure what to do about it.

I have a large envelope on my dresser. It contains the films from my mammograms -- the films that show Fred and his cronies from those early, confusing days of my diagnosis. I haven't looked at those films in weeks, maybe months. Not since they came back from NIH basically confirming for me that... yup, I have cancer and yup, its pretty advanced and uh huh... I'm going to have to lose my breast to save my life. Even though I haven't looked at them, I know what they are. And they represent a time of nearly blissful ignorance about what lie ahead.

They make me angry by their presence. But I know, or rather I feel, that they shouldn't. They should make me feel relieved a bit, if not happy. Because before I knew about the lump, I had no idea that I was a walking time bomb. I'm not sure why I'm sharing this tonight. I think its because I've been trying so hard... so very hard... to turn the damn corner on this thing. I am ready to be able to see the glass half full, instead of half empty. I want to see the blessings and the miracles that are around me... instead of the fears and the shadows.

I want to move on. But every time I try... I feel like I'm being a fraud, not being honest with myself. Can I be both scared and optimistic at the same time? Even though there are things I can't do, there are things that I can. And even within the realm of things I can't do -- most of those instances are relatively temporary meaning... I may not be able to do it today, but maybe 9 months from now I will be able to.

I'm pushing myself to see that end of the line perspective... rather than continue to sulk in the moments that make me sad.

What made me sad this week... was based on things that my mother did that normally would bring me so much joy. She baked sweet treats. :) Great right? Unless you can't taste them. Then its like torture.

My mom made monkey bread this weekend. She saw Paula Deen (I LOVE HER!!) on The View... and decided to make some monkey bread for the family. And then she decided two days later, to make apple pie.

I tasted the monkey bread and it was yummy. It was really tasty and (amazingly) I could actually taste it. I haven't been able to taste sweets for awhile (which is torture for me). My appetite however, was missing in action, so I only had about 5 little monkey balls (is that what we call them) over a period of time. My dad and my brother demolished them...

When she made the pie a couple of days later... I was in heaven from the smell. It was soooo yummy in the air. And then I cut a small slice and tasted... absolutely nothing. And it pissed me off so damn bad that I had tears in my eyes. I ate the whole slice but it could have been toast for all that I tasted. I could tell that there was butter, and I could tell that there was cinnamon (I could smell it) but I could not taste one bite. Not a nibble... not any. I don't think I would care if it was liver... but apple pie? Come on man. How unfair is that?

My dad and I love sweets. Love them, love them... love them. Last night, I took a trip through the pantry and tried nibbling on all sorts of things... just to (once again) see what worked and what didn't. Let's say... brownies, no. Canned fruit, nope. Hell, fresh grapes... no. And so forth. Raisins... something I eat by the handful when I need a quick pick me up... now just taste bitter and harsh. It feels like a punishment that has no purpose.

So you're probably wondering... she got sad because she couldn't eat pie? And honestly... as pitiful as it sounds... yeah. I got sad because my mom cooks just about everyday... and most days I chew and don't enjoy the food she's prepared and it makes me sad. When my dad was sick this summer... she cooked every day... a few times a day, to make sure that he ate. (he didn't eat in the hospital because the food was nasty) Now, I watch her cooking everyday for me and my dad... and I eat because I know she's trying to make sure that I'm healthy and getting enough nutrients... but it tastes awful most of the time and it often takes what little appetite I have... away.

I guess I'm sad because I don't want her to think I'm rejecting her. Just like I'm annoyed and frustrated that I can't do all the things I want to do because I don't want people to think that I don't care about them. I'm a little tired of focusing so much on myself... but at the same time, I have to focus on figuring out how to navigate through this madness.

I'm hungry. And my mom made a good dinner. I ate it. But I tasted nothing. I'm laying here in bed, trying to think what in the world can I eat right now that will satisfy this hunger? But the truth is that... there probably isn't anything I can eat that will help me ease this crazy feeling. But look... there's PIE in the fridge... HOMEMADE PIE... and I can't enjoy any of it.

What?? So freaking unfair. The half-full perspective is... I've lost nearly 20 pounds since chemo started. That's something right??

a quick post for Joyce

... this is a quick post for Joyce. Just to let her know that I'm doing alright.

I've never met Joyce, but through this blog we have become acquainted. Joyce is a nurse who works with cancer patients in Anne Arundel county Maryland.

Joyce reaches out to me regularly to make sure I'm doing okay and to try to connect me with other breast cancer survivors in Maryland. Before I get odd responses, let me add... more than a few folks have reached out to me and asked me to connect with friends, family members, prayer circles, etc. during this time.

My only problem is that I really don't have the energy to do all that right now.

So... while this post is for Joyce... its for all of you who have tried to reach me and have come up short. Just insert your name for hers... lol.

Thank you. I love you. I hear you. As soon as my energy comes back and I'm back up to speed... I'll come to every party, every support group, participate in prayer circles... all of it.

But right now....

I just need to nap a bit more.


visitors and reflections

Three of my cousins came to visit this weekend. It is something that has been planned for just over a month now. I was excited to see them... but their visit caused me to reflect a lot on where I am and who I am right now.

These cousins (all sisters) are on my dad's side of the family... and while I love them dearly, this was one of our first opportunities to really sit down and talk and get to know each other. Sounds odd... but its true. They are all married with kids... and they seem so happy and content with their lives, I was impressed and overjoyed for each of them.

They kept me up all night Saturday... (definitely not something I can repeat again) but the laughter was genuine and the stories were great. One of the cool things about being a grown up, is being able to reflect on who people were in their childhood (and yours) and get to know the adults that they have become.

My cousins are fascinating women. I don't say that lightly because I know a lot of women -- and honestly, not all of them are fascinating. lol... But even though I looked at them last night and still saw their cute faces as kids... as I looked in the faces of truly grown women with their own life experiences (good and bad)... I marveled at how wonderful family can be. In all phases of its own craziness.

I learned a lot about them, and so of course I reflected on myself as I reviewed the weekend in my mind.

I am a brat. And I don't say that lightly either. I realized that sensitivity runs in the family, as does a slight hardness that isn't often attributed to women. We all had varying degrees of both. I realized that complaining about your mother's infinite ways of driving you crazy... is a family trait -- but I also learned that its not really that true.

I listened to my cousins joke and laugh about the ways that their mother (my auntie) drives them crazy. As my own mother sat there with us, trying to defend mothers everywhere.... I had to laugh because I was the only woman in the room with no husband and no kids. So, the perspective was interesting to me.

I am famous for complaining about my mom. And what's wild is that I love her so much... I cannot articulate the feelings adequately. I would fight for my mother... to the death if necessary. I would carry my mother on my back if I had to, to save her from any harm. But even with all that... there is a "thing" that some mothers and daughters have... that is just... well, tense sometimes.

One cousin commented that her mom would come to her home and wash her dishes... and then go back to her home and make remarks that she had to wash the dishes at her daughter's home. I had to laugh... but she was so tense about it that it wasn't that funny. No matter how much we tried to convince her that her mom's comments were trivial at best, and probably easily ignored, she continued to plead her case. I sat there... wondering if my "mom triggers" were equally as trivial.

Yep. They are.

I think that there is something that happens in some households -- won't say all -- that forever bond and cement a certain emotional reaction between a child and a parent. For me, it is the comparison to a "bad kid"... because I always felt that I was a good kid, who didn't get enough credit for just being good. (Now, as an adult, I understand and believe that giving credit for things you're supposed to do... is craziness... but as a kid, I just wanted a break)

I tossed in a story about how it used to drive me bananas that my mother would see something on television or hear a story about some wayward badass kid... and immediately launch into..."If Nikki ever did that... I would break her back". For some reason, well into my adulthood, the thought of being compared to some hideous, ungrateful child just would anger me, sometimes would send me into a real rage.

Silly right? Yep. Told you, I am a brat.

But I did not get past that until recently. It finally dawned on me that my mother's exclamations had little to do with me at the present moment in time... but on her reflections of her own time with me as my mother. When she looks at me, I believe, she sees me on a continuum of sorts. She looks at me at 39 and she can still see me from the day I was born, my first day of school, my first period, my first date, the first day of college... and so forth. But she sees all of these Nicoles... at the same time.

As a non-parent, I find that incredible. I also found it incredible that one person on the planet can see all of me -- just like that. Without a blink. So awesome. (by the way, I'm sure dads have that same super-ability)

As I sat up until 4am with my cousins... I realized that I have that same ability. I looked at them at 35, and 28 and I could see them as small toddlers, angry teens, beautiful young women... all at the same time. And I was really proud of who they decided they wanted to be.

I wasn't sure if I would be able to handle the visit of a group of people at one time. I wasn't sure if it would wipe me out -- it did. But it was worth the fatigue and the day long nap I had to take today... to learn that examples of strength, courage and an ability to get back up... are as close as a phone call or an email to North Carolina.

It was an awesome weekend. :) Thanks fam. And thank you mom, for loving me... every day.

another day...

I haven't posted since my last chemotherapy session. Really... nothing much to say at this point.

My hair has fallen out... I look a bit scraggly by the head. I thought that I would shave it when it got to this point... but now, I don't see the point. I rarely leave the house now and when I do, I wear a baseball cap. It seems to work.

But if it doesn't... no one will tell me differently.

Food... is still an issue. I'm still on trial and error time. Somethings work, others don't. The weight is coming off... but its relatively slow, so I'm not going to worry about it. Weight loss is expected with chemotherapy. I lost 10 pounds between chemo sessions -- and I was freaked out at first... but after worrying for a few days... I realized that I could lose 10 pounds each session and still... be a little on the thick side. Ha ha... guess sometimes it pays to be overweight, huh?

That calmed me down. My issue is that I'm downright greedy and I can't seem to be satisfied anymore. So, my appetite just fades away.

I think about food, about the food I really like... and sometimes I'll try to get it. Only to take that first bite... and nothing. Not good, not bad... just... chewing. Its the damnedest feeling in the world. But okay. This is a part of the process, right?

This is the first time that I've been at a loss for words. I am not quite sad, not quite angry. Just flat, melancholy I guess. I learned this week that a friend from my college days has ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). That was really hard news to hear. I'm still really "stuck" on that.

Its one thing to be going through your own storm, your own crisis. But to hear about other people going through similar battles... its... its almost disheartening. I've had some wild thoughts and questions run through my mind. I won't share all of them, so you don't think that I'm ungrateful or something.

But really... with so much going on in the world, so many people suffering... I keep wondering... why?

Why now? Why at all? Just... why? Some of us will make it through, others won't. What will it be for in the end? What is the lesson in this for all of us? For any of us? Why?

Am I sounding like Job right now? I think I'm feeling that way a little bit. Not that I'm even remotely as good, as holy as Job was. But I know that God loved me... why do I feel punished? Or is this punishment at all? And if its not... then what is it?

Every time I go to the cancer center... I am so deeply saddened by how many sick people are there. It really upsets me. Like I said... I can (sort of) accept that I've been chosen to walk this path and bear this burden. But to watch the same sadness, melancholy on the faces of other people... its almost too much some days.

Another downside to being sick is that people stop sharing their stories with you. They don't want to burden you with their stuff. And ... honestly, that's not that horrible. Except for those folks who mean so much to you that you want to share their burdens and help them with their problems... and you realize that they aren't talking to you the way they used to. I guess I asked for this... by being so wrapped up in being sick, having cancer... that I pulled away from people. Now I have so much free time... and I want something to think about other than... all the ways that cancer has changed my life. Is this what its like to be sick? Just hour after hour of thinking about yourself?

I have books to read, but they don't really interest me. And the one book that is interesting... gives me nightmares. (a long way gone... memoirs of a boy soldier) This book is so gripping and so deeply sad and maddening... that I can only read a few pages at a time... and then I want to weep for the little boy who had to endure so much pain and misery.

When did life become so unfair? And at the same... it is full of miracles and happiness. How is that possible?

I just have questions on top of questions right now... which is why I haven't been in a rush to post anything. Nothing much is new. I feel crazy, I feel like I'm not myself... I think I stink of chemotherapy drugs. Just... crazy I tell you.

Just crazy.

But I'm still praying... everyday but I don't know why. Should I be praying for a miraculous cure? Or an easy time through the process? Should I pray for comfort through the hot flashes? Or, the ability to endure them and not be angry? Should I pray to be happier instead of angry? Or is it okay to be angry?

See... just questions. What a lousy post this was. I'm going to the bathroom (something I do every 10 mins now... thanks chemo!)

Have a great weekend everyone.


Audacity Tees

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