When I was diagnosed with breast cancer and learned that I would need to undergo chemotherapy and radiation after my mastectomy, there was a moment when I realized I would eventually be bald. At that point in my life, my hair wasn’t in particularly great shape. I had stopped coloring it, and wasn’t getting regular haircuts, partly because I couldn’t afford them.
This essay was originally published on April 14, 2015.
I thought I’d do something a little different today. I’m sharing an essay I wrote a couple of months ago, and have been attempting to flog for publication. So far, no bites. I hope you enjoy it.
This essay was originally published on January 5, 2015.
It’s been ten days since my last chemotherapy treatment, and, well, I still feel like crap. I’ve felt like crap for so long that part of me was hoping for a minor miracle: I thought maybe since the chemo leg of this journey is over, I would feel better more quickly. Turns out I was kidding myself; I actually feel worse if you can believe it.
This essay was originally published on December 26, 2014.
Now that I’m sitting here accessed, bagged, and dripping for (hopefully) the last time, I’m kind of at a loss for words. This is the end of chemotherapy for me, but I still have a course of radiation to complete.
This essay was originally published on December 18, 2014.
I think I’ve reached the phase of chemo where I just don’t give a damn about what I say or do. Hence the image of Britney Spears’s first album to signify that I have only one treatment left after today. Actually, Brit is an appropriate metaphor for this experience because a few years after this album was released, she lost her mind and shaved her head. That’s pretty much what’s happened to me over these past few months.
This essay was originally published on December 11, 2014.
The countdown has officially begun: after today’s treatment, only two remaining. I am relieved and a little frightened because I’ve been consistently told that chemotherapy has a cumulative effect on the body, and that any side effects you experience might grow worse over time. I am sorry to say that’s been the case for me over the past few weeks, and the odyssey of fatigue, neuropathy, and other assorted maladies keeps growing.
This essay was originally published on December 4, 2014.
I’m up to treatment number 13, and there are only three left. And yes, I am triskaidekaphobic. I cringe whenever there is a Friday the 13th in any month, and do my best to avoid any bad luck. Call me crazy (and possibly obsessive-compulsive), but this is how I’ve always been.
This essay was originally published on November 26, 2014.
It’s the day before Thanksgiving as I receive my twelfth chemotherapy treatment, and I guess I should be gushing about how thankful I am for all the good things in my life. I do have many things to be thankful for, but right now, I’m tired and grumpy, and thinking about so many other things I’d rather be doing than sitting here yet again, accessed, bagged, and dripping.
This essay was originally published on November 20, 2014.
I’m coming into the home stretch with only five treatments left after today. I met with my oncologist before today’s treatment, and he confirmed that I will be getting about a four week break after chemotherapy before beginning radiation. I’m actually kind of miffed by that, now that I’ve been thinking about it for an hour or so; I was hoping to be done with everything by the middle of February. It looks like I won’t be starting radiation until the end of January, and that won’t conclude until the middle of March.
This essay was originally published on November 13, 2014.
Today is my tenth chemotherapy treatment. Six more left, and it can’t be over with soon enough.
Yesterday, I had lunch with a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago and did not need chemotherapy or radiation as part of her treatment. We talked about how much we’ve learned since our respective diagnoses, and how ignorant we were about breast cancer before it changed our lives. For example, we both thought breast cancer always meant you had a tumor, or tumors, in your breast(s). She had them, I didn’t. Moreover, neither of us completely understood how serious lymph node involvement is, and how it affects the treatment scenario after surgery. Her cancer hadn’t spread to her lymph nodes; mine did, which is one of the reasons why she didn’t need chemo, and I’m sitting here, accessed, bagged, and dripping.