I am finding out that more people are reading this blog than actually know me. Let’s do a little review of all the people I mention.
The obvious. Mom. Dad. Kim – boyfriend, not Asian (German), family name, live together, I think of him as my husband, three years coming up on Valentine’s day, marriage=commitment=chemo. I have never been the girl who is dreaming of her wedding. I never really thought I would get married until I met him. Still don’t know what marriage really means to me, he says the same. I am not religious (is this why this happened to me? Of course it is in the back of my head) and I think weddings in general are a pretty big waste of money, let’s not even talk about the divorce rate. I mean, we will get married one day, it is just not high up on our priority list. Nathan – brother. Hillary – best friend from high school, cousin of Kim (she introduced us ok??). Sometimes I think of Kim as the love of my life and Hillary my soulmate. Rebeka – best friend from high school, lived together in Morristown for almost three years, she’ll do anything for you. Kim & Pat – Kim’s parents. Others are all friends and family.
When you have cancer, and if you have it like me, where it is in my breast and in my armpit and suspected to be nowhere else, it is important to remember your entire body is not cancer. Really, I have some “bad” (horrendous, disgusting, mutating, annoying, bullshit, hatred) cells in my body that just need to be murdered. I am not one big ball of cancer (even though sometimes I feel like it). It’s disappointing because I have GREAT boobs. Someone in high school once told me she wants to get her boobs done to look like mine, like helloooooo, awesome. Great enough to be infested apparently. Ugh.
December 22, 2016. I woke up around 8 am. Went to sleep around 9-10 pm last night, woke up at 3 am, watched some Gilmore Girls on my phone, took 0.5 mg of ativan and a tylenol because of a headache. Listen, I am not one to take medication like this. Well, I did take a lot of advil before, but I have cancer. Sleep is one of the most important parts of getting through this (I think). I went to my PCP in January of 2016 for my annual (DIDN’T FIND ANYTHING DOC???), and I told him sometimes I feel sad and depressed and maybe I need to talk to someone about going on medication. I really didn’t want to. So I started seeing the “collaborative psychologist”. Why am I using quotes? Because they said it was this “new thing” and it was “awesome” and it would be “$20” each session. Cool, I will go. Welp, ended up paying nearly $1,000 out of pocket (and now I have cancer, can I catch a break?). Anyway, I saw this guy, and I immediately said to myself, you need to work on your shit, you don’t need medication, you need to breath, workout and get some inner piece going. It really helped me. I never went on medication and I was so happy about that. I never wanted it to change my thought process or my inner desires. But now, I have cancer, if I need something to help me sleep, feel less anxious about the terrible shit growing in my body and feel less nauseous, I will be taking it as recommended, nothing more, often much less, not during the day, just at night. Why am I trying to defend myself, I HAVE CANCER (I can use this line for the rest of my life I am told).
Anyway. This is Thursday, I went into work. I packed my usual PB & J sandwich size english muffin, took my 3 decadron pills (last for this round) and ate the rest of my sandwich at work. I tried to dress up to feel good, dried my hair, not too much make up because no one got time for that. Did a decent amount of work, everything up to date and lasted about 4 hours, not too shabby. Drove home, was hungry but didn’t know what I wanted. Then, a burger came into my head. I called Kim, “Should I get a burger? I mean I am craving it, I don’t know what else I want, is it bad?”…”hon, if you want it, get it, I wouldn’t mind a burger either”, lol. I then called Hillary on my way to Wendy’s, she was on her way up form D.C.. “So should I eat Wendy’s??”… “I just picked up some fries, so yes, of course”, lol. It tasted pretty darn good. I got a cheeseburger, fries and a coke. The coke tasted a little off but it really hit the spot. Got in my PJ’s (Thanks Aunt Peg!!) and then went to lay in bed. I was feeling like I needed some nutrients so I made a blueberry, banana, spinach, kale, olive oil, water and OJ smoothie, drank about 3/4 of it felt pretty good. Went to sleep around my usual 9-10 pm. Kim was watching the Giants game, he came up when it was over. Gave me some kisses and I said “did they win?”…. “no, but I still love you”…. “ok good, night”.
December 23, 2016. Same, same, woke up at 3 am, GG, ativan. Went back to sleep around 4 am. Up at 8 am. I think the steroid is still keeping me up, hoping since I did not take it today it will not wake me up tonight. Got up, felt good. Got dressed, left for work, at work by 10 am , worked, felt pretty tired. “They” said it would hit me a little bit harder today. I am not really feeling it but I think once the steroid wears off it will sink in. I left work, called Kim then called mom, this is around 1 pm. I wasn’t really feeling much of anything and then just started to cry. It was a beautiful day in NJ; nearly 50, sunny, tomorrow was Christmas Eve and I have cancer. I was also hungry and did not know what I wanted and just getting something I crave seems likes such a to do. Crying isn’t a bad thing, it’s a release and it is natural. I got home, got in my PJ’s and had some nachos, salsa then cheez-its and salsa (I don’t knowwwwww). Called Kim and asked him if he could pick up a tuna sub from Jersey Mikes. “Do they have soft bread?”….”so soft” he said. Mmmmmmm. Took a nap and he was home around 3:30 pm. Had half the sub, started chugging my water again and sat down on the couch and just hung out. We watched Sully. I mean, it was ok? No, not really. Maybe it is my state of mind but there was nothing much to it. I am no where near depressed (THANK GOODNESS, I might be in the future, stay tuned), but I can see how it can be depressing. Kim got hungry around 6:30 pm and made some nachos, yum. At about 7 pm I really started feeling really tired. My back started to hurt, ribs, chest. I think the Neulasta shot pain is starting to set in and the steroid is starting to wear off. It is time. I put a lavender rice warmer thing around my neck but all smells bother me; candles, flowers, bleh. Kim has a heater, we turned that on, put it on my back and now on my chest. Ending the night watching Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Mmmmmm. Merry Christmas Eve, Eve.
December 24, 2016. Usual night routine. Woke up around 8 am. I really needed to do some laundry, my only non-holey tights I had were dirty (which got a hole). Got up, threw the laundry in, laid on the couch and actually think I fell asleep. Woke up around 9:30 am with 2 missed called from my dad. “Hey, I was in the bagel place, wasn’t sure what kind of bagel you wanted but then heard a guy say ‘cinnamon raisin’ and knew that’s what you wanted, see you soon”. Got up, threw the laundry in the dryer and went up to wake Kim up. He’s on his off season (he’s a golf pro, cool, I know), so he’s starting his routine of staying up late watching movies and sleeping in. He has off from January-April and deserves every last second of it. One of the hardest working people I know. Got in bed, “Kim, wake up, dad and Nate are coming”……… then the tears. “I’m just sooooo tired, I don’t want to be tired, I’m tired”….. “it’s ok, this is what they said would happen, we will get through it”. Again, the tears aren’t always bad, just a release. Some tickles and kisses, and we’re up. Kim hops in the shower. I take out the butter, jelly, cream cheese (whipped YUM). Dad and Nate show up with a dozen bagels. We make some bagels, start Christmas Vacation, 30 minutes later I’m asleep. Ugh.
Around 1 pm one of my friends husbands stopped over with a platter of brownies & chicken and rice for a few dinners for the week & says “gimme a drink! I’m stopping off at a bunch of places and want a drink at each one, you’re the first!”. Grrrrrrrrreat guy. I grab the champagne and OJ from the fridge and pour him & Kim a drink.
Shower time, UGH. I don’t know why I hate showering. Just takes so much time. Maybe after I lose my hair I won’t think so? I used to have really long hair. Did I say that already? Oh yes, I donated about 12 inches to locks of love prior to this. Ok, showered, put a decent full face of makeup on, eyelashes, LIPS, STRAIGHTENED MY HAIR. I was really feeling decent at this time. Kim throws on his suit, I throw on my dress & we fly out the door with presents & overnight bags to stay at his parents. We went to Kim & Pat’s first to have a gender reveal for his sister Rachel. It’s a girl!!! We are thinking Kim Caitlin or Caitlin Kim, still up in the air.
Off to the big family party. Kim has a great family, about 40+ people. Everyone brings something different to the table. At first, no one came near me. Hillary and I were on one side of the kitchen and it was like there was a line of fire between us and the rest of the family like I had the plague. Honestly, I am a loner to begin with, I don’t mind it and I don’t blame them. They don’t think I am contagious (maybe a few) but they don’t know what to say. I get it. Let’s review what you say to someone who has cancer.
- “Hi, how are you??”
- “I am sorry to hear about your diagnosis, how are you feeling?”
- Hug, “I can’t believe it, you look fabulous”
- “I don’t know what to say” hug. SAY ANYTHING. I know what to say to you, “I know, it’s crazy, it will never feel real, it sucks, but I am feeling ok”.
Maybe they were thrown off by the big black and blue bruise on my left arm. It did match my blue dress perfectly. In the end, I felt pretty great throughout the party. Tired at points but I think I would have naturally. I didn’t drink anything. The NP said I could if I felt up to it but I just didn’t feel like it. I just ate a lot of tortellini and some sweets. I am craving carbs. I am not sure why. I am assuming because my body needs energy and the brain loves carbs.
The end of the night was my favorite part. Kim had a lot to drink. He deserved it. He was with his family, he was with one of his favorite people in the world who he doesn’t see often (his cousin Pete), he has been an amazing human and has worked 60-80 hours a week for the last 8 months. He deserves to let loose. I went to bed first, he was hanging with his neighbors. He comes up in his suit, I am watching Gilmore Girls on my phone after doing a little blogging, just being very content. “I am sooo happy”…. “why honey?”…. “because you’re happy, I am happy, it’s just amazing”. His laugh, his smile, it was truly Christmas.
I stayed up pretty late that night, around 12:30 am. The last thing I remember is Kim saying, “24 IS ON AMAZON PRIME, OMG THIS IS AMAZING”. Lol. Woke up around 7:15 am, finally slept through the night! Woke up with a headache, I think this will just be a normal occurrence. Turned over and fell back to sleep until 9:30 am. Woke up, was FINALLY craving coffeeeeeeeee. Had some coffee, crumb cake, scrambled eggs and headed to moms around 2 pm. Opened lots of gifts! Hats, gloves, scarves, scrabble, cheez-its, chocolate, candles, gift cards, OH MY. Oh and my favorite gift, remote control scentless candles, helloooooo, genius. We had ham, yum, mac and cheese, yum, broccoli, forced it down, applesauce and rolls for dinner. Yum. I love my mom. She’s one of the cutest people you will ever meet. She’s small, not like me. She’s been through this before and you would never know and it’s truly amazing.
Kim and I headed home, cleaned a few things up. He plopped on the couch, I plopped in bed. It’s Christmas and I have cancer but it was a great Christmas.
P.S. People are asking what they can do to help. While flowers are nice, they eventually die and we have started a vase collection on top of the cabinet. Here are a few suggestions.
- Food. We can always use food, we love to eat. Prepared meals are good. We love italian, chicken and rice, tacos, pretty much anything. My appetite seems to be back to normal (even more intense) the week after chemo. During chemo I stick to crackers and peanut butter pretty much but Kim needs to eat food.
- Shoprite/Trader Joe’s gift cards.
- Drop off some water bottles, toilet paper (Charmin Ultra Soft), paper towels, laundry detergent, etc. We ran out of toilet paper. I’ve never run out of toilet paper. Ugh. It’s harder to get around to this stuff.
- A simple text helps.
- Check on my family. Take my mom out for dinner. Take her to the movies. Sometimes she needs to forget her 28 year old daughter has cancer.