It’s done. I am done with chemotherapy. I can’t believe it. Honestly, it is all one big blur but I remember every feeling like it was yesterday at the same time. I started this journey on December 20th, 2016 in NYC and I ended it on May 2nd, 2017.
A few things I wish someone told me before I started…
- It’s not going to be THAT bad. Yes, the AC treatment caused extreme fatigue, constipation and tears, but it was manageable. The first time is scary yes, but don’t make yourself sick or get symptoms like nausea, headache and vomiting from it (like I did). The unknown is extremely scary but you will get through it and the pre-meds and after meds they have these days are magical. The taxol is VERY manageable. Tip: if you’re doing taxol and plan on working the entire time (which you can), try to schedule it after work. You can work during the day and get the taxol then go to work the next day. Also, start the miralax early, before you start any medication and days before chemo.
- Start a meal train. We probably should have done this to plan out meal delivery and that type of stuff better. It really is amazing and you can put a schedule of chemo days that you need to be brought to on for people to sign up.
- If you feel like it, get into therapy or a support group right away. If you’re young like me, it is difficult for people to relate, even if they are 60 and have been through the exact same thing. You need to talk to people your age who have been through it; before marriage, babies, traveling. It’s just different.
- Be sure to ask about all the side effects of your medication. Ativan is an intense drug and in order to stop it I will most likely have to go on another drug. If you need something for anxiety, which I’m sure you will and you deserve it, I would try something else.
- Expect nothing from everyone and be happily surprised by mostly everyone. People can’t handle this stuff and you need to be ok with that.
- Get a freakin’ cleaning lady. Whether you are in chemo or not, just do it.
- Don’t feel guilty for all the things you won’t be able to do for your significant other. You will make up for it and you can’t help the tears.
- Get a gooooooood moisturizer. Just moisturizer every freakin’ second of the day.
- Eat healthy during this treatment and don’t let “but I have cancer” make you eat so much shit. I mean, during the AC treatment it was HARD to even consume protein and all I wanted was carbs and since I have cancer I used it as an excuse. Don’t. I mean DO a little, but not 100%. During taxol you can eat healthy and you should.
- If your significant other doesn’t step up to the plate and do everything (spoon feed you when necessary, dress you, tuck you in, wipe your tears, know when to shut up, know when to talk, grocery shop, cook your favorite meal, take off your socks and shoes, clean your clothes, shave your fucking head and his own, everything) drop him like it’s hot because they aren’t good enough for you. Also, it means they won’t do anything for you when you are married, your family member is sick or when you have kids. Buh bye.
Next steps… surgery is planned for Wednesday, June 7, 2017. I will go into much more detail about that this weekend.
To everyone who has made such a big impact on my life during this extremely difficult time, there are no words to express my gratitude. This will definitely be one of the (let’s hope THE) hardest thing I have ever gone through. I truly didn’t know how many AMAZING people are in my life, I truly didn’t. I always tell people, “I don’t have a lot of friends and I am ok with it”. No, no, I actually do have friends and it’s freakin’ weird. You have all taught me how I need to act, love, give, comfort and so much more.
In retrospect and now that the chemo portion is over, I can honestly say I am thankful for this experience. My relationships with those who are important to me have never been stronger, I have NEVER been stronger and at the end of the day, I will be able to fall asleep next to Kim Stires for many, many, many, many more years and that’s fucking amazing.