When I think back to my first session of chemotherapy, I feel nothing but nausea and disbelief that I actually did it. Chemo was starting at 11:30 am in NYC. The doctor wanted me to start chemo in the city under their supervision before I switched to Basking Ridge. I don’t remember the night before chemo, other than tears and fear. I don’t remember waking up for chemo either. I am assuming my body has blacked it out. The feeling of waking up in the morning to realize you will have your first session of chemotherapy because you are 28 years old and have breast cancer, nah, I don’t need to remember that, thanks.
I remember dad driving into the city. I brought a blanket, as I had always thought you need a “chemo” blanket (hanging in our living room right now, it can stay in the living room but I will never use it again). We made it into the city and there were tears. Dad put his hand on the back of my head and said “it’s ok Kate, let it out”. We parked, walked in, got blood drawn, the first of many (many, many) to come. Did we meet with the doctor? I believe we did. Then, it was chemo time. Walked in, suite 8. I did not have my port then so it was all about finding the vein. Now this, this I remember. It was a young girl, brown, long hair, like I used to have. She was explaining everything I was going to get and then it sunk in. I AM GETTING CHEMOTHERAPY. I remember the feeling, as tears form in my eyes right now. How? Why? What? I cannot believe this. I started crying then dad started crying. I can’t imagine watching your baby girl being hooked up for chemotherapy.
I have to be honest with you. I have been on both side of this. Mom’s cancer and my own. Being on the outside is almost worse. When you are in it; you do it, you black things out, you sleep, you try to make it through each day and then you do it all over again. When you are on the outside; you feel helpless and everyday is painful. I know how everyone felt around me and I feel very, very bad that they had to go through that.
The young girl tried to find a vein, stuck me, and it didn’t work (forming a very large bruise that matched my blue dress for Christmas eve). Someone else came in, she got it. IV fluids were going. I was getting the pre meds, then the chemo, then… it was over. WAIT, THAT WAS IT? It really was anticlimactic. The hype in your head is just unimaginable. I remember being starving after and I got a latte and an everything bagel with ham, cheese and mustard. I can still feel the gross nausea after eating that. Will most likely never eat an everything bagel with ham, cheese and mustard ever again. Home I went, bed I went, survived I went.
I sit here, looking the Christmas tree, watching Scrooged (as you should too) as I write this blog and I honestly cannot believe where I was last year at this time. Christmas is my favorite time of year. I am so thankful that I still love it even though it was covered with such a dark cloud last year. Sometimes I find myself being able to read my old blog posts, but right now, I can’t. It feels surreal how much a year can change things. What will next Christmas be like? Who the hell knows.
Life is good. It is often great when I am not feeling my neck, armpits, stomach, legs, arms or any other body part assessing for swollen lymph nodes. Yup, it is still happening, maybe not as much as before… no, no it is happening just as much. I think it will continue for a few years to come.
I shower… EVERY FREAKIN’ DAY. Why you ask? Well, it’s my hair. My hair stylist (hey John!) recommended I start putting in this wax like stuff because it needs to be tamed. So, I wake up and it feels dirty and it is WILD. So much more wild than having long hair. I even worked from home one day and showered, NOW THAT IS WILD. Oh how times have changed.
How is Kim you wonder? Is he still just as magical? Well, yes, yes he is. Kim is one of the most thoughtful people I know. He knows me better than I know myself and thank goodness for that. He puts my glasses on my work bag to remind me to bring them because every night I say “ugh, I need my glasses, I can’t see” when I drive home. He will make dinner based on something I said I was craving the week before. He will make said dinner, sometimes multiple courses, and have the dishes cleaned before I can offer (ugh, I hate it, but I do it for him). He will come home with a gift for me that I talked about 3 weeks ago. How? What? I often thought during this past year, that Kim was brought to me as a gift, as going through this at the age of 28 was so horrible, I deserved him, I earned him. Thank you.
These days… I am full force back into work. Our company has grown by greater than 100% in the last year and I am busy all the time and love it. My hair is growing back, slowly but surely. I really, really hate it sometimes and have been known to say “I looked better bald”. It’s just going to be an awkward phase and I understand that. Sometimes it is cute. I am still receiving HP (herceptin and pertuzamab) every 3 weeks. I have 3 sessions left (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). December 26 (boo), January 16 and February 6. Kim and I will be traveling; in January with his entire family to Florida for his birthday and a, thanks for being such champ this past year, and in February to Mexico. In March, I will be getting the cysts removed from my uterus and my spacers removed and implants put in. I met with the plastic surgeon two weeks ago, he said everything looks good.
Apparently there are new findings about textured, tear drop silicone implants. They are finding that they are related to lymphoma. My surgeon said, “3 months ago, I would have said get those implants, today, I say don’t”. Timing, is, EVERYTHING. I will be getting regular silicone implants. They think the “textured” part of it is the problem. By then, maybe I will be getting saline. Who knows. I have gotten my period again after almost one year of not getting it. This is a very good sign for potential babies in the future. As long as they don’t take my ovaries out when removing my cysts, which I am told is possible. What will be, will be.
A look back of the past year, the worst year of my life.
Cheers to 2018, it’s going to be a better year.