I am so ready to make the transition from someone with breast cancer to someone fighting breast cancer. Tomorrow morning, bright and early, I begin chemotherapy – assuming the heart ultrasound and blood tests say I’m healthy. Ironic (in an Alanis Morissette kinda way), the idea of being in ‘excellent health’ and having cancer at the same time.
I’ve got everything laid out for my ‘cancer’ bag – that is the bag I bring with me when I go up to Stanford for the day. I received it from BC Connections, a local Breast Cancer support organizations. It has proven to be very handy (both the bag and the organization itself, as this is where I go to support group on Saturday afternoons). I have even chosen my clothing for the day. I bought a new t-shirt that has a low neck line so that my port is easily accessible. I’ve included:
- A nice warm blanket/wrap that I received from the Three Willows church where my in-laws go (thank-you).
- A scarf that I received from my friend Maha in Egypt (thank-you).
- Care squares that came from a family friend (thank-you).
- A teddy bear that Scott brought me when I was in the hospital for surgery before we were married (with the Canadian connection Hudson Bay sweater).
- Some snacks and electrolyte mixes to add to my water bottle.
- My cancer treatment binder, which includes a bunch a cards and the caring card I received from the Ottawa First Unitarian Congregation (thank-you), the card my mom sent with a hope rock on it, and various post cards sent from distant friends (thank-you).
- Headphones, so I can watch TV or listen to music or podcasts. I have a collection of Vinyl Cafe Stories and Under the Influence podcasts preloaded on my iPhone.
I hope I’m not forgetting anything. I will also bring both my laptop, my iPad, and iPhone. I have no idea what I’m going to feel like doing during chemo. Scott will be there to help lug my stuff – bringing both the laptop and iPad seems a little redundant, but if I am in the mood for any serious writing (beyond blogging), my laptop has scrivener on it. Plus my laptop let’s me watch TV shows from Canadian networks, which I cannot do on my iPad.
I’d also like to thank John and especially Alison for the lovely quilt they sent. BC Connections had quilts for anyone going through chemo but I chose not to take one, as I see so many other women that need it more than I do. The following Monday, I received a lovely quilt from Alison and John in the mail. It has turned out to be perfect for our bed, as our down duvet was too warm for this time of year, but going with a just a duvet cover wasn’t warm enough – we were having trouble finding just the right balance, and the quilt is proving to be just that.
Everything that I’ve read so far about chemo side effects says that it varies by the person. I’ll either be tired for the first few days or overly energetic for the first few days and then tired towards the end of the cycle. If you know me, you know that I like to plan things. This whole uncertainty over how I will react is driving me crazy. I just need to know if I’ll be able to get some work done for a few days here and there or not.
Since diagnosis, my life has been pretty focused around improving my health (lots of long bike rides and long walks); enjoying myself (sailing, going to Yosemite for a couple of days; various medical tests, scans and appointments; and learning a whole lot about breast cancer in general, and specifically about the treatment options for the type of cancer that I have. I have put all my contract work on hold (fortunately, that was possible). I’m now starting to go stir crazy, and hope to get back to some of that work – however, I just don’t know how I will react to chemo, so I’m afraid to jump into anything right now. So the wait game continues … today I wait … I’m going to go for a swim, go out to the market (now that my stomach is sorted, we need some food in the house – although chemo may change that too), and maybe even go for a bike ride.