"Don't spend time worrying about how you are going to die. Worry about how you are going to live today"

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Chemo it is

I feel a sense of calm a little since I committed to myself that I will do the chemo.  Don't get me wrong....I am petrified of chemo, but I just am glad the decision is no longer hanging over my head.  I am going to have chemo.  I told my mom that yesterday.  It was the first time I had said it out loud.  It was hard to say that.  I guess I have to get use to saying that now.

I met with the oncologist and really feel that it is my best chance to rid my body of cancer forever.  That is what I want more than ANYTHING!  I want to live my life and raise my son and be here for  long time.  I know if I forgo chemo I will have doubt and regret, especially if any cancer returns.  I know I have to do everything I can right now.  I have one chance to blast this cancer and that is right now.  I hate that I have to go through chemo.  I am mad!  I hate cancer!  I hate chemo!  The thought of being hooked up to an IV of poison for hours and have it running through my body makes me completely panic.  I just can't believe this is what I have to do.

Now I am trying to figure out how I accept this and how I get myself through it.  I talked to my medical oncologist about preserving my hair.  She supports me in that decision.  I think emotionally that will make things easier for me.  It sounds like for my type of chemo (taxotere and cytoxin) that there is a high success rate in hair retention.  I hope so. 

I keep asking myself why I am so worried about losing my hair.  I guess it's about control.  I want to control some parts of my life - like who knows that I have cancer.  If I have hair, no one will know unless I tell them I have cancer.  I just want to feel like everyone doesn't know I have cancer.  I just want some parts of my life to seem normal.  I want to continue to exercise, teach aerobics, pick up my son from school and go out and just feel like me.  Is that so bad?   Is it vain because it's all about the hair loss?

I got up this morning and looked at my beautiful long, long brown hair.  It just never looked so pretty to me.   I just stood in front of the mirror, admiring my hair like I never had before.  I always thought it was too frizzy or not thick enough, but today it looked gorgeous to me.  I styled it in a small black headband and it just flowed down so pretty.  I told myself "it is going to look like this through chemo....it will!". 

I keep thinking of all the stories and posts I have read online from other women with breast cancer about the pain, discomfort, sadness and more and just keep telling myself "I am not going to be that person".  I got through a bilateral mastectomy pretty easy.  I really didn't think it was that bad.  I did a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy and baked home made chocolate chip pound cake that same evening.  I am strong, healthy and headstrong.....I can get through chemo, right?  My medical oncologist tells me "you can do this...you will be telling me it's way easier than you thought in a month and you will be saying it to me just like I am telling you today - with confidence".  I think she believes in me....that really helps. 

I am trying to get my life back to what little normal I can.  We are having friends over tonight for a visit and to play some Wii (yes, I can play Wii too!).  Tomorrow I am surprising my family and going to their Superbowl party!  I can't wait to see my niece and nephews.  My youngest nephew (age 7) is very scared about my diagnosis.  He tells his dad "I don't want to talk about this anymore" and walks out of the room.  It breaks my heart.  I can't wait to see him and show him I am doing great.  I hope he starts to believe in me.  I don't want him to be sad or scared.  Kids have such a different way of handling this.

I had a strong realization about this whole thing yesterday when it comes to my own son.  Yesterday was the first day I was up, dressed, styled hair and make up on just like normal.  When my son came in the door from school and saw me like that, he got the happiest smile on his face...his face lit up!  I have never seen him so happy.  He came running over to me and hugged me crazy and said "Mommy!  I am so proud of you! I love you!  I love you!".  I said "you are proud of me?".  He said "Yes, because you are all better!".  I guess for him, he saw me as I was before......the regular old healthy me.  I know now that doing the cold caps to preserve my hair and not sitting in my room in jammies will make all the difference for my son.  I have to do all of this for him.  I keep saying that with every freezing cap they put on my head and every nasty chemo IV they give me, I have to picture his beautiful, happy face and that moment where he said "Mommy I am so proud of you!".  That is what will get me through this.  It has to.  I love him more than anything.  I want to see that fabulous smile.  That's what makes me happy.

This whole journey is such a process.  Some days are easier than others.  It's full of ups and downs.  Sometimes I feel fine and then just start crying for no reason.  I know it will be a battle.  I have to walk this road though.  I don't have a choice.  This is my life whether I like it or not.  Others have done this before me.  I can do this.  I have to.  For now I take it one day at a time and one emotion at a time.  I am so blessed to have a wonderful family and large circle of devoted friends.  That support can get me through this.  I can't wait until I am done with all of this and on the other side of the huge mountain I face and look back and see the good in all of this and the beauty of that mountain.  I know with each day I move forward, I am one day closer to that sense of peace.  One day at a time........


  1. You do sounds strong-willed and healthy. I can relate to well to your worries and concerns. For my regimen, which starts Feb 17, cold caps is not an option and my 6 year old is very upset that I might lose my hair. Kids don't understand cancer, but they will react to visual changes. I'm sure it's scary to a kid to think your mother is sick. You will make it through chemo with your great attitude. Being so fit from aerobics has to help, so your body will bounce back. My thoughts are with you.

  2. You are so strong!

    I have never heard of the hair preserving that you are talking about. I have one patient right now who is getting chemo (not for breast ca) and she has not lost any hair. I have another patient who does have breast CA, and she has a wonderful wig. I am telling you the honest truth when I say I had no idea it was a wig until she told me several appointments later. It was a perfect match for her hair color and it really looked very natural.

    Obviously you have to do what is best for you, but just know that if you are unable to keep your hair there are really great wigs out there.

    I hope and pray that this hair preserving thing works for you because I can tell that it will make you feel much better. Also, people deal with chemo differently, you could handle it well. We saw a patient who had been on chemo for 3 years. He never lost a lick of hair, never lost weight, and continued to work his full time job. Chemo sucks, but you can beat it! :-)