As I reclined my head to the pillow last night, I made a wish that I would wake up when this was all over, that I would wake up wiser, stronger than the hands that hold me, but without having to live the play-by-play on how I arrived there. As the sun peeked through the shades, the daylight rinsed the realism of the formidable tasks in which the day would bring and the start of my concerned chemo initiation. Today was the inception of my chemotherapy process, as I had to attend chemotherapy education, prior to starting the infusions in the next two weeks. Granted, it is just the education piece of the procedure, but by educating myself on what will be taking place, meant that it will actually take place. It was no longer a far out date in the inevitable future, but a tangible proceeding that was more than neighboring my forthcoming.
In good form, my exceedingly loyal Nan drove me to the appointment at the Oncologist, after treating me to breakfast and a quick pop in to Charming Charlie’s, an accessory devotees reverie. When in the company of my lovely Nan, any range of emotion can inflict me and she distinguishes the spot-on things to say. Before we left the house for the appointment, it took an act of God for me to get moving and to feel even slightly motivated to attend this very important consult. Driving down the freeway, sun blazing and the AC blasted, my eyes seeped uncontrollably. I was finally breaking down. Irrevocably I was grasping that this was all about to start, that the loitering next step in the “cancer process” was beginning after waiting nearly two months for it to come into fruition.
Everything happening in slow motion, my emotions on the way to the appointment went into full effect. It felt as though all of the things I had worked for, such as my career, education and lifestyle were flying out the window and only visible from the rear view mirror. I have been out of work for over two months, put a pause on my education and as we speak the medical bills are surmounting. What would I have to show for myself once this is all said and done? I know, I know- the things I speak of are all replaceable or just “things”, but rightfully so; these are the “things” in which I spent the majority of my twenties building. I’ve always been a working girl and I started with a major Company at the ripe age of 19, building my brand ever since. Now what? Although I am only on a leave of absence, it is difficult to consider what it is like to work as a sick person. I realize that people do it every day, but how? My fulltime job is now caring for my health, my quality of life and myself. Second to that, what about everything else that could be in jeopardy as a domino effect?
Learning at a very early age that money does not grow on trees, it was important for me to succeed and I have worked incredibly hard for the last decade to have nice things and have come to appreciate the finer things in life. Needless to say, numerous triggers were going off in my head as we inched closer and closer to 2pm and the educational meeting. My tank was finally empty and I couldn’t run on positivity any longer. I was angry, distraught and indignant at the unfairness that this cancer has caused on my life and the things I had worked hard to achieve. Rarely speaking any of these feelings aloud, I couldn’t hold it in any longer and unloaded my distaste for what cancer has done to my life and the ripple effects that it will continue to have once this is brought to a close. Naturally, in a superhero like role, my Nan calmed me. She said that there are days when she wants to scream from the rooftops and that all of these feelings were valid, she understands and that I have every right to feel angry, sad and mad. However, stressing over things I cannot control will not cure me of this illness and it will certainly not benefit my frame of mind while trying to get through this distressing time. She assured me that no matter what, all is well that ends well and that so long as I am here, the rest will take care of itself; my career, education, home, medical bills and overall régime.
Practically counting the steps to the entrance of the Doctor’s office, I kept reminding myself of what my Nan had told me, that as long as I am here, the rest will take care of itself and chemotherapy was an imperative role in ensuring that I remained. And so it went, I coped with every painstaking detail of information that the woman provided us with, as I sat wedged between two of my biggest cheerleaders, Steve and Nan. Not surprisingly, the woman indulged all of the side effects that the chemo infusions will have on my body; weight loss, nausea, fatigue, but as blessing would have it, the specific type of regimen that I will be enduring does NOT include hair loss. Although I had mentally prepared myself for such a thing, I realized that there was a silver lining to all of this and I would still maintain some form of my identity through this process and I feel fortunate to be able to keep my hair, as many cancer patients cannot.
After the information overload, we left the appointment. Speaking on behalf of Steve, Nan and myself, I believe that we left feeling well informed about the process and dare I say it, confident about having to go through chemotherapy in general. I am certainly not the first nor the last to have cancer or go through chemo. Nobly, as my Nan expressed on the way to the appointment, as long as I am here, everything else will align. It’s not about the things I possess or the work I have put into my life thus far, what matters now is the effort I put into myself and getting better. Chemotherapy is the key ingredient, but alas, my defiance and resilience will be half the battle. My life may have changed course, but I will be here to finish the story and I am choosing to stay awake to experience each and every emotion of this journey; my journey.