I caught a cold earlier this week which frustrated me to no end. Considering the last year I had, you would think I would be use to feeling unwell by now. This means I still need more practice on being patient. It is really a tough lesson for me.
Chemo wipes you out pretty much entirely. Last year, I remember being frustrated at not being able to do as much or what I wanted. So so frustrated that I had to be content with being horizontal.
I don’t know who took that picture of me after the first cycle of chemo but that was how I was most of the time – horizontal. With whatever energy I could muster, I distinctly remember feeling frustrated. A sweet friend of mine who is much younger than me would often say to me, “This too shall pass.” My other dear friend who is the same age as me would prod me whenever I needed it, “Deep breaths.” These were the two life lessons from last year I had put together to practice patience.
Whenever I feel the frustration or irritation creep in, I’d take deep breaths and hear myself say, ” This too shall pass.” And viola! Pass it most definitely has. A year worth of cancer treatment is coming to an end *dance the happy dance* Two more infusions to go!
Looking back, the tough days are a shadow of the memories. Taking deep breaths today, I can savour both the good and the bad moments. It was with my excessively running nose and aching bones that that reminded me once again. I took the time to lie down, take deep breaths and savour the comfort my bed afforded me.
I’ve had long hair all of my life before 13th February 2022. The shortest it has ever been was what I would call a cute bob. Never had I ever considered anything shorter.
Mostly because I thought I had a really round face with flat straight hair that wouldn’t look particularly appealing. It took getting ready for chemo to chop off my hair. Lo and behold, I look pretty decent, if I don’t say so myself. The day before my first chemo infusion, I sat in the chair of my favourite stylist and told her to do as she saw fit and take it all off.
I felt fresh and it gave me that extra boost I needed to start chemo. The style lasted all of three weeks. In that three weeks, I learnt that I really love having short hair and it’s easy to maintain too. Then it started to all fall out, more about that in another post. Meanwhile, it’s post chemo and my hair is growing back in. It’s short like I would never imagine and I’m hoping it’s sassy too.
Think I’m going to keep it short for a while and make the habit of seeing my stylist once every 6 weeks. Something I never did before with long hair. Another #lifelesson you never know until you try … and even if you don’t like it, that’s when you’ll know for sure! So here’s me in what is typically called a pixie cut. Thanks to cancer and chemo, if not this wouldn’t happen.
Hello from Perth! It has been a while since I was back and even longer since I last posted. A lot has happened and I’m coming back to my blog. It was set up, way back when to keep me accountable and in 2023, it is precisely why I’m back. To reflect on the last 12months and try to make sense of it.
One year today I was diagnosed with cancer. Stage 3C triple positive breast cancer. As bad as it sounds, ironically, it is a good thing. Simply because of the aggressive nature of it, made it one of the more researched cancers with many successful protocols that I was fortunate to have access to. Now I’m in one of my favorite cities reflecting on one of the most unique years of my life.
Growing up, I spent a lot of time in hospitals. That’s where I learnt you want your intravenous drip on your non-dominant hand so that leaves your dominant arm free to do what it needs. Also why it didn’t faze me when doctors said I would need to be on chemo for a better part of the year, then surgery with another month of radiation as well as immunotherapy and anti hormone treatment. While I wasn’t fazed, I had previously thought to myself if I ever get cancer, I would NEVER do chemo and try alternatives first. This is my first lesson from cancer, never say never … especially NEVER. It’s like a funny way for daring the universe who always has a way of showing me that I don’t know what I’m talking about.
That’s what happened when I was first told it was cancer and possibly stage 1. I was all “ok, stage 1, what kind of alternative therapies are there?” Then it became more likely stage 2 and alternative therapies are still work-able. When it quickly became stage 3C and alternative treatments are no more alternatives, I had to swallow my “I’ll NEVER do chemo.”
There were plenty of emotions when I had this come to Jesus moment. It was quite a range if I remember correctly too. My Dad asked if I was angry which is my go to emotion. I was mostly a bunch of nerves and anxiety and in true me style, I went into crisis management mode. What does triple positive mean, what are different treatments, what are the side effects? Trying to get as informed as my lay medical self could possibly understand.
And came to the conclusion that we have to be as aggressive in treatment as this mofo aggressive triple positive cancer. I then imagined these cancer cells being of the Sith order and the chemo drugs are Jedis with numerous X-wings in a battle on the intergalactic system of Carlene. Settling myself into possibly the biggest fight my body has had to put up. As I embraced chemo, I knew at the back of my mind that this experience has to be an opportunity to learn and grow. What and how, I’m not exactly sure yet; hence this year of reflection. With some distance of time, I’m hoping for some clarity as I slowly recollect the lessons here on my blog. Not so much new lessons but at 47, cancer was more of a refresher course, crystallizing what the universe had tried to impress on me years before. So the next 52 weeks, to keep me honest, I’ll be blogging or vlogging about these lessons. Making sure they stick so the universe doesn’t have to send me on a another refresher course.