March 18, 2021

I was busy today. After work, I took a walk, made some cookies, and spent time chatting with my daughter about wedding details, which was fun. She’s decided to make her wedding dress because she can’t find exactly what she wants within her budget. I fully believe in her talent for doing so, but I can’t believe she wants to do it within her compressed timeframe. It makes me wish I was better at sewing so I could help her. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t want her wedding dress to look homemade. But it was fun helping her figure out some material to use.

By 7:00 pm, I kind of hit a wall. I got tired and my legs started aching. Typical day after chemo stuff, just like my bright face rash. However, I’m thankful I got stuff done and I’m not feeling too bad.

March 17, 2021

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’d sure love to be sitting at my favorite pub having a beer. Sigh. Hopefully next year.

Even though I woke up at 4 am with a headache that made it nearly impossible to get back to sleep, I wanted to look lively for chemo today. I didn’t have a green wig, but I think my pink one worked with the fun scarf a friend gave me.

I love my pink shoes!

The upside to getting a major dose of Benadryl along with a steroid prior to the chemo drip is that it cured my headache. However, I was so tired afterwards that I fell asleep for a couple hours once we got home. But at least I’m still having no adverse reactions, so I’m grateful.

Patrick’s parents offered to get us dinner today. I’m thankful for their generosity and that I felt well enough to get a delicious chicken crepe from a favorite restaurant. Mmm. And Patrick picked up a fancy chocolate cake for a special treat. It’s not typical fare for this holiday, but it sure was good.

It looks like a mess. A delicious mess.

March 16, 2021

Today I met with a new plastic surgeon. My old surgeon is leaving the area. I was pretty disappointed since I liked him and I thought we already had a plan. But the new doctor seems equally as competent and nice. She has some slight differences in what she’s suggesting for me and gave me some things to think about. However, it was a better meeting than I was expecting, so I’m thankful for that. I’m also thankful that she was given all the notes and pictures from my meeting with the previous surgeon, so I didn’t have to endure another photo shoot or body markings.

I also saw my oncologist this morning and after a discussion about side effects and low blood counts, I asked him how careful I need to continue being with quarantining. While he says I should continue working from home for now, I’m ok to go into a store when I want as long as I double mask. Obviously, I’ll still need to be careful to avoid peak times and crowded stores, but I’ll be so happy to get out periodically. Freedom!

March 13, 2021

Much like last weekend, I’ve had some body aches and slight nausea again. It must be how my body is getting used to the chemo. It’s not terrible, and I hope it gets a bit better as I go on.

Even so, I did it. I spent most of my day in my craft room and got 2 new up-cycled shirts…almost done. I ended up having to tear one apart and resew it because I didn’t realize I had folded it on itself. Grrr. Next I’ll add some paint. Even though I didn’t finish, it felt good to get them going since I’ve had them planned for a while now.

The start of my bee shirt.

I’m thankful for being productive. I’m grateful we’ve had another day of sunshine. I’m happy that tomorrow I can work on them again.

March 10, 2021

Only 10 more chemo treatments left! Today’s treatment went along with no issues. Yay! I’m now just tired again, but I’m very thankful that I’ve had no major reactions.

I’m also thankful for chats with old friends, flower deliveries, and chocolate mint candy.

March 7, 2021

One of the hardest things for me in all of this has been not being able to do as much as I normally would. I’m used to jumping into physical projects and not thinking twice about it. Today I wanted to finish some cleaning that I started yesterday. After vacuuming the floors, I took all the sofa cushions off our sectional so I could vacuum everything and flip them over. I had to stop periodically because I got winded. And then the rest of the day, my legs ached.

I’m blaming chemo, even though I know I’m out of shape. It’s frustrating to feel this way, but I remind myself often that it’s temporary and manageable. I need to do what I can now and let it go. I also think that maybe it’s a good time to incorporate yoga into my routine to help build some strength.

Although I was moving slower than normal, I did get more done today and that helped my peace of mind. I’m thankful for that. I’m also thankful for a couple of new spring touches that make me smile.

That face!

March 3, 2021

I made it through the new chemo today without an allergic reaction, so I’m immensely relieved. There was a moment of question when I started to get a prickly sensation in my throat and tongue, but it didn’t get worse so we didn’t stop. The biggest effect was the drunk feeling that 50 mg of intravenous Benadryl gives a person. I was loopy for a while and then tired enough once we got home that I fell asleep on the sofa.

Sparkly shoes!

I was still nervous this morning and the last minute encouraging words from family and friends helped. But what really gave me sense of calm was this necklace.

When my family came to visit, my mom gave me a card that included this necklace. It had been my dad’s. When he was diagnosed with stomach cancer, a lady from their church, a cancer survivor herself, gave it to him. He wore it for years and sometimes carried it in his pocket. Mom felt like dad would want me to have it right now.

While I prayed for strength this morning, I felt like it was my dad who spoke to me, telling me I was going to be ok. And I felt calm when the infusion started.

My dad was always strong. Strong mind. Strong willed. Strong opinions. But the cancer eventually overcame him. I know he’d be heartbroken if he were still here to see me going through this too. He was when my sister was diagnosed. But I like the idea that he’s watching from a place of knowing, a place of peace. Where he is whole and happy and can share his strength with me somehow.

I’m grateful my mom shared this piece of my dad with me. I’m thankful for my dad.

March 2, 2021

I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m irrationally anxious about starting new chemo tomorrow. From all accounts, it should be an easier chemo overall, even though it will be weekly treatments. It shouldn’t cause as much fatigue nor nausea. The biggest side effect is numbness in the hands and feet that begin over time.

I’m not so worried about those side effects as I am the injection itself. People have allergic reactions to it during the injection, especially the first one. My doctor mentioned today that it’s not as common but it could feel like the throat is closing up. I honestly wanted to punch him for saying that out loud. I’m mean, seriously? If you read my post about my (also embarrassing) surgery recovery, you’ll remember that my WORST fear is choking. I do not need this thought in my head.

So today I’m thankful for the encouraging thoughts from my family and friends that I’ll be fine. And the very rational reminders from Patrick that they’re talking about a small number of people who have this reaction. True. And that I don’t have plant allergies. Also true. And I should stop googling it. Yeah, probably true.

While I have a tendency to sometimes get into my own head too much, I’ve never really over worried about health issues before. I’ve really been quite healthy up to this point, so if something checked out ok, I stopped thinking about it. But I realized while talking about it today that I now feel more wary. More susceptible or vulnerable to everything. Cancer came out of nowhere so what else is lurking around the corner?

It’s a lousy feeling, honestly. One I keep fighting against. I’ve never considered myself much of a victim and I hate to start now. So tomorrow I’m going to be fine. Really. Fine.

February 4, 2021

The fatigue caught up with me today. I made it through work and ended up taking a late afternoon nap. I really dislike days when I’m feeling unproductive, but I realize it’s going to happen. It seems like the 2nd and 3rd days after chemo are my hardest ones.

I’ve never been one to nap, but I’m going to try to embrace it when I need them. It helps that our pups like to cuddle in with me. I’m thankful for that. I’m also thankful that the fatigue isn’t constant yet. After a couple of days, I know it will get better.

February 3, 2021

Today I’m thankful for my in-laws. Every chemo day, Patrick’s parents have sent us something wonderful. The first treatment was a beautiful bouquet that I can’t believe I don’t have a picture of. I really thought I took one, but no. I do remember it well; it had seeded eucalyptus and soft lavender roses. It was so lovely. The last couple of treatments were edible arrangements. The first included brownies and the second included chocolate covered fruit. Yum!

The truth is, my in-laws are always very generous and giving. They’re eager to help or support anyway they can. But even more than that, they’ve been great at making me feel part of the family from the beginning.

I have to admit, when Patrick and I started dating, I had my fears. I’m older than he is by not a little bit. My kids were teenagers already. In fact, one of the first things I asked him when we got more serious was if he was sure he shouldn’t be dating someone younger. Someone who could give him beautiful babies. But he’s stubborn.

Then I got pregnant and had a miscarriage, and my fears grew. I hated that I was taking his option for his own family away from him. But he said it wasn’t a deal breaker. He’s dedicated.

And here I am, dragging him through cancer with me. One more hardship and difficult year of worry. But he’s been protective and supportive and says it’s just one more thing we will get through. He’s strong.

Through it all, my in-laws never expressed any doubt, at least to me, that I wasn’t anything but deserving of their son. They’ve happily included me in their lives from the beginning. I worried that they’d see me as someone too old and with too much history to be right for Patrick. But my worry was all mine. I guess I should have known for they taught him by example to be stubborn, dedicated, and strong. I’m thankful for them. And grateful to be part of the family.