Ding ding ding… ROUND THREE!
I wish I could say that going into chemo round three was less stressful/traumatic/scary than the two previous rounds, but in actuality, I think it was worse. I was already feeling nervous because I knew what to expect – I knew the pain; I knew the fatigue; I knew the nausea! But what I didn’t know was how I would respond to this round of treatment. Would it be better than the second round allowing me to bounce back faster? Would it be harder forcing me to be out of commission for longer than I can be? So many “what ifs”, which seems to be the norm nowadays.
On August 19th, Jeremy and I headed to my third round of chemo! I was happy he was able to be my chemo buddy that day since he would be going back to work and wouldn’t be able to go with me for my next three rounds. He was, as always, comedic, helpful, caring, and strong for me. When the Benadryl kicked in, he sat quietly while I rested. When I was thirsty, hungry, needed to use the bathroom etc…he was there to help me. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t feel BLESSED to have Jeremy by my side. I am a strong believer that people come into your life for a reason, whatever it may be, and aside from being my best friend and the love of my life, Jeremy was placed in my life because I don’t think there would be many people who would be able to be as strong as he is for me, for us, for our family. He is, like our wedding song said, my “everything”.
We sat quietly and talked – we relished in the silence of not having two little voices trying to interrupt every sentence we spoke to one another. It was weird and yet, so nice to just be with Jeremy. To be me and Jeremy – like it used to be before we were mom and dad 24/7. We RARELY get to even sit down together let alone have a conversation so this was, to say it simply…nice.
After watching World War Z and play countless games of Family Feud on the iPad, my third round of chemo came to an end and we headed home. Unlike my second round, I was BEYOND exhausted after the treatment. I didn’t even make it to 9pm that night, and I hoped that wasn’t a sign of how I would be the next 5 days or so. Unfortunately, it was. OH. MY. WORD. Round three goes to chemo with a TKO! Holy cow – I have never been so fatigued in my life. It’s a tired that I can’t even describe. Lets face it, I’ve been tired – especially since becoming a mom. I’ve gone through two “infant” stages, heck, I’m still going through a “toddler” sleep pattern stage, so yes, I’ve been tired. I’ve had days where the baby was up all night long…several days in a row actually. I’ve had days where I couldn’t even think of changing out of my pajamas because the baby wouldn’t nap. But I have never had days like “post chemo tired days”.
The following day was worse – the fatigue, the nausea, the pain – oh the pain! The pain feels like nothing I’ve ever felt before. It’s sort of like the inside of my bones are on fire and every time I move the fired flames up even more. So there I lay, in my bed, exhausted, on “fire”, hearing my babies playing without me, listening to Jeremy play with them, care for them, be mom/dad – and I feel alone…so, so alone.
Now lets face it – we all know I’m FAR from alone. Heck, I can barely go to the bathroom without a 21 month old audience, who by the way, cheers my on with claps every time I go – it’s great for my self esteem haha! No, I’m not alone – I have my babies who need/want/have to be with me, around me, talking to me, etc.. I have my husband who I have been fortunate enough to have home for the past 3 months while he was on summer vacation from school. I have my family who comes over, messages me etc…several times a week. I have my friends who check in constantly. Countless messages, texts, emails, cards, meals, thoughts, prayers etc… and I lay in that bed feeling so, so alone. Why? I tried to wrap my head around this the last couple of days and here’s what I came up with.
No one knows what I’m going through but me. Sure, there are thousands of people who have gone through the same ovarian cancer, surgery, chemo etc… but they’re not me. They can “relate” and I can talk to them and empathize with them, but again, they’re not me – they’re not in my exact situation, in my exact frame of mind, in this exact day and time. The same can be said for everyone out there going through anything…no one knows how you feel but you and for me, I feel alone. Even after going out with my favorite ladies this past weekend and talking, eating, (getting free cheesecake because there was a hair in my food), watching a move etc.. I still came home, got into bed, and felt alone. Then, I started to feel guilty for feeling alone since I know I’m FAR from it and there are actually many people out there going through similar situations to me who really are battling cancer alone. I guess the only way I can describe it is that there is just a wealth of emotions boiled up inside of me – everything from fear to happiness and there’s no way for me to express them all to anyone without making them confused because it even confuses me. So instead of talking about things, I simply keep it all inside because it’s easier for me and probably for everyone and to be honest, most of the time I’m just far too tired to exert any more energy into my feelings when I can use my energy in better ways. I know this will pass, and no, I’m not depressed or anything like that.
All I can say is that I’m surrounded by a beautiful family, the best friends anyone could ask for, acquaintances who have become friends through this experience, strangers who have reached out to share their thoughts and prayers with me and I KNOW I’m not alone – I’m NOT battling cancer alone – I have the cards, messages, meals, texts, etc to prove that, but I am fighting this very individualized battle on my own – laying in my bed, forcing myself to open my eyes, praying for the pain to pass, and scared out of my mind about what may be my future. However, in those moments of loneliness, in those moments of fear, angst, pain, and fatigue, I always think of my reason for getting up, for opening my eyes, for bearing with the pain – and that is everyone who helps me not to be alone. Jeremy, my babies, my brother and sister, my brother-in-law, my parents, my father-in-law, my friends, my acquaintances and even those strangers who reach out to me – they help me each and every day, and it’s at those moments when I feel alone, that I try to remember one of cancer’s biggest slogans, “NO ONE FIGHTS ALONE” and neither am I…
My awesome friends created a fundraising page for me – despite how much it pains me to have to swallow my pride. I know I won’t be able to maintain my business during chemo, so this will be the help me and my family will need during this trying time. We are grateful and blessed…