Chemo round 4 happened on September 9th, and I feel so blessed that I was able to have my “good” week during Brody’s 5th birthday and birthday party – wow, I’m so grateful my chemo came right after it, otherwise, I’m not sure what I would have done.

I must say, as the rounds go on I become more and more anxious prior to an infusion. I KNOW what to expect now – I HATE what will happen to me – I FEAR that pain, nausea, fatigue – I AM CONFIDENT I will make it through – I DON’T WANT TO HAVE TO DO THIS ANYMORE….

I have so many thoughts, fears, emotions leading up to a chemo round (Having it right now actually as I’m about to go into Chemo round #5 in a few short days). I can honestly say the anxiety is worse than before I had my first round because I now know exactly what’s going to happen to me, and quite frankly, it sucks…yep it really really sucks.

I was, however, VERY excited that my chemo partner for the day would be my BFF JESS! Holy cow, I’m pretty sure we haven’t spent a full 6 hours of uninterrupted talk time without kids around in a few years. I was really looking forward to catching up with her and just being with my other half…she’s my soul sister til the end and the fact that she took off work, drove 2 hours at 6:30 in the morning to be here with me means more to me than I can ever express.

Once I arrived and was hooked up – Jess and I were able to chat chat and chat…. before the Benadryl started to kick in and make me TIRED, Jess surprised me with an awesome “gift” – She had brought along the memory book I made for her at the end of our Freshman year of college! It was a birthday present I made for her that was LOADED with stories from the first year of our friendship..over 13 years ago! I can honestly say that I haven’t felt more alive inside recently than I did while I was reading those stories, reliving those amazing memories, laughing, crying, remembering… looking back at a much “Simpler” time in my life – a time when “chemo” was something that I thought only happened to the elderly or unhealthy – a time when “pain, nausea, and fatigue” occurred only from having too much fun the night before  – a time when life felt balanced and normal. I can’t thank Jess enough for bringing that memory book because it did more for my spirits than anything I could think of! She’s the best…

After chemo was over Jess came back to the house, hung out with us, and cooked us a yummy meal! I didn’t want her visit to end because it really was so much fun, but I knew it must and I also knew I needed her to leave so she didn’t have to see what was about to happen to me…

Unfortunately, my white blood count was so low before that round, like borderline not being able to even get chemo, that I had to return the day after my chemo to receive a shot that would boost it. They said there would be some side affects, possibly a fever, more bone pain, nausea etc… but to be honest, I only felt more bone pain and nothing else. Perhaps it’s because the chemo completed poisoned me this round and knocked me so far down that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get back up. On Friday, post chemo day 3 – I was pretty sure I had died. I couldn’t open my eyes without feeling pain – my hearing felt like I was underwater – my vision appeared to be foggy – my stomach couldn’t fathom the thought of even drinking water- my bones wouldn’t allow me to even roll over – and yet, I got up! I got out of bed; I showered; I forced down bottles of Fiji water (the only water that takes that stupid chemo metal taste out of my mouth!); I played with my kids; I ate a pretzel or two – I did it! Although I may only be up for about an hour, I feel victorious and rejuvenated in that hour. I know that I could just lay in bed, rest, wallow in my pain etc.. but then, I see those 2 little faces in my head – my kids NEED me to get up. They need to know that mommy is ok, that she’s stronger than this and that she will always fight for them despite how much she wants to just hide under her covers and sleep the days away. They are my purpose and have, and will continue to be my strength through it all! I hate living in “cancerland”, yes I’ve dubbed my current condition as “cancerland”, which is a scary, dark place that only cancer patients and possibly their caretakers understand…

Cancerland is lonely… it’s filled with anxiety, fear, pain, depression, and stares. When you have cancer and are going through chemo, you become more aware of the people looking at you. Are they looking at my awesome hat? Do they think I’m wearing this BLACK hat in 90 degree weather to be fashionable? No, they must be thinking that something is wrong with me. I mean look at me – I have no eyebrows or eyelashes for Pete’s sake! I can’t use mascara anymore because it just clumps onto my eyelid – I have run out of shampoo, so I just don’t bother using any. I’m pretty sure there are days I don’t shower because I don’t get that “greasy-hair-haven’t-showered look” – My intuition razor has since shriveled up and will need to be replaced. My belly button, which I can’t really seem to find these days through the zipper like scars I have on my stomach, hurts from the skin being stretched and torn. When I go to the grocery store and obsessively sanitize my hands, are people looking at me wondering why I’m doing so. Are they empathizing with me? Do they know someone who has lived in Cancerland? Or are they pitying me as a I try to scamper a 5 year old and an almost 2 year old from aisle to aisle trying desperately to keep them both happy (why didn’t I bring two more lollipops – oh because my chemo fog made me forget?!). Do they want to offer me some help as I drop the box of cereal on the floor that Brody has placed in the cart for the 3rd straight time because I have tingling hands (a side affect from chemo). Do they understand how HARD this is for me – as if being a mom to two small kids isn’t hard enough – as if owning/running my own successful business isn’t hard enough – as if just living with cancer and going through chemo isn’t hard enough – I have to continue to LIVE. I have to be mom; I have to kiss boo boos; I have to make pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes; I have to lay in bed at 2am because someone had a bad dream; I have to go grocery shopping because we NEED more damn organic lollipops; I have to throw on my hat because I’m not quite bald, but instead have this awkward peach fuzz on my head – I call myself “Jess and the giant peach”; I have to change poopy diapers and potty train all at the same time; I have to be a crazy fun mom and music class; I have to give baths; I have to make dinner; I have to make a healthy snack for Brody’s soccer team; I have to fold the laundry, again and again and again; I have to reorganize the kids fall clothing; I have to remember my endless doctor appointments and blood work regimen; I have to schedule doctor appointments for the kids; I have to make sure both kids have awesome birthday parties; I have to pay the bills – so many bills; I have to be a good wife, daughter, friend, business owner… I have to do all of this and MUCH MUCH MORE  all while living in Cancerland. It’s an awful place to live, and I can’t wait to move out – just one more month and I’ll be on my way to leaving Cancerland, and every negative aspect of that terrible place behind…

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