Okay, so you’re starting chemo. It was more than five years ago for me, but I still remember. Here’s what I wish someone had told me: This one is the hardest, because it’s unknown. Once this one is over, you will feel so much better, because you will know what to expect for the next [...]
Okay, so you’re starting chemo. It was more than five years ago for me, but I still remember. Here’s what I wish someone had told me:
This one is the hardest, because it’s unknown. Once this one is over, you will feel so much better, because you will know what to expect for the next ones. Each one will be a little harder than the last, because the effects are cumulative. The good news is that typically they don’t change. You’ll get a sense of how it goes after this one. I was vastly relieved that I didn’t turn green or blow up. That’s the irrational fear, isn’t it? The good news is that these folks really know what they’re doing. They’ve been doing it for a long time and they have it down to a science. You are in very good hands.
It’s great to have a buddy who’s been there. It’s not really helpful to know all the side effects that could happen, because many of them wont, or they wont be severe, or they will and you’ll deal with it then. If you have a buddy who’s been there, you can call her up and say “I feel like …..is that normal?” and get some reassurance. You probably at some point may need to whine a little. That’s totally ok. After a couple of days, it starts to lift, and you get to feel normal until the next one. My buddy told me that a Coca-cola would help me with nausea, and it did. Unfortunately I still associate Coke with comfort, alas!
Your body may feel strange to you. That’s normal. This is something new. Chemotherapy cured me of my panic attacks. I was experiencing a racy feeling that I knew were the steroids. I knew it was chemically induced, so I didn’t panic. No panic attacks since!
Please, take all the medications they give you to keep you comfortable. A stressed body does not have the resilience to cope as well as a comfortable, rested body. Stay comfortable!
Do you have people to take care of you? Do you have help? Do you have plenty of comfort items available to ride out those possibly uncomfortable few days? Show yourself how much you love you, by tending to your needs the way you would your dearest friend or your child.
Here are my notes on side effects, for my friend on TAC:
Either the Adriamycin or the Cytoxan is a bladder irritant. Cranberry juice really helps. Have some around!
I was terrified of the neuropathy that happens with Taxol. I’m a massage therapist and neuropathy was just too horrible to contemplate. I asked my oncologist’s assistance in desperation if there was any way to avoid it, and she told me that L-glutamine in mega-doses was helpful for some people. I found some powder that provided a gram per spoonful, and chugged it in water for 10 grams a day. My neuropathy was minimal, and not lasting. Talk to your doctor about this. I took 10 grams of L-glutamine for the five days around my infusion, and two grams a day for the rest of the time I was on Taxol.
Get some funny movies, and keep your sense of humor! Laughing is good for you white blood cells. You may even get to cut back on the neulasta shots, as I did.
Oh yes, don’t forget the Biotene! Magic mouthwash for sensitive mouths, keeps mouth sores at bay. Use liberally.
Be proactive. At the first sign of any form of discomfort, head it off by taking amazing care of yourself!
You can ride this wave, sister. Let nothing be more important than your self care, nothing. Side effects are worse with stress. Be good to you and know that you are on my heart. Sending you love this Wednesday.
I wonder sometimes where I’d be today if I hadn’t faced the beast. Would I still be as stressed as I was? I don’t believe that everyone has a story like mine, and I do know that some cancers appear randomly, without any precipitating event. And, some of us were a breakdown ready to happen. [...]
I wonder sometimes where I’d be today if I hadn’t faced the beast.
Would I still be as stressed as I was? I don’t believe that everyone has a story like mine, and I do know that some cancers appear randomly, without any precipitating event. And, some of us were a breakdown ready to happen.
I know that for myself, facing cancer was a major, major catalyst and as I result I changed everything. What was working, I did more of. What wasn’t, I got rid of. Things I loved that I hadn’t been doing became the things I did first.
This weekend was about writing! I wrote an essay for a contest and sent it off. I had been procrastinating about it, even though I knew I would love to do it. I finally sat down to write and set my timer, telling myself that I would just scribble for 15 minutes and that would get me started. I ended up writing an essay that made me weep, one that I feel very good about. I don’t have any grand delusions that I will win (I’m sure there are 1000′s who sent an essay) but one way or another I’ll publish it! Alas, not now.
The other deadline I had was a provisional assignment for Yahoo. I applied to be a Featured Contributor. Before I had cancer, I wouldn’t have even applied. I would have just assumed that I didn’t have the expertise or the clout to write about Alternative Medicine, which is the category I applied for.
The new me said, Hey, what have I got to lose? If this is for me, not doing it is wasting time! I applied and forgot about it.
Four days later I got a provisional assignment with a four day deadline. Ace the assignment and I’m in. I ace’d it. If you want to take a look, here it is:
I was delighted with what they asked me to do, right up my alley! I got paid to write. That just rocks.
My freelance writing career has begun. I don’t know where it will go, and that’s half the fun. After I had cancer I began redesigning my life, making it up as I went along.
Now I am a massage therapist/teacher/thespian/writer/artist/wife and mom. I really don’t know what to say when people ask,
“so, what do you do Elizabeth?”
Oh yeah, and blogger. Thanks for reading!
Just Call me Mom By: Heather Von St. James On November 21, 2005 I was not only a new mother to a 3-½ year old baby girl, but also a cancer patient. A million things were going through my mind. In particular, who was going to care for Lily?? Thankfully I come from a wonderful [...]
Just Call me Mom
By: Heather Von St. James
On November 21, 2005 I was not only a new mother to a 3-½ year old baby girl, but also a cancer patient. A million things were going through my mind. In particular, who was going to care for Lily?? Thankfully I come from a wonderful family and my amazing parents came to my rescue. They live some 600 miles away from us, but as soon as we asked them to come, they got in their car and drove out to be with us. My sister and brother in law also came to help and together we all made decisions as a family.
One decision we all made together was to have Lily live with my parents in their home, while my husband Carmen and I went to Boston to figure out how to save my life. My surgery was scheduled February 2, 2006. My mom flew out to Minneapolis the week before my surgery to help us prepare, then she and Lily were going to fly to her home the same day Cameron and I flew to Boston for the next step of my crazy journey.
The X-ray showed a liter of fluid around my lung. I was sent to see a thoracic specialist to have the fluid drained and to figure out what was causing it. The A.C.T scan showed a mass in the lower left portion of my left lung. I was immediately scheduled a biopsy for the following morning. The results showed that I had malignant pleural mesothelioma, a rare cancer caused from asbestos exposure.
In a matter of seconds our world came crashing down around us. How could this be? We just had a baby; this was supposed to be the happiest time in our lives. How could I have a cancer diagnosis? We went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows in a matter of months.
We were given a few different options for treatment, the most radical being the route we chose. I was scheduled to see a Dr. David Sugarbaker, the worlds leading specialist on this disease. In order to save my life and raise my baby, Boston was the only option for us. I was a candidate for a risky, but groundbreaking surgery called an Extrapleural Pneumonectomy, which included an inter-operative heated chemotherapy.
My surgery started at 7:30 a.m. on the 2nd, which turned into a 71/2-hour procedure that luckily had very few complications. I was in the hospital a grand total of 18 days. Everyday my husband would check my e-mail for pictures that my mom would send of Lily’s adventures with her grandparents. He would print off 5 or so photos a day in black and white, this is how I saw my baby’s 6th month of her life through grainy pictures. However, she gave me the strength and determination to get through each day. Lily was the reason I had to get home!
I left Boston on March 2nd, one month to the day of my surgery. I lived with my parents for 2 more months because there was no way I could take care of Lily on my own. As I grew stronger and recovered Lily and I got to know each other again. She had to remember that I was mommy! Through all of this, Lily and my parents still have such an amazing bond together. I pray that this is something that last for life. Finally I was able to care for both my daughter and myself. I moved back to the Twin Cities at the beginning of May to reunite my family. I beat the unbeatable. Just call me mom.
P.S. by Elizabeth
I asked Heather what she attributed her successful outcome to. She answered unequivocally that the desire to see her child grow up was hugely motivating. I also was struck when reading this post by the fact that EVERYTHING went on hold in order to fight. Sometimes it’s hard to say no to everything else while saying yes to life, as loudly as it can be said, shouted even. Lily missed some months, but she got her mom.
Thanks Heather, for an inspiring story! For more information on mesothelioma, go to mesothelioma.com.
Fragile, Handle with Care, NOT! What a glorious thing to go backpacking and discover that the post-cancer me is not as fragile and weak as I thought! I guess it’s the fond memories of my childhood that translates into the satisfaction of “being a trooper”, which was my Dad’s way of describing someone who rolls [...]
Fragile, Handle with Care, NOT!
What a glorious thing to go backpacking and discover that the post-cancer me is not as fragile and weak as I thought! I guess it’s the fond memories of my childhood that translates into the satisfaction of “being a trooper”, which was my Dad’s way of describing someone who rolls with the punches. Do you remember getting so grubby and scraped up that it took a long shower and lots of scrubbing to determine what was dirt and what was scrapes and bruises? The delicious feeling of a well earned sunburn that brings to mind a satisfying day outside? Maybe I’m nuts, but the feeling of being a little beat up but happy makes me feel sturdy and alive.
I met my dear friend Susan at her home on Friday, and we were immediately derailed by a late bus (to bring my godson Victor home). Nothing daunted, we drove to fetch him on the way. We were quite delayed then getting to our destination, but we were determined to get up into the mountains that very night, dark or no. Fortunately Susan’s brother Frank, nephew Ben, and another friend (new brother) Paul were already there.
I had some trepidation about this trip. What if… what if….. what if I overwork my chemo-d heart? What if my arm swells up? What if we get lost? What if my brainfog makes me forget something important? Blah blah blah, off my brain went, but my tendency to blast forward no matter what won out, and I’m so glad.
When I put the backpack on, I was oh, so discouraged. I was out of breath within the first 10 yards, no kidding. The straps cut into my shoulders. My heart was racing. I needed the trek pole that Susan had provided. We were at 6,500 feet, and I was not ready.
Nonetheless, I know the only way out is through, so one foot in front of the other with frequent rests ultimately got us there. And was it ever worth it! The trek there was beautiful. It was only 3 miles, not too tough terrain, only a couple of hills, so for all my woes it was manageable.
We spent Friday and Saturday night there. We had one whole day of nothing at all, just hanging out, visiting, exploring the magic of the place. Susan calls it Camp Medicine Wheel because there is a mountain at the compass points to the West, North and East. We entered camp roughly from the south. We camped next to a river, which lulled us to sleep each night. On Saturday, a thunder storm surrounded us on three sides, while the sky above us remained clear. It was nothing less than heaven.
I did make a couple of relevant discoveries for cancer survivors who backpack. I was diligent about my “Alaska perfume” (bug spray), but my left arm was covered by a sleeve all of the time so I didn’t spray it. When I went to bed, I took the sleeve off. Alas, forgot to spray! After that, my friends called me Lumpy.
It was so gratifying to hike back to the trail head with plenty of energy, having become accustomed to the altitude (and having eaten a lot of the food we carried up!), with a chipped tooth, lumpy arm, burns on both hands, lots of sunburn and bruises, and an ear-to-ear grin. No, not fragile. What a relief!
Sunday ended perfectly, with a stop in Angel’s Camp to look at rocks (there’s an unbelievable store there) and a chance to drum. We actually stumbled upon a weekly open drum circle.
I wonder if other survivors doubt their resilience after being beat up by cancer and the treatments we have to take to conquer it. Anybody? What about folks still in treatment?
I know that when I was on chemotherapy it felt good to push myself a little, to walk to my radiation treatments, to do yoga, to find the edge. I had just forgotten. This weekend was a much needed, very therapeutic reminder.
Planning the next one….
And for Linda, and for Pat, and others who have asked. It’s so hard to know where to start with Complementary Therapies! My first thought when I was diagnosed was that I would use all the big guns my oncologist recommended, and all the big guns from the Complementary Therapies arsenal. At the time I [...]
And for Linda, and for Pat, and others who have asked. It’s so hard to know where to start with Complementary Therapies! My first thought when I was diagnosed was that I would use all the big guns my oncologist recommended, and all the big guns from the Complementary Therapies arsenal. At the time I was diagnosed, I had been a full time professional Massage Therapist for nearly 20 years. I knew all about complementary therapies, but I had been neglecting myself, badly. I wasn’t just a wounded healer. I had been limping for a long time. I had just emerged from an awful divorce, huge work stress (the hospital where I worked was downsizing, and the pressure was on!), and my children were suffering. They were 7 and 9. I knew something had to give, but I didn’t really know how to get out of the quicksand I was in.
When I got the diagnosis, I knew I had to fight and fight hard. I decided that I had an opportunity to heal my whole life, and that embracing that task would give me the best chance to survive. I sought healing of body, mind and spirit, and most importantly to mend the rifts between them. The word “congruence” was my operative word, and still is. So, my take on complementary therapies is really an approach rather than just a list of modalities. having said that, I pretty much used them all!
My practices for myself:
1. Say “yes” when anyone offered help. Accept with gratitude. Believe that I deserved the help and that giving it was a blessing to the ones who offered.
2. Put myself first, for the first time ever in my life, no matter who it upset. I was fighting for my life, and I knew it. A total stranger told me to do this, and I believed her.
3. Actively and deliberately sought my own happiness. It took awhile to figure out what that looked like.
4. Made a decision to stop beating myself up, period. Nothing was gained by my perfectionism, and I was beating myself down. Now I question my tendency to self blame, and if I find something that needs to change, I take note and move on.
I had to rely on #1 a lot, because I was not in a financial position to pay for everything I received. Still, I accepted it, and it all helped, more than the sum of it’s parts. Here’s my list:
1. Massage Therapy. I received a massage once a week while I was receiving chemotherapy. My colleagues at the hospital did this for me voluntarily, on their own time. I will always be deeply grateful for this.
2. Healing Touch. I received this through a Stanford University study called Healing Partners. I received one session per week for six months.
3. Acupuncture. My mom offered to pay for this because she knew it would help. I was a struggling single mom when I went on this journey so I did not have the funds to do this. I received acupuncture once every two weeks.
4. Guided Imagery. I believe this had a huge impact on my treatment. I used it to keep my blood cell counts up, to maximize the effectiveness of my treatments, and for healing after the treatments were over. I’ve already written a short article about that on the pages for Complementary Therapies. Excellent Guided Imagery CD’s and MP3 downloads are available from Health Journeys.
5. Support: I went to an Art and Imagery support group. This was a combination of Guided Imagery and using art therapeutically. It was very helpful. That program closed at the hospital and I really miss it. I also found my Caringbridge site to be a huge source of support.
6. Counseling. Fortunately for me, this was available through California Cancer Care where I received my treatments.
7. Laughter! I didn’t do “laughter therapy” (whatever that is…I haven’t tried Laughter Yoga but I have a friend who’s into it and loves it) but at the time I was diagnosed I had been attending a comedy improv class every week, and I made sure to continue. I timed my chemotherapy so I would be up for my class, and I didn’t miss a single one! Even after my surgery, I couldn’t play, but I could watch. I’m convinced that laughing my head off every week was very good for me.
8. Exercise is very important! I took advantage of the “Living Strong, Living Well” program at my local YMCA and did weights, cardiovascular exercise, and whatever else seemed like fun. I also did yoga at home, and some chi gong. I had a couple of videos and they worked well for me. I have a chi gong video that offers a 10 minute sequence for cleansing, called simply “chi gong for cleansing”. I am convinced that my complete recovery from surgery with my range of motion intact is because I did yoga.
9. Nutrition: My doctor told me, “Eat what looks good to you”. I wanted to be a martinet about what I ate, but I had decided to accept all help so I indulged in comfort food when it was offered. What I did do is create a smoothie that covered all the bases, and I had that every day during chemotherapy. Now I’m a bit more careful, but not super strict. I find the information on “Food for Breast Cancer” useful and I read the research they publish.
10. Cultivate hope, actively. I read everything I could get my hands on about recovering. The book “Remarkable Recovery” was my constant companion. I read the stories over and over, especially if I was feeling worn out by it all. The gist of what I got from it was that beating the odds was about doing it how you do it best, and it’s different for all of us.
11. Self expression and creativity. Everybody has her own way to do this. I found blogging, and loved it. I also got tons of support online, which was a huge help. I picked up a paint brush for the first time in 20 years or so. As I went through radiation, I was also rehearsing for a musical, again for the first time in 20 years. For you it may not be this sort of stuff, it may be something else, but whatever it is, it makes your spirit hum! If you’ve forgotten what that is, it’s time to discover it again!
12. Prayer. Whenever anyone offered to pray for me, I said yes, by all means please do! Acknowledging that my life was worth praying for, and allowing total strangers to pray for me (I was on a ton of prayer lists) was an important act of self love. There is research that supports the effectiveness of prayer, and I believe deeply that true self love sets all kinds of positive cellular happenings in motion.
13. Substitute “Feel Everything” for “stay positive”. I heard that stay positive stuff all the time from well meaning people. Being a Pollyanna does not help. Neither does denial. What does help is honoring what you feel, give it expression, and keep things moving. I didn’t elevate my lousy mood by pretending I didn’t have it. I blogged, “feel like crap, going to bed” and then later absorbed the messages of hope from my friends on my guestbook. I cried my way through a few infusions, and then felt better. After I cried I could make art or settle into my warm bed with some hot chocolate. Everything is allowed!
There’s my first stab at it ladies, for my dear IBC sisters and anyone else this may help. If you have any questions about what’s here so far, or want me to elaborate some more, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. What you tell me you want is what will be in Part Two. In the meantime, I am sleuthing out links and resources.
I hope this helps!
Wednesday, April 18, 2007 12:46 PM, CDT Feeling anxious and discouraged today. I guess I get to have a bad day sometimes… could be worse. I’m nervous about the next infusion, and I’m tired of it all. I’ll be getting infused every darned week, and I am not enthused. Improv was great last night! Worth [...]
Wednesday, April 18, 2007 12:46 PM, CDT
Feeling anxious and discouraged today. I guess I get to have a bad day sometimes… could be worse. I’m nervous about the next infusion, and I’m tired of it all. I’ll be getting infused every darned week, and I am not enthused.
Improv was great last night! Worth saving my energy for. I was lucky to get to go, because the children’s father is out of town and he usually keeps the kids on Improv night. My wonderful neighbors, Becky and James, took over so I could go. Thank you, thank you! Improv is therapy. I’ll keep going even if I just watch! Fortunately last night I played.
I’ll see Dr. Brown today, and maybe she can ease my fears. I just don’t know how my body is going to react to these chemicals. Once I have it behind me it will not be so bad… Flo says the anticipation is much worse than the real thing. I’m also discouraged because I will still get herceptin every 3 weeks after the rest of chemo is done, until it’s been a year. That’s next April! It seems like such a long time to wait to feel really well.
There’s my whine for the day. I’m still lucky when I consider the alternative!
My Aunt Darlene is coming today for a few days. No doubt she’ll cheer me up!
Present time postscript:
Dr. Brown confirmed at the time of this writing that the cancer was in retreat, which made all the difference. It was timely right now, after how I’ve had a fear recurrence, to be reminded of how well chemotherapy went well for me.
I wonder, does the fear ever go away for good? I would like it to, because it is unproductive.
Seeking the formula…
Chemotherapy is a task that can’t be done alone. It takes a lot of people, doing a lot of things, to help a loved one cope with cancer treatment and allow her or his body to cope with the treatments and heal. Community is essential. I became familiar with Lotsa Helping Hands when a friend [...]
Chemotherapy is a task that can’t be done alone.
It takes a lot of people, doing a lot of things, to help a loved one cope with cancer treatment and allow her or his body to cope with the treatments and heal. Community is essential.
I became familiar with Lotsa Helping Hands when a friend of a friend was diagnosed. I did not live very near to her, but I could be in communication, and everyone who was able to help her with all the gazillion things that needed doing had a way to keep it organized.
If you’re facing cancer treatments and are willing to say “yes” to all the help that people want to give, you might benefit greatly by forming an online community. You don’t even need to be computer savvy. Just the person you put in charge, and I highly recommend that it not be you!
If you are someone who wants to support a loved one and don’t know how to go about it, once again an online community can be a huge help. The patient lets everyone know what is needed, and the community fills the gaps.
The benefit of this is not simply logistics. It is also support. My Caringbridge journal provided me with this, and I had Susan Moore Rodgiguez (5th floor charge nurse and resident angel) organizing food delivery, and I was able to organize child taxiing and care.
It is deeply healing just to see how many people are willing to jump in and help! You wont know unless you ask. If people are given a way to find their helping niche to show their love and care, they are happy to do it.
Lotsa Helping Hands is a great resource. I’ve included the link here. You can also simply set up a mail list (someone other than the patient in charge!) or, I’ve seen Caringbridge sites used in this way as well.
Most of all, don’t be afraid to ask for, and receive, all the help that people want to give. It’s good for them, and will make all the difference for you!
I had to laugh when I saw this! I found this on the website, Planet Cancer. A laugh is good medicine! This is an excellent website, focusing on the needs of younger cancer patients in their 20′s and 30′s. However, this ol’ 49 year old lady can still relate! I actually remember my baldheaded days [...]
I had to laugh when I saw this! I found this on the website, Planet Cancer. A laugh is good medicine!
This is an excellent website, focusing on the needs of younger cancer patients in their 20′s and 30′s. However, this ol’ 49 year old lady can still relate!
I actually remember my baldheaded days with fondness. I finished chemotherapy in June of 2007, so the remainder of the summer was spent deliciously bald. The breeze on my head was very soothing. I didn’t bother to cover my head at home, and sleeping that way was soooooooo comfortable! If it hadn’t been for the circumstances surrounding my bald experience, I would have thoroughly enjoyed it.
I had an especially good time with it during my comedy improv class. There was always an opportune time to whip off the scarf, hat, or wig!
I must admit though, it got old when my daughter would get mad at me and call me “Baldy”. I was also annoyed that the hair on my legs was the last to go and the first to come back. Not fair!
Top Ten Reasons Being Bald Rocks
10. Topless tanning.
9. No hair in your soup. Or anywhere else, for that matter.
8. No haircuts, no shampoo, no styling – can you say low-maintenance?
7. No lice. Ewww.
6. When on the run from the police, you can hide out in the melon section of the grocery store.
5. Magic Marker skull tattoos.
4. On really hot nights, a cool satin pillowcase is better than sex. Like you’re getting any.
3. Low maintenance = more time on your hands = higher blood counts (Yeah, you know what I mean!)
2. You can join the Bald Hall of Fame.
1. Aerodynamics, baby!
* * * *
For anyone reading this post who is currently bald, here’s a riddle I made up when I was bald. I know, my funny bone is peculiar….
Q: What is a bad hair day on chemo?
A: When you can’t get your eyebrows to match!
Bald is beautiful!
When I look back at the entry I posted yesterday, I am reminded of the amazing way that so many people stepped in to support me as I went through treatment. What’s interesting to me now is that I don’t recall anyone actually asking me what I would like them to do! I was blessed [...]
When I look back at the entry I posted yesterday, I am reminded of the amazing way that so many people stepped in to support me as I went through treatment. What’s interesting to me now is that I don’t recall anyone actually asking me what I would like them to do! I was blessed in the extreme. Very seldom did a need pop up that wasn’t met before I even asked.
What everybody did was perfect. It was not usually what I might have expected, but it was what each person did best and it was always wonderful.
The Charge Nurse on the 5th floor at Mills (where I had been giving inpatient massage once a week) organized a meal sign up for my family. She put out the call, and many of my co-workers signed up to bring meals. All I had to do was tell her when the infusions were, and when the worse days would usually be.
Several of my colleagues in the Massage Therapy department took it upon themselves to see that I got a massage every week while I went through chemotherapy. One of the therapists chose to make soup instead. Every Friday she came over with fresh, delicious soup and a little visit to cheer me up.
My friend Becky, who went to comedy improv class with me, heard the news of my diagnosis and announced, “give me your address. I am going to send you a wonderful healing card”. And she did. Again, and again, and again, pretty much once a week. These were not just cards. They were wild, wacky, exuberant, sometimes soft, always beautiful amazing works of art. Even the envelope would make me smile.
My boyfriend, Steve, would call me every day on his commutes, and make me laugh. He also helped me get through it knowing I was still a beautiful woman. On rotten weekends he would take care of me, and on good weekends, our four kids and the two of us did normal things. That was all so important. He stayed with me for most of the journey, and we parted friends.
My mom, who was far away in Seattle, surfed the net for information and hope, and passed all the good stuff to me and kept the scary stuff to herself. Poor mom. That was a heavy burden, and she bore it without complaint, or even letting me know there was anything but the good stuff.
Other parents took my kids to school. Flo, my #1 sidekick and all around support person, recruited her husband Don and they took the children out regularly, and helped me get them to bed. When I would call Flo up and complain of how miserable I felt (she knew about it, she’d been there) Don would call out in the background, “remember to tell her it’s TEMP-O-RA-RY!” and I would sigh and take heart.
Several dear friends and family members flew down from Seattle, or ventured across the bay, to stay and take care of me during the yucky chemo days. Susan (I’ve known her since 6th grade. The kids call her Auntie Pickle), Christie, my mom, my sister, Holle, Aunt Ding Ding (Darlene, Ding Ding since we were babies), my sister in law Andrea, they all took their turn.
Terry took me to Filloli gardens once lovely spring day. It was perfect.
My brother set up a Netflix account so I could watch funny movies. The night after my surgery, my mom and my sister howled as we watched “the 40 year old Virgin”. Mom hired me a cleaning lady at the very beginning, and kept her until I was strong again.
My friend Melissa made me the most wonderful collection of delightful, wacky hats that I had the audacity to wear frequently. They always brought a grin when I went to the infusion center with one of those on my head!
So many people watched my Caringbridge journals, and left wonderful messages in my guest book. I would go and read them when I felt really rotten.
If someone you know is facing cancer, don’t stress about what you can do to help. Do what you love to do, do what feels natural. You will certainly be a blessing.
Looking back, I am again amazed and in awe of my army of angels.
Saturday, April 14, 2007 11:45 AM, CDT Four down and four to go, and I am so grateful that this one has not been so bad. Had a great night’s sleep, lots of peace and quiet, kids are having a great time in Seattle so no worries. The last two infusions left me so weak [...]
Saturday, April 14, 2007 11:45 AM, CDT
Four down and four to go, and I am so grateful that this one has not been so bad. Had a great night’s sleep, lots of peace and quiet, kids are having a great time in Seattle so no worries.
The last two infusions left me so weak by Saturday that I couldn’t even drive myself anywhere. Not having so much growth hormone in the shot has made such a difference. Today I’ve already been out, and will go drive myself to Steve’s later this afternoon. Hooray, day 4 and I can enjoy myself!
Got a wonderful care package from Becky the Unquenchable, with the usual absurdity all over the outside of the package. Wonderful stuff. I luxuriated in the bath and the shower last night and this morning, with all that wonderful just the right kind of soothing smelly stuff.
I am also so enjoying my guest book entries. Amazing to hear from people I haven’t met, offering encouragement and hope. Lots of survivors out there! Thanks Diane, you’re as regular as clockwork, and Flo, you’re like warm sunshine on my back on a summer afternoon.
Isn’t the rain lovely? I feel the soil soaking it up and nourishing my plants, just as all the love and prayers nourish me. I am soaking it all up, and thriving.
About The LIberation of Persephone/ElizabethElizabeth Danu started this blog to provide a postive and useful resource for people facing cancer and thier loved ones. She is now a ten year survivor of Stage IIIC Inflammatory Breast cancer, enjoying her post-cancer life as a mom, blogger, speaker, wellness consultant and unquenchable optimist. She also sings and performs regularly with her a capella quartet, Curious Blend.
- Click here to try a free sample of the most effective pain relief cream on the market.
Share the Love
This blog is a labor of love, and it has to fit into the nooks and crannies of my crazy, busy, wonderful life.
The few ads, affiliate links and other goodies help me enjoy getting my blog groove on here without feeling like I'm playing hooky, since I have dependents and I'm supposed to be at work! I also share the love with my favorite breast cancer research organizations.
Thanks so much!
- after treatment (21)
- Breast Cancer Awareness (4)
- chemotherapy (18)
- children (2)
- Complementary Therapies (4)
- Deadline 2020 (6)
- Feelgood (8)
- Getting Through Treatment (1)
- Guided Imagery (1)
- Guided Imagery (3)
- Humor (6)
- Inflammatory Breast Cancer (12)
- Life (4)
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- surgery (2)
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- Elizabeth on Inflammatory Breast Cancer
- Allan Birmantas on Inflammatory Breast Cancer
- Auntie on Contact Me
- Elizabeth on What to Know Before Your First Chemotherapy Session
- Sheila Warren on What to Know Before Your First Chemotherapy Session
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DO NOT DUPLICATEAll text and art found on these pages belong to Elizabeth Danu, Copyright 2008 - 2014 unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use of any material on this site is strictly prohibited. For permission to use anything presented here, please contact me directly. Elizabeth Danu
Disclosure:My intention with this website is to provide an oasis of hope for those facing a fierce diagnosis. Any proceeds from this site go towards building this resource and for breast cancer research, particularly directed towards Deadline 2020 for the end of breast cancer. Blessings, Elizabeth
My bedside companion in 2007
- The Liberation of Persephone is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Every item listed with this program has been personally used and valued by the author.