So much has happened. Sorry I have not posted. My treatment has been strangely uneventful, and not nearly the horror show Hollywood portrayals of chemo would lead one to expect. Mostly I am fine. Pol has been there at my side for every single treatment and all the fun in between. (Hey Pol…I love you. Thank you for being by my side through this. You make it all so much easier.) In general, have much to be thankful for and I am thinking that 2013 will be my best year yet. So here is the quick update.
Hair: mostly gone but comes back as peach fuzz between treatments a bit, then falls out a bit. I still have eyebrows and eyelashes, so mostly, with a little creative scarf tying, I pass for devoutly Muslim rather than seriously ill. This is ok and I am actually more comfortable with this. The cancer stories I was collecting from strangers were sort of bringing me down. Not because I don’t care about their experiences — but because I have a bit too much empathy sometimes. But just to contrast, I met a very nice Muslimah lady the other day and chatted about modest fashion (something I am rapidly falling in love with) and gave and exchanged compliments and felt PRETTY for the first time in a while, and got some cultural insight as well. Did you know that followers of Islam are required to greet anyone who appears to be a fellow Muslim, and required to return the greetings of fellow Muslims with an even more generous blessing in return? What a lovely and practical commandment. I have learned the appropriate response, now, for the next time it happens to me. Although the easiest thing to do is simply to say hello first in a way that is polite but identifies me as a non-Muslim and saves confusion. (Or maybe creates confusion? Certainly engenders discussion, which I enjoy.) Still, it’s nice to know the response in case I need it, and it certainly is lovely.
And the holidays. Thanksgiving: took Pol to meet my family. They loved him and it was awesome. Saw some old friends and that was also awesome! Christmas: got to meet Pol’s extended family. I loved them and it was awesome. New Years: Spent with much-loved Bozeman friends, and it was awesome.
Chemo: progressively less awesome, but beats the alternative. No really seriously debilitating side effects, but work is a struggle the week after treatment and I am very tired. Fortunately I have an amazing boss who is a good friend and takes it as easy on me as she possibly can. Thanks, Sadie!
One funny anecdote: during the very first chemo treatment, they were very concerned about the possibility of horrible side effects. My “horrible side effect” was…drumroll please…my right index finger began twitching and spasming in the oddest fashion. HORRIFIC!!! This was enough to bring the whole treatment grinding to a halt while they paged the doctor, who quirked a brow and sort of bit his lip and said, “I have never observed that particular reaction before.” And then we carried on. I still laugh when I remember the look on his face. Solid gold.
And speaking of thanks, huge thanks go out to Keith Suta, Ryan Cassavaugh, and the Don’t Close Your Eyes Live Radio Theatre crew, who held a tremendously successful benefit performance for me in mid-December and greatly helped to defray my health insurance costs and other expenses. I love you guys!!! Dear readers, please visit their website, go to the vault, and download some episodes for free…share them with all and sundry…they deserve to be noticed in a big way for their talent and for their kindness.
Thanks, also, to the others who brightened up my Christmas season…Keith and Sarah, Ryan and Sadie, Sherry & Rudi, Marcie, Linnea, Melanie, and the amazingly talented author, Ms. Cynthia Hand, who has a new book coming out very, very soon. I would claim to be on pins and needles…except I GOT TO READ IT ALREADY, thanks to her thoughtfulness. Squee!!! No other response is really appropriate, except….THANK YOU, CYNDI!!! Oh, and here are links to her books. They are fabulous, fabulous young adult fiction featuring a really tough and really relatable teenage female heroine who actually takes charge of her own life and destiny in the most empowering way. I cannot recommend them enough for anyone who has teenagers in the house. Or adults, for that matter. I have quite a few adult friends reading and loving these novels as well. The books in order: Unearthly, Hallowed, Radiant, and Boundless. Do not delay. Get these books. Read them. Cry a lot, and then feel strangely happy about it all. I did!!
I think that’s about it. I am over 1/3 through chemo, and after my next treatment, they will PET scan me again to see how much progress has been made. I am looking forward to it, and I will let you know how it all goes.