Hey, remember that “this time last year” thing?
I’ve been off it for a while for ovious reasons, and I don’t plan on overly focusing on the past, but I do like being able to make the comparisons. While here I’ve been doing all this surgery stuff, last year I was having chemos #3 and #4. Three was a breeze. An absolute godsend. No drama. Neulasta worked. It gave me a second wind, made all the rest seem possible to get through. (So for all those struggling through, I wish you a random and unexpectedly easy chemo!) #4 was more usual, but I no longer threw up after any more. Although the “Neulasta flu” made me throw up randomly once or twice each time. This is also when Neulasta started a new side effect: making me feel like I had a fresh bruise all over my body. Everywhere. It hurt to have a massage. It hurt to lie down. It hurt to sit on the toilet! It hurt if Del even stroked my face. This usually lasted 36-48 hours.
Then #5 came. I just didn’t think I could do it anymore. I couldn’t even think about chemo without my stomach revolting. I remember the day before taking a bath. Thinking that I felt good and that I only had to do two more. Giving myself a pep talk. I thought “only 2 more chemos. You can do it.” And I promptly gagged. I decided I better not think about it anymore. In any capacity.
I didn’t know how I was going to drag myself back there and let them pour more chemicals in. My French friend Vanessa was coming back (the same one who shaved my head for me) and would arrive that morning. I got up and got ready, was dressed to go, still wondering how I was going to get the courage to go through with it again, when she arrived. I was happy to have fresh company and knew she would hep entertain me through it. But then she said, “I brought something for you, but it’s too heavy to carry up by myself. Can you come downstairs and help me?” A thought about the limitations of my bad arm flashed through my head but I went to help.
We got to the landing of the stairs and there at the bottom stood two more of my friends! All the way from L.A. and Oklahoma! We four started our flying careers rooming together in Chicago our first year, and every year we try to take a reunion trip somewhere. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but this year they decided to bring the trip to me! I was so happy and touched that I was all teary again. To this day I have found it hard to express how much that meant to me. They really got me through that chemo, and on to the next – and last – one.
So, once again rescued by good friends, a year ago today my second to last chemo was now history. And an exciting moment that should not go without mentioning: now, before I’d even reached my last chemo, my hair would begin to regrow. A message from my healthy cells that maybe they accepted my mental apologies after all? I liked to think so.