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CHEMO day- Let’s KILL some cancer cells

Back in June, I took a hard hat tour of the almost finished Cancer Center.  Bruce and I made a donation and were offered a tour as a thank you.  Bruce was busy at work so Allison came with me.  We dawned reflective vests and hard hats and plodded with a small group of much older donors through the bowels of the business end of C squared.

As we approach the chemo bays, Rick Scott, the CC Foundation President, explained how proud they were of the floor-to-ceiling windows in each individual chemo bay with beautiful views looking over the oak trees. I blurted out in a voice a little too loud for the situation, “I’m never going to be in here.” Everyone awkwardly look back at me -- not sure what to make of my outburst, then they continued on with the tour.  How would they guess I was a patient?  Unfortunately, here I am, sitting in a comfy chemo chair, a fancy model that has in-seat heat and massage, while toxic chemicals are dripping into my veins.  My mom is here, switching my cold cap every 20 minutes, in a heroic attempt to keep some of my hair.  We are enjoying watching the bulldozers prep for planting the CC healing garden.  

I want to tell everyone, thank you for the avalanche of support: phone calls, whatsapp, texts, FB messages, Skype, flowers, cards, dinners, visits, and being prayed for at the Grand Mosque in Tehran, Iran! Thanks, Shirin.  I almost hired a social secretary.  Please remember, this is a long haul and we all need to pace ourselves. This type of chemo is cumulative; I will be feeling the worst in January and February.  I will have 6 cycles, 3 weeks apart, of the same two drugs I had last time:  Carboplatin and Paclitaxol.  In addition, I will have Avastin every two weeks for as long as my kidneys can take it.  Avastin is a promising new drug; it restricts new blood vessels and starves the tumor of food.  So that is about all there is to say.  Chemo and cancer suck- so PLEASE don't ask how I am doing.  It is detrimental to my mental health to go over the details with everyone who asks.  

A much better question to ask is, "How can I support you?"  In a few weeks I’ll be putting up a help calendar for meals, shopping, visits, etc. To get notified when I post, please subscribe.  But for the next two weeks I have my parents and two friends visiting, so I should be well-looked after.  

My immuno-compromised period is during the peak of cold/flu season.  I have set up a disinfection station on our front porch.  Please wash your hands before you visit.  I encourage everyone to get a flu shot.  I might institute a no-shot-no-visit policy!    

And one last word about texting.  I will likely be napping during random times of the day.  While I appreciate all the love, please limit texts to urgent/imminent stuff.  I love getting your supportive emails and it’s helpful if you post those to my blog, because then I can find them when I am having a low moment.  If there in my email Inbox I have to save them and scroll all over hunting for them.    

While I was at Hospice last week, my counselor, Flannery, told me about “No one Dies Alone.”   Hospice volunteers visit terminally ill folk with no family or friends to sit with them.  I felt so profoundly sad that such people exist, and I am so grateful I have so many loved ones.  Thank you for stepping up in my time of need.  I appreciate you all!!! 

Much love,  Michelle  

PS, thanks to my fellow O3C survivor Emilee for the Lucky hat.  Em, here is today's “homework” ........I am strong, I am a warrior, I will survive!  

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I just discovered this message from Michelle in the "Drafts" section of the blog, written in summer 2021. Apparently, she started it to be an announcement of the research paper from her collaboration

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