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!