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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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