Despite my unequivocal trepidation regarding chemo, as I have mentioned more than once, the process was actually surprisingly anti-climactic.
As is often the case with our fears, it was an experience that equated to a fraction of what my expectations hitherto had been.
Hey. No complaints here. Thank God for small favors. :)
I came home from chemo and busied myself. Among the many lessons the years have taught me, distraction as a tool for coping with anxiety was one I had employed on many occasions. It had not disappointed.
Twenty-four hours post chemo I was expected to inject myself with a shot called Neulasta. As I have no aversion to needles, this hardly seems worth mentioning. The fact that at this point there was no notable nausea, however, made that a banner day.
One day fled into the next and with relative speed, accumulated behind me becoming part of the rich fabric of my mortal experience.
It was like the proverbial family road trip with the incessant whining from the children in the crowded backseat of the family station wagon demanding impatiently, 'are we there yet?' Then, as if by magic, after seemingly hundreds of times, they ask and the answer is
That is what chemo felt like.
I had two calendars: a wall calendar and a small pocket calendar. I relished the daily ritual of crossing each day's square with a giant pink, 'X.' I decided I needed both of them so that I had a large reminder in my room and one to keep with me in my purse. It was a reality check during those times when treatment seemed interminable and allowed me to refocus; taking pride in the accomplishment of enduring another day.
After a short time, I saw a the X's lined up in a row celebrating the completion of my first week of chemo. Then one week evolved into two. Soon the grid was awash in X's and I found myself celebrating the turning of a calendar page as I graduated from May to June.
I put my mantra, 'I can totally do this,' on repeat in my head and utilized the power of distraction whenever things seemed inundate me.
I had demons with which to contend in the form of fatigue, migraines, mild mouth sores, body aches, sore throats, queasiness, and general malaise to name a few. But I just brought my secret weapon out and put it to good use.
What's my secret weapon?
My sheer, unadulterated awesomeness.
The good news? All women have it.
And that is why breast cancer is 99% curable when caught early.
End of story. ;)