Tuesday, March 11, 2014

One year later...

Which was brighter - the sunlight or the glare off my forehead?

One year ago tonight, I was recovering from my final round of chemotherapy.
One year later, I am recovering from running errands all day with my children.

One year ago tonight, I was looking ahead to a week of aches and pains and exhaustion.
One year later, the only aches and pains I deal with are after working out.

One year ago tonight, I was figuring out how long I would have to wait until surgery.
One year later, my chest is as flat as a 12-year-old boy, the scars are healed, and I'm still glad I didn't have reconstructive surgery.

Thank you, everybody, for not telling me how puffy my face was.

One year ago tonight, I ordered my tickets to go to Spain in the fall.
One year later, that trip is behind me and I'm already dreaming about the next one.

I sure did!

I remember lying in bed three or four days after the first round of chemotherapy in November of 2012. I was in agony. Every joint ached. My mouth was sore. My head hurt. It felt like all systems were down or on their way there. I remember thinking, "If every round is worse than this, I am not going to survive six rounds." Over the next two weeks, I researched side effects and effective remedies for those side effects on the internet. I asked friends and nurses and anyone who seemed like they might know anything about chemotherapy. By the time the sixth round began, I was a pro at chemo. I knew when to take the right pain relief, when to take sleeping pills, when to eat and drink, when to give in and give over to the waves of exhaustion and just rest.

If you're gonna be bald, you may as well be fiercely bald.

I learned about taking claritin to relieve the aches and pain. The oncologist and the nurses don't know why it works, but it does. I can testify to that.

I learned about mouthwashes that relieve chemo-mouth. Who knew there was such a thing as chemo-mouth? I sure didn't.

I learned about the love, loyalty, and wonder of good friends and caring family members.

I learned that baldness is pretty awesome, that water feels amazing on a bald head, and that there are a lot of great hats in the world.

I learned that hot flashes are real!

I learned to savor and appreciate the ordinary details of life - from the comfort of a robe and slippers, to the deliciousness of my neighbor's matzo ball soup and banana bread, to the smiles of cashiers at the supermarket, to the beauty of the full moon, to the miracles that medicine, chiropractic adjustments, supplements, healthy food, kombucha tea, filtered water, Juice Plus capsules, and prayer can produce.

My most recent haircut. Yup, I'm keeping my hair short. No more locs for me.

One year ago tonight, I was celebrating the end of chemotherapy and the beginning of my (steep) uphill climb back to health and well-being.
One year later, the celebration and the uphill climb continue!
Thanks be to God!

1 comment:

Karmen M. said...

<3 this!