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T-minus 2 days before my third chemo session – and I’m feeling good

11:35pm. April 26th 2014. I just got back from my sister and bro-in-law’s baby shower. 

How I’m feeling: Pretty good. Dare I say, happy? We’ll go with that. I’m happy. 

Today was a good day. I spent time with some loved ones, was able to communicate with someone whom had wronged me in the past and had done some real damage to me – without feeling hatred and resentment, bought some gifts for loved ones – including for myself (What? I’m a loved one too. I love myself) and I lasted much much longer at my sister and bro-in-law’s baby shower than I had thought I would. And so, I’m feeling great, proud and pleasantly surprised right now. I’m also now even more excited to welcome my niece Arden Lau in to the world. Today, I went to Mastermind to purchase a gift for my friend’s daughter and I can’t wait for when I can start buying the entire store for Arden.

In all honesty, I really needed this day. I really did.

It’s been a while since I’ve written on here and it’s because (until today) I haven’t been doing so well. While I’ve been keeping as busy as I have been able to handle and have been spending time with some loved ones, I’ve been quite 1) down, 2) really down or 3) numb over the past week.

I have 21 days between my chemo sessions and this week was the last 7 days before chemo #3 (which is this Monday). I was much more energized between chemo session #1 and #2. In fact, after chemo #1, I was in hell for about a week and then for the remaining days before chemo #2 I had re-gained my energy back and definitely felt less sick. I guess I had expected my experience between chemo #2 and chemo #3 to be similar – and well, I was wrong. This week, I’ve been very much so up and down emotionally, mentally and physically – which is definitely not how I felt in my last 7 days before chemo #2. I’ve been disappointed with myself. I’ve been upset that I hadn’t met my own expectations. But really, who and what were those expectations based on?

I’m still learning to literally take things day-by-day. I’ve never known what it was like to do so before all of this. We’ve all preached it and have attempted it – but I’ve had to surrender to doing so. I’m trying to maintain a balance of being hopeful while not having any expectations – if that make any sense? I’m also trying to not use the word “should” too much – which is me creating unjust expectations. And trust me, it ain’t easy. For those of you who know me well – I’ll bet you can only imagine how much difficulty I am having with this.

“I should be stronger than this”
“I should feel better by tomorrow”
“C’mon Carolyn. You should know how to handle this one”
“I should be responding to this ‘X’ way”
“I should be feeling ‘X’ way by now”

“Should” can be a dangerous word. Often when we use it we are creating these expectations that can disable us from taking things day by day/staying present. What we have to realize is that there are so many factors, so many constantly moving gears (some of which are beyond our immediate control) that will impact the future – even if that future is as near as tomorrow. I’ve been really trying this out for size: Keep it simple. What do I want right now? How am I feeling right now? Done. Act. See what happens next.

The problem is that the only way I know how to progress is to think about the future. To play out many different potential scenarios in my head – and then plan for all of them. To always have some level of “dissatisfaction” so that I can push myself and those around me to be better. I’ve always been the one to say “Everyone, that was great – let’s talk about how we can kick ass even harder next time” There is always that second part.

And so, you can imagine how much of a challenge this all has been for me. And while, I have gotten better at it, I’m still trying to cope with this all. I’ve got to say, if I could name the past month and a half a chapter in a book, it would definitely be called “Accepting this ultimate surrender”. I’ve had to surrender my body, mind and soul in many ways. While it has been difficult – it has also been extremely freeing. I feel happier, healthier and much more honest with myself and others. Right now, I’m entering what would be called “Being vulnerable – and getting to know this vulnerable me”.

I’m so so SO happy I had this day – especially as I approach chemo #3 of which I’m nervous, worried, excited and relieved about. I’m hoping that it won’t take 7 hours this time and that they’ll find my vein quickly and in one shot – but I’m going to set those thoughts free. It’s about staying in the present, right? 🙂

Wow. Even typing out “set those thoughts free” felt like one, big, calming exhale.

Here are some photos from my day:

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OH! I forgot to mention, On Friday, my oncologist told me that my most recent x-ray showed that my mass had shrunken by 2 cm. Hooray! It’s time for a happy dance. Jean Claude Van Damme circa 1980s, take it away:

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3 replies »

  1. Carolyn. You will win this one with the courage that you are showing, and with the love of all your wonderfully compassionate and loving friends. It is the heart that is important.

    It is down by 2 cm. I am doing the happy dance.

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