It's not all optimism
But this was supposed to be an easy cycle!!
I’ve realized that one of my cancer coping mechanisms is making these little deals with myself:
“Ok, so it’s three months of chemo until surgery. That’s only three rounds of systemic. The pump chemo is easy, so that shouldn’t really count. And the first round of chemo after a chemo break tends to be easy, so it doesn’t count either…”
And when the nurse told me that they wanted to take Oxyplatin out of my chemo cocktail to get me started, I figured this round would be a total breeze—no neuropathy!
So I have to be honest – when I started to feel side effects on Wednesday—days earlier than usual, and ass-kickingly brutal to boot—I was PISSED OFF.
I got CHEATED out of my easy cycle!
Seriously, WTF. I mean, I was really, really angry.
Maybe I forgot how bad chemo can be. Maybe it felt worse because Per happened to be traveling when it all hit. And maybe I blamed myself for it, because if I had maintained my good attitude, shouldn’t that have been enough to keep me feeling better physically?
“Um, seriously, Gina—NO,” said the therapist who generally stays quiet until I say something that really doesn’t make sense.
She’s right of course: chemo sucks. Its impact is real and unavoidable and brutal—and frankly plenty strong enough to crush a spirit.
We talked about how lucky I’ve been to be able to successfully maintain my optimism—but also how human it is to experience dips along the way. And how interpreting these dips as “signs” that somehow this isn’t all going to work out—which I have a disturbing tendency to do—is just magical thinking.
I also begrudgingly agreed to stop thinking of myself as “wallowing” when I’m not feeling good and start thinking of myself as “healing.” Which is probably why I was able to put myself to bed last night at 6:45, relying on Nathan and Evelyn to bring me toast, water, Gatorade, pills.
I woke up this morning feeling miraculously better. Per’s coming home tonight. We’re having pasta and pizza for dinner, and we have the weekend ahead of us. If that’s not a recipe for healing, I don’t know what is.