Sunday, August 22, 2010
Day 108:Birthday Blog
Well today was my 35th birthday. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your good wishes. Birthdays are bittersweet occasions when you're going through something like this. There's so much to be thankful for and yet so much to be fearful of--so much I'd rather not miss. At one point 35 seemed so old. Now it seems almost ridiculously young. I compare my 35 birthdays with the few my kids have had and just hope I'm still around when they're this age. How likely is that? Who knows. I guess none of us knows the answer to that question.
All in all, we had a wonderful weekend. A childhood friend flew out from Seattle to help after my last chemo session and we had a great visit in addition to all of the help that we definitely needed. On Thursday I went out to a karaoke bar--one day after chemo--and though I didn't sing, I also didn't need to put any makeup on my face since I had such a nice chemo flush going on. Is that an a advantage? Hopefully I didn't look too bizarre, though I seem to have stopped worrying about that at some point. I had a lot of fun and actually made it out past 10, which is good for me even on non-chemo standards.
Another friend from high school was visiting from England, and we hadn't seen each other in 4 years. Children have been born since then, people have lost their hair, and yet things don't seem that different. It's strange how easy it is to talk to people who knew you when you were a kid. Anyway, today, Gabe and I went out to dinner, and I ate too much and it made me sick. Lots of people called and sent emails, I opened some presents, my daughter made me cards, I wore a paper crown. As far as birthdays go, it was a good one for sure.
The week itself hasn't been so great. This last a/c chemo did not go silently into the proverbial good night. I felt nauseous during the infusion, for the first time. It didn't get better from there. I was completely out of it on Wednesday, fairly useless on Thursday, though not as nauseous as in the past. It took two tries with the IV and I have a huge bruise on my arm from that. I was very weak yesterday, but a little better today. Every morning and sometimes during the day I have to physically pry my right eye open due to the extreme dryness and lack of tear ducts making it stick shut. I have some blisters on my feet that seem to be related to chemo. I feel very sad--surprisingly so--about being in menopause. It does seem to have happened to me, though I have avoided hot flashes so far. Women talk about how great it would be to not get their periods, but at 35, it's just kind of depressing. No more fertility--that's a lot to give up, especially when I'm supposedly free of cancer! It could come back, but it's just the thought of how old this chemo has made my body, even if only in the short term.
In this 35th year, I'd like to look forward to a new phase of life rather than look back on an old one. A new, cancer-free life, where my kids don't suddenly have behavior problems that have come out of nowhere, leaving us clueless as to how to deal with them. A new life where we could decide that this is our complete family, on our terms. A life where my body comes back to me, and I can do all kinds of things again: sweat, cry, bleed every month, stand up without getting dizzy, open my eyes, eat and drink at the same time, sleep normally, take care of things the way I used to do.
This has been a lost summer and will to some extent be a lost year. And yet the year has happened all the same. I turned 35, and it's possible that if I hadn't found that stupid "clogged duct" and followed it so aggressively back in April, I wouldn't have ever turned anything more than that. Odds are in my favor to have lots more birthdays, right? That's what we're telling ourselves over here.
So here's to another 35.