My hero Ellen sends me this: “Things will get better. Your job now is to take care of you. Eat ice cream, drink cranberry juice, and in the down times, thank God for chemotherapy in that aren’t we glad there is a cure!”
18 March 2010
- Dana Jennings, New York Times columnist
The past thirty days seem to have been the longest days of my life. In fact, it was a month ago that I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer; but some days it feels like I’ve lived a year since then. I feel as though I’ve packed a year-full of physical and emotional change inside four weeks, which maybe the reason for the term “emotional rollercoaster.” For me, it’s been a physical rollercoaster too.
In the course of two weeks, I have physically undertaken more medical tests and procedures than I have in a lifetime . . . biopsy, blood labs, MRI, PET Scan, inserting my port into my chest vein, MUGA Scan, more labs and more tests. And in the two weeks since my first chemo, the after-effects have included extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting, confusion, body temperature shifts, mouth and throat sores, systemic fungus, two unscheduled trips to the hospital with one lasting for two days and nights. Then add the fuel to my fire – “you must stay away from people who might threaten your immune system.” That’s much to pack inside four weeks, not to mention an overall threat to my sense of well-being.
I can only recall one thing I always do at this time of year, and that’s to cook my traditional Irish Stew for St. Patrick’s Day. It’s simple and delicious and makes my home smell comforting for days. My family and a few friends are known to expect it. This year the stew went unmade. Instead, I ate two beautiful shamrock sugar cookies that Sheila and Richard picked up at Boulevard Bread.
And last night . . . my hair began to shed itself ten to twelve strands at a time.
All of this is to say, it’s been a very long four weeks, maybe like a triathlon that I forgot to train for. But so many friends have sent to me the gentle reminders that I need to keep my spirits high, to remind myself that this in only my “temporary” life, my life with a brief distraction called Cancer. Even though I cannot see them or get out of the house to thank the, the encouraging words by friends and family wrap around my soul, and it is good.
Last night my friend Sarah reminded me once again that “my moon” was outside – the crescent moon, the one that looks like God’s smile in the sky.
My friend Larry sent me this beautiful photograph taken by a friend. Larry said as he takes his morning walk each day, he says to himself, “there’s Stacy’s moon.”
In Matthew 6: V 25-26 Christ said DO NOT WORRY.
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?"
Today I’m going to worry less. Instead, I’m going to drink more water and cranberry juice, take a long walk in my neighborhood to admire God’s pear trees and daffodils, write more thank you notes, and cuddle with Abbey Rose. I will listen to beautiful music by Vivaldi and celebrate the four seasons in my mind, maybe even dance with myself to Glen Miller. And then I may watch Peter Graves in that silly film “Airplane.” And I’ll do all of this as my hair continues to fall out, because this “bad hair time” is only temporary, too. My hair will come back, and hopefully the cancer will not. Thank God for chemotherapy!
Posted by Stacy Sells at 7:07 AM