February 8, 2017: Today marks 3 weeks since my last chemo. I have been wanting to write so many things since then, but I have been trying to put my thoughts together. The last few days I have felt grateful and stressed at the same time. I am grateful that Richard, the boys and I were able to go to Puerto Rico to celebrate our cousin Alex and Thyra’s wedding. It was great to see my boys enjoy their family and to learn about their culture. I tried to stay off social media and to just enjoy every second with my boys. I loved seeing Sebastian brushing up on his Spanish skills and I loved seeing Leo be the life of the party. They are so different and I am trying to enjoy watching them grow into their personalities. It was nice to feel somewhat normal. To felt like a mom again. A mom that can share moments again. I was exhausted, but determined to enjoy the time with my family. We went to the beach and even though I had to hide from the sun, I was still able to enjoy Leo throwing sand all over himself and Sebastian was a fish in the water.
The wedding was beautiful and I was excited to get all dressed up, but when I put on that wig I didn’t feel like myself. I should have known that the wig was a bad idea when Sebastian looked at me and told me he didn’t like it. It’s sad. I wish I could say I felt beautiful that night. As much as I wanted to feel beautiful, I felt so insecure like everyone looked at me and knew I was sick. The chemo has made me gain weight and that has me self-conscious. I was worried that I would sweat and my eyebrows would melt off or that Leo would pull the wig off my head. LOL I laugh as I think about it now, but at the moment the anxiety was real and Richard could read it on my face. I wore the wig to “fit in” and to not draw attention away from the celebration, but I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to take the stupid thing off, but I didn’t bring anything else. So, I took my mother-in-laws shawl and wrapped it around my head. Once I did that I felt so much better. I didn’t feel like I had to hide anymore…I danced with my husband and it was nice.
Other Cancer patients have told me that life after chemo is easy and that anything that follows chemo is a breeze in comparison. I beg to differ. My surgery is next week and I am TERRIFIED. I know that chemo took a toll on my body, but I am scared to wake up to yet another thing different with my body. I know I am “lucky” because they can save my skin and my nipples, but I am still going to have to deal with a foreign object in my body and more scars. I have to adjust to the changes and I have to feel comfortable with what I see in the mirror. For some people that might not be a big deal, but for me its just something else I have to add to my plate. Physically I know my body will recover, but emotionally I have to allow myself to heal. My acupuncturist made a good point, this whole thing takes a toll on your soul. Your soul takes a beating and you have to allow yourself the time to heal. I still cry in my car. I get emotional and I tear up all the time just thinking about everything that has happened in the last 6 months. I cry thinking about what’s to come. I cry knowing that for the rest of my life I will worry about my health.
The good news is that my hair is growing back. I might be able to rock a little boy cut soon. My eyelashes are trying to make a come back. They itch like crazy. My nails are still a hot mess. My toe nails are now in on the action. They hurt, they have puss coming out and they are detached. It’s not cute! I still have neuropathy and drop things all the time. But with acupuncture my hot flashes seem to be under control. I still get them at night, but they are minimal. My body is slowly adjusting to life after chemo. I have to be patient and remind myself that I have to take it one day at a time! Tomorrow I have my radiation consult and my surgery is still on for next week. I am asking all my Ninjas and prayer warriors to please keep me in your prayers. I talk to God all the time and I surrender to him. It’s his call!
I keep telling myself that Cancer is something that happened to me, but it doesn’t define who I am. It never will. I will not allow this disease to dictate who I am or how I live my life. I know that is a lesson that I will be able to teach my sons. Things happen to us in life that we can’t control, but that doesn’t mean we can’t put forth maximum effort to fight back and to make the best out of a crappy situation. I know my boys don’t understand everything that is happening right now, but when they are older I will have a conversation with them and I hope they learn something from my journey.