Great news! I’m past the half way point in my chemo treatments! I have 10 more weeks to go of weekly chemo sessions. I’ll have scans after that and the doctors will determine what’s next. It could be more treatment and we’ll be aggressive!
It’s been quite a roller-coaster ride, but I’m not alone. Mathis has been telling friends that he has a front row “E-ticket” – the ones Disneyland reserved for the most exciting rides. We’re definitely on the Space Mountain rails this time!
What are my “Cancer Days” like?
(Chose one, several, all, or none of the following.)
- Sleeping in until 9 or 10am – I used to get up at 6…
- Waking up and still feeling exhausted
- Going to the gym for a light workout
- Going back to bed for a long nap
- Running one errand…slowly
- Eating small quantities throughout the day, ‘cause I’m just not hungry
- Visiting with friends
- Going for a walk
- Writing blog posts for my business and nationally-syndicated column
- Eating Mathis’ home-cooked dinner
- Lounging on the sofa until bedtime
I am blessed that I have not had the major side effects I was warned about. And, I get to stop taking the HUGE stack of chemo-related medicine that went with the first batch of chemo. It was quite a large batch of pills, shots and liquids.
Yes, I’ve been surprised by how tired I get, then I remind myself, “Oh, yeah, it’s chemo.” The doctors say that the fatigue caused by chemo is cumulative so I can anticipate more sleepy days ahead.
My new hobby: Helping other cancer patients and cancer fund-raising
I’ve enjoyed donating my time to two organizations: The American Cancer Society and my hospital, the Virginia Mason Cancer Institute. Recently I recorded a video that was played at a major Virginia Mason fund-raiser for their Cancer Institute; you can watch it here.
Coming up: June 13th! You are invited, no matter where you live! Join me at this year’s American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life to celebrate my birthday and raise money for cancer research. I look forward to seeing as many of my wonderful friends as possible
On August 30, I’ll be out in centerfield wearing my favorite bright green and blue as a Virginia Mason “patient hero” at a Seattle Sounders professional soccer game. So look for the bald head!
Then, of course, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I’ll host a team for the second time at the wonderful Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk by the American Cancer Society. Save the date: Saturday, October 10, 2015. Last year was so wonderful and I would love an even bigger team walking together this year!
Mathis, Milo, Dana, Chad
Comic relief – on the lighter side
Continuing the theme of what to say or do with cancer patients (see prior blog posts), I have identified a new “family” of gawkers. Yes, those who stare at my bald head. They’re everywhere and I understand it…a bald woman stands out, for sure.
Let me describe them for you:
- The stare-then-smiler. This person stares. Then, when we make eye contact, and they realize they’ve been busted, they smile at me. A classic example is of those boarding an airplane, walking down the aisle, and staring at me. I look up from my seat and they are surprised to make eye contact so they smile! It’s nice. Keep smiling!
- The long distance gawker. This person stares for long periods of time from a distance. They appear so shocked that they don’t know I see them gawking. Happened at the gym: a person on the other side of the gym, sitting on a weight machine, and doing nothing but staring at me! Great form of exercise, eh?
- The shocked child. We all know that children speak the truth. Period. So they point and ask questions. Recently a mother was walking her 4-year old daughter around our neighborhood. The daughter stopped, pointed at me, and asked her mom, “Why doesn’t she have any hair?” Her mom just looked at me imploring me to answer her. Mathis was with me and I totally fumbled the answer. I said, “I lost my hair with a medical treatment.” Yeah, right. As if she would understand that. Since then I am still stumped as to what to tell a child or her mom. What would you say? Please reply with your recommendation in Facebook or on my blog.
Quotes of the Day:
My mom, Ilse, just sent me a T-shirt that says:
It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it. It’s not what you see, it’s how you look at it. It’s not how your life is, it’s how you live it.
And my sister, Lynn, just shared this:
TO ALL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY
that have sent me best wishes or other promises of good luck,
NONE OF THAT SHIT IS WORKING
so could you please just send me cash, vodka, chocolates, wine or airline tickets instead?
Thank you, friends and family!
I can’t express enough gratitude for everybody’s incredible support and positive energy. I thought, by now, it would get “quiet.” But, no, the visits, cards, phone calls, e-mails, Facebook comments, texts, and more, just keep flowing in from near and far. I assure you that every touch makes a huge difference.
Loads of hugs and love,