Before my first treatment the other day at Dana-Farber, Mike and I walked over from Brigham where I'd had an echocardiogram, a test to make sure my heart could withstand the beating from one of the new drugs.
Before entering the Dana building, my legs just didn't want to move forward. I was overcome with sadness. I broke down bawling and said to Mike, "I'm finally feeling good. I'm finally feeling healthy. And now it's just going to all go away again." We had to sit down on a bench. I couldn't even see through my tears.
And now, a few days later, I wish I could say it wasn't as bad as I'd thought. I wish I could say I'm toughing through it, but it's been hard. I've felt disgusting and tired and achy, all the things I was worried I would feel.
The first treatment round of treatment, in May, was easier. I had uncertainties and worry, but eclipsing those feelings were hope and resolve. The sun was shining and days were long...the doses weren't as harsh or high dose.
This new stuff, man. This new stuff, it makes me feel like I’m arrested in a hangover coma, but without the assurance that it will pass or that a tylenol or a nap will help.
And it makes me angry. What a wicked shitbox of shit we have to go through. A couple people have said to me, since I was diagnosed, something along the lines of, "Hey, at least it's breast cancer and they can treat that - at least it's a 'good' kind of cancer." And I see how in some ways it's viewed as such - all that money and attention and pink vomit thrown all over it - but in reality, it's far from over or cured. The fact is the cases are getting younger and the cases aren’t slowing and chemo is still oftentimes the only sick, disgusting answer to it. Sometimes -- and I know there have been advances and everything -- but sometimes I just think the most they’ve figured out is how to alleviate the side effects of the treatment itself. They know what to prescribe to cut the awfulness. And it's still pretty awful. But there’s still no cure, there’s no total eradication. Still.
Even though these drugs are saving my life I hate them so much. It makes me ill to imagine them inside me. I can see it in my red-tinged pee in the toilet, and I can feel it in random neck pains and back pains.
My friends mucked through the leftover wet rain on Sunday to walk in pink shirts and I’m forever grateful and forever guilty that I was too sick to even muster the energy to meet them afterwards. I despise feeling this way. Truly. I hate that I had to leave my cousin’s wedding at 8pm. I hate that I can’t enjoy things like I used to. I hate that I look around and I feel so different and weird and everyone who looks at me looks at me differently no matter how much they say they don’t. They’re waiting for my puffy chemo face, they’re waiting for sickness to set in, for it to be manifested somehow, and I hide under my wig and line my lashless eyes and refuse to show how sick I feel if I can help it. I just refuse. Call me weak or vain or for not “showing the truth.” I don’t care.
They say tomorrow, or maybe the next day "after days 3-5," I will start to feel better. I know there are far worse things in life and that I'm lucky in so many other ways: Mike, Lily, our new home, my job, my family, and my unbelievable friends. I have remember to cling to those things, as they are life. They are life.