Surgery went better then expected. I was only in the hospital for one day. I call it drive by surgery. Fred, my family and friends were so supportive but it just felt so strange being taken care of. That used to be my job.
Two weeks after surgery, I met with my oncologist nurse. I took a Diet Coke with me. She gave me a five inch folder to read and told me everything that could happen if I didn't go exactly by the book when I started chemo. I was to have four intense treatments. That was scary.
As she was talking, I told her, "I can't swallow."
I was in panic zone. "Drink some coke." That's all she said. I am thinking she can't hear me. I am going to die right here in this chair. The nurse's calmness calmed me. I took a sip of Coke and it went down.
One day at a time.
But, the hardest part was to come. No matter how much information I gathered or was given, I was not prepared for chemo. At first I thought, I will lose weight. Well, I later ate those words.
Before my first treatment, a friend took me to buy a wig. While I still had hair. I decided to be a red head. I went shopping and bought a new comforter that was comforting, new sheets and new bed clothes. I was at least going to make the best of this new journey. Little did I know that I was going to spend a lot of time in bed.
First treatment went well. I was told to always get up, prepare myself for the day as if I was going somewhere, then get back in bed if I needed to do so.
By the third day after chemo, I felt pretty good. I was told to eat a balanced diet. No sweets. Well, I decided to forget all that crap and had cake and ice cream to celebrate. Really, rules don't apply to me. I spent the rest of the night in the bathroom.
From then on, a balanced diet it was. Until I couldn't eat at all.
That's when I got a juicer. I drank my fruits and vegetables. I didn't need too much energy to drink. I found that apples, celery and carrots were a wonderful energy drink. And, it stabilized my stomach. I still lost a lot of weight. I remember having read Stephen King's Thinner and wondered who I had offended. I was losing a pound a day!
I called my oncologist doctor, I was too tired to visit. He simply told me to walk five minutes. Two and half minutes one way. Bingo, I had an appetite. I was able to eat half a sandwich.
Everyone's body is different. The five inch binder was not all about or for me. Word of advice, read the sections that apply to you. Whoever assembled the binder, talked to a few people. I took it out of my closet and paid careful attention to my sections.
After my third chemo, I had to wait two weeks to resume because my white blood cells where too low. I remember visiting my oncologist doctor and lamenting that my nails were blue. I was in tears. His advice, "paint them red." I had red nails for years.
Slow and steady wins the race.
My last chemo was celebration time. I rested. I slept. I remembered, "you will be ok."
Next I was fitted for my radiation gear. A cast for radiation.
I wrote in my journal every night. Even if it was only to say "thank you." Just being able to do that took a lot off of my mind. Just putting it on paper, helped me to sleep. I would reread what I was going through to remind myself that I was stronger then I could have ever imagined with, "God's help."
Slowly, I was getting some energy back. I was even able to drive myself to my radiation treatments. I had to go every week day.
After a few treatments, while I was getting ready to go and be radiated, I met a young lady that was putting her clothes back on and she showed me her breasts. They were burned from her 23rd treatment. I thought, how do I go through this fire. I got scared. But everyone is different. I never burned. I went through the fire and I did not burn.
Slowly, while undergoing radiation therapy, my hair grew back. It was like baby hair. I finally took my wig off. I was just happy to see my body recovering. My nails were still blue but nail polish handled that.
I walked more and that continued to increase my appetite.
But, most importantly, I used a lot of my quiet time to read my Bible, meditate, pray, and I realized that all I really needed to do was listen to that small voice. Telling me I would be ok.
I wasn't ever alone on my journey. And, I never will be.