I feel like people are getting tired of me having cancer. Like as tired as every little girl’s mom is of the Frozen soundtrack. But, you know, it’s on non-stop repeat around here, and that may be too much for people to handle. It’s too much for me to handle, really. I wish I could mute it, but I can’t. So instead, I’m trying to learn how to truly Let It Go without going cah-razy.
I mean, I get it. I really do. This stuff is heavy. Five months and going is a long time to be so emotionally invested. Heavy burdens and stuff. Buuuut, I only have one more chemo left (after I make it through this next week or so of yucks)! And this bad boy below and those sweet smiles are keeping me going.
Josh and I NEEDED a visual representation that this would end. I also NEEDED something to keep the kids busy on an afternoon when I wasn’t feeling so great. Double score. Seriously, you guys, this pink posterboard countdown is doing its part in keeping me sane. With such irrational JOY, I cross off another day. And although Penny really wants to draw the “X” at bedtime, I’m a mean mommy. This fight is definitely all for the family, but those little pink boxes are mine.
Anyway, Monday was chemo 5 of 6, and I always think it will be just fine if I go it alone. I mean, it’s just a little blood work, doctor’s appointment, and infusion. However, my standard answer to, “How are you feeling?” right now is “Physically, I feel like an 82 year old, and emotionally, I’m 14,” so I should always know that Josh needs to be there. I tell him not to miss work, but he knows better. I mean, you don’t let a 14 year old go to the doctor alone, right?
Usually, before I see my oncologist, a resident or an NP assesses me, and last time, I saw the resident. Upon seeing some fresh bruises, he told me that my blood counts are low (duh!) and to try not to hit my head on anything (mmmkthanks,duh!).
I smirk. “That’s kind of how I live my life anyway. You know, not hitting my head.”
He half smiled, half looked at me like I was an idiot.
For real though. Do I really need instructions not to hit my head? I’m pretty sure I’ve always tried to avoid concussions, subdural hematomas, and brain bleeds in general. I’m a nurse, you know. And my GPA has always been higher than most. I’m not an idiot.
Except, after three weeks, I HAVE taken greater care not to hit my head. Who am I? And why was there room to improve my head protection abilities? I am now questioning my whole life (because the cancer wasn’t enough to spur this new train of though. jk. jk.) Just, wow, is all.
Anway, THIS time going into my appointment, I silently prayed that I would see the nurse practitioner. You see, I’ve been, uhh, emotional lately, and I knew that Mary was the only one I would actually discuss this with. I’d guess she’s about the same age as me. She has two daughters the same age as mine. She feels a little like a girlfriend at the doctor’s office. Her background is nursing, and I can feel it. She’s much more organized and listens to my concerns. At the risk of sounding dramatic, she sees me.
When Mary walked in, I immediately felt more cared for. For the first five minutes, we didn’t even discuss my health or the cancer. We talked about our kids and caught up. That’s as long as my oncologist is usually in the room. When she finally asked, “Well, how are you doing?” I looked her straight in the eye and said, “I’m crazy.”
“I’m crazy. Or I feel like I’m going crazy, you know? I’m not usually like this. I’m emotional,” and tears form as if on cue, “irritable, moody. Sometimes, I get a lot of anxiety about the future. Fear. I just feel so emotional and crazy right now.”
She tilts her head. “I don’t know if this will make you feel any better or not, but I have had this same conversation probably ten times today. This really is normal. It’s not only your hormones but also chemo does a lot to your body.”
This conversation came an hour after an echocardiogram (ultrasound of my heart) that I cried through because the lady had to use contrast dye. In all fairness, at the beginning she noted that she was happy that my port was accessed in case she did, in fact, need to use contrast dye. When I said, “Well, that wouldn’t be good. Let’s hope not,” she agreed. Thirty minutes later, she looked at me shirtless and in the dark and said, “It looks like we do need a little contrast, honey.”
It turned out fine, but geez, I don’t like being this girl. And I’m pretty sure I know how Josh feels about my “mood swings.” It’s not all day every day, but it’s enough to drive me crazy.
Mary and I talked all about it, and she ultimately suggested an anti-depressant, which makes me feel weird. My doctor then came in and pretty much threw a script at me, no questions asked.
I haven’t started it yet. I just never saw myself headed here. I probably will, but I’m just not sure. I don’t feel depressed. Just unstable. lololololol. For the most part, I am happy. Punctuated with moments of extreme sorrow, anxiety, fear, annoyance. And those hot flashes.
That’s probably pretty much an ad for an anti-depressant, right? Well, I am all for sharing with you guys, and I don’t want to sugarcoat this journey too much. So this is probably happening.
On another note, I bet you didn’t know this happens at chemo.
Yeah, those jerks (just kidding, lovely nurses!) ice my fingers and toes during one of the hour long meds so my nails don’t turn black and fall off and stuff. Blah, blah, blah. In turn, I get to feel like Olaf while trying out my Elsa powers. Tooooo muuuuch Diiiiiisney.
Also of note, I am trying to figure out what to be for Halloween. I think it would be fun to incorporate my bald head. Like, I could be Britney Spears, circa 2007, which would also accurately represent my mental state AND make me laugh a lot. Or Dr. Evil. I’ve had suggestions of Charlie Brown, Daddy Warbucks, Mr. Clean, GI Jane. What do you guys think?
So that’s about it. Chemo countdown. My craziness. Heather Ice Hands. Frighteningly similar to Brit Brit. Yeah.