Last night someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around and smiled at a woman I didnt know with several kids. Her daughter is in band with my son but I dont know her. She pointed to my hat/scarf combo and asked me if I was going through therapy.
I replied, "yes, chemo-therapy." This lady tells me that she is a two time cancer survivor and she had a very amazing tale of survival to tell! She was encouraging and inspiring, and very sweet. Then other people apparently listening in chimed in with experience with their aunt and mother in law going through radiation and chemo.
Thats what happens when you have cancer. Everywhere you go you find out that nearly everyone has had cancer of some type or been touched by it some how. And people want to reach out to you and tell you of their story. Whether it have a happy result or an on-going heart wrenching tale, people touched by cancer have a compelling need to reach out.
This Two Time Survivor (yes I'm bad with names)lady from last night was saying to me that its all about the Support System and if we have a good support system we will do great. I wanted to argue with her that it comes from with in. All the support in the world is not going to help if you arent determined to play this drama out a certain way. Support is the bonus that drives you on. But then I kept my mouth shut the whole rest of the time she was talking mulling over the thought in my head.
What really is more important? The Support System or the Inner Drive to "Get'er done"?
My husbands keeps telling me "You gotta fight this". That is his mantra through this whole thing. "You gotta fight this". I'm not sure what I'm fighting and what "this" is but I take his quote to mean that I should not give in to the overwhelming sense of hopelessness and just give up and not want to go to the doctor or chemo therapy and just let cancer take over my body.
I also understand that he is frightened beyond words and he doesnt know what else to say to comfort me. His other oft repeated words in my ear is "This is so hard what you have to go through". He is not able to say any other comforting words but these two phrases and I am fine with this now.
At first I was angry and wanted him to cacoon me and comfort me and act like a mother hen and make me chicken soup and write encouraging notes like I do for them when they are sick. But one day after I saw the look in his eyes I realized that he must repeat in his own head minute after frightening minute," She had better fight this" and "Oh my god this is too hard what we have to go through right now, I dont know what to do to fix this. She has to fight this." After all my mind would be frozen if this were him or my son so I can understand this now.
How he supports me is by shaving my head, he took care of the jackson pratt drainage tube after surgery and he has given me all the shots to the stomach and arm that they asked him to. And he tells me to be comfortable and go out with a naked bald head and not cover it up with a sweaty wig or hat and scarf combo. I wont but wow how nice of him to say. THAT takes courage and is truly supportive. That is admirable and makes me grateful. I dont know if I could return the favor.
My son is my cheerleader. Personal cheerleader and the reason that I fight every day to get past this and move on in life. He is amazing. He sat with me each week to go get blood work and then each Wednesday in the chemo room he sat for 6-7 hours with me. Cheering me up, keeping me distracted, playing cards, hangman, dots or puzzles together. Driving me everywhere and bringing me copious amounts of gatoraide, gingerale and crackers. He can microwave a hot pocket like no one else. He constantly texts me to see how I'm doing and he says the perfect words at the perfect time of comfort and understanding. The child is such a help to me. I sit here typing this with tears welled up in my eyes of gratefulness. He is joy to my heart.
Friends and Family: The funny thing about friends and family is that they have all taken on different roles in my life since I got diagnosed with cancer. The ones that were constant in my life became distant, the ones distant became close and the aquaintances I've barely known have sent cards weekly and messages and really amazed me with how its all been mixed up and everyone together has been encouraging me through this. The ones touched by cancer before have been really prolific in their support. And the funniest thing is that my Mom and Dad text me constantly and they have a Facebook account and can see how I'm doing.
All together my Support System is getting me through this but most of the hunkering down and getting through each day is done by myself to myself. I talk to myself, and cheer myself. Mostly lecture myself. I allow myself a few minutes every day to have tears and feel bad about all the ickiness of cancer and then the rest of the time I do as much as I can to lead a normal day to day life. I smile a lot, joke a lot and try to jolly each day along. When I have to lie on the couch and moan I do. But every other time I strive to find the joy.
The other day I had an outright temper tantrum. I had such a mental block about going again to chemo and I just really cried. My son and husband rushed from various parts of the house and said at the same time, "Whats wrong?" and I said "I dont want to go tomorrow" and I burst out bawling. I was so sick still from a new medicine they gave me for one of the side effects and I was just feeling too weak to go get more chemo... My husband sat on one side of me and my son sat on the other, My husband said, "Honey you have to fight this." My son kept patting my arm and put his arm around me. My husband kissed my bald head and they both just sat there watching me bawl my eyeballs out. They looked at each other over my head with huge owl eyes and then back down at me.
I stood up and shouted," I KNOW I have to go, I Know I WILL go, Its just that I have to cry right now to get this out of my system so I have the STRENGTH to go ."