hey. me again. shocking right? anyways. one of the most common misconceptions about having a serious health issue is that once it’s over, it’s over. but i am living proof here to tell you what a massive myth that is. and here’s what i mean. i had major complications with my fifth round of chemo. and when i say major complications, i mean m a j o r. complications that were so bad that even my team ran out of ideas and solutions. i was receiving fluids four to five times a week at different infusion centers and fully stopped eating for twenty seven days. the infection in my mouth and the sores that caked the roof of my mouth were unbearable and i could barely walk up a flight of stairs. if i wasn’t in the fetal position from pain, i was likely sobbing myself to sleep. round five was miserable. and in case you missed it, my diagnosis came with six rounds, not five. but i was miserable. i was down thirty two pounds in less than two weeks. i was weak and dehydrated and my skin was literally disintegrating before my eyes. gross, right? i had emailed my oncology team about nine days after the fifth round of drugs had been given. it was four in the morning and i had sweat through my clothes and soaked my sheets. hot flashes are a super cute side effect of stopping your birth control cold turkey because it can cause blood clots and it’s also a super cute side effect of chemo in general. and the email was quite literally an ‘i quit’ email. in fact, my exact words were ‘i am at my wits end. i absolutely cannot do this anymore. what’s an alternative to this hell?’ and two weeks later, i waved my white flag and we collectively decided to stop and not commit my body to any more misery with a sixth and final round. and it’s been a month since round five. and i celebrated the end of my personal hell. but here’s the thing. nothing is the way it was. i will say that one more time for those in the back. nothing is the way it was. like before chemo. or even before the fateful day when the radiologist took one look at the biopsy he had just pulled and just shook his head at me. because thirty something year old women don’t just have breast cancer. except me, i guess. actually, one in eight women will receive the same diagnosis in their lifetime. that’s some shit. but anyways. nothing is the way it was. for me anyways. my body isn’t. my brain isn’t. my circumstances aren’t. there is so much fear in the air. not just in my own space but in the whole existence of the world. so much to be afraid of. fear of surgery. fear of virus reinfection. fear of complications on the operating table. fear of reoccurrence. the stats for a second reoccurrence in ten years or less is enough to make you wanna vomit. and sure, i want to spend my free time not worrying. definitely. but it also keeps me up at night. would you do things differently if you knew that something could instantly change everything you currently have? that nothing would ever be the way that it was? for me, no. i have lived my entire thirty two years as a no regrets kinda girl. everything i have ever done- good or bad, success or epic failure- has taught me something. some of the lessons have been cutthroat and painful. others, enlightened. but i don’t regret any choice or decision i have ever made. don’t regret friends i have loved and lost. don’t regret stupid shit i have said or terrible dates that i have been on. but the truth is- big shit, like cancer, it knocks everything out of your hand. it takes whatever it wants and it places you down in a spot that is brand new. and while i am all about new experiences and whatnot, this unnavigated territory isn’t my jam. because nothing is the way it was. i am standing here, five weeks post chemo and five weeks til surgery. i am awake more than ever and still can’t look at myself in the bathroom mirror.
but what really drives this home is that i recently had a moment. it was like six thirty on a monday evening. i was bawling hysterically over absolutely nothing but also absolutely everything. you know what i mean right? like in the grand scheme of things, what i was bawling about was literally nothing. but in the moment, it was everything. i was overwhelmed. my dog just had surgery. my bank account was low. my back was hurting. i hadn’t slept in three days. my husband forgot to unload the dishwasher. i forgot to switch the clothes to the dryer so everything smelled like mildew. i didn’t have soy sauce for the dinner that was still not on the stove. my phone was dying. my head was pounding. just one of those moments. where everything was annoying the hell out of me and nothing was going my way. and you add cancer to the mix. and you add never feeling like yourself. and you add that nothing is the way that it was. wow. i just cannot stop saying that phrase because well, it’s so freaking true. and in this moment, i was just a mess. word vomiting to my husband. that life is unfair and overwhelming and having cancer is unfair and overwhelming and i even texted my sister and she said “tomorrow is a new day, right?” and she was right, is right, will forever be right. tomorrow. it exists solely so that it’s not like today. nothing is the way that it was. tomorrow is not the way today was. see? we are quite literally given twenty four hours. and then we get to start all over again. and so right now, for me, nothing is the way that it was. before cancer. before the virus. before this hell on earth year of twenty twenty. but it also means that today was today. and tomorrow will be tomorrow. and i can create tomorrow to be whatever i want. tomorrow is fresh and new and free to become whatever i allow. and so the shitty stuff that is weighing heavy right now, today. the existence of tomorrow brings so much promise. tomorrow is a new day. tomorrow can be lighter. tomorrow can be whatever. nothing will ever be the way it was. especially if we don’t want it to be!
the new year will never be the way this year was. and for that, i am grateful. we are walking into a new three sixty five. with three hundred and sixty five chances to wake up and take on what is, not what was.
and hey, if you made it this far in this blog post of my literal brain spilling onto the pages before you- you’re a rockstar. have a kickass new year [socially distant and safely, obv]. it’s still a pandemic; xoxo.