Bon Jovi wrote “Living on a Prayer” about days like today. Because woah, I’m halfway there. Humpday came a day early as today is chemo number six. That’s six out of twelve. So now, I can officially start a countdown.
The day did not start out great. Just like Tommy who works on the dock, I was down on my luck. You know that feeling you get of wanting to vomit when you smell a form of alcohol that has done you wrong in the past? Well that happened to me this morning, except it wasn’t alcohol, it was chemo. And instead of wanting to vomit, I actually did. I was making coffee, minding my own business, when I started thinking about how awful chemo can make me feel, and the tastes and the smells, and BAM, vom.com. Good thing I was standing right next to the garbage can or else I would’ve needed to announce a clean up on aisle three.
And the traffic. Dear Lord. If I had to do the commute to NYC every day by driving in, I would probably turn into gremlin. They should do a study on these people to see if this commute actually takes years off their lives. And what their quality of life is. Because I can tell you that for the one day every two weeks I have to do this commute, there is no quality to mine.
But then my day turned around. The Rolling Stones AND Aerosmith (two of my favs) played on the radio, and someone sent me a little message reminding me that I’m a bad ass. So I picked my head up, looked right out into traffic, and said “I am a bad ass.” I was in a good mood today despite the traffic, not getting my favorite nurse, and waiting hours for the actual chemo to start. No really, for a moment, we thought it’d be Wednesday with Katie.
It has been 110 days since my roommate moved in and 70 days since chemo started. And what do I have to show for it? At first when I asked myself this question, I thought “nothing.” And then I had a minor freak out. When I got diagnosed, I said I would come out of this with a new skill. Something tangible, like learning a new language or how to play the bagpipes (idk, seemed festive). And I haven’t done either of those things. I had plans to take a course in something, study for the GRE, drive a stick shift, fly an airplane. Just kidding about the last two, but that’d be cool. But instead, I’ve spent my last 110 days binge-watching anything and everything on Netflix.
After calming myself down and clearing my head, I realized that I am a goal oriented, type A, freak. I am my biggest critic. No one (at least I hope not) is going to look at me when this is over and say “well you know, you didn’t learn how to juggle while riding a horse, so you’re a failure.” I judge myself on what I have and have not accomplished. That’s how I’ve always been. I have such bad tunnel vision about the goals I set for myself that I end up losing sight of the little things that weren’t on my to-do list. And if I don’t achieve those goals, I get upset. Like really, really upset. But, I need to focus on those little things too because they’re just as important. Here’s what I have accomplished in the last 110 days:
- I started a job in retail, which I really enjoy
- I got yelled at by a customer and handled it with grace (sort of)
- I knit hats. Not a new skill, but nonetheless, I knit hats
- I’ve ran more in the last 70 days than I probably have in my whole life
- I took up yoga, not the wanna-pass out- and- cry kind, and it brings me peace
- I tried a new hairstyle
- I learned to listen to my body. When it says stop, I don’t pour myself another cup of coffee and push through, I actually stop
- I stopped biting my nails
- I write, obviously
I’m proud of the things I have achieved. I am learning that not everything I do needs to be big; there doesn’t always have to be a certificate for it to count as an accomplishment. And although juggling while riding a horse would be a pretty dope party trick, it’s also just downright unachievable (at the moment).
So, I will accept every little goal, big goal, and all goals in between, with open arms. I will accept that my counts were low again this week, so Neupogen shots are in the plan for the next three days. I will not judge myself if this treatment doesn’t go as well as the last treatment, because I can’t control that, no matter how much I want to. I won’t pout if I spend the next couple days in the same pair of sweatpants or finish the first season of Good Girls Revolt, and hey, maybe finishing ten episodes in five days is an accomplishment in itself. I will cheer if I’m able to get myself out of bed by Thursday, hell, I’ll cheer even if it takes until Friday. And I’ll give myself a toast if I can stomach more than, well, toast (lol ha ha).
I’m halfway done. And I think that might be the biggest and best goal I’ve reached to date. Six down, six to go and I still have hair. Now, where’s my trophy?? I kid, I kid!
Happy halfway-there Tuesday.