Happy Valentine’s Day to all of those who celebrate. Happy Taco Tuesday to everyone else. And happy second to last day of chemo to me.
Yea you heard that right. I’m on my last round of chemo. And how did I get here? Well, with girl power, duh.
My pregame ritual, the game being chemo, is a day of relaxation and hydration. Someone told me the key was to drink lots and lots of water the day before chemo because it’s so dehydrating. And when you’re dehydrated, you vomit. I don’t know how true this is, but nonethelesss, I turn into a fish the day before chemo. I try and get some sort of work out in because I know that I’ll pretty much have the same activity level as a sack of potatoes for the next couple days, so it makes me feel good. And at night before I go to bed, I meditate.
Well, I do my own version of meditation. Which is basically a combination of channeling my inner Beyoncé and talking to myself. I say “you’re a boss” over and over until I believe that I am the boss. I’ve tried meditating during chemo with the meditation lady that comes around and I ended up opening my eyes and laughing through the whole thing. Not my forte.
As a woman, or a girl (I’m not a girl, not yet a woman- Britney Spears), there is a lot to think about during your fight with cancer. For example, the first question my mom asked the doctor when I got my diagnosis was “what about fertility?” This was not my first question. Mine was “what the f***?”
So before I could even start chemo, I had to go through fertility treatments to get my eggs frozen. It was no walk in the park let me tell you that. I had to inject myself with three hormones every day for two weeks at specific times and go get blood work pretty much every day during that time. And then after I got my eggs retrieved (a record breaking number for the doctor, apparently. Go big or go home), I had hyperovarian stimulation which made me nauseous, bloated,moody AND it pushed my port placement back which ultimately pushed the start of chemo back. And to top it all off, insurance gave me a hard time about coverage for the eggs. We fought them and they ended up fully covering it, but the fact that we had to fight it in the first place was absurd to me. Like I didn’t ask for this?*
It was a frustrating time to say the least. It was a time where I struggled with self image because of how bloated I was. I felt like the body I had been so used to for 22 years was changing and I didn’t have any control on it. My emotions were all out of whack. I was confined to a schedule. I went from seeing a doctor once a year for a physical, to going to all different doctors for this and for that and for all this blood work. I went from 0 to 100 very quickly. But what got me through it then? Girl power.
There is no doubt that chemo causes your body to change. Not only did the hair on my head fall out, but also on my arms and my legs (not complaining about that), and my eyebrows and eyelashes have noticeably thinned. Idk about you people, but I am an eyebrow NUT. I have always taken exceptional care of mine, with regular waxing appointments and tweezing and filling them in. So it was hard to see the eyebrows that I have been trying to make thicker for years, turn into little twigs over night. My skin has also changed, it’s dry and my lips are always chapped, but I take very good care of it to keep it maintained. Chemo caused my skin to become extra sensitive too, I have noticed that my face is more freckley than ever before. And I can get a little sunburn from being outside for a short period of time.
The changes have been hard on me as you know (I’m always writing about my hair I feel), especially the ones that have to do with appearance, but I have overcome them with the help of girl power.
And today, as I am getting chemo, my baby cousin is having surgery to remove a brain tumor just down the hall.
She will get through this because of girl power. Because even though she is small, she is strong. And I’ll be rooting for her.
I am surrounded by women, and men, who lift me up. Because of them instilling confidence in me, I am more confident with myself. I don’t mind rocking a bald head anymore and honestly it looks pretty bad ass, and I almost prefer it to the wig at times. Plus, head scarves are really cool and I now have a growing collection.
When people say “fight like a girl” you should take it as a freakin’ compliment. I fight hard every day. I fight through the pain of needles, the nausea of chemo, the changes of life, the lack of energy, and the sadness I have when I think about the fact that I haven’t had a hot dog in six months. I have fought through grief and sadness. I have fought on days when I didn’t feel like fighting and I have fought on days when I was on top of the world. I am relentless to win this fight. I will never give up.
I have learned about girl power from the best example I could’ve ever asked for, my mom. She is a boss lady if I’ve ever seen one.
I am lifted by all the women in my life; my mom, my aunts, my mommom, my cousins, my friends, my friend’s moms, my nurse, my doctor, my physician assistant. And I hope that I can lift them in return. Because that’s what girl power is; encouraging others and being encouraged by others.
I have over come a lot of adversaries. Mostly with the help from the women in my life, who helped me become stronger through encouragement and support and leading by example. This team makes me not afraid to be bald in public. And to own it. You can’t lose when you have a team like that.
Everyone fights their own battle, but for me, I fight like a girl. And I think that’s the best way to do it.
Enjoy your chocolate today. And remember, it goes on sale tomorrow. So eat a box today and then treat yo self to two tomorrow because you know they’ll be BOGO.
*rant about insurance for infertility: I think that it’s ridiculous that some insurance companies won’t cover infertility treatments. Infertility is a medical condition just like diabetes, high blood pressure or cancer. No one asks to be infertile or asks to have a medical condition that prompts them to need reproductive assistance. And do you know how expensive it is??? I bet you don’t. Google it. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. Insurance is crazy. The Senate needs to make a show called “extreme makeover: insurance edition” and fix this. Bye.