It’s hard to believe I’m saying I’m about to have my last chemotherapy session next Thursday. Looking forward from the first it seemed such long away and now I’m almost done….with that part at least. I have to say Taxol has been a little easier on my body than the “Red Devil” chemo I had to endure the first four sessions, but they each come with their own side effects. The muscle cramps and headaches are the worst part for me anyway. My mouth has pretty much recovered and I can eat most anything I’m craving. I’m still only eating a little at a time and I’m staying way on the healthy side. I have totally given up soda and am eating all kinds of vegetables I never thought I’d be able to stand much less enjoy. The best part is that my whole family is in on the whole healthy food thing and it keeps us all in line.
My last chemotherapy treatment is next Thursday, September 1st. A few days later my parents and I are driving down to Alabama for my son Christopher’s graduation from the Air Force Officer Training School. My other son John is flying down a few days later to meet up with us. My son John and father are giving my son Chris his first official salute as an officer. My granddaughters Amy and Lily along with their mother Kallie will be there as well. It’ll be a small family reunion and a huge boost to my healing process I’m sure. I’ll have a few weeks off from treatment to allow my body to rest up then my surgery will be my next hurdle. It looks like my double mastectomy will take place the last week of September or the first week of October. We are moving to a quieter area just before that, something that I don’t have to walk up three flights of stairs to reach…whew. I’ll get a few weeks to recover from that then it’s six weeks of radiation (5 days a week)…now that will be interesting.
I found out something just recently that hit me really hard. If you’ve been reading my blog at all you know that when this all started I did not have insurance and started getting help through the Howard Brown Center and The Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program from day one. They put me in a special program, got me insured through Medicaid and straight out saved my life. Christina Santiago was one of the women that put me on the life saving path I’m on today. Christina Santiago, a well-known LGBT advocate and the manager of programming for Howard Brown Health Center’s Lesbian Community Care Project ( LCCP ) , died Aug. 13 when strong winds toppled a concert stage at the Indiana State Fair, killing five. It was shocking to hear this news and I have to admit it made me feel a little guilty. Who am I to be here, what lives have I touched so greatly that I should be here and she should not. It’s grounding to say the least and I can tell you I find it very hard to complain about anything happening in my life at this point. I’m here, I’m alive, I have this time with my family and friends and I owe that in part to Christina. http://howardbrown.org/hb_donate.asp?id=1900
I keep seeing signs, if you will, of just what this short life we have here on this earth should and could mean to each of us. We should love and care for one another. We should be grateful, even joyful for every single moment we have. We should stop rushing around, pushing others out of the way to get to that next whatever it is we need to do and we need to (silly as it sounds) stop and smell the roses. My mother and father have driven up from Florida to give me a hand through this next part of my journey. The make sure my every moment is safe, healthy and happy. They are the best parents anyone could ever wish for. My wonderful sister Della has come twice already and plans to come again. She continues to call, text and send me little gifts to keep my spirits up. My girlfriend Telle checks on me constantly granting my every wish and need. She has now found out that she needs to make sure I have my ID, purse, etc..as my “chemo brain” has gotten a little worse. My friends email, text, call, and facebook all the time. My son John fetches and carries anything heavy, comes and plays the guitar for me and generally tries to keep me entertained. My son Chris calls all the time to check on me and keeps my spirits up with such fun stories of the training he’s going through now. My co-workers and boss go way above and beyond to make my life easier at work and are always making sure I don’t over do it. I have absolutely nothing what-so-ever to be unhappy about. I’m the happiest, luckiest, and soon to be healthiest girl in the whole wide world!