I finished chemo on 9/3/13. I am so glad it's over and now it seems like a distant memory, thanks to chemo, everything is! Chemo did everything it was supposed to. I lost my hair, some of my eyebrows and lashes and BEYOND, and hopefully, I lost any trace of cancer that may have been running amok in my body. I felt sick for about 7 days after each treatment, lost my sense of taste, was very tired, sometimes weepy, and had crazy epic dreams (like a Homeland episode!). Now it's done. In hindsight, it was not the horror show I thought it would be. It wasn't fun, but thanks to anti nausea meds and no unrealistic expectations, I did ok. I've learned to deal with the baldness however, I still instinctively try to avoid getting my hair wet in the shower. Oh, and I've gained 25 pounds. I know, I know, "You have more important things to worry about than your weight!" Well, ok, pass me the Doritos.
Now we move on to bigger and better boobs. I've had about a month to recover my immune system before my double mastectomy this Friday. I've had a busy month with lots of fun and inspiring activities (while also trying to rest and recover). My friends Kristen and Todd had a Casino Night to benefit our Making Strides against Breast Cancer team and we raised over $1400. My friend Michelle and several other Zumba instructors held a Zumbathon for our team and raised almost $2000. I am in awe of how much my friends and family have all pitched in to help us deal with the Breast Cancer journey/tornado. To date, our team has raised over $10,000! So thrilled about this and I could not have done it alone. Thank you to everyone who has supported our team in any way, big or small!
I've had several speaking engagements too, and for a girl who was petrified of speaking in public, "Now she won't shut up" (in the words of my BFF). I know many people are tired of Breast Cancer Awareness month already but in a Pink Sister's world, it's always Breast Cancer Awareness month. This fact was actually pointed out to me today at Providence College by, of all people, a nice young man who was in the audience. I don't know his name, but I already love him and the way he sat there and listened to my stories, watched me demonstrate a mammogram in action, and laughed at all my "jokes". Can I adopt you? It would be one more thing Angelina Jolie and I have in common. Adoption and new boobies!
I have officially overcome my fear of public speaking. I never in my lifetime thought this would happen. When this B/C journey began, I heard people say stupid things like "Cancer is a gift!" It used to piss me off. Well, it's partially true. Cancer itself is not a gift. It is rotten and stupid and it robs people of their important people. However, the gifts it brings to you are priceless. I already knew I had phenomenal friends and family but I didn't know just how phenomenal they are. And I've met so many new friends on line and in person because of Cancer. All gifts that are irreplaceable and precious to me now.
The "Now She Won't Shut Up" tour has begun, thanks to the Gifts of Cancer.