As promised, here is the down, dirty and ugly of the last several months!! Once in NY and finally getting into a treatment program, new doctor and restarting Chemo. It all went pretty fast. By fast, I mean, I consistently got sicker and sicker!!
The Dr. in NY, I’ll call her Dr. Almost Killed Me but Didn’t Mean It or Dr. AkMe for short was brillz!! I went from the not going to help you at all hospital to the amazing wonderful Ralph Lauren Breast Cancer Center! Where everyone was nice, remembered me, bent over backwards to help or even just empathize while not being pitying or condescending!!
Dr. AkMe changed up my treatments a little, I was originally scheduled for 2 differ chemo treatments( that means 4 injections of 2 different types of medicines) over 4mos and she finished the first treatment with no changes, she changed the second treatment a little to accommodate for my health. See, I totally, am an over achiever, I really rocked all the side affects of chemo!! YEA ME! That meant, I was sick as a dog, well, actually sicker…. Treatment was fast-tracked ( That was my bright idea, I don’t recommend it) So, I went to treatment every other week with blood work every week. I steadily lost 5lbs each week, a concern for Dr. AkMe not so much for me. It was only at the end, when you could count my ribs that the loosing weight became an issue. My immune system consistently crashed. That was to be expected and once again I felt the need to over achieve and made sure mine barely registered!! *sigh* I was consistently fighting not only keeping any food down but also, dehydration. Then the fight, got harder…
The second round of chemo was meant to attack my bone marrow and sure as sh*t, it totally did, so while I had finally stopped throwing up ALL the time, now I was dealing with excruciating pain in my joints and bones! Fortunately, Dr. AkMe anticipated this (she is really smart) and upped my pain meds. During all this, I was pretty much on lock-down except for the horrifying Cab rides to treatment!! By the way, Cabbies totally stop FAST when you tell them you have to throw up!!
I realize now, I can throw in my quirky sense of humour and even smile. However, at that time… not only was I struggling with being so incredibly, physically sick…. it ( the Chemo, being Sick) had started to affect my mind, my spirit. I struggled on a daily basis with memory loss, crying jags and the occasional temper tantrum. I was consistently forgetting things, conversations and since I basically slept 20hours a day I was up at odd hours. Not to mention, I was pretty much confined to bed, since I was totally doped on pain meds or nauseous or just plain to weak!! I really didn’t want to talk to people at all.
I know and felt all the concern from all of you, your thoughts and your respectfulness of trying to find out how to help without overstepping and THANK YOU!! I am humbled, honoured and overwhelmed with all of you. Altho, during those dark months, I was consistently angry and bitter at you. I didn’t want to share any of that with you, not until it was ME and not the DRUGS. Yes, I was on so much medication that I wasn’t sure anymore what was Sparkly me and what was Hideous me. I resented your health, your happy lives and how things moved forward for you while I was stuck, consumed with Doctors, drugs and the failings of my body & mind! I wrestled with feelings of shame, remorse and bitterness constantly. And, let’s not forget the WHINING! I was so disgusted with myself, my body and my lack of being able to see the end, So much so, that I walked away from everyone.
After the last treatment, I left NY. I needed a warmer place where I wouldn’t be tempted to go out and socialize once I started to feel better ( We all know that I totally would have, too). I needed to get my head back. I didn’t wanted to leave at all, leaving felt like failure. It was necessary, I wasn’t in a good place and I was completely unemployed and living on my savings. And, go figure, Cancer is freakin’ expensive!! Even with all the help from Ralph Lauren.
I was struggling with who I am, trying to figure out what I wanted to do and reconcille myself to the lost period. I needed first to sleep for weeks and work the rest of the drugs out of my system. I did that. I managed to end my war with food and start eating again. Some foods still make me nauseous, others don’t taste right and some I just find icky. But, we are happy together again! And, Hullo COFFEE!! That’s right, I was off coffee. That was most sad.
I wasn’t ready to share my story. I wasn’t ready to see where you are with your lives. I wasn’t ready to make any decisions. Now, I am ready to share my story. I am loving where all your lives have taken you. The decisions are still hard. I still get angry. I still have gaps in my memory or can’t remember something I know, I know. And, basically, all of my plans, hopes and wants have changed and I don’t know who I am. The Cancer & treatment, took over my life, me. I fought it and denied it but it did anyways. Saving my Bewbs became all consuming, so much so it became who I am. I don’t want to be that person. I will always be a Cancer survivor, in fact, last year will become a defining year in my life. Only, instead of Breast Cancer defining me, I am going define its role in my life. I am going to continue to write about it, support those who need it and advocate for foundations that are supporting this community of brave women and their families!
Lucky for me, I am well loved. Not only am I loved but I am loved by extraordinary people. These people, my friends, most I consider my family, know ME. They are stepping up and showing me who I am, that I am ok and holding my hand while I dip my toes back into the world of the living. Well, I was dipping my toes then just decided to dive right back in by attending #NMX and #CES!!
What’s next?? Several things… I am job hunting, looking for a community management role somewhere. I go back to Dr. AkMe for a check up. I probably don’t need any more treatment but may need to take medication for the next few years to prevent the Cancer from coming back. I will be heading back to New York. I am back partnering with Tim McDonald and MyCommunityManager, producing our #cmgrUN conference series for 2013. I am also, working with Sam Fiorella and Danny Brown with their new book Influence Marketing launch/tour in May!!