November is hard

This time last year, I got my cancer diagnosis after a couple months of increasing, constant nausea and constipation. I was having such a hard time eating and drinking that I was admitted to the hospital so they could hydrate me. (Probably for other reasons, too, it’s all a blur of feeling crappy and Donald Trump being “elected.”)

Fast forward to this year and I’m looking at a stable brain MRI, but progressing tumor activity in my liver, lungs, lymph nodes, and bones. My (wonderful) oncologist looked at me with reddened eyes as she said “for you to be here for another year, we need two big wins: no progression of the cancer in the brain and for the chemo to work”.

Oh, did I mention that I’m starting chemo again? Next Monday, to be precise. It’s a slightly different drug cocktail this time, with slightly different side effects.

On the bright side:

  • Aside from a couple spots of pain, I’m basically asymptomatic right now.
  • I get to go to my family’s Thanksgiving dinner this year. I’m going to eat so much food.
  • I get to spend the long weekend in L.A. with friends.
  • Even though the months of September and October were entirely too eventful, I’ve had a six-month break from chemo, which means I’ve had plenty of ice cream, sat in plenty of hot tubs, and consumed so many delicious cocktails.
  • I know not to take compazine this time around, which will hopefully remove the catatonic zombie feeling I had during chemo last time.
  • I’m better at resting. I know not to try to do all the laundry the day after my chemo infusion. I will not hesitate to nap the shit out of my days if that’s what my body wants.

I’m cautiously optimistic. I’m grateful. I’m cranky. I’m scared. I’m all the things.

Maybe I am a superhero

I know. It’s been a while. What have I been doing? Well…I went to Hawaii for my second wedding anniversary. Then, while I was there I had, you know, a brain hemorrhage. From the 4-centimeter brain tumor that had been steadily growing for who knows how long. So I ended up spending the rest of September in four hospitals, on two medevac flights, getting “awake” brain surgery, and relearning how to walk and use the left side of my body.

ambulance ridelearning to use a walker

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then I came home. I got some radiation to my brain cavity, plus two other brain lesions, plus to the lesion they randomly found on my sacrum. I did a lot of physical and occupational therapy. I graduated from a walker to a cane to no walking aid. I lost huge clumps of my hair. I went from taking 30 minutes to walk down the block to walking two miles in an hour.

I also had a couple of game nights. And went to see the Bad Plus in San Francisco. And sat in a hot tub with Mac. And started watching Sense8. And took a break from watching Sense8 to watch Stranger Things 2. I slept a lot. And I made plans to see family and friends in Southern California. I snuggled with my love. I ate so much ice cream.

I’ve learned a lot over the last two months. I was reminded, yet again, of how amazing my support network is. I learned even more about what a fabulous advocate and partner my love is. And I discovered, for the first time, that I really am resilient as fuck.