Enjoying One of My “10 Best Days of Chemo”
I spent four hours today getting my third infusion of the chemotherapy drug Taxol. I listened to my “Happy Songs” playlist while reading “Anatomy of an Illness” by Norman Cousins, which I devoured in just one sitting.
I also got a heavy dose of the steroid dexamethasone, both oral and IV, which can explain the flood of creativity, but this is the first time I felt like this on Day 1 of Taxol. I am positively filled with a rush of hope, the faith I am going to be fine.
And being “fine” includes whatever comes next, even the worst case possibility, no matter the odds. Today I decided I am ok, in every sense of the word; ok despite the cancer, including the side effects of the treatments, and the fact I face all of this while living alone five days a week. This is already a miracle.
I am enjoying the hell out of this day. The sun came out. I’m in love. I actually feel good after chemo in a way that is new and unexpected. The body is an amazing thing. Its ability to heal, to adapt, to endure. Each of us carries our own private physician inside of us.
I did not feel this way with the last 6 chemo treatments on Day 1. I did not feel this way for the first two Taxol treatments. But today I watched as my body didn’t turn a lovely shade of jaundice for a few minutes. I noted that my hands didn’t get three shades more pale. Something is different. I got the same premeds. The same dosages.
Now tomorrow. Day 2. These have been not only good days too. They have been great days with Taxol. I have learned to take one day at a time, so I do not have expectations, but chemo cycles do form patterns. I am already working on a plan to make this Day 3 the best one ever too!
So, I truly am ok and going to be fine in the face of the possibility that this breast cancer could metastasize even after 5, 10, 15 years or more, eventually being the cause of my death. Medical science does not know. But no one could tell me when I was going to die before I got cancer. Life is like this. There are no guarantees. I relish the thought of beating all the odds.
When I was a kid I lived with hellish abuse. All of the professionals told me I had almost zero chance of ever getting over what happened to me since it started when I was so young. I took that on as a challenge. After 40 years I beat those odds, so these cancer odds just aren’t scary to me. They are just averages and I am anything but average.
Today, I celebrate this gift of feeling great. Remind me to hug my oncologist tomorrow.