Since you folks have followed this on Patheos, you deserve an update.
I FINISHED MY CHEMO TODAY!
YES. Everybody Mambo!
Today, I received my chemo crown. I’m done. Hair follicles start your engines. I’m expecting peach fuzz by Easter.
Those of you who showed up some place on my face but not on my head, eyelashes or eyebrows, please enjoy your permanent early retirement. Thank you for playing.
It seemed appropriate on my last day to meet a woman starting her first. We laughed, traded stories and I told her some of what I learned about chemo and weathering the treatments. Then I went home and thought about it more, and typed up this handy dandy highly personal list of things I learned that I didn’t share…because I napped.
1) Bring a blanket, a book, a snack and warm socks. Everything else is unnecessary. Though if you want music, bring an extra long charger cord and plug for your phone and good earbuds. Found I didn’t need it –most days, I read my prayers and dozed.
2) Take the amenities…ask for them to push the seat all the way to recline, an extra pillow and heated sheets.
3) Nap. It’s awesome.
4) Tell nurse when it hurts, when you’re scared, when you just don’t know. You’re not being paranoid. You’re helping the nurses do their job –to help you.
5) Write down the appointments. You’ll forget.
6) Come fifteen minutes early. Recognize you’ll feel really tired two days later when all the drugs drain out of your system.
7) The hair falling out is shocking, but it’s not as awful as you think it is before it happens. You actually forget about it.
8) When in doubt in between appointments, call. They know this is strange new territory. They’ll help.
9) Listen to your body. Work when you feel strong. Rest when you need to rest.
10) First few weeks, needed lighter food. So be gentle to yourself.
11) Let others help. (This is hard when you’re normally a caretaker). Let them.
12) Feed your brain. (Read something happy).
13) Feed your spirit –pray/speak to God about this, because this is a hard journey and why is part of the process, no
14) Thank those who love you for all they do, and recognize, any and all help is love in action. Embrace it with joy.
15) Buy warm fuzzy caps and cool hats.
16) Warm heated blankets rock.
17) Chocolate warms off the dementors of cancer when they are rude enough to plague the heart.
18) Getting better is a day in day out process. Be patient with the process.
19) Hug your family and friends, write thank you notes, enjoy the love and community that cancer makes you aware of, both of fellow sojourners, of the caregivers (nurses, doctors and staff) and those in your life who show up and surprise you with cards, meals, help and just the strengthening of spirit that comes from ordinary conversations.
20) Plan a proper celebration for the victory dance. Take the victory lap of life, and carry on.
Going to put on my crown and dance. Thank you God for all the answered prayers, for the beginning of the next step.