Firstly, WOW.Thank you all so much for the messages, emails, calls, thoughts, prayer lists, and kind wishes. If I sat here for the next week, I wouldn't be able to respond to each one. Please know that I read, appreciated, and smiled over the comments, texts messages, cards and emails. You are all amazing.
Everyone keeps asking how it feels, not the physical effects, the psychological effects. I think I tend to be a positive person, I see how situations could be worse, I am grateful for the small mercies. I never took any experience I had for granted. There is purpose in every experience good and bad. I will not deny though that the last month has been a roller coaster.
A few night ago, we decided that we are not going to do the regular travel for Christmas with the family. It's like normal life, fun life, has been put on hold and replaced with cancer life. My weeks used to revolve around our weekend adventures, now they revolve around chemo Wednesdays. This is a strange feeling, like I'm gone and been replaced by an interim version of me who will finish off 2012 and start 2013 for me. I don't like this feeling. Anyway, I'm not going to dwell on it. Next year, when it is all over, we are going traveling again. Kyle is already planning the remission vacation.
I, in some ways, still have that teenage invincibility. I never have considered that I would die young. I won't do stupid things to put my life in danger (and those of you who know i had a hard time cliff diving will find this funny), but I felt that in some ways I am invincible. But now, there are moments of sheer panic. When for a split seconds it hits you, I could die from this. I wont. I know I wont. But people do. However, more recover. When I hit panic I go into the logical mode that so many of you know in me - this has, since day 1, been explained to me as 'the one to get'. The 'nicest cancer' - 95% chance of full recovery in 6 months. After that, chances are it wont come back. I like those odds. Panic over.
All along, fear of the unknown has been the biggest stress factor. What could it be, what will the biopsy feel like and how big will my scar be, what will the bone marrow biopsy feel like (I shudder when I remember!!) , what will my treatment be, what are my chances. Once these things pass I forget them, onto the next. Now it's how will I react to Chemo. Some people carry on a near normal life - continuing to work and just sleeping more. Some people are knocked down instantly. My chemo is 3.5 months long. The effects of chemo on the body are cumulative, each time a little worse than before. Luckily I "hit" it where the worst of it will be during a break from school. But I know I need to start strong! Once I get going, that fear will be gone and I can go back to the hair loss fear!
I don't feel like I thought I would feel, most days I don't feel unlucky. I feel that 1 in 3 of us are getting cancer, I got mine early when I'm strong enough to fight. I am also one of those whose cancer does not cause pain. But I also have good friends and family who told me to go to the doctor when I found a lump. Without going to the doctor, and without treatment I would now have a much shorter lifespan and I wouldn't know it. I also got 'the nice cancer'. I also got it after my insurance went active. While it will be a strain on our finances, we will not have to pay all of the costs of the treatment which could have really put us in a bad financial situation. None of this is unlucky, its really really lucky. And the way I see it we are all getting something, some illness, some hardship - nobody's life is plain sailing. If this is all the hardship I get then bring it on, I'll get it out of the way now :)
Last night, with the help of some Ativan, I had the first full, restful, instant nights sleep I've had in 2.5 weeks. I am not as scared. When I woke up in the middle of the night I was able to go right back to sleep. How is this possible? This morning it hit me. This is purely a psychological battle. The chemo will kill the cancer, the rest is in my head. I have a plan, I am working towards it, I am calm. Amazing. The mind is a powerful tool and is going to be my best friend or worst enemy. I need to make sure its the former.