So I finished my last taxing tax-ALL chemo treatment last Wednesday, and pretty much slept off the weekend, trying to stay ahead of the pain curve. Was leaning forward (Titanic style) to turning the last corner toward feeling better. By Monday morning, I thought we were on top of things, and had somehow passed by this last one comparatively unscathed. Dave took off to a business trip in D.C.; Amanda to classes at UC; the boys to co-op. I was trying to hedge my bets by laying low, and not overdoing it the second I saw the "corner" in view, which I have tended to do this entire chemo process--which I would like to blame on the chemo, but quite frankly, I am just stubborn. Anyway, I did lay low. Dave had contracted for our home to be cleaned, so even on that front, I was feeling like I was ahead of the game. And then late Monday night I turned the corner and drat it all if there wasn't another corner. Right now I feel like a big, fat bruise, sore to the touch, and very possibly, if you look at me wrong. I am cranky (ask my poor kids) have a helluva headache, 2 numb, fat-feeling, freezing feet, 10 numb-fumbly fingers that can't feel the keys, but have an uncanny ability to feel sorry for myself. And I'm really disappointed that I seem to be in a polygon with all these corners, instead of the simple, if obtuse, angle I thought I was diving off of. This is where the needle scratches across the record and, well... so much for the Titanic Theme Song in the background.
Don't worry. I am quite aware that I'm being all melodramatic here. I'm not really wallowing in misery if that's the way it sounds. Just dog-paddling my way through it to the other side.
So last week, Amanda and I went on a sort of scavenger hunt, to secure all the supplies she would need to take the state boards to become Cincy's newest licensed nail tech. While we were trying to find a mannequin hand, a lady gently tapped me on the shoulder and said, "So, you're a survivor."
Yes, it was that uncanny. And no, none of the wit nor irony of the situation was lost on me.
But that is not what stunned me. I don't think I had really thought of myself as a survivor yet. I was just as shocked to hear myself answer, "Yeah, I guess I am."
Without missing a beat, she said, "I could tell because I used to have the same hairstyle." Then she told me her story about how she was diagnosed with a very similar breast cancer as mine a few years ago, and how she had even received very similar treatments. The Herceptin, being a most happy and hopeful similarity to me. The difference, was that she was diagnosed at stage 4, and not really given much hope for survival. But there she was, tapping me on the shoulder and calling me a survivor, like I was one of the gang.
Then she just raved about my eyebrows. They are, amazingly, still there. Still reminding me of the silly time I went and let myself be talked into having them waxed, right before I found out I was going to go through chemo and would most likely lose them. But didn't! (At least not at press time.) But now they also remind me of her, the lovely view of the other side that she pointed out, the floatie she threw me, and that eyebrows are worth raving about.
I also happen to have a couple of eyelashes left, but we didn't get into that. I think it might have gotten a little out of control in the mannequin hand aisle, and we might have gotten thrown out of the store or something.
Btw, Amanda is Cincy's newest licnesed nail tech! And the mannequin hand will most likely be making its debut in one of Matt's and Mikey's home movies.