I am feeling really wonderful today. I had an infusion of TDM1 on Wednesday and, although the day was long, I sailed through. My tummy was a little upset and I slept all afternoon, but on Thursday I woke up and felt ready to take on the world.
Let's keep our fingers crossed that this continues. I am confident that I can fight this cancer and not compromise my day to day life. Balancing treatment and quality of life is a fine line to walk. It sometimes feels like I am walking one of those really, really high tightropes. All I know is, today I am walking that tightrope proudly, and I'm walking it in some hot pink high heels!
Because I am doing so well, I am going to take advantage of this opportunity to shine the spotlight on another. It's time to highlight The Big Man!
The Big Man makes me happy. I hope that everyone is blessed with a love like ours at some point in their lives. I met him fall of my senior year in college. CC, my best friend at BU, brought me as her wingman to a party. She was there to meet a boy and, somehow, I was the one who ended up meeting a boy.
The Big Man obtained that nickname on this blog because he is my 6 foot 4 red head with freckles and the body of the David. He who smells like lemons, and sunscreen, and all things that are good in the world. When he throws his arms around me, he makes me feel safe and I fit just right.
That first evening, the Big Man held the door open for another girl as our group started leaving the bar. He held the door open for another girl and there, in that moment, I felt the wind get knocked out of me. I wrapped my sweater around my shoulders a bit tighter and thought, “He is such an idiot. We would be so good together, and he doesn’t have any idea what he’s missing.” That was when I fell in love, but I kept falling every day after that. Everyday since I met him six years ago I've been falling ever deeper. Even tonight, as he screams at the Celtics on tv, I have to giggle and a part of me falls even further in love.
After my double mastectomy, the husband helped immensely. He slept on the floor of my hospital room. He held my hand. He brought me special soft blankets from home. He helped me with my IV pole and awkward open hospital gown as I shuffled down the hospital hall trying to offset any risk for blood clots by getting active. He really was my knight in shining armor. I do fall particularly in love with the Big Man at the hospital, but not because he is my knight in shining armor and not because he nurses me back to health, but because he is always so totally and completely himself.
When people get nervous, everyone does a little something different. When I get nervous, I drop things. When my mom gets nervous, she talks super loud and super fast. When my oldest brother gets nervous, he gets bossy. When the Big Man gets nervous, he helps. He likes to volunteer to help out in any way possible in the hopes of working off his nervous energy.
When the Big Man met my parents for the first time, he was constantly hopping up. Offering to carry drinks, opening doors, and cleaning. He would get up before anyone else and, while my entire family had breakfast in their PJs, Big Man was dressed to the nines in khakis and a button down and would sweep my parent's back patio...in the rain.
You get the picture.
Anyone who has spent any time in the hospital knows that it is a big game of hurry up and wait. After checking in at the front desk, you are ushered into a waiting room. Twenty minutes later, your name is called and you are escorted to....another waiting room. Five waiting rooms later, you are awkwardly sitting in a paper gown on an uncomfortable exam table...waiting.
Chemo is no different; lots of activity for very little forward progress. The tactic the chemo peeps like most for making you feel like you are moving forward when really all you are doing is waiting is providing you with bogus updates. The Chemo Pharmacy takes HOURS. My infusion only lasts half an hour. The active dripping of drugs into my veins takes 30 minutes. And yet...I wait for the pharmacy to mix up my drugs for two hours. Two whole hours.
So the greatest trick that the chemo nurses use is providing you with "pharmacy updates". A couple weeks ago, the Big Man graciously accompanied me to a whole full 10 hour treatment day. After hour 3, the nurse comes to apologize for the wait. "The pharmacy is just mixing up your drugs now. Really, they should be ready any moment. I'm sorry to keep you waiting, but hang in there!"
I smile and open a new magazine knowing that this explanation is code for, "You've got at least another hour, babe." The Big Man looks confused and then quickly stands up straight, nervously wiping down his khakis. "Do you need my help at all?" He asks the nurse, "Can I do anything to help you?"
Thank you, Big Man, for being you and thank you for loving me.