On the chemo front of things, the Xeloda treatment is going well. I'm pleasantly surprised. I haven't had to call my doctor in a panic or get rushed to the hospital. So far so good, although I guess my previous medical dramas have set the bar kind of low!
I am definitely fatigued, but I can learn to fit fatigue into my lifestyle. There's nothing wrong with an 8pm bedtime; I've got nothing to prove. I also need to learn to live with a constant stomach flu. Most women my age have to remember to bring a change of shoes in their purse (heels for the office or the bar, flats or flip flops for getting around town) or they have a purse stuffed with technology: a work blackberry, a personal cell phone, a digital camera, an IPod, or the young mom carries a diaper bag stuffed with toys, snacks, pacifiers, wipes, and, of course, diapers. Not me. I can't leave home without making sure my Immodium is in my purse. I root through my purse at dinner to pull out, not lipstick or a mint, but those Xeloda pills that must be taken with a meal. I am not turning into my mother, like some women my age. I skipped that stage completely. I'm turning into my grandmother!
That said, my face may be suffering from the Xeloda even more than my tummy. The hives have retreated everywhere but from my face. I have the face of a 14 year old now. This is not my face. I turned to the Big Man the other day as we were brushing our teeth and pointed in the mirror saying, "Who the Hell is that woman in the mirror? That is not the woman you married!" He, of course, told me I was beautiful, but later that evening he advised me against ordering dessert because the chocolate might aggravate my "rash." Don't be fooled, blog friends, the Big Man is not perfect!
I suppose this is typical of my cancer journey. I check off one item on the "Cancer To- Do List" and another To Do pops right up. Just when I had finally gotten over the major self-esteem issue that was learning to love my post-mastectomy chest, I now have to learn to love my chemo-induced acne and nausea.
Like the Victoria's Secret shopping spree, I am now pondering a trip to a make-up artist. Do any of you Boston-area readers have a recommendation for where to go? I get nervous about the stands in the mall. I'm not looking to get "hot" for a night out at da club. I just want to look fresh faced for a trip to, I dunno, the grocery store.
So, I apologize for my absence, but I've been a little under the weather and also I haven't been too full of self-confidence. Blogging requires a bit of chutzpah. I'm letting it all hang out here on this website. I have to be in the right frame of mind to blog. I might wake up ready to take on the world, but when I look in the mirror these days, that attitude quickly disappears as my cancer-acne stares back at me.
Which brings me to my topic for today. I want to take this opportunity to praise my Mommy. She is truly the only person in the world who can help me at a low self-esteem moment like this one. My swap surgery was surgery number 8. In 6 years, I've had 8 surgeries. Mom has dropped everything and run to my aide for every one. After spending the last 3 weeks together, I've realized that I always proclaim my love for the Big Man and I really have barely mentioned the other major player in my life.
Oh, Mommy, How do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
|Mommy and Bridge on my wedding day|
Don't we look alike?
2) She talks
When your life is a living soap opera, the best medicine is to forget about all the really huge life-changing stuff that's going on. People and US Weekly come in handy, but really the best medicine is a good, long conversation with mom. My mother will talk about anything. We talk about interior decorating and real estate, politics, and, of course, gossip. My mother is like an elephant, she never forgets a face, a name, an occupation and marital status, or a child's name, occupation, and marital status. My mom loves to read the high school sports section of her local paper religiously. Why? She hasn't had a child in high school in at least 10 years. She reads the sports page because her friends and her neighbors have kids in high school. She likes to be able to personally congratulate them on their child's accomplishments when she runs into them in the grocery store.
You get the picture. Next to going out to dinner with the Big Man, talking to my mother is my favorite activity.
3) Last, but certainly not least, she does whatever needs to be done, no questions asked and with no expectation of repayment. Five years ago, I was bald as a baby's butt and just one week post-radiation. I wanted to move back to Boston to be closer to my boyfriend of one year. My mother not only allowed me to move, she moved me. I couldn't lift a thing. I was just a few months post-surgery. She drove furniture cross-country and then moved it all in for me. No questions asked.
Since that move, she has come up to Boston every three months to sit with me and hold my hand as I received my three-month scan results. She books flights. She books hotels. She takes me out to dinner. She takes me shopping and out for manicures to take my mind off my impending doom. She goes grocery shopping and cooks dinners that are frozen and ready to use after she leaves. All in all, she keeps my life running.
When I had my double mastectomy, Mommy moved to Boston for more than a month. She uprooted her life. She left bills and friends and the comfort of her own home. She found a long-term apartment down the street from my house and was at my disposal before I woke each morning until I fell asleep at night. She found a lovely B&B owned by an Irish couple that is three doors from my home that has become her second home. (if you ever want to visit Boston, I highly recommend it! www.aisling-bostonbb.com) I owe my very life and all of my cancer fighting success so far to my mother's constant help. I couldn't have faced all that I have faced without her help.
|Two Hot Girls on a Hot Summer Night|
When I was growing up, my mother and I could barely speak without arguing; I believe it's because we were so much alike. We knew how to push each other's buttons and we couldn't help ourselves! I hate cancer, but I will forever be, on some level, very thankful for this nasty turn my life has taken. Cancer brought Mommy and me closer than we ever would have been otherwise. My mother is the port in this storm. This life would be unbearable and the situation would be untenable without her constant assistance. I can sleep soundly at night knowing that Mommy's got my back.
Mommy can never be repaid. Saying "thank you" will never be thanks enough. Helping her move, taking her to dinner, remembering her birthday or Mother's Day, nothing I do could ever be enough repayment. This blog entry isn't enough. This ode could be a book.
The only thing I could possible do is take this opportunity to reassure her, to promise her, publicly: Mom, I promise never to put you into a retirement home. In fact, I think I owe you and all your best friends a very comfortable old age!
I'll close with my favorite version of a "Thanks, Mom" courtesy of Poet Laureate Billy Collins