My friend Amy in Ohio is about to receive her second chemo treatment on Friday. She is dreading the day after feeling poorly from her first dose. Her hair has started to fall out, she feels mentally defeated, and she is not sure how she will make it to February, when her treatment ends. I sent her an e-mail the other day. These are some of my words:
“Don’t forget that no one can be strong all the time. We all have strong days and weak days and days in between. You are stronger than you know but that might not be clear to you until you are able to look back on the worst of this journey.
One day at a time! And somehow, February will creep up on you, just as one year is creeping up on me even though there were days I thought I would not survive.”
I’m not sure how it happens, but as time passes, the bad moments do seem to blur. I guess it’s like the pain of childbirth that for me, I canï¿½ï¿½ï¿½t even describe anymore.
I can remember how repulsed I felt each time I walked into the infusion center for my first chemo regimen (the one that poisoned my body, took my hair, and landed me in the hospital two times) but it’s not crystal clear anymore. I can remember the bloated feeling I felt in my body after those chemo treatments and from the steroids that I was given prior to each of my four doses. But it’s a distant memory and only when Amy complained of her response to chemo did I recall how uncomfortable I was riding in the car with my mom and my boys on several occasions, my pants fitting tightly and my stomach swollen from drugs. I remember feeling generally unwell but the specific feelings are not so clear anymore.
I have gained clarity through this trek, though. My thoughts are not so cloudy anymore. My emotions are not so unorganized. And my fears and worries are easier to explain. I do not fear the unknown as much as I once did and I am confident that if cancer comes back, I can fight it again.
It’s taken almost one year to reach this point, the point at which the unpleasant moments are getting foggy and my path forward is getting more and more clear. Amy will reach this point too. I promise you will, Amy.