I’m sitting around a lot, aching – but enjoying the holiday season. The word “holiday” came from Holy Day, which is what holidays are. Just looking at Facebook posts, I see that family and friends are taking precedence in busy (often too busy) lives, and that is indeed holy. Karla flies in on Sunday afternoon, and we’ll have a Christmas dinner together, and she’ll stay until Wednesday morning. Through this breast cancer journey, I’m seeing more clearly what is important. High on that list is spending time with those I love. Eating good food used to be higher on my list, but now that I can’t taste food very well (again), that’s less important. And honestly, if I could choose to give up one of the two – spending time with those I love or enjoying good food – the choice would be easy. I’d gladly give up tastes for time with my loved ones.
Though several people told me that this type of chemo would be easier than the other one, I’m not finding that to be accurate so far. I’m very achy with this one, and each day I’ve been losing more of my taste buds. I’m starting to get mouth sores, too. I was so lucky to have a reprieve before surgery, though, and I know now that the taste buds and feeling better will come back when the treatments are over. I also learned through the last chemo round that the side effects may not last through the whole treatment. So I get up each day and take it as it comes. Thus far, with this type of chemo, I can taste sweetness better than anything else. I’m indulging in sweet tea and desserts and a little bit of holiday peppermint ice cream. If I felt like baking, I’d have some cookies, too, but I just don’t have the energy for that. Maybe Karla and I can do some of that when she arrives.
I had two doctor appointments this week. The first was on Wednesday, when I saw my radiation oncologist. He’s a young doctor who is taking the time to get to know me, and I really appreciate that. I see that as a real gift. Though the news he gave me surprised me a little. I was thinking that I’d have four weeks of daily radiation. But instead it will be six and a half weeks of radiation, Monday through Friday. The doc’s explanation of the time period made sense, though, and now at least I know more about the last step of this journey. I should start radiation three weeks after the last chemo of this round. So if all goes well, radiation should end around the first part of April. That’s the perfect time for rebirth and renewal and resurrection with spring and Easter and budding trees and flowers and new green all around.
My other doctor appointment was with my surgeon. My incision sites have healed well, though I do have a fluid pocket at the node-removal site. That should take care of itself, but it’s another of my aches on rainy, dreary days. Plus the skin under my left breast is super sensitive, and even moreso with the rainy weather. The surgeon said it’s an effect from the surgery. I’ll be glad when it resolves itself so that there’s one fewer place that hurts. I have a new sympathy for those who hurt all of the time. I don’t have constant pain, but the aches and sensitivity can be wearing, and I can imagine how it would be to have no escape from pain.
I’m grateful for the break from doctors and needles for a week. My next chemo treatment is on Thursday, but until then I can enjoy being needle-free. Right now in my treatment path, that’s truly a week of holiday. And it’s perfect that it correlates with what are Holy Days for so many people around me and for our society as a whole, a time that we set aside to be together, to enjoy each others’ company. I wish you all blessed Holy Days here at Christmas and moments when you can clearly see what is important for you – and be grateful for it. I’m certainly grateful for my Holy Days and the myriad people who are supporting me through this healing journey. Thank you so very much. And Merry Christmas!