Friends Making a Difference
After the side effects of the January 15th chemo subsided, the next two weeks were pretty normal. I was working every day and Monica, Principal’s Secretary, made pink curtains for my office. She was so thoughtful. I was learning to embrace the pink. During chemo education, I was given suggestions for some wig shops in town. My friends Debbie and Moe, met me at the wig shop after work so that I could order my wigs and have them ready when my hair fell out. With A/C (red devil) chemo, I could expect my hair to fall out between two and three weeks and I wanted to be prepared. I had already ordered turbans to wear at home so I could be comfortable.
My church always participated in a two week fast in January. The fast was coming to a close with a special service on January 25, 2009. The service was a time of worship and prayer. I was 10 days out from my first treatment so Doug, Kelsey, my youngest daughter, and I went to church that night. At the end of the service, they asked for those who needed prayer to come forward. There were so many people who went forward and I was one of them. I’m not sure how it happened but I ended up right in front of my Pastor. I told him that it was aggressive breast cancer and he began to pray. When he was done, I turned around to see that Kelsey was crying. I hugged her and told her that I was going to be fine. Our friends Rudy and Bridget came down to support us and they had not heard of my diagnosis. We briefly updated them and found our seats. As I went to bed that night, I just asked God to renew my blood with his healing power as it flowed through my body while I slept. I thanked him for healing me and giving me strength to get ready for my next treatment on Thursday. Well, about 2 AM I woke up to the extraordinary feeling of warmth circulating through my body. It started in my right leg and went all through my right side and through my mid section. It was like the blood was flowing through my circulatory system. I just cried and thanked God for his healing power. I will never forget that night and I have never told anyone about it until now.
Ready or not it was Thursday, January 29th…time for my second chemo. It was the same routine on January 29th as it was on the 15th:
- I worked most of the day.
- I left work in time to take a shower and to listen to my praise and worship music.
- My mom came and picked me up because I couldn’t drive myself.
- I met with Dr. Wonderful (Hematologist-Oncologist) to review my blood work.
- I went to my assigned chair in the chemo lab and got started with the A/C (red devil) chemo infusion.
- Then, I went home to eat dinner, provided by the dear staff at my school. They sent food with me every Thursday.
This treatment hit me sooner than the last one. I went to bed about 8:30 PM and stayed there. I only moved to take the anti-nausea medicine and sip my favorite purple Gatorade. I laid very still so as not to get sick. This treatment hit me with extreme nausea and fatigue. I stayed in bed only eating when I had to take meds and got up around noon the next day, Friday. Saturday, I sat in my special chair in the living room and rested now and then. There was no need to try to be a hero.
Wigs, Turbans…Not SO Boldly Bald
My wig order was due Saturday and I was supposed to pick them up on Sunday. I wanted to bond with my girls in a hair cutting celebration but it didn’t really turn out to be a celebration. It was still too raw for all of us. The girls didn’t really want to cut my hair so Kelsey took the pictures and Paige reluctantly began to cut my hair. All of us had to hold back tears and we tried to smile through the tears. I admire all of the women who journey through this disease and boldly go bald. That just wasn’t me. After my head was completely shaved, I joined Doug and his mom in the family room. I was wearing a soft beige turban. Turbans and wigs were part of the new normal.