So, I lied . . . We'll sort of, I posted a celebratory cake on social a couple weeks ago, claiming I bought it to celebrate the doctor telling me my tumor had shrunk. The tumor shrinking was not the lie. It has shrunk almost by half since the last time she measured it. (Yes, this is a reason to celebrate!) So, after my appointment my good friend drove me to Pusatari's and followed me around as I drooled over every gourmet treat I could lay my eyes on. Then I saw that cake, you remember it? 6 layers of perfection with buttercream frosting, (with no artificial colors or preservatives of course). It looked like the kind of cake that when you bite into it your eyes will close out of sheer pleasure. I knew I wanted to dive into it face first. Could I justify buying a whole cake for no reason, especially one that was clearly marked “Birthday Cake?” My friend was like, "Why not? You deserve it, you and your hubby should be celebrating tonight, tumor shrinkage!" Me: "Yes you are right! I don't need a reason to buy a whole damn cake, I have cancer!” And yes, (in case you were all wondering), having cancer is literally the get out of jail free, do whatever you want without apologies card, so get over it.
When my hubby came home that afternoon I was so happy to greet him with that cake. First because I know birthday cake is his favorite and second because, now that he was home early I wouldn't have to feel bad cutting a huge chunk out of it by the time he came home that night. I was happy to give him the good news; the tumor was shrinking hooray! (I mean, it damn well better be, why else was I putting myself and my body through this emotional and physical hell??) So, in my mind I was having the cake to celebrate.
***SIDE NOTE: Eating has become a cruel joke. Chemo fucks with your taste buds so bad I never know what food is going to taste like. Sometimes it starts off tasting fine, then by the end of the meal the taste turns to garbage. Eating has become such a fucking chore that I would have done anything for food to taste like I remember. I really wanted to eat something, ANYTHING that gave me a moments pleasure.
But no matter how much of it I stuffed in my face, the feelings of joy quickly dissipated. The cake tasted damn delicious don't get it twisted, but I didn't feel like celebrating. Not even the smile on Corey's face, (which usually always works), shifted things for me, so I posted it to social so all of my loved ones who follow my journey could celebrate a win. Yay, Monique is getting better! I wanted that for them, and for me. I usually love reading all the comments, but it didn't work . . . I was sad and emotional and I didn't know why.
Then as I ran though that appointment in my head I realized that I didn't want to celebrate because this journey was still far from over. Yes, chemo is almost done (THANK GOD!!!), but new things were to come, (the things that I try to block out of my mind so I can function, like, surgery, recovery, radiation, hormone therapy - LET'S ALL SAY IT TOGETHER FUUUUUCK!)
While sitting on the Doctor’s exam table in my gown she went over the 2nd half of the chemo plan and side effects:
- Still no hair (wishful thinking)
- Mouth sores continue
- Indigestion continue (a.k.a. can't digest like 90%of anything?)
- Fatigue will continue
- Food taste like sawdust
- Blackening of the nails (Did I mention my fingernails are turning dark blue/black? Yes you can say it, WTF?)
- THANK GOD SAY GOOD-BYE TO NAUSEA
- Aches and pains and soreness. . . I want to take a pause here- Can I just clarify aches/pains and soreness? What she should have said is you will feel like a 80 year old grandma, that was pushed down a flight of stairs and then rolled onto the street for some street kids to slap you with a stick.
- Oh and let me know if there is any numbness in your fingers and toes, that could be serious . . .
Sooooo, yes chemo continues to be fucked up.
But all I could think about was, if the tumor is shrinking will I have to have surgery? So, I asked her, "If the tumor disappears will I still need to have surgery?
Her: "Because there could still be some cancer cells left behind."
Her:" Monique, Chemo is not a cure, if we don't do surgery the tumor will grow back . . . " And there it was, the reason I couldn’t celebrate. That scared the fuck out of me! After going through all of this, the cancer could come back . . . It makes me scared to celebrate, to feel like there is a finished line, because I can celebrate the small wins but this will be something I mange in one way or another forever…. AND THAT no yummy cake could fix.
The silver lining? Her: "Monique, the good news is that you are responding to chemo, some people do not, the surgery ensures we get it all."
I know I "should" be happier, but one thing I have learned is there is now way I “should” be, feel or act. “Should” is bullshit. #stillhappychemoisalmostdone