May 13, 2013

Cycle 1 ... and I ain't talking Spinning Class

I'm pretty sure I am walking through Dante's Inferno. I'm into week two of my first cycle. Clarity is starting to return to my brain. The fog that covered me the first week is now slowly lifting. It's been a miserable first week. I walked into my first chemo session with less than 3 hours sleep. It seems each of the predicted the side effects are being doled out on an hourly basis throughout the week. My newly restructured colon was none too happy either as I'm for it's displeasure through a barrage of intestinal issues.  

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that during this first cycle of chemo I feel incredibly blessed to be surrounded by people, here and afar, who love and care about me. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't receive a Facebook message, card or a package in the mail offering me support. I must have done something right in this life because so many friends I've known over the years are coming out of the woodwork in droves with offerings of encouragement. It literally melts my heart to know that I have this fortress of love surrounding me. Despite all of that, I still feel so isolated and alone, like I've been banned to Cancer Island. I assume this is part of what cancer does to a person. I am determined not to let my inner turmoil bring me down. It has never been in my nature to sit and flounder in a cesspool of despair, so why start now? I'm a take the bull by the horns gal and I'll be damned if cancer changes that attitude. (This is one of my many me, myself and I pep talks.)

Chemo care pkg from my son's GF in St.Louis
My buddy, Big D, sending me love from GA

Sweets from my BFF in Grand Rapids, Michigan
Awesome homemade pillow case from Donna in MN
Love from my BFF's daughter, Abby, in Denver

Thanks to one of my BFF's since grade school, Kelly, I have a good lead on some support to walk me though the unknowns of cancer treatment. It's a non-profitl group call Imerman Angels. I plow through their web site and I like what I read. I decide I want to get paired with a 'mentor' who has gone through the same cancer, surgery and treatment as me. Even better, I can get paired with someone who has a similar family and lifestyle as me. I eagerly fill out the paperwork, anxiously looking forward to my angel's arrival

It doesn't take more than a day and I get a call from Imerman Angels. The gal on the other end asks me a few more questions in order to find me the best match in their database. And in less then 24 hours later I have and email matching me up with my mentor. 

My angel's name is Lee. She lives just outside of NYC (a city I adore!), she has three kids, married and has gone through the same surgery, cancer and treatment at the age of 45. I'm am continually taken aback at the amount of people I read about dealing with colon cancer in their 30's and 40s. I can go off on a whole diatribe about the additives, hormones, pesticides and poison that seem engulf our very existence, but I'll save that rant for another time.... back to my angel! We have a strictly email correspondence right now, however I have her phone number and at some point talking may be easier than writing. The beauty of Imerman Angels is you decided what you want and need for support and how you wish to communicate. The group is not only set up for those going through cancer treatment, they have mentors to support the caregivers as well! If you have ever been touched by cancer, I highly recommend signing up to be a mentor. I look foreword to the day I can be on the giving end as an angel/mentor to someone in need. 

As the this whole chemo process progresses, I find myself frequently waking at 1 or 2 AM, I can't tell if it's a side effect of the chemo or just my overly active mind that I can never seem to quiet. That is the time the questions arise. Thanks to my iPhone, I can compose my emails to Lee under the covers without waking Greg. As I get through the end of this first cycle, I'm feeling less scared now that I have my angel in tow. 

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