my new normal.
Sometimes I try to look back at my life before cancer, and it’s kind of shocking that I can’t remember what it was like. 28 years is suddenly erased by one word. I feel like I’m still in shock, and that my “memories” will come flooding back moment by moment. I’ve had one hell of a life to just forget. I will remember.
I had 2 incredibly hard and confusing yet peaceful decisions to make this week. I chose to not freeze my eggs before chemotherapy. These past few days have been full of tears, dreams, confusion, anger and every other emotion that I don’t even know how to describe. Basically, I can tell you that I want so desperately to be a mother and to have a child, but even more I want to save my life. I had the most amazing advice from my loved ones, but the most amazing advice was my own. I can’t explain the exact moment that I chose this, but I decided that I need to be selfish and put myself first. After the haze of my diagnosis, I promised myself that I would put 150% of myself into this, that I would do anything and everything that I can to fight for my life. My future is going to be hard, scary and mostly unknown. I have 1 job right now and that is to get healthy. I not only want to focus on myself but I need to, I’m the only one counting on me, I’m counting on myself, and I owe it to myself. I feel so close with Nate after this decision and that our relationship has continue to strengthen more than we both thought possible. We still would like to try to have a child naturally, after treatment, and Dr. Drappatz said again yesterday that is still a chance that that could happen. Nate and I were never opposed to adoption, and in fact, I feel like it is an amazing option. I may have health problems of my own, but how beautiful would it be to bring a child, possibly scared or alone, into a loving family that they might otherwise never had? I feel in my heart and soul that we both have so much love to give.
I also met with Dr. Drappatz yesterday about my treatment options. After questions, contemplating and quite a bit of time, I decided to start a treatment of chemotherapy and radiation. My mom said that whatever my choice was, I couldn’t second guess it. I can say that we, I, made the right decision. Next Friday I have an appointment with Dr. Schocker in Altoona, he will be the doctor completing my radiation. I’ll be having a consultation with him about what to expect, and I’ll be making a lot of notes for my big fat binder of “cancer goodies”. I told Nate the other day that if I have to do this, I might as well make it fun! And by fun, I meant Post-Its, highlighters, binders, sticky notes, a 3-whole punch, etc. I don’t know if he was confused, shocked, embarrassed or all 3. I met with a Dietitian yesterday and I squealed with happiness over the book she gave me, I told her I love taking notes and organizing information, again she probably thinks I’m crazy. When I was younger, my mom used to take me to Wal-Mart for my birthday and let me pick out whatever I wanted from the paper supply aisle. What was better than Lisa Frank stationary to a 5th grader? It is ironic that we probably don’t have 1 pen or pencil in our house right now. Oh, the little things! Dr. Schocker will make a mask that I will use during each treatment of radiation. Because the mask will be custom and will be used to pinpoint the spot of my tumor each treatment, it will take about 2 weeks to be made, then treatment can begin. I will see Dr. Schocker about 1 hour every day, Monday through Friday, for 6 weeks. They told me that I could possibly lose a patch of hair on the spot where my tumor is, but I should be able to comb it over top. My head will be very sensitive most of the summer so it will be important that I use a lot of sunscreen and hats. All I know is that it means that I have to go shopping for some really cute hats, that doesn’t sound too bad. Dr. Drappatz said I should be able to drive to treatment (right now I’m only allowed to drive within of a roughly 5 mile radius), because we live so close, but I will probabaly be very tired and will want to think about having a friend to tag along, AKA my mommy and daddy. They will come to Altoona as often as then can, or as often as I’m not driving them nuts. I love them so deeply. The night before radiation begins, I will start a regimen of 3 chemotherapy pills. I will take 3 pills for 5 days every night, then have 3 weeks off without any pills, begin 3 pills for 5 days then 3 weeks off again. This will continue for 1 year. My chemo has a side effect of nausea, but we are working on a diet and tips to help me daily for the next year to help me to live the most normal life possible. Dr. Drappatz feels confident that I will tolerate both treatments well, and that my cancer will respond well to treatment. He told me as long as I feel good, I can continue to do my normal daily routines, most importantly I can still go to the Bruno Mars concert in July! We all are planning on a lot of picnics, swimming, basketball games, landscaping our new house and so many more things this summer, to be attended by me and with a smile on my face.
This past month has been so crazy, full of questions, waiting and not knowing. Well, we finally have a diagnosis and we finally have a treatment plan. I am so excited and ready to start on my next adventure, if you can call it that. I know now what my routine will be and I can’t wait to organize it all in a new, pretty planner. I feel a sense of peace and calm. Although it will be a tough summer and year, we all are ready to settle down to a new normal, slow down, smile and find happiness again. My doctor continues to be optimistic and my confidence and hope continues to grow each day.
Although this isn’t the normal I had planned, it is my new normal and I am learning to embrace it. I refuse to let cancer choose my future, it’s time to choose it myself…tall, strong and proudly.