Light – Yea, though I walk through the Valley…

by Heather

What I didn’t know about cancer was the anxiety, doubt and disdain I would grow & cultivate for the thought of having to endure Chemotherapy.

That, and the fact that I was “over-sedated” according to the Oncologist, is my excuse for being absent from here for so long.

I just finished my second infusion earlier today.  I’m trying to slam out this post before I begin to feel sick again.  For those in the know, I’m on the A/C portion of the A/C/T Chemo regimen.  Basically, that means that because my cancer has no known receptors for either estrogen or progesterone or HER2, that they’re going to go the aggressive “Kitchen Sink” approach to making sure that it doesn’t come back.  Yes, currently, to everyone’s knowledge, I’m cancer-free.  The Chemo is treating/preventing something that may or may not even be there or happen.  And I’ve agreed to it.

Ask me a month ago how I felt about it, and you’d probably see me get nervous and mist up a bit.  I knew that going through it was the prescribed protocol for Triple Negative and BRCA Negative cancers.  My thinking was, as above, “It may or may not even come back, and I need to be 100% healthy NOW!”  You can ask my good friend Bridget.  I confided in her that “I don’t wanna! I don’t wanna! I don’t wanna!”

My good friend Bridget – the best remedy.

One of my problems was that I had a distorted view of my husband’s attitude toward the prospect of Chemo, and that set me down this Path of Most Resistance.  I didn’t want him to feel that his job was in jeopardy because our son requires total care.  I didn’t want him to feel obligated to pick up my portion of the domestic responsibilities.  I didn’t want him to feel financially threatened.  I didn’t want to go through Chemo now.  Men, it takes one tiny misspoken sentence, phrase or word to send a woman down the wrong path of thought.  Be careful.

My biggest problem was that I was stuck in my own head.  The best remedy for getting out of my own head: Time with my good friend.

Bridget called and asked if I wanted to meet her in Reno for the weekend before I started Chemo – somewhere between where I live & where she lives.  Heck, yeah! – to use her words at the suggestion of a previous road trip.

There was light in my tunnel again.

I know what you’re thinking. But it wasn’t a typical “Weekend in Reno”.  Instead of hitting the casinos or a show, we stayed in a step-above-dumpy motel near the airport, then took my rented Fiat 500 and went over to Lake Tahoe.  I had never been, neither had she.  We circumnavigated the Lake (gee, that makes us sound smart and nautical, doesn’t it?).  It was a perfect day.  The car is fun to drive, and Bridget is fun to drive with.  We hadn’t spent time together like that, winging it as far as plans went, since we were much younger and had fewer worries and years between us.  We had Twizzler and our favorite soft drinks, plenty of water, and a lot of other junk in which I don’t usually indulge.  It was GREAT!

A car like the one I rented. The perfect size car for me.

Lake Tahoe on a perfect day, from an almost-perfect view point.

At about 3/4 the way around the Lake, going clockwise, we were driving through Incline Village, and saw a teeny-tiny sign for an estate sale, so took my teeny-tiny car and made a hard left to go check it out.  Amongst the VHS & cd’s of German-esque (I don’t know for sure) music was a table full of lamps.  One in particular caught my eye, and caught Bridget’s eye too.  I moved first and checked out the delicate bronze-ish base, and then the mother-of-pearl-looking glass shade.  I loved it, but didn’t think that David would appreciate me bringing another piece of furniture into our already-full shoe box of a house, without first getting rid of something, and I couldn’t think of anything we could get rid of.  So I encouraged Bridget to check it out.  She loved it too, and, having a not-so-crowded house as I do, she bought it.

“Our” beautiful lamp. (I expect this to be willed to me, Bridg!)

After dinner at a nice place on Saturday evening, and then a movie our husbands don’t want to watch, I came home Sunday afternoon in a much better place than when I left.  I’m 1/2 way done with the “bad” portion of my Chemo, and only complain about it occasionally or when someone will listen.  I’m glad I’m getting it done now instead of later.  I wrote a letter (yes, hand-wrote a letter) to Bridget to thank her for her suggestion, and the results.  And I DO feel better.  Thank you, all my readers(?) for your love, prayers, and good thoughts as well.  They are greatly appreciated!