Today marks my daughters first day of high school! And the last day of round one of chemo for me! A reminder that life still keeps of going regardless of what I have going on and I am so happy for that. My son started his senior year last week. It is crazy to think my little boy, now towering at an impressive six-foot four inches, is in his last year of high school and maybe his last year home.
For my daughter, last night was picking out clothes for the week, packing and repacking her daisy backpack that she used all through middle school. I made the case for not getting a new backpack yet because she was not certain what she wanted and maybe she would get some ideas once she saw what the other kids had. Also having a more word in backpack makes her look less like a newbie freshman. For clothes she went for the simple jeans and a grey t-shirt but opted for her new light blue chucks instead of her black worn in chucks. We talked about the cute factor versus the potential blister factor and the new shoes won. Honestly, at 14 I would have made the same decision and I might still make the same decision at 43. I would just make sure I am mindful of my walking and maybe apply some preemptive band-aids.
In preparation for the school year and our new rhythms Jenn and I spent Sunday shopping nad food prepping. It was a lovely day. We juiced so much produce to prepackage in small mason jars in the fridge to grab and go. This batch was cucumber, mixed greens, celery, beets, apple, cantaloupe, strawberries, carrots, ginger and lemon. I would have used more ginger like the last batch but it is still super delicious.
We also borrowed an idea from my friend Megan of making frozen burritos for the kids and us to grab and go. We made meat, egg and cheese burritos for the 17-year-old and veggie burritos with seasoned TVP, eggs and cheese for us. They are individually wrapped in parchment paper. We just pull them out of the freezer the night before to thaw and pop them in the microwave or toaster over to reheat. I hope they go over well.
I feel like we are going into this school year on good grounding. I am glad that this first round of chemo has gone well. I am aware that this is an accumulative process but I am optimistic. The reality sneaks in sometimes though. Two evenings ago Jenn and I took the dogs for a walk at our new favorite hiking spot. It is close to the house but gives the feeling of being far away up north. The golden rod is blooming everywhere, there are dark woods hiding mushrooms of all sorts, frogs are jumping and singing, and most important so many sniffs for the pups. It was a humid and warm evening as many have been lately. I was feeling good all day until about ten minutes into the hike. My stomach started to feel tight and unsettled, a strong achy pain spread through my shoulders and midback, my breathing was weird, my body did not feel right. Jenn and I were almost back to the car of which I was very thankful. We probably cut the walk a bit shorter than we were intending because of how I was feeling and I felt bad about that. I plopped into the front seat of the car and when Jenn got into the car, without forethought I asked her to check my pulse. Something didn’t feel right. This was a moment that I was very thankful (yet again) that my wife is a trained paramedic. She said it felt ok, not thready or anything – not that I knew what that meant. We were both a little concerned on the way home and openly talked about the worry about a potential heart attack. By the time we got home the crappy feeling lifted and the worry subsided….. mostly.
Before I started chemo I started going back to a therapist that we have used in the past. Although I was in a good place mentally, not feeling anxious or worried, I did feel that it may be a good idea to have something lined up in case I have stuff I need to work through on this journey. At my first appointment my therapist and I caught up on all the things and he complimented me on how well I was doing considering all the things that have happened since I last saw him. He then asked “What do you want out of our time together? You seem to be doing very well.” I informed him that he was a safety net and somewhere for me to freely speak without edits or worry for his experience. In that session I said something to him that surprised me. As we were chatting I talked about how with everything that I have been through – divorce, loss, tough times even my pregnancies – I always knew (or at least I thought I knew) that my body was healthy and that was a grounding constant for me even in the most trying times. This time my body is not my grounding constant. I am attacking my body. I am bombing my own fortress with chemo drugs. I know that is necessary but I still cannot help but think – “This is messed up. What am I doing!?”. I have never thought that way about my relationship with my body or I have at least not consciously articulated it.
For the last two months I have randomly shared with Jenn weird body feels because she has a memory that will tap into that information later if needed, I will not. It is like fact dropping
ME: “Earlier when our friends were over I had a sharp pain in my left lower quadrant. It paused me and I had to sit back down. It passed. I am just telling you.”
“My lips are having micro cramps. I am just telling you.”
And we move on with our day.
We have the next six days off without chemo drugs. I am still taking all my supplements, lots of pills and powders. I am thankful for them but they are hard to get down everyday. We meet with the oncologist on Friday to make a plan of action for my next infusion on September 11th. I am curious as to what he will say considering I had what looks like an acute allergic reaction to the infusion. I am not going to lie, I am nervous to do that again and would love to say kindly “No, thank you.” but I know that is not on the table. I will get through this with my wife a.k.a. my best buddy by my side. This weekend a friend gifted me among other things a llama t-shirt and llama socks to add to my chemo outfit. This one is going to be good. 🙂 I can’t necessarily stop this road trip but at least I can have fun with it.
This is us with morning face today getting the girl off to school!
Note to local friends –
Common Grace Coffee Company in Dearborn has an amazing Pina Colada tea. Very yummy ❤