Last weekend I promised myself that I was going to write myself a letter. It would be a letter of encouragement from my feeling good self to my feeling rotten self after chemo. I figured I would read it Friday or Saturday as those were my predicted tough days as chemo really starts settle in. In all the loveliness that was last weekend feeling good with family and friends, I never got around to writing the letter.
This past Monday, the day before my infusion, I spent a lovely couple of hours drinking half-caf coffee with non-dairy creamer while finishing a 550 piece cat puzzle at my friend Amanda’s house. She is one of my closest people and definitely my sister. She had visited a Polish festival recently and purchased for me a coin for St. Joan Of Arc. I love Amanda for many things, too many to list, but one of my favorites is her affinity for religious iconography and symbolism (also if you need someone to pray for you, this woman is spot on and amazing). There is a prayer card of Mary on my altar from her, Amanda keeps me well stocked in the weapons of good juju.
Monday evening I had placed the coin on my altar when we sat for a bit to meditate. Then I took it to my bedroom to journal. The last I remembered I placed it on my night stand. The next morning I went to look for it and it was gone. I as very disappointed that I had lost it already.
I am not a stranger to things disappearing on me. Usually there has been a purpose or a gift to be witnessed in the losing of an item or at least that is how I have chosen to package those experiences. I didn’t want to accept that I lost the coin and so soon from receiving it. I even looked up on Amazon.com yesterday to see if I could replace it. I found the St. Joan of Arc coin that Amanda had gifted me but I paused in purchasing a replacement because something was whispering in my ear that doing so would be inappropriate at least at this juncture.
The coin has been on my mind everyday this week. I would passively keep searching for it in the nooks and krannys of our home. Where could I have put it? Chemo brain is a very real thing by the way and slightly frustrating. (the nurse this week at my infusion mentioned that chemo brain lasts about six months after treatment ends. yay. that’s sarcasm). I even started to wonder if the dog ate it. We have a 15 week old puppy in the house, it is a real possibility.
Tuesday I received my 5th infusion of eight. I am starting to dread them more as we go forward because it is very real that chemo is accumulative. I am thankful that I will be going through my last chemo sessions in the middle winter so I won’t have as much FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) as I would have if it were nice out and folks were doing fun stuff. I have been a Michigan girl my whole life I know during February and March in Michigan the only thing you are missing by not hanging out with folks is hearing everyone bitch about how long winter is and that they miss the sun. People will compare the efficiency of their full spectrum lights they have I their office to fight their SAD (Seasonal Affected Disorder). Conversations will be had about the tough winter a few years back that lasted well into April. Will that happen this year? Everyone will wonder. So, feeling crummy in the middle of Michigan winter is a silver lining to this wild adventure. I can hunker in without guilt and binge watch shows and craft. (yes Sam, I will watch Breaking Bad)
Wednesday and Thanksgiving I was ok. I have been very tired, like old lady slumped over in a chair tired. I didn’t care, it took too much effort to hold my head up. I was awake just physically exhausted.
Friday morning, today, I woke with a headache and feeling the chemo ick. Jenn brought me a coffee and I sat up in bed. We chatted for a bit. as is our morning ritual. Eventually we got up to use the toilet and ended up making the bed. As soon as we tossed the pillows onto our freshly made bed I crumpled. The simple exertion of making my bed (with help!) took me out. I curled into the snuggly fetal position and slowly started to cry. I do not like feeling bad for myself also known as having a pity party but I put my cute little pity party hat on and had the feels of frustration and the chemo ick flow through me.
I eventually got up and moved to my recliner that I inhabit during my low days. Finally Jenn started getting dressed in warmer clothes to go get some work done outside. She decided to put on my Purple Carhart zip up hoodie. She reached into the pocket and pulled out the coin. My missing St. Joan of Arc coin. I have no recollection of wearing that hoodie this past week but it is possible that I did. On my face was surprise and happiness – Jenn handed me to coin. I rubbed it between my fingers smiling. I turned it over and read the prayer to Jenn.
“St. Joan of Arc, give me the courage and fortitude to defeat my fears, and give me the strength to fight for what I believe in…”
As the words came out of my mouth it hit me like a ton of bricks, this was the letter to myself that I needed for today but never wrote. The Universe took care of me when I dropped the ball. Maybe the words I needed to hear could not be my own. Maybe I needed something bigger than me to get me through. And maybe it just makes a good story.