The Cancer Chronicles #1: Goddamned Fucking Fatigue

It’s been about two years since I’ve received my last chemo treatment, but the hits just keep on comin’! Two brutal winters, two gloriously hot, hot, hot summers, fevers, anemia, iron infusions, pneumonia, remission, stage 1, bone marrow tests, PET Scans, remission, fevers, stage 1, B Cells, post chemo hair loss, fatigue, fatigue, fatigue.

When I say that i’m tired, I don’t mean that I didn’t sleep well last night. It means that I’m tired. Goddamned fucking town to the marrow in my bones tired. Exhaustion. Sleep does not elude me. I can sleep for days.

Really.

Days.

Having an almost seven year old darling girl is hard. I want to have energy for her. I want to want to play dolls. I play dolls and all I think about is my big comfy bed in the next room. I look at the clock over and over and over again. I hired a “Mommy’s Helper”. A cute nineteen year old girl who probably spends her cash earned on bags of pot and pregnancy tests, but she’s good. She’s reliable and my girl loves her. A lot. So much, in fact, that I’ve been getting jealous.

Which brings me to today. The school’s annual “Boo-Bash.” A big ol’ Halloween party to generate tons of cash for all of the luxuries that other New York City public schools just don’t have. Chess lessons, a fully updated and beautiful computer lab, yoga,  tennis, classroom libraries. Good shit. My friends’ kids don’t go to schools with all of these extra goodies. So, this school is constantly throwing parties, auctions, bake sales, flower sales, and of course asking for good ol’ fashioned cash in an envelope.

Back to the Boo Bash. My Mommy’s Helper offered to take my girl, but I declined her offer. I need to do Mommy stuff with her before she’s screaming “Fuck You!” at me before slamming her door. I don’t want to go. I’m fucking dreading it. I want to curl up in my bed and doze off until bedtime. My daughter is running around in her Cheerleading costume. The bash doesn’t start until 5 PM and I already feel like it’s midnight. I’ve called my oncologist three times in the past couple of weeks because of this paralyzing fatigue and he tells me I need a PET scan.

Sigh.

At least I can catch a nap on the subway ride there.

Hey Cancer! You Picked the Wrong Bitch!

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I was really looking forward to my monthly round of Rituxan today. I’ve been so busy with the scandal, my little girl and this wretched divorce that I was actually relieved to have a day to myself with nothing to do but lounge in a big ol’ recliner, sleep and watch TV. Everything went so smoothly. I haven’t been feeling very well lately, but I contributed that to all the emotional garbage I’m experiencing. Since my “working” diagnosis in January, I’ve been handling this cancer like a champ.

So like I wrote before, everything went smoothly today. No infiltrations, six hours as opposed to eight, woke up froma long nap and Bon Jovi was on “The Katie Show”. (Disclaimer: I have never, ever, watched “The Katie Show or any daytime TV in my life, but it was Bon Jovi, for Chrissakes!)

My doctor wanted to talk to me after my treatment, which was cool. I’ve been doing so much better, I haven’t spoken to him in a while.

Not Cool. Bad News.

When I had surgery to remove a lymph node back in February, it came back positive for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia/Follicular Lymphoma. It was explained to me that they are practically identical, and can change from one to another. He treated me for the lymphoma.

Then we had a talk.

I strolled into his office all smiles, like I just walked out of a Goddamned spa rather than an infusion room when he told me that he wanted to add another treatment to my Rituxan.

Cytoxan.

Just hearing the name I knew it was bad. I asked him “what is it and why?” He told me that the Rituxan just wasn’t doing the job on it’s own and with my symptoms and “numbers” he thinks the lymphoma is turning into the leukemia. He explained that the Cytoxan is more of a traditional chemotherapy as opposed to the Rituxan.

My first question: “Am I going to lose my hair?”

Long story short, I probably will–at least some of it. I’ll most likely puke a lot and feel really, really shitty. My scumbag (ex)husband will probably use this to try and gain primary custody of my girlie, even though he doesn’t really want it, as it interferes with his drinking and whoring around. He earns a lot of money and child support is 17% of his yearly salary. We’re talking money here, people. That’s all it is to him. Money.

I tried really hard not to cry in the doctor’s office. I’ve always been so positive and fun around him. He calls me “Hollywood”. He calls me “Trouble.” I walked out to the reception desk with an appointment slip for an office visit next week.

Maybe things will change between now and then?

Anyway, the horribly vain part of my is hoping that if I DO lose hair, it’s only on one side of my head so I can rock the new half shaved, have long look that’s so trendy right now.

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Perfect timing.

My stomach hurts.

But you gotta stay hot.

You gotta.

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My “Enchanted” Life

My friend LL tells me I lead an “enchanted life.” I’ve been through a lot (haven’t we all?) and life keeps shooting it’s bullets at me, but somehow, I keep on dodging them. I don’t know if that’s exactly “enchanted,” but it sure is a beautiful way of expressing what I’ve been through.

This past year has been a series of enchantments, heartbreaks, and breakthroughs. I can’t write about a lot of the juicy stuff right now, but I promise…I will.

I like to say “I’m just a girl from brooklyn…” 2013 has taught me a hell of a lot more about myself. My husband of 7 years left me in January, just as I was diagnosed with cancer. Anger…Rage…Crying…For two months it wasn’t even a “day to day” type of life style for me–it was hour to hour.

The worst part about the divorce and the cancer was and still is the waiting. It’s been seven months, and technically I’m still married…waiting…waiting…waiting…

I was diagnosed that very same month (coincidence?) with a rare type of Lymphoma for my age and gender. Those are the three words you never want to hear when you are a 36 year old Mommy. “You have cancer.” The tests, the waiting, the results, the waiting, more tests, the waiting and finally another three words no one ever wants to hear– “You need chemo.”

I don’t know what happened to the anger, the rage, the crying. It slowly dissolved and in it’s place I have found the strength to battle an acrimonious divorce, cancer, and suddenly becoming a single Mom while never forgetting what matters most to me and where I get that incredible strength–my daughter. I can’t start writing about her now–I’ll go off on a tangent and lose myself in describing all of her innocence and beauty and healing powers.

I made a promise to myself when I first found out I had cancer. I WILL NOT BE A SICK PERSON. I will put on my cat eye and red lips to every chemo session, I will keep in touch with and still visit my friends, my family and I will have them visit me! I have learned to accept help when it’s offered, though I’m still working on asking for it when, truthfully, sometimes I could use it. I will window shop, I will grocery shop, I will laugh and I’ll have a glass of wine every once in a while on my tiny Brooklyn fire escape, looking out as the days turn into beautiful nights and I will cherish every last sip.

LL calls me “enchanted” and I don’t know if that’s exactly true, but I love her for that.