This weekend I just focused on the good in my life to mentally prepare for this week. We went to a Christmas party for my husband’s company and spent the weekend taking advantage of going out in public. We even took the kids to build some over-priced stuffed animals and for a carousel ride at the mall as a way to bolster that holiday magic feeling. We know that it will be one of the last times in public for a little while since they have said that they want me to avoid crowds after chemo.
Every weekday I usually spend a good chunk of the morning fielding phone calls with various nurses at the hospital who call to explain procedures, test results, or ask questions. Today they called to ask if I had questions regarding the port placement. They explained the procedure again and then asked for questions. They started to go over the chemo and what I can expect and what I can do to be prepared. Is anyone actually truly prepared for chemo? I always feel like I am mildly disappointing the nurses when I say that I am really good and have no questions. I feel that I have figured out so many great online resources between the actual hospital websites, well known online cancer resources, and the cancer resource line that our health insurance provides that I am usually one step ahead of what they will be saying. The only time I tend to ask a question is to clarify a slight difference from what I read to what is being said.
I feel more stressed about packing for chemo then I ever was packing for our seven day vacation. I think the biggest thing is that we have to travel to chemo and with the overnight that we have in an unfamiliar place, I worry about not being prepared and getting sick away from home. There is an inside joke in there for much of my family and friends about me being prepared since the motto of so many of them is “be prepared”. It is funny to think that ten years ago before I met my husband I would have had no preparation for any place that I was going, but today I find myself researching, making lists, and preparing as much as I can. Wonder what organization I learned that from???
In addition, to everything that is going on I am attempting to complete my fall graduate semester. If I had not received the diagnosis then I would have been walking this spring at the graduation for my Ed.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis. After learning about the Lymphoma diagnosis and evaluating the massive amount of work that is due in the spring and final semester I decided that I would need to take the spring semester off. I knew that being a good mother, wife, completing my final semester and studying for my certification exam to become a behavior analyst was going to be too much to handle all together when undergoing chemo. It pained me to take the time off when the light was shining so brightly at the end of the long graduate program tunnel…but it is only a temporary pause. My college runs on an altered schedule so our semester is not really over until Mid-February. I am just hoping that I can make it and get through this semester without too many issues. I worry about reading about what people have experienced with chemo-brain. I honestly don’t know how I will finish off the last month and a half of classes if I am dealing with chemo brain.
When I first started my graduate program, the director of the program asked how I was juggling so many balls. I told her that I joined the circus at a young age and have perfected my act over many years. I explained how I learned how to expertly juggle. She then asked what I did when I dropped a ball. I told her like all good circus performers, I would just pick up the ball and throw it back into the mix and start my act again. After all, the show must go on.
Here is hoping to a flawless performance this week with the start of treatment.