Wednesday, May 25, 2011

the darkest before the dawn

I have tried, with many false starts, to write in the past couple weeks. I think the drugs they are giving me put me in a little bit of a fog. I can't exactly think straight and I'm doing odd things. I have gotten a sense of what it must have been like to be in my husbands head the past year. I am making deposits into the wrong account, reading a map incorrectly; and navigation is a specialty of mine, so this was very disconcerting.

My sister has come and gone. The first couple days were us trying to figure out a)what I needed and b) what she needed to do. She drove me every day for treatment, one hour there and one hour back home. She cooked and cleaned and washed and rubbed me when I felt bad. The hardest was saying goodbye. Just her being close made me feel good. Well...not physically, but emotionally. :)

I had my last chemotherapy treatment today and I am so glad. I have met some amazing women in the chemo lounge. There are six chairs in the chemo lounge, a large window across one wall, and women all fighting for their lives. One young woman was so young, she was sitting there with a large folder in her lap, choosing invitations. I wasn't sure, at first, if it was for a high school graduation or a wedding. Turns out it was a wedding. The next week, I saw her again and we talked. Her boyfriend asked her to marry him on Valentines Day this year. Three days later she found out she had ovarian cancer. They needed to operate. They talked about taking an egg to freeze so she could have children, but they decided against it because they were only going to take out one ovary. When they got inside her to remove they ovary, they found a web of cancer across her uterus to her other ovary and had to remove both. She can no longer give birth to her own child. I weep for her as I type this. She is so brave and beautiful. She has lost all her hair and wears these really hip hats and her fiance brings her lunch from Freebird and we all ooh and aah over him and tell him what a lucky man he is. Chemo is a 4-6 hour treatment for most of us, so we have a lot of time to talk.

What strikes me about our conversations is the lack of specific signs. One lady had an unrelated pain in her leg and when the mri came back it showed ovarian cancer. Another lady had uncomfortable bloating in her stomach; ovarian cancer. The young girl was there for her annual pap smear; ovarian cancer. It just seems to me that our bodies should scream out in more dramatic ways that it is being taken over on the inside. It shouldn't be so silent.

I got a text tonite from a friend who hit it right on the nose. She said at the end of something difficult is when it can be the hardest. The darkest before the dawn. I haven't seen her in more than a week, I think; it's just too hard when you feel this bad and need to stay close to necessities. But it was like she was reading my mind. It was exactly the way I was feeling. I have a bit of anxiety about the second part of the radiation therapy, and I seem to cry almost everytime I am alone and I'm not even sure why.

I'm going to go now but if you are reading this and you have sons or daughters, please encourage them to get the HPV vaccine. It is a virus that is known to cause cervical cancer. The statistics say that 75-80% of males and females will be infected with HPV in their lifetime. It doesn't always lead to cancer, but why take the chance.

1 comment:

Mona Maxwell said...

Distance does not free me from knowing. It occurs to me this am that this may be why helping from a distance is so hard for me. I have had you hugged up to me all week, you just didn't know it.