Thursday, June 14, 2012

Operation fuck kancer: Chemo 3 and an attitude adjustment

Wall of happy. Copyright Lori Kittelberg.
My wall of happy.
Had my third chemo yesterday, the second last of the AC part of my ACT treatment. This puts me close to the half-way mark chemo wise, which I'm quite pleased about.

The huge thing was yesterday, I had four members in my chemo posse: my husband, current colleagues Kirsten (who doubled as our driver) and Melissa (who had me laughing about making Elizabethan ruffs for dogs), and Erica, a former colleague who's now a great friend.

I was waiting to see if the nurse would kick two of them out, but it wasn't a full room, and only one other patient had one visitor with him, so I guess she decided it wasn't a big deal. Now more about that attitude adjustment...

Getting needed perspective

It was a huge kick in the pants for me. You may recall I've been having a pity party.

Then a few nights ago, I was magnetized to a magazine in our laundry room called Fresh Vancouver. The feature story was an interview with Bif Naked, a rockin' woman who happens to be a breast cancer warrior. One quote really stuck out for me:

"...there are cancer patients who take the bus in from Surrey for chemo, or who have four kids and can't find child care so they lug their kids in with them." Sweet merciful crap. I can't imagine taking my one kid with me, much less four.

Challenges are just that

Yes, we have had challenges arranging child care, or finding someone to do daycare drop-off and pick-up for us at times. My husband has taken over that task because it stresses me out (thing one to be grateful for).

And every single time, whether it takes 10 phone calls or one, a friend steps up to the plate (thing two to be grateful for). Indeed, the childcare posse is in full effect y'all, with Shemim helping us last night Yvonne this morning, and Nikki tonight since George is working. It takes a village, folks. And our village is pretty fucking awesome.

My wall of happy

All this brings me to my wall of happy (sorry about the photo quality, will try to get something better, but you get the idea). The wall started with a couple of art pieces by my son and one of his best friends. Last night it grew to include photos and greeting cards.

I've been posting my progress on Facebook with some uncertainly over how much I should be sharing. But within a few hours of posting that I'm almost halfway through chemo, the number of responses floored me. And that's why I do it. Living far from most of my family, I need to know my friends are there for me.

When I roll over to get out of bed every morning, and when I'm lying down because I feel like hell, I now have a hard-copy reminder of how many people have my back. And a reminder of how much hair I had when I was young and wild (yeah, that's a perm - don't judge, it was the 90s).


  1. dude, my 90's perm.. earned me the Chilean name "plumero" which loosely translated is "duster" what the F where we thinking? who invented the tight perm.. where they drunk?

    Love the happy wall idea.. I think we should always have one up.. new trend?

    1. Lol, duster - I like the sound of plumero better! I had many a perm in the day. I remember how terrible the smell was, particularly back in my mom's day when she permed her hair.

      I know people who do the message board with visual representations of their goals, so I guess the happy wall is similar in concept. I agree, everyone needs a happy wall!

  2. As usual, a great post Lori. I think it's awesome that you're sharing your story. It actually floored me how little I knew about the mechanics of breast cancer - the steps you go through to fight it, what the treatment is like, how it works (or doesn't) with work, etc. Many of us ladies will get it and, frankly, its shameful that we don't know more.

    Most people don't talk about this -- and that's why the rest of us are such Neanderthals at dealing with it, or offering our friends support.

    I'm happy to have your back through this.

    It is my absolute joy and pleasure to see you kicking the krap out of kancer.

    Looking forward to the 'halfway there' party, even MORE forward to the 'all the way there' party, and super duper stoked for the "OMG I have my hair back" soiree. :-)