Christine is an Orthodox Christian, a wife, a mother of three little children, a daughter, a friend, and a sworn enemy of cancer. In February 2013, she was diagnosed with Stage 2 triple negative breast cancer. Within a few days, she began an online journal for her friends and family, to share news, stay connected, and process what was happening to even the smallest details of her life. We are bringing this journal to The Sounding so that we can all walk along with Christine, and so that each of you has a chance to meet the special, brave, funny woman who is taking this journey. We all have something in common with her.
In order to catch up with Christine’s present life a bit faster, I am moving us along to a fairly recent journal entry. She has been through many chemotherapy sessions and some bouts with sickness and other troubles. Now, we meet with her again when she has only four sessions of chemotherapy left! This is good news, but also momentous. Surgery is getting closer. The journal entry below was written on July 6, 2013.
Slowly but surely, we are getting there! Things have been pretty good. The pattern I described has remained consistent. [Note: In an unpublished journal entry, Christine described her weekly battles with chemo on Wednesday and consistently feeling ill on Fridays, but often better on the weekend.] I’ve started taking pain meds to deal with yucky Fridays, and they have helped some. It’s not the funnest summer we’ve ever, had but I think we’re doing pretty well considering.
My blood counts have been strong and steady since I started the shots [to counteract effects of chemo], so my oncologist bumped me up to the full dose of taxol this past Wednesday. I am glad to be doing it (I mean, if I have to have chemo, let’s have all the chemo and be done with it, right?) So far, so good. I feel a little worse than usual (a little more tired, yucky Friday was a little yuckier…) but not too bad and I only have 4 left! Amazing and kind of scary. While I can not wait to be done with chemo, the long days at the cancer hospital, the side effects…I have to admit there is also a comfort in having a plan and doing something to kill the cancer. Soon I will be…transitioned back into my own life. The same and yet changed profoundly.
I find myself doing more and more mental and emotional work regarding cancer these days. It’s why I’ve not been able to write. I’ve been thinking and thinking about everything! As the shock of diagnosis wears off and the physical side effects ease, there is more space for thinking and feeling and trying to wrap my mind around this new (uninvited) guest in our lives. I have so many questions, questions that can’t be answered. I have so many hopes and so many fears. I am continually amazed at what a complex process this has been on every level-physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally.
So I pray, and I write and I talk and I walk and I cry and I laugh and I watch a lot of “Battlestar Galactica” (because I like watching these people fighting so hard to save humanity) and I watch a lot of “Real Housewives of Orange County” (because Bravo is streaming whole episodes and it is so the complete opposite of what I am dealing with right now, utter trash and escapism). And that’s life right now.
I suspect this window of thinking and feeling will soon close again as I get ready for surgery. I meet this Friday with the breast surgeon and then next week with the plastic surgeon. This will be the next stage of the fight, and I’ll need to get my game face on to focus on that. We’re aiming for an end-of-August surgery date. More to come on that I’m sure! Don’t worry, I’ll keep you posted. 😉