Here we go again! It was time to get my game face back on and jump into the ring for round two yesterday. I have to say, my “fighting spirit” wasn’t quite as strong as it was going into round one, primarily because I now know what I’m getting into.
That first round is shrouded with a bit of naivety which I think is a blessing. However, once you know what’s coming with the subsequent rounds you find that little spring in your step isn’t quite as present as before. But, at the same time there is a familiarity of the process that is strangely comforting.
I also got a fun little gadget this time to help with my predisposition for ending up with little to no white blood cells after treatment. It’s an on-body injector that helps boost white blood cell growth. It’s a little pack that sticks to your arm and injects a medication 27 hours after treatment.
The fun part is it blinks a green light every 10 seconds which makes it easy for my husband to track me when I get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom! My sister-in-law said that my auntie “cool factor” just went up in my nephew’s eyes because I’m now a female version of Buzz Lightyear.
This past week before this second chemo cycle was a good week and I actually had a few days of feeling relatively “normal”. I made it out to Target (whoa!) and even a couple of quick lunch dates. It was wonderful getting out again and enjoying things I did “BC” (before cancer), but I noticed that it was still hard.
I wasn’t prepared for the strange looks from people that don’t know me, and the spontaneous waterworks when someone would ask me how I was. I found I could only be out in public for a few hours before I needed to go home, crawl under my sheets and hide for the rest of the day.
I know this will get better and it already has, but those first few days of “ripping off the bandaid” of your new normal is tough. And I’m getting used to the fact that my fun new haircut isn’t so cute anymore and I’m resembling an older man struggling with male pattern baldness. Yeah…..kind of hard to prepare for that one! But again, it’s all a process and you adapt and grow with it daily.
This has also given me a brief insight into the lives of people living with disabilities or physical deformities and the struggles they face everyday. By no means do I compare this temporary season of what I’m going through to someone who lives with a permanent physical or cosmetic disability.
However, I’ve definitely experienced slight moments of what looking different compared to “social norms” is like. And it has grown my empathy and love for those people who deal with it every day of their lives. I believe times like these that give us the ability to walk in someone else’s shoes, even for a short time, are priceless.
I also have to say that I continue to be completely overwhelmed and grateful for the continuous outpouring of support from all of you. I have honestly felt guilty at times because I find I’m just too tired and worn out to pray and seek God’s face as much as I feel I should be.
Yet coincidently, or not, during those precise times I get multiple messages from friends telling me that they are lifting my hands up for me just like Aaron and Hur did for Moses in Exodus 17:11-12.
“As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up–one on one side, one on the other–so that his hands remained steady till sunset.”
It has been such a beautiful reminder for me that we don’t have to go through tough times alone, and it’s ok to let other’s hold up our hands.
Especially for someone like me who often thinks I can handle things all on my own. So thank you again, for all of your incredible encouragement. It truly helps. To say I am grateful doesn’t even come close to doing it justice. So thank you, “to infinity and beyond”! From the strange, balding woman walking down the street blinking like Buzz Lightyear.