On the way back from one of my appointments this week I saw a squirrel shimmying across a telephone wire. The squirrel had a wide distance to cover. It looked precarious to me, and a bit unnatural. I would have preferred to see that squirrel in a tree.
But I knew it would make it across the wire.
This past week was our first big post-diagnosis week, where we got down to business with this whole cancer thing. Hands-down, the high of the week was our Wednesday appointment with the surgeon. First of all, Wednesday started with a really good hair day, and it occurred to me I should document. I DO NOT take selfies, but I made an exception because, hello, my hair might fall out. More about that later. Here is the selfie:
Okay, whatever. I might have a low standard for a good hair day. Moving on!
On Wednesday we found out the cancer, invasive ductile carcinoma, is Stage 1 and isn’t anywhere else. I was so, so happy to hear that. The appointment was almost fun because of the relief.
On Thursday I met with the oncologist. Cocky from the day before, I went to the appointment by myself so Bryce could stay home with the boys. I quickly regretted that decision. Having talked with the surgeon already, I knew the treatment recommendation would be chemo and surgery (double mastectomy–yowzah) because of the type of cancer. It wasn’t until I talked with the oncologist the chemo part felt really real. She confirmed it would be 20 weeks (which, you agree, is a long time, right?) in two phases. Phase 1 would be one dose every two weeks for eight weeks, and Phase 2 would be one dose every week for twelve weeks. Oh-kay. We talked about other uncomfortable things too, like would I want to consider freezing my eggs?
For the record, the oncologist was awesome. I just wasn’t prepared for that part of the discussion. Prior to the Wednesday-Thursday appointments, I didn’t do a ton of research because I didn’t want to waste time worrying before I got my “official official” diagnosis. Cancer is crazy because your #1 priority is health, but there are so many other tangential things to consider such as financials, fertility, insurance fine print, calendars, reconstruction options, work, beauty (Lord, help me with my vanity), and parenting. I have eaten so much humble pie this week. Good segue…
Many of you have offered to help. Thank you. I have started to identify needs. At the risk of propriety, I am going to share them because I am anxious.
- The #1 thing we need is prayer. Today one of my friends prayed Psalm 62 for me because I sent her a sad-face text. I think about Jesus’s words in Mark 8:36, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” At the end of the day, I want soul-care for us and our boys. Of course I do not want to be in the hole financially or have yucky chemo side effects, but if those things happen, they will pass. Please pray that God would bring our hearts near to His throughout this process. I think about Philippians 4:12-13, where Paul says,”I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Man, I would enjoy that gift of contentment!
- We could use toddler busy boxes. I am not a big Pinterest mom, so I have never made these myself. That said, I think they could really get us by in a fatigued-parent pinch. Here is how I would describe a busy box: you get a container, like a shoe box, and fill it with random but somewhat related things a 2-year-old or a 4-year-old could enjoy. For example: play-doh, cookie cutters, little pieces of paper, and stickers. Or clothespins, masking tape, beads, and yarn. Or little army men or farm animals or dinosaurs. The items in the box don’t have to be new. The box just needs to have some mystique. Then, if I’m home alone feeling icky and have two little wild things who can’t be pleased, I can–drumroll please–hand each of them a busy box, and they can see what treasures are inside.
- Speaking of wild things, we could use help with the boys sometimes. More to come on this. Once we nail down the treatment plan/schedule, I’ll probably put a Google calendar together. I was flying solo with the boys today, and I can’t tell you how many times I asked myself, “How am I going to do this if the chemo knocks me out?” At Barnes & Noble, this adorable little girl came over and wanted to kiss Hyatt on his cheek. Twice he exclaimed, “NOOO!!” I am glad he can assert boundaries, but sheesh–if he won’t let a cute little girl kiss him on the check, just imagine how he responds to me trying to brush his teeth, put sunscreen on him, etc. The boys are totally normal in their rambunctiousness, and are more chill than many, but I’m pretty intimidated by what’s ahead.
- Ginger tea. My sweet friend who is an oncology nurse said maybe I should get off Pinterest because it was stressing me out, but before she told me that I learned ginger tea is apparently a thing for chemo patients? It helps with nausea? Sounds good–let’s get some.
- Do you have stand-up comedy or funny DVDs you could live without for a period of time? If so, I would love to borrow them. A survivor I talked with last week said she and her husband watched a lot of stand-up during her chemo treatment. Laughter = good.
- iTunes cards + music recs. Did the Cranberries’ No Need to Argue album get you through middle school? Have you turned on Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop the Feeling and tried to convince your kids to participate in a “cleaning party?” If you’re saying yes, you know how important music can be to one’s mood. I’m super-open to “such-and-such album is amazing and got me through a hard time,” plus any recommendations you have for good kids’ music. We love Slugs & Bugs, for example.
- Cute warm-weather hats. Before I kicked myself off Pinterest, I found hats so cute you’d WANT to be bald. Like this one and this one. So cute, right? If you happen to have anything like these and you don’t need them, may I borrow? Also interested in whether or not there are any local places that sell things like this. Because the site I like is in the UK.
- Meals. Amazingly, our meal calendar is full. Looking at the meal calendar cheers my heart. THANK YOU SO MUCH. I have reason to believe cooking won’t be my top priority or favorite thing to do. Now that we know how long the treatment will be, we might want to extend the calendar. If you’re interested in that, I can update you.
Thank you for reading, and thank you again for the support!