How are you feeling?
My oncologist reassured me that it’s normal for me to feel terrible right about now. I’ve been beating myself up about it, telling myself that it’s been three months of chemo and that i should be used to it by now. Apparently not. Apparently, every time my body recovers from a session, it never returns to its full function and wellness. In other words, every session takes a little more out of me that i don’t get back – that i *won’t* get back for several months after all the treatment is over.
It makes sense, when my doctor breaks it down like that (and anyone who truly knows me understands that color-coded charts just make everything better). This knowledge helps me berate myself a little LESS for feeling awful every day – every … single … day. I just need to embrace it, my new normal. This new normal includes repeatedly throwing up even two weeks after chemo, binge-eating while justifying that my body is going to reject the food in some way anyway, being satisfied with less than 10 hot flashes a day, feeling like it’s a good day if my temperature stays in double digits, taking breaks to sit down from walking ON FLAT LAND FOR LESS THAN HALF A MILE, accepting that i can’t remember the last time i exercised, bathing (as opposed to showering) every OTHER day of the week, falling on my face after trying to do just one pushup (i used to do 30 at a time, before the sun had even arisen yet), attending 1-4 doctors’ appointments each week, tripling up on sleeping agents just so that i can get up for work the next morning, and accepting the sad reality that the best compliment i ever get these days is about how nicely my head is shaped. Most of this i just accept … but i am going to admit that i am quite disappointed that i didn’t reach my goal of making it through chemo without throwing up once. Thanks a lot, CVS, for not having my anti-nausea medication in stock on Wednesday night. I mean, it was probably me who used up your whole supply in the first place, but STILL.
How is work going? Monday– Adam banned my wig and added a bunch of restrictions on which hats and head scarves i could wear. Tuesday– I wrote a long-winded email in response to that. Wednesday– I discovered, to my utmost surprise, that Adam had responded. In about two typed lines, he told me that he was referring this situation over to HR, and they would be in contact with me.
Also on Wednesday– I was summoned to Carissa’s office to talk to her and Adam. When i got there, i sat down and opened up my notebook to the pages showing print-outs between me and Adam. Adam started the conversation. “Well, this isn’t going to take very long at all. Basically, you’ve got a number of ADA accommodation requests under review … I don’t even know what all of them are for. While they’re under review, we’re just going to have you teach one class. You’ll teach the English class, but Containment will go to someone else.” I wrote down his statements and then paraphrased them back to him, to make sure we were on the same page. As soon as he verified what i had written down, he stood up and left Carissa’s office. No “bye.” No side-talk. No fake interest in what projects i have recently done on my house. He’s clearly pissed … i would be too if that was the best excuse i could come up with to allow a persistent teacher to go down to teaching just one morning class. Thursday– I *missed* my meeting with HR because i was throwing up from 6-9:30am. It has been rescheduled for Wednesday. I also missed my echocardiogram, which was the *2nd* attempt with that appointment. I wonder what my oncologist will say if i just don’t go get that done. I’m kind of over all these appointments! (I know: I’m whining.) Friday– I met my new group of students for the first time today. There were only 10 on the roster, and 2 of them were in separation. They were polite to me and gave a convincing show of pseudo reading, writing, and pre-testing. One youth got a violation for behavior, three youth got redirected, and all nine of them earned at least one Mane Catch Ticket for being respectful, mindful, honest, and/or driven. After they left, i graded their workbooks, stared at the 59% class average they had already accumulated, and had an epiphany: If their class averages are 50-60% when i put my Instructor Ausburn Game Face on, and their class average is 59% when i throw textbooks in front of them and tell them to work on whatever they want, then it’s possible – i mean, TRULY POSSIBLE – that i have been approaching this whole teaching thing ass backwards. Someone please explain to me why i spent all those weeknight evenings, weekend days, and summer “breaks” trying to find new innovative ways of teaching, when the end result looks remarkably similar to the Traditional Textbook Teacher. On the plus side, none of the youth were outright rude to me, my subpar teaching, or my bald ass head. (<– See? That’s me, trying to get back on the positive pony.)
How much more chemo do you have left?
* the quadruple cocktail – just one session left (next Thursday and Friday)
* the single cocktail, Herceptin – 11 more sessions, 3 weeks apart – should stop in Nov
When do you start radiation?
Is there anything i can do?
I like presents that i can eat or color-coordinate with my house.
Care packages are awesome.
Greeting cards are sweet, but handmade cards are the ones i’ll keep after it’s all over.
Keep feeding me – food is my preference, but i will accept gross teas & supplements.
Find a way to get me to exercise again.
Don’t come visit (unless you’re Sacha, Kyana, or Linda). I’m tapped out on visitors.
Color-coordinate with me at work – ESPECIALLY when it comes to head scarves. 😉
Coworkers, stay healthy so that i don’t have to go sub in your germ-infested classes.
Roommates, don’t be scared about throwing away the junk food i keep bringing home.
Stop asking me if there is something you can do; just do something. I’m sure i will appreciate the sentiment, regardless.
Smile, whenever you see me. I automatically smile back, and then we have *both* tricked our brains into thinking we’re happy (if only for a few moments).
Give props to Catherine and Amy at work next week; they really have put in a lot of work for this HEAL cancer-fundraising event.
Hug me from the left. I’m getting used to all the touchy feely stuff that’s happening right now. (I reserve the right to delete that last statement the instant it comes back to bite me in the ass.)
I was diagnosed with Stage 3C Invasive Breast Cancer in October/November, 2015. This blog is my way to process my experience and allow my loved ones to have ongoing updates about my journey.
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