By the numbers - my cancer 'adventure'
I find comfort in lists and numbers so as my first post - here are some of the numbers that correlate to this bizarre experience.
- •1 - number of chemotherapy sessions I have left. Counting the hours.
- •2B - what stage cancer I had (no, am not done with treatment but I chose to think it is gone and the rest of this is just overkill)
- •5 - number of scars I now have across my torso. Lymph node removal, snazzy one along my left aureole - surgeon did his best but it is hideous and three on my right side where they stuck a port under my skin. The better to inject me with poisons.
- •6 - number of months since I had feeling under my left arm. Cutting out cancer included cutting my nerves. No assurance I will ever regain feeling.
- •11 - number of fingernails and toenails that are both damaged AND feel like they were each hit by a hammer. Ironically this is aftermath of the chemo sessions that ended in February. The gift that keeps on giving.
- •13 - number of nurses in the infusion room. Angels all.
- •16 - number of chemo sessions I will have had since January 7.
- •27 - combined total of eyelashes and eyebrow hairs left on my face. I think even more than baldness - this marks me as 'sick'. At least in the beginning- I could still distract people with my long, curling lashes. Latisse - be my friend!!!
- •30 - November- day the surgeon called me to say that my biopsy indicated cancer. Have no idea what else he said. Not really a call you want to get at 8:16am on a Monday at work. Although guess it is not really a call you want to get ever!
- •33 - number of days of radiation I will be getting. Can't wait to see what accompanies this aspect of the journey.
- •45 - just a guess- number of people who tell me I am 'brave' or a warrior or some such nonsense. I am not. Brave are people who donate organs, volunteer to serve in our armed forces, help in disaster areas, get up every day with a chronic condition. I didn't CHOSE to get cancer - I have it and I am getting treatment but that's it. I am lucky.
- •56 - number of laxatives and stool softeners I took during my first 4 chemos (8 week process). I didn't even know these existed and they became vital. We have since broken up I am glad to report.
- •110,000 or so - number of hairs on my head that are gone. Glossy, healthy dark brown strands (gray carefully dyed). The many comments that it will grow back, etc. - mean NOTHING to a woman staring in the mirror feeling ugly and puffy.
- •Innumerable- number of messages of support, hugs, kind words, cards, texts, emails I have received since I first let people know I was going from nauseating healthy to a (temporarily) sick person.
- •Unknown - day in the future when I meet someone and they have NO idea I spent 2016 mostly bald, in treatment and peevish. When cancer is far behind me and in front of me is a delicious margarita on the rocks!!