Just between you and me, this Christmas is awful. There's no tree, decorations, gifts or greeting cards on display. I had to miss helping serve Thanksgiving dinner at the homeless shelter and won't be able to help hand out toys at the children's hospital. I just do not have the strength. I'm neither cook nor hostess this year. Basically, I'm the person people are glad they are not. I'm the one that 'doesn't have her health' this season. I'm fighting breast cancer and unfortunately, it makes a lot of people uncomfortable. I make lots of people uncomfortable. "There by the Grace of God..." and all that.
This has actually been a pretty good year for me. I quit smoking, I started working out and I made a list of the things I wanted to do now that my son is grown and I have an empty nest. The top two things on the list? Returning to critical care nursing and getting books/stories published. The former is on hold and as for the latter, I use some of my 'down time' to write more. Never have enough stories.
I'm making plans to celebrate NEXT Thanksgiving and Christmas. This holiday season is ruined and it isn't even over yet! Can't enjoy traditional family dinners. Chemotherapy made the delicious smelling turkey taste like acid and Granny's green bean casserole taste like glue. Anything that is supposed to be sweet tastes bitter and everything else tastes like dirt. The combination of drugs I receive make the body feel like it's just beginning to get the flu--body aches and no sense of taste. Can't tell Granny that--she'll just tell you to add more salt!
But no matter how many bills come, treatments are received, how sick I get or number of days of lying in bed I have...this too, shall pass. It will. I know it will. Everything has a beginning, a middle and an end. Including cancer and its treatment.
One day, I'll have my final chemo treatment. One day, my experience with breast cancer will help someone else. One day I won't spend the majority of time alone being sick in the bathroom or at the cancer center and I will be waving a final 'goodbye' to all the doctors and nurses who took care of me. One day.
As for now, I spend my time in bed or watching Christmas specials on TV. I write, I blog, I read, I pray and check days off the calendar. I remind myself just how lucky I am to have found the cancer in a point in time where a woman's breast cancer is treated and not ignored because it's a "lady's thing." Diagnosis and treatment plans are almost immediate--the duration of those treatments, however, aren't.
So I'll just drink my two to three quarts of water a day, enjoy what I can when I can, be grateful and plan for next Thanksgiving and Christmas. Never too early, right?