Tuesday, 14 August 2012

"You get what you need"

I saw her today at the reception 
A glass of wine in her hand 

I'm done! I am finished. I should be celebrating yet I could find no reason to celebrate the last day of chemo. "Where is your gratitude girl?" This is what I keep asking myself. As the millions of people will tell you, its not over till its over with chemo. Its like injecting Jason Bourne into your veins and your body spends the next weeks trying to find and destroy him, but he is smarter, stronger and faster and he is destroying you. Now girls remember when your big brother used to chase you for using his stereo stuff and then he would sit on you and pin your arms?  My brother then stuffed his dirty socks in my mouth or made me sing songs about how great he was. Okay so your pinned and your brother is winning the fight but you don't want to scream " Uncle" or " get off me you idiot I can't breathe " which ever comes first. The point is, that is what chemo is feels like.  I have felt buried under the side effects lately and therefore have to reflect on some things and get over myself as I wallow these last few days. Some reflection is desperately needed.

I did not seem to regain my usual bounce with the third round of chemo, much to my dismay. I think I have been so busy trying to be well, that I forgot I am sick. Life has kept going and I  have felt like a salmon in low water, trying to swim up stream ( thanks CBC for the visual). What helped is the love of my family and friends that is unwavering. Regatta day which is always a day for celebration at my house, went ahead with my brother and husband at the helm and we had a fine party full of happiness and laughter. I gotta tell you that for some reason after two beers and a couple of glasses of wine " Stella got her groove back". I would like to thank the brewers of these fine drinks for lifting the fog I had been in for several weeks. I was thankful as I had a high school reunion the next night and a wedding right after chemo the following day and then bringing it home was a birthday party. I was finally feeling okay two days before chemo and my agenda was full.

I dolled my self up for my reunion the next evening and I was determined to wear my wig. Yes the helmet of hair that goes perfectly with warm humid weather. I bought the darn thing and I  had worn it once. I put it on and decided  to wear a hat, which was sort of like wearing a heated blanket on your head. Okay you can all place your bets on how long this lasted. The reunion was a great night, filled with wonderful women. Some you knew right away and some you had to look into their eyes and when you did, there was the same 17 year old girl from thirty years ago. Laughter and joy a great recipe for energy for my next day. Oh yes and two glasses of spanish wine.  I feel a theme starting here... hmmmm. I was grateful to be part of the night.

The next morning was final chemo day. I prayed that it would be easy but hey that would be too easy. A four poker this one turned out to be. The first attempt sent me into a cringe and as it was put,  the tears were popping out of my eyes. The nurse tried again. Nope that needle just wouldn't go in. All I could think was "please, pretty please".  The nurse looked up from my arm at me, I could see the compassion in her eyes. Nurse #1 leaves and sends in nurse #2. Failure on attempt number three. Meantime I have the hand squeezed off my support person, but I am a bit calmer. Number four.......and....... it is in. The rest of the treatment goes quick and I celebrate with a fish and chips and a cold can of Pepsi. Nothing says success like a deep fried treat. Once again I was surrounded by family and friends that offered me strength in their presence and reminded me how fortunate I was. The chemo clinic teaches you many things, learners will inherit the earth. I am hoping for a windfall.

Okay so one regatta day party, one reunion and one chemo. Now a wedding. A coworker of mine was getting married and I was not going to miss it. I knew that the joy in her heart on her wedding day was worth being there. I was tired but nothing a hot bath and some heavy makeup would not cure. I was buoyed by being able to go. I even attempted a few dances during the party portion but it began to feel as though someone put lead in my legs. Alright and I had two glasses of red wine. I stayed as long as I could and then departed like a good cancer patient should to rest. The next day found me moving to a slower pace. The chemo working its magic quicker this time around. I usually get a day and a half before I feel myself slipping. I managed to do some things with family who was here and then rest for the birthday party that night. We went that night but stayed just long enough as I could not stay upright any longer. You know denial is not just a river in Egypt. Although once again I had brought myself somewhere that had laughter and energy so I could steal a little to keep me going.

I find I am continually learning through this process, thank god. I need to remind myself how fortunate I am so that I can wade through when I am feeling that life sucks right now. In the words of Mick Jagger " I can't always get what I want". If that was the case you know what that would be. Instead " I get what I need". I am completely surrounded by people who care and love me. In the case of my family they visit and hold my hand while I cry, assuring me its all going to be okay or  they Skype in and tell me they love me. Friends are always waiting in the wings, wanting to know what I need. My husband takes me to a movie that he really does not want to see.

There are decisions to be made soon and drugs to be taken.

The journey continues.....................

“In a world of change, the learners shall inherit the earth, while the learned shall find themselves perfectly suited for a world that no longer exists.”

                                                                                      ― Eric Hoff


  1. Sondria you are so eloquent with the words needed to share your experiences with this thing called cancer. We were all honored to have you attend our reunion and be in your presence. I hope you are up for the premiere showing of our picture DVD. I could come pick you up if you need a ride. Just FB me anytime on Friday. Stay strong. God's Grace is with you.
    Sherry Gulliver Butler

  2. Sondria your strength and grace continues to amaze me.I am humbled that you allow us to join us as you battle the demon we call Cancer.Many thoughts and prayers are helping you along your journey.It was wonderful to see you at the reunion. God's Blessings to you

    Angele Reddy Yetman

  3. Salut ma belle,

    The past six months have been a whirlwind of emotions for you and your loved ones! CANCER. As you have said, sharing your journey with friends and family, co-workers and other cancer survivors has helped. The chemo is finished and you have been amazingly valiant always keeping it positive. There are still doctors to see and decisions and choices to be made in the upcoming weeks - you will be amazing, even if you have a few meltdowns! Continue to celebrate life, Sondria, we do indeed get what we need from it. Your blog continues to help me understand and be there with you through these miles apart. Hugs, toujours - Geraldine

  4. Sondria, one word, Attitude. You know what I mean..... : )