Thursday, February 5, 2009


Well, it's official. One more chemo to go. I want to do something to mark the occasion. I've made up my mind to drive across the state to Allentown to see Dylan. He's been kind of left out of the loop on this, and I have been feeling bad about it. The girls have questions, and we talk about the situation freely. It's important that they be informed on this. Because I have breast cancer, this raises their risk. They'll begin having mammograms at 35. We discuss this, and they ask questions, and I answer them. Cara called from college tonight, to ask me to set aside April 17th or 18th, to come speak at Clarion University at a Relay for Life rally. I said yes. Our daughters need to hear about breast cancer, and I find it easy to discuss this with them. They seem to find it easy to talk to me, in return.
It's different for Dylan, though. I've had a harder time talking to him. He's a little embarrassed about all of this. He asks halting questions. 'How's treatment going?' 'Do they think you're going to be okay?' 'When will they know?' General stuff. God knows a 22 year man does not find it easy to talk about his mother's breasts. He lives on the other side of the state, so he doesn't get the reassurance of assessing my situation with his own eyes. Our phone calls have become halting conversations that dance around his unspoken concerns about me, my unspoken concerns about him. I assure him I'm doing fine, and he assures me that he's doing fine. I've decided that I want time with my son. I have never seen his little house in Fleetwood. I want to be some place else for just a little while. I want to think about other things for a while. I want to comfort my son. I want to fill his freezer with home cooking. I want to look at him.
I was afraid that maybe I couldn't go, because I have a very small window of time to work it. I have a job, and training begins in March. There are the shots of neupogen to worry about. I talked to the oncologist about it, and was amazed to find out that it is do-able. They'll teach me to give myself shots. I want to go so badly that this is not a deterrent. I can do this.
I marvel over the change that this makes in my mood. I could scarcely force my cowardly ass out of bed this morning. I was ashamed of myself, because, really, I only had two treatments left. I should be looking at the light at the end of the tunnel but I wasn't. I'm just unutterably weary of playing 'cancer'. I want to put this particular game back on the shelf and play something else for awhile, like maybe 'World Traveler' or something.Tim told me the game was not over and to get myself out of bed. I did. I plodded into the Cancer Center with my 'Cancer Sucks!' pin, and I got my chemo. For the second time I had a reaction. Simultaneously, two other people in two other chairs had reactions.
The poor staff.
As usual, my reaction was comparatively mild. I've always said that I'm in remarkably good condition, except for the darn cancer, and really it seems to be true. This body of mine keeps right on trucking no matter what they're throwing at it. I had to stay for an extra IV of fluids, and then I was out of there, clutching the oncologist's words like a prize.
"Yes, I think this trip is do-able," she said.
You know, February 19th, it will be a lot easier to get out of bed and march myself to the Cancer Center. That final chemo has become something that I've got to check off my list before I head out of town. I've got things to do, places to see, and my boy to hug. I'm so excited to go, that the final chemo is almost the anticlimax.
While I fight this fight as gracefully as I can, while I try to make lemonade from my lemons, I continue to see hopeful signs with Brianna. Cara just called to ask if she can bring a college friend home with her when she comes to visit next weekend. My aunt came for coffee and a visit. I got a very lovely letter from Tim's cousin, Donna that touched my heart. I got a card from two of my clients. They are retired, but they are sending Tim and I out to the local Pizza Hut. We decided to save this treat for Valentine's Day. What they cannot realize is that when Tim finally got around to asking me out, our first date was with our five kids at the local Pizza Hut. It was a fun night, and it went so well, he asked if we wanted to join them to watch the 4th of July parade the next morning. Thus began the story of us. We were no longer just two coworkers at the local factory. I have become so aware that it is these bright hot sparks of life and love and living that get us through our dark times, and I am grateful for these things. Oh. And that includes you folks as well. Thank you.


Cara said...

Watch this, it's called David after the dentist... It is HYSTERICAL...

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

I love hearing about your Pizza Hut story. I am so happy for you getting to that last chemo. I continue to pray for you.

Pam said...

Yes, Deb, it's the light at the end of the tunnel! Then, it's on with the rest of your life!

You're attitude is amazing and inspiring to all of us! I'm happy and proud to be called one of your new friends! :)

Go be with your Dylan after this! I got tears just reading about it!

God Bless you!!

steviewren said...

Debby, you named so many things on your plate in the next couple of months. It sounds like there is about to be a new game in town. It's about time isn't it?

I understand your need to be with your son. Time needs to be spent with a son before easy conversations can happen's that man thing I suppose. Daughters will talk to you wherever and however they can if they need too.

Your Pizza Hut treat sounds like the perfect way to spend Valentine's Day. You two have fun.

Cimba7200 said...

Keep hoping, and enjoy your time with your son Debbie. - Dave

soulbrush said...

somehow when the last one is in sight, it almost makes us afraid to 'let it go' seems to me that you are one helleva brave lady and 'my hat goes off to you'...march on girl...we weaklings are all behind you.

A Novel Woman said...

No, thank you. Congratulations on making it through!

And I'll see your Pizza Hut, and raise you one St. Hubert's BBQ Chicken and fries with creamy coleslaw on the side.

Lesley Miller said...

Deb, Hi. You somehow know my Mom (I think you two worked together, I'm not sure tho) and she wanted me to get in touch with you. I found a lump on my breast on Jan. 1st of this year. Happy Freakin New Year.... NOT!!! We found out on the 14th that it was definitely cancer but I knew the second that I found the lump. I've known since I was quite young that I'd get it sooner or later.... I was just hoping for a lot later in life. I just went on the 4th for my second treatment and like you, nausea has become my constant companion for atleast 4 or 5 days. So far, I am handling this all ok.. but I am starting to lose my hair now and that's the one part of this that I'm not handling very well at all. My surgery is going to be mid-late March and then 4 more chemo treatments after that and then 6 weeks of radiation so I still have a long road ahead of me. Reading this blog tho has given me a boost in my courage and faith that this WILL end and that I WILL be ok. I will beat this and I know that. My Mom has done it twice, I can do it too. I will keep trudging up this hill and will make it over it.

Martha said...

Thank you for your nice comment on my blog. I wish you the best as you finish Chemotx! Yeah! Best Wishes on your trip to Allentown and have fun at Pizza Hut.

Debby said...

Leslie - I think that your mom is Kay. Listen, I can't respond to your post from a comment. If you go to the left of my blog, click on profile, about three boxes down you will see e-mail. I'd love to talk to you (your mom couldn't remember your e-mail.) It is a hard time, and the hair is a big issue, at least it was for me. But listen. The most positive thing that I can say to you is that you learn to deal with these things because you have no choice. And you grow in grace, and you learn, and you grow closer to the ones around you. It will be okay. You have the winning attitude.

Kelly said...

With the chemo finish line in sight, a fun trip planned to visit your son, and a date for pizza (I LOVE Pizza Hut!!) things are definitley looking up!!

I thought about your recent post on how to respond when folks ask how you are as I read the Daily Guidepost 2009 devotional entry for this past Wednesday. If you know anyone who uses that devotional (I've seen the book at WalMart before) you ought to read that entry!

jeanie said...

That sounds fantastic, Deb - a road trip to spend time with Dylan would be a fitting celebration of kicking cancer to the kerb.

New job? Sounds exciting.

And I love the Pizza Hut story. Valentine's Day will be so special this year.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad for you to be at the end of this part of your road trip. Your journey offers so much to others, I do hope you are aware of this.

Mikey said...

I always wondered about you and Tim. You should tell the whole story sometime :) What a wonderful man!
The end is in sight! Oh happy day!! I'm so happy for you. You've done it.
You are one amazing woman!!

Kim said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and sharing your wicked step mom story. It really helps to know you are not alone. I wish you well with all of your kids and the chemo. I will be stopping back. Blessings!