I’ve been up since 5 :00 this morning. I had my 5th chemo treatment on Friday and for some reason this treatment has brought some side effects I haven’t felt since the first round. I’ve found myself really struggling more so the past couple of days. My bones hurt, my body itches, diarrhea, shortness of breath, slight nausea. I’m not sure why. I haven’t done anything different. I certainly do not feel up to par today.
I was on Facebook early reading all the posts to keep myself occupied. I somehow mustered up the strength to go walk on the treadmill. That was a challenge. As I walked I found myself being so grateful that the worst part is almost over. I have one more chemo treatment after this. I’ve been told chemo is the worst part. Gosh I hope so because it certainly has been a challenge and I still have another year of treatment to go. I was at a support group the other day and I met a woman not much older than myself. I’m 48 and she’s 52. Last year she finished her treatment for breast cancer and up until a month ago, she was cancer free. This month she is starting over again with the same treatment to fight the cancer in her other breast. It was an eye awakener. Women go through this grueling fight knowing there are no guarantees, yet we keep on keeping on, despite it all. It takes a strong woman to get through this and an even stronger women determined not to give up.
Since being diagnosed with cancer I’ve not only met some really great ladies. I’ve heard stories of strength, determination and the will to live from women who are either survivors or stories from daughters, sons and friends who stood by and watched as their loved one fought to survive. It has been so inspiring. It gives me strength to keep going. On Friday I had the privilege to spend 4 1/2 hours with a woman named Linda. Linda has been fighting cervical cancer for a year and a half. She hasn’t seen her husband in over a year. Prior to being diagnosed with cancer, her husbands job was transferred to Wichita Kansas. The treatment in San Francisco for Linda was the best so they made the sacrifice for her to stay behind and her husband left. She was flying to Wichita the following day to finally be reunited with her husband. Her visit will be short since she has to return for treatment, but I had to hand it to this woman. She was certainly the epitome of strength. The gal I met at my support group who is fighting breast cancer for the 2nd time shared how hard it was to tell her 10 year old son she had cancer again. His response was “are you going to die?” It brought tears to my eyes especially knowing there are no guarantees but yet this woman is not about to give up. My friend Denise shared the story of her mother who was given her last rights after being diagnosed with cancer, yet picked herself up and fought to live to hold her grandkids. I’m on Facebook a lot. I read posts from other women who may not be fighting cancer but they are experiencing challenges that are either heartbreaking or just plain tough, yet they keep going. This past month I’ve had two girlfriends lose a son. I can’t imagine going through what they are going through, but yet these women are strong. They manage to still wake up in the morning and keep on going. If you ask me, women are some pretty tough animals.
I’m not going to say my fight has been a cakewalk. It hasn’t been. But compared to some, my fight has been much easier. We all experience different things but the one thing we all have in common is faith, hope and a willingness to never give up. I’m flying home on Thursday. I’m not hopeful about my visit. My daughter hasn’t spoken to me since July. I can only pray for a miracle. I’m not sure she understands how hard this has been since she hasn’t travelled this journey with me, but I’m certainly hopeful that one day she will recognize not only the strength and determination I’ve exhibited fighting this battle but she will be as proud of me as I am of all the strong women and stories that have come into my life these past few months. It’s truly been a blessing. I will say when I’m lying on the floor in my bathroom crying, it’s the strength and the stories of other strong women and the love I have for my children that gives me the strength to pick myself up. I know there are no guarantees that I will beat this. There are no guarantees that I won’t find myself fighting again a year from now. I have an intermediate high chance of reoccurring but I’m here to say, today sucks but I’ll be damned if I’m giving up. I just have to keep on keeping on.
Today I’ll be thinking about all the strong women out there facing challenges and exuding the strength that certainly needs to be commended. My song for these women…..I’m every woman by Chaka Kahn!! Thank you to all the strong women out there who give me the inspiration to never give up!! You truly are a blessing.