Getting Ready for the Inevitable

After our last visit with my oncologist, we knew we would be preparing to start 18-weeks of chemotherapy. Yes, I did finally pick up the report in the folder and both Sam and I read through it. The good news appears to be that the cells that had spread were the not-as-aggressive variety. In the end, it doesn’t matter, we have to kill off what remains and I am finally fine with it. I’m as ready to do this as I can be. As I’ve said before, my game plan has been to be as prepared as possible for anything and everything that can possibly happen in order to feel okay with moving forward during this process. We did it with my surgery and now we have been doing it with chemo.

We have read about all possible side-affects and have also prepared a nutrition plan to keep me healthy while we kill off the remaining cancer cells. We have healing oils from specific plants and natural remedies for dealing with nausea and appetite issues. This week I am starting acupuncture and cancer hypnosis. A friend is going to work out any kinks in my muscles tomorrow from my post-surgery days of sitting around in order to get me ready for sitting during chemo. We have fundraising efforts happening to help us during this time when I most likely will not be able to go back to work. We have support everywhere we turn and it makes my job of being the patient so much more doable.

 When I found out that I was starting chemo in a week I told the nurse at the oncology clinic that I had wanted to get an inspirational tattoo before starting chemo. She told me to get it done before chemo or I would have to forget about it until chemo was over. This is because we will be killing off my immune system and I won’t be able to take any extra risks for infection during that time. I wrote to my friend Kirsten Holliday who works out of Wonderland Tattoo in Portland, Oregon and told her we had a week to make it happen. She is normally booked out 2 months ahead of time and it just happened that she could get me in yesterday morning. I gave her reference photos and trusted her to do the rest.

When I received my cancer diagnosis, I could think of no better inspiration for staying positive and brave than Piglet. Piglet was rescued through Panda Paws Rescue after being used as a bait dog for dog fighting. What that means is that her teeth were filed down, her ears cut off, and she was bound in order to keep her from fighting back. She was used as bait for the aggressive dogs to attack, repeatedly. She had other injuries, including having had part of her lip torn off and a limp from a broken leg that had never healed properly. After experiencing that life one would think that she would be mean, but she isn’t. She is a sweet love bug who is an excellent representative for her breed. Piglet was adopted into the perfect home and now lives a sweet life where she is safe and loved and happy. 

I was fortunate enough to spend one afternoon with Piglet while she was at Panda Paws and I instantly loved her. She also was recently diagnosed with 2 cancerous spots, which were successfully removed and she is now cancer-free. I wanted to be able to look at her face with the words “be brave” underneath her during this process. I walked into the tattoo shop and Kirsten showed me the drawing and it was perfect. She had also included healing plants, lavender and evening primrose, for me. I settled in and 3 hours later I had the finished piece I had been dreaming of. I also had the privilege of having a video chat with Piglet and her mom Jeri this morning and was able to show them how it looks today. Seeing her just reinforced the idea that I had followed my heart and she was meant to be my inspiration/spirit animal through all of this. Hopefully they will be venturing up to our area in July and then we will be able to see one another in person. Puppy kisses heal everything, yes?

That is all of the latest news. I’m taking a rare break right now to just sit at a local favorite coffee place with some delicious iced tea while I enjoy 80’s alternative music and the breeze outside. It is in these little moments I am content and grateful and happy to be able to experience what I’m experiencing. I also ran into a few friends today, unexpectedly. What a great feeling, to be able to hug them and catch up in person for a few minutes. Those are life’s little treasures that we take for granted while rushing around from one thing to the next. I have nothing to do but to slow down and savor each and every one of them. That is a gift. 🙂

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