Buck up!

pink ink…

So we have reached the mid-way mark of the Life in the Cancer Lane…we hope! In my “Another Bwats Production” special on BET/Paramount (Again, HELLO Mr. Armstrong! Make it so!), OWN or Lifetime, this would be the end of the 1st hour. So far you have seen diagnosis, chemo, surgery, more surgery. The viewer has seen me going back to thank the nurses at the hospital who helped me. They’ve seen our joy at receiving Lil B’s straight A report card, a blessing given everything she has had to endure the last couple months. The viewer has seen me try and resume some normalcy by attending my monthly Links meeting, and my 1st attempt at driving down the street. Also depicted, the removal of the tubes (yes, they are out!), and the inflation of the expanders to what seems like ridiculous proportions!

But then the “special” takes yet another turn. The one where the viewer says, “OK, now this is getting ridiculous. No way”. The “Scene” has me and Big B sitting in the Oncologist’s office as we hear the news that I will be starting Chemo again. Yes, you read correctly. I am back to chemo. And yes, I am in shock, and say, “this is getting ridiculous!” I, like the viewer, want to turn off the TV and move on to something more upbeat!

So on MLK day, I will walk back into the Chemo Center at Mayo. Ironically, it is the day that I was originally supposed to have my LAST chemo treatment. I was supposed to be “free” on this date!! But here we are! “Why?” you ask. My cancer was “special” evidently. When the docs did the pathology after the mastectomy, they found that while 70% of the tumor had died during chemo, 30% was still alive and thriving. Normally, breast cancer patients do 8 rounds of chemo. I did 5. While they initially thought that once the tumor was out, radiation would be enough, they changed their minds after examining it further. The Oncologist wants me to complete my chemotherapy and go another 3 rounds. I will be receiving a drug that is specifically for cancers that have “returned”. They say if I were older they might have decided otherwise. But b/c I am young, this will give me the best chance for survival. There are various side effects…nausea, of course, tingling in hands and feet, dizziness, loss of hair etc. Naturally, I got the “you may not have any of these” lecture. But we all know that’s not true!

If you have been following my journey, you know that this was devastating news. I must be honest and say that for 2 days, my spirit was crushed. I mean really beat down. This hit me worse than the diagnosis, worse than the surgery, just WORSE. Again, you may ask, “why?” At the end of the day, chemo sucks the joy and energy out of me, and my family. Not to be underestimated, I also just want my body to feel “normal” again. At the time the doctor told me more chemo, I still had tubes hanging from me. I still can’t really lift or do anything. Still sleeping partially sitting up. And, now my boobs are sore from the expansion. (Side note: They are GI-Normous for me! Lol) So I long for the days of my body just feeling whole. I mean, I just got back my sense of taste! My tongue is no longer black! My hair is SLOWLY growing back! So the thought of regressing makes me feel almost…resigned/beat down. Is this my “new normal?” I was very sad. How do I do this again? How do I tell Lil B?

For 2 days, “red ink” Michele, Tracey, Michele, my other big sis/Link sister, and Big B, pulled me back from the cliff. They allowed my tears (yes, tears again!!! What’s wrong with me!), they listened, they told jokes, they comforted. But at the end of the day they all said “Buck up. This is what you have to do”.

So my friends, no upbeat ending. No smiling pictures. I am back at it in a few days. Dr. King had a dream, or two. So do I. That one day soon I will have my body back. That I will be cancer free.

But until then…I will just BUCK UP!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. CH
    Jan 12, 2012 @ 19:01:24

    You’re right/. This is a CRAZY sitcom and Aaron Spelling would never have agreed to this crappy plot. But kudos to you for having enough drama to make it into the Paradise Valley cast (of one) for the Real Housewives.

    But alas, I am tuned in (and ready for my cameo) to bring light and love your way. With you in spirit and exasperation! : )


  2. Ingrid
    Jan 12, 2012 @ 23:54:46

    Barb, Their are no words … Maybe just one ” Damn”!
    How about ” Marco”? You say “Polo”? My dear you have endured this Herculean task … You will see it through with a victory. I’m in AWE of your

    Barb, I am in awe. Your strength and courage are a testimony. Thank you for this guided lesson of endurance, hope and faith.

    ❤ Ingrid


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