Hate speech and bullying events plague my newsfeed. My Muslim college students question me earnestly, wondering how to know where and when they are safe. Where and when they aren’t. Her friends have been attacked by young White men in the UW Bothell parking lot.
Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) sisters rally online in their Facebook communities and Pantsuit Nation. They travel and testify in Washington DC. Repealing The Affordable Care Act would leave many of us without options. Pre-existing conditions and lifetime maximums have starved many of the MBC women who came (and went) before us.
So how do I blog about whether to send a cancer patient a few boxes of those meal-parts-and-recipe-in-a-box programs? (Don’t! Chemo brain does not make following a brand new complicated recipe fun, even if someone else has already done the shopping for you. Plus, there’s a heart stoppingly shocking amount of waste in all of that packaging. Just ask the patient for a shopping list and head to Whole Foods for her. So no thank you to Blue Apron, Fresh Chef and the others. OK. Another rant? Why doesn’t anyone think vegetarians like hearty meals? Not liking meat doesn’t mean you don’t like to eat! Get with it, people! Throw out the 500-calorie dinner ideas. Give us some MEATY vegetarian dishes.)
How do I share about how happy I’ve been with Halaven, my new chemotherapy agent? (It seems to be working pretty well! There was a brief feeling of “approaching twlight” accompagnying a growing sense of fatigue, nausea and food aversion this last month, and my tumor markers went up a bit. But then they immediately stabled and suddenly, last week, I felt a flash of warm light, like a match lighting and then being blown out, and WHOOSH! I’m better! Fatigue is better. No more food aversion. No dark sense of approaching twilight.)
How appropriate is my self-centered navel gazing? And, then, my whiny self pity? (ReeeEEAALLLLY? Trump?? I’d let go of feeling personally responsible for the future of humanity with the Stage IV diagnosis! The world was supposed to fall apart AFTER I died. I have to have a terminal illness and still keep fighting for the future? SIGH.)
I’ve gained weight on this new treatment. Primarily because the last treatment, Xeloda, kept food going so fast through my body I could eat anything and everything in any amount I desired. Old habits change slowly.
But the weight gain hasn’t stopped my face from looking more, well, cancer-survivor-ish. My friends seem a bit more frantic to take trips with me. My BFF keeps looking deep into my face with love oozing all over. My cousin tells me I look like my energy is being depleted. I think I must look a bit haunted.
And I was haunted, for awhile.
But now I’m not. This is my third Christmas with Stage IV Breast Cancer, and, ironically, it’s the first one that doesn’t feel like my last.
I’m betting that tumor marker line is heading back down in the right direction.