Six months post-chemo
I passed my six month chemo-versary; it’s been six months since my last chemo treatment in August. I know you probably think I’m crazy, but I’m still somewhat nostalgic for my friend Chemo. I have good memories of Chemo. Today, as I try to rise and Do Today Well, I feel proud that I can look back on Chemo Days and say, “Yes, I think I did chemo well.” It’s a private, personal victory, one that no one will ever measure or evaluate. Well, it was a private victory until I decided to over-share on the Internet about it. Bottom line: I had Chemo and now I’m cancer free. As with most of life, happiness is in the journey as much as it is in the destination. I am thankful for those months of chemo. Deeply, deeply grateful.
In the six months post-chemo, my hair has been growing; I have had two haircuts. I have to get the sides and back trimmed while the top grows in… otherwise it gets… fluffy. (Fluffy = not good. Fluffy = helmet-esque.) At the current short length, I get some serious bed head, which is unfortunate for Brad and the girls; I’ve never had a haircut where bed head was a possibility until now. Also, hair grows s l o w l y, people. It’s only since Brad’s last haircut that his hair is officially shorter than mine again, and it’s not like he is sporting anything remotely close to long hair, even by boy standards. Strangers compliment my hairdo–which, this is funny, happens way more than it ever did before cancer. I’m reflecting on my Haircuts of the Past with some trepidation. In the meantime, I am experimenting with different hair products and spiky ‘dos. People ask me all the time whether I am going to keep it short or grow it long, and at this point, I just have no idea. And, to be clear, I’m pretty much still super-excited that my “problems” these days are bed-head-related. Yes, being cancer-free gives me awesome perspective in that way.
My daughters have made subconscious adaptations as a result of my cancer treatment. I have a very sticky-outy port (technical term, obviously). My port is a raised one centimeter circle that protrudes just under my right collarbone. It’s completely under the skin; to access it, the nurses stick the needle through my skin and into the “port.” Maren calls my non-port side the “good side” and always wants to sit/snuggle on my left side since the port is on the right. I think she just doesn’t like the bump that “pokes” her cheek/head as she snuggles. Greta, on the other hand, puts her head on my right shoulder (because Maren is usually on the left side), and she traces circles around my port through my shirt with her finger. Some babies twirl their mother’s hair, others play with her necklace. My G has simply identified my port as another touchpoint that makes me uniquely her mama; she’s tracing me. I am completely okay with how each girl feels about it, and I find it fascinating to see how differently they internalize it. I see it as a small indication of the complexity and the diversity in which they will one day process and understand my cancer journey when they are old enough to understand what it all means.
Six months out, I can say that I am Doing Today Well. I love my husband, and I bask in his love for me. I am snuggling my girls, Maren on the left, Greta on the right, and delighting in being their doting mama. My hair and my port are just two examples of how cancer made a mark on our lives and, I think, I hope we came out better, stronger on the other side.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.. –2 Corinthians 12:9-10