Sunday, August 7, 2011

Worth the wait.....

I admit it.  I was scared about Chemo.  I didn't like the thought of it one bit.   The stories were horrible.  The movies, worse.  My Oncologist was very clear on the side effects, and was honest.  It isn't easy to hear.  I was worried if it isn't easy to hear, how is it going to be going thru it?  But, as this road has its ups and downs, I go on (as if I have any choice), and try as hard as it might be at times to keep my head up, and my mind in the right frame of mind.  :)  It works.  I am proof it works. 

I had my first Chemotherapy treatment on Friday July 22nd., and my second this past Thursday Aug. 4th.  These are the first 2 sessions of my A/C chemo treatments.  All together I will have 4 A/C treatments, and 12 Taxol Chemo treatments.  So, basically my "heavy hitting A/C" treatments are now 1/2 done.... NOW that's not including the 12 Taxol chemo treatments that are every wk following.... but... I am just counting down here, and every single treatment I can count down is a WIN.  Especially when you feel as amazing as I do.  I am not sugar coating this one bit.  I feel empowered, I feel amazing.  Physically - I feel tired, a little off, even a little tummy ache.  BUT nothing like you see in the movies, THANK YOU GOD! 

After my first chemo, the James called me every other day to insure I was doing well.  I had a few things to tell them about, but overall... I was smiling, eating, laughing, and walking... miles... every single day!   I have completely cut out meat from my diet, most dairy, no caffeine and no alcohol.  Does it help?  Well, I figure anything they tell me to limit, I take out, and I feel amazing, so something is working.   By the time it was time to go back for chemo # 2, they had told me I would have lost my hair.... It was still on my head when I walked in on Aug. 4th.   But by the next night it was coming out in clumps.  My Oncologist asked me how I faired after the first treatment.  After my response of, well, it really wasn't that bad... he told me he had never heard that in 20 yrs.  BUT, he was glad to hear it.  All I can think of is- I suppose this toxic shit (that the nurses literally put on masks, gloves and dbl, and triple ck the amount b/4 they put the red bubbly meds into my port)  is killing any possible cancer left in my body- and hey that is GOOD enough for me.  Kill those cancer cells.  Dead.  As for me, I am happy my body seems to be living on the edge and letting that crazy stuff come inside and fight!  All the while, I feel a complete sense of peace knowing IT IS WORKING.  How can I not glow,  and feel so good?

So, #2 chemo, was supposed to be worse; they say it is cumulative.  Of course... another hurdle.  Well, I am kind of getting used to these now, and find myself rallying the days prior.  Drinking my water, long walks with friends and my hubby.   It was a good day.  I had my nurse, Katie.  She will be my nurse for every session, and that is good b/c she is a doll, and she has to be by my side for 4 hrs.  We never have a dull moment, and lots of laughs!  She is great, and I am once again, extremely blessed!  After we are done... Columbus, and Chemo = shopping to me!   Ben doesn't argue, b/c that is a lost cause after Chemo... I mean really.  :) 

So we hit a few places, and happen to be in a small shop in Gahanna Creekside,  I ran in to look at an OSU scarf that I thought might work for my soon to be balding head.... football season is almost here, just looking ahead.  And when I went in a bracelet in the case caught my eye.  It was the only one like it.  It was a cuff that had the breast cancer ribbon on one side.  (very small, and almost not noticeable  And on the other side it had  a different design.  I ask the sales gal if she could get it out, and as she did she told me that the sides were changeable, and this was the last one like this, but of course they could order more.  I ask her what the other side design was on the bracelet.  She took it out, looked it over and said, this one has the breast cancer ribbon on one side, (yes, I said, I see that...what about the other side?)  She continued, it is a letter  "J" and the symbol of a butterfly, meaning : LIFE.   I got tears in my eyes.  Ben was ready to buy.  I simple looked up at this sweet gal and said, I want this when my treatment is finished... not yet... can we order in say... February?  She now had tears in her eyes.  "My pleasure she said... Mrs... ?"     "Jump, I say, with a  "J".    Perfect.  It will be worth the wait.   I don't mind telling you that I believe those encounters are NOT by chance.  I have them all the time, and I look up to God and thank him, for helping me down this path, that has been rough, and at times unbearable.  But I have turned the corner and the light and love I have inside me beams.  It is real, and it will see me though this. 

The next night  I had to shave my head.  The hair was now everywhere but in my head, and I called on my great friend Beth to do the honors.  I suppose this might have been a hard thing to do - before- everything else.  But, I can honestly say it wasn't.  We were surrounded by family, friends, neighbors, and children.  We set a chair outside on the front porch.  As if to say, cancer you can take my hair, but not my heart.  Bella and Davidson got to tie ribbons and trim their own pieces.  They thought it was special, and Bella was sooo excited to trim !  We got the idea from a great book we have been reading called  " The Good Bye Cancer Garden"   This was our version of the head shaving party.  Then every other kid in the neighborhood got there chance to cut.  They were so excited, and happy.  A little cut, then off on their bike.  Simple, good, normal.  Just like summer should be.  I suppose seeing it through their little eyes and not mine looking back at me in a mirror as it might normally be was the biggest BLESSING of all.  My parents took pictures of my bald brother and me arm-in-arm.  It was good.  It was better than good.  It was done.  Beth was strong, and loving, and an angel.  I didn't shed a tear.  I had many hugs, kisses on my new head, and enough compliments to start believing I might never have long hair again.  It's just hair.  So, here I sit, looking a little GI Jane writing my overdue blog in bed.  A little tired, sure, but so happy I could jump out of my skin, b/c I know I have this beat.  I can feel it, You can see it.  Now I just need to power through the rest of this and remember who is on the journey with me.  Thank YOU GOD.


  1. Grace. Dignity, Class.

    You continue to amaze, Miss Brett!

    I love that you open up your life to neighbors, family and friends, and the kids find some level of normalcy in all the 'excitement'.

    God blessed you a long time ago, and most of the people in your life already know it - either first , or second hand.

    Keep your chin held high, and Keep On Keepin' On!

  2. Brett - Thanks for sharing this journey. You are amazing.

  3. Brett, I read this with tears in my eyes. To say you are inspirational is an understatement.

  4. Brett, you are such a strong person. I laughed when you said "I mean, really"...about shopping after chemo b/c I can just hear it coming out of your mouth. You are an inspiration and your spirit is contagious. You are going to get through this with flying colors. Cancer sure did pick the wrong chick. Love you and am here for you and am always thinking of you! Keep glowing Brett!! XOXO

  5. Hi Brett! I work with your mother-in-law and she told me about your blog and the amazing shaving party. I love how you took power back for that event. Recently my publisher released two short story anthologies to benefit Save the Ta-tas...check out if you're interested. Healing thoughts to you!

  6. as usual, I read it with tears and a smile. you rock sister! xo!

  7. As I cry I am also so inspired. You are truly an amazing person and I so admire you and wish you the very best of everything, you are such a deserving person.

  8. You go girl! I assume the A/C treatment is adriamycin and cytoxin? My poisons also. And, yes, I lost my hair too 29 years ago. It's back, I'm back, and you're coming back, I'm sure! I still have a favorite wonderful picture of my 2 boys, 1 and 2 years old, and my sister's kids, 2 and 4 years old, all standing in a row on the beach wearing my fun wigs. I can look back now and smile about it, as you will 29 years from now.