November 25, 2012

Stupid dumb breast cancer

Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer

I have met so many great women after being diagnosed with breast cancer. It's a horrible disease that brought us together. But you are all beautiful, amazing and inspiring to me!

Ann Marie is one of them. She sent me this t-shirt and is fighting stupid dumb breast cancer with so much energy and power! I deeply respect her! This is her facebook page and you can find her blog over here.

November 24, 2012

The one without the hair

After your first chemo you know you're going to have to deal with the hair loss. An hour after my chemo I pulled out a hair and showed it to my family to let them know it started. I'm crazy like that.

Last photo with real hair
I got very anxious this week. Because it usually happens between day 14-17. The waiting, the waiting. I just couldn't take it anymore and that's when I called the wig store. Thursday I dropped by and decided to pick up my wig and I also let them shave my head.

A big decision.

For me, it was the right one. Control freak that I am, I took matters into my own hands. Not having to deal with any of that waking-up-finding-hair-on-your-pillow stuff.

A couple of weeks ago I told my mother I would scream and cry while they would shave my head. So she came along with me very well prepared with handkerchiefs. Not knowing I brought my Hello Kitty tissues. Surprisingly we didn't need them at all.

The wig
Which is strange, because my hair used to be part of my identity. I was always known as the happy bubbly girl with a lot of curly hair. But I have known it now for four months. Three days after I was diagnosed with breast cancer I stood in front of the mirror with a scarf wrapped around my head to see what I would look like.

Of course it was hard and very emotional. The sound of the electric razor. The first moment it touches your head. You keep breathing, breathing. I actually felt sick afterwards. Not to mention the morning after and you see yourself in the bathroom mirror. But I'll probably get used to it. Just like with everything else. You simply deal with it, because you don't have any other choice. This is your life. Right now. And no matter how much it fucking sucks sometimes, it's good to know you still have some control over it.

November 21, 2012

Chemo continues

So what is chemo like? Well I'm having a hard time finding the right words for it. I think most of us  would describe it as flu-like but that doesn't exactly cover it. It's worse. It's a black hole. You are very aware of the fact it's taking over your body and even your mind. It's heavy. It feels like the end of the world and you're never going to be able to crawl out of that black hole ever again.


Six or seven days later.. you're doing better. Just like that. It's crazy; you're eating Dutch kale and pizza again. Or chocolate chip muffins your friend brought by! Your state of mind changes. Every now and then even the sun starts to shine again.

But of course in the back of your mind you know it's not over and you have to prepare for the next round. My first chemo I was scheduled for a double room. But because of some trouble they had that morning I hit jack pot and got to stay in the room suitable for five people. The whole experience was so overwhelming. The nurses running around. All the beeping infusions. Ringing alarm clocks. I hated it.

The radiation treatment place and the breast cancer department at my hospital were both renovated places. The atmosphere was warm and peaceful. Everything chemo department is NOT. I'm going to bring my iPod next time. Dive into my own little world.

Next time on She Still Dreams in Colour: hair loss.

November 15, 2012

The aftermath

Six days later. I feel a little better and sort of back to the land of the living.

It is difficult to write down the entire experience. It was hard and overwhelming. How do you cope with something like this? The poison going through your body and taking over. Knowing you need to go back for 7 more. It just does not seem doable. But then again, you don't really have a choice.

I suppose I experienced the most common side effects:

  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Nausea 
  • Headaches
  • Heartburn
  • Irregular heartbeat 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Panic attacks 
  • Constipation 
  • Painful mouth, ears and throat 

Just to name a few.

Hair loss will probably be peeking around the corner as well within the next two weeks. The wig store knows I have started chemo so when I'm ready I just have to give them a phone call.

I realize I really need to go back to the original plan and take small steps. Focus on the next round and that's it. I do not need to look ahead because it's pretty pointless right now anyway. Going to tackle them one by one.

I'm going to leave it at that.. for.. now.. Zzzzzz.............

November 2, 2012

Short break

Chemo will start next week. I wasn't looking forward to my two week break from everything. But all I can say it's been the right decision. I have been eating food I love. Eating apfelstrudel with vanilla sauce and sipping tea with my sister. I just really enjoy these simple moments. I bought myself a Nintendo 3DS XL to get me through chemo (and it makes me feel like a little boy). Also I have started to prepare a chemo kit. Including products and medication that should make it just a little easier. Truth is, it just makes me feel a little bit more in control.

Of course there are hard times. I don't have much contact with my neighbours but so far three know about my health situation. The other day I ran into this guy who lives next door and after some hesitation I told him that I was sick. He actually asked me a while ago how I was doing and I told him everything was fine. I felt so bad for lying. So this time I was fighting to hold back tears but realized I couldn't. I think he assumed I was talking about a burn out or something like that. You don't expect your 30 year old neighbour to tell you she has breast cancer.

I'm not very good with making decisions these days. It's very hard to decide who to include in your circle. This new circle that is oh so personal.

But telling him was probably the right thing. Although I did wonder afterwards why it was so hard for me. Then I realized it was the first time I told somebody I am sick.. just like that, out of the blue. I have talked about it with people, but they already knew. It's very different when you just pull out the cancer card unexpectedly on someone like that. Very confronting.   

I also found out they are sort of going to replace me at work. Which was.. well awkward. I mean of course I understand it.. and it's okay. But it's tough that I'm here, at home. While they are out there. You know... moving, working, living.

But hey I have other things on my mind. Focus! Focus! Rush into the fray!