I can’t lie to you, Dear Readers. I just can’t. I was absolutely terrified of what Monday, March 6th, 2017 might bring. I was internally trembling at the idea of having yet another cervical injection of chemotherapy into the back of my neck. I was afraid of waking up on the table (again) with a needle lodged in my spinal cord, moaning. I was dreading the resulting headache and pain. The risks associated with the procedure kept running through my mind. I was worried, too, that the day’s treatment regimen of additional shots to my legs would make me nauseous. In short, I wasn’t sure how I was going to survive Monday.
And, yet, not only did I survive it…but Monday was a win.
It was an unexpected win to be sure, but it was a win because I have been blessed with an outstanding care team—everyone from my oncology nurses and doctors on the floor, to the Interventional Radiologists performing the cervical injection, to the volunteers and support staff that take the time each day to repair my fraying seams.
In many ways, I feel as though I am a tapestry being ripped out, woven back together. These repairs they’re making to me—they mean something. I am not sure what I will look like at the end of this process, or what image might emerge among the woven threads, but occasionally I catch a glimpse of it.
I see something vibrant, as red as the dye a dear friend used to color my hair with. It’s the shade of scarlet that my LNA’s used in the poster that they made for my room.
I feel a blanket of love, as bright as the rainbow of cards and well-wishes that flooded my bed yesterday afternoon.
I feel calm, in my mother’s warm embrace, in the way my partner holds my hand while we watch television at the end of the day.
Not every day will be like this past Monday. There will be more painful procedures to come. There will be nausea, fluctuations in weight, hair loss. There will be tears and heartache. Suffering is, after all, an inevitable part of this journey, of being human.
But there will also be wins. Small wins. Landslide wins. Wins that no matter what shape or size they arrive in, we have to seize with both hands—even if our finger strength is weak. Even if we need someone to help us hold on.
I hope, Dear Readers, that this week brings you some wins, too. I hope you feel loved and appreciated. I hope you know that, each day, your messages and prayers are giving me the strength to face this challenge with both grace and gratitude.
With So Much Love, Laura