I could say some general blanket statement like “man, Instagram is so weird,” and five different people could agree, with none of us talking about the specific way it feels weird to me lately.
In this case, weird isn’t bad, it’s just… odd. Over the last few weeks, any quick click onto my Instagram photos has made me feel just how strange my relationship to time seems to have gotten [insert time-is-a-flat-circle joke here].
I look at a whole bunch of pictures, and some feel relevant. Others feel like they were taken a whole lifetime ago. But strangely, the interface doesn’t account for lifetimes — it’s all just in weeks.
It was only 19 weeks ago that I got to go back to work from the surgery I had this summer (nope, not cancer-related… that and the year leading up to it is a whole ‘nother story, ugh!). That felt like such a HUGE victory then.
17 weeks ago, it seemed dire that my dog and I got sprayed by a skunk (for the SECOND time this summer — our neighborhood has a problem).
11 and 12 weeks ago, I was relishing having healed from that July surgery by dancing (gently!) and hugging and celebrating the love that three different sets of friends had for each other (THREE WEDDINGS IN TWO WEEKENDS! SO. MUCH. LOVE!).
…and it was right around then that I noticed something that seemed like a swollen lymph node. I went to my family Dr. A substitute doctor with braces (I know, I shouldn’t judge, but I keep calling him Dr. Braces), told me “95% sure it isn’t cancer, but we’ll set up an ultrasound for you in a few weeks — you can cancel it if you don’t feel as worried next week.”
I’m glad I kept the appointment.
Also, PSA: trust your gut if you think something isn’t quite right. Even if you have ZERO other risk factors.
That ultrasound was just 9 weeks ago. The biopsy, first thing the next Monday morning.
(^can we talk about how the name of that program really does NOT translate well into a hashtag?)
I got the results 8 weeks ago. I had to make the decision whether or not I wanted to ever have the possibility of having a kid a couple days later. No pressure.
7 weeks ago, I started injecting myself with enough various hormones and medicines that I felt like a walking science experiment.
4 weeks ago I had a sci-fi-sounding “egg-retrieval” procedure. Amazingly and luckily, it went well.
3 days after that, I had a lumpectomy.
Two weeks ago, I got the thumbs-up from my surgeon and met my medical oncologist (chemo doctor).
One week ago I had my first chemo session.
Time, man. Time.
In some ways, it’s a great thing everything has moved so quickly. But in another, there’s a whole lot of living and decisions packed in with the sleep and the medicines and the chemicals and the Oh Man Life!-reflecting that’s bubbled up around everything in just the last nine weeks.
I kind of have emotional whiplash. I kind of have communication-whiplash.
There is SO much to be thankful for and honestly, SO many moments of relief and joy — often surprisingly — packed within these last nine weeks.
I’ve made it through my first round of AC chemo pretty well. It is definitely not super-fun-times, but going through a cycle of my body responding to both the chemo and the various drugs they give you to try to help with the side-effects is informative. Aches, nausea, fatigue, lack of appetite all made an appearance, but none felt insurmountable so far.
What’s lingering this round is mainly just extreme tiredness, some soreness, and feeling a little fuzzy in the head.
I’ll have this AC chemo treatment every two weeks for the next 8 weeks.
After that, I’ll have a different type of chemo each week for 12 weeks.
And, after that, I’ll have radiation treatments once a week for TBD # of weeks.
That’s a heck of a lot of weeks, so I’m trying to just focus on one at a time. And, when that feels like too much, sometimes I just think about one day.
Time, man. Time.