I have to say that I feel like cancer is opening up my life. It's much like the way motherhood opens up a woman's life - suddenly you have this giant thing in common with a whole subset of humanity, a touchstone upon which you can connect with other mothers of all different ages. Yesterday, my chemo day, really showed me another way in which cancer has made me lucky.
I kind of like wearing one of my she-definitely-has-no-hair-going-though-chemo? hats. I feel like the hat and as big of a smile as I can make are my best accessories these days. The hat singles me out, and lets other people who need to find me, find me...and the smile says that "Yes! You can talk to me! Everything's good here!" (The smile alone seems to put all the little children at ease, I notice them look at the hat, then see the big smile, and it's like the hat no longer registers... remember about how I was worried about freaking out little kids?) Anyway, my hat/smile combination helped me connect with three great people yesterday.
First of all, I saw someone who has kind of become a legend in my own mind... I have heard so many things about her, how she had breast cancer, was so beautiful, so great, so inspiring. I walked into Emma's new school yesterday, she saw me (hat's the dead giveaway), asked if I was me, and introduced herself. It was wonderful to meet Peggy! I was hoping I would see her, because the one thing about Emma changing schools in the middle of my baldness and the surgeries that are to come in the fall is that I will miss the comfortable feeling I have at Emma's current school, where people have been so nice to me. Plus she is a legend... :) I can DEFINITELY see why so many people love her.
Emma had a great time at move-up day, and was totally excited to go back to her current school which had a whole host of big and exciting things going on. I could feel her excitement, and was so happy that it seems like I have a pretty happy, well-adjusted child (at this moment). I remember thinking, "this is one of those days when it is just so amazing to be living my regular, everyday life". Just before she got out of the car, she told me, "I think Thursday is my favorite day of the week! There are so many fun things going on, Aunt Amy is here...it just seems like everything good happens on Thursdays!" Then I got to thinking about what Thursday meant to me - chemo day - and I became so sad about what I was about to go through, I started crying in the car! (I don't do a lot of crying about the things that go on, I just happen to report every episode of it!) It was one of the moments when I felt like it was unfair that I found the lump... I felt like all the other parents were dropping off their children, maybe basking in the glow of all the fun their children were having and how great it is to have them at this age, and they would be able to stay in the glow while I was about to put yucky stuff in my body and deal with it all weekend!
But then I went to chemo, and I can't believe I am saying this, but it was so fun. When I got there, my new friend Missy had NOT been scared away by my possibly overenthusiastic introduction of myself the previous time at chemo, and had found seats next to each other for us! So we happily sat next to each other and shared our cancer stories the way new moms share their birth stories. And then, I was so excited to see another legend in my mind, Ellyn, come into the room! She had found out when my appointment was, and stopped by! This was amazing to me because I am horrible with phone calls and she had left the most wonderful messages on my cell phone in the times when I really needed it the most, and I had never called her back! We had one phone conversation, and a few emails, and she was wonderful enough to come find me. I have to say that she mentioned that when she went to chemo, it was like a party - she had friends coming to visit, etc. - and I can see why, because she made my chemo (and I think, Missy's) like a party, too! So I felt extra lucky that day - 2 friends, we talked the entire time, and the time flew by. I was also inspired by them to try to make the most of these bad days...Missy is walking in the Race for the Cure tomorrow! on day three after chemo! with 38 friends! And Ellyn has always been so uplifting about the challenges that are ahead for me, that I almost thought they couldn't have been challenges for her (but I know they were, she just turns everything around to good stuff).
So, all in all...it was a great day. I have more to say about this opening up of my life - but I'm feeling a little yucky so back to bed for me!