In this post...
Setting in, reality is.
OK. I know we like to measure our lives because it makes things easier to understand, plan, etc. But really.. I don't care so much about marking years anymore. 2016 v. 2017. The difference of a day. What does that difference mean/make? Nothing. We set resolutions because we need that extra push to get ourselves back on the track we'd mentally built up and forgotten. I have nothing against NY Resolutions but personally... they've been meaningless.
My challenge to others now: live defined by the present and immediate future. Yes, save up for retirement, invest, do some long-term planning... but forget about this year versus last. Today is today, tomorrow isn't here and it might not get here. We have right now - live it. Does this sound super-Hallmark card? I know it does. But it means so much more to me now that cancer has challenged my perspective on how long life is or is supposed to be.
The countdown this year was nice, but every year it becomes less "climactic." I never loved NYE, maybe because I worked most of them. When considering various TV news assignments, the holidays can be the worst. First off, you are reminded every waking second that you shouldn't be working because no one else is. Beyond that, you get the drunks and the whole look-it's-a-camera-let's-act-crazy. It's lovely.
So bright side this year: no work. I kicked off NYE finally getting to visit Chef Ryan Scott's new bar/resto in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood "Finntown." So. Good. We got to dine with our friends Yvonne + Brian who also gave me another awesome care package to help me through the chemo:
- the THICKEST socks ever
- a robe with a koala hood ;)
- gloves + lotion for the dehydrated hands
- the book "Crazy Rich Asians" which I'm told is quite entertaining
- toothbrush + holders (Yvonne is a periodontist ;) hehe)
Tim and I went back home to rest up before our night with friends (low-key potluck at Tim's office because the group would be too big for our house, which is still under renovation). I couldn't nap though. It just felt weird. I was thinking of what to wear but unlike every other year, it was the comfort factor that ruled the requirements. Not what was the hottest or most bright/festive. It was... what would feel closest to pajamas and slippers at home? (A long stretch dress and my trusty Uggs won out.)
Next, I thought about my hair. I hate doing hair - pretty lazy and blessed to have good enough locks that it has always been low maintenance. I mean, I've been a TV news reporter for a decade for cryin out loud...and I'd NEVER EVER do anything with it. No hairspray despite many terrible live moments of hair blowing into my face during a report haha. So that sums up my hair-tude all my life.
But this year is different. With the impending hair loss via chemo, I knew I had to just do something with my hair. Play with it. Use hairspray for once. So I curled it - not much - just enough to feel like I'd be able to hold onto the memory of how to do my hair after this next year of nothingness. Like a last minute stop before hair-curling-atrophy.
The potluck = such great food and the best company. I appreciate having spent the time with such quality people. It's meaningful conversation. This kind of QT is what I now crave more than ever because it's the most satisfying. I like beats, bass and going out but would pick a dinner party with some Hold 'Em + board games over all else every single time.
Does that mean I'm boring? 🤔 #dontcare
It was a great time but I couldn't believe how winded I felt after such a low-key evening. It's things like that (and the fact that Tim + I had to excuse ourselves for 20 minutes so he could prep and administer the two shots) that snap me back to the cancer reality. Things start to blur back to what was normal before and then bam! Quick jerk back to my now-reality. I'm still trying to maneuver among all these emotions.
SETTLING IN, REALITY IS.
For anyone who might be experiencing something as jarring as a cancer diagnosis, reactions will understandably vary widely. BUT. Be prepared for a roller coaster. I think the first two weeks were easier than the last few days. It was non-stop absorption of bad news, more news and half-information, hospital all day err'day, bombardment of love and support.
This last week has quieted down a lot. Still a lot of support, but a lot less chaos to mask the fog of shock, confusion, sadness, anger. I guess this is why people like to keep busy! So now I'm trying to reconcile everything. It will take some time. Truthfully, I'm also anxious about getting my port placed under my skin this week + of course...about chemo. I know people have different responses to it. The not knowing is killing me again.
That's right. I know what I am. Luckiest girl in the entire universe. I know I'm biased, but it's 100% true. I have parents + a sister who have been nothing but solid since Day 1. I still remember how Christina wouldn't take no for an answer and drove up to spend three hours with me while I waited to get my CT scan on that fucked up December 14. Tim left work to go with us to the scan. Not three hours later I heard cancer. We burst into tears.
I realized at that moment I had to tell my parents. I called my dad who had the most amazing reaction. Here's what I remember of the convo:
Me: Dad, are you sitting down? I have to tell you something.
Dad: Yes, what's going on?
Me: (Explaining tests) ...they think I have cancer.
Dad: (a little shocked undertone) Okay. Wow. It's okay, everything will be okay. We will figure this out. Let me talk to mom and we'll pack out things and be up there right away. Don't worry, we will figure it out.
Just a rock. A loving, caring, wonderful rock. No freak out moment though I know he was feeling like he'd just been struck by a meteor. I know this. But he knew that I needed to hear strength and so that is what he gave me. What a dad, huh?
My mom is definitely the more emotional of the two. But she held it together so well when she saw me at the hospital. She was trying so hard, I know she must have tried to cry it all out in the hour or two before seeing me. I know this. But she knew that I couldn't bear to see her in pain on top of it all. So she mustered everything she had to be that rock for me, too. What a mom.
My sister would make sure that I would have everything I needed. She was also the spice for this #spicygirl haha. So funny and loving, and as she would remind me, the most fun of the bunch to have around ;). This is the first time I've felt like she was my big sister. The amount of care and understanding and everything... I am the luckiest sister ever. Christina made sure I always felt supported and even fought Tim off a couple nights so she could be the one to sleep in the hospital room next to me. What a sister.
And then of course... my nurse + shotcalla (or shot-injecta) Tim 💍. The man who tends to me morning, day, night, middle of night, whenever, wherever, whyever. He returns to work on Tuesday so my mom will probably start administering the shots haha. I'm feeling good about him going back because I think resuming life as "normally" as possible is critical. I'll def feel the loss of his constant nurturing. I couldn't have found a more supportive partner for the rest of my life. No exaggeration. I'd put him on blast if I could for something to just make fun 😋 but there really hasn't been a moment where he's shown he's human. I watched a Netflix documentary titled "Cristina" about a woman who ended up passing from her cancer but she made a remark about her faithful + amazing husband. Something about... this is true love... and if I had to do it all over again to have this, I would have the cancer because not everyone finds this love.
It might sound foolish. But I got it totally. I'd prefer to have the love of my life without the side of cancer... but this toxicity inside me has also brought out so much love in such a short amount of time. So yes, I'm still the luckiest girl.
(Who, by the way, gets the best homecooked meals now. Yas.)