My only sibling, my sister, Diann just had her first Adriamycin Cytoxan (AC Chemo) Infusion this past week for Stage 3 Breast Cancer. This drug is so hard it is called “Red Devil” and “Red Death.” It was beyond challenging for me to watch her get the tubes of Adriamycin Cytoxan pushed into her veins in the same chemo chairs that I was sitting. Five days into her first infusion, Diann called me with deep emotion in her voice. “Denise, I owe you an apology. I’ve been thinking about this. I had less than a FIVE PERCENT understanding of what you were going through during chemotherapy.”
Looking at that graph put things into perspective for me. Now, Diann was with me often during my own chemo struggles – she was there for Mastectomy surgery, for port placement, several times to infusion, to Oncology checkups, she cleaned my house, she drove me places when I was too weak to do so, and she called me several times a day every day for the duration of my treatment. And after all that, the fact that she understood what chemo was like less than 5% amazed me and brought much clarity.
If you are going through Adriamycin Cytoxan Chemotherapy or any chemotherapy right now — be encouraged when family, friends, and strangers say what seems like stupid stuff to you, don’t offer to do anything to help you, or ignore you out of their fears. Remember my sister’s words: “I had less than a FIVE PERCENT understanding of what you were going through during chemotherapy.” Perhaps it is your husband, your child, your mother or your best friend who has abandoned you. Try to give them the benefit of the doubt, because they absolutely have no idea what you are going through. Chemotherapy is one lonely road.
My words to women going through Adriamycin Cytoxan Chemotherapy always include this: “No one can understand what you are going through no matter how kind or compassionate they are unless they have been through it.” My trusted sister’s words to me made this even more clear. I hope it helps you as well.
Diann has amazed me thus far exhibiting a determination and strength that make me wonder if I had half of what she has. I was always been a medical sissy up until cancer, so her stamina has shocked me! Diann has what it takes to get through Chemo. But it is just so damn hard. Diann is more than strong. She has been going into work for 5 hours per day on weekdays, has already learned you have to store up what little energy you have, and have to rest or you will just pass out in a heap. She told me she felt like a little child today when she either had to lay her head on her desk and sleep or go home. She went home. Diann has learned that you have to save up all your energy for the day to just stop for milk since going to a grocery store seems almost impossible. This morning she told me she thought about a small grocery store in her neighboring town that is about one-fourth the size of the mega grocery stores. Diann was excited to see if she could pick up orange juice and bread and felt that store might come in very handy.
If you are going through chemo, you definitely understand about how daunting grocery stores seem! You will make it through! You and Diann can do this. You can get to the other side. If you feel like giving up today, keep going. Tomorrow will be better.
Diann will be shaving her head after her next infusion since on average the hair starts to go 14 to 17 days after chemo begins. Thankfully, she has a good selection of caps and scarves from my online store http://www.hellocourage.com to get her through her bald days. I told her being bald will be better than she imagines. Thinking about it is the most difficult part.