Monday, January 12, 2015

Chemo Camp

It’s not cancer that brings the bottom; it’s my hopes and dreams colliding with reality. And in that edge -- grace. Gentle grace to receive the story.- Kara Tippets

My mom is downstairs getting ready for dinner right now. I am listening to some music and just had a glass of wine. We came home after a full day of errands/appointments to a sparkly clean house. As mentioned before, Cleaning for a Reason, provides cleaning service free of charge for cancer patients while undergoing treatment. Today was the first clean. The house looks beautiful. My little type A, clean heart is so excited.

Tomorrow morning I must be at the hospital by 9:45 am. I will have blood work and diagnostics taken before starting treatment, which should take around 2 and half hours. All together they estimate I will be at the hospital for four hours or so.

My mom is sleeping on my couch this week. A house of four girls becomes a house of four + my mom this week. Unfortunately, she is quite used to the couch, our house and living with us. We love having her here. After all this time,  it often feels like she has always been here. 

My mom and I woke up early so we could get ready for our portraits to be taken. Cheryl Ungar, founder of the organization, Wedding Pink, a survivor and professional photography graced my home this morning to take pictures of me. I am certainly not a model and felt funny posing but she was very mindful of me, my story and was so gracious of her time/ talents to take pictures of before treatment begins. I know someday I will look back and treasure these pictures. What this time meant. Where I was and having my mom here. I look forward to sharing them with all of you when she sends them to me.

Today was chemo camp. I think they call it chemo teach, but I like to think that if I call it camp it sounds a bit more fun. (summer camp anyone?). We sat with a nurse for an hour or so asking questions, learning about the drugs and what not to do. Following, we were given a tour of the center and the room where I will be given treatment. I am not sure what I thought it would look like... but lets just say not like it was. A big room, filled with chairs, iv drips and individuals like myself that have endured cancer. It was quiet. I am certain that if a pin dropped you would hear it.

Faces. People. Others. Lives. Impacted by disease. 

The room was very crowded today. The nurse giving the tour advised me that every day is different. She went on to say that tomorrow I pick the chair that "suits my fancy" and take a seat. Well "Thank you so much" I wanted to say.

While walking through the room she introduced me to one of the chemo nurses. Looking me in the eyes it as though she saw my heart. A small part of me looked in her eyes and knew that she knew. The heartbreak. Perhaps I am assuming but I felt like she broke a bit. The narrative I imagine her replaying in her head.......

"You're so young. How old could you be? I am so sorry. Gosh. Wow my daughter is your age."

I said it was nice to meet her and I would be seeing her tomorrow.

My mom left the hospital agreeing that the room was terrible. That it was really hard to walk in there. Not that it being a beautifully designed or a well decorated place would hide the reality of what that room operates as, but it just seemed so dark and sad. 

I told my mom I hope they don't think we are going to be that quiet because I imagine us talking, maybe playing cards, perhaps inviting someone sitting nearby to play too. The quiet although at times is therapy to process and be still I can't imagine a chemo room being good for that. At Least while we all have to sit still and be pumped with toxins why not spend time in the company of others, reading a good book, telling stories, laughing...... Again I have not spent four hours there before, so perhaps I will think differently but my hope is to bring some joy, some life in that place tomorrow. 

We left the hospital and the rest of our day we ran some errands.  I am slowly converting to all natural products, no toxins, no chemicals, plant based, so I bought Kiehls face products at Nordstrom. My mom and I got coffee, walked around the mall (the weather was terrible), and I bought a new book at the book store. It was fun to spend some Christmas gift cards we had. 

We are getting ready to head to dinner and to be honest my heart feels really good. I am ready. Ready for this next step. Ready to move forward. Most of all, I look forward to leaning more into Gods story and not my own. Learning how he is going to change me. 

I look forward to sharing with all of you how it goes. We are off to have a good steak dinner before I go back to vegan life... and perhaps a glass of good wine. 

Hope this finds you well. Thank you for praying for me. Thinking of me. For those of you who bought shirts, thank you. For those who donated money online, thank you. All of this and so many other things have been tremendous gifts. For those of you who have offered meals and have not yet heard from me. I would be honored to be the recipient of a meal. So thank you, I will message you I promise. The cards, the well wishes, your words, your time, your energy. THANK YOU.

Ok must go look presentable :) Will write soon Love Kristina

Mom and I waiting on the nurse at the Cancer Center.

A special Happy Birthday to Sherry! This is Stephanie's mom and I at her wedding. I love this picture. As well Stephanie booked her flight today to come to Denver at the end of March :) 

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