all the little stuff i didn’t know about cancer

(Notice anything different?  I made my page prettier!  YAY!)

I lost my keys
In the great unknown
And call me please
‘Cause I can’t find my phone

This is the stuff that drives me crazy.
This is the stuff that’s getting to me lately.
In the middle of my little mess
I forget how big I’m blessed

I love this song.   If you click here, you can hear it while you read.  It will tell you that you can’t see it, but click “watch on YouTube” and it should play in another window.  (if it closes this one, just come back later) 

It also is kind of how I feel about the cancer right now.  I am incredibly blessed to have a form of cancer that isn’t painful or really symptomatic, so what bothers me is the fallout  from the chemo (no pun intended).  I expected the hair loss – well, actually at first I didn’t.  I was so ignorant of cancer that I thought hair loss came with radiation, and since I was only getting chemotherapy I would keep my hair.  So it’s really the little stuff that can get to me, and sometimes I forget that I’m so blessed.  But honestly, not for long.  The blessings are too big and too many.

With the caveat that I am NOT complaining, just sharing with you some of the little stuff (so far) that I didn’t expect:

Some things taste different.   Yesterday I tried to eat my very favorite snack, Doritos lime chips.  They just tasted like unsalted corn chips.  Crunchy but flavorless.  Huge disappointment.  Soda is another thing.   As anyone who knows me will attest, I am a gigantic fan of cola (don’t say “addict”, it isn’t a nice word.)   Coke, Pepsi, bring it on; if it has sugar and caffeine, I love it.  But now, it tastes kind of… well… less.  It still tastes good, but it doesn’t taste great.  And I really miss great.

Since I’m on chemo, I’m considered immunocompromised.  Even though my white cells are good, I have to be super careful of infection.  I can’t get a manicure or pedicure in case of a nick.  (Not so crazy, I got cut fairly badly at a pedicure once.)  I am supposed to clean my earrings with alcohol before I put them in, but I confess to forgetting sometimes.   I have to stay away from anyone sick or coughing (that’s not hard, no… not this time of year) and keep my hands washed well all the time.

I knew my hair would fall out, but I didn’t know that it would itch so much, especially under the wig.  I try to scratch it very subtly, but I’m always afraid a client will come in and see me pulling my hair away from my head with one hand and sticking a couple of fingers up to the top of my cranium with the other.  It would make an interesting impression of our law office, I’m sure.

I didn’t know the stubble would keep falling so much.  The day after the GI Jane crew cut, I was brushing my teeth, and when I looked in the sink, I couldn’t figure out why Sam had trimmed his beard in my sink rather than his own bathroom.  Of course it was the stubble from my head, but it took me a while to get it, and I think it was as much of a shock to realize that what I had left was basically whiskers, as when the curls started falling out.

I never expected to use a lint roller on my head – but that’s what seems to work the best to get the little loose bits of stubble off, so they aren’t always falling down my collar and making me nuts (like hair in your shirt after a haircut), or getting all over my pillow when I pull my sleeping cap off in the night.  I’m also lint rolling my clothes, my pillowcase, all my little caps… it’s quite a handy device.  I just never saw it as a hair styling tool.

TMI Alert – Skip if you don’t want to get personal 🙂 I didn’t know that chemo would make give me a yeast infection (but now you do!)  I didn’t know that it would work such havoc on delicate tissues that using toilet paper would become impossible without bleeding.

I didn’t know that chemo would cause little sores all over in my mouth and tongue and make my throat feel like I had strep all the time.  I say “had” because my wonderful mom sent me some miracle mouthwash that has done wonders toward clearing up my mouth and throat.  A couple of weeks ago I couldn’t have even tried one of those chips that didn’t taste good, it would have hurt too much.  Thanks, mom!

I didn’t know that I would be constantly thirsty.  If I forget to put water by my bed at night I will be up several times to drink.  If I do put water by my bed, I’m still up several times, because I drank the water.  It’s kind of a can’t win.  But my doctor says the water is needed to flush out the dead cancer cells and I sure don’t want those things hanging around in my body, so I will drink like a camel and deal with the natural consequences.

I also didn’t know that so many wonderful people would make me feel so loved and supported.  I didn’t know that I would become so aware of what matters and what doesn’t.  I didn’t know that life would get such a sharp focus.  I didn’t know that God would show me so clearly that he was holding me by the hand and I had nothing to be afraid of.  I most definitely didn’t know that in so many ways, this would be the most amazing, gratitude-inducing, life-changing journey I could ever imagine.

That is why we are not discouraged. Though outwardly we are wearing out, inwardly we are renewed day by day. Our suffering is light and temporary and is producing for us an eternal glory that is greater than anything we can imagine. We don’t look for things that can be seen but for things that can’t be seen. Things that can be seen are only temporary. But things that can’t be seen last forever.  2 Corinthians 4:16-18

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4 thoughts on “all the little stuff i didn’t know about cancer

  1. I can’t imagine that I’m the only one who is amazed at Kim’s courage and attitude. Let’s all just send her a one sentence encouragement, and make this post really, really long. Love you Kimmer.

  2. Love how you used your interior decorating skills to “pretty-up” your site; so very nice. I had not heard “This is the stuff” before and really liked it – so you!
    Praying for you.

    • i have to fess up that i didn’t do the decorating, i just browsed a lot of themes for browser pages till i found one i liked. i did tweak it, i put the ocean pic in, because i love the ocean so much and it’s so peaceful and endless, and i changed the background color to the soft blue. it was a kind of pumpkin. glad you like it, tho.

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