Friday, June 17, 2011

C Spa Round 2 Recap

So it has been a full week since my last entry and lots has happened. It was round 2 of the C-Spa experience and they again refused to offer me a manicure and facial! I mean didn’t I get the full package deal or what? Things did get better overall but there were some other bumps in the road that have prevented me from writing until now. Main reasons being – I actually would get nauseous whenever I would sit down and try to relive the experience and I have been literally too tired to type or string together an idea that made any sense.
Today has been the first day I didn’t feel like I was walking around with a suit of armor on or had my head stuffed with stray which all in all makes it a damn good day.

So how did round 2 go? Well it started out promising as I woke up energetic and calm, did some yoga, listened to relaxing music, played with my daughter and took a valium! When I walked into C-Town for the first time sporting my new “Cancer do”, I finally looked like I was meant to be there which was weird for me. Given that I was no longer a C-spa virgin, I was seated with everyone else awaiting our blood results. There were all sorts of people there – some my age, some older – everyone looking a little on edge yet trying desperately to look relaxed. Now blood tests are to me now what massages were to me a few years ago – mandatory and weekly! One little vial is what stands between you and your magic cocktail because if your white blood count is too low, you’re outta here. I really wasn’t that worried as I wasn’t on the most toxic stuff and I had done all the right things – slept a lot, stayed active, eaten healthy foods, no alcohol, no coffee, lots of green tea and even started acupuncture! It is actually funny that this is probably the healthiest I have been in years yet here I am getting treatment for cancer! Little ironic no? So anyways – I was quite shocked when they told me I was 0.1 below what they considered adequate yet they were going to go ahead anyways and give me a special injection to help the process. Is it strange that I took it as a personal defeat that my white blood cells had retreated in such mass amounts? Hello little guys – can’t you help a girl out? Unfortunately much like cancer, this is another thing that is completely beyond my control. So after another botched vein by the same nurse and a few tears from myself, I was hooked up and ready for my magic cocktail. It went okay however I have discovered that any food I eat on game day, basically makes me want to vomit when I get near it anytime after. My foods to avoid so far…red pepper, multicolored pasta and vanilla shakes oh my!

Once I got home I was watching the clock like a hawk, waiting to feel the rush of the tsunami flipping me over and over, thrashing me around like a ragdoll. However there was a strange calmness and I even managed to eat. By 5pm I was so excited that I phoned my mom and sister and shouted “I’m alive!” Things had definitely improved and I was really pleased. The next morning, I even made it to acupuncture to jump start my appetite and really felt in control. Now unfortunately that little injection I mentioned earlier joined the party that evening and was thankfully administered by a friend of ours who was a nurse as there was no way in hell I or my husband was jabbing that giant thing into my belly. So for those not in the C-club, this injection which costs a hefty 10,000Kronor a shot (roughly 1200 Sterling) stimulates white blood cell production in your bone marrow. Very interesting concept yes but unfortunately the side effects made me feel less then peachy. By Sunday evening every bone in my body hurt from my jaw to my rib to my shin. It even hurt to lean against a pillow for Pete’s sake. And Monday was even worse. I could barely get out of bed and I never struggle to get of bed when I hear my gorgeous daughter calling for me from her bedroom. It was so demoralizing to hit such a low when things had been going so well. I guess this is the price you pay for staying healthy and alive! So here I am 3 days later and I am good people. My energy levels are returning, my spirits are rising and my taste for chocolate has returned! Hurrah for me!

I am now spending a few restful and well earned days by the sea with the people I love. And I am now walking around in public with my head bare and doing it proudly. I even went shopping today and didn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed. I think I have realized that there is no reason for me to hide who I am and what I am going through. There is no shame in cancer. My head is a testament to the warrior I am and what I am going through. And there is no absolutely no shame in that.
Special thoughts go out to my Captain AC today who is beginning her own journey through the great big C. My strength, my grace, my courage, and my ability to love have been taught to me by you. Be strong warrior.

Goodnight and good day wherever you are,


  1. This is Captain AC checking in. I am so moved and strengthened by your blog as I start my own big C Journey. You are special OBB! ...gaining in maturity and wisdom, not to speak of courage. I love your creative perspective even when you have to dig deep. As for me, surgery is over and only moderately eventful, I am now in restoration phase, doing fine, until the biopsy results roll in, leaning heavily on Hope and grateful for my wonderful family and friends.

  2. Kate, you truly ARE a warrior. I have always thought of myself as one too, but now I see that's just really on the surface. Thank you for sharing your journey with us - I find it both humbling and moving to read your thoughts and feelings on this tough hand you have been dealt. As always, my thoughts are with you, and now they are with your Captain AC as well.

  3. I am proud of your effort for having survived another big wave in the stormy sea. I have been waiting patiently to read your next blog since the last one, and I can guess that you must be undergoing through some rough time for you to postpone in writng. Regardless, you have grown one inch deeper in strength, one ounce heavier in endurance, and one minute closer to winning the C-battle. I am glad to hear that your "energy levels are returning and your spirits are rising."

    I don't look at the physical suffering and demoralizing feeling as the price we "need to pay for being healthy and alive". Rather,this hard way have taught me to accept and embrace the truth that I need to be a better person. Life is so precious! Since I have been given this second chance to live healthily, I must live it well so I will not have any regret.

    Good that you are changing your way of thinking to adjust what you need to go through. You are feeling more ensured as you walk around in public with your head bare, and you feel comfortable shopping around without feeling embarrassed or shameful being a C-patient. That's a "warrior". That shows that you have understood that many of the material things aren't all that urgent after all. You are finding new meaning everyday.

    Well, now you need to know what to do to avoid the problem of having a low blood count before your 3rd C-spa. If you don't want to repeat the hurt in your bone, you better consume something more enriching. Perhaps your Captain AC can share some of her wisdom with you, so consult her on that.

    I have confidence that Captain AC will win the battle as she began her AC journey, like you, she is surrounded by love and caring friends. No two people with cancer are alike. As victims of this disease, we can only face the battle courageously ourselves. A road paved with mingling hope and despair, courage and fear, waiting and uncertainty can be unbearable at times. That's why we need to explore our emotions and share our feelings to release the tension. BELIEVE, together we can conquer!

    Hugs and prayer!