I have had three cycles of chemotherapy now. A week ago I had my third cycle. I touch my breast every day during or after showering. My tumor is still there and I don’t notice any change. The last time the oncologist saw me, she said:
– Well, I feel that it is less solid.
She was referring to the tumor, while standing in front of me, she was feeling the boob in question.
I don’t know what the fuck she meant with that. To reassure me, she also told me that I will notice the biggest changes during the second part of the treatment. That second part is coming close. I only have one cycle left of this chemotherapy, so we will soon start the Trastuzumab and the antibodies.
I reread the first paragraph on this page: “I don’t notice any change”. What the hell am I saying!
I don’t notice any change? About sixteen of my fingernails have turned black as if I have been beating myself, one finger after the other, with a hammer. I have almost no hair anywhere on my body, except for my arms and my eyebrows and eyelashes which are more relentless than iron. I have been fully aware of my teeth 24 hours a day for a month and eighteen days. And on top of that, I have to go through this inevitable process of death and resurrection that is having chemo, every twenty-one days. I have to pull myself together, with my spirit to get up and keep going, to go for a walk, to eat well, to drink herbal teas that taste like bird food, again and again and again.
I am sorry for you, dear stranger, who may be looking for comfort some day when reading these chapters. Forgive me for this chapter, for not instilling courage in you this time. Forgive me for not telling you, “don’t worry, everything is going to be okay.” Forgive me for not being able to tell you today that it’s painted worse than it really is. Excuse me for this one time. I’m not here this time to give you encouragement.
The only good thing you can take away from what I write on this occasion is that you are excused also. I release you and encourage you to complain if only for this time. You have permission to feel bad, to be tired of being told stories. Having breast cancer sucks and there is no way to paint a better picture. It sucks for you, but it also sucks for your partner and it sucks twice as much for you if you have the misfortune of going through it alone. It sucks for your mother if you are lucky enough to have her alive or if not, as in my case, it sucks for your aunt. Cancer sucks and it sucks a long time, have to swallow it day by day for a period of time that I hope in your case is much shorter than mine. Cry and be thankful when you are able to cry, because sometimes I just can’t. Feel shit about it all because you have the right. It’s a bitch and yes, it has impacted you and those who love you.
This way, when you’re done, you go to bed and you don’t take the bad feelings with you to sleep, because you’ve let them out, you’ve released them. You have allowed yourself to be weak and yes, to be negative for once. Fuck anyone who comes this time and says that the main thing is attitude and positivity. You too have the right to complain about the train that ran you over. Tomorrow when we wake up, we’ll get our spirits back up and get out of bed, for what will be another day.