I was diagnosed August 6, 2012 with Stage 3COvarian Cancer and now almost 4 years later (3.789 years but who’s counting?)…I am watching my son graduate. Two surgeries, countless chemotherapy infusions (Carboplatin, taxol, Gemcitabine, and Avastin), and 25 radiation treatments, but our family finally made it. There are no words that can completely describe our joy…so I’ll do it with pictures.
Friday, May 27, 2016-Baccalaureate Service Central Union Church
May 28, 2016, the Big Day arrives-“light” showers and then sun on campus
In the words of AJR….”I’m Ready”
The stage is set….to hear “Benjamin Robert Roley”
Finally, the fun!
and more friends…
And sister Rachel
Mom and dad…
Traditional Lei giving Post Graduation….Grandparents…
Admit it…there are some days that you start the day off on the Struggle Bus to Struggle City. Wednesday was that day for me. I woke up nauseated, but it was too late in the morning to call in sick and I had a full day of teaching ahead. I asked my husband if he thought it was something I ate. His response: “Kym, you just had chemo, so no, I think it’s the chemo.” I always try to ascribe the bad days to something else…virus, fatigue, food poisoning, etc. but it just keeps coming back to the fact that I am putting poison in my body in order to fight the cancer. Then, I spend most of the next week fighting the poison that is fighting the cancer. Like the shampoo bottle says: Lather, rinse, repeat.
It just doesn’t seem right.
In English classes, we teach that there is no story unless there is a conflict. Something has to happen to the main character in order to make the story interesting, and unfortunately, as the protagonist for our own individual story we mostly don’t get to choose the conflict. Every time I check social media, I see so many battles that my friends are fighting…injury, injustice, illness, heartache, senseless crime, etc. My battle is unique to me, but I know we’ve all felt that feeling-How will I get through this day?
Start with the Cancer PlayList
Dig Deep. Going through something life changing requires all your personal resources. Reach to your faith, your friends, your family. Wednesday, I reached out to my friend, and she was there. She is going through her own battle with debilitating back pain, but she searched all over the office just to find me some ginger! I had one hour before class was to start to get control of the situation. I was calculating distances to the closest bathroom in case of emergency vomitting or worse-as one teacher-contract I had so succinctly put it-“explosive diarrhea.”
Whenever I start to feel sorry for myself, I think of the sad young man I see weekly in the chemo room. He speaks to no one and he appears to be young, mid-20’s. His answers to the nurses are monosyllabic. His agony is evident on his face each time he comes in. His mom comes in with him and does what she can do to ease the suffering. It just brings to mind how unfair and indiscriminate cancer actually is.
We all have conflict-some big and some small-but all achingly real. Our lives have so many pitfalls along the way that the only real solution is to reach out to each other to create a resolution to our own story. I couldn’t do this without you!
Won’t you take me back to school…I need to learn the Golden Rule. This song was rolling through my head this morning as I drove to school. Remember the Moody Blues? It feels good to be back to work and teaching once again. Students rolled in on Tuesday, and their energy motivated me as it always does.
Fall Summer is in the air at Mid-Pacific! After a week of preparation, the real work began on Tuesday. In addition to making sure students are ready for college, I have the added challenge of Friday chemos.
The students are like a shot of adrenaline to the system! One of the things that I love about students is that you always know exactly how they feel about things. There is no holding back!
After a week of school, I am exhausted but happy. I went to bed before 9 o’clock every night and up by 515 each morning. Add the 45 minute commute both ways, and it is a challenge, even for a healthy person. I know that next Friday will be the real test of my mettle. Mega chemo (Carboplatin, Gemzar, and Avastin) followed by a all-too-short weekend and then back to school on Monday.
Today after reviewing Scientific Notation with my students, one of the boys said, “I finally get this.” That is enough to keep bringing me back every Monday-chemo or not!