Going on a Bear Hunt
A story has been running through my head on a loop since this whole process started. Do you remember the campfire song/book "Going on a Bear Hunt"? In the story, a family is about to go off on an adventure to hunt a bear. They are determined, optimistic, and fearless. On the way, they encounter all sorts of obstacles they “can’t go over and can’t go under” but have to “go through” (a field of long wavy grass, a deep cold river, a field of thick oozy mud, a big dark forest, a swirling whirling snowstorm and finally a narrow, gloomy cave). Any of these obstacles could easily derail their plans. They desperately search for ways around that would make it easier, but ultimately they know that no matter how much they fear the obstacle, they have to confront and "go through it."
There have been many times already in this process where I have wanted to throw an epic toddler-sized tantrum. There have been times where I have wanted to bargain, beg or pray my way out of this. I have even woken up and said, "please tell me this was all just a terrible dream." I wish any of those things would have resulted in not moving forward with something that I am so incredibly scared of. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Like the adventurers in this story, surviving one obstacle doesn't mean that there won't be another. This year has been incredibly hard for my family. We lost my dad in January, barely survived that, and now another obstacle named cancer stands in my way. I feel overwhelmed at times and worried and scared. I feel all of those things, AND that doesn't mean that I don't also feel hopeful and confident that I will beat this. Without an ounce of doubt, I know that I will fight and beat this cancer with every bit of strength that I have in my body.
I can't go under it.
I can't go around it.
Gotta go through it.
Thank you for being there for me along this adventure, with every obstacle I face. xo- Heather
• First round of chemo starts this Thursday. (Holy crap, it's here. I'm nervous. I got this). 8 Thursdays, every other week (I get Thanksgiving and my birthday off so yay?) On Thursday we met with my head nurse, and two doctors. It's an avalanche of information. Key takeaways--the first two drugs are the hardest to handle, which I'm doing for the first four rounds, and rounds 3 & 4 are generally considered the most challenging weeks. But you know what's really the hardest?! No alcohol for sixteen weeks!!
• Everyone at UCSD knows that nausea is my go-to reaction; they've lined up an army of anti-nausea meds for me in case they are needed.
• Received extensive genetic testing results, and I did not test positive for any genetic markers. This means that my cancer is not genetically related and is what they call a "sporadic event." This doesn't change much for me, but it's excellent news for my family and boys.
• The oncologist said that the majority of my cancer is in my lymph nodes, which means it's a "traveler." The cancer moved quickly into more than ten lymph nodes, which is why we are hitting it hard with chemo first to make sure that it doesn't go to other places (and if it does, the chemo will zap it).
• Another COVID test today. This will be the norm throughout chemo, surgery, and radiation to continue to keep me safe and healthy.