Barre

This week is the second to last chemo session until my next set of scans, (PET,MRI and CT). Usually these are done pretty close together so I literally glow for days. I took an extra rest week off so I could celebrate Rosh Shoshona with the fam. My older son came home with his girlfriend, my daughter came with two friends and my younger son had his bud over as well. My in laws visited as well so it was a super nice couple of days. Almost normal!!

You know when you buy a new car and then start seeing a million of them on the road??

I have become very attuned to the enormous amount of advertising online and on various social media platforms proclaiming “How To Cure Cancer With Avocados”  “What Your Doctor Doesn’t Want You to Know” “Incas Discovered Cure for Cancer” ( love that one). “Alkaline Diet Cure”, “Ketosis Kills Cancer Cells” and my personal favorite;  “Rasputin Cured Royal Family of Cancer”.  If you know of any others, please let me know.. This type of nonsense gives chemo patients a false sense of hope . I realize and acknowledge that when you on the edge of a precipice, these “cures” offer some a emotional life line back to terra firma. Unfortunately, they are not science based nor are they FDA approved and many are just dangerous. Many will forgo the traditional route of chemotherapy/radiation and clinical trials when they are told there is nothing left to try and/or their confidence in western medicine is waining. I understand, I really do. No one wants to be told “There is nothing left to try now lets call hospice”. You want something solid to hold onto. Something that wont let you fall down. It is precisely why these shams are so popular. They tout themselves as cures when we know many types of cancers are not curable but manageable long term. Pancreatic being one type of cancer that is not curable but manageable for many.  As soon as your browser has the words, “pancreatic cancer” in its memory, you are targeted by these snake oil salesman, the essential oil ladies who peddle their frankincense and myrr on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Chiroquackters  who tell you that manipulating your spine and flashing colored lights is the cure for everything including damp crawl spaces and insomnia. Again, these are the things a desperate soul wants to hold onto. Sadly, they are empty promises that bleed your bank account and your mind dry.   I didn’t address marijuana, canabanoids,edibles or oils because I don’t know enough about them, but from what I’ve read and the many many people I’ve spoken to it seems to be helpful for them, especially where a lack of appetite or nausea is concerned. Personally, I’m not at the point of trying cannabinoids for my side effects, but at some point I just may give it a go. In fact, a good buddy of mine gave me a “gummy bear” with strict instructions to just slice off tiny amounts. I love this girl…I still have the intact gummy bear hidden away for a rainy day.

I’m sitting at chemo now watching the first of 3 drugs drip slowly into my port, so you’ll have to excuse the above rant. I overheard another patient say they take 1 tablespoon of baking soda and molasses 3 times a day to kill cancer cells. If the oh so adorable Dr. Nazha heard this I’m sure it would warrant a swift swat on the keppy ..

BARRE

The railing that a dancer uses for balance in the beginning exercises of a ballet class. This long rounded railing is the solid, reassuring part of a dance studio. You can’t fall while holding on. You can look as graceful as a swan when there is something solid in your hand keeping you straight yet beautifully fluid in your motions. I loved barre work. It made me feel airy and light knowing I couldn’t fall down. In reality, the barre is not what makes you this way, its all you with something solid to hold onto.

 

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Ballet Bag or Sac de Ballet

This week starts chemo session 10 of 12. I’m anxious to be done, get new scans and possibly start radiation. I would love to tell you the type of radiation but I’m deep in the throes of “chemo brain” and anything more complicated than making myself tea with milk or lemon confuses me. I’ve actually made tea with both and It doesn’t taste too good.

I spend about two days prior to chemo getting my chemo bag ready. It seems all chemo patients have their own recipe for a proper chemo bag and I have my own recipe as well.

The first thing that goes into the bag is my laptop and phone. God forbid I’m without the ability to see who had a tuna sandwich on Facebook! The second is a very generous supply of salty carbs and an apple (as per Dr. Schmoopy), ice tea, ginger hard candies for nausea, cheese sticks which could survive the apocalypse and still be good and whatever else I find on the floor of my backseat that looks good. Lastly I have a small blanket to counter the cold feeling you get from chemo over the 6 or 7 hours that I’m there. I’m amazed at what I see coming out of others chemo bag. A large bag of produce, multiple water bottles, candy, potato chips, a fan, a queen size quilt, slippers and nail polish . These bags remind me of Mary Poppins bag. Mary Poppins was able to get her entire arm into her bag and pull out a floor lamp! I haven’t tried that yet but I’m not a big fan of floor lamps..

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When you stop and think about the importance of a well stocked chemo bag and the effort that goes into preparing it, I believe it gives us a sense of control. Going through this journey, all the autonomy is essentially taken away from you. You have put yourself in the hands of others. If your anything like me and a control freak, this is no easy task.  And so dear readers, the point of all this is: I obviously have no control over what drugs to take. I have no control over how long I will live. I have no control over the side effects despite the ginger, the pomegranate juice, the compote (thank you Grammy), the nausea meds or the pain meds. I have no control over the stress I am putting my family and my posse through. Preparing our chemo bags gives us back some brief sense of control.

 

My Sac de Ballet was a very pretty faux shiny patent leather bag with a ballerina on the front. The first day I got it I thought it was the most perfect bag anyone ever had. I had to decide what exactly was going into the bag besides my leotards and shoes. I really had nothing else to fill it with so I had to improvise to make it heavy and seem important. I decided a small portable radio, a picture of David Cassidy in a popsicle stick frame and Little House on the Prairie ( the entire series) books, and last but not least, a baloney and cheese sandwich on Wonder Bread . Just in case…

 

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