Currently there are some bands out there that have names pertaining to Bells. there is the band Broken Bells (stellar music) and there is the band Sleigh Bells (not pertaining to Christmas). Other bell references usually conjure up Christmas Carols (a personal favorite “Jingle Bell Rock”). Or maybe you think of Bell and think of Saved by the Bell and how cute Zack Morris was (or Screech if he’s more your type).
Technically the Dictionary defines a Bell as:
1. a hollow instrument of cast metal, typically cup-shaped with a flaring mouth, suspended from the vertex and rung by the strokes of a clapper, hammer, or the like.
(I deleted 2 and 3…they were not relevant)
4. the large end of a funnel, or the end of a pipe, tube, or any musical wind instrument, when its edge is turned out and enlarged.
But I define a Bell much differently. To me they are a species of best friend. They are intelligent, beautiful, outspoken, opinionated, persistent, and loyal. They are funny and witty, yet serious and hardworking. So imagine when there are TWO of them. One on either side of you. Arguing a very valid point, expressing concern in a way that makes you afraid to argue. (Taylor Von Trap I'm talking to you) What do you do? What do you say? Because you know they only want what's best for you. and they want the best because they Love you.
Let’s start at the beginning. Four weeks ago was my monthly oncology appointment. As soon as Dr. K sat down he looked like he had a lot to say. My tumor marker was still refusing to go down. It looked as though Hormonal Treatment and I were about to part ways as he began delving a little deeper into possibly switching to a Chemotherapy based treatment.
Here is how the conversation went…
Dr. K- I want you to do chemotherapy
Me- Dude you’re killing me.
Rewind to my initial diagnosis and remember my absolute refusal to not have my beautiful, long, silky, sun-kissed, wavy locks. Double this seeing as graduation was May 7th, Amy’s wedding is May 22nd, Bonnaroo is June 10th, and Mary Adelaide’s wedding is June 19th. There will be a ridiculous amount of pictures taken. I’m already kinda weird as is. Why add to my freak show with a baldhead? It just isn’t happening. Not on my watch. No siree.
Here is where he added in that I could do chemotherapy in Pill form. I could continue trying to finally get my college degree, I could keep working at PT’s, I could look pretty in all the pictures and STILL fight cancer. Whoo Hoo.
So I began taking Xeloda the following Friday and here is how it works…
Three pills in the morning. Three pills in the evening. I must take them at the same time everyday. I must take them within thirty minutes of eating. Dose one is at 9am. Dose two is at 7pm. As of yet I have had no side effects. I take it for 14 days then I get 7 days off. Then they mail me another bottle and the cycle starts all over again.
Also, I will stop getting the Lupron shot. This means my ovaries will turn back on, hot flashes should cease to exist, and menopause will wait for a couple more decades before haunting me again.
The following weekend was Amy’s Bachelorette in Myrtle Beach. I now have a legit tan.
The next weekend (this past weekend…we’re catching up to the present) was Graduation Weekend. I was allowed to clothe myself in the purple cap and gown and walk across the stage. It only took seven years. Oh, and I still have one summer session left until I have a degree. My wonderful family roadtripped it to Greenville for the occasion. Thank you to:
Myra, Christy, Darren, Chuck, Gail, Colby, Grandma, Papa, Stacy, Lindsey, Jennifer, Dad and Mom (even though I know mom doesn’t read these) for (cheesy thank you ahead…you can skip if you’re uninterested) all the love and support a 25 year old cancer patient would need to finally make it through her senior year. I love you guys. As luck would have it I sat in the Aisle seat only a row ahead of the fam. Dad and I occasionally whispered to one another we were that close. Every time I turned around 8 different cameras (and a video camera) were all immediately picked up to take another photo. I sat through our ceremony picking at my cuticles worrying, not about tripping, or how my toes hurt, but about the future. Am I ready? Am I prepared enough? And as my name was called I walked across the stage passing professors who went out of their way to help me in my quest for a degree, smiling for photos that I knew were being taken, hoping my ears weren’t sticking out from under my cap in a weird elf-like way and knowing that the future and I will rumble some other time. I had some celebrating to do. Because along with my family, the Deaver sisters had also made the trip to see me graduate and to help me celebrate in a more age appropriate fashion. (not at Ruby Tuesday eating broccoli off Lindsey’s plate.)
Also graduating that day was my fellow cancer survivor and GF, Taylor Bell. So the Deaver sisters and the Bell sisters and I got to spend some time together. Saturday afternoon while watching the discovery channel, it was some show about catching swordfish (dangerous business) I found myself on the couch with Taylor to my Left and Mary Adelaide to my Right. I’m not sure how it happened by my current treatment was somehow brought to the forefront of conversation. (It may have been MA petting me or perhaps it was me complaining about my armpit)
They wanted to know why I wasn’t doing the chemo that is done via vein…especially since it works faster. I mentioned my hair, and quality of life and they mentioned shaving their heads in solidarity. It wasn’t a long conversation but it felt long to me because I honestly didn’t know how to respond to their questions and concerns. (I will be asking a million questions at my appointment Friday should this ever happen again). There is so much happening in the world of science. What treatment is best? What does that treatment do exactly? Why are we doing this one over that one? Are the risks and side effects ever worth it? Does this work just as well? AHHHHH my poor head is about to explode.
And I know that Mary Adelaide checks my blog. So I just wanted to say one thing to her. (Taylor too if she’s reading by chance):
I love you. And I’m doing everything I can to win this fight. Don’t you worry, you’ll be having to put up with me and my antics for years to come.