You always hear that old saying “The third time’s a charm” when someone’s going through a tricky process. It might be true for finding the right relationship or career move, but this saying absolutely does not apply to chemo. The third round of chemo was the absolute hardest I have been through so far. Fortunately there was no nausea, but I was derailed by the intense body aches and pain in my mouth.
I got through the pain of the past month – even though I wanted to cry most of the time, I made it through. The mental battle this time was harder to get over than anything else. Reality and acceptance have sunk in with this third round of treatments. I simply can’t shake off the side effects and continue to pretend I just have a cold.
I found myself reminded that life must go on during this process. When you’re in the middle of it, cancer seems like it’s the worst possible thing that could happen to you. And then, every now and again, something happens to jolt you back to the reality that someone – somewhere – is getting hit by life harder than you. For me, this happened days after my last treatment. I was informed of the death of a very important and close friend of mine whose mental battle got the best of him.
The news of his death made me realize something important. I have always known that I am surrounded by people who love me and would do anything for me, as I would for them. When something like an illness comes in and shakes your world like an earthquake, it seems like things start to crumble all around you. Those people – family and friends – are there to help put those pieces back together for you. I know now that without my dad, mom, stemmy and sisters that this mental battle has the potential to get the best of me too. But when I start to fall, they pick me back up.
I’m so thankful I have these people in my life, and thankful I was able to make new memories with them during Thanksgiving this year. Spending the holiday with my family breathed a bit of much needed life into me. And seeing my grandmother who suffers from lung cancer walk into Thanksgiving dinner with a big smile on her face renewed my strength to keep fighting, no matter what.
For me, the best medicine for this disease is family. Although crazy at times and slightly dysfunctional, I wouldn’t trade my support system for the world.
You can read more from Maressa at livingwellwithmontel.com.