New Year, Better Me

Welcome to 2019 Badasses! We did it! We made it through hell and back (also known as 2018) A lot has happened since my last post, but I’m happy to report about 99% of everything has been positive. I am officially done with chemo and I have my follow up appointment on January 21st. After that I will officially have my PET scan scheduled and hopefully I will hear the words”you are in remission.” If I learned anything last year it’s that things might not go the way you wanted them to or the way you think they should, no things go exactly the way they are supposed to whether we like it or not. I have also learned to accept things that are out of my control because there is no point in stressing myself out over things I simply cannot change. For instance my “chemo day” was always on Wednesdays and for 11 rounds it never changed, but because of a flooding at the Cancer Center and the holidays I was forced to change my very last chemo appointment to a Friday. I know those of you who aren’t going through this are thinking “doesn’t that give you two extra days of feeling good.” Well, the answer is yes, but the response for us is more frustration. Frustration of planning your life around your chemo schedule, and literally mentally preparing yourself each and every time you have chemo. So, when that gets changed you feel like you are having something yet again taken away without having any say. Needless to say I ended up getting over it because I was being a little dramatic and it was ONLY two days, and I was able to rest those two days after the holidays.

Besides the fact that I didn’t know hardly any of the nurses during Round 12 (apparently they’re off on Fridays) it wasn’t has traumatic and emotional as I thought it would be. Until my husband completely surprised me and showed up as I was about done. The reason this was so emotional for me was because of the fact that before he started school he came to every single appointment and chemo round, but that all changed when he started school so it was the perfect surprise. I knew coming out of the chemo coma this time around would be more difficult than it usually is for a couple different reasons. One being the fact that my body was so used to Wednesday’s that mentally I had to retrain myself and the second being the fact that this was the last one and  I was so mentally and emotionally done that I knew I would try to “rush” out of the chemo coma without actually being out of the coma (if that makes any sense).

Lets just say for the next 2 weeks I was nothing but an emotional mess. For all my supporters out there please remember this. Just because a cancer patient finishes chemo and hears the words “in remission” We are still far far far from “back to normal.” Yes, we are officially done being poisoned by the drugs that also saved our lives, but mentally, emotionally, and psychically we have no clue who or what the hell we are. It has been 2 weeks since my last round and the amount of pain I am still in is unbearable at times. Not to mention the completely confusing identity crisis I now have, and beginning to speak about my cancer in past tense. The easiest way I can think to describe my current state of mind is like when you are in a toxic relationship for a long period of time and you finally decide to leave. Well that relationship was a part of you and your everyday life for so long and it consumed you, and now all the sudden you have to live without it which means re finding yourself and learning who you are without it. It will ALWAYS be apart of you, but it no longer consumes you. It is a very confusing place to be mentally, but the feeling of getting a second chance at life definitely out weighs any negative feeling I’ve ever felt, and that’s what you must always focus on. The light is ALWAYS there and sometimes you just have to look harder to find it.

After about 3 failed vacations in 2018 I started 2019 perfectly with 2 of my absolute favorite people in the entire world. My husband and my best friend. It was the most perfect birthday weekend I could have ever asked for. I cried about 15 times because I felt as if my new life I had been waiting so long for had finally arrived with open arms. Every single part of this weekend was eyeopening and perfect. From the tears rolling down my face while I felt the sand between my toes. The adrenaline I felt from the waves hitting my feet and legs, and the burst of high I felt as I took my wig off and felt the water completely cover half of my body. It was truly empowering. These two are some of the most amazing individuals with the most beautiful souls. They made sure I had everything I wanted and more.

Disneyland was absolute perfection, and although my body is 100000% sore and in pain it was all worth it. I will say this…I did experience for the first time a very defensive moment about me having cancer. This was the first Disneyland trip I had ever had being “different” and boy did that get me some attention (not needed or wanted.) The short version of the story is we boarded the “handicapped” trolley and we made one mom very angry. The cart we were in also had a woman in a wheel chair with her daughter. The mom on the cart next to us tries to get the attention of the employee and fails (she’s just cranky honestly) so my husband being the nice person he is gets the guy’s attention for her (well that was our first mistake) She then tells him that she needs our cart to hold her stroller and the employee tells her no this cart has a wheel chair so we cannot put your stroller with her wheelchair. She didn’t like that answer so she takes it out on us. “Well I thought this was for strollers, and not for “normal” people who can sit anywhere in the cart.” If this was the old me she would have literally regretted ever saying ANYTHING like that to us ever, but I simply said “actually this is the handicapped section.” Well she didn’t like that either. So she decides to have her husband go tattle on us for being in handicapped (which I AM and have a sticker to prove it) then when her husband gets no results she goes to the guy herself and he tells her ma’am they have a handicap sticker. As were leaving the trolley I can just feel the anger coming from her and her husband and I just don’t understand. Why are you so focused on me and where I’m sitting when you are literally at the happiest place on Earth with your family and you’re being an absolute asshole in front of your kids before you even get to the park. The moral of the story is yes I “look” fine, yes I have “hair” and makeup on, but you know absolutely NOTHING about me and my disability so how dare you question or judge me. Just because someone looks a certain way doesn’t mean they aren’t fighting for their life. I am an extremely happy and positive person coming out of this experience, but don’t for one second think I still don’t struggle everyday because I do.

Everyone is fighting battles we know nothing about. SO sit down and humble yourself this year. BE KIND. BE SUPPORTIVE. ASPIRE TO INSPIRE. Be the light at the end of the tunnel for someone. Try to be more understanding of why someone maybe acting or treating you some way. Don’t post petty subliminal messages on social media. TALK ABOUT IT. We as humans are not mind readers so if you’re upset with someone just tell them. Ask yourself is it worth losing this person? If that person is toxic then remove them, but holding a grudge only hurts you.

Forgiveness is 100% more for you than the other person (remember that)

Thank you for sticking around for this very long post!

50294551_10217479793123168_637118841712803840_nUntil Next Time,

 

XOXO Bechtold Badass

The 2018 Kaleidoscope

Buckle up Badasses,

This post is going to be a long one, so grab a snack and some water, wine, or spiked egg nog? (and a glass for me since I can’t drink).

Every year around Christmas and right before New Year’s I always take the time to sit and reflect on the year and most of the time the good outweighs the bad and overall I usually have a lot more to be thankful for and toss it up as a good year. Well, apparently 2018 wanted change and I was just along for the very bumpy ride.

I know you’re probably thinking my awful year started in July when I was diagnosed with cancer, but I have to tell you that you’re unfortunately wrong. Cancer has not been the only contribution to the testament of Meagan Bechtold’s strength this year. No, this all started in January. Anyone who knows me knows exactly just how much of a crazy obsessed dog mom I am, and in the first week of January I got the most devastating phone call I would ever answer. I was 30 minutes away from leaving work and was taking a small break in the backroom when I get a call from my husband, but when I answer it just sounds like breathing and I can’t understand what he’s saying. Finally he blurts out that Bowser (our youngest fur baby 1.5 years old) has a huge tumor in his lungs (the irony of this) and has a terminal form of cancer. Our options aren’t really options at this point. 1. Be selfish and keep Bowser as long as we possibly can even though he refuses to eat. 2. Do the right thing and put him out of pain. Being the dog mom that I am I absolutely could never be selfish like that especially when he’s not eating and all I could do around him was cry, so my husband and I knew what to do. My husband went to take Bowser into the animal hospital on Jan. 9th and I was with my mom trying to be distracted because although all this was happening my birthday was also in 2 days, and I basically had forgotten. Bowser was put out of pain on Jan. 9th and then cremated on my birthday Jan. 11th. Don’t get me wrong I have dealt with the rainbow bridge before and each time is completely heartbreaking, but the difference between then and now is the fact that my fur baby was only 1.5 years old with so much life left to live. This tragedy left my husband and I completely shattered, but like we always say “Everything happens for a reason.”

February comes and were starting to heal and become more positive. Then we learn great news about this puppy were going to receive! My husband shows me pictures and I just cry, but this time I’m crying because I’m so grateful and happy for this little guy to come into our lives. Fast forward to December and Opie just had his 1st birthday and weighs 82lbs. I call him one of the silver linings of 2018. We still remained hopeful in February until my husband starts having chest pain and high blood pressure. I drive him to the ER where he is hooked up and ran through multiple tests for his heart. About 6 hours later all the tests were finished and thankfully his heart was fine, but there were other things causing the problem. The last 3 months had been emotionally draining, and his body was physically taking a toll. We were given a few things to help with anxiety and blood pressure and then we were sent on our way. Update to now he is doing much better and obviously realizes the importance of health. Biggest lesson of 2018 TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. but really, please do it.

March, April, and May.

I’m going to refrain from boring you with the details of these months because honestly it’s a blur at this point. These weren’t “terrible” months for me by any means, but these were the months of the year that had the most change (well you know until July). I was in a very very confused state in my life. All my husband and I have ever wanted to do was to achieve our goals, but sometimes bills and priorities just have to come first. My husband has been wanting to go back to Barber school for quite some time now, but with school comes less work and less work means less money and less money for the husband means more working for me. I wanted to figure out a way for him to do this for himself but still not have our little family struggle, but I also didn’t know what to do. Too make a very long story short for the next few months I worked on communicating what I wanted for myself and made my personal and work goals more clear. I worked extremely hard and another huge silver lining of 2018 was a promotion that I had been working toward since my career at Ulta began. With greatness comes great responsibility, but the part that quote is missing is “With great responsibility comes people who doubt you from every angle.” To avoid making this negative I will just leave you with this..When you want something in life work for it and get it. When you get (not if WHEN) do not let anyone (I mean it ANYONE) take it away from you. There is a reason it’s yours. There’s a reason YOU were chosen. The person or people who made that decision saw something in you, and you need to see it too. Once that started to get under control then came June.

June,

June 11th about 1 month from being diagnosed (this story is ironic and weird too)

I remember this day perfectly. It was a Monday and I had called out of work so I could go to Urgent Care about my stupid ongoing cough and weird consistent fevers. Well I get up and go to Urgent Care. He tells me he thinks my bronchitis has come back and prescribes me the usual antibiotics and sends me on my way. Well as I’m leaving the parking lot BOOOOOOM I get into a car accident. My very first car accident and the car that I paid for on my own for years and is 1 year from being paid off COMPLETELY TOTALED. I’ll spare you the details, but basically now I have this stubborn cough, i’m sore and now traumatized from this car accident. Monday June 13th I get a new car. (silver lining? You be the judge)

July 13th,

Yes, exactly a month after I get my car and registrations due. BOOM Urgent Care again, but this time with the twist of Emergency Room, and well you know the rest after that by now. (If you don’t check out my first 2 blogs) Don’t worry though I may procrastinate a lot in my life, but it will never be my bills so the registration was already paid and sent in. I won’t bore you with the details of the remaining months because we’ve already been through that, but we can switch gears a little bit.

I will leave you with this,

As traumatizing and downright painful this year was I am truly the happiest and most at peace with myself than I think I have ever been. As many cliches, quotes, phrases, and sayings there are about living life and being happy they’re all true. Life IS too short, and you can’t do a damn thing about it, so why try to change it? Accept change, challenge it, embrace it, create it, love it, live it, whatever you want to do with change DO IT.

If you’re doubting yourself on whether or not you think you can get through it or not. Well, YOU CAN. When I think back to who I was at the hospital and how scared I was and confused. I had NO idea what Hodgkins Lymphoma was, and now I could answer just about any question. I didn’t think I could make it to Round 2 and now I have Round 12 on Friday. I started this journey with my husband by my side 3 days a week all day every day to take care of me, but my husband was given the opportunity to start school, and we both agreed it was best to do it now. Since October my husband has been going to school 5 days a week and working the other 2 and sometimes both. Which leaves me to take care of myself which in my opinion has made me 10x stronger mentally and emotionally. Except sometimes I forget to lecture myself about eating so that’s been a bummer. As much as I miss my husband everyday I am so incredibly proud of him and he finishes school the same day as my last treatment. PAARTAAAAAAY. JUST KIDDING I’ll be sleeping/hibernating until 2019…literally.

Most years are good years for me, but this one was definitely the worst year of my entire life, but it has changed me for the better and has set up what I will make the best year of my entire life, and I will not let anything get in the way of that. Not even the word Cancer. Leave all your shit in 2018. Leave all your negativity and self doubt in 2018.

2018 I fell, 2019 I get up.

 

Until Next Time,

 

XOXO Bechtold Badass.

Don’t Quit Your Day Dream

When you ask a cancer patient going through chemo how they stay positive you never truly get the same answer every time. Every person has a different reason as to how they stay positive but also the answer can change everyday. Most days I am strong and positive because I know for a fact there are far more people out there who have it worse off than I do. Yeah I know that sounds kind of odd considering cancer is about as scary as it gets, but it becomes quite humbling having to go to the Cancer Center every two weeks and seeing people who just simply get EXACTLY what you’re going through. Whether you say anything to these people or not you feel for them. You don’t ask them “how are you?” because you know just how loaded that question actually is, and honestly the answer is always the same “Well I’m alive” (no but really it’s a thing). You just simply smile at each other, possibly share your snacks, and nap trying to forget about the pain you’re both enduring at that very same moment.

When you begin your cancer journey the end seems so far away, and you figure you’re just torturing yourself even thinking about future plans, but what if in a way planning for the future is also the only thing that keeps you sane? Now that I’m 10 rounds deep into this I’ve gotten my routine down pretty much to a science. The first two days are spent in complete hibernation complete sleep mode (this is the time I don’t answer any social media/texts/phone calls) the day after is spent being completely awake and feeling all the nausea known to mankind. The next few days that follow consist of me watching various movies/tv shows, reading, writing (when my neuropathy allows), and most important of all are all my Pinterest goals. Pinterest can be a very dangerous slope considering the whole “social media vs reality” thing, but it can also be extremely motivating. I mean if were being honest I’ve already redone my kitchen, planned 3 different vacations, and created a nursery for my unborn children and I feel pretty damn good about it. Yeah Pinterest can have a way with making things extremely unrealistic, but it also has this amazing ability to allow you to create visions you want for your life. Besides there’s nothing wrong with Pinterest dreams anyways and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I guess the bigger point I am trying to make is that no matter what you’re going through, and no matter what you’ve been through you still have the ability to go after exactly what you want for a better life for yourself. Everyone has a different way of dealing with things and for me writing is my outlet and Pinterest just happens to be that very bright light I see at the end of this tunnel.

Until Next Time,

XOXO Bechtold Badass

Being There..

I hesitated for awhile about writing on this topic because it’s a subject that weighs extremely heavy on my heart. As anyone whose ever been through a rough time in their life you understand the importance of someone being there for you, and in being there for someone you always hope they will return the favor if it’s ever needed and be there for you. I’m not talking about a break up or having a shitty day although we do still need people for that. I’m talking about serious stuff whether it’s illness, a loss in the family, or any kind of situation where you truly need the people in your life to be there for you. It always starts the same once it’s new and fresh everyone everywhere is there for you and wants to help, and the more time goes by the less you hear from people, and don’t get me wrong it’s completely understandable. I understand that everyone has things going on in their life and lets face it I’d prefer you didn’t text me “how are you?” everyday, but let me fill you in on a little secret sending someone an “I love you” text or “thinking of you” or “you got this your’e so strong” means the absolute world. You’re not being annoying, you’re not imposing, you’re not overstepping you are simply being there for someone who needs you and you’re doing a damn good job. There is no “right” way to be there for someone that needs you but I will tell you there is only one “wrong” way and no it’s not saying the wrong thing or asking too many questions. Some of the things people do or say may irritate us at times but that’s because honestly we’re just irritated in general trying to go through whatever it is were going through, and sometimes the things people say honestly blows my mind just a little. Although in everyone’s defense a lot of people have no idea about specific cancers and how hard it is going through treatment. They might not always understand what situation you’re going through, but take it from someone who knows from experience the absolute WORST thing you can do for someone going through a hard time is disappear. When you choose to disappear on someone who needs you the most you are making a lot more choices for that relationship than you could ever imagine.

The amount of support I’ve been given from people has been absolutely amazing and I truly appreciate everything everyone has ever done for me. Even if it was just liking a blog post or sending a text trust me I appreciate it. My husband is just about as amazing as it gets when it comes to someone taking care of me. My mom comes with me to EVERY single chemo and doctors appointment. I have an amazing home cooked meal every other Tuesday before chemo made by my step mom so I can spend time with family before my next appointment. My mother in law was at the hospital with me every single day until I was able to go home. Everyone has sort of filled their own role in my journey and it wouldn’t be the same without all my pieces put together. The truth is I have never felt more supported in my life or been as close to people as I am now, but there are a few people out there that have truly broken my heart during this. People I would have never expected to disappear in the hardest time of my entire life. You know when you’re younger and your parents tell you they’re “disappointed” in you? And you’re like okay whatever so you’re not mad though? That’s how you feel when you’re going through the hardest time in your life and someone chooses not to be there for you. Disappointed.

Ask anyone going through anything no matter how big or small about how they’re feeling and the answer will be alone. When I was diagnosed with cancer I knew I wasn’t technically alone because I’ve been surrounded with cancer before, and I knew I would have my husband and my family by my side. But somehow you still manage to feel alone. In the beginning you feel like literally no one understands what you’re going through and how could anyone possibly get it? Then with a little navigation, a lot of google, and some time to reflect you being to cherish those who are there for you and have never left your side during this whole process. Even with all of that love and support it’s like when your boyfriend/husband says 10 good things about you and 1 bad thing, and immediately your mind goes straight to the one negative thing he said at the very end. It’s sad how easily that one negative thing can consume you. That’s how it feels when you have the whole world supporting you but 2 or 3 people who you thought would be there just simply aren’t.  Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying we need you everyday, we don’t even need you to text or call everyday or even every week but just being there at all makes a difference and trust me we notice. So no matter how big or small a problem can be. Be there. Be there for your friend, for your girlfriend/boyfriend, husband/wife, daughter/son, co-worker, sibling, aunt/uncle, cousins, the girl you met one time from instagram (no but really), just be there in any way shape or form, and I promise you’ll make a huge difference in their world. There are no wrong ways to be there for someone and there’s definitely not an instruction manual on how to act around someone whose at rock bottom, but believe it or not even if you’re sitting on the same couch staring at the wall at least you’re there.

At the end of the day words can’t express the appreciation I have for my amazing support team that has never left my side since day 1! (including all you badasses reading this) Like I said before I wouldn’t know what I would do without all my pieces!

 

 

Until Next Time,

XOXO Bechtold Badass

You’re a Survivor

As I’m approaching Chemo #9 on Thursday I can’t help but self reflect on my journey so far, and how in 4 short months all the ways my life has changed. When we go through things in life the first thing we do is try to find answers to our questions, well honestly one main question. The WHY? Why is this happening to me? Why did this happen to me? Why would someone do this? That’s just the way life works you don’t always get to have the answers you’re looking for and that’s okay. It’s okay because you’re not alone. When something happens to you, you become a SURVIVOR. You are apart of a community with people who know exactly what you’re going through, and have all the same questions you do. You become apart of something so big and so supportive that the WHY becomes irrelevant and you start asking HOW? How can I make a difference to another person asking the WHY? Being diagnosed with cancer at such a young age for me has taught me more about myself than I ever could have expected. I have gone through more mental and physical pain in the last 4 months than in my entire life combined. I made it 26 years without giving blood, having surgery, being admitted into the hospital, or having anything serious wrong with me. EVER. During year 26 I have had every scan, test, needle, side effect, and so forth imaginable. Even during all the mental and physical pain I have endured in this stage of my life I am just about the happiest I have ever been. cancer. Although I am currently living my life on pause for the most part I am fighting. I am fighting for the life I want to have after cancer. I spend hour day dreaming of my 27th birthday and having my best friend here. I dream of Disneyland trips, and Mexico. I day-dream of eating sushi and drinking my iced coffee everyday. surprisingly enough I day dream of going back to work and seeing my girls. I definitely learned during this just what a great company I work for. The support and love I have received from everyone at Ulta is just absolutely amazing. Having cancer is just about as low as it gets, but I will forever be grateful for the lessons it has taught me. Cancer has made me value every part of my life whether it be the good, bad, or ugly. It has repaired relationships in my life that I was too stubborn to repair before. It has strengthened relationships I didn’t even realize could get stronger. It has taken the love and appreciation I have for my husband and multiplied it by about 100. It has taught me to love myself and to simply appreciate the little things. We can’t always control what happens to us or the people we love, but what we can control is how we deal with it. Cancer is no stranger in my world, but I don’t want to be just another colored ribbon people wear. I am a survivor. you’re a survivor. You don’t have to have cancer to be a survivor. Anything you go through in life that changes you and you survive it. Makes you a survivor. In other words you’re not alone, you’re never alone, and no one ever fights alone. Life is a such a beautiful thing if you let it be, and it’s never too late to change the way you live your life. If you’re not happy, go be happy. Buy the boots, book the vacation, be kind, be unapologetically you, and continue to survive and fight the fight. Today, tomorrow, and for the rest of your life.

 

Until Next Time,

XOXO Bechtold Badass.

Life as Lymphomie

In my previous posts I talk all about the struggles and hardships that will occur while going through chemo, and or other treatments to get rid of cancer. When dealing with these side effects on a daily basis for 6 months in my case or however long your treatment process there isn’t one or two solutions that help there’s a whole system that you will figure out along the way for what works best for you.

Twas the night before chemo, and all through the house was….ANXIETY. If you’ve gone through chemo you know EXACTLY what I’m referring to. The thought of the cancer center, the hospital, blood work, doctors, nurses, etc.. instantly nauseas from being so anxious and thinking about it. Simply because you know the horror that is about to occur for the next week until you start to feel somewhat normal again.

So here it is..

Water Water Water Water i’ll say it one more time for the people in the back. WATER. This is something I had to learn the hard way, and after reading other blogs from survivors and doing my own research I try to manage each round better than the last. The day before you have treatment drink as much water as you possibly can. I am not exaggerating even in the least. Make a routine that suites you and stick with it. Every Tuesday before Chemo my husband and I go to my dad’s house for an amazing home cooked meal cooked by my step mom. Spending time with my family eases my anxiety so I’m not home alone thinking about the horror of chemo the next day. When it comes to the day of WATER WATER WATER and I repeat WATER. I know it’s like beating a dead horse when it comes to people preaching about drinking water, but honestly it has made a huge difference in how I feel afterwards. Make sure you eat before, during, and after chemo also. The biggest tip I can give anyone is to stay away from your favorite foods the day of chemo and a few days that follow because I promise you’ll never want to eat them again.

Mouth Sores: avoid anything spicy the days leading up to chemo and the days that follow. Chew ice cubes while you’re getting treatment, or a popsicle after. This freezes the muscles in the tongue temporarily and it has prevented me from getting them again.

Nausea: I wish I had a bullet proof suggestion for this but I don’t. I do however have some things that help. Take the medication that the doctor prescribes you (because they will give you something) but also I highly suggest CBD products anything and everything.

Fatigue: This one is a tricky one. The week that I have chemo I don’t fight the fatigue I usually go into what I call “hibernation” for at least the next two or three days because your body NEEDS to rest and you definitely don’t want to fight it. Doing small activities like going for a walk or doing the treadmill for a little while seems to help. You can also drink coffee which helps me sometimes but for the most part I gave up coffee during this. (for those who know me that is a HUGE deal)

Neuropathy: B12 vitamins have really helped me. Although with this one I’ve gotten lucky so far and it is not as severe as I’ve heard it can be

Bowel Movements: Yes, talking about your bowel movements is awkward but you’ll get over it I promise you. Again with the water DRINK IT. Also add cranberry juice, and yogurt to your daily consumption. This will help with the probiotics.

Bone Pain: This one is the WORST. Okay no, I lied the nausea is the worst but this one is close behind. I wish I had more suggestions with this but unfortunately I’m still trying to figure out how to solve this one. Hot lavender baths/showers seem to help while I’m in the water, but the pain comes back soon after. Then there’s Claritin (the nurses swear by it) and Tylenol Extra Strength. I wish I could say that those make a difference but they honestly don’t. So if anyone has any suggestions on bone pain SHARE YOUR SECRETS 🙂

 

I won’t bore you with any of the 9082348 small side effects I get but those are the major ones, and I hope if you ever experience any of these that some of this helps!

 

XOXO Bechtold Badass

Cold hard Chemo

che·mo·ther·a·py
/ˌkēmōˈTHerəpē,ˌkemōˈTHerəpē/
noun
  1. the treatment of disease by the use of chemical substances, especially the treatment of cancer by cytotoxic and other drugs.

Such a vague description of the horror show that is chemotherapy. Yes, chemotherapy is losing your hair and being sick, but what no one tells you is that it will be THE hardest and most grueling process of your entire life.

The beginning the first round of my chemotherapy I was in the hospital for because of severity of my symptoms. Apparently the normal process is to get a PET scan, take a chemo class, and then begin chemo. Well unfortunately I didn’t have that luxury. If there was anything SO frustrating about this process it’s how much chemo was down played or not fully explained to me in the hospital, so with that being said that first round hit me like a semi truck. Like I said before when you think about chemo you think about “hair loss” and “being sick” unless you’ve gone through it you truly can never understand the agonizing pain that your body puts you through. It’s as if your body no longer belongs to you, and you’re just taken prisoner. The mouth sores and sore throat welcomed me in the first round. The sores were on each side of my tongue and the back of my throat making eating anything just about impossible. If mouth sores didn’t stop me from eating then the nausea sure did. When you hear about the nausea caused by chemo were not talking about a little stomach ache. We are talking about morning sickness, worst hangover of your life, food poisoning, stomach flu, and so forth all put together and multiplied by about 10 and that’s what the nausea is just about equivalent to. Next on the list may be a little too much information, but it’s just the cold hard truth. Going to the bathroom will ALWAYS be some kind of project. Within a 4 day span you can go from diarrhea to no bowel movement at all and it just repeats it self over and over. I will tell you, you will never take something as simple as pooping for granted ever again. (you think i’m kidding but i’m not) Next on the list is the Neuropathy which is a dysfunction of one or more peripheral nerves, typically causing numbness or weakness.I had no idea what Neuropathy was until going through chemo, but it’s essentially like your hands and feet are constantly tingling as if they’re “asleep” but constant. I also struggled with weight loss after the first round and lost about 8 lbs in 3 days (thanks mouth sores) Then there’s the mental head games chemo gives you. I try to remain as positive as I possibly can during each round, but there’s a lot of emotions you feel during chemo because of the steroids and other medications, and possibly being trapped at home for the last 3 months has something to do with it too. I have about one breakdown each round where everything just gets to me, and all the pain and thoughts i’ve bottled up just come pouring out. I wish I could say the chemo side effects were my only problem, but anyone going through this knows that Chemo may just be the beginning. See Chemo basically kills everything without trying to kill us, so we naturally we need all the help we can get. After Chemo comes Neulasta. Neulasta helps reduce infections for us because lord knows we can not handle getting infections without proper blood cells to fight them off. With Neulasta comes a whole different set of side effects, and the absolute worst is bone pain. I have never experienced bone pain before this and let me tell you it will make a grown man cry, and somehow “Claritin” is supposed to do the trick, but just like the rest of my cancer journey I am “special” and the trick of Claritin seems to exclude me because NOTHING works. Then there’s the Lupron which is currently protecting my ovaries from the chemotherapy, so my husband and I can hopefully have children once this nightmare is over. The side effects of Lupron aren’t has horrendous as the rest, but hot flashes are no walk in the park along with the usual added nausea and some more bone pain. I know this sounds like a lot of rambling, but people continually tell me they wish they knew what I was going through, or they have no idea what chemo does to people. Well this is the ugly truth. The biggest lesson you could take away from an experience like this is to Be Kind, I’m sure you’ve all heard this before but it costs nothing to be kind, absolutely nothing. When I go out in public with makeup and my wig, you would have absolutely no idea I have cancer, and the horror I go through on a daily basis because cancer is just a chapter in my book, not the whole story. Today I am smiling because I am here and I feel beautiful, and if I’m out in public it means although I am in agonizing pain I want to be apart of the world today. It means I at least am not feeling one of my side effects today, and I want to take full advantage. For my Lymphomies just remember no matter how hard it is, no matter how many times you think to yourself that you can’t get through this round. YOU CAN. You can and you will because the reality is you didn’t think you’d make it out of the hospital, you didn’t think you’d make it past the first gruesome round, but if you’re anything like me you’re more than half way across the finish line, and remission is just around the corner.

In my next post I will write about how to control your side effects, and how to conquer the anxiety the night before chemo and the day of.

 

 

XOXO Bechtold Badass.