Stella Blue

My life with metastatic breast cancer.

Chemo

3 Comments

doxorubicin
cyclophosphomide
carboplatin
paclitaxel
oxycodone
alprazolam
lorazepam
ondasetron
prochlorperazine
dexamethasone
aprepitant
palonosetron

I can’t pronounce half of them but I know them very well. I can identify each by their brand name, which I write on their bottles if they accompany me home — this way my husband knows which one to bring me when it’s just too much to move on my own. All of them have made themselves at home in a body that rarely saw Tylenol. The list of poisons grows, the ones that are fighting what my body can’t and the ones that make those tolerable. A list that will never stop growing, always adding a new soldier to its army.

These drugs march their way through my bloodstream, conquering my body for good or bad. I look at pictures of women throughout their own arduous battles and I see the toll it has taken on them over time. How long until I am the frail, wrinkled skeleton I have seen in photographs? How long until my own eyes are haunted with the ghosts of failed hopes?

I am 34, and I am not 34. I don’t remember what it feels like to be young anymore, my heart and spirit are old. My body has also aged. My joints ache with an elderly pain, a nagging reminder that my body is a battleground for a war I did not choose to join. I look in the mirror and do not know the person who is staring back — the flaking, ashen skin and gray, sunken eyes. It isn’t me, surely it can’t be me.

3 thoughts on “Chemo

  1. Cheri – I can’t imagine what you are going through physically or emotionally. But when I saw you a couple weeks ago you truly looked amazing. Despite everything your eyes were sparkling, your skin was flawless, and best of all, your smile was beautiful. If you can keep that smile you will always be the most beautiful person in a room.

    My most hopeful and positive thoughts are with you.

    Liz Daly

  2. That was breathtakingly written. You are a phenomenal writer, please keep writing, your words give you and others strength and sorrow, both needed for now.

  3. Your body may be fighting a war but you look so beautiful (and your sister does too) in the graduation photo you posted. It might not match what you are feeling, but you look very pretty.

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