Shock and Awe

I am having an out of body experience, one that has now been ongoing for over a month. I am hovering over myself, witnessing what I thought would be a miserable nightmare but is actually a magical dream state. I was fully prepared to walk softly and carry a big stick beforehand, but now I feel as if I should be buying boxes of lottery tickets and handing them out to homeless people.

I am witnessing myself undergoing chemotherapy treatments, with almost nary a side effect. I simply cannot believe my good fortune. I am one lucky little chemo ducky.

For anyone who knows me well, they are familiar with my philosophy of life that has guided me for decades. I am what I consider to be the world’s happiest little pessimist. Unlike the Pollyanna optimists who always anticipate hopeful, positive outcomes and then are devastated and ill-prepared when gloom and doom occur, I always anticipate gloom and doom, firmly readying myself for every possible negative fork in the road ahead. Then, when gloom and doom occur, I am Girl Scout ready, not missing a beat as I navigate through any given morass.

But, in the event that a favorable outcome arrives instead, I am euphorically happy. A turnabout that was unforeseen and therefore I can gloriously celebrate. It is a fool-proof strategy for me, a win-win for one who hates surprises in life. I am always auspiciously spared from being caught unprepared, and possibly giddy with joy.

As to why this latest turn of medical good fortune is mine, I absolutely have no idea. Is it due to a cancer diagnosis that was so mild that only a chemo top-off was indicated, cutting edge medical advancement, or the astrological alignment of the stars? Regardless, you won’t hear wisecracks coming from my peanut gallery. Just a collective sigh of relief, charmed pennies landing in a fountain, and sacrificial lambs being laid on the altar. Never in a million years did I see this coming.

In typical fashion, I had done my extensive chemo homework prior to my first treatment on December 15. I had talked to my friends who had already traversed the poisonous chemical Oregon Trail. I had read countless books and blogs about the experiences of others, some numbingly devastating ordeals. I googled everything, notably my own prescribed cocktail.

I bought a bunch of head coverings and had my head shaved prior to my first infusion. I stocked up on foods and regimens to address nausea, vomiting, and debilitating mouth sores. I was prepared to say goodbye to favorite foods, not wanting to have a negative association result from a metallic mouth taste which might ban them from my palate in the future.

But, shock and awe. This is your lucky day. Look what’s behind Door #3.

I have now experienced two chemo treatments in over a month and no deleterious side effects. Let me repeat that. No. Deleterious. Side. Effects.

To date, I have not lost a single hair. My shampoo and conditioner are back in action as my hair is growing in from my buzz cut.

I still use mascara for eyelashes that have not fallen out.

I have no nausea or vomiting.

I have no metallic taste in my mouth that affects how foods taste so I am eating regular favorites and can skip salmon, okra, lima beans and pancakes.

I have no mouth sores.

I have no pain.

I have no complaints.

So, one asks, what do I have? How do I know it’s not a placebo?

For a couple of days following an infusion treatment, I have three symptoms. I am less-energetic. There is some intestinal laxity. And I have a weird mouth feel. Period. Then they go away. Back to pre-chemo normal.

I am diligent about avoiding germs, infection and populated public spaces and will continue to do so until the end of February. It is a small price to pay to not alter the treatment schedule ahead.

And, because of my life philosophy, I am fully prepared that my sparkling good luck could change at any moment. But, given that I have already experienced 50% of my treatments, I am starting to uncharacteristically wobble towards the side that thinks there may be two more chemo happy dances in my future.

I still have radiation ahead, but I will be ready. In the meantime, I am celebrating a chemo out of body experience, and gratefully humbled by shock and awe.

15 thoughts on “Shock and Awe

  1. I am so happy that your body and mind are handling this so incredibly well! You are an amazing woman and I continue to send positive happy thoughts your way! 😗

  2. Thank you for the update-so happy that it is going so well. Your words are always so inspiring :). You are amazing!

  3. Love this! You embrace life with such fervor, and joy and yes, a dash of pessimism to keep you on your toes. I am so impressed with you!
    Rock On Sistah’

  4. Your story is a great one! You have a beautiful outlook on life, and you deserve the unexpected positive path you’re on at this moment in time. I’m so happy for you! And I’m thrilled to see travel plans in your near future!

  5. Sooo good to read your latest entry! I love your “happiest little pessimist” tag! Maybe I’ll strive for that to be me. 🙂 Sometimes when I’m having a sad, dark day Richard (who is NOT prone to sad, dark days) will say about me, “Her glass isn’t even half empty… no one ever even gave her a glass.” Poor me!!!😎 You’re being used to inspire many, Terri.🎀

    2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power & love & of a sound mind.💜

    1. I love your encouraging words as well Shari. Please know that I think of you and Richard often. God bless you too!!

      1. Hi Rosalba! I hope all is well with you! I hear about you from time to time through Terri. It was just so cool reading your note here on Terri’s blog! God bless you too & please take care!💜

  6. Another marvelous blog but this one is a nice turn from what I was expecting of this journey along with you.  Glad you can eat your beloved menudo!

    Your brother is so damn proud of you.

  7. Way to go Terri! So thrilled for you and I know that your positive outlook has lots to do with your recovery.
    Personally, I think there should be a beer or a bubbly named ‘Shock and Awe’ to celebrate this progress.

  8. Today was one of those days at work where I was faced with the dark side of humanity and how cruel people can be to each other. What a pleasant surprise it was to read your latest entry. It warms my heart to read that your chemo experiences are not what you were preparing for and reminds me there is a lot of good to be seen too. Here’s to two more chemo treatments of smooth sailing, but if the waters become choppy, I know you will be prepared 🙂 Hugs!

  9. Your posts are really positive and inspiring. I have said it before and I will say it again, anyone newly diagnosed with breast cancer needs to read them. I was terrified and would love to have read something encouraging and your posts are filled with good news.

  10. I’m so, so happy for you! The blessings of the Lord, the prayers, and your strong faith made it possible. God knows that you don’t like surprises and He gave you the biggest one of all!!!

  11. Hi Terri –

    You are a lucky girl!!!!!!!!!!!

    What a blessing that you have had smooth sailing so far during your chemo adventure. I would have taken your approach with the hair and had it all cut off. Who would have guessed that you didn’t need to do that? You are showing those of us who haven’t tried chemo yet that it is very doable. Thank you so much for telling your fans about your progress.

    XXXOOO Joyce


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