White Flag

You guys. This cancer stuff–I fear I am hovering just above the edge of something and I don’t like it. I don’t know what it is, where it is going to take me, but it feels ominous.

Surgery seems easy, in hindsight. Healing wounds and binding musculature back together is so straightforward. You feel the pain, you take a painkiller. You know you are one day closer to healing.

This- chemo- feels so different. I feel sick but I can’t put my finger on how I feel sick. It feels real, but also like I could be making the whole thing up, à la Yolanda Hadid’s mysterious Munchausen. Do I feel this terrible or is my mind telling me I should?

For a brief while, chemo seemed almost romantic. Like, ‘look at this glorious mountain of achievement I can stand atop and say I conquered. I will be better than chemo. I will make it my bitch.’

So far, not happening. Nothing glorious about this. I feel shaky, I have a low grade fever, my throat and mouth hurt. My legs are achy, my tastebuds are faulty. The texture of water, as it goes through my mouth and down my throat, feels soft and milky.

This is not the blog post I wanted to write. I want to be your hero. I want to make this look doable. I want to be Queen Grancer who overtakes the silly chemo roadblocks.

But right now all I can think about is time passing. Passing me through this. Squeaking summer away so I am beyond this part. Wishing a beautiful, sunny day to pass me by but begging it to take my children somewhere joyful while we wait.

I signed my baby boy up for full-time daycare today. It feels tragic and I feel defeated. I can’t take care of him the way I should be able to, so I have to give that honor up to a stranger.

I know what you will all say: it is one short stretch of time in their young lives. They may not remember any of this. They will be fine, they will have fun!!

But I will remember. I will always know that I was forced to wave my white flag far earlier than I ever intended to. I am strong, but I am human, too.

My mother in-law lost her 6 year battle to ovarian cancer this January. She had chemo on and off for 5+ years. Every time we spoke, I would ask her how she was feeling and every time she said, ‘I can’t complain.’

I have had 1 round of a light-ish dose of chemo and here I am complaining. This disease is ugly. It not only robs you of your vitality, it robs you of your dignity.

My mother-in-law did not let cancer take her dignity. She was somehow bigger than this. I wish she was here to tell me how to follow her lead, because from where I am standing, composure seems unsustainable.

I am telling you all now, admitting it. I don’t want to do this anymore. What once seemed like a badge of honor I could forever lord over the rest of humanity for having endured, seems like a ball and chain that I can’t carry.

In 6 months time this will be behind me. I will have some of my life back, my kids will have the mother they are going to be denied for the near future. Time will pass, I will soldier on. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Pity party, table for one, please.


12 Comments Add yours

  1. arafatkazi says:

    Praying for you, my dear sister. You ARE my hero. This is incredibly difficult and you’re rocking it. Have your bad days and your pity party. They are unavoidable. They are also completely surmountable.

    Six months.


  2. JoAnn D Kirk says:

    You do not have to try to be a hero. Why did you even think that you had to be? That was just setting yourself up for….who knows what? Chemo SUCKS big time. I laid in bed and stared at my closet doors for months! I called how I felt “body sick” but that does not even begin to describe it. I could not talk to people on the phone because I would cry. I could not wait for each agonizing day to end.

    Also remember that everyone is different. It is not about how your MIL handled things, but how she was affected by the disease and the drugs.


  3. Gail says:

    Even your darkest hour only has 60 minutes. You don’t have to be a heroine through that.


  4. mklf3014 says:

    Ok, so this part sucks. You describe it so perfectly…is it real, am I making it up, just what the hell am I feeling.You will rise from this in a day or two and get some good days before the next round. You will never forget this or what it did to your life, but I promise you, as time goes on it is the positive things like not taking moments for granted that will come so easily to your every day routine, and the negative things that felt so strong at the time find a way of moving from a constant noise, to a background whisper, to finally to a distant memory that will hit you at weird moments and make you fall to your knees and thank any and all things you believe in for all you have and all you have conquered. You’ve got this 💜


  5. Liz says:

    Thinking of you today…


  6. Anonymous says:

    You are one brave woman Grace. Thanks for sharing yourself with all of us out here. I hope the time will pass quickly for you. Hugs, Diane


  7. Katrina Corbett says:

    love and peaceful rest while you heal… let yourself be doula’d for once, k? xooxoxoxoxo


  8. Tracy says:

    I started TC the day after you and feel very similar. I want a day without thinking about it…..without wondering if every little symptom is a problem. I’ll be following your blog since we are so linked in scheduling! I wish I felt invincible……but it is a bridge too far today. I have the bone pain, constipation, and mouth hurts. Low fever as well. Sigh….better days are coming.


  9. Emily Boccia says:

    I just had my first round of chemo this past Thursday and up to this moment I feel exactly what you have written! I want to quit! I want to sleep until it’s over. It’s horrible but we will get through this!


  10. cherylcarse says:

    My heart aches for you, and everyone else who is going through this shit storm.


  11. Sara says:

    Exactly how I am feeling in this moment. Thank you. It’s making me feel better to know that I know you did get through it.


    1. mygrancerblog says:

      I just re-read this post so I could take myself back there to relate. Blech. No likey. I am so sorry. I wish I could change time for you. But the clock will tic on and you will find yourself someone else’s ‘mentor’ in a year.


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