Taxol – a love/hate relationship

I have one more chemo treatment – one more week until I’m a breast cancer survivor and I’m having mixed feelings about it. Wait, no I’m not. I’m nothing but insanely excited.  I am over the moon, freaking out in an amazing way, happy and excited.  But it did make me realize I’ve had a serious love/hate relationship with my chemo drug called Taxol. Here’s a quick note to Taxol about my feelings.

Taxol, I hate you for making me a bald chick who looks, no question, like a cancer patient. My poor eyebrows are hanging on by a thread and my head gets so cold when I forget to put a scarf on when I take Stella outside (that’s also partially New England’s fault for snowing in April). The one upside is people have stopped asking me “what brings you into town” when I check into hotels for treatment. I no longer have to say “oh um a work thing”.  Taxol, I hate you for making me so tired that I couldn’t get out of bed on my nephew’s birthday.  The fatigue is really getting old and I want my energy back. Taxol, I hate you because you’re making it trickier to put IVs in every week. My veins are literally running away from you. I used to get compliments from anyone with a needle – they’d tell me “oh you have such great veins” before they poked holes in them. I now have to run my hand under warm water to make them appear – like some weird hide and go seek game. Taxol, I hate you because my toes and fingers feel like I stuck them in the snow overnight. I have neuropathy which is a funny numb/tingling sensation and it’s really annoying. Taxol, I hate that sometimes I can’t think of a simple word I’m trying to say or remember what I did 30 seconds ago.  Chemo brain, it’s a thing.  And it makes me feel really dumb.  Taxol, I hate you because I don’t feel or look like myself and I want that back. So take a hike, will ya?

On the flip side, Taxol, I love you for killing cancer. I mean seriously, you KILL CANCER for a living. That’s pretty bad ass. Taxol, I love you for saving people’s lives. I bet other people love you for that too. Taxol, I love you for giving me reassurance that even though they literally amputated my breasts to remove the cancer, you’re my 2013 Koji Uehara with the bases loaded in the 9th inning – GO SOX!

Speaking of the Red Sox… I got a really amazing surprise yesterday. I went to Dana Farber’s resource center to donate a few items and the woman working at the desk thanked me. I assured her that, as a patient, she and Dana Farber deserve the thanks. Having found out that I’m a current patient she asked if I like the Red Sox.  I’m certain if I hadn’t said yes immediately my mom was going to tackle me and scream it out for me.  She gave me 3 tickets to take my parents to the game on Sunday in Fenway’s fancy, schmancy pavilion section. I was blown away – they really have cracked the code to “above and beyond” patient care. They’ve somehow managed to make cancer a positive experience. It’s truly an amazing place that I have a love/love relationship with and will forever be committed to supporting their efforts and paying back what they’ve given to me, which will soon be the ability to say I’m a cancer survivor.

8 Replies to “Taxol – a love/hate relationship”

  1. God, I just love ya! Beyond over the moon that you are at this stage of your journey. Proud is an understatement. You have embodied strength, resiliency and positive attitude. Can’t wait to celebrate this huge milestone and can’t wait for you to say, “See ya!!” to Taxol!!!!!!!

  2. Fantastic blog! And… I love the picture and the fact that you are going to the Sox game on Sunday. Love every second of it! You’ve earned that and more and I, too, am so psyched for you. It must be somewhat surreal that in one week you will say goodbye to those weekly trips into the city.
    I want to thank you Kristen for keeping up with your blog and educating us, inspiring us, making us laugh and making us cry. You are one amazingly tough woman and I am so proud of you.
    Now onto life after chemo girl…. yipee!

  3. I was thinking yesterday that in just one week you will be up up up hill on full speed to recover.!!!!…dunno if we are going to get your beautiful blogs as often but it doesn’t matter because I HAVE A HERO among my friends and soon we’ll blog face to face over wine and kitchen dancing parties!

  4. I’ll echo all of the previous comments…. you are my hero too Kristen !!! I have been amazed by your candor, your wit, your eloquence in describing the mundane, the emotional and the scientific, and your raw vulnerability that makes us all love you so much ❤️❤️. I would love to be invited to a kitchen dancing party and I’ll even provide the kitchen…lol! I hate to miss a party! The end is in sight… the news will be positive and I’m counting the days till then. Love you my kick ass godchild! 😇

  5. Love reading this, KG – your story is incredible, and you are so inspiring. Can’t wait till this is all behind you! I love hate Taxol for you, and I just love you.

  6. Kristen, thank you for allowing us to be on this journey with you. I have laughed with you, cried with you, learned a ton, was inspired by you and sat in awe of you. You have reached the finish line and done so with tremendous grace and dignity. You are one tough cancer surviving woman! Love you!

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