Happy Birthday to me! How about some Chemo?
It’s been a rough week; for myself, my family, and our nation.
For our nation: My heart goes out to all the victims of the floods in Houston and surrounding areas. Fear of flooding is still fresh in my mind from the unusually wet winter here in Northern California that gave rise to the narrowly diverted Oroville Dam crisis and seriously stress-tested our levees. Living near the Sacramento River, my own home could end up in more than 15 feet of water if levees were to catastrophically fail. I feel so fortunate there were no substantial infrastructure failures here last winter, but I empathize greatly and understand how easily something like this could be happening in my city. As you all know, I have a soft spot for the critters so I made a donation to the Houston SPCA hoping to do my part in some small way.
Thank you to the everyday heroes that are there now assisting with rescue and shelter/supplies for those displaced. It is heartening to see the nation coming together for a community in need. I sincerely hope this generosity and empathy for others continues in the national discourse moving forward.
For my family: My aunt (ironically from Texas – luckily not Houston) had a heart attack while traveling early this week. It has been a stressful few days for the family waiting for updates and outcomes of procedures. Thankfully, after surgery to implant a stent she is doing well and a full recovery is expected with some lifestyle changes. My family is my rock and I’m very glad this medical scare has turned out for the best.
For myself: This Friday is my birthday. I’ll be 33 this year. It is also my next chemo treatment. Theoretically a birthday is just another day, but even as an adult something about chemo on your birthday just sucks.
For me, birthdays also bring reflection; reflection of the year past and the year to come. This can be a hard thing to face when living with Cancer. Looking back, it feels as if my 30’s have been monopolized by Cancer instead of the marriages and babies my friends have been able to experience and I had also once hoped to have. I have not been in active treatment for all of my 30’s, but once you’ve had Cancer the doctors appointments and tests never really stop. I haven’t gone more than four weeks without going to the doctors in the last 3+ years. This is not what I had envisioned or expected for this portion of my life.
Looking forward is only more uncertainty, as I don’t know what types of treatments I will be on, how my Cancer will respond, and ultimately if I will live to see another birthday. I know that probably sounds extreme given my current look of health, but this potential is the reality of my diagnosis. It’s confusing, frustrating, and disappointing to find myself in this situation despite all of my hard work and good choices to build a life for myself.
I am aware that despite Cancer I have accomplished many things in my 30’s both personally and professionally. Most notably, I’ve received promotions, been recruited for new positions, and bought a house. Most days I focus on these positive things I am proud to have achieved, but I’ll admit my birthday reflection has me in a bit of a funk. Positive Brandi will return, but dealing with negative and difficult emotions is also part of this experience.
On a lighter note: With all the heavy topics in today’s blog, I would like to end on a lighter note. Therefore, I present to you cute kittens! These are my newest litter of foster kittens from the Front Street Animal Shelter. I’ll be taking care of these these babies until they are big enough to be fixed and adopted. It’s good for them to meet new people, so shoot me a note if you want to come say hi!