Irony: a state of affairs or event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result.
Way back in January, at the beginning of this very eventful year, I declared that my word of the year would be Acceptance. I selected that word as my guidepost in accepting the changes in our family life, changes such as dinnertime becoming unpredictable; Louisa preparing to leave the nest now that she’s a high school senior; and allowing the processed hair on my head to grow out in order to see whether I could accept my natural color(s) instead of remaining a slave to root touchups.
If you look back to that January post you will see the before picture to compare to this after picture. At the end of this growing-out process, I’m pleased with the result. It will gradually gray as time goes by, but in a balanced way.
You may be asking where is the irony in this? Hold on, I’m getting there…
It was a long, long year of patience and struggle as I grew out the old hair. I hated seeing the stacked layers of color on my head when I looked in the mirror. Several times I wavered, but Joe and others encouraged me to continue, I was almost there! Yes, I’m sure many consider this a first world problem, but it was a very personal one that affected my self esteem.
And now we arrive at the irony. After this long year of patience, another word that I could easily choose as word of the year, I will be losing my hair very soon. You see, I recently began chemotherapy treatments because I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. Yep, you never think it will be you or someone you know, but I’m the unlucky 1 in 8 who will receive that diagnosis in her lifetime. Because of the type of cancer I have, the recommended protocol is that I receive 6 treatments of chemotherapy prior to surgery and possible radiation.
Talk about needing to embrace Acceptance. Was it a premonition that had me select that word? I’ll never know. Over the past month I’ve had to accept the transition from a healthy-feeling person, with a healthy outlook on life into a patient whose life by necessity revolves around tests, doctor appointments and medications. Aaaaaugh! I’ve had to accept that I don’t control the reins as I once believed, and my daily goals have been whittled down to very little.
Are you ready for more irony? You know how all of these years I’ve been blogging about food? My favorite things to eat? Looking for family favorites? My search for something good to eat? Guess what? I now eat merely to live since nothing tastes the same, and very little tastes good thanks to the chemo. Plain cream cheese is now one of my favorite flavors. Are you laughing out loud yet? You have my permission.
Which brings me to this blog. What should I do with it? Obviously it’s impossible for me to share tasty recipes with you. I wouldn’t know a tasty recipe these days if it smacked me in my soon-to-be-bald head.
Here’s my plan. I’m a writer, that much hasn’t changed at least. And I like to write about my life experiences. Therefore, sometimes I plan to write about my experience as a cancer patient, but from a more philosophical point of view. I don’t intend to give you the nitty gritty details, you can find those on other patients’ blogs. If you’re curious you may ask questions in the comments and I will answer them to the degree I feel comfortable. As I said, I like to write about my experiences, especially if the information I share can help other people. I will write as frequently as I have the energy, but with these treatments, I’m learning that there are good days and bad days.
I continue to practice Zentangle, a practice that is now therapeutic as well as creative for me, and will continue to share my tiles when I can.
I’ve actually had as many thoughts about food as in the past, but just from a different perspective. And so I plan to share those thoughts, as well.
I hope you will stick with me as I begin this upcoming year of treatments, which is what they’ve told me to expect since one of my drugs will be infused for a full year. I expect that things will be a little easier for me by late spring after the initial 6 heavy treatments are completed.
Finally, I’m not so sure if I’ll be choosing a new word for 2017. I think last year’s word will last me for a very long time. Or do you have any suggestions for a better one?