The main character in my novel, A Cry From the Dust, is about two months past her last chemo treatment for breast cancer. I don't think I've ever read a book where the protagonist is in remission. As the saying goes, write what you know, and I am a breast cancer survivor. I don't mind talking about it at all. I sorta figured God had a reason, so all I had to do is stick with the plan. The photo you see here is me, mid cancer treatment. Like my wig? That sucker was ITCHY!
I had a lot of strange ideas about cancer, chemo, doctors, hospitals, and dying. Mostly I didn't think about them at all. I'd never been in a hospital except to visit someone. The doctors I knew were friends. You died when you got cancer. Chemo made you violently sick and all your hair immediately fell out.
I discovered you didn't have to die from cancer. My oncologist gave me a printout on my survival chances (now there's an eye opener!) I had a 79% chance of living longer than five years if I had surgery, chemo, and hormone treatment. Living longer than five years? Good heavens, I figured I wouldn't need to think about dying until I was really old! Well, I'm coming up on ten years in remission, so the printout was right.
Chemo is a trip. I had a port surgically implanted just below my collarbone. The port was about the size of a half-dollar with a small tube that took the chemo straight to my heart. Every other week I'd go to the cancer center, pick up paperwork, walk across the hall and have my blood drawn and tested, return across the hall and meet with the oncologist (a great guy!), go upstairs, have a nurse poke a needle into my port, be seated in a comfy lounge chair, and get plugged into the chemo machine. The chemo itself isn't painful, only cold. In fact, the effects of chemo usually took two days. Wednesday was chemo day. Thursday I got a shot in the stomach to boost my blood, and Friday I got hammered. This was a problem because my mom was dying of emphysema and my care-taking duties started Friday night.
It took two treatments before my hair fell out, and oh! was that an ugly sight. I made an appointment with Nora to get it all shaved off (what was left.) When I entered the salon, everyone went dead silent. No one would look at me. The all knew. Nora whispered, "do you want to go into the back?" Huh? I figured I'd get some humor-mileage out of this. "No," I whispered back. "Give me a Mohawk." So she did. She shaved it all except a line of hair running down the middle of my head. Of course, there was only about twenty hairs left up there. We giggled at the look and shaved it all off.
Well, enough of the cancer story for now. Yeah, I feel fine, thanks for asking. :-)
Fine artist, forensic artist, author.