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  • Writer's pictureOC Warrior Queen

Battle of Assurance

I'm calling this post the Battle of Assurance because that's the purpose of my chemotherapy.


Thankfully, no cancer cells were detected in my biopsy, and my CT scans are clean. However, high grade serous ovarian cancers are infamously notorious for their agressive nature, which is why the current protocol is to remove the mass and give chemotherapy, even for stage 1 cancers of this type.


The goal is to eliminate the possibility of any sneaky cells that might be trying to make a nest elsewhere.


The Mental Preparation

Yesterday, May 31st was my first day of chemotherapy.


In the days leading up to chemo, I had my ups and downs. I felt a sense of frustration because I have healed well from surgery and felt strong physically. A little part of me felt angry that I still have to get chemotherapy even though the mass is out and my scans and tests are "clean".


It's confusing, emotionally, because on one end I feel relieved with all this good news but on the other, I am about to get hit by the side effects of chemo.


Am I supposed to celebrate or am I supposed to prepare for chemo?

Those were the thoughts and questions plaguing my mind.


I would then have to remind myself, with the help of my husband and my parents, that I can still celebrate because I am winning this battle, and chemo is just a means to ensure I stay victorious.


The Houses We Build

I'm a visual person, so the image I have painted in my mind to make sense of all of this is the following.


Imagine you are building a beautiful house, for which you have toiled laboriously for years, and have lots of other projects in mind to make it even more beautiful.


And then, suddenly, a storm hits, flooding everthing and causing destruction, disrupting all of the ongoing projects and messing up the timeline of future plans you've been looking forward to. The house of course represents the life I am building with my husband and children.


What would you do? You would stop everything and clean up the mess. You would make sure to get rid of that dirty water and perhaps repaint or rebuild what was destroyed. This part is like the surgery I had to remove the mass.


As we all know, once a home has been flooded, it's likely to get flooded again. So, now to protect it you want to do everything you can to ensure it never floods again. That means it's time to flood-proof your home. You might install a sump pump, or if you're extra like me, maybe dig a mote around your palace of a home, or erect your very own dam!


That's chemotherapy for me, it's the sump pump, the mote, and the dam to make sure cancer never floods my home ever again!

One thing I rely on a lot more these days is writing affirmations, recording myself saying them over soft music, and listening to them over an over until I believe what I am saying.


It helps me reprogram my mind, and to condition and prepare myself to face whatever the challenge may be. It also doesn't leave any room for dark thoughts or self-doubt to creep in.


If you fill up the space with positive affirmations instead of negative ones, you feel way more confident and ready to face a challenge. Half of the battle is in our minds!


Here are the affirmations I was listening myself say over the last few days:

  • I am strong, I am confident, I am calm, I am resilient.

  • My mind and body are strong and will quickly bounce back from this chemotherapy session.

  • My body is strong and is equipped with whatever it needs to quickly heal and recover after each session.

  • With the help of chemo, my body will get rid of any remaining cancer cells so that I can be cancer free.

  • I am calm and prepared for this chemotherapy session, and I will bounce back quickly.


Round 1 of 6


It wasn't bad at all. It was pretty easy. A little too easy even.


I got to the centre at 8:30 am and was given anti-nausea medicine and Benadryl before chemotherapy to control nausea and to ensure I don't have an allergic reaction.


I was then given Taxol for 3 hours and then Carboplatin for 1 hour. All in all, I spent about 6 hours in, what I call, the sunshine room!



The Benadryl knocked me out so I spent my time snoozing on and off. And at one point a massage therapist came by to massage my legs and feet which sent me to another universe. She was amazing! I am so grateful to the Maxime Letendre Foundation and to its donors for providing services like this to cancer patients.


When I wasn't on cloud 9, I spent my time talking to the nurses, had lunch, and got to paint a little bit. And then, before I knew it, it was 2:30pm and Alex came to pick me up to go home.


Side Effects

So far, the side effects are very minimal. This might be because of the steroids, which were given intravenously yesterday and are also prescribed in pill form for 2 days post-chemo.


I was told that some people feel the "real" side effects on day 3 or 4. So, let's see!


Also, one important thing to know is that as soon as you get chemo, your white blood cells start going down, and by day 10, they are at their lowest point. This means, it's the most vulnerable point in terms of being immunocompromised, and being at risk for cathcing an infection. In other words, I should avoid big crowds and indoor events around this window.


After that point, your body is able to rebuild and regenerate and you start feeling stronger, and can handle the next round of chemo.


Everyone is different, but I'm glad they took the time to explain the different phases one should expect.


For the sake of record keeping, here is what I am experiencing so far:

  • Mild fatigue.

  • Mild muscle soreness in my upper arm, on the arm that was hooked up to chemo

  • Mild itchiness on my face and arms. It comes and goes but isn't intense. Easy to ignore and avoid scratching it.


And here is a reminder of why all of these side effects and those to come are worth it. Why am I doing this, for who?



I'm building my mote, my dam and installing sump pumps to keep the flood waters away from my home, the one built with love and hard work, together with the most important people in my life: my kids and my husband.


That's all for now folks!


Thanks for reading.


Love,

Alvina

The OC Warrior Queen




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2 Comments


Guest
Jun 01, 2023

So courageous and beautiful. I knew it the day I met you that your were very special. Keep up your amazing strength and your experience will help others for sure! Josette

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Guest
Jun 01, 2023

Merci et Bravo, brillante Alvina!

Danielle P. et Mario

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