5 out of 8. How are we here already? I cannot believe this whole experience started in July and we are already almost in November. I knew it would go fast once we hit my favorite season but time is FLYING BY and this girl is loving it. Before we know it, it will be early December and I will be doing cartwheels everywhere celebrating pure victory.
This past Tuesday I had my first round of Taxol and BOY am I glad that is over. My companions were my dad Superman Stu and my girl T-Rap (T-Goldie; AKA my first friend ever for 34.5 years). They are warriors because Taxol is a LONG A** infusion and is over 3 hours (mine was 6 hours because I am extra special). For the first one, they administer super slowly because you can have a reaction such as shortness of breath, turning red, etc (anyone want to switch spots with me?). And to make it even more fun, they ice your hands/feet the entire time and make you feel like your Elsa in the movie Frozen (yes, that is over 3 hours with ice on you!). The coldest I have ever been was a hypothermia warning in Boston when Sam and I thought it was a good idea to walk to a party with no gloves and a beer can in our hands. Those were the days…worrying about which party was next.
Apparently the ice protects your nail beds because they can get all screwed up too; add it to the physical responses that these chemicals have on your body (is there any part of you that can’t get damaged?). Thank g-d my chest will look FAB. About an hour into mine, my Dad and Tara notice that I am super splotchy (for those who know me very well, it was the same as if I drank Stoli). I felt like Jim Carrey in the Truman Show— within a minute all 8 nurses ran in as well as my oncologist and Odessa (his right hand and my spirit animal). They decide to slow down the infusion to see if that will help; the final consensus is that I am just a splotchy girl. Tick, tick, tick—3 hours becomes 6 hours, and I am delirious. That IV coming out of my arm was how I imagine winning the lotto is. Thank you Dad and Tara for not leaving my side, and for Markeeeeeee who surprised me as soon as he heard about “my red reaction”. I think you either live life like you are dancing on rainbows or under a dark sad rain cloud, and luckily I prefer the happy route. For the most part (this is in life pre the big C), I always have a smile on my face and although my doctors think I am nuts, I certainly keep it interesting and am pretty unique when it comes to my attitude versus others there. You know that is true when every nurse and doctor at a Cancer hospital tells you that.
Moving on to all the good that has happened over the last 2 weeks. For starters, this chickadee is 3-5 and it feels good. While I did not get to have jello shots on my birthday , it really was such a magical day. While cancer sucks and it completely changes you forever, life is amazing and I am appreciating it now more than ever (so should you!).
Highlights of the last few weeks:
- My birthday was AMAZING and did not disappoint at all. Sub-bullets happening:
- Marc legit planned the best day ever (and got me the most GORGIE bag!). So grateful I was feeling well to enjoy each activity (with naps in between of course!); started with Soul Cycle in Roslyn (11am class with 8 people vs the 945 waitlist sold out class; these are things I never thought of before), followed by massages at the Garden City Hotel’s Red Door Spa, lunch at the hotel, a nap for 2 hours, and dinner at the new David Burke Restaurant. Luckily my appetite was BACK and I truly got to stuff my face which is rare these days.
- My kids rock – they sang, they danced, they made brownies/cookies, and gave me so many hugs/kisses. I can’t even with the two of them!
- For those of you who follow me on insta, I hope you got to see my Terez takeover. They are doing one every Tuesday and featuring Breast Cancer patients/survivors during October; was such a cool experience and thank you Deb (do not know what I would do without you!) for the introduction. They documented the entire day and I was thrilled to share my story!!
- I got to celebrate with so many girlfriends from all areas of life; thanks for spoiling me and going the extra mile this year! A girls night out is always the best medicine and I purposely planned treatment around 10/16 so I can celebrate.
- Rob & Hayley—Devin from the Challenge wishing me a Happy Birthday was BY FAR the icing on the cake. I am not going to blow your secret on how you made that happen but I love him, and that was absolutely absurd!!!
- I keep comparing my on week staying at my parents to the redemption house, and my off week like living in the Challenge house. See the correlation?
- Thanks to everyone for all the wishes/messages/calls/flowers/balloons/gifts/texts; not one person forgot and it made me feel so special!
- Charity Ride—HOLY MOLY, was this a success!! We raised over $7300 for the BRCA Foundation (that is SO much money!!). Huge thanks to iSpin for being such great hosts, for my sister making such a bad a** sign, to Pammycakes for donating cookies (https://www.pammycakecreations.com/) and to everyone who donated, rode, and traveled near/far. The playlist, the energy in the room, the vibes, and the love were EVERYTHING and it made the birthday week complete.
- I know I referenced this in a much earlier post but having friends and support from each part of my life has always been something incredibly important to me. At the ride, I had representation from family, childhood, elementary school, high school, to college, post college NYC life, old colleagues from Verve and current colleagues (JB!). To look around the room and see 37 people there FOR ME was the most special feeling in the world. I seriously can’t thank you enough for giving up a part of your Sunday to celebrate life!
- For those who could not ride and donated, THANK YOU. Playlist below (inspired by my Positive Vibes Spotify list):
- Came here for love Calvo remix-sigala ft Ella eyre
- Run the world (girls)-Beyoncé
- Eye of the tiger (Ralph Crowell &maydro festival remix)- survivor
- Dog days are over – Florence and the machine
- Stronger (mac Quayle mixshow edit) – Britney Spears
- We will rock you remix – queen
- Stronger- Kanye west
- Survivor – destinys child
- Fight song (wildbeat remix)- rachel platten
- Don’t stop believing (mynga remix) – journey
- Roar club mix remix- Katy perry
- The climb (teddy cream bootleg)- Miley Cyrus
- Major shout out to Karen & Steve Goldsmith for babysitting my kids during the ride; so lucky that I got such an amazing extended family. My kids had the best time ever and asked when you are coming back (whenever you want!).
- Pierce and his school did a Breast Cancer Walk; Mill Neck is such a magical place and I love how much they give back to the community.
- I am officially at 62.5% and started the new chapter of Taxol; adios Red Devil. While I only had this on Tuesday, I was warned that round 5 would be the hardest. I have a mix of the RD still in my body and introduced a new drug; well, I will absolutely say that these doctors know what they are talking about. Side effects are definitely different and this is lighter but it comes with its own version of fun. I retreated at my parents for the week, and am definitely fatigued and SO SORE/ACHY. I feel like I took 10 SLT classes in a row, and every bone decided to wake up from these drugs. However, I will take this over foggy/dizzy, which is a WIN in my book. I cannot believe I only have 3 more left! I can so do this!
- The Bold Type: What an amazing show! You are very welcome; highly recommend to anyone who loves Younger and is in media/publishing. I binge watched in 2 days and wish I had more seasons to enjoy!
- SAY YES: I got an invite to a 40th birthday that is at the end of December and I actually got to say YES because I WILL BE DONE. You have no idea how that feels until your liberty and freedom of being a YES girl is stripped from you. That was the fastest RSVP ever, and I cannot wait to SHAKE IT. For me, will all of you just say YES to anything fun? Thanks so much in advance!!
- The Cancer Card: I have had to pull this a few times in the last couple of months especially with chemobrain BUT this story takes the cake. For those of you familiar with Denny’s, it is an incredible children’s clothing store and I feel like my kids could be their spokesmodels (along with half of Long Island). Since being diagnosed I have been living a much cleaner life and have been utilizing CBD oil for anxiety/sleep when necessary; CBD oil does not contain THC and it is amazing. Well, I bought a new CBD oil vape that is just for Gabby (no germs!); I am in Denny’s minding my own business waiting on line when the store owners/clerks mention that it smells like smoke and need to know where its coming from. We are all looking around, and sure enough, there is a big black cloud coming from my pocketbook. I am swatting the smoke with both hands, and it was like a scene out of a movie. I turn bright red and have to explain that it is legal, and why I have it. It must have turned on in my bag and is super sensitive to touch (hands down one of the most absurd experiences in my life). Never been a better time for the C card; thanks for the laugh CBD.
It is obvious that there are things I am going to miss and be upset about:
- My Cousin Jill’s Wedding: I was super fortunate to grow up literally across the street from my Aunt Eileen, Uncle Mel, Cousin Jill, and Cousin Melissa. They were 4-5 steps away at all points and Mals and I were the annoying little cousins. I noticed as I got older that no one else called their cousins “Cousin Jill”, “Cousin Melissa”, etc; to this day, we all still address each other by Cousin before the name. My Cousin Jill is getting married next weekend and I cannot believe I have to miss it; it is in Florida and it is not suggested I fly during flu season especially when still under treatment. I will have FOMO to the max but super happy that Marc and the kids (flower girl/ring bearer) will be representing the Wasses. So happy I got to come that Saturday night to your bach party in Greenport; how brilliant to rent a house, sit in sweats, and have a chef come (Gabby “The Big C” approved). Best of luck Markeeeeeeeeee on the flights to and from with both kids (YOU GOT THIS!!!!).
- My nuggets & Marc. I know it is best that I rest and that I spend my on-week at my parents house but I am really missing my normal family balance. Even Pierce who I thought had no concept of timing asked me the other day where I have been and when I am coming home, and that he misses me (so many tears!). I know my kids are feeling it, and I am so proud for how brave they are; this will be a chapter that closes in their life too and every FaceTime call gives me the extra strength I need to crush this.
- Sushi: Please come back into my life. I need an omakase STAT with a bottle of sake.
- My teams annual Thanksgiving lunch: This was one of the best days in 2017. I absolutely love my team at Placed, and I will be at Sloan with an IV in my arm while my favorite humans all celebrate the best holiday ever (Thanksgiving is up there with my birthday!). Please send me LOTS of snaps; Riley and I will miss you (yes Riley joined us last year and came to Cubby Hole; mom of the year!).
- My eyebrows and eyelashes: As if losing your hair is not hard enough, your eyebrows and eyelashes apparently wait for Taxol to really kick in (treatment 7/8) before falling out. It is like the final F*CK YOU from chemo; kind of comical when you think about it. They say the last to fall out is the first to grow back; well, thanks for that! Luckily I got my hands on lots of good pencils/stencils and am ready to become an eyebrow expert. If anyone has any tips, I am more than interested! On a positive note, I am like a hairless cat and have not had to shave in 2 months; could be worse!
Still figuring out my reaction to Taxol overall, and when I will officially feel back to Gab before I head back into round 6. I always got a good 5-6 days on A/C so I am praying I get the same for these 4 rounds. After all, I got Riley’s birthday party coming up (can’t let this stop me!) and Halloween; I cannot wait to spend the day with my kids (outdoors is a beautiful thing!). While Marc and the kids are away in Florida, my bestie from the midwestie Jamie is flying in to keep me company; all my girlfriends from elementary and high school are spending the weekend at my house (I told you I got the greatest friends ever!). Looking forward to lots of smiles/laughs/reminiscing and to my cousin Jill FaceTiming me so I can see how beautiful she looks and how the kids are during the ceremony.
Love you all and cannot thank you enough for the support!! We are SO CLOSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Gab (6 weeks away from FREEDOM!!!!)
One thought on “CALL ME ELSA (AT LEAST IN MY LONG BLONDE WIG)”
Thanks again for this fabulous update. There are so many ups and downs. Hearing about Pierce missing you was very moving. But I know he will
be so glad when it’s over and you’re home for good. It’s so great to hear how much you are in this to win it. All the encouragement that is sent to you helps you to send some of it back to us. You’re a survivor and a winner!!!