After 5 months, it is the best feeling to say I AM DONE. I DID IT. A few days before the last round, I was chatting with the Cycle for Survival Team about my public speaking opportunity at the upcoming March event, I literally (verbatim) said out loud, “this was just such an amazing experience”. I laughed after and said to the Business Development Team, I cannot believe I just described cancer like that (I mean, who seriously does that), and then explained how I learned so much about myself, my strength, a deeper appreciation for my family and friends, how cool I am, and how each day should be lived to the fullest. Jen Oilman, I guess that is the rose glasses in me (best compliment ever!) J
I thought I would write the next blog immediately after I completed the last round on 12/4 but I truly couldn’t verbalize the emotions I was feeling. I decided to sit on it for a few weeks and process the war my body just went through. It is so strange to be done but yet so exciting; it is weird to not have appointments every week, and it is incredibly hard to know that I am cured yet I look like a cancer patient (still sporting my Doug cartoon character hair, full eyebrows (phew!), and 25% of my eyelashes). I was ready for everything and anything that Round 8, also known as 100%, could have brought me but the truth is, it was not that too bad! I am attributing it to the company that came to my chemo suite that last round and to having my most favorite nurse ever, Thierry. I had Markeeeeee, my sister, my mom, my two mentors (Chad & JB), Jamie & Nancy Jeuda (seeing the 100% sign in your window meant the world!), and a surprise visit from T-Rap (obsessed with our soul sister bracelets; its officially never leaving my body). Needless to say, I was achy for a few days but this time solely in the legs versus from head to toe, and I just slept A LOT. I hate even complaining about it because at the end of the day, it was the last one and that is all that mattered. Excited for my body to get adjusted to life post chemo and to start stabilizing; after all, this chickadee is back to the grind January 2nd (can’t wait!!).
I thought it would be fun to outline a lot of my revelations and the things (some super little) I now have a deeper appreciation for:
- Sushi: You knew this was happening. This Friday night, Mals, Adam, Marc, and I went to Arata. Every bite melted in my mouth and I could have cried of pure bliss. That last Tuna with a peanut sauce in the 10 piece omakase meal was MAGICAL. I licked the entire plate clean. I hope and pray I never have to give this up ever again!
- I love my kids (like more than anything) but being home for the last 5 months confirms that I am meant to be a working mom. I could never replace the amount of time I got to spend with them and I am so grateful I got to see them flourish, but this girl needs a J-O-B. Ready to hustle, crush it, get back my patience, and am heading into 2019 with a new head (and hair, wigs, hats) on my shoulders (literally!).
- Peloton: Thank you for keeping me company, for making me motivated to still keep my body in check, and for being an in home solution. Emma Lovewell, your groove rides, make Gabby happy. Thank you for making it similar to Soul Cycle, for making me sweat on the daily, and for making me smile.
- Sloan Kettering. You saved my life. I promise you the rest of mine will be lived to the fullest, and I am going to continue to take such good care of myself. I cannot thank you enough for catching this so early, for being so vigilant, for hiring the best doctors/nurses, and for being the BEST hospital and most knowledgeable. You truly are experts.
- Hair. I long for the days I can get a blow out. I knew I was going to lose it all, but I did not really pay attention or do any research on the actual timeline for growing back. It is going to take A LONG TIME, and I am working through that now (I really thought I was the exception to the rule but that is just not life). Already researching cute headbands, pixie cuts, and know that I will rock it (because after you go through this, you just say f*ck it and OWN IT).
- Great skin care & make up products. Oddly (minus the crows feet), my skin has never been better. Thank you chemo for not making me break out! Best products are Beautycounter, Drunk Elephant, Cetaphil, Tarte, and First Aid Beauty. I am super cautious about products now and these are all made so well/safely.
- Family. Needless to say, my support team could not be topped. I felt for people at Sloan who were there alone, and I was basically hosting a party every other week. There was a family member there with me every single round, and you all did not leave my side for 5 months. I always knew how amazing you all were, and how lucky I was, but when times are tough, we all just come together in this way that is so special. Love you all so much, and Marc, THANK YOU for being my rock (we got stronger because of this and that is so cool!!).
- My nuclear circle. I have the BEST friends in the entire universe. Everyone should be envious at how freakin awesome my friends are. Every single one rose to the occasion, checked in on me all the time, was there for me at all hours of the day, helped with my kids, was there for Marc, and gave me the love/support I needed to conquer the shiat out of this. I struck gold with all of you!
- Paulette (Paul Paul). You are my childrens second mother and make my house function. Not only did you take care of my two kids and make sure they did not skip a beat, you took care of me. You were my therapist, friend, and family during all of this and I could not have gotten through this without you by my side.
- The girls I have met through this. I have been connected to so many strong women through this process. Cheers to all of us for overcoming this together, for being each others shoulders to laugh/cry on, and for sharing our stories. Couldn’t have done this without you!
- My home & Merrick. My house is my peaceful place; it is so zen and has great energy. I was truly able to take care of myself and relax and there was days at end I did not leave my house; that is a testament to have magical it is because in general I cannot sit still. I could not imagine going through this anywhere else but Merrick. I am surrounded daily by such incredible people, and EVERYONE (whether we are besties, our kids are in school together, or friends of friends) was SO supportive. Thank you for all the carpools, for dropping by with bags of groceries, for just ringing my doorbell for a hug, and for constantly checking in on me to see if I needed anything. Marc and I feel so blessed that we moved here, that we met all of you, and that we have made friends who are family at this point.
Up next is my final surgeries are in the middle of January and that has a two week recovery; I am resting (need it! Got 102 yesterday and was sent to the hospital), getting my body strong and prepared for it (lots of weights, vitamins, Peloton). Nothing can compare to what I already went through, and I know that this will seem like a cake walk versus chemo. On a positive note, I will officially be replacing my expanders with implants (I know Marc is pumped!) and will be reducing my risk of ovarian cancer to minimal (BRCA gene is both ovarian & breast). Feels nice to be in control of this one and these final decisions!
I have been asked if I am going to continue writing, and the answer is yes; it may be less frequent given I am back at work soon but I am going to provide updates on my “new normal”, my doctor appointments, my hair growth, and resources I have found helpful in this chapter.
Thank you SO much for following along my journey! Cheers to Chapter 2 and as Ariana Grande would say, THANK YOU, NEXT.
Gab (100% and READY TO TAKE ON THE WORLD!)
PS- Anyone been to Portugal and have their itineraries? Our 10 year is coming up and we are starting to plan!!