Thursday night of my last off week was so bittersweet. I was beyond excited for my girls weekend with my besties since childhood (so lucky to have such a squad who know everything about me and it is just effortless in the best way possible); at the same time, I was SO sad to be missing my cousin Jill’s wedding and being with my entire family. Pierce kept asking why I could not go and while Riley understood, she expressed how upsetting it was. I put on a brave face and as soon as that door shut when they left, I couldn’t help but cry. After a solid 15 minutes, I composed myself, put on the Real Housewives of Orange County, and passed out alone in my house (I cannot think of the last time it was just me for a solo night). Like a lunatic, I checked behind the shower curtains, put the alarm on, and basically slept with half the lights on (SVU is one of my fave shows!). As I am sure you have gathered, I hate missing anything and have the worst case of FOMO, but feeling like my kids were disappointed was not fun. I knew it was the right decision for my health—after all, a plane during cold/flu season is the MOST contaminated place when it comes to germs (have you seen those news articles!), and I could not risk getting sick and pushing out my treatments.
Markeeeeee—you are crushing the dad game. I mean, I could not help but laugh out loud picturing you with the double stroller, a giant suitcase, and two kids both ways on the plane. You did it and you deserve a medal! Thank you Mal & Adam for helping on the way down and for being such an incredible aunt & uncle the whole weekend (what would we do without you!). Special shout out to my parents and my rockstar sister and brother in law for helping Marc all weekend, and for making sure Riley and Pierce were the cutest freakin flower girl and ringbearer. My kids were so distracted all weekend with all the love/attention, that I was old news (and that is a-okay!!!).
Girlfriends are just the best medicine— they took such good care of me and I was laughing from Friday to Sunday. While I hate that the Big C brought us all together that weekend, it was long overdue and everyone of us smiled for 48 hours straight. I need to explain my friendship with Jamie because it is one of those that is so special it deserves it’s a description. Jamie and I have been best friends since pre-school (go Temple Emanuel!) and we grew up two blocks apart (Green Acres is the place to be!). We have been through EVERYTHING together and were attached at the hip from elementary school through high school. All of our firsts were together (as well as all the times we got in trouble!), and only times we separated were sleepaway camp and then college. Since going off to BU and Oswego, Jamie moved to the Midwest and I was forever bound to NY (my voice and accent would not be accepted anywhere else). Distance never got in the way of our friendship, and Jamie is by far the BEST at keeping in touch. You see, anyone who meets Jamie is instantly changed. She is simply the best—great vibes, so fun, easy to connect with, truly a sweetheart, and such a GOOD FRIEND. I am LUCKY to know her and to get to call her a best friend.
When Jamie comes into town, it calls for a reunion. The full team got together—Heather, Stacey, Jamie M (aka Manny), and Tara. We acted like we were in high school all over again and everyone slept at my house. The whole weekend was amazing but my two major highlights were:
- Jamie being Jamie brought on the plane a stack of pictures (some VERY embarrassing ones) dating back to 1985. All of us going through them at the sleepover was so fun, absurd, ridiculous, and brought back so many fun memories. I mean, there was ZERO worries in the world back then. I spend so much time reflecting on life before the Big C and seeing these and how much fun we had gave me such good feels.
- The Uber Karaoke ride to dinner where we played every song from Spice Girls to Backstreet Boys to Britney Spears to NSYNC. All of our voices are TERRIBLE, we are still altos/baritones, but that was the most fun I have had in awhile. We are all just so ourselves with each other, and I am forever blessed to have each of you in my lives. I mean look at the below pic to see how hard I was laughing (captured by T-Rap).
Kids and Marc came home Sunday, and Jamie was back to Iowa (so sad to see her go everytime), and I was off to chemo that Tuesday. I was sent to round 6, AKA 75%!!!!!!!!!, feeling so good, happy, and #blessed. I remember at the very beginning of all of this thinking about how I would feel at this exact point. While I am so OVER IT and excited to be at 100%, it is such a victory to be here. I imagine this is how marathon runners feel at the 20 mile mark (boy do I wish I could be one of those but running is so not my thing). I am still in the thick of it and recovery is certainly not as easy as I was anticipating, but I can see the finish line and that is EVERYTHING.
Interestingly enough, the date was 11/7, which happens to be mine and Marc’s anniversary (how absurd!). If you would have asked me 9 years ago how we would be spending our anniversary, NEVER would I have said at Sloan Kettering with an IV attached to my arm for 4 hours. But what do champions do—they adjust! 9 years married, 13 years together, and we are stronger than ever before.
The night before chemo while my appetite was back to Gab we went out for a FAT MAN Italian meal at Pietro’s. No red wine for me which is a normal given with Italian food, but that chicken parm melts in your mouth (if you have never been, you must!). It is by far the best I have ever had and I will stick to that bold statement.
As soon as my name was called in the waiting room and I was brought to Suite 6, I knew this round had good vibes attached to it. After all, it was round 6 in suite 6, got assigned my girl Thiery (amazing nurse!) and I had a straight view into my friend Jamie and Jon’s apartment where it said in the window “2 more to Go” (can’t thank you enough for updating that every other week for me; means so much!!). LET’S DO IT!!! I was in such good company. Marc of course was in tow (after all it was our big day!), Rob and Hayley (two of our BFF’s; Rob was the best man in our wedding, and Hayley is an angel!), and my Merrick girls Debbie and Ali. Such good conversation, laughs, and honestly it flew by this time. They must have brought good energy because this time it was a 3-hour infusion vs 6 hour (WOOHOO!), and I have no reaction whatsoever. I love when friends from different worlds meet and mesh and that is exactly what happened here (duh, I am only friends with the best of the best!). Fun fact, for our 5-year anniversary, Marc and I went to Napa and Rob & Hayley came. Only fitting they came to my chemo on our anniversary too (with a huge stack of balloons!) After all, they are family.
Taxol is VERY shocking to me, and not in a good way like a surprise birthday party where all your friends show up and buy you a gazillion tequila shots. While it is certainly easier to handle than the Red Devil, it is not the cake walk I was expecting. For those of you who know me really well, you know I am not a complainer. It takes A LOT for me to admit anything is wrong (pretty much ever), and even more for me to actually admit pain or discomfort. I am the girl in my heyyyyydayyyy that even with having the flu (Sam, please tell me you remember that night we went to Meatpacking and I had 103) or after having my wisdom teeth out (drooling out of all four corners of my mouth- HOT, I know!), I went out that night. Well, round 6 was not my best; I know it is cumulative but this one took me a full week to recover from. Legit (no exaggeration), EVERY single joint/bone/vertebra felt it from my jaw to my neck to my back to my legs to my toes. I am thrilled that I only have 2 more Taxol’s and pray that it takes it easy on me the next couple of times.
I am going to end the blog post on some more fun highlights:
- Riley’s 6th birthday was exactly what she wanted! Went a TAD overboard on gifts this year but I felt like she deserved the world especially now. She told me it was best birthday ever and while I originally promised her a sleepover party, Riley will have to wait until we celebrate 6.5.
- Orange is the New Black—can’t stop, won’t stop. I am so late to the game BUT it’s really SO good!
- Eyebrows/Eyelashes still intact! I met with the Sloan Dermatologist and he provided me with a hair plan. Was a super interesting appointment and learned so much! Started taking Biotin and Biosil and using Latisse (as well as coconut oil!), and it is working; once I am done with chemo, I can start using Women’s Rogaine (never did I think those words would come out of my mouth).
- I had to shave my legs!!!! BIG DAY GUYS. That means hair is growing back (and yes, my hair started growing back! I currently look like Doug from the cartoon!).
- LetsFCancer is a great organization and I proactively reached out to see how I can get involved. They featured my story on their Insta page, and I am going to be weighing in on key topics that are of particular interest to the community such as genetic testing. So happy I can be of help (that is why I started this blog to begin with!). Check them out : http://www.letsfcancer.com/
- Booked my first two real sushi meals and am so ready; I know I made it through pregnancy but I am in dire need of salmon and tuna.
- I have gotten so much outreach for those who are actively considering genetic testing. Thanks so much for letting me be a resource! It is such a good decision and no bad could come out of it.
- Next fundraiser is for MSKCC and their Cycle for Survival; my family and I will be riding in March 2019 and will be rounding up a squad for a team. It is going to be amazing!
- Final surgery is middle of January and that is it!!!!!!!!!!!!! Doctor suggested building up immune system until then after last chemo, and returning to work after that recovery period. February 2019 it is!! CANNOT WAIT to HUSTLE again (so READY!!!).
- Got a new wig for everyday earlier this week at Galli in Great Neck. Cannot recommend this place enough! It is Ombre, a LOB, and HOT. Pics to follow…
- Next chemo is Tuesday, and then it is Thanksgiving, my faveeeeeee holiday EVER. Cannot wait to be with my whole family and stuff my face (hopefully I have an appetite).
Have an amazing holiday everyone, and thanks so much for all the support! 17 days until the last chemo, and cheers to whatever my “new normal” is.
Gab (75%, so close to 87.5%!!!!!)