Countdown to Victory
Ok so first of all, by “Hell Week” #3 of 6 I was determined to do 2 things: have a super LIT celebration at my house AND celebrate on a beach somewhere with just me and MJ. I’ve always been a person to try and make the best of a shitty situation. I do it by finding something to look forward to or the silver lining as many call it. When work sucks I look forward to a girls trip or getaway with hubby or even a Sunday brunch. If something has me stressed I treat myself to a new lipstick or browse online for a bigger treat. Sometimes it’s just a spontaneous happy hour with old friends. Whatever gets me through, I’m always determined to find that light at the end of the tunnel, that silver lining, that carrot stick to keep me moving forward.
In no time I had a Pinterest board created for specialty cocktails. I had friends booking flights and planning road trips to come celebrate this victory with me. MJ and I picked a destination that would be quick to travel to and would give us a beautiful view of my favorite thing, the ocean. These last 3 rounds might be ready to kick my ass but that was just fine with me. I was ready for these final ass whoopings. I knew that once I finally got up from my beat-downs, there would be wonderful things in store for me. A party with my husband and close friends, a beach vacation with my husband who fought this fight with me and best of all, LIFE AFTER BREAST CANCER. I thought about those things over and over and over again until the very end. Wow. I get to LIVE! I get to finally create a life without fear, worry and doubt.
The day before my final round of chemo is my best friends birthday. She’s baaaaaack! Ashley and I have spent Christmas with both of our mothers under one roof. They drive us absolutely insane but we make the best of it. And by made the best of it, I mean we exchange side eyes while drinking copious amounts of wine and anything else that we could get our hands on.
Finally, both moms have boarded a plane back to their respective states and we feel freeeeeeeee! December 28th is Ashley’s birthday and even though she is trying to shy away from any birthday hoopla, I am the BIRTHDAY QUEEN. Now more than ever.
We start the day with a visit to my oncologist. Even though Ash has been gone for months, we jump back in like we’ve never missed a beat. She’s met my oncologist a ton leading up to treatment so it oddly feels like we’re going to see an old friend. I am more happy than ever to see her. I know this isn’t our last visit but it marks the end of a very ugly chapter of my story. CHEMO. This appointment is short and sweet.
Next up is a trip to Trader Joe’s. Our other favorite routine after a doctor’s visit. We grab goodies for the following day’s celebration and head to DC.
We make our way to H St in DC to grab ramen at our favorite spot, Toki Underground. It’s in a tiny row house and you can walk right by it without noticing if you aren’t purposely trying to find it. We are an hour too early. Oops. So we do one of our favorite past times. We go to the bar and grab a drink which ends in 2 shots for each of us. The last part is our favorite past time. Hahaha
I feel so lucky to be celebrating her birthday with her. Ashley aka Joyce has played such an integral part in my journey. The beginning part of breast cancer is fucking HARD. All of it is actually. But the beginning? Yeah, it’s a complete mindfuck. I’d think about it literally all day every day in the beginning. No one thinks they're going to be diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I certainly did not. Cancer is something that old people get. After they’ve had their kids, are able to enjoy their grand kids, have traveled the world, eaten delicious food from Michelin Star restaurants, and have lived a life they can be proud of. So no, a Breast Cancer diagnosis at the age of 33 rocked my entire world. And not in a good way.
There were many times in the beginning that I would be hanging out at home or even at a bar and out of nowhere I would burst into tears. Yeah, it was rough. I was scared. Ashley was right there saying the right things. Encouraging me, making me LAUGH and cursing me out in a way that oddly makes me feel loved and pushed me to be stronger.
This victory celebration was not just a celebration for me, but Jesus, Ash, MJ, all the wonderful people in my life that helped me fight.
Ashley had our quick afternoon of fun and by 3pm we were on the couch napping like two tired, old ladies and we couldn’t have been happier.
I go to bed that night, excited like a kid who gets to go on a trip to Disneyworld in the morning. Except my Disneyland would be getting up, putting on my war paint, and finishing the hardest test I’ve ever taken. I would take my final chemo cocktail and it would be followed by the grand finale, RINGING THE BELL.