Remember the first oncologist I had who said my life would now be like a book, with chapters that would get shorter and shorter until it ended? The first one I fired?
Well, turns out I dont have a book.
I have a series.
Today, the first book in the cancer series ends, and spoiler alert…
I don’t die.
I start a new book, in a new place for now.
It’s like someone hit a reset button, and I’m back at the beginning.
Today is the first day of my life as a woman being treated for triple positive metastatic breast cancer.
Yesterday I went for the echocardiogram. Rob pulled up to the doors of the building and I stood far away from the door because there were signs all over to not go in. A woman came to the door, opened it a crack, and asked me my name and why I was there. Then she slid the door closed again and checked a list. It felt a little like Dorothy when she got to the emerald city, or a spy movie.
Then she came back and said I was allowed in, but because of the chemo I’ve been on, I should put on my mask and gloves. I prepared myself, put my PPE on, looked at rob, then walked in.
I was the only patient in the whole place.
They said I could have a seat and I said I would stand, but they assured me they sanitized the chair for me. I made small talk with desk staff and then they were called for a meeting, and I was called for my echo.
Everything went well, until she said there was a part she couldn’t see that clearly and wanted to inject me with contrast. They would have needed an IV, she assured me it wouldn’t affect my liver or kidneys, but I refused and told her to push as hard as she had to, so she did, and it worked.
It ended and left. As soon as I walked outside I carefully took off my gloves and mask and used a Clorox wipe to rub down my phone and door handle and sanitizer on my hands.
We got home at 10:30 am and I went back to work. I know it’s spring break, but I’m checking in on my families every day through my remind app. Yesterday I called them all on the phone again. Today I’ll be in a chair for five hours or so, and they said it may be a tough three weeks with the loaded dose. I wanted to sound good and energetic with my families while I can.
It’s all overwhelming for everyone.
Upper grade families are used to their kids using technology at home for educational purposes. I spent all year telling my families to get them off the tablets and play. There still hasn’t been information given about how or when work will be released, and “spring break” ends tomorrow. The families are all anxious, on top of the worldwide pandemic.
Communication is everything.
Instead of hitting them all at once with new log ins and apps they can use, we decided on my team to do a gradual release. We got them all into one app on Friday, and yesterday got them all into another. It was an insane amount of work and time, but worth it.
I’ve finally also spoken to every single family on the phone. The ones who went “missing” had me losing sleep. My first questions to every family were, “Are you ok? Do you have food?” I have seven families who now need food. It’s higher than last week when I called. I reassured the parents that when the district decides to let them know what the plan is, I’ll be checking in again. I spoke in English and Spanish and everyone understood me. I told the parents that no matter what the plan is, they do what they need to stay sane. If their child is fighting with them over this, take a break. If it’s going to rain on the weekend but be beautiful during the week… do the work when it rains and go enjoy the sun. Mental and emotional health first….always.
I spoke to all of my students and they miss school so much. I promised them a big hug and a dance party when we see each other again…and I have hope that we will.
I’m visualizing a June full of reconnections, last minute proms, graduation ceremonies. I’m picturing my first group of kindergarten children who are now seniors in their caps and gowns and tuxedos and dresses. I’m picturing my kindergarten students now having the biggest playground and popsicle date ever. If you can see it, it will happen.
I finished at about 6:30 pm, realized I didnt eat lunch, ate a quick salad, then went on a zoom meeting about technology at 7 pm.
I haven’t hung out with my kids in days, and apologized for the worst spring break ever. They’ve been watching this guy called the Tim Tracker on YouTube who makes videos of Disney world. I swear I’m going to take them there again and make this all up.
I don’t know how I am going to teach from home all day while also helping my kids. This is not homeschooling. This is crisis teaching, and it’s a big difference.
Today I walk into a new cancer center to begin the new book of this journey. Rob is dropping me off then heading home. That’s killing him. He has been by my side this whole time.I’ll ask the nurses to give me a 45 minute heads up to text him when he should come back. If I’m not giving any drugs that make me loopy, I’ll do a live video and see if anyone wants to keep me company. I’ll call family, maybe read a book or listen to a Joe Dispenza meditation I bought.
Today is the new cancer beginning, and then this week is the new teaching experience beginning during a pandemic. It’s like one new life changing wasn’t enough, I’ve been thrown a pandemic, a new diagnosis, and my job has completely changed… in one week.
It doesn’t even sound like a movie because it’s too crazy. Well, maybe not as crazy as sharknado. But if Ian Ziering shows up…
A dear friend of mine met with my herbalist in a clandestine meeting yesterday to see if he can help her. She called me last night and he said yes. She told me that when she showed him pictures of us together his face lit up. He also said the tea tastes like cheap wine, and he told her it will taste like mine and said, “Keri, she can drink the tea all day”. I dont know where he gets his wine from, but mine tastes like mud and mushrooms. She loves him just as much as me now. He is such a blessing.
Please pray for me at 11 am. Maybe I’ll do a live video around 12 if I’m up to it.
Today, may I be covered in protection as I head out again to the outside world with an invisible enemy, while I try to get rid of the enemy within.
May I be full of courage, peace, joy, and healing.
In Jesus’s name, amen.