The mind is a powerful thing and amazingly things we learned in the past can be relearned after a period of pause. Things I took for granted in the past is now greatly appreciated. I am excited to share some renewed experiences following my third chemotherapy session. We hear a lot about how ‘bad’ chemotherapy can be. I am not going to talk about that, instead I am going to share some of the ‘firsts’ and the joy that comes with them. I believe focusing on the positive things minimizes the not so positive. These may seem inconsequential to some, but for me they are monumental feats. I am happy to share them with you.
Everyday most of us jump in the shower and may not even think of it, instead we wonder about other things such as being late for work, what’s for breakfast, what’s for lunch, etc. Like most, taking a shower was a mindless thing. Not anymore! After one month in the hospital and an additional one week at home in bandages covering three open wounds, I finally had to face the inevitable: A SHOWER! Please don’t think I was starting to grow mold. I was doing wipe downs each day. I had the port implant on my upper right chest, two arm biopsy with stitches yet to be removed and a back biopsy in bandage. I was scared to have water on those areas. However, one fine day my sister, Nina Singh, said that it is time I shower….I am starting to stink! I was a little apprehensive at first since my left arm was still not working and my port implant not fully healed. Nevertheless, I heeded and stepped into the shower with my hanging arm and a taped up protective plastic over my port implant. Oh my, that water felt like a fresh waterfall on my head. I could not stop myself from laughing and just wanting to stay there forever! I stayed in that shower for over 30 minutes singing, talking and just being silly. This is a doctored up picture of that first shower. I had to do a lot of cropping because Nina seemed to have a little issue with just taking the picture of me laughing and looking like a balding Ogre. I was also told that I left a ‘ring around the tub!.’
First time going for a walk…alone:
I am always accompanied by someone, mostly my sister, when I go for my daily walks. At first we started slowly then I increased my pace over a few weeks. I look forward for the walks each day. We generally walk between 2-4 miles a day. Some days harder than others and often I have to stop and rest for a while then off again. One day I told my sister that I am going alone. With some resistance, she finally gave her approval under the condition that she ensures I was well dresses. This is a picture of how well dressed I was. I felt the only thing missing was a pacifier and stroller! Nevertheless, I walked and walked to Dunkin Donuts for a cup of their toasted almond coffee with cream. I cherished that first cup of coffee after several months without it. I carried around that cup the rest of the day since I could not drink all that caffeine. It was like a security blanket. Thanks for the person who discovered coffee…I bow to thee.
First time driving a car:
Last I drove a car was September 21, 2015. I had a few months plus some before I got behind the wheels again. At first it felt as if I was either going too fast or too slow. Focusing on traffic took some effort at first, but as they say….it’s like riding a bike…once you learn…you just get back on. I was a little irritated by the traffic and the noise, but soon that faded away. I was free again! I can drive myself somewhere. I am regaining my independence once mile at a time! This is a selfie while waiting for my sister to finish her banking. I guess when you are bored…take a selfie!
First time taking the bus and train to Manhattan:
Public transportation in New York City is in abundance. You can live in this wonderful state without a car your whole life. If I ever move back here, I will not own a car. One of the things I always enjoy here is taking public transportation around New York and New Jersey. This is a risk for me in my current condition, but like a warrior with a mission, I took 1 bus and 2 trains this past Monday to my Oncologist’s office for my post chemo shot. Along the way we stopped at a corner café for breakfast, Padoca. This place is awesome. I had the hearts of palm and the mushroom stuffed pastry. If you are in the area, pay them a visit. Their website is:
I felt right at home in the bus and train. Well I did stand out since I was the only person wearing a mask. It is amazing how generous New Yorkers are. As soon as they see me, a seat is offered. I think I might just wear a mask all the time just to get a seat on the train! Seriously, I am grateful to those who offered their seats. My lunch stop was at one of the best lobster roll places in New York City! I had a soup and half of a spicy lobster sandwich. I so wish I could eat more, but I have to eat small portions for a while. Feel free to visit them.
First time cutting my own nails:
This is something so small, yet monumental for me. I was not able to cut my own nails for a few months. I had help from my sister, Nina Singh and my sister-in-law, Jasodra Deowdhat. Both of them took turns in cutting and manicuring my nails both in the hospital and at home. I would playfully scream once in a while when they are clipping my nails just to spook them. It’s self entertainment for me…they know I’m joking. On a more serious note, my blood clotting ability was greatly reduced and was advised upon discharge not to use any sharp objects or get any manicure or pedicures. In addition, for those who may have had chemo will know that our hands tend to shake a bit. This past Sunday, I took my time and cut my own nails. This was not as easy as you may think. First, I had to battle with my sister for the nail clipper. She insisted she had to cut my nails! I cried like the baby I am and she gave in, but under her supervision. It took a while, but I finally did it! I cut and file my own nails! Yeah!
First time peeling a fruit:
After about 3 months, I can peel my own fruits without fear of cutting myself and bleeding resulting from low platelets. Cancer patients are advised not to eat the skin on fruits for fear of bacterial infection. I so miss my berries! Have not had them in months. I think I might have done more harm to this poor mango than I intended to. Peeling with a knife is slow and I am very careful. I did enjoy the ‘fruit’ of my labor and savored the mango. I also am using the knife a lot more and becoming back to normal…as they say…practice…practice…practice. I just can’t sit around anymore and be lazy…I am finding joy in the simple things….like cutting a fruit.
First time shopping for a wig:
Oh boy…this is going to be a hard one for me. My bald head seem to stand out and it makes a lot of people stare. It does not bother me that I have a bald head, but I think being an introvert, the staring is starting me make me uncomfortable. With that said, I was taken to a wig shop in New Jersey and thanks to Jasodra and husband Rami, for letting me have fun with the different hair pieces! It just feels odd wear a wig. I am in bandanas, scarfs and knitted hats mostly. So, I will let you all figure out which of the two wigs I should purchase. I had fun, hope you enjoy my crazy pictures and some crazier hair do.
Just for laughs:
All my hair fell off except my eyebrows. Amazing as I thought my eyebrows for sure will fall off too. I had my black sharpie waiting to draw lines of precision over my eyes! So, the other day I walked into a hair salon and sat down waiting my turn. The attendant asked me what I would like to get done. I replied, “ I would like a haircut, trimmed in layers and my eyebrows done.” “Okay, come sit here.” She ushered. Of course I had my knitted hat all this time. I sat on the high chair and she asked how long is my hair. I said to her, “Well, why don’t you see what you can do.” I slowly removed my hat. At first she was expressionless and probably thinking…what a nut! We all had a good laugh. She did thread my eyebrows first time since September, but it never grew. I just wanted to be like all the other pretty girls down the avenue on a Saturday plucking their eyebrows! In the end she did take a pair of scissors and comb to pretend hair cut…so we all had fun. One can cry about the current situation or sulk or laugh. I choose to laugh and have as much fun as possible.
They say when life throws you lemons, just ask for sugar and make some lemonade. I do need to make more lemonade since I have to drink about 2 quarts of liquids a day! What will be my next first? I have no clue, but like the other firsts, I will be prepared, ready and waiting. Rediscovering oneself is an amazing thing. I am so happy I am not a resentful or angry person. I feel being calm is helping me get through the process and enjoying each moment. I do feel this is a journey that we only walk once. No turning back. I am making the best of each second of each day. Overcoming hurdles takes courage, faith, hope and a great support system. For me, my family has been my backbone throughout this process. My next blog will talk about the importance of family support and the importance of family. So, watch for my next blog in a few weeks as I continue to keep this journal of my wonderful journey through recovery.
My next chemo session is January 5th. Retest of full body PET scan to see current status of the cancer is on January 11th. I expect another biopsy of the lung, but not sure when that will be, but it might be sometime in January. I started a post chemo shot, Neulasta, with my first injection administered on December 7th. Some slight side effects, but nothing major. My pulse rate, thank God, is going down and stabilizing around 83 beats per minute. This is still high for an ‘at rest’ rate, but better that 130-140! I am praying each day for favorable results next month. Thanks for all the prayers and well wishes. I am grateful to many. Bye for now. Watch for my next blog sometime early January. I am taking some time off to reconnect with some loved ones over the holidays. Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Be safe.