“Don’t drink the medicine.”

We aren’t using the word “cancer” with our boys.  I know that they don’t have any connotation with the word cancer, but the rest of the world does.  We told them that I had to take a medicine to get me ready for surgery, and that the medicine would make my hair fall out.

Alex listened and then asked if he could play with his train.  I said sure, but that if he had any questions to feel free to ask me.  Two minutes later he said, “I have a question.  What if you’re not pretty any more?”  I told him that he could help me find some cute scarves and hats to cover my bald head.  He said, “I think a wig would be better.”

When I told Andy, he instantly started bawling.  Big tears. Sad ones.  “No mommy. I don’t want you to be bald.  I want you to keep your hair.  Please don’t drink the medicine.”

I am sure they will be scared when they see me for the first time without hair.  It will be new, and weird.

I’ve been keeping my port covered up.  It is creepy and it hurts.  The thought of getting a needle jabbed in there tomorrow makes me tense up.

But pretty soon this will be normal.  My bald head, my creepy port. They will be part of my “new normal.”  I learned about “new normals” during my blood clot days.  I remember crying as I pulled on my compression stockings and gave myself Lovenox shots in my stomach.  Now, my compression stockings are no different than my socks– just something I put on every morning without thinking about it.  Life is crazy that way. We adapt.

My mind is kind of blown that chemo starts tomorrow.

Chemo. I think I am still in denial.  I have breast cancer.  I still have to remind myself.

I’ve got no choice — gotta move forward.


5 thoughts on ““Don’t drink the medicine.”

  1. Oh Melissa, I am so sad that you have to have these conversations with them. I just can’t imagine how difficult that is and wish I could wish this all away for you. We are thinking of you all and praying for you all and sending all the love and light and positive vibes we can to you all tomorrow and the days ahead. Lots of love!!!


  2. Lisa is right – being positive makes a world of difference for you, Joel and the boys. Louie Zamporini, the real life subject of the movie “Unbroken” said – “A positive spirit has a healing effect on the body.” I truly believe that. Concentrate on the positive and don’t give room to negative thoughts. My best friend from high school went through exactly what you are going through. She was lucky and didn’t lose her hair. Through it all she kept a positive spirit and she is now a 5 year survivor. That will be you!!


  3. Melissa, I think about you often and say a little prayer for you and your family. You’ll find strength that you never knew you had and you will make it through this.
    Sorry, for the unsolicited advice but here goes, as far as weight and nausea. I was very concerned about this with Andy. I mean he only weighed 14 pounds when he started chemo. I met with a dietitian right away and she assured me that there are several interventions available for cancer patients to assist with weight management; anti-nausea meds, IV fluids, and tube feeding and TPN (nutrition through your port) if needed.
    You might become temporarily lactose intolerant. Maybe this is too much information but I wished someone would have given me the heads up with Andy since breast milk contains lactose. I also wanted to mention this since milk shakes made with whole milk are an awesome way to get calories into your body. The shakes at the hospital had 700 calories in them! At some point, you might need to switch to lactose free whole milk. Okay, I’m rambling. I’ll do less rambling and more praying.


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