Hello readers! I went to start a new blog post today and found this old one from right before chemo started in February of 2020. This was written before COVID-19 changed the way our daily lives looked. Before Jesse was able to stay home and work from home each day. I thought I’d share these thoughts in hopes that our world is able to return to normal and in the event that Chemo-Moons might safely happen again. xo, Gina
I’m finding it a lot harder to be open about the Chemo phase of my cancer excursion (check out why I call it that here ). After some careful, extremely non-professional Google/Instagram hashtag/Breast Cancer website research sessions I think I know why: I’M SCARED. Legit scared. Wake up and cry and catch myself breathing hard, seeing breast cancer around every corner, poison crashing through my veins SCARED.
When we found out I had to have Chemo, Jesse and I went on a Chemo-Moon to the cute little Danish town of Solvang, CA to distract ourselves from this surreal reality. There is no easy Dutch translation for Chemo-moon so Honeymoon, or Huwelijksreis was the closest I could find (any Dutch speakers that could help?).
While I can’t say I ever stopped thinking about Chemo starting the day after we got back from our trip, I can say we created memories we still talk about today (especially the food memories!). We were able to live in this new reality in a different reality than our every day lives which in a way made us feel better. Kind of like two negatives make a positive, the weird reality of starting chemo and being on a mini vacation equalled exactly what we needed. Plus, there were bikes.
Plus, there were bikes!
Who doesn’t love bikes?
A Chemo-Moon isn’t a hugely popular event in the greeting card aisle. There isn’t a traditional way to celebrate what’s about to happen without it being slightly (ok, totally) crappy. But I want to put a conscious effort into our relationship because while Jesse isn’t the one fatigued or nauseous or shedding hair or with a metallic taste in his mouth, he is the one hearing my pain, holding my hand, getting me whatever I can stomach to eat, and sleeping uneasily knowing I’m in pain. Without meaning to cancer put a lot of pressure on Jesse. For those who know him, he doesn’t really say much except what matters like what he said to me when I was first diagnosed in 2018 and pushed him away. As you might remember, Jesse said “I’ll be there when you’re ready.” It’s just that this time the “ready” isn’t dating but ready to accept help (I’m terrible at that), ready to be held, ready to be not such a strong bull, ready to admit I’m sick and need him. Its when ready to be scared.
That’s a lot for a two year relationship that has been filled with a tremendous amount of trauma. Here are some of the ideas I have to make the next few months as normal as something so inherently abnormal can be because when he is home from work I don’t want his second job to be handling everything for our household that I can’t hep with during those 10 awful Chemo-Storm days each round:
- Grocery delivery. We love to cook and have our grocery favorites down. Having them delivered not only saves him having to run that errand, it also keeps us eating as regularly as possible. I used Ralph’s Grocery Delivery through Instacart but there are lots of good options out there to fit your preference.
- Dinner delivery. Because some nights cooking dinner won’t be a priority and just because I might not want to eat much doesn’t mean he does. What did we do before UberEats (eats-ginag592 at checkout) and DoorDash?
- Cleaning service. Jesse is admittedly 10 times cleaner than I am but our apartment takes awhile to really clean and on days when we would rather be cuddled up on the couch together or spending time with family and friends or going out to a brewery when I feel good, I don’t want the guilt of not keeping up on a clean house to keep us from spending time together.
- Helping Jesse prepare his lunches/lunch plan for the week. I love making our lunches every day (aka Acts of Service if you are a 5 Love Language believer). I make them good. Work can be hard and that 30 minutes with a lunch your excited to eat can change a day around. Making sure we have a plan will give me peace of mind when he leaves each day.
- Permission and encouragement to be social. He deserves to see his friends and do the things he loves, even if I can’t join him.
Honest fact: It is very easy to fall into the woe is me, life isn’t fair, feel bad for me, me me me mentality when you’re the one going through any cancer treatment. I’m here to tell you, Chemo doesn’t just happen to you but also to your partner or husband or wife (or friend or caregiver or family member, etc.). Give them a little thought, a lot of praise, and some leniency. Trust me, they’re worth it.
P.S. Say hi in the comments, it really makes my day!
P.S.S. This post was about the significant other in my life but not a day goes by that I don’t include my family and friends as people I am grateful for who went through cancer with me. Love on all of them! Mine are sooooooo worth it too!