Any Other Day

sb baking cake

There I stood putting together the ingredients of my own birthday cake.  This was not at all how I’d imagined, planned, or wanted my birthday to go.  As I folded the wet ingredients into the dry, thinking this might go down as the lamest birthday in years, I smirked as I thought, at least I’m still here to enjoy the lamest birthday in history.

super lame

Why so sour on a day that should have been filled with glee and rainbows? I’m not sure, it was preceded by a long hectic week with chest colds and work and very little sleep.  I met with my oncologist earlier in the week. My labs were great, there was nothing that caused concerned when she did her checkup, all good things to hear.  I whined about my lack of desire to take tamoxifen as the side effects I was experiencing; hot flashes, night sweats, and achy joints, were the pits.  I was reminded that the fatigue from chemo and radiation could last for a few more months.

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I talked about the condition of my fingernails.  Only about a ¼ of my fingernails are attached to the nail bed, the brittle yellow sections ruined by chemo are just kind of floating above.  “Oh yeah, brittle nails and your nailbeds oozing are completely normal after treatment.”  Completely normal?

nope office

I think that’s when the whole “new normal” concept hit home.  I mean I understand/understood that things, that I, would never be the same but I guess I never properly processed how involved that would be.

I never considered missing my fingernails not looking like something off the Hobbit.  My idea of looking good and feeling good would be qualified with “for what you’ve been through” for an indeterminable amount of time.  My expectations would be expected to be adjusted to lower than I’d like. To get out of taking medications that make me feel wimpy and miserable, I’d have to barter, using my reproductive organs as currency.

oprah unacceptable

So, for my birthday all I wanted was a quiet night and day to myself. Time to rest these weary bones, time to let my mind wander without interruption. Time to unplug, to reconnect, to reevaluate, to reflect, to rejoice.  Just a few hours with only myself to take care of.


Yeah, that didn’t happen.  I literally did not have one. Single. Solitary. Moment. Even my morning devotional time was interrupted that day.

I was, as they say; in my feelings and feeling some type of way.  Then as my kids asked for the eleventy fifth time when my birthday cake was going to be ready,

I thought, chill Khim, you’ll take a “me” day another day, maybe next week, but soon.


That’s when I realized what I’d allowed a hectic week and unfulfilled birthday wishes to cause me to forget.

Hope, faith, and confidence that there is still time for me days.  Without hesitation I thought about when my kids are adults with their own kids, I’m going to tell them about  how they pestered me because they wanted cake on my birthday.  Perspective, my birthday gift this year, I’ve got everything I need.

heb 11

Making My Skin Crawl

Sorry friends, it’s been too long.  Part of my treatment plan included radiation treatments.  I had a consult with my radiologist a few weeks after I got the exciting news that I was cancer free.  In my head, I figured I’d get a high five from the radiologist and talk about how he wasn’t going to really need to treat me.  Yeah, he and I were not on the same page.  So, after I made him explain all the inner workings of radiation, results from multiple clinical research trials local and international, and discuss his curriculum vitae, I agreed to the treatment.

oprah gif

To make the decision sting a little more the radiation machine at the hospital location closest to me was being replaced, which meant, I’d be traveling downtown for treatment. Downtown. Five. Days. A. Week. 30 total treatments

Can you tell I had a not so good attitude about this treatment? I had a down right bad attitude about my treatment. Then I met the radiation team and again with the radiologist and they all were super nice and fun. Before each session I got to pick a Pandora station to listen to and I think I threw them for a loop with my random music choices.  Also, the registrar, Ms. A and I became fast friends, seriously she was the highlight of my mornings!

The first hiccup occurred when we had to evacuate due to Irma.  The clinic suffered some damage and required a few days for repairs so I missed almost two weeks of treatments. Bleh.  Then, oh and then it all just started falling apart.

Radiation is like getting a super amped sunburn.  There is lots of instruction about keeping your skin moisturized and there being the potential for fatigue.  Let me just tell you, I’m getting real tired of being real tired.

Right before my last week of treatment, I started to get itchy in the area receiving radiation.  I felt like I was on fire under my skin, but there was nothing visible on my skin.


On a quick trip to hang out with my parents, I noticed a small open wound in my armpit, it was tiny but hurt something awful.  From there, it seemed like that wound got bigger each day, and then each hour and then every millisecond.  Every movement that involved the tiniest movement of my armpit was torture!!

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My underarm looked like fresh roadkill, and I contemplated just having my arm amputated, I mean since cutting things off seems to solve problems.


Well, my battle wound earned me a week off radiation and hands on experience in wound care and pain management.  Some of the pain started to fade away toward the end of that week, but the mutilation wasn’t completely over I learned, as pieces of my skin glopped onto the shower floor as I lathered up one day.  “Why does this need to be so hard? I just want to be done!!”

face peel

I marched into the clinic to resume my final week a little down trodden, but once I was greeted at the registration window by Ms. A my spirit perked up.

As I lie on the table in my body mold, trying not to think about how much I didn’t want to be there, my radiation therapist came to check that I was in the right position and moved my necklace out of the way.  “Hmmm. Flint n Honey? What’s that?” as the chain and pendants jingled in her fingers.  I told her how old friends from high school had the necklace made for me when I started this blog, and how I liked the verse and to wear the necklace to remind me that God can provide something sweet from something hard.   The final week went by without a hitch and I rang that bell with gusto!


Foolish of me to think that being cancer free meant rainbows and glitter storms for the remainder of my journey. I knew that wouldn’t be the case, but I had hoped for more glitter showers than not.  I started back at my old job the next day and it about killed me.  I didn’t realize I was so puny. I have been having a hard time getting used to being puny, and achy, and overall feeling like an old rickety lady.  I am thankful that treatment is behind me and I will never have to experience the woes of radiation again.