A couple years ago, I started using an app called Headspace to meditate. I don’t recall how I stumbled upon Headspace, but I quickly discovered that I enjoyed meditating and I wanted to challenge myself to gain a better understanding of my mind. You know what they say, rule your mind or it will rule you. The app has 30-day packs that you can choose and the packs range from everything to stress, happiness, relationships, creativity, etc. Each session is about ten minutes, and I figured, what the heck? Ten minutes a day to try and build a stronger mind, let’s do it, Estee. When I started meditating, I quickly learned that I had no idea what my mind was doing. I had trouble focusing and my thoughts were just running around like inmates in an asylum. No wonder I would experience random emotional outbursts and/or mini-meltdowns. I started to pay better attention to the relationship between my mind and my body, and I began to notice differences in my demeanor. I was more aware of my thoughts, my words, and my actions. I started paying attention to my breath and I experienced less anxiety. I meditated pretty consistently for about six months, and I’ve been on and off ever since.
A day before my first chemotherapy session, Headspace released a new pack – the Cancer pack. I kid you not. I immediately downloaded the pack, and I started the first session in my treatment. I did not know this, but the founder of Headspace went through testicular cancer so he has a firsthand experience with the illness; hence, the release of the new pack. I love Headspace so much more, and I highly recommend checking it out if you’re into establishing a stronger mind-body connection. Along with Headspace, I created a playlist on Spotify that I listen to during chemotherapy. The playlist is called Healing and it’s listed at the end of this blog if you want to follow. Music transports me to another place, and each song brings me peace in a different way. I have to do four treatments of chemotherapy spread out in two-week intervals, and then we will go from there. The goal is for these first four treatments to shrink the tumor, and I chose to do pre-operative chemotherapy because if the tumor shrinks, then we know any other cells in the body are shrinking. To operate and then do chemotherapy would be a blind fight against cancer, and I’d rather “hammer the cancer and go for the cure” like my oncologist says. So, I am on the AC Regimen which is a combination of two chemotherapy drugs: doxorubicin (also known as Adriamycin) cyclophosphamide. The nurses practically administer the IV in hazmat suits, and apparently, Adriamycin is nicknamed “the red devil.” The reason I have to wait two weeks in between is because the dose is intense. The nurses gave me a bunch of information about chemotherapy, including side effects, and I didn’t read anything. Patients who read about side effects are five times more likely to experience them, and why the heck would I trick my mind like that? I would rather go in with an open mind and just face whatever happens in the moment. So far, everything has been good. The only side effect I’m experiencing is fatigue. Two days after chemo, I ate Taco Bell nachos and Me & Eds pizza in the same day. I ain’t playing wichu’ cancer… 😉
My next treatment is going to be fun because Stan is going to bring his guitar, and the nurses said we can play music in the infusion center. I discovered that my IV can roll around so your girl is about to be mobile! I’m looking forward to talking to other patients and bringing a bit of joy into a place that is typically gloomy. There was a young woman in there last time and I hope she is there again because she looked very sad, and I’m wondering what her favorite song is so we can play it for her.
It’s not what happens to you. It’s how you handle it.