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The Bald Balcombe Family

The Bald Balcombe Family

Real Women, Real Stories
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by Marilyn B.

Read Marilyn's story and track her journey…

Monday was a good reentry day. I had a lunch meeting scheduled with colleagues that motivated me to get back into the swing of things. It helps that it was with my fellow chamber execs—women who are smart, funny, engaged and an important part of my team. I also had book club with another group of smart, funny, engaged women. It feltgreatto be out of the house and among the living.

Jonathan is finally done with his book tour and, as promised, shaved his head in solidarity. Although he's been wanting to do this for years, it is a romantic gesture nonetheless. Emily has reiterated her desire to keep her hair. I continue to be bold in my baldness—book club, the grocery store, Starbucks, Café Mileto, etc.

Cycle 5 was smooth and went according to plan. Maureen, my mother-in-law, was here to see me through. Nothing like a grandma in the house to make me feel loved, well fed, well rested and well hydrated—which is always a challenge once the taste buds go. I also had a short visit from my brother Tim. In town on a business trip, he managed to swing by for dinner and to attend Emily's National Honor Society induction ceremony. The high school assembly gods were smiling on me that night with a very short program that I managed to attend. I thought it was a rousing success until I saw the photos—I looked 10 years older, and my wig was on crooked. Oh well, I only saw half the neighborhood that night!

I felt fairly upbeat during the week, every day thinking that I only had one more time to do each of these steps. But then darkness hit on Sunday, and I no longer felt hopeful. It didn't feel like it was just "one more time." It was five more weeks until this phase is really over. I let myself drift into a very dark space and couldn't seem to pull myself out. Talking to my sister Kathy on the phone helped pull me out of the funk. So did a long nine-hour sleep. In the light of day I blame it on the steroid withdrawal, but damn it's hard to recognize at the time.

As for my physical health, the fatigue continues to weigh me down—literally. I feel like my legs are cement sometimes, and I started getting a little neuropathy in my fingertips (tingly nerves). Jonathan and I meet with the radiation oncologist on Friday to talk about my radiation schedule.

Thanks to my Care Team this cycle—Susan, Debbie R., Jennifer, Mary Ann, Jeanne, Robin, Elaine, Debbie G., Eileen—thanks for the wonderful food, company and magazines. Special shout-out to Nic, who brought over hot fudge sundaes from Dairy Queen. Funny how my taste buds were just fine that day! As always, thanks to chemo buddy Donna and booster-shot maven Jan.

OK, team, we have one more to go. It will be a race to the finish to see if I can keep my sanity and my hope or whether I will cross over to the dark side. With you on my side, I'm banking on hope!


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