Lisa lives in Maryland and was diagnosed with stage 2A ER+ breast cancer. She is a mom of three amazing daughters and she said these days she lives a pretty laidback lifestyle and loves spending time doing anything outdoors.
I was 46 years young when I began what I now call my “Breast Cancer World Tour 2017 (surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation).”
I had surgery for the ER+, high grade tumor in my left breast on Jan. 30, 2017. My first round of chemo began in March. Spring being my favorite time of year, I couldn’t fathom spending the entire season and summer doing chemotherapy. So, I decided I would try to bring some of the beautiful Maryland sunshine and weather into the Infusion Unit for each treatment. Most days I brought doughnuts with a big bright smile for the staff, other patients, and their support members.
When I looked at the calendar and realized I would have to do chemo on the Thursday before Easter I decided to be the Easter Bunny. Knowing on Easter Sunday, I would most likely be the bone aching, nauseous, F-bombs exploding in my head, kind of sick I’d grown accustomed to for the first few days after chemo, I worked feverishly the night before chemo preparing Easter bags full of candy and other little trinkets I thought would make us all feel a little better about being sick for the first major holiday of Spring.
My family rotated shifts to be my chauffeur and source of sanity and support during the chemo months. On this particular Thursday it was my youngest daughter’s shift. I convinced her to wear bunny ears with me and coached her on how to hand out the bags to everyone with a warm greeting and a smile. My daughter handled distributing the bags to everyone in the waiting area and the staff. I, with great joy, handled distributing the bags to my fellow warriors, seated in the Big Chairs.
The bags and the bunny ears were a big hit! Or so I thought, until I approached a familiar gentleman I saw every other Thursday, and with a big bright smile, pink and white bunny ears poised perfectly on my head said, "Happy Easter!"
He replied, “If you’re supposed to be the Easter bunny, where are the carrots? Rabbits eat carrots. You should’ve brought carrots not candy. They’re healthier. No, thanks. I’ll pass.”
With a blank stare I said, "Ummm, since they are pumping us with poison every other week, I’m sure a little sugar high for one day won’t kill us. I also included ginger candy chews in the bags. They help me with nausea." Still, he refused to take a bag.
Before I knew it, my mouth started moving without my permission and these words loudly flew out, ‘Listen sir, I stayed up all night making these bags. I convinced my daughter to wear bunny ears with me. I didn’t make them for rabbits. I made them for YOU! I don’t care what you do with it, but you are taking one of these bags! In fact, since you’re being so stubborn about it, take two!’
We both looked at each other and started laughing hysterically. He said, “Well, since you put it that way, I’ll take as many as you want me to have!”
I rang the bell and finished my course of treatments, before my friend I nicknamed, Mr. Carrot. But, on the Thursday before Easter I continued to return to the Infusion Unit with my bunny ears and candy bags. Never again did Mr. Carrot refuse to take a bag. In fact, his smile was the brightest when he saw me, my ears, and candy bags coming through the door!