This entry was written by Jackie Roth, PhD student at Thomas Jefferson University. Every other Friday, throughout the entire year of 2011, Jackie will share a blog entry about her breast cancer experience. This year-long blog series is in honor of LBBC’s 20th anniversary.
To read Jackie’s previous entries, enter “ Jackie Roth” in the search box on this site.
Rarely do you ever catch me walking the streets of Philadelphia without my headphones on. Usually, I limit my music selection to male rock, alternative or punk bands — AKA, music with a dark side and angry lyrics. I have quickly realized that this might not be the most uplifting and motivating music selection for me right now! So for the past few weeks or so, Katy Perry’s song Firework has been my anthem. You should definitely listen to it if you feel down or just need a little boost of strength! I listen to it about a dozen times a day or so. The message of the song is very inspiring and encourages you to believe in yourself.
The lyrics to my favorite part of the song are:
“Do you know there’s still a chance for you / ‘Cause there’s a spark in you / You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine / Just own the night like the fourth of July / Cause baby you’re a firework / Come on, show ‘em what you’re worth…”
Ironically, I am not the only one who thought this song was connected to my current breast cancer situation. I watched the video just the other day and sure enough, the actress in the video is a young girl who has cancer – just like me. She is shy and timid at first, staying in her hospital room watching TV. But by the end of the video, she becomes the firework. She escapes the hospital and joins everyone else out on the street.
I was definitely shy and scared at the beginning of my chemo. I always wore my wig and sort of hid, trying desperately to just “blend in.” But that is not how I felt as I went in this week for my LAST ROUND! Six months of chemo brought out a different side of me. I became more confident, lost the wigs and just rocked the scarves. Sometimes at my desk, I even went bald! I just went though my last round of chemo and that represented my one last shot to become a firework and recover from this cancer if it takes everything I’ve got.
The next step is surgery and that is just a different type of journey all together. After surgery, you know you will heal and each day will generally be better than the last. But with chemo it is another story. Once you start to feel like yourself again, you are hit with the next round and a new journey starts all over again. But I made it through! Side effects and all — I am done. It really feels strange saying that.
It will definitely be a change to not spend 7 hours a week in the chemo chair. For just a brief period, as I sat in my chair for my last time I felt sort of sad. I was clearly not sad about not getting chemo anymore. I was sad because I was going to miss the people who I was surrounded by. Kathy S, my oncology nurse, is only one year younger than me. She is a wonderful person and I am so lucky to have gained a friend and a shopping buddy! My chemo buddies, my best friends and family really helped me through. I loved spending time with everyone even though I slept through most of it! The reality is they were all my motivation to win, and ignite the spark in me. 1/3 of my journey with breast cancer is over…
How have you ignited the spark in your journey? Tell us about quality-of-life activities that you participate in or how you, like Jackie, realize that through breast cancer you can meet wonderful people who all have an individual responsibility to lead you to healing. Comment here or on our Facebook page.