Well, I now realize why my nurses wrote on my dry erase board "take a shower" as one of my goals since I started my stay-cation. I laughed at first, since the thought of taking a shower seemed like less of a goal and more like a necessity, a routine task of sorts. This morning, I woke up to the world's worst nausea from the intense chemotherapy I have been getting. The slightest turn or movement of my head and body magnified the sickening feeling and all of a sudden getting out of bed and taking a shower seemed virtually impossible.
My illness didn't stop my visitors from coming to support me. My first visitor came all of the way from Miami, FL, Ryan Nihls. Nihls and I have known each other since freshman year of college. We've shared our share of sick mornings, post our too many beers nights and early morning Cheez-It nachos; all were self-induced back in those days and we deserved every hung-over morning. This morning was much different, as I wished so badly I felt better to be able to enjoy his visit and just be more like myself with him. Instead, Nihls met the high dose, chemotherapy Tara whose immune system and white cell count has made its way down to 0.2. That's pretty much a nonexistent immune system. Still, he sat there with me, in my room and smiled that sincere, warm smile that only he has, to make me smile inside, even if my face showed differently.
My uncle, cousin, dad and mom, son, Liana, Kellie, Laura, Heather, Shannon, and Steve also came to show their love and support. Two of which came bearing flowers, but were confiscated before reaching my room. No live plants or flowers allowed in the BMT unit. It was definitely the thought that counts, though. Thanks Li and Kellie for tracking down the forbidden flowers on your way out and sending a picture message so I could at least see the Gerber daisies. They were just as beautiful in picture as I'm sure they were in person.
So showering did seem almost impossible, but what I have learned thus far through this life-changing journey, is the importance of taking one step at a time. I knew at that moment, I couldn't move without getting sick, so I just laid there, feeling a bit sorry for myself and a tad defeated. It made me angry that the simple task of taking a shower seemed virtually unattainable. So as it was, I just stayed in bed, closed my eyes, and fell back asleep; it was all I could do.
A few hours later, visitors began to show up and after a while, I was able to move around and what do you know? I was able to take a shower shortly after. So what if the day had already made its way into the afternoon? The point is that I did it. I achieved my goal and, to boot, I made my way out into the hall to see that many of my "neighbors" had already completed their laps and recorded each lap on the community dry erase board and I had completed 0 laps. Not for long, though. Life is all about rising to the occasion and facing challenges, big or small, head on with determination and tenacity; that goes for cancer, too.