A person wearing a sweater has their hands over their heart

Celebrate Me Home

Last updated: November 2022

On a recent Sunday Morning CBS television interview, my tears flowed before my awareness and emotions could connect. I have learned to let my body teach me. This time my reaction centered on singer-songwriter Kenny Loggins as he shared a piece of his 74 years of life. Having had my childhood full of music and song, I am always in awe and maybe a little star-struck by others who share themselves in this manner.

On this day, I am especially taken by his song, "Celebrate Me Home." Loggins wrote this song to describe his life on the road and his longing to be with family during Christmas.

A personal meaning

For me, it suddenly holds a different meaning. Deep in the frays of cycle 4 of Taxol, Carboplatin, and Avastin, I could barely raise my head. But, as I call it, my "darkness" is always carefully patterned and equally devastating during every treatment cycle.

Not at all trying to fulfill a prophesy, these days I can count on my reaction. I even plot out the worst of them on my calendar. Unfortunately, at this moment, I already experienced explosive GI symptoms, which destroyed all hope for an interest in food or hydration. As a result, my energy is depleted, and the best I can do is position myself on a recliner and wait for this time to pass.

Reflecting on my journey...

Despite it all, I take time to consider all that has happened:

  • Does this song now represent my place on this earth?
  • Am I done feeling so poorly that it is time to make the ultimate choice to end treatment?
  • Above all, am I asking to be called "home" to my final resting place?

"Whenever I find myself too all alone, I can make believe I've never gone; I never know where I belong. Sing me home."

Chemo can isolate us

There is no mistake that I have never felt so alone. Going through chemotherapy positions us in a place of existential isolation.

As much as this experience takes from me, I am truly one of the lucky ones. I have a husband who stands by me and supports me through this terrible condition. Yet, despite all the amazing love and assistance, it is a path I walk alone for ten days twice a month. Subsequently, it feels like an eternity.

The irony

Yet somewhere, when the world is entirely still, I am also reminded that there is a light, a spirit, within me that gets me through the worst of times. This spirit challenges me to take risks and asks others to do the same. So while I am alone and lonely, my loved ones bear a burden along with me.

Even undergoing chemo, I find ways to encourage my oncologist to do better. Luckily his response was immediate as he called upon off-label pharmaceutical resources to reduce the many side effects and allow me to live even a few more days, months, or years. And lo and behold, he could, and he did.

And now emerging from the darkness

Here I am several days later - taste and smell return. I begin to imagine that I can find some food to nourish my body and fill my veins with fluid. I know I must eat and drink to return to a full of some semblance of energy that will allow me an interest in life. I intensify my prayer, asking to be held in God's grace one more time.

The question will always be the same. Do I continue to subject myself to this treatment fully knowing that there is no cure?

Surprisingly, I step away from all the pain and suffering and decide to extend my time with one more cycle of chemotherapy. My intention now and always will be to increase my time with my beautiful family and friends. Their love and all reminders that they still see purpose and meaning in my being here remain powerful.

I tell myself there is still time I will ask all I know to:

Play me one more song, then
Please, celebrate me home,
Please, celebrate me home,
Please, celebrate me home...

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