"Cancer Causes and Treatment" by Barbara O'Neill (2/10)



Why I Booked a Chemo-moon

In many ways, the build up to chemotherapy compares to giving birth. I wanted to get everything done beforehand. So instead of a baby-moon, I planned a couple "chemo-moons" — the trips before life would change.

My lumpectomy was scheduled for January 23. I wanted to plan the surgery around trips I had planned with my kids. My boys were supposed to be ball boys at The NBA All-Star Game in Toronto the weekend of February 13, and I wasn't going to miss it. 

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Luckily, chemo doesn't start until 4-6 weeks after surgery. I had even more time to play with since my kids were off from school the whole week after the All-Star Game. Why not plan another trip?

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Denise Albert and her sons at the NBA All-Star game in Toronto in February.

When I was diagnosed on December 23, I had been forced to postpone a vacation. It wasn't just any trip — it was a special trip to Dreams Resorts in Mexico and we were taking my sister and her two boys on their first vacation. 

So now that we had the break before chemo anyway, we did it all: two back-to-back chemo-moons, first Toronto and then Mexico a few days later. It was so perfect, and I was able to continue to live the way I wanted to live. I sure did live it up. I enjoyed every minute with my boys in Toronto and then relished the time in the sun with my sister and her kids.

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Denise Albert, her sister, and their sons on their February 16 vacation to Mexico.

The extended chemo-moon was everything I wanted it to be ... until we got home. Then all of a sudden it hit me: This is my life right now. Everything that I was looking forward to was done. Everything that was getting me through the diagnosis was now in the past. Now, all I had to look forward to was chemo.

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For the first time since being diagnosed, I had a bad week. I was moody. I was upset. I wasn't me. 

Luckily, my business partner and work wife, Melissa Gerstein, planned a surprise party for me February 24 to lift my spirits before chemo. My closest friends and family celebrated with me ... and all surprised me by wearing T-shirts emblazoned with#TeamDA! It was exactly what I needed.

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Denise Albert with Melissa Gerstein (left) and her friends at the #TeamDA party in NYC February 24.

The next day, I booked an appointment for a wig. I left with five pieces: two full wigs and three partial ones that can be used for hats, sleeping, working out, etc. I was determined to go through the motions of what had to be done and try to do it with a smile on my face.

Days later, on the actual day of chemo on March 1, I was still smiling. Every time I asked my doctors how I would be, they responded that they thought I would be fine. Part of it is attitude, and mine surely was fine —at least most of the time!

But you can't really prepare yourself for what chemotherapy really is. I thought it would take a few days before I didn't feel well. I actually don't know what I really expected.

Quickly, all foods disgusted me, yet I was hungry. I couldn't keep my eyes open. All I wanted was my bed and to be left alone. It was so not me. But I was learning that #ThisIsChemo.






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Date: 29.11.2018, 12:07 / Views: 42294