I may have cancer, but I saw Les Mis before you did


I snapped this photo last night as evidence that I am back to looking like an acceptable human being, and smiling once again. I did not post a photo last week because a) I couldn’t lift a camera and b) I looked like something you might scrape off your shoe. I have been to Hell and back, and will probably be taking the trip several more times, but am happy to report that as of this minute, I am feeling quite good. I do believe that my hair is starting to shed. My scalp is killing, and I am pulling out tiny hairs when I run my fingers through. That’s the thing with this cancer treatment business. Just as you are moving on from one unfortunate event, another one begins before there is much time to celebrate. But right now, I’m wearing actual clothes, I have some makeup on, I am eating lots, I have been out of the house, and I haven’t taken a single drug today. So I’m a pretty happy camper. Except for the hair thing. But beggars can’t be choosers.

Here are 10 key survival tips I have learned for getting through a very crappy time:

Ask for help. Last week I finally had to ask for help as I was not able to do much on my own. There are a few key people who completely saved my life and took care of me and I am so grateful to them.

Eat chicken soup and crackers when nothing else works. Although, as a warning, be prepared to forever associate chicken soup and crackers with bad times and bad feelings. I hope one day chicken soup reminds me again of holiday dinners rather than forcing myself to eat something while feeling ill.

Have a really good family and loving husband. Sorry, I realize you can’t really force those things, so it’s not a great tip. I just got pretty lucky in that area.

When your appetite comes back, ask my uncle to make food for you. I really attribute my small weight gain this week to large plates of mac ‘n cheese. The best.

Cry a lot. Life is poop sometimes. Can’t pretend it’s not. Sometimes a gal just needs a good sob. I probably could have filled a small kiddie pool with my tears last week.

Stop crying. Don’t be a baby. Eventually the tears must stop, mostly because you look like a snotty mess, and no one wants to look at that. Gross.

FaceTime/Skype with your parents. Laugh at them while they say weird old-people things and take many screengrabs while your mother makes crazy faces.

Watch the movie Pitch Perfect three times. I never would have thought this would be on the list, but I swear, that silly movie somehow brought me back to life. And yes, I watched it three times. Gotta stick with what works.

Listen to upbeat music and go for a walk. And dance while you’re walking like you’re in some kind of romantic comedy, and hope everyone else will be infected by your positive attitude and start dancing too. Except don’t be disappointed when that doesn’t happen and people just stare at you instead. Because truth is, most people are pretty lame and don’t dance in the street. Their loss.

Attend an advance screening of Les Miserables as your first outing in weeks. Ok again, I realize this wouldn’t be too easy to achieve. I mostly just want to make people jealous that I have seen this movie before the general public. There are not many reasons for anyone to be jealous of me right now. But this is one. So be jealous of me, please. I’ve earned it.


13 thoughts on “I may have cancer, but I saw Les Mis before you did

  1. Steph, for 50 years I have known your Mom ..how crazy is that, we talk, we laugh, we share stories, I get invited to her beautiful daughters wedding, and then get this really very sad news about cancer. You know your Grandpa said it right, Herzog + Sadowski genes, you’ll be strong..& get better…he is a smart man, I’ve also known him for 50 years ! Sent with love & hugs, Lu Ann

  2. This weekend is a busy on for you, so many people that love you will be with you at your side

    enjoy the moment and think of all the other great times that will follow.

    Love you a bunch

  3. I’m addicted to the hilarity and honesty of your writing! What a moving way to keep updated on what’s going on with your so very strong self, Steph. XO

  4. I am so glad you are feeling better!!!!!! Your post put a big smile on my face!!!!!!! And I am going to see Les Mis Christmas Day!!!!

  5. Well, to me you look pretty dam good and I think you still have more hair than me since menopause came into play. Lol. You have a great sense of life and a writing talent to boot. Go Steph, I am a fan

  6. I am jealous of your sneak preview! I have an actor friend who saw a sneak preview in NY a couple of weeks ago and was jealous of him too. He said the crowd kept clapping! Hope you had a wonderful night out. You deserve it and many many more wonderful celebrations in your life!

  7. Listen kid, you are lucky and you’ve got both Herzog and Sadowski genes and you can deal with whatever comes your way so stop ‘bitchin’ and get on with it. JUst keep thinkin’ of Jacob and me and how much we love you………… Gramps.

  8. We’re thinking of you Steph! I guess you won’t be needing the Les Mis screener that Jor got for you (unless you plan on watching it three times too).

  9. So happy to hear you’re feeling a little bit better than last week. And, for the record, I am profoundly jealous you saw Les Mis already. With love from Ottawa.

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