Chemo Sobby | The Silver Pen

Chemo Sobby

It’s been a rough, rough week.  Chemo last Tuesday knocked me down – HARD. F-bomb. FBC.

The cumulative effect of three doses of TAC chemotherapy is really taking its toll…everywhere (body AND mind).

As a matter of (pathetic) fact, I have been quite the “chemo-sobby” girl, i.e., I cry at the drop of a hat (or bread crumb or door closure).

Example:  The Husband went out on Friday night (to a party that I really, really wanted to attend, but couldn’t possibly because I was too sick).  To add insult to my already harebrained situation, The Young Dubliners, one of our favorite bands, was playing. Serious bummer. FBC.

While The Husband was out and our daughter, a/k/a Finally Five was sleeping, I couldn’t focus on a thing.  Not a book, movie or magazine.  All I was left with were the thoughts in my mushy, overwrought, absentminded brain combined with a series of hot flashes as regular (and, for me, as uncomfortable) as contractions.

At some point, The Husband text’d (with the Young Dubliners playing in the background):  You ok?  Want me to come home?

Of course I wanted him to come home and wallow in my misery.  Of course I wanted him to be with me as I writhed in the discomfort of my relentless bone pain.  Of course I wanted him to rub my feet and tell me everything was going to be ok.

Fortunately, though, I held my neuroses hostage and told him to stay and have a good time.  By 11:00, however, I was a complete wreck, having moved from our bedroom to the library for cooler pastures and a darkness that I hoped would keep my mental maladjustment at bay.

When he rolled in, I must have been quite a site:  wearing a skullcap down to my nose, scarf quadruple wrapped around my neck, and flannel snowman pajamas with the pants pulled up over my knees.  To add to the über sexy look, my arms and legs were spread a la the Nestea Plunge commercials circa 1978.

When he came in and saw me,  he chuckled (as he justifiably should have!).  Well, well, well, that little chuckle, that tiny little chuckle let the wild, untamed chemo-sobby loose.  I went into a wailing fit of tears, the likes of which frightened even me.  I said:  Why are you laughing at me?  How could you laugh at me?

Poor guy. An impossible position. Don’t you feel for him?  What on earth does one say to that?  He was forced to lie (we both knew he was lying) and say:  “I’m not laughing at you, honey.”  Then he promptly exited the room and went to the kitchen for a piece of chocolate.  He came back about 5 minutes later and asked if he could help me get to bed (not to sleep, mind you, but to bed).

The only thing that stopped me from crying was the threat of losing more eyelashes. (That, my friends, is a highly motivating factor!) The Husband proceeded to tuck me in, kiss me on the forehead and tell me how much he loves me.  Can you imagine? All that love AFTER my chemo-sobbing.  Do you see why he is The Husband of the Year (HOTY) two years running?

To add insult to injury this week, Finally Five is sick as snot.  We are hoping to high heaven that everything is ok.  That she just has the flu.  Ahhhhhh, to wish for “only” having the flu.

Tonight before dinner, while The Husband was out picking up our favorite Italian food, fever-laden Finally Five said, “Mommy, let’s find the Silver Linings of today.”  Seriously.  Despite doing my very best to wallow in the bottomless pit of despair, snorgle-faced Finally Five comes through to seek the Silver Linings of our day day.  (Thank you so much, Finally Five!)

While I continue to look for and always find Silver Linings in every day, I don’t want to give the impression that, for one second, this is easy breezy. FBC is really F-Bomb hard.  The side effects are horrendous.  I literally feel like throwing up every minute of every day.  I am in a persistent, foggy state of forgetfulness. I don’t sleep with any efficacy (though I’m still working on last week’s list of recommended sleep aides).  And I feel like I have a jackhammer in the middle of my bones.

Despite all of this, yes, I maintain a silver lined attitude.  Yes, I look for the positive in everyday.  Yes, I ponder what it is that I can learn from this FBC experience as a whole and the daily challenges.

Why?  Because Silver Linings are so beautiful.  Happiness is an attitude.  No amount of pain (or FBC) in the world can take that away.

Become a Possibilitarian. No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sight and see possibilities – always see them, for they are always there.

– Norman Vincent Peale

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  1. says

    Dearest Hollye, That is the best description I have heard or read or imagined!! "Chemo-Sobby" You are a BIG SL for me. Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers daily, even the "Chemo-Sobby" days. Your sister in the battle against FBC, Patti

  2. Cameron says

    dear Hollye,
    I love what "D" wrote. You are going to get through this and you are going to get better and feel amazing. It will happen. The tough days are terrible. Your ability to articulate your experiences so honestly when you are feeling so awful is a testament to your amazing strength. I am always thinking of you…and you remind me to look for the Silver Lining!

  3. Catie says

    What a rough week!! Well, you are still a shining star to me, and everyone has horrible, awful days! So what if yours seem a little over the top? You're always brave and strong, it's okay to be a little overwhelmed. Love you so so much, poor little Finally Five seems to be taking on a little bit of mommy sympathy! Of course she could find a silver lining :) Give that little nugget a huge hug for me, tell her to feel better!

    xoxo ALWAYS!

  4. D says

    I am a 3 year bc survivor. My tumor was huge (I won't even tell you how big) and there many lymph nodes involved. Yet here I am, a mastectomy, a 2nd surgery, 4 months of chemo, 25 radiation treatments, countless needle pokes and follow ups later. I am now 3 years out and thriving!!! I ran marathons and will be around to see my little ones grow up!! You are strong. Believe that. You will survive and thrive!! Hugs to you.

  5. joanie says

    Happy Heart Day and bless your heart for taking time to share all that is vulnerable, honest, and forthright. You are an official Silver Lining all by yourself. Prayers and healing thoughts heading your way.

  6. Nicole Brownell says


    Norman Vincent Peale is fabulous (The Power of Positive Thinking is a wonderful book).

    I am thinking of you and cheering you on everyday!



  7. says

    Sending cooling thoughts (it's -43F here, today) for the hot flashes, warmest reassuring Valentine's hugs and hoping that today is better by far.

    Your words are so strong, so full of spirit! Finally Five is a testament to your insistance on excavating the SL

  8. Cynthia says

    Hollye, Big valentines day hugs to you! Don't forget, HOTY's memory is fine so he knows that his sweet, strong, non-sobbing wife is just temporarily overcome by FBC side-effects and will return to normal shortly. You are half-way home! Xoxo c.

  9. Helen Melchior says

    Oh,Hollye, my mother lived by the words of Norman Vincent Peale years ago. Here he is still relevant and helping you! I hope today is better.


  10. amy koch says

    the title of this post should be the name of your book. Excellent, cerebral, pain inflected pun at its finest.

    this all sucks beyond the average suckage. I hope it gets better

  11. Jody Soosman says

    May the love that surrounds you be your SL!!!!!!! We hope that you and Finally Five have a better day!!!!!!!!!!Happy Valentine's Day to you all!!!!!
    Love Always,
    Jody and the boys

  12. Nancy Weltchek says

    oh dear, hollye. that all sounds truly terrible. are you taking any pain killers? vicodin did help alleviate the bone pain for me. and provided a light little lift. silver lining: that night is finished. over. you are that much closer to the end!

  13. Lisa Kopecky says

    I am sending you oodles and oodles of the most massive amounts of PMA ( Positive Mental Attitude ) aa one can send a precious friend …..a sobing friend with FBC. You are truly amazing , educational, inspirational and seriously totally adorable.
    I miss and love you and know the Sun will rise on Brookside this morning and bring you a day of sunshine and as always a day filled with SL's.
    Xoxo Lisa

  14. Lisa Kopecky says

    I am sending you oodles and oodles of PMA sweetie pie !! Like the most massive amounts of PMA( positive Mental Attitude) the universe can send a precious friend…..xoxoxoox Lisa

  15. Maureen Basse says

    Dearest Hollye,You are so amazing to take the time and be able to write all you are going through for us when you are feeling so terrible-thank you for sharing-especially your silver linings-despite a crappy week. But, as today is Valentine's Day-be with those you love-and who cares if you sob a bit (but protect those eyelashes!). xxoo

  16. katherine says

    Pain, nausea, Finally Five…you are in our thoughts. I'm impressed that FF has absorbed the ultimate life lesson — to look for SLs ever day.

    Much love,