I had one goal this time…get to Valeria’s party. My colleague and friend turned 50 this week. She has been planning and planning her big birthday bash. And Valeria is like me, she wants food, drinks, music, and dancing with a lot of people thrown in the mix. I wanted nothing more than to go to this party. Chemo was on Thursday and the party on Saturday.
For my faithful followers, you may recall that I had a similar situation when Tavis turned 40 at the beginning of treatment. I think I was on the third session when his birthday took place. I knew that I could make it. I just didn’t know for how long. You see the problem is that during the third session I was experiencing minimal symptoms and had a body that still worked. Here we are at numero diez and I feel like a walking corpse half the time.
Friday, I spent most of the day putting Valeria’s birthday present together. She had previously asked for a mansion on Palm Beach for her 50th. Well, I am a firm believer that everyone should get exactly what they want for their birthday.
I also watch television and took it easy. Saturday, I woke up feeling ok – not great but ok. As the day went along, I felt better. I had a nap that lasted several hours and I was ready to take on the evening. I got showered and dressed. I put on the makeup and the jewelry and the perfume. And if I am being completely honest, I had to sit on the edge of my bed for a hot second sipping some water so as not to fall over. Literally, the act of getting dressed up wore me out. But I was NOT going to cancel on this woman who has been a rock throughout my treatment. I sucked it up, got the gang together, and pulled the car around. Leo was filled with passengers (Michael, Gabriel, Nancy, Mom and me). Everyone was joking and telling stories (not unusual with Michael in the car) and I was thinking please just let us get there so I can tell her happy birthday, eat some cake and then make my excuses. I could feel my body reject the evening. And if it had been anyone else, I would have bailed. But I thought of every class she has missed to sit with me in chemo and I just couldn’t.
The hall was beautiful. It was fancy and fun and filled with people. Valeria had invited our Seniors and they all greeted me and Mom at the door. Poor babies, I all but pushed them aside to find a seat. And really for the first time, I wasn’t going to make the effort and push through. Other people made rounds of greeting and I just sat and waited for them to make it to me. It was 9:30 and I wasn’t even sure I could make it another half hour.
Pizzas came and eating helped a little. Really I think the shot of diet coke was what sparked a little life into me. I also really wanted to see the dancing. In a quinceanera, the birthday girl begins the dancing with a waltz, usually with her father. This was Valeria’s cincuenceanera. And true to Valeria fashion, she started the dancing with a follow along dance on a big screen and a crowd of willing participants. I was willing – oh so willing – but completely unable. I think if I had going on that dance floor, I would have collapsed. So I watched while everyone danced their hearts out. Bless Tavis, he grabbed my mom and made her dance a little bit. And bless Michael. He was like, okay 11:00 time for bed. Well, I was his ride, which meant I got to leave too. It was an excuse without feeling like the excuse.
By the time we made our rounds of goodbyes, drove home, and got in bed it was close to midnight. I barely washed my face before passing out. I was beyond glad that I made it. I loved seeing everyone all dressed up and Valeria so happy. I loved feeling a part of something, even for a little bit. And although it bummed me out not to be dancing along with everyone else (normally, I am in the center of all of those people dancing like everybody is watching), I also learned really quick what cancer means. It means when your body says “not today, baby” you say “sir, yes sir” and get right back into bed or sit on the chair and just watch. Feliz Cumple, Valeria! Muchisimas Gracias para todos.