The Final Countdown
Updated: Feb 20
I'm interrupting my 5 part life story "The Road Less Travelled" to bring you some breaking news! I finished chemo 2 weeks ago! I know it's a bit delayed but truth be told I had a bit of a foggy chemo brain and the thought of writing felt overwhelming and watching series on Netflix in my bed felt way more appealing. I'm just being honest, it happens to the best of us.
I decided on Monday that I was going to throw myself a chemo party for my last session on Tuesday! I picked up a little carrot cake the day before to give to my nurses and the other patients in the chemo ward, I had my portable speaker ready to go with a power playlist on.
My new chemo buddy messaged me on Tuesday to find out if I was still coming? Trust me to show up late for my own chemo party! Liezel was finished her treatment and had to run but left me some delicious caramel cupcakes. I walked in playing some tunes on my boombox like MC Hammer but the nurses asked me to stop the festivities as the patient next to me wasn't feeling to hot from his treatment, so I did the respectful thing and turned off the music. There was only one other chemo patient in the ward and she came to say hello and goodbye. This party wasn't exactly working out the way I had planned and now that I was hooked up to my IV it was only a matter of time before I passed out from the drugs. Eventually, the man next to me bid us adieu and it was party time!!!
I put on my anthem "I Will Survive" and after feeding the nurses my sugary cake and cupcakes they were ready to work it off and have a dance with me.
For those of you who know me, you know there was no way I was going to just walk out of chemo, I was going to sing and dance my way out of there!
I passed out 15 min later and woke up feeling zonked but I had to put the cherry on top the cake and ring that chemo bell!
I rang it so hard that I broke the bell but don't worry I managed to fix it. I'm sure the nurses are going to miss my craziness as I am going to miss my chemo cruise, by the end of it I felt like I was the captain of the ship.
Looking back I can't believe how afraid of chemo I was, like it was a death sentence or something, meanwhile, it wasn't so bad. Ok maybe 2 of the red devils were pretty nasty but Taxol was a breeze with no side effects really except for some muscle aches and pains and being a bit tired but I mean where am I going anyway during Covid times?
In the beginning, it felt like it would be such a long road ahead of me and just like that 5 months somehow flew by. Isn't it amazing how the brain doesn't remember the pain of yesterday? Like I almost can't remember how bad the red devil was on my third round and that's why I'm so glad I wrote about it, I re-read the post "the devil came knocking" last week and it's bizarre how it feels like so long ago already.
All I can say I'm grateful for the 2 wonderful new chemo buddies I met along the way! What beautiful courageous warriors, we are so blessed to have found each other.
Taryn, my first chemo buddy made chemo look like a breeze, she left to start radiation and I met my second chemo buddy Liezel the following week. I started a whatsapp group and we all met up on the beachfront last weekend. We are the same age, going through this journey and it has been a blessing to be a support system for each other.
I can't believe I'm nearly at the finish line and it's the final countdown! What a year it's been! I've got 5-6 weeks of radiation coming up which I start on Monday and then I'll need to wait 5-6 weeks before I have reconstruction surgery. My doctor, Dr Pienaar is an artist, a dreamy one at that, with blonde shoulder-length curls, piercing blue eyes and a kind smile.
I've been told I'm in great hands and by seeing all the incredible sculptures in his office I have full confidence that he will turn my chest into a masterpiece.
When people ask me how I'm doing, I tell them I'm great! I give thanks every day for this life and don't take it for granted even if it's just to lie in my bed and watch Netflix or enjoy a delicious meal! I'm grateful for it all! I get out into the fresh air every day for my beachfront walk and take my little puppy Lulu to the park.
The beachfront is the only place to be social and to see some people even though no one can actually see each other as their faces are hidden by their masks and sunglasses. I guess just seeing that they exist makes you feel like you are still part of the human race. I've noticed recently that a few women get rather dressed up for their prom walk, I guess since people can't go out it's become the new catwalk! Each to their own I'm very happy n activewear, tracksuits and PJs.
I don't think I have ever chilled this hard and watched so much Netflix, I have been running and hustling since I was 15. Thank goodness I have some savings and I can pause, heal and listen to my body.
What's news with me during lockdown? I've been keeping myself busy watching Netflix, baking banana bread! Here's the best recipe ever THE BEST BANANA BREAD RECIPE
I stole it from the chef at the Intercontinental Hotel in Malta where I lived for 3 months while performing there.
I've also been finding some artistic and musical outlets.
I have been fortunate enough to get a few virtual paying DJ gigs with E-Stream which are helping. Us artists have to take what we can get at the moment since our government has abandoned and forgotten us and our industry is slowly dying.
I have also been working on a world music project rewriting melodies of Jewish prayers with a beautiful meditative sound. The inspiration came from the rewritten version of the Siddur called "Beloved Of The Soul" written by Sara Evian in collaboration with Balu Nivison. It ignited something in my soul when I read it and my faith and judaism as I knew it came to life. This prayer book is translated in such a meaningful and spiritual way that I can relate to. There are such profound insights and kabbalistic teachings that I was inspired to bring it to life through music. I'm collaborating with Rebbe Soul, a well-known world music artist, I'm excited to share the digital album with all of you when it's completed.
I've been amusing myself making funny videos with the help of snapchat filters
watch here: https://www.instagram.com/tv/CCagcJAJpwR/
I finally finished a DIY project I had been talking about for over a year now, turning my ugly white bedside tables that cost about R150 each into chic glass mirrored ones with crystal knobs. All it took was a little silver spray paint, I had mirrors cut to size, some crystal knobs and some really strong adhesive! I am so proud of them they look extremely expensive!
I wanted to do another concert which I will be selling tickets for but I need to see how I feel with radiation, it can make you very tired and I can't put that kind of pressure on myself if I'm not feeling my best self. If not during radiation it will most probably be after!
I can't wait to start radiation so it can be behind me and I can get my reconstruction surgery! I have really had enough of these tennis balls in my chest! I just want to lie on my stomach and get like 10 full body massages! My body feels broken and my vertigo has been lingering for 3 months now, it started the night before my last concert on May 9, I was so dizzy at one point that I thought I was going to fall off the balcony, it was frightening! It has gotten better than it was but I wish it would just bugger off now.
I'm praying for a miracle and I know once the toxins are out my body the muscle aches should subside and I'll get back to being more active.
On Friday I got a call out of the blue asking me if I would play that evening for a small company party of 50 people and just like that I booked my first live gig in 6 months! I was so excited to play for actual people, I put an outfit together and decided to wear my new wig!
Now, I know what you are all thinking, "How could you during Covid times?" Well I gave them my briefing and told them no one was to come within 2 metres from me, I was very cautious, I had a perspex shield up and if anyone looked like they were approaching me I put on my mask.
It was surreal, because being in an environment that was so "Pre-Covid-19" a party, it almost tricked my brain into thinking that the last 6 months was just a bad dream and for one evening it felt like life as we used to know it.
I was supposed to play 4 hours but ended up playing 6 straight without a bathroom break. I am so grateful for the gig as I managed to cover most of my rent for this month!
I also connected with friends for a small birthday gathering for my friend Lara at the market and we went for a walk on the prom after, It was wonderful to see everyone all together, It had been 6 months since we were all together at my apartment eating dinner after my double mastectomy surgery. I think there is a strong case of "Covid fatigue"
in the air, I've noticed a shift from everyone being masked all the time even if not surrounded by people to less people wearing masks on the beachfront. People have had enough, they are exhausted mentally and emotionally. The financial stress has taken its toll on most and people are over it! they have to make a living to feed their families and to survive and the fear of catching Covid has become secondary in their current struggle.
I pray for life to resume to some sort of normal soon, although now imagining a world where you don't need to get your temperature screened or given hand sanitizer upon arrival feels abnormal. Unprecedented times we are living in indeed but let me take you back in time to 2005/2006 where my LA adventure began in my next blog post,
"The Road Less Travelled Part 3: LA LA Land"