Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Doing "The Limbo"... without a stick

I'm kind of at the point in my "journey", for lack of a better word, where I'm in limbo. I've been through the ringer over the last 7 months with doctors appointments, tests, needles, and machines that are entirely too big and expensive to make so much damn noise. I sort of feel like I've lived another lifetime since I first found the lump in August. Honestly, I can't even remember what it feels like to not have cancer. At first, I couldn't live with it. The only way I could get up in the morning was to call Robyn, Seth, or my Mom and have them talk me down off the ledge. As the days went by, it got easier, but every time I'd come up for air, something would push me back down underneath the water.

First it was the diagnosis. Instead of getting a house call like in the olden days, I got a phone call telling me that I have cancer. I was then told to schedule an MRI, but I was way to busy being famous, selling fried seafood to the world population, to be bothered that week, so I scheduled it for the following week. When they found additional "masses" on the MRI, I had to wait another week to schedule two more biopsies. After they found the "masses" to be benign I said to myself, "Self, you got through that ordeal virtually unscathed! Point Unger!"Then after surgery, in a drug induced haze, I was told that there was no lymph node involvement, only to find out that there was a very small amount of disease in the first node. Make up your mind, people! No wonder I'm a nervous wreck.

So, after we finally had a full report from pathology, we knew much more about treatment. Of course, I didn't expect that my treatment would be 7 months, during my most favorite time of the year, but I swallowed that, too. So now, I am supposed to feel better, right? I told myself that once I knew my plan, my treatment, I would be home free. I was expecting little birds and squirrels to start circling around my head (the birds, not the squirrels), while singing that song in the computer commerical (Click here for a visual). Then why, oh why, am I not skipping down the street, doing round-off back hand springs (circa Jenny Kerns 1995)? Everything seems even more uncertain then it did before!

That's where the limbo part comes into play. Instead of wondering if I'll lose my hair, I know I'm going to lose my hair. It's inevitable. Instead of wondering what chemotherapy will be like, I know that I will find out very, very soon, and it's all so scary. Side note, it's counterproductive to put poisonous chemicals in my body, when I spend a majority of my day pumping myself full of anti-oxidants and vitamins in an effort to get the poisons out. Am I right, or am I right? If you don't follow me, it's ok, I'm kind of running on a tangent here. Work with me a bit.

So, screw it, I'm scared and I don't care who knows it.(I am aware that sounded like lyrics from a Beastie Boys album) Today, I am making a promise to myself and everyone else around me (that's you), that I will stop trying to be strong all the time. Because the truth of the matter is, I am human. No matter how much I hate to admit it, my body is made up of soft skin and tissues that might get a little weak during my treatment, no matter how many acai berries I eat. All I can do is keep giving both my body and my mind attention and kindness, and hopefully, I'll come out the same person on the other side, sans hair. Oh, and by the way, my hair is super short. And (dramatic pause) I love it. I love it so much, in fact, that I will be keeping it this length as soon as it grows back. Take that, evil hair killing chemicals! You actually gave me the courage to change my look!

So that's where I'm at today. Tune in tomorrow for more deep thoughts by Erica Unger.


  1. I came over from Sarah's blog. I am 33 years old and have always been one of those "it'll never happen to me" people. After reading through your story, I realize that it can happen to me. I will be diligent and do my monthly self exams. I promise.

    I'm so very sorry that you have to go through this. I cannot imagine how hard it must be. I'll keep you in my prayers and will come back to check in on you often.

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  3. Your hair looks awesome short. Very "I just rolled off the set of Chicago, so take that!"

    I went into a GNC to get acai supplements last year, and I couldn't pronounce it. And neither could the salesman. We sounded like valley girls saying "ok." I now know it's "ah-sigh-ee". I've learned something.

  4. So where are the cute short hair photos? I wanna see!!!!

    You know my mother-in-law's doctor told her to avoid anti-oxidants and vitamins precisely because they would be counter-acting the chemo. It's so weird how every single person's body is different with this disease.

    Anyway, pillar of strength or puddle of goo, love you no matter what. Take care, beautiful.