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Tick tock, back to chemo on Friday. This time it’ll be two different drugs, Taxol & Herceptin. Although they tell me I shouldn’t have to deal with nausea this time, the fatigue will build up with other fun stuff and the real kicker is it’s every Friday for 12 weeks! I must admit it sounds a bit daunting…

This week I decided I need to build strength and stamina back so I hit the gym. Today for the last 15 minutes of my treadmill walk it was time to step it up to a jog (for the first time since before my surgeries). I found Kelly Clarkson’s – “What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)” on my playlist and got to it. The lyrics include one of my favorite sayings “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and goes on to say “what doesn’t kill you makes a fighter, footsteps a little lighter”. Fitting given today is January 9th, the day Jerry died.

It’s now been six years and I should probably rephrase that last sentence as I never think of this day as the day he died, but instead the day it all came to an end. He actually died a little each day (some days more than others) for sixteen months. Although his prognosis was a far cry from my “Excellent”, he never complained, and fought his battle with courage and determination. Together we fought through every curve ball life threw at him – 3 brain surgeries, the infections, the bone flap removal, blood clots and brain bleeds. To survive we figured out how to find the humor in even the most dire situations. As he got weaker, I had to get stronger. So I did.

As I now fight my own cancer battle, memories of those days often come flooding back and help me keep things in perspective. Despite being cautioned otherwise, I gave the eulogy at Jerry’s funeral, as there were things that I needed to say. When I was called to the altar I grabbed my notes, took a deep breath, and turned to his daughter Erin and whispered “Wish me luck”. Without hesitating she looked at me and said “Deb, you can do anything” and she believed that and so do I.

So, there we are then, the next 12 weeks of chemo will come and go and I’ll keep getting stronger.