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  • Writer's pictureMicheline Lemay

Match #1 🥊

~ Anticipating the first round of chemo has definitely been the toughest part of this whole process so far…. Surgery‘s- no probs I’m an expert in that department and I can tell you this is Nothing compared to ACL surgery. Nothing. I soared through all that and got back to biking ASAP - no probs. I was healed up and back to biking and full on Rugged Adventures Camp the week before. Loving every minute. Late day rides with friends - beautiful healing conversation in the perfect temp & evening glow. Those are moments you will never forget. It oddly feels like the last supper in a way. As the weekend approached with the first Chemo on Monday my anxiety and emotions heightened with each day. Saturday I got in an awesome solo ride with a stop at my favorite morning routine of Trapps Kaffeehaus. I sat in the sun and let the sweat dry on my hairline. I let the present sink in and envelop me with golden light. I didn’t take one breath, one pedal for granted. I smiled the whole ride. As I got back to the mindful mobile I felt the tension build. I was feeling the crunch of time. As I wound up the road to my house I felt this intense pressure in my chest and mind ~ the tears came streaming down my face. I pulled in the driveway, and sat there, and cried. That feeling of this could be my last ride of the summer. I am not going to feel this good again for let’s be honest atleast a year. I had plans to go off to a lunch with my girlfriends and the wedding of my rockstar friend and Rugged partner TM. I get home and change quick to meet the Wells, Katie & Syd for a woods walk and sandwiches.

Its important to let those intense emotional moments come to the surface. I have been plowing through everything so far. Horse blinders on. That’s not sustainable. You need to feel all the feels.

I had a blast at TM’s wedding with colleagues and friends. Igs and I got to spend the night up in Burlington and we woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed after no sasparillas at the wedding and took a long walk and talk. It’s amazing how we spend so much time growing and evolving and peeling layers back on the onion I like to call it. When you get some big news like this those layers seem to shed a little quicker. The perspective hits you a little stronger. What’s really important in life? It shifts out the BS. My voice is a little stronger, clearer and confident these days

We ate a delicious breakfast at the friendly toast and drove back home. Stopping at Shaws to pick up chemo day essentials. I have to put in a plug for Essentia Electrolyte water that stuff is the nectar of the gods!!! It has been my go to beverage and kept me hydrated. We got home and Hugo, Igor and I went for a ride in Cady Hill- I was so distracted I could hardly ride but I loved my time with my boy. (my sweet girl Sof was still home recovering from her broken arm 😢). Now it was time to cut the hair! Game day prep. I decided to make 2 braids Sof started out with cutting the first one, Hugo the second and Igor shaved it. It honestly was not as bad i as thought. It was an anticipated event but one that was the final step before the big event. It felt powerful and liberating. 💪🏻

On Monday morning I packed my bag for camp, I packed my bag for Chemo. Camp has been the best thing during this to keep me focused, positive, distracted, filled with purpose and love. Doing meaningful work is the best. I wouldn’t have it any other way. These kids have brought joy and healing to me in a deeper way than I could have ever imagined they would.

Igor and I were such chemo newbies as we walked into the infusion room with my bag and smiles and unknowns. I sat down in my treatment chair with 3 other people getting treatment in the same pod. It took 5 attempts and 2 blood draws to get a solid IV. That was time consuming and uncomfortable but it worked. It started with the pre meds- anti nauseas, steroids, fluids. Than it was time to start the chemo. Bag 1- they put on a hazmat suit with signs all over the bag saying toxic, don’t touch.. to than have it drip into your veins 🤣 oh Lordy Lou. I didn’t really feel any different I tried to zone out remind myself that it’s my friend in this. It’s the only thing that will kill cancer in my body. It’s reassurance. I sent it love, I sent my body love. An hour later, bag #2. Because my IV took so long we were the only ones left in the center with the nurse and janitor. We were going on hour 7. This was a half hour. It dripped, it beeped, it sped up. As the nurse explained to me all the chemo things like use your own bathroom, have all your pills ready for different symptoms that come up… off we went. Home to see what will happen.

I didn’t feel normal but it wasn’t so bad. I slept ok, pretty sweaty and woke up a lot to pee- so many fluids!!

After I have already had round 2 to reflect back on this I’m going to give you the abridged version. Day 2 your still doing ok, steroids help a lot. I had to go back up to get a white blood cell boosting injection. But you are out of it- days 3,4,5 you literally feel like you have the worst hangover you have ever had. But it doesn’t subside no matter what you do. I’m talking like the guy from the hangover who loses a tooth and is scrapping his head off the floor in the morning mixed with a good old fashioned flu. Let’s face it your body is poisoned. You drink water, coffee, heck I ate my way through it. Theres moments of intense nausea, major bone & muscle pain, confusion, fog, everything tastes like metal- everything. I are nachos, lots of nachos, chips- even drinking the chip dust. (Sorry for that FaceTime call Jason) that was one for the books 🤣. It’s an indescribable feeling but no matter if I was laying down or at camp with kids it didn’t matter. But being at camp helped distract me. But the worst part of it all was I woke up morning 4 with the most piercing headache I’ve ever had. Like a vice grip was squeezing my skull. I’ve never had migraines but holy mother Mary! I tried all the stops- advil, Tylenol, excedrin, ice packs, peppermint oil, laying down, walking. After 20 emails back and forth with the nurse I had to go back up Friday afternoon for IV meds. Nothing cut it. That gave a little relief and I was able to stay on top of it after that. On Saturday Gretch & Erin came for a visit and I was feeling a little better. It was so good to see them 🙏🏻❤️. On Sunday I crashed again. I mean I couldn’t move. Just going to the bathroom was a chore. I watched the entire Queens Gambit series- man that was good. And if I haven’t already said it 100 times my mom is my hero- she’s an angel. Shes a rock. She’s the modern day Mother Teresa. I love you mom- thank you for all you do caring, loving, supporting me and my family. This whole community family, friendshas lifted me more than you will ever know!! I’m so so grateful! ❤️🙏🏻

And than on Monday afternoon just about a week from the first drip the clouds parted ways literally and figuratively. I felt clearer, more vital, more all things Michy. The headache subsided. Each day going forward I felt better. Besides week 2 extreme head cold and mouth, nose, lips sores nothing held a candle to week 1. Week 3 I was back. I never missed a day of camp besides appointments but I was back mountain biking with the kids, at camp all day and squeaking in a few solo Lemay rides. It was much better than I ever thought it could be. I was getting stronger, healthier, happier- just in time for round #2 😍.

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