One of the first and best purchases I made after I was first diagnosed was an upright oscillating fan with a remote control (which I have since lost – what happens to our remote controls? It’s like the losing one sock in the dryer phenomenon).  It was a necessity because I found myself thrown suddenly and immediately into full-blown menopause at the age of 44.  A pet scan showed that I had a cyst the size of a grapefruit on my one remaining ovary (I’d had the other removed many years ago due to another cyst) and it needed to be removed and tested for cancer before I could start chemotherapy.  Luckily, it turned out to be benign.  Unluckily, I now had entered the fun world of hot flashes and night sweats.  The chemo further intensified these lovely side effects and I went out one day with my Mom and bought a nice big fan.  It was awesome, or should I say, fan-tastic.  I always had it on.  I’d take it downstairs with me, when I was able to make it downstairs, and I when I couldn’t, it was upstairs with me in my bedroom.  There were many days when I couldn’t make it out of bed due to the side effects of the chemo and I would be stuck in my bedroom for days.  My fan became more than just a way to cool down.  I would close my eyes and feel the cool breeze on my face and imagine that I was on a sailboat somewhere in the clear blue ocean, sailing somewhere exotic – or, on a cruise, going somewhere fun and exciting.  It would transport me, even if for a few minutes, away from the fatigue, lethargy and other general nastiness of my situation. 

When I was finished with my treatment in May of 2012, I took a little weekend trip with my Mom to Panama City Beach, Florida.  We took a tour boat ride to a place called Shell Island.  On the ride back, I went to the bow of the ship and closed my eyes.  I felt the wind on my face and opened my eyes to see the beautiful blue ocean.  I wasn’t back home in my bedroom daydreaming about this moment anymore, it was real this time.  Bob Marley started playing over the speakers and I was suddenly able to let go a little and start to enjoy life again. I was overcome with gratitude that I had survived this past year and a half and humbled by the fact that I could have died. 

I still use my fan in my bedroom – the hot flashes are a little better and the night sweats are still there, but I still close my eyes sometimes and imagine I’m on that boat, enjoying the salty ocean breeze and thanking God to be alive.  I have not given up hope that, one day, I will find that remote control.

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