Alexandra describes her experience at Mayo Clinic undergoing chemotherapy for small bowel cancer.
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Alexandra's Chemotherapy Experience So I had to start chemotherapy treatment. I was very nervous and scared, of course. I didn’t want to lose my hair again; I had already been through that already but the folks at Mayo Clinic said, “You know, whatever information about this drug that we are about to give you, you have”. They always gave me all types of literature so I knew exactly what the side effects were, at what percentage it was going to be for, whatever drugs I needed to take prior to taking the chemotherapy that would offset some of the side effects. Walking into the chemotherapy area was, you know, it looked like had been designed by Better Homes & Gardens. It was beautiful. You have your own little private area, nice reclining chair; the nurses are amazing. You know, whatever you wanted to drink they provided it for you. You have a beautiful view of, you know, the desert landscape behind the Scottsdale Mayo facility. It was just, it was wonderful. I didn’t want to be there of course, but at least they made the time there very enjoyable and they were just very upbeat, fun-loving, you know, asked me about my son, asked me about what was going on. We would talk about, you know, whatever gossip that was going on television, anything to kind of keep your mind off of what was going on. And, you know, just, I think any woman going through this is terrible and every time I hear about anybody being recently diagnosed, my heart breaks for them because I know that how, what that fear feels like, but, you know, you have to stay strong. You can’t; cancer is not your life. It is just a one small stop gap in your journey and, you know, you cannot let it consume you. You can’t let it be your whole focus. You know, you are, I always feel like, celebrate your life every day. We always savor those things for special occasions, but I have learned over my battle with this that every day that I am here is special occasion and that God sent me here for a reason – I don’t know, because I mean maybe he should have taken me out but it didn’t, and I really do, you know, give all of that to Dr. Magtibay and their team because they took me. I was scared, nervous and, you know, just wrapped their arms around me, if you will, and they just kept assuring me that it was going to be okay. No one told me that I had ‘x’ amount of months to live. We never had that conversation. It was always focused on getting to the next step, you know? So I think that if you are battling, have been battling and this is your first time, just always know, bet on yourself to know that you have the power within yourself to beat this disease, whether it’s through chemotherapy, or radiation, surgery – whatever it is, take stock in that and keep fighting because your family and your kids and all that, they need you. So don’t ever, don’t stop. It was very grueling. It was very challenging, but I got through it. I was able to keep my job, work every day. Never missed a day except for the days that I had to go in for treatment and was able to function full-time.