My Last Day as a Normal Person

The day before my very first chemo treatment I decided to spend my last day as a normal person, doing some of the everyday things that I love the most. My objective: to have fun and not worry about the next eighteen weeks of chemo.

First things first: I slept in late. It was heaven. I lounged around until 10:00AM or so, read a book, checked my email, blog posts, and Facebook, then finally decided to get up and take a shower. There was no hurry.

Next on the agenda: really bad-for-you, high calorie fast food from Cane’s (chicken tenders, fries, Dr Pepper, and extra Cane’s sauce). I know. It’s my guilty not-so-secret.

It wouldn’t be a day as a normal person unless I went to Target. I love Target. My motto has always been: If you can’t get it at Target, then you really don’t need it.Β And no, Target is not sponsoring this post. (Neither is Cane’s.) I bought a bunch of things I would consider “cancer snacks,” which was really nothing more than stuff that sounded good at the time: gummy fruit snacks, chocolate pudding, nutty protein bars, and a big bag of pistachio nuts. I had no idea if I would really want to eat any of this stuff if I felt nauseous from the chemo, but we would certainly find out.

After Target, my son’s girlfriend made a chocolate cake with vanilla frosting, my favorite. We had both been craving something sugary all week, so she was kind enough to make it. I had a huge piece and loved every single bite before dinner.

I spent a little time watching TV, relaxing, and gathering my thoughts about the next day. I was nervous, but not unnecessarily so. I wasn’t afraid, but felt uncertain about what it would really be like, and if it would be as bad as everyone said it would be.

The best people in the world!

The best people in the world!

I met a group of running friends for dinner at a small, local restaurant. We had been trying for several weeks to have a Ladies Night Out, but somehow Bill and Anil crashed the party and became honorary girls for the night. It was such a great evening, filled with talk of running, being sick, our lives, a little gossip, and exclamations over how good the food was. I had a tasty dinner salad with an excellent risotto with shrimp.

To end the night, all but two of us piled into our cars and went to see the movie Before Midnight. I loved the first two films, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset,Β and had been looking forward to the next installment for years. Literally, years. Maybe it was because being a normal person was exhausting, or because my mind was on the next day’s first chemo session, but I was disappointed. Maybe it was the build-up. Maybe I’m too much of a hopeless romantic. I still liked the movie, and should probably see it again in a different frame of mind and when I’m less worn out, but I found the talk exhausting. Maybe the pushing forty Jesse and Celine were both just a little too real this time for me.

I’m tired of real. I have enough real on my plate right now to last me a lifetime.

I'm holding the beautiful blanket Heather gave me, inscribed with my name.

I’m holding the beautiful blanket Heather gave me, inscribed with my name.

To top off my last day as a normal person, my daughter arrived from Portland to be here for me during my first two chemo sessions. In case I haven’t mentioned it before, I have the best daughter and son in the world. Having them both here to help me through this, along with my husband and my son’s girlfriend, not to mention my awesome friends, has been the biggest blessing of my life so far.

It was a perfect day.

Bring on the chemo!


  1. AndrewGills

    Sounds like a magnificent day. Here’s to many more days of being ‘normal’ after the chemo is over. I listen to American radio online (The Buzz B98) while I’m at work and there’s an advertisement by the American Cancer Society who say they are “the official sponsor of birthdays”. I have been thinking of you every time I hear it and now I’ll also think of them as the “official sponsor of normal days” too. Here’s to more Cane’s fast food. And to loving daughters.

    • Mind Margins

      Thanks, Andrew, for thinking of me. My Cane’s attack was like your beetroot and pineapple burger attack during your walk. Sometimes you just have to indulge.

  2. When in New Places

    I love this ~ I love the way you spent this day!
    The naughty food, Target, cake…dinner with friends ~ just perfect.
    I had to laugh, because I was SO looking forward to Before Midnight as well. I was also disappointed. I think you said it best when you said it was maybe a bit too real. It felt empty, whereas the other 2 movies felt so hopeful.
    Thinking of you and sending you lots of healing vibes!

    • Mind Margins

      I guess I’m just a sappy romantic, but there just seemed be so much complaining in this one, especially from Celine. It was still full of great dialogue, but I didn’t feel warm and fuzzy at the end like I did with the first two. Thanks for the healing vibes, Andrea!

      • When in New Places

        Me too, me too, I couldn’t agree with you more. I felt the most heart broken when it was insinuated that they had cheated on one another.
        Also, I found their relationship so disconnected at the end. Like the only way they were able to connect was through the fantasy of meeting each other for the first time, which I thought was so sad. It was hard for me to believe that they’d stay together with the state their relationship was in.
        My husband and I LOVE the first two movies and we both felt deflated at the end of this one. Maybe it would be worth watching again to see if I could get more out of it.
        We’ll see what the next one brings?? At the rate the last one was going I think it may be held in divorce court! πŸ™‚

      • Mind Margins

        The word “deflated” is exactly the word I would use to describe how I felt at the end of the movie. I’ve heard this will be the last of the movies, but I can’t believe they would end it with this one. I bet we’ll be seeing another installment in nine years or so–and I’m hoping they bring the romance back!

  3. seetinarun

    Man, you know how to schedule the perfect day! Mine would include a trip to Target, as well! So wonderful to be surrounded with family for the next step. Sending lots of healing thoughts your way.

  4. tamara

    Peaceful, healing houghts of you today. Thank you for sharing your journey. You are one incredible woman!

  5. lisalocket

    That sounds like a perfect day. Thinking of you on this journey, and thank you for sharing as I really admire your energy and your blog x

  6. Our Life In 3D

    Our Canes is right beside our Target too; which is an has been our default place to get everything. I guess we are ‘normal’ too! When we moved I found target online and found out they will bring Target to me that way. I am glad your family is there for everything. The stress factor has to multiply if one has to face what you have done alone, which would make you a hero. Our, as my little one would say, “a Hewoe”. Stay strong Wonder Woman…people are still running the same way they always have…so you are not missiing anything right now. πŸ™‚

    • Mind Margins

      Target and Cane’s right next to each other? Double bonus! Online Target is just not as much fun as the real deal. I miss running but I’m also enjoying NOT running in our Texas summer heat. It’s a nice break.

  7. AndrewGills

    When I was taking parkour classes we used to say that if someone needs help or strength, the best way you can help them is to work hard at your training and that this will help send strength to that person (because energy cannot be destroyed). So I am sending you my strength from today’s 100km ride. I’ve ridden 66km (41 miles) already so there’s still another 34km (21 miles) of strength traveling around the globe to you.

    • Mind Margins

      Wow, so that explains that big surge of energy I had this morning when I jumped out of bed and worked in the flower bed. Thanks, Andrew! I agree wholeheartedly with you about your good training sending strength to those around you. When I run with my group and start to struggle, I tuck in behind the group and let them “pull” me along to the finish. If I know someone is struggling, I tell them to “just follow me, let me bring you in.” It always works if you let it.

  8. getgoing-getrunning

    Big ups for normal days!
    We don’t have Cane’s in London, but it sounds like we should…
    All the best Angela!

  9. Numberz Runner

    You’re amazing, Angela. And so is your network of friends, relatives, and supporters. Keep charging ahead. Many thoughts and prayers continue to head your way.

  10. seetinarun

    Angela, Colby & I are riding in the Pan Mass Challenge on Sat-Sun and will be wearing ribbons with names of those who have or have had cancer. With your permission, I’d love to add a ribbon for you. It would be an honor to have wonder woman along for the ride.

  11. MikeW

    Here is what I look forward to for you and chemo, and healing:

    Continuing as before with you and your current race’s success in mind and heart!

  12. kruzmeister

    It sounds like you had an awesome day Angela! I’ll be thinking of you and sending you all of my positive vibes and prayers during your treatments. There is one little thing I’d like to share with you. My nephew was diagnosed with testicular cancer at age 22. He had the tumour and offending testi removed and was told he’d never have children. They put him through 3 aggressive chemo treatments one after the other. Anyway less than a week ago he became the proud father of a gorgeous baby girl, he’s been in remission for two years and his life looks brighter than ever. I just wanted you to know that, miracles can happen and as crappy as the chemo may be at the time, on the other side of it you will come out a Wonder Woman! πŸ™‚ xo

  13. Our Life In 3D

    So if that wa your last day as a normal person should we consider you abnormal now? The abnormal Wonder Woman? I just wanted to check in to see how you are dealing and feeling with everything. I hope you are checking off more and more green boxes. Wishing you warm sunshine and cool breezes and sunny tomorrows!

    • Mind Margins

      I do consider the experience of chemo as making me “abnormal.” The entire thing is surreal. The onslaught of powerful drugs makes you feel like someone else. At least it does for me. I’ll be glad when it’s all over!

  14. Irish Katie

    I believe today is my first day back online on the blogs? I might have gotten on once since you posted this … I cannot remember now! Ack!

    But, hopes you are doing ok … I know as I write this that it is a day and 2 out from your latest … the 2nd round. I am willing in my head for you to push though this. *closes my eyes and wills it* (Actually, I did that before I wrote that statement…or else it would have looked like garbly goop typing.)

    Never stop fighting!

    • Mind Margins

      Thanks, good to hear from you. I’m hanging in there. Chemo has not been easy, but I’m halfway done with the treatments, so there’s a ray of sunshine coming out of the clouds! I’ll be writing and reading blogs again very soon.

  15. Beverly

    Every time I hear ‘Safe and Sound’ I think about you and hope that you are doing okay. The songs ‘Titanium’ and Jem’s ‘It’s Just a Ride’ inspired me through the mess. I know it sucks. Sending positive thoughts your way. Keep haning in there.

  16. joannevalentinesimson

    I’ve now read all of your blog posts on the dreaded cancer, surgery and chemo-prep. What a story!
    Sorry I didn’t keep up with your journey and its tribulations while I was out of town (no internet connection). I do look forward to reading more blogs once YOU are back to your writerly self. All my best wishes to you during this part of your ordeal.

    • Mind Margins

      Thanks, Mike. I’m not dead, I swear! Writing and keeping up with all my blog friends became very tiring, but I have been on the fringes with you all. I will be back to writing very soon. Chemo is officially finished and I am awaiting a CT scan on Nov 21 to make sure that everything is still clear. I’m definitely on the mend!

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