Girl Scout Cookies

10 Jan

I am getting ready to go for my second round of chemotherapy. I am dreading it and I know I have to have it. The first round was far more difficult and miserable than I had anticipated. I have to say this is the hardest thing I have ever done, and it makes sense to me why the nurse at the end of the first chemo treatment ended the seven hour session with: “Thank you for coming in and doing this–you did it!.”  As you all know, I named the tumor Pat, short for Patriarchy (we need to kill Pat), and the port in my chest is named Mueller. After the seven hours of chemo, there is one more chemical that is slow release through a pump via Mueller. I have named the pump Nancy Pelosi to help Mueller kill Pat. During the five days of being horribly sick with nausea (and a whole host of other side effects), I have a lot of time for reflection and sadly, sometimes I fear I start to spiral down into a very dark space that does not help me kill Pat. This reflection was spurred on by my wanting to order Girl Scout Cookies.

I love the Do-si-dos and Robert and I both love the thin mints. I told Robert to ask our neighbors to order some Girl Scout Cookies for us. Internally, I did a nose dive into an abyss of fear. My strange and irrational brain went to: “Wait, what if I die and Robert gets stuck with all of the Do-si-dos cookies? He is allergic to peanut butter. Is it irresponsible of me to order the cookies?”

Having cancer really sucks. For me, I constantly worry and I know I have to figure out a different way to navigate this journey. I have started to try some guided meditation. For those reading and have also gone through a similar journey, what are ways you found helpful in coping with the trauma and the everyday perseverating–am I burdening and fatiguing my support network?

My ask is this: support the Girl Scouts, and if people have advice from lived experience, please do share.


30 Responses to “Girl Scout Cookies”

  1. Jennifer Carey January 10, 2019 at 6:17 am #

    I have already placed my order for ten boxes of girl scout cookies. Some call it binge eating, I call it supporting young, female entrepreneurs.

    While I have never faced the battle that you are now, when I am facing big challenges I try to prioritize self care: I do guided meditation (the Calm App at is my favorite), spend time with people I love, exercise, indulge in guilty pleasures like bad tv, and lean on those I love and that love me.

    Sorry that you’re struggling my friend.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 10, 2019 at 6:22 am #

      Jen, you are too wonderful! I’m so grateful for you! I can’t wait to see you! Robert helped me install a guided meditation on my phone. I will show it to you when you get here!

  2. Mary Russell January 10, 2019 at 6:32 am #

    I am going up to Costco today, 106th Street in Harlem. On that street, there are at least 5 community gardens of varying design nurtured by the street’s community. I will stop at each one, breathe in the spirit that each has and breathe it out in your direction with intention.

  3. Patricia Crone January 10, 2019 at 6:59 am #

    I always order cookies from the Girl Scouts. Working in a school, I am pretty much a sitting duck. And generally I have them sent to homeless shelters. But this year I will think of you, Michael! I agree about the Thin Mints and also heard there may be some new varieties coming out this year. Sending love!

  4. Michelle Youngblood January 10, 2019 at 9:11 am #

    I often dedicate my yoga practice to you 🧘‍♀️ ❤️

  5. Kathleen Saadat January 10, 2019 at 9:41 am #

    I am afraid of thin mints. They just lie there in their chocolate covered innocence, plotting on my blood sugar, whispering my name. I tried putting the remains of one box into a metal tin then hid it in the back of the pantry, all to no avail. The smooth, velvety, clear minty voice resounded down the hall as I tried my best to sleep. In a trance, I arise, pour a half glass of 2%, open the tin and find, Thin Mints smiling at me. I am lost. Dear one, I have not experienced the kind of struggle in which you are now engaged and so have only a kind of generic response. Try to avoid the “what ifs”, they feed the feelings of fear and helplessness. I love you Michael.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 10, 2019 at 2:58 pm #

      I love you so very much Kathleen! Thank you for your love support and making me laugh!

  6. Xena January 10, 2019 at 1:16 pm #

    Michael, I admit to cheating the worry by pouring myself into researching HER2 positive breast cancer cells, herbs and supplements to boast my immune system and test studies of those that kill cancer cells. I started that from the day of my diagnosis and adopted some of the herbs, foods and supplements, such as green tea and turmeric. The oncologist was amazed how much the tumor shrunk after 1 chemo treatment.

    Included in the research was what foods I should avoid. Things high in sugar content is one, so I’m afraid I have to withhold my opinion about cookies for now. 🙂 That might change later, but only in moderation. LOL! After listening/feeling my body after ingesting soft drinks and white potatoes, I eliminated them from my diet.

    Turns out that a pharmacist with the hospital told me that some of the supplements I take help the chemo. There’s a good and bad side to that. With some, they help by extending the life of the chemo, which is why I was still in pain during my recovery week.

    Michael, you will get through this. After the chemo drugs attack your normal dividing cells, you will be weak and in pain for 7 days until your normal cells begin reproducing again. Then comes the pain from tissues repairing themselves. Pace yourself. Know what is realistic for you to do in those 7 days and don’t over extend yourself. That’s so easy for us cancer patients to do or want to do when we have lived productive, daily lives, but this road we are on is different.

    Yes — I still get the blues the day before treatment. Prayer is lifting for me. If that’s not your thing, try writing about what you are feeling. It can be a personal diary.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 10, 2019 at 3:01 pm #

      Xena, thank you for sharing your vulnerability here and a part of your narrative. How are you now? How are you feeling? Do you have the support you need? Thank you for all of your love, support, and these wonderful helpful tips! Much love,Michael.

      • Xena January 10, 2019 at 9:15 pm #

        Michael, I feel much better since changing oncologist. It was a week yesterday since my treatment. It was targeted drugs only, so I’ve not had the weakness that haunts us after treatment with actual chemo drugs. Still, my functional level is about 40 percent because I’m still recovering from the Taxotere allergy and attack.

        As far as support, there are family and friends who check on me often, some daily. Then, there are family and friends who I only hear from when they need to pick my brain for something or want to toss their problems in my lap and I won’t allow it. It’s usually after those contacts when I feel that I could use support. At times, I wonder if I’m selfish or is it’s the way some people handle things they cannot control and maybe want to deny.

        Sending you encouraging, energizing, healing vibes and hugs.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 11, 2019 at 5:37 am #

        Xena, oh dear heart! You are NOT selfish! What we are going through is so very difficult, and while on this journey, we are learning who is able to stop up and who lacks the capacity to step up. I’m sending you so much love and good energy!

      • Xena January 12, 2019 at 8:12 pm #

        Michael, you’re going through so much yourself, that I feel absolutely honored by your most kind comment. We shall get through this. I receive your love and good energy and give it back to you seven-fold.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 13, 2019 at 6:36 am #

        Thank you, Xena. Honestly, if there is anything I can do to be supportive, please let me know!

  7. rhinophile January 10, 2019 at 1:59 pm #

    Hi Michael, my husband was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2005. We shared eleven years in the shadow of this diagnosis but, like yourself, were determined not to have it overtake our lives. We were lucky in that we played music together – a huge contribution to our lives – and we were working on a book about our experience. If you have some time you can get a taste of our version of the ‘cancer journey’ via this link. I’m sending you heartfelt strength from Australia.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 10, 2019 at 3:04 pm #

      Oh my god! You are very wonderful! Thank you for sharing the link. I checked it and it is clear I will be spending a lot of time reading about y’alls cancer journey! You all might have to rescue us in the states, as you know we have a crazy man holding the country hostage. Love to you!

  8. Jackie Davis January 11, 2019 at 12:00 pm #

    There’s no getting around it. You’ll just have to stick around to eat the cookies, Michael. BUY LOTS AND LOTS OF COOKIES. 🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪
    Also, the Girl Scouts are awesome, and I love that you are supporting them! Even when you are feeling down, you still think about others, and that is why I love you. 💕

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 11, 2019 at 12:06 pm #

      And I love you, Jackie! I’m so grateful I we get to see you this weekend! Love, Michael.

  9. rosie49 January 11, 2019 at 1:58 pm #

    You are incredible,Michael! Cancer does suck but Girl Scout cookies most definitely do not. Stay on the path of the peaceful warrior and maintain your energy by whatever means support you. I’m not alone in telling you that the energy you’ve sent out to help others is coming back to help you now. Thank you for keeping up with your blog so we can cheer you on.

  10. momfromhe11 January 13, 2019 at 1:05 pm #

    Sweetheart, persevere!
    The Black Dog (depression) is always waiting around for us, and the only way I have found to keep it somewhat at bay is treating myself well.
    So treat yourself like a Queem!
    Dont let absurd thoughts about burdening people even come into your head. There are so many of us who love you and Robert.
    Keep telling your truth!

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 13, 2019 at 1:09 pm #

      Thank you, momfromhe11!!! You are so lovely and wonderful! I shall do my best to persevere. Much love, Michael.

  11. sweetD July 17, 2019 at 12:25 pm #

    I’m not sure I can support an organization that actively excludes others.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt July 17, 2019 at 1:42 pm #

      Whom does the Girl Scouts exclude?

      • sweetD July 18, 2019 at 6:33 am #

        literally anyone without a vagina. Just as boy scouts discriminate. It’s time to eliminate these organizations, amalgamate them into one, and just have “scouts”.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt July 18, 2019 at 8:26 am #

        May I invite you to do some research before commenting? You are actually categorically wrong. The Girl Scouts was one of the very first to embrace trans and gender fluid girls.

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