Prequel To Verzenio

The pharmacist called to outline all the possible side effects of my newest stay-the-heck-out-of-my-body cancer drug.

It’s historically been for women with MBC, but was recently approved for use in earlier stages for certain women. Since I’ve won the cancer lottery twice, I’m a “certain woman.”

The side effect list for Verzenio is long and unpleasant. Not everyone has them all, but almost everyone has some.

Nausea – “Be sure to have Zofran on hand,” Mr. Pharmacist says.

Diarrhea – “You’ll want to have Imodium handy too.”

Low White Blood Cell Count – “You’ll be more susceptible to illness. But don’t worry, you’ll visit your oncologist for monthly blood draws to assess you.”

Mouth sores – “Be sure to take it with a full glass of water. Oh, and by the way, if anyone other than you has to touch one of your pills, make sure they have gloves on.”


All of those things sound like a rocking good time.

But the one that takes my breath away is the last thing he told me.

“You will likely lose some hair.”

“Wait. Back up. What did you say?”

I’d rather throw up in the toilet every stinking morning than lose my hair again.

He didn’t say I’d lose all my hair. But the idea of watching my hair fall out again is Wile-E-Coyote-with-an-anvil-on-his-head heavy.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I believe that, but man I wish he would strengthen me by making me eat a bag of m&ms every morning. 

I’m thankful to be cancer-free. I don’t live in fear of its return. I have a lot of joy in my life. (Did you see my photos from Puerto Rico? A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.)

But as all of my cancer friends know, cancer never really ends. It backgrounds all other things. This is not fully bad. It’s given me a blessed perspective on life that some people will never achieve. All the good things are more and all the bad things are less. Joy is more joyful. Love is more lovely. Beauty is more beautiful.

But bald is still bald. And when you’ve very recently gotten your hair back, the thought of losing any is quite awful.

God may be able to number my hairs, but I don’t ever want to be able to count them again myself.

God is still good. But cancer still sucks.

By KimHarms

Kim Harms is an author, speaker, and part-time library assistant with two decades of freelance writing experience. She has a degree in English from Iowa State University. She and her husband Corey have three super-awesome sons and one crazy dog. A two-time breast cancer survivor, her first book, Life Reconstructed: Navigating the World of Mastectomies and Breast Reconstruction (Familius), is a guide for women walking the breast cancer road. She is currently working on her second book, a devotional for women going through breast cancer.


  1. Kim, I’m so happy to see you’re blogging again but am sorry for what prompted it. Much like you, I was diagnosed with BC in 2016 (despite a mastectomy) and again this year in Feb. I completed 6 wks of radiation the end of Aug. and am now on Tamoxifen. And FTR I have 3 children (teens) and am named Kim. 🙂 Whenever you publish your book, I’d love to have you on my little Youtube channel if you’re interested. God bless you & your family this Advent season.

    1. I remember you. You wrote a book after your first diagnosis, right? I’m sorry you had to go through it a second time as well. I hope your body is handling Tamoxifen well. I had minimal side effects when I was on it.
      I’d love to talk to you about my new book when it comes out. It may be a while, since my agent is still working on finding a publisher. I’d be happy to talk with you about my first book if you are interested in doing that sometime.

      1. You’re exactly right! I’d certainly love to talk to you about your first book and (simultaneously promote your upcoming one :-). Sometime after the New Year? Please let me know of the best way to reach out! Have a Merry Christmas!

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