Snippets of my thoughts….

Thankful that the headache I had for two days finally broke.

Upset that the pizza I ordered was wrong, again. Actually had the courage to call them and have them give me credit.

Finally worked the nerve up to call the pharmacy about getting fitted for a lymphedema compression sleeve. He didn’t laugh at me. I have a terrible fear of talking to strangers on the phone. I am sure there is a phobia name for it. Maybe it is called ‘weridodumbass phobia’ or ‘freadycat phobia’

Some of my hair on my head is still growing. Some spots on my legs too. My head is getting dry so I rub a handful of lotion on it. It is such an odd thing as a women to rub lotion on your scalp.

I am dying to go for a run. A real run. The weather is perfect. Bloomsday is Sunday and I won’t be there. They will probably have a color and design on the shirt I adore and I will not have one. Makes me sad. Actually a little mad. I had revenge plans, REVENGE PLANS!!  Now the person I was going to revenge is running it in my honor. Bleh, that makes me feel ‘special’.

My computer fell off my lap yesterday. It only fell about 4 inches onto a carpeted floor. Now my screen is all shaking and I can’t use it. I had to make an appointment to get it to the Apple doctor.  Funny thing is a few weeks after buying the computer we had it in the back of the car. It slid out when we spend the trunk about 3 feet onto cement and it was fine. I am using my husbands computer to do my Cancercize with Renee B. videos. I have limited access to all my accounts, mostly because I do not remember ANY of my passwords!!

Two parcels came in the mail for me yesterday. One was a hat with curly hair attached to it. So cute. The other a headband with long hair that has pink streaks in it and a hat to cover the top of my bald head. It is so cool! Two different friends, from two different states thinking of me and sending something so thoughtful. My hubby almost cried when he saw them on and who they came from. Friends crawling out of the woodwork. Amazing.

Saw a guy ‘casing’ a car out front of my apartment today. Couldn’t get the window open fast enough to yell at him and scare him. I will leave a note on the car to warn the owner. Maybe if they park it in another spot it will confuse the guy?

Today is my third round of chemotherapy. I get anxious every time. I generally don’t sleep well the day before. I break out in an anxiety rash all over. I get extra moody and touchy with coworkers and the husband. It happens every time. I know the process. I know the only part that hurts is when they hook me up to the machine. I know the effects of the meds usually don’t show up until that evening or the next day. Yet I am anxious and unsettled.

It ticks me off that when I weigh myself at home I am 145.6. When I go to the doctor’s office (they make me weigh in EVERY time) I weigh between 150 and 151. I blame the shoes and the time of day.

There you go, snippets into my mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have always worn many hats…..

Well not real hats, but proverbial hats for sure. You know the story as a mom you wear many hats: nurse, caregiver, chef, maid, teacher, etc. I think it is easier to wear and juggle all those hats than what I do now.

Yesterday as I was getting ready for work I tried on all the hats, hair pieces, scarves and whatnots shown on the bench above. Yes this really is my bench by the front door. Yes it is where I keep my head coverings.

I tried on every last one yesterday and none of them looked or felt right. Not one! Several of the knit hats and the two Beaubeau scarves are on loan from my friend who went through cancer a few years ago. They are actually very comfortable and usually my go to head piece. None of them felt right yesterday. So I went online to order some different colors and styles for me. Oh my goodness they are so expensive! It kind of caught me off guard. I also went on line to find a lymphedema sleeve (I am also borrowing one of hers right now too) and that really rocked my boat on pricing!

I have a beautiful friend who wants to cut off all her lovely long hair and give it to me to make a wig. I went online to find a wig maker. Found one in Oregon. It takes her 200 hours to make a wig from real hair. You have to have 8 ounces of hair and if it is all donated the wig making process cost $1200-$2200, it cost more if you don’t have enough in donation and they have to add some from another source to make a full wig.

The wig my aunt gave me is good. The color is very near to my ‘real’ hair color but the bangs are not right and it doesn’t lay right around my face. She asked me to not cut it but I could get it thinned out or styled. I tried to curl the bangs so I could wear it and singed the hair. So I emailed a local wig place to see if they will help me fix it so I can wear it.

My friend asked me the other day ‘why don’t you just own it’ meaning my bald head. She has beautiful hair and is young and bold. I simply said I am not there yet. I may never be there. I leave it bald at home. After all Keith is the one who shaves it for me. So no worries about his reaction. I just don’t know if I am strong enough to face the world with a naked head.

I have learned that dangle earrings and baseball caps look odd together. That a knit hat is awfully warm on a 78 degree day. That some of my hair on my head is still growing so it itches like mad and the Beaubeau scarves get crooked easily if you scratch under them.

Needless to say this threw me into a depression yesterday that made my whole day a struggle. It took everything I had to not cry. It took all day to get out of the ‘feeling sorry for myself’ mode. I don’t think I was mentally prepared for this. The cost of ‘cancer accessories ‘ that are actually needs. The fact that I actually cared so much.

I will get through this. I will.

At least my boobs look good.

 

my race…

Today was the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure. It is a 5k qualifying race for Bloomsday. It is what I was training for all those months ago that now feel like years ago.  When I signed up for this run in November I was still waiting for my biopsy results. I signed up for the race. The next day the doctor called me at work and informed me I had breast cancer. I think in my heart of hearts I already knew. It didn’t come as real surprise. I did however go home and change my status on the race to ‘Survivor’.

I know I have mentioned that I don’t really feel like a survivor. I feel like I am still in the fighting stage. Survivor is what I am fighting for. This walk today was my way of proving to  the cancer that I own it, it does not own me. I was determined to do the walk, all three miles AND finish it!

My friends Marilee and Julie signed up to walk with me. Rest with me if I needed and carry me to the finish line if necessary. I didn’t need to be carried and I didn’t feel the need to rest. I powered through to the end. I crossed that finish line with my timing chip and my floppy pink hat.

This is how my day played out:

Pictures of me and my friends in our shirts that Julie made for us. The front says ‘The Rack Pack’ the back has a big pink ribbon on it. Julie had mine say “FIGHTER” I nearly cried.20160417_084552It was a sign that I was emotionally tied into this race. To me doing this race was my way of giving cancer the middle finger, the slap across its face, the proof that I am stronger than it.

Ran into my friend Kathy and she gave me her last bottle of water. Her kindness and willingness and smile enough to make my eyes start to water again.

I crossed that finish line and was given a ‘survivor’ medal. I cried.

I just proved to myself and my family and friends that I can do this. I am stronger. I am a fighter. I am literally in the middle of my chemotherapy and I just finished a 5K! This is huge, emotional, reassuring, empowering even spiritual.

My husband and son came and cheered us on. Wearing their Baseballism Pink Ribbon Swing shirts that they bought to wear in support of me. 2016-04-17 12.45.19

We went to brunch at Casper Fry in the Perry District and laughed and ate and celebrated with mimosa’s. The waitress bought my breakfast. We all cried.

My race was a very emotional race for me. On so many different levels. The finish line has never meant more to me before. Thoughtfulness of friends and my loved ones and strangers has softened this hard hearted person into a pile of tears. Emotionally cleansing tears of satisfaction and humbleness. Pink tears.

This will forever be the best race I have ever done.

Did you know?……

This is me taking a moment to shout from my soap box. My safe space. My blog. Bear with me as I vent a little.

I was hesitant to make my cancer public knowledge. After learning I would need chemotherapy I felt like I was obligated to say something on my Facebook page. After all I would not be able to hide the effects it has on me physically. Also, everyone back in Arizona was finding out anyway from family and friends over there.

With this public announcement to my circle of friends online I had an outpouring of support and prayers and positive thoughts. It is comforting to know that so many people care and truly are concerned about your wellbeing.

As always, there is the other shoe.

I have also been bombarded or reminded that my choices to fight are not necessarily the ‘right things to do’

Did you know that if you eat dandelion root it is 100 times more effective than chemotherapy and kills cancer cells in 48 hours?

Did you know that cancer and chemotherapy is just a scam that the drug industry wants to keep going because they make so much money off of scaring people?

Did you know that the essential oil frankincense can cure cancer?

Did you know that you could NEVER get cancer or CURE your cancer just by eating only clean foods?

Did you know that chemotherapy drugs are based off of napalm, the deadly death bomb?

Did you know that tamoxifen is the worse drug you can give for TREATING breast cancer?

Did you know that Oncologists themselves would NEVER do chemotherapy even though they prescribe it regularly?

Did you know that if you have enough faith and just keep praying God will heal you completely of the cancer?

Did you know that kombucha is so good for you and can help with your nausea?

I get it.

This is what I need YOU to get:

All medications are derived from plants and natural sources in our world. They may process them chemically as they learn to extract the good stuff that heals and rebuilds and helps. BUT IT ALL IS BASED ON WHAT IS IN OUR PLANTS. If dandelion root is better than chemotherapy I can guarantee it is in some of the chemotherapy drugs.

I have mutated genes. I have tested positive for the BRCA2 gene. This means that NO MATTER how healthy I eat and workout I carried the cancer gene that cannot be changed. Period. I can make my body stronger and healthier to fight harder at keeping it at bay, but there is no guarantee that eating only healthy non-carcinogen  foods would prevent me from getting cancer.

Tamoxifen is NOT a breast cancer treatment. It is a hormone blocking agent. If your cancer is hormone fed (like mine) it suppresses the hormone so not to feed any cancer cells roaming in your body.

Yes, there is money to be made in the drug industry. We are a money making country. We are founded on the right to pursue and make money if we want. It is our right. It is what makes us so great as a country. If you are smart enough why not? Yet, I choose to believe that people work for the big companies for the funding but really want to help people and fight disease. THERE ARE GOOD PEOPLE IN THE DRUG INDUSTRY.

My oncologist knew I did not want to do chemotherapy. He was so worried about telling me my onctotype score was borderline. He knew I may refuse it. He would make his sister and his mom do the chemo if it came back borderline. Tell me, if he would MAKE his sister and mom do it does that mean he doesn’t believe it really works? He was so relieved that I was willing to take it on. Physically relieved. It concerned him, he even called me at home after 6 at night. Long hours for a doctor who only cares about his paycheck. Hmm.

Yes I have faith that God can heal me. Does it mean I will not rely on the expertise of the intelligence that God gave to doctors and scientists? Absolutely not. I believe we have a journey and that there is a purpose for everything. My purpose is to go through this. With faith and with medical science.

And this is what I leave you with: I am fighting for my life. YOU ARE NOT FIGHTING FOR MY LIFE!!! Until YOU have cancer do not sit in judgement of how others choose to fight!! If you get cancer and you only want to do healthy foods and oils and coffee enemas that is your choice. I personally do not want to. I want to do what is right for me. That is fight with everything I have. That means surgery, chemotherapy, eating right, exercising,  hormone suppression therapy, meditation, prayer and positive thinking.

I am learning to find my inner discipline. I have to mentally force myself to move somedays. It is not easy. Having people ‘help’ me with advice isn’t always helpful either. I just want you to know. Being IN the shoes is the only time you should give advice. Having shoes is not the same.

You are NOT fighting for MY life.

I am sure this will piss a lot of people off. Especially all the ‘natural only’ people. I am not discounting natural stuff. I follow a lot of it. What works best for me and my research. Just let me live my life like I want. With courage, dignity and strength.

Stepping off my soap box now.

 

 

I may not be setting a P.R…..

I may not be setting personal best. I definitely am not improving my pace. Yet, I am definitely getting a stronger mind.

This Sunday morning I went for a walk. My goal: to go a couple of miles.

I picked up my phone and put on some praise and worship and headed out the door to commune with the Creator in nature. My neighborhood, but nature is very much around.

I walked passed squirrels and a fat chicken with furry feet. I saw flowers blooming and trees burdened with blossoms.

20160409_192732.jpgI purposely did not use my Runkeeper app or any others (except Fitbit your steps don’t count if you don’t have your Fitbit, can I get a whoop whoop!) I didn’t look at my Fitbit but once to see if I was close to the miles I wanted.

I walked and walked and I sang out loud to some worship music and I smiled and saw all that was good around me. I was thankful that I had the energy to walk. That I wasn’t nauseous or dizzy or delirious.

I had bathed myself in sunblock and wore extra apparel to prevent sun burn. I sang again, and smiled in the beauty of the day.

I may not have beaten  any of my my past records for walking. I certainly did not jog or wog any of the route, but I hit the 3 mile goal I wanted. I hit it and felt good. I hit it and felt strong. I hit it and still had energy and a smile and a mindset that I am doing good for myself.

My mind is strong. My body will follow. I will rejoice in all the good in life. I will continue to praise. I will continue to share the joy!

20160409_191042.jpg20160409_192747.jpg20160409_192323And yes I did say a chicken with furry feet! Someday I will get a picture!

You are stronger.

Cancercize with Renee B. on Youtube and Facebook.

Come join me!

 

 

Suddenly I am a tree hugger…

Okay, so I may not really be a tree hugger. But I totally get the concept of hugging a tree. I mean literally hugging a tree.

As a very touchy, feely, hands on girl, even more so when alcohol is involved. I have become very isolated because of chemotherapy.

I am not to hug people, shake hands, go to movie theaters, go dancing in sweaty clubs or any crowded places.

I am isolated.

I am lonely.

I feel neglected.

I feel sad.

I feel rude when I do not hug as a greeting.

I need human contact.

I need socialization.

I need people.

I need friends.

I find that I text more often now just hoping to have some type of conversation, with anyone.

I find that tree very appealing. It needs a hug. If only it could hug back.

Sad part is I would hug a tree then have to sterilize myself from whatever may be growing or living on the tree ‘just in case’

If the tree could hug back I may just make it through this.

Maybe I just need a pet.

 

 

No hair for my hairbrush…..

When my son was young and my husband and I were heavily involved with our church, teaching Sunday school and Youth Group, we were addicted to Veggie Tales. Veggie Tales are cartoon Christian veggies. Veggie Tales starred Bob the tomato and Larry the cucumber. They would tell veggie versions of Bible stories and choosing to do the right thing. They are brilliant and have things for the adults as well as the kids. My favorite thing was when they did Silly Songs with Larry. Larry is the best! He belted out songs about Water Buffalos and Barbara Manatee and the such. My favorite and the one that is running through my head constantly right now is the Hairbrush song.

In this song Larry laments about not being able to find his hairbrush. Oh where is my hairbrush he sings. Eventually you find out his best friend Bob had given the hairbrush to the peach, because he has hair. Larry concedes and sings to the peach, take care of my hairbrush, take care of my hairbrush, take care take care oh where take care of my hairbrush!

When my hair started drastically thinning I knew I needed to make some choices. I could tr  to hold off shaving it since I had so much hair no one would notice the thinning for awhile. The problem with that is there was long hair everywhere!  EVERYWHERE!! In my food, in my bed, on the floor, on my computer keyboard, down my shirt. Everywhere.

It was driving me nuts! I text my husband from work Tuesday and said ‘do not make plans tonight you are shaving my head’. It frightened him a little because he has never done that  to anyone before. We approached it with confidence and laughter. He kept his attitude light so that maybe I wouldn’t freak out. That would make him freak out too. I was worried I would cry. I didn’t. It wasn’t easy, it was just the least annoying thing to do for me at the time.

As Keith was shaving my head he kept saying ‘wow your head is so tiny!’ We had no idea it was so small! I have always been told that I have a large head (by family) the biggest in the family. Turns out it is all hair!

When all was said and done I ended up with a super short buzz cut. You can clearly see on the sides where I was having some balding already taking place. Keith was excited with how well he did. He told me I looked great. Of course he said that, he is my husband and doesn’t want me to cry. I stood up and take out the stool so I can look in the bathroom mirror. The mirror is really high and I am really short, it is quite comical actually. I catch a glance at myself, I turn to Keith and said ‘I look like a freakin’ bad ass marine chick!’ he smiled and said ‘yes, yes you do’.

I am still having some scalp soreness, and I am still losing hair like crazy but now it is like whiskers, not long strands everywhere. Much more manageable.

There are some downsides:

my head is cold!

my hair is all gray!

I look like a boy more now than ever! (I was always teased when I was younger that I look like a boy! Part of my self esteem issues lol)

BUT, I have hats, and scarves that were made for me and lent to me.  My aunt sent me a wig to use too. It is in the picture above.  I still have my eyebrows and eyelashes. I will probably have them until the end of April so for now a hat looks fine because I have eyebrows and lashes.

I thought shaving my head would defeminise me. It turns out it is quite liberating. I no longer have to worry about a bad hair day. Or wait for my hair to dry enough after a shower before going to bed. I won’t have to buy Draino for the shower for months. Or replace my shampoo and conditioner. I have enough to wash the wig with so I am covered.

It is for the greater good.

Just like the chemo.

 

 

Meet my friend..

20160402_091356-2.jpg

On an adventure.

 

The other night I received a text from a friend, urging me to go and check the mail. It will help you sleep tonight I promise. So I went to open the package that arrived that I had assumed was something I had ordered. It wasn’t a case of Lysol. It was this cozy, soft, happy bear instead. It had a happy little note attached:

“Hi Renee! This little guy is going to help you get through your chemotherapy treatments. Take him with you. He gives great hugs! Love Paula (neveradullbling.com) haha”

She is so right! He gives great hugs!

So I decided he needed to come to happier adventures with me so we have something to talk about at chemotherapy.

Saturday. Saturday all the stars were aligned in my life. My husband had the day off. The sun was out and it was going to stay out all day. I have had really good energy and feeling strong. It is the last weekended before my next round of chemo. We decided we should go on a day trip. Take advantage of the moment.

I have to tell you this: Thursday my scalp started to hurt. Like it was sore from wearing a ponytail too tight. On Friday morning it was hurting worse and all over. At work I leaned over to tell my boss that I think I am going to start losing my hair. I told her about my scalp hurting like I have shingles or something. She lifted my hair to look for sores (she is my friend too not just my boss) and my scalp is white. That is what I am afraid of. When I googled “sore scalp” chemotherapy is listed as a cause. 20% of women undergoing chemo will get a really sore scalp before the hair starts to fall. Guess I am one of the ‘special ones’ I always assumed it just fell out. Learned something new.

Back to Saturday. I woke up Saturday morning and am covered in hair. I run my hands through carefully because the scalp still hurts. Sure enough my hands are full of hair. It is thinning heavily. They say you have to lose about 50% of your hair before it is noticeable. I am trying to not shave it until I have to. I will tell you I am afraid to brush it and style it so that is tricky. I know I am going to lose my hair. The meds I am on both have that as a number one side effect. I am mentally prepared, kind of. Saturday morning was more emotional than I thought. I am not ready for this. I was crying. My husband said we can cancel our outing if I want. I said no. I don’t know when I will be strong enough to go on a day trip again.

That is when I decided the bear needs to go with me. He has hair. So we loaded up on a good breakfast at Chaps then headed out towards Colfax for a hike around Palouse Falls State Park. It was a beautiful day. We kept the hiking simple. We snapped pics of the bear having fun. Which in turns means I was having fun too.

I think this is what is wonderful about the world wide web. Neveradullbling and I have never officially met face to face, yet. She and I follow each others blogs. It turns out we have similar back grounds like AZ and WA. We have similar interests and over time I feel we have become real friends. We actually text each other now and she was willing to come do Bloomsday with me in May (I don’t think I will have the strength to do it) She wanted to join me for the Susan G Komen walk this month but it is the same time as her Salt Lake City run. This simple gift of a bear was one of the most thoughtful and kindest things ever. It made me cry and smile all at once.

I know very long winded today! 🙂 I love the bear. I find comfort in hugging him. I do not have a name for him other than friend, which is how I feel about Paula. I will bring him to chemo and snuggle whenever I need a hug. I will smile and know that there is someone on the other side of the state who thinks enough of me to send me such a gift of comfort and joy.20160402_08080820160402_103920-220160403_064817