I smiled as I walked to the trashcan. I could feel the wind whipping through the last two remaining gray hairs on my head. I almost felt like a girl again.
The other night my son came over and we had a movie night. I was in the mood to watch ‘The Wedding Singer’ because at work the song ‘Love Stinks’ came on and we all started talking about the movie. It is such a fun movie.
There is a scene right after he is stood up at the altar when the nephews are teasing him about being cuckoo and needing to go to a mental institution. The voice of the child is still rattling around in my head. Cuckoo cuckoo.
Last night a friend messaged me and told me I was her hero. That with all that I am challenged with I still keep going. I am not a hero.
I am a girl. Who was diagnosed with breast cancer. Who had surgery and chemotherapy to put the cancer in its place and control it. Nothing more nothing less.
It did however get me to thinking. When you get the call that you have cancer you suddenly become a deer in headlights. It is overwhelming and scary all at once. You are bombarded with doctors and insurance and bills and advice and un-welcomed suggestions. Forming a plan of action. For me surgery, reconstruction, chemotherapy. It is put into motion and professionals are helping you meet that plan of action. You do what you need to do and trust those you need to trust. It is really not that hard because you do not know better.
What is hard is the mental battle. Your emotions are all over the place, often controlling you like a puppet. You wake up ready to face another day and suddenly your brain starts telling you don’t forget you have cancer. People die from cancer. Cancer is your fault. You must have done something really wrong in this world to get cancer. Only bad things happen to bad people. Cancer is eating your body right now. You will never feel normal again. Don’t forget to have a pity party. It flat-out can make you feel like you are cuckoo. Not for cocoa puffs, just cuckoo. It mentally slaps you, hard.
How can you be a hero when you are cuckoo? You can’t. You just get up and go. Go until you exhaust your thoughts. Go until you can finally prove to yourself you are not cuckoo. Go until someday the thoughts will no longer haunt you.
I am a girl. Slightly nuts before, definitely crazy now. Ready to embrace this new sense of ‘normal’ and accept that cuckoo is not really a bad thing. It can’t be. And besides, it was really funny and almost cute when the 5 year old said it in the movie…
A wise woman is not concerned whether she looks like a Barbie. She comes to peace with her new”adult”look, and she wears her “adult size” with pride. ` A wise woman does not fret because she is ove…
Source: The Epitome of a Wise Woman
I was so discouraged the other day. The day I wrote about ‘I can’t’
It was the first time that I really thought I can’t since that fateful call on Nov. 3rd.
My poor husband. I came home on Wednesday and he made the mistake of asking if I was okay. Okay!?!? NO! No I am not okay as I lay crying in a lump on the bed. What was your first clue? I was so tired. I just kept telling him I can’t do this. I can’t do this.
He picked me up and said yes you can you are just tired. He then told me that he will feed me Taco Bell and then I should go to bed. I think it helped. I know the Taco Bell did.
They told me that the last round of chemotherapy will hit me the hardest. Knowing it and living it are two different things. No matter how much I braced myself for it I was not mentally prepared. The fatigue was harder, the dry fingertips are unmanageable , the flat taste in my mouth and dried tongue are worse. Then to top it off my asthma started kicking my ass, er lung I should say. So not sleeping from night sweats, chemically induced fatigue and a cramping right lung truly left me discouraged. It left me at I can’t.
Today, today is so much better. Now my mind is wandering and wondering.
Thinking of things like the following:
Are chemically induced hot flashes worse than when it happens naturally? My vote is yes.
The hair on my head that is growing back is like a brillo pad. It is coarse, gray and sticks out in all directions. Soon it will poke straight through my hats and wigs. When I showered the other day I used conditioner on it hoping it will soften. I think it is a logical conclusion. It didn’t.
Vanilla seems to be the saving grace for my coffee with the tongue/taste bud issues. Is it wrong that I am drinking extra cups of my froo froo sweet vanilla coffee because it actually tastes good? Probably, but right now I am still too tired to worry about calories and dehydration. I will just drink more water inbetween cups, yeah that is totally logical.
Why isn’t being naked at work and in public acceptable? The moment I put clothes on I start sweating. Granted I don’t think people would appreciate all of ‘this’ (pointing to my body) naked.
Do all the hot flashes and night sweats smell, or is it just in my head? I have started spraying my clothes down with my signature scent just in case. It worked for the French.
I am ready for life after chemotherapy. I am searching for my new ‘normal’ I will find it. One cup of coffee and douse of perfume at a time.
Today I can’t.
It is the first time I have uttered those words since November 3rd. At least as much as I can recall.
It is the first time I feel like I can’t do this.
Is it the fatigue? The lack of taste? The dry fingertips? Is it the right lung that feels like it has a wooden plank shoved through it? Perhaps.
Maybe it is more than that.
I know it will pass.
I know it will end.
I know it will.
I know it will.
I know it will.
As I am navigating this new journey that life has handed me, I realize how much uncharted waters there really are.
Changes in my body by surgery. Changes in my diet, exercise, daily living. Learning that not all change is good. Accepting that all change can be turned into good if I focus it. All the mental challenges of the diagnosis itself. Reminding myself that I have revenge goals that I damn well want to meet next year.
I tested a wog yesterday when I took out the trash. It was from the garbage can to the front door but I feel like I can do it. I tested lifting heavier weights in a private workout and feel like I can do it. I tested a new sleep combination/blanket and feel like maybe I can do it. Started taking my hair, skin and nails vitamins yesterday and feel confident I will have hair again. It is all these little things that are making me stronger. That I am choosing to make me stronger.
There are things I didn’t think about having to navigate through. Like yesterday. A new challenge confronted itself.
I was at a friends thirty-two hot to handle birthday party at a local Irish Pub. Excused myself to use the restroom. No big deal. I get to the public restroom and put down the thin potty seat protector (I used to never use these things but germs concern me because of the chemo) I sit down on the toilet and do my business. Not really thinking it through. I was having a hot flash. When you have a ‘flash’ your whole body becomes a sweat pool. THE WHOLE BODY including the backs of your thighs! The part sitting on a thin piece of paper that is now officially stuck to you. Not all the paper, bits and pieces of the paper. So you catch yourself peeling chunks of ‘protective’ paper off your flesh and trying to get it all in the toilet without making another kind of mess. Oh there are other messes. Trust me.
I found this today in FB I think this should be a law.
And now I must go. The laptop is making me have a hot flash as I type! At least you now know what to expect if you are starting menopause and have to use a public restroom. The germs are probably less annoying than the paper sheet stuck to your thighs.
Many years ago, when I was much younger, freshly married and a new mom we truly were living paycheck to paycheck. It was frustrating, exhausting, and worrisome at times. How were we going to make it? There are bills to pay and needs to be met with a new young mouth to feed. Somehow we always found a way to make it to payday.
Life has a funny way of repeating itself. The circumstances are different yet the reasons are just as noble.
I catch myself watching my bank balance. My husband makes a decent living so he pays the majority of the bills. I am in charge of groceries, the phone bill and paying for my fitness lic. and continuing education expenses and miscellaneous things.This usually leaves me with a cushion in my bank account before each payday. Until recent events.
The cancer diagnosis was a life changer for sure. A very expensive life changer. Bills coming from everywhere, even with insurance our out of pocket expenses ate up all our cushion. Now we have met all the out-of-pocket for now and there are no extra charges, just co-pays. Yet, I catch myself still living paycheck to paycheck.
This is why, I have started living. I no longer put off the things that I didn’t do because I couldn’t afford them. I just do it. I have loved ones that I want to send something to, so I do. I have pictures that I had developed from an October Zumba fundraiser that I have not framed. Not anymore. I want them framed and put up to enjoy. I want to send flowers to a friend, an extra card in the mail to a loved one, donate to a charity I believe in, try growing an herb garden, go out and laugh with friends. Get it?
Life is too short to wait and do the things someday. If you are not living now, then when? Enjoy what you have. Enjoy it now. Enjoy the things that make you happy. Give until you can’t give anymore. Give of yourself, give joy, give time, give money, give devotion, give peace, give encouragement. Just give and you will see that you are really living, paycheck to paycheck. Surprisingly though your life will feel fuller and richer than ever before.
Today is my last round of chemotherapy. Soon I will be living even more. Stay tuned.
Okay so the real lyrics from the Katy Perry song are ‘You’re hot then you’re cold’ but I am singing about myself.
The chemotherapy has totally taken over my hormones as promised by my doctors. I have hot flashes and night sweats so often now I am not sure what ‘normal’ feels like anymore.
I sleep with my ceiling fan on. Not that unusual, right? But, I HAVE to also have my big comforter over me too. This seems to be a conflict of interest to most, husband included. I start off cold so I cover myself. It doesn’t take long before I go into sweating mode and have to throw the cover off and let the fan cool me off. Soon I will be too cold and have to cover up again. For this very reason I stopped wearing my Fitbit when I sleep. I do not need to be reminded that I woke up 27 times. Yes 27!
This week seems to be worse. I have started wearing skirts and dresses at work because they are cooler. I seem to sweat through my back and toes when I have daytime hot flashes. The night sweats, well I just soak everything including the pillow. It only takes a few days of interrupted sleep and early mornings (like 3am because you just can’t try to sleep again) to make you feel like you are losing your mind and haven’t slept for months. It isn’t true but it feels true.
The other lovely thing I have going on is acid reflux and an increase in gas. I have always had gas. All humans do. It is natural. Mine has always smelled like death. You know ‘silent but deadly’. That is me. Lately they have been death warmed over twice then forgotten so it rotted. Yeah, I know, gross. Try living in that smell. So I looked it up to see if it is a side effect of chemo. Guess what I found:
Chemotherapy medications you may be taking to treat breast cancer can cause gas by speeding up or slowing down your digestion. This can increase the amount of gas released in the stomach, which can increase belching or flatulence. Chemotherapy also can affect how the bacteria in your stomach work, causing gas and abdominal pain.
So that is awesome. GERD and acid reflux are also part of the process too. I am so relieved that it is a treatment induced issue but sheesh kick a girl when she is bald!
I know that the chemotherapy is catching up to me. Not just from the increase issues but that it is harder and harder for me to find the humor in it. I have always found humor in every little thing in life. I have always been able to bring a chuckle to myself or others in any situation. It is getting harder and harder for me. This is how I know that the medications are effecting me.
I have one more round of chemo left. ONE MORE ROUND!! I have to get though this. I will get though this. The question is will I get though it with grace, joy and a non raw butt hole? Will I get through with a sense of humor left? Will there be an end (ha!) to the gas and GERD? Will I ever adjust to the hot flashes (they will continue after for many years,ugh) ? Why is the sky blue? What is an eight-hour night of solid sleep like? What is up with the Muppets getting cancelled? So many questions, so many uncertainties, so many ways to bring out depression.
This is what I know to be true: It is for the greater good. My husband still loves me even though I am scarred, deformed, bald and sometimes smell. I have a new perspective of what I want out of life and will soon have the energy to pursue it. That this too shall pass. And most of all that my bedroom ceiling fan is quite beautiful.
Like about 99.99% of women, I gained a few pounds as my 50th birthday approached, with most of the weight settling into the inches around my belly button. I like to think that I am a self-confiden…
Like about 99.99% of women, I gained a few pounds as my 50th birthday approached, with most of the weight settling into the inches around my belly button. I like to think that I am a self-confident woman who knows that beauty is more than skin deep, but something about this newfound roundness just ate away at me.
I started using a phone app to “track” my diet. In principle, this seemed like a grand plan… enter my weight, set a goal, then eat the number of calories necessary to get to the finish line… how simple is that!?! Super simple… except that I now spent every minute of the day thinking about food. It is impossible not to obsess when every bite that goes in your mouth has to be entered into your “food diary”.
Most mornings, this meant that by 9am I was already stressed because a slice…
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