Tuesday…not a taco in sight..

I am just at such a loss right now. I am struggling with keeping the tears in. Cancer is such a bitch. Yeah, I said it..a swear word. I have said many a swear word these last few years. My cousin Eric would let me use the mother of all swear words in our texts to each other. He lost his mom, my aunt to breast cancer and when I was diagnosed he would text me randomly and correct my language.. he would tell me to make it harder. I love him so much for that. I struggle with knowing that I am still here and his beautiful amazingly strong mom is not. Cancer is not fair. Cancer is a bitch. Cancer can suck it.

It took another one last night. I just don’t even have the words to talk more about it right now. I am just emotionally raw. Is that an excuse to not eat right? No. Did I use it? Yes. Do I know that eating healthfully will help retard the growth of cancer? Yes. Do I care right now? No.

With that said this is what I ate today:

Breakfast: coffee (3 cups) with almond milk. Two scrambled eggs with spinach and mushrooms cooked in a teaspoonful of olive oil. I slice of great FFC toast.

Work: more coffee (three cups to be exact) each with 1/2 and 1/2. A granola bar. The crunchy Oats and Honey kind. I was feeling very dizzy this morning at work, I think from sinuses. I needed some carbs/protein bar. I wanted a protein puck but it was more than what I had on my vending machine card. #goodexcusesright

Lunch: ate my sandwich from yesterday. It was layers of deli sliced turkey breast no nitrates, mustard and one slice of that amazing FFC bread. Had a salad of cabbage and two tablespoons of homemade asian dressing.

Snack: about 4:30 PM today. Two tablespoons of humus with pita chips. Carrot sticks and half of a yellow bell pepper.

Dinner: a plateful, albeit a small plate of BBQ beef and a large glass of champagne.

Water: I am at 120 ounces now.

Workout: Yoga stretch. Did something called the ‘lizard’ I am always amused at the names of yoga poses. Makes me smile. Like the ‘happy cow’. It is pretty much like sitting crossed legged just a variation of it but it is called the ‘happy cow’ Maybe cows cross their legs like that when they are done for the day. I grew up around cows and can’t really recall any of them sitting like that…oh well the lizard was challenging for sure but a great hip flexor stretch.

Notice I did NOT have my superfoods shake today. First day I have “missed” in weeks. I just didn’t think it would go well with my champagne.

The champagne is doing its job and helping me relax. I am ready for bed. I will probably turn on Netflix and listen to Fraiser reruns until I fall asleep. If I can sleep. Survivors guilt is a real thing. Losing a young, strong, amazing woman to cancer is a real thing. And it all just sucks.

How did you do today?

 

 

 

and the genes still don’t fit…

At least tomorrow I will be wearing underwear!

Bleh.

Tomorrow is the day I go in for an extraction. An extraction! It is what they call the out-patient surgery of removing the margins of an a-typical mole.

A-typical. A-typical mild this time. Last time was severe and they had to take a large section out to make sure the margins were clean. I am hoping not so much this time. Especially since it is on my right arm and I am right-handed.  I know it will be fine. I have been down this road before. I have had more difficult surgeries before.

A scar is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

So why am I a bit anxious about it? I have no idea.

I have the mutated BRCA2 gene. It was something we found out after the diagnosis. It means I am most likely to get breast cancer..duh. Also very likely to end up with ovarian cancer so out they went (welcome hot flashes) and susceptible to skin cancer.

That is how I ended up at the Dermatologist for a full body scan and mapping. Not a big deal. You stand there in your underwear and they take a bright light and look at every inch of your skin carefully calling out markings and quadrants. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t forgotten my underwear.

Tomorrow I will have my underwear on and a bra just to be safe.  Even my jeans if they fit.

 

Love eliminates….

Love eliminates the distance…..

When I went public with the cancer on my Facebook page so many people expressed their condolences. I think that is how I want to refer to it. Cancer is immediately thought of as a death sentence. Prayers and good thoughts were posted on my page. Along with how I should have been eating right and exercising and I wouldn’t have gotten cancer in the first place comments too.  It really opens your eyes to who your real friends are. To who really gets the concept of the diagnosis. It also opens your eyes to the many people who care about you and you had no idea they did. I have been trying to highlight some of the people who have made a difference through all of this. Today it is Chrissy.

I met Chrissy through Zumba and a fellow friend/instructor. I went to a Zumbathon for ALS that she put together and my dear friend Marilee helped with too. I had so much fun. When Marilee introduced me to Chrissy as another instructor she said ‘next fundraiser you will be in with us’. When she organized the fundraiser for the Humane Society she actually remembered me and asked me to lead a song!! This was the best thing that had ever happened to me in the Zumba community. I offered to have the company I work for donate items for the auction. After we chatted for a bit I found out she lived on Fruitvale and that was across the street from where I work. It made it easy for her to pick up the donation items.

Shortly after that her husband was being transferred, to Germany! Argh, I felt we needed more time to friend. She asked for my mailing address and assured me we could still Facebook. She was so good about sending out Christmas cards to the States. I don’t think I would have been that diligent.

When Chrissy learned of my cancer she would message me often to check in on me. When I would post my Cancercize videos she would cheer me on. When I would have hard days she would simply state she missed me.

One day a large box showed up at my door. It was a care package from Germany! It had chocolates, teas, cookies and jam. It must have weight about 30 pounds. Chrissy had taken the time to put a gift together for when I was going through chemotherapy. The teas and cookies were ones for sick stomachs and nausea. Some for sleeping, some for waking up. She took the time to write in English which ones were herbal, which ones were not. She wrapped everything in bubble wrap with such care hoping it would arrive safe.

This gift. So thoughtful, so unexpected, such a surprise. I never thought I was worthy of such an expense. Chrissy thought I was worth every penny of comfort that she could send from a long distance.

I am so thankful that we have technology to keep in touch. Thankful that you can ship hugs in a box. Thankful that Chrissy is in my life if only for a moment. Grateful that she is  in it for a lifetime.

Love eliminates the distance

 

Last night I slept without a bra on….

I know this may not seem like much to you. In fact I would venture to guess the majority of people sleep without bras on. I used to be one of those people.

When I had the double mastectomy with reconstruction I came home from the hospital wearing a velcro wrap. It was tight and uncomfortable. It was necessary to wear to keep the swelling down and to make sure my new foobs stayed in place and would look symmetrical. Eventually I was allowed to exchange the wrap for a sports bra. I had to wear the sports bra all the time, including at night.

As time went on and the expanders were filled to the capacity I wanted, I was able to wear my ‘pretty bras’ again during the day. At night the expanders were so uncomfortable and unmovable that I would wear the sports bra or the surgery bra to bed to be a buffer. Laying on my side was tricky and the support of a bra helped.

Because of chemotherapy the exchange surgery had to be postponed for months. MONTHS! I had to wear the hard and awkward expanders for ten months. That meant continuing to sleep in a bra or some sort of supportive garment.

Last night I felt confident enough to sleep without a bra on. I slept on my side, on my back and on the other side. It felt wonderful and honestly I almost felt normal. NORMAL!?!?!?!?! Is that such a thing? I can’t even recall feeling normal, except for those rare occasional moments that last for just a minute or two.

I have a followup appointment this coming week with the plastic surgeon. I think everything looks great, as great as it is can get considering. I am looking forward to her telling me that. And that I will be able to jog again. And that I can wear my pretty bras that I just bought from an online company that specializes in bras for mastectomy and reconstruction patients. They are expensive but very pretty. I want to be as normal as possible, I think the new bras will help. So will the jogging. So will the ‘all is clear and good’ from the doctor.

No bra at night, pretty bras during the day. Who knows, next I might wear jeans again.

 

November 3rd.

One year ago today.

It is a date I will likely never forget. I have forgotten my mother’s birthday, my phone, doctor appointments, how to do my job and underwear. I will never forget November 3rd.

Yesterday I celebrated. I celebrated being alive, a loving husband, lime mimosas, a day at the spa, the living of life happening all around me. Celebrating being a fighter.

One year ago today. That is when I got the call at work. The call that will forever be etched in my head. The call that started the change within me. The call that I indeed had cancer.

A day that changed me forever. I am no longer the same. I know I look different on the outside thanks to chemotherapy and all the surgeries. Yet the inside, oh the inside is so different now. I do not think the same as I used to. I love differntly. I live differently. I laugh differently.

There are days I feel guilty that my cancer was not as horrible as my friends. There are days I do not want to get out of bed. Days of feeling sorry for myself. Days full of energy and optimism. Days that make for restless nights. Days of courage, empathy, compassion, selfishness and hope. Three hundred and sixty-five days.

Cancer is hard. On you, your loved ones, co-workers, family and even brief interactions with strangers. Hard on your plans for revenge.

It has however brought out some wonderful things. Opened my eyes to what a loving and intelligent and thoughtful man my husband is. Pulled my inner fighter out. Gave me a new sense of what is important. Helped me to not sweat the small things.

So many changes in such a small amount of time.

One year ago today.

 

 

 

 

 

Just being a girl for a moment…

Bear with me as I divulge into some really girly stuff.

It has taken me years, years I tell you to finally recognize when I am being a PMS snot.

At the very least the first 15 years of my marriage I was a roller coaster of hormones and emotions. It happens, I get my period and I get cramps, bloated, emotional, tired, edgy, short-tempered and flat-out delusional.

I have yelled at my spouse for nothing and everything. I have felt sorry for myself that I didn’t choose a more romantic, sensitive partner instead of one that is smart, strong and funny. And why for the love of all that is holy can he not find the laundry basket for his socks!! At least just for one week out of the month!

Over time I started paying more attention to my body and my emotions. I listened to it. There are signs that warn me my cycle is coming and I need to ready to steady myself to be normal so I don’t go into banshee mode on the hubby.

I started with exercise. As I became more physically fit I became more mentally stable.

I started eating better. As I ate better my hormones naturally became more balanced. Sigh, I hate to admit it but eating balanced is huge!

As chemotherapy continues my ovaries are shutting down. It is part of the process. the meds I am on throw you into menopause, possibly permanently. Which really doesn’t matter because I will need a hysterectomy now because of the BRCA2 mutation. Which means no matter there will be menopause.

I have done enough research as a women and heard enough stories and have had enough hot flashes already to know it is not going to be pretty.

I keep warning my husband.

We were in the car the other day. I reached for his hand. I told him I have no idea how bad I will be. I may become more irrational, cry more, yell more, and just be ‘don’t touch me’ more. I have no idea, I just know it won’t be me and that it may take another 15 years to learn the new signs of hormone breakdowns.

He simply looked over to me and said “I know you love me”

How can he know? I don’t even know at times. I tell him all the time, but let’s face it words sometimes fall empty. We say them so much that they lose meaning and sincerity.

I believe it is the little things. Like making sure he has Mt. Dew on hand. Knowing that he is going to drive the car next after me so I move the seat back so he can get into the car. Making his lunch each day. High- fiving him when he does well on a paper for his classes. Encouraging him to do things he loves to do without me i.e baseball games and curling.

I know that my body is changing. Against my will, for the greater good, and out of my hands. Along with the body changing so are my emotions and hormones and attitude. There will always be this challenge to make sure he knows he loves me, in spite of my words.

Truth is. I know he loves me. That is enough to inspire me to try, to really try.