shaved head

shaved head
Channelling GI Jane

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Aug. 3, 2011: Life Lessons

I'm grappling with a head cold that has left my brain plugged with muccus. Through this haze I have picked out some nuggets of wisdom I have learned this past year.

The key to happiness:
A) First, you must choose to be happy. No one else will do that for you.
B) Forgive everyone who has ever hurt, humiliated, or traumatized you (including yourself) and let that pain go.
C) Finally, love your life. And if you can't love every nuance of it (I struggle with the cranky kids, housework, and cooking), then find aspects of it to love and endulge. Some of my favories are music, being with friends and family, being alone with my husband, designer sunglasses, and playing with my boys.

What has cancer taught me?
A) To surround myself with loving friends and family- with their love and strength I can conquer anything.
B) Ask myself "Why NOT me?" I'm learning to get through tough shit with as much love and grace as I can and to take note of life lessons I've learned. They are always imbedded in "tough shit."
C) Don't be afraid to live. My Mama said, "life is short," and it really is.

A final thought (I'm not sure which category it should go in); if you find someone especially hard to love- love them all that much more.:)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

One Year Anniversary

Wow! One year ago, almost to the hour, I received the phone calls from Dr. P and Dr. G informing me that my biopsy had tested positive for breast cancer. Deep breath. In some ways I have changed, but really life just goes on.

Psychological issues that bother me now:
1. If the cancer comes back I cannot think about going through all this again.
2. If I were to receive a terminal diagnosis; would I feel that I had lived my life to the fullest?

Physical results from chemo, surgery & radiation:
1. Toe fungus
2. Sensitive to waxing
3. Affected breast is lumpy, hard & painful.
4. My skin is super dark brown where I burned and I have a scar on my left shoulder from burn.
5. I have gained 20 pounds during this process.
6. I must wax my face every 3 weeks because I am really hairy.

My hair is about 3 inches long now and super curly, like an afro. My long lashes & eyebrows are back to normal, thank God! My skin is good, but I still have traces of dark circles under my eyes. I sleep well. I was cleared to excercise at the end of June, but it has been difficult with my kids out of school. I am looking for work so that I can fund my passions (boots, concerts, and travel). The boys are doing really well. I think they have recovered. I'm not sure that Erich will ever be the same. This year really affected him. I think it would be good for us to find a group of cancer patients and their partners to join. I look forward to final surgery in December so that I may be complete.:)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dr. G's expression when I took my robe off for her today was enough to make my gut hurt and bring tears to Erich's eyes. I look as if I've been to war. I'm left wondering if I will ever be pretty again. Of course I will heal, it will just "take time." I'm 43. I don't have many more years in which I can be pretty. I don't have time. As I was buying compression t-shirts to hold my dressings in place, I purchased a pair of fake areolas with nipples, since I won't have my own for 6 months or so. Why the hell not buy fake nipples to join my hair extentions and fake eyelashes? We are the sum of all our parts and I'm so tired of missing mine. God help me if this cancer ever returns because I really cannot imagine going through this again. This warrior is ready to hang up her bow and arrow.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saturday, May 14, 2011

So, the good news is I won't get any worse. I have one more session of radiation on Monday and then I am home free. I'm told my skin will continue to cook after my last appointment, but I should see a big turn-around in about two weeks. Good. My skin has gone from gooey to crispy. I am still in pain, but my pain killers are helping out. I spend my days on the couch while Erich plays single parent, a role he can only play well for a week at a time before he starts short circuiting. My boys are running wild and we are still living out of boxes in the new house. Life is crazy. I keep reminding myself that it could be worse. I still find I'm filled with selfish desires, but my shrink (bless him) says that's OK as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else. Still no long eyelashes with Latisse. Maybe they're lost forever. My eyebrows are good and my hair is slowly coming back. Thank God for beauty technology because when I have had enough of waiting I can have extentions put on my head and my eyelashes damnit.:)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

Long term pain is starting to fuck with my head. Maybe it's the tylenol w/codeine I'm taking. Or maybe it's the date, but I am having a bad day. I don't know who I am anymore, or what makes me happy. I'm hungry, but food isn't comforting like it used to be. I took off my t-shirt to shower just now and peeled off several layers of my breast tissue and began squirting blood. I've already lost the top layers of skin from my armpit to my side. God, I can't imagine how burn victims endure, but I think it must include retreating into a heavy fantasy life in your head. I can't tell you how many ways I've had Alexander Skarsgard in my mind! And I've read trough 4 books in the last 2 weeks. I have only 2 more sessions; today and Monday. I can get through 2 more appointments.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sunday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day to me. Radiation was cruising smoothly until this last week. I began with a slight rash that itched on Monday to black skin that hurt on Friday. This morning I woke up to find that my tight, burned skin had split in two places under my arm. I am covered in second degree burns from the left side of my neck & shoulder, my entire left breast, my cleavage, and under my left arm and side. It hurts to do anything. I have 6 more days and I'm told I will continue to cook for 2 weeks after my last radiation. For the love of God! I'm basically bedridden again. Erich takes care of everything involving the house and the kids. I'm so depressed and overwhelmed by the pain that I spontaneously burst into tears.

In the midst of my radiation break-down I had an amazing day yesterday (E's wedding day). She was radiantly beautiful and he was literally speechless at times. They were so happy and in love it did my soul good to be around them. I'm so happy for my girl-she deserves such a kind and generous man to share her life with.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day 11 Radiation, April 21, 2011

Every day is a little bit different. Some days I barely make it home and nap for to hours and some days I drag my ass through (with the help of coke & black tea) until bed time. I gained a pound last weak. Really? Although Dr. G cleared me for excercise, Dr. W (my radiology oncologist) does not want me to lose weight during radiation because all my measurements would change. I must be a vain MF because I'm tired of being ugly and fat. Thank God my hair is growing in quickly now (although not fast enough for my liking), my eyebrows are as good as they're gonna get I'm afraid, but still NO lash length. Latisse is failing me and I'm gonna let the world know! They are thicker and fuller, but still half the length they used to be. Thanks to Obagi eye gel my eyes look better. No lines! And my dark circles have cleared up. Now, however, I have noticed dark spots forming under my eyes. I don't get it. I wear hats and sunglasses any time in the sun.

My breast is really completely healed now. No hole, just scars that may not go away until after radiation. I'm no longer feeling nauseated after treatments. My "chemo brain" is worse with  the zapping. Some days I can't beieve people allo me to drive and operate heavy machinery. My sleep pattern has changed in the last few days. I'm not falling asleep until midnight (maybe thats due to my new vampire book) and I'm waking at 4:30-5:30am (hence this post). Some good news: when I last saw the nurse she mentioned I was on a 28 day regimen instead of a 33 day one as I thought (or dreamt, who knows?). I will clear that up with Dr. W this Tuesday, but that may mean I'm done a whole week sooner. Trying to keep my sunny side up. I have come such a long way and the end is so near. Some days I'm really angry that I wasted an entire year of my life, but then I have to remind myself that by losing this last year of "normal" life- I may have gained a lifetime.