Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Day 300 - Medicine

This blog has been great medicine for me.  It has helped me organize my thoughts, recognize my feelings, and cope with my diagnosis and subsequent treatment.  The blog has been an important part of the past 300 days, and I am grateful for this space.  It's time to wrap it up, though. I actually felt ready to stop posting yesterday, but just couldn't end on Day 299 (I'm not that barbaric).  It's Day 300, a perfect day to shut down shop.

I've learned so much over the past 300 days, some lessons that I could have gone a lifetime without knowing, but I've also learned some really valuable things.  I'm not invincible, none of us are.  That is something that I've always known, intellectually, but I got a really heavy dose of it this year.  I'm surrounded by love and support, and I am so fortunate for that.  This path has not been lonely for me as a family member or friend was always a phone call or even a room/couch length away.  Some people turn in and hunker down when a major life event comes along, and that is fine.  I reached out, though, and summoned the team.  My team is incredible.

I appreciate my child more than I ever did.  The love that I have for him is truly overwhelming.  Yes, he pushes my buttons, and I lose my patience at times (I am only human after all), but I find myself more patient and more understanding than I once was.  I still sneak into his room and kiss his sweet face every night before I go to bed, and I count my blessings every time I hear him laugh. He is utterly delightful, and I am so lucky to be his mom.  I am not sure if he will ever understand the depth of my love for him, and that is ok. I know how deep my love runs.

I am so incredibly grateful for my husband.  He has seen sides of me that neither of us knew existed and his love and caring has never waivered.  He has, quite literally, picked me up when I was down and did everything in his power to help me in any and every way. He has felt incredibly helpless this year, but he has helped me more than he knows.  Having a spouse with significant medical needs is not easy (I imagine), and he has worked hard to keep things afloat in our household. I love him so very much.

I could go on and on and on about all of the reasons that I have to be grateful and could mention what I love and cherish about each person in my life, but that would take forever.  Hopefully those who I love know it as I've tried to be much more open with my feelings.  Can anyone really hear how loved he/she is enough?  I don't think so.

I don't know what the future holds (and I really never did), but I have a lot of hope for a long and healthy life.  I will never know why cancer chose me.  It will be one of the greatest mysteries of my life, but I know that I will work diligently to help others though my experience as I think that I have a lot to offer in that area.  I hope that people will reach out to me for support and help and will offer my contact information to others who may need help. I will be one of the "cancer experts" in my circle, and that is ok as I can truly empathize.

Finally, thank you to all who have read my blog over the past 300 days.  It was not always terribly uplifting, but it provided a real glimpse into my life which has been very challenging this year.  I've experienced some of the lowest lows and some very high highs and have willingly shared them.  Sharing this experience has been important to me, and I hope that anyone reading has been able to better understand where I've been on any given day. I appreciate you walking this road with me, and I am grateful for every single cheer, prayer, tear, bit of strength that you have sent my way.  Those gestures and offers of support mean more than you will ever know.

Saying "thank you" seems insufficient to express my gratitude, but those are the words that I have.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Day 299 - Flip

My hair is a disaster.  Trust me, I'm not complaining because I am glad to have hair (oh the things that we say in Cancerland), but my hair has taken on a mind of its own.  The back is especially wavy, curly, and flippy.  I can't decide what it is going to do, but it certainly is not playing nicely right now.

As long as I keep product in my hair, it behaves a little bit better, but yikes.  I am getting it cut again in a week and a half so hopefully my hair stylist can help tame the mane a little bit.  If he tells me that I need to start blow drying it, though, I will just stick with the crazy hair.  I refuse to blow dry hair that is only 2-3 inches long.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Day 298 - Repeat

I just realized that I used a repeat post title, Sunday Funday, on days 130 and 221.  I feel like such a failure.  Kidding, of course, but I thought that I had an original post for each of the last 298 days.  Oh well..can't change it now.

The Thanksgiving long weekend has officially come to a close. It was a great one full of fun, family and friends.  We all had a really nice time, and it will be hard to get back into the swing of things tomorrow, as is typical after a long weekend.  Such is life.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Day 297 - Hello

I'm a bit late to the party on this (as is typical),  but I cannot get Adele's song Hello out of my head.  I've been waking around singing it, much to Mike's dismay, and I've pulled it up on my phone several times.  She's really got some pipes.

We started our Christmas decorating today - lights are up outside, and we have our tree.  I love this time of year.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Day 296 - Enjoy

Not to get too deep here, but since my diagnosis, I've found that I take the time to enjoy things more. I slow down, have conversations, laugh more, and reflect on simpler things that make me happy.  For example, today I got to catch up with some family members, and I loved the simple act of sitting and talking.  It feels like such a treat to stop and just visit for a little while.

I've had to slow down a lot this year, whether it be sitting at chemo or dealing with the after shock of chemo or surgery, and it is ok to slow down.  It is ok to appreciate the simple art of conversation, and it is wonderful to recognize how special those moments are. I am very guilty of rushing around and trying to come up with things to do, but it is often the unscheduled and unplanned times that end up being the best.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Day 295 - Thankful

I have so many reasons to be thankful this year.  In fact, a post listing those reasons would probably take forever to write.  The list is long, and I run through it regularly but focused on it more today than usual.  On the top of my list of reasons to be thankful is my health.  Being healthy is the basis upon which a lot of other things are possible.

I think that it is safe to say that I appreciated my health before my diagnosis, but I didn't really know what that meant.  It's hard to describe. Yes, I was glad to be healthy, but I had never known otherwise so could not really understand how grateful I should have been.

I've still got some work to do to get back into shape physically (and emotionally), but I am so very thankful that I have the opportunity to do that. Not everyone is given that opportunity, and I am profoundly grateful.  More grateful than I can possibly put into words.

I'm thankful today and every day.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Day 294 - Angst

A member of one of my Facebook groups was diagnosed with TNBC during the first trimester of her second pregnancy (I am pretty sure that I have referenced her before).  She had a mastectomy first since she could not receive chemo until her second trimester.  She had chemo while pregnant...I truly cannot imagine.  Because she had surgery first, she does not know how well her tumor responded to chemo.  She could have had a complete response or she may not have, but she will never know.

She is so filled with angst.  All of her posts are her panicking about one symptom or another.  Today, she is worried about a rash that she has on her chest and is wondering if she has skin mets.  Since I've "known" her, she has had a multitude of tests to check various symptoms that she has experienced.  My heart breaks for her.  She is in therapy, on medication and actually tries to stay away from the Facebook groups as much as she can.  I wish that there was something that any one of us could say to make her feel better, but there is not.  She is continually waiting for the other shoe to drop, and I hope and pray that it never does. 

In her post today about her fear of skin mets, someone had a really great response to her.  She said something along the lines of "Stop spending your time thinking about the worst case scenario.  I was re-diagnosed as stage 4 about a year after my treatment ended, and I am glad that I did not spend my cancer-free year in a state of panic."  That is good advice and advice that can be applied across so many situations.  

Stop being so concerned about what the future may or may not hold because you will miss out on some great days.  I love that advice and try to apply it to my own life.  We do not know what the future will bring (with anything) so we should enjoy what we have and stop either wishing or fearing life away. 

My therapist and I have talked about this subject on a few occasions, and the comment from my group member really drove that point home.  She has great perspective, and I am glad that she took the time to share it. I hope that her medical team is able to keep the beast at bay for her for a long long time (a wish that I have for everyone impacted by this disease).