Thursday, September 26, 2013

A mish mosh of stuff in my head

I'm awake, so why not write. Let's see, what's going on in my world? Well, I had to come off the study because although the treatment was working great in some areas, we found that a new spot cropped up. Sucks. But what can you do. I have had some time to adjust and am going used to this latest chapter. I am on a daily chemo drug. Learning the effects of a new med is always a challenge. Today, I experienced the oddest side effect. My son's school has fingerprint technology for the security code. Lucky me, my finger prints have officially been screwed up to the point of being unrecognizable. Delightful... Hmmm, I wonder where I can snag some jewels. Anywho, life goes on. Aside from the loss of finger prints I am learning to manage the side effects of this drug. I was disappointed to find that even though my hair grows back on this drug, I feel more "chemo-y". Nausea, fatigue, aches. The usual crap. Although I am noticing a decrease in pain in my known bone mets which is a good sign. That usually means they are taking a bit of a siesta. Always encouraging. Aside from that, it's funny how people view me and my situation differently. Some refuse to think about worst case scenario, which is cool because there is no need. Then there are others who look at me and give me these pitiful expressions like I'm going to drop right in front of them. That ain't happening. For example, working with my doctor, I have lost about 15 lbs to get more healthy. He is aware, and we have monitored it closely to ensure that it's being done in a healthy way. I'm pretty pleased because I needed to lose the weight. I was too heavy.yesterday a coworker looked at me with the sad face and said "honey you look like you are losing weight. I'm concerned." While I appreciate the concern, I'm fine. And trust me, if I want to I can easily gain weight. Give me some pasta on the weekend and it's game on. We tested it. Gaining weight is not a problem for me. It's not the cancer that is causing me to lose weight, it's its the 10 servings of fruits and vegetables, thank you very much. Sigh. Being the girl with cancer is weird. I answer a lot of questions that I don't mind answering but wish I didn't have to. I face a lot of things that I don't wish on anyone. A dear friend said to me how brave I was to get the tattoo. I chuckled and said that it a nothing compared to the other crap I have faced... And I meant every word of that. I'd get a whole crazy sleeve done if it meant no more cancer. But alas, it's not that simple. Anyway, that's just a snippet in the day of the life of th girl who has cancer but doesn't want to be defined by it. On one final note, Steve and I have declared our boat a cancer free zone... No worries other than finding our markers and figuring out how to park the darn thing. Life is good. And life isn't cancer.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Always learning, evolving, growing

I am really realizing recently that life doesn’t have to be so serious and stressful. Granted, we have responsibilities that need to be tended to, so we can’t go about life living frivolously. However, there is so much about life to enjoy. Enjoying life reduces stress which can promote a stronger immune system. I don’t get too deep into stressful topics or debates if I can help it because it’s not worth the negative energy. I try to really focus on what is an important use of my energy, and ignore the ones that are not helpful, to not sweat the small stuff, so to speak. I find that for me, the mental shift is happening from fighting to healing. There are rumblings that stress promotes cancer. Looking back on my history, I would say this makes a heck of a lot of sense. We all know that high levels of stress can lead to being run down. It’s not uncommon for someone to get a cold after a busy season at work, or to get ill after caring for a loved one, etc. I think part of the key here is learning to manage the stress and keep it in check. Just like anything else, moderation is the key. A certain amount of stress is ok, you don’t want to be totally zoned out and lacksadaisical about everything, but you don’t want to be a bundle of nerves either. It’s about finding the appropriate balance for self-care. As someone recently described it to me, it’s like walking on a tight rope. The ironic part is, cancer, especially stage IV, tends to create more stress just by its very nature. In many ways, it’s a vicious cycle. You stress, you get sick, and then you stress about being sick, and that doesn’t help anyone! So, for me, I spend a lot of time working on this, trying to keep it in check. This is an ongoing task for me but something I work on regularly. I need to take inventory and learn where my stressors are, which ones are worth it, which ones are not, and what to do about them. My recent changes in treatment, etc. have caused me to look at things a little differently. Yes, it is true that remission is the goal. How realistic that is would be hard to say. However, I always talked about “fighting cancer” and “beating cancer” and I think for me, I am starting to see this as maybe not the best approach. I think the focus needs to be more on healing from cancer. More of a focus on getting well then fighting. That might sound odd, but it’s just a more positive perspective I think. It’s a balancing act. I am still going to treat the cancer aggressively, but my hope is to continue to help my body be a healthier environment so that the cancer can’t thrive. I am hoping that this integrative approach will help bolster my outcome and help my treatment to be more effective.