Wednesday, August 14, 2013


It is interesting how the mind plays games on me. In my current chemo regimen, I go every two months for scans. This week is that time again. As I have learned, once the scans are scheduled, the worries start. What will the scans show? Did I do everything that I could have to help the results be favorable? Is the treatment working? What is that pain I feel? Is it cancer? From what I have learned, that is highly normal. However, the interesting part is this, the insecurities don't seem to stop t cancer. The doubts surrounding other parts creep in. Am I doing well enough at work? Am I a good enough wife and mother? Am I going to screw up this presentation I have to give today? Is my job secure? How ugly am I with no hair or eyelashes? Will I ever look like myself again? Am I a good enough friend, cousin, daughter, sister? Do I have enough faith? Oddly enough, these concerns are no as intense as they are with scan weeks. Scan weeks are like dementors. They prey on fears and negativity and suck on your soul. Friday will come quickly and then time will stand still until the results are back. In the meantime, I will do my best to get through with my head above water...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Stuff I love

I realized something interesting today. I love my life. I love so many things about it. The wonderful companionship and love in my marriage. The joy of my child. The beauty of where I live. The smell of the ocean air. The sunshine that warms me. The career I worked so hard to attain. The way my van drives. The sound of seagulls. My wonderful, amazing parents. My adorable nieces and nephews. The sound of waves crashing. My brothers go have taught me much. The relationship I have with all of my doctors. My truly unbelievable friends. My life. It warms my heart. The only thing it don't like about it is the threat that it can be Away from me. Which brings me to one more thing I love. The fact that I am a stubborn pain in the ass who won't quit until she gets what she wants...

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The shadows

I spend a lot of time focusing on the positive and the blessings cancer brings. Truth be told, I'd be lying if I said that there weren't hard times. There are. There are times of anger, guilt, fear. There are times of sadness, jealousy and self-pity. There are times of feeling overwhelmed, burnt out, and just plain exhausted. I work very hard to keep them check, but they bubble up time and again. Yesterday, I was reminded of the quote "people cry not because they are weak but because they are strong for too long." This was me yesterday. I try very hard to act like I don't have cancer. I try very hard to not let it interfere with life, but the reality is that there is only so much I can do. It's very easy for me to forget my reality. Every day, I am fighting a life threatening disease for those I love. Talk about self induced pressure. And as much as the chemo is manageable, side effects exist. Neuropathy, severe headaches, digestive issues, sinus problems, oh and of course the baldness. I think the loss of eyelashes and eye brows bother me the most because without makeup I truly look sick. My reality reveals itself. The reality that I try so hard to keep hidden. Am I doing myself justice? I don't know. On one hand, it's nice to know that I give hope to others and myself via my appearance, but there are times when perhaps it hides the gravity of my situation. Every two months, my heart is gripped with fear not knowing if I am better or worse. The anticipation of upcoming scans is hell. It's like purgatory not knowing if elation or anguish waits on the other side of the phone call. And in the two months between scans, there is chemo itself. Generally, it hasn't been too bad, but it does catch up with me. The migraines, dizziness and fatigue do hit me. The aches and pains come and go. There are times when i want to do more than I am able to. That is frustrating to me. Knowing I sometimes can't be the mommy I want to be breaks my heart. My four year old knows too much about doctors and sickness for anyone his age. He has fears and insecurities that no child should have to experience. Granted, he doesn't known the seriousness of my situation, but he knows his mommy isn't normal and that makes me sad. I do my best to keep things as normal as possible and have wonderful support of people who,are willing to step in and help him have a normal childhood. That is a blessing. But there are times why it shows. Just yesterday, he knew I was crying and he was blowing me kisses from the back seat of the car to try to cheer me up. While it is wonderful that he is so compassionate, I wish he didn't have to be. But this Is my life. This is real. Sometimes things are good, and sometimes they are just plain hard.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Accomplishing Goals

My goals in recent months have been focused on doing whatever I can to be well and give myself the best fighting chance. Now that almost 6 months has gone by, I thought it would be a good point to go back and assess what I wanted to accomplish. Here goes. Chemo mini goals: • The first goal was to tolerate treatment well enough to know that I could continue with the clinical study - check • The second goal was to learn how to accept that this is a permanent part of my life at least for the foreseeable future – check • The third goal was to make lifestyle changes to support my wellness - check • The fourth goal was to survive the first two months without progression and be able to continue on treatment – check • The fifth goal was to be well enough to enjoy my Lourdes experience – check, check, double check. • The sixth goal was to modify my diet to boost my immune system to help me tolerate chemo well - check • The seventh goal is to get through the second set of scans with no progression – check (and a bonus check for tumor regression) • The eight goal was to get through the next round of scans with no progression, which would amount to 6 months of successful treatment (this was a number I had in the back of my mind from the beginning as a starter goal) – working on earning that check. Scans are next Friday and Sunday. Prayers gratefully accepted. I am proud of what has transpired in the past 6 months. I am grateful that it has been a positive experience all things considered. I would like to continue to strive towards goals. My ultimate goal of course is to one day hear the words “the study shows no evidence of hypermetabolic activity”. I will do a cartwheel when that happens. And I will video take it for everyone to get a good chuckle at my lack of coordination, and at the possibility of my wig falling off! In the meantime, I will continue to set mini goals for myself which will hopefully add up to me beating cancer, or at least me getting it to a point where it is less threatening. God is good… I am grateful for the opportunity to be treated and to achieve each little goal one at a time. Also, I would like to request additional prayers for a friend of mine who has been having some complications and goes to the breast surgeon tomorrow to see what is happening. Please pray that all is ok.