Welcome to my world

I am a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister and a friend.
I've learned that who you have in your life matters more than what you have.
Thank you for stepping in to my world!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 245

You know my friend A?  Of course you know my friend A.... I've posted about her often enough, but in case you don't, go read her blog:
Three Little Cowboys.
Anyway, A has been walking this cancer road way longer than I have and she is a wise soul.  When I had the opportunity to visit with her last month she told me something that has really stuck with me.  I kept asking her if she was sure she was up to seeing me and that I didn't want to intrude, etc.  She told me, "I am very selective about who I spend my time with these days."  Now in her case, that meant she wanted to see me.  Thank God.

Lately I've been thinking about that a lot.  Life is too darn short.  Whether I live for four more months or forty more years, I want to make the most of every single day.  Normal life has its ups and downs, I realize that.  Will I always be happy and never again have a bad day?  No.  But I don't want to surround myself with negativity.  I don't want to give anyone the power to bring me down.  Having cancer and all that entails will bring you down enough.  I live every day knowing I had cancer.  I live every day with the fear that there are cancer cells still lurking somewhere, or that it could come back at any time.  I've been through one of the roughest chemo regimens out there for breast cancer.  I've had the most extensive surgery a breast cancer patient can have.  I'm currently halfway through thirty-three radiation treatments.  There have been a lot of days since August 1st that have brought me down, but going through tough times physically and emotionally makes me really appreciate the good times.

All that being said...I've always been a glass half full person, but I plan to be even more so now.  I wouldn't say I'm focusing on my own mortality.... just that I, too, am going to be more selective about who I spend my time with and what I spend my time doing.

Another one of my friends (two-time cancer survivor) has often said,

"Every day that my feet hit the floor in the morning and I'm breathing it's a great day!"

How right she is.
I have very wise friends.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 244

The top picture is my mother and my son.  
The bottom picture is my husband and my daughter.

I'm somewhere in between.  I'm definitely not a morning person - I'd much rather stay up late and sleep late.  However, I don't think I quite reach purple minion status when I wake up.  I can even be rather cheery sometimes.  Until I enter K's room to wake her up in the morning and she growls at me.  I've started copying her:  if she growls, I growl back.  If she whines, I whine back.  If she pouts, I pout back.  Let's just say this does NOT go over well.  

On a side note, yesterday I was walking in to the grocery store and the wind was BLOWING.  This sweet little old lady was walking in next to me and she said, "Oh, I just love your hair.  I wish I had that style... mine is just blowing all around!"   Ha.  I'm sure she was just being nice, but maybe I'm starting to look more like I just have short hair and less like a cancer patient.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 243

I stole this from one of my favorite author's (Jill Shalvis) Facebook page.  
Since I'm not fully recovered yet from Friday's all-nighter and it is only Monday, I thought it was appropriate.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 242

Did you know the perimeter of a soccer field is .18 miles?  I Googled it.  You know why?  The one thing I wish I had remembered to bring to Relay for Life is a pedometer!  We had snacks and drinks, blankets, chairs and a tent.  We even had a coffee maker!  But no pedometer.  I could have even been "with the times" and used a fitness app to track my walking if I had thought about it.  I didn't think about it until after, and now I wonder how far I walked.  Since it works out to be roughly 5.5 laps for a mile, and I'm pretty sure I walked at least four laps every hour (for 11 hours), that means I walked 8-10 miles.  Not bad for someone who hasn't exercised in forever and who is already exhausted from radiation treatment.

We've spent the weekend trying to recover from our Friday night Relay antics.  Yesterday I slept well into the afternoon and didn't even get out of my pjs.  Today I slept in but had tickets to the Children's Performing Arts Series presentation of The Wizard of Oz, so no pj lounging for me.  The show was pretty cute and both kids enjoyed it, so it's all good.

Even though sitting through a play was the most strenuous thing I've done since 6am yesterday, I'm already dreading having to get up for work tomorrow morning.  Where did the weekend go?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 241

Relay for Life.  An all-night celebration to honor those who fought and won as well as those who are still fighting, and a night to remember the loved ones we've lost.  Cancer never sleeps, so neither did we.
Amazing night, amazing friends.
I'm truly blessed.

Caregiver lap with my caregivers:

Team lap with all my peeps:

The girls ready for the Super Hero lap:

Our "campsite":

K & K:

Proud to be a survivor, and honoring Hubby's mom:

My faithful friends/walkers!

The girls doing Zumba:

Ours was the ONLY team out of 54 to actually make a "boxcar" for the Boxcar Derby.  
Our S.S. Hope took first place!  

 My warrior sisters...

My favorite picture of the night.
 Hubby walking solo for me at 4:52am:

My family, my friends, my fellow survivor... my team.

Kicking cancer's ass - day 240

Speaking of life...today I'll be walking in my first Relay for Life, and I'll be walking as a survivor.  
How awesome is that?!?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 239

The other day I got "the look".
Let me explain.  If you've seen me around lately, you've probably noticed I've switched from my little knit hats and bandanas to baseball caps or even "topless" (ha ha...meaning no hat, dirty-minded people).  I hate, hate, hate my super short hair and don't feel good about how I look at all.... but I hate my wigs even more.  I've been wearing something on my head every single day since September.  If you've never been bald from chemo, you have no idea how OLD that gets - day after day, week after week, month after freaking month! Finally I said enough!  I have hair, not a lot, but it's hair, so maybe I should stop hiding it.

So the other day I went shopping and saw someone I know.  Not a friend, but an acquaintance I've known for years.  She smiled and gave me a "Hi" like you would to someone you don't know.  Then she looked at me more closely, and I could tell she was either trying to figure out who I was or why I don't look like I used to.  <sigh>  Cancer sucks.  I know I can't hide the fact that I had cancer.... believe me, I look in the mirror every day.  But getting "the look" where someone knows you've been through something awful just by looking at you, and it's the elephant in the room, just plain sucks.

I'll be glad when my hair grows enough that it can be considered a cute "hairstyle" instead of so obviously being hair growing back after being bald.

On the plus side, when I went in for radiation today, one of the lab techs from the chemo side saw me and gave my hair a thumbs up.  I guess it's all in the perspective.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 238

Along the lines of yesterday's post with my wanting to show more concern for others....

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 237

There is no part of cancer that doesn't suck, but one of the suckiest, sneakiest parts is the emotional toll it takes.  Yes, my body has been through hell and I bear the scars from my journey so far.  What you don't see, though, is the ragged, jagged mess inside my head and my heart.  There is not a day that goes by where I'm not scared.  Even when I feel good (which is most days lately), I'm very much aware of my own mortality.  Cancer snuck up on me once, what's the say it won't again?

There is a balancing act that cancer patients must learn.... how to be vigilant and careful without obsessing over it and letting the fear get the best of you.  Stress and worry can take over even if you try not to let them, and that can bleed over onto the people around you.  I need to try harder to take care with the feelings of those close to me and not just my own.  The world doesn't stop because I had cancer, and having cancer doesn't give me a free pass on being there for other people.

Today, as I was walking back to the house from the mailbox, I felt the sun shining on my face and saw the beautiful blue sky and I said aloud "Thank you God for allowing me to enjoy another day on this earth."  I need to focus more on the beauty in my life and less on the things that bring me down, because if I'm down, then I'm bringing others down.  I'd much rather spread joy.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 236

Tonight we had a "planning session" for Relay for Life.  We are supposed to "decorate" our campsite as well as come up with an on-site fundraiser, AND build a "boxcar" for the Boxcar Lap.  I am so not crafty, so thank God I'm surrounded by people who are, and who have random things handy to help us in our crafty endeavors.

The theme for this event is a Superhero theme, but that didn't seem to fit with me.  My team name is "A Beacon of Hope for Michelle", so we'll be doing lighthouses and lights and lots of pink.  For our boxcar, we're going to make a box boat (to go along with the lighthouse theme).  I'm not sure how all of this is going to play out, but it sure sounds good, right??

I feel so lost never having done this before, but maybe next year we'll be more equipped with some experience under our belt (and more time to fundraise and create!).

Haven't donated yet?  Just go to this link and click "Donate":  A Beacon of Hope for Michelle

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 235

Today we spent Easter with family eating, hiding eggs and playing games.  The weather was bleary but the mood was light. There were a lot of laughs, tons of candy, relay races and an egg toss.
I'm so grateful for my family.  Happy Easter!

John 3:16-17
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him."

Kicking cancer's ass - day 234

Today was one of those great days that had nothing to do with cancer.  My son spent the day (and tonight) with his grandfather, and K spent the day with her BFF and BFF's Nana.  Hubby and I spent the day with our friends K & D...a road trip to the casino in Oklahoma that was highly enjoyable (and slightly expensive).  It's 1:00 in the morning and I haven't talked with J since this morning, so I'm just assuming he had  a good day.  We picked the girls up from Nana's on the way home and I know they had a good day.  Nana took them shopping for purses and shoes (what every lady needs) and they even went to get their nails done.  I'm surprised we were able to drag either one of them out to the car.

I'd like to send out heartfelt thanks to the grandparents who took care of our kids today so Hubby and I could enjoy some adults-only time with our friends.  I'm pleasantly exhausted and still have to hide Easter eggs.  <yawn>

Friday, April 18, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 233

Today I had radiation session number nine.  That means I am more than 25% finished!  Crazy.  So far <knock on wood> radiation has been a non-event for me.  Aside from visiting the cancer center every morning and taking more naps than I've needed since chemo, life hasn't changed much.  I'm lucky that the radiation techs are extremely nice ladies who make the whole thing easy, because let's face it, who wants to go lay topless on a cold table while the radiation machine rotates around you every day?

One of the most difficult things for me as a cancer patient is trying to balance being healthy with being economical and living a "normal" life.  Let's face it, it's expensive trying to be healthy.  "Green" products and organic food are expensive!  I know to avoid deodorant with aluminum and have been slathering special lotion on my radiated skin three times a day.  I take a bunch of pills every day, most of which are supplements recommended for people with cancer.  I try to eat healthy and still haven't regained my taste for diet coke.  But I don't want to feel guilty for eating a cheeseburger or for not using the correct kind of make-up.  There are certainly choices I can make that will help keep me healthy, but there are also choices I make in order to keep being me, and the fine line between those two is where I find myself walking these days.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 232

Just over ten days ago I decided to sign up for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life event here in Abilene.  At tonight's team captain meeting, my team was recognized as the sixth highest fundraising team out of fifty-two total teams.  How amazing is that??

If you haven't donated yet (why haven't you donated yet?), click on the link below that will take you to my personal Relay for Life page.  You can easily donate online - it's for a great cause and obviously something that's very important to me.  Every dollar counts and your support means so much!  

By the way, today was a first for me.  I went out <gasp> without a hat or wig!  I'm still not crazy  (a huge understatement) about my short, fuzzy hair, and I'm still way, way, way self-conscious, but I did it.  I only went to my radiation appointment so I wasn't exactly out of place at the cancer center, but still.  Baby steps.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 231

You know how at the end of commercials for medicine they always list (really fast so you don't hear them all) the possible side effects and warnings of taking that medicine?  Usually the side effects end up outweighing the benefits from taking the medicine in the first place!

I had an epiphany last night about this, though.  I think one of my prescriptions actually helps me with something other than what it is supposed to do.  Tamoxifen, the drug that blocks estrogen production (and therefore eliminates the "food" my cancer liked) also seems to help my restless legs syndrome.  For the last few days, about thirty minutes after I take my nighttime pills, my restless legs syndrome has been kicking in.  For the month or so before that, the RLS hadn't been bad at all.  What changed?  I had to stop taking Tamoxifen when I started radiation last week.

I will start it back up after radiation therapy is over, but does that mean six more weeks of restless legs?????
Like I said....the gift that keeps on giving.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 230

I'm obsessed with my hair these days.  Not that I have much, but it's nice to have some!  Unfortunately the "some" I have is still really, really short.  It's also fluffy.  And gray.  Blah!!!  Some of my online friends who went through chemo the same time I did post pictures of their cute new hair growth and I am really jealous.   When I towel dry my hair after my shower, it sticks straight out all over like dandelion fluff.  I am not kidding.  And there is no combing it down.  I haven't had short hair since kindergarten, so I have no clue how to do anything with it.  I actually think it's too short to DO anything with, but that doesn't stop me from trying....I am so ready to stop wearing something on my head!  

Over the weekend the weather was nice and I got away with wearing a baseball cap.  From the front I actually look like the old me....all that was missing was the ponytail in the back!  Grow, hair, grow!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 229

Today I had the shortest doctor appointment ever.  I guess if you have to see your radiation oncologist every week, it's a good thing that he makes it quick.  Dr. Au just wanted to visit with me and see if I was having any problems with my treatment.  Considering today was only radiation #5 of 33, I'm not really sure what he expected me to say.  So far (knock on wood) the only side effect I've had is extreme fatigue and it's a little early to have my skin show any reaction, so I guess no news is good news.

On the flip side, I have an appointment with my oncologist tomorrow and that will not be the shortest doctor appointment ever.  Dr. H is not known for his punctuality and he takes a long, long time with each patient.  That's not always a bad thing, but sometimes he goes off on tangents and being there for two hours for a simple follow-up to see how I'm doing is a little annoying.  (I'm not lying - a relative worked for him and her husband would not see Dr. H when he needed an oncologist because she said he would never put up with the wait!)

One other thing that's slightly annoying.  Not only do I have to be at the cancer center at 9:45am for radiation and then back at 2:40 for my Dr. H appointment, but I will probably have blood drawn again for labs, even though I just had that done for Dr. Au on Friday.  <sigh>  I asked today if they would need to do it again and I was told the labs for radiation might be different than the labs for my oncologist.  Of course.  Because why should anything be easy?

On a happier note, Friday night K had a sleepover with her BFF.  This is how they slept:

I love these two girls!

Kicking cancer's ass - day 228

Some days you just can't win for trying.

Just when I think I've got things figured out and settled on a somewhat even keel, something comes up and knocks me over again. 

Cancer - the gift that keeps on giving, even after it's gone.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 227

Today I want to write about something personal.  Not that any part of this ISN'T personal, but somehow it's easier to write about drains and scars and feeling sick than it is to open up about something you've done wrong.   Nobody is perfect, especially me, but over the last week I've realized something.  When you are diagnosed with cancer, you almost immediately turn your focus inward:  on your feelings, your strength, your sickness.  Everyone tells you that it's ok to be "selfish" and concentrate on taking care of yourself. That's all well and good, and probably great advice, until you take it too far.

I think I owe some people in my life an apology, most especially Hubby.  I won't lay it all out, but let's just say we never (really, never!) fight, and last weekend....we fought.  Can I just say that I am very much NOT a fan of Hubby not speaking to me??  Anyway, after eventually talking some things out, I realized how UN-focused I've been on him.  Aside from me, this whole thing has been hardest on him and he's done nothing but stand by my side every single day - no complaints, no argument, nothing.  It makes me incredibly sad to realize how one-sided our marriage has been.  Yes, I have had many, many physical and emotional needs since d-day, but that doesn't give me an excuse to stop nurturing the relationships with the people closest to me.

Hubby - you are my rock.  I could not have done one single day of this fight without you by my side and I'm so sorry that I've been more of a cancer patient than a wife. I love you more and appreciate you more now than I ever have.  I know you aren't a "let's talk about our feelings" kind of guy, but please talk to me when I need a wake up call, ok? 

The same goes to my kids, my family and my friends.  Cancer is overwhelming and inconvenient and devastating to the patient, but it's also all of those things to the people who love that patient, and I'm sorry that some days I don't remember that.  Needing people doesn't give me an excuse to not be there for those who need me, and I promise to do my best to nurture instead of neglect.

I am surrounded by the most amazing people who love me and help me in ways big and small.  I will never be able to properly show how much your support means to me every day, through every step of this journey, but I will say thank you.

Kicking cancer's ass - day 226

I sat down at my computer last night with good intentions... I even had a topic in mind for my blog. Somehow I got sidetracked and not only did I forget to post, now I forget what I was even going to write about!  Oh the joys of chemo brain.

I honestly even forgot all about writing a post until Hubby sent me a text this morning saying "no Friday blog?".  Oops.

I told him the other day that it's hard to think of something to write about every day. He said that's a good thing, and I guess that's true. During chemo and after my surgery there was always something to report or something to complain about or something I needed help with. Since my weekly trips to Dallas ended a month ago, life has been somewhat uneventful (at least on the cancer front) so I haven't had much to say.  Even now that I started radiation, life is moving along normally with me just a little (ok, a lot) more tired.

I want to send a huge shout out to my people who have joined the Beacon of Hope for Michelle Relay for Life team and to those who have donated.  In just a few short days we have exceeded my fundraising goal of $1000!!!  (That doesn't mean you're excused if you haven't donated - ha ha. Every dollar counts in the fight against cancer!). If you haven't yet donated or wish to join my team and walk with us, please sign up!  Your support means more than you'll ever know!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 225

Here's what I know about radiation:  IT MAKES YOU TIRED!!!

I honestly have no idea if I'm just exhausted overall or if this is fatigue from the radiation.  I really wouldn't have thought that it would hit me so quickly.... I've only had three treatments.  I'm not sure what the deal is, but all I know is I am so tired!  I left work this morning to go to radiation and on the way back to work I had to close my eyes at every red light, I was *that* tired.  Crazy, huh?

Tomorrow will be #4 of 33 and then I get a two day break.

My Relay for Life fundraising amount is over $800 - not bad for two days!  If you haven't donated but want to, please visit my team's page:  A Beacon of Hope for Michelle.  There you can join my team if you want to walk or just donate if you can't walk with us.  Thank you so much for your support!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 224

So if you know me at all, you know I'm not really a spur of the moment kind of person.  I'm an OCD/type A/planner kind of person.  Last night, though, I made a spur of the moment decision.  When I was at the oncology center yesterday for my first radiation treatment, I saw a postcard for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.  Of course I'd heard of Relay for Life (there have been far too many people affected by cancer in my life!!!!) so I kind of knew what it was, but not really.  I grabbed the card and pulled up the web site when I got home to get the details.

The details are something like this:  people register for a team, and the teams raise money for the Amerian Cancer Society.  Then on the day of the Relay for Life, the teams gather at 6pm and walk all night long until 6am.  There is a Survivors Walk that starts the whole thing off, a Caregivers Walk and then the team members take turns walking throughout the night.  Something in me just said, "I want to do this!"  I asked Hubby what he thought and he said to go for it.  There are two little glitches in this plan.  First, the walk is two weeks from Friday.  That's not a lot of time to recruit team members who will take turns walking all night and not a lot of time to raise money!  Second, K has a softball game that night.  The second one should be a pretty easy fix since I'm the softball scheduler.  I've had to reschedule so many games for other teams for various reasons, I think I can be forgiven for rescheduling our own team's game for a cancer survivor's walk!  

As for the first glitch - I already have two other team members who have promised to walk (Hubby will be another after I get him on the computer to register!).  I set my fundraising goal at $1000.  I had no clue what to put, but that's what the American Cancer Society suggested to start with, so I went with it.  Not even 24 hours after I created and registered my team, A Beacon of Hope for Michelle has already raised over $600!  I keep telling you... I have the most AMAZING people in my life.

If you live in Abilene and want to join my team and walk with us, I'd be so honored.  If you can't walk but can donate, your support is very much appreciated.  Just visit my Relay for Life page for details.  If you want to walk, click on the "Join Our Team" button.  You will have to register with my team (it costs $10 and that goes toward your/our fundraising goal).  If you want to donate, all you have to do is click on the "Donate Now" button.  As J always says, easy peasy!

Thank you all for the love and support you have shown me for the more than two hundred days that I've been kicking cancer's ass.  Please join me (in walking or in spirit with a donation or both) on that special night April 25th as I celebrate being a survivor.  

Oh, one more thing.  Radiation treatment #2 of 33 in the books!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 223

Today was my first of thirty-three radiation treatments.
It was quick and painless.  I have to lay with my arms up over my head, though, and they fell asleep after being in that position for only fifteen minutes.  Obviously I have to work on my range of motion!

In case you're curious, this is what the radiation machine looks like (I know my mom is curious and I couldn't think of how to describe it..... I told her it looked like a table with ear muffs!):

They took x-rays first to make sure I was all lined up correctly compared to the CT scan I had two weeks ago, and then this machine started moving all around me to send the radiation beams where they needed to go.  It was weird because there was a black square on the ceiling that I could sort of see my reflection in and all I could see were these red laser beams criss-crossing over me.  I sort of felt like James Bond.  Ha!  The radiation techs were both very nice ladies and made me feel comfortable, which I appreciate.

There are three major complaints about radiation.  The first one is fatigue.  I've been tired since d-day 223 days ago, so that one will be nothing new.  The second one is skin problems.  I am armed with vitamin E oil, Aloe and Miaderm (a lotion created specifically for radiation patients) and will try to be religious about taking care of the radiated parts.  Hopefully my skin will hold up, but it's not uncommon for redness and even blistering and peeling (kind of like a bad sunburn) to happen.  Last but not least, it's a pain in the ass to have to go EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  I will have 33 treatments, going every day Monday-Friday, so six and a half weeks of this.  The fun just keeps on coming!  

(It actually wasn't bad at all, but I can see myself getting tired of going there that much for the same old thing every day.  Thankfully it's only five minutes from my house.)  

Props to Hubby for tagging along for moral support.  He's my rock and he just keeps rolling with me.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 221

My mother loves to talk about the weather.  In fact, I think she watches the Weather Channel more than any other channel on tv.  I'm not quite as weather-obsessed as she is, but I am going to dedicate this short blog post to discussing the weather.

Friday it was sunny and warm.  In fact, when I got in my car at Walmart that afternoon the thermometer said 102 degrees.  Now obviously the air temperature wasn't that hot, but in the sun it was very, very warm.

Saturday it was cloudy all day, extremely windy and very chilly.  Our softball fields are right next to a lake so it's always windier and about ten degrees colder (or hotter in the summer) out there than in town, so even though the temperature was in the 60s, it wasn't comfortable.

Today (Sunday) I woke up to 46 degrees and rain.  Thankfully the wind isn't quite as bad as it was yesterday, but it is a miserable day to wrap up a softball tournament.  I want to send out props to my Hubby who came out to relieve me this afternoon.  After being out there for four hours this morning, my shoes, socks and pants were wet and my feet were like blocks of ice.

Since I'm talking softball (and weather) this weekend, check out this amazing photo my friend (a fellow softball parent and photographer) took of our game the other night (and yes, that's my #22 front and center!):

Kicking cancer's ass - day 220

Yesterday was a long day for the Lady Diamonds...but these girls are such troopers.  They played five games and were out at the fields from 10am until 10:30pm (or later) with just a little rest in the afternoon.  Huge props to our team parents, too, who hauled trash and cleaned bathrooms and were out there all weekend helping to keep the tournament running smoothly.

K made several outs at home this weekend (four in one game!!) and caught every inning for all six games.

I'm a tired but proud softball mom and I love these Lady Diamonds (they wear pink socks in honor of me!).

Friday, April 4, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 219

I have a love/hate relationship with softball season. I love watching my girl play softball, but it is SO time-consuming.

However, after a long night at the fields (first night of a tournament we are hosting), I have to brag a little.

K had an amazing game at catcher. She caught two fly balls and also tagged two runners out at home. She was beaming from ear to ear in the dugout. It is moments like that that make all the stress and hours worthwhile.

I love the Lady Diamonds and I am so proud of #22!!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 218

I finally got the call!  I will start radiation on Tuesday.  I shouldn't sound excited, but man, I am sooooooooooooo ready to get that show on the road!  It's been three months (to the day) since my surgery, so that's really a long time between surgery and radiation.  Please say prayers that this next phase of my treatment will take care of any evil cancer cells lurking about.

While we're on the subject of radiation, remember the sticker-covered sharpie marks I'm sporting instead of tattoos?  One of them is coming off!  Already!  And I haven't even started rads yet.  Yikes!  I thought maybe I could just cover up the mark with something else, but when I started to move the sticker I discovered that the mark is on the STICKER, not me anymore!  Crapola.  Looks like I'll be calling the doctor tomorrow to see what they want to do.

I feel a little unprepared for radiation.  With chemo and my surgery, I researched things to death.  With radiation, all I'm going by is what Dr. Au has told me and what my friends who have gone through this before me have said.  I do have Aloe gel, Aloe spray, Vitamin E oil and a highly recommended product called Miaderm all ready to go in hopes of keeping my skin from burning.  I haven't been very anxious about this whole process.... we'll see what happens when I go in Tuesday for my first session!

Kicking cancer's ass - day 217

This is so me.  I've always loved music.  I can remember being a little girl and sitting by the radio with my cassette recorder waiting for a good song to come on so I could tape it.  My friend A and I would lip sync and choreograph dance routines to Madonna and Cyndi Lauper.  I can still picture being at my first ever concert (Rick Springfield) and even at a young age, I "got" the whole concert vibe.  I'd like to think my musical tastes have improved through the years, although I do still like the occasional flashback to '80s pop or rock (just heard "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" today).  I even went through a rap phase ("Bust a Move" anyone?).

Music touches my heart and heals my soul.  For me, there is no such thing as too many concerts or music too loud in the car.  Hubby will just give me a look if I don't reach over to turn the volume down fast enough when he starts the car.  Ha.  Yes, I play it loud, and yes, I sing along.

My daughter is the same way.  Hubby can listen to a song a hundred times and still not know the name of it or what it's about.  I can listen to a song once or twice and know the lyrics by heart.  I love that K shares my love of music.  Unfortunately her recent playlist includes MattyB.  I can't quite go down that road (although thanks to her, I can sing along with a couple of his songs. Ugh.)

There are some days when a good talk with my doctor is necessary.  There are other days when a heart-to-heart with Hubby or my BFF does the trick.  The rest of the time I can usually count on some good tunes to brighten my day and lift my spirits.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 216

It has been 16 weeks since my last chemo treatment and my hair is slowly, slowly growing.  It has filled in and I look like I have a crew cut (or like a preteen boy).  Unfortunately I don't like the preteen boy/crew cut look!  Both of my kids love to feel my hair and are so happy it has grown so much.  They keep telling me that I should ditch the hats because I have "so much hair".

Yes, compared to being bald, I do have a lot of hair.  And most women who have gone through chemo probably would go "topless" by now, with the amount of hair I have.  I am so used to having so much hair, though, that looking like a brown/gray chia pet just isn't ME.  I'm really sick of my wigs, though, so most days I wear a bandana out and nothing on my head around the house.  

Baby steps.