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!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1085

So apparently I have kids in middle school and high school.  How did THAT happen?

This afternoon I had a lunch date with my son.  He's a fun guy to hang out with.  Honest.  He's a moody, cranky, hormone-driven, puberty-stricken man-child, but he's pretty low maintenance for a teenager.  And he's extremely clever and very funny.  Afterward we went shopping for school supplies.  For a freshman, that consisted of one spiral notebook, a 3-pack of mechanical pencils and an electric razor.  Whoa.... wait!  A RAZOR!?!??!  Yes.  His high school does not allow any facial hair.  I'm not sure how on earth I suddenly have a boy old enough to shave, but there you have it.

Tonight we went to our last ever "Meet the Teacher".  Thankfully it was relatively painless.  Her campus is 5th and 6th grades, but only 5th has meet the teacher night, so it wasn't nearly the mad house that the other schools have been.  I'm extremely happy that K not only knows several people in her class this year (including the boy she's been crushing on... oooh la la), but she apparently lucked out and got the teacher other people requested.  Last year's trio of fantastic teachers will be hard to top, but it's nice to know we're starting out on a high note.

Both kids are excited for school.  It's a whole new world for both of them.... new schools, new teachers, new schedules.  I pray that they, along with their teachers, have a fantastic year.  
Now if someone could just tell me which bus they will ride....

Monday, August 8, 2016

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1075

Time for another insomniac blogging post...

The story of my life these days.....waking up exhausted, feeling drained by 3pm, needing a nap at 7pm and being wide awake at 10pm.  

I've always been a night owl.  My mother and my son are morning people.  Like wake up at ridiculously early hours without an alarm kind of morning people.  Not me.  I need an alarm and four or five snooze hits to wake up.  I hate having to set an alarm.  Once I'm asleep, I like to SLEEP!  But I also like to stay up late.  A quiet house late at night is bliss for me.  Most of the time that's because I've got my nose buried in a book.  Or I'm playing 1010 on my phone....... the seriously addictive game my kids introduced me to.  Sometimes I'm researching Dr. Google for whatever mysterious ailment is plaguing me lately.  Or I'm scouring Facebook for posts by other people who are awake in the middle of the night too.  

Since my days of fighting cancer began, the words night owl took on an entirely new meaning.  I want to sleep.  I need to sleep.  But the time comes to go to bed and suddenly I'm wide awake... or my hip starts hurting me... or most often, my restless legs kick in.  Tonight it's all three, and even with the help of a pain pill and a restless legs pill, it's 12:13am and I'm still awake.

I should be sleepy.  Yesterday I logged over 10,000 steps in 102 degree heat at K's softball tournament, and I was up at 6:30am today to be back at the fields for a morning game.  Some shopping, four loads of laundry, vacuuming and cooking dinner filled my the rest of my day..... none of that wore me out apparently.  

Eventually I will get tired.  My legs will hopefully calm down enough so that I can go to bed and at least lay there until I'm sleepy.  I don't mind that.  I always joke when my kids complain about going to bed that I wish someone would tell ME to go to bed.  Ha.  

I love my bed.  I love my pillow.  I love going to bed having Hubby right next to me.
I just wish sleep came as easily as it used to, because nothing is more frustrating than lying awake counting down the hours until you have to get up for work.

Hubby and J have to be up by 6:15am - Hubby for work and J for band practice, so they've both been asleep for hours.  K and I have to be up by 6:45am - me for work and K for church camp, but I have obviously NOT been asleep for hours.  

As a cancer patient, there are a lot of legitimate reasons to have trouble sleeping.  In the beginning, the emotions and the fear and the anxiety take hold and it's hard to dial it all down.  Steroids during chemo keep you going until you eventually crash.  Pain after surgery makes sleeping very uncomfortable.  Hot flashes from menopause make trying to sleep an Olympic event.  

Maybe my body has just had too long (1075 days) to get used to not sleeping.  
Cancer is the gift that keeps on giving.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1069

Sleep at 10pm?  12am?  3am?  All iffy. 
Sleep at 7am or 8am when I have to get up?  You betcha.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1068

Being a cancer survivor means...
  • feeling exhausted all day, yet going to bed feeling wide awake
    (There is nothing like the tired that comes from being a cancer patient.  I'm a mom - I know tired.  But no amount of 3am feedings could have prepared me for what THIS kind of tired feels like.  Even now, three years after D-day, my body is still trying to recover from 16 weeks of chemo, 6 weeks of radiation and 7 surgeries.  Add in immediate surgical menopause and anti-cancer meds and you have the perfect cocktail of extreme fatigue.  Insomnia is my new best friend.)
  • treasuring every day with my children
    (Telling my kids that I had cancer was the worst moment of my life.  The fact that I'm alive and well and able to do things like enjoy K's softball games and J's band concerts, play mini golf and go to the water park on vacation with them, teach them, laugh with them, love them.....I know a lot of cancer patients aren't as lucky.  I get to wake up and look at the two greatest joys of my life and be grateful that I get to spend another day with them.... another chance to watch them grow into pretty cool people.)
  • having to write everything down (and I mean everything)
    (Or in my case, put everything in my phone.  If there is an appointment that's not on my calendar, I won't be there.  If I have to make a phone call the next day and I don't send myself a text, that call will never happen.  If I have to pay something, email something, buy something, sell something, do anything - it goes in my phone. I used to be a supremely organized multi-tasker.  Now I can't walk into a room without forgetting why I was going there.  If my life wasn't backed up in my Google account, I'd be lost.  Chemo brain is real, folks.)
  • learning what is worth stressing over
    (I'm still working on this one.  Everyone says "don't sweat the small stuff" right?  When you are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, your definition of "small stuff" changes in a heartbeat.  I can't say that I've perfected the art of letting things go, but I have been teaching myself to pause, take a step back, and when I'm in the middle of a freak out or getting really upset over something, remind myself that I faced cancer.  I often ask myself "is this really important in the grand scheme of things?".  I haven't exactly mastered the art of letting things roll off my back, and probably never will, but I'm trying.)
  • finding out what an amazing human being my husband is 
    (I wish every woman fighting breast cancer could have someone like him.  No lie.  My man has held me up, played Mr. Mom, changed my bandages, nursed me through chemo, emptied - and even removed - drains, packed wounds, filled prescriptions, made phone calls.... you name it, he's done it.  He has a creaky, cranky, scarred wife and doesn't bat an eye at any of it.  He has been my nurse, my sounding board, my chauffeur, my shoulder to cry on, my rock.  I would not have made it through three years of kicking cancer's ass without him by my side.)
  • rebuilding my self-esteem
    (I have never been a self-confident person.  I'm too shy, too timid, don't like to be the center of attention.  My hair is too curly, my thighs are too fat, my skin is too wrinkled.  Cancer changed me, physically and emotionally, and I've had to learn how to love the new me.  Chemo killed my taste for water and for diet coke.  Radiation left me with fatigue that still lingers.  I have scars on top of scars and areas where I can't feel anything from my surgeries.  Weight gain is a side effect of two of the medications I'm on (boy oh boy, is it ever!).  My hair came back 80% gray.  My right hip hurts so bad I feel like I'm ninety years old.  But I'm alive.  And you know what hasn't changed?  What makes me Michelle.  I still cry when I'm mad, get my feelings hurt too easily, love with all my heart.  I try to be kind, and be the kind of friend I'd like to have.  I like lighthouses and reading and going to the casino with my Hubby.  I'm still a diehard Cowboys fan and love country music and would give anything to live by the beach.  Even though parts of me may not look the same or feel the same, or ever really BE the same.....I'm still me.)
Every day I'm alive is a victory over cancer.
Every day I'm alive is a bonus day that I've been given.
Every day is a gift I try to treasure.

Want to know what being a cancer survivor means?
It means thumbing my nose at cancer each and every day.... three years and counting.