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, January 25, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1246

Words written from the heart  💓

Cancer is a terrible thing.

   One day you and your spouse and kids are living the American dream.  You own a house, cars, a business. You go on vacation; your kids are in sports which keeps you busy all the time. Life is good.
   Your spouse is the nicest, sweetest, most caring person you have ever met.  Anything and everything she does is to make others happy. Some would say she is too sweet and caring. But that is who she is and that is who you fell in love with.
   You will do anything to help someone, but your personality is far different than your spouse's, and people will either like you or not. …there is no in between.
   The kids luckily get their caring, soft hearts from their mother; the oldest (not being from this mother) poor thing takes after his dad in many ways.
   All is normal American family time UNTIL one day your spouse discovers she has cancer. From that day forward nothing will ever be the same. After 2 ½ years and 7 or 8 surgeries, most people think it is over and your spouse is back to “normal”. What people do not realize is for a cancer patient (and their caregiver) nothing will ever be “normal” again. Every little pain, every time you “feel” different, anytime a new spot shows up, you are scared to death.
   The cancer patient will never be normal again because her body and mind have been scarred for life. This person that was once the sweetest, most caring person is not that same person any more… not because she does not want to be, but because this has made her that way. People she knows, friends, colleagues etc. think that everything is back to normal, but it is not and never will be. This cancer person is a bit more rough around the edges, she will no longer go with the flow, she will stand up for herself, she will not let anyone walk over her like before. She used to think and consider things before reacting, but now if there is something she thinks is wrong she will confront right then and there. That is something she would never do before.
   As for the caregiver, they usually go into this thinking only of the cancer patient, which is normal and very understandable. But these people change during this adventure too. I can only speak for the one I know. This caregiver was always easy going and it took a lot to upset him. This person was told to make sure and take time for himself during this whole thing. Well he did not believe or think he needed that. He has since learned that a caregiver needs to take that advice, otherwise it will build up and eat you alive. This once easy going guy let all the anger and hate build up and had no release for it. Still to this day, when it blows he does not hold back. It no longer takes very much to upset this person.
   Please do not think you know anything about how a cancer patient should feel.  Please don’t think, “Ok they have finished everything so they should now be back to normal”. There is no back to normal. There is only one way you will ever know how a cancer patient or caregiver feels, and I pray to God that you never have the opportunity to know.
  This cancer patient is still the greatest, most loving person there is. Knowing all this, either understand her new normal and be her friend or don’t and stop acting.

My Hubby is not a writer, and he is not one to share his feelings, especially with the entire world like this.  He recently sent that to me, and I'm sharing with his permission.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1244

Insomniac blogging....

Channeling my inner Allyson Hendrickson here.  I don't know if you can consider it insomniac blogging if it's not the middle of the night, so give me a little leeway.  Last night I was fast asleep on the couch before my ten year old daughter went to bed.  (Hint:  she didn't stay up late)   Tonight it's 11pm and I'm wide awake.  There is no rhyme or reason to my sleep pattern (or lack of).  There is also no rhyme or reason to my post tonight... just some random musings about my life lately.

  • Speaking of Allyson Hendrickson, I miss her.  I miss having friends like her.  Friends who lifted me up.  Friends who made me laugh.  Friends who loved me and my family unconditionally.  Allyson never once disappointed me, and she was true right down to her bones.  That can't be said about too many people in my life these days.  Even in her darkest days, she found ways to be there for me in MY darkest days.  She cared, and I knew it.
    (No offense to the true people I do still have in my life... you know who you are and you know I love you.)

  • Hubby doesn't think his neck surgery worked.  He's been having nerve pain by his shoulder blade the last week or so.  He has his six week follow up with the surgeon Wednesday, so it'll be interesting to hear what Dr. M has to say.  It took a LOT for my hubby to bite the bullet and have surgery, and to think it might not have fixed him?  Ugh.  Living with chronic pain is awful.  Prayers for him would be appreciated.

  • Speaking of Hubby.... a few weeks ago he lost his wedding ring.  He doesn't know where.  He doesn't know when.  He just knew one day he looked down and it wasn't on his finger.  It wasn't loose, so it's highly unlikely that it fell off.  It's a mystery.  What's even a bigger mystery is why the cleaning lady at work found it in the trash can!  First of all, WHY was it in the trash can, and how did it get there?  Second, why was she LOOKING in the trash can?  Told you... it's a mystery.  
  • I do not like video games.  This is unacceptable to my children, who are obsessed with them.  If not video games, then YouTube videos of other people playing video games.  How is this fun?  My kids will start telling me about the latest game they discovered and my eyes glaze over.  Even worse, they'll try to tell me about someone they follow on YouTube who posted a new video.  Um.  I don't care!  Give me a slot machine to play, or a football game to watch, or a book to read.... then I'll be interested!

  • Tomorrow I have to have a chest CT scan.  This isn't cancer-related (I hope!), but it is illness-related.  My chest x-ray before Christmas when I was really sick showed a shadow on my lung.  They said it was suspicious for pneumonia.  After three rounds of antibiotics and a week with Tamiflu, I was still coughing and my chest x-ray still looked the same.  That concerned my doctor enough to order the CT scan.  I haven't had any cancer-related scans since I finished chemo over three years ago.
    If I had never had cancer, I would just be complaining about this stupid cough that won't go away.  Since I did have cancer, my mind immediately pounces on the "shadow on my lung" part and thinks the worst.  I'm thankful that I haven't had to suffer through "scanxiety" in years... but on the other hand, without a technological peek inside my body, who knows what is lurking in there?!?!?!?  Prayers for me at 1pm would be appreciated.  Actually, forget that.  Prayers for me until I get the results from my doctor would be appreciated.  The scan is a piece of cake.  It's the waiting and not knowing that sucks.

  • Whatever happens with Hubby on Wednesday, I know he will deal with it.  He's the strongest person I know.  I hope there is a logical explanation for his pain and that his symptoms are relieved over time.
    Whatever happens with me tomorrow, I know I will deal with it.  I've been kicking ass for one thousand, two hundred a forty-four days.  I don't often feel strong, but I never lose faith and I never give up.  

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1240

Tomorrow is Inauguration Day.  
I know this election has been tumultuous at best, and many people I know are extremely upset about who won.  I get that.  I GET IT!  But I'm tired of politics being shoved down my throat every time I look at a television, newspaper or especially Facebook.

Getting on my political soapbox for a minute.

The article that this picture is from really bothers me.  (I didn't "share" the post, just a screenshot.)
I don't care which election you talk about or which candidates were running.  There is ALWAYS a winner and there is ALWAYS a loser.  That's a fact.  The person who wins the electoral vote wins the office of President.  For every candidate that comes up short in an election, there is a whole host of supporters who did not get the President they wanted.
End of story.

I don't care who you voted for.  I don't care who you agree with or don't agree with.  I don't care if you are white, black, rich, poor, gay, bisexual or transgender.  If you're my friend, then you're my friend even if you voted for Kermit the Frog.  If I love you, I love you regardless of whether you are a Democrat or Republican.  It's like I tell my kids... you don't have to like everyone, but you do have to get along.
Millions of people voted for and support Donald Trump.  He was voted into office.  Millions of people voted for and support Hillary Clinton.  She was NOT voted into office.

You don't like Donald Trump?  That's your prerogative.  You don't have to like him.  You can turn your tv off so you don't have to listen to him.  You can march in a dozen cities this weekend to protest.  None of that changes the fact that he is the next President of the United States.  If he doesn't have your respect, his job should.
I did not vote for President Obama (the second time).  When he won, I did not make my profile picture black, boycott television or march in a protest because my candidate didn't win.  I did not cry that America was doomed.  I did not wish him harm even though he wasn't my choice.
In 2000, I did not vote for President Bush.  I voted for Al Gore, who won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote, just like Hillary Clinton this year.  I did not protest, riot, cry, or complain.  My candidate did not win, and it stung, but America made its choice.  I did not wish George Bush harm or ridicule him or disrespect him, his family or the office he held.

You know why?  Because I am an American and I love my country.
Things may not have gone your way in November and tomorrow is a disappointing day for those who feel that way.  But the world is not going to stop turning.  The sun will come up.  People will go to work, to school, on vacation.  Some things will change, just as they always do when there is a change in administration.  Some of it is scary.  Hopefully some of it will be better than people expect.  But America is still going to be the greatest country in the world... the land of the free.

There is a picture floating around on Facebook that says wanting Donald Trump to fail as President is like wanting the pilot to crash a plane that we are ALL ON.  

Tonight I will pray for my friends and family who are heartbroken, bitter and angry.  Tomorrow I will pray for Donald Trump and his administration.  I wish him well, because his success guarantees America's success.

God bless America.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1233

January.  Sigh.
Who really likes January?
I would say I have the winter blues (or to be politically correct, seasonal deficit disorder), but we haven't even really had a winter yet here in Texas.  We had a few really, really cold days, and even some snow flurries one afternoon, but that's it.  Yesterday it was 80 degrees.  Yes, eighty.  I like winter.  Maybe I'd be happier if we'd get some snow!

I'm having a hard time snapping out of this "blah" that has overtaken me lately.  Granted, I've had a rough time of it.  I got sick a week before Christmas - so sick that I had to give up my tickets to a Cowboys game!!  Talk about depressing.  Since Dec 19th I've been on three different antibiotics, and Tamiflu because my sweet little girl had the flu.  Now almost a month later, I don't feel sick anymore, but I still have a cough and overwhelming fatigue.  Tuesday I literally slept all day.  I could not even summon the energy to get off of the couch.

I don't think I'm depressed.  I've been depressed, I know what that feels like.  Not to mention I've been on antidepressants since d-day.  I think being sick and tired for so long is just getting to me.  I finally took my Christmas tree down last night.  Yes, January 11th.  My mailbox still has its Christmas garland on it.  I'll get to it.... one of these days.

My BFF lost her mom right before New Year's.  I've known her since I was twelve, and I probably spent more time at their house during high school than my own.  I flew to NY for the visitation and funeral, which was a mixed blessing.  I hadn't seen BFF in two years and we had a really good visit despite the circumstances.  She has been my bestie for over 30 years, and we can pick up where we left off no matter how long it's been.  But saying a forever goodbye to her mom, such a sweet, GOOD lady, was difficult and emotional.  And six flights, four layovers and two one-hour drives in three days was just exhausting.

Warning:  pity party ahead.
I miss my friends.  Some of the ones I'm closest to have moved away.  That sucks.  Technology allows me to converse with them whenever I want, which is great, but it's not the same as them being here.  Others are still here but circumstances have changed our friendships.  That really sucks.  I try to be a good person.  I try to be a supportive, honest, caring friend, and yet my circle just keeps getting smaller and smaller.  

When you are a cancer patient, you have to be selfish.  100% of your focus has to be on yourself:  taking care of yourself, making yourself stronger.  Maybe cancer has made me too selfish.  I've tried to take a step back and look at the friendships in my life and how they have changed, but I just don't understand it.  I feel like I'm not a priority to many of the people I care about.  S moved away, far away, and yet I talk with her more than anyone.  She makes me laugh and always asks what I need, even though she can't possibly do anything about it.  My other friend S still lives here (and probably always will, thank God), but she's going through her own issues right now.  

Are you the one who calls or texts people out of the blue, just to say hi?  Are you someone who invites a girl to lunch just to catch up?  Are you someone who asks how someone is doing... really doing?  I feel like that's me, and it's all one-sided.  I get it.  Life is busy, especially when you have kids.  I'm busy with my own family.  But I miss having a "girl posse".  I miss being checked up on.  I miss people being happy to be around me.  And it makes me sad to think I may have done something or changed in some way to cause this.

I saw this on Facebook today:

I think lately I've been my own worst enemy.  You know what?  Screw it.  I'm not even going to let ME dull my sparkle.  I adore my husband, I love my kids, and all I can do is be the best me I can be.  I'm going to sparkle the heck out of the rest of January.  Life is too short to be sad.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1224

Three years ago today I was over 100 days into my "kicking cancer's ass" journey.
It was a big day:  an eight hour bilateral mastectomy surgery that removed any cancer that chemo didn't kill.  It also meant that I would live the rest of my life without my breasts.  Even though I know it was necessary to save my life, it was still a very emotional day.

I had to laugh at some of my observations from that surgery.
This is from my blog post on day 129:

Things I've learned in the hospital:
.. It's not as fun being in the hospital when you're not having a baby. The only other times I've had a hospital stay were when I had my kids. Getting to hold a cute little newborn makes up for feeling pain and discomfort!
.. I do not like peas. I definitely don't like peas in chicken noodle soup! The food here is decent, but really... who puts peas in chicken noodle soup?
.. I have got to get me some of these inflatable leg pump things. They would go a LONG way toward helping my restless legs syndrome!! I love them. Think anyone would notice if they disappeared into my suitcase?
.. I hate hospital gowns. I was a thousand times happier once I got cleaned up and into my own pjs.
.. Having a mastectomy makes you feel like you bench pressed 500 pounds. Not that I know what that feels like exactly, but i imagine it's a similar feeling.
.. My hubby is an excellent caretaker. He has been phenomenal... right there to help me up or hand me my chap stick or get me a drink. I bet he's probably almost as exhausted as I am. I love him.
.. Sonic sweet tea is YUM, especially when you're extremely thirsty.
.. Nurses are very concerned with their patient's bathroom production.
.. Oral pain meds are not nearly as effective as the morphine pump.
.. Something about surgery made my hands swell and I haven't been able to put my wedding rings back on. This bothers me.
.. I thought I would be sad when I saw my incisions for the first time. I wasn't. I think of them as battle scars, and wear them proudly since I am kicking cancer's ass!!

In these last three years I have gone through numerous "reconstruction" surgeries.  I find that word interesting.  Reconstruction has been a mixed blessing for me.  I don't regret any of it, even though most of it was HARD! I like looking like a normal woman in clothes.  I love that my doctor used my own tissue for reconstruction....no hard, cold implants to worry about.  But it's all an illusion.  I have very little feeling from my collarbone to my rib cage, all the way around under my left arm.  And I have scars..... so many scars.


Cancer tries to hurt you.  Over and over.  It's the gift that keeps on giving.  But I'm here today, 1224 days later, strong and healthy.  I was stronger than cancer.

It's a new year, and while I don't make resolutions, I did read this tonight and loved it.  It's advice I need to follow.... all of it.  Here's hoping 2017 is another year that cancer leaves me alone!