Thursday, July 13, 2017

Burnin' For You

Hi Darlings...

It's been forever and a day since I blogged...

Well not quite forever but at least 5 months or so.

So much has happened:

I finished chemo
I managed to be the #hotmess patient of the year in the infusion center (that is for another blog)
I costumed our musical
Our musical got nominated as one of the 8 best high school musicals in Houston
My girls and I got nominated for best costumes for our musical
We got to perform on the Hobby Stage for the Tommy Tune Awards
My fabulous daughter graduated from college
My son finished his freshman year at TAMU

and...

it turns out my type of uterine cancer is particularly vicious and nasty so I had to start radiation...

So basically I get nuclear stuff aimed at my body every M-F...

I had high hopes that the radiation (or rads as I like to call them) would not be necessary.  Dr. Rockstar scooped up as much cancer as she could and then she and the infusion team poisoned the rest out of me.

But since I have the nasty kind of cancer that likes to return and kill you she felt I needed to see a radiology oncologist and make sure we did all we could to be sure it stayed far far away from me.

Enter Dr. Angel...

KuteKaren came with me to meet Dr. Angel.

In walks a sweet quiet man and despite his sweet demeanor he managed to knock me on my booty because he told me some things about my cancer that I did not know...

I had been warned by my Internist not to Google my cancer...one night in a weak moment I did but I didn't get far.

Bless his heart he didn't know I didn't know some things...

like...

the survival rate for my particular cancer is 10 years.

Um....

damn...

I burst into tears...

KuteKaren started to cry...

He got flustered

the nurse holds me...

and then KuteKaren once again says the words of strength she always says when I need it:

"You are a magical unicorn and you do not fit into any box.  You are not normal.  You will not be average.  You will live."

Poor Dr. Angel...

I left there a confused hot mess...

But after a long chat with Dr. Rockstar I saw that I had no choice but to turn my care over to Dr. Angel and let him make sure that my nasty cancer was vanquished.

And as it turns out he's kind of a badass himself despite his sweet, shy quiet demeanor...like head of department and stuff...

So I am now in the hands of Dr. Angel and his awesome staff...

Let me tell you a little something about uterine cancer---you lose all your dignity...

every day I have to lay down on a hard table with a full bladder with my naked backside completely uncovered while this machine whirs and spins around me...

and most of the radiation techs are men...

good times people...good times...

ok so now that I have completely bored you all to death you have to be wondering what has propelled me to blog after all this time and surely it can't be a description of my adventures in getting nuclear poison shot into me...

And there is...

because while I lay there on that table while Dr. Angel's fancy big machine does it's thing I have a lot of time to pray...and think...

And mostly I think about how blessed I am...

I am blessed to have health insurance
I am blessed to live in Houston with the best medical care of any city
I am blessed to have found Dr. Rockstar and Dr. Angel
I am blessed that Dr. Gorgeous found my cancer and made sure I was in good hands
I am blessed that my Aunt Jane has been my partner in all of this
I am blessed that my children have been so loving and supportive
I am blessed that I still have my hair thanks to cold capping
I am blessed that I started bleeding so that Dr. Gorgeous could find the cancer
I am blessed that God opened my heart and eyes and brain to listen to my doctors
I am blessed that the chemo did its job
I am blessed that I was barely sick during chemo...just tired
I am blessed that despite what a pain in the neck it is to drive to the Med Center everyday---I can
and

I am blessed to be alive

I spent most of last spring feeling sorry for myself...

I had so many pity parties I should be a professional Pity Party Planner...

I kept thinking about all the things I was missing out on...things I didn't have...and what was missing from my life because of cancer...

I was mad that I was doing this alone...that I didn't have a love and a partner to support me through this...

I was furious at the weight I gained and that I didn't have the energy and strength to do something about it...

But then I got to feeling better...

and I got stronger....

and I realized that I DID have partners---my aunt Jane, KuteKaren, TwirlerGirl, Wonder Woman (who also kicked cancer in the ass), my "mamas" Shari and Jo, Pretty Phyllis, JayVee, and all of my wonderful friends...

And I started feeling well enough to return to my beloved Revolution Studios to spin my heart out and FINALLY get back to yoga...

And my internist helped me with a few changes in my diet and offered to help me with my weight loss by having me come in weekly to weigh in and check my progress...

And I began to see not what I was missing...

BUT WHAT I HAVE

And to not be so scared of what MIGHT happen and start to be grateful for what WAS happening...

Each day when I lay down on that table I pray...

I start my prayers with prayers for others---those who have asked for prayers and those I know need praying over...and for all the other patients in the building...

why do I start with others?

Because I am the kind of person that despite what the flight attendant says---I am always going to put the oxygen mask on my loved one first before putting on my own...

And I believe that I should lay the needs of others at His feet before I ask for my own...

after my prayers for others I thank Him for my blessings...for my doctors and the staff...for my ability to be treated and that my cancer was found...

and then I THANK HIM for the cancer...

because I have learned more about life from this damn cancer than just about anything else in my life (other than parenting...I've learned a lot from raising two humans).

I THANK HIM because I KNOW that He will use me and my cancer to help others...

maybe it's to get someone to the doctor...

or to spread the word about cold capping to save your hair during chemo...

or to learn more about uterine pappilary serous carcinoma...

or maybe it's just to teach me to be humble and grateful.

I don't know why He is using me but I believe He is...

or maybe it's just so I can understand the meaning of a blessing...

I never thought I would get cancer but I did...

and I never thought I would consider it a blessing but I do...

because what doesn't kill us makes us stronger and we learn more from our trials than from out successes...

So the next time you are looking at something that scares you...or feels like you are being punished instead of rewarded try looking at it as a blessing...a chance to learn or grow...

some things are harder to overcome than others but I can tell you that from now on I am going to make a lot more lemonade out of the lemons I am handed in life...

Blessings are where you least expect them sometimes and I know that I am on a path of blessings...

The path is rough...it's full of holes and rocks and steep passages and I can't see but a few feet in front of me but hell I am on a path and I will keep going as long as my legs will carry me...

And tomorrow I will climb onto that table and have radiation poured into my body and I will thank the Lord I am on that table and will pray for my friends and count my blessings...

Inspiration Song: Burnin for You by Blue Oyster Cult...because each day I lay down on that table I am burnin away that cancer...

Bye Darlings...sorry for the boring blog but it gives you an update...and remember to count your blessings...it makes for a happier life...









Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Sign

Hello Darlings...

Just about a year ago I started to feel bad...

I lacked energy

I needed naps in the afternoon

I felt achy

I felt exhausted

I would burn 3000+ calories a day and couldn't lose weight

weight was piling on despite exercise and eating healthy

But despite all of that I was working out 5+ days a week and several times a week I would follow and intense 45 minute spin class with a 45 or 60 minute yoga class...

Oh I miss that girl...

the one who could bang out 700 calories in an hour and still have the energy to go into a Power Flow...

the one who wouldn't dream of working out less than 5 days a week...

the one who rode the front row in the spin class...

the girl who basically kicked ass...

the one who's joints didn't ache every day

the one who could stand at the stove for hours without pain...

Right now she is buried under a layer of extra weight, swelling, and cancer...

When I first started feeling bad I went to my general physician and told her I was lacking energy and feeling poorly and struggling to lose weight.

She felt it was most likely menopause and possibly my thyroid.

So we started testing...

my thyroid was normal but my blood pressure was high...not very high but high enough to start medication...

She sent me to have an ultrasound on my thyroid and it had nodules but not anything to worry about...

She sent me to a cardiologist who did an ultrasound on my heart (normal) and did a stress test on me (normal)

Saw my gynocologist in May...

my pap smear was normal...

everything was normal...

except that I was still tired and not losing weight...

she sent me to an endocrinologist...

the endocrinologist said all my tests were "normal"...

I cried in her office...

I told her I knew something was wrong with me because it could not just be menopause that was making me feel bad and not lose weight...she sympathized with me and suggested a very very low calorie diet (1000 calories a day)...

I was burning an average of almost 3000 calories a day and not eating near that so I knew something had to be wrong...

Summer passed and I felt a bit better but still there was the nagging feeling that something was wrong...

And then the bleeding started in the fall and all hell broke loose...

Thank goodness for the bleeding because that was my proof that something was very very wrong with me...

and then the pain started and I knew I could not ignore that my body was giving me signs that something was wrong and I needed help.

And thankfully I did because I am alive because of it...

To often we ignore signs that tell us something is wrong...

and not just with our health...

sometimes we see signs that a relationship is in trouble and still ignore them as well...

I ignored the signs that my marriage was not just in trouble but dead for years...mostly because I was afraid...

I've ignored signs that friendships needed to have the life support pulled on them (when someone shows you who they are the first time---believe them! Thank you Maya Angelou)

For a while I ignored signs that my health was in danger because I chalked it up to menopause because that was easier to face than the reality of cancer...

And I even ignored the fact that my sweet precious kitty Seringa was losing more weight than she should have because I didn't want her to be sick so I just chalked it up to the diet food I was giving the cats (vet's orders) because my Zulu (her brother) was too fat...

We see the signs but do we really SEE the signs?

Sometimes we do see them but need to ignore the signs because timing is off...that's how it was for my marriage.

I knew my marriage was in trouble before I even had kids...I knew that I was hanging on to someone who wasn't right for me because I didn't know what else to do. I also knew he would give my kids some good smart genes.

I tried to leave him years before I finally did because I was so miserable but I got talked out of it by well meaning loved ones.

But finally I couldn't take it anymore...

the signs were to clear:

they were bright as the Vegas Strip they were so bright and shiny telling me:

"Welcome to the Fabulous time to leave your husband!!!!"

I'm talking full-on neon here and giant 20 foot lettering that it was time to make my exit and get the hell out of my not-just-failing but totally in the grave marriage...

So.I.Did.

I've pulled the plugs on failing relationships with friends too...you know when you look at them and you can hear the sound of a heart monitor flatlining?

Yes...


beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep

no life there...no blips of goodness...

I've done it with a few people in the last few years.

One woman who called me stupid...and frankly that is the kind of relationship where you don't even try to do CPR on the relationship.  She was rude to me several times and frankly her annoying continual selfies makes me not miss her in the least.

Another "friend" is one who acted a certain way on FB but her true character was unmistakably false and not what she presents.  It's like her bleach blonde hair and boobs---fake.  I don't have time for people who pretend...I get enough of that with my work with a high school drama department.  She overstepped herself with me and frankly when that relationship died I didn't even attend the funeral.

Another friendship I tried CPR on more than once---but each time I would pull us out from the brink of death she would do something to flatline it again.  Ain't nobody got time for that...friendship should be easy and not need medical intervention to keep going...

I could mention more but you get the point...some relationships are letting you know it is time to let go and you need to read the signs and move on...it's best for both of you...

I'd rather have 5 people I can count on than 500 Facebook "friends" who are mostly strangers...and if more than 1/4 of your "friends" are humans you have never met maybe you need to read the signs about stranger danger (Miss Bleach Blonde was very guilty of that....I used to worry about her accepting random men's friend requests but not any more...she chooses to feed her ego that way and well I can't help her...).

I have a lot of friends and I love and cherish each one...this cancer has taught me who people I can depend on are and who I can't.

And frankly some people don't handle illness well so I don't fault them for not being "there" for me as long as they send out some sort of friendship sign (like a little flare!) and let me know they are still in my universe just not actively so...

and that's ok...

And sometimes we read the signs and we read them wrong...and when you do that is when you CALL or GET FACE TO FACE with someone because you can also misread TEXTS...

As for reading your "health signs"...well my friends that is one I will harp on you about until the end of time.

I could have ignored how crappy I felt and just said "it's menopause" but thankfully some of the signs were hard to ignore and frankly I just wanted to feel better.

I told my doctor ALL of my signs so that she could figure out what was going on with me and thank goodness she went above and beyond protocol to do so.

We chalk things going wrong with our bodies to:
aging
weight gain
weight loss
injury

and we ignore things like:
irregular bleeding
hair loss
unexplained weight loss or gain
lack of energy
sleeplessness
sleepiness
fatigue
insomnia
heavy bleeding
bloating

and we just say:
it's menopause
it's age
it's my thyroid

but frankly you just can't self diagnose yourself all the time and blame our aging bodies...everyone is aging from the moment they are born...some stuff is normal and other stuff is not...

stop ignoring the signs...

if you are gaining weight look at your diet....and if your diet is still good then start digging...

that's what started it for me...I was gaining more weight than a woman who exercised and ate like me should...

and it all then led to finding out I had cancer...

I could have just sat back and said "menopause is doing this" and who knows where I would have ended up...

So don't ignore the signs...be it with your relationships or your health...

GOD IS GIVING YOU SIGNS

So SEE the signs and ACT on them...

If your relationship with someone is flatlining it's time to decide whether to get out the paddles and fight for it and shock it back into health or to simply let it go and die quietly.  You can use heroic measures or you can do the gentle thing and put it to sleep (like I had to do with my kitty).

Sometimes after heroic measures things are more of a mess and very expensive and you end up spending a lot of time and effort just for it to die again...or you might find the relationship is better than ever...

And if the signs you are being given are about your health then...

GET YOURSELF TO YOUR DOCTOR AND START TO FIGURE IT OUT

Do not pass "Go"
Do not collect $200

just get to the doctor!!!!!

it's better to be told "it's just menopause" or "you are getting older" than to hear:

you have stage 4 cancer...

(I'm at Stage 3C people so time was NOT on my side).

DON'T BE AFRAID

because what you are afraid of might not be as bad as you fear...or it can be worse (like me) but you are finding out in time to do something about it...

I'm holding up a big red STOP sign to you right now...

read this and take stock of the signs on your path of life...

Open up your eyes and SEE the signs...

It might save your life...

Inspiration Song: "The Sign" by Ace of Base...because I opened up my eyes and saw the sign...

I, I got a new life, you would hardly recognize me, I'm so glad
How can a person like me care for you?
I, why do I bother, when you're not the one for me?
Oo-hoo-hoo-oo-oo
Is enough enough?
I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes, I saw the sign
Life is demanding without understanding
I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes, I saw the sign
No one's gonna drag you up to get into the light where you belong
But where do you belong?
I, under the pale moon, for so many years I wondered who you are
How could a person like you bring me joy?
Under the pale moon, where I see a lot of stars
Oo-hoo-hoo-oo-oo
Is enough enough?
I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes, I saw the sign
Life is demanding without understanding
I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes, I saw the sign
No one's gonna drag you up to get into the light where you belong
But where do you belong?
Oh, oh-oh-oh
I saw the sign and it opened up my mind
And I am happy now living without you
I've left you Oh, oh-oh-oh
I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes, I saw the sign
No one's gonna drag you up to get into the light where you belong
I saw the sign
(I saw the sign, I saw the si-ee-i-ee-ign)
(I saw the sign, I saw the sign)
I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes, I saw the sign


Bye Darlings: open up your eyes and see the signs on the path ahead of you...I'm so glad I did...







Monday, March 20, 2017

My Heart Will Go On

Hello Darlings....

Saturday I had to put my sweet Seringa to sleep...

She was my little kitty...

she was a 14 year old Bengal cat and I have had her and her brother since they were able to leave their mama...

She was always a bit on the small side and had very slightly crossed eyes...

we always knew she was special...

I am so filled with pain I am not even sure I can write this blog but I have to do something to make myself feel better if I can...

I held her head in my hands as she crossed over the rainbow bridge...she was looking at me and then I saw the life leave her eyes and she was gone...

She was sick and in pain...she had cancer...

and I was so wrapped up in myself I didn't even know she was as sick as she was...

I noticed she had lost weight

But it was the tumor in her belly that I never knew was there that ultimately meant I had to let her go.

She was never a lap cat...she preferred to sit beside me in the bed but never on my lap on the couch...

She hated to be picked up and carried...she would rebel and cry if you did...

So it wasn't until she was so very sick that I felt the lump in her belly and knew something was terribly wrong...

Now that I look back on the last few months I see that her weight loss was not just due to the fact that I had to put all the cats on diet food because the boys were getting too fat...she was sick and I was missing it...

she never fussed or complained...

she was frail but strong at the end...

Up until a couple of days before she died she was as she always was...sleeping on my bed, up for meals and her box, hiding in my closet for some alone time, and wanting to drink the water up from the floor after my shower...

each night we would go to bed and she would spend 10-20 minutes "kneading" (we called it "making bread") on my side to soothe herself and then she would settle in next to me or between my legs to sleep.

Each night I slept with her near me for at least part of the night...

and now...

she is gone...

I know I did the right thing for her...heroic measures are never for the animals we love...we do it so we don't have to lose them...

but her fight was gone...she just wanted some peace and to sleep...

so I told the sweet vet that I agreed that in this instance the loving thing to do was to let her go...

and I haven't stopped crying since...

I look at her photos on my phone and I miss her...

seeing her food bowl is more than I can bear...

I had to cover up her little spot in my closet so it wouldn't look empty...

my bed looks wrong without her in it

and her brother keeps crying for her and looking for her...

It's more than I can bear...

This past year I have been challenged so much...

I've got two kids in college with little help from their dad to pay for things...

I have cancer...

I have felt crappy for a year...

I'm alone with no partner and there is no way right now I would attract one that would want the likes of me...

I'm fat and bloated...

my hair is thinning and no longer the pretty long pale blonde I am used to brushing...

I can't exercise the way I am used to...

and now I have lost my cat.

I think I have been pushed and tested enough...

I'm ready to put down the burden and see some happiness...

I.Am.Weary.

I.Am.Tired.

I.Am.Exhausted.

I'm ready to have some lightness and fun...

to be able to lose weight....

to feel healthy...

and most of all to feel truly happy...

I had chemo on Friday and then lost my baby the next day...it's a whole lot for one human to take.

My kids are devastated and I am heartbroken for them and for all of us...

my kids have had enough to face this year and now this...

I'm done people...

I am so tired of trying to put a happy positive spin on this but frankly...

I GOT NOTHING...

NOTHING...

I'm empty and that positivity is gone...

Oh, I won't lay down and die so don't worry about that but this blog is purely about me unloading all the pain I am feeling...

I've worked very hard not to feel overly sorry for myself but dammit it's time I got a damn break...

the cat was more than I could bear...

I want some joy...and I want to be free of all this damn pain...

I know I should feel really lucky right now and most of you reading this are probably wondering why I am complaining when I should be grateful I am being treated for my cancer...

but then again most of you reading this do not have cancer so you don't know how bad it sucks...

I want to pull myself up and shake it all off and say that tomorrow will be better but right now I just don't have that love and happiness and Pollyanna attitude to do it...

I know I will go on each day and each day the pain will diminish but right now I am literally just waiting to see what the next giant boulder that is hurled at me is and why can't I just have a little rock instead of a crushing 80 foot ball of granite...

I need prayers...prayers for strength...

I don't need food...
I don't need company...
I don't need pet videos (please no more kitty videos for a bit)

I need strength...and I don't know where it will come from so I am asking you to find some and send it my way...

right now I just want to sit in my beautiful recliner and cry and cry and cry...

I have friends who have been through so much more than me...a friend who lost her beautiful daughter recently (to a long illness), other friends going through cancer treatments and illnesses, and friends who l have lost their parents lately...and others who have also lost their beloved fur babies lately...and I have one beautiful friend who is just trying to get her home back from being flooded and contractors who have taken advantage of her...

so i know it is not just me and I know I'm not the only person struggling...

but I can't take much more...

and I know my breaking point and I see it ahead of me and I need to find a way to retreat back from it...

so please forgive me if this is the most boring pitiful blog you have read for a while but I just needed to express my anger and hurt and weariness of it all...

Some days I feel like an oak...I am strong with strong roots...nothing can push me over...

some days I feel like a blade of grass...I am blowing in the wind but I am still rooted down...

some days I feel like I am a reed...the water is all around me yet still I remain strong...

some days I feel like a rose...the wind might blow my petals but my thorns keep stuff from hurting me...

some days I feel like a lemon tree...I am strong enough to bear fruit....

Today I am a dandelion puff...scattered with the slightest breeze...no longer whole and together and I came from a weed...

I will go on but my heart will take more time to recover than my body will...

and for my sweet Seringa who is up in heaven with the softest bed to lay on and plenty of catnip toys to enjoy I hope she went to heaven knowing that no kitty was ever more loved than she was...

I feel guilty that I missed she was so sick...but she didn't show it other than losing some weight and I blamed the diet food for that.

I should have known...

I was to selfishly wrapped up in me I failed to see what was happening around me...

and now she is gone...

and I am in such pain...

and the chemo is breaking me down...

and the cancer is being defeated but has a way to go before it's gone...

and I just don't have room for anyone else's---stuff....

so please forgive me if I am not "around" or as supportive as I usually am...

If I can't take on anyone else's troubles...

if I can't give good advice....

but for the better part of a year I have been feeling bad...and for the last 6 months I have been feeling terrible and for the last 2 days I have been broken...

I just need some time to find the source of my strength and build it up again...

I have God and my faith but I need His help to get me strong again...

I feel like I am laying naked on the hard ground and being pelted with hail...

I.Am.So.Tired.

But I will go on...

Inspiration Song: "My Heart Will Go On" from Titanic...because right now I know my heart will go on and I will survive but I don't see where I fit in the lifeboat...

Bye Darlings...saying goodbye is never easy and when it is an innocent animal it's so hard...pray for me and my baby Seringa...I know I will see her in heaven again but right now the me that is here misses her and feels so weak...

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Head Games

Hi darlings...

Well I am back inside my head and not in a good way so I thought I would blog about it...blogging is my way of dumping the garbage that is inside of my head and getting it out...

it's like taking out the trash...

you gather it in the bag, take the bag to the big trash can and put a fresh trash bag in the can to collect the next batch of garbage...

that's what blogging does for me...it let's me start over with an empty bag and then there is room for more...

Years ago I started this blog as a way to get out the frustrations of my weight loss journey.  I was posting long things on FB and my friends suggested I start a blog as a way to journal what I was going through.

My friend VictoriousVic suggested the name for the blog and it stuck...

little did I know that 7 years later that this blog was going to be so much more for me...

but then again 7 years ago I had no clue I would have cancer and this would be my therapy.

So today I was supposed to go and spin at 9:30...when my alarm went off at 7:45 I was still in a full deep sleep and I couldn't move.  I cancelled my class (there is a charge for a late cancel which I totally understand) and went back to sleep and slept another hour...

I listened to my body...

but my head...

oh my head was saying other things like:

"you are fat and need to move"

"MarvelousMel is going to kill it today and you are in bed"

"you will never lose weight sleeping"

"how do you expect to be healthy if you can't exercise more"

"you are fat"

"you are fat"

"you are fat"

UGH

My head is a nasty, mean, rude creature...

and before I was hit with the cancer I often listened to my head and not my body...

but when you are confronted with the fact that you LITERALLY can't get out of bed you have no choice but to listen to what your 52 year old stage 3c cancer body is telling you.

Last night a friend messaged me that he was running in a 10K today---and he had just come off 14 days of chemotherapy for his illness...

that man is more of a badass than I am...

I was just trying to get to a spin class.

I've managed to stay away from Googling things about my condition since my unfortunate 2 AM mishap a few months ago.  I learned my lesson that time.  So no more Googling survival rates and I don't even want to know what radiation of my girl parts would be like so I am staying away from it.

But there are other ways my head messes with me...and lately most of it is based around my hair.

A year ago I had a full head of "thick for a blonde but very baby fine" hair that reached my waist and spent most of it's time in a ponytail...

I noticed that it was starting to thin---I chalked it up to the start of menopause and just upped my vitamin and mineral supplements to help the situation...

Now, thanks to menopause and chemotherapy, my hair is REALLY thinning...

Every time I brush my hair and I see all the hair in the brush I want to cry.

I'm lucky I can cold cap and keep most of my hair---I have a friend, GorgeousGirl, who has leakemia and she lost all of her gorgeous thick hair.  And to add insult to injury she is a hairdresser...

I can't imagine it...

So I think of her as I clear out my hairbrush of what used to be a week's worth of hair loss that now happens in one day...

oh, that messes with my head good...

and the head says:

"you are gonna still go bald"

"your hair is falling out at a scary rate"

"you are spending money to keep hair and still losing it"

"fat and bald is not a good look on you Anice"

"what man will want a fat and bald cancer patient...the line will NOT be out the door"

"thank you cancer for letting me be 52 and menopausal and very unattractive at the same time"

Frankly I think cancer should make someone more beautiful and not less.

The funny thing is when I see photos of GorgeousGirl on social media she is still stunning to me even with no hair...and other women I see up at the cancer center look beautiful to me but when I stare at myself in the mirror I just see the thin hair, the missing eyelashes, and the fat.

But here's where it all falls into a head game: I still have a head full of hair....hair that many women my age would envy.

It's just what I see on the brush scares me and I freak out a bit.

And I can't avoid seeing the brush.

Having a low energy level and losing hair is hard but I think the hardest hurdle I face each day is trying to stay positive about all of it.

Yesterday I broke down at KuteKaren's house...she held me while I cried and handed me tissues to wipe away the tears.  I try my best to be super strong and positive but sometimes I am just so damn scared of this cancer that I have a breakdown.

And it's good to have that breakdown with one of your besties because she knows all the dark places in your mind...

I try to face each day with positivity and faith...my faith never wavers but sometimes I get so scared of what is raging inside of I just have to let it spill out...

Because I am a mom my primary fear is leaving my kids...I have always prayed to God to please let me live long enough to meet my grandchildren and be there for my kids...

but now there is something that is trying to take that away from me and that something is CANCER...

it won't win...
I won't let it..

But it rages in my head sometimes...

When I have chemo I go into it like I am an athlete preparing for a big game.  I pack my gear, I get my game face on and I hit the battlefield.

But lately I am having to put on my game face daily...as I succumb to the weariness of chemo and cancer and have to cancel my exercise classes and take a nap instead I am reminded that my body isn't just aging, but it's aging and fighting a war.

It's hard enough to get older...
and harder still to be getting older and seeing life as you planned slipping away from you...
and that your actual LIFE might be slipping away from you...

but...

and here's the big BUT to all of this...

I still believe I am a champion...

just like Ali I think I am the GREATEST...

I'm going to win this game, set, match...

I'm going to go down in the record books as one who fought to win and WON

but sometimes my head gets the best of me...and I falter...

I serve a fault...
I throw an interception...
I drop the ball...
I get a penalty...
I make a foul...

But in the game of winning at cancer as long as I don't get tossed out of the game I will win and I will wear the championship medal...

and that medal is my health...
and my healthy body...
(with less weight on it)
and a full head of hair...

and maybe someone out there that reads my words I put here will find the strength to go face the games in his/her head and will beat the odds and win...

Inspiration Song: "Head Games" by Foreigner...I loved Foreigner...I think I played the entire Foreigner 4 album a million times...

Bye Darlings: when the head games beat you out of what you want to do---try a new tactic to win.  For me it was writing this blog...

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Mad World

Hello Darlings...

I'm in a very foul mood...

extremely foul...

not sure what set me off but I feel like raging...and so I'm gonna publish this without editing so hang on to your seat...you might need a seatbelt...

the problem is that when I do rage it comes off as:
mean
unkind
selfish
stupid
ugly
nasty
rude

I have nothing I can pinpoint as to what set me off to feeling this way...I had a good day and a good spin class...

I can say one thing that set me off is politics...but not so much from the point of not agreeing about politics...

no, i think what set me off is that a woman I have considered a friend for 15 years has pretty much totally ignored me lately but jumps in on a political discussion and throws a falsehood in my face.  I know I am a "raging liberal" and that has likely gotten me banned from many a FB newsfeed.

BTW I am a "raging liberal" in the sense that about every 10th post is political and tend to be more about human rights than my disdain for our current POTUS.

(exception: posts about Justin Trudeau...I will find just about any excuse to put him up on my FB wall...he might not drive a big ass truck but I am pretty sure he needs to be cloned for me)

But right now I am not in the mood to have someone who hasn't bothered once to express anything to me about my cancer try to give me a lesson in what happened at last nights address to Congress.

Because right now I am learning who my friends are and who they aren't.

My friends are people who show support, who can argue with respect, that are "here" for me in spirit even when they can't physically be.

My friends are not going to be determined by whether or not they copy and paste a post about cancer but rather if they have bothered to even just once reached out to me.

When the shit goes down you learn who your friends are...

And you also know who has taken you off their newsfeed but is still active on FB because you see them post on other people's stuff...

yeah...you learn...

but honestly I don't think I am really angry with this particular woman....if i am honest with myself she has never really been much of a "friend" anyway...

I think I am just flat out pissed off at the damn cancer...

I've had pity parties and gotten upset but today I am MAD...

I am mad as hell I have cancer...

I wish I didn't let the cancer define me but these days it does...and I really hate that.

When I run into someone I know who I am not friends with on social media I never quite know how to answer the question "how are you?"

Do I say:
Oh, I am good but I have cancer...

or do I just say nothing...

I usually just say "oh, I am fine..." because who really wants to know about the cancer anyway...

I mean really when you ask that question who wants to hear:
"I have stage 3c uterine pappilary serous carcinoma...I am tired all the time and I had to have a full hysterectomy so now I don't just have cancer but I am also in menopause!!!!!!  And how is your life these days?!?!?"

No!

No one wants to hear that...so I just usually say "I am fine thanks!" and move on and ask about them to avoid the whole "I have cancer by the way" discussion.

Plus it makes them feel crappy if they don't know...as if I should have some sort of mark on me that indicates I have cancer (like ashes on a Christian on Ash Wednesday).

Maybe that would help...a mark...

a bid "c" on your forhead...or something like that...

I'm not bald and thankfully I don't look sick so if you were to run into me on the street you might notice I have gained weight and my hair is thinner and I have no eyelashes but otherwise I look "normal".

Thank you Jesus...I need something to be/look/act/seem normal

Having cancer makes you crazy...it makes you depressed, angry, and sometimes filled with rage...

And tonight I think I was just raging against all of it and got my feelings hurt by a woman who I need not bother with anymore and should have just left it all on the bike in my spin class (that's why I am going tomorrow...to let the rage out)..

I think anger can be healthy if it is properly expelled...that's why I blog so I don't throw my fabric scissors at the wall in my workroom...

it's also why I do yoga...I can channel all that emotion into me on the mat...

and sometimes I just need to laugh as much as I can so I don't cry until I can't stop...

I do cry...
I cry a lot...

it releases a lot of anger, hurt, fear...

but sometimes I do want to just HIT something (and now my friend MarvelousMaggie will suggest I come with her to her martial arts stuff...and I will counter with "let's yoga")

I'm a lover not a fighter but I am beginning to think having a punching bag in my garage might be a good thing so that I don't verbally assault someone...

cancer makes you mad as hell...

mad
as
hell

and there is nothing you can do about it...

drinking doesn't help...

I tried that and one cocktail in I got scared I was messing up my body so the martinis are now on probation and only allowed when I don't have ice cream in the house...

there is a lot of ice cream in the house...

and a lot of Halo Top because I need to diet and not eat vats of gelato...

Getting mad doesn't change the cancer but sometimes getting to just feel like letting the rage out really helps...

I would run but I have awful knees
I would try MMA but, well, see above...
I would try boxing but, well...
you see a pattern emerging?

That's why I spin and do yoga...so I can get the rage out...

but tonight I just needed to get mad as hell and I did....for a whole hour I was pounding these keys on this computer and pacing about the room and I ate mac and cheese for dinner...

the kind out of the yellow box...

the "bad" not Martha kind...

and you know what?

I feel better...

I still have cancer...
I ate Velveeta shells and cheese
I did a spin class
I have gelato calling my name

but I got through this anger tonight without breaking anything except maybe a friendship with someone who has not really been a friend to me...

so if you want to help me with the cancer do this:

ask me how I am doing when you see me and if I shrug and say "ok" just change the subject...

take me out so I am not a hermit...

pray for me (that's the main thing)

don't post that copy and paste thing on your FB wall that says "I'm gonna find out who my real friends are" ...that thing just pisses me off...no ones cancer is cured by that...

crawfish is good...I could do with a cold beer and a big thing of crawfish...take me out for crawfish...a

and ramen...ramen is the key to my heart these days...

And if I get mad again I will just lay it all here...

so you can all suffer with me lol...

Inspiration Song: "Mad World" by Tears for Fears...because this cancer world I am living in is a mad world indeed...

Bye Darlings: don't let this mad world let you be mad AT the world...I have that covered (at least tonight)...








Monday, February 27, 2017

I Want to Break Free

Hello Darlings,

Today is my 6th birthday...

I declared February 27 to be my "other" birthday a few years ago...because it is the day I woke up and was reborn because I asked my husband for a divorce...

I blogged about it last year:

http://shrinkingviolettheblog.blogspot.com/2016/02/miss-independent.html

and touched on it on yesterday's blog but it's still on my mind today...

it's not a day I have an ounce of regret about...

I still think leaving my husband was the smartest, bravest, and most loving thing I have ever done for myself.

I sat on the couch in our study and calmly looked at him and said:

"I want a divorce"

and he agreed...

I've never regretted those 4 words.

He's not a bad man...he's just not MY man.

I don't miss him but I miss the idea of a man in my life...

I don't miss having him across the table from me but I do miss having a man to cook for...

I don't miss him in the bed next to me but I do miss having a man to hold me when I sleep

I don't miss coming home to him but I do miss having someone other than cats greet me...

I don't miss HIM at all...

I had fallen out of love with him years before but was to afraid to move forward without him...because I didn't feel like a real adult...

Now, having been a single mom for 6 years and fighting cancer alone I do feel very much like a grown up...

I feel more like an old lady than a 6 year old but today I will revel in being 6...

there might be some champagne next to me right now...

Divorce and cancer have taught me a lot over these last few years.  I was an "adult" for 25 years before I think I really became a true adult.

No longer a woman who let someone else tell her how and what to think and no longer a woman who felt stupid for not knowing something.

I did try for many years:

I tried to find the love I once had for him
I tried to stay for my kids' sake
I tried to stay with him because I was scared of being alone
I tried to stay with him because I made a vow before God
I tried to stay with him because I was afraid no one would ever love me again
I tried to stay with him so I could stay in my house
I tried to stay with him so my children didn't bounce between houses

But it also meant:
I wasn't myself
I was miserable
I resented him being in the same room
I was tired of faking it
I was tired of pretending
I was tired of not being loved
I was tired of being someone who let someone else think for her
I was tired of not being appreciated for who I was
I was tired of not being appreciated for what I did


I thought about it for weeks...months...years...

but finally on that day I had the courage to find my voice and let myself be heard and I have never spent a second regretting it....

I don't advocate leaving your spouse unless you really have to but I will say that leaving a situation that no longer serves you is the most loving thing you can do for yourself.

I am a believer in giving your all to others....to serve others and to love others...to give of yourself...

the gift of yourself is more precious than gold and worth more than money...

but sometimes you have to say "enough" and move on...

that goes for romantic and friend relationships...

Remaining stuck because you are too afraid to move is not serving you or anyone else in your life...

Having cancer is now teaching me to take each moment as it comes...to seize each moment and to not wait until tomorrow to have joy...

If I wait until "the next time" or "in the future" it just might be too late...I might miss the moment I should have.

I don't want anyone I know to miss their moments...

yes, for sure hard and long consideration should come before life changing things like divorce and having kids or moving to a new city--- but it's the simple things we should not wait on...

or the things we know we must do...

when we know we must not wait longer...

or to just seize the moment...
eat the ice cream...
say yes to the coffee date...
go to the party...
buy the shoes...
try the recipe...
give away the clothes...
get on the spin bike...
run in the rain...
get the bangs...
color the hair pink...
buy the new bed...
put on the red lipstick...
have dessert first...
open the champagne...
walk out of the boring movie...
leave the party and go to the coffee shop...
buy the car...
book the vacation...
go see the Eiffel Tower...
take the class...
start the book...
run further than yesterday...
kiss the girl...
sit in front of the painting and let it soak in...
take the new job...
go to the new city...
put on the red dress not the black one...
wear the ballet flats and not the heels so you can walk...
tell the handsome guy next to you in the grocery line hello...
smile at the hot guy/girl at the gym...
drink the martini...
adopt the dog or cat...
buy the pretty lingerie for YOURSELF...
take a different path to work...
turn left instead of right...

open your heart to possibility...

even if possibility means change...

Break free from what holds you down or back...

be a balloon and soar where the wind takes you...don't stay tied to the fence...

6 years ago today I changed my life for me and my kids and yes, for my ex...

I broke free....

I felt like a balloon adrift in the heavens but the sky was blue and cloudless and the wind was gentle so I drifted instead of being blown off course...

and now, as that gentle breeze still keeps me aloft I know I am free...

Inspiration Song: "I Want To Break Free" by Queen...because sometimes we need Freddy to tell us what to do...

Bye Darlings---celebrate my birthday with me by doing something that lets you break free----even if it just means you eat the extra bit of ice cream in the pint...











Sunday, February 26, 2017

Chained to the Rhythm

Hello Darlings!

So it's been 48 hours since the last bit of poison from chemo #4 dripped into my body...

Today is the day where I basically shun human contact and lay around and sleep a lot...and tomorrow will basically be the same and then sometime on Tuesday I will start to feel "normal" (whatever "normal" is) again and come out of my cocoon of laziness....

It's a pattern that hasn't deviated since chemo #1 in December...

But the good news is my doctor is pleased with how my tests are looking (yea!  tests I can pass!!!!) and my CA125 numbers are down in the normal zone...last test was 25 which was down from the mid-400's after surgery...

but Dr. Rockstar wants my number to be more like 10-15 instead of 25 so----CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!!!

Come on body...let's do this and be teacher's pet and get that CA125 so low we blow Dr. Rockstar away with our greatness...

In case you aren't familiar with what I mean by a CA125 blood test, here is the Mayo Clinic definition:

CA 125 test measures the amount of the protein CA 125 (cancer antigen 125) in your blood. A CA 125 test may be used to monitor certain cancers during and after treatment. In some cases, a CA 125 test may be used to look for early signs of ovarian cancer in women with a very high risk of the disease.

I never thought a blood test would mean so much to me again in my life...

back in the days when I was wanting to start a family the blood tests that determined if I was pregnant and if the baby was thriving meant everything to me.  I had an ectopic pregnancy and a miscarriage before I was blessed with my daughter and son and each time they drew blood for me I prayed that the baby inside me was there and thriving...

now I pray that I am here and thriving...and that those numbers are going down to show that the cancer is going away...

I like a challenge so I am hoping in 3 weeks when I see her again my numbers are lower and maybe that means I won't have to have radiation...

because the thought of poison going into my body is bad enough...making me radioactive and radiating what is left of my female organs does not sound like much fun at all so I say let's pray hard that we can skip that step of my journey...

My life has changed so much from a year ago...tomorrow I will "celebrate" the anniversary of the day I asked my ex husband for a divorce.

You might find the word "celebrate" to be an odd choice for how I feel about February 27 but I do celebrate it...it's the day I took my life back.  And until I am declared cancer free, other than my kids' birthdays it is the most important day of the year to me.

One day I will take my life back again...when I am no longer chained to the rhythm of doctor's appointments and chemo treatments...

I'm glad I am no longer with my ex.

He's not a bad man.

He's just not the man for me...

and now as I go through this process I am very glad I am no longer married to him...he would have handled this terribly...

He was never very nice about anything medical with me...when I had knee surgery he bullied me into giving up my crutches too soon and I undid what the doctor had done.  He just isn't supportive on medical stuff.  When my son was 2 days post surgery he was supposed to come here to help him so I could go to yoga and the grocery store...

but he was too busy playing with his girlfriend to show up on time and kept our son waiting over 2 hours for help and his pain meds...(I left the house fully expecting that he would be passing me on my way down the street as he arrived to take over for a few hours)

and yes the bear I turned into when I found out how he didn't think it was a big deal that he was so late was a monstrous one...

nothing is ever his fault and he comes first...

so yeah, I don't need that kind of negativity around me at this time so I am thrilled that I don't have to deal with him and cancer...he was already a cancer to my happiness when we were married so I'm very glad I don't have him around right now...

I would love to have a partner during this time...I am the kind of woman who appreciates being loved and cared for but truthfully I love fussing over others more than receiving it myself.  But there are days and nights it would be nice to have a man to take care of me and tell me that despite my thinning hair I am still pretty and that my weight gain from the steroids isn't making me less attractive.

If you have ever been through a real trial without a partner you know what I am saying...

Cancer is hard enough to deal with when you have a partner...it's not doubly hard without one...it's far more...

The first night I went to sleep after chemo I was afraid...but my kids were home so it was ok...

The second round I was alone at home...

I worried that if I got sick and needed help the cats weren't going to be of much use.

Dragon doesn't handle sickness very well and Zulu is a lot like my ex and he tends to just ignore that I am having trouble and he just wants attention.  Seringa just lays there being sweet...

There is a rhythm to my recovery but things don't always happen the same way each time...or not such that you can depend on it...

I have yet to have serious nausea and any vomiting but the fatigue has gotten worse with each round...

I'm not entirely helpless when I am recovering but little things like taking out the trash are a bit harder...

hey I am just happy today that I brushed my hair and teeth and got clothes on my body...

48 hours after Taxol and Carboplatin that is a "win" people...

Doing it alone isn't easy but frankly there are only a few humans I want to be around when I feel like this...

and I know some of you are siting there thinking "how does she know it isn't better to be alone? " or "a partner doesn't mean it's better" (yes, i have had similar comments on FB) but the fact of the matter is for ME I do wish I had someone who loves me to help me through this....

it's lonely...

it's scary...

it's hard...

FOR ME....

no judgement here from me if you are dealing with hardship on your own and don't want the love and help of a partner but I do have days like today when I wish I did...

just as long as that person isn't my ex...

I waited too long to leave him...I just lived in a pattern of unhappiness that kept me from breaking free but one day I finally did and I am so glad I no longer am married to him...

I stayed fat as a way to cloak my unhappiness and feared that he might be the only person to ever love me...

and maybe he is...

here I am 6 years later and there is no man in sight on the horizon...nor has there been except for one very brief time I prefer not to discuss...

I stayed with him out of the fear of being alone...

and now I am alone but I can honestly say it's ok...not great....not perfect...not how I would like it to be...

but I would rather be alone, even with this cancer, than with him...

I've learned from all of this that staying in a marriage, friendship, job, or situation that makes you unhappy and doesn't serve you is not doing you any good...

I've let go of friendships over the last year because they are toxic people to me...or maybe our friendship was on life support and the plug needed pulling...but in any case struggling to keep a relationship is NOT a relationship...

we shouldn't be chained to things just because we are afraid to change...

I don't love being divorced but it's better than being with the wrong person...

Change doesn't have to be a big thing like divorce...

we can shake up our lives in a positive way by just making little changes....

change your diet
change your workout
change your path to work
change your favorite hangout
change the channel...

get out of the rut that keeps you chained in place and find a way to feel free...

Cancer has freed me in many ways...

I know now I won't settle...I'm getting a second chance at life and I don't plan to waste it.

I will surround myself with positivity and people who make me feel good and happy...people I don't have to struggle to be in sync with and enjoy the company of...

I'm not chained to my life...

And soon I won't be chained to cancer...

so I'm gonna break up with all the chains that keep me from flying and I plan to soar...

because the only thing I want to be chained to is the rhythm---OF LIFE

Inspiration Song: "Chained to the Rhythm" by Katy Perry....because I love her!!! And I love the song...

Lyrics;
Are we crazy?
Living our lives through a lens
Trapped in our white-picket fence
Like ornaments
So comfortable, we live in a bubble, a bubble
So comfortable, we cannot see the trouble, the trouble
Aren't you lonely
Up there in utopia
Where nothing will ever be enough?
Happily numb
So comfortable, we live in a bubble, a bubble
So comfortable, we cannot see the trouble, the trouble
Ah, so put
Your rose-colored glasses on
And party on
Turn it up, it's your favorite song
Dance, dance, dance to the distortion
Turn it up, keep it on repeat
Stumbling around like a wasted zombie
Yeah, we think we're free
Drink, this one is on me
We're all chained to the rhythm
To the rhythm to the rhythm
Bye Darlings...move to your own rhythm and break the chains that hold you in places where you can't be free...