Friday, November 17, 2017

Look What You Made Me Do

Hello Darlings...

One year ago today---almost to the minute as I write this blog----I was given the terrible news that would forever change my life.

News that would forever make it impossible for me to wake up each day and not worry...

News that would forever make me wary of every twinge I feel and every "what is that" with my body...

News that terrified me to my core...

News that NO ONE wants to ever hear...

News that meant that I no longer got to just live my life but that I have to FIGHT for my life...

My wonderful gynocologist Dr. Gorgeous called me up and through tears informed me that I did indeed have cancer and that it was uterine cancer.

Well....crap....

I know that she would have given anything not to have to make that call and was hoping and praying (along with me) that the "what was wrong" with me was just something minor like fibroids and was easy to fix.

But nothing with me seems to be easy these days and it wasn't going to be something simple.

I'm really not sure that there is anything scarier to hear than "you have cancer" except maybe to hear that you are dying (which duh---if you have cancer there is a good chance you are dying).

I can pretty much guarantee you that nothing will ever terrify me more than those words unless it is something about my kids and then hell yes that is worse.

When she called we talked and cried a bit...we railed against how unfair it was and we both agreed it was really really crappy that I had cancer. 

I got off the phone with her and practiced saying "I have uterine cancer" a few times before I called my beloved Aunt Jane and shared the awful news with her.

Trust me spitting those words out was like talking with poison in my mouth.

I took a long deep swallow of whiskey (and I am not a whiskey drinker) and made the call and said the words out loud to someone I loved...and my aunt was there for me.

After a year of being a cancer patient I can now say the words fairly easily and they don't catch in my throat as much as they did during those first days but trust me it is still not easy to say.

But I knew if I SAID it I would OWN it and it wouldn't OWN me...

I have uterine cancer

At that time we didn't know what kind it was (and because I am an overachiever and have to do everything the hard way I had to end up with the really badass awful kind that kills people and so I have Uterine Pappilary Serous Carcinoma---some damn ugly stuff).

I spent that first night trying to digest:
that I had cancer
that the next morning I was going to see an oncologist
that I had to find a way to tell my children

During that time I also had some friends confide in me that they or a family member was going through their own medical or emotional drama but I couldn't say a word about my situation because it was so unclear as to what was happening with me and I wanted to be "there" for them and give them support.

I went to the doctor because I was bleeding a lot and thought it was menopause and I ended up with a cancer diagnosis.

Well...crap....

Most of you reading this have been on this journey with me---reading my blogs and my posts on social media.

During the time I have been in treatment I lost one sweet friend to a brain tumor (BeautifulBecca and my heart still grieves for her and the loss we feel from her no longer being with us) and another friend lost her daughter to Cystic Fibrosis (WonderfulWhitney...a gorgeous young woman who was taken too soon). And another friend had to watch her child go through his own cancer diagnosis (oh that was hard...) but then something great happened and met my #spiritanimal and fellow warrior Great Grace....

When I was in the hospital having my hysterectomy Beautiful Becca would message me sweet uplifting things in the wee hours when neither of us could sleep.  She was an incredible cheerleader and when I discovered she was now in heaven my heart grieved so deeply I felt I was in a trench of sadness that I could not see the top of....

The first time (and every time) that I walk into the Memorial Hermann Cancer Center my wind gets knocked out of me a little. I literally stepped off the elevator and had to catch my breath.  So did my Aunt Jane. We just paused as we stood in the hallway and looked at the words written on the wall.

Memorial Hermann Cancer Center

Why the hell was I there?

I didn't belong there...

but I did...

I have cancer...

and I feel the same way every time I push open the glass doors of the Radiation Therapy Department.

It's been a year now and I am on a first name basis with all the nurses in the department, the receptionist and most of the ladies that handle all the signing of paperwork.  My pharmacologist has me call her by her first name and if I ever need to be hugged I need only go up to the 29th floor of the Memorial Hermann Medical Plaza (or the radiation therapy department) and I will have a dozen people who will wrap their arms around me and make me feel better.

I don't remember if I slept the night I found out I had cancer...it was all such a blur.

I don't remember if I ate...

I don't remember much about any of it after she said the words "you have uterine cancer".

Cancer...

I have cancer...

I do remember thinking I had to be strong...I felt like if I started crying I would never ever stop.

I remember trying to be calm as I met my oncologist and her residents and while we discussed the surgery I was to have and scheduling it.

I remember it feeling like I was in some sort of hazy dream that wasn't real.

But cancer is very very real.

As this year progressed I did so many things I could not have ever imagined I would have to face or do.

I had a total hysterectomy  and several lymph glands removed...she had to cut into me very deeply and sadly the cancer had spread to what we thought was stage 3C (but it turns out I have Stage 4B because of the cancer in my lymph glands in my neck)

I had a port put in...

It is a daily reminder that I am a warrior and that I have poison put into my body from it...

I had the first of 6 chemotherapy treatments two days before Christmas so I ended up sleeping most of Christmas day and laying on the couch...my children had to watch their mom struggle to move about the house and they did their best to make the holiday easy on me.

I learned about cold capping so I could keep my hair.  It was hell but I don't regret it and my Aunt Jane and Twirler Girl worked very hard to help me keep my long blonde locks. I honestly believe that keeping my hair helped me keep my sanity...and made me feel so much better...

I learned all about chemo and steroids and had to learn to manage all of it on my own because I am alone with no partner so there was no one to help ease my pain or nausea when I felt bad and there was no one to help me do simple tasks (like heating up a meal) when I was recovering from chemo.

I learned how to handle radiation being shot into my body and how to make sure I wasn't burned by it and I learned that having a doctor who took time out of his busy schedule to make sure I was ok was a true blessing...I cried to Dr. Angel many times and he made sure I always felt secure and cared for.

I had:
a total hysterectomy
6 chemotherapy infusions of Taxol/Carboplatin
3 Brachytherapy treatments
25 external beam radiation therapy treatments to my pelvis
30 external beam radiation treatments to my neck
4 chemotherapy infusions of Cisplatin
4 blood transfusions
one Neulasta shot
countless blood draws
countless iv's
countless iv and port flushes
hernia repair surgery because I got an incisional hernia after my hysterectomy

I've cost the insurance company hundreds of thousands of dollars and I have spent hours upon hours getting treated.

And I have done it without a partner, boyfriend or husband.

Those of you with a love in your life will never understand just how that multiplies the difficulty of it all...because as much as friends are helpful they are no replacement for the person who hears you crying in the night and pulls you close to tell you it will be ok

I've had many friends help me but it honestly doesn't replace having someone who is in love with you tell you that you will be ok and you are still loved and loveable...

Cancer made me gain weight
Cancer made me so tired it was an effort to cross the room
Cancer made me lose a lot of sleep
Cancer made me take a lot of naps
Cancer made me cry more than I have ever cried

It's been a year of hell and a helluva year...

And now as I wait to hear if I am cured or in remission I fear making plans...

Because I have made plans before...and they were for naught...

I planned to have found a love and be enjoying time with him...
but Cancer cancelled those plans and I have yet to go on a single date

I planned to lose weight and get into shape...
but Cancer cancelled those plans and I gained weight

I planned to do some travelling
But Cancer cancelled those plans and all my money has been spent on medical bills

I planned to do some work to my house
But Cancer cancelled those plans (see above)

I planned to try to find some time to work on some sort of writing or cookbook
But Cancer cancelled those plans and all I write about is my damn cancer

The other day I was shopping for boots....and I almost didn't buy them because I wondered why bother? I had no place to wear them or anything special to wear them with so why spend the money...

But then I said to hell with it and bought the damn boots and another pair as well...

Cancer has completely disrupted my life but it will not mess with my wardrobe and once I heal from this damn hernia repair I plan to dress as cute as possible...no more alien baby head to get in the way.

As much as I hate having cancer and all the hell it has put me through I have learned a lot from it...

I've learned patience
I've learned to handle things alone
I've learned to handle needles
I've learned to be grateful

I had a very privileged childhood...I had everything I could ever want and the hardest thing I faced was my parent's divorce and dealing with a stepmother who really really did not want me around.

I had an unhappy marriage but it wasn't misery and my children were easy to raise and other than my son having monthly ear infections and screaming in the car (until his sister would sing Wide Open Spaces by the Dixie Chicks) it was easy...not happy or fulfilling (the marriage not my kids) but easy enough...

I've had an easy life....

and I decided on that day one year ago that I WOULD NOT have an easy death...

Cancer was not going to take me....

I will not let it win...

I have no choice but to conquer it and win the battle.

God puts a lot on our plates.

Sometimes we look at the plate and feel like there is not enough there to nourish us---but sometimes it is the smaller amounts of things that we need to handle at one time.  The plate may not look full enough to fulfill us but it will...because He is giving us what we can handle at that time.

Sometimes we look at the plate He gives us and it is full and overflowing. It is more than we can handle. We ask God to take some of it off our plate or we try to sneak some of it off into the trash but in reality what is on our plate is what we have been served or we have requested to be served. And we can only tackle it one small bite at a time.

Sometimes the plate is empty. We feel like He is giving us nothing...but I know that we are never holding a truly empty plate. It may feel so but there is always something there.

Sometimes the plate is full of things we hate. Like a plate full of kale and liver. Things we don't want to see on our plate. Things we really really dislike and don't want to deal with. But we have been served and we must take from it.

Sometimes the plate is full of sugar. Lots of beautiful desserts that are pleasing to the eye and palate and we totally indulge and partake of all of it even if it might mean we end up feeling awful later.

Sometimes the plate looks perfect---just the right amount of everything on there. Not too much and not too little.

I have been served all of those types of plates this year...times I felt that there was not enough there for me to be strong and get through the day....sometimes it was more than I could handle...sometimes every bite of the day felt bitter and awful.

Sometimes I just wanted to wash my plate clean without partaking from it...but you can't do that...you have to work with what was served to you.

(Thank you StarChild 2 who posted that her plate was too full...it got me thinking)

God serves us exactly what we need even if we don't think it is right or what we want...

I do not want cancer...

no one does...

but I HAVE cancer...

And my serving of cancer has been on my plate all year...it has not gone away....

I have had days of unending physical pain
I have had days of unending emotional pain

I have had days where I wondered why I was given what was served on my plate...

But I have never gotten mad at the fact I have cancer...I am mad at what it has taken from me but I am grateful for what I have learned from it.

A year ago today 4 words changed my life:
YOU HAVE UTERINE CANCER

A year ago I was immediately thrust into a life I had never thought I would live.

But I have survived this year...I have survived all that has been put on my plate.

And today I feel like my plate might just finally change a bit...instead of being overflowing with things like Kale that I don't like that maybe my sad ugly plate is going to be exchanged for some fine china and just the right amount of stuff on it...that I will be able to see the beautiful gold embellishments on the china and that everything on the plate is something I love...

And I have hope that maybe just maybe I will have someone to share my plate with...maybe a man who is kind and loving and able to look past a roadmap of scars will share my plate and help me finish my battle.

A year ago I had no idea what I would face...
I had no idea how hard it was all going to be...
I had no clue that it would take every ounce of my strength to fight

I've fought harder than I thought I could
I've faced tougher challenges than I ever imagined
I've faced death and had things done to me that almost killed me...

A year ago I was a woman who was lonely and weak

A year later I am still lonely but I know I am stronger than I ever imagined...

You never know how strong you are until you have no choice but to be strong...

And I have had no choice...

Thank you for weathering out this year with me...I am not done but I have come far...

Thank you for reading my thoughts and sharing my pain...

Thank you for standing for me when I was crumpled on the ground...

Thank you for praying for me when I had no prayers left...

Thank you for offering to help when I could not ask for myself...

Thank you for cheering me on when I felt I had no more to give...

Thank you for helping me live...

I have cancer

But it doesn't have me...

Inspiration Song: "Look What you Made me Do" by Taylor Swift...because I can't believe all the things that cancer has made me do...

Bye Darlings---a year ago my life changed...I pray each day that because of it I will be a better human and lead a better and more fulfilling life.  If your plate feels too full, or too empty or you feel you were served the wrong thing just remember that the plate is every changing....one bite at a time...





Sunday, November 12, 2017

You Get What You Give

Hello Darlings...

tomorrow I will have surgery to get rid of Gertie the Giant Incisional Hernia...

I'm quite tired of her ruining the way I look and not letting me show off all the hard work I have done to lose weight and get back in shape.

Plus I worry that she's getting bigger and that something might just get caught in the hernia so I am glad to be rid of it.

I have been dealing with this medical stuff for about 13 months now. 

Nov 14 with mark the one year anniversary of the phone call from my gynocologist telling me that the pathologist found cancerous cells (they just didn't know what kind) and on the 17th I will have known I have uterine cancer for a year...

All of it came down in November of last year---right while I was costuming our fall play and just before my birthday.

This year I have known I would have surgery again for about the last 6 weeks. I planned it to occur right after the run of our fall play so that I could recover on the one short bit of down time I have before getting ready to costume our musical.

I almost didn't get to have the surgery.

My platelets were extremely low
My hemoglobin was so low I needed transfusions
My white cell count was in the basement

Basically my body was working hard to recover from all the radiation and chemo I had put it through for the last year and most especially the last 6 weeks.

Being thrown into the hospital threw me for a loop and could not have come at a more inconvenient time but GOTT and my costume team girls jumped in and handled what I hadn't finished.

But I got out of the hospital on Tuesday and on Wednesday I went back to work and I went to see the anesthesia team at the hospital.

The nurse practitioner looked at me and said "what you are on paper and what you are in reality don't match up. On paper I see a very sick woman who is less than 24 hours out of the hospital and should be weak and sickly. In front of me I see a healthy looking woman in high heeled boots and a cute dress and great hair"...

I took that compliment to the bank...thank you sweet nurse!

When the surgeon's nurse assistant called me to confirm the surgery on Friday she said the same thing---that what I am on paper and what I present in person doesn't match but that my oncologist convinced them that I am strong enough to handle the surgery....

I had less than 26,000 platelets when I went into the hospital.

When I left I was at 43,000...

I had to get to 100,000 to get the surgery...

I was at 132,000 on Friday

I'm an overachiever...

that's how I roll...

give me a goal and I will sail past it...

That's how I have handled this cancer mess...throw the bad stuff at me and I will conquer it.

There are no magic potions to raise platelet levels so I just did my best by eating healthy (I dropped my dieting for a bit and focused on getting in good food to feed my blood) and trying to rest as much as could during show week.

In the midst of all of this medical drama I still had about 45 kids to costume for "Our Town" and we had 4 performances and a full dress rehearsal with an audience. It was 14 hour days and late nights.

And it was worth it.

The kids were amazing.

Our Town is not an easy play to understand, act or watch.

The third act is a doozy as it deals with the death of one of the main characters and it makes the audience realize that ordinary life is a blessing and we take so much for granted.

And now, having looked possible death in the eye, I am even more aware of how blessed my life is and how lucky I am to live the life I do.

I am lucky to be alive...

I am lucky to not have undiagnosed deadly cancer inside of me...

and I am lucky to have all the love and support I get from my family, community, friends and my students I work with.

Last night the Stage Management team blew me away by giving me a sweet award.

We always give each member of the cast and crew a fun and silly award that reflects something about them or the character they played.  The awards are just for fun and the kids have a good time with them.

But I had no idea that the 3 student stage managers and the student director had a surprise in store for me...and after all the kids awards were given the student director began to speak...

it took a minute or so before I realized that the words he was saying were about me...

and then he hugged me and handed me a piece of paper that said "The Fighter Award"...

and then, in a moment I will always consider one of the sweetest of my life, the kids surrounded me and we were all in one big giant hug.

THAT was truly a moment I will never forget...

I felt so much love from those precious kids and I am so happy that they all know just how very very much I love each and every one of them.

I cried then...
I cried on the way home...
and I am crying as I type this...

Feeling all that love surround me and knowing that these are young people just beginning to understand life and death and illness and struggle I was stunned by their insight...

and I am ever so grateful that they see the work I put in to making them look good on stage and they know it is because I love them that I do it.

So these past two weeks have been lessons in learning that what I put into something is ultimately what I get..

you get what you give...

and because I gave my body a chance to heal and recover I get to have my surgery to repair an ugly hernia (people trust me on this...it is huge...it is alien baby head huge...)

and because the kids see the love I put in to doing my costume work they give me love and support in return...

I have resolved to spend as much of my life spreading love and showing strength as I can...

I believe with my whole heart that I am healed from this horrible disease I have been fighting.

I have spent a year:
being cut on...
having poison put into my veins
being radiated inside and outside my body in two different areas
spending days in my chair just trying to get the energy to walk across the house
having needles put into me so often that I no longer flinch when I am poked
being scanned endlessly

but because of all of that and the tireless work of my doctors I fully believe I will be cured...

So tomorrow when I go under the knife one more time (my stomach looks like some sort of crazy road map of scars) I hope that this will be the last of what I go through with this cancer (other than some scans and blood tests).

I'm ready to live my life...
to find love...
to enjoy my job...
to spend time doing something other than going to the Med Center...

For 6 weeks I drove myself all the way down to the Med Center Monday-Friday.

I had to leave work to do it and my entire day was planned around 7 minutes on the radiation table.

Mondays I had to be in the infusion center and work with the radiation tech guys to also get my radiation.

It was a crazy time of me endlessly in my car travelling across this city to get to my doctors to get cured.

I am grateful I was able to and that I do something that allows me the freedom to walk out the door at noon to go and do something that will cure me.

But the effort it took will be worth it in the end when Dr. Angel tells me my scans are clear and that I am in remission.

He's worked hard for it.
Dr. Rockstar has worked hard for it.
Dr. SweetMeds has worked hard for it.
My aunt and TwilerGirl have worked hard for it taking care of me.
My friends have worked hard for it supporting me.

And I have given everything I have to fight it.

Last night I was surrounded by love.

It was a physical realization of the love I feel from all of you.

I stood in the middle with my arms around those children and their hugs made me feel so incredibly loved and appreciated.

Life is not easy...

No one has it perfect...no one has a smooth flat road to travel...we all have bumps in our road and struggles.  And I don't have more or less than most others.

My battle has been a physical, spiritual, and emotional fight to survive.

And tomorrow I will lay down on that operating table and fight the last part of my fight.  The hernia I got because I didn't mind my doctor when she said not to lift heavy objects will be gone.  The last reminder (other than my scars and port) that I have been battling cancer for a year.

And then I get to rest...

and wait...

and let my body do the final healing so that I can be declared cancer free.

You never know when the smallest act of kindness might have the biggest results.

Last night my kids handed me a piece of paper that is more precious to me than gold.

I am blessed...

Inspiration Song: "You Get What You Give" by New Radicals...it's a fun little song and its one I listen to to give me strength to not give up.

Bye Darlings---pray for me...and never forget that a small acknowledgement can mean the world to someone...




Sunday, November 5, 2017

Every Breath You Take

Hello Darlings...

24 years ago I was lying in a hospital bed with pitocin being poured into me to make me go into labor.

My little precious was overdue and it was time for her to make her debut in this world.

I had worked so hard to have a baby.  I got pregnant easily but prior to conceiving her I had back-to-back miscarriages and one was ectopic.

So this pregnancy started with terror because I feared I would have another ectopic pregnancy again.

I had been married for 6.5 years and I wanted to be a mother more than anything else in the world. 

All I wanted was a child.

I had horrible morning sickness but I didn't care.  It was worth it because I was going to finally have a baby.

And on November 5, 1993 at 11:55 at night the greatest blessing and treasure of my life was born.

I had a daughter.

She came silently into this world with her big eyes wide open and fully alert.

My obstetrician claimed he had never delivered a more alert baby.

She had a knot in her cord---we were lucky it did not cut off her blood and oxygen supply (and sadly I had a friend who was pregnant at the same time I was and this poor woman was in her early 40's and had tried for years to get pregnant---and her baby died in utero from a knot in the cord...)

But she was as healthy a baby as can be and she soon began to scream to let us all know she was here.

All 8 lbs 2 ounces of her.

She was very short...she looked like a little butterball turkey...fat and compact...

it was the only time in her life that anyone would describe her as "fat"...she has always been a tiny little thing...

She had the biggest blue eyes and the tiniest perfect gorgeous little mouth.

My parents fell head over heels in love with her. 

Sadly my dad would pass away 2 months later but she and my mom had the sweetest relationship until my mother passed away when my daughter was 11.

She was a strong willed child who was very stubborn and could argue like a $500 an hour lawyer.

She had a way with animals and showed us her math and artistic ability at a young age.

She is marvelous...even more so now as an adult.

She is her own person and I'm proud of the woman she is.

When I look at her I marvel at the fact that the beautiful young lady before me (who looks so much like my own mother) was made in my body and carried in my uterus.

A uterus that has been trying to kill me for a year.

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the hysteroscopy that Dr. Gorgeous performed on me to help find out what was going on with my body.  She took a lot of biopsies.  She warned me a hysterectomy was eminent.

But I was old enough to be past the age of needing a uterus.

A uterus that had given me my amazing children.

I find it ironic that the uterus that gave me the only thing I ever really wanted in the world is also the thing that is trying to kill me.

All I ever wanted was to be a mom.  Carrying a baby inside me was 40 weeks of pure joy. I nurtured them inside of me and loved being pregnant and knowing that I was making life inside my body.

My uterus was precious to me because I got to be a mom thanks to it.

And now, 24 years after it served me so well it is trying to kill me.

Or was...

because I got that damn thing yanked out of me on November 28, 2016...

It's gone...I no longer have a uterus.

But I still have Uterine Pappilary Serous Carcinoma

aka El Diablo

I have had a hellish year thanks to this stupid cancer...and I am damn tired of giving any more time over to it.

I am FINALLY done with treatments (we hope---we will find out the first week of December) and I am ready to get my giant hernia fixed and then forget that I have been a cancer patient for a year.

Earlier this week I was pretty down.

I felt the black bleak cloud of despair descending on me and robbing me of the joy I usually have.

I felt bitter and depressed and overwhelmed by sadness, frustration, and loneliness...

I cried many, many tears and my heart was hurt and heavy.

I'm very tired of being a single woman alone...and I'm tired of walking this path without a partner...

and being alone in the hospital just magnified that.

But I am feeling a lot better now and the blood in my veins is making me stronger...

It's amazing to me how you don't know how bad you feel until you get better....

I spent this time last year wondering if I had cancer (spoiler alert: I did)

And here I am again waiting to see if I STILL have cancer...I have 5 weeks to wait until I see Dr. Angel and see what he says he saw on the CT scan.

Life is sometimes full of irony---the organ that gave me the greatest gifts of my life is trying to kill me and one year later I am STILL waiting to see if I have beaten El Diablo...

I've learned so much in this year...so much about cancer but mostly about myself.

Motherhood taught me a lot about myself as well...I learned patience...I learned what pure true honest love is...I learned what "I would die for you" means...I learned that I am not perfect...I learned that there is nothing I wouldn't do for my children (if it is the right thing for them)...and I learned that my kids are smarter than me...

Cancer has further refined those feelings and teachings---I have even more patience now...I learned that my love for my children is stronger than my fear so that pure true honest love is even deeper now...I learned that my children are my best reason not to die from cancer (although I would die to save them)...I learned that my many imperfections are there more than ever and I have even more...I have endured more needles, pain, illness etc in the name of getting well because I want to live to love my kids for even longer....and they are still smarter than me...

I had an easy life as a child...my teenage years were complicated because of my parent's divorce and my stepmother...my adult years were mostly spent with a man I loved but didn't LOVE but he gave me great kids...

and now I am free of those burdens and an adult who is free to live her life

and yet I am bound to not live it fully because of the disease I have.

24 years ago I was in labor...

the contractions were severe (thank you pitocin) and I was scared out of my mind...

but at the end of that labor (a very appropriate word) I fell more deeply in love than I had ever loved before...when she took her first breath she forever had my love and devotion...

she is my everything (along with her brother)

she's so smart...so beautiful...so talented...so wonderful...

24 years ago I worked to bring a soul into this world and I had my dream of being a mother fulfilled...

and today I fight for that soul...I fight to be her mom for many more years to come...

I think first of my children when I am given each treatment...each chemo...each radiation...each transfusion...

I pray that whatever they are doing to me will let me live to see my grandchildren...to see my kids gt married and become older...

I pray that I live so long they fight about who has to come visit me in the nursing home.

When I had to tell my daughter that I had cancer it was the hardest conversation I have ever had.

But at the end of it I told her that I would not let cancer kill me.

That something else might but cancer would not.

I am keeping that promise...

I will not let it take me away from her...

Every breath I take is for my kids...I have the two greatest reasons for living...

and yes, I do live for myself...

and someday I hope to share myself with a man who will know that my children come first but that he is loved just as much...

someday...

but for now my motivation to fight is my two amazing kids...and that is the best reason of all...

So happy birthday to the love of my life---my beautiful daughter...

I promise that next year on her birthday I will be healthy...and hopefully with her...and that all of this will be a memory just like her labor was...

24 years of motherhood has shaped me into who I am...

cancer will not...

Inspiration Song: "Every Breath You Take" by the Police...because every breath I take and every move I make is for my kids...

Bye Darlings---God has blessed me...I have faith that He will keep me here to continue to love my two blessings...


Thursday, November 2, 2017

One is the Loneliest Number

Hello Darlings...

Well it has been a helluva week...

The Astros won the World Series (I am beyond elated by that)

and

I got a lovely stay in Memorial Hermann Medical Center hospital and was a vampire for about 24 hours while I received 4 units of blood.

I really was a vampire---I went in as pale as a Cullen (you will only get that if you have a daughter who was a teenager during the height of the "Twilight" obsession) and thanks to lots of lovely blood that beautiful humans donated I pinked back up and my levels rose up a bit.

So now I wait and let it all marinate (along with the Neulasta shot they gave me) and we hope that my platelets and hemoglobin and white blood cells rise up to normal levels.

I finished radiation (that's another big yay!) and I can honestly say I miss Dr. Angel and his staff so much...they really made what could have been awful into something that I did not dread each day. And Dr. Angel is pretty amazing at calming me the hell down when I start to lose it...I'm pretty sure I pushed him to his limits with my antics, tears, and my refusal to stop or slow down doing yoga.

Except that I have now stopped doing yoga

and spin

because you need red blood cells to carry oxygen so you can breathe and have energy and right now I'm still basically in the basement with all of that and I am used to living in the penthouse with my blood levels.

Plus I am not supposed to be around crowds---or basically any group of humans...

And boy howdy do I miss my spin and yoga...painfully so...

The Astros did not help matters with keeping me up at night cheering them on but tonight my house is oh so quiet.

I can hear the refrigerator running...

the only other sounds I hear are the AC running or Zulu meowing at me that he thinks he is starving (because he can see the bottom of his bowl) and the tv if I have it on.

I leave the tv on a lot...

because sometimes quiet is too quiet

and it feels so lonely.

I miss my kids...

I miss having a love to fuss over...

I miss not being so alone.

The hospital felt alone after my sweet friend KuteKaren2 left.

She was magnificent that day.

She took me to have my blood levels checked and when the nurse called and demanded that I return to the Med Center and be admitted to the hospital she didn't miss a beat and drove me home, helped me pack a bag and drove me right back to the hospital. She even got me dinner. She stayed with me until I was settled.

That my friends is a FRIEND...

She even knew that a Reese's peanut butter cup was just the magic I needed to face racing back to the Medical Center...

(because the nurse basically told me I HAD to get there without passing "Go" and collecting $200...I had to get there before 5:00 so that I would not have to be admitted thru the ER...but we got there at 4:45 and the lady in admissions was not in the mood to stay an extra few minutes so we were hustled off to the ER...with me in a mask)

I had lovely nurses taking care of me and plenty of friends messaging and texting me loving thoughts and well wishes but unless you have ever had a medical emergency and faced it alone you don't know how terribly lonely it feels to not have someone there to hold your hand.

KuteKaren2 was awesome at it...but she also had spent the better part of 9 hours hauling me across Houston and her dear hubby took on Mom and Dad roles that day so she could help me.

But once she left it felt very quiet and lonely unless the nurses were in the room with me.

I kept the tv on so that I wouldn't hear the whirr of the infusion machine (or it's awful dinging when it got unhappy with where I placed my arm or if the blood bag was empty).

It was rather disconcerting to see a bag of blood hanging from my iv pole.

More so than seeing a saline bag and maybe on par with seeing a bag with the word "poison" on it...

I looked at that bag of blood and said a prayer in gratitude to each human who donated blood so that I could get healthy.

I wanted so much to look over to the side of me and see some man who loved me telling me it was ok...or for some sweet man to hold my hand and say "it's gonna be ok honey...you can do this"...

I have a friend who I shall call The Writer (she's a marvelous writer) who last year found herself sick and alone in a South American country. She has always been single (but has had several loves) and is as independent as they come. I admire her ability to go alone to a foreign country and travel and explore by herself. I don't have the courage to do that. And when she became ill I worried about her and thought how lonely that must have been to be by herself in a land that was not her home. But she came through and I don't think the wanderlust will ever leave her.

I'm not that brave and I don't have it in me to go alone.

I don't want to explore Tuscany alone---I want to do it with someone I love by my side. I want to go to Florence with a man I love and see the Duomo with him and see him marvel at the Baptistry Doors...

I'm tired of doing it alone...

I have a lot of friends who are very content to be single.

I am sick of it.

And tonight when I cooked my dinner for myself and sat in my chair to eat I felt very very alone.

When my son left I tried eating at the table by myself.

It made me feel pitiful.

Like I was trying to make more of it than it was.

I do sometimes eat at the table but lately I find myself in my chair or with a tv tray and tonight it made me feel so very much alone.

Especially because it has been 6 years since I have had a man to cook for other than my son.

For some reason tonight it just felt lonely.

It felt sad to me to cut off the bit of steak I wanted to eat and to make the spinach...and I even decided to just eat at the island in the kitchen because Dragon had decided to occupy my chair.

I don't always feel that way but these last few nights it has...

it felt lonely watching last night's final game of the World Series alone with no one to get excited with when they won...

and yesterday when I went to the anesthesia clinic (to prepare for my hernia surgery that we all need to pray I still get) it felt lonely to answer the questions and say that my emergency contact was my beloved aunt and not give them the name of someone who calls me his love...

(but hey it was pretty nice to hear the nurse practitioner say that she didn't believe I was 52 and that I didn't look like someone who had been released from the hospital less than 24 hours ago)

For all of you who do it alone and don't mind it my hat is off to you...

But then again I only have a few sweet friends who have had to fight cancer without a spouse, partner, lover or boyfriend/girlfriend...they know what this is like and how hard it is...

it's hard enough to fight cancer

but it is harder still to come home after treatments and be alone with the fear and the pain...

Mary Tyler Moore made living as a single divorced gal look so fun and glamourous...

it's not...

at least for me...

and when I was laying in the hospital bed with the blood of some sweet human that was not me coursing through my veins it struck me that it was the most intimate thing that had happened to me in years---the blood of another giving my body strength and health...

I've made no secret of it that I am tired of being alone...and as more time passes I worry that maybe I am alone because I might not beat this.

I have tried like hell not to have any thoughts of not living through this but I've also faced some very real facts that the cancer I have is quite deadly and being at Stage 4 makes it harder.

Dr. Angel and Dr. Rockstar are doing their damndest to cure me...and I have so much faith in them...

but this past week I have allowed doubt to creep in and steal some of my strength from me...

and when I wake up scared as hell in the middle of the night Dragon does not understand why Mama is crying...

I won't give up but I will admit that these next 5 weeks will be full of terror for me until I hear how my CT scan looks...and I know Dr. Angel well enough now to know just by looking at him if he will have good or bad news for me.

I'm trying as hard as I can not to let doubt get to me...and to not let fear grip me...but it does...

I had so many people tell me that I would find a man after I raised my son...oh I heard that so much I wanted to scream (in fact I think I did at poor JayVee who did not deserve it)...

I took my son to college and less than 3 months later I was a cancer patient...

at this time last year I was about to have the D&C and biopsies that changed my life...I was praying with all my might that the bleeding was all because of fibroids and that the word "cancer" did not apply to me...

so for the last year I have known that I was not exactly dating material...

and in about 5 weeks I will get the news if my treatments have worked...

and
I
am
terrified

I am tired of being brave

I am tired of fighting so hard

I am tired of coming home to an empty house and an empty life

I love my kids more than life itself but they have their own lives now

I love my students with all my heart but they are not my children

So yeah....all the positivity that I try so hard to convey----it's sorta running out of gas...

I have a rough week ahead...it's show week...and it means long days and late nights (but I wouldn't trade it for the world because I love my students so much) and hopefully I will get my hernia surgery on the 13th...

but right now I feel like I am on a merry go round that is also a rollercoaster and I really really want to get off...

it's been quite a year and I am ready for some change...

I don't know what that change is (it will not be moving to a new city or leaving my job with my students) but I need something to change...

So I am asking for prayers...

for my strength both physically and emotionally and spiritually...

I need my body to start to heal and regain the strength I have relished having...

I know that this sinking spell I am having is a combination of all that I have been through and a lack of my beloved exercise...

but right now I need someone to give me the strength that I don't have....

I'm tired of doing it alone...

I know I will be back to my chipper cheery self soon...rest and recovery will do that...and I miss hugging my students (my white cell count has made that off limits) because I do feed off of their love and support...

It's hard to do this at all...

and harder still alone...

the refrigerator is humming and the cats are quiet and I would give anything to hear my son playing his video game or to hear a man say "honey it's time for you to get to bed"...

I'm sorry this is such a downer blog but I have always told you I would be honest and transparent and tonight when I sat in my chair and cried from being so tired of all of this crap and doing it alone I knew I had to get my feelings out....

life is a series of challenges with periods of beautiful time that is easy....

sometimes the challenges are fast and furious like a crazy winding road and other times the challenges are just tiny little speed bumps...

my life this last year has been spent climbing Everest...and I relish the short periods of rest at each base camp...

I have finally gotten to where I see the top...

it's reachable...

if only I don't run out of oxygen...

or slip...

but it's there...it's 5 weeks away...

and then I have to climb down the mountain and descend slowly to make sure I don't get sick again...

but when I reach base camp---what is there?

and that is what I am looking for after I summit...to go back down and find out what or who is waiting for me...because you can't climb the mountain and stay there...

so pray for me as I reach for the summit...and pray for me as I climb back down that when I get to the bottom what I find is a new place in life...

Inspiration Song: "One Is the Loneliest Number" by Three Dog Night...because unless you have lived it you can't say you know it...one is the loneliest number...

Bye Darlings---I have hit a rough patch...I'll get over it but right now it is very slippery...pray for me...




Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Bad Blood

Hello Darlings...

No there is no bad blood between me and any other humans...the bad blood in my blog title refers to my own blood.

Le Sigh...

It seems that my blood has decided to become anemic---my platelets are low and my hemoglobin levels are basically in the basement.

Le Sigh...

And it is frustrating the hell outta me right now because it means I am too tired to get on my beloved spin bike or find my way to my namaste on the yoga mat.

And you know how I love my spinning and yoga.

I'm seriously missing them so much...

but when you have hemoglobin levels as low as mine are just walking from the parking garage can get me out of breath and worn out.

I literally had to sit down on the couches on the way to the parking garage after radiation today.

I drove home and just prayed I would get there safely because I was bone weary tired...

I haven't been this tired since I had the Taxol/Carboplatin chemo.

I knew something was up on Friday when I had to have The Cutest Boy in the World drive me home from dinner and I headed to bed before 9:00...I was just so tired.

Saturday I took a nap...and Sunday I was weary...

When I found out Monday what my hemoglobin level was it all made sense.

So today when I got home I put my happy arse in bed and took a little nap.

Le Sigh...

so frustrating...

I hate it when my body lets me down...

and today was the first time in about 6 months that I actually FEEL like a cancer patient.

This go round with the chemo and radiation I've stayed very active and have worked out 5-7 days a week and have had plenty of energy to work and do what I want...but since Sunday I feel like the energy has been sucked out of me and it's an effort just to get dressed or walk from the parking garage.

I don't like feeling defeated and this has made me feel that way.

And I know that it is just part of the process of getting me well...

Le Sigh...

Dr. Angel had the nurse draw more blood today to check my levels and I am sure tomorrow he will let me know how they are.

I have 2 more radiation treatments to go.

And then I am done...

hopefully forever...

in 4-6 weeks I will have a CT scan that will let us know if this worked.

It has to work.

It MUST work.

There is no choice but for it to work.

Because I don't know how much more my body can take and I really don't want to have to have the lymph glands removed and suffer lymphedema the rest of my life...

not to mention their extreme proximity to my carotid artery...

I keep telling myself to listen to my body but my body is screaming for rest and my brain is screaming to hit the mat or the bike...

I know I have a long period of time I will not be able to workout when I have my hernia surgery...and as a girl who is still trying to lose the weight she gained over the years I am very frustrated by it.

Basically I have to eat only air if I want to lose weight if I can't exercise.

And walking doesn't cut it...and it hurts my knees....and I get bored of it after a few minutes.

I need the hot room full of working bodies to make me want to exercise.

Once I discovered that spinning and yoga where what I loved I have happily spent the last few years going to spin and yoga classes.

I thrive on them.

I can't wait to get to spin or my yoga practice.

It makes my mind and body happy.

And knowing that in a few weeks I can't do it for a while I am especially missing them right now.

So my heart wants to go but my body says "no"...

I keep saying that cancer is teaching me patience but this is one area I am so not patient about.

I've fought my weight all of my adult life and the weight I gained before I knew I was sick was one of the indicators that my body was not behaving as it should.  Weight kept creeping on and no matter what I did or ate it would not come off.

And then the other stuff happened...

and it became very apparent that my body was in trouble.

Since I stopped chemo I have dropped 50 lbs but I have more to go and since living on air and water is not an option it totally freaks me out when I can't exercise.

And air and water will not help my hemoglobin levels to rise...

Plus I just feel better mentally when I burn those endorphins...

Having to rest reminds me that I am very sick and that's not a happy feeling...

I know I am fighting to save my life and I need to do everything I can to make that happen...this is not curing a sinus infection...this is killing cancer...

Dr. Angel is doing all he can along with Dr. Rockstar to make sure that at the end of all of this I get to lead a long happy life...

They are trying their best to introduce me to my new boyfriend NED (No Evidence of Disease)...

And I realized today that I have to work with the program and not against it so I needed to rest and not go try and workout and push my body in a way it is not ready to be pushed...

So often we WANT to do something so badly and yet their is an obstacle to letting us do it.

We ALL have those obstacles and some are small speed bumps and others feel like Everest.

The hard part is realizing when you can just speed through the bumps and if you are prepared to climb Everest for what you want...

sometimes I like to treat a mountain like a molehill and I get myself in trouble.

But I also know when to be sure that the molehill gets treated like one.

It's all about knowing the difference...

This...this blood thing is not a mountain but it's more than a speedbump.

I have to let my body recover from what it has been put through.

And on top of the blood stuff my neck is now burned from the radiation.

According to Dr. Angel it is much better than it should be after all the treatments I have had (thank you Rodan + Fields Soothe regimen) .

Basically I have a large very red rectangle on my neck.

It feels like a bad sunburn...a bad sunburn to the power of 10...

Again...a molehill...a speed bump...it could be far worse.

Many radiation patients will end up with worse burns---in some cases the skin blackens...in some it peels and will even bleed.

The skin on my neck and chest is thin and very fair so I am lucky that I just have redness and not something worse.

Like I said---molehill...

I do wonder once all this cancer stuff is behind me if I will continue on my path of patience and acceptance and my priorities.

It is so easy to fall into line when you have no choice but once things change it is very easy to fall back into old thinking and habits.

We can be strong...and wise...and discerning...and patient...

when we have to...

but when life is easy we don't have to work so hard.

I've spent months at war with the gap between what my head wants and what my body needs...and a year fighting to live.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the blood test that changed my life...

A year ago I called my doctor and insisted to her receptionist that I needed to be seen.

I went in and told her about the bleeding and the terrible pain.

And because Dr. Gorgeous is amazing and so damn smart she ordered the CA125 blood test.

The test that changed my life more than any blood test before except for the ones confirming I was pregnant with my precious children.

She ordered the test not because it was the usual thing to do but because she had a feeling that she needed to check everything.

And lucky me my cancer reacts to that blood test...

I didn't know she ordered it until her husband called me (he was covering her patients) to tell me that the test was very high and he wanted to run it again.

Knowing that the levels were high made her dig deeper...and she did many biopsies on me to try and get us an answer.

I was in limbo for over 2 weeks while we waited to see what the biopsies showed---but that blood test was a good indicator that something was very very wrong.

When you hear the words "might indicate cancer" your world stops...

when you hear the words "you HAVE cancer" you stop breathing...

This past year has been full of a lot of bad blood...lots of blood tests indicating things going wrong with my body.

I long for the day that a blood test is just to check my cholesterol or sugar levels...that it is not to be sure that my body is not dying.

And for the rest of my life I will have CA125 blood tests run on me to see if my disease has returned...to see if it is lurking inside me waiting to reemerge and try to kill me again.

I'll never stick out my arm and have a needle puncture me without fear...because it is just part of the cancer game.

But I need to let that be a molehill and not Everest...because I know what Everest really is...

So that's the update on me...my platelets and hemoglobin are letting me down and tomorrow is the one year anniversary of Dr. Gorgeous starting to figure out there was something very wrong with me.

My life is ruled by blood tests...

And the Astros...

so I need to get back to them...

Inspiration Song: "Bad Blood" by Taylor Swift...because lately my blood has not been good...

Bye Darlings---sometimes the bad blood in our lives is with ourselves...try not to let small battles become wars...






Monday, October 23, 2017

The Greatest

Hello Darlings

Well today DID NOT go according to plan.

Nope...

No chemo...

No bell ringing...
I had a feeling it was going to go down like that but I had high hopes that it wouldn't.

And once again poor Dr. Angel had to calm me the hell down and explain it all to me why it was going to be ok.

The good news is that I am going to be just fine.

And I had prepared myself for the possibility that my body was not recovering as fast as it should with all the chemo and radiation.

I went up to the Cancer Center to get my bloodwork done and to wait for a chemo chair. It was such a busy day up there I had to wait over an hour just to get my bloodwork drawn.

Then I moved into the "waiting for a chair" area.

Just before the nurse was to access my port I mentioned that my platelets had been low last week to one of my infusion nurses. She got to looking. And sure enough just before the nurse accessed my port it turns out that my platelets had gone even lower than last week.

Damn

So my oncologist Dr. Rockstar told me via the nurse to go downstairs and talk to Dr. Angel and see what he wanted to do about it.

So downstairs I went.

Except he was across the street in the Gamma Knife Suite.

So when Mohammed can't go to the mountain, the mountain has to go to Mohammed.

Apparently in this scenerio I am the mountain.

Except I have changed it to:

When the Angel can't go to the Princess, the Princess goes to the Angel...

That's how wonderful Dr. Angel is----when he knows he has a panicky patient on his hands he makes sure he can talk to that panicky unicorn princess patient even if she has to go on a guided tour of the hospital.

I am doing my very best to make sure I am his most memorable patient and that he will be so happy to not have a woman who demands so much of his attention that is not his wife or girlfriend.

So over to the Gamma Knife Suite to my doctor I go...

Luckily I had SweetJess (his nurse) to guide me.

SweetJess was marveling at the fact that I wasn't more tired because my hemoglobin is also very low. I told her I felt great.

But on the way over to the hospital I got out of breath and it was wearing me out...

um....

yeah...

you need red blood cells to carry oxygen and I was marching over pretty fast

this might be a yoga week for me...

I told her I felt stupid being so out of breath from a fast walk when I do powerful yoga and I spin a lot but she explained that my hemoglobin levels are in the very low range and it was not abnormal to be out of breath and fatigued.

And at that very minute all I wanted to do was go home and take a nap...

My amazing Dr. Angel explained that it was ok for me not to have these last two doses of cisplatin because they had been given to me when I was having the higher radiation doses. He was now giving me a radiation "boost" with a smaller field so while the cisplatin might have helped it was not crucial to my getting well.

Whew...

And he also gave me permission to have Gertie the Hernia removed because he knows she is bothering me...and she is getting bigger. 

As I was sitting in his office looking at all of his many many degrees and achievements I was feeling very very blessed that God had given me an angel to cure me.

Because even though today was somewhat scary and sorta disappointing I am grateful I still got to have my radiation and that I am in the care of the best radiology oncologist in town.

So I took today for what it was....not a bell ringing day but still progress in conquering El Diablo.

Sometimes I feel like my cancer journey is a road trip.

I have a destination to get to.

But I don't know the way to get there and there are several routes to take and there are pitfalls on all the routes.

And there are no Bucees along the way to make things fun.

I just have to get in the car and drive.

And every once in a while the GPS tells me we need to re-route because there is a danger ahead or that I must detour because the route I am on is no longer an option.

So I re-route.

I go on a different path.

And I can't get mad that I have to take a new path because the other routes are not an option for me any longer.

And today I learned that I can run out of gas (I took an almost 2 hour nap when I got home) and that I need to keep myself fueled for the trip ahead...

and there is "road food" along the way so I decided a Whataburger Jr. was what I deserved after all of the marching about the hospital...

And I have to accept that my vehicle is needing a little more gas than usual thanks to my low hemoglobin so I might have to alter my workouts and I am eating as many iron rich foods as I can (despite the Whataburger).

I have 4 more radiation treatments to go.

I can see my destination ahead of me.

Dr. Angel says he will be watching me closely and in 4-6 weeks I will get a CT scan that will hopefully usher in my new boyfriend NED (No Evidence of Disease) and the demise of El Diablo.

A year ago my body was telling me there was something very wrong.

I was bleeding and I felt terrible and I was in pain.

I thought I was in menopause and my fibroids were just acting up.

In a million years I never ever thought I had cancer.

It didn't even cross my mind

But here I am a year later and I know all kinds of things about cancer, and ports, and radiation, and now hemoglobin.

But what I have really learned is about myself.

I am stronger than I ever imagined I could be.

I never ever thought I had the strength to go through all of the needles and surgery and radiation and poison being put into my body and all the scary things I have had to hear and face.

I'm a girl who is terrified of cockroaches and heights.

And I have done it without a partner to hold my hand and love me though it.

You don't know how strong you can be until you actually truly have to be strong.

And I am not only stronger than I ever thought I could be but I also have more fight in me than I ever imagined I possessed.

I heard "you have uterine cancer" and the first thought I had was "I will beat it".

I have a warrior spirit in me that I used to think only came out on the bike or the yoga mat but I see now that all of that exercise was preparing me to fight and be strong.  And that it why I continue to spin and practice yoga almost every day so that I can keep the fight going.

I know I am a fighter.

I will battle on despite all the setbacks and the very real scary thing that is my particular cancer.

The survival rates are very very low with my cancer.

They are in the basement.

But no soldier goes into battle thinking he will be defeated.

And so I battle on with victory as the only outcome I see.

I won't let the past results of other warriors define me.

I will battle El Diablo with Dr Angel and Dr Rockstar as the generals in charge...

Until cancer I didn't know how patient I could be.

I have had to wait on things that normally would have driven me crazy.

I had to wait almost 3 weeks until we got a diagnosis of cancer.  For 3 weeks I was in limbo.

I have had to sit around the cancer center and wait endless hours for bloodwork, lab results, and infusions.

I've spent endless hours in the doctor's offices and at the Memorial Hermann Medical Plaza.

I've learned to handle scary news better than I have before.

Almost a year ago KuteKaren and I were in the car headed to a cute little hospital to get my labwork done for my cute little hysterectomy.  The "normal"  hysterectomy that I was going to have at the fancy lady hospital.

I pulled over and took my doctor's call and listened as she explained that the pathologist found abnormal cells and that it was quite likely cancer.

I listened to Dr. Gorgeous give me the news and I looked at KuteKaren and I knew I had the strength to handle it and I had a wonderful friend to help me through it.

I heard "abnormal cells"

that was followed by another conversation with Dr. Gorgeous where she said "the pathologist thinks it is cancer"

and that was followed a few days later by her telling me it WAS cancer

and then I met Dr. Rockstar and I took in all she had to tell me

and then I learned it had spread

and then I learned it was in lymph glands

and then I heard "chemo"

and then Dr. Angel told me "radiation" not once but twice.

All conversations I never thought I would have and I pray that none of you reading this ever have to have with your doctor.

The "old" me would have just started crying and would have wished it away.

But you can't wish cancer away.

So I knew that my only choice was to listen to what my doctor's had to tell me and do as they said.

My Aunt Jane and KuteKaren and TwirlerGirl and JayVee and GOTT and GOTTESS have been my rocks through all of this.  Along with many many friends.

But i tis a fight I have had to do alone for the most part. 

No one can take chemo for me...or lie on the radiation table as my proxy.

I have to do it.

And the girl I was 8 years ago would have run away from it all.

But the girl who had the strength to walk away from a bad marriage to build a better life for herself doesn't run.

She stays.

And she fights.

And she wins.

When something wants to take EVERYTHING from you, you will fight.

I have two incredibly precious reasons to fight hard---my son and my daughter.

And I fight hard because I know I am not done doing what I must do here in this world. I know that my future is ahead of me---one filled with love and laughter and travel and so many good things.

I may have had a setback today but I can still fight.

Low hemoglobin might keep me from having all the energy I need but I still have a lot of fight in me.

Life is a road we travel.

And to me a road with twists and turns and new things to see around the bend is far more interesting than a long straight road with nothing unexpected.

My road is filled with bumps and turns...and it is a wonderful road.

I discover something new with each turn and bend...I learn more about myself and I fully believe that God is shaping me into a better person than who I have been.

And he has for me a future that is one that the "me" I am now fully deserves.

I'm not looking for a life with a rich guy that can give me things.

I want a life with a man who will think I am the most precious thing he has and the things he will give me will be worth more than any object.

I'm not looking for an easy life...I'm looking for a rich life.  And by rich I mean one filled with love and joy and things that can NOT be bought.

I keep moving toward my future...my destination right now is a cure but ultimately I will never get off this road of life.

And I don't expect that once I am cured that life will be easy.

There will be fear of cancer returning and many other pitfalls in life.

Even though the interstate might get me there fastest, I want a life where I get to see things I can't see when I am driving 70 mph.

So I am going to keep on the road, accept the detours as they come, re-route when I need to, and I will stay strong and have stamina for the road ahead....

I like the "me" that I am...

Cancer has messed with the wrong woman...

Inspiration Song: "The Greatest" by Sia.  Because I love Sia. And because the words to this song are an anthem to me.  And because even though I may be running out of breath---i've got stamina.

LYRICS:

"The Greatest"

Uh-oh, runnin' out of breath, but I
Oh, I, I got stamina
Uh-oh, running now, I close my eyes
Well, oh, I got stamina
And uh-oh, I see another mountain to climb
But I, I, I got stamina
Uh-oh, I need another lover, be mine
Cause I, I, I got stamina

Don't give up, I won't give up
Don't give up, no no no
Don't give up, I won't give up
Don't give up, no no no

I'm free to be the greatest, I'm alive
I'm free to be the greatest here tonight, the greatest
The greatest, the greatest alive
The greatest, the greatest alive

Well, uh-oh, runnin' out of breath, but I
Oh, I, I got stamina
Uh-oh, runnin' now, I close my eyes
But, oh, I got stamina
And oh yeah, runnin' through the waves of love
But I, I got stamina
And oh yeah, I'm runnin' and I've just enough
And uh-oh, I got stamina

Don't give up, I won't give up
Don't give up, no no no
Don't give up, I won't give up
Don't give up, no no no

I'm free to be the greatest, I'm alive
I'm free to be the greatest here tonight, the greatest
The greatest, the greatest alive
The greatest, the greatest alive
Bye darlings---whatever road you are on find the beauty in it...if I can find strength despite cancer anything is possible...


Sunday, October 22, 2017

I Have a Dream

Hello Darlings,

this blog is just a rambling collection of my thoughts before what I hope is my last chemo...there is not much here but random musings on how I am feeling tonight...but I have to get it out and this is therapy...

Well if everything goes according to plan tomorrow I will have what I hope and pray is my last chemo infusion and my 26th radiation treatment.

If it goes according to plan...

and we all know that El Diablo likes to mess up my plans

El Diablo has been disrupting my life for over a year now.

And I am terrible with disruptions to my life and my plans.

But I have learned great patience thanks to my cancer.

I'm normally the sort of girl that if ONE thing goes wrong in my plans it throws it all off.

I was never one who could just easily roll with the punches.

Now I make plans but I allow for a lot of wiggle room.

So last week when my chemo got cancelled due to low platelets I asked the nurse if I could still have the chair to eat my salad and I ate...and then I headed home (after checking with radiation to make sure I was still above their threshold). The day did not go according to plan so I had no choice but to roll with it...and I got a bonus because no chemo meant I could go to Marvelous Mel's spin class.

I can't control my platelets...my body is going to do what my body is going to do.

We can't control everything in our lives...most especially how our body functions.

I didn't plan to have cancer...no one does.

and trust me know one would ever ASK to have cancer and invite it in...

But as I have said before I am GRATEFUL to my cancer for the lessons I have learned from it.

And one of those lessons is in being flexible...

and to not be mad or upset when something doesn't go according to plan.

So hopefully tomorrow WILL go according to plan and I will get the chemo.

Because I need it...

it is boosting the effects of the radiation and El Diablo must be vanquished 100% or else I will be in trouble again.

Dr. Angel is doing all he can to make sure that 7 weeks from now when I have my CT scan that when he searches for my cancer he will find NONE.

No
Evidence of
Disease

I've heard it called "Ned"...

I want Ned to be my new boyfriend...I want to live with Ned the rest of my life...

I mean I'd like a real boyfriend too but I also need Ned in my life...forever

I've tried my very best to handle my cancer as positively as I can.

I've tried my best to live my life like I don't have cancer (other than my million trips to the medical center)

I've tried to treat my body well with healthy food and lots of exercise so that my body can function as if it isn't sick

But I can't control my platelets and so tomorrow is out of my hands....

(But let's go ahead and pray really really hard that they are good so I can get the cisplatin)

I've learned I can't plan out my life...because if I could and did plan my life I would not be sitting here alone in my adorable house (there would be a man I love here with me) and I would not be still struggling with my weight and I most certainly would not have cancer.

My life is going to happen as it will happen...and I hope and pray it is a long life because I will have beaten El Diablo for good.

Sometimes I dream of my future...

I dream I am healthy
I dream I have a love to share my life with
I dream my kids are happy and healthy
I dream I get to travel
I dream that I do a lot of yoga and spin
I dream that my students do amazing shows
I dream that I don't celebrate holidays alone
I dream that I get my port out
I dream my neck is not sore and red from radiation
I dream that I never have to have chemo or radiation again
I dream that pizza and Whataburger are diet foods that make you lose weight

I dream....

I dream because I believe I have a future ahead of me...one full of life and love and friends and family and fun

To me planning is something concrete and a dream is a fantasy---a wish your heart makes (thank you Walt Disney)

But we all need to have those things we dream....the fantasy of what may yet be

So I have my dreams...and I pray they come to be.

Life is not easy for anyone.

Life is a series of struggles strung out among everyday living.

My struggle right now is to defy something that is trying to kill me.

Some days that struggle is just to get into my workout clothes.

Some days that struggle is getting on the radiation table.

Some days that struggle is not putting chocolate mousse in my cart at Whole Foods.

Some days the struggle is to not get sick from chemo.

Some days the struggle is with carbs.

Some days the struggle is to get out of bed because I am so damn tired.

Some days the struggle is to find a pair of pants to fit a boy for the play.

Some days the struggle is to not let my fear get to me.

Some days the struggle is to not let the cockroach that found its way into my kitchen make me lock myself up in my room.

We all struggle.

We all have detours in our path.

I am not special...

I am not any more brave than any of you could be if you were in my shoes.

And we all know I am not brave when it comes to cockroaches.

The fact that I fear radiation less than I do a damn bug must say something pretty silly about me.

So let's add that I dream that all cockroaches are eradicated to my list of things I dream of.

If you have never had cancer it is hard to imagine being in my shoes.

And trust me my shoes don't fit all that nicely so you don't want them...

If my cancer was a pair of shoes then it would be a 5" stilletto covered in crystals with an ankle strap and have red soles...and they would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars

because I am the sort of girl who has a cancer that is costing my insurance company so much money I am terrified I will get dropped and my cancer is pretty hard to walk in just like 5" stilettos.

Right now I just want to wear a pair of Keds and walk in those shoes and take these damn sparkly princess cancer shoes off.

I dream of the day that I wake up cancer free...

And I live each day as if I am...

Because cancer is part of me but I won't let it define me...

I won't let it rob me of my dreams

I won't let it keep me from finding love

I won't let it stop me from working out

I won't let it make me live in fear

I live to live

I live to love

I love to love

I love to live

Tomorrow I will go to the 29th floor of the MHMP and walk through the doors of the cancer center. It is a place that still makes me shudder when I see the words "Memorial Hermann Cancer Center" on the wall outside the elevators.

I will sit among people who are so much sicker than me.  People who's cancer is killing them.

I will have my blood drawn and it will show whether or not I get to have chemo.

And yes I said "get" because it is not a given so I'm going to look at it as a gift.

And if all goes well I will have my port accessed and I will have poison put into my body to kill my cancer.

And if that happens...

I will once again ring the bell...

I will ring it in celebration that one part of my journey is done and that my dream of being cancer free is closer....

and I will go downstairs and have radiation put into my body to kill those cancer cells...

and on Friday I will ring the bell down in radiation....

to mark the end of all my treatments

because my dream is to never need to have the Trilogy machine spin around me again...

IF it all goes according to plan...

and that is the plan...

And then I can plan my future...and dream of it coming true...

Inspiration Song: "I Have a Dream" by ABBA....the words are pretty perfect for me right now...and I believe in angels because I have one (Dr. Angel) and because my dreams are helping me cope with all of this...and I am pushing through the darkness...

Lyrics:

I HAVE A DREAM

I have a dream, a song to sing
To help me cope with anything
If you see the wonder of a fairy tale
You can take the future even if you fail
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I'll cross the stream, I have a dream

I have a dream, a fantasy
To help me through reality
And my destination makes it worth the while
Pushing through the darkness still another mile
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I'll cross the stream, I have a dream
I'll cross the stream, I have a dream

I have a dream, a song to sing
To help me cope with anything
If you see the wonder of a fairy tale
You can take the future even if you fail
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I'll cross the stream, I have a dream
I'll cross the stream, I have a dream

Bye Darlings---dream your dreams...my dream is health and wellness...and my angel Dr Angel is going to give me my future...