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...


Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Winner Takes it All

Hi Darlings...

Well yesterday was a crappy day where I had a big day-long pity party for myself...

I was mad at the cancer and what it kept cancelling for me.

So tomorrow I have to go and face the poison again.

I get to have blood drawn that will tell my doctor if the chemo is working like it should...and then I get to see my doctor and she can tell me what the bloodwork says...and then...

then it's time for the poison...

I wish it got easier each time but it really doesn't...

it gets harder...

because each time wears the body down more than the time before and frankly I really want to get back to my living my life as a sassy lily and not as a droopy pansy...

Each time the nurse hangs the bag of Taxol on the little iv machine thing I say a prayer...

I ask God to make the poison work...

It's surreal each time it happens...

I freak out a little and usually cry...

Never in my life did I imagine that I would be sitting in a room with other cancer patients while we all received poison to save our lives.

I sit in my chair, with my little frozen headgear on (to keep the hair) and I feel the tubes running into my body.

I look up and see the bag with the "caution" stickers on it that indicate that what is inside that bag is some dangerous stuff...

the little machine that regulates the infusion starts to blink and words appear...

and I just want to curl into a ball and cry for my mommy...

I know that for the next 3 hours Taxol will course through my body and destroy cells (hopefully the uterine pappilary serous carcinoma cells) and it destroys other cells as well.  Then after that runs its course I get another hour of more poison.

The second poison is carboplatin and it has lovely side effects like neuropathy in my fingers and toes (possibly irreversible) and possible hearing loss...

lovely...

the first poison can make me lose all my hair and the second can make me lose feeling in my fingers...

they will save my life but might cost me other things...

And the poison continues to course through my body and the little IV machine thing whirrs and blinks and the stuff that I pray will save my life flows through my veins and goes to work to kill the bad stuff...

Sometimes I close my eyes and imagine that I am Snoopy sitting on top of my dog house but I'm Snoopy being the Red Baron and I am shooting at all the cancer cells...I am shooting to kill and get them all out of my body before they can spread and multiply...

I'm pretty convinced since Snoopy is my "go to" for this that I am still a child...

It's a scenerio I never imagined would ever be a reality for me...but then again who ever imagines that they will hear the words "you have cancer"?

I lay in the chair and as the drugs do their work I try my best to not just sit and cry and feel sorry for myself...my Aunt Jane or Twirler Girl help me change my cap and dry the tears I cry...I sleep because they give me Benadryl but I can only sleep in 25 minute increments because of the cold caps.

The steroid they give me before the chemo makes me hungry as a linebacker...and I turn into a complete sugar monster...

In my normal life cookies will go stale in my house...
ice cream turns to icy yuckiness because I usually only take a few spoonfuls and that's it...
cakes will mold...

I don't have a sweet tooth in my regular life...my vice is spice and cheese...

but now that I have the steroid in me suddenly there are not enough macarons or pound cake in this world to keep me happy...Whole Foods cheesecake and chocolate mousse are not safe around me...and I want entire pints of ice cream...

none of that is very good when you are a girl trying to lose the weight that has come onto your body since surgery and menopause and all the time before when no one could figure out why I couldn't lose weight...

It's more than just a war to stay alive...I have all these little battles to fight as well...

So all of this has me thinking about why I ended up with cancer...

and the answer is:

HELL IF I KNOW

But I can't help but think that maybe there is a reason that I am facing this war with my body...and the only thing I can come up with is that at some point someone will hear my story and it might save their life...

so maybe I am going through this so that someone else can live...

Thousands of women have gone before me to fight this same battle for their lives and due to them my doctor knows what drugs to give me and how to cure me...so maybe all the weirdness of my cancer hiding so well will help other doctors to order CA125 blood tests or just dig a little deeper when a woman says "I'm bleeding and I don't feel right".

And hopefully out there some of you might remember how they found my cancer and you might tell another woman "Go to the doctor!"

I'm no superhero but I hope I can do some good in this world because of all of this...

I thought I had my life pretty well figured out and then God said "not so fast there, Missy" and suddenly I am sitting in a room with other cancer patients getting chemotherapy...

So tomorrow will be #4 and I will finally have more treatments behind me than I have ahead of me...

I feel like a countdown can begin...

But first I have to get through #4 and all that comes with it...

I pray that the drugs kill the cancer cells and that I can return to life by the middle of next week...

I pray that I can return to blogging about fun and funny stuff and not all of this "sturm und drang" about the cancer...

Life is meant to be lived...and I want to live my life and not just exist between treatments...

Because right now I am basically existing and not getting to live and people: That ain't me!!!

I will survive
I will keep my hair
I will have a healthy body
I will get to go back to my spin and yoga
I will get to socialize and have fun

I say all of that because that's my mantra...it's what I tell myself each day to get through...

I won't let cancer beat me even if winning the battle means killing some things about myself...including good cells along with the bad...

I firmly believe that you have to be positive about these things to win...

Last year my son's football team was in the private school state championships.

They had to play a team that they lost to before....and the other team had beaten them badly and decisively...

Before the game many of us parents were discussing how to console our boys and hoped that the score would not be a runaway...

The boys hit the field and a miracle happened...

Our little team, with 3 starters (including my son) out with injuries, and a quarterback who was really a baseball player---started to win...

And despite the other team having bigger boys who were more talented...

we won...

our boys won the championship!

When I went down to the field and my son limped his way over to me (he had had ACL repair surgery) I could see the tears streaming down his face...I've never seen him look so happy...

I kissed him and hugged him and he told me it was the best night ever...

He told me that no one believed they could win...but that THEY believed they could...they never thought of losing as an option...their only option was to win...

and here we were as parents expecting a loss but our boys knew they could win and they did...

I learned a lot from that team of boys that night...and when I was told I had cancer I knew I had to be just like those boys...

losing could not be an option...

my only option is to WIN...

So tomorrow when those bags of poison are hung on that tree that holds them and that machine starts whirring and blinking I have to imagine I am Snoopy and those liquids are my bullets to destroy the cancer...

Because my only choice is to win...

there are no other options...

I play to win...and I plan to win big...

and I will take the prize at the end of this journey

and that prize is...

MY LIFE

Inspiration Song: "The Winner Takes it All" by ABBA...because it's ABBA!  And because I am gonna win this and take all that the rest of my life has to offer me...

Bye Darlings...play to win...live your life to be a winner and winning is not how much money or stuff you have but rather how much love you have in life...






Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Cruel to be Kind

Hello Darlings

It's been ages since I wrote a blog...I got super busy costuming the musical (they were amazing!!!) and had two chemos...I am now at 3 down/3 to go with my 4th round coming right up on Friday...

Today is not exactly a great day...I'm having a pity party...hence the blog....

I want to be normal again.

I want to feel normal
Have a normal day
and a normal life

But at this point I am not sure I will ever know what "normal" is again...and if I do I am pretty sure that whatever my "normal" is it will be a new normal...not the one I knew before...

My life before was filled with yoga and spin classes, cooking and writing a cooking column, seeing friends and occasionally going out to brunch or dinner and working...and of course loving and raising my beautiful kids...

now I have days where just getting from my bed to my beloved lounge chair feels like a victory.

I miss my spin and yoga...I miss it in my soul....

I miss walking into Revolution Studio, putting on my pretty pink spin shoes and clipping in and riding and sweating and dancing on the bike...I miss unfurling my beautiful pink mat and stepping onto it and feeling sexy and powerful...

I miss the sweat
I miss the soulful talks
I miss the candlelight
I miss the riders breathing heavy next to me
I miss the beat of the music pounding in the studio
I miss the feel of stretching and balancing
I miss seeing the other yogis around me moving to the music as I do
I miss the instructors filling my soul and heart with love
I miss the beauty of 50 riders rising in unison when the instructor tells us to leave the saddle
I miss dancing on the bike
I miss the feel of the weights in my hand as I lift them to the music

I miss it all...

I used to ride and/or do yoga at least 5 days a week. I forced myself to take days off...

Since October I have only been able to do yoga about 3 or 4 times and I have only been able to spin about 3 times...

it crushes me...to the point of depression and aching...

But it's hard to get on the bike and pedal when you can barely move across your house...

And for some awful reason each time have gotten my chemo it is followed by a terrible sinus infection so even when I am recovered from the chemo the sinus infection is keeping me down like I have the flu

Cancer is robbing me from my "normal" of exercise...

I feel out of shape
I feel fat
I feel stiff

I miss cooking too....

But it's hard to cook when you are tired...and food doesn't taste the same thanks to the chemo...

I love shellfish but right now crab meat tastes like it's rotten to me...I can't taste some foods at all and others just don't taste the same...

Chemo messes with your taste buds...

I'm also tired of being tired...

It sounds so restful until you have rested yourself to the point where you wonder if you will ever leave the house again.

And it's a tired I can't describe unless you have experienced it but it sorta feels like the flu...and you get the lovely aches with it...

I'm also looking forward to the day that running errands doesn't wear me out so much I need a nap.

Naps are lovely...and I used to love a nice nap on a Sunday especially when it was raining.

Naps were special...they were "me" time that I splurged on myself.

Nowadays naps are a way of life...
a necessity...
a daily occurance...
needed...

Sleep is necessary to recover from chemo and when you have cancer...but thanks to menopause my sleep gets interrupted by:
hot flashes
trips to the bathroom
cold flashes
night sweats
trips to the bathroom
trips to the bathroom
trips to the bathroom
and
cats...

(ok cats aren't part of menopause but maybe being a single menopausal woman makes cats happen)

And I am thirsty...very thirsty...so I can't stop the bathroom thing...

I go to bed with a very large bottle of water or insulated cup and thirst (and sweats) prevail and I end up drinking a lot of water...I've even tried tricking myself by not having as much water but when your throat feels like sandpaper you gotta sip some water...

So yeah---I don't get good rest all the time...

My relationships with my bed and lounge chair are strong and deep...I spend so much time with each of them I think they might end up being the only love affairs I have for quite some time...maybe I should just name my lounge chair "Steve" so I can say "I'm seeing Steve tonight" and can feel like I have a boyfriend...

a leather lounge chair boyfriend is what I need these days...it's comfy and doesn't talk back and always welcomes me...

And then there is the hair stuff...

I still have my hair...most of it at least...but it is thinner...

I no longer need to shave my legs or armpits and my eyebrows are hanging on although I have lost my eyelashes (I blame the eyelash extensions for that...)

I will never take brushing my hair for granted again...

because until you have to softly...ever so softly---brush your hair so it doesn't pull out and you cry when you see how much hair is in the brush you don't know what it's like to be scared to brush your hair...

I won't take washing my hair for granted either...I can only do so once or twice a week and I miss the feeling of giving my head a good scrubbing and styling it...

yeah, no styling it either...

and you don't have many hair options when your hair is greasy and lifeless so I am pretty much in an old lady bun every day...no cute hair for me...

and I desperately (for the first time in my life) need color...my roots are dark and my hair has no texture...it's just limp and there...

so I look forward to a good cut and color when this is done...

but i thank the Lord every day that I still have hair and I don't look like a human emoji...I have no bald patches and my hair still looks good and is on my head.

And if you are one of those people reading this and thinking I am foolish for struggling to keep my hair let me just suggest you go into your bathroom and shave  your head until you are smooth and bald and then do that every day for 6 months.

What? you don't want to lose your hair?

Neither do I....

and as for the "but I would if it meant I was saving my life" ....trust me, it's not as easy a decision until you are actually faced with it...so if you have spent one second questioning why someone would work so hard to keep their hair just remember that you don't want to be bald either...

I also am struggling with the head games I play with myself...

I now just say "I am a cancer survivor" to myself because frankly there is no other option...I am not a victim...I am going to beat this crap and get on with my life...but every once in a while the scary voice comes in my head and plays around with me and whispers ugly things that I dare not write here lest I release them into the universe and make it real.

Because this is CANCER and not a cold or the flu or a sinus infection...

and many days I run about acting like it's just a little cold and not the serious threatening-my-life battle I am fighting...

I spent 14 hours at the theater one day the week of our show...I do that every year...14 hour days are nothing during show week...

but when you have cancer a 14 hour day literally knocks you to the ground...

the next morning I literally could not wake up and get out of bed to be at the theater when the kids arrived so I texted my girls to carry on without me...

when I walked in (3 hours late) I found that they had not only fixed the things we had talked about the night before but had gone on and found other costumes to repair, bedazzle, jazz up, decorate and just make fabulous.  They didn't need me...they knew what to do...and I was so grateful to just walk in and see that I had taught and trained them well...

But I felt like a failure for being 3 hours late and struggling to make it...I even went home and took a nap during the next 14 hour day just so I could make it to the end...

I cried like a baby backstage after our final performance...not just because I will miss the kids and my seniors and the show itself but because I couldn't believe I actually DID the show...

I am blessed because my little team of magical unicorn girls followed my vision and worked hard to do all the things we needed to do despite my illness...it was a feeling of joy and relief...

which leads me to the greatest battle I have with myself with this cancer thing...

it's not just the:
fatigue
crazy appetite and food issues
sleep issues
lack of exercise
loss of social time
losing my hair
fear
job struggles

No, my biggest battle is with:

LOSS OF CONTROL OVER MY OWN LIFE

And that one I am struggling with mightily today...

I've cried 4 times over it today...

Because when you have cancer you are at the mercy of your body and the chemicals they are pouring into it...and to what those chemicals and those cancer cells are doing to your body...

My schedule is not my own: it is based on when my next infusion is...

I literally planned when I wanted to go see a musical another high school is doing based on when I will feel ok after chemo...heck my doctor and I planned my entire chemo schedule around me being able to work on our show...literally she pulled out a calendar and worked backwards from our show dates so I would be able to be there...

I plan when I can go run errands based on the fact that many times by the time 3 o'clock rolls around I have zero energy...

And it's not just my schedule---I literally don't know how I am going to feel each day when I wake up...and I hate that feeling...

I literally feel powerless and out of control...

And that...that is truly the hardest part of all of it...

it's not easy to have tubes stuck in me that are for feeding poison into my body but that is actually easier than having to cancel my spin class because I don't have the energy to go...

I hate cooking dinner and it ends up tasting funky to me because chemo is making my taste off...

I hate needing a nap in the middle of the day because I am too tired to go on

I hate having to ask for help

oh yeah that one is a big one because I am used to being the helper not the one who needs the help...

So it's a whole lot of stuff going on with my body but mostly it's the stuff going on in my head that makes all of this difficult...

So now that I am here having a big old pity party for myself what can I offer you my readers that might give you something to hold on to after reading all my complaints?

It's this...

sometimes we have to surrender...

we have to wave the white flag...

we have to accept...

we have to understand that we must alter our course sometimes...

we have to change our plans...

we have to go down a path we don't want to...

we have to let things happen that we don't like...

we have to---LET IT GO

I don't do any of that very well...

I am a planner and a do'er...

I am the one who gives instead of receives...

It's not easy to just step back from what we want to do and say "ok, I'll give it up"...

Every Sunday I sign up for my spin classes...I have such hope...and then each day I have to cancel the class because I feel to crappy to attend...or I have to give up the time I would use to spin to go to the grocery store or do some other menial task...

But each Sunday I have hope when I sign up that I will get on that bike...

So we have to have hope...and we have to be flexible when things don't go as planned.

This is an old lesson we all know...we all have stumbles and hurdles in life that make things go awry...I'm not the only person in this world who has had her life altered by circumstances beyond her control.

We all do...

And maybe your hurdle and stumbling block isn't cancer but rather a car that won't start...

or the ride your kid was getting home so you could do something fell through...

or your flight gets cancelled...

whatever it is, sometimes we have to surrender and give up control and it's never easy whether it is a cancelled flight or cancer

it's how we handle it all that gives us grace and strength

I have to keep reminding myself that this too shall pass and one day in the future I will get back to exercising 5 days a week, washing and styling my hair, having energy for 14 hour days and food will taste like it should...

but right now---it's not happening that way

The other day a dear friend reminded me that there should be some lemonade from the lemons I have been handed...

and she's right...

except for me that lemonade is gonna be a lemontini (lemon martini) and I will find a way to toast the lemons that made that delicious drink possible

So many hard things have to happen before the sweetness can come...

I have to endure things I never planned on or thought I would do

I never imagined that I would have cancer and have to surrender so much of myself to it...

I never thought I would have poison put in my body to heal me

But through it all:

I'll live...

I'll survive...

I'll ride again...

and I will forgive myself the times that I feel that life is unfair and I'm tired of being brave...

and then I will go find the damn lemons and make that drink...

Inspiration Song: "Cruel to be Kind" by Nick Lowe...or the cute version by "Letters to Cleo" from " 10 Things I Hate About You"...it actually comes from Hamlet: "I must be cruel, only to be kind: Thus bad begins and worse remains behind.".  That's what the chemo is...it's the cruel part but it will be kind and cure me...

Bye Darlings....don't be cruel to be kind to others but when cruel things happen to you try and find the kindness and goodness about your situation...I"m still looking for the good in this cancer and maybe part of it s a lesson in giving up control...who knows but whatever it is I will work toward acceptance...




Sunday, January 15, 2017

Poison Arrow

Hi Darlings...

Well I had my second chemo session yesterday...2 down/4 to go...

I think the worst thing about chemo is the unknown.

you see I haven't had chemo until December 23...and then again on January 13 (that's right people I had chemo on Friday the 13th...)

and I damn sure hope I never do again after these 6 little rides on the poison wagon...

I've taken a few friends to chemo appointments but I was usually told I could leave once I got them settled in bed and ready to go because there is a lot of "pre-stuff" that goes with a chemo appointment so by that time it was usually time for me to "tag out" and someone else to "tag in"

Knowing that, that is how I am structuring my "chemo buddies"...

I'm trying to come up with a better name...

i need something more glamorous...I will come up with it...

ah...

MY CHEMO COURT!!!!!

That's it!

All the duchesses who will be driving me and assisting me are part of my Chemo Court!

My friend Chris found some tiny tiaras the other day and he brought them to lunch...I think everyone should wear one if they are in my chemo court...

So where do I begin to describe the magical journey that is chemo?

I'll start not with the treatment itself, but rather how some friends made sure I knew I was loved and that they were supporting me before I hit up the chemo wagon...

you know you are loved when your friends want to send you off for your first round of chemo with a party and that is just what they did...mind you this was 3 days before Christmas and in the midst of all their shopping and prep (and two of them who work fancy retail jobs even escaped for my little swanky send-off) they took time to take me to lunch...

at my favorite hole-in-the-wall Mexican place (Club No Minor)...because if you are gonna go get poison the next day you might as well drink a skittles colored margarita and start the poison early.

They even made t-shirts to support me...

that's some real love people and my hot tamale SuperSandra is our little squad's social director so she made it all happen...

more than anything surrounding yourself with people who love you and you love and matter to you is what matters most...it was the best Christmas gift I got---quality time with people I love...

So the next day was the big bad chemo day...

and my first day of having my brain frozen with the cold caps I am using to keep my hair.

I barely slept the night before because I was so worried about all of it...

would it hurt?

would it burn?

could I manage to stand wearing something on my head that is below zero in temperature?

would I feel the chemo?

would my port work?

would I get sick?

that and about 1000 other questions filled my brain...

My Aunt Jane was out of town so my surrogate mom SweetShari took me to the clinic.  It's up in my doc's office so it's easy to get to.

We put the first cap on me and burst out laughing...it looks pretty silly and just to be sillier we decided I needed to wear my tiara...





Now this is a look sure to catch a man...or at least get a laugh...

Normally when I have chemo I have to go in early and get blood drawn and then see Dr. Rockstar but that particular morning I was exempt from seeing her so she didn't get to see me in my getup until yesterday...she's fascinated...

which makes me get the feeling that after I kick cancer in the ass I might have to become some sort of awareness ambassador for cold caps..

Anyway.....the caps are at -25 degrees (yes, that is a minus sign) so when you put it on you get a brain freeze...but it only lasts a few minutes...

you wear a cap for 25 minutes and then change it out for a new cold one.  I have a big rolling ice chest and 60 lbs of dry ice to freeze the caps...the caps have a gel in them that freezes and basically is like the worse swim cap ever...

(and now you know everything you ever wanted to know about cooling caps...trust me there are more fascinating details---but I will spare you)

The rolling ice chest got a lot of looks until I realized that I was the ONLY person using the cold caps so they all just thought I was super hungry and brought enough lunch to feed everyone in the infusion center...

I will spare you the details of the following:
accessing my port
what it means to access my port

I will just say it is terrifying the first time but it's not any more painful than a pin prick.

No physical pain...but when i looked down to see the catheters coming out of me I got a bit teary eyed...it's scary

After that I got settled into a bed and they started my pre-meds (benadryl, nausea meds, steroid) and then came the big bad poison.

My nurse was all gloved and gowned up when he hooked me up.  He explained that they chemo was just freshly put together for me and that there was a whole lab full of people in white hazmat gear that do it.  They risk their lives because what the chemo does to me could also do to them if they come in contact with it.

Because it is literally poison...says so right on the bag:



(that was my most recent bag)

So what does it feel like when they put the poison into you?

pain...searing pain...feels like fire running through your veins...you want to scream...

NAH...

FOOLED YA!

That's what I THOUGHT it was going to be like but honestly it felt like...nothing

and yet it felt like everything...

I cried...a lot...

I cried the second round of chemo too...

I think it is because I just never imagined I would have to have chemotherapy...never in a million years...

It's emotional for me...I'm depending on that drug to save my life but it will do some damage to me in the process of killing cancer...and it makes me feel pretty awful afterwards.

But it is a miracle and I am blessed to receive it...

Twirler Girl has been on relief duty for the last two times...she swoops in with lunch and relieves whoever brought me (my Aunt Jane did this last time) and she takes over the duty of helping me change out the cold caps every 25 minutes.

It takes about 5 hours to do the whole infusion business and then I get to go home.

5 hours every 3 weeks to live....

and that room is full of people all day long every day...and those nurses give so beautifully to all of us...I'm so blessed because they are incredible people and I love them all...

Here are two of my favorite ladies...they work with my surgeon/oncologist...they make every visit more fun and keep me sane and calm:


People make the difference when it comes to things like chemo and cancer...I've been blessed that I have the best nurses, techs, and doctors in the world...

So there you go...my most boring blog to date but it might answer some of the burning questions you have about my health (because it is ALL ABOUT ME PEOPLE! I mean I know you ALL are wanting to follow my every move on this journey....KIDDING...trust me even I don't want to know all of this crap).

How does it feel after?

Not much nausea at all (thank goodness)

More hot flashes (so much fun)

and tired...like going 9 rounds with Muhammed Ali at his prime tired...

achy like the flu

and hunger from the steroids...cheesecake and other bad stuff happens...

Basically it's not fun but totally manageable...

I know a lot of people have had it so much worse than I do...I mean I know there are far more badass types of chemo and others have had to do it more often...I am very lucky...

I promise the next blog will be more fun or uplifting or soul filling...but for now I just wanted to share my journey with you and let you know it's ok...

and please, if you know someone who is about to go through chemo that wants to keep their hair show them my story...we need to get the word out so more people can keep their hair and maybe insurance will cover it...

Inspiration Song: Poison Arrow by ABC...because I loved it and the video...and if you are a fan of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, here is the video that goes with the song...you might spy someone familiar to you that is on RHOBH...remember it was over 30 years ago...

https://youtu.be/a70yJwgQtzo

(I am sorry it won't embed the video....just copy the url)

Bye Darling...shoot that poison arrow to kill the cancer...it's so gonna be gone...

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

High Hopes

Hi darlings...

Today I tried to accomplish things and I was completely thwarted at every turn...

Let's start with the tummy bug I had last night at 2:00 am...

on second thought NO ONE wants to know about that...it wasn't fun...but hey it passed quickly...

It gave me a little worry about what being chemo "sick" might be like but I'm 10 days out from chemo so I am pretty sure it was either food poisoning or a bug and I think it was a bug...

but when I went back to bed I found myself wide awake and that is always trouble....

because at 2:30 am (took me a bit to get over the sick) I do one thing when I can't sleep...

I

Google...

BAD mistake

huge...

giant...

bigger mistake than the snotty shop girls made in "Pretty Woman" when they wouldn't help Julia Roberts and then she went on a big spree elsewhere...

bigger mistake than most of The Bachelor's have made when choosing their final girl...

bigger mistake than Mariah Carey made by not showing up for her sound check for NYE...

Big stupid awful mistake...

because after I had googled "how long after chemo do you get sick" and got all the satisfactory answers I did the one thing my General Practitioner expressly forbade me to do...

she told me; "under no circumstances do I want you to get on the internet and look up survivor rates and anything about your cancer"

I have been good about that until last night...

when my fingers typed out:

survival rate for stage 3C uterine papillary serous sarcoma...

OMG

OMG

OMG

There was all this medical stuff and abstracts and...

numbers

bad bad numbers

numbers where the "less than" sign was pointing to numbers that did not look positive or good

um....

shit...

yeah...

I know now why she told me not to do it...

I hear her voice in my head warning me not to look at the numbers...because most are old..and they don't take into account ME and MY HEALTH and Dr. Rockstar and all kinds of things....

but still...

I saw the numbers...

it was like someone telling me the movie I was watching was not going to end the way I wanted it to.

It felt like I had walked in on a meeting saying the world was going to end...

and trust me on this: please don't do it either...please...

If you do one thing for me, do not google those stats...

because we all need to believe that I am going to get better...

Football coaches live and breathe by stats and make decisions based on stats.  We as fans often look at the stats and use them to place bets or do our office pools.  We look at the numbers and react.

and if the stats aren't good for one player he might not hit the field...

but maybe if the coach doesn't know that the reason the player messed up last time and didn't run much was because he had something wrong with his foot, well he might not play the guy and his foot is just fine and he might be the best running back he has...but his stats aren't good...

so if we look at my stats we might see things don't look positive and we might lose hope...

so we can't have that...

so don't go to Google...

I gotta go into this with nothing but positivity

and now I know why she told me not to Google...

when I was younger I remember the first movie that made me aware of "cancer"

it was "Love Story"

(Love means never having to say you're sorry...)

Ali McGraw's character died at the end.  She was still gorgeous and not wasted away and she had all that beautiful hair...

During the 70's when I was growing up there were a lot of tv movies about cancer...none looked all that good...

And there was that damn Brian's Song...

(if you saw it you hate me right now because you are remembering it...sorry....)

And Death be Not Proud...

and all those other "this awesome person died of cancer" movies...

Well folks...that WON'T be my story...

I can't do that...my story is gonna end on a high note and not some tearjerker movie with a great theme song.

I have to look forward to the sun and not see it as darkness

I have to move ahead for an end game of happiness and not death

I have to look ahead and see my future with me as a very old lady...

I have to dream of the day I have grandchildren and not just of getting to next Christmas.

So...now that I have seen the bad stuff I am not supposed to see it's a little like meeting Voldemort (this only makes sense if you know Harry Potter).  I can't "un"-meet He Who Must Not Be Named...I met him and it was scary...

So now I have to defeat him (the cancer) but first I have to gather the horcrouxes (my chemo) and kill each one and then I can be set free...

So what I am asking for you is to continue what you are doing...send me happy videos, send me silly memes, send me jokes and funny stories...

Keep me looking forward and help me to scrub from my mind what I saw...

Keep my positive
Keep praying for my healing
Keep praying that my cancer will be gone
Keep me from drowning in fear

I need positivity and I need to only think of defeating cancer and it not defeating me...

Because the dark places are scary
and I don't like scary
and I don't like fear

I like light
and hope
and love

and I freaking hate Google...

Inspiration Song: "High Hopes" by Frank Sinatra...because if an ant can move a rubber tree plant I can beat uterine papillary serous carcinoma...

Lyrics:
Next time your found, with your chin on the ground
There a lot to be learned, so look around
Just what makes that little old ant
Think he'll move that rubber tree plant
Anyone knows an ant, can't
Move a rubber tree plant
But he's got high hopes, he's got high hopes
He's got high apple pie, in the sky hopes
So any time your gettin' low
'Stead of lettin' go
Just remember that ant
Oops there goes another rubber tree plant
When troubles call, and your back's to the wall
There a lot to be learned, that wall could fall
Once there was a silly old ram
Thought he'd punch a hole in a dam
No one could make that ram, scram
He kept buttin' that dam
'Cause he had high hopes, he had high hopes
He had high apple pie, in the sky hopes
So any time your feelin' bad
'stead of feelin' sad
Just remember that ram
Oops there goes a billion kilowatt dam
All problems just a toy balloon
They'll be bursted soon
They're just bound to go pop
Oops there goes another problem kerplop



Bye Darlings...last night scared the bejeezus out of me and I won't lie it haunted me for a bit...but I made sure that I looked at those numbers and said "I will be on the greater than side of those numbers" because I am greater than statistics show...