Ok, New Leaf

Yes, it’s time to start fresh (re-start fresh?) and turn over a new leaf.  It has been a good week.  I don’t think I cried yet!

On Monday, right before chemo, I will be going into work to talk about returning part-time to my old job starting in early October.  My main apprehension is working it around radiation (5 days a week for 6 weeks; roughly 2 hours time commitment each day but the radiation itself is only 5 minutes).  It should be do-able and I can always reassess when the time comes.  Temporary Disability Insurance stops at the end of September and to go on social security disability would mean a minimum of one year total off work; I’m not sure I need that nor can do that.  My preferred option is to get back on the horse.  No more focusing solely on cancer and treatment!  Get the brain busy and re-focused again.

My sights are set on October 15th as my last Taxol dose.  That also means no more blood tests (which, by the way, they take from my port now after being poked enough in the arm to cry mercy for my sad wounded small veins).

I’ve been swimming at the pool and try to get the puppy out for an adventure nearly every day; last Tuesday we went for a hike and I did laps!  I was happily sore the next day.

I thrive much better with a schedule and calendar; I need to be committed to work and places and people.  I can waste free time.  And free time makes me feel guilty.  That’s probably why I’ve almost always had two or three jobs.  Sure, I’ve “justified” this free time with this cancer shenanigans but I realized that what’s bugging me: I feel well enough that I need to be more productive.  Then I can save up for and take a much-needed vacation soon!

Oh, and, I finished antibiotics last week so I can have a cocktail every now and then!  I had a mimosa the other day at breakfast, it was awesome.  It was my first drink in a month.  Oh, the simple things in life.  Don’t take your wine for granted, folks, cherish it!  Drink a red for me.

Thanks for hanging in there.  Cancer sucks, I mean really really sucks.  I hope that I never have to go through chemo again.  I hope I did it “right” the first time.  But as cancer goes, we’ll see.  I found a breast cancer app for my phone and it has been really helpful to ask questions and answer other questions for people who are starting to go through it all.  It’s called “Beyond the Shock.”  I know there are wonderful support groups that I could join but I think this app site is more me.

It’s really hard to to have an illness/ailment/disease and not know at all what could have caused it.  Sometimes I am suspect of every food in the frig; and other times I say screw it, give me the peanut butter cup ice cream and blueberry muffins and back off… my chemo drugs want this!  Luckily, there’s no chemo or cancer “diet” I’m supposed to follow.

Man, I need to go grocery shopping…

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Perspectives

I’ve been waiting and waiting for something to happen to break up the monotony of the chemo and cry cycle.  What better time to finally write then right after the Stand Up to Cancer telethon.  I mean, when there’s the cutest spunkiest five year old ever dealing with brain cancer, how can I complain?!

Don’t get me wrong, everything about cancer sucks big time.  Chemo has been going as well as can be expected but the hot flashes and insomnia are regular events.  Sleeping pills and pools help that.  It’s more the cyclical what-am-I-going-to-do that really drives me crazy.  I’m restless but can’t seem to figure out how to go back to work when I have the demands of radiation looming in front of me.  I want to be cool and at the beach but have to be wary of the sun and can’t seem to find the motivation to do any one thing.  I just run circles in my brain talking myself in and out of things and end up with a non-productive day!

Sometimes I don’t write because I don’t want to let all the hopeful folks down.  Then Sean reminded me that some people are reading this because they too are experiencing the same shit, and perhaps they just want to read and say, ah, yes, me too!

I’ve been really angry lately that cancer has upset my life’s forward momentum.  I feel stagnant; there’s nothing I’m currently involved in that is enriching my life.  Sure, Sean and Scupper, family and friends enrich my life.  But that isn’t enough for a well-rounded, full life.  Everyone keeps reminding me that I need to just focus on my health and getting better for right now and then I can add on from there.

But it’s hard to just focus on my health.  It’s hard to be tired and not really know if it’s from chemo or if it’s from the fact that I went from working 50+ hours per week at three different jobs to watching TV and being lazy, waiting for my body to process chemicals.

And then I feel like I’m saying the same thing in every blog!  How do I get beyond this restlessness and change the circumstances?  What is the right thing to do?  Go back to work?  Apply for long-term disability?  I keep waiting for the right thing to make itself clear but nothing is coming in.

Write a book you say?  Look how little I’ve been writing a blog; it appears that I do not have the motivation for even this right now.

I go to chemo every Monday and honestly that is the only time I feel like I am accomplishing anything.  My blood work has been great; I asked if we go make the doses more frequent so I can get through them faster (no dice).  Six more weekly doses and 12 more every 3 weeks.

I started swimming laps at the local pool last week.  But I struck out today because the pool is closed until the afternoon.  To most people, you say well, go later or go tomorrow and I’m sure I will.  But from my view, I’m finally committing to something and the universe gave me a big fat  for it!

Am I really supposed to sit on the couch all day??

Physically, 90% of the time I feel fine and good even.  I’m on antibiotics for a sinus infection, which means stay out of the sun (for two more days).  My hormones are all over the place and I can’t seem to figure out if they are from the chemo (obviously, the Doctors have said yes, chemo does change hormone levels big time) or I’m just losing my mind.  Sean deserves sainthood for his patience and listening!

I know I know, I said “how can I complain” and then I showed you how.  I suppose you could say I’m still just telling you how how it is.  Sure, there are people who have it worse than I and it’s incredibly unfair when a child has cancer but all I can speak for is myself.  And for me, it royally sucks every day to live with this “disease.”  The best I can do is to distract myself from thinking about it every moment of every day.  And so far my daily distractions are watering the garden, petting the dog, talking to Sean, meals, dishes, cable TV, occasional outings to the grocery store, Jamba juice, the pool and the dog park.

When Sean is off work, we go on little adventures: La Perouse with Ash and Tom, meeting Steven Tyler outside his house in Makena, Hana.  You know, the usual.

It’s working, time is passing.  But is it enough?

October 15 is my last weekly dose with Taxol.  Soon after that, my hair will start to grow back and hopefully the insomnia and hot flashes will ebb away and disappear.  It’s a lot closer now than it was 3 months ago.  I’m just trying to focus on getting to that date so I can cross Taxol off the list and move on to the next part of treatment.