Saturday, November 29, 2014
Well, here I am almost halfway through the first type of chemo I have to take. I'm still alive - yay! Other than that fact, life as I know it is pretty darned different.
In some ways chemo hasn't been as rough as I expected it to be, but in other ways it's been worse than expected. I'm learning in many ways that I just can't 'expect' or count on things being one way or the other! I expected to be dealing with lots of nausea. There has been some, to be sure, but not nearly as much as I expected. What I've had more of is just an unsettled digestive system, and pretty much a total lack of appetite. Not nearly as bad as I expected. On the other end of the spectrum is the fatigue. I didn't expect to be hit so hard so fast, but that's how it's been. Makes me really scared for how that aspect will be after the next two treatments (and the twelve to come of the 2nd round of chemo).
Other surprises - the two chemo treatments I received so far did not affect me the same way. I really thought I'd be facing the same ole, same ole each time (when receiving the same chemo drug), just probably a bit worse with each subsequent treatment. Nope, treatment #1 was totally different in effect from #2. Wonder what #3 will be like? I'll know soon. Also unexpected was how fast I'd start losing hair. Two treatments down and I'm all but bald. That was fast!
I think the biggest shocker for me is the one thing that shouldn't have surprised me. It's the fact that I have zero ability to set my mind right and just *power through* this. Chemo totally and completely dictates what I can and cannot do. It is large and in charge, and I just have to deal with it. I am so used to just getting my stubborn on and being able to push aside (most) any challenge. Chemo laughs at that, and then knocks you on your butt.
This round of chemo will end with my 4th treatment on December 16th. Then I get a 3 week break before I start the next type of chemo the first of the year and running through the end of March. Then I'll be looking at a mastectomy, and then radiation, unless the plan changes sometime mid treatments. Presuming no changes, I guess I'll be finished with this mess sometime mid-summer. Not one to wish my life away - especially now - but I must admit I will be glad to get to the end of this season in my life.
So far I've been continuing to work as much as I can, which admittedly has been a lot less than I thought I was going to be able to do. Work has been excellent in letting me work from home a lot, and this will probably be more and more as I progress through treatment. I won't be surprised if (when?) the time comes that I just have to go out on disability. I know that if not before, it will happen when I have to have the mastectomy.
So...that's where I am in this. My family has been wonderful, my co-workers have been very supportive, my church family has been great. Being loved is awesome. With any luck, this journey will lead me back to incredible health as well.
Saturday, October 25, 2014
That's really an ugly word, isn't it? Cancer. As far back as I can think in my family history, no one had it, other than my Dad with prostate cancer. Now, it's striking my house for a second time. This time it's me, with breast cancer.
I've been having mammograms since I was about 35, and never a problem. Just had one in March, and it was beautifully problem free. Heck, I didn't even have a hint of a whiff of a clue that anything was amiss until mid to end of August. But the diagnosis came on October 21 (two days after my birthday - surprise!). Given the speed with which this came on, and the fact that it's in my breast and the lymph nodes of my armpit, it seems that I have an aggressive cancer. Yay me.
Of course, the first thing I thought of was my kids. They just lost their dad to cancer (brain tumors) a short three years ago. This feels like piling on. It certainly is not fair. But life is often not fair, isn't it? No need to dwell on those thoughts. Time to do what I can.
So for a while I won't be thinking of weight loss and fitness goals, though weight loss certainly may happen with treatment, and doing whatever I can to be as fit as I can would be my best course of action. But the main goal will be treatment. Effective treatment. And survival. That's right there at the top as well.
Thanks for reading. If you want to send up a prayer or send me some good vibes that would be OK too.
Thursday, October 09, 2014
My journey here on Sparkpeople (and my life health journey) has been long. It has also come full circle. But that's not the point of this post. Let me explain.
I have always been an active person, but I've been a lot of weights throughout my life. I've been thin and I've been heavy. I've been healthy and I've been unhealthy. Thin hasn't always equaled healthy and heavy hasn't always equaled unhealthy. Four years ago I was thin & healthy (and happy). Then my husband got sick, and died, and I got heavy (and unhappy). Now I'm the heaviest I've ever been. I'm not happy about that, but my life is *ok*. Could be worse.
I'm currently away from home, on travel for work. Travel to an area that's not too far from home, but far enough that you don't go there in the normal course of everyday life. I have a facebook friend that lives in this area. This friend was actually more than a friend long ago (college), but our lives took different paths after college, and we hadn't seen each other since then. Now I'm a widow, and he's married.
We decided to meet up, neither knowing quite what to expect. We had parted friends, but that was 30 years ago. Would we have anything in common? Would we still 'click?' It was a crap shoot, but we forged ahead to see.
It was a wonderful meeting. The years melted away and we talked for hours. It was like we hadn't had the 30 year break. And on a very personal level, I no longer felt like the *fat* person I feel like so often now. I just felt like me. Funny how it takes someone from so long ago to bring that out.
I don't know exactly where I'm going with this blog. One thing I do know is - take that chance. It was risky to meet my old friend/lover, but it was SO worth it. I'd almost forgotten what it was like to have someone view/think of you like THAT. We remained at a friend level, which is all we can be at this time, but the sparks were still there. I had forgotten that someone could look at me and have sparks...
It's nice to remember that I have worth as a person, and can even be thought of as attractive and sexy, when I don't meet the standard definition.
Wednesday, October 01, 2014
I decided sometime recently that I needed a total restart, which took effect Monday. Yeah, this is the time I'm 'really' gonna do it...blah, blah, blah...No prophetic declarations out of me this time. The proof will be in the results - or lack thereof.
I'm seriously back to basics though. Tracking all my food, trying to set reasonable goals, looking to get some exercise every day - or at least almost every day. Came up with a new 'points' system to evaluate every day & give me something to shoot for. Everything I'd tried in the past few resets either hadn't worked or hadn't lasted. If this is the magic bullet I'll surely report it!
I also decided it was time to get back to strength training. I really truly enjoy ST, but lately it hasn't been working for me, what with the bum shoulder and spotty gym. But I know this is something I really need to do, so off to the spotty gym I went yesterday over my lunch hour. I absolutely hate the machines there (they are not maintained at all, so they are herky-jerky-squeaky), but they do have a decent assortment of dumbbells. There used to be an exercise ball there too, but that disappeared recently.
My first strength workout was nothing to write home about. Tried to think of what exercises to do with dumbbells that wouldn't aggravate my shoulder, but didn't require the use of a ball or bench, or other equipment I didn't have. Did what I could think of with the weights, and then threw in some pendulums and sit-ups for good measure.
I didn't realized until I went to the chiropractor today how sore my gut is from the sit-ups and pendulums I did. Really? This sore from 20 sit-ups and 10 pendulums? Yep - I'm starting over from less than zero.
BUT...I am starting over, so I give myself props for that. With any luck my next blog will report continuing progress, and not another restart!
Monday, September 15, 2014
Well, I took my cat to the vet today for the nasal flush. Had high hopes this would be the ticket, but we all know what can happen with high hopes. Picked up my cat this evening, and he sounds just as bad as he did when I dropped him off this morning. Now I have to decide whether to subject the poor thing to surgery - in hopes that it will help - to the tune of $300. Oh, and today's vet visit was $276. (And the chiropractor was $115)
I hate being in a downward spiral like this. I know it has to end sooner or later, but sooner is not looking to come through for me. As I continue to fork money hand over fist, I can't help but think about everything that's looming. Christmas. My 10 year old car with 275,000 miles on it (and I drive 100 miles/day). 20 year old refrigerator, and heat/AC system. I'm sure I'm forgetting something, and it will probably break tomorrow!
If it does, it does. Fretting & worrying over it won't help. Just have to keep moving forward, or at least try not to fall back. Maybe I can make it through tomorrow without spending any money. Maybe?
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