Archive for April, 2010

Friends

Before radiation every day, I chat with the nurse in the clinic. We talk about our cats and other things. She is a great person and always makes me feel like I have come home.  She shared some cat food for my cats to try after one of our conversations. I thought that was just awesome and incredibly thoughtful.  Then the other day, after I left radiation, I visited my pals getting chemo.  It was nice to laugh, catch up, and goof about. Karen then shared with me a gift. She gave me a prayer shawl from her church. It was the most lovely gift I had received, next to a beautiful afghan from Ed and his wife, and hats from Nancy to keep my noggin warm.

People have very open hearts and loving souls.  I am warmed by humanity and helps me to reset my perspective on all of this.

April 30, 2010 at 8:42 am 1 comment

60%

Tomorrow marks my 15th day of radiation. I am 60% done (or so I think).  Similarly to the chemo, I see improvements for a few hours and then, blammo, back to the way it was. I know that I am not supposed to get depressed and no, I am not a doctor (but I’d like to play one on tv). But after six months, I have come to learn things with many discussions with my doctors and right now, my confidence level is not high.  It is out of my control.  I cannot dwell. I cannot fear.  But I also know that being a pollyanna is not going to work either.  I cannot stuff my true feelings down into a well and idly go about smiling and laughing.  There is a medium and I am going to find it.  Because I need it.

April 29, 2010 at 7:41 pm 1 comment

Restrictions

It’s sad.  I no longer feel comfortable to talk about my life, or any topic that I would like, because nowadays, you can lose your job for just about anything. Have a picture on Facebook with you holding a beer? Sorry, we have a more eligible candidate for the job.  Tweet about a lousy policy at your company? I’m sorry, you aren’t management material, ever.  Bitch about your boss?  Sorry, we mailed your stuff, turn around and leave. Do not pass go.

All of these wonderful technological tools that create opportunities to stay connected with friends, gain access to others with your interests, or allow you to write about your life are now being used against us.  It’s a sad world when you cannot feel free to say what you want without fear of reprisal, even if you are not saying a single thing that is incriminating of anyone.

I am waiting to hear how my blogging about my cancer will become a detriment in some way.  It’s coming.  It’s not paranoia, it’s realism. I know I can’t control this so I am letting go of the fear and the thought.  I wonder if being sick right now is having an effect on thoughts. Nope, still me.  Thoughts be gone, and take the fever with you.

April 29, 2010 at 5:29 pm Leave a comment

Day 12

Nope, not counting down the days til my classes are over!  It is Day 12 of 25 for radiation.  I am halfway there.  It’s hard to believe I do this daily, like taking a shower. It has become part of my routine.  So many new adventures, so many new things to learn as a part of this medical process.   I have started to see a bit of progress in other areas, like a wee bit of hair growing back on my legs.  My head still looks the same to me but am sure the little fuzz up there is a bit longer but isn’t discernible yet.  The numb fingertips are still with me as are a few other things that I wish would go away.  The doctor indicated yesterday that I will have residual radiation effects to contend with (internally) for a while too.  It’s a good thing I never wanted kids!!  But overall , life goes on, one day at a time.

April 27, 2010 at 8:09 am Leave a comment

It’s a problem of motivation, Bob

I watched a bit of Office Space yesterday – the best part of the movie in my opinion – when Peter talks to the Bob’s and basically reclaims his backbone against his bosses (he has 8).  If you have never seen this movie, I highly recommend it. The first hour is truly the best.

I have been having a problem with motivation lately. I actually wondered if my home had been an energy-sucking vortex. But nope, that is not it.  I talked to the doctor today after radiation and he told me I would be tired and to give in a bit more. Honestly, I thought I had been!  I have been doing well with work, but when it comes to being a student, I have noticed that I’m just not feeling it.  It’s most likely the need for a mental break, but I know that is truly not it. I usually fade in this area when I dislike the class or the subject matter. Or in this case, after much reflection, it’s the lack of interaction. For one class, there is not one shred of interaction with the professor. And for all the work expected of us?  A total point value of 50 points. That is not per each of the 7 assignments or each discussion, that is in totality for the entire semester.  Nuts.

I have been trying to supplement this lack of motivation for a class that is more independent study than an actual class, by reading other books, hanging out with friends, seeing more movies, being outside, doing more work with my job, and napping like nuts.  But still, I feel depleted by this class. It’s a huge weight, the monkey on my back.  I know, suck it up, it’s a temporary thing. But darn it, just can’t. I notice my friends who are in school talk about their classes in much the same way – counting down days, talking about the heavy reading load, upcoming papers or exams. It’s nice to know that I am not the only one sometimes 🙂  It often gives me that push to try to open that textbook one more time and give it another go.

April 26, 2010 at 2:08 pm Leave a comment

Radiation

Day 6 of 25 is complete.  It’s not too bad.  The area can be painful and tender to the touch.  Itchy too sometimes.  The tired, well that hasn’t gone away too much. I have still have some side-effects from chemo, none worth sharing (!!) other than my still numb fingertips.

On a side note:  I finally replaced my 15-year-old mattress yesterday.  I was working a bit on email and they came to deliver it and afterward, I promptly fell asleep for several hours.  Well, if that isn’t an endorsement for the brand, my choice and the need, not sure what is!!

Have a great day. I’m going to sit on my deck for a bit to do some more work.  I know, I am so lucky and I appreciate every minute of it.

April 19, 2010 at 11:09 am Leave a comment

Odd One

Odd one, you’re never alone
I’m here and I will reflect you
Both of us basically unattached
To anything or anyone unless we’re pretending
You live your life in your head
Some call it imagination
I’d rather focus instead on anything except
What I’m feeling

What I’m feeling
Odd one…

Hey, it’s gonna be okay
Hey, we’re gonna laugh at this one day

Odd one, I wish I was you
You’re never concerned with acceptance
We are all desperately seeking out, a
And fitting with anyone
Who will accept us
But not you, odd one

Hey, it’s gonna be okay
Hey, we’re gonna laugh at this one day

Hey, it’s gonna be okay
Hey, gonna laugh at this one day

Hey, it’s gonna be okay
Hey, we’re gonna laugh at this one day

Don’t let someone tell you you’re no-one
Don’t let someone tell you you’re no-one
Odd one…

Lyrics by Sick Puppies

April 13, 2010 at 8:51 am Leave a comment

Independence

I have heard over the past decade or so that I am too independent; that I need to let people in, ask for help and receive help.  In the past five or six months, this is all I hear though.

I wish it would stop.  I am a fiercely independent person. I have been taking my care of myself for as long as I remember. I worked 40 hours from my sophomore year of college til I graduated; year round, no breaks during the summer.  In the recent past, I have worked 2 and 3 jobs to meet my obligations but also make sure I didn’t rack up any debt. This is me.  I have always been this way.  It’s not that I don’t believe others can’t help, but quite frankly, when I have asked for help, I have been let down by the very people who say they will always be there. This includes family, but more than that, friends who claim me to be family.   My therapists have told me that I need to give people more chances. How many chances should I give to be hurt?  5? 10?  I can’t answer that but I know after I while, I stop asking. I do not assume others won’t be there for me, but over the years, this has been hard for me to accept as a truth.

As I said, recently, everyone feels it is appropriate to tell me that I need to ask for help. That I need to accept help.  I am asking any person who knows me to please stop doing this.  You disregard who I am when you do this. I have been asking for help since I was diagnosed with cancer. I have been receiving it as best I can.  I may not ask you specifically, but someone else.  There are people who have gifts in different ways and I appreciate that this is one you want to give to me.  But after 40 years of being who I am, please do not believe that in less than 6 months, I will completely change my entire being.  I have been taking steps toward changing but they are small and you may not see them, but I do.

I know that this post seem harsh. It may seem as if I am an ungrateful person. This is not my intent and hope you will not read it this way.  For me to go to a life where I believe that I am my sole caretaker, to a life where everyone wants to be there for me and are there for me, is incredibly overwhelming for me.  To try to manage this, to learn to manage this, has been a tough thing for me. I don’t know how to have this amount of love, caring and friendship in my life at one time. This concept may be foreign to you but hope you can understand who I am better by knowing this.  To take a risk and be this honest is probably not appropriate. I don’t want to alienate anyone, I just want to be normal and not the girl who has cancer and needs taking care of. I want to laugh, go out, and just live like you do. Please let me do that.

April 11, 2010 at 12:12 pm Leave a comment

A Dog’s Purpose?

My friend, coworker and mentor, Bob, shared this with me and loved it. I thought if I hadn’t read it before, maybe you hadn’t either. Enjoy!

A  Dog’s Purpose? (from  a 6-year-old).

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle. I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the  family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and  offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for  the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience. The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting  the old dog for the last time, that I wondered  if he understood what was going on.

Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after  Belker’s death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.  Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ”I know why.”

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me.  I’d never heard a more comforting explanation.  It has changed the way I try to live.
Shane said, ”People are born so that they can learn  how to live a good life — like loving everybody  all the time and being nice, right?”  He continued, ‘Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

Live simply.

Love generously.

Care deeply.

Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow  the experience of fresh air and the wind in your  face to be pure Ecstasy.

Take  naps.

Stretch  before rising.

Run,  romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you’re not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

ENJOY EVERY MOMENT OF EVERY DAY!

April 9, 2010 at 4:18 pm 1 comment

Waiting

I think waiting is tough.  I have never been the most patient at all. I have gotten better about this because I realize that I can’t control everything (so wish I could sometimes!) and needed to let go.

It has been almost 2 weeks since my last oncology appointment because it is now time to see a radiation oncologist. That appointment is tomorrow.  I was told to expect daily radiation for a month.  No one can yet tell me how they will know the cancer is gone or how to fully know it will come back. I hate this.

I think medical waiting is even harder sometimes. It is very much out of your control and sometimes hearing news can be heartbreaking. My gosh, I could not even imagine what this would be like as a parent if it was your child. I was watching Gene Simmons Family Jewels the other day and the title of the show was “waiting is the hardest part”. This intrigued me so I watched it.  I know, it is a reality show. But for a big rock star, the Demon, his life with family can be surprisingly down to earth.  Between this and Dancing with the Stars on occasion, I am not the biggest fan of reality tv.  No thank you, I can look to my own life for that! So back to the show.  Gene’s unwife (they’ve been together 26 years but never married), Shannon, had to get a biopsy for possible breast cancer.  Gene was off for some concerts but kept traveling back between shows to share time with her and to meet her for the doctor’s appointment that would determine her immediate fate.  During that time, family treated her a little differently. More caring, more attentive, more attention.  But it didn’t alleviate the burden of waiting. You could see it on her face.  I like that admitted that she can be stoic and believe she can handle anything but you could also see the absolute relief that Gene was there with her to hear the news, regardless of what it would be.  She later learned that she did not have breast cancer which is certainly a wonderful thing. But that never makes the waiting easier.

Martina Navratilova recently shared that she is going to be undergoing radiation for breast cancer but it was caught early. I think we are seeing more and more incidents of cancer being something that is treatable and not something that is to be whispered about because it is no longer that dirty little word that is equivalent to death. But for any person with cancer, even in remission, there is still some aspect of waiting. Each year, there are checkups. Is it back? Am I still in remission? Will I always be in remission? I hate waiting.

April 7, 2010 at 9:58 am Leave a comment


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