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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Burn Baby Burn!

I know I have not written in a long time.  I have been battling and fighting the fatigue that comes with radiation treatments.  I go four days a week, run an errand or two afterwards, then go home and fall into the deepest sleep you could ever imagine.  I am very much so, that the doctor gave me a week off due to the extent of my burns.  The fatigue is immediate.  It literally feels like you lay on the table, get radiation while your blood is being drained.  I find myself having close calls while driving myself home.  I can barely stay awake, and there is this sense of hotness that comes with it.  The smell of burnt flesh stays with you all the time...going in and out of you with every breath.  I really thought this would be a lot easier than it has been.  It is still not as bad as chemo, but it is not easy.  The fatigue is always there everyday.  My eyes feel so dry and crisp.  It is like everything inside your body is hard and leathery, dry as a bone.  I have debated on whether to post the picture of myself showing my burns at #15.  There is no breast to see, nothing of any sexual nature.  So I think that I will because people don't realize exactly what radiation will do to your body.  I know that people facing radiation want to know what lies ahead for them.  I will say that not everyone reacts the same way.  A client of mine told me she had 38 radiation treatments to the breast and had no problems and did not get burned.  She saw the pictures of my burns and said that she experienced nothing like that at all.  So I don't want my situation to scare anyone.  Actually the burned part of my chest really hurts very little.  You must remember I have very few nerve endings left in that area.  The burn is nothing in comparison to the fatigue that I am experiencing.  I only have about six treatments left, and I just keep thinking that every cancer cell is being fried and killed....every last one.  I have had a really tough couple of days fighting depression.  I think the fatigue causes me to be depressed.  I have so much to be thankful for everyday.  I will write again soon and post more pictures as the burn heals.  I hope this is not offensive to anyone.  That is not my intention.  I hope instead that it may help someone else, a caretaker, a survivor, or anyone else who has to deal with the side effects of radiation.  Leave me your comments.  Until next time my friends...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Game, The Gift

I was thinking a lot today about how having cancer has changed my a good way.  There are a lot of things as you go through this battle that really bite.  In the end, those that survive the battle have something special to take with them.  At least that is how I feel.  I am a survivor, whether I survive one more year or 50 more years.  There is a song that says (I will summarize)...if you knew tomorrow was your last much different would you live it?  Surviving cancer gives you that perspective, and that is priceless.  I am reminded of the movie "The Game" starring Michael Douglas.  The following is a review of this movie:

 by Ásgeir Örn Nordquist  (Kópavogur, Iceland).
"Nicholas Van Orton, a successful businessman lives a good life until an unexpected birthday gift from his brother destroys it all. Nicholas has been enrolled in a game - "a profound life experience" that begins quietly but soon erupts in a rush of devastating events. Van Orton has to win this deadly game or lose control of everything in his life. And this time money and power are meaningless. This is a suspense/thriller, that does manage to hold one's attention. The film stars Michael Douglas and Sean Penn. Deborah Kara Unger (David Cronenberg's "Crash") turns in a fine supporting roll as well. Davd Fincher, director of Seven and Aliens 3, continues to set high standards for motion picture making. This lastest entree of Fincher's does not lose a beat in delivering the maximum impact of the story. This movie will get into your head. It will keep you guessing the whole time. If you don't give this movie a chance you'll never know what you missed."

Why do I think of this movie?  It is because Michael Douglas has been given a gift, but he has to fight for his life.  No money or power will help him.  In the end, he thinks he is dead, but he survives to find out it was all a game.  Why is it a gift?  Why does Michael Douglas' character end up thanking his brother for this "deadly" gift?  Because he will take with him a new value he holds on his life.  Something he would have never been able to see if he had not played "the game."  That is what surviving cancer has done for me.  Whether it is 1 more year or many more....I will no longer allow my days to  "suck the life out of me".  Instead, I will try to suck the life out of each day.  Little things that were a nuisance before, have become charming and special.  I realized this as I drove Presley up to the school for activity night.  I watched her walk away from the car, approaching a crowd of middle schoolers.  I thought to myself how special it was that I got to see this.  She is growing up fast.  Before, my thoughts might have been " I have to take you where now?".  It is easy to allow life to get the best of us.  But now I know the value of getting the best out of matter how small best is.  It is a gift, this new perspective.  To truly have it, you must have your life snatched from you, as you hold on to the last little bit...scratching and fighting tooth and nail to take it back.  That is how you get the gift. 

 It has been said that having breast cancer is like being elected to a club that you never wanted to be a part of; it is truly a sisterhood.  You hate that you are in "the club", but you are glad that there are so many who share in this battle with you.  The club members are very nice, and they know what you are facing.  You get to meet new clubs members everywhere, and everyone you know, knows someone in the club.  They all have the gift, the gift of a new perspective.  They don't sweat the small stuff.  They have a "bucket list", a list of all the things they want to do before they "kick the bucket".  So as I bring this post to an end, think about what you would do differently.  How would you live your life if you knew you were to your final days?  It is my hope that everyone could live like this without going through a horrific battle with cancer.  So live each day to the fullest, the best you know how.  Take the gift, steal the gift, grab it and run.  Whatever you do, don't wait for it to come to you.  Until next time my friends...