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Friday, December 31, 2010

Ringing In The New Year

I just got home from work.  It's New Year's Eve and I am kicked back trying to relax.  I thought I would give an update to my blog.  I am happy to say that I am adjusting to the "new normal" of life after cancer treatments.  I have a head full of curly hair.  I have continued bone pain that I am managing with pain meds, as little as I can possibly take to do the trick. The depression has subsided for the most part.  However, I have horrible insomnia.  It is to the point where I start feeling very anxious at bedtime, especially on Thursday and Friday nights when I have to work the next day.  I looked at the clock this morning at 4:56 and I had not slept a wink.  I have racing thoughts that circulate through my head as fast as lightning.  I have tried all kinds of things that might knock me out, but to no avail I am tossing and turning with an IMAX pictured show going on in my head. 

A lot has happened for me in 2010.  It has been over a year since I felt "the lump".  I remember thinking..."I know what this is, and its not good," but I just did not have time to hear someone tell me I had cancer.  I knew my life had to change.  I knew I had to change my lifestyle and my stress level and make some time for me.  With the sale of my business...the business that owned me, I finally had time to go in and get it checked out by a doctor.  I was told by the radiologist to come back in six months...actually I was told by the sonnogram  girl because the radiologist was too busy reading his newspaper to come and tell me himself after he spent 33 seconds looking at my films.  In my gut, I knew this was wrong.  After getting a biopsy by another doctor two weeks later, I was told the following day I had cancer.  She called me from her cell phone on a Friday night.  That Monday, I found out that my cancer was extremely aggressive, fast growing and there were five tumors totaling about 10 cm.  It was a rare form of breast cancer, triple negative.  So two weeks later at the age of 42, I had both breast removed and started chemo immediately after the drains were removed.  Radiation followed.  So here I am.  The new year is upon me.  What will it bring?  Hopefully, it will bring my reconstruction surgeries soon.  I am ready to get them over with and try to find a way to forget about having cancer.  I have a new outlook on life and the things that really matter.  I have friends and I have family, and most of all my faith.  

I will keep my blog updated from time to time, but it won't be as often.  I would like to not think about this disease.  I hope I never see it again.  I have done what I can to help spread awareness about triple negative breast cancer.  If you are just now reading this blog, I encourage you to go back and read from the beginning.  I welcome any questions or comments and I hope that I have enlightened others about this horrible disease.  Life must go least that is what I am hoping for during my upcoming new year.  I don't know why this happened to me.  I do know that God works everything, even the bad...he works it out for the greater good.  I give so much thanks to my husband, my girls, my family and my co-workers and friends.  I am glad I have not had to go this alone.  I continue to pray for the friends that I have made that have been stricken by this disease.  I can only have hope that a cure will come soon.  May God bless you and your family this year!  Until next time my friends...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Picking Up the Pieces

 am a month out from finishing treatment for stage IIB, grade 3/ triple negative breast cancer. I have battled more depression and anxiety since the treatment than any I experienced during. I think of it like the marathon runner who finally crosses the finish line. Many times they collapse on the ground once they finish. During treatment you are battling for your life. The shock of the diagnosis can be surreal and you have to be strong during the battle. When its over, you have more time to think about it and the side effects of treatment are magnified when you are supposed to be "done battling". Everyday I feel good at some point, but everyday I feel bad too. It is a small window of good. My faith has always been strong and I know there is a reason for everything. The fear that this disease will return is very strong and overwhelming, even though I know I should not fear. Knowing that I am 43 and have so much life to live, makes me want to live life to the fullest everyday. However, how do you do that when your body is your prisoner? I pray for strength and I want so much to not be physically limited. My job is physically demanding and I have been self employed for 13 years.  From where I stand now, it is hard to imagine carrying the load that I had before I got sick.  I thank God that I have Kevin.  He has been so great during this time.  He has done so much of picking up the extra slack since I have been sick.  As all couples do, we have our ups and downs.  However, relationships are not about the day to day short runs. A marriage is not a sprint, it is  a marathon. I am just glad to know I have my family and all the support they bring, and I am so grateful for Kevin.

I have not updated this blog in a while.  I have been trying to not think about cancer.  I have been enjoying the time with the kids and trying to get back in the swing of working. Christmas is right around the corner, and for the first time I am not too far behind everything.  The girls and I put up a pink tree with survivors names on it...about 60 total. They really enjoyed doing it.  My hair is coming in so curly. If I dyed it black I would look like Betty Boop.  Well, probably not that good...actually, not even close!

Today I worked from about 8 a.m. to about 4:30...a very long day for me.  It was a pretty good one.  I have enjoyed my clients and how supportive they are of me.  They are very encouraging.  They have been very good to me.  I am so thankful for the loyalty that I have seen with a lot of them.  Many have reassured me that they will be here for me when I get through my surgeries.  It is a good feeling.  Even though I have lost many, God is faithful in his promises.  He has taken care of everything we have needed and then some.  (Debra S...thank you for your encouragement and your kindness.  You are awesome!)  I have clients that are praying for me and tell me all the time.  I called one of my clients and left a message with her husband yesterday.  Afterwards, he began to tell me how they were both praying for me.  I have never met him.  Tonight, I returned a call to one of my long time male clients (about 18 years). After setting up his appointment, he prayed with me over the phone and reassured me that God would provide a way for me to be off work and get my reconstruction soon.  It is times like these when I think..."why am I afraid at times?"  So many people have faith for me...what am I worried about?  Oh well, this journey is not easy.  My emotions are on a wild roller coaster ride.  As my good friend Patsy says, "this too shall pass!".  I feel as if I have rambled through this post...probably because I have.  Hey, it is called "chemo-brain".  It is the inability to focus, remember things, and stay on track.  Today I went to work with one black shoe on one foot, and one brown shoe on the other.  Last Saturday I had some friends stop by the house.  After they left, I realized I had a beige tennis shoe on one foot and a green on the other.  So this is my life.  I have had a few brain cells killed.  I was on the phone with Vicky yesterday at the end of my work day.  I walked around ten minutes looking for my cell phone while I was talking to her (on my cell phone!)  It is pretty scary.  Well, Kevin is on his way home so I am going to end this now.  Until next time my friends...