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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Beautiful Landri

Having gone through cancer treatments this year for triple negative breast cancer makes me see life differently.  

I know how precious my family is...especially my two beautiful amazing daughters.  

This is Landri, my athlete, my first born.  She is one of the people I am most proud to know in this world. I love her and I will miss her when she goes off to college this next year.  She has done so much for me this year.  I wish I could hold her forever and never let her go.  I love you angel!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Moving On, The Pain and The Tears

It has been a while since I have posted.  I finished my last radiation on the 8th of November.  I am slowly getting some energy back although I hesitate to say that.  I am getting the desire to do things and go places.  I have been to the mall several times trying to do some advanced Christmas shopping on a tight budget.  But I am mainly wanting to just get out and walk around.  I have never been able to do any Christmas shopping until literally the week of Christmas due to owning my own business for the past several years...the season was just too busy to get anything done but work and "make hay while the sun was shining".  Now I am trying to do a little at a time, and get it done early...this will be a first for me.  Usually my kids are asking me the week before Christmas..."Mom, are we going to have any presents under the tree anytime soon?"  

What I am finding out about my health situation is I am dealing with pain on a regular basis, everyday.  I get out and go and shortly have to take pain meds to get through anything I am doing.  My bones hurt still as a side effect from the Taxol.  This pain in staying with me and it is very consistent.  It has been four months since that drug was infused into my body.  What I have noticed is that it has gotten much worse, not better.  Nothing can touch the kind of pain I experienced during those 8 weeks of getting the Taxol.  However, the residual pain is real.  It seemed to worsen during my radiation treatments and now has increased to a new level all together.  It is here everyday and now comes on at all hours of the day from early morning to late evening my bones hurt.  I could be sitting or standing doing nothing and I might have pain shooting through my fingers, my forearms, my shins, my feet, my knees, my wrists, all at the same time.  I have noticed that the colder weather is making it worse.  Before I ever was diagnosed with cancer, I dealt with swollen joints, a swollen left ankle, and weather related pain.  I thought that if I would have gone to a doctor about it, I would probably be told I had some form of arthritis. Since my treatments, I feel somewhat crippled unless I am on the pain medication.  As soon as it wears off, I am in pain again.   I don't know whether it will ever go away.  Sometimes I think things are fine and then BAM!!! hits me so suddenly and so strong that I have somewhat of a panic/anxiety attack and start to cry.  It sometimes catches me by surprise when I think I am doing OK.  I think sometimes the emotional pain is just as bad as the physical.  This has happened at work a couple of times and it is a cruel reminder that things may never be the same.  I will find myself mixing color about to service a client and I am crying like a baby in the back room.  This is when I feel like I have been robbed.  Robbed of my occupation, my income, my livelihood, and all I have worked hard to achieve the past 18 years of doing hair and building such a strong client base.  Right now I am going in on Fridays and Saturdays.  I work about six hours each day.  The pain from working is real and great.  It is physically very taxing.  I have less than 50% of my client base left.  Not working for about 7 months makes this happening inevitable.  My client base was made up of about 85% color clients, many who drove 45 min or more to see me.  They are professionals who always look top notch.  They have had to find stylists to replace me and prefer to try someone closer to home if they are going to make a change. After January, I will begin my reconstruction surgeries, 3 total.  By law, there is a 90-day waiting period between each one.  My hope is to have some good enough times between each surgery to service the clients I have left.  I know I will lose more, it is inevitable. I find it sad, but I know that my physical body will limit the amount I can do anyway.  I know it is probably for the best.  In the back of my mind, I keep thinking that I need to think about other occupations.  I just don't know how to do that when working so little right now hurts so bad.  I know that God is in control of this situation and he knows the plans he has for me.  I don't want to sound complaining or miserable, because I have so much to be thankful for everyday.  I do want people who are going through this to know what is happening to me, realizing that every case is different.

There is a dear girl who I met during chemo.  Her name is Kim. She often sat next to me and was always there with her fiancee.  She too, was being treated for triple negative breast cancer.  She was about a month ahead of me in her treatments.  I saw her at the cancer center a few weeks back.  Her hair had grown out about an inch and she looked great.  She was there delivering some Scentsy candles that some ladies had ordered.  We spoke, said hello, and parted.  A couple of weeks back on facebook I noticed that her profile picture was a picture of a Texas Christian University purple Scentsy.  Since I am an alumni, class of 1990, I asked her about the candle.  She had some bad news that her cancer was back and had spread.  She always has a great attitude and told me not to worry.  She was concerned about telling me and explained that just because hers was back, did not mean that I would not be OK.   She sweetly consoled me and told me I would be fine despite her new diagnosis.  Please pray for her.  She is staying busy managing apartments I believe.  She has the best attitude always!!!!

Speaking of attitudes....mine is one of hope and faith.  I am battling hormones, medication side effects, pain, and depression.  I have not exactly counted, but I am certain that I have cried everyday for at least a month.  Sometimes they are happy tears, and sometimes they are from fear, sometimes from pain, sometimes from sorrow, some are from disbelief that this is actually happening, some tears flow from the onset of the pain meds.  For many different reasons I cry everyday.  Some nights as I am laying in bed playing games on my iPhone, tears just start streaming....don't know why.  I just know that Kevin is asleep beside me and the kids are all tucked in bed...but I cry and have no apparent reason.  Sometimes its multiple times a day.  I don't what to do about it.  I am sure my family is perplexed and weary from it all.  I wish I could control it.  Overall, I think it is from having this huge life change/challenge.  You suddenly feel like your clock is ticking and you need to start living life hard.  Then you are faced with the reality that your body isn't the is not ready.  It is older and frail and broken.  So how do you go on grabbing the life out of everyday, dragging your body behind you, aches and pains and all.  Sometimes its overbearing....then the tears flow.  Someone told me that it is OK to cry and it is good for the soul, and it is a natural response and should not be inhibited.  It is the source and the reason for the tears that we should work on improving in our lives.  I think that I can live with that.  It sounds much better than "I am just falling apart".  So I will go with that.  It's OK, it is the body's natural response.  I love you people, whoever you are who keep me going with all your feedback and comments.  Each and every one of them mean so much to me.  I feel like I have a team that is standing behind me, supporting me, uplifting and encouraging me.  Until next time my friends...