Monday, February 27, 2012

Grey Scans are Going to Clear Up...

  My first time going alone to receive the news on my latest PET scans was the most frightening experience as of yet.  I had NEVER gone alone for any reason to my oncologist.  I have always had support with me.  Sometimes, things are more important, so I sent Barbie off with her Dad to take care of his business.  I could face what ever outcome alone, I had God sitting with me and knew I would be okay.

  I didn't expect the flood of tears as I waited for my name being called.  Sitting in that waiting room reminded me of the hours upon hours I spent there for chemo, blood tests, when the bad news was first delivered and what ever else I needed to be seen for.  My emotions were pure, raw fear.  As I glanced about the room with "shifty eyes", or at least I think that is what they were seeing, I didn't recognize any patient I was there with previously.  I found myself thinking of all the faces I'd seen, the people I had met and prayed silently that they were as fortunate as I was.  I want cancer wiped off the face of this planet.  I am quite sure there is a cure, but the drug companies keep that quiet.  Some treatments are as expensive as $15,000.00 or more!  Now, why would they bother to slay the dragon when the knights are bringing in the treasure dailly by people just like me. 

  I apologize, I digress.  If I had nails left, I would have bitten them.  As soon as my name was called to go back and see my doctor, I felt my knees buckle a little.  Would this be the news I was dreading, was it back?  I had myself convinced over the last couple of days that it was and I was prepared for the worst.  Ok, prepared isn't the right word.  I certainly am NOT prepared to go through it all over again.  I was just ready to hear anything negative.  I would have preferred not to go it alone, but like I said, some things MUST come first and it's time Barb took a break from the million or so doctor's appointments I have had this last year. 

  My blood pressure was great, all blood tests came back awesome and now for the BIG news.   I was afraid to open my mouth, I thought a swarm of butterflies would attack my doctor before he let me know what was going on.   Yes, it felt like that many had plagued my stomach.  I was totally braced.  My arms were firmly locked on the examination table, my legs were tight against the step stool and my jaw was set firmly. 

To quote the best doc in the world " Every thing looks fantastic, you are still cancer-free."  Amazement took over.  I swear I could have peed myself I was so happy.  I unclenched my hands from that table and did a "seal" clap for joy.  It's dorky, but it's me!  Sorry to disappoint, but no sound effects were involved in the making of that seal clap, nor did I attempt to balance a beach ball on my nose.  I looked up to Heaven and thanked God for giving me more time on His beautiful Earth.  If it was so inappropriate, I would have kissed that doc.  He gave me the greatest news, better than I had hoped.  Did I mention he is also quite a cutie?  Well, that's beside the point, he's a fantastic oncologist and his looks only add to that great personality and bedside manner. 

  I write to you as an official 3 month survivor of cancer.  To all who read this:  if you are diagnosed, or know someone diagnosed with cancer, NEVER give up the fight.  Remain positive, and keep your life as silly as possible.  That bright, sunny attitude makes a HUGE difference when dealing with something so frightening.  I did it, I made it through the darkness and back into the sunlight and so can you or your loved one. 

  I am closing on this note....   Cancer does NOT define you, but how you cope with it and fight it DOES define who you are.  Stay strong and healthy my friends.  God is always on your side, and He will NOT let you down.  He may decide He wants you home with Him, but He didn't forsake you, make you sick or drag you down.  He carries you through all your trials and tribulations.  You may not think so, but I KNOW so.  God answers ALL prayers, it's just that sometimes that answers is "no". 

  Much love and many thanks for all of your support.  I will keep blogging about little things here and there, but no more cancer posts until August when my next scan is scheduled.  Then again, someone may need support, advice or encouragement and I will be right there for them!

God Bless,


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Reflections of 2011 and Updates

Dearest Readers,

  Let me first start by apologizing for not blogging more.  There had been so many things going on in my life since my last post that I let the craziness take over and it stifled my writing.  I am alive and well, having been in remission since November 25th.  What a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas my family had!  News like that was amazing to hear and if fulfilled all our dreams, I do believe in miracles!

  Since my last post in September, things have definitely been high and low.  I had to turn my back on a family I held dear to my heart for the sake of my own.  That still hurts me deeply to this day.  The negative energy that was seeping through these walls was at an all time high and I could no longer battle cancer and maintain a positive outlook.  It was time to step away and let God work His plan for all parties concerned.  Once I cleared house, I could breathe easier.  I really do hate that I had to make such a decision, but one must put their family first above all others on this planet.  I learned that lesson the hard way.  God made sure I understood that one loud and clear!

  We no longer stress about money, now that I am considered "'disabled".  What??   Disabled?  Me?  Huh!  Who knew!  Cancer is considered a disability.  More craziness.  You work since the age of 16, knowing how fulfilling it is to bring a check home for the work you have done and just a few years later (ok, so maybe a lot of years later) you can no longer work because you are sick.  That is a lot to take in, now the government tells you that you are disabled.  Even if you wanted to, you CAN'T I will admit I am not up to par and my energy level sucks (we will discuss that later) but I want to work!  I want to earn my money, not sit around any longer watching the world pass me by.   Life is just so precious and I am grateful everyday that I can sit up and hear the birds sing me awake.  Yes, there are some days I would like to see Grilled Mourning Dove on the menu for breakfast, but for the most part, I am happy to hear their "coos". 

  2011 was a roller coaster ride for myself and my entire family.  We learned so many things we didn't know about each other.  We learned our strengths and weaknesses.  I learned just how strong my children are and that I have done a pretty damn good job of raising these little boogers.  I learned no matter how strong they are, cancer still is a scary word to them and though they may have tried very well to hide it, they were frightened to the core.  I also recognize it is not easy being a teenager and having to take care of your mom and baby sister.  I despise the pressures that were put on them last year and still must fall on their shoulders.  They should be enjoying their young lives, not worrying about their mother.  It's a horrible burden and I do not envy them one bit.  Wow, horrible burden.... says a lot doesn't it?  I am a burden to my children at the moment.  I do believe that is one on the list for "every parents worst fear".  We are stronger as a family for all this, so I am at least thankful for that gift.

  Energy?  Oh yes, we were going to discuss the wonderful news of energy!  Sometimes I just want to stick a battery up my butt to see if I can get just an extra jolt here and there.  No one told me I would feel wiped out for years to come!  Now I get where this disability thing comes in!  I thought once all my treatments were over, I would bounce right back and all would be normal.  I wish!  Some days I feel like I just went through treatment again (although they were done at the end of September) and other days I feel pretty decent.  Decent.  That is the only word I can conjure up right now to explain how my body feels.  You would better understand if I used my precious Mocha Frappuccinos as an example.  That instant "caffeine high" you get right after drinking one, well, that is my burst of energy for the day!  I could suck caffeine down all day and not maintain a decent energy level.  I have tried, believe me!  Sometimes it takes every ounce of energy I have to take a trip to the grocery store.  Thanks for warning me, doc!  It would have been nice to know that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia are long term effects of chemo and radiation.  It wouldn't have changed my plan of care, but I would have been more prepared for what was in store once I was considered in remission.  Maybe it wouldn't have hurt as terrible when I expected so much of myself and got so very little in return.  They should have a disclaimer,  WARNING:  TREATMENT FOR CANCER WILL LEAVE YOU EXHAUSTED FOR MONTHS OR YEARS TO COME.  This way, everyone knows what to expect and not have high hopes of jumping back in to real life.  I did research on my certain chemo drugs and learned by myself that there were long-term effects that no one tells you about.  SCARY EFFECTS!  I can honestly say, the fact that I am writing this to you now outweighs the scary crap.  I am almost guaranteed to get a secondary cancer, but that may not be for many years.  Hey, it bought me more years with my kids, so I am happy.  Do I want to do this all again?  HELL NO!  But I will, for them!  My beautiful babies are worth every ounce of energy in this body, I would give up the last molecule for them.  In fact, I think I have.  I live a hermit life, trying and pushing to go out when I can, but it's not that simple.  Once I am physically drained, I also get emotionally drained from the disappointment that comes with feeling "useless".  I know, you really don't want to hear this, but please remember... this blog is for OTHER cancer patients, survivors and those who lost loved ones as well as those in my circle that are perfectly healthy.  I want people to be more educated on what's to come should they receive that nasty diagnosis.  I wish I had found a blog like this when I was first diagnosed.  I may not have been so shell-shocked and blind going into all of this bullshit.

  Things are going back to normal around here though, the kids are fighting more (music to my ears), the baby is growing and learning more and more everyday, my sons are turning into men before my eyes and my daughter is becoming more of a beauty (inside and out) every day. Grades are back up on the rise, they dropped dramatically for some of the kids, but who can blame them?  I wasn't going to (don't tell them!).  I understood the immense pressure they were under and although I did still yell for poor grades, it was just to keep up the "good mom" appearance.  Hey, it's my job to yell for terrible grades, I would get my "mom card" taken away if I didn't!  They didn't know it, but I really wasn't mad, I was angry that I was sick and it was affecting some of the smartest children you would ever meet.  Again, mom card taken away if I am not a bit biased when it comes to my kids.  I know it's normal for some children to do ALL the chores in the house, but it wasn't here.  They took on the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry, the baby, the grocery shopping, fixing my special foods and shakes, the comforting of the sick and the pitfalls of being a teen in today's society.  I have never been more proud, nor more humbled than during this period.  I have only recently begun to relieve some of that pressure, but I don't feel it's enough yet and the guilt monster sets in.  I do little chores here and there and then I am spent for the rest of the day, maybe two days!  I learned my lesson on laundry day!  I tackled about 10 loads of laundry that they had let back up (I wasn't going to complain too much, they have been doing it all along) and found on the last few loads my back was in extreme pain.  Break time!  Big mistake!  I threw my back out and was useless for 3 or more days!  Okay, so now we know to not just "jump in" and try to be superwoman.  I didn't want to show weakness anymore.  That is another paragraph that you will just fall over reading.

  The husband.  The separated spouse.  The nearly divorced husband.  Those are all his titles at the moment.  I finally had the courage to contact him after four years and talk about our feelings, MY feelings.  Hell, I spit in death's eye, I could certainly talk to the man I loved about our future, right?  Well, talk we did!  He's been coming around more, and although there doesn't seem to be much of a future for us, we are seeing what happens.  He has his plans and I have mine and they are completely different.  Shocker?   No.  It seems to be our pattern.  He is a truly wonderful man that I wish nothing but the best for, but as of this moment, we are friends.  That is a very good thing, at least we can talk, hang out and he plays with the children as he used to long ago.  When he is around, I feel all is right with the world, that God is working to bring back the souls he united.  However, when he goes, I feel a great loss and begin to contemplate whether my feelings are for what we had or what we have now.  Total confusion.  I know a lot of you know me and will be quite shocked to hear all of this news.  I don't give multiple chances to any person, let alone a man that hurt me so much.  CANCER IS AN EYE OPENER!  It makes you want to delve into your past and correct the wrongs you made to so many people (right, Tina?).  He was one of them.  I only wanted to correct my wrong, speak my peace and have closure.  Instead, I find myself fighting feelings I had long buried.  He finds himself in that same spot.  His feelings are of hurt and pain, mine are of love and affection.  Sure, I can toss around all the words I want, but my actions are what are going to speak the loudest to him.  I really did take my wedding vows seriously and truly want to work things out.  My head tells me it can't happen, my heart is an open book to him and he is fully aware.  The ball is in his court.  He will be leaving soon, heading out of this town and I don't think there is any action or any word that will change his mind.  He has his reasons for leaving this town in the dust and I don't blame him.  Heck, if I left this town in the dust, I would be happy myself.  I have spoken my peace and no matter the outcome, he knows where I stand and we can leave our past alone and have a bright start as friends, and that is good too.

  I do apologize for this small blog turning into a mini-book, but I have been unable to write for such a long time!  Between the chaos, craziness and a computer virus, I have been completely blog-blocked for months! 

  I guess that is all there is to know for now, if I have left anything out, please feel free to contact me and ask any questions. 

  Oh, and my next PET Scan is Monday, the 20th... so be it good news or bad news, you know you will hear!

God Bless and Good Health to you!

Wendy (Elliott) Loose! 
Cancer-chick Extraordinaire