Friday, October 29, 2010

Coming Soon...

...updates, photos, deep thoughts, randomness, hilarity...all things "me" will be coming your way very soon.

Chemo treatments are going well but weekly treatments have wrecked havoc on my routine. I've actually been writing posts like a crazy woman but never seem to finish any of them. My biggest excuse is drug induced brain fog. Friday has become chemo day and the weekend is commited to recovery. On those days, due to the drugs I take, I have been known to speak nonsense, continually repeat statements as I remember very little and in the process keep everyone entertained. I intentionally avoid writing on these days. The spoken word can sometimes be forgotten or an argument can be made that disputes any statement made. It becomes a matter of "your word against their's". In other words, you stand a chance of lying your way out of just about anything verbal. Putting thoughts in black and white makes them more permanent and leaves undenialable proof that you may have temporarily lost your mind. I fear these incidences could come back to haunt me. Anything written on those days requires extra time and attention for proofreading. That leaves Monday through Thursday as days to accomplish all necessary tasks. I'm learning that cramming a 5 day work week into those 4 days can be draining. Add attempted daily workouts, required personal paperwork and the occasional load of laundry and you can see why my time for writing posts has become so limited.

Documenting this journey is very important to me. Blogging...writing... has always been and will continue to be my therapy. But life must be lived. So...if you are interested in reading my blatherings, check back from time to time. I'm beginning to get a handle on things (bah ha ha) and will be posting again very soon.

Before I go, I want to share a "????" moment I had while receiving one of my latest treatments. It validates my reasons for refusing to permanently document anything while in a drug induced state.

A "Did I really just say that?" occurrence:

Believe it or not, I welcome Fridays. Friday is treatment day. My reasons for embracing this day with open arms are simple to me yet some might find them odd. Then again, many find me odd in general. My number one reason is a much needed 3-4 hour nap. I've found the most annoying side effect of chemo to be the inability to sleep. Until a week ago, the most consistent sleep I got was during my treatments. I've since discovered a way to ensure a good night's rest giving me much more energy and an overall feeling of "wellness". Even still, who doesn't love a good nap. A mega dose of Benadryl via IV accompanied by Ativan takes me directly to dreamland. Within 10 minutes of the meds coursing through my veins, I'm a goner. Friends and family take turns transporting me to and fro each week and we always share a few laughs over statements and proclamations made during those 10 minutes. I rapidly descend from reasonably normal mental faculties to those somewhere close to what is considered deranged. The interesting part is in spite of my inability to govern what I say, there is a part of my mind that is able to comprehend and remember the absurdity of it all. Even as I make my nonsensical statements, in the deep dark recesses of my mind I'm asking myself "What the heck???".

In addition to all the drugs, treatments require I be given large quantities of fluids. As we know, "fluid in" means "fluid out". My naps are always interrupted by the need to relieve my bladder of the enormous burden. Ever the independent girl, I argue with anyone wanting to help me find my way to the restroom. I stubbornly and drunkenly navigate my way through the chairs of other patients, dragging my IV tower along, doing my very best to focus on not tripping over the wheels of the tower or my own two feet. Most days I succeed. How I actually maneuver the act of "going potty"...well, I don't really know. What I do know is that I perform the act with my eyes closed. And it is dark when my eyes are closed. So very, very dark. So much so that I made this proclamation to gal pal, "K" upon returning to my chair.

"Have you ever closed your eyes and realized how dark it is? So dark that the dark actually touches your eyeballs? I mean you can actually feel the dark touching your eyeball! Like the dark is sitting on your eye!"

The words were said with much excitement and conviction as I was sure I had just discovered something unique and grand. Let's just say the words were said with as much excitement and conviction as can be exhibited through slurred speech. I remember "K" chuckling while my mind waged an internal war over whether or not this made any kind of sense. The "real me" kept urging me to shut up and stop the insanity as I know I'm not that dense while the "drugged me" thought it was the most profound statement ever made. I didn't know whether to pout because I wasn't being taken seriously or to hide my head in shame. Before a decision could be made, the mental war was over and I was fast asleep once again.

This is but one of the tiny things that keeps me laughing each day. I believe the ability to laugh at oneself is the key to a happy life. Thank goodness I find myself funny whether anyone else does or not. I guess that means I can relate to my own sense of humor. For now, I can chalk up my self-induced chuckles to the effects brought on by drugs. Not sure what excuse I will use when chemo isn't part of my daily life.

Until next time...


Monday, October 11, 2010


I've been thinking. I know...thinking can sometimes prove to be an unsettling thing, especially when faced with a major life crisis. This time, my thinking has proven to be a positive. The past few days I've been sifting through blog posts from the past year or so, curious as to where I've been... what I've learned.... spending time reminiscing and doing a little self-evaluation. Amongst the stories of my crazy antics and tales of woe, I stumbled upon a gem of a post. In fact, it was so meaningful I want to revisit the topic.

Roughly a year ago, I wrote a post based on a prompt from one of my best blog pals, "h.b.". Through various prompts and challenges, "h.b." laid the ground work for us to do some soul searching in an attempt to think about who we are and where we are going. Being the deep thinking, soul searching type, I jumped in with both feet and participated in many of the challenges. My favorite prompt explored the subject of touching people's's not who you touch but how. I suppose it is more than fair to say being diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer causes one to consider their role in this world. "Have I...make a difference?" Now there is a question. Even in that soul searching, cancer free moment of a year ago, I dug really deep with this one and poured my heart out in these words:

"We all have them. Those times that forever leave a mark on our hearts...our souls...our being. Be it a good or bad time, it shapes and molds the person we become. Much of the impact it has on us is defined by how we approach that moment and the choices we make regarding it. I've had many such moments. Big, huge, earth moving moments. Marriage, children, divorced parents...a divorced me. Children moving away and then returning. The death of someone very dear. Some of these were cause for celebration and others were the cause of much pain. But through them all, I learned more about me and became stronger and hopefully wiser as a result.

But not all defining moments are as enormous in size. There are also the little things that can affect us. Little chance moments such as an encounter with another person that leave us with a life lesson all because we crossed paths. There can be inspiring moments of awe and wonder. And there can be misunderstandings or misguided intentions that leave us in a position to choose how we will move forward and whether or not we will allow it to cause harm or good to a relationship.

Lately I have been facing many defining moments. Times that are testing my character and my strength. I'm facing decisions that are almost impossible to make as there is really no good answer. Some days I feel victorious in these situations and other days leave me struggling to not feel defeat. But I am most thankful for these trying times. I know that even on the down days, I am building strength. God has given me the ability to rise above by trusting in Him. And I'm learning with each test and working harder to be a more positive influence."

How odd that I seem to be in much the same position now as I was then. It is exactly as they say...oh how things change yet they somehow stay the same. At that time I faced difficult decisions...they were my defining moments. Now, I'm in a battle for my life...probably the most defining moment anyone could face. The big question is how will this defining moment impact my world?

Every day... every moment... I get to chose how I will tackle this challenge. I have a choice in how I live... how I fight... how I love. I believe my decisions will in some way impact others. If nothing more, they will leave a mark on those who love me and are fighting along side me. I can only hope to be a positive influence. To make a difference in some tiny way. I have no idea what that difference will be or how it will happen. It could come through a chance encounter or it could be much more significant. Whatever it is, I want to be mindful of the fact that each and every decision I make could in some way impact another. When reflecting on past moments and opportunities, I recall many with feelings of happiness ...others I relive with shame and regret. Those are the ones I wish I could call for a do-over as I feel certain I wasn't the positive influence I desire to be. But I have a chance to be different. To be better. To use this challenge I face for something good. I'm hoping to take a negative and make a positive. I want to make a difference.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mom, Is That Mastectomy With An "M"???

Before going further, I must issue a statement to my daughter.

Sweet Ker-bear, I hope you don't mind that I share your story. It is too cute for words. I know you possess an incredible ability to laugh at yourself so I feel certain you will approve of my decision to share. Thank you for the laughter! Love, Mom

My diagnosis came on a Thursday evening. I didn't share the news with Keri until Saturday. Those were two REALLY long days. I refused to tell her over the phone and there was no chance to make the 3-hour drive to Georgia until Saturday. My mom, sister and I drove to Athens and broke the news. As expected, tears were shed and many questions were posed. But Keri is her mother's daughter. It wasn't long before she found a way to do her own compartmentalizing and strategizing. She began writing (yes, my baby girl has her very own blog) and set about training for 5k races to support Breast Cancer Awareness. It's her way of being proactive...of doing something.

Several weeks later, the news that had rocked our worlds had settled into the role of old news. Keri was home for a visit and we were sharing idle chit-chat. It was during this time I had one of the best giggles of my life. This is the jest of the story she shared...

Keri is like me in more ways than one. One particular trait we share is being Chatty Cathy's. We share what's on our minds with any and all who will listen. Talking is our therapy. We are open books. When she was in the early stages of processing the ugliness of the "c" stuff, she was telling numerous friends at school all about my diagnosis. She told them I would receive 6 months of chemo and would then receive a full vasectomy...

Uhhh, yep, my girl got the slicing and dicing of certain body parts mixed up! She had me slated to undergo a procedure I don't think I'm equipped to receive. The best part of the story is she shared this with several people before someone finally corrected her. All I can say is she now knows the difference between the snipping and clipping of one body part and the removal of another...she now knows it's mastectomy with an "M"!!!