Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

Have you ever said something and realized how stupid you were to say it? Because I would not want to offend my friend, I won't tell you what I actually said, but it's one of those comments that most people KNOW you shouldn't say, like, when you are talking to a couple who has been married for a while, and you say, "Why haven't you had kids yet?" Not knowing whether or not they have been trying and are having problems conceiving...well, this comment ranked up there.

But I said it, and after it was out, I thought to myself, of all people to make that comment, the woman with no hair, eyebrows, eyelashes who still looks exhausted from going through chemo should know better than to ask anyone ANYTHING personal! Oy vey! And I was very upfront with my friend (we're not that close, but I do consider her a friend nonetheless!) and said, the comment should not have come out of the chemo patient's mouth. I know people look at me all the time, especially since I interchange my wigs daily and sometimes wear hats where you can see there's no hair, and if they aren't that close to me, I know they wonder what's going on, but do they ask questions? No, they only mention that they were curious what was going on after they've either heard my story from me or someone else...So, the fact that I opened up my mouth and made a bonehead comment just made me feel like such an ass...although I did feel better after apologizing and telling my friend that I am an actual bonehead (so my friend wouldn't feel badly if she was thinking that without actually saying it).

Ah well, what can I say? I am so glad that chemo is over and I am starting to feel human again. Really, I haven't had time to digest that it is truly over, and I guess I realize it more on Friday when I don't have to go back for a treatment, but I am so happy that chemo is over! I just want my body to heal and get back to normal! Okay, so I still have one major surgery in November to get the rocks out of my chest, I think I've mentioned that before, but I am anticipating a MUCH easier recovery from this one! But the fact that I will no longer have poison running through my veins is so AWESOME!

Now I have to start fighting with the insurance company to have some things covered...I'll get on my health care high horse another day, but let me just mention that this system is broken. And I am thankful every day that we have enough money in the bank that health insurance and all of the extraneous expenses we have had to pay out of pocket have not caused us financial distress...but how to fix it? I'm not sure I know enough to make an educated decision...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Can someone help me get into a routine with my family??? Ugh! I am done with chemo. So thrilled that I am done with chemo, but I just don't feel myself yet. I am trying so hard to act like everything is normal, especially around people who don't know me that well, but it is so freaking hard to do!

All I want to do is get my kids routines for school down, but with my 5 year old just starting kindergarten and trying to make friends for my 4 year old (who I have been so bad about making playdates for) and my almost 2 year old starting transitional twos, I cannot get my shit together. And, when I meet people and want to plan all of this stuff, I am so freaking tired right now that I don't know where my head is!

I know, I know, I don't need to do all of this stuff right now, but I think I am so desparate to get into a routine and get this cancer crap behind me, that I am making myself nuts in the process!

Oh, and I was trying to be inspired by Christina Applegate's struggle with breast cancer, but then I realized that she didn't have to go through chemo (which is truly awful and humiliating, especially with the hair loss and I don't care what anyone else says, I still hate the hair thing) and she also didn't have a family to worry about. She just had to worry about herself. I do not like feeling jealous of her fortunate situation, and I know there are too many women in a worse situation than I am, but I cannot find solace with her cancer story. Will I find solace with any story? Yes, I have and I do. Working on finding a support group because I cannot deal with this in my head anymore. I am working on the support group, but haven't found it yet...I'll let you know when I do...See, so I'm not always positive and happy. Maybe tomorrow I'll have a nicer attitude for the readers at large. Tonight, I just feel like bitching. Thanks for listening...

Friday, September 11, 2009

I am done!!!!

Well, today was my last day of Taxol chemo. I am SOOOOO glad it's over! I was very emotional this morning but now I am just happy and proud that I was able to get through this drama of my life!

When we finished the chemo drip was finished, I was in the room with the nurse, my husband and another chemo patient I had just met, and when the automatic pump beeped to let us know the chemo was finished, we put on Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and shook our booties and screamed, "Wooo Hooo!" It was great! Everything else that I was worried about last night went out the window!

It is amazing what the human body is able to withstand. I never could have expected this, and I still don't know the lesson from this, but I know that it is over. My kids and husband bought me a bunch of balloons and that was the celebration I needed! Okay, maybe I'll throw a big party at the house and invite anyone who wants to come...as long as they're willing to shake their booties!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Today is the Greatest!

Well, okay, so I'm writing this before midnight, but I'm already thinking it's tomorrow ('cause I am usually asleep by now!) I am SO psyched that tomorrow is my last chemo treatment!!! I never thought this day would come and now that is has, I wish tomorrow were already over!

Although I will still have to go every 3 weeks through next summer to have an IV medication delivered, and I still have the final implants to be put in, I don't think I have ever dealt with anything as challenging as these past few months! I am feeling myself starting to cry because I am finally getting over the crisis mode of getting everything taken care of to this complete daze of what I've been through. I don't even think I've had time to process it all. Now, as I try to tackle that challenge, I know I need help!

Wow, I thought this blog was going to be all about how excited I am that I will be finished with chemo, but what I am really finding out is that I am emotionally spent. I am very proud of what I have been able to withstand, but, HOLY CRAP! I had cancer. I didn't feel anything, and one day, my life changed! I know it will eventually get back to a more normal functioning, and I still know that things could have been so much worse, but, HOLY CRAP! I had cancer!

Okay, okay, gain composure. Go to bed. Tomorrow is a big day of sitting and falling asleep and I still have to wake up in the middle of the night to take my pre-chemo medications. Wait, I think this overwhelmed feeling has been replaced with tears of joy because it is over tomorrow and now I just have to get my hair back. Did I mention before how much I HATE not having hair???

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hit me with your best shot...

An honest kid really knows how to hit your sore spots. It all stems from my insecurities about NOT having hair right now and wishing very much that I did. Usually, I wear scarves on my head (especially with summertime heat 'cause those wigs can be very HOT), and I have been wearing wigs for the past two days for a few reasons but most importantly, I didn't want to bring my son to Kindergarten wearing a scarf on my head and have people wonder what is going on. I don't want/need to be that person. I want to go the new school and meet new people and the teachers knowing I look pretty good. I am not saying the wigs make me look like a super model or anything, but I will have to post pics with the wigs on for examples. I just feel so much better when I have hair. That's all there is to say about that. But I digress...

So, I was wearing the wig while I was reading the kids books during dinner tonight and my five year old tells me, "Mommy, I miss your hair." Ugh! Did he really have to go there? My biggest chemo insecurity...So I told him, "Yeah, I know. But do you know who misses my hair more than anyone???" "Daddy," my two older kids said. "No, I do," said I. While I appreciate their honestly, it just hit me below the belt. So, I told them all that once my hair grew back, I was going to grow it as long as we all liked it and then I'd stop growing it. "Longer than it was before, Mommy?" they asked. And I said, "As long as we like it!"

So, as much as I'd like to admit that my kids are not at all phased by what has happened to me, I am glad they acknowledge that something happened, even if 99% of the time they act as if I am not someone on chemo, just their mommy...

Monday, September 7, 2009

My big boy starts kindergarten tomorrow!

I am so excited that my son starts kindergarten tomorrow. It's not that pre-school isn't exciting, but I just had such fond memories of public school that I am excited for him. Okay, don't get me wrong, I've had my share of not-so-fond memories.

For instance, when I was in 5th grade, I was starting to develop more than most of the other girls, and that was hard enough. But I have this memory of having an outfit that was all white, from my white polo shirt and pants to my white belt...but maybe I had a pair of brown Docksiders...in any event, I was very proud of this outfit. However, some of the boys made fun of the outfit. One boy told me I looked like a milkman (that one wasn't so bad) but some of the kids were reading a book called the White Mountains. Guess what? One of the boys told me I looked like the white mountains...I was devastated! So I guess I've always had issues with my chest!

But I digress. I hope tomorrow is alot of fun for him and that he enjoys school as much as I did...and that his least fond memories are really just good for a laugh!!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

My left one takes a road trip...and perspective

It has been too long since I've posted anything. Well, I guess that means I am doing pretty well. I wanted to write while I was away last week to say how happy I was that I was away, despite still days of bone pain, but I'm tired of the same old same old.

Instead, I'll talk about how excited I am that I only have ONE more chemo treatment next Friday. Then, my hair will start growing back, I'll get rid of this nasty taste in my mouth (seriously, the WHOLE summer with a gross feeling and taste in my mouth...I couldn't even drown my chemo sorrows in junk food!), no more bone aches, no more exhaustion, no more depression from the medicine. I am totally looking forward to getting back to working out and yoga classes. I am looking forward to November's surgery of having these awful tissue expanders out of my chest and to get some implants that don't feel like I always have rocks in my chest.

But here's a funny story that I forgot to post: I was at the mall two weeks ago, trying to find something to wear (story of my life, right?) and I went into a dressing room and looked at myself in the mirror with a new shirt on and noticed something off...one of my boobs looked about an inch or so lower than the other. I looked so OFF. Now, the thing that caught my attention, besides being FREAKED OUT, is that I look at myself in the mirror all the time, or so I thought. I mean, you think I would have noticed if one boob was hanging THAT MUCH lower than the other, right? I guess I look like such a freak show to myself naked that I kind of do one of those looks where I'm not looking directly at myself, but I can get a general look at my body and that's enough, so I just quickly throw clothes on. I guess I never really looked at myself. So much so that when I was in the dressing room, I was FRANTIC that something was wrong. When I called the doctor's office and spoke to the nurse, she just kept saying, "Hmmm, hmmm...well, it's not under your underarm, is it?" And then I was thinking to myself, "What kind of crap happens to people??? I thought an inch was bad!" I mean, could you imagine adding that insult to injury? It's not bad enough that you had breast cancer and decided the best option was to get rid of your real breasts for total implants (and as cool as I like to make it sound, these expanders suck and there is nothing that I would like more for my chest than to have my old breasts back), but THEN, while you are going through chemotherapy, you boob decides to take a road trip under your arm??? What the flibbity flop is that crap? And, as the nurse informed me, even if there was a severe problem, they WILL NOT perform any sort of procedure while you are going through chemotherapy. So, if my expander DID go under my arm, I'd just have to live with it hanging out there??? OMG! I did go see a reconstruction surgeon who confirmed mine was just fine, but I also feel so much better knowing it COULD be so much worse. It's all about perspective.

Which is why today, while I was in the waiting room waiting to be called to have my IV treatment of Herceptin, and I talked with some women and heard their stories of how they had asked for mammograms and found out after too long of asking that they had breast cancer and bad, and saw the woman sitting near me suffering from lymphadema (she has to wear a supportive sock on her arm because she has no lymph nodes, or very few, and has problems with circulation and such) I was so glad my situation just wasn't that bad in comparison. And I have great, happy, healthy kids and a husband who actually wants to be around us and wants to help us and tons of family who want to help out anyway they can, and friends who are constantly checking up on us and helping us out...what more could I ask for? Only that I am not so strict with the kids about playing in mud and let go a little bit more...so I am doing VERY well. AND, did I mention I only have one more chemo treatment and then I'm done with that??? Oh yeah, party time (when I get my taste buds back!!!)