breast cancer, family, kids, life, Uncategorized

Creeping

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Not mine. No infringement intended.

The last few days, this quote by Charlotte Eriksson has been what I try to do. It’s been hard. I’m just creeping along, limping along, a car about to blow a gasket or throw a rod.

I’m exhausted at the end of each school day. It’s been a little over a month since my surgery. Back in February, when I was originally scheduled to have this surgery, Dr. L told me most people need 6-8 weeks to recover from it. Maybe I have pushed myself too much, too hard, expected too much, too soon, yet I can’t stop. I need to do what I have to do, even when I think I can’t do anymore. My kids and family need me. My students need me. There’s no real excuse for me not to be able to do what I have to do. I don’t want to be weak, a drama queen.

But, I’m so damned tired.

I need to stop staying up late, yet I stay up late so I can relax. I read. I Pinterest. I blog. I Facebook. I Twitter. I try to keep my mind on other things so my brain doesn’t do its scumbag routine as it’s done so much over the last week.

The hardest of the cancerversaries are over. There are still a few left…the day I met Dr. H. The day I met Dr. O. The day I started chemo. Those pale in comparison to the others, though. The hardest ones are in August. Facing those days, those anniversaries, was grueling. I tried not to let them get to me, but they did.

Maybe that’s why I’m creeping along right now. I’m trying to recover, to put parts of myself back together, to recover from the physical and emotional toll the last year took on me while hoping I’m nearing an end of this part of the roller coaster. Two and a half more weeks until, what I hope is, my last Herceptin, until I see Dr. I again, and maybe get to hear four words: no evidence of disease. But, until then, I’m just slowly creeping along, doing my best to do more than exist, to live, to savor each day, or at least savor something about each day.

 

 

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breast cancer, family, kids, life, Uncategorized

That hasn’t happened in a while…

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From lovethispic.com. No infringement intended 

Nothing like getting home from a great day at the water park with the kids and getting slammed by all the feels from the last year while showering off the sunscreen and chlorine.

I really thought I’d managed to avoid an emotional tsunami, but nope. Thank God for A who lets me sob it out and go through my litany of reasons why my scumbag brain tells me I ended up with cancer and how it’s going to come back and kill me and if breast cancer doesn’t, some other cancer will, because again, my brain is a scumbag, and then, he tells me to stop blaming myself for the last year, I didn’t cause this, I’m not being punished for things my brain comes up with, and to go splash water on my face and calm down.

I really, really thought I’d managed to avoid getting slapped by all the feels from this first cancerversary, but I didn’t.

Maybe it’s done now.

breast cancer, family, kids, life, teaching, Uncategorized

It’s been a year…

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Found on Pinterest via allwomenstalk. No infringement intended. 

 

The first week of school is over. I made it. There is no tired like the first week of school tired for teachers and students. For fun, my abdominal incision from my DIEP split open slightly in the dead middle of my abdomen. The split is about four inches long. It’s not infected. It is weeping some. I saw Dr. L, my plastic surgeon, on Wednesday. He told me he isn’t concerned, we do standard wound care, and he’ll see me again in three weeks. He did say if it turns red and hot or starts smelling really bad, I should call asap.

That’s lovely.

He also told me where my incision split is the most common place for a DIEP abdominal incision to split because the skin is pulled the tightest there. He said there is a lot of tension in that area, and now, that area is farthest from the blood supply, so this isn’t an uncommon complication. Best case scenario, the split slowly heals on its own. Worst case scenario, I have to have another surgery to stitch it back together.

I guess the fact that 24 inches of the incision healed really well makes up for the 4 inches that are currently being stupid.

I had what I hope is my second to last Herceptin treatment yesterday.

Today is the one year anniversary of being told I have (had?) breast cancer.

A told me yesterday evening that I get to be upset about it for one day, but after that, no more. I told him this has been such a terrible year. He agreed…to an extent. He reminded me of the good things that happened over the last year: I have a job I love where I work with amazing people; S and AJ had a good school year and are off to a great start to this school year; we are blessed to have such a strong and loving support system of friends, family, and coworkers; I’ve lost thirty pounds; I like my hair short, and so does he; I kicked my Coca Cola addiction; I discovered a love for crazy hair and hair colors; I’m still here.

Yes, this year was difficult. Yes, I’ve struggled. A lot. Yes, there are days where I still feel like cancer will get the best of me and will take my life. Yes, I still cry over what’s happened to me and what it’s done to my family. Yes, I still wonder what I did to have cancer happen to me at 37. Yes, I still have one-sided rants at God. Yes, I hug my children a little tighter and say yes to more things than I should (Pokemon hunting…Legos…late night Uno…take out dinners). Yes, I still have nightmares (fewer and farther between).

As hard as this year has been, I’ve learned some things about myself, though, too. I’ve learned to ask for help. I’ve learned to admit when I can’t do something. I’ve learned it’s ok to admit when I’m overwhelmed. I’ve learned it’s ok to cry on a friend’s shoulder when I need to cry. I’ve learned it’s ok to take time for me. I’ve learned I can face my worst fear. I may not always face it head on, I may let it break me sometimes, but I put the pieces back together and face the next day.

I don’t want to be weak. I’ve allowed cancer to steal so much from me…my joy, my smile, my balance, my happy, my peace. It’s been a struggle to find those again, and to be honest, I haven’t found them in any sort of consistent manner. Last night, A told me he needs me to find my smile again. He told me he misses my smile, my happy. I need to find my smile, my happy, my joy, my peace again.

So, I’ll work on finding my smile, my joy, my happy, my peace. And, I’ll work on remembering, I’m still here…I’m still me. I’m  just changed by the obstacles put in front of me since August 27, 2015.

breast cancer, family, kids, life, teaching, Uncategorized

Expectations

My second to last Herceptin treatment is this Friday. I desperately want to believe that come September 16, I will be done with treatment for breast cancer. I want to believe it’s not going to come back, that I’m going to be cancer free for many years, that I’m going to see S and AJ grow up, that I’m going to live.

It’s hard.

A friend told me I have to change my mindset to that of expectations. I expect September 16 to be my last Herceptin treatment. I expect to be done with breast cancer treatment. I expect I’m going to be cancer free for years. I expect to see S and AJ grow up. I expect to live.

But, a small part of me, no, that’s a lie, a large part of me feels like saying “I expect…” is really tempting Fate. My friend, though, told me that instead of feeling that way, I have to feel confident in my expectations.

Isn’t that setting myself up for failure though? That’s how it feels…

Feeling like a failure is one part of being diagnosed with breast cancer that I can’t shake. I feel like a failure. I developed breast cancer at 37. While I know there’s no genetic explanation as far as my genetic testing goes, I still blame myself. I feel like there’s something I could have done differently, done better. But, as another friend reminds me, there are people who live the healthiest lives they can lead and develop cancer…then, there’s the opposite, the unhealthy, who never develop cancer. Still, I feel like I failed. I failed A. I failed S and AJ. I failed my parents, my family, my friends. I’m 38 with breast cancer. I’m 38 and wondering if I’ll live to see 40. I’m 38 and wondering how long I have to mother my kids. I’m 38.

I expected to have a long life. Now, I don’t. I didn’t think twice about eating or drinking something sugary. Now, I beat myself up over every candy bar or Dr. Pepper. I felt like I had all the time in the world. Now, I don’t. I didn’t think twice about staying up way late. Now, I beat myself up because I know being sleep deprived affects my health.

I never expected to have breast cancer. I was one of those arrogant women who thought, “That’ll never happen to me.” How stupid and egotistical of me. So, how is expecting my cancer treatment to end and the cancer to stay away not egotistical and arrogant?

This is what I grapple with right now as the anniversaries keep rolling by me.

I wore a pair of pants to work today that I haven’t worn since the second day of school last school year. Today’s the second day of this school year. Last school year, on the second day of school, I went to have a biopsy done. I was told it was 70% likely the tumor was going to be cancerous. I felt my whole life slip away from me last school year on the second day of school. And, even though today is not the same day, date wise, it still feels the same. I’ve had to tell six class periods of 30 or more students that I’m still in treatment for breast cancer. Many of the students in my classes are students I had last year in my honors class who are now in my AP class. They know. They were there for most of it, but not all of the kids are students I had last year. I believe students have to see their teachers as human beings, so I share my life, somewhat, with my students. I could hide I’m still in treatment, but what’s the point? This is my life…until September 16. Then, I expect to be done with treatment. I expect Dr. O to tell me I can say I’m in recovery from breast cancer, or I can finally say I had breast cancer.

But, in the back of my head, there’s a little voice that whispers, “Yeah, but with your luck, it’s just going to come back and kill you as soon as it can.” Thanks scumbag brain. You’re a peach for that.

What happens when my expectations don’t match my reality? What happens if I have all these expectations only to be crushed by the whims of Fate? What happens?

So, I whisper, “I expect September 16 to be my last treatment. I expect to be done with breast cancer treatment. I expect to be cancer free for years. I expect to see S and AJ grow up.” I whisper it because I’m afraid to say it too loud. I whisper it because it’s too hard to say it louder. I whisper it because it’s my deepest hopes, and I’m scared of having my hopes crushed.

I’ve spent a year having my hopes crushed and rebuilt to be crushed again and rebuilt. I expect this year to be different.

I hope this year is different.

breast cancer, family, kids, life, teaching, Uncategorized

Better Angels (#squadgoals)

I should be working in my classroom, preparing for Monday, but this post keeps circling in my head. I can’t let it go, so it’s time to get it out.

I heard Katy Perry’s new song “Rise” when the Olympics began. It caught my attention, but I didn’t pay much attention to all the lyrics. Then, I heard it on the radio one afternoon as I drove home, and I burst into tears.

The next two weeks have the potentially to be an emotional beatdown. August 18th was the one year anniversary of hearing my OBGYN, Dr. B (who is retiring at the end of August, and I’m devastated. I can’t imagine I’m going to find another OBGYN as caring and amazing as Dr. B) tells me the place I could feel in my left breast needed further testing. Today, August 20th, is the one year anniversary of that further testing and hearing a doctor tell me he could see an area of distortion in my left breast where the mass was and it was a 50/50 shot if the area of distortion was the result of a cancerous tumor or a benign tumor. We all know how that turned out for me. He told me I needed a biopsy. August 25th will be the one year anniversary of the biopsies and hearing a different doctor tell me she was 70% sure the tumor causing the area of distortion would come back as breast cancer. August 27th will be the one year anniversary of hearing those four words: “You have breast cancer.” I’m struggling as I face these dates. I don’t mind admitting it. This is hard. I sit here and wonder, am I disease free? Is it going to come back? Is Tamoxifen and the radiation doing their jobs? Did the surgery get it all?

Then, I heard “Rise,” and the speaker of “Rise” tells my story. The first half of the song is my mindset some days, more days than not. I am trying to thrive. My ending of my story is not written yet, and someone else’s story is not my own. I am my own archetype. I’m not the damsel in distress. I’m not the heroine. I’m not any of those. I’m me, and I’m lucky because I have a family with deep roots with each other and in our communities. Those roots run through me. I am not alone in this, even when I feel alone. There are days, more days than not, where I do not feel “victory is in my veins,” but secretly, deep down, secretly, I hope it is victory which runs through my veins. The one thing I have absolutely refused to do over the last year is negotiate with my desire to survive. I demanded my doctors do everything they could to get me in at Baylor Dallas with Dr. O. I did the most rigorous course of chemo and targeted therapies I could do for HER2+ breast cancer. I did not stay home and wallow too much, but there were days that I couldn’t handle and were hard, but still, I shook them off, eventually. I came to work. I taught my classes. I graded papers. I went to every school event I could go to. I did my job as a mother to the best of my abilities. I went to their school activities. I kept up with everything as much as I could, even when I felt horrible. I refused to let cancer steal my daily life too much. Yes, there were days when cancer and cancer treatment won, but there were more days when I did, even if I didn’t feel that way. I did fight. I still fight. We ALL fight demons everyday. Self doubt. Anxiety. Diseases. Exhaustion. Whatever our demons may be. But, we push though, even when all hope looks to be lost. We still rise. I still rise.

But, there are days, there have been days, there will be days when I can’t fight. I have little faith. I doubt myself and everything about my life. I feel hopeless. It’s too hard. And that is where my better angels, my squad, my friends, coworkers, and family, come in and remind me that I will not doubt, I will not negotiate, I will fight, I will rise again. I’ll be different. Everything may be different, but I can find my way through if I just let them help. They are part of my roots, my better angels. And, as these really hard days approach, they tell me some things that helps: Someone else’s story is not your story. You have an incredible medical team. You’ve done everything you can do. This is out of your hands. We love you. We’re here for you, anytime, anywhere, anything. Here’s dinner. Take it and be quiet. I’m coming to get S and AJ for the afternoon or evening. Can I help you set up your classroom? You wear that pixie cut so well! Are you going to keep your hair that way (I don’t know…maybe. I’m enjoying the faux hawk, though)?  How are you doing, and you better tell the truth. I know when you’re lying. I know your tells. Don’t treat me like a stranger. If you need to cry, cry. Here’s my shoulder.

They remind me to rise. They douse the fire at my feet. They tell me I am not out of time yet. I’m still here.

I’m still here.

I would not be here without them. They are my better angels. They are the reason I can rise on days when I want to pull the covers over my head. When I can’t, they can. My better angels prop me up when my faith is shaken and gone. They help me find my steady and my faith again. I rise because they insist I rise.

I know angels exists. I see them everyday in my life. They’re my friends, my family, my coworkers. They’re the reason the last year did not decimate me. It cracked me and it broke me, but with their help, I could put myself back together. Some pieces are missing, some pieces are irrevocably changed and forced into space, some pieces are tattered, but those pieces, they’re there. I’m still here. My story isn’t someone else’s story. We don’t know what my story is. My better angels remind me of that every single day.

So, thanks to them, I rise.

breast cancer, family, kids, life, teaching, Uncategorized

Somewhat Steadier

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Found on quotesgram. No infringement intended.

Friday was a better day. I woke up a little steadier. That helped. What really helped, though, ironically to me considering how unsteady I felt on Thursday, was going to work. I had to attend an institute for PreAP/AP teachers, and I was supposed to be a presenter at the institute. Earlier in the week, I emailed the organizer to tell her I didn’t think I could do the presentation, but when I arrived on Friday, she told me she had not seen that email, had already talked to the team I was presenting with, and everyone knew and understood I was less than three weeks out from major surgery. She wanted me in the room as support, to offer my experience, and to represent my school. Her unshakable faith in me helped me find some steady.

During the afternoon session of the institute, I finally wrapped my head around how I want to teach my AP English class this year. I’ve been mulling some ideas over for most of the summer, but I couldn’t make it make sense. I had the opportunity to sit down with two colleagues from other schools and talk through my ideas with them. They helped me fine tune my ideas, which allowed me to sketch out the year. I already had my overarching question for the year. They helped me see how to make everything flow together. Their helpfulness helped me find some steady.

After the institute, I talked to a friend, who also happens to be a coworker, whose wife is a breast cancer survivor. She’s a dozen years out. He let me talk, just talk, about how hard it’s been anticipating the helliversaries and the coming (hopefully) end of treatment. He listened. Then, he talked to me about his wife, and he validated some of my feelings and fears. And, he reminded me, the only story that is mine…is mine. He echoed what A has told me countless times over the last year: Other people’s stories are not my story. I have to fight against putting myself in their shoes, no matter how much I empathize. His kindness and insight helped me find some steady.

I spent this weekend doing normal back-to-school stuff. My mom, S, AJ, and I went back-to-school clothes shopping. I swear, S grew two inches this summer. She’s nearly as tall as me, she’s taller than A’s mom now, and she’s taller than her best friend again. They’re both tall, and they’re usually equal or almost equal to each other in height, but not right now. She needed some new pants and new sneakers. AJ needed new sneakers, but up until today, he’s refused to learn how to tie shoes. We did everything we could think of to teach him, but nothing worked until today. Small victory, but he learned how to do it, and he proudly selected a pair of tie up sneakers. He’s so excited. Just being a normal mom helped me find some steady.

I’ve been hesitant to buy any clothes because I really don’t know what sizes I wear anymore, especially after the DIEP. We went to one of my favorite clothing stores, and they had some things I just couldn’t resist trying on. I walked out with three pairs of pants for work or weekend, another maxi dress, two shirts, a necklace, a pair of earrings, and a headband. I know…I indulged. A lot. But, for the first time in a long time, I put on clothes and loved the way I looked. I felt pretty. It’s been a long time since I felt that way. I wasn’t self-conscious…well, not entirely. The scars on my foobs showed through one shirt, or they did to me, but I still bought the shirt. I can cover it up. A scarf. A cardigan. It didn’t bother me that much because I felt so good about the way I looked. Feeling normal helped me find some steady.

I still tire out quicker than I want. I still cry more than I want. I still doubt more than I want. But, I do not feel helplessness and am not as unsteady as I was. That matters.

When all this began, a very good friend gave me some advice she told me she once gave her teenage son-some days, there may not be much, but something has to be enough. There’s something that you can look at and say, “For today, that matters. That’s enough.”

So, find some steady in some areas of my life, that matters. For today, that’s enough.

breast cancer, family, kids, life, teaching, Uncategorized

Still in search of steady

I went back to work today. I’m 15 days post op.

I got up at 6:15, took my time getting dressed…I changed clothes three times trying to find something to wear that looked nice, was comfortable, and wouldn’t bother my incision site.

I kissed my babies goodbye as they slept, thanked my in laws for keeping the kids for me, got in my car, and drove to work.

It was a long day, and as I sit here at 8:45 pm, I know the day won. I am exhausted. My incision aches. Two of my drain sites keep leaking even though the drains were removed yesterday. Tonight, I feel drained, physically and emotionally. A is working late tonight. S had dance for three hours this evening. The kids and I did not get home until 8:30 tonight.

It’s been a long, long day.

I didn’t feel steady today. I didn’t have the usual pre-school year rush. I was withdrawn today. I needed alone time to recharge. I needed to think, to speculate, to examine. I love my job. I love where I work. I love being a teacher. I have amazing coworkers. My career, my calling, is not why I can’t find my steady.

It’s because I’m less than three weeks from a surgery that has a 6-8 week recovery time.

It’s because the first helliversary (I like this new word) of my diagnosis is approaching.

It’s because I feel my mortality more right now.

It’s because the last twelve months have been nothing but a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual beating.

I need to find my steady again. I haven’t had it for weeks. I feel like I’ve hit a wall, but I haven’t bounced back from it yet. It’s taking me longer to bounce back at a time when I need to bounce back quickly. Lately, I need more from A and the kids to help me find my steady. I need hugs from them, help from them, I just need them. I need A to listen with intent. I need his steadiness to stabilize mine.

I’m needy. I hate being needy. I need time. I need quiet support. I need rest. I need. I just need.

I need to find my steady.

But, I’m not sure where to look.

breast cancer, family, kids, life, Uncategorized

Regrouping

Yesterday was a hard day. I didn’t sleep well. I fell asleep the night before after writing my prior post and felt like I’d ripped a bandage off a huge part of my heart and left a raw place. I woke crying. I know how that sounds, dramatic and weak, and maybe it is dramatic and weak, but it is what it is.

A isn’t one to let me sit and be upset without talking to him, especially if it’s obvious something is weighing me down. So, he sat down beside me on our bed and said, “Let me guess. Your dreams were full of cancer and death and sadness and all around misery, right?” I nodded, and A sort of let me have it.

“This has been a hard twelve months. No doubt about it. But, look at what we’ve done. We managed to keep things together, keep the kids’ lives as normal as possible, started new jobs, and we’ve dealt with cancer. I know the anniversary of this hell is coming up, and normally I wouldn’t say this, but I say we celebrate it because you’re still here. We’re still here. I know you’re going to say it’s tempting Fate, but the fact we made it through the last year as well as we have is something worth celebrating.”

I don’t know if he’s right, but I get where he’s coming from with this. I told him my biggest fear is being a failure and ruining everyone’s lives, particularly S and AJ, if I die from this.

“Not going to happen. They have too many people who love them to let it ruin their lives. It’ll be the hardest thing we’ll deal with, but I won’t let them fall. I promise you that. I won’t tell you not to worry about, but I’m telling you, I’ve never broken a promise to you.”

And, it really is that simple. He’s never broken a promise to me. We’ve been together over twenty years. He’s been my rock for over half my life. He’ll be S and AJ’s rock, too. He already is. He’s right. No matter what happens to me, the kids have so many people who love them, they won’t fall through the cracks. They’re going to be okay. It’s me that’s tearing herself apart over what might be and what could happen.

I need to regroup. “You get one day to feel the way you feel,” A told me yesterday. So, today, I’m regrouping.

I slept a little better. I haven’t needed pain pills in two days. I’m only uncomfortable from the drains because they’re in my way.

I sat the kids down early this afternoon and asked them what they wanted to do today, within reason, and I’d try to make it happen as long as they understood I might not be able to do what they want or I might get tired. I told them they had to absolutely respect my limits. They agreed…then, they asked to go swimming. I just sighed at them. I knew it was going to be what they wanted to do. And, I agreed. Physically, I feel fine today. Emotionally, I needed a day of semi-normalcy with them. So, I took them. They found a chaise lounge in the shade for me to camp out, and they swam for a few hours. I sat and watched, happy to be there. I did nothing more than sit and watch, but it was enough. AJ came and sat with me at one point and told me, “From the bottom of my heart, thank you, Mommy. This has been an awesome day.” Then, he clinked his water bottle of mine and said, “Cheers!” I laughed. AJ is my unexpectedly sweet child. He rarely holds still long enough for a hug. He’s got stuff to do. So, when I get one of his rare moment of stillness, it’s something to savor.

Today seemed as if the kids knew how badly I needed a day with them. They’re my reason to regroup. A is my reason to regroup. I’m steadier today. S and AJ are a large part of why…a semi-ok night sleep is the other reason.

They need me to regroup, so I will.

breast cancer, family, life, Uncategorized

Almost two and a half feet

IMG_8162That’s how long my abdominal incision is. 28 inches. We got bored today, so A measured it (by we, I mean me).

28 inches.

It spans from the mid-back part of my left hip bone across my abdomen to the mid-back part of my right hip bone. Seriously, think of a pair of jeans. Imagine the side seam on the leg. Now, come up to the hip and draw a line all the way across to the other side seam. That’s my incision. It’s long. It’s gnarly. It’s held together by layers of stitches and glue, a lot of surgical glue. There are bruises and areas that ooze the occasional drop of blood.

28. Inches.

I’m fairly amazed at how little pain I’m in from it. I do tire more easily, and the incision no longer hurts. Occassionally, it aches, but I think that’s more the skin stretching.

28 inches doesn’t seem like a tall hurdle to cross, but it is.

Cancer hasn’t given me a break since this time last August. This coming week is the last week I had any ignorance of what waited for me. My ride on the cancer coaster began August 18, 2015, even though all we knew on that day was my OBGYN wanted a baseline mammogram and ultrasound of my left breast. August 20, 2015 began to confirm my fears. An area of distortion, the radiologist said. We need more tests. August 25, 2015 those tests were done. August 27, 2015 and I heard, “You have breast cancer.”

I want to dream my ride on the coaster is coming to an even piece of track that extends slowly, with no sudden drops or hills. I want to dream cancer, in its current form, will be my past and not my future. I know I will never be cancer free because how can you be free from something that changes you so fundamentally? I want to dream I will see S and AJ grow into young adults. I want to dream I will still grow old.

Cancer stripped me of my sense of well being, my sense of immortality, my health, and at times, more times than I can count, my joy and my peace. I cried a little with A tonight. We were talking about the new house. I told him I was scared I’d only get to live there as a sick person instead of a healthy person, enjoying the new areas with her children. I don’t want my children’s only memories of me in the new house to be as a sick and dying person. A sat beside me and said, “If we let fears like that guide us, you and I, we’re both dead. I can’t live that way, and I won’t let you live that way. I know you feel your time is short. I’ll be damned if I’m going to let you grieve for time you don’t know if you’re really going to lose.”

He’s a hell of a guy.

I get melancholy as summers come to an end. I’m not ready to give up the long hours with S and AJ, even on the days they make me crazy because they’re stir crazy. I’m not ready to take back the responsibility of 150+ other kids who need my attention. I feel cheated this summer, and I feel as if I’ve cheated S and AJ because of the time we’ve lost together over the last week and a half because of this surgery.

28 inches. Almost two and a half feet. My blood. My skin. My hopes and dreams in those 28 inches for a rebuilt life. I’ll never be who I was this time last summer again. I’ll never be who I am right now again. I am at the whims of Fate.

I crave peace. I crave peace. I crave peace. Yet, I fear letting go of my fear. I can’t find peace until I let go of my fear. Maybe those 28 inches can be my pound of flesh. My penance. My plea to God to let me survive this disease. Hear me. See me. Don’t forsake me.

A insists if I keep living in fear, I’m as good as dead. I fear if I let go of the fear, God will smite me. The proverbial rock and hard place. I’m stuck in a purgatory of my own design…perhaps it can only be healed by time, yet time is what I fear. Time for the cancer to hide, to regroup, to regrow, to rear its incurable head. Then, though, time is also what I crave as much as peace. More time with S and AJ and A. More time to savor those three pieces of my soul, those three who make my soul whole. More time to make a difference, to imprint myself upon S and AJ, to live, to mother, to love.

I may die to cancer. I may survive cancer only to die to something else. It’s hard to imagine dying to anything else when cancer connotates death. Time offers a false promise. Time could allow the cancer to come back. Could. That’s the key word. Could. Time is what I want the most, though, so I take what I can get. I could be dead in six months. I could live another sixty years.

I’ve given my blood, my skin, my tears, my health, and my well-being to this disease. At some point, enough becomes enough, and maybe I’ve reached that point.

28 inches. Almost two and a half feet. Maybe that’s the length of my breaking point.

breast cancer, life, Uncategorized

Why do you have so much adhesive on you?

9 days post DIEP

I had my third to last Herceptin infusion today. When I sat down, the nurse boggled at my left arm and shoulder. I had a lot of tape remnants from my shoulder to my hand. I’ve tried removing it every time I shower, but honestly, it was low on my priorities. If I couldn’t scratch it off, I gave up. My nurse, once she accessed my port without me feeling it (magic!) and hooked up the Herceptin, and I explained why I had so much adhesive on me, she went to the front desk, grabbed something, and then came right back and gave me some goo-gone pads.

So, I spent a good 15 minutes getting the adhesive off my left arm. I’ll tackle the squares on my stomach later. Maybe. I have so much glue on me, I’m pretty ambivalent about it. It gave me something to do during the longest 90 minutes of my day.

I’ve been cranky today. I’m uncomfortable in my skin today. I long to lay on my stomach. (CONFESSION: I tried to lay on my stomach. I managed it for a minute. Then, I got stuck. Adjustable bed to the rescue!) My drains are on my nerves. I wore a nice, comfortable, cotton maxi dress to treatment and semi-hid the drains by attaching them to seams on the inside of the dress using safety pins, but the ones of my left side were kind of obvious.

I had to wait almost an hour after I checked in to be called back for my infusion. In my crankiness, the wait grated on me. I ranted about it on Facebook. My mother texted me, innocently enough, asking how I was doing, and I replied that I’m a thousand percent over everything and hate cancer. She texted back, very diplomatically, that she loves me very much and is happy to do whatever I need her to do, including doing nothing.

She knows me well. I’m the contradictory child. I need to be social and to have solitude. She knows endless days of needing help and being around people all the time wears on me, and I turn into the person annoyed by everything. She knows I need space when I hit this point. Very few people in my life get that about me. My mom and dad. My husband. My mother in law. My oldest/longest friend. They get it. They get I’m not wallowing in misery. I’m just annoyed.

My abdominal incision is the source of most of my annoyance right now (my drains are the other part). It doesn’t hurt anymore. My pain level from it is a zero, but oh my gosh, the pressure/tightness from where my skin was yanked down and stitched and glued just sucks. I know it’ll get better. Eventually. And, I’m really glad it doesn’t hurt like it did this time last week. I mean, this time last week I was nauseous and in pain. Not the best experience!

I meant what I texted my mom. Today, in my crankiness, I’m a thousand percent over cancer and my seat on the cancer coaster. I’m so over this. When I look back over the last twelve months, I know I haven’t been my best, but I sure haven’t been my worst. All things considered, I feel like I’ve handled this as well as I could.