Tag Archive | Breast Cancer

Hitting rock Bottom

I couldn’t get over the loss of our beloved furbaby, Riley.   It hit me so hard, it broke me in a way that I couldn’t pick myself back up.  I cried for days on end.   It didn’t help that the day she went to kittie heaven was the anniversary that I lost my Mom.   And of course, the circumstances surrounding the passing of Riley.  Let’s just say, I don’t know how to forgive my dogs, especially Honey.   I’m so sad and heartbroke.  I can’t look at her without crying my heart out.  She totally broke my heart.  Dealing with that on top of everything else and the anniversary of my Mama was just too much for me. 

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 I didn’t see it coming, but this was the beginning of my downward spiral.   It was an avalanche of pure pain and despair and I didn’t know if I was gonna pull through.  Something in me snapped, mentally, and it sent me spiraling into a dark, ugly world. 

 

Sept 25 –   My aches and pains haven’t subsided at all.   Everyday it get worse and worse.   I have an appointment with my primary doctor at the end of the month to discuss all this pain and I can’t wait.  I have the pain meds that my oncologist gave me but I just don’t want to take such a heavy medication all the time, even though it does help with the pain.  It doesn’t help me to sleep.   It seems like I’m taking pure caffiene.  It keeps me wide awake.  Getting out of bed has become very hard.  My joints  and my bones hurt sooo bad.   Sitting in one spot for even just a little while has become dreadful.  Everything hurts.  My feet, the bottoms of my feet, my heels, my knees, my back.   I. . just. . hurt. . everywhere.  It’s still hurts very much for me to grasp the steering wheel.  I’ve never had this kind of physical pain before.   Not even through the chemo.  So, why is this hitting me now??  I finished chemo 7 weeks ago.  What is going on??  I hope my primary has some answers for me.   

Sept. 28 – It rained for 6 hours straight last night.  And as much as I love the rain and cloudy days, it really brought me down.  This kind of weather never makes me feel this way but this time it was horrible.  It made me soo sad. I couldn’t wait for the rain to go away.   I’ve tried my best to have good days but I just miss my furbaby so much and all this pain doesn’t help either.   I’ve cried everyday but in public I put on a happy face.  I’ve been getting these weird feelings at night when I’m trying to get some sleep.   Something washes over me.   I don’t know if its bits of anxiety or what.   But I don’t like how it feels and I’ve noticed it’s happening at night. 

 Tonight Dominic and I are having a dinner date with Clara Sue and her husband.   We are gonna cook at her house and make chicken fried steak..  mmmm.    Even though I love her company and can’t wait to hang out, there is a part of me that doesn’t wanna go.   Maybe I can get out of this funk.   This pain just makes it hard to enjoy anything. 

On a better note,  I took these pictures before we left.   This is the progress so far. 

 

8 weeks post chemotherapy

 

 Dinner was great and so was the company.  We decided to watch a movie.   The newest Transformers.   They had never seen it and we just bought it, so, it’s a movie night.   Getting comfortable was nearly impossible.  My joints are starting to lock up on me and the idea of sitting through a 2+ hour movie brought me down.   I hid the misery of my pain but tried to enjoy it the best that I could.   Those feelings that I mentioned earlier bubbled up to the surface during a cliff scene in the movie.   I don’t know why but during this scene, feelings of dread just washed over me.  It actually gave me anxiety.   It felt like I was dangling from that cliff about to fall.  It was a horrible feeling that I couldnt get rid of.   I never feel like this during movies, EVER.   These are the same feelings that I’ve been feeling at night.  For some reason this particular scene triggered those feelings.  It actually made me feel scared.   I don’t understand.  Why would I feel this way??  Over a movie?   Especially when you have your good friends and your son sitting next to you.   After it was over, I couldn’t move from the chair that I was sitting on.  My body just felt like it locked up.  I didnt mention anything about the feelings I was having.   Forcing myself up, we got ready to leave.  On the drive home, those feelings would come and go.   Got home, got ready for bed and lying there, here they come again.   I feel so anxious. That uneasiness washed over me and I just had to cry.  I couldn’t even tell you why.  I don’t know what it is.  It’s something else other than sadness.    ? ? ? ? ? 

Sept 29 – Doctor visit – Here with my primary discussing  all of my issues. I gained a pound!  Can you believe that?   She was shocked to learn all I had been through.  She checked me up and down.  On the surface, she couldn’t find a single thing wrong with me.  She had no idea what was causing me so much pain.  She suggested that it could be the barometric pressure.  There were lots of suggestions.   So, she ordered a ton of tests.  She’s sending me for xrays and blood tests to make sure the chemo didn’t give me an onset of osteoarthiritis or fibromyalga, etc.  Also, she wants me to get an ultrasound on my thyroid and to come back in on Nov. 1st for a follow up.  She wants me to go to physical therapy, she does NOT like the idea of the percocet on a daily basis.   She also reminds me that I’ve had a rough year and that my body is trying to decondition itself.   Okay, I understand that.   But does it have to cause this kind of pain?   I was going to mention the feelings that I started having but I figured it really wasn’t that important right now and they would go away soon enough.  I just want relief from it all and to be able to do things normally again.  

 I’ve been searching the internet looking for answers on all these after affects.   None of my doctors from my oncology team could explain how I feel, neither could my primary.   I know it’s not all in my head and I REALLY should be feeling better by now.    I’m going on 2 months post chemo.   What the hell???   Since no one can give me any answers up front I’m going to try some natural stuff.  I found this online and from the reviews, it seems to work great.  ‘Joint care essentials’   I’m gonna give it a whirl and see if it helps me.  

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I also started taking turmeric 2x a day.  I NEED relief!!!    I’m starting to get impatient with everything.  The cloudy, rainy weather that we’ve been having really set into my bones.   The shootings in Las Vegas hit me hard.   It got to me in a different way, as if I knew those people personally.   It added to my already somber/fragile state and I just sunk further into sadness.   I couldn’t watch the news, or read any magazines on the tragedy.   My heart and mind just couldnt handle it.  I cried and cried.   

Oct 4 – So much for a sunny day 😢 I feel sad and blue 😔

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I see both my oncologist and radiation oncologist on Oct. 5 and I start physical therapy on the 6th and do my ultrasound of my thyroid.   I already did my bloodwork and my xray on my knee.   So, we’ll see what happens.   Hopefully, I get some answers and something will help. 

 My weekly hair growth progress.   Oct. 4 –

 

9 weeks post chemotherapy  

The hair on my legs is growing back with a vengeance   😆  I hope my hair grows back that fast. 

This is my scar from my lymph node incision.   It doesn’t look bad.   It’s healing very nicely.   I still dont have feeling on the back side of my shoulder/armpit.  They said that would be normal and shouldn’t last that long. 

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All of my labs came back normal.   That means all of this pain is still a mystery.  🤔

Oct. 5 – Today I saw both of my doctors, Oncologist and radiation oncologist.  Everything looks good so far.   Neither one of them was able to explain to me the pain that I’ve been having.   They said it was very unusual.   I have a hard time understanding that.   How can it be unusual??   Your body is basically massacred for months.   How can a person just heal without any reprecussions from all that poison?   They really didn’t seem to care either.  I would get better.   I asked my oncolgist to extend my time off from work.   I’m due to go back on Nov 1 but with all this pain, there is just no way.  I need to be able to lift and grab things and right now, I just can’t.  He extended my time to Dec. 10.    Hopefully, I’ll be good to go by then.  

My radiation oncologist suggested 4 weeks of radiation, daily.   Even though I am basically cancer free, radiation is just another cautionary step.  If I have even the tiniest cell left lingering in there,  this would obliterate it.   I come in on the 10th to do my mapping, to get exact markings for radiation.   These visits will be quick and painless, maybe 10 minutes each.  Then I can truly say, “I am all done, It’s over!!”   

 Oct. 6 – today I started physical therapy.   At first I was annoyed at the fact of therapy but now that this pain has gotten to a chronic point, I can’t wait.   She was very nice.   She had me do a bunch of different motions.  My knees and my feet/ankles hurt the worst right now.   Also my hands/fingers.   It is still so hard for me to grasp anything, like my steering wheel or door knobs.   I explained to her all of my issues and all the pain.   She finally gave me an answer,  something I have been needing since August.  The chemo attacked the cartilage, soft tissues and the ligaments between my joints.  I have horrible tendonitis throughout my body and it’s going to take several months to get back to where I was pre-diagnosis.   She promised she would get me better.   At this point, Im just trying to get through each day the best that I can.  At least now I know where all this pain is coming from.   All of this has gotten me depressed, literally.  There are days I feel so down and just cry.  Nobody talked about the after effects.  So, I wasn’t expecting any of this.   I’ll go every week for physical therapy.  She gave me certain exercises to do at home regularly that are targeted to my most severe pain.   I really hope it helps.  I can’t see myself living the rest of my life in this kind of pain. It is soooo making me depressed.   I come back next week.    Today, I also went in to do my ultrasound on my thyroid.    Let’s see how those results come in.  

This week is balloon fiesta week and as much as I love this time, I’m hating it.   I can’t enjoy it at all.    I love this time of year but this year it has affected me so differently.  Fall is one of my favorite seasons.   The weather gets cooler.   It’s not so hot and dreadful.  But the changing of the season has me so down and sad, I don’t know why.   I feel it all over.  It’s not just in my mind.  I feel it in my bones, in my body.   All the rain that we’ve had lately brought me down as well.   It had me so sad.   I never feel that way.    I LOVE LOVE rain 🌧🌩💧  Not this time.  It made my heart ache 😔 I hate it.  I hate the rain.  I hate the changing of the season.  I hate it all.   What is wrong with me????  

Tonight I recieved a message from a good friend/customer that one of her high school friends had passed away.   From guess what?   Cancer, lung cancer.  It spread to her brain and to her liver and the treatment that she had been recieving wasn’t doing her any good anymore.   I didn’t know this lady, just knew of her struggles.    We had never met.   But I prayed for her as she did for me.  Our mutual friend would tell each of us about the other.  I had high hopes for her.   So, naturally it broke my heart.   Actually, it crushed it.   Again, I felt an overwhelming sadness as if I personally knew her.   I cried for her.   I cried my eyeballs out.  It felt as if I had lost a close friend.   Here I am crying over someone I had never met, just knew of.   My heart hurts.  I am soo sad 😢😢 

I’ve noticed I don’t handle stress very well anymore.  Earlier this week I found a leak behind my Pops’ house.   I thought it was just a puddle from all that rain cuz it’s shaded by the house.  My older brother told me it was a leak and there might be a busted pipe.  That house and everything that comes with it, is so old, I knew one day that was gonna happen.   It stressed me out to no end and I cried like if it was the end of the world.  I feel so broken. 

 Oct 10 –   The morning weather has gotten chilly.  It was 36* this morning when I walked with Dominic to the bus stop.  As much as I’ve been wanting cooler weather, I hate the cold. 

 Today I go in for my mapping to start radiation.   They have to make a mold that I will just lie in eveytime I come in.   That way I just get in it, they line me up, I get radiation and that’s it.   

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Well, this is how my mold (above) turned out annnnnd (below) these are all my markings.   They put tape over them so they don’t have to keep marking me over and over.   I am not allowed to peel them off or wash them off in the shower.  And I’m not allowed to swim or soak in the tub.  They have to stay on til I’m done.  

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I start radiation next week on the 18th, daily until Nov 14.   I. am. almost. there.   A little over a month to go.  My very last hurdle.  

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Everyday my lymph node scar looks better n better.  I still don’t have any feeling in that area but at least my arm motion is getting better.   Since I was taking pictures of my markings and scars, I also took this one.  This is whats left from when I had shingles.  I guess this is how they’re gonna stay looking.  It’s been 4 months. 

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It doesn’t hurt anymore but it is tender and the skin is very dry.   Sometimes it’s very itchy.   

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Red lips – just because

I got the results back from the xray on my knee.   No arthritis or any other issues.   I’ve been taking those natural supplements faithfully.   Haven’t noticed any difference yet.  Thank God for the percocet.   As much as I don’t like taking it.   It is the only way for me to get relief and to be able to do things and function like a normal person.  I take them twice a day.   That seems to be good enough.   I try not to take the 2nd one so late in the day because it keeps me wide awake and I already have enough trouble getting some sleep. 

 Oct 12 – my weekly progress

 

10 weeks post chemotherapy 

 

my hair is getting a little bit of a wave in the back and LOOK at my eyelashes!!   They are finally ALL back and look great!!  I’m excited about that!

 

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The saying on my shirt just about sums it up –  ‘The struggle is real’

 

Friday the 13th – physical therapy day.  We did different motions today.   My fingers feel a little bit better.  My knees and the bottoms of my feet still need some work.   I come back again next week.   I really want to do water therapy.   I still believe that is the best kind.  But because of all my markings and tape,  I won’t be able to. 😔

  Today is the luncheon for my years of service with my company.  25 years! Wow!  Dominic is going to be my date.   Lately, I’ve been forcing myself to do things and coming to the luncheon was one of them.   I want to do things, but more and more it feels like a struggle.  I want to be around people but at the same time, I want to be alone.   Maybe seeing all of my work family will be good for me. 

 I had a hard time enjoying myself and of course I put on that poker face for everyone to see the ‘happy me’.  I’m not really happy, at all.  I’ve been sad and down for a while now.   I caught up with an old work friend.  We talked for a while.   He asked how I was doing.  A part of me was trying to tell him how I was really feeling but he just couldn’t get what I was trying to say.  Everyone says I’ve had a hard year and what I’m feeling is normal.  But it’s way more than just having a hard year.  I don’t feel right.  They just don’t understand. 

When we got home, I went to my room and cried.   I cried because of this overwhelming sadness I just can’t seem to shake.   I started getting those feelings of dread more and more.  They quickly come on without warning.  It brings horrible thoughts to my mind.   I started to wonder if I wasn’t really going through some sort of depression.  I mentioned this to one of my Aunties, my dreadful feelings and she explained it the best way that I couldn’t.   Feelings of impending doom.   YES!!   That’s exactly what I’ve been feeling.   She hit the nail right on the head.  Yes, thats what I’m feeling.   Straight up DREAD, doom.   I have cried every single day.   Some days more than others and I can’t tell you why I’m even crying.  I hope that whatever this is, is only temporary.   I don’t like feeling this way. 

 Oct 14 – ugh, today I feel super nauseous 🤢 🤮  but that’s my fault.  I took a pain reliever on an empty stomach.   I know better than that.  I don’t feel so great. 

 My anxiety has me cleaning like a mad woman.     

I’ve had this ache in my heart, this void, ever since losing Riley.  I’ve been entertaining the thought of getting another kitten.  Not to replace Riley but to fill this void that I have.  

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The weekend was hard for me 😔 Everyday gets worse and worse.  I have never had death on my mind as much as I do now.   That dread is starting to eat away at me.  Add anxiety to all of that and you have a horrible mix.   

Oct. 16 – I inquired about a kitten that needed a new home.  They couldn’t keep her anymore for whatever reason.  So, I made plans to go see her, to see if she liked me.   I immediately fell in love the moment I set eyes on her.   I brought her home.  I think it was meant to be.   She blended right in.  I named her Zoe, she is an 8 week old tortoiseshell.  She’s adorable.  Already, my spirits were lifted. 

 

I think she is just what I need for my heart and soul.   I think she will bring me out of this funk and be good for me.  I already love her to pieces.   ‘Don’t be mad Riley.     I will always love you.   Forever my furbaby’ 

Oct 17 –   Zoe settled into our home as if it had been her home since birth.   She lifted my mood so much, I figured things were going to be okay.  I hadn’t cried since I got her.  Yes, things will be okay.  I got this.   Tomorrow I start radiation.   I just have 4 weeks left of treatment and I’ll be home free.  It’ll all be over.  I was starting to feel happy.   Then sadness hit me once again.   I learned that a fellow worker, someone I had never met, but knew of,  had passed.  He was very young.   He took his own life.  He had children and what seemed to be a happy life.  My heart and mind couldn’t handle this news.   It hurt me so much and I didn’t even know him.  I was sad for the life he won’t get to live.  I was sad for his children.  Oh how this hurts me.  Why does it hurt me so much?  People that I’m not even connected to, I cry for.  I sunk into an awful place.   A place I had never been.  A place that I had started sinking into weeks ago. 

 Oct 18 – 1st round of radiation.  It was a breeze.    I was in and out in about 15 minutes.  It was so quick but very high amounts of radiation.   When I left, it didn’t even seem like anything was done.  It didn’t hurt at all and it was nothing like chemo.  Let’s see how I feel later.   As much as I tried, sadness still lurked around me.  I couldn’t get over the tragic news from yesterday.   I still had that on my mind when another close/coworker friend told me that her father had passed.  Oh my goodness!!    I REALLY can’t handle this.  All of this hurts me sooo much.   😭😢😭😢   I’m crying my heart out AGAIN

Oct 19 –  2nd round of radiation over and done with.   Today it was much quicker.   And here is my weekly progress.  

 

11 weeks post chemotherapy

 

I didnt realize just how fragile my mental state was.  I’ve always been the perky, happy person.   My mental state was just shattered and everyday I spiraled a little more into that dark abyss.  I hadn’t paid attention until I noticed, I don’t go outside anymore.   I come home after walking with Dominic and crawl back into bed.  I spend my whole day there and when he comes home, I force myself out of bed as if everything is okay.   I don’t sit on my swing, I don’t hear the birds sing or feel the sun shine.  I don’t listen to music.  I don’t feel the breeze.   A lot of the times, I sit in my bathroom and cry.   That’s my crying spot.  My heart feels heavy and empty and the sadness echoes.   For the past few weeks, I’ve been asking myself if maybe I’m depressed but that little voice inside tells me,  “nah, you’re too strong for that shit!”   That other voice says, “yes you are Sue, you ARE depressed.”   I don’t enjoy anything anymore and I just waste my days away.   There are so many things that I could be doing, but I do nothing.   The thoughts that have invaded my mind are scary.   Death has been on my mind a lot.  Yes, you heard me.   The always happy person has thoughts of death.  Something that I never used to think about.   My mind is in turmoil.   I can’t control the thoughts that I’ve been having.  The dread is overwhelming.  I try and talk myself down, like give myself therapy.   For a moment it works, then, there they are again.   During the week I can’t wait for Dominic to get home from school.  Usually when he’s here, everything seems okay.  When he’s at school, I fall apart.  Anxiety hits me sooo bad.   I don’t wanna be alone but at the same time, I don’t wanna be with anyone.   I can’t have a conversation over a text if someone is asking how I’m doing, without crying.  I just come undone.  I put on a happy face cuz I don’t want my son to worry.   On the outside, you could never tell, but on the inside, I’m screaming at the top of my lungs.  Why can’t anyone hear that??  Why can’t anyone see that I’m falling apart?   I’m almost positive I have some form of depression.  I just can’t shake these feelings.  I think Im finally dealing with everything that I’ve been through the past 8 months. It is all hitting me now.   My physical pain hasn’t gotten any better but I get up every day and push through it.  This sadness and feeling blue is horrible.  I think I need a happy pill just to get me over the hump.  I can’t wait to see my doctor.  I’m seriously thinking of asking for something mild.  I’m just not happy and that’s not me at all.   This mental pain is the worst. 

I had my 3rd visit with my physical therapist.   Some of my joints feel a tad bit better.  I don’t hurt so much from my knees anymore.  But I have the pain everywhere else.  Emotionally, I feel a little more broken everyday.  I think I’m just overwhelmed and tired of it all.   I don’t feel like that strong person anymore.  I need a break.  I need a break from life.  I need a serious meltdown.   After I was done with physical therapy, she mentioned that she would like to put me in a program to help get my physical ability and strength back.   It’s a program designated for cancer patients.  It’s called ‘Strive’.   It’s a 6 week program that she thinks will be good for me.  She is insistant about it, but my heart sinks at this suggestion.   I don’t want to do this, not now.  I’ve had appointments shoved up my ass since February.  I still have radiation everyday.   I don’t want more appointments.  I just wanna be done.   I know she’s trying to help me, I just don’t wanna do this.  I walked out of there in tears and cried all the way to my radiation appt.   I can’t do this anymore. 

Things are getting so much worse.  Today, I feel like slitting my wrists’.   That thought has crossed my mind soooo many times.   It’s a good thing that I don’t own a gun, I would have already shot myself.    My heart wants to do so many things but my mind doesn’t let me.   I’m trapped in my mind, lost.  It’s a Prison.  What a horrible place to be.   It’s so dark, lonely and scary.   I have no doubt, I’ve hit rock bottom, face first.  The dreadful thoughts in my mind don’t go away and I can’t control them.  I don’t know how to pick myself back up.  I don’t know how to get better.   I don’t think that I would ever hurt myself but my mind has definitely turned into an evil place.   I feel stuck there.   I wanna be taken out of my misery but then I think of Dominic and how much it would hurt him if I wasn’t here.    I sit in my bathroom in tears, asking God, no – begging him to help me.   To help me get through the day, to keep me from doing something stupid.  “Please help me!!”  I don’t know what’s happening. 

I reached out to a friend.   I called.   We text all the time but we don’t ever talk on the phone.   I needed to talk.   So, I called.   Thinking that she would be there for me, like she has always said,  she blew me off.   I didn’t even get the chance to tell her why I was calling.  She had to go, she couldn’t talk right now.   I was beside myself, going out of my mind.  I needed her help and she wasn’t there.  This added to my already broken mind. 

 Today was so very hard, mentally.    My mind was playing so many tricks on me, it scared me.  It scared me to a point that I needed someone to come stay with me, even though Dominic was here.   It’s Sunday, so I tried to occupy myself with football.  There’s football all day and our team is playing.   My mind wouldn’t let me enjoy it.  My mind had me crawling out of my own skin.  I had anxiety soo bad that my body was shaking with an uncontrolled nervousness.   Mix that with what I think is depression and you have one bad equation.  The bad thoughts wouldn’t leave me alone.   My mind started telling me that what I had (life) wasn’t real.  My home wasn’t real, my job, having a son.  It was all make believe.  I was making it all up and living a life of make believe.   My family photos on my picture wall wasn’t real, I’m making that up.  My mind said that everything around me wasn’t real.  It scared me so bad that I didn’t wanna be alone.  I wanted Dominic to be right there by my side but I also didn’t want him to see how much I was struggling.  I want this to end.   Once again, it’s a good thing I don’t own a gun.   The despair was off the freakin’ charts.

I started telling some of my friends that I was feeling very down, maybe depressed.   Everyone says that I’ll be fine, I’ve had it rough.   Why is it that no one believes you when you’re trying to tell them maybe you’re depressed, literally?  Why do they think it’s just a word to throw around?  That you’re too strong of a person to be feeling this way? 

Thoughts of slitting my wrists’ invade my mind 10fold. 

 I started to get a burn on my skin from the radiation and it feels tingly.   It looks like a sunburn.   I’ve already done a week of radiation.  3 more weeks to go.

“God, please help me.  Can you hear me?  I need your help!!”  I am silently screaming at the top of my lungs.    Why can’t anyone hear me? 

Oct 26 – Today I forced myself to get out of the house.  I made plans to do my hair.  My first haircut and I’m putting a wash out color in it.  Something gentle, cuz I have baby fine hair.   I don’t like all this gray. 

 

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My 1st haircut and color post chemotherapy

My hairstylist, Nicole, whom I’ve had for years, suggested to rub rogaine ( for women) in my hair.   It stimulates the hair folicles to encourage them to grow.  I have also been taking biotin.   That too helps.  I loved the way it came out.  I’ve missed having reddish brown hair. 

12 weeks post chemotherapy

 

You can tell in these pictures that I’ve been crying.  My eyes are all red and I look so sad.  That’s because I am.  I’m not happy at all.  Even though I got my 1st haircut and put a bit of color in it.  I’m still as depressed as ever.   I cried on the way home and cried when I got home.   Today is gonna be a long day.   Dominic goes to his after school program, so I’ll be alone til almost 5.   It’s one of those days where I feel like crawling out of my skin cuz the anxiety is on overload and again I feel like slitting my wrists’.    That thought crosses my mind soo much, it scares me.   It’s on my mind, ALWAYS.  I was going out of my mind and thoughts of death wouldn’t leave me,  I couldn’t take it anymore, I had to reach out before I really did cut myself.  I needed to talk and needed someone to listen.  I NEEDED someone to be there!!   I sent out a text to my friend who I had tried calling just the other day but couldn’t talk.  “I feel like humpty dumpty,  I feel soooo broken”.  While I was waiting for her to respond, I reached out to a couple other friends.   I needed SOMEONE!

   “I’m having a hard time mentally, my mind turned to mush, please tell me it’s gonna get better”.   “I feel like humpty dumpty,  I feel soooo broken”   Out of all the friends I reached out to, all but one responded.   And the one that didn’t respond was the one I needed to talk to.  I needed her.   I needed her to be there for me.  She had always been so comforting.  I never heard from her.  So, I gave up reaching out to her. What if I would’ve slit my wrists that day?  What if I would’ve taken my life?  I needed her and she wasn’t there, again.   Another part of me broke and sunk in further.  It almost threw me over the edge.  But thank goodness for the others.  Thank goodness for Christine and Tammy and Becky and Diana and Celina.   Thank you for listening, for you kept me from doing the unthinkable.   Tammy had warned me of this way back in the beginning.   Did I listen?  Nope.   She kept telling me to take care of my mental health and I thought I was too strong of a person for that.   Now look at me.  I have dreadful thoughts and barely come out of my house.  It hit me, like she said it would and it hit me hard.   I have never felt this low in my life, EVER.   I never knew depression hurt this bad.   I would much rather deal with physical pain any day than to suffer mentally and be lost and trapped in my mind.   It’s the hardest thing and I thought chemo was hard.    They each gave me words of encouragement.    Diana sent me this – 

pep talk

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Oct 28 – Breast cancer walk. 

 My heart has been looking forward to this day, my mind isn’t.  Today I really had to force myself.    I made it through the past few days.   Today is important for me.  In the past I have always done these walks, to bring awareness.   Today, I’m walking for myself.  I am also walking for my fellow fighters and survivors and the ones who couldn’t make it.   Thank you to my crusaders for walking with me today and being with me along this journey.   It is almost over.   Today I walk as a survivor!!  I wore the ‘HOPE’ necklace that was given to me on my 1st day of chemo from another survivor.  

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Despite all of my physical pain, especially in my knees and feet, I completed the whole walk.  Towards the end I amost couldn’t continue, but I made it.  What an amazing event.   So many people participate, it’s awesome.   In some pics, I look happy.   Guess what?  I’m not.

Today is also my son’s birthday.  He turns 14.  This morning was for me, the rest of the day is for him.   We all got together and went out to eat.  It was a good day but I’m still so sad on the inside.

Oct. 29 –  Today I really paid for it.  The walk from yesterday had my WHOLE body aching.  It was so hard for me to just walk.   All I did was lay around the house. 

 Oct 30 – Today has been the best that I have felt since finishing chemo.  That was 3 months ago already.   I almost feel normal.  I hope that it continues and wasn’t just a one time deal. 

 I see my doctor on the 1st.   I can’t flippin’ wait.  I’m gonna spill out everything and see what she tells me.   I KNOW something is wrong with me.  I just don’t feel right mentally.   One day  of feeling good doesn’t make up for all the days I’ve felt crummy.

 10 more radiation left!!!!  

I’m having another rough day.   Everything is just wearing on me.  I have so much to be happy about yet I feel so down.  I  can’t seem to enjoy anything.   I’m just having a hard time.   I don’t have the urge or the motivation to do anything.   Still, I waste my days away in bed.   Thinking about everything that needs to be done but feeling like a prisoner in my own body.   I’m so stuck in a horrible place.   I don’t know how I managed to get here.    I stopped taking the percocet for my pain.   I’ve been researching the symptoms and read that one of the side effects was depression.  So for that reason, I stopped.  I’ve been in a hella pain but something is causing me to sprial downward and fast, I don’t know what it is.  So, I’m forcing myself to get through each day without pain meds.   It’s a battle.   ALL of this is a battle.   

 Radiation has been a piece of cake.  I have a huge skin burn, so I started rubbing some ointment on the whole area.   It’s getting sensitive.  Nov 14th and I’ll be done.   You’re almost there Sue!! 

 Nov 1 –  Today I finally see my primary doctor.  I thought this appointment would never get here.   I hope she can point me in the right direction or give me something that’ll help me feel better.   I told her EVERYTHING!!   I told her I was feeling this way the last time that I saw her but I thought it was something that would go away.   I let it go on too long.  I bawled in her office talking about how low I’ve been feeling.  She was sooo understanding and comforting.   She sat and talked with me.  I told her how much things or events hurt me.  Tragedies of people that I’m not even connected to, just unravel my soul.   I’m in such a dark place and the past 6 weeks have been brutal on my mental health.  I told her about all the dread and the many thoughts of death.  Wanting to slit my wrists’ most days.   I knew something was way wrong.  I AM suffering.  She diagnosed me with post traumatic stress and depression.   She was going to set me up with a therapist but I didn’t want to wait the month that it was going to take to get me in.   I was so bad that I wasn’t gonna last if I had to wait that long.  So, instead I asked her to put me on a medication and she did.   She prescribed me Sertraline 50 mg.   I need to take it everyday.    She’s gotten good, positive feedback on this medication and she believes it will really help me.   Other than the chemo attacking my body, the depression is also a culprit for my physical pain.   I never thought depression could make your body hurt so bad.   She said she was gonna work on getting me back to ‘me’.   I sure hope she does.  She said it was gonna take about 2 weeks for the medication to build up in my system and feel like it’s working.   So, there is a good chance that I’ll feel worse before it gets better.  That thought alone scares me. 

 I filled that prescription as soon as I got it and popped one in my mouth as soon as I got home.  I can’t continue feeling this way.  It’ll cause me to end my life.  Seriously.  The voices in my mind are pure evil.  Demons.   The mental agony is beyond my control.   The depths of this black hole are frightening and the pain ricochets and echos with an unforgiving lonliness in my soul.   Mental pain is BY FAR my most worst experience.  I hope I make it through.  I am hanging on by a thread and I feel like it’s about to break.   Lord help me to hang on.  

 

 

 “Lord, please help me.  Please save me.  I am soo lost.  Please get me through this” 😭

 

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DEPRESSION HURTS soooo BAD 😢😔😭

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Falling Apart

Sept 1 – Surgery Day, afternoon – 

My eyes fluttered open to a nurse shoving ice chips in my mouth.   I was so out of it. How I had the ability to chew and swallow them was amazing.  Things were so out of focus and my eyes were still heavy.   He was talking to me but what he said, I couldn’t even tell you.   He was speaking to deaf ears.  I was in the recovery room.   hmmm, surgery must already be over.   He continued to give me ice chips.   They tasted good,  soothing.  No one else was in there with us.   Where is Clara Sue?   Where is my brother?   I’m sooo sleepy.   I started to slowly comprehend the things that he was telling me.   Surgery went well.  As I started to come out of it more and fully wake up, I was hit with an enormous amount of pain.   It felt like I was catapulted right into a brick wall at full speed.

 

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The pain set in horribly.   I hurt sooo bad.   I guess the anesthesia wore off.   Here come the shakes.   When I’m in a lot of pain, my body starts to shake.   My chest was wrapped so tightly it felt hard to breathe.   They put me in like this tube top with velcro and they had it as tight as it would go.   The nurse asked if I would like some pain medicine.   Yes!!   Of course.    He gave me 2 vicodin.   It was 3:30.   He went out to get Clara Sue, she can sit in here with me now.   O-M-GEEEEEE!!!   The pain is off the charts.   The nurse brings her in.   She can tell I’m in a ton of pain, she doesn’t say a word.  She sits in the chair next to my bed.   My shakes are horrible.    I feel like hell.  Most of my wires were already disconnected and the massaging leg warmers were off.   Just my vitals were being checked regularly.   About another hour and maybe I’ll get to go home, as long as I’m feeling okay. 

 I was able to talk without sounding like I was blabbering.   I asked Clara Sue to check on Dominic to make sure he is okay.   He is already out of school by now and I’m not home yet.   I don’t want him to worry.  The surgeon comes in and explains to us that everything went very well.  She was pleased.  She got EVERYTHING out!   She also explained that she was able to pull out my chest port thru one of the incisions, so I didn’t need that 4th surgery.   Thank God.    I’m gonna look like Edward Scissorhands got a hold of me.   My chest will need to stay tightly wrapped (compressed) for the next few days.  This will help with any pain and discomfort.   She wrote me out a prescription for a pain killer for when I get discharged.   Another medication to add to my growing personal pharmacy.   I’m ready to leave, I’ve had a long day. 

 I look at my cell phone, wow, I have a lot of messages.   I need to call Dominic so he knows that I’m okay.  My brother Jake couldn’t make it, he got stuck in Santa Rosa. 

 4:08 still in recovery and lots of pain.  The ice chips help.  I think I’m finally coherent.  I’ll get to leave soon as long as I am able to stand on my own.   I change back into my clothes.  That took me like forever.   Being wrapped and bandaged made it a little rough.   Right now you can’t see anything, it’s all hidden behind the dressings.   That pain hasn’t subsided but I wanna leave already. 

 5:00 – getting discharged.  Going home now.   Pain is horrible. 😖  I still feel pretty loopy 😩 I needed help getting into the car.   I felt so dizzy.   I’m so glad this part is over.   Now to rest and recover.   I’m starving, I need something to eat.   It’s dinnertime and I haven’t even had breakfast.  Clara Sue stops to get me a sandwich from arby’s.   Now headed home.    Oh gosh, here comes the nausea.   This always happens to me with anesthisia.   I need to throw up. 🤢  My head starts pounding.  I feel like shit.  We’re almost home.   I asked Brittany to come stay with me the rest of the evening just in case I needed some help with anything.   So she showed up shortly after we got there.  I needed help to get out of the car and to walk inside.   I was swaying like a drunk person.   As soon as I walked in the door I had to high tail it to the bathroom to blow chunks.  😝 It never fails.  My stomach was so upset but I felt so much better once I got all that shit out of my system.   What a relief.    I just have pain and lots of it.    Guess I’ll eat my samich, the pain meds might work better with something in my stomach.   Clara Sue left and I just hung around with Brittany, watched a movie and rested.  My nephew, Yaz, came to keep Dominic company.   By around 8 ‘clock, I felt so much better.   All that loopiness went away.  I no longer felt nauseas and I was back to my joking self.   Later in the night, I felt Brittany didn’t need to stay over, so she left and so did my nephew.  I’m sooooo ready for bed.  My day has been way too long.  Trying to change into jammies was like a marathon but I did it.   Trying to get comfortable and get some sleep was even harder.    Couldn’t sleep on my right because of surgery, couldn’t sleep on my left side for the same reason, I couldn’t even sleep on my tummy and laying on my back is not comfortable.  I couldnt sleep for the life of me.   The surgery meds along with my 80’s like velcro tube top that looked like it was sprayed on, made it impossible to sleep.   I was wide awake but without pain. 

 Next morning –  I woke up feeling pretty good even though I got no sleep.   But has far as how I felt physically, not bad at all.   I didn’t have to take any pain meds so I guess I’m handling it like a champ.  I’m just a tad bit sore.  I decided to finally make my brother some cookies.   The ones I was going to make him for his birthday but I never did due to all the physical pain I had been in.   So far, all that pain that I had been complaining about for like the past month was gone.  I hope it’s gone forever.   Honestly, I felt pretty good.  Today was a good day. 

 Sept. 3 –  Well, it is safe to say that all of my eyebrows and eyelashes have faithfully departed.  It makes my eyes always look red and if I’ve been crying non stop.  Like my hair, I can’t wait for it all to grow back.   I’ve even missed my nose hairs.  My nostrils always feel raw.  Oh the joys of being a cancer patient.   As for day 2 of surgery – –  1. I actually slept pretty good, I needed that.  2.  holy hell, I don’t think I have ever been so sore in my life.   I can’t move at all.   My boobs feel like I have a set of rocks.   The range of motion for my arms is minimal.  Today is for sure a yucky day.   Out of curiosity I unwrapped myself from my oh so sexy tube top to inspect my girls.    Ouch I look like I’ve been beat up and mutilated.  

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I have to leave the bandages on for a few more days.   The stitches will dissolve on their own.   The bandage under my armpit is my lymph node incision.  Round 2 all over with.   Just need to complete the 3rd hurdle (radiation)  and I’ll be home free.  For now I get to deal with all this soreness and boobs that feel like rocks. 

 I never did believe in chemo brain until I got my dose of it.   It’s horrible.   I can’t remember something you just told me 5 minutes ago.  Staying focused and even concentrating is getting hard.    It seems like my mind is always blank.  Especially when I’m asked something quickly.  It’s like “huh?”    I hope the brain recovers with everything else.   I don’t need to be spacey all the time.   Well, I guess I get to take it easy for the rest of Sept.   I have a follow up with the surgeon on the 11th and that’s all.   So, it’s R & R and see if I can slowly get to ‘me’.   I haven’t been bothered by my aches and pains, so maybe the surgery had something to do with that.   Who knows.  I hope they don’t return.   Now, I just have to wait 4-6 weeks before I can start radiation and then I can truly say this nightmare is over.    Can’t wait.    2 hurdles down, 1 more to go.   

Sept 4 – 

 

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This pic is 1 month and 1 day post chemotherapy.     

If you look closey, you can see my fuzzies growing.  It makes my face look chubby, not having any hair.   I will try my best to post weekly pics of the growth progress.   As you can see my eyelashes are GONE  and so are my eyebrows.   These ones are drawn in and I hate them.  I think they’re lop-sided haha.   So glad it’s only temporary.   Today my boobs are still swollen and they feel heavy.   But each day that goes by is another day closer to feeling better. 

 Sept 8 – I don’t know what came over me, but I have really been missing my Pops terribly these past few days. 😢  I have cried nonstop for like 3 days straight 😭 It’s like I’ve lost him all over again.   I miss him so much.   The sadness is overwhelming.   I think everything is throwing my emotions for a loop.  I can’t stop crying.   I just need a hug from you and to hear your voice again.   I feel like I’m falling apart.  My heart is broken. 💔 He was my best friend and I miss him dearly.   

My cousin Irene brought me these and hooked them up for me.   She knows that I’ve been feeling down and figured it would cheer me up.   It did.   It’s so soothing, the way they flicker and dance around.   I just sit or lay on my swing and watch them.   It’s relaxing.   She also hooked me up some outdoor misters that way I can stay cool when I’m out on the swing.   They feel wonderful.   Ahhhhhh     All this eases my sad heart a bit

 

 

 I hate that I can’t get in the pool.   I need to wait for my incisions to heal.   The one incision under my armpit gives me the most grief.   I don’t have any pain but I really am sore.   I miss relaxing in the pool.   At least my neice and my son get to enjoy it.   It is really hot and my hot flashes are still severe.  I wonder when those will go away?    They have been so brutal.   I thought they would be gone by now.  I can’t wait for cooler weather. 

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Sept 9 –  *GASP*  my eyebrows are growing back and I think I spot a hint of tiny eyelashes.   Yay!!!!!!!!   This is so exciting, you don’t even know.   

Well my physical aches and pains are back and they are horrible!   When will all of this end?  I see my primary Dr at the end of the month.   Maybe she can tell me what’s going on with me.   On a better note, my energy is slowly starting to come back and I don’t feel that fatigue like before.   Still, even now,  there is good and there is bad.   Can’t wait till there is more good than bad. 

 Sept 11 –  I just got the best news EVER!!!!!!!!   Got that phone call from my surgeon.   All of my margins are free and clear.   Thank you Jesus!   No more cancer!   It IS all gone!!!! 😄😄   Wow what a relief.  I just needed to cry, cry tears of joy.   She sent in like 12 different tissue samples from my surgery and all came back negative.   Oh I can’t explain what I’m feeling right now.    I can officially say I’m free and clear but I want to wait until radiation is over and done with.   Radiation is just a precaution.   YAY!!!!!!!!!    I.AM.SOOOOOOOOO.HAPPY!!!!!!!! 😄🤗     I slowly started to let everyone know.   Maybe now everything will fall back into place.   Maybe I’ll feel better knowing I don’t have that monster in me anymore.   Maybe this will be the day that things turn around for me.   I sure hope so.   

  I slacked off last week with a pic but here’s this one.  Look at my hair!  I actually have a hairline!  OMG  and look. . . . I have eyebrows and itty bitty lashes.  I look gross cuz this is the plain ole me but I can’t tell you how excited I am.   Oh the little things you don’t ever think about until you don’t have them.   I’m so happy to have eyebrows  haha

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Sept 19 – A hairline and eyebrows! 

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Sept 22 –  fuller eyebrows and more lashes.  I can actually get a bit of mascara on them 🙂    This is just 3 days from the last pic.  My hair is growing in grey, gross.   I think I need a date with L’oreal soon.   Can’t tell yet if my hair will still be curly or if it will come in different.   I’ve heard many different stories on the regrowth of hair.   Who cares?   As long as I have some!!! 

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This is my new hairbrush.   Its cute, isn’t it?   Can you believe it’s been 7 months since my diagnosis?   Yes 7.   I can’t believe it.   I can’t believe everything I’ve been through.   I have the scars and all the pain but it still just doesn’t seem real.   I guess you never know how you’re going to handle things until you’re faced with it.  I can do this. 

 

Things were going so well. . .  and then we lost our beloved furbaby, Riley.   

 

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This broke me.   I’ve been trying to stay strong for so long, but this broke me.   It shattered my heart.   My mental strength turned into pure mush.    What’s happening??   I cry ALL THE TIME.    

 

I’m falling apart at the seams. . . slipping away

 

 

 

 

Wired and Radioactive

I love having this time with my son.  We walk to the bus stop together in the morning and walk again in the afternoon when he gets out.   It’s good exercise for me.   My doctors told me that walking would be good but not to go too far in case I didn’t have the energy to walk back.   This walk isn’t so bad.  Actually it’s just right for me right now.  The only thing is, that with the way my knees and other parts have been hurting, the morning walk is difficult.   I thought all of this would have passed by now.   I’m going on 3 weeks post-chemotherapy.  I had it in my head that once I was done, my energy and everything else was just gonna float back up like a balloon 🎈 and all would go back to normal.   But it hasn’t.  I’m waiting patiently.   Everyday my body seems to hurt more and more.  Now it’s not just my knees.  It’s traveling down to my ankles and the bottoms of my feet.  My hands still hurt, my knuckles, when I bend them or make a fist.    I thought it was soreness from the yard work I had done but it must be something else, cuz it should have gotten better by  now.   Honestly, I think my body is just going through withdrawals.  Withdrawals from all that garbage and the medications that I was on.   I’ve been on so much stuff since all of this started, I can truly say, I have my own pharmacy.   I was taking meds everyday, all day and some every week and once chemo ended, so did about 8 medications, including the steroids.  Just like that, it all stopped.   It’s like quitting something cold turkey.   I think my body is having a hard time adjusting to that.   I’m not complaining, let me tell you, it’s great not having to take so many meds but my body is having a hard time.   That’s the conclusion I’ve come up with for all these aches and pains.  What else could it be?? 

Today I decided to give myself a haircut ✂.   It’s not like I actually have hair, but I do have fuzzies.    Sooo,   I gave myself a buzz with the clippies.   I want it to grow out evenly and strong.  When you haven’t had hair in so long it was almost hard to buzz some of it off.  But I figured I better do this now cuz once it really starts to grow, I’m not gonna want to cut any of it off.   

Aug. 24 – Today is exactly 3 weeks that I have finished chemo.  Wow!  How quickly that went.   I remember marking the days off the calendar to get to the end of chemo and here I am, 3 weeks later.   It’s hard to believe.   Where is the time going? Oh well, I look at it this way, everyday that passes is another day that I am closer to feeling like my old self again.  Can’t wait. 

 Well, today I have an appointment.   I have an MRI that I need to have done.   Before I have surgery, the areas involved need to have clear markers and measurements.  That way my surgeon knows exactly where to cut.   So, I’m here to do that.   She had explained to me on Monday that when the exact measurements are taken, they will use those to put the wires. 

WIRES!!!!! 😱   In my breasts???? 😧   What the hell?!?!?! 

https://www.insideradiology.com.au/breast-hookwire-localisation/

  I will have wires inserted to the markers (titanium clips).  This indicates the exact area she needs to do surgery on.   They are long wires that will be inserted into the breast on the outer part to meet up with the clip.  They will be left sticking out when I show up for surgery.  😨  *sigh*  oh the shit I’ve been through and the shit I still need to go through.   And that’s not all.   I will need a radioactive dye administered as well.  This will ‘light up’ my lymph nodes that are going to be removed.   I guess.  Let’s get this MRI over and done with.   The wires won’t go in today.   This appt is just for the measurements.   So here I am.  Back into the noisy ass machine.  I’m happy cuz my veins didn’t need to get poked this time.   My arms and veins are finally getting a break.  That didn’t take too long.   MRI and measurements done.   Phew.  Now I don’t have another appt til next week.  That is when I’ll have the wires inserted and also the dye.   So on surgery day, it’ll be a long day.   1.  Appt at the imaging center for wires and dye at the butt crack of dawn.   2.  Straight to the hospital from there for surgery.  4 surgeries.  It’ll take about 2 1/2 hours.   If she can, she will pull out my chest port from the left breast surgery.   She won’t know til it happens.   Maybe I’ll be home by the evening.   I honestly can’t wait for surgery.   I think I’ll feel more relief knowing that all the debris from chemo will be scrapped out.   I just hope these pains are gone before then.   In the meantime, I’m just gonna rest and enjoy this time with my son.     Lots of pool time.   It’s been soooooo HOT outside ♨  ♨ My hot flashes haven’t eased up either.  I hope they don’t last forever.   They’ve been dreadful.   I don’t wear my wig anymore unless I’m going out somewhere.    The other day I went out in public with my beanie, I was with my brother, first time I had ever done that.   Damn!!   why do people have to stare sooo much? ? ?  That’s why I don’t go like that in public!!   It’s like, WTF are you looking at??  Never seen anyone with cancer before??  😠   I’ve noticed I have lost a lot of patience, I easily get very irritated with people.   It’s like having PMS daily.   My fuse has gotten very short.   I’m not bitchy but people in general just get on my nerves lately, they get very hateful looks from me.  Good thing I’m out of work.   And that’s not like me, I’m a very nice person.   So, for everyone’s sake, I hope this passes too. 

Well, my food has been tasting better and better.   My mouth isn’t so dry anymore and there has been no return of the yucky mouth sores, yay.   Water tastes just like it used to,  sooooo good and refreshing.   Even a soda tastes yummy.  There is nothing like a McDonald’s coke.

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My happy dance when I’m having a McDonald’s coke!!

My blurry eyes are starting to clear up more.  I still have tingly feet.  Funny, I thought that would have all been over by now but I guess that’s gonna hang around longer.  I don’t have them in my fingers so much.   The dry skin is also getting better.   For so long my skin has felt like sandpaper, gross.   My hands aren’t peeling anymore.  It crossed my mind the other day, you know its been a year now that I first felt pain?   Yup, one year ago I had pain under my breast and that’s how this whole thing started.     Back then, I never did think that pain meant breast cancer.   I just went about my life.  Here we are a year later, chemo came and went, surgery is coming up and I’m just dealing with all the after effects.   Geez, the things that can happen in just a year.   Don’t ever take it for granted.   I can’t wait to get back to my normal life to be able to enjoy it.  I’ve been doing things but I haven’t been able to enjoy them yet.     My body still aches 😢 At this point, there is no telling how long that’s gonna last.  I mowed my lawn and I hurt all over.   My system is just too sensitive right now.  I easily get achy.   Everyone tells me to take it easy and not do so much so soon.   but I have a life to live.  I can’t just sit around.   These after effects are reeking havoc on my body.  If it doesn’t get better over the weekend, I’m calling the doctor on Monday.    I just hurt. 

Aug. 28 –  Monday.   This morning I contacted my oncologist.   It’s very painful for me to move.   I feel like I’m 90 years old.   I can’t get out of bed in the morning without every bone in my body hurting.   Something isn’t right.   This shouldn’t be happening.   No one said this is how I would feel 😣  It hurts to move about and it hurts to rest.   I have a hard time getting in and out of the car and same thing with my bed.   Even to change positions while I’m in bed hurts.  The walking that I’m doing doesn’t seem to be helping.    It must be a reaction to coming off of chemo, it has to be.   Every day it gets worse and tylenol is not helping at all.   It’s joint and muscle pain and it’s all over.   I can’t make a fist without pain or grab my steering wheel when I drive.  It feels like an arthritis type of pain but its everywhere.   Resting is so uncomfortable and painful.   I know I probably sound like a broken record but my body hurts.  😔😢   To my oncologist,  “what is wrong and what can I do or take to get some relief?”  He doesn’t think that my symptoms are related to the cancer or the chemo.  All of the chemo should be out of my system by now.    What I’m experiencing is not a normal reaction.  I should be feeling better by now not worse.   He gives me yet another prescription, a pain killer, percocet 💊.   Yes, my pain is that bad.   I also need to see my primary to discuss the pain issues I’m having.   If it doesn’t get better by next Monday, I need to go in and see him.  One of my Aunties thinks I have ‘acute summer arthritis’.   I have never heard of this.  I guess the heat and humidity cause joint and muscle flare ups.   Sounds like what I have.  Anyway,  I hope this gives me relief even though I’m not happy, it’s such a heavy medication.   I guess, if it’s gonna help me.    Today is my older brothers’ birthday and I wanted to make him a bunch of goodies.  He likes sweets.   I couldn’t,  I’m just in so much pain, I’m miserable  😔   Happy Birthday brother,   I’ll get to it when I feel better. 

  I leave to get my prescription.   I take one as soon as I get home.   I hope these work.   About a 1/2 hour later,  wow,  I can actually move like a normal person.    I can bend my fingers without having so much pain and my knees feel better.   Looks like it worked.   Nighttime – I feel super relaxed.  I really needed this.  I’ve been in physical pain for 3 weeks.   Maybe it’ll knock me out and I’ll sleep like a baby.   Middle of the night – I’m wide awake  😳 👀 I can’t sleep for the life of me.   The pain killer took my pain away but it left me wired.   I’m not bouncing off the walls but I’m not tired at all.   That means I’ll be exhausted in the morning 😩   I just can’t seem to win at all.   

Aug 30 –   The pain meds have been working quite well that I didn’t even realize I had a kidney stone till I passed it. 

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 If anyone has ever had one of these then you know how painful them suckers can be.    Imagine not knowing you even had one til it popped out?  Yeah, that was me.   Didn’t feel it til it was in my bladder.   The last time I had one of these little assholes,  I ended up in the ER with excruciating pain and a visit that lasted 8 hours.   That’s when it took 6 pain killers for me to even get relief.   This time, I didn’t feel pain at all.   Maybe my pain tolerance is coming back since I finished chemo OR maybe its just the percocet.  I am taking those 2 times a day.   I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t agonize over this one.   But it is the 2nd time this year I have gotten one.  I never get them more than once.   I get 1 like every 2 years.   Good thing it’s out though.    Because I can’t deal with physical pain, a kidney stone AND surgery on top of that.   A person can only take so much.   sheesh.   

 Clara Sue sent me this cuz I’ve been losing my patience with everything and everyone.   Haha.  I thought it was funny.   Yup, that pretty much sums it up.   Short fuse these days.

Getting mad

 

Surgery day!!! 

 Sept, 1  –   Clara Sue is on her way.   She is going with me to my appts.   She will be there for my surgery.   Today I won’t be able to walk with Dominic to the bus stop cuz I have to be at the imaging center soon.   Time to start my long day.  Phase 2 of my journey, here we go.   I’m not nervous or anxious at all.   Doesnt even seem like I’ll be in surgery here in the next few hours.   It just feels like a regular day.   I still woke up with aches but I didn’t take any meds cuz I will be given some before and during surgery.  I was hoping I wouldn’t feel this way but no such luck.   I guess I’m gonna have to deal with both, body aches on top of surgery. 

 Ok, we’re here at the imaging center for my wires.   Let’s see how it goes.   I need to be at the hospital by 10:45, It’s 7:30, there’s plenty of time.  Besides, how long can getting wires take?   I change and I’m taken back to a room.   Clara Sue had to stay in the waiting room.   Yuck, it looks like I’m getting another mammogram.   They need to use the mammy machine to do my wires.   They better not squeeze too hard.   They get the image/measurements from my MRI up on the screen.   Now it’s time for some numbing medicine.  Hopefully this won’t hurt.  I’m trying not to get inside my head and it seems like I’m doing a pretty good job.   I’m still not nervous at all, even after looking at the wires they will be inserting.   The gauge doesn’t seem too thick but they are long, at least 12 inches.   Okay,  time to get my boobs in the machine.  One at a time.   They start with my right one.   On this image, you can see the titanium clip.   It’s a bit blurry and tiny but it’s there. 

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Titanium clip

 

If anyone ever gets a biopsy on her boobs, you can bet you’ll have one of these inserted.   It’s to mark the area that was biopsied.   If everything turns out fine, the clip will stay in there forever.    If there is malignancy, the clip will come out when surgery is done.   So, it is safe for me to say that this little clip will come out in just a few hours.   I’m positioned for the machine.   This time I will sit in a chair and just kind of rest my breasts’ (one at a time) in the machine, while the tech inserts the wires.   I am given shots of lidocaine 💉 in my right breast.   She waits awhile for it to take effect.   They have plenty of lidocaine for me just in case I will need more.   It could be painful, so they are prepared in case it is.   They sterilize the area with iodine.  After that part is done, I look like I’ve been brutally beaten.   Now for the wires.   Yikes.   I hope this part goes smoothly. 

Geez, that took FOREVER!  Trying to get my breast in the right position to get the wire exactly where it needed to be, took an eternity.   Talk about not being able to move at all.   Just for that one side, it took over an hour.    I didn’t feel anything.   No pain or discomfort at all.    Now I have a wire sticking out.   Great.   Its looks painful, but it really isn’t.    The images below may be a bit graphic for some.   

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If you look closely, you can see the thin wire sticking out.   The doc will coil it up and put some tape over it so it is not yanked out.   Now time to get the other side prepared and sterilized.   This side seemed to take longer.  There weren’t any issues but they just had a hard time getting the right area.  It is almost 10.  This is taking longer than I thought.   I need to check in at the hospital at 10:45 and I’m not even done here.   Time for the left side.    Again no pain at all but that took a very long time.    

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Again, you can see the thin wire.   You can also see the scar from my chest port.   Today that will come out.  Yay!!!   If my surgeon can get it out from my breast incision, she will.  If not, she will have to reopen the port area and remove it from there.    My poor girls,  they’ve been so violated and tortured this whole year.   They can’t wait to get a break.   But it’s not over yet.    I’m headed to another room to get the dye for my lymph nodes.   This part shouldn’t take long at all.   That’s what they said.   We walk down the hall and into the radioactive room.    Yowzer, they weren’t kidding when they said radioactive.   Nuclear medicine.   

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This area is under lock and key.   In we go.   The radioactive dye is in an airtight chamber.  *when tech takes it out, with another key*   holy shit!!!   That looks like a pipe bomb.   What exactly are they giving me?!?!   She opens it up and takes out a small syringe.    phew. . . that was a relief.   It’s just a normal size syringe.   I’m given more lidocaine for this injection.   This too, shouldn’t hurt at all.   The injection site for this will be close to my armpit.  This dye will light up my lymph nodes that are to be removed.    Injection is given.   Nope,   no pain.    That was easy.   I’m all done.  I’m given the images so I can take with me to surgery.   I can head on over to change and be off to the hospital.   

Well, at the moment I am WIRED AND RADIOACTIVE!!!   Everyone stay clear of me.   Its a good thing I don’t have any hair or this may have happened.   

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Clara Sue and I are headed to the hospital  🏨  This phase took so long that we have 10 minutes to get there.    Boom. . . we showed up right on the dot.   We go inside, i get checked in and now we wait.   Dang, I’m starving and can’t have anything to eat.    I’m called in to the back.    A nurse is waiting for me.    She asked if Clara Sue was my mother, and because of how we are, we cracked jokes.   Clara Sue –  “no, I’m just stalking her.”   Me – “yeah,  I have no idea who she is, she’s been following me around all morning.”  😂 😂,  the nurse wasn’t up for shits and giggles.   She was not impressed at all.   Geez, lady,  lighten up.   Who pee’d in your Wheaties this morning?  Damn.   I’m going through surgery here in a few, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wise cracks to lighten up the mood.   We thought it was funny.   Good thing she was only escorting us to the prep area.   She had a horrible attitude 😡

 I get to my bed/room.    I change and wait.   Now an onslaught of questions.   How many times do we have to go over the same things? ?   My IV is prepped.   Getting poked again.   Surgeon comes in.   She is very pleased with how the wires came out.   The surgery team comes in to introduce themselves.   They’re all very nice.   Surgery will be about 2 – 2 1/2 hours.  All my vitals are checked.   They’ll be back to roll me out.   Surgery will be at 12:45.   Almost as if on cue, here they all are to roll me back.   The anesthesiologist gave me the first injection 💉 through my IV.   She said the next one that she gives me will knock me out.   They get ready to wheel me out.   I turn to Clara Sue and told her, “I’ll see you when I get back.”   As I did that, for a moment, I saw my Mama sitting there ❤, not Clara Sue.    I started to tear up and get emotional.   I thought I was gonna start crying.   Just then, I was given the next sedative 💉.   My eyes rolled with a heaviness and before we got to the end of the hall,  I was out.   

 

And I’m off to never neverland . . . . . . . . . . .

 

 

 

 

The leap of Faith

Aug. 4  

Day after my last chemo.  Believe it or not I slept very well last night.   Today is my official last day of work for a while.   I only need to put in a few hours than I can take my time off and concentrate on me.   I need rest and lots of it.  I feel like I need to go into hibernation.   I’ve been running on fumes these past months and I really need a break. 

My day at work flew by and it was over before I knew it.   I felt some relief when I clocked out and left.   No one at work really knows that I’ll be out.   I’ve told a few that I’m taking vacation but they think it’s only for a week.   After work I left and went to the district office to submit the rest of my paperwork.   I have no idea how all of this is even going to turn out.    I don’t know if my time off will be approved.   I don’t know how things are going to be financially.   I don’t know how my results are going to turn out when I do my MRI or how surgery is going to be.  I don’t know anything at this point.   So, I’m taking the leap of faith.   I’m putting it all in Gods hands once again.   I’m one of those persons that has always said,  “things will turn out as they should.”   I suppose they will, even this time.   They always have in the past.   I stress out about it for awhile but in time it always turns out how it should have.  I’m putting all my eggs in one basket,  So I hope and pray it turns out for the best. 

 

What a relief to be out of work!!  Mentally and physically. . . phew  

 

Looking back at how I did things,  I’m so glad I did it the way I did.  Keeping my circle (support system) small.  Waiting to tell everyone was the best thing for me.   Some people may not agree with that and that’s okay but it was MY choice.   It was my choice to deal with it privately.   Everyone has a choice and this was mine.   I didn’t have that added stress of different opinions.  I was able to deal with it peacefully.   Not gonna say it wasn’t stressful trying to keep my life as normal as possible and I’m not gonna say the rest of my people wouldn’t have been supportive, because they have.  But. . . . I’ve had a couple of people say that I shouldn’t have gone through chemotherapy.  I’ve also had some tell me not to go through radiation, it’s the worst thing for me.   Try taking this or drink that.   Don’t eat this anymore.  Take better care of yourself.  WHAT THE HECK?!?!?!  😠   Let me be.   Let me do what I  think is best for me.  What my medical team says is best for me.   If it’s going to save my life than I’m all for it.   Still, I don’t like what I’ve had to go through or what I still need to go through,  but like I said before,   my life and my son are worth all the hell I’ve had to endure.  What worked for someone else may not work for me.   This is what I didn’t want to deal with.  This was the reason I wanted privacy.   I did’t want that added stress.   I wanted peace and I still want that.   Please respect that.   Unless I share it with you,  I don’t wanna talk about it.   Yes, ask me how I’m doing,  I’ll tell you and if I want to share more, I will.   Besides, I AM sharing it all with you.  right here, right now.  I am telling you how I’m doing and how I feel.  This is my sharing spot, my therapy, my release.   In person or anytime,  I want things to be as normal as possible.  Don’t treat me like I’m fragile, I won’t break.   I’m still silly ole me 😜 with a great big heart ❤ and one that is OH SOOOOO HAPPY  that I’m DONE with chemotherapy!!!    ahhhhhhhh     The relief mentally feels amazing!!!  😃  I CAN’T WAIT to physically start feeling better.   Hopefully a week from now when my body realizes it is no longer getting pumped with poison, things will go back to normal.  I’ll start feeling better, sleeping better, being able to taste my food.   Soon I hope my mouth sores go away.  It’s been almost 8 weeks straight that I’ve had those 😩.  I haven’t lost anymore weight.  It is holding steady.   But all together, I lost 17 pounds.   I can’t wait to have my energy and my strength back and to be able to do things without getting breathless and worn out.   I can’t wait to take vitamins!!!  I have’t been allowed to have those during chemo. 

 There are sooo many things that I can’t wait for!!! 

 

 Monday, Aug 7 – MRI 

 Today I go in for my ultrasound and MRI.   Gonna check to see if the chemo zapped it completely.  I sure hope it did and they don’t see anymore cancer.   My oncologist no longer feels a lump but there could be minute cancer cells left over. 

 (praying 🙏) 

MaryBeth is here with me today.   The support she has given me is amazing.  It’s like having a sister.  It’s wonderful!    I change and wait to be seen and watch as MaryBeth works on a blanket.  She’s GREAT at making blankets and quilts, that’s her hobby.   We talk like if we’re not even waiting at a Dr’s office.   I don’t feel nervous or anxious but we’ll see how I feel when I get called in. 

Time for the ultrasound 

I get the same tech that I got back in February at the beginning of all of this.   I really like her.   She begins her procedure.   The ultrasound wand doesn’t hurt like before when she puts pressure.   There is no pain at all.  That’s a good indication.  Before it used to hurt SOOO bad.   She carefully goes over the area.  I hadn’t looked at the monitor at all until she mentioned she couldn’t see anything.   The last time, the image scared me, so I was afraid to look.   So, when I finally did take a look at the monitor the only thing you could see, barely, was the tiny titanium clip they had inserted months ago for my biopsy.   The mass from before wasn’t there.   She called in the doctor to take a look at it and confirm,  it was all clear.   No signs at all of cancer.     YESSSSS!!!!!!   

Even though the ultrasound produced no signs of cancer, I still need to be seen for an MRI.  They want to be sure.  They want a more closer, detailed imagery before they give me the green light.  So, here I go to get prepped for the MRI.   Back into the noisy machine I go.   This time they have me in a really awkward position and it’s really cold in here.   Oh well, whatever it takes.  It’ll be about 15 minutes. . . . . . . . . .

All done.  They send me back out to a room to wait for the doctor with results.  I asked them to call in MaryBeth so she can be with me when I get my results.   After a few moments, the doctor comes in and also the ultrasound tech.   He gives me my results.   ( deep breath )   The MRI didn’t detect anything.   It was all clear.   There were no visible signs of cancer cells.   He began to tell me that I had responded very well to the chemotherapy treatment and that it did what it was supposed to do.  It was gone.   The only thing that they could see was the clip.  I started to tear up.   With a knot in my throat I asked him,  “So, there is nothing there?  It’s all gone?”  Him – “Yes, it’s all gone”.    Me, choked up – “Really?  you don’t know how long I’ve been needing good news.”   Him –  “yes, I know.   Congratulations.”   (he was the one who did my MRI in the beginning when I first got my news, so he knows)  Me – “Thank you, I needed this.”     Him ( handing me kleenex ) –  “good luck with the rest of your journey.” 

They left the room to give me a moment.   MaryBeth hugged me and I started crying.   I needed this.   I got good news,  I really got good news.   After a few minutes, I changed and we left.  As we were walking out, one of the receptionists that I have come to know, asked how it went.    I gave her a thumbs up and told her, “good news”   She came over to give me a hug and wish me the best of luck.   MaryBeth and I started to leave but we ended up sitting in the lobby for a good while absorbing my good news.   She was in tears.   She was very happy for me but I think at the same time she was heartbroken.   This was bittersweet for her.    She lost one of her sisters to breast cancer.  The very same kind that I had.   She went through all of her treatments but didn’t get the ‘good news’ in the end.   So, this hit home for her.  It opened and old wound that didn’t have a good ending.   So, she was very happy, yet very sad.  We talked for a good while longer.   A part of me was in disbelief.   I have been so scared for months, it was hard for me to be happy.  Yes, don’t get me wrong, I was happy but I had a very hard time expressing it and feeling it.   Is that weird?   Is it even normal?   Even though I had tears in my eyes it felt like my emotions, my feelings, were shut off.   I’m not sure what I feel.  We hugged, walked out to the parking lot and got in our separate vehicles.  We didn’t come together. 

  So, here I am, once again, sitting in my car.   This time with the news that my cancer is gone.   It is really gone.  I am trying really hard to absorb this good news.   6 months ago,  I was sitting here, in my car trying to come to terms with the diagnoses they had just given me.   How crazy and unpredictable life can be.  Cherish it always.  The good, the bad and even the horrible. 

 I got home and one by one started telling my loved ones.  I didn’t make this public, I only told my circle.   Oddly, as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t get excited about it.   I should be doing cartwheels and jumping for joy.   Instead, I feel numb.  There is no excitement in me.  I think I’m afraid to be happy.  I’m afraid to feel happy for fear of jinxing it.   For fear of being let down.   That’s the best I can explain it.  Maybe it hasn’t hit me yet.  Maybe when Dominic gets home from school and I tell him my good news, I’ll feel this excitement.   I know he’ll be happy.  But why does it all seem like a blur?  Why does it seem like I just woke up from a horrible nightmare and the past months never happened?   How come I feel this way?   Looking back, none of it seems true.   I don’t know what’s going on.   My heart and my mind are at an impass.   They are not connecting. 

 Later that evening, I text MaryBeth,  “did today really happen?  Did I really get that good news I’ve been waiting for?”   Her – “Yes, it’s true, it happened.”   How come I don’t feel it?  How come I’m not as happy as everyone else, that I’ve told, is?   I hope the Good Lord doesn’t think I’m being ungrateful.   Because I’m not, I am grateful.  I’m glad to be at this point.   My son was relieved and happy.  It’s been hard for him too.    I just feel disconnected.    It hasn’t sunk in.   

 I’m having some hard days.  Saturday, 2 days after my last chemo, I felt great.   Yesterday and today, my body hurts.  It feels heavy.   There’s a heaviness.   I almost feel depressed, even with the good news I just received.   Yesterday I was sooo tired, I layed around all day.   I’m having such a hard time wrapping my mind around all the events that have happened.   I’m trying to be happy,  I am thankful but it’s hard to come off of months of chemo, get good news and try to get back to a normal life.   I’ve had highs and lows all week.   I wonder if other women feel this way??  Tammy says this is exactly how she felt.   It’s just a combination of everything.   No one realizes just how much the effects of chemo have on our bodies.  It is literally poison that helps to kill the cancer.   I think my mind and my body are just so tired,  exhausted from everything.    I should be ecstatic.  I’ve finished chemo and I am still alive.   Instead I feel down and my body hurts.  My emotions are all over the place.   I cried in the doctors office and came home as if nothing even happened.    I’ve been waiting for that deep exhale, that release.   It hasn’t happened.  I feel that when it does, I’m just gonna have a breakdown.  I really need that good cry out.  I’m just having a hard time.   When will everything go back to normal?  

My surgery consult is scheduled for next week. 

 Even though my ultrasound and MRI showed nothing, I still need to go in for surgery to remove (scrape out) any remaining debris and the ’tissue bed’ where the lump was.   It needs to be tested for any lingering cancer cells that weren’t caught by the chemo, if any.   

Aug 11 –  Today has been 1 week and 1 day post chemotherapy.  I’m hoping that once my body realizes it won’t be getting hacked anymore, things will get better.   My veins are gonna feel relief that they don’t have to get poked anymore.  This will be the first week since March that they don’t get poked on a weekly basis.   My arms can heal.  I look like a druggie 😜💉  My hair will start to grow from this peach fuzz.  I’ve lost my eyebrows 😢 and my eyelashes are thinning badly.  This for me is very upsetting.   I don’t like it  *sigh*  I still have mouth sores and my feet are still tingly.   The hot flashes are still brutal for me.  I can’t wait for the weather to cool down.  I love fall.   Soon, I hope, all of that will be a thing of the past. 

 I got this pain in my left knee, right at the bend.   I’m not sure what brought it on.  Maybe I tweaked my knee or something.   It hurts a bit.   I’m sure it’ll go away.   

On a brighter note,  my time off from work got approved.  Yes!!  That is a relief.   It got approved til Nov. 1.   That will give me enough time to get through surgery and radiation.   Also, my bank is gonna bend a little with my finances.   Phew!  Oh and I can finally start taking vitamins!!!   woo hoo.  You know how excited that makes me?  I can start building up my energy.   My body has been so deprived. 

I registered my son this week for school.   I officially have an 8th grader!  He starts next Monday.    I’m so hurt our summer was robbed and we didn’t get to do anything.  I always felt like shit and worn out.   I’m not ready for him to go back to school and neither is he.   I get time off and he goes back.   Not fair.   

Aug 14 – My son goes back to school  ☹  and I will be all by myself.   I guess I’ll just rest up.   This pain in my knee has not gone away.   I wonder what I did to it?  I can’t bend it or try to get down on it.  It hurts.  I love to sit like a little girl, in a pretzel or bring my knees up to my chest.   I can’t do that anymore and I can’t tuck that leg under me.   hmmmm. . . what the heck?!?! 

Tuesday – This pain in my knee is not getting better.   I’m starting to limp on it when I walk and it hurts me most in the morning when I get out of bed.  Did I twist it?  Or am I getting arthritis in it?  I think I’m starting to feel it in my other knee as well.  What is going on? 

I’m starting to feel achy throughout my body.  I think my body is just sooo tired from being attacked.   I’m starting to feel all the aches now.   My ankles hurt, the bottoms of my feet hurt, especially in the morning.  That’s when it’s the worst.  By the afternoon, after my body has warmed up, it mostly goes away.   I walk my son to the bus stop in the morning and again in the afternoon I wait for him, so I am getting exercise.   It’s that morning walk that’s hard for me. 

My older brother Jake came over to help me clean up some of the yard.   I haven’t worked out in the yard this year but a bit here n there.   It’s thrashed.  Everything is so overgrown and bushy.   It looks horrible and I don’t like it.   Now that chemo is over and I start getting energy, I want to clean the yard, get rid of shit and also attack my house.   We spent 2 days cleaning some of it but I have such a big yard, it’s gonna take a few more days.  We pruned, raked, cut down branches, threw away trash and old stuff, you name it.   I tried my best to help as much as I could but my energy level still isn’t there.   I got tired very easily and it is really hot out.   We didn’t finish but we put in a good dent.   I’ll get to the rest of it when I can. 

 The following day, I almost couldn’t move.   My hands hurt.   It must be from the pruning and the shovel.   It doesn’t help that I have pain in my knees and it seems to be spreading.   I knew this would make me more sore but I wanted to get it done.   It’s my fault.  My body isn’t ready for this kind of work but I wanna get it done.  I have a bad habit of pushing myself way too hard.    I really paid for it.   

Aug 18th – Surgery consult

Clara Sue and I come for my surgery consult.   It has been nice not having to come up here for a couple of weeks.  The doctor does a breast exam.  Then, she goes over my ultrasound and MRI images.   She is very pleased with what she sees.   So, she went on to explain the surgery I will need.   Since I was negative on the genetic test that I had taken in February, I get to keep my boobs.  I do not need to have them removed.  However,  I will need surgery on the right breast to remove any remaining debris.   I will also need surgery on my left breast as well.   WHAT???   WHY???   When they did the 2nd biopsy in the beginning, I was told I didn’t have anything to worry about.   I didn’t need to worry because that shaded area they had tested was benign.  I have a very tiny benign lump on my left breast.  I did not know this.   She wants to have it removed because over time it could change from a benign lump to a malignant one.   Wow.   She is also going to remove a couple of lymph nodes from under my right armpit.  She needs to remove the Sentinel and axillary nodes (3).   They don’t have cancer but she wants to remove them.  Okay, so that is 3 surgeries all at once.   Not what I was expecting at all.   We start setting it up.  She is NOT pleased that it took so long for me to be seen by her.   That is how I was scheduled.  She said they screwed up and I should have been in sooner and my surgery already scheduled.   There is a timeline that they like to follow and I was already beyond that.   I should be having surgery now and because of this delay and her upcoming vacation, she can’t get me in until Sept 22.    *gulp*   what?  That’s a month away.  I don’t want to wait that long.   Honestly, I’m afraid to wait that long.  I don’t like this.   I asked her if it was dangerous for me to wait that long.   She didn’t like it either.   She asked if I would like to be seen by another surgeon who could possibly get me in sooner.   I didn’t know this other surgeon.   I really like the one I have now.  She’s been with me from the beginning but she did say that if she was having surgery, she would want her to do it.    That made me feel better and I agreed.   The doctor would be on vacation for 2 weeks and she didn’t have an opening in the ER till Sept 22.   Also, that is the anniversary of the day I lost my Mom.   I DID NOT want to be in surgery on that day.  So, she set me up to see the other surgeon.   I see her on Monday.   Because of this delay,  I have to wait 4-6 weeks before I can do radiation and I’ll probably have 4 weeks of that.   So, we’re looking at almost Thanksgiving or Dec before I’m all done.   *sigh*   They weren’t lying when they initially told me I would have a long year. 

Aug 20 – I really need to get out of dodge.  So, I was happy when my brother and I decided to go to the ranch.   We have a ranch in Ponderosa.  It’s in Northern New Mexico.   My Dad is from there.  Someday, we’d like to build a cabin up there and have it as a getaway whenever needed.   There is nothing like the mountains.   I have so been needing fresh, mountain air and to get away from the city.   I think it would do my son and I some good.   To break away from the daily routine and a change of scenery. 

 It’s beautiful here.  *inhaling*  ahhh,  smell that.  No pollution at all.  It smells clean, fresh and inviting.  It’s a bit chilly but warm at the same time, if that makes any sense.   We took us a nice good walk around the mountain and contemplated where and how we would like to do things when we start.   Some of the fence around the property was a bit damaged where the elk try to run through.  We wanna put up a pipe fence.  I haven’t been up here in a long time and I have really missed it.   It’s super peaceful and relaxing. 

 

 

 

 

 Dominic really enjoyed it and says, “Gosh it is so beautiful here!   How come we don’t come here more often? I love it here.”  I felt guilty.   Other than my current situation, I didn’t have a good answer for him.   We had packed some food to have a picnic out in the wilderness.  It was wonderful!!  I can’t wait to have a place up here to come to.  Surprisingly,  I was able to do a good walk up and around the mountain.   There is a portion (not pictured) that has a pretty good incline.    That was hard for me but I did it.   My aches and pains don’t make it any easier but I feel I have a bit more energy, not much.   I didn’t feel like I needed to pass out but I did need to go at it slow.   We spent a few more hours there then packed it up and came home.   I can’t wait to go back but I wanna be done with everything before I do.    Back to the city.    I really needed to get away even if it was just for a day. 

Monday 21st – My aches and pains are getting worse.   Maybe I over did it with the yard and all the walking I did yesterday.   Can’t worry about that now I have an appointment with the other surgeon.   I didn’t ask anyone to come with me today, so this will be the 1st appt I have been to by myself since Feb.  I’ll be alright.   I am a bit nervous.   The new surgeon comes in.   She is very nice.   I like her a lot.   She goes over all of my information and my images and what my other surgeon had in her notes.  She really explained the surgery to me in great detail and I got a better understanding of what to expect.   She looked at her O.R. schedule and has an opening on Sept. 1, if I’m interested.  I don’t know anything about her but I really like her.  I got a good vibe from her.   Surgery would be next Friday,  eek.   I take another leap of faith and agree to switch over with her.    I get scheduled for Friday, Sept 1.   for a partial mastectomy (lumpectomy)  of my right breast, surgery on my left, my lymph nodes and to have my chest port taken out.   Yay!!!   I finally get to have that chest port out.   I’m gonna look like a mummy after I’m done with that surgery.  That’s 4 they’ll need to do.  sheesh.   Since I’m already here she immediately sends me for an EKG.   After all the chemo I had she needs to be sure my heart is healthy enough for surgery.   So, I get to do that.   Today is the solar eclipse and I’m gonna miss it cuz I’ve been here and I have another impromptu appointment.   Oh well, this is more important but I would love to see something that hasn’t happened in YEARS!! 

I get my EKG and instructions and check in for surgery.   My heart is still beating like a champ.  There was no damage from the chemotherapy.  YAY!!!    It’s great to know my heart is still healthy.    Getting damage to the heart from chemo is a big risk.    There are a lot of things I need to get done medically before next Friday.   It’s a relief to know surgery is coming soon.   I’ll feel a lot better mentally knowing the rest of that crap, if any, will be scraped out.   My chest port will come out and all I’ll need after that is radiation.   This whole journey is getting closer to completion.   The one thing I’m not gonna like is not being able to get in the pool.  After surgery, I’m not allowed to swim or soak in water for 2 weeks.   Awe man!   I have really enjoyed the pool.   It washes away my worries and helps me feel better physically.   When I’m in the water my aches and pains go away.   Of course it wears off after I get out but it does help to loosen my muscles and joints.   

Well for now the ball is rolling again.  Here we go with phase 2 of my journey.   I’m still waiting patiently to feel better.  This Thursday, it’ll be 3 weeks since my last chemo.  Soon I’ll start posting pics of the growth of my hair.   My fuzzies are starting to strengthen up and my mouth sores have FINALLY gone away!!   Good Lord!  I had them suckers for 8 weeks straight.   All of my eyebrows are gone and I’m horrible at drawing them in.   I never draw in my eyebrows, never had to.   My eye lashes are down to a slim number.  Good news,  I haven’t lost any more weight. I am still holding steady.   I’m still waiting for the day to feel like ‘me’ again.   I thought I would feel good by now but it’s taking longer than I thought.  The chemo should already be out of my body.   My feet are still very tingly.  Guess it’ll take some time for the neuropathy to get better too.   It’s been nice not having to stress out about work and I’m home when Dominic leaves and gets home from school.  He loves that.   My food is tasting so much better, my taste buds are coming back and it doesn’t hurt to eat anymore.  I’ve been getting better sleep but nothing to get too excited over.   I could still use more.   Don’t know what’s up with these aches and pains but I keep telling myself maybe tomorrow it’ll be better.   I sure hope so.  I just wanna feel good.    I know I’ll get there. . . . .  Someday.

 

 

Once again, appointments are getting shoved down my throat!!  😔

 

 

 

 


The light at the end of the Tunnel

Today is the day!!   

Aug. 3 –

As I get myself going and get ready, I’m as calm as can be.   Today is my last chemotherapy infusion.   Wow!!  It feels like it’s been a long time comin’.  From March when I started til now.  What a crazy, horrible journey.   A journey that has had so many ups and downs.  Frustrations, madness, and so many other emotions.  Sometimes you don’t realize the strength you really have til it’s put to the test.  This has surely tested me.   It has tested my strength in every way, my faith and everything that makes me, me.  I didn’t realize how strong I’ve become.  It has definitely changed me.    It hasn’t changed who I am in my heart, but I believe it has made me a better person.   I see so many things differently.   I see things more clearer.   I feel a whole lot deeper.   I’m more gentle with how I speak.  My heart feels like it’s opened up wider and bigger.   I keep thinking a lot about that saying, “don’t sweat the small stuff.”  That is the truth.  When you’re faced with this kind of obstacle,  the small stuff I used to fret over doesn’t even matter.  Be thankful, ALWAYS. 

 During this course of treatment I have found out which friends are truly there to stick their neck out for you.   It’s amazing the ones that have stepped up to the plate.  I am truly grateful for friends like them.   

My nephew is here to stay with my son.  I’m waiting on Brittany and Clara Sue.   The 3 of us are going to my appt. together.   The rest of my crusaders, hopefully show up later.   I told them that they didn’t have to be there for the whole thing but I wanted them there when I finished and rang the bell.  That is important for me.   We did this together.   They were all there for me in some way, shape or form.   

Amazingly,  I slept pretty good.  I thought that I was going to be wide awake and anxious with thousands of thoughts going thru my mind about today.   I hope it turns out how I see it in my mind.   Ever since I posted my news on social media, which was just last night,  I have gotten tons of support.  Lots of messages with kind thoughts and words. 

My appt is at 11.   By 3, I hope to be done.   Tonight I can sleep with the fact that this part is all over.  I made it through and now I can start the healing process.  I can start building myself back up.   I’ve been knocked down so many times through this process, I can’t wait to go up.  It can only get better from here, right? 

Brittany is here.   She took the day off of work (we work together)  just so that she could be there for me today.   That just touched my soul.  It means so much.   She’s like a little sister to me.   It makes me happy the love and support I’ve received.   It feeds your strength.  It’s soul food.   Clara Sue gets here and we get ready to leave for my final visit.   Eeeekkk.   I think I’m gonna get emotional.   I hope my nephew and my son show up later.  They just have to be there.  Dominic won’t be allowed to the back ( infusion )  but I hope he can be there when I ring that bell.  I don’t wanna do this without him. 

We get to the cancer center and don’t even have to wait.  We barely had a seat in the waiting area when they came out to get me.   It was before 11.   Wow, maybe this will go quick!  I get weighed in, vitals taken, and we’re ready to get started.   I get my usual window seat.   Maybe the dove will come visit me for good luck.    It’s a beautiful day outside.   My mood is fantastic.   I already feel relief and I’m not even done.    Just knowing that the end of this part has come has been a huge burden taken off of my shoulders.   

As Brittany and Clara Sue leave to get us lunch,  Lisa, (my oncology nurse) talks to me about the journey I have overcome as she hooks me up for the last time.   She reminds me that the hardest part of this will be over soon.   The rest of my journey won’t be this bad.  I’ll breeze right through it.   I’ve done so well even though the side effects have been a nightmare.   I really hope the rest of it is as simple as they say.   She starts me on my premeds.    Thank the Lord this will be the last time I’ll need those steroids.   I’ve hated those!!! 

Brittany and Clara Sue show up with lunch.   They got Long John Silvers.   They also brought those funny hats.   So, here we are, eating lunch, wearing our silly LJS hats, sitting by the window to look outside for the last time.   The hats were fun.  It’s a good day.  Premeds are done and I’m hooked up to my last chemotherapy.   Lisa tells me,  “1 more hour!”  😀  Yay, I’m getting excited.   I send a text to Penny and tell her, “time to knock this shit out of the park!! ❤ 👊 💪🎀 ❣  Bitch be gone!” 🎀 🎀  I wish she was here.  She’s at work.     

Slowly my crusaders start to trickle in.   Both my brothers are here and Marybeth just showed up with a chocolate turtle cheesecake to die for.  mmmmm   That’s my treat to share with everyone.  My heart stopped and swelled with happiness as my nephew and my son showed up.    *Gasp*   I can’t believe they let Dominic back here!!!   He’s not even allowed and yet, he’s here.   Tears of joy filled my eyes.   He brought me a bouquet of flowers.   I’m sooooo happy he’s here.   Unfortunately, after a few minutes, he was spotted and we got in trouble for having him there.   Children aren’t allowed in the infusion center.   So, they made him leave.  He had to go to the waiting room.  😔 That made me very sad but I knew it would happen.  1/2 hour left.  I was very surprised when Penny and her husband, Manuel walked around the corner.  I started to cry.    I’m happy she made it.   I didn’t think she would be able to.   All of my crusaders are here.   We’re gonna finish this together. 

Everyone took turns going out to the waiting room to sit with Dominic til I was done.  Time is really flying by.  This is going quickly!   I’m almost finished.   Tammy sent me a text and told me to feel every emotion I could feel and to ring the hell out of that bell.   I can’t wait.  I look up at the drip bag on my chemo pole ( I don’t know if I ever told you, I named my chemo pole Joaquin)  it’s almost empty.   eeek.    A few minutes later, the machine starts to ‘beep’.   Indicating that it’s done.  I inhale deeply at the thought of being finished.   Lisa comes to unhook me.   She asked everyone to wait by the bell for me.  Clara Sue and Penny stayed with me while she did this.  When the wires were all off I could feel the emotions rising from the pit of my stomach to my throat.   I gathered my things.  Clara Sue and Penny walked to the front and my brother Jake came to walk out with me.  They’re all waiting for me.  I start to tear up.   As I walk towards them, Lisa says, “before you start to cry, let me get a picture of you holding the bell as if I was gonna ring it.”   We get the picture. 

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 Now she wants me to read the poem on the bell.   Oh gosh,  I don’t know if I’ll be able to.  My emotions are on overload.   Here goes.  Deep breath.   *sniff, sniff*

 

“RINGING OUT”

“Ring this bell, three times well,  it’s toll to clearly say.    My treatments done, this course is run and I am on my way.”

 

After I was done reading it, I paused for a few moments as they all told me to ‘ring it, ring it.”   There are some things I need to say first before I do.  I have to thank my loved ones.   I hope they don’t kick me out.   I look at the bell and turn to my son,   “Dominic, my son,  I ring this bell for you. . . for us.   My brothers,  I know we don’t say this often, but I do love you very much.   My crusaders, Thank you for being with me, I appreciate everything you’ve done.  And Clara Sue, my # 1,  from the very beginning you have never left my side.  Thank you for everything.  You’ve done everything my Mom would have done.  I love you, thank you for that.”    “Ready?”    *ding, ding, ding* 

 I can’t explain the rush of emotions.  For a moment I just stood there til Lisa came to hug me.   I guess a part of me was in disbelief that I finally made it to this point.   I thought I was gonna fall apart and just break down.    I didn’t.  I teared up a bit but that was it.   I surprised myself.   We hugged, took pictures.  I gathered my things and we all walked out. 

 

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My crusaders!

 

 I’m done,  I’m really really done.   Why does it all seem so unreal?  Did I really just endure the last 5 months?  5 months of hell?  Maybe now I can breathe.   Maybe my life will slowly fall back into place.  I need to decompress.   I  wanna go home with my son.   I don’t want to go have a celebration, not yet.   I just wanna be with my son.   Is that weird, weird that I don’t want to celebrate?  Some of us went back to my house for a while then Dominic and I had the rest of the afternoon to ourselves.  Just what I wanted.  I slowly started to call and text the rest of my family/friends to let them know I was all done.  It is a relief but I really dont feel a whole lot different.   Everything now just seems like a blur.  Like if I’ve been watching it all play out in a movie.   I was waiting for that release of emotions I’ve been needing but it never happened.  I thought I was going to ball my eyes out.  I’ve been holding it all inside for almost half of the year.  I didn’t cry at all.  I almost don’t feel anything.  Is that weird?  I feel like my emotions were suddenly somehow detached.  This isn’t what I expected at all.  I expected just the opposite.   Maybe in time I’ll start to cry it all out.  It needs to come out.  I guess it’s just not gonna happen right away.   Oh well.  We’ll see.   For now,  I’m going to be thankful.    Thankful that I have my life.   Thankful that I’ve conquered this quest and that I had the strength to do it.   I’m gonna close the chapter on this one and hope to never read it again.  New chapters are ahead.  No looking back.   Moving forward.  I’m gonna sleep tonight ready for tomorrow and a new beginning.   I’ve been waiting for this.   Yay me!!!!   I made it!  Thank you Lord!!

 

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I had my hands on that bell, we all rang it together! ! ! !

 

 

Ready for a new day, new beginnings! !  ❣  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

🎵 It’s a great day to be Alive!🎶

This is a song.  A country song sung by Travis Tritt.   Some of the words are just me.   Not all words pertain to what I’m going through but some do.    Every time I hear it, I think to myself,   “Yes!   It is a great day to be alive!!”  Every day is a great day to be alive.  The chorus seems to say what I feel.  There is a bridge in it that describes what I felt way too many times.  Sitting alone in my room, lonely and desperately shouting out from the inside of my soul.  Smiling on the outside and falling apart on the inside.   Not everyday will be like this.   I know in time it will get better.  I know the sun will continue to shine.   No matter how hard the times are. 

 But there are some good days too.  And today is one of them.  So I’m gonna jot some of these words down and let you listen to the song.  Music soothes my soul.  Some songs just speak to me.  I’ve learned not to take anything for granted.   Yeah, I’m doing alright!

 

🎵  Yeah I think I’ll make me some homemade soup.  Feelin’ pretty good and that’s the truth.  It’s neither drink nor drug induced.  No, I’m just doin’ alright 🎶

🎼  And it’s a great day to be alive.  I know the sun still shining when I close my eyes.   There’s some hard times in the neighborhood.  But why can’t everyday be just this good?”🎵   

🎵 Sometimes it’s lonely.   Sometimes it’s only me and the shadows that fill this room.   Sometimes I’m falling, desperately calling, howling at the moon.    Ahooooo 🎶

 

 

 

 

Why can’t everyday be just this good? ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faith over Fear

#ALMOST THERE 

 

The day is getting sooo close I can almost taste it.  What a journey it has been and one I would never want to do again.  My life has been turned upside down and I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to fix it or get back to where it was. . . I can only hope. 

I have 2 weeks and 2 days left. Yes, I have started counting the days.   I mark them off on my calendar.   I have a big pink ribbon marked on the 3rd.   I can’t wait to put a huge ‘X’ over that date.   Looking back, the time has flown.   But going through it day by day, it has drug like a slow locomotive train.   If that even makes any sense.  My nerves have been very calm.  I’m not over anxious like I thought I would be.  Earlier this month I was so anxious for the end to be near,  I was driving myself bonkers.  I can’t believe how calm I have gotten.   I guess it’s because I have such strong faith.  The day will come.  I know it will.   Lately, I don’t talk about it anymore to my people at work and I no longer stay in my room.  I force myself out of there and to do things with my son.  Regardless of how wiped out and drained I feel.   I don’t want him to feel so overwhelmed and stressed like he did.  That scared me way too much.  

As I prepare for my time off of work, I was slapped with the horrible reality that, ‘I WON’T be able to take time off.’    WTF!!!!  What exactly does this mean?    It means, “you can’t take time off.”    WHATTTTTTTTT?!?!?!?!  😱 😭  I don’t understand!!  Help me understand.  Well, it goes like this.   You don’t have enough hours from your last leave of absence (broken ankle)  for this leave to take place.   Not enough time has passed.  There has to be 12 months in between and you need 1250 hours.   I can’t breathe.  Are you kidding me?!?  I’m lost.  I don’t know what to do.  I have been working all through my chemo (and it hasn’t been easy), from the very beginning of my diagnosis and this is what is in store for me?  I still don’t understand.  I have worked myself to the ground, because I have to.   I am soo worn out, my health is on the line.   I speak to my store director about this.  Me – “There has to be something we can do.  As a 25th year veteran of the company, I believe I am a valued employee.”    Him – ‘Yes! you are!  But some rules I have no control over.”  That’s how our contract is and FMLA.  I can take a chance with time off, but it won’t be secured time off.   In other words,  since I can’t do time off through FMLA, I can take time off but my position won’t be secured nor will my rate of pay or my seniority.   *deep sigh*   😢 Well, who wants to take that chance?   I need my job and of course, insurance, but it’s something he can’t override.   Now what?     Me – “What can we do?  Will you help me figure out something?  I can’t continue working like this.   I’ll never get better.”  Him – “Yes, we’ll figure it out.”  This adds to my already high stress level.   Other than the obvious, there are other stresses.   My bank won’t help to bend my mortgage payments for a few months and other things just haven’t worked out.  I swear, when it rains, it pours.   I’m at such a loss with life.  I don’t know which direction to go.  I almost feel like giving up, but I can’t.  My inner soul (the fighter in me) won’t let me.   I’m so unhappy with how things are going.  There has to be a way out of this whole mess of my life. 

 I leave after my work day is done and head on over to the district office to see what and if there is something we can figure out.  I have a hard time believing that I can’t take the needed time off without consequences.  I didn’t ask for this.   It’s not my fault that breast cancer decided to hit me just a few months after a broken ankle.  What about other people who get very ill multiple times a year and need time off?  What do they tell them?    Too bad??    I refuse to believe that! 

 As we go over the past year of my life and my accumulated hours, we try to figure it all out.   Maybe there is a chance I had enough,  it looks that way.   I sure hope so.   Several calls need to be made out to make sure what the exact rules are for the company.  I will find out soon.  

 I get that phone call.   Nope. . . I don’t have enough hours and 12 months has not passed.  I’m shit out of luck.   What else can I do?    

I keep pushing forward and I continue working.  I’m sooo drained 😥  my only option is to keep working.   I’m so tired of stressing over things.   I don’t wanna stress any more. I want things to go back to normal.

Round 10 – Well, I only have 2 more to go.  I marked another day off of my calendar.  That pink ribbon on the 3rd is getting closer.   The fatigue has been hitting me hard and the stress doesn’t help.   I am not sleeping at all.  I have so much on my mind.  The nueropathy in my feet and hands has gotten bad.  My feet feel swollen but they’re not.  My fingernails have turned an ugly yellowish color and I started getting ridges on them.  They have started to pull away from the skin and I’m afraid I’m going to lose them.  I keep bandaids on them, especially when I’m at work.   On a brighter note, I have fuzzies growing all over my head.  you could never tell though cuz they are baby fine.   But yes, they are there.   The heat has been pure torture for me.   The chemo that I’m getting causes your body temperature to rise.  The hot flashes feel like I’m in the fires of hell and I get those like 15 times if not more a day.   Its a heat that comes from the inside out and just flushes all through me.   Its awful.   I’ve had a hot flash here n there in the past but nothing like these ones.  It’s making me hate summer sooooo bad.   The chemo also causes your pain tolerance to be at an all time low.   No wonder I have been suffering so much with pain.   My eyes don’t get so blurry anymore and my mouth not as dry but I still have those mouth sores and it’s already been a month straight.  None of the mouth rinses help anymore.    Oh the joys of the side effects. 

 I’m off to the district office once again.  This time, I am given some helpful information. I was given a glimmer of hope.   Something called ‘seniority leave.’  As long as I have worked for the company, I have never heard of this.  Yes, it is in our contract.  I read it word for word.   I don’t need FMLA for this.  Really?  *gasp*  I try not to get my hopes up.  Every time I do that, they just get crushed.  So, even though I got a bit of excitement, I’m gonna take this at face value.  But i can’t help but wonder.   Why wasn’t I told this before?   Do you know how much stress this information would have saved me?   Why doesn’t everyone know about this?  All I need is to get a doctors note.   Well guess what?  A doctors note they shall have.  I see my oncologist next week.   I’m going to ask him to take me out of work.    Fingers crossed. 

July 21 – Got up feeling fantastic.  Since I just had a round of chemo the neuropathy has my toes feeling very tingly.   It does help a bit to elevate them.   So,  I’ve been doing that.   This side effect worries me a bit cuz it can turn into irreversible nerve damage.   Ouch, I can’t imagine having that in my feet or my hands all the time.   My energy level is awesome today and my appetite is great.  Ugh,  damn you tongue sores!!  When will you go away?!   And I just wish and wish I could get some restful sleep.  Getting closer 😃 

22th – had another great day!  Again, I just wish I could get some restful sleep.   Running on fumes is getting to be very hard.  The hot flashes are getting worse especially at night.  I run my beanie under cold water and put it back on for some freshness and to cool off.  That seems to help some.  Energy level is still pretty good.  Ran some errands with my son, had lunch and got some ice cream.  We got in the pool for a bit, let the floaty take me around.  Overall, things with chemo are pretty good.  Don’t wanna speak to soon, but I think my tongue sores are trying to go away.  They haven’t been so bothersome and they do feel smaller.  I hope.  I’ve really hated those.  They are so painful 😧  The tingling in my toes isn’t bad at all today.  I barely have any.  I still elevate my feet whenever I can and no tingles in my hands or fingers.   Yay!!! 

 Sunday – 11 more days til the end.    I finally started to slowly pull my favorite customers to the side and tell them what’s been going on with me and that they might not see me for a while.  The ones that I couldn’t talk with, I just got their number to call them later.   Oh goodness!  Were they shocked, some sad but very supportive.   I also started telling a few coworkers.  To this day, still, the only ones who know are the 4 I told at the beginning and the one I told mid way through.   How I’ve managed to keep that secret is beyond me.  It’s allowed me to keep things as normal as possible but the whole charade has been stressful.    I can’t wait for it to be over.   It’s awful when you’re asked how you’re doing in the checkout lane and all you do is smile and say, “I’m doing okay.”  When really, you’re whole world is turned upside down.  I hate how things have been but I’ve managed to keep it together.   

I’ve been tempted to spill the beans to everyone (family & friends) on facebook.  I HAVE NOT mentioned anything or even hinted about my situation over social media.  A huge part of me finally wants to let it all out but that other part of me that still wants peace and privacy keeps me from doing so.   A high school friend posted that she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.   Oh how that broke my heart.   She has such a huge journey ahead of her.   I have so much to share with her but I don’t want to overstep.  If she asks, I’ll share.   I can’t help but think of all the unpleasantness that’s ahead of her.  It saddens me very much.  She will be in my prayers til she makes it to the end.    

My friend Tammy keeps reminding me to take care of myself.  Not just physically but mentally.   She’s always telling me not to forget about my mental health.  That even though I’ve been a tough girl through all of my chemo, my mental  & emotional health could take a beating.  Dealing with cancer, work, family and me (physically & emotionally)  is A LOT.   I told her I was planning on taking myself out of work.  She was happy about that.   She said I needed that time to heal.   I totally agree.   Mentally and emotionally I’ve done very well.  I haven’t fallen apart.  This worries her cuz I haven’t let it out. I haven’t ‘dealt’ with it emotionally.   I’ve kept things bottled up inside.   I may have a hard time later,  like she did.  There’s a chance I might get depressed.   I listen to everything she tells me,  all her advise.   She should know, she went through this herself.    Physically, everything that I’ve gone through with chemo is spot on to what she went through.   So,  naturally, its safe for her to say, I might get effected emotionally as well.   For me, I just don’t see this happening.   I’m too happy of a person to feel depressed.  I just don’t get that down.  I get sad and yes I get down but never enough to say I feel depressed.   But since she put the thought in my mind I can’t help but hope I come out of this journey unscathed.  I hope things go back to normal.  She says things never go back to normal.   It’s a ‘new’ normal we have to get used to.   What does that mean?   A ‘new’ normal?  I don’t want a ‘new’ normal.  I want my regular normal.   How I was before all of this.   The thought stays stuck in my mind.   

26th – Today I feel wrecked.  I’m just over tired.   I have a round of chemo tomorrow and my LAST one next week.  Plus, I see the doc tomorrow for my last examination.   Oh how the days are starting to drag.    I told them at work that my plans are to go out of work on the 31st.  I’m taking the ‘seniority’ leave of absence.   I’ll need to use all of my vacation hours to hold on to my insurance.   Luckily I have 2 months worth.   So at least I know I’ll have insurance for the months of
Aug & Sept.   Hopefully surgery and radiation will be done in that time frame. 

My older brother invited Dominic to go camping.  They’ve been planning for a few weeks.  They leave tomorrow until Sunday.  My son needs this.   He needs some breathing room.  I think he needs space from me.  He sees me struggling on a daily basis and I feel he just needs to get away.  this will be good for him.  They’re going to Heron Lake.  How fun.  I just love camping and being outdoors.  But this damn chemo and effects from it have kept me from doing just that.  But I think I’ll meet them up there on Friday since tomorrow I have chemo.   I’ll go on Friday and come back on Saturday.  If I feel okay.  I want my son to enjoy himself and have the best time.   He needs a fishing license and to pack.  

July 27th –  My son leaves to go camping for the weekend.   Gosh I’m gonna miss him.  I haven’t been by myself this whole summer.  I hope I don’t go out of my mind.  I should be okay.   “Bye my Lovey, have the best time!  I hope to see you tomorrow!!”  😍 😘

Today I see the doctor.   Examination day.   YAY!!!!   Excellent news!   The lump is no longer there.  This news puts me over the moon.  I.am.sooo.excited!!!   This has been the journey from hell.  Oh how I have hated it with a passion but the chemo has done its job.   As horrible as it has all been,  the chemo did what it was supposed to do.  It killed the lump.  I’m so happy I’m almost in disbelief.   Since February, all I have gotten is bad news.   I’ve been praying for this.  I didn’t want to go through this and not come out on the brighter side of things.   I didn’t want to do it for nothing.   Now, I can actually be thankful for chemo.   How odd to really say that.   Oh chemo, you have been such a misery but thank you for killing that lump.  Thank you for giving me some hope to still live.  Thank you for my life.   It was worth it.   You tried to put fear in me but my God is stronger than you,  I chose faith instead.   

~~FAITH OVER FEAR~~   

 I ask the doctor if he will take me out of work.  He said that I had done so good, why now?  I told him that i was just too worn out.   Too drained and I didn’t want to continue putting myself through that misery during surgery and radiation.   It was time for me.  Time to start healing.  To rest and get better so I can be %100 again.   At first he told me ‘NO’.   lol   he was only kidding.  But he agreed to take me out.   Yay, I got my doctors note.  My return date is Nov. 1.   That should give me plenty of time.   Time enough for surgery, radiation, healing and to get back to ‘me’.  I’m so happy 😃

  I am off to do my 11th round of Taxol with renewed energy.  My ultrasound, mammy and a visit with the surgeon is scheduled for Aug.  What a great day it is.   After my chemo, I was feeling so good Clara Sue and I decided to go shopping.   Hobby Lobby.   Oh Jesus.  I love Hobby Lobby soooo  much,  I need to be kept away from there.  haha.   I need adult supervision in that store.  I need to be held by the hand.   I’ll buy everything even with money I don’t have. . . . .but we went  😛 

It’s been a great day, even though I was by myself for the rest of it.   Think I’ll get some things ready.   I think I will go camping and meet them up there.   It’ll be a boring long drive by myself but maybe it’ll be good for me.  I know getting away certainly will be.  I get my nephew to house/animal sit. 

 ONE MORE TO GO!!!!!   I can’t wait!!   

28th –  I get up and get ready to take off to Heron Lake to meet my brother & fam and my son.  I feel pretty good.  I’m excited.  I can’t believe I am at the point where I can truly say, “I have one more round to go!”   I  didn’t think I would ever get to this point.  When I’m done, that’ll be 16 rounds.  16 rounds of poison that got pumped through my body.   16 rounds that killed everything in me including the good stuff.  But I’m alive.   I’m still here and I hope to be for many more years to come. 

 My nephew comes to house sit and I’m off to the Lake.  Me, myself and I with just my thoughts and good music.  I should get there by 4:30.   2 hours in,  ‘ I am really enjoying this drive’.  It helped to clear my mind.  It helped to push out all the stressful and negative stuff that I’ve been going through.  I love jamming out in the car to good music.  About 20 min to go,  Wow, look at that storm up ahead.   It looks mad and threatening.  I’m gonna drive right into it.  It looks so angry and mean.  The sun went away and it got so dark.  The temperature is really dropping.  It was in the high 90’s went I left.  Now it’s already in the 70’s, geez, what a difference.    I wonder if they’re getting poured on at the lake?   Here come the rain drops.  Okay, now it’s coming down harder.  What the heck,  it’s hailing.   Now I can’t even see.  It’s coming down so fierce with big hail, I’m forced to drive like a turtle.   I can barely see the brake lights of the car in front of me.  This is creepy.  I’ve never been in a rain/hail storm like this.  Good thing I am almost there, I know the turn off is coming up.  I must not have phone service, my brother is not responding.  Or he doesn’t have any.   This is horrible.  The hail is gonna crack my windows it seems like.  The lack of visibility is making is very scary.  Oh good, there’s the turn off, almost there.   Things look familiar.    OH SHIT!!!!!!    I turned on the wrong one.   Couldn’t see the signs at all.   NO NO,  I don’t want to go this way!   I tried to correct myself and turn around.   It was raining so bad that everything was nothing but ugly muck.  As I was turning to correct myself my tires caught the edge of the slippery road and I slid off into the mud/muck.    I slid right off the road.  I can get out, I’ll be okay.   *tires spinning and spinning*    I AM SOOO STUCK and I’m sliding further in.   It’s raining too much.   No one is stopping to see if everything is okay.  They are just driving by.   I call my brother.   No service.   What do I do??   My tires kept spinning and because of that I managed to turn my whole vehicle around, I did a 180.  From one direction to the other.  It’s no use, I’m not gonna get out of here.  I started having a panic attack.  Here I am, a cancer/chemo patient,  in the middle of no where, stuck in the mud on the side of the road (vehicle facing the opposite direction) in the pouring rain by myself with no phone service  😭😭😭   For almost 1/2 an hour I tried to get myself out (only making it worse).   I should already be there.   They’re gonna start to worry.   I started breathing so heavy from the panic I’m surprised I didn’t pass out.  I couldn’t even get out of my car the mud was that deep.  I sent a text to my brother, maybe he’ll at least get that.   “I’m stuck bad, come get me”.    It was no use.   I put the car in park and just sat there.  One by one the cars drove by.   I tried not to think bad thoughts but my mind is an asshole.  What if someone stops and they turn out to be a creeper?  Oh Lord, please help me!  The cars are going East & West, I’m facing South.   No one bothered with me.  This is just like how my life has been going.  Of course I would get stuck.  Nothing outside of chemo has been turning out right.   FINALLY a couple stopped, rolled down their window and asked if I was okay.   I was okay, over stressed and panicked but very stuck.   The man got out, tried to help but I was going to need a tow strap or a chain to get pulled out.   My AWD had failed me.   I was sooo stuck.   When another couple passed in a heavy duty truck and saw the man trying to help, they too stopped.   Luckily, he had a tow strap and by this time the rain had stopped.  My brother responded, he got my text.   He’ll be right there.  I told him some people were trying to help.   The man couldn’t get under my vehicle with the way it was positioned and he was too burely to do so.   His wife was small enough.   She pulled out her rain boots from the truck, put them on, got in the mud and under my vehicle and hooked me up.   Another person stopped and asked if we needed more help.  They got in their truck and pulled me out ‘just like that’.   The other couple hung around to make sure that I was okay.   I was out.   What a relief.   The wife got so dirty and messy but she helped anyway.   Thank you Lord for sending such kind people.   Yes, there are still lots of good ones out there.  I am so grateful.  What an ordeal.   My brother showed up just as they were leaving.  We turned around and went back to the camping site.   They hadn’t had a drop of rain.   Funny how that works.    It could be pouring cats n dogs and just a mile or so away, it’s dry as hell.   Yup, that sounds just like my life.   Exactly!!  We got to the campsite.  Nope,  no rain but it looks like it’s coming.   I had gotten so stressed and panicked that I couldn’t enjoy the rest of the day.   It was passed 5:30, I should’ve been here over an hour ago.  My son got so worried about me.  I did my best to enjoy.  The ordeal left me wiped out.  I was sooo drained.  Why can’t things go right for once???    The outdoors, the smell of rain and the fresh mountain air slowly started to ease my troubled mind but it took forever.   That panic attack I had seemed to settle in my bones.   *sigh*   All I want is to have a good time.   It wasn’t supposed to start off like this 😔  My life’s situation makes it so easy to get stressed and stressed I felt.  I didn’t have the energy for that kind of episode.   Time for a walk.  I need to breathe.  Here comes the rain.  I feel worn out.  Enjoy yourself Lovey, don’t worry about me.  As long as YOU have a good time.   

Earlier in the day he had caught 2 fish.   But one got away and the other was too small so he let him go.   He came out empty handed.  He was bummed out.  Better luck tomorrow. 

29th – Couldn’t sleep worth a darn and it rained good through the night.   The stress from the day before left my body achy and hurting.  I didn’t feel good.  Oh well,  time for breakfast over the campfire and let’s go fishing.   Dominic wants to fish out of the Chama river.   Let’s go!! 

Coopers Ranch – What a great sight.   It’s beautiful here and it smells wonderful!   I love the smell of mountain air.   The sound of the running water from the river is amazing, its so soothing.   I soak it all in.   It makes my soul feel great and the sun is shining.   This is just what I needed.   My brother drove and we all piled in the truck.   So I didn’t need to worry about any mishaps.   On the way here we passed where I got stuck, geez,  what a mess it left.  A road sign is knocked down.   Did I hit that trying to get out??  I don’t remember doing that.   Thinking about yesterday made the stress come back.    I need to focus on the surroundings.    *sucks in breath*  look at the elk.   I love wildlife.   I love the outdoors.  

 Back at the river – We find a great spot.   Man there are lots of people here.   Dominic and my niece get their lines ready and throw them in.   Good luck, I hope you catch something.    Look at the fish jumping up!   It’s like they’re saying, “na-na na-na boo boo, haha, just try and catch me!”

 

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This is how my son catches fish!

 

 

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What a life! 🙂

 

He got a couple of bites, but no luck 😦    He was very disappointed.   After a few hours he got tired of not catching anything so we decided to go for a walk.   It was Dominic, my niece and myself along with my nieces’ pup.   We crossed the Swaying metal bridge suspended over the river.  They went first.  I was holding the dog so his paws wouldn’t get stuck and I started to cross.  Holding the dog, I went while they waited for me on the other side.   Oh my goodness!!!   The rapid flow of the river and the swaying of the bridge threw my head in a tailspin. I got soooo dizzy, I thought I was going to pass out and fall right over.  I couldn’t get my bearings.  I thought it was all over.   I was thinking, “I’m going to fall in the river and get swept away”.   That has never happened before.  It was like motion sickness.   It must be all the medication I’m on.  I’m gonna die trying to get across.   I had gotten half way and almost couldn’t go anymore.  It felt like I had made a bad decision.   I can’t believe the way it made me feel, like severe vertigo.   It just wouldn’t stop spinning. After what seemed like forever, I got across.   That was horrible.  It made me feel scared.   I hate all these changes.   I always enjoy stuff like this.   Grateful that the dog and I made it across, I had to sit down and let my spinning mind come to a stop.   Believe it or not, I was afraid to go back.   We climbed up a rock that seemed to take all my energy and just sat there.   What a nice view.  Why can’t I just be able to enjoy things without something to blow out the happiness?    After some time up there we climbed back down.   Geez, that was hard for me.   Now to go back across.  I don’t know if I’ll make it.  This time, Olivia carried the pup and I was able to hold on to the sides with both hands.    Here comes the spinning again.   Oh I hate this.   I made it but again it felt like I was gonna fall right over.   This was a bad idea.  I’m worn out and ready to go back to the campsite.   After my brother had caught some more fish we packed it up and left for a drive.   We went to El Vado Lake just for some sights.  Here come the mean clouds.  Looks like the rain is on its way.   Yup, we drove right into the downpour.  It was just like yesterday but without the hail.  We got to El Vado and just drove around.   After a bit we found such a nice quiet fishing spot down below to maybe check out next time.   It was a bit of a walk down the mountain but it looked perfect.   Everyone started walking down.   I started but only went half way for fear I wasn’t gonna have the energy to walk back up.   How depressing.   It’s depressing when you can’t do the things you’ve always enjoyed.  When you can’t take a walk or hike or climb up a mountain cuz you might not have the energy to make it back.   I started breathing heavy.  As much as I wanted to, I just couldn’t.   I watched from above.  I watched as my son skipped rocks on the lake.   This is heartbreaking.  I want to be involved.   I want to be normal again.  I’m missing out and it’s making me sad 😢  No matter how hard I try, I just don’t have the energy.   I took pictures from afar.    

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Walking back up left me spent.   I had the shakes and needed to sit down.  My brother gave me a stick to use for support as I walked back up.   My situation has me miserable.   Next summer I wanna do this all again as a happy, healthy human being.  Where I’m able to have fun and enjoy it and not worry about passing out or not having energy or whatever.   This journey has been the bane of my life.   It has robbed me of so much happiness.   I’ll say it again,   “I can’t wait til it’s all over!!!”  5 more days.   I know the chemo is saving me but I can’t wait for it to be over.   

Back at campsite –   I know my visit was short but I need to leave.   I have work early tomorrow.   And I need to rest.   This took it out of me.  I was planning on leaving and we got hit with a downpour that lasted for a couple of hours.   As I got ready to take off, Dominic decided he was gonna come back home with me.   He got so worried with me getting stuck yesterday, he didn’t want me driving back home alone.   So, he packed his things and came back with me.   I felt like I had ruined his trip.   But we came home.   The 3 hour drive didn’t help but, oh well.    Got home beyond exhausted and I paid for it the rest of the day.    Thought I was gonna sleep like a champ from it all,  nope. . . . couldn’t sleep a wink.   Dominic didn’t say anything and honestly, I think he was happy that he came back with me. 

Sunday – July 30th –   Oh man!!  I got up feeling horrible.  I can’t move.  I hurt sooo bad but I have to go to work.   A few more days.   The day was rough for me.   Talked to a few other customers and told them I’ll be going out of work.   I went home miserable.   A few more days and I’ll be all done.  A few more days and I’ll be out of work.  I am almost there.  I know I can make this to the end.   Can’t quit now, I’ve come way too far.   Thursday, I can’t wait for you to come.   When I am all done, I’ll be a week and a half shy of 5 months of chemo.    5 months of pure hell and misery and torture I have never known.  I’m just a few days away of having my life back.   I’ve missed my life how it used to be.  I want to do so many things when this is all over.  I pray for Thursday to come quickly.   I pray for things to go smooth and I pray to feel better.   I sure hope my mental and emotional health don’t suffer.   Why is that thought so stuck in my mind?   I have a feeling I’m gonna fall apart, have a breakdown.  I haven’t really cried while I’ve been going through all of this.  I haven’t let it out.   When I ring that bell I think I’m just gonna crumble.    I need that release.   I need to cry a million rivers of tears.   What a relief that’s gonna be.   My chest is just gonna cave in.  I know it is but that’s okay.  I’ve been a strong woman through this all.   I’ve kept myself going and working with sheer determination.   By the end of the week my chemo journey will be all over.  Next week at this time I’ll be free from the horrors. 

July 31 – Well today was supposed to be my last day of work.   But once again I was slapped in the face with the fact that I am short on my hours to keep my insurance while I’m out of work.    Eff me!!    Is it ever gonna stop?   I feel like I just keep going in circles.  Like if someone is working against me.    I don’t need much so I guess I’ll work til the end of the week. 

As strange as it is I feel pretty good today and still as calm as ever.   All my pains from the weekend camping trip are gone.  Yay!!!   I turned in all my paperwork for my time off.   I just need to gather some more hours.   

Tuesday –  2 more days!!   I feel pretty amazing.   I’m almost in disbelief that the end of this journey is near.    Is it really happening?       

Something keeps nagging at me.   I hope I don’t come out of this too damaged or too emotionally scarred.    I share my concerns with others.   Why is that starting to bother me so much?   I hope I’m still the same person I was before.   Whatever this ‘new’ normal is supposed to be, I hope it makes me happy.  I guess we shall see. 

 I wrote out what I want to say to everyone on facebook but I just haven’t posted it yet.  I really put time and effort into to what and how I wanted to say it.   Gosh, I’m gonna shock them all.   I hope they understand.   Family on my Moms’ side don’t even know.   Even though I’ve told a few more people, my circle is still very small.  I think I’ll post it tomorrow.  The day before my last treatment.   

Well, you could never tell but the fuzzies on my head are really growing.    I still look bald but close up you can kinda see.   I can’t wait for real hair to grow in so I can get rid of this dreadful wig.   I’m starting to hate it.   I think I might like having short hair.    Who knows.   I wonder if it’ll grow out straight or come out curly like I’ve had?   I’ve been told it could grow out way different from how it used to be.    hmmmmm.   My tongue sores have not gone away.   geez, that’s going on like 7 weeks now.    Soon,  my mouth won’t feel yucky anymore.  I’ll be able to taste all of my food and it won’t be dry.   My eyes will be normal.  All of those medications will stop, including the steroids.  Maybe I can actually start getting some sleep.   I’m looking forward to sooo many things.   

The pic below has been a hard one for me to share.   It’s a few weeks old but I’m gonna put it on here.   It’s the reality of my life.  How things have come to be.   I know it won’t last forever.   I just need to give it time and be patient.  

 

 

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Baldy

 

My Reggie!!  He always lays with me to make sure I’m okay.   I think he can feel my distress, as of late.   

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Wednesday – One more day!!  One more day!!    Ahhhh, Is the day really tomorrow?   Strangely, I’m still finding it hard to believe.   Why is that?   Did I really make it this far?  I’ve waited for sooo long it seems for this day to get here.   I’m excited and still very calm.     I took this picture of the bell last week.   Soon,  I’ll be ringing it.   I’ve asked for all of my ‘crusaders’ to be there.   No ifs, ands or butts.   It’s important for me.   We are all gonna ring that bell together.  For they have all been with me.  I CAN’T WAIT!!!!! 🙂  

 

 

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The bell!

 

With a little bit of hesitation, I posted my news on facebook for the rest of my family and friends.   No, it didn’t go out to the world.   It went to ‘MY’ people only.    I have been carefully writing that out like if it was a school paper.   A rough and a final draft.   I selected careful wording.   I didn’t want it to be so rough of a blow.   I can only imagine when they read it.   I have tried so hard to keep my life normal.  Like my Auntie said, “sheer determination”.   With no one knowing.  Cuz I didn’t want to talk about it all the time.  I didn’t want that to be the topic of conversations.   I’m ready now.   It’s time to tell them.   I cried as I put it on there.    It’s posted.  Here we go.  Please don’t be upset cuz I didn’t tell you sooner.   I hope you understand.  I’m fiercely private.   I love you all ❣ ❣ ❣

 

 

 

Is it true? ?   Do I really get to ring that bell tomorrow?!. . . . . . 😃 😃 😃