Tuesday, October 26, 2010

awwwwww pink out!

My son is in 3rd grade. He goes to a really great school. Well for Breast Cancer awareness month one of the 3rd grade classes initiated a Pink Out day. October 22 they encouraged the entire school to wear pink in support. Cute kid made posters were all over the school.
I found out that as a result, Gabe decided to tell his class that his mom had breast cancer. So brave he is. it was a big deal to him. One friend asked him if he was sad and his answer was yes.
I emailed the parents to let them know that i was ok, and to give them a heads up for any conversations that may arise from the new info.
Anyway - on Pink Out day, Gabe was determined to wear a pink tee shirt, as he tried all mine on, and decided on my Hanes hope tee designed by melina kankaredes that i won online, he did question - do i look too girly? but in the end he said - I don't care what people think. I said real men wear pink.

I went to visit the school that day - the sight of all the little bodies clad in pink walking down the hall made me emotional.  Gabe's best friend Peyton, was very proud to point out every PINK decoration, poster, balloon, so so cute.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

the final chemo!

I had my last chemo session on October 12th, that date!! It seemed so far away this SUMMER when i got the chemo schedge. Then it came so fast. Weird how life still happens in the midst of impossible-ness.

I have to say this first, I feel VERY VERY lucky that my protocol, my "type", my situation, called for only 4 chemo infusions, and that those infusions conisted of a chemo cocktail that is not as harsh and debilitating as many many others. It still is crappy, but not as crappy as it could be. for that i am grateful

So....for this milestone, i had my "full moon girls", Cory & Beth with me. They are special and tho i may see one or the other,or they may see each other periodically, getting the 3 of us at one time is epic power. So it had to be. Helped that Cory brought killer vegan lunch from a new food trailer called Concious Cravings.

Full Moon Sisters
I had heard about the tradition of confettin & ringing the bell on your last day, but by the time i was done, it was super empty and i was feeling self concious about making a to do.  But i had one of those magic moments that only happens in the cancer club. I spotted a woman there who was visitng another patient, she looked familiar, i had seen her at a BCRC event months before and had the same feeling. But this time i got it, i used to know her, our 12 year olds had been in pre-school together. I'd been to her house. I remembered that she had fought this battle way back. I couldn't remember her name. She had short hair, she knew all the nurses, i wondered if she was back in. When she walked by i said HEY, i KNOW you! remmeber, ect... she did. She is back in, stage 4 lifer.

We had a nourishing catch up, you people tell me i'm inpiring, meet her, she made me so happy with her spirit. She was a like a glowy wood sprite, magical, cute.

anywayssss, she wouldn't hear of no confetti, so she made it happen, i rang the bell, i went home.

weird emotions, happy to be done with that, beyond happy. Guilty it was comparitavely easy. Sad to not be going anymore. I know, that's weird, but it's there. Dread as usual with how i knew i was going to feel.
fear in a way, that now, well in a few weeks, i can't "use" chemo, i have to become accountable, responible for my health, efficient with my time, present with my children, stuff i long for, but stuff i'm not as used to. I can't blame a sugar extravaganza on chemo cravings, I can't blame flaky on chemo brain, you get the idea.

So now, i'm still exhausted to the max, what's different is knowing that it's over. knowing that 3 weeks from October 12th will be like new territory, each day after 3 weeks will be a step towards feeling normal. It makes me want to over achieve.  But i was reminded that chemo can stay in your body for up to a year, so i guess i do have a while....i'll try to chill

So...what now. Well. now it's time to focus on the boobs. I still need to go for a few more expansions. Then in December i will have my replacement surgury. Where the plasitc surgeon will remove these horrible uncomfortable yucky expanders and place lovely silicon implants. i can't wait. I have heard this surgury is a piece o cake in comparison. so yay.

I will start my 5 years of Tamoxifen in a week. Weird to think of taking something for 5 years. I am trying not to read too much about side affects. It is what it is. I have to deal.

I will start excercising more, little by little, i'm joining a 12 week program at the Y through livestrong. I need more yoga. I would like to lose the weight i gained during chemo.

appointments and follow ups and scans, i guess they will be part of my life.

Oh yeah, and my hair!! i am so ready for that.

Friday, October 15, 2010

the love bomb dropped - thank you

I had never heard of http://www.dropalovebomb.com/ before yesterday.  But when i emerged from a 1.5 hour accupuncture appointment and looked at my blackberry as usual, i thought my eyes were fuzzy when i saw 164 emails on one of my accounts. I glanced and saw they were all comments on this blog. what?
when i got home i started to figure it out.  then i spent about the next 2 hours reading all the comments....and they kept coming.
What can i say! this amazingly happened on a day where i was too chemo sick to do anything....so it was such a blessing, such a way to be uplifted, and so nice that i was clear from work or parenting so i could fully dive in to the love and support that was poured on me.

I wish i could reply to every single one of you, i mean, everyone!
I can't believe this exists, i can't believe people really take the time to do this for people. I imagine this love just spreading and exploding all over the universe and finidng those that need it, it all swirls around and lands in the right places, and comes back to those who give. 

These comment have affected me so much!
Some of course made me cry
Some made me feel strong powerful & capable
Some humbled me
Some made me really laugh out loud (i took my phone on a short stroll & freaked out a neighbor when laughed at one particular comment)
Some people wrote poems
Some prayers
Some people related
Some reminded me of who i am
Some gave me hope
Some inspired me
All made me feel good
All were thoughtful and perfect
I pretty much felt the full 360 degrees of emotions, which is a very affirming feeling. That's life.

i will always tout the value of this kind of support during something like this. it takes all kinds, not just the traditional hands on. This kind of thing has helped me immensely

the comments are still coming...
so to ALL that dropped the love bomb and all that take the time to comment, to me or anyone that needs it - i thank you!


Saturday, October 9, 2010

crappy chemo side effect of the day

i guess you could post a post a day about each crappy side effect, and i suppose different chemo patients would have varying degrees of crapiness.  Sometimes we all feel we can relate to each other, but sometimes we notice how each experience is unique. 
but today, what is bugging me the most is the crying, like pms hormone to the MAX. i can't stop. it's ridic. everything makes me cry:
this episode of chopped
my 12 year old's trials & tribulations, successes & failures
my 9 year olds cute exhaustion that only comes from a good time
happy pretty people walking around town
my friends 1 year old son at the children's museum, innocent smile
the fact that i'm happy
the fact that i'm not done yet
my low GI cookbook (see, it's not your average cry fest)
my cute daddy
a poem
the past
the future
my tiredness
my reflection
the love

Friday, October 8, 2010

you never know

Sometimes when i go about my day, grocery store, coffee shop, walk in my neighborhood, with my gypsy head scarf look,  i am convinced of course that people look at me. They probably are, i don't blame them. But i am always convinced i know what they are thinking.
The teenage girls look with a bit of fear, and distance, the beautiful neighorhood moms out running look with pity and glad it's not me thoughts, maybe a bit of wow she's so brave thrown in. The men driving by, also sympathy, tho more detatched than the women.
but one day, a man drove by in my neighborhood when i was walking, and he smiled at me, and i had a sudden epiphany, it's far more likely that the teenagers are looking at me thinking, yeah, that was my mom last year, the women are thinking, i remember when so & so lost her hair, the men may be remembering when they supported their wife 5 years prior, and thought she was still beautiful with no hair.
That's sad that that is so likely, but it's also comforting.  It's helped me to think this way, it makes me see myself as stronger, as a person to inspire,  not as a spectacle, an object.

ps. i realize that almost every blog post i write, has two feelings about something, a sad, scared, neg side, and an opposite counter, is that because i'm a crazy gemini? or is that the nature of trauma and the blessings. Oh yeah, it's both

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Chemo Round #3

wow, i just realized i never posted about this round, it was 2 weeks ago. I guess cos really it was in some ways uneventful, and in many ways so much worse than round 2. it really kinda wore me down.
let's see...
In between 2 & 3, my white blood count got really low, as expected, but they were worried and put me on atibiotic. For some reason this put in a funk, and it also meant i couldn't get expanded on my usual day, delay delay delay, hard to accept.
Sooooo, i went for expansion the day after Chemo #3, my white blood cells were up again enough, enough to not need Neulasta shot again (thank goodness)  - but not long after the expansion appointment i started to feel so sick, bed ridden sick, i got a fever that reached 102.  Nurses said probably was inflamation due to the expanding, and to watch to make sure i didn't get an ifection in the chest area. I didn't. I stayed in bed and watched 3 movies in a row, fever went down, i didn't puke.  but yeah, felt pretty bad till about sunday. I missed attending a closing. Luckily i have wonderful understanding clients. but i had a closing! yay.
oh, and my AC was broken, for some reason i was ok with it till about thursday. My amazing next door neighbor took matters into her hands and called a highly reccomended and "cheap" AC guy. and offered to pay unless it was really huge. Not only was it not huge, but they guy only charged $50, he said it was "his part". The kindess of him, my neighbor, the universe - again makes my knees week. It makes me so emotional. and grateful.

Since then...well, good. My funk lifted mostly, my energy returned mostly. I'm still more tired, deep tired, than i've ever known. I'm emotional, on edge, sometimes peaceful, tired of it, happy it's almost over. Feeling like isolating somewhat, scared of germs. roller coastery. irritated. empowered. scared. yep, all of the above.

Just had the 2 week post chemo blood test results yeterday, white blood low, but no antibiotic this time. Red blood up a bit. Don't hug me if you see me. I feel it. exhaustion is in the bones. And i hate worrying about crowds and germs. I just flaked on recording a video for clear channel for race for the cure because i'm too tired & don't want to be around so many peeps. hate flaking.

I had an appointment with the amazing Dr. Luepnitz (nutritional oncologist)  and feel confident that his work will really help my body strengthen & recover from the ravages of chemo as well as add to my arsenal of remaining cancer free for life.

I'm dreading round #4 but i know it will be over so trying not to dwell....

Sunday, October 3, 2010

music is me

now that the drama of surgery & recovery are past, and chemo is firmly embeded in all my cells & organs, i find myself hard to define.
I don't even know if i know what that means. but this is what if feels like:
I go to usual places, and i feel awkward and alien. I have a head scarf on, tons of make-up. I know i'm pretty but i feel unusual, something to look at. At the grocery store i only feel "normal" when i think of myself as someone other than the nanette i am used to. At school pick up, i hover further down the street. I don't feel like hanging out so much in places i used to feel comfortable.  I rather go to unfamiliar places, because then i am anonymous random person
I'm not ashamed or embarassed about looks, i just don't feel like me.
I don't react to things the same way. I don't see things the same.
I'm not really sad, or depressed, i just don't feel like me
I don't find that nanette i recognize, that impy cute girl with long braids that always got what i wanted, the pink haired daring teenager that lived for shows, that superawesome mom of babes who was so instinctive, that badass single mom who tried to deal with it all.

but i did discover that the only time i truly feel like me, is when i'm listening to rock n roll, on my ipod, in my car. it's the only time i'm not in my head, i'm just being. being me. Music IS me

I know that going through this has changed me completely, one day the chemo will be out of my system, my scars will fade, i'll run without getting out of breath, (i'll run!) and normalcy will ensue, but i never will be the same. And the reason i'm not sad, is that i know i will be better.
but thank god for rock n roll