Welcome – and F*Cancer

Hello!

I am a cancer survivor.

I have started this blog to help others who are navigating this same, not same, similar, dissimilar, crazy, unknown, unpredictable path that I have traversed.

I hope it helps.

F*Cancer

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Who is that Person?

“Look at that hair.  Who is that person?”

My immediate response was to cringe, there it goes, yet another hair comment.  His comment wasn’t intrusive though.  He was a coworker that, while not close with me, had always been friendly, and I knew his comment was kindhearted.  He wasn’t going to follow it up with any annoying questions, or ask personal facts that one is not inclined to share with those they aren’t close with.

I could write a book about how many inappropriate comments I’ve heard over the past few years.  Oh, wait…I am writing a book…there may be a chapter about something like this.  OK, you got me…there is.  But, this comment was not offensive.  It was said it with a smile, completely supportive, nothing negative to be construed from it.  I did marvel, for the umpteenth time, at how often people whom I’m not close with think my hair an appropriate conversation item.  Deep down, I knew this person meant well.  I smiled back, “it’s getting longer, isn’t it?”

That comment carried with me, in the recesses of my mind, fading in and out of my subconscious, until the evening, when I happened to glance at myself in the mirror at the same time as I absentmindedly reached both hands on either side of my face to pull my hair back.  I caught sight of the way some of the shorter layers of my hair fell onto the longer layers, the visible end points, slightly more lightened in color from the sun, reflecting back at me.  Are those split ends, that maybe I see?  Been a while since I’ve had to even think about that.  

The earlier question echoed in my brain.

“Who is this person?”

The same, but not the same person is of course the answer.  A flood of memories came back, me during my treatment, me…bald…my mind’s eye remembered the me that stared back from this same mirror just a couple of years ago.

A scalp, void of hair.

A face, void of eyebrows, but some indication of a brow bone, beneath my forehead’s surface, that once marked the arch where my caterpillars used to perch.

A pair of grayish-blue eyes, completely void of their lovely rows of protective eyelashes, nothing left to keep the dirt and dust out, completing the picture of vulnerability of one in the midst of treatment.

I remember that me like yesterday, and at the same time, it feels like a lifetime ago.  It seems surreal, almost as if it were a story I’d heard about somebody else.

I’m healthier now.  My hair has grown back, much the same as before.  My skin, wonderfully sun-kissed from a weekend beach trip, once again shows the wrinkles that chemo tried to take away from me.

I may not be back to my old normal, but I certainly have a new normal.

Who is that person?

Who indeed?

Add one to the Win column

My friend Ryan was diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer.  It had metastasized to his brain when it was discovered.

He underwent surgery, chemo, and radiation to fight it, while at the same time following a strict diet, and adding in meditation and exercise.

He was diagnosed as cancer free on June 20, 2019.

He has taken what he learned in beating cancer, and created a foundation aimed at helping others through their cancer treatments.

I am so happy for Ryan, and I love seeing the good guy win!

Check out his website, and spread the word.  One person can make a huge difference in someone’s life.

https://hiddenfountain.com

 

 

Is clumsy a post-chemo/cancer thing?

Cause seriously?  Post chemo, I’ve fallen down the steps twice.  Twice.  Read that again.  Twice.

Went through 43 years of life without ever falling down the stairs.  But come year 44/45.  Twice.  Maybe it’s aging?  No.  I really don’t think so.  I’ve known lots of people who have aged.  They can still navigate steps.

First time, well, both times actually, it was stupid.  Dumb little mis-step.

First time, I was walking down the carpeted steps to the basement.  Guess I placed my foot, as I was stepping down, too far past the edge of the step.  My foot goes out from under me, my bottom hits hard on the step, I proceed to thump my way into the basement, howling, and terrifying my husband as he is trying to peacefully play a game of pool.  That butt-cheek bruise lasted for weeks.

Second time?  This one takes the cake.  You all have read about my inability to get back into a good exercise routine right?  Well, once again, trying to get myself back into shape.  I worked myself out good.  Lots of squats, some kettlebell exercises, great workout.  My thighs were burning, I felt awesome!!  Was a bit stiff the next day though.  Went upstairs to make sure the boy was in the shower.  The legs were a bit gimpy as I came back down the stairs.  Stiff and sore.  Once again, I guess, I placed my foot too far past the edge of the step.  I thumped again on that same butt-cheek, this time on the wooden stairs.  The ones that curved around.  Ug, that curve.  It somehow managed to shift my momentum forward as I rounded it, propelling me from butt-cheek, to sideways, to head-first – left cheek, left arm, both arms forward into the most graceless of lack-of-water dives down to the main level of the house.  If anyone would have seen me, I would have been quite the site.  My thumping down the wooden staircase brought Mike running in from the kitchen, Nick running down from the shower (leaving puddles of water everywhere), both asking me if I was all right.  So mad at myself, and knowing they were worried, and needing me to make noise as I laid there angry at my clumsiness, self-assessing my damage, I yelled, ARRRR I’m fine!!!  Super mad though that I had once again, fallen victim to the stupid stairs.

After determining that I was fine, they both laughed a bit at me.  As they should.  I was glad for their concern, and glad they could amuse themselves at my benefit once they made sure I wasn’t hurt.

Later, Mike said, “That sounded like you were falling down the stairs in slow-motion!”  I looked at him, “That is exactly what happened!!”

I hope I have learned my lesson.  Every time I walk down the steps now, I do it with caution, I think about what I am doing.  Every once in a while, I think back to when I used to bound quickly and noisily down the steps (sorry, Mom) and marvel at the fact that I could do that with no incident.

Yep, the chemo/cancer caused the clumsy.  The recovery made me wise and careful.

Navigate the stairs with caution my friends.  Especially my clumsy ones!  😉

I will soar on wings like eagles

Tonight, I used the very last bit of my lavender hand & body lotion that was given to me as a gift.

It had been given in a care basket from a friend of mine, very shortly after learning I had been diagnosed with breast cancer.  It was a care basket full of pampering.  Lotion, tea, coconut water, trail mix, a lovely container of pirouline.  A care basket full of thoughtful offerings.

I thanked my friend for this basket, but I don’t think I ever fully thanked her for what she put into it.  A wonderful variety of offerings that I enjoyed, and with each bag of tea felt peace, and strength from her prayers.  With each serving of trail mix, I appreciated the  bits of nourishment that helped my body through its trials.

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There was also a heartfelt note, and a bit of scripture.

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I love this bit of scripture.  I love every bit of it.

 

Spring’s here

So, spring has arrived.

I’m feeling pretty good.  I took a much needed hiatus from both social media as well as anything cancer related.  I took a break from my book that had seemingly been going so well.  It had begun to consume me.  And drag me down.  The what-ifs.  What if they missed something?  What if it comes back?  What if they waited too long between tests?  That CA-125 scare that I’ll write about later.  (damn the numbers, but all is well!!)

I’ve learned I prefer to write (type) in long-sleeves, but not bulky hoodies, they are too cumbersome.  Weird, right?  But the long-sleeves give me a protective sheath between my arms and that cold metal of my laptop, without the annoying bulk.  Added bonus is they keep me warm in the icebox that makes my husband happy in the summer months.  (A/C is good, but not at the arctic temps he likes.  🙂 That’s right, cancer/chemo does something to make one even colder, yay! )

Anyhow.  I’ve managed to push myself, pleasantly, back into exercise.  I’ve enjoyed getting some much needed Vitamin D by trying to squeeze in 20-30 minutes outside soaking in the sunshine in the afternoons.  It is truly amazing how a little bit of this sunshine elevates my mood.

I’ve enjoyed looking forward to a cool, delicious glass of orange juice in the mornings.

I’ve moved on…reverted back?–you pick the misnomer.   I am enjoying the simple things.

Life can be simple, if you choose to enjoy it for what it is.  That is what I am trying to do.

Hello Spring.  Can’t wait to see what you, and your friend, Summer have in store for me, I am hoping for lots of sunshine!

xo