Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Back to Work

Wow. Wow wow wow. I went back to work on Monday. It's been distracting which is a good thing, but, man, I have never felt this tired -- EVER. It was funny. On Monday, I fell asleep with my laptop in my lap!

Here's to feeling stronger and stronger as each month passes...

Friday, August 19, 2005

In a good mood? I can't tell!

So, I'm feeling pretty good but not full of vim and vinegar. I think I've reached the plateau my oncologist told me about. She said I'd have this surge of energy after finishing chemo and about 4 months later, I would just sort of level off. I'm definitely in the "level off" stage and am feeling a bit nervous about how tired I'll be when school starts. I haven't been sleeping all that well, so that might be the cause of any fatigue.

I've fallen off the exercise/good eating band wagon a bit. Tom and I have been traveling an incredible amount this summer. We left for California on July 1 and were to return for the balance of the summer on July 17. Flash forward -- I have only been back home for a couple of days. I was planning on taking the month from the middle of July til now to rest and nest, work out, set a healthy eating/exercising schedule for myself, decompress -- all in anticipation of the new school year. Of course, things don't always happen as you plan. Did I mention that my dad broke his leg, and that's why I was in Atlanta for nearly 3 weeks? So, he's in pain and really pretty debilitated, and here I am complaining about how being home threw a wrench in my plans and loused up my summer. Nice. Selfish me. I swear, my whole life I've wanted to be a parent. I better learn to handle change in a healthier manner.

Emotionally, I'm more up and down than normal. Before all of this cancer craziness wreaked havoc on my life, I was nearly always happy, positive and fun to be around. Seriously, I could count depressing, unfriendly, moody days on one hand. I'm much moodier now. In the last few weeks, I've been taking some of my bad moods out on Tom which is wrong wrong wrong. The magnitude of Mom's death continues to hang over me. It's deeply depressing to know that the mourning will never end, and the pain of losing her may change but will never go away. Plus, I have that post-chemo vicious cycle of guilt. I am in a bad mood, and then feel guilty that I'm giving myself bad "vibes" or something and those "vibes" are going to cause me to have a recurrence. Lately, I've been certain that my stress is giving me cancer. Some days, I swear I can feel my cells mutating. This, of course, is ridiculous, and I've got to break the cycle or I'll go nutty.

Although I absolutely am NOT ready to return to work, having that schedule and distraction will probably be really good for me. Plus, I'm pretty sure I'm going to make an appointment with the preist who married us. I haven't seen him since the WEDDING which in Catholic time equals many years in Purgatory, but I do feel I need some spiritual guidance for resurgence. EVERYTHING in my life was thrown into upheaval this year. It's hard to be normal after all this abnormality.

Gee, I sound so depressed! Truth is, I'd say I'm in a pretty good mood. Huh. Then again, if you asked me, I'd still say I was a healthy person, too. :-) Go figure!

Friday, August 05, 2005


Sorry to not have posted for so long. I've never been a journal-keeper, and I can't really decide what to do about this blog now that the active cancer treatments are over. Truthfully, I just see myself posting with successive test results. That said, here are my thoughts.

My (albeit limited) post chemo experience has been interesting. I made all of these grand goals of ways to change my life; but as I've started to feel better, I find that my life is pretty much the same as before. I continue to be in the full conundrum I've discussed many times on this blog. (In fact, I'm sounding a bit like a broken record!!) Here it goes again.

I want to forget and leave it all behind, but I have been lucky to beat this thing and feel I have an obligation to do something about it. What that is, I'm not sure. I will try to be a better person, try harder at work, etc. Who knows? Shouldn't I strive for those "improvements" anyway? In the meantime, an oncology nurse in Atlanta has invited me to lobby members of Congress on behalf of the Community Oncology Alliance. That sounds interesting, and I'll definitely pursue it.

I have some guilt that I'm not more transformed by the experience, but as I reflect on it, I don't think this is a totally bad thing. To me, "beating cancer" can also be defined as an experience that doesn't totally transform your life, but rather one you live through and leave BEHIND. My mom battled breast cancer for 18 years, but I know she would hate being remembered as a cancer patient. Some of my most vivid memories are of her last, awful days, and I work hard to remember that those days are not the best example of who she was as a person. In her life, cancer was a nuisance, not a positive influence giving her more clarity. To me, allowing cancer NO influence may be the greatest victory.

I have been either walking or going to Curves regularly. I still get tired easily, but stay motivated by forcing myself to remember how I felt in say, February. Truth is, I'm not noticing any drastic improvements in my stamina when I work out, but my body is changing bit by bit. I'm starting to notice more muscle tone and my clothes are fitting me better. I was very discouraged for a while because even with healthy eating and dieting, I was staying at the same weight. I have since found out that chemo actually destroys your metabolism. I'm trudging along trying to "rev" it back into shape.

My hair is growing like wildfire. It seems much thicker than before and curlier. Everyone tells me that they think my hair looks cute like this, but it drives me bonkers. I feel like I have a white girl's fro -- DEFINITELY not a good look. Gravity, please, do your thing on my hair!!