Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Couldn't smile wider

Today is a good day. I never heard from my Onc, so I guess that is good news. I guess he is not concerned. I feel even better about not hearing from him, because today I saw my radiation oncologist and he isn't concerned about it either. He said that the radiation treatment will not cause me to get another effusion, and I will be fine!!! I will go in tomorrow at 8:30 AM and do my planning session. This will have the CT scan and the little tattoo marks for the computer radiation equipment so it will know where to zing me. I am thrilled. When he told me this good news, and that I wouldn't be delayed any longer I couldn't wipe the grin off my face!!
I just got back from a nice walk down to the beach and the waves are pretty big, because its stormy here in Seattle. I managed to fit my walk in between down pours! My hair is growing back with force now. I just wish my eye brows and lashes were! I feel good but still swollen from the waist down. Hopefully it corrects itself. If its still around by next week I am calling my Onc again.


My heart is FANTASTIC!!! I never heard from my Onc last night, so we'll wait..

Monday, February 23, 2009

Totally Annoyed

Well...I went to see my Onc today, and sure enough the lining around my lungs have a minute amount of water around them, and I've gained 3 pounds in a few days since I last saw him. My ankles/legs are way more swollen this evening then they have been in a while. I am totally annoyed, exhausted, and ready for this to be over. I have another eccho tomorrow to see how my heart is doing, and I can guarentee that there is water around it. It feels weird to bend over, its hard to differentiate between my heart and lungs, all I know is that my guts feel weird.
My Onc is not concerned right now, and so i am not as well. Yeah, right! I just want to be fine, I just want to start my damn rads and be done with this. I asked him today if this could be something I might have to deal with for the rest of my life because maybe my systems got messed up with the chemo, and he said he didn't think so. He thinks that it might just be that my body needs more time to heal, or it might be a virus. He told me to keep working, to keep walking, and to keep doing whatever I am doing. I am fine. We'll know more tomorrow. I feel fine, really I do. I am not trying to talk myself into anything. I DO however, feel kind of depressed with the news that there is more water around my lungs.
I feel like I was told I had to run five miles, and I had it in me to just do that. I ran the freakin' five miles, and I can't do anymore. I am done. I want a massage, and to drink some water, and then eat a really good meal. I don't want to have to run another three miles. I want to be DONE!! Of coarse we all know that I have it in me to do more, and we all have it in us to dig deep and do more, I just am hoping I don't have to.
What I would love to happen, is that there is no water around my heart, and that my Onc and my Onc Radiologist tells me this week that I am allowed to start my rads next Monday and that i am done with all this crap by Mid-April!!!!!!!!! Lets cross our fingers that this is the case.

Okay, the TV junkie is me is off to watch the Bachelor and to put my feet up.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I feel fine

I really do, keep that in mind. But..I started to swell again yesterday. I am really bummed about this because just when I have gotten to the lowest dose possible on the steroids my legs are big again. Not huge, but my ankles have disappeared and if I press on my tissue anywhere in my legs all the way to my stomach the inprint is left. I tried calling my Onc last night, but he must be gone for the weekend. Another Onc called that was filling in and he didn't know his ass from the whatever that saying is. He suggested I take a diuretic, but I've been down that road, about two months ago. And I am not going down that road again. So..I have continued taking the med's as my Onc wanted and I will phone him tomorrow.
I hope this isn't a precursor for another bout and hopefully he will be able to "fix" it. Also, I am bummed because I was hoping to start my rads in a few weeks, and who knows hopefully I will.
Besides that, I have been feeling great and walking. I walked yesterday 3 miles, and didn't have to stop to gasp for air!! Gotta go watch the Oscars.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Horrible sleep

I have been sleeping pretty well the past few nights, but not last night. Went to bed at usual 830 but woke up all through the night. At one point I thought about how scared I really am. To get through this I haven't allowed myself to feel the fear mainly because the fear isn't a healthy place to visit nor reside in for a period of time. I don't feel safe feeling the fear, nor acknowledging it alone. I am going to start seeing and oncology therapist and I will do that with her.
Today i have a few massages early this morning, and then and HIV/AIDS continuing ed class for massage. I took the class 14 years ago, so I thought it was time for a recap.
I am seriously beginning to dream of my veggie garden I am going to have this year. The entire time I've lived in the city I have always thought that living in the city one doesn't get to have a big garden. This year, I thought what balonie and I am going to have one, the size I'd have on Vashon! I'm excited.

Friday, February 20, 2009

massage massage massage

My massage business is having the busiest month in years, and I am thrilled. That with my real estate business is keeping me on my toes and really working my brain! I am excited for a new listing that is coming out on Tuesday. I am excited about everything right now. I have so much joy I can hardly stand it! I have gone walking the 2.3 miles almost everyday this week. Its crazy, but my calves and butt muscles are really sore. I can hardly believe this as well!! I have never been this out of shape. Sore from walking, but its true.
The little hummingbird/tasmanian devil has defintely shown its little wings/head this week. I am so enjoying it. I am not crying at a drop of a hat anymore, but did cry each time I look at my story on the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation site. I wrote my spotlight story, but to see my picture and read my story it makes it so real to me. Its so sad. I got breast cancer. I am buying time waiting to start my radiation treatments. Still don't know when I am going to do it, and that could drive me crazy but I am not letting myself dwell on that at all. Soon enough I will be a burnt lobster. I am scared to start it. Scared because I am not sure how bad I will be in pain.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Drinking Tea

Life is so good and busy again and I am so happy about that that there is no feelings of being "stressed". I am simply enjoying feeling my body awaken and my mind awaken. Each day I think, " I am back!" But then I fall asleep at 8:30 (except on LOST nights..) and I mean fall asleep. It isn't even possible to put toothpicks in the ol' eyelids, to keep up open. There is an exhaustion that hits me in the evenings and I have been able to sleep until 6 or 7 the past couple of days. I do wake up and panic about various life stuff, but I have been able to calm myself down and enter dream land again. Oh, right I as saying, so then I wake up the next morning and start my day and feel even better. I am remembering how much energy I actually had and I think it will take some time to have my body fully back. Sun-Tuesday I walked 2.3 miles each day and took the day off yesterday because I worked all day!! Those days in bed are encouraging me to "do" lots!! But don't worry, those days in bed taught me my "take time and care of Heather" limits so I know them, well...at least a little bit more.
My mind is healing still and each day it is healing more as well. Massage there isn't that much to think about. Though, I am one of those weirdo's simply remembers every body ailment, or family member once I put my hands on them. This has been challenged a bit. But with real estate its all mind. So, I just write more notes to myself and really I am healing it it feels each day that I challenge it. Tuesday was a really good mind day at real estate and I felt so good about myself at the end of the day.
I am becoming attuned to the idea and fact that I am less weepy, who knows if its from the steroids lessening, if my hormones are all out of whack with this whole chemopause thing, or if I am emersing myself so diligently and busily into lifes work and I don't have the time to think about myself as much.
I believe the later is the truth and cause. My new challenge is to take the mornings to myself. Challenge in not a bad way, like I have to challenge myself to do it to make the time. But challenge in that I want my mornings to remain sacred and I want this time to not go away, so I need to allow and give myself this at least 6 days a week. Until noon. I am also not booking massage after 5:30 so I get home at 7:30. I am not letting myself be as busy as I once was. This is very healthy for me.
D decided, I think, to not go to Hawaii by himself. Who knows..but now we are talking about going to Tulum, Mexico.
The only thing is that we don't know when I am going to start radiation yet, and so don't know when I am going to be done. Then there are the weeks of needing to heal and rest before we hop on a plane to go anywhere. So May it sortof looks like and thats rainy season in Tulum, so maybe the south of France, with the trips to Paris of coarse.
I saw my Onc yesterday for the first time in two weeks. I have now gained 4 pounds since leaving the hospital 154.8. I am bummed, but not too sad. I know I'll lose it. I see him next week and also see the radiology oncologist and together they will decide when I can start my rads. I have really bad acne right now and he said its from the steroids. He said my hot flashes were from the steroids and I had to correct him twice until he heard me. And what he heard me say was, "No. I had the hot flashes go away for a few months, but the last month they came back. Before you put me on steroids they were back and bad." He finally heard outside of the box of "normal" folks and "usual" cases and suggested I take remifemin. I don't like taking stuff, but I read about it its Black Cohosh. I'll talk to the herbalist on Vashon first.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

More sleep and sleepy

I will write a big one tomorrow, but for now just know I am exhausted! I am forcing myself to stay up way past my bedtime of 8:30 to watch LOST that is starting in 13 minutes...I'm not counting heehee..

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sleeping alot

I have been going to sleep around 8:30 for a while now. Last night, the Amazing Race was on, and I fell asleep watching it. I have just been exhausted. I slept pretty well last night, woke up around 2:30, drank some water, and then fell back to sleep until 6 AM. I woke up with tons of energy, so I made a beef stew. Today is absolutely gorgeous and I am wishing my blister wasn't having such a hard time healing. I think now that I am lowering the steroid dosage, that my WBC count is getting lower, possibly. I just don't understand if it was high why it got so infected. As, I have had neosporin on it constantly with clean bandages. I wish the rollerblading blister was healed, so I could go bladding again today. Yesterday, I took my first 2 mile walk down to the beach and back. There is a huge hill that I walked briskly up, but had to stop a couple of times and catch my breath. It felt so good to walk up a hill, to feel my heart beating, and to feel the strength in my legs. My leg muscles were actually a little sore, not noticeable, but just a little, "hey, were here," feeling.
I am beginning to have fleeting moments of feeling my athlete in my rise again, and she dreams about the day I can go for a run again. She thinks of just running down the block and then doing lunges home. : )


I took another 2 mile walk today down to the beach, but this time I didn't have to stop to catch my breath. Its amazing how sore my tibialis anterior's were! Ouch!! My body is waking up and being sore!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sleeping, and then not

I have had to teach myself how to sleep again. Last night was my first night since the whole hospital incident that I fell asleep for almost 8 hours. I have been going to sleep around 8:30-9:30ish and waking around 5-6 am. I was so excited that I managed to do this last night, that I was hopeful this was going to continue. I was wrong. Tonight I went to bed around 8:30 again, but I just woke up in a panic, layed in bed trying to talk myself down, and finally am up haphazardly watching Saturday night live and writing here. The Jonas brothers are on SNL and I just don't get why little girls are so in to these guys.
Before cancer, I was always an excellent sleeper, my entire life. Pretty much as soon as my head hit the pillow I'd fall fast asleep. I might wake up with a nightmare, but was always able to calm myself down, if I had to I'd wake up and journal about a bad dream, but I'd be able to go back to sleep. But now, what happens is I wake up from in a panic over one thing or another. Tonight it was the realization that I have come to terms, fully with the idea of "what if" my cancer comes back, and what will I do. I have not come to terms with it on such a scale that I've called and made the plans, but I at least know what I'd do and who I'd call, and what I'd say, and who I'd let in/out of my life. Because, I am not going to "fight" to live, and "kill" and "poison" myself again with chemo. But then again, the plan I have is only a plan, and hasn't been and hopefully will never be "challenged" by the actual event, that could/may/very well change all that I have and will say here. : )
But, I woke up with the realization that I have given enough energy to my "what if plan" and this was neccessary. I am a planner at the core, and I need to not be crucified by shock if "it" comes back. This very well may kill me and take me down emotionally. I can only have this happen to me once, and that day was June 2, 2008.
So...I've planned enough, thought enough, and now, NOW I need to let it go. I need to now be in the present moment again, know that that plan is in the corner, under that rug, and hopefully I never need to pull the rug back and use this plan. So, there you go little plan, little idea, there is your resting place. And now, I need to be in the present moment, and in this realization in my sleep, I woke up in a panic, or should I say the little hippie in me woke up in a panic. Because I started to worry that I have thought about this too much, and that if I don't get a grip on it, I could be creating a "situation". But the realist in me understands that the hippie is being ridiculous and that if "it" comes back, it wasn't and isn't my fault and there is nothing I could've done differently. But still, the hippie is winning out here. Basically because I don't feel its healthy for me to think about my demise. So, I am started thinking about this over and over, and the survivor in me that wants to live started to panic about this whole freakin' thing and I tried to sooth myself into going back to sleep but I couldn't.

I couldn't because of the obvious reasons. The old sleeper didn't have BIG stuff like this to mull over, and did I mention to you that since I've been done with chemo my chemopausal symptoms have been full on again? Hot flashes constantly. So, I lay in bed with hot flash after hot flash. Whipping on and off the covers. And the more I think, it seems the thoughts trigger hot flashes, and they come in waves. So....after about an hour of this ridiculous crap, I got out of bed and luckily SNL is on.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Shaving again

I am so excited to report, that I am needing to shave on a weekly basis. Soon, my leg hair will need daily shaving. Do you know what this means?? The hair on my head is also growing, rapidly I must say. When your hair is as short as mine every little bit helps. The clown do that I had is starting to fill in, around the crown of my head. I am not as worried about having thin hair on top of my head. It will fill in, it just may take a bit. I enjoyed getting out of the shower this morning, and spiking my hair up all over my head. I took a picture of myself to post here, but my face is so puffy right now, that I look horrible and I don't' want to post it. I can't wait until the puffiness is gone and I can see my check bones once again.
I am off to do a little real estate and then massages this afternoon. I'm feeling great, my voice is not back yet.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I still don't have a voice, but I am feeling great!! I worked at my realty office for a bit today, and then I went down to Alki in West Seattle to roller blade. Now, for those of you that don't live here, Alki is a beach neighborhood with an incredible boardwalk that goes on for miles along the beach. I have only roller bladed once in my life, and for not long as I fell and crashed into a poor man. So today, I had on all the pads, wrist guards, and helmet and was so excited to teach myself how to do this. I went slow, as I am not good at all at trying to stop. The key word here is trying, as I really couldn't get a good feel for stopping. I took it slow, but did it long enough that I got a wee bit of a workout in my gluteals muscles and managed to get a blister that made me stop.
It felt incredible to be outside in the sunny weather excersising. I came home and made a big pot of chili and my friend Debbie told me a yummy new cornbread recipe, you stick blue cheese inside the muffins...they turned out delicious!!

I am really excited to watch LOST tonight, I am hopelessly addicted to TV. Luckily I am getting a new life and do not have my eyes glued to the TV constantly!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Speaking in a Whisper

I could not ward off the inevitable cold bug, and am now on the coach with kleenex in hand and speaking in a whisper. This cold is bad, but honestly I don't even care. After all the chemo sickness, this doesn't bug me one bit. When I feel like saying, "uuuuggghhhhh...." out loud because my throat hurts, I kind of laugh inside because its not that big of a deal in comparison. Funny. So, I am enjoying speaking in a whisper and am just chillin' today. I am going to go meet my lender this afternoon as we have a first time homebuyer class at the end of the month and it will be fun to get out of the house.
I am enjoying pulling out all the food out of the freezer that I packed into it during chemo. We're going to eat chicken soup that I made a while back. Snow is falling hard, but not sticking, its so gorgeous.

You guys know I am an Obama supporter, but check this out about the stimulas package and our health care..for those of us that are American that is...

Monday, February 9, 2009

I have just had the most wonderful week since I was diagnosed. I have done lots of massage, and lots of real estate and that makes me really happy. I am one of those people that "work" isn't work, and I love to "do" it. Today, I got to see my great eye doctor, Dr. Heffernan. He stuck that darn needle in my eye again, and I tried my hardest to not tighten every muscle in my body, but did anyways. I hate the procedure. I left with my right eye clear and my left eye still blocked, or not totally blocked he said. I went to the chiropractor today, and then gave a massage. Now, I am at a tea shop drinking tea waiting to do my other massage.

I now this is a boring post. I am not feeling inspired to write right now. Not much to say and then again, there is always tons to say. Life is good. I am enjoying my time coming to life. And am actually really blown away that I get to come to life, as the bulbs and spring goodnesses do as well.

This is an incredible read for everyone from:

Cancer can bring out just the wrong words - USATODAY.com


Sunday, February 8, 2009

The ubiquitous saying

I'm trying to teach myself how to sleep again, without those wonderful sleeping pills. Tonight is my first night without them, I've woken up four times so far. I looked at the ceiling a bit, let my feet dance for a bit, and then talked myself into relaxing a bit. There are many things that I want to talk about here, and I forget to do so. But this one just popped up into my mind, and its a biggie so here it goes....
I am so sick of hearing people tell me, after I have been brave enough to share with them this classic conversation, Me, " I am going to move to Maui, if my cancer comes back. I am going to live in a little yurt, have a little garden, swim in the ocean everyday, and just live a happy life." Whoever says, " Its not going to come back. You are going to be fine."
As I am coming along with being a Survivor, I have come to a real grateful place of "getting" cancer. I am not just saying that to be shocking, or to just say something shocking. I mean it, 100%. I am not saying that I want to go through with what I have gone through again, because like the above paragraph, I am not sure that I will put myself through this hell. But, I really, really mean it. I have learned so much.
There has been one person that thinks she "knew" me, with her few odd days spent with me, and she thought she'd tallied me up pretty well with this time spent before cancer. She couldn't be more wrong. She hasn't even spent enough time with me during this process to "know" me even better, or to say what she said, "I like the new Heather better." All she has done is read my blog. And frankly, what a hurtful thing to say to someone.
My soul is still the same, my heart is still the same, but what I'll put up with is different, and sure my heart is different, in that the biggest things I am grateful for is my spiritual evolvement. Evolving because I have had to learn to let go of everything since I heard the sentence, "Heather, you have cancer," I've had to learn to let go and in this, control flies out the window.
Which brings me back to the saying, "I will be fine. It won't come back." The idea that there is some sort of control that some force has over what could possibly be a gene that scientists haven't discovered, or just that its how a body is made up. Seems ridiculous. No body's knows if I will be fine. Nobody knows this. So, I wish people would stop pretending that they know this.
I believe this is people just not wanting to face, or it is unbeknownst to them, facing their unknown fears of death. We all, even those atheists out there, are spiritual beings on this planet. This sentence simply puts trust in that spirituality that really boils down no matter what belief system into one and the same. That some force out there is going to keep me safe. That some force is going to keep my cancer away. Yeah, right. If we could bottle this sentence, and this belief, the Oncologists of the world would be thrilled. No they wouldn't, because they know how ridiculous it is.
Then there is another sentence I hear about 70/30 of the time that usually follows the above: "you know I believe that you attract what you think" in its various forms. My rebuttle is, " Yeah. I used to think that too. But I never thought I'd actually get cancer, and I did." Sure we all think about the various crazy things that can/could/might happen to us at times. But really guys, come on!
So, I am sick of people wanting me to be a sheep and just go along with the idea that I am going to be fine, and that there is nothing to worry about, keep my chin up little soldier.
That is why, when today, I met a young woman that is 38, and she said to me the GOLDEN sentence, that she was FIVE years out herself of being a breast cancer survivor. That means she was 33 as well when she got diagnosed. That, is the only sentence that calms my spirit down, because it brings and gives me hope. I can only hope that my cancer doesn't come back, I can only do the things that will make me healthier, and I can only try to create as much harmony in my life so that I am happy and living the life I deserve so that all my fighter T-cells keep strong and fight off the cancer that all of our bodies are fighting off each and everyday.
A real funny example of this was a few months after I got diagnosed. D was playing a show at a bar in Seattle, and I saw a Vashonite there. A super hippy Vashonite. I told her what was going on with me, and gave her my blog card. She put both hands on my shoulders looked me in the eye and said, "You are going to live till your 76." Seriously? Only 76? I always thought I'd live till my early 90's.

Okay, rant done. I am still wide awake. Maybe even more now. Yawn. I am going to make myself go lay down again. Hopefully the sand man comes.

Friday, February 6, 2009

ferry rides

I went out to Vashon today, and did a few massages. I felt so free when I bought my ferry pass. I was so excited to buy it I told the ferrry worker, who really could have cared less. But I didn't care, I told him anyways. It was a rights of passage for me. I forgot to take my steroid pill this morning, and by my second massage in the afternoon, my left lung was really hurting if I took a deep breath in. I thought I was all better, I really did. I guess I was wrong.
I was so happy to go out there and massage. One of my friends, she is a client, I have massage for eleven years. That is insane!!! She knows me so well, and has seen me go through so much, and has loved me so long, that its homey to see her. Its been way too long since I have been out there.

I am in the middle of watching a few movies so I am going to make this short. I will write more in the morning.

The quick and short, my lungs still hurt. Damn it!! I was for sure they were all better and my Onc was just being overly cautious. I again, was wrong!!!
Its kind of getting to be a joke with myself now. Whenever I am positive about something with my health, it seems to be always, the opposite. What's up with my intuition??

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A while yet

Well, I went to my Onc's today and I won't be starting radiation for a few more weeks yet. He wants my heart and lungs to totally heal, get off the steroids, and then wait a week or so to make sure the water retention was from the chemo. So....YIPEE!! I have a few weeks of feeling AWESOME!!!!! I am thrilled.
Of coarse, I have a little nawing worry that now that I am not doing chemo that the cancer that might be left over could start growing. I would of coarse rather just start the radiation tomorrow, and start frying the actual area the cancer was in, and fry my pec muscle that the cancer was in, but he said he's never seen even in the worse cases cancer grow that fast. Which I think is a bunch of BS because the REAL fact is, is that there is no way to actually prove this either way. They simply don't know enough. I just thought of that rebuttle, and next time I see him I will say that and see what he says. For fun.
I will be okay, or I won't, and a few weeks to heal my heart and lungs isn't going to change my outcome. And that, is true, and that is all I think he was saying.

Pride in the aisle

Now, that Heather (old and new) are trickling back, I get bursts of her. This was a beautiful experience, so here it goes:

Super Bowl Sunday. Grocery store is packed because I walk in around 1. I have lost so much weight that I am now fitting in my old stylie clothes that I love. At one point D, asked me to try on my favorite woolen jacket and I told him no way. It was just another one of those symbolic things for me, I have/had lots of them. I didn't want to contaminate my favorite jacket with any chemo memories. Like when I was a kid, I had my favorite pair of jeans. I was convinced, that if I wore those jeans I would never get into trouble at school (I was a little, just a wee bit tasmanian devilish, or should I say hyperactive). So, again, for those of you that watched the Golden Girls.......

Picture it, Sicily, 19...

I was standing there, wearing my new jeans, wearing my favorite jacket, standing tall in my favorite cowgirl boots (that they too weren't aloud to come out of the closet the past 8 months), holding a dripping package of meat in my bare hands. This chemo brain mixed with the mayhem at the store, I forgot to grab a plastic bag to put it in. Of coarse the line was hellish long and the longer I held this meat in my bare hands, the more it warmed up and began to drip.
As I stood there an old feeling came across me, and I had to welcome her back. Pride, worked its way from the earth all the way to my head. Christening every square inch of my body, and as it traveled upwards, I felt how it affected me in different ways. I suddenly stood taller, I felt taller, I felt pretty, I felt grounded, I felt self-assured, and.... I felt the blood dripping in my hands. Now couldn't Pride had waited till I didn't have a chuck roast dripping in my hands? I laughed out loud at how ridiculously funny this was, and I was so happy to be feeling Pride again. It was beautiful. I haven't felt vanity arise in me yet, not like that. I just can't wait until I have hair, heck even a few more eyelashes, to look in the mirror and see my beauty again.

Yesterday, was the most amazing day I have had since I was diagnosed, June 2, 2008. I woke up feeling incredible, and I actually had the energy to give four massages. I started at 11:30 and got home just in time for LOST. What a gift it is to be a healer in this life. My favorite parts of doing a massage, is meeting people in their world, getting them to a place of relaxation whether that is talking to them until they are blue in the face, or not talking, but then the end. Everyone is quiet and I just rock them as if they are my babies. I love them as if they are my babies and they are the most special, special beings in the world. I thank their spirits and channel all the love that exists in this world into them. Now, how could any day be better than that. What a gift this craft is.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Thinking of Me

When I got diagnosed suddenly I found myself interupting people in their mid-sentences and talking about my cancer, my disbelief, my emotions. I just was in such a state of shock, that grace and social to-do's went flying out the window. I didn't care what the hell people were talking about because all I could think about was cancer, my cancer, my breasts, my life that had just been shattered and was laying at my feet. I realized I was doing it, and I knew from the shock on peoples faces that they knew I was doing it, and everything became Cancer for me. There was and still is nothing else. If you are not a survivor you may not understand this. And I hope you never do.
In this place resides part of how I survived. I made Heather a priority. I made what I was feeling a priority. I made what I was thinking a priority. I made everything about me. I suddenly had to understand my new world, as if I had signed up with an experimental NASA trip to Venus and was living there for five years alone. With no help from anyone, unless I asked questions and read and asked more questions, and maybe I might find a few souls that had been to Venus and had survived the worst trip of their lives.
For D this has been very hard. And I don't want to talk about his process here. All I can say is that he never reached out to anyone, not even his parents on a regular basis, to get the support he needed to be supportive of me on an emotional level. There are/were so many options for him with support groups, counseling (even my Onc suggested a few for him because he was having such a hard time months back) and I have not had the energy to "take" on the usual responisbiliites I forced myself into in supporting him to do healthy things for him. All I had the energy to do was, call a few of his friends and say, "can you call him. can you hang out with him." Or call his mom and ask her to call. I feel sad and have felt very sad for him.
But the survivor in me that had to A Rise to survive has less sympathy. He is almost 40, he is 36, he is a man. And this survivor in me says, he can take care of himself, AND Me. So, I was able to relax into the state of asking him to fetch a million things for me when I couldn't walk ten steps without feeling like I was going to die.
This chemo hell ride I was on almost killed me. I just pray that in a few years time, my body doesn't start showing any negative effects of the chemo. But back to D, and you other supporters of survivors.
In the place of making everything about me, there is time for you, for D. And I just was too weak, and I also believe a changed person, in that I do not feel it is my responsiblity to take care of him. I was there, trust me. I tried talking to him about his feelings. And we had a few discussions on this topic, when he would allow himself to open up to me. But that's all I can/could do. I had to focus on me. And cancer and my treatment actually forced this to happen. I was so sick, so sick that I couldn't feel anything except my pain. So again, if there are any of you spouses out there reading this that have to go through this hell ride with your beloved. Take care of yourself, get the support you need. Otherwise your well will be dried up and it will be hard to get to the finish line. D, is going to Hawaii he let me know the other day. Alone. I am not allowed to come. He needs a break. He loves me but feels disgusted by me and can't stand to be around me anymore. What can you say about that? There is a breaking point. In all of us. And we are too young to go through this, and sure possibly, possibly as an older man he might be more gracious with his process. But the fact is, is there is no excuses in life. He is a man, and he has a choice in his life on how he wants to walk this earth. I have no control over that.
So back to me. In being diagnosed with cancer, to get through there is a place of Needing to be selfish. This was very hard to wrap my mind around in the beginning. Because my whole life I have taken care of others and put their needs first. For instance. When I was five my mom was in an accident. I took care of my then six month old brother, all the time. My massage practice, I booked appointments whenever so be it 7 am or 10 pm for clients so that I was flexible for them. My my husband and old boy friends, I did whatever I could to make their lives easier. Always, always thinking of others. Thinking that they would give back to me, or thinking the universe would give back to me.
This old disgusting habit was broken, clearly broken with me getting diagnosed with cancer. I will never do that again, unless I am a mother. And I think that this is a must if you're a mom.
So, in being a Survivor, there resides a place of needing to be selfish and its a good thing. Its a hard thing for me because I through old habits want to do for everyone. But I need to remember this lesson, and stick with it. When one is doing all the time, there isn't room to receive. And to open up to this beautiful gift. I really like the new Heather. Not that I didn't see my value before, because I did. But I see the value in my life, and my wants, and my needs, and my desire, and me not stopping what I am wanting to do or doing, to make anyones life easier for them. At least this is how it is right now.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Steroids, the Cure All

I have been on steroids, the Predisone since the hospital. 20 MG in morning, and 20 MG at night. A few days ago, we went to 20/15, and I had to keep taking the sleeping pill. The night before I tried a half pill, and that worked pretty good. Last night I went down to 20/10 and didn't take a pill and now I am up. I am going to wait an hour, and see if I still can't sleep. I am not sure if its the predisone or what but since the hospital my hot flashes have been rolling over me all time of day again. They calmed down a lot the past few months, and now they feel like they are back with a venegance. I just woke up in a sweat, sheets wet and my husbands phone getting a text. I decided to get up and write.
Yesterday was my first day back being Heather. I worked a full day doing real estate, I put out a new listing, and then I gave two massages back to back. I started my day around 11 and got home at 8, just in time for the Bachelor (heehee). I didn't feel sick at all, which is great because the past two days I got really weak and sick to my stomach in the afternoons. I realized the day before yesterday that I had just started taking my vitamins again in the late morning and that maybe it was the vitamins that were making me sick. Since I didn't take them yesterday and I felt great, I think this is the case. My body is so fragile right now I think trying to digest flax seed oil, anti-inflammatory herbs, and a one-a-day vitamin is just too much. I need to remember to make an appointment with my ND.
So yesterday was awesome. My brain is definetly not working well, it went to the wayside in conjunction with my hot flashes returning. Maybe its hormonal.
Saturday was a fun night. As you see to the right of the screen the new photo. Tamara, who remarks here a lot, she and I went out to dinner at a new restaurant on Capitol Hill called Oddfellows. It was delicious. My friend Jack told me about it. We then went out to Dillitante and had dessert. I was struck to near tears, when the very sweet waitress brought me an extra celebratory lemon bar and truffles, as I had explained to her the reason for my celebration. End of chemo, and having fun, and Heather time.
I wanted to write about a few things that I keep forgetting to do.

I have learned so much since this all started. Yesterday was my eighth month anniversary of being diagnosed. 8 months. Its a long time. I have learned so much, and have come to a very thankful place of being in accepting and being thankful for "getting" cancer.
One thing I have noticed and opened my heart up to is people and love. Everyone loves drama. Good or Bad, and because of this overly dramatic event/journey/hell ride I have had many many people rise to support me. There have been the very few bad apples that have come to my side that I have had to not respond to (usually survivors that have found my blog that have chosen to become victims to their experience) or the the wonderful flip side, I have had so many beautiful experiences.

Yesterday was an incredible description of this. I showed up a bit early to my massage appointment. My client just broke her knee, and was waiting for me at her condo entry on cruches, she was speaking to a woman that wanted my number as she wanted a massage, and then there was me. We all spoke in the lobby, and the woman's sister had had BC, She lives in Brazil and just lived through the worst national disaster in 100 years she said. There was a gigantic mudslide and she was in her home and luckily she lived. THey had to pluck her out of her house, and she lost everything. Then there was my massage client her broke her knee, hasn't worked in 10 weeks, and then there was me and you guys know my story. Picture it (like the Golden Girls..Sicily 19..just kidding) but picture it, the three of us standing in the lobby, speaking on how in moments life changes and you move through it. All three of us said the same thing, that we were thankful for our experience that people around us helped make these lessons even deeper.

And this is what I am saying. I have had to ripe open the grips on my heart to allow people to make me food, to call me concerned, to love me and that is incredible. I have had so many touching people come into my life and I am just blown away with the goodness of people when things get rough, you see the beauty in folks. Just like at Dillatante. She didn't need to bring me extra goodies, but she did. All these acts of kindness just kill me, and regularly reduce me to tears. I am tired and am not sure if I am giving words to what I want to explain but this is one of the biggest "lessons" I've learned. Tonight as I lay in bed wide awake, I thought of something. Not only should I and will I write a book for my healing when I am done with all this. I should write a smaller book on the lessons I've learned. Or maybe they will be a chapter in my book.

The other thing I wanted to explain was Healthcare in America. I have said that my cancer treatment is well over a million dollars to date. This is the case, if I was uninsured. Luckily since I was 22 I have had really good health insurance, that I privately paid (since I am self-employed). How insurance works is that I go to doc's they bill a certain amount and then the insurance company allows the docs to only bill a certain amount. If you don't have the insurance company to regulate the amount, there is a huge difference. So the over million bill is really only around a hundred grand. So what I don't understand is what happens to the uninsured in this country. I understand that the hospital cannot deny anyone treatment, and I am sure the government/tax payers end up paying this?? This is of coarse after these poor folks lose everything.
I worry what might happen if my cancer came back, D is at his whitts end with all this, he cannot handle "helping" me at all anymore, and if it came back he is so near divorce right now that he would probably go through with it and what if I was sick like I was again and I couldn't get out of bed to work, and what if I couldn't pay my mortgage or my rent, or my health insurance? What then? This is a very scary thing. Having cancer and going through cancer treatment leaves so many "things" to deal with.

So, I am up its almost an hour later and I need to take a sleeping pill. I just hate to do it, but I have another exciting day ahead of me. I am going out with some buyers in the morning and then a few massages in the afternoon. I am really really excited. It feels so good to be out and about. I walked into my realty office today and made a huge announcement to anyone that would lend me an ear, "I am feeling good. GOOOOODDDDDD." Its incredible!!