Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Contemplating Sources

I have enjoyed the soul searching of various forms of therapy since I was five. I love looking at myself, in deep ways. I highly suggest for you Survivors out there, to find a top notch Cancer specializing therapist. I find Janet Abrams is a huge source for me. She understands all the medications, all the emotional ups and downs, the fear, the joy, she can hear everything I say, and get it.
What I talked to her about last time is the walking on eggshells around myself that I have been feeling. How I find myself unable to cope with multi-tasking and dealing with life all at the same time since I got cancer. My plate feels full, and I long to be back in the game of life. Don't get me wrong, before cancer, my Dad said regularly to me, "There is no need to stress over it Heather, stressing over it will not change the outcome." Wise words, that I knew would sink in later in life. Like a lot later. Like, as an old lady...a lady in my 60's. A wink, and a hug to those of you at this glorious age ( I now wish, and hope I make it to that age).
So, I got cancer. And lived in the present moment, and got finally what my Dad said. I had to know live my life like that. Do not stress over anything. What will be, will be. I am not a God believer. So, to me, trusting that God will would be done. And even if I was a believer in The One Way, I would not believe God's will would be to have my immune system, that dreaded day be overtaken by cancer.
Okay...so where was I? Oh, yes...back in the present moment. So, here I am presently filled with the now known understanding and fully integrated new way of living of living in the present and taking life as it may. And find myself struggling over how to be done with cancer, how to get a divorce and move gracefully through it, how to be single, how to buy a car, how to do it all on my own, how to run a successful real estate business, and how to run a successful massage practice. There is a lot of juggling that takes place. My massage practice is in peoples homes. So I drive around all day, and in between appointments I am seeing my real estate clients, and or talking to them on the phone. Real estate on its on is incredibly stress provoking. And then I find myself working until 10 or 11 at night again, and look at myself and say, "Now Heather, this is not taking care of yourself." I get that, really I do now.
Besides cancer, besides my health, I am still Heather. And Heather, loves to work. Heather, loves to work and be busy, and I love everyone so much. What more is there than a life of service. Well, that is until I get to be a Mom, and serve them (a blessed day indeed).
I'm straying again. In therapy I looked at my stress and why is it, that when I see a simple text message or get a call, or hear my sister mention something, or how at any moment I find myself not being able to deal? I literally, have freak out inside, and start the process of calming myself back down. ( I have learned how to do this, at least).
I kept picking up my phone during the therapy session, unbeknownst to me, whenever I said the word, STRESS. And finally, I said Why is it that I keep picking this thing up? And then, I had my Ahhh-Hhhaaaa moment. My mind went back to that day, to that phone call. To those words.
Heather, you do have cancer. You need to come down here right now.
Oh, right. And then, I had everything go wrong, and then more during my treatment.
All the worst case scenarios were MY LIFE. For the first time in my life.
I have grown, in the past year and a half, to expect the worst. That the worst case scenario is what very well may happen, and I have been living with that. I have been living on Eggshells since June 2, 2008. That is along time.
Oh. Right. That is the root.
Now that I recognize this, I can heal it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Morning tea

This just happened, and its kind of funny...kind of. So I thought I'd share it.

I am sitting here in my comfy chair, drinking my homemade chai (fresh tumeric root, ginger root, tons of cardamon, cinnamon sticks, and black tea) and I ran my hand through my hair. Its soft I thought. So soft. Then I found myself saying out loud, "Are you kidding? I did chemo. I lost all my hair. I did 11 chemo. Then I did 33 radiations? Seriously? I did that?"

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Darker thoughts

I have been grappling on wether or not to post a few things, but I've decided to do so since my cancer therapy. Please do not write me and be worried. I write these thoughts mainly for you other cancer survivors out there. For you to read my darker thoughts, and so that you feel that you are not on this road alone. Kind of like new mothers, how I always support them talking about their despair they feel usually because of the surge of hormones. I think if more people shared their real thoughts and feelings, we would all feel more connected.

I must preface this with: I do not have an eating disorder, nor will I ever.

One of my first visits with my Onc he asked me a few questions, and one that I thought was very odd that made a lot of sense especially being done now, is, "Have you ever had an eating disorder?" I of coarse said no. Another thought that comes to my mind in explaining what I am about to is, that during treatment I remember some Survivor writing me and saying, "If only they'd told us everything that would happen to us during treatment." Well, yes and no. It is totally not possible to tell a newbie what will be encountered because no one know how their body is going to react. But they do know that breast cancer treatment does add on pounds. I also remember a very dear friend told me at lunch during my second chemo, " You will gain 40 pounds, probably." I thought, yeah...right! Me? No, way! Well, Hell Yes, that did happen. Not because I was eating tons of food. Not the case at all. I don't really know, and maybe I will ask next appointment, but really it doesn't matter. I think it was a lot of fluid, for those of you that remember the months and months of pericarditis and pleural effusion.
I still remember last birthday, I had finished chemo December 31st, (hard to believe almost a year now. That makes me cry because I still feel there, in so many ways) and I had to wait two weeks to get my white cell counts up so that I could eat Sushi! I went for my birthday, January 13th, and by the end of the meal I could not stand up easily at all, because my legs had swollen so badly I could NOT bend my knees. My Oncologist did not catch on with this, even though it was a clue, of the pain I was soon to be in with pericarditis. Remember Survivors, they are just doctors practicing medicine, you are in Charge of Your Body.

Alright, so I'll stop reminiscing, and just say it. For months, as I lost the weight, and started exercising, I have been teetering on a tight rope of wanting to starve myself. I of coarse will not do that. But it is there. Very silently, but there all the same. Like I just have a few more pounds to loose now, and then I'll be back to my pre-cancer weight of 136. It does not help at all when people say, "you look great, you don't need to lose anymore weight." It only makes me angry inside, because I KNOW MY BODY. And I want it back. Okay, I said it. Publicly. I said it to my cancer therapist first. She understood. Done.

The other interesting thing, is being a Triple Negative Breast Cancer Survivor, I don't have the other medicines after treatment that other Survivors have. I have my diet to be attentive of, and exercise. Both of which I feel I was good before cancer. But know, its stepped up a wee bit more in the exercise department. I am now up to four miles every other day, with running. I am hoping to start running longer distances within the year. I am excited for this new change.

The other dark thing I've noticed that I only do for myself in kindof a manic way, is take TONS of photos. My friend a few weeks ago, looked through my photos on my phone and remarked, "You take photos of everything." Well, cancer changed this for me. I want to "document" my life now more than ever. I guess in a way pictures validate what I do, what I see, how I felt at that moment, or what simply puts me in awe, like spider eggs hatching. Deep down, I take all these photos, so that if I do get my cancer back, my sister and super close friends can see what touched my soul. Then they can have those photos of my life, to look at and smile. This is incredibly dark, I realize. But again, here it is.

I like this last new change, I am not so keen on the food thing. The food thing is hard. My body became out of control and I had no control wether or not I gained that weight. Now I do have control, and I just have to be gentle with myself.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sheer Delight

Bundled in my robe, fuzzy blanket, and slippers, I sit drinking Lap Sang Souchang (my favorite smoky tea). It is absolutely freezing this morning here in Seattle, a whopping 18 degrees. When i was a little girl, I kept journals. I still have years and years of journals. On rainy Seaside, Oregon stormy weather days, I would go back and read, what I had done the year before on that particular frigid day. Maybe this is why I am doing so much thinking of last year, so much comparing. One thing for sure, the little type A in me has to be okay with my inability to spell. Chemo clouded this part of my brain. I am getting way better, but still it is very hard. Like yesterday I could not figure out if I should use the word "than" or "then". I have NEVER in my life not been able to figure this out. It totally makes me jump out of my skin seeing misspelled words, and all my bad grammar. I am trying to embrace this here in this blog. Free style writing....
So, yes! It is freezing. Yesterday, and many days I feel deep inside me an inner raging of delight, that is new to me. Before cancer, I was a very happy joyful person, don't get me wrong. But now, there is a waterfall of gushing energy that is at my core. Billowing from my stomach, and I am not sure its healthy. When I was on vacation, I did not notice it. I was relaxed, calm, focused on the sun, the ocean, and I slept very well.
Now that I am home, the waterfall is gently raging once again. I notice that I get stressed very easily, overwhelmed at a drop of a hat, and toss and turn all night long. I feel like I am walking on eggshells around myself. haha. But seriously. It all makes sense right? It is obvious what needs to be done, right? Like someone that has come and gone through what I just did, should in a perfect world sit on a warm sunny beach, drinking Green smoothies with an IV drip of golden cleansing whatevers, and not have any "life" stuff to deal with. I would not get bored of this in a the slightest. But, that is not life. And I am back, and at a running start of coarse. Still my style, some things do not change.
I have learned through cancer to allow people to help me, and that is what i am starting now. The little control girl in me, the girl that believes she can do everything herself, is now entering a partnership with my Real Estate and that will lessen the load.
Okay, back to real stuff. My body is awesome. A few months ago, I started running. I ran everyday, and for the first time in my life, I hurt myself. Being what my doc's refer to as "deconditioned" I had to stop running, and let my knees heal. They did. Now i am running every other day, and yoga and lifting weights on the alternate ones. I am feeling strong.
I have a core sense of self, that i had pre-cancer, but its stronger. She is stronger. I am really excited for the integration that this cold weather is going to bestow upon me. Off to do some yoga. Loving that today, I am healthy, I am smiling, I am sitting with tea and joy, and a gushing waterfall of love pouring forth on to all of you.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Ocean Does Heal

My trip was perfect for me. I really was starting to wonder if I was having a harder time than I really thought I was. Starting to question the whole PTSD, thing. I think that I am fine, actually more than fine. I think I just needed to swim in the ocean, and lay on the beach, and do nothing. That is what I did, and I feel really to attack my life again. In fact, I just went for a 45 minute run, and am now making my lists for work.
This is a short post. Too much to say, and not enough patience to share it right now. I am well. Scared to walk outside, and as my friend Jenn says, "Embrace the cold." But, will do it in a moment.