Coping One Day at A Time

I’m still not moving around like my former self. I make lunch for the kiddos and prepare my own small meals, but that’s about it. I still rest a lot and do a lot of thinking. (Which isn’t always the best.) I’m believing my HER2 results come back on Monday. My first test was inconclusive, so they had to test a portion of the tumor they removed. What that means for me is I do a lot of research on the type of cancer I had and what each test shows. I did all of this prior to my mastectomy, but I feel empowered somehow by gaining more knowledge.

I’ve been able to move my arm some, but I am surprised at my range of motion, or should I say lack thereof. I wasn’t really expecting how much my entire body would be affected by the surgery. Because of the DIEP Flap procedure, my back is very sore and I can only stand/walk for short periods of time. What I really want is to go to the gym and be normal. I don’t feel normal at all, part of me feels broken. It’s not because of the mastectomy (at least I don’t think so) but because of the cancer. Although I am now cancer free, I feel more affected by it now than when I was first diagnosed in November. Yes, I kicked its ugly, nasty ass, but there’s this gnawing feeling that lingers just under the surface. I feel like it is so close to the surface that everyone can see it, but it lies just below where it tempts me to succumb to its trap.   I fight back in my mind and remind myself that I am indeed cancer-free, but it doesn’t stop the thoughts completely. Each day I allow myself time to reflect for just a bit, but when the emotions seem too much, I turn it off and redirect my focus. I’m not sure that’s the best, but for today…it’s okay.

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Day 12 With My Foob

I’m 12 days post mastectomy. I’m feeling stronger everyday and getting around a little better. They removed the drains yesterday, and that made a big difference in how I get around. I’m finding sleeping to be difficult now, but I’m not sure why. Yes, I’m physically uncomfortable at times, but sometimes….I’m just uneasy. I can’t really put my finger on it, but I just don’t feel peaceful. My recovery is going well and I talk to God all the time, so there really isn’t anything to be un-peaceful about. I am so thankful for my life and for my family, and most of all for God’s love and grace. I have nothing to complain about…NOTHING! Now, that isn’t to say there aren’t things that I would like to complain about. 😉

After I received my diagnosis (I mean when I got in the car to leave the doctor’s office) I started making calls to the referred physicians, and made appointments. It helped me feel proactive, but of course there was a wait to see any specialists. That part kind of sucked, but it worked out great! My mom was able to fly in before any appointments and went to meet each doctor with me. My husband works insanely long hours and sometimes hours away from our home, so having my mom help was amazing. Would I have liked my husband there? Of course! He is my first choice, but for me there was a sense of guilt. I had this horrible disease that was going to affect our entire family. I wanted to make it as easy on them as humanly possible. Don’t judge me…I felt guilty for having cancer. My appointments, my moods, my energy level affected everything. My husband was incredibly supportive, but bottom line, somehow this was my fault and I felt guilt. When I really think about it, I still do. 😦

I spent the next few weeks going from doctor to doctor, learning about my options, and having a zillion tests run. On my way to my CT scan, I told a friend that with all this radiation, I was going to end up getting cancer. It was the first time a could smile about all the tests and results and numbers and….sigh.

With God’s help, we completed all my tests and appointments in time for my family to fly in for Thanksgiving. (This was planned months prior). Of course everyone tipped-toed around the subject, that is until my MIL (who lives with us) said one of the stupidest things I’ve heard. When I’m with my dad we usually drink a nice wine. Well, MIL wanted some and added water to it. We teased her that we would have gotten her a lighter rose wine.

Here’s the convo:

MIL: I’m 67 years old, so I can do whatever I want and you can’t tease me.

Me: I’m not 67 years old and still “choose” to do whatever I want.

MIL: No, you do whatever you want because of another “C” word.

OMG!!! The entire room went quiet, and my brother pipes up and says that I’ve been doing what I wanted long before this came along. 😉 I was a little embarrassed and of course the guilt crept back in. I know she was kidding, but my heart sank for a moment, at the thought that people would treat me differently. I just wanted to be me. I’m believing through this journey I will find that person again, and maybe be even better than before.

 

Where I Began To Lose Myself

Trigger Warning

Thinking back, I believe it was around the age of 15 when perception of what was acceptance was skewed. Not to say that it didn’t begin at a young age, but these memories are the ones that stand out, and for a lack of a better word…haunt me.

I was a natural athlete growing up. I’m not sure how I learned or even when I learned, but I had a “killer” arm. I could throw a runner out at home (on the fly) from right field, and that wasn’t even the position I regularly played. I won ever throwing competition in Track and Field, and I was MVP every year I played softball. As I got older, volleyball was made available, and guess what, once again I excelled.  It brought be comfort and confidence to be on the field/court; that’s where I was most me. I loved it beyond words and thanked God that I had these abilities. It literally was my whole world. Then came High School. 🙂 I made Junior Varsity as a freshman and had to listen to the ridicule from the older girls who did not appreciate a freshman being a starter over them, but I didn’t care. I put up with it because I wanted to be there, I needed to be there. My entire life worked around my games and practices. I traveled with teams during our off-season and left for camps during the summers. To me, it defined me.

Then one decision changed everything. I wasn’t Miss Popularity, but I wasn’t really anything. I didn’t fit into any one clique, but I did feel invisible. I had my friends and they were great, but I felt like I was missing something. I wanted to feel accepted. So, my friend and my (older) neighbor wanted to skip school one day. I was really nervous and wasn’t sure I really wanted to do this, but I wanted to be “cool”. I did everything they said and it worked. I was at the mall hanging out, while my parents thought I was at school and my teachers thought I was home sick. I was sick most of the day because I knew it was wrong, and I was going to miss practice that night.

Long story short, I got caught. I had three days in-school suspension and my starting position wasn’t the only thing taken from me. I was removed completely from the court for weeks. At that point, in my mind, I lost me. I lost my parent’s trust, my teacher’s trust, and my own identity. When asked why I did it, I could only answer that I wasn’t sure, but I knew I was tired of being invisible. I didn’t know it then, but depression was beginning to make itself comfy in my mind.

This may or may not have been the beginning, but it is what I remember vividly, the hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach, wanting desperately to scream out, “Help!”, but fearing that no one would understand, or worse, they wouldn’t believe me or would think something was wrong with me.  I often wondered how anyone could understand something that I myself could not explain. How do you tell an adult (as a teen) that there’s a lump in your throat, when you think about what your friends might say? Will someone understand the empty, aching feeling you get in your chest when a boy sees right through you as you pass in the hall? How do you tell your parents that you are unhappy, but you don’t know why? I remember feeling alone and completely lost. I no longer knew who I was or who I wanted to be. I began to drift from day to day, pretending that I was happy and carefree, but inside I was tormented by my own thoughts of inadequacy.

Heading Home

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Here I sit at the airport; coffee in hand, surrounded by strangers, watching my kids take random pictures of….who knows.

Part of me wants to get back, refreshed and ready to get my shit together. The other part, the part that’s not so extreme, doesn’t think my shit isn’t together. That part isn’t ready to go back to the draining effect my MIL has on me. Unfortunately, my mind is already going there. I have a few, precious hours left and I wish I wasn’t thinking about this.

My habit when I travel back home, from anywhere, is to plan new habits. Habits that will help manage my anxiety better. I’m always thinking about how I can do things better, and I do okay for a few days and then I slowly go back to my routine. Ugh! Maybe this time will be different….probably not. Lol

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Chicago, Baby

Landed in Chicago, safe and sound. I would like to thank God, not only for the safe flight, but also for our 4 yr old being absolutely content through the entire flight. Yes, success! 
They say it’s 48 degrees here. Um…I’m a southern girl and that a bit COLD! Yesterday it was 80 at home. Whining will commensurate shortly, and I’m sure my kids will join me. 😉
I did get to write some poetry on the flight. Still pretty basic stuff, but I’m coming along. I’ll share that with y’all later.
Thank you to the nice pilot sitting next to me for snapping this shot.
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How to Live More Than One Life

Very thought provoking. Books are a necessity for me.

Sharing Pieces of Wisdom

Just a few years ago, entertainment lived in books. People read–a lot. Today, people use social media and the internet for entertainment. Many only read to study. It is no wonder that many of us dislike books. It’s like a chore, a duty. Many do not read for entertainment. A few days ago, my class had a random discussion on books. I listened to many opinions from my classmates about experience. To my surprised, everyone that spoke up to the teacher did not support books. Students claimed that knowledge and wisdom can only be truly gained through experience alone. Experience is key to wisdom, they say. But is that true? They claimed that books gives an opinion of someone else and that books cannot truly give them the full experience as encountering it. Books can also be bias. They gave examples of books describing nature versus people actually experiencing nature. Their arguments are…

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