Conflicted

I’ve been lucky. I’m going into 2019 cancer-free. I have friends who are not as lucky. There are many people who aren’t as lucky. It’s just one of my motivations for joining the Relay For Life.

Around this time of year, we often think about resolutions. We think about what we want for ourselves in the new year, and what we don’t want.

I may sound like a kindergartner here, but it’s my blog so I really don’t care (point proven). And, for the record, kudos to kindergarteners for being transparent about their feelings. More people should do that and then maybe our world wouldn’t be so messed up and dishonest. Back to my stuff…

Things I tend to carry with me year to year are … wait for it … grudges. It’s not like I sit around festering about things, but when I see someone I have a grudge against, or hear their name, I’m always reminded of whatever they did to piss me off in the first place, and for that moment, I get pissed at them all over again. I’m not necessarily “present mad” at the person, but it reminds me of the “past mad,” and I do get a little “present mad.” This may seem petty, but it’s no joke! There’s someone who got on my shit list more than 10 years ago, and that “past mad” still makes me “present mad.” Granted, that person consistently does things to piss me off, so they’re forever renewing their spot on my list, but still… The same actually goes for when people hurt my feelings and make me sad. I never forget it.

So this year, with all the good I have going in my life, I’ve been speculating this. On one hand, I wonder if I need to remove these people from my life completely. Why keep people in my life who make me unhappy? On the other hand, I wonder if I should just let it all go. Can I just put all the grudges in little bubbles and let them float away? Or write them all down and set them on fire?? Ha. I wish I was kidding. It’s something that’s been heavy on my mind.

Either way, I want to go into 2019 without these burdens. I want to be the best me, and carrying old grudges (and making new ones) isn’t a productive use of my time. So what do I do?

There is no easy answer, but over the next few weeks I am going to try to let go of the things I can’t control. I’m always telling Brad to do that. When he’s upset about something someone did, I tell him he can’t control other people and their outcomes, so he shouldn’t let it bother him. He shouldn’t let someone else ruin his day in that way. I tell him to put it in a balloon and let it float away. Apparently, I don’t practice what I preach.

But I am going to try. I’m going to try to let go of my grudges. If for nothing else than to be a big “screw you” to any of those people who may have been enjoying getting a negative reaction from me. They’re either not going to get it, or they’ll get the opposite of what they’re looking for. Some people are just like that. They’re sour, rotten, and miserable in their own lives so they find ways to negatively affect someone else so that someone else feels as miserable as they do. Then they hide behind their confidences when they’re not really that confident at all. It’s a shame.

Anyway…I’ll be working on this cleansing of sorts. I’ll share whatever I choose to do and whether it works. I really want to go into 2019 with my mind being as healthy as my body.

And sleep…sleep would be great.

10 Months

It’s surreal to me that I’ve “been there, done that” with cancer already, and it’s only been ten months, give or take a week.

Maybe it’s because I still have the port, maybe it’s because my hair is so short, or maybe it’s because I still see my oncologist every three weeks.

Before my diagnosis, I feel like I always thought you had cancer forever, you know? Well, maybe not forever, but not that you’d get diagnosed, blink, and then not have cancer anymore. Ok, so all the middle stuff wasn’t a blink…chemo, multiple surgeries, side effects, etc…all those things took time.

But still…Dr. JB told me in the beginning that one day, this would all just be a blip on my radar. Just a piece of my past. I’m not quite there yet, I still have 4 cycles of Herceptin to go and this Lupron shot, but chemo is done and the last surgery removed the cancer. Blip. That’s exactly what it feels like…a blip. Like it’s surreal that I even went through chemo. I can’t believe that’s behind me. If it weren’t for the short hair and the scars and the soreness, it would be hard to believe it happened at all. I feel like that’s all that’s left to remind me sometimes.

I’m not naive, I know reoccurrence is always a possibility, but dang…ten months ago I would have never guessed that ten months would go by so quickly! That I’d be cancer free in under a year. Before I knew anything about anything, I figured I’d have cancer longer. It just seems like people have cancer for a while.

I don’t know…it sounds dumb, but I don’t know how to better articulate this feeling.

I’m relieved. I’m hopeful. I’m surprised.

It’s just weird. I feel lucky. So lucky.

I saw a picture of Brad and I from the solar eclipse last year, just days before I was diagnosed, and it reminded me of how things can change so quickly. Now, we’re about two months from that same date, and things almost feel ((dare I say it?)) normal.

Crazy.

Crazy crazy crazy.

Three down, one to go…

So this is a little late, but I had my follow up appointments with Dr H and Dr JB on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Dr H – Drain removed from left hip. Hopefully right hip drain will slow it’s roll, and the numbers will be low enough for it to be removed at my appointment on Monday. Seems like I’ll be losing my right nipple, it’s back to its black color regardless of the ointment/Vaseline. I’m ok with that. Dr H said we can reconstruct that later on, if I want to. My tummy wound is opening a little bit, but not a lot. (Seriously don’t Google it!)

Dr JB – Pretty much said the same stuff as Dr H. I did ask about these tiny little blister bumps I have around my chest. It seems that the surgical bra, that I have to wear like all the time, is irritating my skin. Yay! So I’m trying to give myself breaks from it, and I’ll wear a tight tank top to keep things contained instead. They also recommended lotion for the rash.

It’s just been a blah week for me. Lots of emotional ups and downs. I’m ready to go back to normal, you know? This has been dictating my life for several months, and I want to dictate my life again. I want to be able to go run errands and not be exhausted. I want to work! (Which I’m doing a little of next week whether anyone likes it or not!)

The week after next we go on vacation. I’ll be chilling poolSIDE for a week, unable to actually get in the pool due to my wounds not being fully closed. When we get back from the trip, I plan to return to work. I’ll have an appointment with Dr YB for my infusion and Lipton shot Monday the 18th, and I’ll probably have a follow up with the surgeons that same day.

I’m anticipating being in much better shape by that point. I think the key is going to be doing a little each day and gradually building myself up. I think I’m being too sporadic, and that’s the problem. Like going 75% one day, 50% the next, then 100%, 0%, and then back to 50% isn’t helping. It’s inconsistent and I think it’s confusing my body. So I’m going to try to start small and keep going up. I don’t feel like I’m pushing myself too far, I just feel like I haven’t been building myself up, I’ve just been randomly diving in, depending on my mood.

Anyway, something else to note is that I haven’t had much of an appetite post-surgery. I’ve had hunger, but I’m not 3-square-meals hungry. Like it’s after 1, I haven’t eaten, and I’m not even a little hungry. So, needless to say, I haven’t been sticking to my eating plan. I’ve been trying to focus on protein when I do eat, since I know I’m not getting a good sampling of nutrients and that’s the key nutrient for healing. I’m certainly not starving, I do get random cravings throughout the day and snack. I get late night cravings, too, and I have healthy snacks like fruit. I always eat dinner, it’s just breakfast and lunch are sometimes a wash. I am also having my Shakeology every day, which helps with protein and other nutrients. So hopefully my appetite will sort itself out soon and I can get back on track with Portion Fix.

Drains and Pains

A little update…tomorrow I have an appointment with my plastic surgeon, so I’ll probably have more news then, but venting is cathartic, so here comes random stuff.

I’m over these drains. Over them. I’d kill to be able to lay on my side, even if only for five minutes. My butt is over all this supine nonsense. They’re still putting out about 30-40 CCs a day each, so I’m doubting they’ll be removed tomorrow. Yay. I can’t remember the magic number from my doc, and the web ranges anywhere from 30-50 in a 24 hour period. So my hopes are not up for removal. The most frustrating deal with the drains is accommodating them. I have to be able to clip them or tuck them somewhere. It’s annoying.

I’m taking pain meds less frequently, so I’m starting to feel more soreness in my chest and tummy. It’s more of a discomfort than anything else.

And it looks like the part of my tummy incision we’ve been watching, the spot where Dr H said I’m most likely going to have necrosis, seems to be living up to the hype. I honestly can’t tell all that well because the incision still has the suture tape over it, but it is peeling a little bit in some spots, and from what I can tell from peeking underneath the tape in that specific spot, is that there’s necrotic looking stuff happening. And that’s about as technical as I can get, since I literally have no idea what I’m talking about. I happened to Google images for “necrosis” and “tummy tuck” (which I don’t recommend ever doing, ever) so I’d have an idea of what to look for, and basically it’s a break in the incision, like an open cut, and there’s yellowing of the tissue. If you don’t heed my warning and do Google the aforementioned terms, I swear on all that is holy (hole-y, get it, har har), my stomach does not look like that. The spot I can see is about an inch worth of the incision, if that, and like a millimeter wide. It’s like a dash, not a gaping hole the size of Rhode Island.

Anywhoo, all signs point to no swimming for me when I go on vacation in a couple weeks. Or when I step out in the backyard… Totally sucks, but whatever. I can dip my feet in and I guess that’ll do for now.

So I’m a little whiny and mopey because I feel like this will never, ever end. Then I read an article on my local news app that a news anchor and a photojournalist from a Greenville County news station were on route to do a story in NC when a tree fell on their vehicle and killed them both. Sort of puts things in perspective. I survived, you know? This is just the bumpy road back to my normal.

Thoughts and prayers to the families and friends of those two individuals.