Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Dating Game

Deadpool.  A movie based on a comic. Full of action. Bloody at points that made me cringe. The movie ended and I giggled. A love story. A bloody and messed up love story. 

Anyone who follows my blog knows about the guy I was dating...the deal breaker guy.  He's the guy that just made sense. It felt right.  The connection was instant. The connection was real.  The first time he hugged me, I turned toward him to kiss him because it just felt right.  Then I caught myself and stopped.  It came so naturally. But then he decided that my baggage is too much.  And it's over despite the fact that I don't want it to be over. 

I've been on dates with four guys since then.  The first guy... We met when I was out with my sister. We went on a date and I just felt a heaviness the entire time. I felt sad. I felt disappointed. He was nice. He was handsome. But I felt nothing. 

The second guy... Thirty minutes into the date I figured out that he's a white supremacist. It lasted long enough for me to say goodbye. 

The third guy... A vegan.  I don't mean to be judgmental but men eat meat. He is also a germaphobe.  He tried to act like he isn't but I read people. I know. I want a man. 

The fourth guy...  We went to see deadpool together yesterday.  He lives an hour and a half away...

Experiencing a real and legit connection doesn't happen often.  When it fails, it's devastating. It makes it hard to settle. It's hard to let go. 

The thing is...I've realized...I have a story. My life is a story. It's messy story.  But anyone who chooses to be part of this story...it's a good story. A bloody and messed up love story.  I'm no longer worried about if my story is too much.  My story is epic. My story is worthy. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

I Will Dance

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love to dance.  I have no shame.  I will make a complete fool of myself dancing and laughing.  I feel the music and I must dance.  I dance to the point where I'm dripping with sweat and my cheeks are flushed.  I dance so hard that I am sore the next day.  
For the past three months I haven't been able to dance.  The pain has been the most intense pain I've experienced.  I walk down the street and try to walk without a limp.  I act like the pain isn't there.  I couldn't dance.  Physically, I've just been going through the motions, trying to just be normal.  But I've been missing the bounce in my step.  I went out with friends and had to stand back and watch them dance.  I watched them let the music take over.  I watched them living in the moment. I was an observer.  For so long I also lived my life like this...watching others really live...standing in the background in pain...not allowing myself to feel.  I was married for 14 years and I said so many times...I don't know what happened to me but this is not who I am.  I used to be fun.  I used to love to laugh.  I used to love to dance.  Over the past two years, I have found myself again.  I found my love of laughter.  I've let go of everything that got in the way of letting myself feel the music.  Now this is how I choose to live my life.  I'm not going to let anything get in the way of allowing me to feel.  I am going to take chances.  I am going to live life without regret.  I am going to feel the pain. I am going to feel the joy.  I am going to allow myself to feel deeply.  I've made the choice to feel and now everything is a new experience.  Whether it's laying on the beach feeling the sun on my skin and allowing the peacefulness to flow through me, or driving down the freeway with all my windows down, feeling the wind on my face while my music is turned up as loud as it will go, or putting myself out there in a relationship and sharing my heart and not holding back.  I feel.  Allowing myself to feel is empowering but also sometimes scary.  

The other day, for the first time in months, I experienced no pain in my hip.  The cancer killing pills are doing their job.  I can dance.  Since then, I've found myself dancing when I didn't even realize I was doing it.  Dancing is good for my soul and my desire to dance tells me all is well with my soul.  

Monday, February 1, 2016

Kick Me

Ever felt like you're walking around with one of those signs on your back that says, "Kick me"?  

Fourteen years of marriage...  I have been able to see the good that has come from that fourteen years of marriage.  I see the beautiful children I have been blessed with.  I can see the personal growth that came about as a result of my failed marriage.  There's another side though.  The negative consequences...the wounds that run deep...the fact that this man still has the ability to hurt me through my children. 

Today I went to court because my ex-husband is trying to get full custody of my kids. Yes, he believes I am a neglectful mother. The examples he used are things like...my daughter lost several bathing suits at my home, my youngest had a couple typical childish injuries, I ran late getting my oldest to one of his cross country track meets.  These, he believes, are grounds to take me to court to get full custody. Today we went to court. I represented myself.  I didn't feel the need to use an attorney for such petty accusations. We met with the mediator.  She asked why he felt the need to take me to court to change the current agreement. He said, "she has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. I'm concerned for the children in her care."  I listened to his claims and it broke my heart.   This man who I was married to for fourteen years wants to take my kids from me because I have cancer?!?!  What sense does that make?  It just doesn't.  And it's not true. It's just the most recent piece of ammunition he has to use against me. The truth is that he filed for full custody in October...before I knew anything about the metastatic breast cancer invading my body.  After the mediator stated she didn't see any reasons to take any custody away from either of us, his attorney requested a trial. He wants to try to prove that I am not a good mom. The trial date was set. 

I walked out of the court house feeling so alone, feeling vulnerable, feeling betrayed. I am no longer married to this man but I deserve to be respected and valued as the mother of his children.  I am irreplaceable. He doesn't see it. 

I walked to my car and the tears began to flow. I am alone.  I don't do vulnerable. I don't talk about how I feel.  I don't let people see my tears. I am alone and I have never craved human touch so deeply. I just laughed at myself as I realized that what I was desiring was to be comforted. That's such a foreign concept to me...a person who feels safe enough to be vulnerable with...a person who I feel safe enough with to allow them to comfort me...

I rarely feel sorry for myself.  Right now I can't help it. When is enough enough?  Feeling defeated...

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Deal Breaker

“We're never so vulnerable than when we trust someone - but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy.”

I don't do well with vulnerability.  I'm afraid to let myself feel...but there are times when I just don't have a choice.  It's not often that you just walk into a room and feel drawn to someone.  It's even more rare when that person appears to be equally drawn to you. 

When it comes to guys and dating...I'm a complete mess.  I read too far into things because I'm afraid.  I struggle with trust.  I'm struggling to find my way with my new reality.  I am living with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer...a death sentence.  I meet a guy.  Do I tell him right away?  Do I wait for him to get to know me better and then tell him? 

Well, I met a guy.  We were joking around about deal breakers in a relationship.  I asked how he feels about coffee.  He likes it.  I said, "It's a good thing because that was a deal breaker question."  We joked around some more and then I said, "I actually have a real deal breaker."  Then I regretted bringing it up.  I wanted to take it back.  I didn't want to tell him.  I wanted to continue pretending that it isn't real but I had taken that choice away from myself.  At that point I had to tell him.  And how could I not?  It would be living a lie to withhold that information from him.  So, I told him..."I have stage 4 cancer that will eventually kill me...but don't worry...it could take 30 or 40 years for it to do it's job..."  (I might be slightly exaggerating with the words I used)  As he sat there processing what I said, I just watched his face.  A little time passed with just silence, then he said, "So not a deal breaker".  I wanted to cry.  A rush of emotion...relief...  Then a rush of emotion...fear...  Can I believe him?  Could he be honest with me....I'm sorry you have cancer but that's just more than I'm willing to take on...? 

So, here I sit...feeling vulnerable...feeling slightly sorry for myself.  As I said, I don't do well with vulnerability.  I want to protect myself.  I want to pull away.  I want to not care.  I don't want to be afraid. 


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Breakable Girl


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 
Romans 15:13

Cancer is back in my life. This time invading my bones. By chance...by some innate feeling I had...I guessed that my cancer was back. For the past month I have been getting scans and bone biopsies...waiting...  Waiting is always the worst part. There's no way to move forward.  There's no way to make a plan. There are too many what-ifs. Yesterday I finally got all the answers.  My breast cancer metastasized to my bones. Mainly in my hip and my rib.  I've known for certain that it is definitely cancer for a week.  I was just waiting to find out if the cancer markers had changed.  Most people don't understand how breast cancer works so the importance of this is lost on most. Cancer markers can make the difference between living with stage 4 metastasized cancer for a few months or living for many many years. I went in to my appointment to find out this information.  I met with my doctor and got the information and then he sent me to the infusion room to start treatment immediately.  I sat there in the chair with the nurse standing next to me preparing my injections. I started giggling. The nurse looked at me as if I'm crazy. It made me laugh even harder.  I tried to explain myself to her but I don't think anyone can understand the mix of emotions I was experiencing. The thoughts going through my head...I have cancer and I'm happy. I'm happy because it's only in my bones. I'm happy because my cancer is still fed by estrogen.  I'm happy because if I had to have cancer invade my body again...this is the best kind I could have. I will see my children grow up and that's all that matters to me.  The words from my oncologist's mouth... "You will live for a very long time."

The plan... Stop my body from producing estrogen. I was already taking a drug that was supposed to do that but obviously it didn't work for me. Yesterday I was injected with a drug that will shut down my ovaries for one month. I can keep going back monthly for this injection but drugs didn't work last time. Instead I've chosen to have my ovaries removed. I will have my uterus removed as well.  There's no sense in keeping those unnecessary parts anymore.  They're just more parts that are at risk for cancer. I was also injected with a drug for strengthening my bones. Today the drugs for killing the cancer were delivered to my door.  Just a couple pills I take every day. I won't lose my hair. I won't get sick and weak. I just need them to start working quickly.  My bones are hurting.  I can feel the cancer...my rib especially. I'm limping also.  The cancer in my hip hurts when I walk but the rib hurts all the time. The doctor says the meds will kill the cancer and the pain should be noticeably improved within a month. I couldn't get those pills in my mouth quickly enough this morning after they arrived. I feel like it's a pretty good start to my day. I've already started kicking cancer's ass again and it's just barely 10am. 

Here I go...living life with cancer. I'll continue on just as I was.  The only real difference is that I am breakable. My bones are fragile and I have to be careful.  It made me think of this song.   

The best gift I have received in a very long time was given to me by one of our closest family friends. She captured the most beautiful pictures of my family. These moments become even more precious when you're wondering how much time you have left with your children.  I spent the past month worrying about that but now the worry has been lifted. I am blessed beyond what I deserve. I am surrounded with those who love me. I am blessed with the most beautiful and gifted children. I am in good health with the exception of a little bit of cancer that's trying to kill me.  I really am blessed.  Merry Christmas!



Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Fear and Loathing

Fear is disabling.  Fear grips tightly and doesn't easily let go.  Fear is a bitch.  

I've been struggling with sciatica for a while. Last month after going to the gym, I came home and barely could walk.  I decided to take an Epsom salt bath, hoping it would help alleviate the pain.  I finish bathing and stand up to shower. As I'm standing there I feel myself begin to black out. I started to lower myself down (which was a slow process because of the excruciating pain from my sciatica) and I black out as I'm going to my knees.  I woke up on my knees with my face pressed up against the wall.  My head hurt and my foot was throbbing.  I managed to get out of the tub and limp to my bed, only able to put pressure on my heel.   I don't even know how I ended up hurting my foot during the blackout. 

The next morning I went to the ER to get an X-ray of my foot which I thought could have been broken.  The doctor comes in and I tell him that I'm worried that I have a tumor on my spine and that is why I am having all this pain and numbness down my right leg.  He orders an MRI of my back.  After being in the ER for 8 hours, the doctor comes in and tells me they have found two suspicious spots on my spine.  Devastation.... fear... I can't have cancer in my spine. 

The next morning my oncologist tells me to just come see him without even scheduling an appointment. I bring a copy of the MRI and he reviews it.  He then informs me that the pain is actually caused by a slipped disc but higher up there are two spots that need to be looked at through a bone scan.  So for the past month I have been dealing with new insurance and new doctors trying to get the approval for the scan.  I also have a new oncologist. I went in to see him last week.  He reviewed my MRI and blood work and told me he doesn't think it's cancer. I asked him if he was just saying that to make me feel better. He said he never misleads his patients.  

Today is the day.  I went in at 10:00am and was injected with some chemicals.  I will go back at 1:30 to get the scan.  Tomorrow at 11:30, I have an appointment with my new oncologist where I will hopefully hear the words "I told you so". 

Here's the thing...  Every time something comes up it completely traumatizes me.   It traumatizes my family.  I can't function.  I can't move forward with my life while I'm sitting around waiting to find out if I have cancer again.  Relationships...  I had started dating.  How can I pursue a relationship knowing that I might soon be bald and sick?  I didn't want to tell anyone. I didn't want to talk about it. I just wanted to pretend it wasn't happening.

I am surrounded by people who love me...people who want the best for me.  I am also forced to deal with an ex-husband and his live in girlfriend.  I survived a 14 year dysfunctional marriage. I now have to deal with the crap that comes with divorce. 

I've spoken to the ex-husband's girlfriend a couple times.  I didn't have an issue with her until last week.  I was out with some friends. We were having a couple drinks.  One of my friends takes a picture of herself with my phone then goes to text it to herself and accidentally sends it to my ex-husband. Immediately afterwards she realized and sends a text saying "sorry!"   A few minutes later I receive a text from the ex's girlfriend.  Below you will find the text exchange. I had been drinking...probably should have just ignored her but I chose to respond to the picture of her cleavage with a screen shot of text messages my ex had sent me the previous day.  



So...she sends me a picture of her cleavage and then wants to have a heartfelt conversation about how to talk to my kids about my death...  This is the woman living with my children.  This is the woman that will be raising my children if something were to happen to me?  The insensitivity she displayed just by talking about my death before I have even been diagnosed...  Was she trying to be helpful and misunderstood? Was she trying to hurt me intentionally? Is it irrational to assume that by the way the conversation started (with a picture of cleavage) she is intentionally trying to hurt me by throwing in my face the worst possible thing someone can? Is it irrational to think this is a spiteful, heartless, shallow thing to do to someone who has to deal with the possibility of having cancer again? I know what I think about it. It's pretty clear to me. And I find it pretty sad.  I actually pity her.  Honestly, the fear of having cancer again is enough to deal with without having to deal with that kind of insensitivity and disrespect. 



Sunday, August 30, 2015

Frank

Frank.  Short for Frankenstein. That's what I have named my right breast.  It's ugly...but it's a boob.  Can I really complain?  I mean...I could but I don't have it in me to complain anymore.  It is what it is.  I am flawed...physically...emotionally...  I have been wounded.  I am a mess.  And I'm okay with that.  I have learned to love who I am despite my imperfections and it actually feels pretty good.  

I can't even remember how many times I've said I was done with surgery.  I guess I've also resigned myself to the fact that I may never be done.  It has become routine.  Friday I had surgery.  I told my parents...I'm having surgery again.  I'll drive myself and have them call you when I'm ready to be picked up."  And that's how it works.  No big production.  No need to wake them up early and inconvenience them any more than they already have been.  This surgery...repairing my abdomen wall where a hematoma had formed and was causing me trouble.  Tattooing the nipple and areola so I no longer have a "Barbie boob".  A few other little touch ups.  A couple hours under anesthesia and I'm headed home to spend a couple days laying in bed again.  

Like I've said before, the worst part of surgery is the emotional toll it takes on me.  The physical pain makes me feel vulnerable.  After this surgery I woke up thinking about the relationships I've lost over the past couple years.  Some I mourn and some I don't.  My divorce will be finalized on Tuesday.  I will officially be single.  I am so hesitant to say that I no longer mourn my failed marriage...but it's true...I don't.  I have mourned and I'm ready to move on.  I have no hard feelings  I wouldn't change a thing.  It failed and I am done.  When I woke up thinking about failed relationships...I was thinking of those I'm still mourning.  A friendship.  A step-son.  A mother-in-law.  These are relationships where people chose to cut me out of their lives...therefore...I mourn.  

So, here I am...Frank and I...ready to move on with life.  I'm feeling pretty good physically.  I'm working out again, spending time in the sun, getting out and meeting people...It's been good.  In the past I've struggled with fitting in...figuring out where I belong.  Divorce brought up the same issue again.  Going to church and seeing those couples who once wanted to hang out when I was part of a couple...being with other moms who no longer share the common bond of being a stay at home mom...the looks of pity aren't that different than when I was going through cancer.  They might actually be worse now.  The fact is that I just don't care anymore.  For a while it really bothered me.  Then I realized that I don't really need to fit in anywhere.  I've always been a little different anyhow.  I have an off sense of humor...dry...blunt...awkward.  I'm obnoxious and like to act like a kid.  I like to point out my flaws and make fun of myself.  I like to be spontaneous and try new things.  I felt like I kinda fit in when I was married but I also lost myself.  I forgot who I was.  That won't happen again.


To all my prayer warriors:
Please pray for my brother-in-law, Jim.  He was recently diagnosed with colon cancer.  Jim, Heather, Dylan, and AlliGrace need all the prayer they can get while they fight this battle.  Thank you!