Thursday, March 28, 2013


There's something about being physically vulnerable that makes me lose it emotionally.  Tonight I walked out of the gym and the tears started flowing before I even made it to my car.  I am exhausted physically and at the point where I'm so sick of having an excuse as to why I can't do things or why I can't do things as well as I want to do them.

I was sitting in the waiting room yesterday waiting for my turn to get my body radiated.  This lady who I'm sitting with starts to tell me about how radiation is the highlight of her day.  She said that she loves to be handled by those two hotties (referring to the radiation techs).  So I go into the radiation room, I lay down on the table and think to myself, "who in their right mind enjoys this crap?"  Okay... so this lady did disclose that she hasn't been touched by a man in over 15 years, so maybe she is a little out of her mind... I mean I did just meet her for the first time and she's sharing all this way too personal information.  I just chuckled and nodded my head and then bolted out of the waiting room as soon as I got a chance.

Radiation is extremely uncomfortable for me.  I am a modest person by nature and laying there on a table with my one real breast exposed and my one fake mound that protrudes from my body in a freakishly bizarre way is not my idea of a good time.  The techs have to lay a bolus over my fake mound.  A bolus is a material which has properties that are similar to tissue and when laid over the skin it increases the dose of radiation administered to the skin.  So they lay this thing over my fake mound and then have to smooth it out to make sure there are no air bubbles.  It is so far from enjoyable.  I'm starting to get used to it though.  Today was number 7.  Only 23 more to go.

Anyhow, I was explaining earlier about walking out of the gym and immediately crying.  Today I am angry.  Today is the 28th day of March.  I have been in Ventura for 11 months.  I have been a cancer patient for 11 months and I am still not finished with my treatment.  I hate this.  Today I am angry that I have to deal with this.  I am sick and tired of looking like crap.  My hair is still barely coming in.  I now have to draw on eyebrows for the first time in my life.  My body is weak and can't do what I want it to.  I am angry.  I hate what cancer has done to me.  I hate this fear that every little ache or pain might be cancer.  I hate that when I meet people and they see cancer written all over me through my missing eyebrows and the new hair coming in on my head that all they want to talk about is everyone they know who has or had cancer.  I hate that cancer is what people see when they see me.  I AM NOT CANCER.  I am angry because I can yell about not wanting cancer to consume my life but it has.  That's what I do... every day... treat the cancer.  I don't really talk about it much until I get on here and find my cathartic release through my blog.  People ask how I am and my answer is still fine like life is normal.

My husband started coaching football at the local junior college.  It's not even football season and he's at practice 4 days a week in the afternoon after he's finished working.  We're buying a house.  We are moving out of my parents house into a house of our own and we have no furniture.  We have beds and last week I bought a dining table and a dresser from an estate sale.  We have no appliances.  My kids will be switching to a new school...their third school in the past year.  I still have 5 weeks of radiation left.  Today I am angry.  I left the gym, went home, told my husband to watch the kids, grabbed my computer, drove down to the beach to watch the sunset, turned on Tchaikovsky, and now I'm venting.  I'm overwhelmed.  I'm exhausted.  Today I'm tired of being me.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Radiation Begins

I've been learning how to go with the flow.  There isn't much in my life that I have control over but if I could control one thing right now it would be my hair growth.  My eyebrows and lashes thinned during chemo but they hadn't fallen out.  My leg and arm pit hair had all fallen out and of course the hair on my head.  Well, the head, leg, and arm pit hair have started growing back and the eyebrows and lashes have started to completely fall out.  I am so ready to not look sick anymore.  It's easy to hide a bald head but impossible to hide missing brows and lashes.

I was supposed to start radiation last week but it didn't go according to plan.  On the first day of radiation, it takes considerably longer because they have to line everything up and take additional xrays and make sure everything is mapped out perfectly so that they don't end up radiating organs. Well, I did that at my appointment last Wednesday and they decided that I needed another CT scan.  I already had a CT scan on the 1st of March and then I had two more appointments with my plastic surgeon where he filled my expander trying to get the skin stretched out before radiation.  I made sure to get the radiation oncologist's approval before I had the plastic surgeon expand more.  My plastic surgeon even called to confirm that it was okay for him to continue expanding.  Well, apparently it wasn't okay after all because it required me to start all over again and get a second CT scan and delayed my radiation start date by a week.  

The first radiation appointment was horrible.  They had me undress from the waist up and put on a gown.  They took me into the room where I will be receiving my radiation treatments and had me lay down on this cold hard table.  I then had to take my arms out of the gown and reach up above my head and hold on to two handle bars.  I then turn my head to my left, they pull down my gown to expose my chest and they tell me to hold still.  I'm laying there trying to hold still and it was taking forever.  The room is cold and I my arms are starting to go numb.  I laid there for almost an hour trying to keep my body from shivering.  After I was finally finished, I asked them about the temperature in the room because I'm worried about being able to hold still when I'm freezing.  The radiation tech said that they have to keep that room cold because the machine gives off so much heat.  He also said that the first appointment takes a lot longer than the actual radiation treatments will take.  Well, yesterday I had to go in and do the same thing again but I was prepared this time.  The first time I had worn flip flops and no hat so yesterday I wore my Ugg boots and a knit hat.  It really did help quite a bit and it was much less painful.  

For the next 6 weeks at 2 o'clock every week day I will be receiving radiation therapy.  I am praying that I will receive only the good effects of the radiation and I will not be affected negatively in any way.  

An update on my little Ezekiel:
I have had every intention of posting this big long beautiful post about my little miracle baby.  I have videos and pictures that I intend to share but it's just like his baby book.  I have good intentions, it just never happens.  It seems so inadequate to just add on an update to just any old post but it will probably never happen if I don't do just that.

My beautiful, sweet, happy, and perfect baby will turn 5 months old next week.  He cut his first tooth yesterday, graduated into size 4 diapers and size 12 month clothes, and has started eating solids.  Last month at his 4 month check up, he weighed in at a hefty 21 pounds and 27 1/2 inches long.  He is the most socially interactive baby I've had.  Sometimes if I just look at him it's enough get giggles out of him.  He is a little chatter box, constantly expressing himself by cooing and blowing raspberries.  He is amazing!  He is a source of joy for our entire family.  We all think he is the smartest, sweetest, most wonderful baby ever.  This is the baby I have loved since he was just a couple of dividing cells.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Warm Bodies

Several weeks ago I read the book Warm Bodies. Yes... a book about zombies.  It's not my usual genre but I'm one of those people who insist on reading the book before I watch the movie.  I saw the preview for this movie and it looked hysterical so my sister-in-law and I decided that we were going to see the movie.  We haven't seen the movie yet but we have both read the book.  Anyhow...  The book is about a zombie whose name is "R".  He calls himself "R" because he has no memory of who he was before he turned into a zombie.  "R" meets a human girl and saves her from the other zombies.  He begins to grow self-aware.  He starts to feel things both emotionally and physically and he eventually turns back into a human.  Chemo had kinda turned me into a zombie.  The past several weeks I have been slowly becoming more self-aware.  Every day I start to feel a little bit more normal.  I can feel the fog lifting from my mind.  I have almost completely regained all the feeling in my fingertips.  I have the energy to think and to feel.  I have begun to feel human again.  It's the most unusual experience... literally feeling like I'm coming back to life.

I have started to exercise.  My friend Heidi talked me into taking one of her classes on Mondays and Thursdays.  Last night I was extremely close to tears half way through the work out.  I am doing a modified workout from what everyone else in the class does and I'm doing less reps and I come in last every time... by a lot.  As I was doing the exercises I started to make excuses for myself in my head.  "You just finished chemo.  You've had 2 surgeries.  You had a baby 4 months ago."  I started to feel defeated.  I got discouraged and it caused me to get a catch in my throat.  The catch in my throat caused a tightness in my chest as I held back the tears of frustration and anger.  And then I got a horrible stitch in my side and pain in the muscles around my expander.  And then I couldn't run.  It was exasperating.  It's going to be a lot of work getting back in shape.  I'm going to have to learn how to deal with this disappointment in myself so that it doesn't get in my way.

Tomorrow is my first day of radiation.  I thought I was starting today but when I got there they informed me they had given me the wrong start day. I found that pretty irritating.  Six more weeks and I will finally be finished with treatment.  I can't wait to be done.