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 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 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 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.  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!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Where It's Safe

There's this person inside of me who laughs easily...dances freely...sings loudly...  For so long this person was lost.  I remember thinking...who am I...what happened to that fun loving person...  For a long time I didn't know how to get back to that but here I am...for the most part.  A friend sent me a meme today... it said, "You're only as deep as your most recent inspirational quote".  My response was... "I must be pretty shallow then because my last one was...Kids, stay in the shallow end of the pool".  I was being silly and it wasn't even very funny but it was so fitting because that is exactly where I'm at...being shallow...not letting myself think too deeply.  Letting my thoughts go deep is a dangerous place for me.  I just want to be light and feel only the good...but that can only last for so long.

Last night I sat down with one of my dearest friends who I met when I lived up in Northern California.  We were catching up on each other's lives.  I have only seen her once or twice in the past three years since I moved away.  I was telling her how I try to stay off of Facebook because it seems like every time I log on there is some terrible news about another friend from my Facebook group of women I've met who were also diagnosed with cancer during pregnancy who is dying.  I can't do it.  It scares me.  I am selfish.  I am not a good friend to these women.  If I have to face these realities it means I have to feel.  I have to feel the fear.  I have to feel the sadness.  I'm not ready to face these emotions.  Staying in a shallow place is so much easier... and right now I need easy.

As I sat there venting to my friend...she asked me..."Does your family know of all these little mini traumas that you have suffered on top of cancer and divorce?"  My answer is that I don't know.  I don't want to talk about it.  I don't want to talk about anything.  I have to ignore these things.  I have to remain numb to most things because I'm not ready to deal with the emotions I have been stuffing for so long.  For the past three years I have had the physical affects of cancer to distract me from the emotional pain.  My excuse for everything...I just had surgery....I'm getting chemo...more surgery...I just had a baby...more surgery...I'm doing radiation...more infection...more surgery...a spot on my lung...biopsy...more surgery...  I haven't had the time or energy to take a good look at my emotions or my life.  For the past year I have had a surgery every 90 much easier to focus on than the emotions I have been suppressing for so long...the traumas from cancer and even more so from a disastrous marriage.  

So here's the problem... I can't talk about the painful things and it's affecting my relationships with those that I love... the people who surround me who have blessed me in so many ways...the people who have sacrificed so much...the people who are emotionally invested in me.  They want to help.  They want to understand.  They ask questions.  I snap.  I push them away because I can't do it.  I can't be vulnerable.  If I'm vulnerable I will cry.  If I cry...I'm afraid I might never stop.

This is where the shame comes into play.  I should be okay.  I have so much to be grateful for.   I should be filled with joy because I'm alive...because I am blessed with four amazing children...because I am surrounded by family who love and support me.  I should be okay...but I'm not.  I'm not okay.  I push people away and I'm lonely.

My favorite artist:

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sad and Numb

"Feeling too much is a hell of a lot better than feeling nothing."
- Nora Roberts

I remember a time where laughter came easily...smiling was natural. I remember a time where talking and sharing myself felt good. I remember when trusting people was automatic. I find myself sitting here staring out at the ocean mourning the loss of the person I was. It seems my life has become a confusing mixure of numbness and sadism. I run away from people because when I am around them I find myself detached...numb...lonely... To me there is nothing worse than feeling loneliness when I'm not alone. So I have become a recluse.  In my loneliness I allow myself to feel.  I allow myself to grieve.

I spent some time talking with my "soon to be ex-husband". It was a heart felt conversation.  As I looked at him with tears in his eyes, I wondered to did I become this person?  He is so filled with emotion and I feel numb. As we talked about our history I realized where this numbness came from.  I mean, I knew it before but it wasn't as clear as it became today. I spent my entire marriage the benefit of the doubt. I should have left a long time ago. I couldn't give up though.  Times were hard but I held onto a tiny shred of hope that we could succeed. It wasn't until every bit of hope was gone that I could let go. And this is where I'm at now. It's been almost a year and I am still empty...drained of hope. These are just feelings I speak of. Of course I know I am okay and I know my life will turn around from this chaotic mess. But right now I can't allow myself to think that far out. I can't allow myself to think of anything but this moment. If I put any thought into the future it will require me to hope...and right now I'm still recovering from all the disappointment. Right now I must choose to be okay with being numb and sad. It's not who I am but it is where I am at. 

I had my 7th surgery a couple weeks ago. I thought it would be my last.  I was so excited to be done. Two days after the surgery, I removed my bandages, looked in the mirror, then began to sob uncontrollably.  My boobs looked worse than they did before the surgery. Every time I walked past a mirror that first week, I just cried. I went to my follow up appointment and my surgeon said he couldn't do everything he needed to in order to make them symmetrical because he needed to make sure the transplanted tissue would survive and it couldn't handle that much alteration during one surgery. So...another surgery is in my future. 

I must admit that when I looked at them for the first time after this last surgery, I was devastated on many levels.  I just want to be as normal as I possibly can be. After going through breast cancer and losing my breast and my hair...I felt like everyone looked at me with pity in their eyes.  This disappointment was just one more opportunity for people to pity me for my mess of a life. (Yes, I realize how much I sound like I'm feeling like a victim)  I told my mom about it and asked her to tell no one else. I don't want anyone else telling me they're sorry for the things I've had to go through. I got it the entire time I was going through treatment.  I've been getting it for the past year with all the drama from the divorce.  I just want it to be over.  I don't want any more pity or sympathy or empathy... I hear how selfish I sound as I write ungrateful I sound. That's truly not the case. I know I'm blessed.  I'm just in a grieving process and it keeps getting drawn out and I'm just exhausted and tired of disappointment. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Paint Me a Picture

I fell in love.  He painted me a picture of who he was supposed to be.  I fell hard.  It was the first time in my life I felt that things made sense.  He would love me.  He would be loyal.  I looked into his eyes and they were so pure.  I could see the love in those eyes.  I could see the truth in the way he looked at me.  I fell in love.  I fell so hard.  I saw my future.  I had hope.  I opened my heart.   I let him in.  I gave him my everything.  All that I had.  I spoke my heart.  I revealed it all.  Then there was silence.  I panicked.  Desperation consumed me.  He was gone.  My mind started spinning.  What had I done?  It all became clear.  I had fallen in love with a picture.  It was painted with me in mind.  A deception.  A forgery.  I had been duped.  I have been played.  Who can I blame but myself for being so naive?  Who can I blame but him for being everything that I don't want.  I fell in love.  I fell in love with someone who was only make believe.

I am lonely.  I'm well aware of the state I'm in...fragile...vulnerable...naive...

Despite the fact that I was in a relationship where I was lied to and deceived for years...somehow I haven't become jaded.  I still find myself trusting too easily.  I am honest...brutally honest about myself.  I will tell you all of my flaws the first opportunity I get.  I am honest.  It makes me assume that other people will be as honest as I am.  Despite the fact that I have been lied to over and over again...I just can't find it in myself to assume that all people are that way.  I can't become jaded.  I can't allow myself to lose hope.  When will I learn my lesson?  Or is it a lesson worth learning?  I can close myself off...shut down...become jaded...not trust...assume people are all the same...untrustworthy...   Or I can continue on in my vulnerable heart open...ready to trust...always believing...fragile...ready to love...  There's this internal conflict going on.  My mind tells me that I'm crazy.  The deepest part of my soul...who I can't change it.  I don't want to change it.  I believe.  I trust.  I get my heart broken.  I am ashamed...and this shame comes from the fact that I know I am choosing to open my heart up even though it's most likely not wise.  This is who I am.  I think I would be more ashamed if I betrayed that.

Disclaimer:  I'm really okay.  I know I post these sad and desperate posts but that's because I only feel the need to write when I'm feeling strongly about something. Life has really been so much better. I feel an emotional freedom that I haven't felt in years....yet, I am still broken. I am learning to navigate a new life.  Mistakes will be made along the way. I can only hope that I learn from them.  This blog helps me. It's an cathartic release.  I may seem like I'm falling apart but after I share my heart...I'm able to move pick myself up and I feel restored after letting go of my emotions. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Running Away

Life is so much easier when I can find something to distract me.  Distractions have become a vital part of my life for the past couple of years.  Before cancer, when things were hard in my marriage it was reading.  I used to pick up a book and finish it within 24 hours.  Reading was my escape from reality.  While I was going through treatment I didn't have the energy to read.  I tried.  I just couldn't focus or keep my eyes open long enough to finish a book...and besides took every ounce of energy I had to keep it figure out how to function.  I just couldn't handle distractions.  After treatment was over I needed a new escape.  I started playing a game on my phone.  It is a social game where you play with other people.  I started making friends through the game.  It was perfect.  I started interacting with people through the game...people who knew nothing about me...people who I could choose what they knew about me.  They didn't know I had short hair because it was just growing back from being bald.  I got to start fresh and decide what they knew about me.  I needed to have interaction with people who didn't look at me with pity in their eyes...people who didn't know...  I craved conversation about the weather...small talk...people who learned to like me for my personality, without their opinions being tainted by what I have been through.  This game has been my escape for the past year.  The funny thing is that I have made some real friendships with people I have met.  There are two women I've met who I am positive are friends for life.

Sometimes there is just no escaping reality  No matter how hard I try to pull away...sometimes reality still just slaps me in the face.  Today is one of those days.  I am so overwhelmed with anxiety.  I can't breathe.  I can't think.  I can't feel.  I am numb.  I want to run away.  There is nowhere to run though.  I have made choices in my life and I am now suffering the consequences.  I married a man who destroyed me emotionally.  The odd thing about this situation is that I don't see myself as one of those women who typically ends up in my situation.  I always looked at women in my situation as weak...insecure...damaged.  I've never thought of myself as insecure.  I know my value.  I just didn't understand why my husband didn't see it.  I fought...I fought hard and I failed.  Now things are a mess.  I have four children who love their father.  Their father is a man I can't stand to be around...a man who I don't even want to think about.  It's a mess.  Sometimes I spend all day long receiving text messages from him...things I don't want to read...hurtful's exhausting.   I am surrounded by people who love me...people who are concerned for me and my children.  I am so blessed but that blessing can also be such a curse at the same time.  I know how terrible that sounds but it's how I feel.  I am so exhausted from dealing with the soon to be ex-husband and then I show up at my nephew's basketball game...I sit down on the bleachers next to my mom and my sister and all the questions begin...did he really do that?...did he really say that? did the kids react?...are they okay?...are your lawyers taking care of this? you need me to have a talk with your lawyer?...  The weight bearing down on me is so heavy already.  I love that they care so much...that they love me...that they love my kids...but I can't breathe.  The air is thin.  I am suffocating.  Where can I run to?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Who Shares This Crap?

Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to the pigs.  If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
                                                                                                                      Matthew 7:6

Sometimes I think to myself...why do I feel the need to share my deepest feelings, my darkest thoughts, my heart...?  There are times when I can feel the judgement from those around me.  Why?  Why do I choose to put my private life out there for the world to see?  The funny thing about this...I didn't start questioning this until I blogged about non-cancer related topics.  Why is it okay to blog about cancer but not about a failed marriage?  Why is truth and vulnerability only okay if it's about illness?  It's okay to blog about the fear of death brought on by cancer but not the fear of having my heart broken again after a failed marriage?  I am black and white.  Fear is fear and pain is pain.  I have nothing to hide.  I am imperfect.  That's old news.  I choose to continue on writing whatever is on my heart.  I no longer care what people think.  I guess walking around bald and with one boob...seeing strangers look at me with my four children noticing that I have no ring on my wedding finger...maybe these things have left me realizing that I just don't care anymore about the judgments of those around me.  And most importantly...I believe that truth is the best medicine for my soul.  I also believe that hiding the truth from my children will only do more harm than good.  

I have a friend who recently started dating again after her divorce.  She was telling me about this dating app she uses.  She told me I should try it.  I laughed.  That is so not me...but then I started thinking about it.  What I look like on paper...  
35 years old.  Four children.  One real breast (but don't the process of finishing reconstruction of a new breast).  Unemployed.  Has completed some college (just the classes I found worthy of showing up for the final).  Lives with parents.  
I actually thought about creating a profile just for the sake of being able to laugh at how terrible it would look.  

I guess I'm kinda hinting at the idea that putting my heart out there again is terrifying.  My heart has been broken so many times...repeatedly by the same man.  I'm afraid that I am damaged beyond repair.  I am worried that my wounds are too deep.  I am terrified that my scars are too hideous to allow me to be still lovable.  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Too Honest (revised without the honesty)

Once again I didn't send out a Christmas here it is.  I find these photos so fitting for my new family dynamic...selfie style...personalities are expressed perfectly.  Bubba (Ezekiel), on my hip...going with the flow and always smiling.  Ephraim, silly and always making the best of any situation.  Daphne, with her precious dimples, smiling, laughing, and finding a way to antagonize anyone in her presence. mini me...stubborn...hates pictures...incapable of pretending to be something he's not...what you see is what you is black and white...  This is our new and my precious gifts from a failed marriage.  

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.
Psalm 127:3 

I had posted about issues that I was unable to be honest about while I was still married.  I ended up removing it all because it was requested.  Several times I have had permission to post this truth, however, it turned into a big mess.  I was accused of posting untruths...but the truth was written and some people don't like to have the truth brought to light.  It's unfortunate.