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.