Rebirth

Happy Easter….or to those who don’t celebrate, Happy Last Day of March.

We have spent the weekend at my mother’s readying the house for our move.  Bob painted the wall in the basement white to brighten it up.  I cleaned and painted our future office a bright cheery yellow.  And this morning, an Easter Miracle occurred where in I got my heathen husband to go to church.

This whole cancer ordeal has made me reevaluate my relationship with God.  I grew up in the church, but God and I had a bit of a falling out when my oldest sister died of ovarian cancer in 1999.  I felt abandoned and forsaken.  But slowly, over the years, I repaired my relationship with religion. 

But my cancer has really brought me closer to my church.  And to God.  I have had so many pray for me and it has made me feel more assured during this battle.  Safer.  Confident that my future is in His hands.  No matter what the outcome.

I am happy to be able to get back to my home church.  I tried different United Methodist churches in Maryland, but I have been raised as a traditional methodist. I don’t enjoy the Methodist churches that have become so evangelical.  I don’t like TV screens and rock bands in church.  I am more of a traditionalist.  Being back in my home church makes me happy.

So, I feel reborn this Easter.  I have come through the fire and lived to tell about it.  And I am thankful for all He has given me.

Christ has risen.  Christ has risen indeed.

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Getting Back to Life

I am down to my last couple of days of short-term disability.  I return to work on Monday.  Am I happy to be going back?  Well, no.  This whole ordeal has taught me that my job is not satisfying.  In fact, it is soul sucking.  But it is a job.  It provides us with certain needs…a steady paycheck, health benefits, stability. 

It is also a long way away from where we are moving. 

But I will keep it until the better opportunity arrives.

Luckily, Bob has an opportunity with the company that I interviewed with last week.  It is 100% commission sales, a job for which he is perfectly suited.  And he can work out of the Delaware office.  And he will be back in the job force…where he hasn’t been in five years. 

And I am oh so thankful.

I am worried about getting back to my normal daily routine.  My stamina is low.  My giveadamn is lower.  But I think it is time for me to get back to it.  And time to get past “cancer patient” mentality and back to “40 year old working woman” mentality.  And through all of this, I am taking on a new role…”care giver.”

So much going on in my head now.  So many things.  And still so much to do.  We are slowly making progress on our impending move.  Maybe the whirlwind of my life will settle down soon.

Where Is Spring?

Woke up to snow.  Crap.  Although the animals are thrilled.  See?

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I also dislocated my knee this morning – the left one.  That knee had a microbrasion almost five years ago but it needs the same operation I had on the right knee – a graft.  The chemo has destroyed my joints and this knee has been so sore.  But I am in no mood for more surgery.  I popped it back into place, groaned in pain and got on with it.

I am ready for Spring.  This time last year it was in the 80s.  I want to get out and start living again.  But I guess I will take Mia out to play in the snow.  Silly puppy.

Feeling A Bit Scattered

Our impending move seems to be growing weeks closer by the day.

And I’m still nervous. I know it’s the right thing to do for the family, but preparing to leave this house – where I have lived for the past 12 years – all alone and empty, well, it is a bit nerve-racking. And the thought of a huge commute until I can find a job in Delaware isn’t making that any easier.

I was at least comforted by a couple of things this week –

1) I was offered a job with AFLAC. As an account manager. Which is great, because I could have worked out of the Delaware office. BUT it is 100% commission and I’m not wired for that. We need a stable base salary and good benefits, which I currently have. They told me I could have continued by current position while working with AFLAC, but I just don’t see how. So I passed. However, they have Bob’s resume and he has an interview with them tomorrow. He can do 100% commission and could sell hot chocolate in hell, so fingers crossed that we’re able to take this on for him until he can find something more steady. Or, if not steady, until we can save up enough to put a down payment on a new house in Delaware (if we end up moving out of my Mom’s).

2) I gifted a friend with a huge stash of yarn. I needed to pare down in light of our upcoming move, and she uses the acrylic yarn for stuff for her boys because they are, well, boys. And boys are messy.

3) An article in the paper this morning says that houses going up on the market in our area don’t stay on the market long. We are not going to put this house on the market until the first of next year. We have things we know we need to do to it first – new roof, some remodel to the bath room, replacing some doors, and painting mostly. That won’t happen until Bob gets a job so we can start putting some cash away.

4) Since we’ve decided NOT to sell right away, and have also decided against renting (too many “what ifs” with renting) – we don’t have to worry about a storage facility for a while. Avoiding an extra expense is muy bueno.

5) I had a date with my husband yesterday. We went to an antique store in Havre de Grace and then had lunch and the local Irish Pub. Of course, it made my sensitive stomach a bit queasy, but the date part was nice.

Still I have so much to do. I’m planning for a huge yard/moving sale next month. I need to go through every room and determine what stays and what goes (into the yard sale) – and then on top of that, what can be donated and what needs to be tossed. I’m slowly getting through it. But I have to go back to work in a week. And I’m feeling a bit of pressure because just about every single weekend between now and my mom’s surgery is booked with activities. Yikes. The first week in May is coming up on us pretty quick pretty fast.

In other news, I’m finally starting to get a little energy back (phew). Not a lot, but some. I’m feeling better from my virus. My joint pain hasn’t gotten any better, and lord only knows when my hair will make a return, but I am feeling better. I have had some issues with the female bits though. No worries – all is fine – but when you have a hysterectomy, followed by 6 chemo sessions, 25 radiation sessions, and 3 brachytherapy sessions, you get scar tissue in the vagina. And it shrinks. A lot. My last pelvic was extremely painful and I tore. I have been given a vaginal dialator, which I am supposed to use every day, but sadly, it is too big. I have also been told that I can have regular “relations” which sounds exciting, but my libido is in the toilet and I’m scared of the pain. It hurt like HELL the last time we did, which was too long ago for me to even count. So, hmmm. I’ll be having a vaginal exam every time I go to the doctor from now on (it’s the best way to check to see if the cancer comes back) and I need to stretch so that I can have more comfortable exams, and well, I’d like to get back to some regular form of lovings with my honey. So, I’m trying to work through all that.

Well, I suppose I have wasted enough time on the old pc. I need to get back to going through stuff. Today is book shelves. Yay. And then, I’m sitting down with my Kindle to read some more of Marilyn Monroe’s Red Diary. Everything I’ve read about it said it was faked, but it’s still an interesting read.

So, Now What?

It’s been a while since I have had a break in which I don’t have an immediate doctor’s appointment coming up that requires a trip to Baltimore.  I do have one, with my primary care, for a diabetes check on April 15th, but I’m considering pushing it out just because I have so much going on.

But health-wise, I’m not at this “now what?” juncture.  So, where I do go from here?  I don’t have anymore cancer treatments.  I’ve been cleared to return to work on April 1st.  I have no outstanding medical issues that I must take care of Right. This. Minute. 

And so, I say, now what?

Well, it’s time to get back to my life.  From a healthy body standpoint, I had a long talk with my oncologist’s office this past week on getting and STAYING healthy.  What should I do?  What should I eat?  What shouldn’t I eat?  Can I begin to safely lose weight again? 

I want to get back on the road to my healthy weight-loss for so many reasons.  First, they told me that by dropping weight, it will help with the hot flashes and night sweats.  You see, I am still going through menopause, and honestly, the symptoms of the menopause are bad but were overshadowed by other things like cancer treatments.  A lower body mass helps lessen the length and severity of hot flashes, and for that, well, I’m all in.

It’s also time for me to take off the 15 or so pounds I gained during chemo, and take OFF the last 25 pounds I wanted to lose before I found out I had cancer.  I will feel better, look better, etc.  Dr. Rao did offer to refer me to a plastic surgeon who could talk to me about removing all my extra skin.  I have approximately 15 pounds of extra skin on my arms, panis, thighs, but and back that could go.  But between you, me and the fence post, I don’t care how old and flappity-assed I get, unless I have another cancer or heart issue, no one is slicing into me again.  I’ve had enough surgery to last me forever thankyouverymuch.

Additionally, because my cancer is an estrogen fed cancer, I wanted to know if there were any foods I should avoid.  There is so much information out there – a lot of conflicting information, and I was confused.  I mean, some places I read to stay away from soy based products and foods (soy is a natural form of estrogen), and some say it doesn’t matter.  Some places say to avoid sugar, while some say stay away from artificial sweeteners.  I have to limit my sugar intake anyway, but I don’t want to over do it one way or the other.

My doctor is fine with me losing weight.  The University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center subscribes to a healthy way of losing weight – high in proteins, fruits & veggies, limiting bad for you white carbs, and eating healthy portions of omega threes, oils and good fats.  Watch portion sizes, keep a food diary, and I don’t necessarily have to avoid sugar or soy unless I want to.  Which I kind of do.  Except for edamame, which I love.  But that will be a treat.  And, exercise.  Oh, and three cups of tea a day – any kind of tea I want except herbal.  Which I thought was a bit odd, but it turns out that tea is a cancer-fighter.  And I’m all up for that.

So, that’s what’s next.  Getting healthy by taking off this weight.  I’m also cleared to resume a healthy exercise routine.  And I’m supposed to get a call soon to schedule a mammogram and a colonoscopy (I can wait until later this year) as they will now be an annual thing.

And, although we’ve chosen to move back to Delaware, I’ve chosen to maintain Dr. Rao as my gynecologist and have all my cancer screenings done in Baltimore.  They saved my life, so why mess with a good thing? 

And, in addition to the weightloss, there are other fun things in my future.  In a couple of weeks, I am going to Ocean City, MD for the weekend with my sister, my niece and a friend of ours for a girls weekend.  We’re going to walk the boardwalk, get manis and pedis, hit the indoor pool, and do a little bit of drinking. 

Oh, and get this house ready for a move.  Which is a very. big. thing.  Very. Big.

So, I get the answer to “Now What?” is to get back to living.  Funny how a cancer diagnosis can make you stop in your tracks.  It’s time for a good push forward.

Dare I Say It?

I don’t want to jinx things, but after my oncologist appointment this morning, I feel safe enough to say that I am at the end of this horrible life altering journey.

Confirmation that there is no evidence of disease.  Remission. 

So, the plan now is to see them every three months for follow ups and blood work.

I have not been released to return to work until 4/1.  My immune system is still shaky and I am still getting over a virus.

I know there will always be a chance the cancer can come back.  But for now, my plan is to relax and breathe and return to life as normal.
And plan for the next adventure.  Which for now is my mom’s surgery and our move back to Delaware.  And that is big.  Huge.  Scary. But in a good way.

And of course keep things up here.

Love you all.  Your support and prayers have been a huge part of getting through this!

Even The Justice League Has A Bad Day Now And Then

The past seven months has been pretty well craptastic.

This past week has been horrible too.  I have had an awful virus which included a very sore throat and now buckets and buckets of snot.  I have slept most of it when I should be going through this house and deciding what stays and goes.

And then last night I slipped getting out of the tub and cracked my surgically repaired knee in the tub.  It swelled up and now it is black and blue. 

I joked on facebook the I know God doesn’t give us anymore than we can handle.

At the rate I am going, He must think I am Wonder Woman.

I see my oncologist Monday.  I am supposed to return to work Tuesday but if I still have this virus I imagine he will keep me out another week.  I have so many things I need to get done.  Hopefully I will be well enough to get some of them done soon.  I was supposed to go to Mom’s tomorrow and help her.  Plus we have to clean out this place and do our taxes.

But first I have to get rid of this stupid cold.