*Waves*

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind and I’m exhausted.

Last Monday, I had to go to Baltimore to see my oncologist, and then I worked from our Baltimore offices.  I got home at 7, studied until 9, and then had group meeting for class until 10.  Then I passed out in bed.

Tuesday, my birthday, I had to go to NYC for work.  Left Wilmington at 6am.  Left NYC at 5pm.  Home by 6:30pm.  Dinner.  Microsoft Project demo from 8pm to 10pm for class.  Fell in bed.

Wednesday – back to work in Wilmington.  Full day of meetings.  FULL. DAY. OF. MEETINGS.  Then I had to type of the minutes from the meeting I had been in NYC for the day before.  Came home by 5, cooked dinner, studied until 9.  Class team meeting from 9 to 10.

Thursday:  Work.  Dinner.  Football.  Eagles lost.  I was not happy.

Friday – work.  All day waiting for deliverables for an upcoming exam.  7 meetings.  Was supposed to leave work at 4:30 but because I was waiting for other people to give me stuff, it wasn’t to happen.  Stuck at work until 5:15.  Dinner with my honey for my birthday at Nora Lee’s French Quarter Bistro – service was great – food not so much.  Then BJs for cat litter, and Shop-Rite for groceries.  Home by 9:30.  Put groceries away.  Fell. In. Bed.

Saturday – trip to my niece’s for her housewarming.  Ended up spending the night.  Against my better judgment.  Husband had too much to drink.  Mom left with car.  Not able to get ahead on this week’s reading for class.

Sunday – left my niece’s about 9.  Stopped at farmer’s market and got stuff for dinner.  Home by 12:30 or so.  Laundry. Cooking.  Finally got to homework about 3.  Finished two chapters in my physical text.  Got ready to read the two chapters in my other text on my kindle, and my kindle crapped out.  Damn.  Studied until 9.  Fell. In. Bed.

Monday – work half a day.  Schlep to Cardiologist in MD in afternoon while Bob packs up stuff from old house.  Got put on low carb diet because studies show people with heart defects who have also had hormonal cancers live longer on low carb (hmmm).  Threw away brand new box of pumpkin pie pop tarts.  I am sad.  Got home at 5:30.  Unloaded car.  Put together my desk (was using a tiny desk in my office which was no bueno).  Heated up dinner – chicken and green beans.  Studied until 9.  Group Meeting from 9 to 10.  Fell. In. Bed.

Today – finally a somewhat normal day.  A few meetings, a lot of follow-up.  But I got to the gym today (yay), and I’m eating low carb (boo).  I think I’m going to get done at a normal time today, and will head home to cook dinner.  I need to catch up on the two chapters I haven’t been able to read yet, and do some follow up for our group project.  My plan is to be in bed by 9.  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA*gasp*HAHAHAHAHAHA

My appointment with my cardiologist went well.  He is happy with the sounds of my ticker, but brought up that there could be potential damage as a result of where I was radiated.  He’s going to keep any eye on it.  He also told me that radiation really does a job on the old circulatory system, so he’s going to keep a closer eye on me.  Every six months instead of every 12.

I need a nap.  Or a clone.

Oh, and on a TMI note – Bob and I attempted sexy time for the first time since I finished my treatments this weekend.  Not so sexy.  Ouch.  Gotta work on that.

Commemorating My Fight

I have thought about how I can memorialize my battle against cancer. This blog is one way, but I really want something personal, something that says, “I am a bad ass”, something that marks me as a fighter. Marks me…hmmmm

I have always been conservative when it comes to my body. For years and years I said I would never get a tattoo.

Then I got cancer.

Ever since I completed treatment, I wanted to get a peach cancer ribbon with the words, “I fought like a girl.” In two months I am getting one.

My friend recommended an artist in MD. She is going to design it for me.

Can’t wait to share the end result!

Turning 21 For the 20th Time

Needless to say, this time last year was not so good.  I had just had major surgery to remove a whole lot of my innards (and lymph nodes); I had a brand new cancer diagnosis; and I had just undergone the first of six rounds of chemo.  So, when my 40th birthday approached last year, I wasn’t exactly one of those who was all, “Oh NOES…I’m OLD…MY 40th BIRFDAY IS TEH EVIL.”  I was happy to even be having a birthday considering all I had gone through, but a birthday celebration was not at the top of my list.

So, here I am, one year later.  It is my 41st birthday.  And I feel as if I am in a different world from the previous year.  I am recovered from surgery (although, still having hot flashes).  I completed treatments six months ago.  I am cancer-free.  I have transitioned to a new and interesting job, and I’m sitting here today in an office on the 34th floor of a building overlooking Manhattan working today.  I wish, of course, that this was my regular office, but I’m only here for the day.  Regardless, it is an interesting job, with an opportunity to travel and get my name out there in the company.  I am half way through my 2nd master’s degree and plugging away at a new class on Project Management.

I am living life.

And what’s more important?  I’m loving life.

I missed the big “whoopdedoo” so to speak with turning 40.  I was too busy having cancer.

There will be no whoopdedoo turning 41.  Traveling for work, followed by a 2 hour online conference in Microsoft Project for my class, and maybe dinner out with my hubby this weekend.

But I’m damned glad it has happened – considering everything I went through to make sure I’d have a 41st birthday.

So, in my quest for finding normal, I suppose this is it.  Just another day in my otherwise “normal” but remarkable life.

Happy 20th anniversary of my 21st birthday.  May there be 40 more.  🙂

September is National Gynecological Awareness Month

September is National Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month. A year ago, I had just had my first infusion and cancer was all very new to me. I think back now on all the symptoms I had that masked themselves as something else.

Ladies, pay attention to your bodies. Gynecological cancer symptoms are frequently masked as other things. I had persistent hip pain for over a year prior to my diagnosis. My doctor dismissed it, but I was adamant with my doctor that something wasn’t right.

I had periods so heavy I had to wear Depends. I had headaches and a fever and swelling. And it was diagnosed as a virus.

Listen to your body. Be persistent with your doctors. Get in his ear. Demand a vaginal ultra sound.

I was nearly too late. By the time My doctors found the cancer, I was at a stage 3.

Your body is your best tell. Listen to it.

Graduate Classes in a Post Chemo World

Grad classes are a hell of a lot of work and that is true no matter who you are.  I just spent 12 hours working on homework today.  12 hours.  Two chapters, two chapter outlines, an individual assignment, deliverables for the group work.  I still have to answer the conference questions, and do the team group work this week.

And I am exhausted.

To top all that off, when fitting in the group work this week, I have to manage to do it between working five days (two of which I’ll be traveling out of the state), starting physical therapy for tennis elbow, attending a microsoft project conference, holding two team meetings for school from 9 to 10 pm this week, and working in at least three workouts.

Oh, and I have an oncology appointment tomorrow.

Work like this was tough BEFORE cancer.  Handling it now while my system is rebuilding itself it pure torture.

But I can’t postpone my classes anymore.  If I do, I risk not graduating.  And I’m not dropping out.  2015 is my deadline to finish.  And I’m damned sure going to do it, come hell or high water.  Or more chemo.  Hopefully not the last one.

On a side note, much of my husband’s family is in Colorado.  There is much flooding where they are.  My nephew and his wife and their 4 week old baby have been evacuated from their home and are staying with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law.  My elderly aunt and uncle are in Commerce City and have been told they may have to evacuate.  I have a friend who owns a rental home in Estes Park.  It’s a mess there.

Please keep them in your prayers.

Now, I’m going to bed.

Finding Normal

I think that the hardest part of having cancer is finding your normal. Cancer, it’s symptoms, it’s stigma, it’s recovery all contribute to a host of things that completely change your “normal.”

I am learning to deal with my new normal. In fact, I am taking it as a challenge to build my new normal like the old 6 Million Dollar (Wo)Man. Better, faster, stronger… And if you are too young to know who the bionic man was, well, think Iron Man with a lot less iron. And cheesier side effects. Like running in slow motion.

I have started back to school. I have started back to paying attention to my bariatric diet. I have started exercising. I joined the Y. I want to build in more good habits and get rid of some of the bad ones.

Finding normal is an evolutionary journey, and honestly, so far I am enjoying the trip.