cancer · cats · regular life · waiting

Still Up in the Air

Hi everyone!

So I had all my consults with specialists this week. It was really fun, seeing that I love going to medical places so much.

Not.

Anyway, the oncologist wants me to start with chemo up front. They say I’m strong and young and they think I’ll kick butt with that. Then more chemo and radiation and then surgery. The surgery won’t be until October?! I’m like—I don’t know about that.

They usually start with chemo and radiation then surgery then more chemo.

I told them at first—just tell me what to do and I’ll do it. Now I have questions. I don’t want to wait til October for surgery. At least I don’t think I do. I called my regular doctor to ask what she thinks.

Meanwhile, our awesome neighbor Kim brought us chili and wine yesterday. Yum. And I slept like a damn rock last night and it totally ruled. I’m up and making a grocery list and watching our cat Ghost stalk birds on tv. She’s a hoot.

That’s all for now. I’m feeling okay. House is spotless, laundry done, just waiting on the weekend.

Wish Covid would piss off. Would like to do normal shit again.

Wouldn’t we all?!

Love ya ❤️

cancer · naming everything · nice people

Pay It Forward

I had a complete stranger reach out to me on messenger last night.

Her name is Kristin and she is cancer free.

She gave me all kinds of good advice regarding what’s coming up. She gave me actual questions to ask at my dr appointments. She also informed me that reading cancer Facebook pages is fine but not to do it too much. She told me gobs of people recover then leave those pages to go live their lives.

I’ve been in such a panic for a month now. I’ve been reading everything. The one thing I was searching for was to know that I’ll be fine.

After she told me that—I thought—well, duh!

My husband told me the same thing. People get better then move on.

I never ever wanted this to happen to me. Now I just want to get moving and become one of those people.

But knowing me—I’ll be one of those people who “moves on”, but like that nice stranger who talked to me and made me feel a million times better, I’ll probably do the same for someone else who is going to someday feel like I do now.

Anyway. It’s a rainy January morning. And I’m just lying in bed like I do these days, way later than I have since 1992 when my first baby was born.

I don’t like being slowed down, but I’m going to try to cut myself a fucking break.

But here soon I’m going to get up, do laundry and mop the kitchen floor. Get real food out for dinner so my husband doesn’t have to eat fast food again tonight. (Sick of it!)

I like to give names to things in my life. My cars have all had names:

Jude the white Chevette!

Flying Green Peanut-my sporty Hyundai.

Jimmy-my cool ass Audi convertible.

And now Astrid the VW Beetle.

I decided to name my stupid tumor. At first I came up with “Mr. T”—get it? Mr. T?

I also have an actual friend who is going through what I’m going through. We hooked up on one of those pages! We started chatting and she goes—omg i know you!!

Turns out I know her through work. I used to see her all the time.

Now is that kismet or what?

She said I need to name it something weak and easy to break! And I thought—shes absolutely right.

Came up with the name Wimpy. Now I’m also considering Donald Trump. A real genuine pain in the ass and a cream puff for sure.

Anyway, I’ll have to think about it some more.

I just wanted to check in and say hi.

And thank goodness for helpful and kind strangers (and friends) who reach out to help people just because they care.

anxiety · cancer · waiting

Waiting Game

I have an appointment with my chemo oncologist next week on Wednesday. My husband will come with me to that.

I have an appointment with my radiation oncologist next Thursday. My older sis is coming with me to that.

I asked the lady who set my appointment with the chemo doc—how long til I start actually doing this stuff? She said about 2 weeks after these appointments.

So til then, I’m bouncing between feeling normal sometimes, then being scared, then just wishing I could start already, then happy I’m just chilling around my house like the old days. And the cycle repeats in no particular order.

People have told me I’ll feel better once I get the damn ball rolling. I know that is going to be true.

I still can’t believe it. Sometimes I really get pissed. I can’t get over how healthy I’ve tried to be all my life and for what. I have to go through this.

But I guess going and getting myself checked out was a healthy thing too. Glad I didn’t wait any longer. But still wish I had gone sooner.

Oh well.

So I’ll wait. And hopefully not loose my marbles before I hop to it.

anxiety · anxiety medication · boundaries · cancer · music · self-care

Anxiety

I’ve always been an anxious person, not going to lie. But it wasn’t so much that I couldn’t function properly. Exercise (good) and lots of wine (bad) were (are?) my favorite ways to diffuse it.

This shit is something else. I’ve been experiencing some heightened levels of anxiety since I started noticing my symptom in August. It was manageable since I really had no idea what I was dealing with, but the closer my colonoscopy creeped up, the worse it got.

Still, I managed to put one foot in front of the other.

Now, since the end of that screening, the anxiety really took over. And it has been bad. Finding out 2 days before a major holiday—one that all my life I’ve always just was able to blissfully enjoy—threw me into involuntary waves of freak out.

What’s fun is as I struggled to put on a holiday somewhat normal, my body was like—um, no. I shook constantly, sweat poured off me when I wasn’t even doing anything. I reached out like a mad woman to professional mental health hotlines just to reach a trained ear—and they were all CLOSED.

I get people needing or wanting breaks from their work for holidays, but honestly, if you’re in the mental health field, holidays seem obvious to me to be one of the most important times to be available.

I felt completely unglued Xmas Eve. It sucked. Somehow I got through it, and luckily even managed to have fun when our kids came to visit.

I realized once I got through that experience—dude, if I can live through that without dying, I’m pretty damn strong.

So now I’m starting down this road and it’s not very fun. In fact, it’s scary as hell. My phone rings and I jump.

If you could’ve seen when I was waiting to hear about the results of my initial imaging tests, you would’ve been like—how the hell is she doing it?

The phone call finally came and I was informed I’m not stage 4. The release of anxiety was so huge, I shook like a leaf, went into the bathroom and threw up.

Upon exiting the latrine, I had to give myself props again–I didn’t die of fear!

So now I’ve been through a few appointments I never saw coming as part of my future. I hate it. But I’m doing it.

I shake a lot. I can’t eat. Sleep is rough. Sometimes the best I can do is sit in the corner of my couch and chill. Go to the grocery store because we need food? A simple task I used to do every week without a second thought? Yeah. How about no.

Kelly Clarkson blabbing away on her talk show on my tv? Makes me wish I could smack her, even though I know she’s probably a nice person.

When all this shit really began hitting the fan, I talked to my general practitioner. She is a true gift from the gods—hilarious, compassionate, in my corner, and she cusses like a sailor. I love her. She hooked me up, no hesitation, with anxiety meds.

In my former life, I didn’t need and was kind of afraid of medication.

Well, this is no longer a thing.

Honestly, what freaking better time would there be besides right now, ya know?!

It’s not shameful to need medication to calm myself right down. I need to eat, I need to sleep, I need to be able to do stuff again, and dare I say, a real laugh now and then might be nice.

I deserve laughs. I deserve relief. What I’m going through, I’m finding, is something a whole lot of people can’t understand. I’m envious they don’t. But really, that makes no real difference to me.

What matters is my health-especially physically. I can’t concentrate on it at all without addressing my mental health. I’m so glad I’ve figured that out.

So I’m taking steps to get the anxiety under control. I’m not berating myself for taking the medication (that stuff is the shit!). I’ve also started turning my phone off when I lie down in bed at night. My kids can call their dad (he’s not as popular as me. Well, that’s not true. His clients love him, but those people don’t text him for funsies all hours) and if they need me, he’ll tell me. I’ll also answer my sisters. Everyone else? They’re negotiable til morning. Or maybe afternoon. Or evening. Or maybe not at all.

I’ve always been a people pleaser. Like to lift people up. That’s on hiatus for now, unless I have the desire to be entertaining.

Anyway. I just wanted to write about my illness-induced anxiety. It’s a bitch. Wish it wasn’t happening. But as one of my favorite bands Blackberry Smoke sings—Wish in one hand, Shit in the Other.

For now, thank science for anxiety medication. It’s going to help me get on with what’s coming. And I’m going to embrace all of it, no matter what I have to do to do it.

One final thought:

Why the hell is Kelly Clarkson so spastic. She could use a meditation getaway or a cup of catnip tea. Why do I even care? I don’t, really. Maybe she’s just really fun and carefree.

Maybe someday soon, that can be me again.

Parting gift for this post—please enjoy. This band gives me life.