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Posts Tagged ‘stress’

So as I wrote these I thought how cliché and dippy some of them are. I erased them all and started over multiple times. But they kept reappearing on the screen. Because even if they are dippy and cliché, they are true. They are the things that I’ve finally learned and come to know as true, and they help me every day in my quest for a happy life…

21. Do what makes you happy. Not because someone told you to. Not because it will make you money. Just do something because you love it. If you’re passionate about something, everything else will follow.

22. Happiness is contagious. It’s hard not to smile back. Make someone else smile today. It’ll make you happy. It’s a fabulous circle!

23. You know what else can make you happy? Running. I never would’ve believed it, but once I tried it, I found it’s true. That whole endorphin thing, I guess. I actually always think I hate running when I start out, but once I get going my mood totally improves, and after I always feel better than when I started.

24. Music. Another thing that can totally change your mood. (And why is it that you can always remember the words to songs, even (especially) the ones you can’t stand???)

25. Travel. Explore. Discover. Whether it’s by the Mediterranean Sea, the streets of San Francisco or the mountains of New Hampshire, you’ll find new aspects of you along the way.

26. Be yourself. Don’t try to be anyone else. You’ll never succeed and it’s not worth your time or energy. Love yourself as you are. But…

27. Know that if you are not happy with yourself, you are the one person who can change things. You have control over you. Don’t waste your time being miserable.

28. And don’t waste your time with people who don’t treat you the way you deserve to be treated. If they make you cry more than smile, it’s a clue that you should get out. (It took me way too long to realize that one. Please trust me on this one and if that sounds like your relationship, get out now!)

29. In fact, don’t waste any time. Your time. Other people’s time. Nothing is more precious.

30. Guilt is a wasted emotion. If you feel guilty, do something about it. Change it. Or get over it.

31. Your parents probably do know best. And they will always worry about you, know matter how old you are. And when you become a parent, the worry will never end. It just comes with the job.

32.  Every day is another chance to start something new. Or start over. It can be whatever you want it to be.

33. Don’t let anyone else put you down, discourage you or tell you that you can’t do or be something. Usually they are the ones with the issue.

34. Encourage others. Boost them up. Help them find their way and thrive. It takes nothing away from you – you both win.

35. Spend time talking with your elders. Learn their stories. They are your stories, too, and they’ll be lost if you don’t listen… and spend time with the younger people in your lives, too. They can benefit from your experiences, and you can learn a lot from them, too – like how to relax and play! (Something I’m always trying to learn – the relax part…)

36. Learn the art of compromise. I’m trying. It’s something I’m still learning, but what I do know is that you can’t have everything your way all the time. And that’s ok.

37. Everything happens for a reason. We may not always understand it, but the reason usually becomes clear later on. (I’ve often thought that maybe the reason I got cancer was to help raise awareness and save others. So do your self checks people!!!)

38. Say thank you. Be grateful. Appreciate everyone who is there for you, helps you, loves you. Thank you are two words you can never say too much.

39. Pray. No matter where you are, what time it is or what’s happening around you, you can pray. It’s one thing that always helps make me feel better. And the other…

40. Deep breaths. Breathe. Just breathe.

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Week six of Taxol is over and done – and was pretty ok. Just some pain with the vein chosen (won’t use THAT one again), but otherwise fairly decent. Liver appears to be back to normal this week (phew) so I will continue to try to stay off tylenol and ibuprofen as much as possible and no drinking. (How convenient my 20-year high school reunion is the weekend AFTER my last treatment?) And nice to ease off the steroids a bit. Was a dreadfully early morning, but also meant we were out earlier and able to go home and crash on the couch.

Halfway there – that is what everyone keeps reminding me, and what I find myself telling others when they ask about my treatment. Usually that is a reassuring phrase. In a way it is, as I know six weeks from now (as long as my liver doesn’t mess things up), I will be done with chemo. (WOO HOO!)

But what really lingers in my mind is how much harder the second six weeks will be than the first. It’s already starting, as I mentioned last week, and for the first time I had a couple of really rough days getting through work and had to give in and take a painkiller when I got home and just sleep. I know I need to slow down some and I will. As it gets worse, I will probably work from home a bit or take a day off if necessary. We’ll just have to see how bad it actually gets.

I am not going to dwell on it. I got a text from a loved one after my last post where I said I don’t want people to feel sorry for me: “I’ll tell you what. I won’t feel sorry for you. I don’t think I ever actually did (not that I wasn’t devestated to hear the news). We are all dealt a certain hand in the beginning. It’s how we play them that counts. So, stop giving people a reason to cry, no one needs to see your pain (no one sees mine and you’re stronger) and refocus on giving them a reason to cheer. Close that door! No one else is gonna tell you and I’m no one else. Now is the time to show your strength, so buck up and be strong. I know you can make it through, if you want to. You have the most bad ass ELITE special forces SOG-MACV blood in your veins. Tap into it! Your DNA doesn’t even know what defeat is!”

He is right – in a way. In many ways. I do need to be more positive. I am strong. I do have fighter DNA. I will make it through. Heck, I can make it through anything for just six weeks. And soon it will be five, then four… And my hair is starting to grow back, right, so it’s not all bad! (I may hurt all over but I will eventually look better… and the pain will go away.)

The one thing I said (in addition to how much I love him and thank him for the honesty) is that I do still need to show the bad side, too. I can’t only share the good on here. That would be fiction. Lying by omission. And yes, while this started out for family and friends (who I make it a point NOT to lie to – in fact I’m not a fan of lying to anyone), it’s grown quite a bit. Now there are several women going through similar cancer treatments and for them, more than anyone, I sometimes need to be brutally honest. I need them to know that they are not going through this alone. And that they are not the only ones whose nails are breaking off, they are not the only ones feeling aches and pains throughout their body, they are not the only ones gaining weight from the treatment. Yes, I want to – and most of the time do – keep smiling and being strong and try to be inspiring for others. But I refuse to be fake.

So I am sorry if some of the things you read here bring you down. But I can assure you, no matter how rough a week it is for me, I will get through this, and I will keep smiling most of the time. I know this is just a bump in the road. Not only will the next six weeks be over before I know it, so will 2013. And that will be a wonderful new start…

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Tina brought tea from Dunkin’ Donuts – highlight of the chemo infusion!

Today, chemo week five at Dana-Farber, was fairly routine. Not much nausea, not much pain at the infusion site by my wrist, and mom and Tina were there for my amusement – and I for theirs. It was a blood work and infusion only week, but my doctor stopped in to visit anyway.

Yesterday for the first time I admitted to one of my friends how I am really feeling and what is happening  – and felt so bad when she started crying.  I even admitted, as I did with Phil when I told him that I am listening to him and not going to attempt to do the Newport Half Marathon, that I am not invincible. I need others to know because they rely on me and we need to be prepared. If it was just all about me, I’d stay in denial as long as possible!

You’re probably wondering what the heck is happening. No, I am not dying, and I don’t have another lump. Things are simply getting worse. I honestly hate saying (or writing) it because that makes it real, harder to deny and could make people feel bad for me. I hate it when people feel bad for me or baby me!!! I just want to be treated completely normally, just with understanding of my limitations so people aren’t counting on me for more than I can physically give.

It’s really interesting, and somewhat ironic. I find it amazing that officially I no longer have cancer, but things are worse from the treatments than I ever felt when the cancer was in my body. Looking at me, you’d say “she has cancer” but I don’t actually – now I’m a cancer survivor. Just still in treatment so I look like crap. And while some things are starting to get better, other side effects are kicking in…

Better

  • My hair is starting to grow in. Really! And not just on my head – I have to shave my legs! I will never complain about that again… My doctor confirmed that it sure appears to be coming back and that it can happen while on Taxol, but isn’t normal so she doesn’t mention it as she doesn’t like to give false hope.
  • It appears my eyelashes and eyebrows are no longer falling out – so while they are sparse, it would be so fabulous to preserve what I have and for them to start to grow back too.
  • I was able to cut back to a normal dose of benedryl starting today, and starting next week can start to cut back on the steroids slowly, as I haven’t been having any of the real bad Taxol reactions. So that means I shouldn’t keep gaining weight, and I won’t be as hungry all the time – thank goodness ’cause I hate all the weight I’ve put on, and am ready to get back into my smaller jeans…
  • Being able to work four days a week, unlike the A/C cocktail.

Getting worse

  • My fingernails are starting to go. They are increasingly brittle, have lines I try to cover with light nail polish and four have broken off below the skin, complete with bleeding – so not fun…
  • The aches and pains throughout my body are increasing, as are the hand and feet tingling. And it will continue to increase each week.
  • My liver is elevated – at first we thought it was because I had a drink and took tylenol, but I cut both out this week and it’s elevated again. Now the thought is that it could be too much ibuprofen because I’ve been taking a bunch for the abovementioned aches and pains. So I’m afraid I am going back on pain killers so I can cut down on the ibuprofen – but will only take them at night when I have no where to go, as I am not supposed to drive or work – it makes my head fuzzy, which I hate! Will take only when absolutely necessary…
  • So I know I have to face that I may not last four days a week at work the entire rest of the time.

It’s all relative, right? It’s only seven more weeks. And no matter how bad it gets, I can get through/handle anything for just seven weeks. And then I will get better. And have a fabulous 2013, and hopefully rest of my life. And until then, at least my hair is starting to grow back – and it’s brown, thank goodness! 😉

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I don’t want to!!!

I’m here for my last A/C treatment – the last of the worst chemo. I smiled as the nurse put the needle in my arm and took a bunch of blood. And again while she flushed it with saline to ready it for the IV. And I kept smiling and chatting as she realized she needed to take more blood because I am participating in a study and had to do it all over again. And then as it took forever to make my next few appointments for the next 12 weeks of chemo, which I do not want. It was supposed to be over today. And then my hair would start growing back. But it’s not. Yes, we’ll be done with the worst, but in three weeks we’re starting 12 more weeks. Ugh. I want to scream. I don’t want to smile and be nice. I want to forget this whole damn thing! I don’t want them to pump the poison into me today. I am so damn sick of being sick! And bald! Deep breaths before I flip on someone…. nurse will be here in a second to start. And I will smile and be nice. And soon all my friends will be here for my chemo party and then maybe my fake smile will be real…

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