Thursday, November 29, 2012

Emotions and My Yardstick

Today we are going to delve into the emotional issues of cancer-
My cancer warriors will appreciate this, I think. Some of you it might offended and it might sound harsh. Oh well, cancer is harsh, so if you are scared about it being offended STOP READING.

1. Isolation and Don'ts- The first thing the Dr.'s tell you is DON'T GET STRESSED- um, I have cancer (stressful) I had my daughter get married and now she is moving away (stressful) It's Christmas (stressful) Don't leave the house (boring AND stressful) I have two businesses (stressful)

So you isolate yourself and try to remove ALL stress factors- ummmm
DON'T GO NEAR CROWDS, like the mall or church. (It's Christmas, REALLY). Don't go out to eat, because of the risk of food poison. Don't eat salads or anything raw. (But get good nutrition- contridiction)
DON'T GET SICK-(but you have no white blood cells) So here I sit in the house, day after day- guess that is why I am writing- I'M BORED!!!

2. Paranoia- so when we do leave the house, for a Dr's visit and we hear a cough- YIKES - now I am a germaphobe! Oh Please, I worked in an enclosed metal tube with people who would rather fly deathly ill, then to change their ticket, AND THEN leave their wadded up kleenex for me to pick up from their seats or the seatback pocket. So leaving the house now consist of tons of hand sanitizer and running from coughers, because you are paranoid of getting sick.

3. Fear- fear of the unknown, fear of your own mortality, fear of chemo and side effects, fear of germs, fear of anyone you love going through this- EVER, fear of getting cancer somewhere else. That one is self explanitory! We now live in fear!

4. Empathy- This is probably the one I am having the most trouble with right now- My Yardstick and Empathy!!!
When you come to me with a problem, or you have an issue- I pull out my yardstick and see how it measures up to what I am dealing with or in the grand scheme of things, is it really important to me at the moment. It doesn't mean, I care less or I am heartless, or I don't care about anyone else right now, but your problems REALLY need to be important for me to deal with them. I know I am not the only one to do this, because I have heard Kim on the phone putting things into perspective for someone, recently. So my question is, how do you deal with this- is it going to be that forevermore, my yardstick is bigger than everyone elses? That it better be a huge complaint to measure up to get my concern or worry? I said in an earlier post that cancer gave you a magnified perspective on everything. You love more, you feel more, you hurt more- you care more- but how is it that complaints get less, if you are caring MORE? It contridicts itself, doesn't it?
So for my family, that is not getting the support they need, for their issues- I apologize. For others, that may need my time and stress right now, I can't give it to you, so you WILL have to deal with my support team- and I apologize.
Maybe some of my "Cancer Sisters" can help me put this into perspective and give me the therapy I need on this one!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Shave..BECAUSE of the save

Longest the hair has been in forever....go figure!

Well, I heard Tuesday at chemo that this would be the week for the hair to fall out. Of course, I am the woMan with the plan, so I planned for "black friday" to be the day! I never knew why they called it black friday, so I thought, if any day would be black, it would be the day I shaved my head. I made Kim in charge of the gathering, cause I knew after chemo on Tuesday, I would be out sick, at least Wednesday and Thursday. In true Kimmie fashion, the girls all had their orders- wear their hair up and in full combat mode. Brittany got the face paint, they all gave me gifts and cards to take my mind off of it.

Unfortunately, I had already broken down with Kristi and Lloyd. Everyones response was the same, "you'll look beautiful.". I had to explain- I didn't care whether I would be attractive, I didn't want to now appear sick. I don't want people to feel sorry for me, and that is the first thing that you do when you see a bald chemo patient. I could at least go out in public before, and no one would know I was sick.
The timing for our shaving gathering, was right on time. My hair was falling out by the hand full on Friday. Once we got the original cry over, we got on to the shave. My fabulous husband was in charge of the shears, because Cissy and Kim were shaking too bad. We had a good laugh during the middle of the whole thing, cause I looked up at Kristi and she about fell out, because I looked JUST like my nephew, Will. She started laughing so much because of our similarities. My sister always said we ACTED just alike! Now it is official!
Right as we finished up, Dawn- Super D- came in with her baby and her beautiful bald head. We were both feeling a little puiney because this was her chemo week also. Talk about inspiration....she has two babies and this shit! I can at least go to bed anytime I want!
This is a great time to commend my daughters- wow! How strong they are having to be through this- plus they have their own stuff they are going through. Brittany had 5 exams this week, and Kristi was having to move out of her house, during all of this! But no matter what, they were right there with me to hold my hand and keep me strong.
The two reasons why I,  fight like a warrior!

My life, My Rock!!

That was the last occurance to have me on edge- now that the shaving is over and we can move on towards kicking this cancers ass, I got this shit covered!- So bring on the chemo cosmos!
Sorry for the bad word....but sometimes it is the only word that works with cancer- (thanks Jerry!)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Time for the Roller Coaster

Let me get out the Pink Big Girl Panties and put them on- so begins chemo week......

It's like standing in line for the monster roller coaster, it's too late to turn around, but the closer you get the more fear you have about the ride. Yes, even though I went through chemo two weeks ago, there is still fear of the unknown reactions and when they will hit. Not being able to plan doesn't sit well with this chick!
It's a great metaphor too, because the days are like a roller coaster, too! I can feel great and be out shopping with my sister and turn white and feel like I am going to faint, without any notice. Yes, the sweet sales associate at Belks had to walk me to the door, while Cindi went to get the car. I tried to hide how I was feeling, but can't hide how I looked....not from Cindi! I can also feel great and all of the sudden a wave of naseau hits and I can't make it to the bathroom quick enough. Things take a 180 degree turn in seconds! I can look great, when I take a picture at La Parilla- but you didn't see me in bed the hours before that to even get the energy to go out as planned.
This chemo also brings me one day closer to the shaving of my head- my hair already hurts, so I know the hair loss is coming quickly. It feels as if you are taking down a ponytail, after having it in too long. I am wrestling with the decision of how to "do" the head shave. Do I want to have the intimate moment with Lloyd and give in to the emotions? Or do I want to surround myself with "my big girls" and laugh and cry and have them to hold my hand? Don't know why I am making a big deal about it, cause I know what I am going to do! Kim and Cissy will be here for the intimate moment and be there for Lloyd and I. We will all laugh and cry! Cindi says she can't be here to watch. I will give Kristi and Brittany the option of whether they want to be included or not. I think they need to see their mom and the strength I am going to have to pull out my ass to do this, but I will let them decide.
We have also come up with a plan- I think it is the flight attendant in me that gives me the ingenuity and Cissy's experience. We are putting duck tape on my bangs and my wisps and then cutting them to save. We will then put velcro on them and use them in my hats. You can buy fake hair like that, but I want to use my own! Ok- I have my plan!
Since it is Thanksgiving week, I have to say I am so thankful for my husband, my rock. I am thankful for my kids, who make me so proud and give me such joy. I am thankful for my besties and the support they offer me on a daily basis. I am thankful for my sister and my mom who are always just a phone call away and will drop everything. I am thankful for EVERYONE that has offered my support and prayers over the past months.
Lastly, I am thankful for facebook, my blog and the voice I have to give in the fight against cancer. I am blessed to know 2 people going for mammograms this week, because of my voice. I also, unfortunately, know one person that has found a lump and is going to have that checked this week, because of my voice. Please keep this special lady in your prayers, that this sonogram is normal and no sign of a tumor. I love you and it will be ok!
Alright, buckle up and get those big girl panties adjusted! It's time to get ready.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sisterhood of Cancer - Kappa Omg-a Cancer

Week one after treatment one------

If there is one thing I have learned throughout this ordeal, it's this: there is a sisterhood that I have now joined. Anyone that knows me, knows I was never much for the sorority life- I didn't conform well. Apparently, I have no choice in the matter, now. Once you are diagnosed you are automatically put in this sorority of sisters. Don't get me wrong...I LOVE meeting alumni who have fought this fight and won - I LOVE meeting the sisters that are now actively fighting this disease, but you can't deny the conformity.
My bald head will give it away- back in my college days, it was a bow you wore in your hair or a t-shirt you had to show your sorority spirit.
I am going to Rock The Bald Head and hold it up proudly. I am going to put the t-shirts on and scream at all of you who don't take this disease seriously and make sure you check your boobs and get your mammograms. I am going to raise money for the cure of this horrible disease and that will be my "sorority platform". God has a plan for me and I will figure it out, before all of this is said and done.

Update- Week One has come and gone- overall the side effects of last Tuesday's chemo weren't too bad. I was icky feeling for a couple of days, Friday I couldn't get out of bed without throwing up, and today I am starting to get the mouth sores. My hair appears to still be on my head, for now. I will have this "good week" in between last weeks treatment and next weeks. I hate that I will have treatment 2 days before Thanksgiving, but I will have my good week on the week of Christmas, so it was a tradeout.
I will continue to rejoice in the good days and have fun on those days. I am now in "Neutropenia", which is the point I have to be really careful. My White Blood Cells went from 8.1 to 1.9- that means I am unable to fight infection, so I have to be very careful with who I am around, what I do, and what I eat. (That is your Cancer Class for the day).  I promise no test on this later.
Today I went to another great program the American Cancer Society provides (Look Good Feel Better) I LOVED Mary our instructor! She was a spit fire- and had the same sense of humor, as me. Dawn, my Cancer Sister, met me there and it was a blast! When I have helped raise money for the American Cancer Society in the past, I didn't realize where the money was really going. Now I see all the places it is going, not just to finding a cure, but this class and all the other ones they provide and all these wonderful volunteers that Mary! So thank all of you who helped me raise money for Team Traci!!
I rejoice over little things now, like taking a poo, no nausea, ability to eat, waking up and still having my hair, spending time with my loved ones, meeting new people, making someone laugh and saying goodnight and good morning to my husband. Before cancer, I went about my day and didn't think twice about much of that stuff. Cancer is like a Magnifing Glass that you put up to your life- Everything hurts worse, feels better and is noticed more.
I am still amazed at the wonderful  people that are in my life. People who I have known forever and I expected to be here for me, but also these wonderful people that are "just facebook friends" who give me support and the courage to be a warrior. You have all become such a great meaningful friend to me!
Smooches to you all!! Prayers to all my Sorority Sisters!!