Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cancerversary....5 months

So today I had a check up with the surgeon that diagnosed my cancer. I didn't realize it until I was staring at her computer screen, but today marks exactly 5 months since I was sitting in that same exact room waiting to hear those 3 dreaded words. "Yep, it's cancer."  That was 5 months ago, that my life came to a screeching halt and all focus had to be on myself, my support group and survival. I am nearing the end of this dreadful journey, and I have to say I have learned so much. You really don't know how much your life changes when you are faced with your immortality. "Things" don't bother me anymore, because well, how could they when you have such a bigger fish in the fryer. I have also learned alot about people too, I really hope I can be even half the friend that you all have been to me! Your kinds words and actions mean so much to me and brighten my day, when I am sitting here in a painful Taxol coma. You all have taught me that little things you do and say mean so much to someone when they are down. I re-read all of my cards I had received over the past several months, and was once again overwhelmed by the people that took the time to write such inspiring letters. Again, I have learned how important that card or letter is, and hope I can be that special friend, too, when you need me.

I only have two treatments to go...Yay! Last weeks treatment was uneventful. As always- Kimmie picked me up and we showed up with our bag of goodies. Gnomie, my blanket, and Donna's prayer. Cindi has been working and allowing Brittany or Kristi to go with me, while they were home for Christmas, so this week she brought Kimmie and I lunch and sat with us. It was crowded and the man next to us was a little sick and sleepy, so we did behave ourselves...this time. My side effects were bone pain all weekend and a fever on Saturday. Nurse Brittany was here and monitered it for me. At 100.4, I am to call the emergency line at the dr's office, it broke at 100.3- whew, it was a close one. I absolutely did not want to go to the emergency room on a Saturday night with no immune system and all those sick people. My blood count was a little low on chemo day, so I had to go today and have that checked. If is was still low, I was to get the Nulesta shot. Luckily, through the grace of God and my prayer warriors- my blood count had gone up and it looked good. Another YAY!!
I am seeing the light at the end of this dark tunnel and I am ready to begin living life again. I still have reconstruction surgery and my shoulder surgery with 6 months recovery, but I am making plans to mark things off my bucket list. Fly Fishing lessons, a trip to the beach, living my life with the volume turned up and a BIG ASS PARTY to celebrate surviving this journey. When my life settles down I will follow through with my promise to be an avid volunteer for this awesome organization, Loving Arms Cancer Outreach, they offer support, free wigs, bras, prosthesis, rides and monetary support for cancer patients. I also will try my best to get back to the job I love and start "cloud hopping" again!
Thank you all again for being "my army", my friends, my prayer warriors, my everything!  Now, go feel your boobs!
Kept my smile till the bitter end...waiting on the dreaded words- August 24, 2012

What a difference 5 Months has made....Jan. 24

Friday, January 4, 2013

2012 Cancer Lessons

Well August 24th and the weeks of fear leading up to it, certainly changed my life and taught me so many life lessons.
1. Surround yourself with people you love, then share your story, because there are so many people out there that will support you, that you NEVER EVER assumed would be there for you. It is expected that your closest friends and your family will be there, but so many people have their story to share and their love to give you. If you don't let them know what is going on in your life, you will never know the true meaning of friendship and who is out there truely caring about your life. It has been so nice to accept those new friends into my support group!
2. Let go of the people that are there to bring you down and add stress to your life. The very first appointment that the Fab 3 had with the oncologist, the most stressed point of Dr Hahm's appointment was to GET RID of STRESS and get rest, or your body can not heal. That is a hard thing to get rid of, but I realize quickly with lots of tears and lots of hurt and sleepless nights, that I MUST do that and turn over that stress to other people to take care of- kinda hard for someone who likes to control my own life.
3. Patients is a must with cancer and you have no control- your life is going to come to a streeching halt. You want be able to plan (hard for a planner). Dr's are in control, sure you make the decisions, but you have to turn your treatment and schedules over to them. One of the hardest things to do is think of the future- going back to work, planning a vacation, what comes next- I can't think about it, because I can't control when and at what point and time that will happen and it upsets me so much. I don't know how I will feel tomorrow, or in one hour, so how can I look beyond that?
4. Fear is now a part of your everyday life- fear of cancer, fear it will come back- fear of the unknown- fear of all the treatments and test you have to go through- fear your life will never be the same. You have to push that fear out of your mind and focus on other things- like getting better and changing your lifestyle.
5. Laughter is more important than EVER- surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Period!!! When we go to chemo, everyone knows we are there, because we are so loud and laughing so much. You have to!
6. Trust in God- you have to know that this has happened for a reason and that he is the one who has total control over what happens from here. When I feel out of control, it helps to know who is.
7. Love yourself- you have to focus on healing and focus on what is right for you. Don't overdo it, sit, sleep, and focus on what your body needs.
8. Little things do not matter anymore- my ruler is huge and most things don't touch it, unless it is big. I have never been much of a person to worry about the small stuff, but it is a lot less so now. My motto was always, "don't worry about it until it is time to worry about it, and now is not that time" Unless it is huge, it will really not measure up for me.

I have said in the past that cancer is like a gift of a magnifying glass- it puts everything into perspective for you and hopefully for your loved ones too. It makes love, emotions, and pain magnified. Use that magnifying glass as a tool to transform your life. To give back to those who give to you- to love greater- to laugh louder- to get rid of things you can't control- to change yourself, by seeing your flaws and make a change. I hope these lessons learned in 2012 have made me a better, changed person and 2013 will be a great year for this new person and I will be on the upside of healing, for me and my family! I hope through sharing this journey with strangers, it has somehow touched your life and put your life back into perspective. I don't want people to feel sorry for me, I want people to see how you can turn bad things into good, by surrounding yourself with love and laughter, and by turning it over to God.
I have finished chemo #5 and have only 3 more to go- I can see the finish line and I am confident that I will get there. Thanks to everyone again for cheering me on- you don't know how much your support has mattered to me!

Number 5

Dawn's last day of chemo- we celebrated!!
Even baldheaded with Cancer, I am happy!