Friday, March 29, 2013

'This Old Man...'

Hi Friend,

I've now made it through two rounds of chemo... Hey! That's HALFWAY!!

That's HUGE!!

My head is pretty much bald-- I have a couple weeks growth following my 'Beauty Rampage' party, which TOTALLY ROCKED!!

It was better than the time I got my wisdom teeth out under Valium, Novocaine, and Laughing Gas!! (And that WAS SO MUCH FUN that I told the oral surgeon he could yank them all out!)

I really did!

(However, We did not go to that extent!)

What is chemo like? I gotta write this down so as not to forget the 'specialness' of my experience!

There is LOSS OF HAIR = good and bad!
Bad side=is losing it on ones head--and I had a GOB!

Good side= is not having to shave legs, armpits, and any other girly things! ALSO, I know now why men 'get ready' so much faster than women!!

There is ACHINESS in my bones like the flu...
Bad Side=when you hurt like that, it wears your spirit down.

Good Side=just say the word and you've got prayer support all OVER THE PLACE!

There is NAUSEA!
Bad Side= it's Nauseating to think about- and can attack at random moments, like in the middle of your favorite resale shop in front of your daughter and friend;

the steps you run through are lightheartedness, spots in front of your eyes, head between your knees, getting to the bathroom for WHATEVER, BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT is about to happen! Then, all you can think of is a cold, wet paper towel: how it is suddenly so perfect, and golden, as you lie on the linoleum floor-- the coldest spot in the building...

Thank God that it was time to close the shop and no one else had to use the 'Loo,' because I had cold sweats too- and it was about 45 minutes of being unsure what was happening in my body!

(Sorry to gross you out)

So Good Side about Nausea?
It passes, you learn to carry meds in your purse, there are drugs to help, and you have permission to lie down and veg close to comfort, blankies, and kitty...

Bad Side = WHEN you can taste, you go crazy for food! I am famous in my family for "searching for the 'Perfect Bite,'" and currently my reasoning is shot! I spent one night binging on toffee, another evening was centered around Peanut Butter Crackers!

(I need to buy cold cooked prawns- my favorite thing and binge on those, instead!! Next stop-- the MARRRKETTTT!!)

Good Side = you can finally stay up all night because your adrenalin is high, it's before the treatment and you feel fantastic!
Also, you can finally understand how Lance Armstrong was able to win the TOUR DE FRANCE seven times in A SINGLE BOUND!!

Let's NOT 'GO' there.

Haha!! (See, I've still got that sense of humor!! Hot-Cha-Cha!!)

Oooh! Here's another thing--

Bad Side = Your mind is like a sieve! Short term memory is SHOT! Sometimes you can't remember your daughter's name, ingredients for soup, even something which happened 30-seconds BEFORE!!

Good Side = the older we get-- we'll ALL BE LIKE THIS!!
My parents said they have it all the time, 'we just call it OLD AGE!'


Bad Side = it's one of my favorite things, eating. After the treatments, I gradually lose my sense of taste, until favorite things like chicken, potatoes, and really anything that's not sweet or spicy are like eating the color WHITE!

(Like wallpaper paste!)

Good Side = well theoretically, I would be hoping for loss of weight, as a consolation prize -- it has NOT HAPPENED!

(Please see 'Steroids,' 'Toffee,' and 'Peanut Butter Crackers,' above!)

I may think of other fun things, but really; how can anyone get the 'Full Cancer Experience,' as I call it, without Chemo?!!

Carole, this is not a Cruise Ship!!

Oh wait-- they HAVE HAD things like this on Cruise Ships lately!!!

Please see 'Princess Cruises!'

Thanks for stopping by!
Take Care.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

How Was Your Monday?

Hi Friend,
Well, this has been an amazing 48 hours!!
I've hosted my First Beauty Rampage!!
(AND- it might not be THE LAST, either!!)

What is a Beauty Rampage?!!

Well, in my case, it was a vehicle for actually shaving my head; a preemptive strike, against the more passive 'waiting for it to fall out...'

As hard as the cancer diagnosis- all along I had grieved over the 'possible' loss of hair-- I prayed not to lose it: long, shiny, healthy, my beautiful golden crown!!!

Only that and my 'perfect' nose on my face were the two things I'm proud of-- and have one of those 'taken away' because of cancer;

"I'LL DIE! MAYBE THERE's some way to save it!!"

My Aunt, a Barber/ Beautician Instructor in Seattle heard of someone up there, who; when feeling her chemo drugs made her head 'hot'-- put a bag of frozen peas on her head, and, "she only lost TWO HAIRS her ENTIRE TREATMENT!!!"

Was it worth a shot?

Should I wear a bag of frozen peas, too?!

In the end, when it did come time for chemo, I chose the non-pea 'road'-- and went as myself-- NOT, as a representative of the Jolly Green Giant!!!

As frightening the idea of losing my hair, that, in my mind was WORSE THAN LOSING MY BREAST!

Lots of women might disagree.

What you can say with certainty about cancer: everyone is different! Think about this, all of us, because of DNA, are inherently unique. God made all of Creation this way. As we live, our upbringing, experiences, locations, friends, foods, medications, choices, leave 'traces' of themselves on our bodies and souls.

One woman may grieve losing a breast, another, her hair; still another woman: her bag of peas!! Hahaha!!

Transparency in Cancer seems to be a good rule of thumb-- I am so SO not sorry to share my journey on Facebook.

I might have chosen to keep my journey private, with just family and pastor on the inside track-- after all, lots of people do. I might have decided just to include my girlfriends.., lots of people just do that, too.

What prompted my decision? I didn't want rumors about me floating around "Jane, have you seen Carole? She's not been at church for awhile?" sharing my story, Facebook friends get a chance to be my cheerleaders, keep up on the latest info, and I don't repeat the same test results, or my day, 'another 50 times!!'

God gets lots of credit! My friends and family know I'm a Christian. I'm able to constantly look for the 'Light' in situations... 'Serendipitous' encounters,
Renewed Friendships, 'missed markers;'
which, when needing to be retrieved-- showed itself as a cancerous lymph NODE!!

(Do you think God was in THAT?!)

I do!!

And having God as the Point Man in my Cancer Journey, has made it bearable, has filled my heart back up with joy and laughter, and helped in my healing.

Every day I choose to walk with him thru this minefield, which could be DOOM AND GLOOM AND DEATH;

Instead, I'm making my friends laugh over my preemptive strike haircuts at the Beauty Rampage!!! Or showing Cancer Survivors a new way to tie a head scarf,
Getting healthier eating my veggies!

And realizing that now, without hair- I see myself as stronger, confident, a warrior for my health, more in love with my True Self:

WARRIOR. Because I'm fighting for better health for myself, and will do all I can on this side of Heaven to fight for Jesus!


On this Cancer Journey, I see displays of his love for me, flowers, friends, test results, a hug- just when I need it, food delivered when I could not cook, prayer shawls gifted me by unknown 'angels,' financial support when I have been unable to work- learning to trust God each DAY--

One Day, Each Single Day at a Time...

That's all we are asked to do-

"Trust in The Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."
Proverbs 3: 5, 6 (NIV)

With God ALL things are POSSIBLE!!!

Take Care.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Scenes from a week...

Long Day's Journey

Hi Friend.
I haven't been here for awhile... Wouldn't be if insomnia hasn't set in.

So far, I've had a mastectomy on my right side, followed by a lumpectomy, also right side, to remove a wayward marker.

The Blessing was that the tissue
surrounding the marker was a cancerous
Lymph Node (the previous surgery had two, blue negative nodes removed)... This node, full of cancer, expanded its boundaries; not allowing the blue dye to enter-- without returning to retrieve that marker, cancer would continue growing.

God is watching over and protecting me!

I get the 'full meal deal' now that I have had a cancerous lymph node= chemo AND radiation!

I might as well get the whole package, right?

What I'm after is the mints on the pillow dessert= new readjusted lifted BOOBS!!

I didn't think chemo was too bad the first couple days-- steroids give you happiness, energy, and you can leap tall piles of laundry in a single bound!!!
I didn't feel any different walking out of the oncology office, than when I went in.
So proud and happy with my attitude. I was Brave! I was Courageous!!

Next day, Friday, I returned to get 'THE' shot to jump start my bone marrow, and even then, into Saturday was not too bad: then, a severe wave of nausea hit, and I was lying on the bathroom floor at my favorite resale shop, in a confounding cold sweat!

The coolest spot for a cold sweat IS linoleum or tile floor!

After 30-45 minutes, I was back together- able to drive home; Caitlin following in her car. Scared to eat, scared not to, am I sick? Constipated? Achy? YES!

From then on, it was like having the worst flu-- achy into my bones, and only now- 5 days later, does it seem to be easing up a bit.

I want to do SO MUCH! quilting, laughing, cooking, gardening, working! Painting my nails! Scrapping! But I'm weak, achy listless. Seeing a brief glimpse at 'no pain' tonight, I watched a movie and forgot for awhile! Nice!

There is still so much to do and see and accomplish: more chemo, radiation, tests, discomfort, fun runs/ walks, quilts, friendships, scarf-tying techniques!, new recipes... I know The Lord God is with me, and has been since the beginning.

My daughter, Caitlin, gave me a 'religious' book, called 'BEAUTIFUL BATTLEFIELDS,' by Bo Stern. (this is the disclaimer where I say, I hate books like this-- I wanted the coffee-shop Latte-Love story, and she gave me THIS INSTEAD?!!)

I was wrong.

I started reading last night, and was comforted knowing that God knows the beginning, middle and end of my journey-- he intimately knows each moment, each teardrop, each increment of pain. He's not going anywhere, and yet amazingly, He's here for everyone else in the world and their needs, too.

Because God has no limits on his time, and is the Beginning and the End, he understands the intricacies of my cancer journey, my joys, discomforts, and is the Captain of the Team!

So glad to know when I win the race, WHO'll be in the Winner's Circle with me!

Take care.