Health, Uncategorized

Wondering

Seems I’ve finally been still long enough for the sick germs to catch up with me. Not too shabby considering my weakened immune system and all of the snot I am around at work everyday. I was wondering when it would happen and how my body would react after having cancer.

That’s the thing about being a cancer survivor…you try to stay positive and put the battle behind you and move forward, but you are always wondering. Wondering if what you are experiencing is normal. Wondering when or if the recurrence will come. Wondering what people think of your new hairstyle. Wondering if strangers can tell you’ve had cancer. Wondering if they think you talk about it too much. Wondering if what you are eating is cancer-causing. Wondering when your fingernails and toenails will grow back or if they will always be brittle. Or if the numbness in your toes will ever go away. Wondering if you’ve forgotten something important because of the chemo brain. Or if people think you’re just using it to get out of doing something because you say you need to rest. You want so badly to put it out of your mind, but you can’t.

You can’t because it’s changed you forever. You are not the person you were before the diagnosis. No matter how much you try to “get your life back”, you won’t get it back because you are different. You’ve fought an enormous battle. You’ve faced trauma unimaginable. You’ve come back from death.

Your priorities are different.

Your perspective is different.

Your perception is different.

Not to mention that your physical body is also different. The chemo has killed off everything…the good and bad cells. That’s both a blessing and a curse.

Your emotions are different because the medicine has put you into menopause.

And sometimes it’s too much. Sometimes you long for the familiar. It’s not that the new normal is horrible, it’s just different and different is scary and leaves you wondering. You’re always wondering…

-Sondra

 

Health, Uncategorized

New Normal

It’s been a really long time since I have posted anything. In my defense, it’s been one heck of a year!

Around this time last year I found a lump in my breast and went to the doctor to have it checked out. He ordered a mammogram. The radiologist who read the mammogram ordered an ultrasound. After reading the ultrasound, he informed me that it needed a biopsy. I went for that in December and was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had the lumpectomy at the end of December, the port placement four weeks later, and started chemo the following week. I ended up in the hospital the first round because my insurance would not pay for the shot to keep my blood counts up. They had no problem paying for it after the four day hospital stay. J

I completed six rounds of chemo, ending up in the hospital again on the last round. The stuff nearly killed me. A month later I started radiation, every day for six-and-a-half weeks. I also returned to work during that time. I still have to have Herceptin infusions every three weeks and yesterday I started taking Tamoxifen. I’ve been slowly returning to “normal”. Whatever the new “normal” is.

I lost 23 lbs. during the cancer treatment. Not a great way to lose it, but a loss is a loss, right? Unfortunately, as I’ve started getting back to “normal”, I’ve gained most of it back. That is frustrating to me. I don’t want to gain it back. I don’t want to eat junk and be inactive. I don’t want to be at a higher risk of a cancer recurrence.

And then it hit me. I didn’t come back from the edge of death to live my way right back to it. I did not fight my way through death to live my way back to it. It’s time to make some changes.

When you think about it, there’s nothing that says the new “normal” has to be anything like the old one. And that doesn’t just go for me. It doesn’t just apply to someone who fought their way through cancer. It can apply to anyone who has gone through anything and is in a time of transition. A new job. A new living situation. A new whatever. Make the most of your second chance. I don’t know what that looks like for you. For me right now that means that I am starting a new lifestyle of clean eating and exercising. Embrace the opportunity for a new “normal”.