After having a bit of a meltdown on Sunday from worrying about the Cancer coming back, I’m finally feeling better. Still getting over the flu but not as bad as Sunday. Although I do feel irritable and moody. It’s PMS without my period! I still get sensitive and emotional depending on what’s going on that day, that week … That moment. There are certain times that nothing bothers me and I’m relaxed and carefree, then other times I’m so sensitive and irritable. Maybe it’s certain things that bother me. Things like rudeness, selfishness, and mean nasty unkind people. I’m also bothered by people being insensitive towards me not having kids or being married. Gotta work on that though because I cannot control other people. I have to find a way to not let it bother me too much. I’m sure it will get better in time. It already has. A year ago I was a mess. It was a process accepting that I would never have children but I’m pretty much there. I still have my moments but hopefully they will become more infrequent as time goes on.
The other thing I still sometimes struggle with is my Ex. Not struggling with getting over him, that didn’t take any time at all. It’s more that for some reason I’m still angry. Is it because I got no closure? Maybe because he lied so pathologically and hurt my parents. Or could it be that I feel that indirectly, he had me so stressed out that I didn’t pay attention to my health. Probably all of the above along with me being angry with myself for staying with him for the wrong reasons. Staying in a toxic relationship all because I wanted to have a baby. UGHHH! I really really need to LET IT GO. I’m trying and am really not sure why I’m having such a hard time but I do have to let it go somehow. AND I WILL 😉
I read something recently stating that there is a breast cancer-stress connection. Of course more research needs to be done but I do believe there is a link. Not so much a direct correlation in terms of stress directly causing Breast Cancer but I do think and have read that stress weakens the immune system, causes cortisol to be released which is bad when consistently in the body for an extended period of time, and when we are stressed we generally don’t sleep well or take care of ourselves in terms of eating and exercise. I know I don’t. No way in hell I am ever letting that happen again! My LIFE is way too important! All the things we stress and worry about, are so not worth it. We spend time feeling miserable instead of being happy and enjoying life. Of course there will be moments but let it be a moment. Give yourself an hour or two if you’re bothered or a day or two if something is more upsetting, then after that LET IT GO AND MOVE ON. Life will be much brighter!
Maybe I needed to write in order to help me let go. Do whatever you need to do. Yoga, meditate, write, talk, run, paint, SHOP 🙂 … Whatever it is you need.
Like NIKE says – Just do it!
March 20th was exactly one year since I completed treatment. It brought up a lot of emotions … gratitude and happiness but also sadness, and anxiety. I’m so very grateful to be alive and in remission. I recently had a CT which came out clear. I was relieved and overjoyed the day I got my results but soon after my brain started thinking too much. Maybe it was because my Mom told me about her friend’s daughter whose cancer has come back 2 years later. It wasn’t breast cancer but still it makes me think too much. How did that happen? What was her initial diagnosis and prognosis? What was the treatment she received? All of this so that I can tell myself it was different from my situation and I will survive another 20 years! Right now I am only thinking as far as August where I will be 2 years from diagnosis. With each year the chance of recurrence goes down but with breast cancer it can come back at any time. Making it through 5 years doesn’t mean that you are cured, like some other cancers. Great.
I also read again that women who exercised had a higher 10 year survival rate. I’ve started to exercise a little more but to do 3-5 hours a week is not easy when you are not 100%. I still have fatigue and I get sick every month which puts me out of commission for 7-10 days. UGH! Recovering has been slow but I am getting my energy back. I notice an increase in energy every 3 months or so. I now sleep 9.5 hours on average and 7 hours feels like I’ve slept for 4. Oh well, that’s still better than before!The fatigue is difficult for people to understand. It’s an overwhelming exhaustion that hits you like a wave. At least that’s how it is for me. I can make it through the day now but usually can’t do too much in the evening. If I have evening plans I have to nap or rest in the afternoon. My days usually have to be planned. I also have to cook earlier in the day otherwise it doesn’t happen. Thank God for my Mother!!
The thought of going back to work makes me nervous. Not because of work itself but because I don’t know how I am going to manage getting enough sleep, exercising 3-5hrs/week and preparing meals and eating healthy, all while working full time. Maybe I can request working 4 days as my permanent schedule. I would also then only get 80% of my salary but if I can manage on that then maybe it’s worth it. Going back to work is 6 months away at this point so I will evaluate how I am feeling in about 4 months.
Making it to ONE YEAR post treatment is a victory and I am going to think positive, focus on living healthy and getting to my next milestone of 2 YEARS since diagnosis. That will be August 6, 2015.
I’ve realized that people are unkind and insensitive but I guess I don’t expect it in certain situations. Today was one of those situations. I went to a Goodlife Fitness club to set up my complimentary 3 month membership. This is through their partnership with UHN’s cardiac rehab centre. I completed my 6 month rehab exercise program in January and since the weather is finally above zero, I thought it would be good to start getting out of the house more. I called head office told them about my scheduled time for the membership and assessment. She said it would be set up by Friday when I went in to the club.
I was running late getting downtown, mainly because I was hungry so quickly prepared something before leaving. In doing so I forgot the letter from my Rehab program manager that I was to provide to set up my gym membership. I then was stuck in traffic and got there late. Parking was also a hassle because the club is right downtown. It was also cold and windy so by the time I got there I wasn’t in the cheeriest mood. The GM comes over and says that she understands that I’m trying to set up the 3 month gift membership but she has no paper trail. I said I was sorry I was running late and forgot it at home. She then kept going on about how she doesn’t know me and she can’t do anything without the paperwork and I’d have to bring it in. I asked if I could fax it and she said yes but I’d still have to come back to sign the forms. Well couldn’t I do that now??? She said without seeing the letter she couldn’t do that. Then what was the point of telling me I could fax the letter if I had to come back anyways?! I explained that coming back downtown was a hassle for me between physiotherapy, appointments and fatigue. I didn’t want to have to come all the way back downtown. It takes up most of the day for me. Most of the hours where I have the energy to do stuff. She had almost a condescending attitude and was completely insensitive! I was almost in tears (not sure why but I was). Maybe it was her being inflexible and so cold. She could have said the same thing with more understanding and sensitivity. She was speaking to me as if I was an idiot and she didn’t care if it was a lot of effort and exertion for me to come all the way back downtown. There was also an undertone of I’m trying to scam a free 3 month membership.
Now we get to the trainer. I forgot he’s a personal trainer, he has no medical or rehab training. He started asking me questions about what I had been doing and went on to say that my training heart rate was only at 40-60% of my max. Well WTF did he expect?! I just went through aggressive breast cancer treatment!! He then kept asking if the Frozen Shoulder was due to muscle or tendon … neither and I explained it was the capsule around the shoulder. He asked if I was doing acupuncture for it. NO!!! I’m seeing a physiotherapist and getting massages. It’s helping, the range of motion is getting better. Next he asked if I was taking pills for the Lymphedema … What?! NO!!! It’s massage and a compression sleeve that helps with that. If he didn’t know what I was talking about he should have just asked not assumed which made him sound stupid. At some point in the middle of all that I couldn’t hold back anymore, I started crying. At this point I knew why. Having someone tell me I’m training at such a low percentage of my maximum heart rate made me feel like I had accomplished nothing and that I’m still so far from where I was pre-cancer. In reality I had made a lot of progress since last July when I started the exercise program. At that time my training heart rate was even lower!! ASSHOLE! I guess he was just insensitive and clueless but I’m still sensitive and emotional. Not only am I recovering physically but also mentally and emotionally. I’ve always been fairly sensitive to others when they are going through difficult times so it’s hard for me to grasp how in these situations people can be so cold. I think the fact that I look young and healthy makes others even less sensitive. It’s almost as if because they can’t see it they don’t believe it. VERY FRUSTRATING!
Monday I will be calling head office to tell them about my very unpleasant and upsetting experience. I will also be going to another location to complete the membership enrollment and assessment (which frankly is pointless as these trainers no nothing about my current condition). Hopefully next week’s visit will go better.
As I mentioned before I am planning a trip to London, Paris and a few cities in Italy. I’m so excited and looking forward to this trip!! The friend that I’m going with wanted to confirm our dates so that she could book her ticket. She’s coming back earlier than I am so we might also be flying there separately. While on the phone I mentioned to her that I went to see my oncologist and now have mild Lymphedema. I was a little down after leaving the hospital. I think because it was a reminder of everything that’s happened in the past year and a half. It’s not life threatening and causes more discomfort than anything else. I did have a bit of pain but that’s gone. My wrist is a little swollen and I’ve been wearing my compression sleeve. I knew there was a chance this could happen but I guess I was hoping it wouldn’t. It is something that can happen when your lymph nodes have been removed and also damaged by radiation. I had both.
The friend without knowing much about Lymphedema said to me that maybe I shouldn’t be traveling and maybe I should cancel the trip. WHAT?!! My initial response was that I’m not going to stop living my life! She kept going, saying my health comes first. Does she think that I wouldn’t put my health first?! My health has been the priority since this whole ordeal started! Lymphedema is nothing to cancel a trip over and by August it will probably be gone. She then went on to say maybe I shouldn’t travel for the next year or so also because of the surgery. What the F@!$ is she talking about??? What does my surgery have to do with anything?! I’ve been on 4 trips since treatment ended and have been fine. A little tired afterwards but perfectly fine. I told her this. She was still worrying and continued with her Debbie Downer commentary and unsolicited advice. I then said I’d call my doctor and ask my cousin who is a surgeon and familiar with Lymphedema. I realized I was saying it to shut her up and had no intention of calling either of them. The following day I told her that my cousin said it was fine to travel as long as I wore my compression sleeve. I didn’t ask my cousin. Mentioned to my brother who is a physiotherapist and he said exactly that. She felt reassured. I also told her that she didn’t need to worry about me, I know what’s okay for me and what isn’t. Also that I intend to continue living my life without constant worrying. She didn’t respond.
The entire conversation pissed me off. I think it’s because I didn’t like the fact that someone who isn’t that close was telling me how to live my life! She’s not my doctor or my mother. Who is she to tell me to reconsider my trip?!?! If anything I want to do even more with my life than before. I want to enjoy everyday and live a full, rich and happy life. I’ve been doing a pretty good job. I want to travel as much as possible. I still can’t believe she said that maybe I shouldn’t go. UGH!!! That was not concern, that was her not wanting to inconvenience herself if something happened. You may be thinking that I’m assuming but it was what she was saying and that’s what my gut is telling me. One thing I’ve learned is to trust my instincts. It’s disappointing that she would behave that way but I’m not shocked. This whole experience has taught me a lot about myself and others. Some good, some bad.
I’m still going to enjoy the trip. I’m not letting her or anyone ruin things for me. Just because she is a worry wart and angry about what happened to her several years ago doesn’t mean she has to rain on my parade. I’m doing well and I’m not going to stop living my life! I hope she isn’t like this while we are traveling. BUT when people show you who they are, you should remember that and not expect them to be someone different. So she will probably be that way on our trip to some extent. As long as it’s minimal I’ll ignore it.
5 MONTHS TO GO … LONDON PARIS ITALY!! 😄
If you’ve been reading my blog you know that I can only fit into my fat jeans and have been trying to lose weight for a few months now. Granted I have a legitimate excuse for struggling with losing a few pounds but I am starting to get a little frustrated. There are so many obstacles. The new one is my heating is not working and the technician is unreliable so I’ve spent hours this week sitting at home waiting for him to come and then he cancels!! Today I spent the entire day doing nothing! Why? Because I woke up too early and after a few hours was tired. The repair man was supposed to come between 2-3 so I thought “can’t take a nap now he will be here soon”. I stayed awake waiting but was so tired I didn’t have the energy to do anything. I wasted the entire afternoon waiting and finally after I told my landlord I’d be calling someone else she had him come right away. It was now 7pm! After all of the aggravation I went through this week I thought it was finally over. WRONG! He had the wrong part. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? Since tomorrow is Sunday he said he’d have the part Monday and come back then. I finally stopped being frustrated, told him to call me directly instead of my landlord. Hopefully I will have my heat back Monday. It’s been -20 degrees C this past week and I’m using a portable heater SO my kitchen is extremely cold! I eat dinner late so I’m in the kitchen in the evening and it’s so cold I do not want to cook at all! Daytime is fine as I have lots of sunlight coming in so it isn’t too cold. Tomorrow I will try to prepare all my food earlier. I also HAVE to workout tomorrow. You’d think I’d be losing weight eating 1400-1500 calories a day but when you’re not active that’s not enough. Right now I’m home most of the time being inactive.
I really want to be back to my pre-cancer weight before I go on my trip. That gives me almost 6 months. All I have to do is lose 2 pounds each month. I can do that, it can’t be that hard. And February was better, I noticed some improvement in my energy level. I can do this, I can do this! I’m going to do this.