Made it to the Island

It’s funny how you learn a lot about people and about yourself when you go through something like this. It’s not only life altering for you and your family because of the physical devastation but because once you’ve made it through treatment and can see the light at the end of the tunnel, the tunnel itself has changed. Your view of life and all things in it are now perceived differently. You’ve changed by the time you’ve come out on the other side. Maybe some have changed with you. I remember when things looked so dark I couldn’t see the shore of the ocean and it felt so far away. I’ve now finished treatment and made it to shore. I’m adjusting and learning to live on this new island. I’m still recovering from everything but I’m here, I made it.

Are there others here on this island with me? Some have shared my journey and will be with me always. Some who I thought would be there, took the first few steps and jumped ship. Some that I didn’t expect to be there, stepped up and have made my heart smile. Some didn’t know as I didn’t have the energy to go out of my way to tell people beyond my closest friends and family. Even that happened in phases as I felt ready to share. If someone called and I felt comfortable enough I’d tell them. Being so sensitive and emotional during that time I couldn’t handle anyone being insensitive. So I felt that it was best not to tell everyone because you really don’t know how people will respond. You’re already overwhelmed with so much that anything else can put you over the edge. I also only told the friends who reached out to me and kept checking up on me even though they didn’t know exactly what was wrong. During that time I had consultations, tests, treatment, more tests, more treatment, follow ups, and it continues. Your brain can only handle what’s happening at that time. Not only that, physically the treatment (referring to chemo) makes you feel horrible … Nausea, fatigue, mood swings, thrush, heart palpitations, fever, bone pain, immune system compromised and let’s not forget the mental anguish that goes along with all of that. You’re at the height of vulnerability.

Now there are a few friends that know through reading my blog. One of the friends called. I appreciated the phone call, he made the effort to reach out. I think that all anyone wants when they’re going through something like this is to know that they are loved and there are people who care and are willing to make the effort, even if it’s just a phone call to say a kind word. There’s usually one caregiver (my mom) and the rest are there to support and help in different ways. Some days I just needed to hear that I’d get through this and be fine. Fortunately I did hear it. Positive, supportive words can do wonders :).

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… Made with Love. Part 1

Lori who I mentioned before is now also done her treatment!!! Yayyy! She’s the one who sent me the adorable pink sock monkey that she made. It made me smile. So sweet and thoughtful. Other people gave me cards, flowers and thoughtful gifts. All of those things meant a lot, but it was really nice when people who came to see me … as long as I was up to it. The cards had a lot of uplifting words and all of it helped. Especially during the months I barely cracked a smile.

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I had also been making something for her, just took me awhile since I couldn’t start until I had somewhat recovered from surgery and the never ending cold I had for a month! Anyhow it’s done and I sent it today as a ‘congratulations you’re done treatment’ gift! I hope she likes it. We shared our journeys with each other and coincidentally the timelines were close. Was nice having someone to share with who understood and was positive and supportive as well. And simply just asked how I was feeling throughout.

Makeup bag with goodies in it! It’s my design and I truly enjoyed making it!! … Made with Love.

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Diet and exercise

I’ve been doing a lot of reading because it’s hard to understand why some people get sick and others don’t (unless it’s genetic). No breast cancer in my family other than grandmother who had ovarian cancer in her mid 60s. So I’ve been trying to wrap my head around what’s happening. It still feels surreal at times. Trying not to read anymore stats as they are a general statistic on a whole without including all the variables that would break it down into subsets. Each person is an individual and has unique variables. The statistics can give you a general idea of the what the case may be for that group on average. I’m trying to keep in mind that, that is exactly what it is. So is it just bad luck or more than that?

While I cannot control everything there are certain things that I can control … Diet, stress, and exercise. Yes these things do play a part, I truly believe that. They may not control 100% of what happens but if they can increase my chances then I’m going to do whatever I need to do. The one thing I keep reading over and over that I know I didn’t do was to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Something I did not do for several years (if not more). That’s now changed.
I’ve always exercised and the last couple of years it just wasn’t happening. That will change again once I’ve recovered from this.
Last but not least STRESS. It has been a major factor for me. And when I am stressed I eat less and exercise less. Which is definitely a bad combo. Stress, lack of sleep, and sugar (refined) all affect our immune system. The immune system needs to be strong to fight things off. I’m not going to get into the detail of how this all works until I do more research but these are my thoughts.

I think everything is connected … I actually know of someone who apparently healed her cancer through natural means. Now I don’t know if that’s post surgery and what stage she was at but I’m going to talk to her and find out. And no this does not mean that I’m going to forego surgery and radiation. I’m still doing all of that. I just think that these things can help me post treatment.

PS. DAY 2 after this cycle and so far so good. Last time pain started day 3 so we will see what happens. Hopefully I will be fine this time. Praying, thinking positive and keeping my fingers crossed.

When Life Gives you “Lemons” aka Cancer … make PinkLemonade!

These last few months have been a blur. Soooo much has happened in a short amount of time. I’ll start with the icing on the cake … 20 days ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

I already started chemo. Just had my first cycle 12 days ago. Not fun but after the first week it hasn’t been so bad. Not for me anyways, I’ve heard some stories of worse experiences. I guess everyone is different so I’m just very thankful.

I have lots more to say but we have many days ahead for me to write to my heart’s content 🙂