Monday, April 25, 2011

From Lemons, Make Lemonade

Now that the surgery date for the mystectomies is set, and the doctor appointments with cardiologist, my internist, and plastic surgeon also made, it is time to make "lemonade out of lemons".

I have spent some quality time doing my own inner complaining and ranting and raving and even wrote a poem of sorts last week about those inner feelings.  I have gotten mad at my body for betraying me with cells that became abnormal and tests that proved positive.  I have even taken a day or two to have a real "pity party" and take myself shopping to buy some shoes I didn't need and other assorted items that filled that hurting place.

I've completely used up my lemons so it is now time to make the lemonade.

I remember thinking at the end of last summer that I was feeling the need for a break from some things in my life since it was all getting just too mundane and predictable.  I was looking at changing some things; taking time from some other things I had been doing on a regular basis; and generally "clearing house" to figure out what I wanted to do "now that I grew up".  As I've said, be careful what you wish for...cause sometimes it comes to you in ways you don't expect.  I got the break, just not exactly how I pictured it!

Instead, a "break" turned into this long journey through the world of Breast Cancer and its subsequent treatments and surgeries.  It began last August and is still continuing now in April.  I have been through the initial surgery (lumpectomy/quadrantectomy), and the "red devil" combo chemo, and the taxol chemo, and started the Herceptin.  A mastectomy is the next part of the plan, and I have decided to have the bilateral version.  However, because of the toxicity of the chemo's and the heart function declined somewhat.  It is right at the low point/but still OK point right now (which is why I need to see the cardiologist).  I am waiting on the "Okey-Dokey" from the three doctors listed at top, and then I am all ready for the May 11 surgery.  It has definitely been a long, involved process.

I still am lifted up, however, by those around me.  And I am so glad they won't let go, no matter how long this ordeal seems to be.  I get tired of talking about myself and know it must also be  tiring to hear; but still good friends and loving family members continue to ask the questions and listen to the answers.  They also still send cards, still phone, still e-mail, still send flowers (and I just got the most beautiful Easter Lily from some very dear friends), and still care and still offer to help with anything I need or will need. 
So, THIS must be...My Lemonade! 

It is mixed with the strength God gives me and the strength He will continue to feed me even when I don't feel very strong at all.  It contains the sweetness of my granddaughter's smile, the concerned eyes of my husband, and the knowledge that there will be people to count on when "the going gets tough".  It is stirred with the personal touch of my "old-same" and nephew, my niece, and my son.  And it is served with the warmth of family and friends who are always there and are just waiting to be called upon to help.  

Yup, the lemonade is ready and waiting!  And to that I sincerely say, 
"Thanks be to God!"   

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time
words were spoken
that brought disturbing images
and worrisome thoughts
and all peace was disturbed.

I heard the words as if from afar,
seeing them in front of me,
hanging with great heaviness,
and refusing to float away.

It seems time stood still and yet kept racing on.
I think back to what has been,
and can't quite believe all that was,
and where I am 
and where I will be.

I am tired of "being sick".
I am so very tired of doctors and chemo ballrooms.
I am completely tired of my bald head 
with its white fuzzy hair poking through.
And I am crazy tired of making uneven eyebrow patterns
on my empty forehead.

Each month has seemed the same,
with its tests and the searching for good veins;
and the slow discovery of chemo side effects,
that are a reminder of the invasion of toxic drugs.

Into this small world that I have been travelling
now comes more unfamiliar territory.
There will be a rush of more tests 
and more doctors in more rooms.
I then prepare to meet my future 
as one who will be transformed.

On May 11th surgery comes
and meets me full-on.
What was...will be no more,
but what will be will remain a reminder 
of "once upon a time".

Friday, April 8, 2011

Time With My "Home Girls"

Things have been pretty much the same.  I continue to be on a "holding pattern" waiting to see what the news from my Muga Scan (coming this week on Wednesday) will say about my heart function and if it did indeed manage to go back to normal.  My hopes are that it did and all else can proceed from here.  If it does not, then I am sure my oncologist will have a plan for me.  I'm just concerned that the plan will entail more waiting or a whole new pathway.

My legs are pretty good.  Not much pain at all although they are still not my strong dependable legs.  I still have the neuropathy in my fingers and toes.  (I went out the other night with friends and if I didn't look at the wine glass in front of me, my fingers weren't quite sure of where it was.  Even though I nursed one glass all night, I am sure if someone was watching me, they must have thought I was drunk when I would miss my glass or almost tip it over!)  All in all, it has been a good resting period.  People keep telling me how good I look.  I am not sure if they expected me to look devastatingly sick and wasted...or if they are in shock that people with cancer can actually look OK even in the midst of it.  A good wig and knowledge of make up really helps.  However, people do then think that you feel as good as you look!  That's the pitfall!

This weekend will be an even better time during this "divine intervention period".  I am going with my "home girls" from my church to a retreat weekend with lots of talk, prayer, crafts, massages, walks, reading, time to be alone and time to be with others, etc.  I am looking forward to it and especially with the friends that will be there.  It is a good way to get through this weekend before I learn the news of next week.

Just heard today that another person from our church (who moved away a year ago) was just diagnosed with breast cancer herself.  I don't know whether it is that I am more conscious of hearing this...or if there is just more of it, but it is just overwhelming how many of us are out there.  I have already made plans to talk with her on Monday and I know she will be glad to talk it out with someone as I was when I began.

So that's all for now.  I am going to finish packing and I will write next after the Muga Scan.  In the meantime, if you would pray for a good result, it would be appreciated.