A few of you have asked how I've been feeling so just thought I'd be pretty honest and share my heart a bit.
Don't know why really, but I guess I haven't spoken too deeply on my blog here about my cancer journey. I mean, sure I've referred to it - just in the general context of the appointments and treatments - but not how I feel about it. I suppose it's because I DO NOTwant cancer to define "ME", if that makes any sense. I don't want to constantly talk, talk, talk about it. There is still so much more to me than that stupid word.
Frankly, I've really been struggling with the whole thing. I'm tired of not having hair and now simply having a choice between wearing a wig or a cap. The night before Thanksgiving I had to run out to the grocery store for a forgotten dessert ingredient. I had been in the middle of making the dessert and realized I needed another container of Cool Whip. I just had a cute little beanie cap on and decided to run my errand like that. Well, as soon as I got of my car and walked into the store, people were looking at me real funny. No, it wasn't in my head nor was I being overly self-conscious. I mean, unless you're totally dumb you can tell if someone is staring at you or not. I hurriedly got what I needed, then just got outta there real quick. I got into my car and just burst out crying. I cried for quite a while that night. Bobby & the kids weren't home that evening and I was alone. I cried for how very drastically my whole life has changed within the span of almost 5 months....For how I've gotta deal with all this crap now. Oh, you just don't know how sick I get of it every single day!
I think my way of dealing with it is to try to carry on as normally as I possibly can. I told myself at the beginning I wasn't going to sit around and mope. I was going to try to hold my head up high and deal with it. I was going to MAKE myself get dressed and avoid LOOKING like a sickly cancer patient as much as I could. But ya know what? Life hasn't worked like that. There have been some really BAD days.
The side effects of the chemo have been so awful. This latest drug I've gotta take brought with it unbearably achy joints, tingling hands/feet and watery eyes...my eyes constantly water! The achy joints (imagine like when you have the flu - THAT kind of achy) and tingling happen approximately 2 days after the treatment. The pain began Thursday evening when I was at Tess' band concert. There were so many people there it was standing room only and not one available seat in the whole auditorium. I honestly didn't know HOW I was going to be able to STAND along the wall for over an hour. But really, WHAT was I gonna do...tell someone I need a seat 'cause I'm undergoing cancer treatment? Um no, don't think so! I finally ended up sitting on the floor along the semi-circular stage (not near the performance - no, by the back of the auditorium) and all I could think of when I was sitting with my back slightly on the brick wall was this....I've GOT to make sure this stupid wig doesn't catch on the brick and get pulled OFF MY HEAD!
The watery eyes thing? I'm having trouble being able to wear any eye make-up AT ALL. Now, before you go thinking I'm all vain or something...imagine YOURSELF in that situation if you had dark circles and your skin just looked pasty. Um, I don't really enjoy going around looking like that. I LOOK SICK...who wants to go around looking bad all the time? Know what else? It's painful; my eyes really do hurt.
You may have heard someone with cancer say this..."I just want the OLD ME back!" And every word of it is true. I look at before cancer pictures of me; I think back to how my life was before and I just want to bawl. But I have to say this...I HAVE NOT used cancer as an excuse in my life. I don't lay around in bed or on the couch making everyone feel sorry for me. That is the VERY LAST thing I want - pity. Nope, don't need that. Not today, not tomorrow, not EVER!
But I think I would be very remiss if I didn't share the flip side of how I feel. Oh my goodness, I am acutely aware of HOW BLESSED I truly am. Things really could be sooooo much worse. The cancer could have spread. I could be confined to a bed. I could lose all my independence. (Shoot, I drive myself back & forth to chemo - I'm STILL so independent!) And for all that HASN'T happened, I AM VERY GRATEFUL! So many people have loved me and supported me and been so kind throughout this journey. My heart is full of thankfulness.
So, I take it day by day and - as my mother would always say - don't borrow trouble. Isn't that how we should be living our lives anyhow? Remember, we're not promised tomorrow. We've got to make the most of every single day! I, for one, do not want to live with regrets. This cancer journey has just reinforced what I've always felt anyway...TREASURE THE MOMENT!