And So it began

"ONCE UPON A TIME"....there came along this little lump...insignificant really when you compare it to the entire world of lumps. That is, right up to the point that it wasn't...insignificant I mean............... and so began my journey.

A NEWER SHADE OF I more then SURVIVE...I am learning to THRIVE...

OF COURSE... we all know things are bound to get a little crazy with a surprise around most every corner...not to mention an assortment of bumps and bruises along the way...but I am ever thankful for them all...they have all made me who I am. So buckle up, hold on tight and enjoy the ride thru what I lovingly refer to as LIFE

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

You know it's been a tough week when.....
1) You reach THE milestone at the end of chemo and you don't remember it at all....double sigh!!!
     I guess it would be safe to say that I was a smidge more rattled by last Friday's 911 event then I thought I was. You see....that very same morning was my LAST chemo and in my unit that is a HUGE milestone that they just don't allow to quietly slip by.  There is a HUGE bell on the nurses desk and when you have completed that last treatment you get to go RING THAT BELL...for as long and as hard as you want and the entire unit cheers with you.  There is a lot of hugs flying around between staff and patients....a real celebration!!! I have to admit sad really do bond with these people thru the shared fight and the one on one personal on some level you really know you will miss it feels like a loss too.  I have this friend who has been with me every step of this journey in many capacities (shoulder to lean on, knowledge to draw from, hand holding, sit at your bedside, laugh, cry and draw spiritual strength from) and she showed up at my last chemo to surprise and celebrate with me...and bring flowers.  It was so great to share this triumph with her and VoR...they were both taking pictures and just taking in the moment with me. Now here is the trippy part....she called me on Sunday (2 days past 911) to say she had emailed me the pictures and I had no recollection of it ever happening.  I honestly had no idea what she was talking about...chemo brain to the MAX!!!  
2) Every time you sit down longer then an have more likely than not fallen asleep and missed whatever was going on in the hour....sigh...
     I can't believe how I have been this week!!!  It is so trippy cause it just comes out of the blue and're gone.  I have been in the middle of watching something on TV or face timing with my kids and when my body get broadsided by these wave of POOPED...there is nothing that can keep me awake.  Now this is a whole new thing for me since I have spent most of my life suffering with insomnia.  VoR (like most men) can decide it's time for bed and almost be asleep before his head hits the pillow....HOLY COW...I now know what that feels like...kinda awesome actually. 
3) You have to keep reminding yourself that you are only 1wk post chemo and NO dough are NOT gonna feel like a million bucks...actually (if truth be told...) what do you really expect to feel at the end of your 8th Chemo in 14wks?!?!?
     I find I am getting annoyed with myself and the fact that I should be feeling better....heck...I finished chemo!!!  Like I have said before...this is gonna be a STEEP learning curve.  I have been so nauseated this week and that too comes totally out of the blue with no warning...NOT FUN!!!  I am having patches of time where I actually feel really those only come when I am laying down in bed....but the point is that they are coming...the secret is to not plan to change the world in those moments cause the minute I get out of bed and walk  10ft.....the energy and ambition...GONE!!!  So...what I have started to do is pick one thing to do that day and only focus on getting that done...if I don't, no biggie but then at least I am not looking at a huge "to do" list and feeling even more like a lazy far so good.  Don't get me wrong...these aren't big jobs...just a little something to make me feel like I have accomplished in my day.
     BIG NEWS...I officially get to start radiation on FEB rest for the wicked I guess.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Let me start by saying the plan and focus for this entry really was....
My Post Chemo Wish list...
(starting with the anticipated return of NOSE HAIR)
But sometimes things just don't go according to plan....let me back up just a bit...the evening of my Triumphant End to CHEMO...
     It is truly amazing how we deal with the changes to our "Norm"...we really only have two or three choices....we either "buck against the bitt" (cowboy wisdom), throw a HUGE "Hissy Fit" or crumble into the boggy pit we all know as "weeping, wailing and WHOA IS ME" that is the result of the ENORMOUS weight & crippling effect these BIG life changes bring along for the ride. I just see my way thru life with a little different shade of glasses on...
I DON'T say any of this to imply/say/or even ever think that I am in anyway better then anyone else who struggles or carries the weight of this "New Norm/Illness" differently then I do...I just have the been blessed with the legacy of having been raised as one of a

 always armed & anchored with quiet courage & solid faith 
(who's motto and outlook always was/is..) 
"When the krap hits the fan & you need to STAND UP and FACE IT HEAD ON...
"Strap on those Big Girl Panties knowing that

     I know we all need to find our own path thru this new landscape and it is up to us whether we see a monster sea of boulders & pits or a new wilderness with rises, falls & stones thrown up to stumble on if we don't keep our eyes on the path we have been given. We  do need to remember that with each new path comes the new learning curve and even knowing we need to watch our steps (guided though they are) for those "little new stumbling rocks"...It is HUGE SHOCK when in the blink of an eye you get totally blindsided by those little stones that suddenly turned into HUGE BOULDERS!!!!  Seeming to come out of nowhere....scaring the KRAP out of you with their swiftness!!
     My 2hrs of "just feeling off" that ended in 5 mins of "something is wrong" to the full blown "CALL 911" was the scariest time I have ever been thru. What started as that classical feeling of foreboding that they say us women always feel, to the pressure in the chest, to the hard to breath, to palpitations that suddenly turned to listening to my heart beat racing increasingly faster (I couldn't count fast enough to keep up) knowing there was nothing I could do to keep it from exploding in my chest. Then AS suddenly as it started to slow down and by the time the ambulance was was over. Needless to say...I have been watching for symptoms and taking it REALLY mellow and have now been referred to the Cardio-Oncology Unit.You know what that will surely mean...more test & blood work!! YUP..Missing my PICC already!! 
     I have known from the beginning that I travel this journey held tightly in the arms of my Savior and I know that He was there to save and protect me once again as He has done in the past. I KNOW that He knows me and every breath I take and beat of my heart. I KNOW that I am okay and this is just one of those stones on my new path (this too shall pass) that stretches out far ahead of me...and that all these lessons I learn along the way are there to make me into what the Lord has designed me to be for  HE is the Master Builder/My Father and sees the whole picture...
The Whole Me

Saturday, January 12, 2013

    OPPS....blame it on "chemo brain" (I figure...use it while you can) anyway....
This was actually supposed to post just after New Years and it ended up in the "draft" file....
I reread it and decided to post it anyway. I didn't feel like I could/should just gloss over it like it didn't happen cause it sure did.  It truly reflected where I was at that moment and how I honestly felt ...(not anymore btw) the spirit of
"full and honest disclosure"

WOW....time flies...some weeks....this just happened to one of them.... I have been a smidge preoccupied with "HoP" and seeing her finally home from the NICU and chemo last Friday...I have either been sleeping or checking on baby...add on to that the fact that I really struggled with IF I should post this one....but I know it is important for you to understand that I "get this" and I don't always live thru this disease with rose colored glasses here you go.

.  Interestingly HoP's arrival with her premee issues really sent me off onto an afternoon of SERIOUS Pity Partying and reflection.  Now just to clear the air....although this cancer dance has been far easier then I (deep down thought/anticipated) hoped it would be....there have been moments of SERIOUS PITY  PARTY and SUCKINESS.  I have kept those moments tucked away safely within the confines of my own private space....with the exception of a couple quick moments that escaped and flashed to the surface for VoR to get a glimpse of.  As he has tried to be strong and protect me...I have tried to shield him from these, but I'm pretty sure he suspects.... has been good and I have felt great....tired and falling asleep at the drop of a hat (way new experience for me....kinda diggin it!!) then some monumental family moments happen that you are without the power to share or drop and run to help and you get a real severe reality slap in the face and heart.  You can be all "whatever" about missing stuff but when you are powerless to be there for your child as they face a scary and difficult moment in their own life....your perspective is clear and the fact that you are held powerless (captive) by this redonkulas illness.  As much as you know in your gut HONESTLY believe and tell yourself....I have always said "I have cancer it DOES NOT have me"...times like sure feels like it's winning...cancer has me.  The power it has to still rear it's ugly head and trump all your good Karma and intentions and leaves you sometime painfully aware that you are stuck on the sidelines watching your family move thru monumental stuff...both good exciting and bad exciting chapters in the role of "bystander"without the ability to be physically involved is a crushing and hard pill to swallow.  Random Wisdom getting gushy and all "girly" about her new ring and upcoming wedding, and little HoP struggling to breath in the beginning  and just wanting to scoop her up in my arms and give her some "Grams" love and tender words (cause it's almost as good as a kiss from mom making it "all better") and gathering Pragmatically Speaking up and just be his mommy right now helping to carry his load..cause let's just be honest really harrowing moments we all really just want our moms to come flying in and carry us thru..."save the day".... I know I still do and she has been gone over 2 decades.

     So you see....every now and then cancer throws up this huge bill board that says..

"Jokes on you sucker...I"m here and I am sure as shooting gonna take everything and knock the wind out of your sails cause I am in charge and I have just been playin with ya...til now"

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Your personal GPS...
The New Year...the downfalls, the Myth & the Truth
     With this new year (lease on life if you ask the Mayans) there is always the pressure (from ourselves and others) of "what are your resolutions this year" to deal with?  They are always steeped in a ton of guilt...either cause you make them and break them or because you don't bother to make them...bottom line really is...
Resolution + Guilt (you make & break them) = PRESSURE
      Why is it year after year we keep slogging our way thru this mine field??  Let's be honest...year after year we set ourselves up for failure by being overly critical of ourselves so we see way too many impossible changes.  Some how in the 24 hour period that surrounds New Year"s Eve....everything we have been doing is suddenly wrong and suspect.  All that we have thought/done over the last 365 days is up for review and the "I'm happy with me and loving life" morphs into "You suck and boy do you have some seriously drastic changes to make, cause you're sure not good enough the way you are".  It is amazing that we allow this troll on our shoulder to take control and manipulate our Psyche year after year. we know how to throw those "HATER" glasses (at the speed of light) that are so tainted and askew we can't help but see the worst.  Now honestly what/who we are on December 31 can't be that far off track...we would have probably picked up on some signs and clues along the way and not be so totally blindsided at the stoke of midnight.
     We all know that life is a journey and not a stationary block of time and you are either moving forward or sliding backwards. Sometimes the shift in our course is ever so slight that it goes unnoticed until we look back and see where we came from and where we are actually standing.  I am all for looking at yourself honestly and making the changes as we see and learn more....we are here on this earth to learn and grow...but it is NOT an overnight switch we is a process that we work at line upon line precept on precept...recognizing the little adjustments we need to make along the way as we catch the little blips in our view.  You can't wake up one morning and decide "today I am gonna run the Boston Marathon" go strap on your tennies and hit the road then be totally shocked when we only make it a couple of blocks.  You can wake up with the same goal but then take it a step at a time until you can't believe you were able to run the whole thing.  It all starts with that thought/inspiration/prompting and you being brave enough to make the changes you need to take that first step. 
     Sometimes I think we throw around these hugely powerful words but we never actually define just that we are all on the same page...I actually dug into the dictionary to see what the true definitions were...
RESOLUTION - good intentions for virtuous conduct.
RESOLVE - decide...make up one's mind
RESOLUTE - determined, decided, boldness, no vacillation...Firm of purpose
      I guess what I am saying is yes...change starts with a resolution and a resolution is really recognizing and acting upon a prompting from the Spirit...broken down into realistic pieces.  I truly believe that God has a plan for each of us as He sees the big picture and that if we hearken to these promptings from Him thru the spirit we will continually guided in what we need to do on a daily basis to "recalculate" our inner GPS.  The more we hear and head those promptings the more they will come and guide us ....turning this HUGE monster that rears it's ugly head every 365 days from a guilt ridden "hater" party to a true time of reflection seeing how much we have grown and rejoice in the fact that we learned the lessons placed before us.  But in those moments when we "fail" at a particular lesson...commit to "FAIL BETTER".  Acknowledge that we fell short while internalizing the lessons it taught next time we will do better.
     I have a dear friend who has a great approach to this mine field time of year.  She actually finds a word that is gonna be her focus for the year and then reflects on all of what that word means to her and how she can put it to practical application....for example... "Smile", "Recognize", "Relinquish" or "Push".  Any of these words on their own are powerful but when you break it down into "how can I apply it and learn?" they take on a whole new meaning.
PUSH - out of your comfort zone/ past self doubt/ for deeper relationships
RECOGNIZEeveryday miracles/God's influence in your daily life/ small acts of kindness....
 You get the picture.  I have been doing it for some years and it can be a powerful tool in your life...and it is really surprising how each year a word will just come into focus for you....just be brave (putting on those big girl panties) and take the first step...finding out what that word will teach you.