Chain Reaction…

I’ve had a handful of other survivors come forward to tell me… they have these same fears or thoughts… we just haven’t wanted to speak them.

My blog was my outlet and I’d given it up… like everything else. Ironically, I do feel so much better today! Just getting it down.. helps. Journaling… helps.  It’s getting the thoughts out of your head…. and letting them rest. Instead of allowing them to consume you….

My husband told me yesterday… you need to find something that you absolutely love, like he does with golf… that makes you forget every care you have! I already know what that is…. but, I just currently don’t have the means of that outlet. Someday, I will! Not photographing for a living…. photographing as my art, photographing beauty… being so excited you cannot wait to edit those photos and post them…. I lived for it! Did it consume me? It probably did… I did one of those Facebook things that analyzes your a weakness… for me it said I was a workaholic… lol I was. I’m not going to lie. That isn’t healthy either. I put all I had into my business… but it made us successful. I mourn it every day… but it’s like giving up sugar… you realize that it also probably made you sick, but you still love it and miss it…. Moderation is key, kind of thing….  So, for me… to do it as my business…. would have probably led me right back where I was. As a married couple, working together…. it had it’s stresses. I gave it up… working 10-12 hour days isn’t conducive for my current state of health… But, doing it for 2 hours, is…  I crave it…

My integrative oncologist said I need massage and healing touch and these outlets… that allow you to forget everything for a little while….. healing touch is a service they give. I did it once and it was amazing… Unfortunately, groceries are more important than massages.

With my job… currently, I’m an account executive for a logistics company where you go out and find business.  It’s not as easy as I had thought… At Ashley, I hit the ground running… I was instantly successful. But, the hours and weekends…. were killer. I’ve just learned that there is no utopia. I’ve got to embrace the positive things about my current job… the small victories… They give you a base salary and a vehicle…. and this is why. It’s NOT easy. But, it’s not enough either… so I feel this constant battle with myself to try and try and when it doesn’t happen instantly… it’s difficult. That’s why I said… it’s a living. I don’t LOVE it… it’s a job. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m going to find something that I absolutely love…. and so job hopping is just stupid. Stop…. and just try to embrace what positives this job brings. My manager is a really great guy. The upper management is a little difficult. Being by myself…. driving around all day, going into businesses where people are instantly busy when you walk in…. it’s a little bit of a downer. When you find someone who actually sees value in it… it’s awesome! I’ve experienced this in other aspects of my life, so I’m very used to it…

Someone posted something on FB, who I’m fairly certain reads my blog…. who cannot possibly understand… Maybe it wasn’t for me… but I related to it. I had given up Facebook for about a month, for this very reason… It causes arguments and frustration. We never had the ability to peek into someone’s life before and look at the highlight reel which makes everything look so glamorous. When you stop and talk to those people for a few minutes…. they are like.. eh, this sucks and that sucks…. yet… by Facebook, you’d think everything was honkey dorey… so you don’t even stop to bother to talk to them, because you think… they’re doing just fine. Not true…. I figured if someone wanted to talk to me… they know how to reach me. I’ve become slightly active on Facebook again…. and now I understand why I took the break. Politics and people’s opinions… which if they were standing before you face to face, they’d never have the “balls” to say it to your face. It’s cyber bullying, really… It’s stupid and pointless. Who needs this in their life!?

I’ve smiled through all the pain…. although the pain remains, I’ve buried it deep… Now, I’m putting it out there. I still smile through it… Thank God for my smile, it hides so much! I am so glad I’ve put it out there… because the ones that relate are coming forward… not posting things on Facebook hoping I get the point…. they are reaching out and saying… I feel this way too!!! I understand!!!

It’s not to say you sit around obsessing all day long…. you just have it there… lingering. A silent presence… that you’re afraid to vocalize.

Since I’ve been diagnosed, I’ve watched probably 10-15 people die from this disease…. I wasn’t stage 0 or 1, I was stage 3. Even someone who was stage 2… and was diagnosed at the same time as me… died last week.

It’s not a fear of dying… believe me some days, I feel like…seriously, is this even worth it?! It’s not a fear of leaving my husband or my older children, they would miss me, but I know that they would be fine… older kids go about their daily lives as if I don’t exist anyway… they would be just fine.  There are honestly 2 reasons why I fight… Greyson and my Mom. A small child cannot possibly understand… and the missing me would be unbearable and I fear that. I fear leaving my mother and my husband to have to deal with that…. And, for a mother to lose a child….. I know it would kill her too…  That’s the God’s honest truth. Very amazing reasons to fight.

This blog…. is for me. It’s not for you to judge me. It’s real, it’s ugly, it’s beautiful, it’s brutally honest, it’s exposed, it’s my reality. I’ve decided to make it a blog… so that if others relate or want to peek in… that’s awesome. But, it’s truly for me. I asked you yesterday to love me through it… please just love me through it.

I’m feeling better today… it’s a good thing!



The real, the ugly

Today I visited my integrative oncologist… and she sat down and just shook her head. If any of you know her, she’s amazing. Dr. Bailey Dorton…  I hadn’t seen her since last August. I have been through A LOT since then… even I don’t realize how much until someone spells it out for me…

My integrative oncologist has the purpose of trying to keep me well, both mentally… spiritually and physically. Sadly, everything has taken a toll on me and I’ve just hit a very low point. I’ve withdrawn. I don’t talk to anyone, really… very little. Not even my friends. I’ve not blogged… and I’ve not wanted to because I don’t want to listen to me… much less make other people hear it… It’s ugly, it’s depressing and like I said.. it’s not a good place. But, she told me… I need to. I need to put it down. Unfortunately, all this BS is part of cancer. There are so many aspects that I haven’t discussed… all that I’ve gone through, has changed EVERYTHING about me at a supersonic pace.

My oncologist said it best… you now have the body of a 55 year old woman – they had to starve my body of ALL hormones and medications to make sure the hormones are gone. My body shape has changed… I have holes/divots that are visible in clothes.. before it was my boob that was missing, now its my butt. I don’t even know how to dress myself, anymore. My body is not like it was…

I feel like EVERYONE wants me to forget that cancer happened and as I’ve heard it so many times… BE HAPPY TO BE ALIVE… others weren’t so lucky. Great… now you’ve just made me feel guilty. Thanks…

Cancer stares me in the face, every single day… as a matter of fact, I don’t even WANT to look in the mirror.  I have divots and oozing holes… that need to be packed and I’ve been packing wounds for 9 months now… I’m OVER IT!!!!! And, I’m not done. All of this to get me back to what? A sense of normal….  I mourn who I was… my sexuality, my HEALTH, my thoughts, my body (although I was’t a super model… it wasn’t mangled), my hair, my eyelashes, my thin arms (thanks lymphedema), my teeth (the enamel just peeled right off during chemo and it’s made them weak), my passion – my work – my business – photography… I could go on and on…

I just read an article in the doctors office. Some may say… oh you’re so vain. It’s not vanity. It’s grief. It’s mourning. Only those that have been through it can understand.

My doctor had put me on a low dose of Celexa back in August… and since August, I have steadily gained weight. If you understood how I eat… there is NO reason I should gain weight. At all… Usually when I have surgery, I lose weight… and this past time, I actually gained. I went off Celexa about a week and a half ago…. and I’m slowly losing weight. Thank goodness.. maybe my clothes will start fitting and at least I’ll feel a bit better about that. Lookee there, a positive!!!! 🙂

I’m not moping around, pissed of a the world…. well, sometimes I am. But, for the majority of the time I’m not. I feel like I’m numb…just surviving. Not necessarily living… and what’s the point in that…  I just want to be carefree…. with less worries and less stress and I want to regain some sense of who I was….

My new job…. it’s a living. It’s Monday-Friday… no weekends, it gives me some flexibility. There is something to be said about that…. (yippee another positive)… but, I want what I had… or even better… I want to live my dream of empowering women IN MY SHOES!!!!!! Women who are down and frustrated, 2 years out from cancer…. back in the grind, life is overwhelming…. and stop for one day, get them all prettied up and make them feel beautiful… point out the highlights…. every woman has some sense of beauty, whether we’ve forgotten ourselves….

But how? It seems insurmountable… Life has just gotten in the way… debts, bills, barely making it…. I had to sell every stitch of my camera gear, to survive. Cancer impacts EVERYTHING. And people want me to shoot this or that… and I have to explain. It sucks!!!! I was an award winning photographer. Can’t even afford to keep my website up. It all seems lost….

Then, there’s my sense of peace… and the constant worry about my health… I understand why they wanted me to be on Celexa… or maybe I needed something more potent…. for God sakes I can’t even drink anymore….

Stage 4 HAUNTS ME. that 50/50 or 60/40 chance…. looms…”Oh jeez, I just ate chocolate with REAL sugar, oh jeez, I have a pain in my head…. oh no…. I am having dizzy spells… is it brain cancer, has it metastasized… HELLO GOOGLE…. yea, it says it could be cancer… but, I’ll go to sleep and tomorrow is another day.. if it still there in 2 weeks, I’ll tell me doctor. Oh, the pain went away, but now there’s a new pain…. ” It’s relentless…. I want to live. I want to be here for my kids.

TIME…. time is a luxury and maybe that’s what upsets me the most. I feel like I’m wasting time…

I know I speak for EVERY one of my cancer sisters… you try to go on with a new sense of normal… believe me, there is nothing more that we could wish for….. to forget it all ever happened. But, for us… that luxury is now GONE. It can come back… and for many it does and for many it takes their life.

I’m here, I’m alive…. I should be celebrating. It’s not that simple. Life gets in the way… the struggle is REAL.

I have unpublished blogs galore… but, I think I’ll publish this one. It’s the real, the ugly…. it’s my life, right now.

For those that still read… and keep up with me. I love you. To those that I’ve not really talked to much lately, know that I still love you so much…. I hope you understand and love me through this….