Friday, May 30, 2014

Bad Days Happen

I have bad days. I have good days, too. I embrace both. They keep me grounded. I do not suppress my feelings of hopelessness, despair and desperation. I drown in those feelings from time to time but never let them consume my spirit. The allow me to do one thing: remember that in the sorrow, I will find hope, faith and love.

It hasn't been easy since I had radiation. The month of April alone I traveled over 445 miles to doctors’ appointments. And yes, you read that right four hundred and forty-five miles in less than a month. The effects of radiation were worse than chemo and what’s life without a little drama mixed in from friends or family? It was tough. I finally started feeling better this past week. The radiation did wonders to my pelvic pain and I barely have any now.  The damage to my bowel and whatever nasty stomach issue I was having seemed to have worn off. I am still a little leery about the whole “feeling better thing” because it never usually lasts long. I am taking it easy for now. I haven’t been eating super healthy as I am not supposed to be eating too much fruits and veggies because of the bowel damage and since I haven’t been well enough to exercise I get pretty worn out when I try.

I have been having a lot of anxiety about my upcoming appointment with the breast surgeon. A huge part of me does not want to have a double mastectomy. They are my breasts. Breasts are not supposed to be hacked off of your body. I know it sounds selfish but I just don’t want to get surgery. I just don’t. I don’t want to have disfigured breasts. I don’t want to be in pain. I don’t want to feel awkward anymore. Then again, I don’t want cancer anymore either . . .

I still am not sure exactly what type of surgery I will have. I thought I was dead set on having a TRAM Flap reconstruction done, which uses your belly tissue and muscles for a more realistic feel, but now I don’t know if I would be eligible for that surgery. I have a rather large vertical keloid on my stomach from having SJ and don’t think the tissue is very usable. The silicone implants wouldn't bother me but I keep reading how painful the expanders they put in to stretch your tissue are. Pain terrifies me anymore. I am a big baby . . . never used to be though.

And trust me, this is no boob job or tummy tuck. If you’d like to see pictures of how great you think this surgery will turn out, please, Google double mastectomy reconstruction. It’s not pretty.

I’ll continue to have bad days, such is the life of a metastatic breast cancer patient, but I won’t let them conquer my love for life and my family. I have to forge through to have the best days of my life.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Wherever You Are

I have had this feeling of impending doom. Seems morbid, I know. I can’t really explain it. I am just waiting for the other shoe to drop, I guess. All around me lately is other women, some younger than me, dying. Taken too soon by metastatic breast cancer. It’s crazy when I really think about the time I have left here on Earth, because frankly, when you have terminal cancer- ya can’t help but think about it sometimes. If I’m lucky, I’ll live 20 years with this disease, but I will only be 50. I will get to see many things that the kids accomplish like graduating high school, and going off to college but I will miss their budding future. Chances are I will never see one of my grandchildren and more often now it hurts my heart to see grandparents interact with their grandchildren because I know it will more than likely never be me. As this wretched cancer would have it, I estimate I have 5-10 years left. There’s just too much in my bones, it will spread further at some point. It’s just so hard to see a future that has me in it.

Part of this ominous perception is in part due to my overall current health. I am sick. And I am so sick of being sick. Every day I am nauseated to the point of being drove in to my bed, unable to move for hours. I feel like I have a rock of acid in my stomach and it hurts so bad that it brings me to tears. I have diarrhea 7-10 times a day every other day, no matter what I eat or don’t eat. And if I am not going to the bathroom, I feel like vomiting. I thought to myself the other day, “This must be what the end feels like”. It’s no way to live. Tis' the life of a metastatic breast cancer patient: ups and downs, happy and sad, sick and not. 

It was the worst on Mother’s Day. Of all days for it to happen, a day I want to bathe in the love of my family- it had to happen that day. I spent most of the day sleeping and in bed. Steve had to put the kids to bed and Stephen fought him so hard. He cried and cried for me. “But we have to sing our song” he cried. And then I heard what would break my heart in two; my 4 year old son singing our song by himself. “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.” We sing this together every night because I know one day I wouldn't be able to sing it and I want him to have that memory . . . always.

It’s as if I am prepping my children, subconsciously, for life without me. Because one day the time will come but I don’t want them to be sad. I want them to remember how much love I had and always will have for them; and that nothing even death can take away my love. 

I wanted you more than you ever will know
So I sent love to follow wherever you go.

It's high as you wish it. It's quick as an elf.
You'll never outgrow stretches itself!

So climb any mountain...climb up to the sky!
My love will find you. My love can fly!

Make a big splash! Go out on a limb!
My love will find you. My love can swim!

It never gets lost, never fades, never ends...
if you're working...or playing...or sitting with friends.

You can dance 'til you're dizzy... paint 'til you're blue...
There's no place, not one, that my love can't find you.

And if someday you're lonely, or someday you're sad, 
or you strike out at baseball, or think you've been bad...

Just lift up your face, feel the wind in your hair.
That's me, my sweet baby, my love is right there.

In the green of the the smell of the sea...
in the clouds floating the top of a tree...
in the sound crickets make at the end of the day...

"You are loved. You are loved. You are loved," they all say.

My love is so high, and so wide and so deep,
it's always right there, even when you're asleep.

So hold your head high and don't be afraid
to march to the front of your own parade.

If you're still my small babe or you're all the way grown,
my promise to you is you're never alone.  

You are my angel, my darling, 
my star...and my love will find you, 
wherever you are.

~ Nancy Tillman