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Showing posts from February, 2012

I Feel It In My Fingers, I Feel It In My Toes.

When the nurse at that survivorship class I went to earlier this month first mentioned neuropathy to me, I was a little terrified.  The only experience I have with this word, and the disorder it defines, is my older brother who has it.  He is in all kinds of pain a lot of the time - so much so that he is permanently on disability.  I was scared that this was what was going to happen to me.  Since I needed to be an over-achiever and get basically EVERY horrid during-treatment side effect, I figured that I was probably doomed to deal with ALL of the possible POST-treatment ones as well.  Luckily, the neuropathy I was possibly going to experience was more of a tingly, pins-and-needles sort of a thing in my various digits and extremities rather than an all-over debilitating pain situation.  For the past several weeks, I noticed an occasional and minor numbness in my toes.  Not all the time and nothing severe at all.

And then today that all changed.  Drastically.  During yoga class, of all…

What I Didn't Tell You

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Remember that post about my last follow-up appointment?  You know.  The one where the doctor was all jazzed about my "beautiful cervix"?  Remember how awesome that was?

Well... there is something that happened at that visit that I did NOT tell you about.  Something not just less awesome, but less THAN awesome.  Something I was hoping to avoid, but apparently cannot.

The dreaded vaginal dilator.

Yep.  My incredible shrinking vagina needs assistance.  Ugh.  And because both Ryan and I are so tweaked out about everything being all askew up in there, the whole "have sex at least three times a week to keep everything working" thing is totally not happening.  In all honesty, we've managed to "have relations" (as the nurse called it) exactly once - on that night at Mohican.  Where it hurt me and terrified us both and seems to have dried up (no pun intended) any desire either of us may have had to get it on.

So yeah.  When I was telling the nurse practitione…

Great Expectations.

I got an email from my mum yesterday that simply asked if I realized that there have been over a thousand hits on this blog since my last update - which was a week ago!  My response to this is, "Ack!"  I had not realized I was slacking so much over here!  My apologies!!

I guess in a way I'd started to feel like I need to live up to saying things that ARE inspiring and awesome... and there are days when I think that that is just too tall an order for me to fill.  But even as I sit here now thinking about that, it's ridiculous.  I don't "need" to come off a certain way here.  This whole blog became what it is because I was willing to be open and honest about every little thing, good and bad, that was going on through my treatment both mentally and physically.  And the only person putting pressure on me to be this magically inspirational fountain of positivity is ME!  How ridiculous I can be!!!

So, here's the thing.  I promise RIGHT NOW to get over it.…

The Kindness of Others

I have been meaning to do a post here about some of the amazing words others have shared with me during my cancer journey and just have not gotten around to it until now.  It helps that yesterday, I spent a great deal of time sorting through the piles of cards I received and re-reading things that often brought me to tears a second time.  Some are simple.  Some are more involved.  But they are all eloquent, in their ways, and beautiful.  And every sentiment I received meant a lot to me.  These are just a few that stuck out.  Hopefully, those whose words I am about to share with you will not mind my doing so...


"Look for the positive in all of this... believe it or not you will find it."
-M.P.G.

"My mom was a 33 year old breast cancer survivor.  She understood what you now understand about strength, fighting, fear, tears and renewed life.  She was my heroine.  I know you will be a heroine for someone."
-S.J.

"I find it so strange that reading your blog makes ME…

Wow!

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So, let me tell you WHY I received this photo from knitting dad today:


That's my mum. That's two glasses of champagne. And I received this at around noon their time. So why were my parents, who barely drink at all, swigging champagne for lunch today?
Because of the news I got at today's follow-up appointment with my brachytherapy oncologist, Dr. Fleming. As I laid on the exam table, feet in the stirrups, he looked in there and announced "What a beautiful cervix." The nurse nodded in agreement. It was such an odd exchange, it took me a minute to register what they were saying...
See, when Ryan booked this appointment for me last month (on the day of my final brachy) he asked them if they would be able to tell by today if the tumor was gone. And the answer was NO - that what they would see would be a necrotic, dying, sloughing away tumor. So really, we went in there today with no real expectations.
So, when I finally wrapped my head around what it was I tho…

Love Love Love.

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So, it's Valentine's Day today.  When I woke up this morning, there was a lot of poo-pooing of this particular holiday on the facebook.  And if you missed my response status this morning, I will share it again...


I couldn't really come up with better words to say that again, and rather than try to paraphrase myself, I figured just reposting it here made more sense.  And it's true.  I LOVE hearts.  I enjoy Valentine's Day if for no other reason than there are big red hearts everywhere you go.  And I love LOVE.  Not just in my own life, but really in everyone's - I get so excited when the people I care about find love and happiness of their own!  I think it is just the best. 
I had a conversation with my friend Mallorie recently about how the trend these days seems to be to bash Valentine's Day and romance and all that.  The conversation came up because a good friend of mine runs an awesome little gallery and they were doing the whole anti-Valentine's Day…

Good Things.

First of all - I forgot to tell you.  I found my original posi+ivi+y bracelet that my friend Kristin sent me.  It was in the laundry that I did this weekend.  YAY!  I am now wearing it again, plus the GR ATTITUDES one the Alexa's Angels ladies sent me, plus the red posi+ivi+y bracelet that I bought for myself when I thought the original one was gone.  A little extra PMA never hurts, right?

Secondly, I just have to share that I had a really nice weekend.  I did a bunch of thrifting, which was not only fun but somewhat necessary as I am now swimming in a lot of my clothing.  New (used) duds are a great mood lifter.  And cheap!  I had nice phone chats with both tattoo-dad and mum.  I got to hang out with my bro, Steve Brown and his lovely wife, Jenni, on Sunday.  An amazing pair, these two, and always hilarious.  Laughter really is excellent medicine!  Amid all of that, I also managed to do a bunch of laundry, work on a logo design for another friend's new business venture, start…

The Answer Is...

Oh, well perhaps I should tell you the question first?

Although it's the question EVERYONE has been asking ME lately, so maybe you already know it:

"Are you feeling better, because you seem like you're feeling better??!"

So.  As I said above, the answer is...

I feel pretty good.  On the one hand, I honestly feel better/healthier than I have in years.  Eating good food, drinking filtered water and exercising regularly is pretty fantastic medicine.

But as "normal" or "good" or whatever as I might appear to everyone, I still am struggling.  It's hard to know how to respond to THE QUESTION, though.  You want to agree with people when they tell you that you seem like you're doing so well.  You want them not to worry.  You want to not worry yourself.

But the truth is, I do NOT feel normal.  Yeah, I feel healthier, more fit, more positive, and so on.  But I don't feel like the me I was before all of this.  (I'm pretty sure she dropped dea…

Sometimes Being Unique Is Annoying

Yesterday, I went to my "Life After Cancer" class.  Overall, it was informative, though little of the information presented was new to me.  Except for the fact that the recent numbness in my toes is likely a side effect of the Cisplatin I was given in chemotherapy, which I believe the nurse referred to as "coasting neuropathy."  Supposedly, this little bit of annoyance can begin around a month after treatment ends and last up to a year.  Joy!  Aside from that, though, there was just a lot of talk about "the new normal", coping with fatigue, changing diet and exercise habits, et cetera.

While most of what was discussed was useful in a broad sense, I could not help but feel like I was not REALLY a part of this group.  There were 5 other cancer survivors in the class with me.  Four of them - breast cancer survivors (not sure about the fifth - it never came up).  SO, right off the bat, not only were their treatments different (and less invasive) than mine, b…

Who Inspires You?

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Remember when I posted a couple days ago about the message I received from the woman from Alexa's Angels?  And how they wanted to send me something?

Well, I got it!  A lovely package with some posi+ivi+y bracelets and a great bracelet I hadn't seen before that says "GRATITUDES" on 10 separate beads.  The little card this bracelet came on says "Gratitude is the memory of the heart. Use each bead to count 10 things you are grateful for everyday!"  As I just started my little gratitude journal, I think this is a perfectly timed gift!


The best part of the package wasn't really any of the goodies themselves, but the card they sent along with them.  I was so touched and couldn't not share the lovely note with you all...


Next time I am in Colorado visiting my parents, I am going to have to go find their offices and hug these great ladies!  
And then the outside of the card asked a simple question:

I am so flattered that so many people seem to find my silly …

Healthy? Me?

Yesterday I went for my fourth of six colon hydrotherapy appointments.  Two thirds of the way through these procedures and I still feel like they are SO STRANGE!  But good.  I've felt better this past week, even WITH a nasty cold, than I have in literally years.  Maybe it's that.  Maybe it's the exercise.

Yeah.  You heard my chubby ass right.  Exercise.  Me.  No foolin'.

This past week, I bought a rebounder.  And now EVERY morning, regardless of how I feel, the first thing I do... well... I pee first, so the SECOND thing I do... is bounce.  Bouncing for ten minutes every morning is a great way to start the day.  It circulates the lymph, which not only boosts the immune system, but it just makes you feel GOOD.  I plan to work my way up to 20 minutes a day over time, but 10-15 is still pretty excellent!  I've also been going back to yoga class with my buddy Ben (taught by my good friend Laura) on Wednesdays, and doing a 30 minute workout on either my stationary bike…

Share Your Positivity. (Dot Org.)

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Early on in my cancer battle, I got a small package in the mail from my friend, Kristin.  First off, the package was filled with dozens of hearts - cut out by hand from magazines.  They (of course) went everywhere when I opened it.  Which I loved.  I saved them all and because I thought they were so wonderful, I hung them all over the walls in my art room around one of my desks there.  The one that I surrounded with lovely art and gifts from beautiful friends and family:


Also inside the package was a little organza bag with three bracelets in it, all the same.  Just simple black elastics with little silver tubes on them that said : posi+ivi+y on them.  There was also a small card in the bag that explained that you should keep one bracelet and share the other two with people who need some positivity!  I immediately gave one to my mum, and a few days later the other went to my friend, Mallorie.  I loved the idea of giving this positive gift to someone and having them share it as well. …

DISGUSTED!

If you're on Facebook, someone you know has to have posted the link to one of the many articles about the Susan G. Komen Foundation pulling their funding from Planned Parenthood because of pressure from anti-abortion groups...  If not, check out the story here.

Personally, this makes me sick.  And yet, it doesn't surprise me in the slightest.

The week after my diagnosis, a friend who has gone through her own cancer battle warned me that Komen's foundation was useless and unhelpful.  Over the next few months, I continued to hear nothing but negativity directed toward them.  (They SUE people for using the phrase "for the cure".  Are you KIDDING ME??)  And then I wake up to see this garbage posted by several friends online this morning.  Make me puke.

One of my early posts on this blog urged the women reading not to put off their annual exam.  I even suggested Planned Parenthood as an option and KNOW of a woman who had been putting her exam off for three years who di…