Tag Archives: chemo recovery

Real Life is Exhausting

I was kidding myself. I was kidding everyone. Or maybe I just didn’t want to believe. After all, seven months of forced solitude, forced inactivity can lull you into believing that when you feel good you can go into your wheels fall off. Boy did the wheels fall off today.

Close your eyes and imagine three children – precocious, happy, energetic and independent. Starting school – three different classes, two different schools. Activities: two soccer teams (Dad coaching the twins team), robot building, dance, math pentathlon, cub scouts, art, and cooking. This is 1st grade and preK, mind you. We are operating at full bore after a week and a half.

This would be exhausting for any of us – even with out my previous life, right?

Now imagine, me – three weeks after bilateral mastectomy surgery, finally able to walk, to move and to sleep in my own bed. I have a haircut that people think I got on purpose. I have a wardrobe pieced together from previous purchases and additional elastic waistbands. And, I’m driving. But, I have no battery as a friend compared.

I had so much on my schedule yesterday it expanded beyond the confines of the calendar onto a separate piece of paper. And, it truly highlighted what has now become my new normal – two lives. One, lunch with Pink Ribbon Cowgirls complaining of share issues with radiation (starting next week for me), weight gain, hot flashes, hormone regulation, reconstruction. The other life, curriculum night for school – learning that my 1st grader will have Chinese instruction in his classroom twice a week as part of our elementary school immersion. Ni hao!

It’s an odd place – people I meet think this is my life, I have chosen this hair, I have chosen this body. I look in the mirror and see a work in progress – a paper doll with no identifying characteristics and realize how lucky I am to be standing there. I realize that I don’t like how I look – who does, really – but hopefully it will be transitory.

Then, I learn of the steps yet to take in my journey – the fatigue that will arise, again, during radiation. The hormonal shifts from the endorcrine therapy (tamoxifen) for the next five years. The additional procedures during reconstruction. But, I’m here – and tomorrow, we have two soccer games and Henry’s 7th birthday party. So much for dismantling the care calendar.

Finding the balance between my two lives – between my old life and my new life will become the order of the week this week. How can I shoulder some of the parenting burden while also taking care of myself? And, my beautiful, amazing, talented children – continuing to love and support, engage and learn.

All while waiting for my second boob to arrive in the mail from Nordstrom. It’s on backorder.

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Because Everyone Loves a Happy Ending

I had to be reminded this weekend that I am not the same as before. It’s good that every waking moment, every visitor, every thought is no longer about cancer, or recovery, but sometimes just about life.As a result I’m so tired tonight I can’t really make this blog make sense.

In fact I am more tired than I have been in a while – real, honest tired. Not fatigue. I worked on the weekend. I was a helper, a participant, a driver (literally) and then I was up until 2am last night for the right and wrong reason.

We are headed on a Disney cruise for Thanksgiving and today marks the 75-days-until-cruise mark. Well, with all of our family traveling we wanted to be SURE we got the right Port Adventures, the EARLIEST embarkation time. And, we weren’t clear on the demand – this is the first fall that Disney operates out of Galveston and with 2400 of our nearest and dearest friends also onboard, we wanted to get a jump. SO comes our story of Davis and I with all associated reservation numbers and birthdays, logging on at midnight, hitting refresh – panicking when we couldn’t get into the open website. It was the adrenaline rush of an ebay auction couple with the excitement of class registration and Christmas morning all rolled into one. We couldn’t get everything settled and my brain rattled around for another hour, luckily I have the super hubby to pick up the slack and let me sleep it off a bit.

Sleeping on my stomach. Yup, that’s right, though I am stiff and a little tight in places, I am back to my belly flop. In my bed. Tonight I am already fighting the droopy eyes. Who needs physical therapy when you have kids? And, real life.

In some ways I won’t ever be the same because of this journey – the battle hardening my attitude, loosening my parental concerns, allowing my strength to surface. In some ways I want to be the same – menu planning today for a week, shopping at Target, sweeping the garage in 100 degree heat.

This week, we are going  to test the Ward fall scheduling system. Also known as the chaos that is back to school, and the organization that is a dual-MBA house. We have multiple written calendars to determine what we can add into the system – will Cub Scouts tip us over the edge? Will robot camp? Dance?

There was a time in my life when the mere removal of a mole caused a scar whose keloid was objectionable enough to have us revisit it – twice. I even have stories for it: barbed wire fence, shark attack. I was reminded when I received a get well card – some stories to tell about your scar – that my positioning on scars is a little different. After all, I now have two big ones. But I don’t really see them the same way – they are a means to an end. Although this ending is pretty good.

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Recovering from Chemo – Purgatory in Patience

It is an odd thing, to no longer be going to the infusion room and oncology center. To have my hair actually growing long enough to get wet, and to have it be called “chic” by a friend – that was very kind. I also have good skin tone, a more natural gait. As if my body breathes a huge sigh of relief. But, the fatigue remains … and my emotions are rollercoaster worthy.

This weekend I gloried in the lazy river, catching kiddos off the water slide, playing with underground antics. But the walk to and from our room was as long as our block, so my bones were weary and my muscles weak. I slept most days in the afternoon, but made lunch and dinner with the crew. And, caffeine no longer seemed to help.

I have a different perspective now on a vacation. The challenges of vacations before – how I looked in my swimsuit, riding the revolving kiddo emotions, helping everyone to bed in a different configuration every night – somehow didn’t matter as much because I was there. I could float, I could kiss them goodnight, and I appreciate that now.

That’s not to say I’m not short tempered or have my moments, but they are fewer than before and that will be a great gift. I am more zen, less planned.

Of course, life would not leave me with just that lesson – Emmy got sick on the trip so my planned week of camps and rest has turned into dr’s visits and Shaun the Sheep marathons. And, group nap session this afternoon.

Once again, planning doesn’t work when you have this many variables so we are back to one day at a time. It’s probably better this way because I am starting to think about surgery next week and the more I think about it, the more I worry so now I have less time to worry …

I am going to enjoy a nap sleeping on my stomach – a luxury I will not be able to afford again for a while after next Thursday. Carpe diem. Or “nappe” diem …

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