|My new luxurious growth of curly black 'n white hair!|
I wanted to title this post, “What’s Black ‘n’ White and Red All Over?” (In honor of my salt & pepper locks and the radiation burns left on Ginger’s remains. Just look at that picture! I have little tiny hairs growin’ out mah head, my eyebrows and eyelashes are growing in again, too! Praise God!)
And the boob photos? Well, let’s just say I have decided against posting those at this time. I promise to show some decorum in discussing this damned disease…
After much thought, the title “Home From The War” seemed much more fitting. I definitely feel like I fought a war. If not a war, then at the very least, a significant battle – since I’m not sure I will ever be able to declare the war over. That’s the truth folks. This adversary – cancer – is cunning and stealthy and just when you think it’s over and let your guard down, it can advance and take hold once more. So, I still fight the war daily, even though Phase I of treatment is complete.
|Bald with newly drawn in eyebrows.|
Why is it so hard? Yeah, I hear the questions. I mean really, I am one of the blessed and fortunate. I have a support system like nobody’s business! I have a boyfriend, sisters, a brother, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews and nieces, great nephews and great nieces, friends out the ying yang and even total strangers lifting me up in prayers (thank you one and all!!!)! These heroic people call to check on me, send me emails, letters and encouraging gifts like books and CDs. They take me to appointments and function as my second set of ears with docs, hospitals and clinics. They make me food, lend shoulders to cry upon, hold my hand and just generally let me know I’m not alone.
OH MY GAWD! Let’s not forget about God here. I have GOD on my side. I’m so sure he had to carry me through many of my days and nights. Oh those dang blasted, endless nights of pain-filled darkness! Yes, God was most certainly there during those times.
God was there with every treatment, with every second during post-treatment where I struggled not to barf, not to cry from pain and exhaustion, not to cry out from blistered hands and feet, not to wince from tennis ball-sized radiation burns, not to collapse and not to panic my way through the symptoms (real and imagined).
God was there when I’ve wanted to give up because not only were the treatments so gruelling, but because the treatments often leave you with “issues” in their aftermath. Issues like mind-numbing fatigue, issues of forgetfulness. I swear! Somehow, my brain lost connection with my fingers and memory – making it damned difficult to type without countless mistakes and making the words on the page a hundred times harder to unjumble because of scattered/shattered thought processes (unjumble – is that a word?)…ssssssoooooo, um yeah, it was hard. It is hard. And then there is the leftover pain from many different treatment sources.
I truly don’t know what I would have done without a single one of the warriors – my family and friends – my caregivers - who fought at my side during this time! Thank you Lord, for never making me find out the answer to that one! They’ve been my heroes. Not me. I’m no hero – although this has been a heroic fight – just because it’s been so BIG! I’ve been the whiner. I’ve often been a weak-assed, sniveling pantywaist through each leg of this treatment phase.
Because of my unsung heroes’ help and the skill of brilliant doctors, nurses and techs, I can gratefully tell you Phase I of treatment is complete. The chemo, double mastectomy and radiation can get checked off the to-do list! Halleluiah!
Phase II is in progress. I take a daily anti-hormone pill to help suppress the growth of any cancer cells left behind. We can talk more about this blessing later – there will be plenty of time – five to ten years’ worth of it! The second part of Phase II is the rebuilding. I need to rebuild a body, mind and spirit impacted by the most toxic therapies we know – chemo and radiation – not to mention the aftermath of massive surgery. Reconstruction surgeries loom ahead and we’ve tentatively looked at a spring or early summer schedule for them.
But the most important part of Phase II is the lifestyle change that is part of the prescription from my oncologist. In order to have a fighting chance of remaining in NED (No Evidence of Disease), I must continue to lose weight, exercise 6 days a week for a minimum of 30-45 minutes per day, reduce stress and anxiety and fill my world with rewarding relationships and experiences.
Gulp! Wowza, that’s a tall order! I feel like I better learn to leap tall buildings in a single bound while I’m at it! Right? Maybe I should think of becoming a cancer-fighting super hero? After all, a prescription like that feels like a Herculean task! Hmmm…heroes… (More on that later, I promise you!)
Well anyway, it’s good to be home! I’m happy to see you again. Hugs and hearty hellos to you all! I am in the process of revamping the Fluffy Chix Cook site. In the future, you will see new recipes and food talk. You will also see a section devoted to breast cancer discussion. And you may see a Fluffy Chix Pantry where you can buy items that are soy-free, largely organic, and BPA free (something we’ll discuss more in the future). But right now, friends, naptime beckons…