Awakening

I think cancer is causing this awakening for me…

awakening

There comes a time in your life when you finally get it … When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out “ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying or struggling t…o hold on.” And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world from a new perspective………..This is your awakening.

You realize that it is time to stop hoping and waiting for something or someone to change, or for happiness safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that there aren’t always fairytale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of “happily ever after” must begin with you. Then a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

So you begin making your way through the “reality of today” rather than holding out for the “promise of tomorrow.” You realize that much of who you are and the way you navigate through life is, in great part, a result of all the social conditioning you’ve received over the course of a lifetime. And you begin to sift through all the nonsense you were taught about :

– how you should look and how much you should weigh,
– what you should wear and where you should shop,
– where you should live or what type of car you should drive,
– who you should sleep with and how you should behave,
– who you should marry and why you should stay,
– the importance of bearing children or what you owe your family,

Slowly you begin to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you begin re-assessing and re-defining who you are and what you really believe in. And you begin to discard the doctrines you have outgrown, or should never have practiced to begin with.

-Sonny Carroll (Awakening)

~via Soulfire Sacred Bodywork~

This is beautiful, and I think true for me, thanks to my breast cancer, and is put in a very positive light.

I don’t think it necessarily feels so positive to some other people in my life.

As I go through this transformation:

– I may be less likely to have conversations they want to have because I Don’t want to have it.
– I may be less likely to respond in conversation the way they expect me to.
– I may be less likely to respond to them in other ways they way they expect me to.
– I may not give them the time and/or attention they want or expect.

I think you probably see where I’m going here.  I’m simply no longer the person they think I am or who I actually used to be.  From my perspective it is all personal and positive – I Literally do not have time and/or energy to devote to things I no longer care about – and I do not do this out of Any malice whatsoever.  Still, I realize it can be disconcerting and confusing.  But that’s for them to work out, not me.

I’m definitely still in transition, a limbo I am accepting and quietly ‘being’ with until it shifts in its own time.  I don’t know who I’ll be when I come out the other end or what my (personal) life will look like or who will and won’t be in it.  (The basics of my life – Hubby, home, work are not likely to change – but even they, I suppose, could – NOT that I’m looking for them to.)

I’ll keep you posted.

Personal reflections – Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012-2013 All Rights Reserved.

100th Post: I Wore a Bra Today…

…all day, without padding my nipple with a nursing pad, and not once did my nipple harden and hurt for no discernible reason!

Well, not until I thought that it hadn’t and then, of course, it gave me a Zotz just to remind me it was still there.

I was composing this post in my head on my commute home, and let me tell you it was clever!

But, of course, after getting home, putting food stuff in the kitchen, realizing I left my iPad at work (confirmed by Find iPhone on my phone), getting out of work clothes and into snugglies…

…all that cleverness has evaporated.

Add to that evaporation the tiredness from the Tamoxifen (less than a week in and on only 5mg a day, for those in the know – does not bode too well going forward, eh?) and articulate speech goes nigh out the window.

That bra Also did Not hurt in either axilla – a definite problem the last time I wore one, so…

snoopy-happy-dance

Happy Dance!

Okay, theoretical Happy Dance (no Actual dance cuz of Tamoxifen fatigue, among other side effects already, to be shared in upcoming “Tamoxifen Journal” posts).

Or at least (hopefully) for another month or so until I have more surgery – possibly going in through the nipple(s), sending me back to step one with it(them)…

…but still!  I had today!

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012-2013 All Rights Reserved.

This Must Be The Worse Before The Better

thumbs-down

December 11, 2012: Breast Cancer Support Group Holiday Potluck Party – otherwise known as the once-a-year gathering where those who no longer need the group on an ongoing basis bring something to eat and join the rest of us for a quick munch & gab & catch-up.

This event lands in my last week of Radiation Therapy.  To say I’m struggling is an understatement of epic proportions.

When I’m asked how I’m doing, I can barely (and sometimes not quite) keep from losing it, both with people I know from group, and those I don’t who are coming for their once-a-year appearance.

Maria is one of those people I meet who doesn’t come regularly, but comes to the party, and to whom I confess how hard things are for me just then.  It’s been years since she was in active treatment, yet she remembers seemingly like it was yesterday – I think we all do/will.

She tells me when radiation ends it gets worse, then it gets better.

I was told that the radiation is still active in my body for about 2 weeks after the last treatment.  I assumed when Maria said there’s a further dip and then things start to look up (I’m paraphrasing), that the worse would be about two weeks long and then end.

My last treatment was Friday, December 14th – 12 days ago.  I don’t feel like better is going to show up in two days.  I think I made an assumption and just realized it’s probably not a valid one.

Last weekend, Hubby had to work all weekend moving his company.  My office was closed Monday/Tuesday, as was his (providing the moving was completed enough).  When he told me he was working Saturday and Sunday (and that they would be long days), I was thrilled.

I don’t get really any meaningful time alone in my house these (general) days – with the way our schedules interact.  Being an only child (and Hubby a first-born), we both need alone time – maybe more than folks with more siblings.

Now that the absolutely overwhelming schedule of Radiation Therapy has backed off quite a bit, lots of things are flooding in, the chatter seems to have intensified:

Work: revise this, draft this, file this, fax this, answer this phone, schedule this meeting, cover for this person on vacation, etc.

Personal: check in with Mom, check in with Dad, listen to Hubby, (and with Christmas yesterday: buy this, wrap this, send this – do it all On Time), etc.

Household: dishes, laundry, pay this, stop for this, buy this online, descale the coffeemaker, clean out the fridge, manage the grocery list, etc.

And of course, everybody’s happy right now – taking vacations, giving and getting just the right gifts, opening their hearts to family and friends – and looking forward to the “fresh start” the New Year provides.

I’m not happy right now and the new year is Not a fresh start for me (as I’m only mid-way through my active treatment)  – I’m still fucking tired, on So Many Levels – physically, emotionally, FYI in case you were wondering my last pain-free day was August 12, 2012 – the day before my first surgery.  So I either feel guilty about not sharing everyone else’s joy for/with them, or am further exhausted by faking it for/with them.

I was thrilled with Hubby having to work because right now I just want to be alone.  I feel like the last six months have been a blur of overwhelming input and I just need quiet.  To get that quiet, I need to be alone and let the rest of the world’s demands go away.  I had two days of that.  I need more.

I imagine this crawling into a hole period will have some people upset – I’m going to have to try to not care.  I need to walk my talk of being selfish.

I need that quiet to process – to transform another part of the journey toward “after the first year.”

I imagine some people in my life are going to notice this difference and not like it.  Because what they think about what I’m doing is not actually about me, I’m going to have to try to not care.

I don’t know what that means for this blog in the near future, I actually don’t know what that means for a lot of aspects of my life in any (insert short-, mid-, long-term word here) future.

I guess I’ll be sitting with quiet as much as I can create it while waiting for…

thumbs_up_bciy

To Schedule or Not To Schedule, That is the Question

I’m not sure I still feel the need to document my schedule as specifically as I have been lately.

Clock

It felt important to me to share with those who (it’s been said to me numerous times) “had no idea” of the degree of chaos and intrusion into one’s normal life that cancer and its treatments cause.  The craziness that ensues from trying to work full-time through radiation (I didn’t quite make it, but didn’t realize until I was almost done with radiation how many people don’t even attempt it!) is really of the batshit-insane variety, and not only did I post for some sympathy (yeah, at some point – well lots of points – this Is actually about me!), but Also to let other people know when I say I don’t have time and energy to see them/do whatever . . .

. . . that there are some times in life when what gets accomplished gets whittled down to the serious bare necessities, and going through radiation therapy while working Is One of Those Times!

In fact, if it weren’t for Hubby, I may well have had to ask for help keeping food in my house.

Fairly quickly, my life became about 3 things and 3 things only:

three-fingers

– Cancer Stuff:

Radiation Therapy
Radiation Oncologist Appointments
Physical Therapy
Acupuncture
Support Group

– Work

As much as I still could, as I went through the 7 weeks

– Sleep/Rest

That was it.

Now that I’m through those 7 weeks, it will take me some time to transition out of that mindset . . .

And I already feel some better (though I don’t yet trust that feeling), not having those 5 additional deadlines in my schedule every week – and knowing the physical symptoms will take weeks to months to fully resolve (both skin issues and energy levels).

This morning was, well, just weird:

– being allowed to apply antiperspirant (at all) and body lotion (right after my shower)

– not having to leave the house until 8:00am

– not having to wear something I could pull down (if a dress) or a shirt I could take off, in other words Not having to wear something in which I could easily expose the girls without having to gown up (sorry, I’m just not a gown girl, for various reasons – this may or may not become a separate post).

You see, it seems to be part of conventional wisdom that it takes six weeks to make or break a habit.  Doesn’t sound right to you?  Okay, this is me Googling it.

My point is that the 7 weeks of my radiation therapy is just enough time for things like not applying antiperspirant, or not applying anything to my underarms and no lotion on my body directly after showering – to stop feeling weird and wrong, and something I have to think about (not doing).  And now I have to work at recreating those habits – recreating those parts of my normal life.  But that still won’t take up the time (and hopefully the energy either) that the radiation therapy took.

So, we’ll see whether I feel like continuing the schedule thing as I have been.  If I don’t, maybe I’ll have time to write some other blog posts, parts of which have been sitting hidden online as drafts for a while.

<shrug>

Friday Fictioneer – November 30, 2012

Friday Fictioneer - 11-30-12

I walked.

All day, I walked.

Without a destination, I walked.

Without counting my steps, without seeing outside my own body, I walked.

My thoughts churning, the tornado in my head skittering here and there, I walked.

Without food, without drink, I walked.

Without talking, without hearing, I walked.

All morning, all afternoon, I walked.

Without looking, without seeing, I walked.

Without touching, without feeling, I walked.

And finally, at dusk, the outside world, the real world, reality itself, returned.

The concrete, the lights, the sky, the color, the air, the sky, the people.

I saw, I heard.

I felt.

Schedule: Week of November 19-21, 2012

Monday [Radiation Therapy – Day 16]:

7:10am-8:05am Drive from Home to RTher
8:05am-8:15am Waiting for RTher
8:15am-8:25am RTher
8:25am-8:40am Waiting for appointment with ROnc
8:40am-9:00am Appointment with ROnc
9:00am-10:00am PTher
10:00am-10:10am Post RTher-ablutions [in other words spreading boob goop]

[Yes, you are reading correctly – I had radiation therapy, a doctor’s visit And physical therapy, All Before going to work. :)]

10:10am-10:25am Drive from RTher to Work
10:30am-1:15pm Work
1:15pm-2:15pm Lunch

[I’m pretty sad about this Hostess thing – not only because I’m tired of upper management in companies being greedy, bankrupting their companies in the first place, And Then blaming it on the workers who put all that stolen money in their pockets!  And Then of course, a world without Twinkies and Ding Dongs would make me sad.  Are they healthy to eat?  No.  Is it okay to eat them once in a while?  Yes, I think it is.  Are they a reminder of my childhood I would be sorry to see disappear from the earth?  Yes again.

It has been said (most likely correctly) that another company will buy up the assets of the company (the brands and their accompanying product recipes – at least where the Hostess brand is concerned), so that these bad-for-you but occasionally good-for-your-nostalgic-soul-and-sweet-tooth cakes may indeed survive their original maker’s demise.  Just in case they Don’t get sold and survive, I was going on a hunt for ’em in my local neighborhood – namely my closest (within 5 miles or so of work) Hostess Outlet.

Long unnecessary story shorter than it could be – I came away with two bags of powdered sugar Donettes, but there were no Twinkies or Ding Dongs to be had at all in the outlet (good thing I have a box of each coming from Amazon – let’s not talk price – we definitely achieved the ‘silly’ level, but Did manage to stop short of ‘crazy,’ ‘ridiculous,’ and my personal favorite ‘batshit insane.’)  I’m low on time and energy in general these days (and interest too – a touch of depression anyone?  Yeah, I’m being treated for that – it’s cool.), but I’m thinking that was a lunch hour well-spent.]

2:15pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-5:45pm Drive from Work to Acupuncture
5:50pm-6:05pm Get blood drawn for lab work

[Please see “Seriously, this Woman Knows Her Way Around a Vein – I’m Naming Names Again.”]

6:05pm-7:00pm Acupuncture
7:00pm-7:45pm Drive from Acupuncture to Home

[Including a quick drive-through of a pharmacy to drop off the Rx for pain meds I was grudgingly given this morning.]

Tuesday [Radiation Therapy – Day 17]:

Hm, I completely did Not (obviously) keep track of this day, and since this is actually being posted Monday November 26, 2012, I’m gonna let this one go…

Wednesday [Radiation Therapy – Day 18]:

[Otherwise known as (effectively) Friday this week, with Thursday and Friday off from work.  :)]

7:05am-8:00am Drive from Home to RTher
8:05am-8:15am RTher
8:15am-8:20am Post-RTher ablutions
8:20am-8:35am Chatting with “Georgia” at the main lobby reception desk at the RTher facility
8:35am-8:45am Driving from RTher to Work
8:45am-1:00pm Work
1:00pm-1:30pm Lunch

[On days before holiday weekends, my company intends to close early.  To that end we’re asked to take short lunches.]

1:30pm-3:00pm Work

[Yup, we did close.  Yay!  (You see, I work in a fairly small shop, and the policy is ‘we all go or we all stay,’ so work that has be done by any one of a handful of us can scuttle an early day for all of us.  I’ve been both the scuttler and a victim of someone else’s scuttling in the past – but not today!)]

3:00pm-4:15pm Drive from Work to Home

Additional Tasks Accomplished This Week:

– blogged
– RSVP’d to two Thanksgiving Dinner invitations – one yes and one no
– indulged my returning knitting habit by buying more yarn for the stash (yeah, I know but it’s a thing with us crafters)
– that’s about it – it was a short week, ya know?

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.