I think cancer is causing this awakening for me…
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.
- This Vessel – the body ♥ A holding space for the soul ♥ (writingtohealmyheart.wordpress.com)
- Saul: To Awaken is Simply to Release Yourselves from the Bondage of Time (aquariusparadigm.com)
…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…
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.
First, let me say I’m still nicotine-free.
In fact, today is 135 days CFT!
Now, on to the point of the post:
I’ve been wigged lately (do a search on the tag “Tamoxifen;” there will be more posts with this tag soon).
This morning when I woke up I couldn’t get going – for no particular reason that stood out to me. I didn’t even get out of bed until 7:30am, went downstairs and, while coffee was brewing, put together my supplements for the day (including the new ones I got yesterday to deal with common side effects of the Tamoxifen I’m starting Friday night).
Then I went out to the garage formerly-smoking area and watched a bit of news while sipping on my coffee. For some odd reason, I just couldn’t get my ass moving to do the morning leaving-the-house-to-go-to-work deal until the clock showed 8:00am (the time I Really Should be getting in my car to drive to work). Weirder still is that I wasn’t even stressed about it.
I went upstairs to do a super-quick clean-up, got dressed in clothes that are too tight ‘cuz I’ve gained 20 lbs during my cancer treatment so far – but that’s a Whole Nother (yes, I know, not a word – whose blog is this, again? Right, thanks!) series of posts – took my morning meds and headed downstairs to make the day’s second cup of coffee (the one that goes to work with me).
Made the coffee, got in the car, turned the car on, realized (as I had seen last night coming home from group, but was no longer foremost in my mind after a night’s sleep) that I had to put gas in the car before I went very far or I wouldn’t get anywhere at all.
Headed to the gas station, and went inside the building because strangely enough the pump registers at this particular gas station don’t work with my debit card (a debit card that works Everywhere Else I use it to pay for stuff – who the hell knows?).
And I run smack into Roz, my favorite person from my former cigarette shop near my house (former because, of course, I don’t smoke anymore – much praise on this account is still quite welcome).
She and I talked for a few with her telling me I’m facing this cancer with grace and that I look great (I told her she caught me on a good day, despite being wigged lately – but maybe it was just running into her). She is such a warm, sweet woman and apparently the joy she lavished on me this morning is still doing its thing. Thank you Roz – I’m grateful for you today!
So, I guess what I’m getting at is maybe I was supposed to be at that gas station at that time (and Not earlier which I would have been had I been out of the house at my usual time) so seeing Roz could bless my day, and I didn’t even know it.
Oh, and I was only 5 minutes late to work too! Score!
Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012-2013 All Rights Reserved.
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…
I’m not sure I still feel the need to document my schedule as specifically as I have been lately.
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:
– Cancer Stuff:
Radiation Oncologist Appointments
As much as I still could, as I went through the 7 weeks
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.
– Today is my last day of “regular” radiation therapy, and next Monday begins my “boost” radiation therapy. Up until now the radiation has been spread over my whole boob, which actual tissue is farther and wider than one might think (the delineated soon-to-be radiation “no fly zone” stretches – measured laying on my back with both arms bent back up over my head – from the center of my sternum all the way around to the center of the left side of my body, and from a point along the outside edge of my boob level with the top of my sternum down to an inch and a half under my inframammary fold.). Starting Monday, the 1.8 Gy fractionation per treatment spread across the whole boob becomes a 2.0 Gy fractionation per treatment concentrated in the tumor bed only. Where the whole boob deal was administered from above-and-down-from-the-bottom-right (the machine emitting the radiation was positioned basically above my stomach and pointed just “south” of my armpit) and from below-and-from-the-top-left (the machine is slightly below me angled up from just “south” of my armpit pointing basically toward my stomach) (both of which angles if the depth were miscalculated would harmlessly shoot away from my body into the open air, the boost part will be straight down into my body from above (I’m imaging from somewhere above the left side of my body angled some top-to-bottom, left-to-right way entirely through my body front to back – I’ll know more on Monday when it actually happens), carefully (I sure fucking hope!) calculated to hit the bottom of the tumor bed, but no farther down into my body.
– Oddly enough, with the first blast of down-from-above today, I got some pain where the my ribs connect to the top of my sternum. Also, as I’m wearing a bra today for the first time in more than a couple days (since the increased pain lately made me wonder if I should be dealing with gravity more deliberately), but I’m finding it generally uncomfortable, slighty cutting into me on the side where I’m more swollen, and then there’s the rubbing on the nipple. Welcome back to damned-if-I-do, damned-if-I-don’t.
– Fatigue/lightheadedness – Seems to be a regular deal these days having this hit me while I’m walking from treatment out into the parking lot to go to work. I’m not sure if it’s one or the other, or both. I can’t always necessarily separate them (not that I’m trying so hard to do so.) Thankfully, when I sit down in the car to drive to work, my mind is all there and I’ve not felt like I would be a danger to myself or anyone else (or I’d not drive until I was safe).
– Just plain fatigue – yeah, I’m typing this and it’s only 12:35pm. Seriously? That’s it? Time’s now going backwards, right?
– When I got home and got ready to do my evening gooping, I stopped at the exposing the boob part, since mine had (guess I wasn’t going to get away without it after all) gone full red – like lobster colored. Fabulous, my last mother-fucking day of full-boob radiation. Plus…
– more numbness (means more swelling, or more concentrated swelling is now interfering with nerve conduction) and more overt swelling/pain in my axilla
Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.
– Okay, today I got a real zotz when the treatment first started, straight through my nipple, then it went away and didn’t hurt anymore.
[Right, sorry, “zotz.” Okay, so I tried to find the definition of this word I always thought was Yiddish, but I’m not so much finding an actual definition in a casual web search. So I’ll define it for you as I’ve always used it and known it to be used, so you know what the hell I’m trying to say.
A “zotz” is a sharp, stabbing or burning pain that comes on instantly and is gone almost before you actually realize it’s there, but leaves an echo behind for a bit.]
– Tired (come on, you’d wonder what was going on if I didn’t feel the fatigue anymore).
[But of course that’s also not surprising given my 11:00pm actual bedtime last night. No, 7 hours isn’t enough sleep for me when I’m Not in primary cancer treatment – it’s Definitely not enough now.]
– more pain than I’ve been having the last few days. Not entirely surprising – I’m extra tired today and that always makes things hurt more, and I got manhandled pretty good yesterday (which was necessary, but still made me hurt more). So early to bed and maybe tomorrow will better. At least tomorrow will be Friday, which is Always a good thing!
Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.