Saturday, March 31, 2012

Appointments....and old memories!

So, the appointment day came and went and I am still here and nothing really has changed.   I must admit though you would think that after all these years it wouldn't be so hard to go to the Cancer Clinic....but it is.   It is not just an emotional/mental strain it actually is a physical one as well.   It just goes to prove that every cell in your body has a memory.....I feel like I go right back to the very first day that I walked in there, even though to look at me you probably wouldn't know.   Sitting there on Thursday without anything to distract me was a real 'reality' check.   I looked around and realized that there are a lot of people who belong to the same club as me.   I mean you wouldn't be there if you didn't have cancer or know someone who has.     A lot of these people are really sick too.   Some can't walk at all, others have oxygen tanks attached, others have no hair (actually quite a few), and some are rail thin.   Then there are the faces of the families.   Trying to put on a good front but watching everyone around them and you know that they wished they were anywhere but here.   It is a sad place......and then the gong goes off.   

When one is done chemo there are bells you can ring.   I guess the people in radiation felt left out so now there is a gong you can ring.    And it is loud!!!!.....bigger bells will have to be got for the chemo patients.   As funny as it sounds and maybe even a sense of last chemo I didn't feel like ringing any bells.   That was one of the scariest days of the whole journey.....if I can't have chemo how am I going to keep this 'beast' at bay......I feel a little less frightened these days but I remember everyone else wanting to party and celebrate, and I just wanted to crawl under a rock and cry.....

I sat there for a long time, mainly b/c I was a little early and the doctor was a lot late!....I hated every moment and will never go without my knitting or a book again.   It is like a pall comes over you and  your eyes glaze over and you stare out without looking.    Remembering everything about the first time, and wishing this was an experience you never had to have.....even after all these years I still have the ability physically, mentally and emotionally to return to that day almost 11 years ago and feel the exact same way.......I guess in many ways that is what trauma does to enters the memory of the cells and sits there till something triggers it and then BANG....sends you right back.

Well, another three months before I have to do that again, so here's to going back to my life of living each day fully and not wallowing in the past ........

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cancer.....a 'reality' check!

Well its back to reality opposed to Florida World.    Tomorrow is another appointment day and so today is the 'day before syndrome'.    I thought all would be mellow and content even though I have to see my oncologist tomorrow but no....last night was a bit restless and a terrible headache all day tells me that I am worrying about something at a some level.

Oh to go back to sea, sand and sun where illness does not exist and no one knows my history.   I will be fine and get through tomorrow.   I have a bad cold and it seems to be sitting endlessly in my chest so I will have to have that checked.   Have an appointment on Friday with my GP but maybe the doctor can check it out tomorrow and save me the trip in again on Friday.   In addition to all the medical business of  course the insurance company had called while I was away.   It never seems to end.

Well, I will be grateful for time away and the rest to endure the problems of life.   I will sit and look at my peaceful pics and remember a simpler and sunnier time.   Here's a few of those peaceful pics....

Cancer doesn't take vacations but we can .......its all in the attitude.   I left all the negative stuff here at home while I travelled the States and enjoyed the beautiful scenery.    I really do believe that I didn't think about anything bad for a whole two weeks.    Tomorrow will be that 'reality check' we all get when we get back whatever that may be in one's life.    Vacations are exactly that 'times to vacate from reality'....but they are only temporary......The good thing about coming home is seeing all the people you love and hearing "you were missed"....nothing sounds so sweet!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tennessee Mountains......a beauty beyond belief!

Home again and still feeling the healing sun, sand and sea.   There is a second part to our trip that I shall share.  I mentioned that we had to detour into the mountains in Tennessee and I was disappointed we couldn't see any of the terrain and beauty.   Well, on our way back we decided to re-visit that detour in the day time and see exactly what we had missed.   It was absolutely beautiful!    The mountains, the rocks jutting out onto the road...the trees almost toppling into the road and the water of a river running along side the road sometimes deep in a ravine and sometimes beside us.    The most interesting part was that juxtaposed to this magnificent beauty was poverty beyond belief.    Places so small and decrepit that one couldn't image people living in them....and yet some with so many garden gnomes and other stuff outside you knew that whoever lived there felt it was home.   We even found a gated community with a mountain top restaurant in this place....again two opposites side by side.  I am always a little disturbed when I see such poverty in a country that also has so much wealth.....we live in a very confusing world sometimes.

I am happy we took the time to to re-visit this little part of the world.   We spoke to a couple of people and a kinder more congenial people I don't think you could ever meet.    I feel blessed that I was able to find this place through a traffic jam on I-75.....I think it may have been one of the highlights of my trip.  I will share some of my photos and let pictures tell you the rest of the story.

Just a taste of what we saw.....if you are ever traveling down the I-75 I suggest at Jellico Tennessee you get off the highway and take 25W for an hour or is so worth the trip and to see something more than road and billboards.....a creation that must have come from somewhere other than human hands....and a people who have dug out (literally ) a life in it.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sand, Sun and Sea........Wheeeeeee

Blogging from sunny Florida.    As luck would have it I hear that the Great White North is not white and not much cooler than Florida these days.   Oh well, at least when I have colour I will have a story to tell!!!!!

Been in  paradise for over a week and still hear myself declare "it's March and I am swimming, it's March and I have sandals on, it's March and I am too hot......why do I live so far north?

The weather has been nothing but perfect.   We have travelled around and are at this moment in Kissimee, close to Disney World.    I decided to stay at the hotel and just sit by the pool, sun myself, do a little shopping and just veg.    I have been to Disney and for me once was enough.   

This trip was a very spontaneous decision and I have my disease to thank for the ability to just pick up and go somewhere without all kinds of thought and planning.  I mean I got cancer without planning and the world didn't end so ....  There was a time when  this would not have been possible for my 'controlling psyche'.   I used to have to plan, worry, have anxiety attacks and then second guess my decision.  Now I just go....what the hell, what is going to happen that I haven't already had to deal with in this life.   Although, the trip has not been totally uneventful nothing has thrown me too off course.   To start with we weren't even back in London when the temperature gauge went off on the car and the car overheated.   Slipped into a Canadian Tire, got some coolant and decided we would continue on our way.   Drove for six hours that night and got to Cincinnati Ohio about 2:30 am.  No car problems.   Then at the Tennessee/Kentucky border at about 5 pm we hit a traffic jam and a three hour detour.    Through the Tennessee hills no less....winding two lane road in the dark.   I was a little disappointed it wasn't day light as the parts we could see - deep ravines and very high cliffs - did look neat.   The only positive was we came across a little town that was having a cash cow b/c of the extra someone gained from our other late night!   The third and final day we had to stop at a Medical Clinic b/c the little one had an ear ache and was literally screaming in the car.    That took about three hours so we again were delayed.    We had a meeting and decided that as there seemed to be an 'event' each day we were probably best to drive all the rest of the way to avoid another day and perhaps another 'event'.   We arrived at our destination at about 10 pm.

I have enjoyed myself  and feel very grateful to have been asked to go.   So, the moral of this story is that if this had been offered years ago I would have had a hundred excuses why I couldn't go.   Obviously everything happens in its own time and I was able to just say 'sure lets go' ......and life sure is good.....oh the other 'event' is that I have caught the worst cold I have had in two years....wouldn't you know it I would have to come to Florida to catch a cold.   Oh well, I am not going to let that spoil my trip....I have been much sicker and survived so this is just another 'pebble in my shoe' and I am not even going to sit on the side and take it out ....just limp a little till I get home.

Out looking for dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico, off Tarpon Springs.

Visiting a beach on an Island in the Gulf....beautiful shells to be had....and really really warm!

It is at moments and places like these that we can see the true beauty in God's creation.   I am so blessed to be here with family and to  enjoy life at a time in my life that could be anything but blessed.   I have said before and repeat now I have never found 'cancer a blessing" but I have grown through the pain of this disease to appreciate the life that God has given me even if it isn't the one I would have chosen..........

Friday, March 2, 2012

Reflection .....a very good thing

After I wrote my post yesterday I began to think about what I actually had said.   It occurred to me that I  have just been assuming that the yukky feelings that I have had lately must be attributed to the cancer.   Then I found some requisitions for blood tests that I never went and had.   They were not from my oncologist but from my GP.  I remember her saying that it is important to keep up on other things and not let myself slip through the cracks b/c I have cancer.   It is interesting that one forgets that other ailments and maladies could be happening even though I have something chronic going on.    One thing at a time please, isn't that our mantra!

So then I began to think about things and decided that perhaps I have some other problem, or maybe this is what aging feels like.   I have always said that 'those who talk about the golden years probably never attained them".   Mainly , because I here most older people, or should I say peers now, complain about aches and pains, fatigue, sleepless nights, body pain, etc.   Ok, so now that I think about it all those are the complaints that I have had through just logical deduction I am probably suffering from what is called 'getting old' too is chronic and it too has no cure....well at least not one that I am prepared to arrive at yet!......I feel much better now, except for that lower back pain when I move!!!!!!!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sometimes it just sucks to be me......

I think I may be coming to the end of my rope with this disease and the situation it places me in.   For over the past 10 years I have been at the mercy of an insurance company and nothing is sacred or private.   I appreciate and know that I am fortunate to have this in place, but the freedom and feelings of control that you must give up in order to have this type of income can be more stressful than the disease itself at times.

I work a very few hours each month which means that I have to let the insurance company know exactly how many hours and how much money I am making.    Then and only then will they forward my cheque to me....recently, they don't seem too concerned about my living circumstances as they never seem to have the cheque in the bank on time.   I know that I am only one of many, but really, how do others who don't have such understanding landlords and creditors function.   It is mind blowing and at times very depressing and stressful to always wonder if you are going to have your money in place to cover your expenses.   Then, if not it means you have to open yourself up to others and explain again making you feel that nothing is private anymore.

Lately, I have been waking up every morning with a headache and my body seems to ache constantly.  I think it is stress and worry, but I will be off to the doctors soon to make sure 'that is all it is'!!!! As if that isn't enough!.....I think I am getting to the point in my life where I just wish everything was different.   I know this sounds histrionic but there are times I actually think it would be easier if I had just died.    This world is not geared for people who are ill over long periods of time.    You have to be healthy or sick....there is no room or accommodation for those of us who find our selves in between.   I feel so lost sometimes and lonely.....what's the point, and then remember all the blessings.

I also know that its not politically correct to not be grateful for life but sometimes the life I have sucks.   There have been days lately where I just want to shut the door, turn off the phone and crawl back under my covers and never get up.    That sounds so attractive right now....maybe I will go lie down for awhile and hopefully get rid of this headache.   I am sure I am getting an ulcer from all the Advil I am ingesting lately....

I am looking forward to the weekend, and so I will focus there for the moment and try and try and restore my 'attitude of gratitude' .........even knitting doesn't seem to entice me must be a lousy day!!!