Monday, April 30, 2012

The body always tells the truth....the mind deceives!

Often when we are in our own environment and things seem to be predictable we think we are dealing well with life.  It is when we make changes, find ourselves outside of our comfort zones, and even go back to places that existed long before our illness that we actually get a window into how we are really dealing with life.

I have been visiting family for the past few days, and I find myself very stressed.   I seem to be very impatient and angry.   I am also tired all the time.   Initially, I thought it was because I wasn't getting enough coffee.   People on the coast here drink coffee, but not to the extent that Upper Canadians do.   The East Coast is a tea drinking society and so there are always cups of tea being offered, but rarely coffee, and even then not necessarily a good cuppa.   Anyways, that is what I initially attributed my sluggishness too.   Alas, I have had lots of coffee and still feel that unsettled feeling.   I realize that maybe I am not has hail and healthy as I think.    My body seems to be very tired, and I think the change of scenery and pace is what is making it more obvious.

It is interesting that as long as things stay 'the same' we can convince ourselves that we are fine.   Once we are called to be somewhere else on a very different schedule we realize we aren't quite as fit.   So, I have decided to be very good to myself, take lots of naps and to just try really hard not to overdo it.   Not a very easy thing for me, I tend to go go go.....want to show everyone how healthy I am.

I will pray for more patience.   I remember clearly that one of the very obvious symptoms of my illness presented itself as impatience and frustration.   I was not the most pleasant person to be around a few weeks before I was finally diagnosed.....I thought maybe I was having a breakdown!!!!!!....and in some ways it was but it was a physical one not an emotional one.   My body seems to react in that way when all is not well....maybe it is because my mind refuses to acknowledge that I am not at my best, and tries to force my body to continue at the same pace.    Our bodies are very interesting machines, and when pushed to far will find a way to slow you down.    So, I am sitting here on the East Coast, (freezing) but with very little that I have to do so I will try and just go with the flow.   Maybe that is it too, my routine has been changed and I am not the best with change!!!!  

I have learnt one thing over the past 10 years and that is to listen to my body, it always tells the truth.  So, I will work with it and not against it.....and try really hard not to be miserable with those around me.   Families are funny, I think in many ways we become very much ourselves (warts and all ) when we are with them.....cause we know they will love us no matter what.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Exhaustion....the 'new' normal

I realize that I am really not the same person I was almost eleven years ago.   In many ways I have grown in positive ways, especially emotionally and spiritually.  In other ways I have lost much of the 'go get em' energy that I had all my life.   I was one of those people who never did anything slowly...everything was at full speed!   I can remember my mother commenting when I was young "I've never seen anyone who can get ready to go somewhere in such short time"....I was only about 8 at the time so it did slow down a bit when 'hair and makeup' entered the picture.....but again as usual I digress.

The point I am making is that I now need at least 24hours to recoup after anything that is different in my life.   I spent the entire day yesterday sitting in my 'knitting' chair catching up on Coronation Street episodes and knitting (2 socks)!!!!!   The reason being I was totally exhausted.   I had been the host to a lovely foreign student for two weeks which I completely enjoyed.    The thing is I had to be on the whole time.   I had thought that I really was doing pretty good but now I realize that my energy levels are anything but good.    I had virtually no energy reserve was as if I had run a marathon or maybe even an Iron Man.    I was never like that before.    Even as recently as two years ago I know my energy levels were better.   Part of it I am sure is age, I mean I am no spring chicken, but I am not senior home material either.    It is a bit discouraging when you realize that for every big thing you do you are going to have to spend a couple of days recouping.....I am not completely accepting of this reality.

So, today, again I would like to just sit and veg but the option is really not there.  I have things to do and places to go but maybe I will sit and knit just for a short while first.   There is certainly something to be said for 'slowing' down in life, but I would rather it be my choice not a necessity.    I still feel like I was hit by a Mac truck, every fibre of my body is screaming 'rest, rest, rest'.....this cancer sucks big time even when it doesn't knock you totally down.....I seem to be more reminded of my situation at moments like this than any other.

I also realize I must be tired because my last two posts have been 'whines' ( the kind that doesn't really make you feel better and w/o cheese!) which is not my usual positive/happy self....OMG I am truly human too...what a revelation....I must go and think on that new concept......

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Post surgical problems........

I don't usually vent to blatantly but tonight I can't help it......This is a quick post for all those people out there that have had any surgery on your sucks sometimes.   My surgeon told me that the bowel is not a very forgiving doesn't like to be played with....and he was right.    The only problem is no one tells you that the situation gets worse over time after surgery and chemo not better.   There are days when I just want to scream and the past few weeks have been like that.   I am suffering at night and can't seem to eat anything these days..the upside of course is I look thinner than ever....the down side is that no matter what I put in my mouth I feel awful later.   I am never quite sure if it is actually my stomach, bowel or gall bladder, but no matter that part of my body is not my friend these days.

Just wanted to do a quick vent before I went to bed.......knowing it is going to be another rough night.....sure I am not the only  one!!!!!

Godincidences in our lives!

I was reminded of a funny story today and I can't remember if I ever shared it I will now!

When I was first diagnosed with OVCA in June 2001, I just seemed to march along and did whatever was needed to be done.   I had surgery, then started chemo.   I thought I dealt with everything really well even to the point of still going on a trip to the East Coast less than two months after diagnoses.   I thought I was o.k.   Although, there were a few tense moments when my daughter said that she hated this whole thing and it was ruining her summer.   Of course, I just wrote that off to adolescent moodiness and really didn't apply it to myself or our 'new normal.'

In December of that year, I completed my chemo on December 11!!!!!...and the next day I took my daughter shopping for a winter coat.    It was a bit rough on me but I knew that in about three days I would be feeling even worse so we trudged up to the mall.     As we parked in front of the pet store, my daughter asked if we could go in and look and see what animals were there.    So, as a treat I decided what the heck and we entered the store and promptly separated going in our own directions.   I ended up in the back of the store and there; in behind a window in a cage; was this little fuzz ball of a puppy.   I stared at her for a minute and then asked the sales clerk if I could hold her.....bad idea right?!    Well twenty minutes later, with all the necessities in hand, we left the store with a new puppy.....needless to say my daughter went the winter in  her overly small last years' coat!!!!!

As we got in the car, I realized what I had just done.   Not only had I used my credit card to pay for this puppy (no job no money never occurring to me) but I then remembered that we had a dog at home and one that is not very fond of other animals.   I quickly said that 'if Boy doesn't take to her we will have to return her' daughter holding this fur ball just nodded, probably not even having heard a word that I said.     Arriving home, we set her down on the floor and watched to see what would happen.   Initially the other dog seemed not too interested, then he came over and I think thought that she was stuffed.  He made a move to pick her up in his teeth and she was hilarious , he jumped back startled and actually swallowed his bark.....he left her alone after that, but it did take awhile for him to get used to this new little 'ankle' bitter.....she followed him around biting his tail and barking at him absolutely in love with him....I think in the end he liked her too but only would show it if he thought I wasn't looking.

She adapted to her new surroundings, sleeping with my daughter of course.    And life went on.....then I realized that something had definitely changed in our home....there was laughter again.  There were squeals of delight from my daughter, barks of wonder from the older dog, and giggles from me.....JOY had come back into our home.    We had been so saddened by my illness, and so absorbed with medical procedures, nurses visits, and just hanging on by our fingernails , we had forgotten to laugh and joke and have fun.     This little furry creature brought JOY back into our crazy as the whole thing was to buy her and bring her home at a time when we didn't need anymore chaos, she brought serenity and peace, joy and happiness and all those things that seem to disappear when illness enters a home.   

Today, I laughed again at something she did, this time with the cats (a whole other story in itself) and was reminded of that day 10 and a half years ago when Bilbo became the newest member of our household........she is also a reminder of how long I have survived this dreadful disease and how much life I have lived since then.      Never underestimate what God may provide in your life in order to make sure JOY has a place in was very much a  God incident that day we entered the mall to buy a winter coat and instead came out with a four-legged fur!!!!!!!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

As Gilda Radner said: "its always something"......

I have finally figured out that no matter how good things are, there will always be 'something' going on that we wish wasn't.    It has been an interesting couple of weeks and I really shouldn't be complaining but of course I will.   Why else would I want to write a blog if not to either be extremely wise about life or to complain about both minor and major events in life.

In some ways I must smile here.   To be able to write about life is a blessing in itself.   As  I have said many times before this disease is not nor shall it ever be in my life a blessing.   There are however events and things that take place because of it, simply either indirectly or directly, but the cancer itself never ever a blessing.   Being alive and healthy enough to complain is one though.

Recently, I have become this person who just wants to experience life no matter what.   As earlier mentioned I took a very spontaneous trip to the South and in many ways believe that may have been one of the most fun things I have ever done.   Never in a million years b/f my diagnoses would that have happened....I would have had to think about it, worry about the planning, and most probably decided that it was just too much to do in too little time.    Not any bring it on.    Well again I am doing similar things.  I have recently taken in a house quest for a couple of weeks, a young visiting medical student, male.   I have had women before but never a male and to be totally honest thought that I would never be comfortable enough to do so.  One reason being my daughter.   Now that she isn't here, I think that may have played a small part in it, but the reality is that there was anxiety and worry, but I threw caution to the wind and just said yes.   It has of course been a real blessing.  Not only in the fact that I have met a really nice young man from India who is doing an elective in medicine as part of his international medical degree, but also the food he has made is awesome.   So my mind and my waistline have expanded.   I have learnt so much about his country, his culture, and his food I will never be able to look at the world quite the same again.

One thing he has made me realize is how blessed I am to live in a country such as Canada.   From the physical landscape, to the standard of living, to the medical care, and just the relative safety which we are blessed to have compared to other places in this world.   I think each of us should get down on bended knee and kiss the ground for the amazing privilege of being born in this country.   Anyways, as usual I have gone off on a tangent.

So, what can I possibly have to complain about?????.....well first I had this awful cold I couldn't shake for about four weeks....then finally it left and my stomach started to act up.   I mean act up!!!!  I didn't know what was going on and of course my mind went to many many places thinking it could be something really bad.    The pain was awful, I couldn't seem to eat anything, and if I did I was terrified I would be really sorry.    Well, I think it was caused by all that cold medicine I was taking trying to ward of my cold.    Stopped all meds about 10 days ago and am finally starting to feel normal.....and then what......I think I have an eye infection (or maybe just a stye???) but am again worried.   You see one thing I know about cancer is that sometimes it effects you in such away that you seem to get a whole bunch of little ailments, or infections, b/c your body can't keep up anymore.   So I will worry again, till this goes away!!!!!!      I can't even remember what it was like to get a little pain and just ignore it or have confidence it will eventually pass.....I remember distinctly that was what I thought the few days before my one was more surprised than me!!!!! 

So, say a few prayers that this passes and that I have nothing to worry about at least till the middle of off on another excursion soon and don't want to be sick or in pain during that time......

Thursday, April 12, 2012

What's really wrong??????

Easter is over and I was going to post a really nice blog concerning new life and Easter....even had a beautiful pic to add to the blog.    It didn't happen!    Obviously!

Just can't seem to get back to feeling normal.    Have been fighting this cold and now my stomach feels like a knife keeps being stabbed from the inside out.    No doubt the result of all the medication that I was taking trying to resolve the virus.    Can't win.....clear nose/upset stomach.    Is seems so shallow to whine about a cold and stomach ache but the feelings that come to the surface at a time like these are hard to ignore.   All the fears and worries come flooding back.....maybe its something more, what if the tumor is what is causing the pain ....maybe I have a blockage.    So many worries, most probably all not true, but it is hard to shake your imagination....especially if you are the  type of person who constantly tries to downplay everything.   Then the worry becomes 'maybe I am downplaying everything'  :)

Having a serious disease plays havoc on your psyche!    Nothing is just a simple cold or stomach ache.   No pain is just a muscle spasm or strain.....everything morphs into something huge and monstrous at least in your mind.    As I have said before the mind is a very powerful machine.    It can make one believe the most glorious things, but it can also take you down the darkest alleys......

I never really realize how much I worry about my illness, till something hurts.   It seems then I become consumed by it.   Today, I will try really hard just to ignore the symptoms.    Often if you can get on with your daily activities, and if when distracted you don't notice the symptoms, it means things are probably not too serious.   That is why often the doctor will say "is it interfering with you when you are busy or focused on something else"....serious stuff doesn't just disappear because you are busy, it will rear its ugly head no matter what......I have found this to be a really good judge of what is going on physically for today I will try and stay busy and see what happens....the fact that I am writing the blog tells me maybe I am o.k.  :))))

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sadness....and new Life!

It seems that there is sadness all around.   Yesterday at Church I just seemed to be so sensitive to those around me and their personal sadness.   It made me take a bit of a step back and realize that I have a lot to be grateful for.    Most of the sadness was due to loss and my heart just went out to them.   One person seemed totally changed since his wife passed.   He used to be so happy and cheerful and always so excited to see people and yet now he seems like he is just getting through whatever activity he is doing.  

Life can be very difficult and at times very dark.  Having been in those places many times I seem  to be very sensitive to the energy those feelings give.  I don't feel any need to fix it or try and 'make them feel better'.  I just want them to know that I get it and sometimes its good just to feel whatever it is you feel.

This week is Holy Week in the Christian church.  It is a time for us to reflect on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.   At a time in history that seemed so dark for His followers, 2000 years later we still mark that time.   Who could know that it wasn't really over.  Imagine how His friends felt when they saw him beaten, dragged through the streets, and then must have been awful.  Whether you believe Jesus to be God or not, anyone would be hard pressed not to be moved and disturbed by viewing such atrocities on another human being.    It must have be awful for those who loved him.    Then, if you believe, He was able to rise above that and to overcome death.   This is the time of year for everyone to realize that we can rise above our suffering, no matter how terrible, and move on to a new chapter in life.     Easter celebrates New Life, however you believe that to be, so take time this week to celebrate the new life that you can have just by being grateful for the blessings in your life....whether that is a new love, a roof over your head, or a pair of shoes on your feet.     We all have something we can be grateful for, and that may help to lift the sadness that we all deal with in our lives.

I am happy that I am sensitive to people's feelings and allow them to be whatever they want at that moment.  I am also very glad that I too can be sad, but then can look out into the world and see the incredible life that I have and be although we are always saying goodbye, at the same time we are also always welcoming a new day........