Saturday, November 29, 2008

reclaiming my body, and some thoughts for Tam

I saw my abs today! It was their first sighting in a year and a half! I finally feel like I'm getting my body back. It has been slow, but little marks of progress along the way make it a little easier.

I decided earlier this week to "test" to see if I still need to wear sunscreen all the time (it's getting a little old...). I had a couple of errands to run each day but was mostly in the house, so I didn't put on sunscreen ... and I have a couple of faint sunspots on my face. Yup, still need to wear it. While I understand that it's a good idea to wear sunscreen in general, if I'm just going to the grocery store and back, it'd be nice to save the few minutes it takes to put it in, as well as saving the sunscreen for when I need it, as well as saving my skin from having that crap all over it. It's OK. It's my price for living right now. Chemo messed up my skin (temporarily), but chemo let me live to complain about it.

And Tam, I read your birthday blog post ... For whatever it's worth, the anti-nausea drugs they gave me made my vision blurry, but my eyes cleared up just about immediately after treatments ended. I had trouble with Neupogen, so they switched me to Neulasta - is that available to you? Maybe it would help more? I needed only one shot, and it sent my white cell count through the roof! I had all kinds of "chemo brain" and often had trouble holding a normal conversation because I couldn't think of words and because I would forget what I was talking about mid-sentence. It went away after treatments ended. I have a little trouble every now and then now, but it's mostly gone. And they said side effects could last for up to 18 months, and I'm still inside of that window. The butt problems went away, too.

As far as life after cancer and its problems ... no, it's not the same as it was Before. But it is good, or it can be good. The scans aren't endless - they just feel like it, especially because we have so much life left. Hell, I'll certainly outlive my oncologist by quite a margin! It is super-easy to get bogged down by all of the negative possibilities — there are so many of them! I have just decided that they are not a possibility, and I do my best to live so that my thoughts, my hopes, and my actions all match. It ain't always easy, but it's worth the work!!

If you want to talk, let's figure out a way to exchange e-mail addresses without posting them here. (If not, that's totally OK, too.)

Hope you are feeling a little better...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I like being helpful

A friend of a friend was recently-ish diagnosed with lymphoma and was in the same hospital I had been in. I have never met her, but I wrote her a letter, telling her stuff that I found helpful when I was going through all that crap, hoping that one or two pieces of it would be useful.

She called a few days ago and left a message about how nice it was, how helpful it was, how she feels like she has a friend and hopes to meet me one day.


A coworker mentioned to me a couple of days later that her friend was just diagnosed with some kind of cancer, and did I have any words of advice for her? I edited the letter and sent that to her.

I got a message on a message board today saying that her husband is in the process of being diagnosed with lymphoma (type currently undetermined) and can I help her to help herself and to help him? I sent her an email with what I could think of and attached the revised letter.

It is kind of cool that people are seeking me out for help, support, advice. I hope that something I tell them resonates and is useful. All feedback I've gotten so far has been positive. Maybe I'll post the letter here... Hmmm...

In the mean time, Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

milestone :)

Yesterday was my one-year anniversary, according to my oncologist for being CANCER-FREE!! HOORAY!!

It feels like more than a year has passed. Funny how days go so fast, years go so slow, but bunches of years go so fast.

We had a little celebratory dinner with friends. Yum!

I also had a good hard work out at the gym, which felt good. I still have this crazy little hope in the back of my head that the "right person" will read my blog, or the magazine article and will decide to gift me dance lessons or personal training at my gym. That would so rock my world.

(In real life, things like that don't tend to happen, but hey, a girl can dream, can't she?)

Regardless of any of that, I am happy to have been here for another year, gettin' things done, living life, loving life.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

how to say "thanks"?

In June, I went to a survivors' brunch at the hospital. As a door prize, I received a BB King box set of 4 CDs. The lady giving out the prizes said that he donated them himself. Pretty cool.

So I know it's months later, but I'd like to write a thank you note, saying I won them and have enjoyed listening to them thanks for donating them. I don't know how to go about finding contact information.

Any suggestions?