Friday, February 3, 2017

Cancer- rebirthday

Yesterday, I turned 4.
Wow, time flies.  Almost two years I was treated for leukemia, and the past two years I have spent trying to get back to living.  Its been rough.
Yesterday, I was talking to my boyfriend about that day and what followed.  Everything that happened and came so quickly-- dealing with
  • cancer diagnosis
  • likelihood of never having children
  • treatment-- chemo
  • all the blood transfusions
  • gallbladder removal
  • losing my hair
  • getting a port put in
  • allergic reactions to medication
  • all the vomiting
  • losing my sense of taste
  • increased sense of smell
  • gaining lots of weight and losing lots of weight
  • rashes
  • yeast infections
  • the shape of my tongue changed
  • c-diff and wearing diapers
  • shingles
  • not being able to stand or think clearly
  • wearing a surgical mask everywhere I went, even just outside
  • money/insurance issues
  • crazy headaches from the ATRA pills
  • light sensitivity
  • skin peeling all over
  • losing my fingernails and toenails
  • chemo induced menopause-- all the hotflashes (10/hour!)
  • losing hair in places I didn't think was necessary and missing its purpose!
  • exhaustion
  • sleeping 12 + hours a day on the couch
  • showers with the port
  • port changes and daily flushes
  • home nurse
  • fevers
  • pneumonia on Christmas
  • wisdom teeth removal
  • cracks in teeth
  • becoming allergic to everything I use on a daily basis
Now its about living.
I am blessed to be alive.  Endless hours of golden girls during my treatment taught me nothing is the end. we keep going even after the show is cancelled.

Monday, January 16, 2017

February 2 is coming quickly

That will be my four year anniversary.
Its very scary to think of that.  At the beginning of the year, I had a cut on my tongue.  It was like a paper cut on my tongue, with a nasty flap of skin that hurt like a mother.
It hurt for about a week, and I went to see the doctor.  She had no idea what it was, at that point the flappy part was wrinkly and white, because it was kinda dying and drying out.

She wanted me to see a specialist and mentioned the word "biopsy".

I couldn't sleep that night.

I had the fear in me that I was sick again...this was the beginning of it all...again.

I honestly couldn't sleep or think for about 24 hours, but then, the salt water rinses started to help.  The pain got less.  The bump got smaller.  I could talk without pain.
I felt like an idiot.
A complete and utter idiot.

Try telling someone this story that hasn't had a crazy illness or fought for their life.  Try telling a story of how a bump and cut on your tongue led you to think you were going to die and think they believe you.  They won't.  They won't get it.  People won't even validate your feelings.  You are over-reacting. You are silly.
Am I?  Am I?  What happened to me is sheer luck. I am alive today.  But, the feeling of being deathly afraid of getting sick again...its real and its dark.  It is a mindgame.  I know that, but I can't shake it.

I can't seem to get over it.

I am utterly grateful to be alive and I sincerely try to give it my all each day, albeit I am still tired a lot.  I try to savor moments and I sometimes take it for granted, still, but I feel that's living.

When it comes right down to it, though, I am still scared out of my wits to get a new car, have a car payment, buy things, or even work too hard...because if it happens again...then what?

My head is a scary place.

How do you deal with it?  What advice can you give?  This is the time of year when every hot flash and night sweat has me nervous.  A cut on my tongue put me in a mind meld last week--- I didn't talk to anyone about it, made me think awful thoughts.  I even thought I shouldn't put BD through this again.

I need a vacation from my head at this time of year.  Its too much.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Happy 2017!

So, this year, wouldn't it be great if they found a cure for all cancers?

Recently, one of the strongest young ladies that influenced me (emma Rose) has relapsed with her leukemia.
I wanted to send a big virtual bear hug and sincere good thoughts to you Emma!
You are a strong warrior princess...and I know you will beat this yet again!

You have influenced me in how I fought my leukemia.  You have influenced me to help others in need...from baking cookies and delivering them to my doctor's chemo area, making gift bags to those staying in the hospital with things like lip balms, puzzle books, and good soft kleenex, and even starting a cancer support group at my church (we didn't get much activity, but we tried).
Your positive attitude helped me with my fight-- I had just been diagnosed and found your facebook page and it helped me in numerous ways.  I remember being up in the middle of the night, lying in my hospital bed, and just crying.  I was nervous.  I was lonely.  I felt like I was being punished by God.  I was scared.  I felt like my life was over.  And, I got over it.  I cried and I missed my family.
I felt like a big experiment.  From my skin breaking out in an itchy rash to the yeast infections to the skin peeling off my lips constantly.  Getting c-diff, being denied coverage on necessary medications, and mouth sores and daily blood products were just the icing on the cake.  Now I know.  Now I brave whatever comes at me...and I have your positive attitude that helped me look at things differently.
Thank you.
You Got This!

If you would like to help Emma collect toys and giftcards for children at her local hospitals who are fighting cancer--- please help her here:

For more info on her awesome idea and Emma, click here:

Thursday, November 3, 2016

What happens when we die?

I am having a terrible time dealing with what happens when we die.  Lately, it just seems to be something I keep thinking about.  I wish we knew.  I wish it was easy...we go here, there...somewhere.  We continue to exist.  My fears grow every day that we no longer exist and I don't exist...I can't imagine it no matter how hard I try. 
I can't imagine not existing.  I can't imagine being no longer my soul, if that makes sense. 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Dental issues after cancer

Yep.  It can happen.
It is happening to me.

Last night, my mom asked if it was from the cancer, chemo, or just from my genes/oral hygiene.  I have a feeling its a combo of all of that.
But, can I express that I had daily chemo and lots of it...both IV and orally.  During that time, I used a sponge or a baby toothbrush (no joke) and could not floss or use listerine.  I only used Biotene when I could tolerate the taste (let's make that another topic for another day).  The chemo's main goal was to kill off my blood production so my bone marrow would reset, so to speak.  I would stop making platelets, hemoglobins, and especially we wanted my ANC to drop to as close to zero as possible.  I really feel this played a big part in my dental issues today.