ducky doolittle || seeking joy + wellness while surviving cancer

Tag: cancer

Timeline of Hysterectomy Healing Process

Timeline of Hysterectomy Healing Process

This is a timeline of my healing process. I’m creating it to remind myself how far I have come and to help other people who experience a robotic, radical hysterectomy to know what they might expect. Doctor’s say it should be six weeks until I am fully […]

I Am Alive

I Am Alive

Quick post as I have limited energy. Forgive my typos, I’ll try to clean them up once I have more wits. On surgery day I went from being emotionally distressed to terror as they started popping the IV in my arm, to absolute physical trauma. I came to in […]

Fear & Happiness

Fear & Happiness

This is my last post before surgery. During surgery, they will be able to stage my cancer and tell us if I need more treatment, like radiation or chemo. But finally, on Friday my treatment will begin.

My nerves still hum… it’s been like that for days. I wake up at super early every morning and have to chase away gorry thoughts about surgery.

I pop up the stairs after walking my dog and I can’t help but think about how I am not going to be able to leave the bed, much less the house, much less climb stairs soon.

I have little conversations with my body. I cheer it on. I remind myself I am strong and healthy. We just need to remove these parts. I will heal and I will pop up the stairs with my dog in tow again soon. It’s all temporary.

I am afraid of seeing stitches in my skin and in the same breath I can’t help but think about how amazing it is how the human body heals.  I am afraid and I know there is magic inside me and I can get through this with the help of the people who love me. I get pushed back and forth between fearful thoughts and my own strength. It’s a lot of work to manage my thoughts.

I’m so grateful for so many things these days. As hard as it is to go through this I am very lucky. I’ll be down for the count for Thanksgiving, but my mum in law is staying here and will cook a feast. My friends have stocked me up with things that taste good, smell good and super soft socks and blankets. Bills are piling up but we have good, healthy food and plenty of thing to keep us entertained.

My job is supportive. They make decent health insurance available to me and cheer me on. My coworkers, tho weirded out when I first gave them the news, have ponied up and just worked alongside me. Allowing me to keep busy and keep my days as normal as possible.

Why am I so grateful? It could be the rotten, bug-infested food offered to me by my foster family. (They ate the food without bugs.) It could be the park benches and filthy abandoned buildings I slept in as a teenager. (I preferred those circumstances to the abuse of foster care.) It could be the deadbeat landlords of the ghettos I lived in, leaving us for days with no heat in the dead of winter. And the nights my roommates and I took turns standing guard at the stove door, watching to make sure the heat poured out and the pilot light stayed on. It could be the 18 hour work days or the multiple jobs I have worked most of my life so that I could crawl up and out of those circumstances. I have survived a lot.

As hard as those days were, they did set me up to appreciate every little thing life gives me today. So perhaps cancer is another chance for me to find more grace and beauty in this life I have been given? Or perhaps I am just a dumb optimist who sees the silver lining in everything? I don’t give a shit. I will not over think that question. All that matters is that despite it all– I am happy and I am resilient.

Now I will hunker in, work through the pain and heal through the winter. I’ll be a different person in the spring. Isn’t that what everyone hopes for in the spring?

Waiting For Cancer Treatment / Part 6

Waiting For Cancer Treatment / Part 6

Surgery happens this Friday. Now there is a low hum of nervousness that constantly resonates out of my chest. It started yesterday and is so real that I can damn near touch it and see it. I wish I could make it stop. The thing that I have been […]

Uterine Cancer: Signs To Look For

Uterine Cancer: Signs To Look For

Uterine cancer is also called endometrial or womb cancer. People don’t talk about it enough… perhaps because it mostly happens to older women? Perhaps because women are not sharing their grief with this diagnosis? But uterine cancer can also happen to younger, body positive, fearless women like me. […]

Waiting For Cancer Treatment / Part 5

Waiting For Cancer Treatment / Part 5

Still managing to keep my head in a good place. I have these passing panicked thoughts about surgery and incisions and losing part of my body to cancer. I am getting pretty good at setting them aside.

The mind is a funny thing, you can play honest games with it and get what you need. It helped to create some happy places in the future rather than looking back at happy times and places. For some reason, I felt more pain looking back– like I was mourning for those good times and places. On the contrary, looking forward gives me joy and energy. Whatever works.

I have also been thinking about how this cancer is hereditary. It’s been existing in my family but no one knew. I have heard of people doing genetic testing but I never understood why. I guess poor people don’t do those things? At least not the poverty-based family I come from. The good thing is that at least my siblings and their children have a chance to test early and be prepared to care for themselves.

When I sent my siblings a document they can take to their doctor my sister asked if I learned any other interesting facts from my pathology, like “if I’m part Neanderthal or anything?”

I told her I was 100% fairy.

My brother then said, “Monkey fairy. You’re a hybrid. Or a mutant.”

I agreed that I am, “I am 100% two things.”

So you can see… they take this whole thing very seriously!

Also, did you know there is a national registry for people with cancer? I only found out when my doctor uploaded a document to my online charts stating that I had been added. They use it to map environmental cancer outbreaks and gain statistical information. It’s kind of awesome and creepy at the same time.

Surgery is scheduled for November 17th but could still happen sooner if there is an opening. I go to the hospital tomorrow for pre-surgical testing. (More needles! Bluck!)

I am trying to take it one day at a time. Now I wait. Then I heal. We will all see what comes after that. In the meantime I am eating well, doing yoga and anything else I can to be as strong as possible when I go under.

Having family here and getting love from friends have been a good distraction. Even if I am a bit of a hermit, y’all still find ways to love me. You are amazing. I am so thankful for the people I have in my life.

(Photo: Words written on a wall saying “Its moving kind of slow.” Lower East Side, NYC. Circa 2010.)

My Epic Wellness Plan (A Work In Progress)

My Epic Wellness Plan (A Work In Progress)

My goal is to heal and regulate my energy with food and behavior as much as possible. Here’s my working plan. I am sure I’ll adjust it along the way. You are welcome to give recommendations for good books or links, but on this topic, […]

Waiting For Cancer Treatment / Part 4

Waiting For Cancer Treatment / Part 4

I’m doing a little better. I am finding that more peaceful spot inside me where have given in to the fact that life will never be what it was. Things are different now. If I want all the good things life has to offer I must […]

The New Menopause Manifesto

The New Menopause Manifesto

I was never scared of natural menopause. I embraced the idea. I trusted my body would do what it needed to do to care for me. I sought out the nuggets of truth that older women would share with me about the experienced. I dismissed the sorry ideas that it was bad or changes a woman’s value.

Now that I face abrupt surgical menopause I feel ripped off. I wish I could experience the slow roll into this life cycle. But it was that or allow my body to die, so I am coming to terms with it. This surgery and experience will be powerful. The changes are a part of my extension of life. It means more for me, not less. And with that, I have begun to write…

The New Menopause Manifesto

Don’t listen to old myths about how the body changes with menopause. I am here to tell you the truth.

The truth is you become more beautiful.

You become stronger. As strong as you wish to be.

You become a better listener.

Your brain actually grows 2.267 inches in diameter. It expands to make room for everything you have learned so far and everything you have yet to learn. (Need proof, menopausal individuals use more lube, that’s just fucking smart for anyone of any age.)

You grow big, golden balls! Nads that make weak individuals fear you and strong individuals desire you.

Fuck hot flashes. The truth is that you get hot. In every way. Sometimes your skin actually sizzles and you resonate warmth to those around you.

Plants and animals grow more fond of you.

Everything you cook tastes better.

Finally, I am not sure I am supposed to share this, but the government issues you a secret license to “dispose of” both pedophiles and those who mistreat animals.

This is what really happens during menopause.

Notes To Myself: How Not to Fuck Up My Body’s Healing Process

Notes To Myself: How Not to Fuck Up My Body’s Healing Process

I am a dumb workaholic who tries to do too much every day, hence this note to my future self. I’ll add to this and refer to this to try to keep myself from being an uncontrollable nut after I have my surgery. Wish me […]

Waiting for Treatment / Part 3

Waiting for Treatment / Part 3

Yesterday I completed all the pre-surgical appointments. As soon as we got in the car I called the desk where they are to schedule my surgery. Got the voice mail. Again. Fuck. They may be hating me over there, but I am over it. I […]