__________HOLIDAYS__________ I love any excuse to celebrate! In my house its normal for us to decorate, cook and do it up on holidays. I also made my own wrapping paper this year. I found this cherry ink spray. I just used that along with white butchers paper […]
Tag: self care
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?
I actually like to make my own almond milk. It’s really easy, it just requires a bit of forethought because you have to soak the almonds a day in advance. When I don’t have time to make my own, my favorite brand is Califia Unsweetened Vanilla Almond […]
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. […]
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.)
I’m making a list… My brother’s wedding Getting new tattoos with my husband when we get our no evidence of disease report Going back to martial arts Learning how to do aerial yoga Plotting my spring garden (I’m planting/learning to grow more food next year!) New […]
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 accept the cost. The cost now is that I invite healing professionals into my life. I allow them to touch me. I trust my body, I trust my mind, and I trust them.
Trusting others and allowing them to touch me is no small thing. I have something of a reactive attachment disorder that stems from the neglect and abuse I endured as a child. I was physically abused, I suffered immense medical trauma, I was not touched in positive ways, and I was passed around to different caregivers.
This means that as I grew up I had to learn how to allow people to touch me. I had to let go of my impulse to injure people who tried to touch me. There are times when my reactions to touch saved my life and there are times today when I still need to talk myself down from what may look to others like irrational behavior.
I don’t think of my natural reactions as a disorder tho. It may feel that way to others, but that just means they have not taken the time to get to know me. Generally, I sum this up by saying I am both instinctually gifted and a little feral.
So yes, I am now looking at healing professionals as teammates and learning to trust them. (Writing this here with mixed intentions, to share with you but also to remind my inner feral self! Ha!)
It has also taken some time to figure how to address the fight inside my body. I have often in my life used the power of my mind to visualize an illness. I have used my mind to picture the bacteria or pain and talk my body through how to release it and fight it.
Cancer has not been that easy. The mutated cells are also my cells. They are made of me. There are no external invading properties. The flaw exists in my genes. I was having a hard time hating myself or part of me. (Which is kind of awesome, in its own way.)
Then I got a call from the doctor. The CT scan shows there is something on my liver. They don’t know if it is cancer yet. If it is, that’s devastating. It means cancer breached my uterus. If it’s nothing, then no big deal.
A sign that there may be a breach pissed me off. It’s like the mutated cells are bullies, coming after all the healthy cells and organs. And that made it possible for me to visualize this fight. The mutated cells are bullies.
Couple that with having cleared up the mean UTI I was suffering from and the gloves are on. I am fighting bullies, which a very natural thing to do in real life! I don’t hate bullies, I hate their behavior. I want to isolate and remove them from the situation. That is my attitude toward my bully cells.
Ok, enough of my inner blabber.
In other news, I had an MRI yesterday so they could get a good look at my liver. I learned something interesting… A CT scan with IV contrast takes two minutes and destroys my heart. An MRI with IV contrast where I’m stuck in this tightly enclosed tin can for 30 minutes is 1000 times easier for me. The contrast fluid for an MRI does not trigger me. As a crackpot scientist, I found this to be fascinating!
My mother in law is staying with us. She is taking some of the daily tasks off our hands and enduring the emotional labor with us. What a saint. I love her so much. Yesterday she sat at the kitchen table with me and we went over all of the appointments, paperwork, and bureaucratic bullshit together.
We have my medical appointments, insurance junk, my husband has a bunch of care and benefits stuff we are working through at the VA, and we have to get our car registered in NY since we moved here a few months ago. Couple that with my work schedule and I have been swimming. Thank goodness she arrived.
(Photo: Street art of a cat. San Francisco, circa 2007)