Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Patience - Day 269

Patience is a virtue ... something I’ve always tried to live by – something I preach to Mike all the time. But let me tell you, it’s not always so easy – and this is coming from someone who typically has an obscene amount of patience.


Cancer treatment is like a tornado – or more timely, an earthquake – things are broken down in the blink of an eye and recovery takes a lifetime, and nothing will ever really be as it was before the storm. There will always be some remaining trace of “what happened here” – some fracture in the foundation, that was repaired but is still visible to those who really look, or know it’s there. It’s the caveat in the story ... “the original structure was built in 1981, but after the earthquake of 2010, what you see now is a replica of the upper architecture on the original support structure.”


But I’m happy to say that I’m getting better and accepting the new me, and this new era of my life. I’m being as patient as I can with my hair re-growth (much credit is due to my husband for that) – I haven’t (yet) jumped off the deep end in an effort to control the schedule of Mother Nature. My hair is coming back, and every week it looks a little thicker, a little longer – Just this morning I almost got the top into a faux hawk. My eyelashes are in, they’re just short still, but they’re long enough for mascara, so that’s good. The multivitamin I ordered arrived from New Zealand and I’ve been taking it for 2 weeks now. I feel great on it, I’m noticing my skin is looking better, more balanced, hydrated and soft again. Another two weeks and I think my nails will be completely free of the damage from chemo. My cycle is semi-regular at least thus far, 5 weeks instead of 4 – we’ll have to see how that goes as this year progresses. Sun sensitivity – none that I can tell. I’ve been indoor tanning the last two weeks – and before we start down the path of tanning beds can cause skin cancer, haven’t I already had enough of cancer - I’d like to throw in the bag that Tamoxifen can cause uterine cancer, so it really is mixed opinion on all accounts. Plus, the color has done wonders for my self-esteem. I grew up in sunny San Diego remember? I’m accustomed to having some color in my skin – and since I was unable to catch any rays last summer, I was especially ghostly this winter. We’re also headed to San Diego for my 30th and I’d like not to glow. We’ve also booked our 2nd honeymoon (hooray!) and everything is set. We’re going to be staying at Aventura Spa Palace in Puerto Aventuras, across from Cozumel, and a little pre-tanning is necessary so as not to burn while we’re away. I can’t wait!


We celebrated our first Valentine’s as a married couple on Saturday the 12th. It was lovely – a slight comedy of errors, but lovely nonetheless. (And the restaurant more than made up for it by sending us a generous gift certificate to return and have a better experience.) It was also the first time I ventured out without a hat, hood or scarf. It took me almost two hours to figure out an outfit that I felt confident enough in to do so, but I was determined to get that first appearance out of the way. As you can see, the martini helped.







And now, a week and a half later, you can see my hair has some more growth.
 




Things are on the up and up ... I just need to keep my patience going. I have my 3 month follow up appointments with both my Onc and my plastic surgeon in early March. Physically, I’m dropping some of the weight that I put on during treatment and am feeling better about it every week- like I’m getting back to my old self. I have a phone interview, today actually, with Be Bright Pink for the Colorado Ambassador role. It will be their first Colorado ambassador and first Colorado Chapter of the non-profit. Hopefully, regardless of their selection, we can keep spreading the word and educating young women about their risk.


Oh, and I went out for my first real ladies night last Friday. It was super fun. We went out for sushi and then went dancing. I was approached by a few people about my “edgy hairstyle” ... the comments were all really sweet, along the lines of “not everyone can pull that off”, evidently the perception was it was my choice to buzz my hair, but – it would have been tough to yell over the music “IT’S FROM CHEMO” ... so I just nodded, smiled and said thank you. It made me feel good to know that I don’t look like a cancer patient, because I never did identify with that image anyway.

5 comments:

  1. Oh how happy I am reading this! You sound like you are doing so great.

    I am having problems seeing the pictures though, I wonder why? It's all just white. I tried refreshing...but it doesn't want to work for me right now.

    I bet you look stunning!

    I have my first chemo class on friday and I'll be starting chemo in about 2 weeks from then.

    I will be on a 4 cycle treatment, like you were, and then Tamoxifen as well.

    I was node negative as well, but mine were 'on the ramp' as well :)

    Can't wait to see your Mexico pictures, be sure to post lots of them...haha.

    Thinking of you,

    Michelle

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  2. Hi Michelle! I read your latest post about your options ... I'm personally happy you decided to go with the 4 rounds of chemo instead of the 6. The way I see it is that itty bitty extra percentage might not be worth the extra damage it could do to your heart. You've got a long time to live after all this. You could just as easily step off the wrong curb and be hit by a bus and all that extra precaution was for nothing. I personally think you're making a good choice. The chances of us getting cancer to begin with was truly small -- if it survives being cut out, 4 atom bombs and starvation (the tamoxifen) and it comes back - then so be it! =)

    I'm glad you're doing well! Don't worry about the chemo port, you'll be ok. And you'll be glad for it once you start chemo. It really doesn't hurt that much at all when they access it. And if you ask for some topical numbing agent, you're good to go!

    Talk with you soon!!
    Melissa

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  3. I am so proud of you. You are an amazing inspiration and I am so glad you are doing well. you're always in my thoughts and prayers...I miss you! :)

    Love always!

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  4. Hey I can access your pictures now! You look amazing! Just like Alyssa Milano, don't you think? With her new short do?

    And Emma Watson (if you were blonde) Funny enough... I''ve always wanted to have a short short crop like that but I was never gutsy enough. I guess we're getting that moment after chemo right? Hahha. It totally looks like it was a bold choice and not 'chemo growth' ... yeay.

    Have a ton of fun while you are gone okay? And take some bikini shots too! I want to see how it looks with reconstruction, heheh. :)

    Ps - thanks for the vote of confidence, I think i'm making the right decision too.

    Michelle

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  5. Hi

    I hope you are having a great time in Mexico!! Just wanted to say I was thinking of you.

    I had a pretty crappy experience with my portacath (you can link back to me and read about it if you wish) but now that I'm back home, I am looking forward to start the next step!! CHEMO.

    Have a margarita for me :)

    michelle

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