Here are some photos from the last few weeks!
Mortality and Guilt
Mortality [mawr-tal-i-tee] – the state or condition of being subject to death; mortal character; nature or existence.
Before cancer, I’d never really thought about mortality. I mean, I knew that one day I’d die and the people that I love would eventually die as well. But I never really THOUGHT about it. Now I think about it daily, more than a few times a day. Mortality, not just mine, is constantly on my mind.
It’s something else to pile on my list of worries. In the last five years since I’ve been doing this cancer thing, I’ve lost two aunts – both to cancer. I’ve lost an uncle. And last week, I lost a cousin, once again – to cancer. This cancer shit is just ridiculous!
I feel guilty that: I didn’t encourage my aunt to get better healthcare. I really in my heart feel that if she’d gone to a better doctor/facility – like mine, she’d still be here. And my second aunt would have had chemo if my first aunt’s outcome was better than what it was. My uncle would probably still be here if my aunts were still alive. My cousin – if I would have helped him navigate his healthcare, perhaps he’d still be here. Once again… this cancer shit is ridiculous!
Back to mortality. I don’t worry about my mortality much, because I know what stage 4 cancer means. But I worry double-time about my family and friends’ mortalities. I worry constantly about whether they are safe. About whether they will make it home. About their health. I worry and I am unable to shake the worry.
I pray and then I worry. I know that the two aren’t supposed to be done together. You’re supposed to pray and give it to God. If you pray, don’t worry and if you worry, don’t pray. And the rest of those sayings. But how do you do that? How do you not worry? How do you let it go? If you know, please let me know.
I’ve tried meditation and mindfulness. I even tried the whole gratitude thing – super hard to stay thankful when you’ve seen your life fall apart and there’s nothing you could do to stop it. I’ve even accepted that some things are out of my control and I try to focus on positive things. But damn!!! All of that is hard to do and I still end up worrying. I still end up stressing about other people and their mortality, other people’s lives and just other people in general. Any tips? Thoughts?
Welp, cancer has decided to give me another visit! It was already in my lung, which we saw back in December 2021, it hasn’t increased in size at all. But now I have two tumors in the wall of my abdomen, Peritoneal Metastases. From what I’ve read, it is rare for breast cancer to metastasis into the abdomen and is usually detected in late stages. I’m happy that mine was detected early. It also stated that complete cytoreductive surgery combined with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy and systemic chemotherapy is the main treatment and the five year survival rate is 45% – not sure if that’s good or bad.
Cancer crap always has long, hard to pronounce words! Most of which I have no idea of the meaning. Did I ever mention my hatred of cancer?!? I had no idea what cytoreductive and hyperthermic intraperitoneal even means. Google to the rescue! It basically means that the visible cancerous tumors are surgically removed from the abdominal cavity. The cavity is then bathed with hot chemotherapy — heated to 107 degrees — to kill any microscopic cancer cells that remain. The recovery time is 6-8 weeks. It also said that recovery is painful. Who the hell wants to do that??? I’ll have to see what my other options are. I am not in the mood to be in pain, especially pain at the level that I imagine it would be.
I feel so weird about this cancer reoccurrence (this has been my sixth one). I mean, I’m not scared (because – been there, done that) and I’m not worried (I think that I’ve worried enough). I sort of feel numb with a bit of anger sprinkled in. I know that I don’t want to be sick, perhaps that’s my only worry. I really don’t want to be sick again. I don’t want to have to ask others to help take care of me. I don’t want to be unable to do things. I don’t want a sore throat from vomiting. I don’t want my hair to fall out, especially since it just started to really grow. So I’m just a bit angry. Angry that cancer keeps picking on me. It it just so persistent. First as a teen, then in my early. 20s and now over and over in my 40s. What the fuck?!?! I think that my anger is my fuel – I refuse to go out without a fight. I’m going to fight until there is no fight left and I don’t see that happening anytime soon. I feel like cancer just keeps fucking with me and I’ve never been one to back down from a fight. I’ve been called stubborn and hardheaded my entire life. I’m going to show what stubborn and hardheaded really is.
Fuck you cancer! You are in for a battle. I will not give up. I will not give in. You may knock me down, but I will get up – again and again and again!
Why Am I Still Alive?
That’s a question I ask quite often. Why? I’ve met many beautiful women with the same diagnosis, with a lot more going on than me. Some were influencers, spreading positivity, showing us that this disease shouldn’t make us stop life, some had families and children, some were just beautiful beings that deserve to still be here. But they’re gone. I do none of those things and I have no children, so why am I still here?
Being diagnosed with stage IV cancer knocked me down and I’ve been trying to get up ever since. Knowing that more than likely my life might end early because of this disease has really rocked my world.
People told me to make the most of each day or live life to the fullest. I instead went down the rabbit hole of worry, anger, sadness, depression, thoughts of suicide – let’s just get it over with and a bunch more emotions. I went into a shell of – I don’t want/need to talk or see anyone. My phone was and still is either on Do Not Disturb or I just turn off all alerts and ringers. I didn’t/ don’t return phone calls or reply to text messages.
I tried to examine my thoughts and actions but the negative thoughts and anger would invade those thoughts.
I have not used the time that God had given me to do something good or positive. I’ve been sulking and angry. I haven’t been intentional with trying to have a good day. To be honest, some day when I open my eyes, I’m angry that I’m still alive.
I feel like my life as it was has been stolen from me. I’m unable to do the things that I loved. I wake up exhausted nearly every day. My body hurts on the inside. I’m not who I was and it’s been difficult trying to understand this new me because she surprises me with a new ailment out of nowhere.
This tumor for example, how do you ignore it and continue life like there’s no foreign object that can kill you growing in your body? How?
But I’ve been thinking….
WHY AM I STLL HERE??? There has to be a reason that God has blessed me so many times. I feel the need to find out why. What is my purpose? What am I supposed to be doing?
I wonder if God is working in me, because I’ve prayed so much and so hard for his help. I kind of feel His spark flickering inside of me.
This spark is awakening me and calling me to go on a spiritual and personal journey. That is one of the reasons for my cross-country drive. I need peace and quiet so that I can hear God a little better. I know that I am here for a reason. I just need to find what that reason is.
Sorry I’ve Been Away
I haven’t posted anything since January… WOW. I promised myself that I would at a minimal post twice a month. Oh well!
Anywho, a lot has taken place in the last few months. First, I went for my scans a couple of months ago and my tumors are shrinking. I owe that to God and my nightly weed sessions because I have not done chemo. I guess my prayers are being answered 🙂
Secondly, I have resumed my therapy sessions. Depression still comes around to bring me down. During my last session, my therapist informed me that depression doesn’t just go away like I’d like it to. And that it is best to learn my triggers, as well as my coping mechanisms. Therefore I am keeping a daily journal of my moods. I decided to also document the weather and what I’ve done on that particular day.
Lastly, I bought a bus!!!! Most of you probably remember that I was planning a cross country trip last year. That didn’t happen due to my health but also because different people in my life projected their fears on me, making me afraid to go it alone.
I have decided that this time that God has granted needs to be taken advantage of. No more moping and feeling sad and sorry for myself and my life. I am converting my bus into a camper and Paris and I will head out on the road. I plan on visiting national parks, all 50 states and will live my life like the adventure it is.
I am building a YouTube channel so that you can follow me from planning, building and hitting the road.
The Livestrong Program
(written February 2022)
I joined a program called Livestrong. According to their website, it is “a program that partners with the YMCA, to promote the importance of physical activity after being diagnosed with cancer.” In this program, we work with trained YMCA staff to build muscle strength and endurance, increase flexibility and improve energy levels. EXACTLY what I need!
I absolutely LOVE this program!!! It has become so difficult for me to get up and get out, but this program gives me something to look forward to. They actually build a program specific to your needs and abilities. And I workout with other beautiful women who have dealt with or are dealing with some kind of cancer. Membership is free for the first three months and then you pay the regular membership fee for that particular YMCA. The other great thing is that you also have access to all of the classes and programs at the YMCA.
Right now, I have limited movement in my left arm, therefore that is my main focus. I’ve also gained lots of poundage these last couple of years, so I’m also working on my donut.
I’m not sure how I found out about the program, but it’s not something that I see advertised a lot. Here is the website. I must say it again – it is a GREAT program!