Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Journey Continues

It’s been awhile since I have written.  My last entry was about the last chemo and I sort of felt like I was done at that point.  Well, much to my dismay, I am still healing :) – I know, surprise, surprise, to those of you who tried to tell me how much I will need patience through this process!  I must say that the past couple of weeks have been a bit challenging.  Physically I am noticing a decrease in side effects (the neuropathy seems to have subsided and it seems like I am having fewer hotflashes throughout the day) -  unfortunately the fatigue and emotional side of things have not been as positive.  I have felt very discouraged and pretty low since my last post and haven’t been quite sure what to write. Thanksgiving Day I started to emerge from those feelings but the fatigue was unbelievable (I suppose all that turkey may have something to do with it :)). 
The emotions I am experiencing are apparently a normal part of the process, according to the medical staff at Huntsman (lovely).  I think emotional pain is much worse than physical pain and it’s much more difficult to understand.  I find it interesting that I was able to get through a cancer diagnosis, 2 surgeries and 4 months of chemo without feeling as low as I have the past 3 weeks.  I truly believe that the Lord carried me through those times through so many angelic friends and family who prayed and faithfully attended to my needs. I guess now that those things are done, it isn’t quite over but I am on the downward climb. I am having the delayed emotional reaction that happens sometimes and my body is probably in shock with all of the toxins still left from chemo, so along with the hotflashes come the feelings of anxiety and sadness. 

It has been nice to have the long weekend to regroup - I got to see and talk to some wonderful family and friends, I did yoga, some spiritual reflection, and a little shopping – all of this has helped lift my spirits. To those who had the lovely experience of interacting with me lately before I regrouped - so sorry for the “Debbie Downer” moments and thank you for listening!  I know I am truly blessed with wonderful friends to get me through this. A new favorite quote comes to mind for me and any of you who may feel alone or unloved – please remember:

“You are not forgotten . . . wherever you are and whatever the circumstances.  No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you.  In fact, He loves you, with an infinite love . . . “    -Dieter F. Uchtdorf

So what now?  Well, I will continue to see my Oncologist and Breast Surgeon every 3-4 months for the next few years and at least once a year for the rest of my life to make sure I continue to be cancer free by doing blood tests, MRI’s and those lovely mammograms!  Friday, December 2nd I get the port taken out of my chest that was used for chemo – minor outpatient surgery, looking forward to one more step being done!  Sometime next year I will get a “touch up surgery” to complete the reconstruction that was done in June.  So the journey continues but on a new, less cumbersome path.

My hair is about ¼ of an inch now and getting thicker every day.  Instead of the bright red color I was born with, it is blond with some light brown mixed in.  Everyone keeps saying, “wow, I can’t believe how fast your hair is growing” – I must admit it feels slow on my end :) but thankful for what I am getting! 

On November 5th, my family and friends gathered for a big celebration party of my victory over cancer.  We had fun taking punches at the "cancer" pinata and of course some good times with the nieces and nephews!

The following video shows my journey and the many things that happened along the way.  What a ride it has been.  Glad it is over but wouldn't trade what I've gained from this experience and the view I have from the road less traveled.  I know I could not have made it without your love, prayers and support.  Thank you for all you have done to bless my life.  Special thanks to my parents for staying with me on this journey and to my brother in law Troy who helped put this video together.  Bear with my technical difficulties at the end when the music runs out :).