Finding Myself Again

My new look! Hair is starting to grow back. The extra pounds are coming off. I’m feeling good.

I just got off the phone with my BFF Auntie ‘Cole…  The last thing she mentioned was the change she’s noticed in me lately…  How different (and how much better) I’m looking…  How I’m rocking the new ‘do (I stopped wearing head scarves and hats when I was in NYC and never looked back)…  And I had to admit – yes, I’m feeling good.

It sucks that it took being diagnosed with breast cancer to get me to a good place.  Given the option, I would never have chosen to get breast cancer – EVER!  But now that I have it I am doing everything in my power to make this life the best life possible.

So thanks to a referral from a friend of a friend on Bowen I now have an appointment to meet with therapist # 3.  They say third time is a charm, right?  Her bio makes her sound like a perfect fit for me.  She’s trained in gestalt work (an experiential therapy focused on the present moment and tapping into the wisdom of your body)  – which I love!  When I called today I was told there was a waiting list to see this particular therapist…  But oddly enough, a few hours later I got a call back saying there was an opening on Tuesday next week.  Go figure.  (I’m betting the fact that I have stage 4 cancer had something to do with immediate opening).  Fingers crossed this is the one.

In other news, I received a copy of my MRI from January (the one I took after the notorious PET scan that changed my diagnosis from Stage II to Stage IV), and it confirmed the existence of two suspicious areas in the bone marrow of my left femur bone that they (the people in Ohio) concluded to be cancer.  Of course because we never biopsied those suspicious spots in my leg we’ll never truly know if it was cancer or not…  And I am still waiting for the NY folks to get back to me with their interpretation of the scans.  But for now I’m still convinced I have had metastatic disease.

Next week I’m off to the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment just outside Chicago for a third opinion…  Or is that a fourth opinion?  I finished reading Dr. Block’s book “Life Over Cancer” while I was in Massachusetts and absolutely LOVED it.  So much of what he described I’m already doing (diet, exercise, meditation, supplements) but I’m eager to hear their thoughts about possible next steps.  Should I get surgery?  Do more chemo?  Or maybe something else entirely?

Of course when I told my NY doctor about the visit she said, “The Block Center?  Never heard of it.  Just be cautious.  Some of these places drain people of their last pennies and offer nothing more than you would get at a reputable hospital.”   A typical cynical New Yorker response…  And interestingly enough when I told my local Ohio oncologist Dr. K about the visit his response was something along the lines of, “Interesting…  Let me know if you find out anything new that is helpful.  I’d love hear about different approaches and maybe learn something new.”  This is why I love Dr. K.

Of course I’m also psyched about the trip to Chicago because it means a full day & half of “me time”!  Including a 5 hour road trip each way, a hotel stay, and possibly a quick toodle around Chi-town.  Miss M is staying home with daddy.  It’ll just be me, myself, and I.  Glorious.

And this is why, despite it all, I’m feeling good these days.  Because I’m finally making myself a priority again.  Having fun.  Living life.  After 3+ years of taking care of everyone else but me, it’s now time to help myself.  Rediscover who I am and what I want from life.  It’s almost like cancer gave me permission to put myself back on the list.

I know putting yourself back on the list is especially hard for us moms.  Having kids is ALL CONSUMING!  Everything changes.  It’s so easy to lose yourself amidst the craziness of juggling mommyhood, work, family obligations, a household, life.  Being a mom is by far the most difficult and important thing I’ve had to do in my life.  But I know it’s not everything.

Balance is the key.  Only juggle as many things as you can handle.  And try not to put too much on your plate.  Remember what’s important.  And don’t lose yourself in the shuffle.

If you get lost along the way, make sure to try and find yourself again.

Peace.  – T

9 Responses

  1. Terri Luanna you rock my world.

    Best wishes for your Chicago trip – may it be a great combination of helpful information and incite filled, fun you time. Thank you for reminding us all of the important things.
    PS you have never looked more beautiful.

  2. Ditto Stevie!!!

    Yet again you have set my day on the right path my love… Tears, pride, joy, hope; such an amazing array of emotions triggered by your words of wisdom.

    The GWA crew sends their love. Had a fabulous dinner at Peg’s last night and everyone agreed you are totally looking fab!! Diane wanted me to remind you of yet another resource in the windy city- Miss Leslie- who is on her way to becoming a doctor herself. I will send you her contact info.

    In the mean time, I have taken your advice about taking care of me to heart. Bowen and LA are scheduled and I am counting the days to our rendezvous and creating more precious memories…

    Good luck next Tuesday!!

    Love, Laurie

  3. You have a beautiful head! You are beautiful!

    My SIL has been fighting lymphoma for the last several years and had a bone marrow transplant. She seems to be in remission finally! She regularly meditates and feels it has helped her a lot. I deal with anxiety and depression and should probably start meditating. I’ve tried a few times but keep feeling like I’m not “doing it right” or I get stressed that I’m sitting and doing “nothing.”

    • Glad to hear about your SIL. I LOVE cancer stories with happy endings :-) And I hear ya about the meditation. It is helpful for so many things. And yet, despite its simplicity it is still really daunting and stressful for so many people. It is a “tool” I’ve used for many years now and plan on doing an upcoming blog entry about the basics of meditation because so many people have been asking me about it lately. Stay tuned. And keep trying.

  4. Enjoy your “me” time in Chicago! I am sure you will find time to squeeze in some fun during this visit. You are looking just absolutely fabulous!!! We will be thinking of you during this time. Much love!!!!

  5. I absolutely understand becoming a better you after suffering through a crucible of something awful. It merely brings out strengths you already had and would have found eventually.

    If you don’t want to do the really crowded, hustle and bustle of the museums and stuff in downtown Chicago, I recommend a stroll through the Botanic Gardens, which is less than 10 miles from the Block Center.

    http://www.chicagobotanic.org/

    • Ooohhhh…. The botanical gardens look perfect! I will definitely check it out. When I went to Columbus last month to do my radio interview that’s what I chose to do with my few free hours – go to the botanical gardens and just sit under a tree and be “one with nature”. Thank you so much for the recommendation!

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