It’s No Fun Having Cancer

It’s funny how easy it is to be happy when things are going well and you’re feeling good, but not so easy when things start to go wrong.

For the last few days my chest and ribs have been aching and sore.  My breathing is feeling kinda weird.  My energy levels have dropped dramatically.  And I have a sinking suspicion that something is going on inside me.  But it’s hard to know how much weight to give to these aches and pains and changes.  Am I just tired because I haven’t been getting enough sleep?  Is my breathing a bit off because I’m having little mini panic attacks?  Are these just your everyday variety of aches and pains that will go away on their own?  Or (the big question) – Is the cancer back and spreading and wrecking havoc in my body??  Aaahhhhh!!!!

Well, I’m not gonna take a sit-around-and-do-nothing approach.  That’s not my style.  Thankfully, I’m off to Chicago tomorrow for my visit at the Block Center (which will take up my entire day on Friday).  I’ve heard they take a gazzillion vials of blood and run a ton of tests to check how my body is functioning ; vitamin levels, oxidation, inflammation…  Plus I’ll be meeting with Dr. Block himself (the founder of the center and author of the amazing book ‘Life Over Cancer’), as well as an oncologist, nutritionist, psychologist, and lord knows who else.  So hopefully someone will be able to tell me something.

Plus, next week, I’m going to request a CT Scan when I see Dr. K.  I remember one of the scans I had in April mentioning that there was something suspicious in my sternum area and that it might be a good idea to have it checked with a CT scan.  When I brought it up, Dr. K assured me not to worry – We’ll take care of that later.  And I just figured it would be easier to wait till my next scheduled set of scans at the end of the summer.  But now I have a feeling something is going on and I want clarification.  Give me the damn scan right now please.

As I said,  it’s so much easier to be happy on the good days.  On days like today, when my body starts acting up, there is no denying my reality.  I so wish I could be done with it all.  But that’s not an option.  This is my life.  My new life.  And sometimes it’s kind of depressing…  and it sucks…  and it’s totally no fun at all.

But millions of people experience life altering situations every day – accidents, strokes, heart attacks, death, illness…  And things are never quite the same again.  I guess the key is recognizing that even when a situation is horrible, it doesn’t mean our whole lives have to become horrible as well.  There will be good days and bad days.  Ups and downs.  It is what it is.  Some things we can’t change.

Thanks to everyone for pulling me through.  For giving me a reason to keep pouring out my soul on this blog, face my feelings, and contribute to my healing.  It means a lot.  Especially on the “not so good” days like today.

Much love to all.  – T



25 Responses

  1. Relax, sweetheart. You’re ok. I got it straight from your Mom. EVERYBODY feels crappy at least part of every day; doesn’t mean anything. I’ve felt crappy for at least part of every day for over 60 years now. My dad too, and he’s 90. Think how lucky you are, that you were all the way into your 30s before you started to feel crappy sometimes.

    Your strength and your bravery astonish me daily.

  2. I love you sweetness. I wish I could take your pain. I totally get how them mind can carry us to scary places, wondering all along if it is real. This moment is real. Love is real. You are real. Your strength is real. You are amazing.

  3. I wish I knew what to say to make you feel better, but I don’t. Cancer does suck. It takes away your security, your belief that you are invincible. You will never be the same. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. You have learned not to take anything for granted, to treasure every moment, to live to the fullest. And through this blog you have inspired others to do the same. But it still sucks. I wish you didn’t have to go through it. I hope Chicago eases your mind and that in turn helps your body’s aches and pains go away so that you can continue to kick cancer’s ass!

  4. Terri, thank-you for sharing your most personal thoughts about your journey through this blog. My husband has stage 4 lung cancer and he’s not much of a talker. I often wonder what is going on inside his head. I know he worries. I know every ache and pain raises the BIG question for him just like it does for you…how could it not? Your writings give me a glimpse of what it must be like for him also and in that, there are new levels of empathy and support rising in me. I guess we all fall victim to looking too far down the road. It’s difficult to stay in the here and now especially when we have people and little people who depend on us. I do know one thing though – none of us can see around corners and all the time we invest in worrying…well, it just doesn’t do much for us. At the same time, being proactive, living in the best way we can is always beneficial and I can see that your efforts in that regard are paying off for you. Anyway, I just wanted to say ‘thanks’ for you’re sharing. You are helping others in ways you may not even be aware of…and we all “get by with a little help from a friend.” May peace be with you, Annette

    • Annette, I was so touched by your comment and so glad I can help give you a glimpse into what goes through the mind of someone with late stage cancer on a daily basis. My husband isn’t much of a talker either, so I know where you’re coming from. It’s tough. Stay strong! I know it’s not easy being the caretaker. But you’re right – we gotta just live the best way we can. We’ll get through somehow.
      Sending peace and strength back to you and your family, – terri

      • Terri – you’re the best. I’m just sorry I have to learn this through you, or at all. My husband had surgery (removal of part of his lung) as you are planning after chemo and radiation reduced his metastatic cancer to one tumour in one lung. The surgery margins were clear. We are waiting and hoping, as I will for you. When he tells me he can’t go on living like this, I tell him “just for one more day love. That’s the day they discover the cure.” keep strong Terri, and please keep writing. Annette

  5. You probably know this but I hope you have someone to go with you on Friday. I know when my SIL had a full day of tests that she needed a companion/advocate to help her remember things, keep her company, make sure she took care of herself and when necessary took notes. It can be exhausting.

  6. Morphidae is right – when you’re already wiped, good to have someone who can help, then chauffeur you home! You’re wise to jump on this; it’s likely a bug that can be treated, even pneumonia if the chemo is affecting your immune system. Besides, who wants the Midnight of the Soul worries?! Knowledge is power!


  7. You are so awe inspiring! Whenenever I think I have a problem…I re-read your blog. Go get ’em! Not knowing is so much more stressful..sort of like hiding your head in the sand. Find out, and then you know what you are dealing with. Prayers continue for you….

  8. You’re right — cancer is no fun. Your Dad is right — most people feel lousy at least part of most days. Your intuition is probably right — if something feels wrong, it needs to be checked out.

    How’s the baby?? (Usually good for a pickmeup!) :)

    I’ll look forward to hearing your experiences at this clinic. Really admire the not-stopping drive and determination you show … even on not-great days, you’re still one of the most positive people I read! Forward into the daylight — and safe travels!

  9. I don’t have cancer but I do have cerebral palsy. I’m constantly in pain whether from spinal arthritis that for all practical purposes leaves me paralyzed from the neck down, or from muscle spasms that annoy me in between times. I want you to know what you’ve said is fairly universal. Whatever is going on with your body right now you will figure it out, face it and deal with it with the same courage, grace and poise you’ve always shown at your best. I have faith in you. Just remember not to reason ahead of verifiable objective data. Much Love, Thomas

    • Being in pain sucks. And you’re right – it is universal. And somehow we gotta figure it out.
      Thanks for the faith and love. And here’s to wishing you lots of easy pain-free days… hugs, – terri

  10. I second Thomas’ comment! I love the sentence “Just remember not to reason ahead of verifiable objective data.” Beautiful! Thank you Thomas, that is great advice to for all of us.
    Hang in there Terri, it’s hard to avoid spinning out into negative thoughts and feelings on those crappy days or when our brains keep churning in the wee hours of the night. I think it’s great you are taking action rather than wallowing. Best wishes for the trip to Chicago. I can definitely understand and encourage your need for some alone time, as it can be so precious. At the same time I would definitely recommend recording your meetings with the doctor for future listening and interpreting with your support crew. You are a miracle. Believe it.

  11. No doctor knows your body better than you do. Get the scan and put your mind at ease. I’ll keep you in my prayers. Good luck friday, my thoughts will be with you, sending positive energy.

  12. Terri,
    Besides Mike, I have never met or have known someone so in touch with their body as you are. Happy to know you won’t have to wait too long to get answers. Prayer and love sent your way!!

  13. Sending you love and healing energy straight from the heart – your blog is moving and wonderful and you seem like a really great person. Enjoy chicago – it is a really great city!

  14. Sent you a bunch of love from the Rainbow Gathering on the 4th of July. Sounds like you were having a rough day.

    I was thinking about how you say that you’re going to be a cancer patient “for the rest of your life” and I just wanted to take a second to point out how that might not be true.

    I get it that you might need to look at it that way. You have to be prepared for that being true and all – but remember that we’re moving towards the future every day, and if you can make it through the next 5 years or so (who knows how long, but there are literally thousands of oncologists working on it every day with better and better equipment and know-how, an they’re sharing information better than ever before) – anyway if you can get through however many years of this they just MIGHT find a real honest to goodness CURE. And then you might not have to put up with all of the trials and the fear and stuff forever. It might actually be over someday, and you can just say that you’ve won and you can throw a victory party.

    That’s what I’m rooting for, anyway!

  15. Not having kids, with a hubby who works, I get plenty of time alone – I can understand your need for it, though. A friend sometimes recorded her doctor visits on her phone, so didn’t have to worry she was forgetting something important.

    Best of luck with your mastectomy. That primary tumor won’t be sending out any adventuring cells any longer!

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