I’ve been feeling a bit lost. Out of sorts. Unclear about life, relationships, cancer, treatment, my career…
Sometimes it’s hard to still find the joy in life. To have gratitude. To not stay permanently stuck in a bad place. It’s hard adjusting to a life with ongoing physical pains, depleted energy, a bald head, non-existent sex drive, and a left arm that is temporarily out-of-order.
But then last week, as i’m sitting outside struggling to make peace with it all and asking the Universe for guidance the doorbell rings and it’s a special delivery from a special friend and fellow breast cancer survivor in NY. She sent me a gift card for the Metropolitan Opera because she saw “attending the opera” on my bucket list. And in that moment, just when I’m feeling at my whit’s end, hopeless and losing faith, the Universe sends me this glorious message. To inspire me. To remind me of the beauty in living and the amazing compassion of others. To offer hope and healing. And show me that God’s love is all around.
It’s not all bad.
I also received news a few weeks ago that i was accepted into the dance and movement therapy program in NYC!!! I am thrilled! The news inspired me to start exercising again for the first time since November. Gotta start working to build my stamina and get back in shape. I’m easing my way into it and feeling the changes already.
The one problem now though, is that my left arm and hand are really messed up. Neuropathy has set in (likely a side effect of the darling chemo – Taxotere – which I did stop taking over a month ago, Thank God!). But my hand and arm are so bad now that I have to type with one hand (hence, the lack of blog posts lately)… I even had to get Miss M to help me open a can yesterday, and button my sweater… I can’t put jewelry on by myself… I can barely tie my shoes… And I’m having pain at night that runs up & down my left side… Sigh…
And I’m kinda pissed that my oncoligist didn’t catch this sooner. It has gradually been getting worse for months now. We finally did an MRI last week to explore the possibility that this is from some cancer pressing down on the nerves. Although the scan did show tumor involvement in the bone at the bottom of my neck/top of the spine, there are no solid tumors pressing on my nerve. So I, along with the other medical professionals I’ve talked to, feel that the neuropathy is from the chemo. From what I’ve read, this will eventually go away. But it could take anywhere from a few months to a few years for that to happen. In the meantime, I am addressing the issue with regular physical therapy, acupuncture, refloxology, energy work, supplements, and plans to meet with an occupational therapist and an osteopath.
My body feels so depleted and beaten up. I feel like I need to ramp up the love, nurturing, and nourishment. Cradle my body and treat it like gold. Be vigilant about my self-care. De-stress, have fun, exercise, eat right, get quiet, and take it easy. Take each day as it comes. Listen to my body and try to figure out what I’m capable of doing. I’m praying i’ll be physically well enough come June to be able to do the dance therapy program. I really want this. And I’ll be so pissed if cancer takes it away from me.
Thank God my in-laws are coming up from Brazil soon to help out! They arrive on Miss M’s birthday at the end of May and are staying for 3 months. They’ll be watching her when I go to NY for my dance therapy program in June. They are so sweet, helpful, considerate, and fun to be around. I’d have them permanently move in with us if they could. And I’m psyched that Miss M will be forced to brush up on her Portuguese!
This past weekend I went with a friend to my first ever breast cancer conference. LBBC’s annual conference for women living with metastatic breast cancer. It was pretty fantastic. To be in a group of people that can totally relate to my life. Where I don’t have to explain my bald head or why I can’t do a high-five anymore. I learned more about with treatment side effects (like neuropathy), how to better communicate with those around me about what i’m going through, and why tumor marker tests are not totally reliable, among other things.
I also realized how differently each of us faces and thinks about our diagnosis, our treatment decisions, and our futures. And how we can all choose different ways of doing things and end up in the same place. Cancer is such an individual journey. This is something I must remember as I continue on my path. My plan doesn’t have to work for anyone else. It just has to work for me.
Peace. – T