Questioning It All

beachIt’s been a while.  I know.

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





26 Responses

    • That clip was amazing Lesley! How inspiring! Thank you for sharing. I figure even if I am partially disabled I should still be able to do the program. And my goal is to be a dance therapist working with other cancer patients who also may be dealing with physical challenges so it’ll just make me a better therapist and better able to relate to my clients. Hugs.

  1. Good to hear from you. Congratulations on getting into the program! I think it will be so good for your mental health. I’m sorry you’re having the physical challenges; the Taxanes are evil. Funny, because everyone swore that they would be so much easier than Adriamycin. Not so for me. Keep being kind to yourself and give yourself permission to bitch and moan. Then get up and keep going. Love:)

  2. Thank you for the update. I’m so happy that your in-laws will be with you for a more extended time to help look after Miss M. while you are doing the dance therapy. Nothing better than loving grandparents to learn a language from — my first words in Russian (‘bread’ and ‘brain’ — I wanted to call the local bully a Bread Brain and not get beat up for it — and it worked!) I learned from my Grandma Cherup. Sending you much love and good energy, and holding you and Heron and Marisa in my thoughts and prayers as ever — John

    • Oh John… Your comment cracked me up! Thanks for that. And the good energy. Sending hugs back to you.

  3. I am also a cancer survivor, having had my bile duct and 2/3s of my liver removed in Dec. I was well enough to go back to work but cut out most of my other former busy life events in favor of quiet time, reading, etc. I also am now starting to realize the things I lost vs. the things I have. Some can be regained over time, and those are the ones I have been working on. I found a naturopathic GYN to help with post menopausal issues and libido. I learned that as long as I am dealing with stress, via surgical recovery, work. etc, I can not produce the hormones I need. She is guiding me through this process with natural supplements, etc. I am also addressing issues that may not be real but I perceive them to be about my physical body. If each day I find something I can work on that has a good chance of success, I am living. The joy, exhilaration, laughter, etc, it next on the bucket list. Good luck with your journey.

    • Amazing words and insights Carole. Thanks for sharing. I’m working hard to de-stress as well. I know how that impacts healing. Much luck and joy to you!

  4. I’m eight months off chemo and the neuropathy has just set in. It’s hard to sleep at night. My hands wake me with pain. I hope it passes.
    I’m glad to see your post. I relate in so many ways. Stay strong and enjoy the class! It will be so good for you!

    • Wow! 8 months later and now it hits?!!? That sucks! I agree the pain at night is the worst. I just want a good night’s sleep! Haven’t seen a blog post from you lately either. Was wondering how you were doing. Good to hear from you. xoxo

  5. I have a duel diagnosis – bipolar disorder and epilepsy. I can tell you that sometimes I envy cancer patients because what’s wrong with you often times is visible – from the bald head to the arms that don’t move. I’d take it all on if I could get five minutes (seconds) of compassion when I need it the most even though I don’t look sick from distance. My life expectancy – 3 years. I think you should wrap yourself up in the people that love you and know that it actually could be worse…. and a lot lonlier. I wish you well.

    • I hear ya. Most stage 4 breast cancer patients have no visible signs that they’re dealing with a life threatening illness either. It’s tough. A lot of times I would just tell people straight up – I’m sick, I need to sit there… Or not wait in line… Or get on the plane first… Instead of waiting for them to figure it out because they probably never would. And I know the grass is always greener, right? Wishing you lots of love and compassion in your journey.

      • The worst part for me isn’t the seizures that knock me out. Those are easy to understand, especially for the people around me. It’s the ones that hit me and leave me speechless but awake. I can’t speak but I understand what’s being said and I can’t respond. I can’t tell people I’m sick. I cant speak at all. I’m just a freak. An incapcitated, terrified freak. And mostly what I”m thinking is – it’s going to really blow to die speechless. Because I’m totally pissed.

      • Wow. That totally sucks. I can’t even imagine. Sending compassion and loving energy your way.

  6. Your arm must be driving you nuts.When I was first affected by arthritis,my right thumb lost it’s opposability for about a year…there is really nothing that will prepare you for your body not doing what you ask of it.I remember staring at it and thinking,What the Hell!I wish a speedy recovery for you,and am sending warm thoughts and hugs.

    • OMG!! That is so me! Looking at my hand in disbelief. Yelling at my fingers. Dropping stuff all the time cuz I still expect my arm to be working. And wondering why it’s not doing what I tell it to. LOL! You gotta just laugh about it all sometimes, right?? Thanks.

    • Damn that sucks! Sorry to hear. Sending lots of good energy your way and praying you get a good response from the treatment!

  7. My heart beats with yours. My love is always with you. I am so sorry you are experiencing this terrible ordeal which sucks so much energy and joy from your so precious life. I love that you understand that joy in the small moments, the small things is really the big thing after all. I surround you and your beautiful family with light and love and prayers.

  8. Terri…stay focused on all of those signs of God/love in your life. You are surrounded by loving people and positive thoughts. Know that you have lots of support out there!

  9. Your road is so hard – up and down, back and forth! Sorry to hear about being stuck. And the pain!

  10. Er, looks like the rest of my message disappeared so here again, please delete if it gets doubled:

    Your road is so hard – up and down, back and forth! Sorry to hear about being stuck. And the pain!

  11. Terri,
    Sending love and light your way.
    I have been a reader and cheerleader from afar since I heard about this blog from a fellow Hunter SW alum. Your voice has been deeply inspiring as I’ve gleaned strength from your seemingly indefatigable power for centered-ness. In the absence of a recent post, I want to make sure you know that there are more people out here than you can even imagine who are rooting for you. Our energy is a renewable resource to harness when needed, and I’m directing some of it right at you.

  12. i was living with cancer for 5 years a friend told me about pharaoh,and i contacted him he cure me now i’m feeling better than before if you want feel like me call or text him at 1 876 277 0684

Comments are closed.