Mixed Bag

The beautiful sunset this evening – as viewed from my backyard.

First of all, I have to give big shout outs to all my friends and family in New York & Massachusetts weathering the storm of Hurricane Sandy. Fingers crossed that the damage will be minimal.

Secondly, I have to send out big sincere THANK YOUS to everyone in the blogging community, all my friends, and my family for all your support, insightful comments, and reassurances after my last post. This blog is such a gift. A beautiful gathering of folks from all walks of life. You guys are amazing. And you play a big role in the many successes of my cancer journey. Thank you.

I have to say that things were definitely on the up & up in the days following my last blog entry.

The act of pouring out my feelings on the blog definitely brought on some serious healing. As did the arrival of my in-laws from Brazil. And the beautiful summer-like weather we had in Ohio last week (it actually reached 81 degrees). As well as the celebration of my 38th birthday (thanks to everyone for the fabulous text messages, emails, phone calls, and facebook notes. I felt the birthday love BIG TIME). Even Miss M seemed to be turning a corner and was back to being her silly old self.

Plus, the local NBC affiliate (WDTN in Dayton) aired a segment about me and the blog on the nightly news. How cool! You can check it out on their site.

And I was filmed again this past Saturday at a fundraising event for Pink Ribbon Girls. Which is this amazing organization started up by two young fiery women in the Dayton/Cincinnati area who provide FREE meals, house cleaning, childcare, and transportation to & from treatment to women battling breast cancer. What a total god-send!

At the fundraiser event I was also lucky enough to meet fellow blogger Tami Boehmer and her husband Mike. I have been following Tami’s blog since I was diagnosed and have written about her before. Her book From Incurable to Incredible has become like a bible to me. It confirms that you can beat the odds. Exceed expectations. Be the miracle. Whenever my hope starts to wane, I pick up her book and am reminded that anything is possible. Thanks Tami!

I also got the good news that my INR blood clotting levels finally stabilized at 2.1 where they need to be. Meaning no more needles in my belly. Hooray! I only have to take the blood thinner pills now. Way easier!

Of course, life is never all sunshiny days, rainbows, and happy endings…

It turns out that as a result of all the Heparin blood thinner shots I took, my white and red blood count levels have dropped. Lovely. The side effect even has a formal name, “Heparin-Induced Thrombocytopenia”. And happens to 1-2% of people taking Heparin. It can lead to both excessive bleeding AND excessive clotting (how they both happen at the same time is something I’m still not clear on). I just love how the blood thinners I’m taking to prevent a blood clot can actually cause blood clots.

I’ve also packed on close to 10 lbs since I started taking blood thinners 3 weeks ago. According to my internet research, this is a common side effect. Great. And isn’t it funny that when I inquired about side effects of these new drugs I was assured there were none. I should have known better. There always is. Oh – the wonderful world of pharmaceuticals!

This got me thinking about how often I end up being the 1-5% that experience horrible side effects from medications. And renewed my interest in pursuing a more natural healing pathway. My oncologist is talking about having my ovaries removed, taking more hormone drugs, and continuing with the Herceptin. But I’m not so sure I want to do these things.

I know in the end, I have to go with what feels right to me. These are my decisions to live with. No one else’s. And ultimately, we all want the same thing (I hope) – For me to live as long as possible and enjoy this life.

But still, I’m having lots of anxiety about going against the grain. Saying no. Refusing my oncologist’s suggestions and charting a different path. I plan to meet with a naturopath in the upcoming weeks, as well as another woman who went against the grain and is still here to talk about it decades later. Hopefully this will help me make some decisions.

This week has definitely shown me what a mixed bag life can be. Full of beautiful moments, joy, and new adventures – as well as unexpected hiccups and unwanted consequences. I guess the key is to enjoy the heck out of those beautiful moments when you got them and learn to weather the storms. It can’t be all good or all bad forever. Somehow you’ll always end up with a mixed bag.

Life goes on. Today I feel good. Tomorrow is a blank canvas.

Here’s to hoping we can all pull a few more goodies out of the bag.

Love to all. – T