Category: Recovery


Here comes Rosh Hashanah!!!

Tomorrow is the start of a new year!  I’m not taking about the turning of a date.  I’m talking about renewal of body, mind, and spirit.  I’m talking about cleaning my slate with my G-d and healing relationships with the people I love most.

And, of course, I’m talking about closing the book on this past year that held both the most exquisite joy and excruciating pain.  I look back on this year and am absolutely amazed. 

Trent and I have travelled far and wide this year and hardly left Lilburn.  We got engaged.  We held onto each other for dear life and we fell madly in love over and over and over.  We have faced medical disasters and surgery and chemo.  We have proven without a shadow of a doubt that we are an unshakable, unbreakable couple.  We have also proven that together and separately both of us are committed to living sober no matter what.

Tonight I celebrated.  I bought myself a huge present that is shiny and new and will last a lifetime.  It is a reward for quitting smoking under the most grueling of circumstances   It is a commemoration of  my last chemo which is a week away.  It is an early 45th birthday present to myself.  It is an early celebration of being clean and sober for five years.

Whether you are Jewish or not, I wish you all a happy, healthy new year.  No matter what you believe, every day is the start of something new.  Enjoy it.  Celebrate Life!

Advertisements

Many, many years ago, I had Lyme Disease.  I was twenty four years old and remember the fatigue was unlike any I had ever felt before.  It was not the kind of tired I could push through.  I remember trying to walk from my office down several city blocks to the parking garage and feeling sure I just couldn’t make it.  What had always been a short walk felt like a triathalon.  I never thought I would get my strength back.  But, I did.

I am experiencing that kind of exhaustion again.  I cannot describe the fatigue other than to say I am not one to nap or sleep during the day and I slept for about 26 hours off and on in a row this weekend.  It feels like I will never get my strength back; but I will.

In the meantime, I am being well loved and cared for.  My sponsor, Laurie, spent Saturday with me and brought me matzoh ball soup to eat in bed and stayed with me until I fell asleep.  Trent has been in and out checking on me and holding me when I have felt well enough to even be held.  I called my father this morning and his voice on the answering machine made me happy and sad all at once.  

I went to a meeting this morning at 10 am.  Lori came over to visit and brought me all kinds of goodies.  I rested for a while and now I am cooking fresh vegetables so I can eat something nutritious later.  My house smells of garlic, onion and farm fresh food.  My head feels like a bowling bowl, my body is tired, but I am clean and sober and my soul is free.

The above expression is one I learned from Trent.  I remember the first time I heard him say it and I thought how it would be great if being easy was really that easy. 

Cancer is teaching me how to be easy.  I have had to slow my life down to a snail’s pace.  I was so resistant to taking time off from work.  I was so frustrated by the things I couldn’t do right away post surgery.  Cancer is a hurry up and wait disease.  Hurry up to biopsy and wait for result and on and on. 

Chemo is forcing me to slow down.  My brain is in some whirlwinded fog that is both frustrating and riotously funny all at once.  I am prone to fits of hysterical laughter these days.  I feel easy today.  I am tired but I have been to a meeting, I had breakfast with a good friend, my sponsor is on her way to my house, my husband-to-be is making the world beautiful and  my dog is in the yard striking the king’s position of “easy”.

I am revelling in the little things.  I am loving my life more and the people in it more.  I am being given the gift of cancer that I have read about.  This is a life changing experience and I am liking the shape and form I am taking on.  Nothing seems trivial and everything seems beautiful and important.  I am travelling a hard journey these days but there is joy in it. 

Be easy baby!

I do not feel well today.  I have felt worse than this in my life, though, and that is somewhat gratifying.  The arm I had surgery on is bothering me again and that is about as annoying as not being able to drink Diet Coke.  I’d made great strides with my arm feeling well again.

I am grateful that I have the ability to stay home all day today.  I am just so incredibly grateful for the company I work for offering short-term disability.  That benefit has become a lifesaver for me.  It has allowed me all this time to heal. 

My house is filled with love and laughter.  Suddenly everything seems silly and funny to me.  I am cracking up on a regular basis.  There is something about this battle that makes everything else seem so tiny and trivial and well, hysterical.  I’m looking for joy and finding it. 

I’m right in the thick of it now and the the importance of this part of my treatment is on the forefront of my mind.  I am a warrior today; albeit a tired one.  I don’t feel well but I’m winning this game so who cares how I feel physically.  Spiritually, I’m doing just fine.

Today is my first day after chemo.  I got to take a lower dosage of steroids today and definitely feel better because of that.  I hate taking steroids but apparently they help maximize my anti-vomiting medicine and reduce possible inflamation caused by chemo.  Tomorrow morning, I will also take the steroids and the anti-nausea medicine and then I can stop. 

In two weeks, I have the pick line inserted (not excited).  I will most likely be bald by then or close to it.  I am not nearly as sick as I anticipated I would be.  I haven’t thrown up once.  Mainly I have a bad headache, feel freezing cold from inside out and feel tired. 

Sadly, Diet Coke suddenly tastes like shit.  I am completely pissed about it too.  I fucking (that’s for you, Vern) love Diet Coke.  Cancer is a litte bitch.  It’s pretty much worth killing a ton of my healthy cells to kill it.  Anything that can destroy the best beverage on earth needs to be taught a lesson.

I went to the 8 am meeting this morning and it felt so good to be there with the love and the hope and the solution.  In the shower this morning, it occurred to me that I have gone through most of the major, major cancer related hurdles.  I have gone through the mastectomy, the reconstruction, the narcotic medication, the lab results and reports, x-rays and scans, the staging and oncology information, and the first chemo treatment.  All that is left now is to lose my hair and start taking the hormone suppressors. 

I have been terrified before every step of this journey.  I have prayed and I have been carried through it all.  Nevertheless, I feel fear every time a new thing is around the corner.  I know that my hair will grow back but I am still terrified of  being without it.  I know it will be ok and that I will keep praying and will be carried again. 

I have faith.  I believe I am being cured.  I’m grateful but I’m still sad.  I am feeling and feeling and feeling and feeling a little more.  I am emotionally exhausted but not emotionally spent. 

I am honored and moved by all the people who follow this blog, who love me in person, or via phone and voicemail.  I adore my family and Trent’s family.  I adore my sponsor, Laurie, who is walking me through this.  Last but first, of course, is Trent.  The bell tolls for him.  I love him.

Cee Cee goes to Clarkston (which is where I go to meetings).  She is a woman who has a presence.  When she shares, it is from the heart and is passionate and real.  She and I hardly know each other but occasionally we are lucky enough to share meetings together.

On Sunday, I sat next to Cee Cee in a morning meeting.  I was playing with my silver bracelet.  It is a bracelet from Tiffany’s that Trent gave me during our first holiday season.  I never, ever take it off. 

In the middle of the meeting, Cee Cee saw me playing with my bracelet and she took the bracelet she was wearing off and gave it to me.  It says, “Be Still and Know that I am G-d”. 

She and I may never have met had we not crossed paths with a chemical that nearly destroyed us both.  This is one of the many reasons I love being in recovery.  The life I live and the meetings I attend open my heart and my world up more every day. 

I am nervous this week.  Chemo is around the corner.  The more anxious I get, the more I play with my bracelets.  Now, though, when I play with them and look down, I am reminded to be calm, just be and let G-d be G-d.

Thank you, Cee Cee.

Last week was wonderful.  I began to feel really healthy and recovered from surgery. 

I relaxed and felt the peace that comes with just enjoying life with out worrying about tomorrow.  Trent and I had a moment to catch our breath, enjoy each other and love, love, love each other.  If I didn’t have cancer and two doctor appointments, last week would have made a lovely vacation.

Today begins a new week and with it comes more modern medicine and fear.  Today I have a consultation with the surgeon who will put my port in on Wednesday.  I will be sedated and although I just went through that well, I am terrified.  I absolutely hate that I have to take drugs. 

I am feeling sad today.  I have more difficult things to go through.  I think I could wrap my mind around the sedation, the port and chemo if I didn’t have to lose my hair also.  I hate cancer.  I’m tired of losing things I love and value to it. 

I am going to move forward.  I am going to persevere again and throw my heart, soul, health and hair into G-d’s lap and try my hardest to rest easy knowing He’ll take care of them in His way and in His time.

My tenth year of life was not a good one.  My parents separated.  My mother pulled my brother and I out of school and moved us to Florida in the middle of the year because she had a nervous breakdown.  On July 4, 1975, my best friend died in our house in New Jersey. 

I remember my mother telling me he had died.  I couldn’t have described the feeling then but now I know that what I felt at that moment was absolute, utter hopelessness.  My view of the world had been cracked before but on that day it shattered. 

For the next thirty years my perspective of the world remained skewed.  Happiness was fleeting and utterly elusive.  I found drugs and alcohol and for a while they made the brokenness inside me bearable.  Eventually, the chemicals stopped working and in desperation I sought help.

Fast forward to July 4, 2008.  Thirty two years had passed since my friend had died.  I had found recovery and discovered happiness.  I was in the early stages of my romance with Trent.  My sponsor, Laurie, and I went to Hilton Head, North Carolina, to visit her sister and celebrate the fourth with her. 

Laurie and I got to the beach early and it was drizzling.  We sat on a blanket and went over my twelfth step.  It had taken me two years to work my way to step twelve.  We talked about spiritual awakenings, helping others, how the steps miraculously transform the people who work them.  We cried tears of happiness and tears for the love that exists between sponsor and sponsee.  The drizzling stopped and in its place, the sky held a rainbow.  The symbolism and beauty of the weather wasn’t lost on us. 

We packed up our blanket and coffee and headed back to the house.  My freedom hung in the air with the rainbow.  After forty-two Independence Days, I was finally free.

Today I meet my oncologist.  How’s that for a sentence I had hoped never to say? 

I am a ball of emotions today.  I am pretty certain she is going to tell me what form of chemo I have to take and when to begin.  That means having to schedule an appointment to have a port inserted in my neck and who among us would be excited about that??  It means taking what is now a healthy body and wreaking havoc on it.  It means more unknowns, intangibles, and fears.

I desperately want to go alone to this appointment.  I want to go and hear what this doctor says and come home and report what I am willing to do rather than what is recommended.  For this reason, I am having someone come with me.  As much as I want to do this my way, I know that is precisely the way I normally make a nightmare out of my life. 

I am hating cancer today.  I don’t want to give one more thing up to this disease.  Yesterday I mailed most of the money I had saved for my wedding dress to two hospitals and a radiologist.  Yes, I’m glad I had the money to pay the bills and I’m glad to have my life saved but that doesn’t mean I cannot be absolutely devastated about my dress.

I have had a few days of feeling great and not having to do anything related to cancer.  I have relished the reprieve.  I am going to take a suggestion from Elizabeth and invite G-d to go into the doctor’s office before me.  Then I am going to take a very deep breath and walk into the lion’s den of fear and most likely come out just fine.