Saturday, September 12 2015
Firstly, I am so sorry it has taken me so long to write another blog, but am happy to say that life got in the way J On the other hand, I must admit I have been taking my time over it as I think I have been tinkling away at this entry for far too long.
Thanks to my ‘meds’ and their side effects, some days can be a bit of a drag , but I am doing okay despite everything. Although I have been slack with my communications I can assure you that I still truly appreciate all the support I get and feel terrible that I haven’t acknowledged that for a while. The incredible help and support that I received last year by my family, the fundraising committee and friends were truly amazing and have helped me so much. Not only did it give me strength but all the donations that we received helped us financially in such a big way. The cost of my meds and scans is endless, so ‘thank you’ just doesn’t seem enough!!
Okay, I think a quick health update should come next. I have spent the last 7-8 months on Hormone Therapy to give my body a break from all the chemo last year. I can stay on these drugs as long as I remain stable, or close to it. Therefore, for those of you who haven’t seen me for a while may not recognize me (I know I can’t get used to it). Don’t get me wrong I am over the moon to have eyebrows and eyelashes again….and hair too of course, but it’s just taking me some time to get used to my dark, thick locks. The latest news is that I better start getting used to my dark hair as it is here to stay for a while. My oncologist thinks that I will probably be starting a new treatment in the next couple of months; however this will depend on my tumour markers and my monthly blood tests. Once I do start my next treatment it will be a tablet form of Chemotherapy which doesn’t cause hair loss. A medicine called Xeloda probably.
Okay, it seems once I start talking about my thoughts, it’s hard to stop…so If you want to keep reading may I suggest a glass of wine, or a refreshing cold beer and somewhere to sit with a few tissues (sorry) Ahhhh! (That’s me sipping a beer by the way) I might have lost my taste for alcohol, but I still enjoy a good slurp from time to time J BUT if you are not up for much more, thanks for listening so far.
Hope - A word often associated with life threatening illnesses…and boy are there plenty. I try not to focus on hope too much as I want to keep realistic. Having said that, I do tend give myself little life goals….for example, I hope to see my daughter, Taya turn 8 years old this year. Of course I would love even more to be there for her through Primary School but I don’t want to be over positive and then not be prepared to leave this world earlier. Being there for her 8th birthday is realistic for me, or at least I think it is. I also hope no one else that I am close to gets ill, but if it means that I am ill because they are not, and then let me have it…and bring it on!! I hope that everyone gets checked regularly and don’t let the doctors miss anything. I hope that Taya never forgets how much I love and adore her and that I will always be living in her heart, forever and ever no matter what!
Acceptance – I think we can agree that last year was certainly tough on me and my family, and you can’t help trying to think, as hard as you can…..what you did wrong. Could I have avoided this? Why has this happened to me now, when I have a young daughter who is always going to need me – just as I needed my mum growing up. What if I didn’t try so hard to have another child, and therefore avoided putting my body through 5 unsuccessful rounds of IVF! Was I too needy, and am now being ‘punished’ for perhaps not appreciating what I had and just stopping there. Well, I think we all know that a bunch of “what if’s” really isn’t good for us, and in any case I most certainly do appreciate my daughter (of course)…so much that I wanted to be able to tell her one day that we did everything we could to give her a sibling. A sibling/child that she and I still long for to this day, however having a cancer that ‘feeds’ off estrogen and progesterone has made this impossible, and I need to accept this. Easier said than done of course, but unfortunately I also need to accept the fact that I have a cancer that’s not going anywhere, and although both these things are hard, the toughest acceptance of all is knowing that I won’t always be able to be there for my little girl. How does everyone else who is in my position accept this? I feel sad about what I’m going to miss out on… you know, all those mother and daughter moments and milestones. I find myself trying to prepare her for the future even though I am fully aware she is only 7 years old. I struggle with the fact that I will most probably never get to meet the man she falls in love with, to know her as a teenager or a grown adult. To make sure that this man respects and appreciates her the way she is and to spend my senior years doting over their children. So, when I think of the future, I know I need to try and accept all these things we take for granted when raising a child will be out of my reach, and whilst I sit here thinking of my own heartache I can’t help but think of hers too.
Time – Well if you asked me a few years ago what I would be doing now, I would never have thought I’d be saying things like “Please mind my port” (and not the drinkable sort), and “Please be careful near me”, or worst of all not be able to pick my daughter up for a cuddle, or do the things she loves with her. I find myself starring at mums that have their child embracing them on their hip….I used to love that J. Now my little girl helps me count out 224 tablets into my weekly pill box.
Not knowing how much time I have is both good and bad (for obvious reasons), but either way I sometimes feel the need to prepare myself. I want to treasure every day but I find it hard to, sometimes I have good days but sometimes I have bad days where I feel very anxious, or worried, or just unwell or exhausted. It’s quite frustrating really as before I got sick I was desperate to spend more time with Taya but I didn’t have time, and now I have time but sometimes find it hard to enjoy it. Luckily that’s only sometimes, as other times I almost forget I’m sick and I love those moments. I do treasure making new memories whilst I can, as I am aware at some point things will change and that day scares me a lot.
Balance – An important piece to life’s puzzle I feel, but then again what Libran doesn’t feel that way. Getting the balance right isn’t always as easy as it may seem, in fact it takes a fair bit of mindset, organization, consideration and preparation….something most of us try to juggle everyday of our lives. So what happens if we don’t get the balance right? For some of us, maybe nothing… or so we think until it catches up with us one day. Others might get a wakeup call earlier and get a second chance, and for those people out there who have worked hard at achieving that balance from the beginning, well….turn around because I want to pat you on the back and read your book!
Fear – Okay so we all have fears and we all fear different things. Being alone, small spaces, not fitting in, snakes, spiders….dying? I’ve always said that I’m not scared to die as long as it’s quick and fairly painless. Okay, I know what you’re thinking, not ideal…right? I guess I wasn’t thinking of Cancer when I thought that, in fact back then I had no idea how much Cancer is out there. Even though we may realise how much Cancer is around us, we still hope it doesn’t happen to us – but when it does happen we have no choice but to fight back with all our might, so we can have as much time with our loved ones as possible (however long that is). This is where my fear of dying changes. First of all, it scares me how much I don’t know about Cancer. How can someone with cancer appear okay one week and then gone the next? How sick will I be when I’m at my worst and how bad will it get for how long? How will this affect my family? The last thing I want to do is drag them down with me and make everything worse or more painful. I am so scared of what’s to come - Am I strong enough?
Okay, I think I have done enough thinking for now and thanks for listening. I am not really that great at putting thoughts and feelings onto paper so I apologise for that, but on the other hand I do feel it was quite therapeutic for me. Before I sign off I want to re-iterate my thanks to my Fundraising Committee, every person who has donated their precious money or time to help me, my sisters (you are my rocks), my husband and daughter (you are the wind beneath my wings my gorgeous girl) and my Oncologist Lina who has always got my back, next to my family. It’s depressing to think that I almost ended up paralyzed in a wheel chair last year, so this year I appreciate not living that life, and take time to thank my sister Clare for being so persistent with the Doctors on my behalf, and to thank the Doctors who operated on me and to thank my sister Sharon who always accompanied me to my long chemo/transfusion sessions. I know it pains my mother to know I am sick, and I know if she weren’t ill herself she would be right by my side too. I am sorry mom (we remember you).
I like to finish off with a quote from Abraham Lincoln.
“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years”
I like this quote because it makes me feel prepared for myself, although I don’t really feel my predicament is about me. I am fighting for my family, and they’re worth it J I love you guys XXX