Saturday, July 17, 2010

One of my photos is on this week!

I took this on our trip to Yellowstone last month. I have been voting on the "It's a Snap" travel photo contest on the past couple of years and have wanted to have a photo good enough to make it into the contest. As soon as I took this one, I knew I would enter it. I sent it in early last week and it was chosen and listed this Friday. Right now I am #9 of 27. Very fun! To see it on for the next few days click here.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Sometimes a bad back is just a bad back

I can say that the PET scan today was one of the most uncomfortable things I have ever done. First they gave me a shot that made me radioactive. The stuff came in a lead lined box in a lead lined syringe. After I got it I was put in a lead lined room by myself. They wouldn't even let Greg sit with me. "She is pretty radioactive right now, it would be better if you sat out front." Unlike the bone scan, for the PET scan I couldn't leave and come back. I sat there an hour reading and napping. The scan itself was in a long tube while laying on a thin board. They velcroed my arms to the side of my body and it took about 20 minutes. It was a long 20 minutes. My leg went to sleep, my arms were shaking from holding them under my body, I needed to cough, and of course the imagined itchy areas. Well, I didn't move and the scan went fine. We went and had lunch, did some shopping, and met with my oncologist for great news. My scan was clean and my blood tests came back perfectly normal. What a relief - Plan A it is! The doctor said my scan was the only clean scan he had all day so I think he enjoyed giving good news as much as I enjoyed hearing it. I started to cry before I even left the building. What a relief - the stress and worry of the past two weeks were gone in the space of a second. I don't plan on going back into the cancer center until 2011!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What If

No one wants to talk about “what if”. I think I would like to talk “what if” with someone. It is certainly on my mind but I know those that love me don’t even want to think about it.

But I’m a planner, I prefer to think through different scenarios and have a game plan for each. Rains tomorrow, bring a rain coat and leave it in the car. Road construction in Salt Lake City, let’s drive through Park City and Provo Canyon. Home Depot doesn’t have the paint color I want, let’s mail order it. Power goes out, I have a flashlight next to my bed. Just the type of thoughts and plans everyone has every day.

Plan Bs.

My cancer comes back,…………….………. No Plan B. I’ve got nothing. I can’t even comprehend my reaction to hearing the news much less what I would do about it. I don’t have a Plan B because this time we would be playing for keeps. I’m not sure I would have had chemo the first time, knowing what I know now. But how could I let my family down and not have it in the future? I know everyone thinks they are being supportive saying – don’t worry it is not coming back. I know they worry too but don’t want to worry me. I say of course it is not coming back because I don’t want to worry them. So, no one talks about it.

But sometimes it is hard to be in my own head, if it does come back now I worry I will be letting everyone down. And if I do force the conversation and it does not come back then I am just a drama queen worrying everyone about nothing. Cancer sure plays with your head.

I have had some back pain for the past two months, I am having a PET scan this Friday. I’ll hear the results that afternoon. It has been a long week alone in my head.

I know it is not coming back ………. but what if?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Two Years Ago Today......

Today is my cancerversary. Hard to believe it has been two years since my diagnosis with stage 2 breast cancer. I remember that day like it was yesterday – the way time slowed down almost to a stop while my doctor said the words “it is cancer”, calling my parents (I still start to cry thinking about that call). It is a date I have looked forward to with a bit of trepidation. While I am certainly happy that I am a two year survivor, it is still hard for me to look back on my cancer experience and feel like celebrating. I do feel some pride for making it through it as best I could, but I also feel like I could have been so much stronger. I am ashamed of the time I was harsh with my Mom when she said I looked good bald and still feel a bit embarrassed about how much help I needed. I never could have survived without my parents and the support of my family and friends. I will never ever be able to pay everyone back for their kindness. I worry about that all the time. There is certainly a feeling of relief for being two years down the cancer survivor road. It is sure a bumpy road but two years is two years. My body has betrayed me and it has been hard for me so far to understand my “new normal” and trust my body again. I still have a lot of pain.
As today has gotten close I have been reading other blogs from survivors talking about their cancerversaries. I don’t seem to be the only one to have conflicting feelings about the day. I guess I am very happy to still be alive and I do think the time distance from the experience blunts some of the horror but boy I would give just about anything to have it never have happened.
Here are some thoughts from others on their cancerversaries:
“A cancerversary is more like a birthday than an anniversary in many ways. It is the day that your life as you knew it ends, and a new life begins. Because no matter what the outcome, life is never the same after a cancer diagnosis.”
“My hope is that it will forever be a day that marks triumph over fear and hope over despair. In the end, these are the characteristics that Karen -- and many thousands of survivors like her -- embodied as she stood up to cancer: courage, strength, hope. They are words used over and over to describe the qualities of those who battle cancer. I can tell you, they are words never over-used or under-appreciated for those who fight this disease.”
“I remember how my cancerversaries used to feel momentous, partly because my life took such a dramatic change on the day I was diagnosed, but also because of the relief that I made it another year. I'd always know when they were coming up.”
“Today I am acutely aware of that sense of survivor guilt which I have written of before. In a funny way, the “why me” questions I sometimes asked myself when first diagnosed with cancer, are now reversed. That “why me – why did I get cancer when others don’t” has been turned around to “why me – why do I get to survive when others don’t. “
“I will always be able to look in the eyes of another survivor and without saying a word, be able to read the shared pain and fear we share. Today, I am a one year survivor. Today I feel hope mixed with an anxious future of what the Lord holds in his plan for me. Today, I am so thankful for those who carried me through and the blessings I have each day. Today, I am grateful for another year of life.”
“Some friends have asked me if I am celebrating this milestone today and the answer is I am celebrating by doing the ordinary things – a walk, a coffee later with a friend, cooking dinner for my husband…for it was the ordinary things I longed to be able to do again when I was ill. It took cancer to teach me the beauty of such ordinary things.”