Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Managing cancer and going for world peace, one step at a time

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers, your good will and your support, for me and for my family. Besides the huge impact on me and my health, I know that it helps Tiron immensely, and the kids as well. For them, as for all of us, the stress pops up during what often seems like unlikely moments, and we appreciate how you are handling it along with us. Thank you.

It might seem like your efforts are small, they are huge for us. I was reminded of this during a recent talk with my doctor. People comment that I am managing cancer as a "chronic disease" (as opposed to a fatal diagnosis), and I like that mindset. Though I still hope to get rid of this cancer, if I can't, well, I'd like to LIVE with it.

As I thought about this mindset, I started noticing more and more subtleties. For example, my doctor would say, "When this chemo stops working...." when I would prefer to hear, "IF this chemo stops working...." That one word difference can send my emotions diving to the bottom, and after our conversation, I was left alone to stand up, brush myself off, and somehow climb out of the hole I was in.

This kind of knock-down was not exclusive to my doctor. It happens, for example, when someone honks their car horn: I happily drive along, feeling the breeze from the open car window and singing away, then that horn blast goes right through me, shattering the good will into shards flying out the window. 

I do it to others as well, like when I come down too hard on the kids for a relatively minor infraction and watch the change in their eyes. Or when someone is blocking my way and I say "excuse me" with a bit of edge in my voice. Though unintentional, the other person ends up absorbing my ill will, where it either does some damage to them, or it affects their mood and they pass the ill will along to someone else.

If we can pass along negative feelings with small thoughts and actions, we can certainly pass along positive ones, and we feel that impact when you share yours. They may seem to be small, but they are powerful, and hopefully we are passing those good feelings along to others. 

So, thank you, for all you do for our lives, and also for the feelings of peace and good will that you are sending out to the world as a result.

Chemo day for me -- keep those good thoughts and prayers coming! :-)


P.S. Some folks wanted to know about prior emails. If you want to check them out (no pressure), look here:

Monday, November 8, 2010

Skipped last chemo; next one on WEDNESDAY

Thank you so much for all you have done to show your concern, always and especially during the past four weeks. I apologize for being out of touch, but do appreciate all the check-ins.

I also want you to know how much I appreciate your flexibility with me and my family. I feel like I am always asking for exceptions, making or canceling plans at the last minute, forgetting things that I should be expected to remember. I know you have been cutting me alot of slack for a long time. I hope it hasn't been too hard on you, and I truly believe that helps in reducing the stress in our lives and makes things so much easier to handle. We all really appreciate it, especially me.

Overall, I'm doing just great. I feel really good and my energy level feels normal. In fact, when I went through this a few years ago, I did six months of chemo and I was totally wiped out. So far, it has been nine months of chemo. I don't know if the mix is different, but I am grateful to have the quality of life that I have.

My most recent chemo, however, threw me for a loop. I was sick for eight days following it and couldn't even get on e-mail. Then, once I could get on email, my computer broke. So I am quite behind on that. 

By the time I felt better, my next chemo session was only days away and I didn't think my body was ready for another hit, so I skipped that session. That was a bit scary to me, and I wondered if I was giving any cancer cells time to grow. Plus, I got sick a couple of times during my off-weeks, but I have to say, the good days have all been great!

I would normally go in for chemo tomorrow, Tuesday, but Aidan has his second grade Harvest Feast at school on Tuesday night. It is a big deal for him, and I find it pretty exciting, so, for this week, I'll wait one more day and do chemo on Wednesday.

This decision has ripple effects. Two weeks from now is Thanksgiving. I wanted to have chemo on Monday that week in order to feel better by Thursday. But this week's Wednesday chemo means that Monday will be too soon afterwards (does that make sense?). So I will skip chemo again during Thanksgiving week. 

Alternatively, I could be wearing my infusion pump during Thanksgiving dinner -- I could dress it up for the photos. Maybe have feathers coming out of my chest? But the taste of chemo doesn't seem to complement turkey (or raw foods). Plus, the steroids I take make me short-tempered and crazy! Maybe skipping is a better plan. Everyone has been so great at putting up with me; I don't want to push it.

Skipping ALL of these would be truly lovely, though it doesn't feel like a viable choice right now. Please do think of us this week and send your prayers and positive thoughts, especially Wed - Friday. Thank you for hanging in there with us. We are so blessed that you are in our lives!