Sunday, December 23, 2012
365 days later...
Well again time has flown by and it has been nearly a month since my last post (i swear I started my last two posts with nearly the exact same sentence!). Now i remember why it was so hard for me to write for so many years...or maybe it was the ridiculous amounts of white wine I consumed in my 20s! :) Regardless, normal life has again gotten in the way of the creative process. I have been working harder then I ever have in my life or maybe it feels that way because I am so out of practice. But I literally work straight all day with hardly a moment to eat, and forget about updating my facebook status or texting someone back - I was hopeless before but now I am truly a lost cause. Despite the insane schedule, I think things are going generally well, though the fear of failure remains a huge mental barrier that I am work through every day. I literally "feel" my stress when something bad happens - my scalp tingles and my stomach jumps. It is wearing but I just keep plugging away.
Yesterday was my one year anniversary of finishing treatment. I can´t believe 365 days have gone by since my last trip to radiation. It feels like it just happened a few months ago but in other ways it also feels like ages ago. I think back to that girl...I say girl because there was this fragility about me then. I had ridiculously short hair that looked weird and made me feel ugly, my radiation burns were awful and made everything uncomfortable, I felt terrible from hormone therapy, I was terrified for the future and all its uncertainty and I felt like I had been pushed off a cliff. Generally all fairly crap things. Fast forward a year later and that girl is just a shadow to me. I actually managed to make a little ponytail today which was a huge hair milestone to achieve. I have more confidence in myself and what I am capable of doing. And more important then anything else is that my life is no longer consumed by cancer. At dinner parties I can talk about my job and the challenges that come with it. With friends I can join in and complain about the difficulties of balancing motherhood and work. And everyone is telling me, despite the fact I am shattered from work, that I have never looked better and I have so much more energy. These are absolutely fabulous things and they have allowed me to move on. I still carry these scars, both inside and out, but I have proven to myself that I am more then them.
But of course this blog mainly centers around the cancer question, so I will give you all an update on that front as it never really ends despite the fact i don´t always mention everything. December did not go by without its share of dramas - an odd rash and one punch hole biopsy later - no cancer detected! Yippee!! I actually cant believe how non chalant I am about all of this stuff these days. I actually felt relieved it was just a tiny skin biopsy rather then a gigantic needle piercing my rib cartillage. Amazing what becomes the better option to me! And you know what - I just did it, on my own, and marched straight back to work as if nothing had happened. I did finally manage to ask my doctor the question I had been avoiding or perhaps been to scared to ask - what was my long term outlook? I told him I felt silly asking about it so late in the game. However I needed to for my own sanity as everytime I told them about something, I was immediately marched in for a biopsy, scan or bloodtest. Nothing was nothing in my case. And more worrying was that my other friends in this world did not seem to be on the same high vigilance plan. I just blurted out "Is there something I need to be worried about?" Of course I know there are bad things about my prognosis but I can´t change them and things could most definitely be worse. I told him I was so grateful for the quick reactions and excellent care I got (and was by no means complaining about it) but I also couldn´t help being anxious about how nothing was nothing. I actually initially thought this rash by my scar was nothing (and it did indeed end up being nothing) but then I realised that everything in the cancer quadrant needed to be checked. But anyways back to my question and his subsequent response - "Well there is the combination of this and that, that is not ideal but you have a better percentage chance of being okay then not." Hmmm...where do we go with that. Somehow the way those words came out didn´t entirely calm me. But then after i left, I realised that I am nearly 2 years past my initial diagnosis and we have not detected any relapse. That is AMAZE-BALLS! But I still am afraid - afraid of dealing with all this uncertainty for the next 3 more years. Does it get better? Does cancer became smaller and smaller like when you are waving goodbye to someone in the car and you keep waving until they become tiny and tiny and then eventually drift completely out of sight? How long will I be waving out my window? I have a big month coming up in January - my 33rd birthday and also another PET scan. I am hoping that my belated birthday gift will be a clear scan report. I just dont want to go through everything that happened back in October - it was dreadful, draining and terrifying. So I am thinking positive, although hoping for a negative if you know what I mean. I will be okay - I have to be. There is no other choice. Besides my diary is just too jam packed to make any room for any malignant monkey business.
Happy holidays and have a wonderful New Year everyone!