Sunday, September 30, 2007

What I've Been Thinking

I usually only talk about events here. Today I want to talk about my thoughts and feelings and fears.

I have a quote from Freya Stark in my sig line on the FDMB: There can be no happiness if the things if the things we believe in are different from the things we do. How interesting I chose that quote about a year ago.

I have discovered through my individual therapy that some of the things I believe in are different from the things I do, and that has led to anxiety and depression. I try to stay true to my core beliefs, but the cancer and its treatment has put me in a place contrary to some of them.

What might be the "offending" core beliefs? Hummm, two are work ethic and self-discipline. I simply cannot concentrate enough to complete the tasks I feel I need to (like finishing the book I was writing when I was diagnosed). I feel that not only have I let myself down, I have let others down. And now there's the disability payments. I need the money, but as Laura says: there's a true example of mixed feelings.

I don't know what the solution is, but at least I have now identified the problem. I also have found some coping tools, such as deep breathing and yoga and unconditional life acceptance (UOA).

What is UOA? It's a philosophy in some recovery programs that life isn't "out to get you." Life can bring crap, small crap, big crap, but that crap isn't directed at you. You just happen to be the one in the wrong spot when crap falls out of the sky.

By accepting that crap happens, and that it is not directed at me, I have been able to become a little calmer about the mess my life has become. I try to not take it personally, and just calmly take out the dust pan and broom when the crap falls.

Sometimes, my crap-coping mechanisms are maladaptive behaviors. For example, expressing frustration with anger. That gets me nowhere. I am working on identifying and trying to correct those maladaptive behaviors.

I've also been thinking and talking with my cancer groups about my cancer fears. I have almost got myself convinced that this cancer is going to metasticize, so I would just rather it happen sooner rather than later so that I can stop waiting for the ax to fall.

Part of that belief is coming from how I have been feeling lately. I am tired; flat-ass fatigued. I am having pain in my back and left hip, and have started feeling mittelschmerz (ovulation pain), which isn't right because with my age and the cancer treatments, I shouldn't be ovulating. But maybe with being off the Tamoxifin for a month, my ovaries are starting to "wake up." I also have a swollen lymph node in my neck.

I saw my oncologist on Friday for these physical concerns. He says he believes all my complaints are benign. He took a blood draw to test my menopausal state to see whether we could try an aromatase inhibitor instead of Tamoxifen. The onc thinks the lymph node is inflammatory, perhaps dental, so I will talk with the dentist about that. He gave me medication for dry mouth. Why didn't he do that before? That's been a problem for more than a year. But again, ULA. I'll just take the med and get my teeth fixed and not blame or get angry at anyone for not addressing this sooner. What would blame/anger get me but frustrated?

The onc will have the radiologist re-read my recent abdominal MRI for my ovarian/back/hip concerns. I also will have a nuclear bone scan on Monday.

If it is going to spread, breast cancer usually goes to the liver, lungs, bone, and brain. Women with breast cancer also have a higher risk of gynecological cancer. I worry about these things. I am not obsessed with them, but I am watchful. As I said, I feel it is inevitable for me, and I would like to catch it as early as possible because early means less dreadful treatment. I really don't want to have to go through debilitating treatment again. That I fear more than anything I think. The fatigue of treatment, just remembering that fatigue and pain, makes me teary.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

So much has been going on

So sorry not to update. We've been swamped with construction. I have taken lots of pictures, but not organized them. There is one of the videos I took below. That was one of our busier days.

The patio guys are finished with everything except a little wrap-up. The last couple of days made a real mess in the house with the stone cutting.

The windows guys have only one more day. They put in the new patio door last week. It is GORGEOUS.

On the inside, George and Henry have almost finished with the carpentry and painting in the bathroom, and the electrician and plumber will hopefully come back this week to put in fixtures and the floor guy will finish the carpeting.. George also has to finish the bookcase for the middle of the family room. The laundry room is finished.

Then George and Henry have to build the roof for the patio, and all is done.

More News

Last weekend, 4 ladies from the FDMB and I met up at Ladew Topiary Gardens for a day trip. We had a grand time. Here is a photo of our group.

From left:
Karen and Angus
Stefani and Toonces
WCF and Meowzi

Yesterday, I got notice from Social Security that I qualify for disability. That takes a huge financial worry off my mind.

Stefani's foster kitty SweetPea, a diet-controlled diabetic, is with us again for a couple of weeks. She continue to retain her nickname Pit Bull Kitty. She has bitten me three times so far this visit. Twice when I shooed her away from the bedroom door she is clawing the paint off. Once when I tried to play with a catnip toy with her. Right now, she is roaming the house in Max's walking jacket. I hope to train her to a leash so we might have a controlled introduction to Ennis.

I have an appointment with a highly recommended reconstructive surgeon in Baltimore. Dr. Bernard Chang. I see him for a consult October 18. My chest is really uncomfortable from the scar tissue and implant. I hope to have him make me flat and clean up the scars.

I have been feeling very tired lately, and having pain in my back and hip. After the visit to Ladew, I was down for two days. My dentist also found a swollen lymph node in my neck (as well as 4 more teeth that need work). I see the oncologist for these concerns week after this.

Tha-tha-that's all folks.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

A Trip to Cape May

Cape May is a National Historic Landmark City on the Atlantic Ocean at the southern tip of New Jersey. We stayed for two days at the Marquis de Lafayette Hotel across the street from the beach. We walked, and ate, and rested. We took Ennis along so that he could get his insulin shots. It was his first ever vacation, and he did really well. Especially on the return trip when we crossed the Delaware Bay by car ferry.

We needed a break from the busyness that our lives have become. I have doctor/recovery appointments. We are disrupted by the construction. It was nice to return to find the family room almost completely repainted with the rug in that room and the vinyl in the laundry room down. It should only be maybe two weeks now until the inside is finished.