March 10, 2010
This afternoon I had a MRI on my lower spine and pelvic bones so my radiation doctor has a clear picture on which to base my treatments. This test took me by surprise. I was in a long narrow tube and had to lie completely still for over an hour!! I'm not prone to claustrophobia, but I'll admit that I had to hit the panic button and get out of that tube for a few minutes. If only I had known that I only had 1 minute left!! Oh well, I only had to re-do the last 3 minutes. I was a little embarrassed to have used that panic button, I felt like a sissy. I hate that weak feeling, but I've been through a lot and it all just gets to me at times. I'm so glad it's over!!
Yesterday I did the initial simulation that's needed to start radiation treatment. The second step of the prep work will be on Friday the 19th. And then, finally, I'll be ready to actually start the radiation treatment on the following Monday.
I treated myself to a spa pedi and a haircut this afternoon. It felt good to be pampered and my purple toes are pretty! I've been dreaming of purple toes lately...weird, but fun!
March 11, 2010
The MRI results are IN and they are FANTASTIC!!!! The MRI showed absolutely nothing in my bones which means that I definitely do NOT have bone cancer!!!! The relief is still sinking in... NO BONE CANCER!! Wow! Thank you God, thank you!!
My oncologist still wants me to have radiation therapy and probably a round of chemo. I'm a little confused about the chemo part, but I can ask those questions later.
March 14, 2010
Saturday evening I had the honor to participate in Marco Island's Relay for Life walk. It was quite a moving experience, and I am proud to be Survivor! The most moving part of the evening for me was the lighting of the luminaries. Seeing the word HOPE spelled out on the bleachers really hit home. I truly do have hope and it felt good to realize how hopeful I am. A bit later they changed the HOPE to CURE and that's what the Relay for Life is about...the Cure. I am grateful to each of the people who worked all year for the Relay and for everyone who donated. I am especially grateful to my sisters, Heidi and Sally, and my mom, Sharon, for all the work they are doing for the Relay for Life sponsered by BancorpSouth in Oakland, TN at the end of May. Thank you doesn't come close to expressing my gratitude and the gratitude of all the Survivors out there.
March 17, 2010
This week is a transition week for me. I started back to work at minimum full time hours, thanks to a very understanding and supportive boss, while I wait to start radiation therapy. When I spoke to the RT doctor late last week he said he would have to check to make sure that the initial simulation would still work for me. There's a chance that it won't and I'll have to get it re-done since the treatment area changed from pelvic bones to pelvic area excluding the bones. I've left him 2 messages this week and still haven't heard back. It's frustrating!! My final set-up is Friday afternoon, and at this point I'm not sure if I should be going or not. This whole set-up for RT process has been so frustrating!!
Being back at work has been good for me on many levels! I continue to be thankful to work with such an understanding company and resort. This week has made me realize how much power I do have over how I feel and my healing process. It will be nice to get into a routine with work, treatment and self-care like daily Reiki, healthy cooking, exercise, and paper crafts. Doing all those things again this week has felt really good, and all those good feelings can only help my healing process!
March 18, 2010
Greetings all! Late yesterday afternoon the radiation doctor finally called me back with news. The original simulation is going to work, yay!! So, my appointment for the final set-up Friday afternoon is a go. Yay for progress!! I will be able to, finally, start treatment on Monday.
This cancer journey is tough. These are self-centered days for me. I am so grateful for all of your strong shoulders and Spirits that carry me through each day and each battle. Thank you for allowing me to do what's best for me and my healing journey, and loving me through this selfishness each in your own ways. Your strength and love is God's Love in action.
March 18, 2010 (very late at night)
I should be asleep right now, but sleep and peace are escaping me. This is totally crazy, because I love to sleep and some people would say that I EXCEL in sleep. I know from my readings, my own spiritual journey and hearing about other people's spiritual journeys that God's peace is there for the taking and in fact surrounds all of us all the time. We've just got tap into it. I've tried to tap into it tonight, but I just can't seem to allow it all the way in. Self Reiki was good...I hadn't made the time for it in months, literally. It was soothing and peaceful, but for some reason the peace didn't settle in for the night. I am out of balance with myself, and am trying desperately to quiet my mind down enough so that I can find that balance, that peace within myself.
I am afraid. I'm afraid of being afraid, because I know fear is a negative emotion and I know that the last thing I need right now is to draw negative energy to myself. Yet the fear is there lurking in the back of soul. Will it hurt, even though the doctor says it won't? Will cause embarrassing side effects? I have this crazy visions of soiling myself at work- which is totally crazy, right? What if I can't maintain my weight? The technician made a really big deal out of telling me how important it is that I don't gain or lose weight during these 6 weeks of treatment. Usually that's not a problem for me at all, but you know how Murphy's Law works it's way in at the most inopportune times.
I feel as if tomorrow's final set up appointment is like senior finals in school. It's the end, and the beginning. So much has gone into this final appointment...almost a month's worth of questions, waiting, changes, then more questions, wondering and waiting. And now it's here and I have to face it. I can't push it out of my mind and pretend it's not happening or dream that it doesn't need to happen.
The treatment phase begins tomorrow. I feel less ready than I did earlier today, but it doesn't matter how ready I am emotionally or mentally. I know that when the time comes I will face this square in the eye and I will stand tall and strong when it matters. I learned this from my mother, who learned it from her mother. I need this treatment to heal my body. Somehow, even through my fear and unfortunate insomnia tonight, I have hope. I hope of being declared CURED. I have the hope of living in balance again. Meanwhile I will trust that this hope will bring me to the people and places that I need to find to return me to a peaceful balance.
March 19, 2010
It's official, I start radiation therapy on Monday at 3:30pm. The final lining up only took about 10 minutes and was completely painless. I have a few new permanent marker circles on me, but that's all the excitement there was today. As usual, much ado about nothing- physically, at least. Emotionally, I felt good about it.
I thought I would have a set treatment time, but it turns out that's not exactly the case. The only opening they have on Monday and Tuesday for next week only is 3:30. After that the only time slot open is 5pm. However, when someone else is finished with their treatment then I will be moved to an earlier time slot. Why can't anything about having cancer be simple?!?!
Until I had this cancer recurrence I believed quite strongly in eating healthfully, but after hearing that what I eat doesn't matter from my gyn oncologist and radiation doctor I have to admit that I'm confused. How can what we eat NOT have an effect on our bodies' abilities to fight off cancer? Then again, after years of eating varied amounts of processed and pesticide-treated foods how much positive effect can it really make in my body? I'm leaning towards the answer that it doesn't hurt to try the healthier foods whenever I can. Food is very emotional for me...which makes it tough. I'm in this fight to win it, and I want every possible ally I can get!!
Emotionally it's been a tough day for me...I am a big ball of raw, conflicting and confusing emotions. I'm working through it...talking it out...making a game plan (the biggest one is making sure I get enough sleep each night which means in bed by 9pm which I just hate but I know it's important so I'll do it because it's a big part of taking care of myself right now)...and crying. I cried a lot at work today, though I tried to hide it. I am longing for the love and comfort of home....
I am thankful that I have so many friends to shower positive energy and love on me during this treatment and healing process. I have felt your presence with me today, holding my hand reassuringly. I can never fully express to you my gratitude.
March 20, 2010
I have been showered with Love and Blessings today, and I filled with gratefulness! A guest left me a HUGE bag of yummy organic food when her family checked out this morning.
The second blessing of my day was getting to play tennis with my dear friend Leanne. The weather was beautiful here in SW FL, finally!!, a sunny 75 degrees with just the right amount of sea wind. Leanne graciously and kindly shared 2 HUGE heads of organic locally grown lettuce and a beautiful Florida onion with me from her weekly haul from the organic market. Thank you very much Leanne!
I only felt up to playing tennis for 30 minutes, but it was a glorious 30 minutes! I feel so good when I play tennis! I am very grateful for being able to play with such a kind and well-matched partner.
Playing tennis and working today has me feeling happliy worn out. It feels so wonderful to be outside, moving and sweating again! Tonight I am going to try a supplement and chamomile tea to lull me to sleep at a nice early hour.
March 21, 2010
I start radiation therapy tomorrow afternoon. It's taken a long time to get to this part of my treatment. The beginning of my diagnosis was in September of 2009. I'll do the math for you:
3 months (December) for a solid diagnosis
4 months (January) for step one towards a Cure via surgery
5 months (February) for the second step of treatment plan to come together
6 months (March) for all the radiation prep to take place and actually start
Radiation therapy will take 6 weeks. I feel ready to face it. I have a little bit of fear, I'll admit it. It will be a real pain the butt (pelvis? ha!) to drive 45 minutes to the treatment center only to turn around to drive 45 minutes back home after 15 minutes worth of radiation. I am countering that fear and sense of inconvenience with being thankful to have a car, money for gas, health insurance to cover my treatment, the physical ability to take myself to the treatment center, and the loving support of a large network of family and friends to carry with me in mind and Spirit.
- 2 time ovarian cancer Survivor, Advocate for ovarian cancer awareness & research, Teacher of Zen Method Tai Chi, Blogger, sharing the wonderment and power of essential oils, proud fan of Cathe Friedrich's workouts, Reiki practitoner, A Course in Miracles student, paper crafter