Saturday, August 8, 2015

Two months away from blogging...

...and all I can come up with is I HATE CANCER.  I am so sick of it, and it is pissing me off! I seem to be stuck in some purgatory juggling fear, guilt, and treatment side effects with the need to accomplish everyday tasks in a busy family household.  

I haven't been communicating very much, as many friends have asked me about, and I have the same answer for everyone: It's not you, it's ME.  

I am busy, tired, and grumpy, and I do not want to continuously burden my friends with that negative energy.  It's been more than a year now for pete's sake!! Will it ever end?? I am pretty open about my feelings and I am decent at being bitchy when required, but it is not my preference to stomp around cranky 24-7, though, as my family can attest, that is typically how it has been these days.  

As I have mentioned before, I try to live by the old adage "If you have nothing good to say, say nothing at all."  But I have also been encouraged recently by friends and loved ones to express my emotions, and acknowledge them and request that others acknowledge them. 

Harder than it sounds.  

Every fibre in my body just wants to take off for parts unknown, start fresh, forget this whole cancer thing and MOVE ON.

It is NOT a reflection on those around me, it is simply where I'm at right now.  To look at me you would not know that I am in treatment for cancer and struggling with every detail that entails (or at least that's what everyone says when they see me). 

Thyroid cancer has left me with symptoms that slam me in the face daily, and melanoma haunts my every thought and ambition. I can't even move without these reminders, and I am having trouble accepting that that is it, this is the rest of my life.  Pity party perhaps, but reality for me nonetheless.  

I don't want to talk about it, and I try not to, but I find I just carry this cloak with me everywhere I go and share this cloud with anyone who dares to ask me how I am feeling.  

I want to hear how you are doing too!  But I am afraid I can't contain my crap and absorb your good stuff.  I am tired.

My friend reminded me the other day that summer vacations tend to have this effect on me, and I suppose that is true.  I love spending time with my kiddos, but the disruption in our daily/weekly routine with 2.5 teenagers and their friends daily take its toll on my nerves.  LOL  

I seem to be back in the stay-at-home-Mom role at this point in my life, and I appreciate that opportunity of course, but the career-woman in me balks at the daily sink full of dishes.  Mothers of young families have no time to themselves.  At least the school year brings a six hour per day reprieve, or going to work brings a change of scenery and pace.  Of course I am not making an official complaint - my disclaimer is that yes yes I am happy to have a healthy happy loving family blah blah blah. Thank you.  ;-)

Speaking of healthy, or UNhealthy rather... Cassie broke her leg and ankle while we were away camping three weeks ago.  She crashed her longboard and snapped her tib and fib, foot hanging at a weird angle, and required surgery in Owen Sound to repair it with a plate and several screws. 

Her Dad stayed with her overnight in hospital so that Claire and I could get our camping gear home and cleaned up, crutch-proof the house and stock up on the likes of ginger ale to soothe Cassie's post-anesthesia upset tummy.  She is now starting to feel a bit better and is getting around more.  She had her cast removed and is in an air-boot now (conveniently we had one from Claire's ankle break last fall!?) so she can try to move the ankle a bit, although she is still three weeks away from attempting weight-bearing.  

Health-wise for me there is not much news.  I have had my regular bloodwork checkups and I have more this coming week.  I don't know why I ever worried about not being able to be a blood donor anymore, plenty of my precious blood seems to be finding it's way into other people's hands.  I had my seventh ipilimumab treatment in June as scheduled, and my CT scan reports came back with no new metastasis(spread) which is good news. That's my three month pass.  That's all I get, three months at a time. 

Bloodwork has been okay, at one point I dabbled in dangerously low calcium levels but remedied that quickly with an adjustment in prescription. Otherwise thyroid levels are okay, but given my fatigue and weight gain I feel there is still some adjusting to do to the medication, I will see doc this week after bloodwork to keep working on it.  Eight months since thyroidectomy, one would expect to still be having problems? 

Melanoma-wise my last treatment is in September, wow time flies.  I will write more about that in another post.  But medically-speaking not much new to report. My side-effects have varied with each treatment, and this round the tummy trouble isn't as bad but the insomnia is crazy.  Like Chinese water torture I imagine, not being able to sleep when you really want to is unbearable.  It affects everything, including what I suspect encompasses my mood and emotional and mental symptoms.  

I have read that depression and stress disorders are common alongside melanoma diagnosis, but I'm not sure if I am ready to talk about that or explore it on this blog.  I know I am "not myself these days," and I know "I have so much going on in my body" and I have "to be gentle with myself" and "take one day at a time"   I assure you, I am trying. 

Thanks for listening and for bearing with my dark cloud cloak and constant "Shhh" sign on my door and rejection of invitations to socialize.  I hope to return to normal or adjust to "my new normal" soon, and in the meantime I spend all of the energy I do have on the bare necessities. And getting out of bed in the morning.   

Article & Photos © Natalie Richardson

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