So, Are You Pregnant?

There are so many things people don’t tell you about chemotherapy. Most people know that its no fun and is hard on the body. It’s all the little things that no one warns you about until they pop up.

This week’s fun side effect – extreme bloating! Like extreme! I look like I’m about five months pregnant.

It first popped up during the last chemo. My first reaction was to panic. Bloating and ovarian cancer are not two things that go well together. My immediate reaction was that the cancer was growing and causing more tumors. The doctor alleviated my fears and explained that carbo/taxol causes bloating and stomach upset. I was told not to worry.

Instead, I went through my last few weeks with a huge “chemo belly” and dodging the age old question of, “You’re pregnant? I didn’t know you were expecting.”

Umm… rude! And cruel for someone who desperately wanted children and now can’t have any.

Such is life.

This round of chemo, the bloating is already way worse. The doctor has me eating more fiber, taking laxatives, and drinking loads of water to keep the system moving. The result – I pooped my pants on the way to church this morning.

No joke. Straight up went in my pants.

How embarrassing!

I obviously didn’t go to church after that.

Oh, and the steroids are giving me a “moon face.”

Not feeling too pretty these days.

And yet, with all my complaining, I feel thankful. For as much hell as I am going through, my prognosis is still good. My cancer was still caught early.  I will endure and come out on the other side with a whole new outlook on life.

And less pooping in my pants.

 

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Funny How Quickly Plans Change

I hate how cancer ruins your plans. I mean no one plans on cancer.

I plan everything. Life hasn’t gone on the normal path for me. It took two runs through college to finally get my teaching degree. Only to figure out I didn’t want to be a teacher.

I didn’t get married or have children.

I never really moved away from my parents. At the age when I should have done so, they became ill and I became a caregiver.

Not the normal path at all.

Then I hit my 30’s and things changed. I found the career that was right for me.  Finally!  One that is exciting and makes me happy.  I moved up quickly,  becoming a salaried manager a little over a year ago. 

I bought a car.  Bills were were getting paid off.  I started dating. The big one – I started saving money to buy a house.  

Then came cancer,  and my life is now on hold.  All my plans are taking a back seat to chemotherapy, surgery, feeling like poo,  and uncertainty in the future.  

My only goal now is to beat this.  Honestly,  I’m scared of the future.  I’m scared the cancer will come back.  That I won’t be one of the lucky ones. 

Because of that,  I’m afraid to make any plans. 

Funny how quickly things change. 

I Hate Chemo

I hate chemo.

I don’t know many people who would like chemo, but I never realized just how bad it would be.

I’m tired of being tired.

Of feeling sick.

Of having weird symptoms pop up when I don’t expect it.

Throat sores.

Runny nose.

Joint pain.

Being exhausted all the time, but also having insomnia.

Pimply rash on my bald head.

Dehydrated one day and swollen feet the next.

Chemo brain.

Being the weakest link at work. Not dependable and not on my best game.

Oh, and I’m pretty sure I managed to break my port. Don’t ask.

There is never a day where I feel good or where I feel like myself. Chemo is the gift that keep right on giving – like the ugly sweaters your crazy (but lovable) aunt sends you. Stuff you don’t want.

My faith remains intact, but I can’t help but be a little annoyed that this is my lot in life. I ask God to help me to be a good example to others. Most days I’m lucky to keep my head above water.

I get why people with more advanced stage cancer choose not to do it. I was always the person who said, “I would do anything. I would try anything. Even if it only gave me a few more months.”

I get it now. No, I wouldn’t. Not if my cancer was terminal. The quality of life isn’t there. It wouldn’t be worth it.

I hate chemo, but I also hate cancer. Unfortunately my best chance at survival is enduring this hell for a few more months.

At the same time, I feel guilty for hating chemo. Guilty because my prognosis is good. My cancer was caught early. I’m expected to beat this. There are so many others who won’t.

What right do I have to complain?

How strange cancer is. How much it changes your life. It hasn’t even been six months since diagnosis, but this feels like it has been the longest journey ever.

2 treatments down and 4 to go. I’m counting down. Hoping for clear scans at the end and slowly getting back to normal life.

 

 

Figuring Things Out

I had a little epiphany today. I call myself a writer, proudly telling everyone my dream of someday being a published author. Yet, I don’t write. For so long I have allowed life to get in the way.

Too busy.

Too stressed.

Nothing to write about.

This blog was originally started at the urging of my sister. If anyone believes in me, it is her. She knew that writing had taken a back seat and was trying to give me an encouraging push.

The truth is, I didn’t know what to talk about here. All of my cancer updates are posted on my YouTube channel. On my worst days, it is easier to hit record on the phone camera and call it a day.

What YouTube doesn’t provide is the harder topics. The emotional ones. The ones that hurt the most and bring you to your knees. Since my diagnosis, I have tried to be the positive one in the family. It has always been my role. It’s what I do best.

Unfortunately some days really are just horrible. Some days it’s ok to be sad, angry, hurt, and depressed. The problem is that I prefer not to share that with my family. They have enough on their plate.

And then there is this blog…

I finally figured out what to write here.

This will be where I discuss those hard days and what I’m feeling.

My fears.

My dreams.

The stuff people don’t want to talk about because it’s uncomfortable.

Cancer is ugly. It’s not always easy to plaster a smile on your face. If I really want God to use me through this battle, maybe this will be his way. For even on my hardest days, I still know he is the answer.

He can’t use me if I’m not being completely open and transparent.

This may not be the happiest blog you’ll ever read, but at least it will be honest.

Some Things in Life Can’t Be Planned

I’ve always been a planner. It drives my family crazy. For as long as I can remember, I have planned everything. I live for lists and organization. I go on vacation with an itinerary.

This has been the topic of many arguments. Why can’t I be more relaxed and “go with the flow?” To be honest, I don’t know. What I do know is that I love order and knowing what to expect. My motto – a place for everything and everything in its place.

Yes, I’m one of “those” people.

Unfortunately there are some things in life you can’t plan.

What I never planned on was cancer.

A quick and easy surgery to remove an ovarian cyst ended up resulting in the diagnosis of ovarian clear cell cancer. It’s a very rare and aggressive type that has a high rate of recurrence. Only about 5% of all people with ovarian cancer have this kind.

As you can imagine the news didn’t hit me well. My first thought was that I’m dying. I’ve known a few people with ovarian cancer and none of them made it past a couple of years. I immediately found myself scared and scrambling to figure out how to plan for the worst.

I Googled. Big mistake. The statistics are frightening. All it did was scare me more.

My first few days after diagnosis were spent doing a lot of crying. I was angry – at life, at God, and at circumstances. I was angry at myself for not paying better attention to what was happening with my body. The anger turned into depression. My poor family. I don’t know how anyone put up with me those first few days.

Thankfully I have a good doctor, who was able to explain things and calm me down.

My cancer appears to have been caught early. The doctor initially thinks I am a stage 1C, but we won’t know for sure until after I have surgery. The surgery will remove all my lady parts, lymph nodes, fatty tissue on the abdomen (anything cancer could touch), and do biopsies of all the surrounding organs and tissues. This will help us know what step to take next – chemo, radiation, or both. Surgery is scheduled for Thursday and treatment will start shortly after that.

I’m looking forward to surgery. I know that sounds strange, but I am ready to start the fight.

The one thing I am holding onto most is my faith. People have asked me, “How can you still be so faithful after something like this?”

How can you not be faithful? When nothing else makes sense, where do you go?

I have no idea what the future will bring. Only God does. Because of that, I am relying on him to get me through this. Whatever getting me through this looks like is up to him. My only hope is that I can be a good representation of Christ’s love throughout this journey. I hope that I can somehow point to him. May I never lose my joy and peace.

So why am I starting a blog? Writing has always been my solace. Getting my words out and written down has been my way of coping with stress since I was a little girl. It seemed to me like something this gigantic should be no exception. Hopefully someone can relate to or learn from my journey.

So here we go. One day at a time.

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13