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Archive for January, 2010

I’m feeling frustrated today. A friend let me know that she is helping another young woman and mother get in touch with me. This woman has a 2 1/2 year old and was just diagnosed! What is the deal?! This is just wrong! There are way too many being diagnosed and it seems like there are more and more being diagnosed young.

I’ve met some absolutely amazing, dazzlingly beautiful women and it has nothing to do with their looks. I hope they’ll forgive me when I say that I wish I had never met them. We are connected through a deadly disease and the list just gets longer. Tami, Diane, Treena, Lori, Tracy, Chris, Jocelyn, Pattie, Andrea, Katie, Eleanor, Cousin Tami, Cousin Judy, Kathy, Deb, Julie, Nancy, Connie and several others from chemo whose names I always mess up but whose faces I’ll know anywhere. Then there are all the survivors of other versions and those we have already lost, Charlie, Susan, Susan, Kevin, Nancy, Ken, and Brandy among them.

There are all kinds of organizations devoted to this and a plethora of things to raise money for this disease. I’m a member of the Pink Ribbon Girls and they are sending me to a Conference for Young Survivors of Breast Cancer which will also be heavily attended by members of the YoungSurvival.org website (a site for bc survivors). Who would have ever thought such a thing existed, and I wish it wasn’t needed. I’m excited to go though; I’ll get to meet more amazing warrior women who I will love and who I will wish I didn’t need to meet. I got an email today about stamps at the U.S. Post Office, they are $.55 instead of the regular rate of $.44 and the difference goes to breast cancer research. Avon has a 2 day, 39 mile walk that I heard advertised on the radio last night, Komen has their regular 5K walks and 3 day walks – heck there is an entire MONTH dedicated to it.

I don’t want a month. I want it gone from me and the world. I want Breast Cancer Awareness Month to not be needed and to free October up to be awareness month for something else. I want this to be something that isn’t stealing mothers from their children, and I don’t just mean through death. I can’t tell you how many hours I have spent in one doctors office or another, time in the hospital, time recuperating, time just being too tired to do what I want. My kids adjust and yes, I am thankful to be here for them but it already ‘takes me from my kids’.

I used to have a general practitioner and and ob/gyn – now I also have an oncologist, radiation oncologist, breast surgeon, plastic surgeon, ENT, and therapist. I have a friend who is a Reiki practitioner who helps me out. I need to add at least a nutritionist to that list and should add a holistic practitioner and patient advocate. I’ve also considered an herbalist, acupuncturist and masseuse. Of course most of those aren’t covered by insurance and aren’t currently in our budget. I’m trying to lower my toxic burden and go even more organic – which is expensive – and exercise more consistently, all of which require time too.

This is a full time job and of course I have to do it to keep my other full time job – MOM.

But today I’m frustrated.

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Time out for me.

So here I am at a conference on Complementary and Alternative medicine for cancer. I am exceedingly grateful to my Aunt for paying for me to come, I am truly blessed to have her. I am learning a lot, in a short time, but have probably learned as much from the people I have talked to as from the sessions. After the first several though I really started to think…”How the heck did I get here?!” A year ago I had just gotten back from Disney with my daughter and we were going to a friend’s house out of town for their sons birthday and then I had to get together my sons birthday. Fear about how many more trips and how many more birthdays I would see were pretty far from my thoughts.  This wasn’t on my radar a year ago at all. Frankly I kind of fell apart. Today is eight months since I was diagnosed and one month since the mastectomy and I have generally been doing well but I am starting to realize that some of this is backing up on me.

We define ourselves in so many ways: our relationships, jobs, interests, quirks, and illnesses among them. I am a mom, wife, daughter, sister, niece, cousin, friend, neighbor, babysitter, cancer warrior (fighter, survivor, patient, thriver), teacher, student. I like to scuba dive, take photos, rollerblade, travel, read, ski, and do puzzles. When we become a mom, at least for most of us, it becomes pretty much job #1 for at least the first several years of the lives of our children. It did for me. Then they said the c word. I have said many times that if I want to keep the job as mom that it had to become job #2 because beating cancer became job #1 and I have to succeed if I want to keep the #2 job. I’ve just spent so much time ‘running’ and ‘fighting’ for the last eight months and while the fighting has been “taking care of” myself, there is so much more to that phrase than just going to all the doctors appointments, getting treatments and getting a bit more rest.

I really need to take some time out for me – so today I really did. I looked at the schedule and I played hooky for part of the afternoon and I went to the beach. I should preface this with I LOVE the beach. I could walk on the beach every day and never get tired of it. I like the mountains but give me waves and the water any day. So… I went to the beach and I took some time where none of those labels I mentioned above had anything to do with the moment I was in. I laid back on the sand and just listened to the waves, I shut up for awhile and was just quiet, not thinking about what I needed to do, not worried about anyone (including myself for most of the time) and Ashley just sat on the beach. It was SO good for me.

I really have realized that I do need to make time to truly take a time out for me on a more regular basis and not feel guilty for it. Time when I am not with someone, doing something and preferably not on a tight schedule. If I can do it at the beach more often that would be great but it is a heck of a drive from my house.

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