Tuesday, March 27, 2012

So much love....

Where am I these days??? The mind is a little foggy so bare with me. For those of you who I am not friends with on Facebook, the good word from the oncology office is nodes are smaller!!!! They have not completely dissolved as I had hoped for but smaller is better, at least in this instance :)

My last chemo was scheduled during spring break. I could go on and on about the levels of lameness associated with the timing of cancer treatment. This week was particularly difficult because a couple of my closest comrades were out of commission for a variety of reasons. Now by no means was I without support.

My friend Lauren drove on day one. We spent a fun day at the oncology office. I taught her how to play cribbage (the finest card game in the land). We looked at magazines, snacked, I may have even napped. Funny as I type about this day that occurred 2 weeks ago I am unable to re-call crisp details about it. Chemo brain is settling in. I remember we had a great lunch from a euro-deli and had a great day of catching up. We also talked about books as Lauren is one of the most brilliant women I know.....the only one I could recollect is "Man's Search for Meaning"....hmmmm I wonder if it comes in a gender appropriate version. I arrive home to my friend Salli bringing dinner. Day one of the cycle draws to a close, I take some anti-nausea pills to ward off any potential side effects and hit the hay. A chemo day without vomiting is a good day.

Amy arrives bright and early for day 2. When I say early I mean on time and when I say bright well I mean REALLY BRIGHT. My friend Amy is one of the happiest people I know. Sadly I am not much of a morning person and sometimes I have to beg her to lighten up on the cheer. Day 2 is much like day 1 super fuzzy for me. We get some coffee on the way, or do we??? I think yes but I can't be sure. The details are not super important. I teach Amy how to play cribbage and we get some Chinese take-out for lunch. We end up sharing with 3 other patients, my heart aches to think they don't have anyone with them on the journey, or at least for lunch. I am just grateful for so much love. I spend the afternoon napping, while Amy reads my new book "Crazy Sexy Cancer" (A gift from Rachel left on my doorstep during day 1 with some kale love chips, again so much love....:) Then day 2 is over and Amy drives me over the mountain. I am high and low, steroids, chemo, adivan. The drugs leave me pumped up and pulsating. My body feels like intense vibrations, my pulse is amplified by the medication, I am me and not. So hard to explain. I have some homemade broth delivered when I get home, the boys get dropped off and spring break begins.

Overall chemo flows much better then the last time. I spent time focusing on healing. I listened to my meditations while in the chair. The funk seemed to last for about a week this time. The boys went to work with me a couple days and then got to spend time with their friends. I am so blessed to have such amazing kids who can just roll with what life throws our way. I am equally blessed for our family to have such amazing friends to step in and help out. The frustration I feel when I am unable to rally to do the things I used to do make me crazy. I also felt a little weepy and whiny about not having the health to do fun stuff on spring break. We were supposed to be skiing in Grand Junction, not couch surfing. Then I take a breath and accept that this is where I need to be I hug the boys closer and decide to introduce them to Lord of the Rings. If I am unable to take them on epic vacations then at least I can introduce them to some quality epic cinema.

We were also blessed with an end of season snow blizzard. So we had to dig out the brand new sled. I love to get out when it is snowing so Mason and I went to breakfast the first morning. I love driving on the quiet streets, with trees bent gracefully by the weight of the snow. The sound of the tires crushing a path on a million little snowflakes, and the cool crisp air is so fresh. I am also hungry because we shoveled so much snow. We had a delicious breakfast at the Dinner Bell with my dear friend Barbara. Life is good and well there is so much love....

The boys hoped and prayed there would be a snow day on Monday effectively giving them an extra day for Spring break. Their prayers were answered and we woke up to about 18 inches of snow. I called in snow to work and took the kids sledding. We spent a super fun day out in the snow with a bunch of our friends. We could not have asked for a better end to the break.

With a return to our routine I started to feel stronger and stronger. Last Wednesday I met with a bunch of my gal pals. They are making these beautiful earrings out of bike tubes to sell at a benefit for me later this week. Now these women are just amazing gorgeous through and through. We spent the evening crafting, enjoying some yummy food and beverages. I am at a loss to explain how much love I have in my life. It brings tears to eyes and yet lifts me up simultaneously. so much love.....

Later this week I will be attending a benefit held for me hosted by some more amazing women. To watch my community come together and support my family during this time is awe inspiring. I am so humbled and honored to have so many wonderful people in my life. Not to mention I am so excited to just go to this party, hard to feel down when there are so many wonderful things going on. The pulse or buzz of chemo has nothing on the love buzz I am feeling of late.

It is so late and I need my rest...

Drink water and breathe....

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Preparing to tap in

Today is day 21, of my 21 day cycle. Which means tomorrow is the beginning of my second chemo cycle. I could try to compare it to my menstrual cycle.....but it has been a long time since I had one of those too. I have to say it has been an interesting 21 days. My health has had peaks and valleys. Some experiences are new, like the vomiting, and nausea. Others felt familiar like fatigue, stress, and anxiety. Then there were the countless acts of love that came into my life, from a million different angles at the most unexpected times. I can't get over all the kindness and generosity of so many around me. I received a hug from Garchen Rinpoche and heard him speak for the first time. I was able to get out on my bike twice, once with an old friend so dear to my heart and again with a new friend. Both rides hold a special place in my heart it is like biking past and future all in the present....I was so grateful to have the strength to ride. I had a delicious potato, ginger soup delivered to my door. Wonderful meals with friends. My boys well they are just a blessing that never ceases to amaze me. I had a wonderful visit from Liette and Matt. Nothing says love quite like a Lego tree house, if you have doubts, just ask my boys they will tell you. I have been blessed with someone to help with the housework this week. Another amazing gift. Life seems busier then ever and I am so fortunate to have so many willing to pitch in an help out in so many ways.

So my thoughts are circling in a cosmic way. The blessings that are in my life are all about being connected. My cancer has paved the path for so many to share in this profoundly human experience. There is so much goodness and light that surrounds my diagnosis that at times it feels surreal....can I really be sick? The mind is a powerful thing. If my hair wasn't thinning so much it might be easier to think this was dream. But today is the end of my cycle and well tomorrow is day 1...again and what exactly do I plan to bring?

I guess my theme for my next round is eternal. My friend Christi mentioned it to me tonight when I had my Chinese Medicine session. Her thoughts were directed towards never ending nature of energy itself. The shelf life of my body is still to be determined. The energy that is me, well that goes on forever. If you doubt this just pause for a moment and think of someone you love. The energy of that love is with you at this very moment. Simple, right? How do I channel eternal into tomorrow? Through my breath. I need to accept this treatment as someplace so necessary, it is exactly where I am suppose to be. With my breath honoring that in me which is everlasting, it feels kind of tricky because I need to be in the present moment. Thankfully any shortcomings in my spiritual aspirations will be covered by the fact that my treatment takes place in Sedona the known vortex capital of the world. I am sure that will cover any gaps in my own process :)

So my friend Lauren is going to be behind the wheel and the party starts around 9:30.

Keep us in your thoughts, share some love with those around you, everyone can use it.

Drink water and breathe

Thursday, March 8, 2012

kinks with the donate button

Long ago I admitted to being a ludite, or I may have been called one by my brother. There was a kink with my original donate button, and it has since been worked out. If you tried to donate and were not successful, it was due to problems on my end. I do believe those problems have been worked out.

With love and compassion,

Drink water and breathe

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Back to being me.....

After nine of the longest days of my life I started to feel like myself. It is about damn time. Let me see where did I leave off....

Oh yeah day two of chemo, Jen is signed up to be my DD. I wake up exhausted...late night blogging, steroids, chemo, the emotion everything involved with day one left me feeling like my body was a war zone and it was not pretty. So I make my smoothie, get my supplements and we hit the road. After the completely crippling effects of day one I have no idea, how I got out of bed, and decided to return to Sedona for day 2. I just do, I can not explain it but I just go.

We show up a few minutes late......that's okay because I am not really in a hurry today. We explain to the Dr. my horrible day and night so she switches up the meds a bit. Then I proceed to doze off and on for the rest of the day. I read a few magazines. Jen heads out to get lunch. I nap a little. We eat lunch. We chat some more, I nap some more and before you know it day 2 is pretty much over.

The change up in drugs seems to work I am groggy as hell but I am not puking...three cheers for the pharmaceutical company.....rah rah rah. We decide coffee is in order for the ride home. So Jen and I head into Sedona, we come across a cute little coffee shop near the post office. We grab our lattes to go and stroll around. After chemo the simple, normal things feel priceless. So we wander into a hip little boutique and peruse the sale rack. They happen to be doing card tarot card readings in the back room so I sign up for one. When you are in the vortex it seems like the right thing to do. Sadly I have chemo brain and don't remember all the details. I believe I pulled 4 man of world cards (There apparently are only 4) one related to feelings and how I must allow myself to feel everything, another had to do with masks...I would be changing them often...I needed to always remember which one was the real me....one had to do with organization and accomplishing any task...another for some kind of transition....then the universe card...another big change...and for the life of me I don't remember the last card. I wish I had taken a picture of them.....It was kind of fun, it surely beats puking my brains out and I needed a little encouragement from the other side :)

So Jen and I head home, I think we go over the mountain. I am not even sure the drugs kind of just created a blank spot in my brain. We get home around 4:00, Steve drops the boys off sometime later. I really don't have much recollection of that night at all. I think Amy came down to help with the boys and we all pretty much turned in. I can't believe how vague this day is in my memory. Maybe it is like childbirth....if you don't remember the details it will hurt less when you revisit that space.

The 3 days following chemo I return to work. The Wednesday following I wake up slow and plod through my day....it is like my brain has been turned into soup and every simple thing requires all my concentration. I had no appetite and a splitting headache. Thursday was pretty much the same only in addition to the other side effects I also had puffy eyes, always a nice touch when you work with the public...no I have not been crying all day even though I look like I have been. Friday, I almost called in....but my weekend was around the corner....I made it through with a little nap on the booth. I could not shake the extreme fatigue, it was never ending. The boys were scheduled to be with there Dad for the weekend. So I rented a ton of movies to prepare myself for some extreme couch surfing. The headache is what really wears me down....fall asleep with one and wake up with one just sucks. That headache was accompanied by low level nausea...the kind that says you might need to puke. This combination prevents me from drinking my smoothie or taking my supplements (I manage about half of them). I just listen to my body and ride it out. I manage to squeeze in some gentle yoga on Saturday in hopes of centering my body and mind. It feels good but the headache persists. I spend the remainder of the day on the couch.

On Saturday (2/25) I was an emotional mess. The weepies returned I did not want to be sick, and home on the couch. Thankfully Kate popped over at the right time, I cried some more. Apparently it is more effective when you cry with someone, or at least that particular cry doesn't get stored inside but is set free. Somehow shared tears lighten the load a bit. So we run out for some more movies and a little Chipolte and it is back to the couch for ...ready....set....heal..........
Sadly it doesn't quite happen that way but a little company goes a long way. Amy pops in later to watch movies with me and I doze in and out of my films.

So I forgot to mention a totally amazing part of the longest week ever. My support system has been working overtime. Layla comes and refills my water bottles for me. Melanie and Leslie come to my house on Friday while I am at work and do all my laundry and clean my apartment. I come home Friday to a clean apartment, laundry done, healthy food in the refrigerator, and flowers on my table I am so blessed. The extra help allows me to come home and rest in complete peace, no mommy guilt of chores not being done.

The next amazing part of the longest week ever is a healing meditation that I organized for Sunday. I am working with a woman that practices Chinese medicine. I had a session with her early in the day, it is a combination of chi gong and acupuncture and some other things that I just don't have the language quite yet to explain. Then we had a group energy ceremony with some of my close friends, in a guided practice we gathered "chi" and showered it on me. All I can say at this point is that love and intention are very powerful things and by Sunday afternoon, I felt like I was on the mend. I went home after my session and really rested.

Monday and Tuesday I felt stronger and stronger. By Wednesday of last week I was ready to get out on my bike for the 1st time in 3 weeks. Oddly I felt just like me it was like a switch had been flipped and I was back to normal. I am tired in the evenings....I am a single mom....that is the norm.......We had our last weekend of YMCA Basketball for the boys. That of course means party at Peter Piper, which of course can wear down the heartiest of parents. Corbin has another cold/cough so we were at the doctor yet again. The good news is his cast has only a few more weeks. Life has a magical way of pressing on.

I managed to squeeze in a ride over the weekend as well. I am honored to have such an amazing riding community. For those that don't know my friend Tina, with the help of others has designed a ladies riding jersey, with all profits from the sales going to help my family during this time. If you come to P-town for the Whisky Off Road you will see a bunch of amazing women sporting these jerseys, or maybe you will just see them out on the trail. I am humbled daily by the immense out pouring of love that is showered on me and my family.

So I am focusing on honoring the healthy parts of my body, and healing the other parts.

I have chemo again on March 12th and 13th.......not quite the ski trip I had planned for spring break, but it will do.

I am filled with so much gratitude for all the people that are sharing this journey with me.

Drink water and breathe.....