Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Desperately Seeking Normal!

Just want to rant today.  I have totally neglected writing on this blog.  Seeking My Zen Garden is truly my quest these days for sure!

 I have had good news that I received over a year ago but thought if I "announced" it I might be jinxed.  After 3 years on chemo of various types and combinations, 3 recurrences the worse to my liver, I was declared NED in December 2012 and have been off chemo since the end of that month.  In October 2013 a couple of "spots" returned to my liver, but after scans and MRI's every 3 weeks for 3 months they didn't grow and the last scan showed they were reduced in size.  So everything should just be good and happy for me, right?  Except it's not.  I keep waiting for the next big blow, it's out there and will hit as we all know there's not much chance after 3 recurrences.  And I feel guilty.  I think why have I survived almost 6 years when others go so quickly, young mothers with kids are especially difficult to understand why they were taken.

Today as I read the "News this week from OCNA" ( a forum for those of us with Ovarian Cancer ) there were so many notices of those from this sight who have passed on.  It makes me so sad. 

It seems there is always this demon following me around just waiting to attack.  I try to remember my past life before OVCA.  My normal happy, carefree life.  I want it back.  I am happy, but not care free anymore.  I still work,  I play tennis several times a week--which has improved greatly since being off chemo this long! :) I work in my yard--which is much easier and I can work most all day now. Life is better for sure off chemo.  But I'm not the same carefree, fun-loving person I used to be.  There is so many changes to my body, so many parts missing after five surgeries I am truly amazed that our bodies can still function at all when so many parts are gone!!  Everything I eat goes right through me.  I give myself injections weekly.  I take a boat load of supplements (when I remember) my hair is finally growing but is so very thin, but that's so much better than bald! And at some of my happiest moments, those times when I can truly forget I have cancer and that the demon is lurking behind every corner, the thought can just crash in and ruin it: This won't last, you have cancer, there will be no cure. And then sometimes I feel myself getting angry with my family and friends who thinks everything is all better now.  They don't get it.  How could they? They don't have to worry about being close to a restroom, or what they eat and when they eat, etc. They don't see the demons shadow lurking in the corners.

It's such a roller coaster down a path I know none of us chose.  I just want to find my way back to who I use to be, traveling down the path of the life I choose and not being dragged down this hellish road.

So, normal, mine has disappeared.  Yes, I know, we have to get used to the "new normal."  But I don't like it!

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Remembering a Friend

I just found out this morning that the 47 year old women killed by her ex-husband in Henderson was a friend.  My dentist Renee Bassett.  She was shot with her son in the house who was the one who called 911.  The Ex then went to the car and killed himself.  This was a wonderful woman, mother, dentist who truly cared for her patients whether their insurance could cover them or not.  I will never understand the senseless, cruel actions of someone taking another person's life.  Her two boys are now without either parent. What will become of them, what will their life now be like?  How can the one who saw and/or found his dead mother ever get that vision out of his head and know his own father did that to her and to him and his brother? Renee was just a beautiful person who loved her sons. It's times like this that makes me wonder why we need even one gun in this world.  Guns equal violence and that is all. My heart just hurts.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Turn Facebook Teal

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.  As many here know I have been battling Ovarian Cancer since May 2008.  There is no test to detect Ovarian Cancer as there is for Breast Cancer and Colon Cancer and many others.  The symptoms are so minimal and many would be associated with monthly PMS.  70% of women who are diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer will die.  I am asking all who read this to PLEASE change your cover on your Facebook page to Teal.  Google Ovarian Cancer Symptoms.  Share them with the women in your life.  Help bring awareness to this silent killer.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

My Olympic Dream

Since I can remember watching the Olympics I dreamed of participating and knew one day I would be there with all the other athletes from all the other countries, the excitement, the pounding hearts, the winners taking their place on the podium, the medals.

  I knew my sports weren't currently included, but I was confident as the years went by that someday at least one of them would be included and I would finally be able to compete and make my family proud.  Other sports were added throughout the years, but not the three I had long awaited. Alas, I had to come to terms to the fact that perhaps, even those who were ordained for greatness may not have the chance.  So, today, I give up my dream to finally compete and win an Olympic medal, to march in the opening ceremony, to be an Olympian.  But, if anyone ever hears that Baton Twirling, Hula-Hooping and/or Pogo Sticking have been added to the lineup of Olympian events, please contact me immediately!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A New Day

After 17 and a half full time years and tack on another 7 years part time, I am saying goodbye to the College of Southern Nevada as their Performing Arts Center Director.  I absolutely loved working at the college.  Starting as a student production assistant, to lighting designer, to lighting director, box office manager, house manager, assistant director and finally director for the past 10 years, I'm retiring.  I loved working in theatre and at an educational institution. The vibe around a college is just very high energy every day.

 So many friends called to ask how I was doing, was I second-guessing my decision, was I sad?  No!  I have accomplished everything I ever wanted to at the center.  I was on more committees than I can count on both hands and feet. I took work home everyday. I loved every minute. But the last four years on chemo, five surgeries, my administrative assistant removed and not refilled adding to the daily responsibilities, took its toll. It was getting more difficult to put in the hours that I was used to doing. And once the facility was everything I had hoped to accomplish, with equipment and more importantly compliant to all safety regulations (which took three years!) the challenge just wasn't there.

Then there is the family.  Parents are getting older and medical issues occur with a little more frequency. Husband is retired...well sorta! Grandkids are growing quickly. I want more time for family. More trips to Disneyland with the kiddos. I used to keep track of my hours at work.  After I had accumulated over 800 days (not hours!) of overtime (time over eight hours, I was salary so no OT) I realized those were days/hours that really should of been spent with family. You can't get any of that time back. I was committed and very dedicated to my job.  That's how I was raised.  Work hard. But at the same time, sacraficed time that could have been spent with family.

Sure, their are many, many friends I will miss, my staff and particularly the two theatres I managed. But I walked out of the doors yesterday, filled with joy, sans a huge key ring, felt the sun on my face and a whole new world before me.  Yee Ha!

Monday, January 02, 2012

Angels in Our Midst

"People come into our life disguised as angels, and sometimes angels come into our life disguised as people."

Sometimes it gets so hard.  The past three years seem like a blur.  Austin, Texas presenting at the NISOD conference.  Going out with friends.  Severe pain, nausea.  Trying to get an earlier flight home to no avail.  The long flight home.  Immediately going to the ER.  "You have a large pelvic mass, you need to see your GYN right away." Calling Beni, "do you need me to come home?"  "No, I'm not worried." Seeing the GYN.  "This isn't anything to dick around with."  Seeing the GYN oncologist/surgeon.  Scheduling surgery. Being blissfully ignorant that this really could be anything serious. Waking up in incruciating pain. Hearing the words, "ovarian cancer." Starting chemo, every three weeks for 6 months.  98% survival rate. No fears. Truly understanding nausea, bone pain. Finishing the treatment.  Being blissfully ignorant of the recurrence rate of ovarian cancer. Feeling back to normal after a year. Climbing hills looking for the perfect Christmas tree. Excruciating pain. Non-stop vomiting. Waiting in the ER for hours. Non-stop vomiting. Being admitted.  Non-stop vomiting. CT scans with contrast. "Nothing." Non-stop vomiting. IVs and bursting veins. "It's probably the gall bladder." Gall bladder surgery. Being discharged.  Non-stop vomiting.  Ambulance ride to ER. Being admitted. Non-stop vomiting. Wondering if I am dieing.  Three weeks in hospital, no food, no drinks, just IV.  Non-stop vomiting. Certain I'm dieing. Convincing the doctors that something is wrong. DUH! Convincing the doctors to do exploratory surgery on Christmas Eve.  "Blockage. Tumor.  Intestinal resection." Doctor indicates dismal outcome. Wound infection. Collapsed lung. Watching New Years fireworks from hospital window. Discharge from hospital after almost a month. Recovery. Contacting Mayo Clinic.  Setting up appointment.  Meeting with new doctors.  A week of tests.  Scheduling aggressive second debulking and abdominal port. Surgery. More time in hospital. More cancer on kidney and in intestines. IV/IP chemo every 3 weeks for 6 months. Abdominal port removed.  December CT scan. "Cancer returned, no cure." Chance of 5 year survival 4%. No longer blissfully ignorant. Sign up for clinical trial in Phoenix. Check with local oncologist for a "plan B." Clinical trial canceled.  Plan B. Four months of chemo every other week. Ongoing pain in side.  CT scan. "Liver mets increased." Change chemo--weekly for 6 months. CT scan. "Liver mets decreased." Continue chemo same dose every other week. Christmas at home with family.  Another New Year.  Hopeful no longer in my vocabulary.  Nausea is normal.  Not having hair-normal. Working and sleeping. Waking up in a panic not able to breathe is normal. Wondering if this is the year.

Somewhere in the blur some new friends find their way into my world.  Only a handful of old friends care to deal with chemo girl.  I have learned little things mean more.  Phone calls, emails, cards. Some how always when needed most. I know they haven't a clue that I've had a bad night, or read more grim statistics, felt a new pain.  Somehow the right words or image that lets me breathe in and out once more.

I tried to think of some New Year resolutions.  Eat better?  Try not to go to bed before 6pm? Remember my vitamins?  I don't know, seems like it should be something bigger.

I will appreciate more. The sunny days, trees, flowers, family and those friends who somehow found their way to my world.  The friends who stayed old and new.  My angels. I will remember to thank God for angels.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

I Promise Myself...

To be so strong that nothing can disturb my peace of mind.
To talk wellness, happiness and prosperity to every person I meet.
To make all my friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make my optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as I am about my own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of troubles enter my mind.
To think well of myself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words, but in great deeds.
To live in faith that the whole world is on my side so long as I am true to the best that is in me.
To live an appreciative life, to recognize my blessings and be grateful for each.
To live each day with grace.