Thursday, September 10, 2009

No one said it was easy...

There are those days when everything is clear, all of my blessings are apparent, and all of this mess makes sense in some way. There’s purpose to everything and I am SO thankful. I wish they were all that way. The last few haven’t been. In fact, I haven’t been here to update because I thought that I had nothing to say. Actually, I have plenty to say, just nothing good or particularly insightful. But, I started this blog to capture the journey, good and bad. Newsflash: It’s not all a bed of roses and that’s as much of the story as the good parts. The truth is, cancer sucks. It turns your life upside-down and wreaks havoc on every part. Everything you thought you had a grasp on or plan that you made escapes like vapor. Nothing is left untouched. As much as I know that “All things work together for the good…” I’m also tragically human and can’t help losing sight of that some days. I KNOW it, but I also have all of these “feelings”. Stupid feelings…

I spoke with my chemo nurse/researcher today. Just 2 MORE tests before we get started. I didn’t have an EKG before surgery. So I have to do that and also an Echocardiogram. The EKG I have had before. It takes more time to get undressed and put all of the little stickers in place than it does to have the test. I have not had an Echo before. So, I asked specifically what we were looking for. What she told me was that they were going to be looking closely at the left ventricle of my heart to see how effectively it was pumping the blood out. Because if I have the side effect of heart damage from one or possibly two of my drugs, they’ll have a baseline to measure that damage by. It’s the left ventricle that is most likely to be damaged. If that happens, we can determine if the benefit of treatment outweighs the damage it's doing and how to treat my heart for the rest of my life. Even though I knew that, it hit me like a brick. Today it’s REAL.

So the stats come flowing back through my head like a gambling junkie stuck at the tables in Vegas. Playing the numbers with my life. If I did nothing else, no chemo, nothing, I have a 25% chance of recurrence. If I do the 2 chemo drugs only, I take that down to 15%. Chemo + Herceptin brings it down to around 7%. That 8% reduction is where the heart risk begins. Add the test drug, Avastin, and who knows? Maybe it does nothing. Maybe 7% becomes 3-4%. We don’t know. No one does. That’s the point of the clinical trial. They’re all just numbers. As if any of us are really in control…

Besides all of that, we’re back to “Hurry up and wait” mode. I’m counting hours and days like Rainman. I want to get the show on the road, get this over with, and get started. The 25th is a long time away…Then I pass a mirror in the building at work…Getting started also means I have 7 days from that ‘till I have no hair. Shamefully, that DOES matter to me. I AM that shallow. How can I be?? But, I am. I feel extremely guilty about that. So many people are fighting this disease for their lives; many of them are losing the battle. For 40% of breast cancer patients, death IS the outcome. So how can I be worried about my stupid hair??? Yet, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t. For today, anyway…

Last night I was taking to my Mom about how uncharacteristic this whole “putting it out there for the world” thing is for me. I still can’t believe I’m blogging all of my most personal things for the world to see. I’m the girl who never had a journal because I was just terrified that after I died, someone would find it, read it, and I’d die of embarrassment all over again. How stupid is that?? Mom reminded me that I learned to roller skate in the house so that no one would see me fall. She also helped me learn to ride a bike one summer only after midnight for the same reason. I do neither of those things well as it turns out. As much time as I’ve spent hiding any weakness, it’s never helped. It has taken me almost 40 years to figure it out, but vulnerability is actually a strength, not a weakness. Some days you do fall and people will see it. And, so what?? Who cares, really? The important thing is that you get back up and that you always have help. That sustains me, my ever present help in time of need. Thank you, Jesus for always meeting me where I am, instead of only where I should be. You've always helped me back up. And I am more than aware that I can’t do it without You.

4 comments:

stylinlah said...

Thank you girl for "putting it out there!" you will be blessed because I know that I have been thru you!

stylinlah said...

Phrase "bed of Roses" did someone forget the thorns, and their lasting burn and pain. I pray that you will have the strength to endure and perservere!!!!!! victory is YOURS, claim it

kitykity said...

Oh I know you want to get it started, hon... but don't wish away the days between this one and that... despite the worry and such, good times will be had, you know? Hugs...

Anonymous said...

Hi Yvette, It's funny what life hands you sometimes. A lot of it can be down right hard and emotional. You're right, Cancer sucks. One thing I know for sure though, is that everything that happens in life, including cancer, is always for our highest good. You know how you look back on the hardest times in your life and you realize that is when you grew the most, and when you learned the most about who you are? Well for you I know Cancer sucks so good! It has pushed you toward God in a way that nothing else would. Even if you feel you have your moments when you take your problems away from God and you feel ashamed of that, you are still closer to him then you ever have been. Remember, when you think you see one set of footprints, and they're yours, and you are alone... remember God's promise, that is when he is actually carrying you. So when you think you've taken your problems back from letting God handle them. Really what is happening is that he has PICKED YOU UP!!! Hang on to that when it is time for Chemo, and you feel awful, like there is no way you can go on let alone go to work. Know and rest assured God has got you and he will get you thru this. Forget about feeling shame because you are going to miss your hair. Of course you are, you are a human female, we love our hair. Your femininity has been attacked as a result of the cancer. It's soooo okay to mourn that, in fact you must in order to heal,and heal you WILL! Let go of feeling like you are being vain for caring about how you look and are perceived...Every one of us would feel just the same, and God would love us thru it, just as he is loving you thru it, with NO JUDGEMENT, only understanding and concern. Wouldn't it be nice if women in general could get over feeling like they are less then acceptable when our make-up and hair aren't perfect, or our weight is not perfect, I think we need to tell each other the truth. The truth is we are ALL beautiful just the way God made us... bed head, or no hair for bed head, no boobs, no hair, no make-up, barfing our guts up, being human. Yvette, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL because you chose to live...I don't care if you have no hair, no boobs, no make-up, scars all over, black circles under your eyes, smell like puke, look like a holocaust survivor, have a bad, surly, attitude because you feel like shit, are crying, or are just plain pissed. DON'T CARE! To me you are beautiful because you chose to fight! You chose to live, and that is what matters most... you are here with our family, raising your boy, and bringing the smiles to all of our faces because of your humor, your ability to face all matter of challenges, and your drive to never surrender, never give up. What you have accomplished has given all of us the courage to face our own problems with a little more strength, a little more humor, and to remember to give it all to
God. Thanks for that, thanks for sharing all your deepest feelings and fears. Venerablility is a strength. It takes courage to live life normally, let alone when cancer comes to visit. You have shown me what true courage, and faith really is. You are a gift. Never forget that. Especially in your times of fear and shame. You are perfect just the way you are right now. Love you, and believe in your ability to conquer all of this nightmare and come out into the valley of healing and renewal.I believe it for you and so much more. Take this in for a moment and let it sink in... YOU ARE A HERO in the TRUE sense of the word. Believe it!
Your sis in law, Kim

 

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