Thursday, 22 November 2012

" What if?"

An adjective used by boring people to make themselves feel better
Urban Dictionary


Well my first sign that things are really returning to normal this week happened. I had to pluck a hair off my nipple, I am happy to report. No surgery nor chemo can keep me from being the hair beast that I am.  I was worried that my breast would not return to somewhat normal after a second mastectomy but have no fear.  There is nothing that makes you wanna sing " I feel like a woman" more than standing in front of a mirror plucking hair out of your boob. I would like to thank my parents for the strong propensity to have lots of body hair and especially in places one would rather not such as the above mentioned area. Now I know that some of you are saying to yourselves " yup been there, done that. I will take solace in knowing that I am returning to the fold. 

While some things return to normal, there is one thing that has changed. My  greatest fear is that it will be permanent. I can't believe that something I held so dear could be taken away from me. As I  prepare to say it I get a small lump in the back of my throat. After several attempts I am realising that my ability to drink red wine has diminished.  I feel a tear welling, I love red wine. Always done with moderation but with immense enjoyment. My body has decided I can't really tolerate it at present. My hope is that this is a temporary moment of insanity for my body and that time and healing will reverse such an awful side effect. Please keep me in your prayers.

After many months of little of no activity and walking the length of myself was about all I could do, I knew I needed to get moving. As anybody who knows me knows that exercise and Sondria usually are not in the same sentence. I know after all I have been through that this had to change. I had been asked if I would like to join the Avalon Dragons, dragon boat team in there winter training. I am happy to report that I have gone two whole weeks in a row. A wonderful group of women full of joy and a real sense of community. Once again I realise that I could be sitting at home waiting for life to happen, or I could get out there and make it happen. Through my whole illness I realised that sickness can happen but you still are the captain of you life. You steer the ship. I can have everything or I can have nothing, its up to me. My life is happening, so now I have to live it. I can't wait for others to make me whole or happy.

I also got to attend the book launch for Phil Carpenters book " Breast Stories" featuring women across Canada who had their portraits taken by Phil. There were local women who were featured and were at the launch. It was both moving and empowering. I was grateful to be there.

I officially signed up for a clinical trial at the cancer clinic. Another pill for another five years but if the outcomes from this study does not benefit me maybe someone else will benefit down the road. I figure I got nothing to lose anymore by taking chances. I watched the following video this week and it made me pause. As my armour of the last months begins to melt away I am left with my new reality and this gives me reason to reflect about how I continue from here. I feel vulnerable but in turn maybe that opens me to  knowledge and change. I would like to share it with you as I hope it makes you stop and think about your life if that is what you need.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

"A Grand Thing"

"I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing."
Agatha Christie 

Recovery is a funny road. You want to be better, you need to be better, but sometimes you just are not. Being honest with yourself now that is the tricky part.

As I get on with daily life and the prospect of returning to work my last 8 months seem like a blur. One diagnosis, two surgeries, four rounds of chemo and now five years of Tamoxifen. Seems daunting doesn't it? Life has a way of continuing, it keeps going. People have to work, or go to school. The dog  and cats needs to fed. The laundry needs to be done and suppers need to be cooked. You gotta buy groceries to do that don't you?
XMAS IS COMING! XMAS IS COMING!( Picture me screaming this like Eddie Murphy in "Delirious" in his sketch about the ice cream man coming) I think I need a concierge. Where to put my energies. Finding balance in an already crazy year.

Emerging from a crisis back to somewhat of a normal life is challenging . Your not who you were a short time ago. I am not even sure at this point I know who I am yet. I had a moment to pause this week as I remembered my dad, a WW2 Veteran. A man who wore his Veterans jacket proudly, but spoke very little about what he saw in action in Europe. His crisis, kept to himself for only him to remember. I certainly did not get that trait from him. I am like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music screaming from the mountains. My anger, frustration and sadness for the whole world to see. That is just me though, the way I am. I always find it easier to process my feelings when they are reflected in the faces and words of others. I have learned though that not everyone is comfortable with my take on my illness and that even with all my education in helping people I still have a lot to learn. I always try to treat everyday as a school day. Learning from those around me.  Happy to be humbled no matter how difficult.

I was once again given perspective this week as I went around Sears looking for nothing in particular and a woman with two children walked by. I could hear the kids talking and turned to look. The toddler in the cart had a medical mask on and had her hair was  gone. There was the mom just pushing along in Sears like any ordinary day. Life needed to continue for them even though its probably the toughest it could be. That gave me what I needed right then and there. My heart sank a little this week as my aunt learned her breast cancer has returned and she must have a mastectomy at the ripe age of 81.  My brother called to tell me that his biological father just died. The world keeps giving and taking.

I did however admire myself in the mirror this week. Happy with my one left boob. A girlish anticipation of having two someday. I look more like the long range mountains right now but hey I will take what I can get.  I eagerly await my next injection of saline. Even if its not a real boob, its mine. Self esteem coming in many forms these days. A pretty dress to be worn this week and problem solving how to even my chest out is in the works. It has to come from inside me, its always been like that. My energy buoyed with self acceptance

I am happy to say we are starting to get some interest in mine and Malin's idea of taking portraits of women with breast cancer. I glad to know that there are more women ready to share their joy and pain. There are women already showing courage through pictures here in Newfoundland,  and we hope we can get more Newfoundland women to do the same. For me it was a sense of acceptance and healing. The gifts can be bountiful when art and emotion come together. A story told, no words spoken. If you know anyone please let me know.

I just want to thank everyone for continuing to read my have no idea the impact.

And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy.
Kahlil Gibran