Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pink Ribbons - Visitors Need to Control Themselves

Pink Ribbons is a feature series I have started that is posted every Thursday.  I am a Pink Ribbon Warrior, having gone through the chemo, surgery, radiation, the year of waiting and recently stage 2 reconstruction...which I find is really the first of many little surgeries.  I am at a place in my life where I am willing to open my journal from that time and share with you my anger, fears, challenges and pain of finding out you have cancer.   This is me sharing with you from the other side of breast cancer.

These are not current events, events are from Sept. 2010

Well this is a fine mess.  I'm doing okay today and it has been a better day today.  Yesterday was the worst.  A fine woman from church came to deliver a dinner for us and she brought her friend with her.  The second woman has battled cancer herself.  But she just had surgery.  She didn't have chemo or anything else.  It wasn't in her lymph nodes.  So in their visit, she took it upon herself to instruct me on how I was not doing this (chemo) correctly.

I commented about it having been harder to go to the chemo clinic, now that I know what to expect.  She started lecturing me about how "chemo isn't that bad, but you assign it power by assuming it will be so of course then it is."  *Bulging eyes*  Miss M who is staying with me, politely commented "Oh, I wasn't aware you did chemo too."  And the visitor admitted she had not.  But it didn't stop her.  On she went about how I should rebuke the cancer, the chemo and my thoughts about the pain.

Before long I felt defeated, worthless and finally mad.  She was not supportive or encouraging.  She certainly was not helpful.  You'd think that someone going through chemo could get a little love from someone else who has battled cancer.  Apparently not.  She's not the first person who has had breast cancer, but found it necessary to lecture me about how I should be facing this.

She went on and on and the nausea got stronger as I got more tired.  They were here an HOUR before finally leaving.  They were still in the driveway when I ran to the bathroom to hurl.  Miss M was great and so sweet.  She kept wringing out a wash cloth to hand to me.  I teased her later that at least she didn't have to hold my hair back for me.  *grinning*

  • So note to all - When visiting someone ill, keep your visit to under 20 minutes. 
  • Don't attempt to instruct someone on an issue with which you have no EXPERIENCE.  It's not appreciated.
  • And last - we don't have to make everything spiritual.
Or as a popular writer calls it "jesus juke"...when you take an ordinary thing and try to spiritualize it, take it out of context or "one up" someone with is.  His example is how people get excited about the Superbowl until someone tells us "It's a pity, folks don't get as excited about going to church."  You know what?  God enjoys a good football game too and He doesn't appreciate you ruining it for us.

Cancer is not a spiritual battle.  It is a physical one and God is here with me doing battle as well.  I am being blessed with many things, and I recognize them.  God isn't pouting because I'm not dancing on the way to chemo clinic, jumping up to raise Him for the nausea, or rejecting me when I whine about how awful I feel.  He is holding my hand, telling me how sorry He is that this fallen world puts His loved ones through crap like this.  So take that and zip it!

Today I got a surprise in the mail from a dear friend.  A couple comfy caps and a tea cup. I was just stunned by the thoughtfulness. The tea cup was a reminder of WHO I am, that has nothing to do with cancer or chemo. Each time I see it now it will renew this emotion of how supportive most have been in this. I'm overwhelmed.

The taste is on hiatus again. I had chili this evening and couldn't taste it. I could feel the heat but not taste it. Weird. But now I'm indulging in a Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey and I'm totally tasting it. Weird that banana is able to get past the chemo barrier but chili can not. Good thing I love banana!

A few days later...

Today is sat. now. I'm feeling pretty good. So we are going to do a little shopping for as long as I have energy.   I plan to indulge my "Rosey" as well. There's a gift shop with a bag that Rosey wants REALLY bad. lol

Last night Mr. Rosey put a birthday gift on layaway for me. he he...Its a 'nintendo ds xl....I got to choose the color - MAGENTA! Lol He thought that it was something I would use while recovering from surgery. I have a gyn consult on Monday to talk about the hysterectomy.

Momof2boys  :  I really, really hate it when people tell you how to react to something when they've never had to deal with it and have NO IDEA And honestly, even if she had gone through chemo, she would still not be an expert on how it effects YOU. Everyone's experience is different.

She told me to rebuke that.Seriously?! I'm sorry, but that irritates me. Not everything has to be spiritual. There is nothing to rebuke, sometimes things just SUCK ROTTEN EGGS and God is okay with us saying that.

MarylandCrab:  People are clueless. Maybe the next time you have visitors either you, or your representative need to say as they walk in, or when they call to come over, - she is really only up for 20 minute visits, and then at that 20 min mark, have the rep stand up, thank them for coming and start showing them the door.

Mom is right, until anyone walks a mile in your shoes they don't know. BUT... they should have the common sense to keep their comments on how YOU go through this to themselves.

Glad you are feeling a little better.

Meeshia: Maybe put a sign on your door...

Visitors welcome! Pls limit your time to 20 minutes. I can't believe someone could say that to you, although yes I can. I refuse to believe that even those who say things that are not encouraging, that they are in some weird way, trying to encourage. Only that it didn't come out that way at all. I have been reminded again this week by talking to a co-worker that we can not stand to see people we love suffer. We, especially as Christians, feel we must always say really deep, spiritual things and that if we don't give encouragement or someone help that person feel less miserable than they are feeling, that we are worthless. So we fill in empty uncomfortable space with what we think will help. We need to be ok with keeping mouths shut. And we need to be willing to stand there and acknowledge that someone we love is hurting, in pain AND SUFFERING! What did Job need? He needed his friends to stop judging him, telling him that he was suffering because of lack of faith or because of some unconfessed sin! He needed his friends to sit with him. Acknowledge his pain and still walk away with faith. I am sorry that for some reason you have had your fair share of people saying stupid stuff. And I still wish I could come sit with you, even if it was just 10 min. Because I would do that. I'm glad that you were able to be a bit more prepared this time, as far as pain medicine. And that you had those you love and those who love you hand you wash rags while you got sick.



As nursey on Oncology my apatients would ask me to help ask visitors to sca-daddle after a short time b/c they were just simply not up to it. I think visitors sometimes didn't appreciate me doing that but I remember my patients saying THANK YOU. I put a sign on their door to see me first before entering.

I am sorry you had to deal with her and then the pukes.

And "rebuke"?  That's insane to suggest. I imagine she meant well but is pretty clueless.


I think you should rebuke that lady. Don't assign her any power!

I'm sorry to hear that you were throwing up for so long. Makes me want to cry.

Miss M was like...oh I didn't know you had chemo with your cancer. hahaha....that's awesome

I think you should rebuke that lady. Don't assign her any power!  yeah that!!!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Before and After the Diagnosis

  • 1. Write for 5 minutes flat on the prompt “After” with no editing, tweaking or self critiquing.
  • 2. Link back here and invite others to join in {you can grab the button code in my blog’s footer}.
  • 3. Go and tell the person who linked up before you what their words meant to you. Every writer longs to feel heard.
  • OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes for the prompt:


There's a special kind of terror that comes in living with the AC.  It's different from the fear of BC.  Confused?  Cancer survivors/warriors understand perfect.  Before Cancer and After Cancer seems to define our timelines.

BC you do the screenings.  You try to live healthy, see the doctor and do your exams but then you still got cancer.  You realized that you can't really protect yourself against the diagnosis, you can simply try to catch it before it destroys your future.

AC you are wiser.  You know, you are somewhat a product of genetics and environment.  You do what you can but you must live daily with the knowledge, "It can come back".

So you pull up your boots and decide you will stomp through life.  You will invest yourself in family, friendship and your passions.  You have experienced the fear of death and know how fleeting life can feel.  You will live in the After Cancer space to it's fullest, deepest and most profound.  And while I am afraid of what lurks in my cell structures, I won't let it stop me from loving and living.  I will survive the "after" as well.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Pink Ribbons~ Banana Pops and 'Roid Rage

Pink Ribbons is a feature series I have started that is posted every Thursday.  I am a Pink Ribbon Warrior, having gone through the chemo, surgery, radiation, the year of waiting and recently stage 2 reconstruction...which I find is really the first of many little surgeries.  I am at a place in my life where I am willing to open my journal from that time and share with you my anger, fears, challenges and pain of finding out you have cancer.   This is me sharing with you from the other side of breast cancer.

These are not current events, events are from Sept. 2010

I'm finding this second chemo dose is different.  I was exhausted and the nausea was stronger than my normal meds. So they gave me IV injection atavan. It made me loopy. After a nap, my meds and some Maloox its back.   So they're ordering a Scopalamine patch. We didn't plan on this so its using up the last of our funds. God will have to meet the rest of the needs. I feel awful and not very social but our most social nurse is coming. It feels like things are starting quicker this time.

Nausea didn't bug me last time as much as the anerexia.  I had lost 10 lbs in a week.  Dr. Joe frowned and told me losing weight was okay but not that much.

I'm not having muscle pain yet but they feel hot like something's about to happen. I don't mean to whine. I just want to sleep for a week.

I did come home to three new cute. The ACS gave me two winter caps that are major cool.  One black woo,l the other white fur for really cold weather. I need lighter caps to wear around the house. I was given one pretty crocheted cap by a volunteer. I told K i needed a board hug to hang my caps. Jumbled on the dresser causes me to miss them.

Rosey...make room for more, because I just ordered two pink hats (one is pink and the other is dark red pink) that just screamed Rosie! Rosie! Rosie!.  They're more lightweight, so I'm glad to hear you need some of those.  I hope you like them.  I'll mail them as soon as they arrive.

I hope you're feeling better today.  Oh, and you are ALLOWED to whine.  You can even scream and holler and whine if you feel like it.

Let's bow our heads for a moment to remember Mr. Rosey. Because I've been close to hurting him! I have been experiencing what we determined to be "roid rage". I was just seething. 

A friend gave us a Walmart gift card to get what we wanted for dinner. I really needed pudding, my banana pops and milk. So I went. Course I wanted some fruit to juice too. There was a problem with the gift card that had to be straightened out.  I'm burning at this point and want to leave.  But K starts mumbling about the waste of gas if we didn't get what we came for. So I buzzed around the store scaring anyone who blocked my way.

I nearly had melt down at the movie candy aisle. A mom with three snorting, hacking and sneezing kids were there snarking the whole time, handling the boxes and all I wanted the ":/"')";&;-WHOPPERs! I stepped up as the three did a trio of sneezing. So I stepped back and sprayed my face and hands and the air around me with my purse size spray santizer.  

Their mom looked at me cockeyed. I try again to reach for the Whoppers, only to have a bigger kid turn and Sa-neeze directly in my face. I was shocked and blurted out "Do you MIND NOT SHARING your germs with the public!" The mother stood gaping at me as I once again sprayed where I felt his spray land! She says something lame to the boys...try to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. 

I sprayed again and told the boys if they would kindly step aside I would get my selection. Then they could go back to the bickering and infecting the public! (I have I mentioned that crisis and stress bring out the B in me?) They all hung their mouths open but held their sneezing for a minute. I grabbed my whoopers and whipped around. So their momma starts..."now just wait a minute." So I gave her my "hairy eyeball glare" and told "as for time your kids are sick keep them home and stop subjecting the public to their germs just for candy!"  And I left her in my dust! I was so tempted to sweep all that darn candy on the floor and tell them to go for it!

WM was thrilled the card worked because I came the closest to a public tantrum as I have EVER! Seriously I may have landed in jail I was so close to a food fight!

Poor K is stuck with me. I want to hurt him just cause he's in the room...eating MY banana pops and MY banana cream pudding! He teases me wanna pick a fight? and yes. Yes I do.

He thinks its so funny because this is outside my character. I burst into tears once cause I was just seething and couldn't bring it down. I wanted to pinch off his head! He's chuckling and telling me he things my meanness is just the steroids effecting.  That's when he pointed out that I was probably experiencing 'roid rage!  Who expected this?

I drank a wine cooler hoping it would help. Then took a hot bath in the big tub downstairs to see if it did. Not really. Then my sister "Bug" texted that she wanted to eat someone alive, she was on steroids for a bad allergy reaction.  We compared our 'roid rages.

I went to a little. I woke up two hours later wide awake..again thank you Mr. steroid. Thank God last night was the last dose. They had me double the dose this round so the reaction is so much more intense. augh.

I will probably vacuum. I lose as much hair as the furbabies.   Although honestly, why did I lose head hair and groin hair..but still have to shave my chin whiskers and legs? Granted the regrowth is slowwww.  It's a week before they get stubbly so that's an improvement but my scalp is still losing hair.

My skin is so dry I leave flakes everywhere. I toss throws on the recliner or chairs, otherwise there's a white chalk outline of where my body was.

A Latino chick at Look Good, Feel Better told me she uses Cocoa Butter to keeo from getting " ashy " so I picked up some at WM between temper tantrums. It does soften but we will see if it stops the flaking. I feel all pruned up inside so here I am at 4 am sucking down water trying to calm this thirst.

Paula I really enjoy hats so bring them on. I said something to K about getting a couple more winter hats and a strawberry blonde wig. He's like "can't you have too many hats?"   I told him, "I don't know.  Can you have too many guitars? Or cds?"  He didn't say another word but he ATE another one of my banana pops.  The next time he reaches in my freezer he may pull back a stump! sigh. See I'm being mean and stingy. And I just revealed all my bad temper to you guys. Don't hold it against me. :(

Maryland Crab:
(((Rosey)))At least take a little giggle at it all.  Girl power.  You are Rosey, hear you roar.  They were probably all sneezing cause of allergies if that makes you feel any better.  Hope you can find a way to be fit for public - lol.  But also for yourself, it's not fun feeling that full of anger.  And that's not who you are, so you know it's a reaction and will calm down.

I hope you're in a deep sleep now and that inner anger is fighting for you to get better.

Wow, I would not have wanted to be anywhere in that WalMart!  Grace, grace, grace.  Reminds me of how easy it is to judge someone's mood and not really understand why they are in that mood to begin with.  You may want to put on a shirt next time that says, "Warning! 'Roid Rage - Converse/Sneeze/Look at your own risk!"   

Bless your heart for being so open to all of us.  I hope that you do get some rest today.  I would suggest that if you don't like football, turn on the TV about noon and you should get a few hours of sleep just watching football!  But if those games get you worked up; they might not accomplish what you want it to.  Prayerfully, as I type, you have finally closed your eyes and begun to rest.  I will pray that your "rage" subsides, which I'm sure it will.  Imagine all that chemo bottled up inside just ready to explode.  It's doing what you need it too!  Including making trips to WalMart much more exciting!  

((((Tina)))) I'm so sorry you are feeling that way.

I am in NO WAY saying I understand how you feel with the 'roid rage, but I do get the being the Big B and seeing it like you're watching from a distance and wondering why you can't just stop.  I get like that before my period sometimes. I'm just raging at David over the stupidest thing and in my head I'm saying "shut up, you crazy woman. What is your problem?" but I don't stop because I just can't shut the mouth up! And quite frankly, it feels good to just get all the rage out.   David just shakes his head and says, "oh man, it's the week I can't do anything right"  Sadly, he's right. If he had chosen to do the other option, I would have probably yelled at him too 

I had to laugh at your description of you WM trip. I know it was far from funny to live it, but you sure bring out the humor as you tell it.

I have been praying for you and thinking of you. Love, Shelley

About that rage - you know the show ThirtySomething?  Well in one of the later seasons one of the main characters gets cancer.  She has lots of anger, and she ends up going out to a field near the Airport with a friend where she can watch the planes taking off and landing.  The sound is really loud, obviously. They lay on the hood of their car, and when the planes come overhead, they yell as loud as they can for as long as they can until the plane passes.   I thought that was a brilliant idea.  I have felt like that a few times in my life, but never done it.  Do you live near an airport??

Or another trick is to get a pillow and hold it over your mouth while you SCREAM into it. Repeat as necessary.

(((Hugs and prayers.  I think of you so often! And I pray for you whenever I think of you.)))

PS Tell KJ to buy his own banana pops, those are yours. :) ha