Sunday, November 13, 2011

Chemo #5 and What's Next

I am coming up on chemo #5 and I have already started thinking about what's next. Obviously, I have chemo #6 to get through (the last round!) and then I will have at least six weeks of radiation.

But I feel like the end is in sight. It is so close... I can almost touch it. But I can't quite get my fingers on it.

I want my life back. I want my body back. I want to feel good again and have hair. I am finding my days consumed with wondering about "What's Next" and how do I get there?

I have gained about 20 lbs. since I was diagnosed. A combination of chemo drugs that encourage fluid retention combined with a raging desire to eat comfort food has resulted in my Michelin Man appearance. I hate it.

One of the women at work who is a 14 year survivor told me that she gained about 50 lbs. and needed to go to Weight Watchers to get the weight off and it took her years. Yes, YEARS. I don't want that to be me. I have a 30 year high school reunion coming up in June 2012. I want to look good and feel good for the event. Perhaps I am being unrealistic. I just don't know.

And then I wonder about my next mammogram. I had a chest CT scan a couple of weeks ago when I was having difficulty breathing. The scan came back clear but guess what the nurse told me? She said they saw "a lot of cysts" in your breast tissue.

No shit. I have dense breasts and lots of cysts. That's me. But the thought of one of those cysts being anything but benign has me worried. I can't stand the thought of going in for my next mammogram and have them do a needle biopsy and say: "It's malignant." What then? A bi-lateral mastectomy? Another lumpectomy and six months of chemo and no hair. Shit.

Truth be told --- this is where I'm at. I am so ready to put this behind me but part of me worries that I won't be able to. I am crazy for worrying about something that hasn't happened. I get that. But it's hard. Once you've had the "Big C" diagnosis, it is really hard not to worry about the what ifs.

Other than that - I'm great. I feel really good and am enjoying my fall in Virginia. The leaves are turning and the weather is gorgeous. I love this time of year here.

All for now...


  1. What you are saying is exactly how I felt. Now what ? I still think that. Don't force yourself though, you'll get there soon enough. And as to the re-union, I'm sure you'll look great. More importantly though, you'll be ALIVE to attend it and that should be the biggest celebration of all.

    Don't lose sight of how far you've come. The weight will 'melt' off - mine is still coming off, it has taken about 3 months but I've lost almost 1o pounds. Still 5 more to go... slowly.


  2. I hear that putting it behind you is the hardest part of this experience. I didn't get the chance, but if I had, I would have worked at it. Do something positive and healthy that will help you recover. Since you need to lose weight, you might try yoga, or hooping or something fun. Not only is it physically good for you, exercise puts you in a calm mental state. Put positive affirmations around. Some of it will just be time. Time to get used to the fact that you had cancer and have recovered. And, time to *know* that you have recovered - for those hallmarks that lower your odds that it will come back. Once you are done with treatment, this will be your new job. Learning every ache isn't cancer, learning that you can be healthy, that you can survive.

    Good luck to you and I will watch as you get yourself through this. I know you are a strong lady and can do it! :)