Friday, October 31, 2008

Cancer? Is that all anyone can talk about?

On the best of days I'm okay with people knowing or asking questions about my cancer. On the worst of days I'm not and I find it extremely hard to pretend that I am. Last night was one of those days. We went out to meet an old friend and some of her friends none of whom we knew...most times I'll tell you about my cancer before you've had a chance to inquire, giving me ultimate control over the situation...last night wasn't one of those times and the thought of reconnecting with an old friend and meeting new ones consumed me. At times making me remote and distant, leaning towards inflicting displeasure on myself before someone beat me to it. Meeting people whether it be an old or new relationship after cancer, chemo, weight gain, and funky hair can be a bit daunting at times. My self-esteem is really suffering and for me that takes a toll on my normally funny/up-beat personality.

I was relieved to see that after meeting our friend she wasn't one of those people that immediately says, "ooh your hair is so cute" or "wow you picked up a little weight" So I spent the first half hour anticipating those dreaded comments of which I was prepared to smile, nod, and agree all the while wishing that everyone around me would just disappear. Time came and went and still no annoying comments. Our mutual friend then proceeded to talk about herself for the next hour! Finally the world didn't revolve around me and my troubles...I didn't have to talk about how I'm feeling, how I was diagnosed, when will I go back to work, or what I'll do next. I can't remember if she new about the cancer, but I know that if she did, someone did me a big favor by giving her temporary amnesia.

The mind game that cancer plays on you is taxing. It's something that you can't escape, something you have to learn to manuever around. A task that's easier said than done. I know that life will never be carefree for me again, but I'd like to get as close as I can to that feeling. Last night came close. We had a great dinner, scary haunted houses, and some salsa dancing to top the night off. I forgot about my hair, weight, and all that cancer has left me with or without.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Party Time!!

I know it's been a few days, I'm sorry about the delay...for those of you that read this like I use to watch soap opera's...I know that it can be very stressful when your show's been pre-empted:)

On Saturday I had my 35th birthday party!! Before you start shouting birthday wishes, my actual b-day isn't until November 12th. I had my party early to avoid the Thanksgiving rush. So I named my party, Kia's 35 and Alive party!! Although I never believed I wouldn't make it another year, I can't say that the thought didn't cross my mind. I'm also the same person who never thought they'd get cancer at the age of 33.

I'll write more about how I'm feeling about turning 35 on my actual birthday, for now I just wanted you to know that I haven't forgotten about you!! I'll also post pic's from my party as soon as I get some. We had about 50-60 people at our clubhouse, great food, drinks(lot's of drinks) swimming and KARAOKE!!! That was my favorite much fun to see people let loose!

I am so thankful for wonderful friends and family. I thought I'd get through the day without crying, I should have know that was impossible. I had way to much time on my hands while listening to them sing happy birthday, I started thinking about how I may not have seen this birthday and the tears started flying:) The only good thing about crying was that I had already messed up my make-up singing Karaoke...yes another present from menopause...thank you menopause!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Happy Anniversary!!

Tomorrow I celebrate my 2nd wedding anniversary. This has been the best, craziest, and most amazing two years of my life...cancer and all, I wouldn't trade a thing. I am where I am for a reason and that I will not question(at least not today)

My husband has never wavered from the commitment we made on October 22nd 2006. Who knew that "in sickness and in health" would take on such a literal meaning so early in our marriage. Cancer is not something that you sign up for. Being told that your wife has a life threatening illness and will never be able to carry a child is certainly not something you think you'll hear just a year after you say "I DO".

Unfortunately, these were the cards we were dealt, no option to fold, only to play out the hand and play out the hand we did!!Some relationships don't survive the normal wear and tear that a marriage endures, never mind an illness that consumes and invades almost every aspect of your life. I believe we've endured the hardest part of our relationship and we're still smiling, laughing, and grateful for each other!

Love you Sir!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Breaking out of the Cancer Bubble...

So there's this phenomenon called facebook. For those of you that have never heard of it, it's a social networking site where you can re-connect with any and everybody you've ever come in contact with. Anyone from your best friend in first grade to an old college professor. It's fantastic!!! It took me awhile to submit(I always go kicking and screaming when new technologies come on the scene), but now I'm totally addicted!

My dilemma is this...up until now I think I've been in what I'll call a "cancer bubble"-definition: a closed circle comprised of people who have witnessed/played a major role in your journey. These are the people that have seen you and been with you through your darkest days..your shiniest head...and your many cries of pain.

Leaving the "cancer bubble" is a bit like returning to the workforce after a very long hiatus or entering college with the hopes of leaving high school and everything you were or weren't at the door. How do you re-introduce your self to someone you've known all of your life but haven't seen in 20 years? How do you read about or listen to stories of marriage, children, and careers...when it feels like nothing you did before cancer is relevant? How do you combat that feeling that you're the odd man out, the leader of the pact, the first cancer victim amongst your peers but unfortunately not the last? Peers that you talked with, shared with, and dreamed with.

Another brutal dose of reality for me and for those I encounter I suppose it's a hard look at their own mortality. Kind of sucks for all involved, huh? I'm proud of the way I've handled things. I'm very outspoken and upfront about my illness, I sincerely hope it doesn't make anyone uncomfortable. It's the only way I know how to cope. It's the only way I know how to be me. The me that keeps on ticking no matter what, the me that desperately wants people to be aware of Ovarian Cancer and the sneaky beast that it can be. The me that is proud of how far I've come yet knows how much further I have to go.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Just one of those days...

So today is one of those weird limbo days...getting back to "normal" is a lot easier said than done. I've been having a hard time sleeping as of late...I use to be such a good as you an imagine it's quite frustrating that I am having such difficulties in the napping and sleeping department. This could be a side effect from instant menopause however I refuse to google "symptoms of menopause" because that's just one less thing I need to start obsessing about.

I have way more energy than I've had in months, yet at times I still feel so tired... both physically and mentally. It's nerve wracking, as every little twinge, ache or pain is a constant and intrusive reminder of where I've been and the unknown that lies ahead of me. Gone are the carefree days of obsessing about red carpet fashions or who's dating who. Long gone are the days that cancer was some far off remote possibility that only happened to "other" people.

I volunteered last week at the Southern Women's Show with The Ovarian Cancer Alliance booth here in Orlando. The experience was wonderful, yet a brutal reminder of how horrible this disease is and of how many family's it has torn apart, often without any advanced warning. I was happy to meet people with whom I have this common bond, this sisterhood of sorts...however the number of people who have lost a loved one to this dreadful disease left me with mixed reviews. I felt their pain as if it was my own, I felt guilty because I made it through and scared because it's my "new" reality.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

In The Family...must see tv!!

I heard about this great movie that follows the story of a young woman from Chicago who decides to get the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene test after a family history of both Breast and Ovarian Cancer. She tested positive. This is her story and the story of so many other woman, what do you do when faced with these circumstances?

PBS online if offering a free online stream of the video throughout the month of October, please visit their website or visit the attached link below. I haven't watched it yet, but I hear nothing but great things...enjoy!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Breast Cancer Awareness...friend or foe?

You'd have to live under a rock not to know that October is breast cancer awareness month:) There's just no escaping it. It's out there to make you aware, diligent and mindful about what's happening in your body. It would be wonderful if all cancer's received the same amount of attention and publicity as breast cancer does. I'd love to one day see the stores flooded with teal m&m's or bodywash and to have my house filled with all things teal... Since being diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer teal has become my new BFF. It's a bit like joining a sorority...albeit a sorority that you didn't sign up for, heck in a lot of cases a sorority you didn't even know existed.

I hear a lot of people talk about how unfair it is that Breast Cancer gets all the attention from mom and dad, while survivor's of other cancer's feel like lonely step children. Sometimes Mr. jealousy enters my world also, but then I remind myself that this isn't a competition between the "it" girls and the not so "it" girls. We can't afford to waste our energy trying to out do one another.

I'm not mad at Breast Cancer, if anything I'm encouraged by it. I know that with hard work and diligence Ovarian Cancer will soon be right up there along side it's sister.

The crazy thing about the breast/ovarian cancer war is that in some instances the two are connected. In hereditary cases changes or mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes increase the chances that a woman will get one or both cancers. Gene test to identify potential risk are often done on woman who have a family history of breast, ovarian, or colon cancers. A lot of people don't realize this and it's something we should all be aware of. Just another one of those little facts that could play a pivotal role in saving your life.

There's no time like the present, so if you haven't had your mammogram is the time. If you're not sure when you should start having them, talk to your sure to let them know your family history or any past problems you may have had. They can only help you if you're willing to help yourself!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Oh, what a year!!!

A Prayer for Today--Joel Osteen
Father in heaven, thank You for watching over me and making a way even when there seems to be no way. I trust that You will never leave me nor forsake me. I bless Your name today and always. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

It was one year ago today that I heard those chilling words, words that I will never forget. You have Ovarian Cancer. A year ago my world was turned upside down, a year ago I sat immobilized and in a complete daze...not sure where this journey would lead me, but today is a new day. I woke up this morning feeling good, I had a great work out at the gym, made my own lunch and did a bit of volunteering for Senator Obama's campaign here in central Fl. My day may seem pretty mundane to many, but any day that I feel good is a blessing...I no longer take anything or anyone for granted.

I've met some amazing people this past year and I've had the most incredible team of people working to help save my life. It's true, I would have never thought in a million years that I would be writing a blog sharing my experience with cancer, but I am and I'm thankful that I'm here to do so.

Thank you to everyone near and far for your prayers and continuous support. Please continue to pray for me and for the family and friends of those who were not as fortunate.

Ovarian Cancer-Silent NO More!!