Saturday, November 22, 2008

Happy "Almost" Thanksgiving!!

Things are looking up! I'm more motivated than I've been in a very long energy still kind of sucks, but I'm getting there. I have some really great idea's brewing in regards to work and it feels really good. I'll share more as things develop, I'm not superstitious at all(well maybe a little)

We're leaving on Tuesday for Thanksgiving, so I'm not sure how many more post you'll receive before then. I have so much to do to get ready, even when you're not working there never seems to be enough time in the day:) We're headed up north to hang with my hubby's family, I have to get out my winter clothes...none of which fit I'm sure. day my friends, one day my fabulous clothes will fit again:)
I may squeeze out one more entry before Tuesday, but in the event that I don't...Have a very, very, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! Blessings come in many shapes and sizes and are often right in front of your nose, God Bless!!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Goodbye blues....

I'm feeling better today. Actually, this week hasn't been as bad as I thought it might be. On Monday I spoke to group of nursing students at The University of Central Florida. It's a program that the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Florida in partnership with UCF, uses to educate nurses about Ovarian Cancer. Because nurses are on the front line, it's important that they have an accurate understanding about Ovarian Cancer and it's symptom's.

Speaking to the group of nurses reminded me of the big picture. It reminded me that there is a reason for all of this madness:) The night before my presentation I was so annoyed and fed up with the world including all that cancer has robbed me of...only to be reminded the next day about the gift that it has also given me. An even greater appreciation for life and the ability to help other's in more ways than I will ever know.

During my presentation I talk about my diagnosis, my treatment, and surgeries. More importantly, I talk about me. I speak from the heart. I remind people that there is a face behind every disease and that whatever your obstacle is, it doesn't have to beat you. After I finished my presentation a beautiful young(I felt extremely old amongst all those wide eyed college juniors) woman ran up to me and thanked me. She's a Hodgkin's survivor of two years. She thanked me for sharing my story. She thanked me for making her feel like she wasn't alone. She too lives with that nagging feeling that her cancer will return ,something that those around her can't seem to wrap their heads around. It was refreshing for her to see and hear from someone who gets it:)

I'm not saying that the only way to get it is to be a survivor or a patient, but in some ways you kind of do. I don't think any of us knows what another person is feeling unless we take a walk in their shoes. Sure we can empathize, but we'll never really know.

Thanks for the many words of encouragement. I pray that we are able to continue to lift each other up and that no weapon formed against us shall prosper...


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Can you say tired?

Is there a manual for re-entering the world of the living once you've had something like cancer? If so, please share!! My mind is ready to explode, every time I think about moving forward-I revert back to the same the heck did I end up here? This is so not my life. So not the life I not the life that anyone imagines.

I have many friends who are experiencing recurrence's of Ovarian Cancer right now. I really don't get it. Ovarian cancer is like an annoying fruit fly. Just when you think you've got them all, here comes another one. I normally have a pretty good outlook when it comes to my situation. I know there are people far worst off than me...but this is a blog and the only way to really appreciate my blog is for me to be truthful and let you in whether things are good--bad--or somewhere in the middle. And right now, things are somewhere in the middle.

I'm tired. I'm tired of feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. I'm tired of worrying about every little ache and pain. I'm tired of people telling me that everything will be okay. I'm tired of watching my friends endure treatment after treatment, surgery after surgery. I'm tired of being afraid that at any moment on any given day, the other shoe will drop. I'm tired of feeling guilty for feeling this way. I'm tired of watching people with perfect lives-the perfect house-the perfect marriage-perfect children-perfect health-and the perfect job.

There's no rhyme or reason to the way I'm feeling today and I'm sure tomorrow will be a better day. For right now, this is where I am...not where I'll stay.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!!!!!

I'm taking the day to reflect, for today is my 35th birthday!

I woke up today in a good place. I feel good...and I'm CANCER FREE!! Today as I reflect on my year and most importantly look ahead to my future, I remember all who have traveled along this road with me...

Here's a journal entry that I wrote last year on my online support group and as I've stated before...I wasn't very good at journaling, but I managed to capture last years birthday...amazing how far I've come!!

I turned 34 today. I am so very thankful that GOD has graced me with another year. That doesn't push away the feelings of sadness and despair that I felt periodically throughout the day. I had my second chemo treatment on Tuesday and it seems like it's taking me a bit longer to bounce back this time. I feel better than I did yesterday, but I'm still not 100%. My wonderful husband took me to breakfast where I proceeded to have a bit of a breakdown. For no reason at all, the tears came and I couldn't/ didn't want to stop them. It made me sad that I didn't feel good, that today was my b-day, that I have cancer and that I have to wear a scarf because I have no hair. Two minutes after my breakdown, a beautiful older woman and her husband approached me only to tell me how beautiful my scarf was and what a wonderful way I had tied it. I now call that lady my angel, God is always there to catch us before we fall.



Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Flushing of the port...

I went to the Doctor office yesterday to get my port flushed. A port for all of my non-cancer readers is as my husband describes it, kind of like a socket they put into your chest...chemo is administered into your body through this socket. Ports like chemo have come a long way, most of them are placed under the skin which is really can't tell that I have one, although I can feel it when I shower and get dressed and that's still kind of weird. Anyway, I still have my port even though I'm off of chemo because of the high recurrence rate of Ovarian Cancer, or as I like to call it...the gift that keeps on giving...

For some people getting your port out is a milestone that marks the end of your journey. For some keeping it in is like a safety net... me I'm somewhere stuck in the middle. I would love to have my port out, a tangible piece of cancer that signifies the end of my journey and that the war is over. But then there's the part of me that remembers that if I should ever have to have treatment again, my life would be a lot easier if I still had my port. It may seem trivial, but when it comes to cancer you really learn to count your victory's in small digestible doses.

Doctor's vary on this topic as do patients. What's important is that you do what's right for you. Blogging for me is a way to take some of those jumbled thoughts that are running around inside my head and make some sense of them. Blogging for me is way to help other's who may walk in my shoes. It's not meant to be an exact science, as I am completely new at this. I'm muddling my way through and hoping that in the end I'll be able to say ah ha!! Imagine that my very own ah ha moment! Look out Oprah!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Words speak volumes!!

"The thought that leads to no action is not thought-it is dreaming"

This is a quote from the fortune cookie I had today. It was actually inside my husbands cookie, but once he read it...he immediately passed it along to me.(I believe that it still counts as "my" cookie and even if it doesn't I'm running with it) I've been struggling lately with trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. Which is I guess is why it ended up on my plate:)

The hard part about Ovarian Cancer is that there is a high recurrences rate. Simply put, it's one of those cancers that just doesn't get it. You use ton's and ton's of toxic chemical's and radical surgeries to beat it...yet more often than not it has this unique ability to find it's way back to you. So with that cloud ALWAYS hanging over your head, how do you move forward?

So in the meantime, during my little hiatus from being a functioning member of society, I've been dreaming. I think dreaming's great, after all without dreams how will you ever grow? The problem is what good are dreams if you're not going to take action. This is not a political website, but I feel like I must make mention of the major historical event that happened in our country this week...when Barack Obama was elected our 44th president. Political parties aside, what happened this week was a far away dream of many men and women. And what happened was a direct result of the actions taken everyday by these same men and women. It wasn't something that was thought of and then forgotten about. Things happen in life. Things happen that may distract you momentarily. What's important is that we remember that it is just that, a moment and although that moment may alter our should never keep us from moving forward.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The many woa's of health insurance....

It's that time a year again, time to select our health care plan for the new year. Thankfully I'm covered under my husband's plan for work and our out of pocket expenses throughout my journey with cancer have been minimal. I know that there are far too many people who can't say the same, in fact I know of at least 45 million. I don't know their names but I know they exist and I pray for them each and every day.

For the first time in my life I'm nervous about this time of year. Normally, I would roll over what ever plan we currently have to the following year,however this year my husband's company announced that they will no longer offer that plan. Before last year, I was a healthy woman and this announcement wouldn't have made a difference. Now I'm a cancer survivor with a team of medical professionals that I know, trust, and love and for whom I may not be sitting here today. What if my Doctor doesn't take this new insurance policy? Leaving our doctor is not an option....staying with my doctor as an out of network participant would be my best bet, but the thought of having to shell out thousands and thousands of potential dollars that we don't have seems almost unfathomable.

After my initial panic I decided to check the website of my future policy to see if my doctor was a participant in the plan, I probably should have done this first...but panic takes over and I seem to forget the most logical of next steps:) The good news is that my doctor is in the plan. I'll place a call to his office tomorrow just to be sure we are choosing the plan that will give us the most bang for our buck. The one that will offer the same level and quality of coverage that my old plan provided.

What I forgot while going through my dilemma is that no matter what I still had a choice, which is something that many people don't have. So things may not have turned out as great as I would have liked...but I know it will be okay. How many of us can say that?

I'm posting a link to an article I wrote about minorities and health care. I hope you'll read it and take time to think about some of these issues and although it may not effect you personally today, you never know when it will.